A must-visit destination for the discerning gourmand and culinary whiz, Melbournians are spoilt for choice with the cornucopia of fresh produce and gourmet delights on offer at Queen Victoria Market. Located in Melbourne's CBD, take an empty bag and a healthy appetite along to explore the sprawling stalls and foodie finds.
Established in 1878, Queen Victoria Market is best known as a mecca for food shoppers for over 130 years. Around half of the 1,000-plus open-air stalls offer a plethora of fresh produce, imported cheese, delicatessen specialities, pastries, fresh flowers, meat, poultry and fish, with the remainder dealing in clothing, crafts, variety goods and souvenirs – especially on Sundays. The heritage market has had a chequered and colourful history occupying the site of earlier markets dating back to the settlement of Melbourne. The area has also variously been a cemetery for early settlers, was the location of shootings in the ‘60s, and also housed a livestock market.
The best way to explore the markets is by immersing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the labyrinthine bazaar, admiring the produce and participating in good-natured banter with the knowledgeable stallholders. Sections to discover include the Deli Hall, Meat Hall, fresh produce, organics, bargain goods, boutique items in the Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street shops, Vic Market Place Food Court, and the newest area of String Bean Alley – an artisanal precinct of crafted products from furniture to upcycled wares. For an in-depth look at the market, consider one of the guided tailored tours on offer from the two-hour Foodies Dream Tour (AU$40) to the 90-minute Heritage & Cultural Tour (AU$25). The vibrant, hawker-style Suzuki Night Market runs on Wednesday evenings during summer, and the Luna 1878 artisan winter night market is held on Thursdays in August.
Queen Victoria Market is easily accessible by foot and public transport. The closest train station is Melbourne Central and then it's a four-minute walk down La Trobe Street and right onto Queen Street. If you're planning on purchasing more than you can carry, there's also an onsite carpark as well as delivery services available.