Before buying souvenirs at any of the shops in the city, I really recommend checking out the Queen Victoria Market. You'll find most of the same things here, and at much lower prices. Very fun experience either way.
Opened in the 1870s, the Queen Victoria Market remains a quintessential Melbourne experience. The market is at once quaint and boisterous, with nearly everything imaginable on sale. The food section is my favorite, with stall after stall of seafood, meat, bakery items, cheese, and fruits and vegetables on display and for sale. And as good as it is for food, it is equally good for people watching.
The Queen Victoria Market is vast, and there is a bit of everything here. Hundreds upon hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, clothes, flowers, toys, souvenirs, homewares - it's a market-lovers paradise (I guess, I'm not a market lover, but this market impressed even me!). There is entertainment too - buskers, music and of course the stall holders hollering out their wares. Outside there were even kids camel rides - somehow I hadn't quite expected to find a couple of camels in the middle of Melbourne! (I was even more suprised to be offered ten bucks by the mother of two toddlers who thought I was an official photographer).
The market has its own comprehensive website, and it seems to have quite a bit going on - check there for up to date opening times and details of current special events.
Go on - you know you want a didgeridoo ;-)
Queen Victoria usually opens from 6am - 4pm. Fruits and vegetables stand opens first at 6am then the general goods opens at 9am. They usually close on wednesdays. The place was quite good for anything you want to buy, souvenirs, jackets etc.
Catch a food tour of the market - you get an appreciation of the workings of the market, get to taste some yummy nibbles, and meet the stall holders who explain what their goals/ideas are! Book at the Market office.
As you can see the meat is fresh. They don't butcher animals here, but they do dress the meat where you can see it. Picture a score of butcher shops lined up one after the other, each one trying to to outdo the other or make themselves a bit more special than the last. Italian butchers, Greek (shown here) butchers, Polish butchers....
Need a purse, cheap? Find it here.
Need a cappuccino? Find it here.
Need a didgeridoo? Find it here.
(Well, perhaps no one ever truly NEEDS a didgeridoo. Still, they are kind of cool. My Melbourne friend says when it's played right, it feels like a thousand flies buzzing behind your head and on all sides!)
Need veggies? Meat? Fish? Cheap souvenirs? THIS IS THE PLACE!
Is there a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in Melbourne, than browing and munching your way through the stalls?
"Weird" fruits are also available - see my travelogue on the subject - here:
This market has been running for 100 years and it's great for shopping and looking around. The opening hours are:
Tuesday: 6am - 2pm
Thursday: 6am - 2pm
Friday: 6am - 6pm (General merchandise closes at 4pm)
Saturday: 6am - 3pm
Sunday: 9am - 4pm
The Queen Victoria Market is locally known as the Vic Market. It was officially opened on 20 March 1878. Many of the buildings date back to to this time.
The market is only a few minutes walk from the city centre or catch a tram along Elizabeth St or William St.
The market is divided in two by Queen Street......upper and lower. The lower is dominated by the Meat Hall, which sells fresh fish as well. It is a real experience to enter this hall and listen to the traders yelling out their specials. The Dairy Hall is well stocked with delis, bakeries and poultry shops. Plenty of yummy lunchtime food available too.
The upper market is renowned for it's variety and quantity of fruit and vegetables. This is where you will also find a huge array of clothing, leather goods, manchester, fabrics, jewellery, handicrafts and souvenirs.
Tuesday & Thursday.......6am-2pm
Friday................................ 6am-6pm (general merchandise to 4pm)
Check the website for details of special events that are held here. At certain times of the year a Wednesday Night Market is conducted.
It is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.
They sell pretty much everything at this market. Clothes, shoes, jewerly, food, drinks, watches, music, etc.... There is usually a band playing somewhere in the market, and during the summer months, there is a night market once a week. The prices are set.
Queen Victoria Market is in the centre of the town and is open every day. It is huge and sells everything from toys to clothes to food. On the weekend there are camel and donkey rides for the kids, and people singing and stuff just the usual. We stay in a hostel near the market and go on a Saturday afternoon before closing, just before 4pm. For $8 we got 2 pineapples, bag of potatoes, bag of carrots, bag of kiwis, bag of broccoli, bananas and a bag of satsumas. They give you everything for such a low price as it gets thrown out anyway. Great if your backpackers like us and on a tight budget!! Just need to think what I can make with all those ingredients now.....
If you are looking for the best place to get that souvenir when you are in Melbourne, or if you are just the Steve Irwin of "Bargain" Hunters, then you will enjoy your time at Queen Victoria Market. QV is the home to many local area tradesmen/women who are available almost at all times to pawn off their inexpensive swap meet type memorabilia from Melbourne.
Originally used as a meat market, the QV has now been transformed into an all week long swap meet of goods.
If you are interested in getting a stuffed wallabie, Crocodile Dundee hat, or a Digiridoo, then this is the place for you.
If you are looking for a bargain or something to eat this is the place to go. The place is so big you don't know where to start.
Unfortunately, I didn't have any photos to show as I accidentally deleted all the pics I took of this market while adjusting my digital camera. Arggggg..........
So there you were in the city spending a fun filled weekend and you realized..."AHHH "I need to buy stuff for friends back home".. Then you need to head to QV market, in here they have excellent baragins on produce, dairy products, fish and meat. You telling yourself I can't take that home dont fret they also different stalls for everything you can imagine from jackets, souvenirs and clothes. Don't hesitate to bargain with the vendors and I know there are ladies out there who is very good at this sport, hehe.
They also have walking tours of the market about it's history and cultural importance and when you are done there are plenty of places to grab a bite.
The Queen Victoria Markets are the biggest in Australia.
These markets offer many bargains for the astute shopper. You'll find that the items are repeated through each aisle, so if you are looking an item that is being sold in another stall you can bargain with them. I just enjoy just walking around soaking up the market atmosphere, having a wander around and picking up a bargain here and there.
The meat hall and delicatessen areas in particular are renowned for fine Greek, Italian and Polish food.
The main items sold at the markets are clothing (especially leather jackets), shoes, toys, jewellery and food.
Not everything at the markets are cheap, so make sure you shop around and get prices before you spend up.
Tuesday and Thursday: 6am – 2pm
Friday: 6am – 6 pm
Saturday: 6am – 3pm
Sunday: 9am – 4pm