Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market (also known to locals as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’) has been a working marketplace for Melbourne residents and visitors for over one hundred and thirty years. It is located in the north-western quadrant of the inner city and is a short walk from most Melbourne CBD hotels.
The location of the market has a colourful history. Over time, it has been a cemetery, a livestock market and a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Now it is a bustling retail market selling everything from fresh foods to electronics.
The Queen Vic Market website has a great self-guided walking tour (click this link to go straight to the PDF) that explains the history of the market site and highlights features of the 7 hectare site that you may otherwise miss.
Although we used to frequent Queen Vic Market reasonably often when we first moved to Melbourne in the early 1990s, it has been many years since we were last there. So, when we in the area on a Sunday morning recently, a re-visit was in order.
The market is divided up into several sections.
The Deli Hall (also known as the Dairy Produce Hall) seems like it has been frozen in time in the Art Deco era. Many original features have been retained, including the original marble counters (which acted as a means of keeping goods cool) and the beautifully lettered signage.
This is the place to go if you want to try some of Victoria’s delicious local cheeses. There’s also a range of poultry and game meats such as crocodile, rabbit, kangaroo and venison. The day we went, there were mutton bird eggs available at one of the stalls. The Deli Hall also contains confectionary, pastries, cakes and chocolates.
You name a type and cut of meat…and you’ll find it in the Meat Hall. Some of the stalls specialise in a type of meat (e.g. sausages or pork), or cuts to suit particular styles of cooking (e.g. Italian or Vietnamese). Others offer a full range. In many cases, you can buy meat by the tray.
The seafood section of the Meat Hall is where you’ll find all the freshest local and imported fish and seafood on offer. This includes everything from whole fish to tiny crustaceans.
Fruit and vegetables
The fruit and vegetables are located outdoors (but undercover) in the A & B sheds and H & I sheds. A full range of Australian and imported fruit and vegetables can be found here.
The general merchandise sheds
Market Sheds C to M contain general goods. General goods means items such as: clothing, shoes, jewellery and accessories, leather goods, manchester and fabrics, fresh flowers and indoor plants, CDs & DVDs, mobile phones and electronic accessories, handicrafts, authentic Australian artefacts and souvenirs.
Dotted throughout these sheds were many stalls selling souvenir ‘Melbourne’ t-shirts for $5 each, which seemed to be very popular with visitors. The quality of the t-shirts was good, and there was a huge range of designs. Other stalls sold Melbourne hoodies, or local (and overseas) sports team jumpers. (If you were planning to go see a game of footy at the MCG, this would be a good place to deck yourself out in team paraphernalia.)
Elizabeth and Victoria Street shops
Alongside the market in Elizabeth and Victoria Streets are some beautiful restored ‘Victorian row’ shops which were built in the 1880s. These now contain quality specialty shops and cafes, and make a great place to wander and stop for a coffee during your market visit.
Queen Vic iconic food: American Doughnuts
If there is one memory that every visitor to the Queen Vic Market shares, it is the pervading smell of doughnuts cooking! Operating from an old-style doughnut van parked in Queen Street inside the Market site, American Doughnuts has been serving hot jam doughnuts to thousands of market visitors every week since 1950.
The dough is made fresh each day and the queues of customers watch as the staff roll, cut out and cook the doughnuts. And when I say queues…I mean looooonnng queues. I haven’t had one for years, but obviously they’re still worth waiting for!
The detailsQueen Victoria Market
The Market is on the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets in Melbourne’s CBD.
Enter the Market from Elizabeth Street, Victoria Street, Peel Street or Therry Street.
Opening hours: Open five days a week
Tuesday & Thursday 6am – 2pm
Friday 6am – 5pm (General Merchandise til 3pm)
Saturday 6am -3pm
Sunday 9am – 4pm Website: www.qvm.com.au
I include markets on every itinerary I plan. Do you?
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