Let’s mix things up a little with something from Melbourne since I haven’t written much about the place in the last months (not that I have written much at all anyway).
Queen Victoria Market (I will abbreviate as QV for your reading ease)… quite a popular tourist attraction, where you not only can buy groceries, but a heap of other useful and potentially useless items as well. Despite having already seen the market back in 2008, I decided to pay another trip the other day. Getting there is fairly simple: if you’re already in the city centre, you’ll need to take the tram up Elizabeth Street until you reach the tram stop right in front of the market. If you’re coming in from the suburbs, just grab the train line that gets you to either Flagstaff station (on weekdays) or Flinders Street (on weekends) and follow the tram line from there.
Melbourne’s trams network is quite extensive, so for inner-city dwellers, you’re in luck to have plenty of public transport options (I myself live outside the tram zones and am left to the trains and buses (still convenient, but there is a sense of loss)
If you enter that brown building you saw in the first picture, you’ll come across the butchers (vegetarians beware if you’re not accustomed to seeing lots of meat in the one place). The market essentially has a few major areas: butchers, grocers, a market for dried foods (e.g. cheese, sausages, etc.) and the larger area of stalls at the back. To get the best experience, I suggest you wake up early.
If I lived closer to the city, I wouldn’t actually mind shopping here on weekends as you can definitely get some good deals on food…
… there’s also the food court just next to the butchers where you can grab a morning snack, which was what I did.
The choices range from Asian to Western, savoury to sweet. The pastries and sandwiches just look appetizing! Makes for a difficult decision!
Plenty of signage to
confuse guide you.
Yes, call me a pig, but I was hungry. You also cannot NOT have a coffee!
Tried the Asian “fast food” back in 2008 when I visited QV market, tasted not bad (nothing beats eating Asian food in Asia), but this wasn’t at all bad. Others might have different opinions. I generally am not picky with food.
Cafe Verona’s coffee was not too bad. Just seeing the name Verona reminded me of my trips to Italy (Venice you will have seen, Florence I’ll write about VERY VERY soon!)
After eating, it was time to hit the market. Located just outside the food court, simply cross the road and you’ll have plenty of shops to look at. You can buy a lot of different things: plants, clothing, shoes, souvenirs, random gifts and memorabilia, snacks (at the local stands) and a lot more.
This guy’s plant stand caught my eye, he had plenty of mini-cacti for sale.
Bonsai-cacti anyone? hehe…
I believe this was the first time I saw real Venus Flytraps (botanists, correct me if I’m wrong). They were also quite tiny (at least I believe that they do come in larger sizes).
There’s plenty of souvenir shops here, so if you cannot find the ones in the city, you are guaranteed to find them here. Just have fun browsing through hundreds of stalls.
The hall is pretty much decorated with products from floor to ceiling and you can walk around each store, each of which has about a 2x2m area occupied with plenty of stock.
Never tried Ugg boots, anyone can recommend them? They look quite difficult to wear, was thinking of settling for house slippers made from the material.
Memorabilia galore, the picture frames aren’t really my thing, but the canvas works at the back would probably be something I’d look at.
This abstract multi-canvas piece caught my eye, looks pretty cool, but certainly isn’t cheap. I wonder if it’s an actual painting or simply a print.
Plenty of fun t-shirts for the tourist. I remember myself buying t-shirts as I worked my way around the world last year.
QV Market, since 1878 and still going strong, promoting an environmentally sustainable market. There’s also a map for you to look at in case you’re lost (but it is honestly quite difficult to get lost).
Italian goods, 50% off, reminded me of the shops I saw in Italy.
Here’s a little cafe near the stalls, nicely designed shack for a quick coffee stop.
As an engineer in water systems, it would be quite un-geeky of me to not take a picture of this information board about their water harvesting and reuse system. With the amount of roof that QV market has, it is not surprising that it would make harvesting of rainwater for toilet flushing feasible!
As you work your way through the market, you are still reminded that you are in the CBD. Plenty of tall buildings around!
If you’re planning of taking your time to look at every individual stall, then I suppose you may need at least 2 hours at the market, but if you’re interested in checking out what QV Market is generally about, then an hour is sufficient. Just be sure to visit the actual grocery areas and not simply the stores.
There’s plenty of parking available. A giant carpark next to the stalls has quite a few spots and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a spot even closer.
To help the market atmosphere, you will find buskers, sometimes in larger groups.
Headed back through the grocery section to the exit. Stopped to admire the produce…
Plenty of fruits to choose from and they are very fresh.
Mangoes were in season recently, but have increased in price recently. These cherries look very interesting, but AUD30.00 a box isn’t something I’d readily buy. I’m not a big cherry fan anyway.
You can get honey and other jarred/canned/dried produce in the market hall next to the butchers. Cheese and sausages are also available.
They also sell a lot of other nice things to satisfy your hunger needs!
If you care for a little alcohol, you can also stop by to pick up a few bottles of wine.
Overall, QV market is a good mix between grocery shopping, souvenirs for tourists and a good dose of weekend relaxation and “Ambiance”.