Thursday, February 6, 2014

Souvenir Shopping in Queen Victoria Market: Melbourne, Australia

St. Paul's cathedral Lanes and alleyways: Melbourne art culture - Tram rides - MELBOURNE MEMORY #4: QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET - Eureka Sky Deck 88 - Captain cook's cottage - Flinder's street station - Yarra River - MCG - Federation Square - Cuisine - Extras.

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No. It’s not a mall. There are no flashy neon lights here, no glass faced doors and no automatic escalators. On the contrary, it’s earthy and lacks all the usual trappings of a high classy market. Yet, Melbourne chooses to make it royal. At least in the name.

Entrance to Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Named after Queen Victoria: A board gives an overview of the market.
Situated very close to the heart of the city, Queen Victoria’s Market aka Queen Vic’s or Vic’s Market, as the locals would affectionately call it, is one of the busiest (and also famous) markets in Melbourne offering a delightful amalgam of fashion, crafts, fruits and vegetables, knick knacks and a range of other cultural activities. It’s a busy place but there is no pushing or jostling so that you can stroll around and savor the delights at your own languorous pace.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Australia
Queen Victoria Market stalls: Take a peek
One word of caution though: because there are hundreds of stalls to woo you, time here flies by. There are directional signposts all around which I think act as great guides. The place is spread in such a wide sector, 2 city blocks to be precise, approximately 7 hectares, that I found it difficult to get a sense of the entire market as in where it had started, where I was heading to and where it would end. But then I guess, that's how a market should actually be - big and widespread, leaving one split for choices. What do you think?

My Queen Victoria Market picks, albeit in digital form! Let's walk through... Come along!

Stuffed kangaroos and sleepy koalas: The first thing that comes to mind when someone says - Australia. Kangaroos! Here, you can catch them in various moods and take one along if you may so like, at a good price though.

Simply aussie souvenirs at souvenirs in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Simply aussie pouch at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Stuffed Koala in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Stuffed Koala in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Simply Aussie:

A product of Victoria at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Asparagaus, seasonal spring local produce of Melbourne
Aboriginal boomerang souvenirs in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Aboriginal Boomerangs, Anyone?
Fridge magnet souvenirs in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Fridge magnets, $ 2 each.
Melbourne souvenirs key chains, Australia
Keychains
Hats: A lot of them, actually!

Hats in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Hats in Queen Victoria Market
Fruits and veggie section: By far the most tempting and the best of the lot, look out for the local seasonal produce.

Watermelon Fruit at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Seedless watermelons against a backdrop of navel oranges
Tomatoes at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Red and supposedly tasty tomatoes!
Muskmelon at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Rockmelons or muskmelons
Dates at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Dried fruits: Dates
Art attack: If there is one thing I absolutely know about Melbourne now is that it is a city that loves expression, be it on the streets, on the trams or in their markets!

Art attack at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Chilly art attack Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

... and, in case you are hungry after the stroll, here are some organic nut crackers for you!

A walking eatery at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
A mobile car selling organic roasted nuts
However, this is not all. There is more than what meets the eye.

Dig deeper and one is amazed at the creepy stories that tumble out. This place was once the first official cemetery in Melbourne. Silent and housing around 10,000 bodies laid in rest. In the due course of time, things changed and cemetery upgraded to an open air market, only to later go on and become the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. What continued to exist, though, were the bodies – still buried and underground, somewhere near the parking areas. Quiz the locals about it and they have a few tales to tell – like that of a slain old Aussie soldier doing the rounds at night.

Despite all this eeriness, today, the place thrives, in true Melburnian spirit, as an important city attraction, as a historic milestone, as a significant establishment. The place throbs in noise, fun and activity. All this, not without a heart though. A memorial in tribute to all these nameless people stands in a part of the market, at the corner of Queen Street and Therry Street.

Before I stepped in Melbourne, I had thought I would be returning with many bags full after my visit here. But nothing could lure or convince me enough to cut my budgeted pockets – one important reason being that it’s a place where bargain culture exists, one point why I held myself back. In places like these, I am always skeptical about myself ending up paying more. Also since this was the first of my shopping experiences in Melbourne, I didn't want to drain my small shopping budget in the first itself! Nevertheless, I had to take something. 

Guess, what I zeroed in on?

Apples at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Australian Gala Apples, had my fill.
These apples – juicy, fresh, locally produced and organic –
I relished them with great taste!

Queen Victoria market is not one of those market areas where one needs to buy something to enjoy but, for a first timer visitor to Melbourne, it is more like a traditional fairyland (think of a Delhi haat or a village market) with such a wide exposure to products (both imported and local), Aussie souvenirs, and unfamiliar curios stacked for sale that even a simple stroll warrants a kaleidoscopic view of the richness of an open air Melbourne shopping experience.

Whether you will be taking something from here or not is a different story but what’s universal is that a visit to Melbourne shall be incomplete without stepping foot in one of its most beloved market of yore!

Do you love visiting traditional local markets when travelling?
Any experiences you would like to share?

Tips for travelers:

1. The market houses both local and imported items, look out for Aussie made as they are cheaper than their imported counterparts.

2. Quality varies from stall to stall, so remember to scan a few shops before loosening your pockets.

Fast facts:

The Market is:

-  Named after Queen Victoria and is listed in the Victorian Heritage Register.
- The only surviving 19th century market in the Melbourne central business district, it forms part of an important collection of surviving Victorian markets which includes the inner suburban Prahran Market and South Melbourne Market.

Location, Contact and Opening and closing hours:

65-159 Victoria Street
Melbourne Vic 3000.

Phone: 9320 5822

Tue and Thurs: 6am – 2pm; Fri: 6am – 5pm; Sat: 6am – 3pm; Sun: 9am – 4pm;

Closed on Good Friday, Anzac Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

How to get there:

I took the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus (costing $ 5) which has a stop at Queen Vic’s among others. You can either take that or check Public Transport Victoria for other tram routes. The market is located a short walk away from the city center and is flanked by Peel, Franklin, Victoria and Elizabeth streets.

Previous stories from Melbourne:



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56 comments:

  1. The traditional market is always on my list destination when i visited another country, my shoping rule is, buy from the local and suport local product in fair trade way :) and traditional market is the place you can get all.

    Thank you for take a lot of pic there Arti, im feel like stand inside the Melbourne Market now. Yummy fruit and cute kangaroo , do you bring one of them back to india? :)

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    1. Same here, Mareta. I also like to visit traditional markets, you are right - the best way to experience all things local. I finished my apple there itself and the cute kangaroos, just in my memory now, did not actually carry any of it back home. :(

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  2. i love these markets very much as we are used to these patterns in India...here in USA we do have some farmer's markets and Flee markets but currently none near my house...wonderful handicrafts and street food - they are something to taste and try for...love those boomerangs :)

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  3. My idea of a great day out, this looks wonderful though I'm sure I'd end up having to buy an extra suitcase and pay for excess baggage.

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  4. How very lovely - so much variety!

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  5. wow, i too would take a lot of digital take home :) these are awesome digital take home Arti that surely would remind you again and again how royale that market is. the chilli is expensive, only a few for a $, maybe because it is super spicy you don't need a lot :)

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  6. Lovely post on the victoria market ... we have one similar in chennai called the madras market which is very popular and I had visited last week. Your post excited me and the victoria market website is also very impressive...If I ever visit australia I will definitely visit this place...keep sharing and delight me until then : )

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  7. the madras market https://www.facebook.com/MadrasMarket

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    1. Thank you so much for this link, Satya. I am planning to visit Chennai sometime soon and I might just peek in there. Sounds pretty interesting to me. Any suggestions on specific items that I should look for?

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  8. Interesting..Shopping is a universal hobby for any one..!

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  9. Nice to read your new post, Thanks for sharing. ~da

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  10. :) was surprised to see there also mobile roasted nuts seller like India.difference is they look more presentable unlike our street salted peanut wala..
    the kangaroos r so cute especially one with Hat. luv shopping area and its the first thing that attracts me wherever i go.. :) .Women r women

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  11. A lovely place indeed and each time you recount your trip, some memories of the my visit return:)

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  12. I love local markets than malls. I always buy souvenirs from local markets. Lovely pictures. Key chains are beautiful. :)

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  13. I also like to stroll markets when I visit abroad. I discover many remarkable things there. I want to have seedless watermelon. Talking of Australia, kangaroo and koala are regular charmer. When I visited Sydney, I bought some as they were cute. Thank you for sharing your vigorous trip.
    Have a lovely weekend!

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  14. Love the wide range of souvenirs & goodies on display - amazing, exciting & colorful ! Also provides such great photo opportunities !

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  15. Awesome collection, and I love the way people have displayed the things, specially the red chilies. And who would not want those little baby kangaroos.. Such beautiful things and to think it was once a cemetery....

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  16. Good details in your post! Would love to visit this place sometime :)

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  17. Those stuffed kangaroos look so cute. Thanks for the detailed post Arti.

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  18. I love the market! The boomerangs are something I would instantly go for and spend hours trying to figure it out! Haha :) a shopaholic s paradise !

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  19. U have not left out any details like address or directions. That's y I love your travelogue. My dad had gotten a kangaroo like those in your post when he visited Sydney . They are cute :) do those boomerangs come back like the real ones ?

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    1. Thanks so much, Jaish. :) Glad that you liked the post. Traditionally they should, but I have no clue about those boomerangs, perhaps I should have tried. We need some locals to enlighten us here!

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  20. What a cute kangaloo. I would like to visit Australia with my family. :D

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  21. This is a lovely insight into Queen Victoria market. Nice write up!

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  22. Oh those hats.... I love them. I think there is enough for me to have a daily change.

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  23. Thank you for a tour of Queen Victoria market, Arti. Visiting a traditional local market can give us a glimpse of the life or culture of the country as well. I've visited local markets when in Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam..it was interesting though tiring because of so many things to see:) If you are accompanied by reliable local friends or people who know the reference point, it might be a great help to pick up a good buy.
    Anyway I enjoyed taking a peep into the market with you!

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  24. You learn a lot about a place by shopping where the locals shop (even if it's mostly window shopping). Because we live in small homes, I too usually only buy food , but it's fun to look at everything else and your pictures are the best souvenirs after all!

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  25. Thank you for the tour! Curious and rather informative. I love visiting local markets, there's nothing better to smell and taste the area, don't you think? In Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona these are called mercado central - fabulous places! You can buy mostly food, and both locals and tourists come for a snack: tapas of all kinds, freshest oysters with champagne, muticoloured olives... Mouthwatering place! Lazy and relaxed atmosphere, too.
    I've got a question to you. How do you feel reading Shalespeare? It's my recent post and English speakers' opinions will be most valuable. Drop by when you have a minute, thank you in advance!

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  26. Hi, Arti! When it comes to just strolling around a mall without special purpose of buying something, I don’t care how vast it is. But too spacious shopping mall mostly makes me tired and I need a moderate size one where I can find things to buy rather easily. I’d like to cuddle the stuffed koala or ...real one. Fruits are tempting, I’ll go for a watermelon, and I think I know how you enjoyed those apples.

    Yoko


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  27. Aaa- thanks for taking us along to that market! Awesome, dear Arti, the whole post!! felt I was right there, in the middle of the Tasty tomatoes and the kangaroos:-) ... And a big YES from me: I love local markets and will probably skulk around for hours... Not that much for the shopping (ok, maybe a little bit) but to feel the pulse of the bustling life I feel is at markets like that.

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  28. I've also been to Melbourne, and I must say I was charmed. It's a lovely city. I like the colors you have captured through these pictures.

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  29. Great photos -- gotta love the kangaroos :-)

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  30. Very cute kangaroos, I want one! :)

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  31. beautiful photos and again wonderful travelogue... I would love to try the chillies one day... :D

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  32. Wow, so strange to see all tzhis in the midst of wnter here - and so inspiring. Would love to visit there one day too. Hope you have an amazing start to your week Arti, sunny greetings!

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  33. Stuffed Kangaroos, Fridge magnets, hats and such colourful Fruits and veggies. Wow. Very nice :-)

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  34. Hi Arti,

    I love your photos of Melbourne - isn't it an exciting City!
    The market looks amazing - and the produce so fresh and yes, my favourite are the Royal Gala apples - we grow them here in NZ and it is a new season and must say they are crunchy and delicious.
    Happy week
    Carolyn

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  35. Hi Arti Dear,
    Am always pleased to visit here :)
    Cheers for the new blog look!

    The market seems Awesome and a must visit. I liked everything there especially those hats :D
    Thanks for bring all of them here for us!

    Lots of love!
    Sim!

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  36. I have one of those stuffed kangaroos presented by my Australian friend. Like you say even we don’t buy much or anything, a visit to this market would be amusing… and what really striking was a market above graveyard!! Great keychain collection there

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  37. Such a lovely post with all those amazing photos! I think you would have had a wonderful time shopping there!

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  38. Your post brings back a lot of fond memories from Australia! Lovely photos and information. I am shocked at How expensive it is becoming there! 2 roma tomatoes for $5! Argh!

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  39. Did you buy a plush toy kangaroo or sleepy koala, Arti? For yourself or for some friends or family members? Or what about a boomerang? A very helpful tool in all areas of life amidst an Indian city??? ;-)

    Except for the souvenier section everything looks very "European style" in my eyes. For me very often Australia looks like big Britain with much better weather and of course upside down, err, Down Under... ;-)

    Have a great week!

    Uwe.

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  40. I am so proud of you that you spent your travel budget on a healthy purchase! Well done. Now that we are traveling so much, I try to stay away from markets to save any money we can but its fun to visit places via lovely blog posts. Thank you!

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  41. Great shopping list here, Arti. This was one of our fist stops and where we went souvenir shopping. You're so right, time passes by so quickly being here. It's such a great place. I still have those Stuffed kangaroos and sleepy koalas and boomerangs :)

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  42. Very informative! Loved those bright boomerangs!

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  43. Αγαπημένη μου Arti
    Τι υπέροχες πολύχρωμες φωτογραφίες και πόσες χρηστικές συμβουλές, για τις οποίες σ΄ευχαριστώ πολύ!
    Γέλασα με τα σουβενίρ, γιατί έχω φίλη στην Μελβούρνη και όποτε έρχεται στην Ελλάδα μου φέρνει σουβενίρ απ αυτά που φωτογράφισες!!!! :)
    Σου στέλνω μια αγκαλιά και πολλά φιλιά!

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  44. Great diversion.I was inspecting the stalls with you Arti!

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  45. Traditional markets are the life of locale...it gives the sense of the local culture and everything associated. This is a superb place and really your pics guided us thru it :)
    Another lovely post :)

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  46. Thank you for taking me around Vic's and throwing in some extra info - the spooky history of the place; makes it all more alluring. When I go that side, I would love to bring back one of those boomerangs.

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  47. I'd have grabbed the boomerangs! Lovely tour Arti. Lucky you got to visit beautiful Australia. Always on my wishlist.

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  48. I absolutely love this place... And every time someone visits me from India, I take them to Vic market :) Missed taking you Arti... may be next time :)

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  49. Before 1930s work by Aboriginal artists was seen only by those who happened to be traveling through the remote parts of the world and discovered Aboriginal Art for themselves.

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

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