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10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Queen Victoria Market

10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Queen Victoria Market

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Planning a visit to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market? You’re in for a treat!

We love exploring this historic and diverse food market in the CBD. We first visited on a food tour and have been back multiple times since. In fact, I think we visit every time we come to Melbourne, which is often!

So, we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to help you navigate the Queen Victoria Market like a pro. I hope you’re hungry because this is a foodie paradise! 

1. About the Queen Victoria Market 

Jewellery for sale at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
There are tons of different things you can buy here
Side shot of seafood at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Look at all that seafood!

The Queen Victoria Market has graced Melbourne’s CBD for over 140 years now – in fact, it’s the city’s only Victorian-era market that’s still in operation today. That means that visiting is not only a great chance to eat a ton of delicious food, it’s also a chance to experience a piece of Melbourne’s rich history! 

The market first opened in 1878, and it’s actually built on an old cemetery, where many of Melbourne’s earliest settlers were buried. Many of the remains were exhumed and moved before the ground was developed, but it’s estimated that around 9,000 are still there. 

Naturally, the market has expanded a lot since it first opened. It grew significantly between the 1870s and the 1930s, but nowadays it only gets pretty minor tweaks. It’s very well preserved and a lot of the market’s original structures are still here, which I think is pretty cool! 

2. Where is the Queen Victoria Market? 

Bailey poses for a picture in front of the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Outside the market!

The Queen Victoria Market is located in downtown Melbourne, so you can walk here very easily from the CBD or Southbank. In fact, we also saw lots of places around the market to lock bikes up for free, which is handy. And if you’d prefer to drive, there’s parking in open air and underground lots, which costs $7 AUD for two hours, and then $4 AUD per hour after that. 

One thing we like about Melbourne is that it’s got a really extensive public transport system, so it’s easy to get to the market this way, too. The market is actually within the free tram zone, and plenty of routes pass by. You can either take trams 18, 57, or 59 to stop 7, or tram 58 to stop 9, as both are right outside the market.

Both Melbourne Central and Flagstaff Stations are a short walk from the Queen Victoria Market, so you can also catch the metro here. Meanwhile, the Southern Cross Station is about a 15-minute walk away, so you can take the V/Line here if you’re coming from outside of the city center. Basically, there are tons of convenient options, so we’ve never had any trouble getting here! 

3. When is the Queen Victoria Market open and when is the best time to visit? 

A sign showing what times the market is open at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
The hours the market is open

The market is usually open during the morning and early afternoons. It’s closed on Mondays and Wednesdays – except for the seasonal Night Market on Wednesday nights.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, it’s open from 6 am – 3 pm and on Saturday, it stays open an extra hour until 4 pm. Then, it’s open from 9 am until 4 pm on Sunday. It closes on most public holidays. 

Despite the early opening times, the specialty stores don’t usually open until 9 am, so there’s really no need to get up at the crack of dawn to visit the Queen Victoria Market. Personally, we like to go at around 10 am, when everything is open but the market is not too busy. It’s the ideal place for a leisurely brunch! 

Related Read: If you’re looking for evening plans, why not a cruise? Our review of the Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise has all the details on this fun experience!

4. How much does it cost to visit the Queen Victoria Market? 

A meat isle at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
There is a wide selection of high-quality meat for sale

There’s no entry fee for the Queen Victoria Market. This goes for both the regular daytime market and the night market! But of course, you’ll definitely want to buy some food while you’re here. 

Keep in mind that if you drive to the Queen Victoria Market, you might need to pay for parking. Their parking garage and open-air car park are free from 6-9 am and cost $7 AUD for the first two hours (after 9 am) and an additional $4 AUD after that during market days. You can find all the details about parking here on their official website.

I’d recommend planning ahead and downloading the QVM Parking app to pay for parking. Then you can scan one of the QR codes around the market and get a $2 AUD discount on parking!

5. What is the Queen Victoria Night Market?

The night market at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Photo credit: Queen Victoria Market

As we mentioned earlier, Queen Victoria Market closes on Wednesdays, but they host a Wednesday night market at select times of year – typically the middle of summer and the middle of winter. It’s worth checking out, but do check the dates and times online beforehand as we’ve found that they can vary a bit, but it usually runs from 5-10 pm. 

Since the market is seasonal, the vibe here varies with the time of year. In the summer, think lots of barbecue food and cocktails, while in the winter it’s all about mulled wine and specialty cheese.

Another thing that we love about the night market is that there’s always great entertainment on offer. Seriously, I’ve seen everything from stilt performers and magic shows to silent discos and mimes! So if you’re looking for a fun night out in Melbourne, the night market is a very safe bet. 

I should warn you that the parking gets pricey for the night market! It’s charged at a flat rate of $15 AUD, so this is an ideal time to make use of public transport. That’s probably a good idea anyway, so you can enjoy a few drinks while you’re here. 

6. What are the best tours of the Queen Victoria Market?

2-hour Queen Victoria Market Food Tour (Our Top Choice!)

Daniel poses for a picture at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
We love a good food tour!
A side shot of a fruit stand at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
We tried a lot of high-quality artisan goods

The first time we visited the Queen Victoria Market, we did so on this amazing food tour, and what a great introduction it was! One of my favorite things about food tours is that they’re a great chance to try lots of local goodies, and this one was no exception. We ate everything from peppered kangaroo and pickled octopus to Melbourne’s most famous jam doughnuts. They were incredible! 

Our guide, Irene, showed us so many fantastic places to eat, and we’ve been back to a lot of these vendors multiple times since! We also loved learning about the history of the market and Irene really brought it to life for us. She also gave us some great tips on which specialty stores to check out and showed us how to select the best produce, which came in handy later on. 

This is definitely our top choice of Queen Victoria Market tours and we aren’t alone. There are hundreds of 5-star reviews you can check out here!

We felt it was worth the $99 AUD price tag just for the food alone. The tour runs on Fridays and Saturdays, and for us, it was a good way to kick off a fun weekend in Melbourne.

Behind-the-Scenes Multicultural Tour of Queen Victoria Market

A sign giving dirtections at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
There are so many areas to explore!
Eggs for sale at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Farm fresh eggs for sale

My favorite thing about this behind-the-scenes tour is that it captures the cultural diversity of Melbourne. I always say that the best way to get to know a city is through its stomach, and on this tour you’ll eat your way around the world without leaving the market! We were so impressed by the variety of food on this tour, as it covers everything from Turkish delight and African smoked salmon to burek, which are savory breakfast pastries.

And the food paired perfectly with the history lesson that we got from our guide, Anna, as we worked our way around the market. She’s a Melbourne local and her passion for history really shone through, so we ended up learning about many interesting episodes from the city’s history that we’d never have known about otherwise. 

The tour cost $91 AUD, which we thought was good value especially since it was a small group tour and we were absolutely stuffed by the end. It runs every day the market is open and while our favorite tour is the one we mentioned above, this is a very close second if you can’t make a Friday or Saturday, or just want a more comprehensive tour since it’s a bit longer at 2.5 hours.

Historic Walking Tour with Quick Stop at Queen Victoria Market 

Bailey walks through the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Walking through the market!
Candles for sale at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Handmade candles for sale

While I’m really glad that Bailey and I took a dedicated tour of the Queen Victoria Market, I do think that this historic city walking tour is ideal for those who are short on time. As well as the Victoria Market, this walking tour covers other areas of the city such as Chinatown and Hosier Lane, where you’ll see some of Melbourne’s most famous street art.

I think that this tour makes for an amazing introduction to Melbourne because I found that it captured the essence of the city in just a few hours! 

Best of all, though, the tour includes a stop at the Queen Victoria Market for some of those famous doughnuts. I’m not kidding when I say that the American-style hot jam doughnuts are a bit of a Melbourne icon at this point. This stop lasts for around 15 minutes, so it’s not as in-depth as other tours but I think it’s ideal if you don’t have very long in Melbourne. 

This tour costs $87 AUD and runs daily. However, the market stop isn’t included on Mondays and Wednesdays since it’s closed then, so do bear that in mind when booking!

Private Food Tour of Queen Victoria Market

Bailey and Daniel pose for a picture in front of the Queen Victoria Market Melbourne Australia
Such a fun place
Meat for sale at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia 2
So many different options!

This food tour is very similar to the multicultural food tour that we mentioned earlier, only this time, it’s a private experience! What we love about private tours is that they can be tailored to fit your specific tastes and interests, so if there’s something that you’re just dying to try or a certain culture that you’re interested in, your guide can adjust the tour accordingly. 

What I think stands out about this tour is that it’s a fantastic chance to not only eat tons of food but also chat with the vendors themselves and hear their stories. Lots of the vendors you meet will be first or second-generation immigrants, so they’re able to offer a unique perspective on what it’s like to live, work, and eat in Melbourne. 

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who’s looking for a really personal experience. It costs $130 AUD per person, which I think is reasonable for a private tour, especially when a ton of food is included! It starts at 9:30 am and I think it’s the perfect way to spend a morning in Melbourne. 

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

7. What are the main sections of the market? 

D shed at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
D Shed where you find all of the restaurants

The Queen Victoria Market is pretty big! It’s made up of lots of different sheds, each of which is loosely themed, so it’s good to get a general idea before you go. For example, there’s the Dairy Produce Hall and the Meat and Fish Hall, both of which are pretty self-explanatory. Then, the D Shed is home to lots of different restaurants, while the H and I Sheds are great for fresh produce. 

String Bean Alley and the F Shed are great for finding local artisan crafts, so I’d recommend checking these out if you’re looking for gifts to take home. I also like checking out the Victoria Street Shops because there are some great cafes and bookstores along here. 

8. How long do you need to explore?

Two people walk through the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
You can find so many different things here

I like to take my time when visiting the Queen Victoria Market, and I find that two hours is enough when moving at a slow pace. It’s nice to take it easy here if you can, but to be honest, most people could spend about an hour here and get their fill of goodies! There’s no need to stress if you’re short on time.

Related Read: Need help planning a trip to Melbourne? Our 1-day and 5-day itineraries will help you see the highlights no matter how long you’re here!

9. What are the best places to eat at the Queen Victoria Market?

The Mussel Pot

The Mussel Pot at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Mmm, mussels!
A mussel meal at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Time to eat!

This is our favorite place to eat at the Queen Victoria Market! We visited on this food tour that we did and have been coming back ever since. It’s located in the A Shed and serves the freshest mussels in the city, as well as delicious mussel chowder, which I highly recommend trying. If you love seafood, do not miss this place! 

Mum’s Baklava

Mum's Baklava at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Baklava is such a tasty treat!

It’s a well-known fact that home-baked treats are always the best, but baklava is famously difficult to make yourself! So that’s why we love Mum’s Baklava so much because you get that homemade taste without having to do any of the hard work yourself. This is some of the most delicious that we’ve ever had, and it’s all made using Australian ingredients, so what’s not to like?

American Doughnut Kitchen

American Doghnut Kitchen at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Yummy! Photo credit: American Doughnut Kitchen

If you’ve been paying attention then you might have noticed that we’ve mentioned the market’s epic hot jam doughnuts a couple of times throughout this post. Well, they come from American Doughnut Kitchen, and once you try them, you’ll see why we’re so fixated on them! You’ll find their cute 1950s-style van on Queen Street. 

Geloso Gelateria

Geloso Gelateria at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Do you like gelato? Photo credit: Geloso Gelateria

What we love about Geloso Gelateria is that all the delicious gelato is made right here at the Queen Victoria Market. Oh, yeah, and the fact that their gelato is so creamy and decadent! They even use locally sourced fruit and during the summer they make really refreshing granitas, too. So if you feel like a sweet treat, head over to the F Shed! 

Cannoleria

The Cannoleria at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Photo credit: Cannoleria

As an Italian, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about cannoli, and Cannoleria sure knows how to deliver. With delicious crunchy shells and light, fluffy cream, I think that you’d be hard-pressed to find better cannoli anywhere else in Melbourne. I recommend trying the tiramisu flavor! 

Eat Enjera

Eat Enjera at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Vegan Ethiopian food is delicious

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to find Ethiopian food at the Queen Victoria Market – much less vegan Ethiopian food – but I’m happy to report that Eat Enjera proved me wrong. Located between the C and D sheds during the week and in the E shed on weekends, this food truck serves vegan injera (fermented flatbreads), which are a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. I also loved the lentil sambusas, which are the East African version of samosas. 

10. Is the Queen Victoria Market worth visiting while in Melbourne? 

Belts for sale at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Yes!

Yes! It’s one of Melbourne’s top tourist attractions and it lives up to the hype. We even include a stop here on our ideal 1-day Melbourne CBD itinerary if you happen to be following that!

I love to spend a couple of hours eating my way through this market. But if you’re short on time, it’s worth visiting just for a quick walk around or a lunch stop. There’s truly something for everyone here, so I say just have a wander and let your eyes and nose guide you because you’ll definitely find something delicious! 

Other Things to do in Melbourne

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at the twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
The Twelve Apostles in the background as we explore the Great Ocean Road!

If you have a little extra time in your itinerary, we have even more epic Melbourne activities. You can check out our full list of the best things to do in Melbourne or our top recommendations below!

  • Drive the Great Ocean Road – This 240-kilometer (150-mile) scenic drive follows the southern coastline and is one of the most epic things to do in Melbourne. We joined this guided tour so we could stop at the iconic areas, like the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and Apollo Bay, while someone else did the driving so we could enjoy the views! This day trip from the city was our favorite Melbourne experience, it’s stunning and a great break from the bustling city. 
  • Wander the Arcades – Melbourne is also home to tons of pretty arcades (covered walkways), and my favorites to explore are the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade. You can see the most famous arcades and visit the best chocolate shops and dessert cafes (with plenty of samples!) on this Arcades Dessert Walking Tour. Our guide was amazing and my sweet tooth was so happy!
  • Cruise down the River – The Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise isn’t just one of the best cruises in Australia, but one of our all-time favorites. It’s an all-inclusive experience with stunning sunset and nighttime views of Melbourne, unlimited drinks, and a four-course gourmet meal. Seriously, what’s not to love?
  • Explore St Kilda – This cute beach town is just 15 minutes from downtown Melbourne, and is a great place to grab a coffee and take in those ocean views! St Kilda is famous for its coffee scene, there are many to choose from – but our favorite is Galleon Cafe. If you’re visiting on the weekend, check out Esplanade Market for some unique souvenirs or Luna Park, super fun for families!
  • Day trip to Phillip Island – Phillip Island is one of our favorite day trips from Melbourne because you can see the world’s largest Little Penguin Colony! Famous for their “Penguin Parade” where hundreds of Little Penguins waddle back to their burrows. We took this organized tour, which also included a stop at the Moonlit Sanctuary, where we got to hand-fed wallabies and take photos with koalas!

Where to Stay in Melbourne

The Langham Melbourne room
Photo credit: The Langham Melbourne

If you’re planning to visit Melbourne, let us help you find a great place to stay. There’s something to fit every budget, so check out our top picks from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here’s what you need to know!

The Langham Melbourne – $$$

For an elegant stay – think marble staircases, fountains, and chandeliers – The Langham Melbourne is the perfect place. The hotel is in the middle of Melbourne overlooking the Yarra River. You’ll get beautiful city views from the hotel’s restaurant and from the indoor pool. It’s also within walking distance of a number of top attractions.

Rooms here start at $300 – $400 AUD per night. Check availability and reserve a room here.

Grand Hotel Melbourne – $$

Stay in the Melbourne Central Business District at this historic hotel that has plenty of character. The studios and apartments at the Grand Hotel Melbourne give you more space than a typical hotel and even include a kitchen. You can also take advantage of the heated indoor pool and the fitness center with a sauna. Plus, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to Crown Casino, Southbank, Docklands, and more.

A studio starts at around $200 AUD per night and can be reserved through Booking.com here.

Space Hotel – $

You don’t have to sacrifice style for money at this hostel. The Space Hotel is a modern hostel with lots of extra guest amenities like a gym, a hot tub, and even a mini-theater. You can head to the rooftop terrace to relax and enjoy the views. The hostel is conveniently located in the Central Business District and is not far from the Queen Victoria Market and Chinatown.

Accommodation options include both private rooms and shared dorm rooms. A bed in a dorm starts at $55 AUD and private rooms begin at $100 AUD. You can reserve a spot in advance through Booking.com or HostelWorld.com.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Thanks for reading!

The Queen Vic Market in Melbourne is high on our to-do list whenever we are back in the city. Not only is it fun to wander around, but it also has some of the best food! While joining a food tour here helped us make the most out of our first visit, exploring on your own is good too – we’ve done both!

Before you go, have a look around our other blogs about Australia for more travel inspiration and advice. Or the popular Melbourne blogs below might also help you out!

1-Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary with 10 Amazing Stops

5 Tours in Melbourne That Made Us Fall in Love With the City! 

12 BEST Day Trips from Melbourne