The Queen Victoria Markets Tour in Melbourne
The ultimate foodie tour at Queen Victoria Markets in the heart of Melbourne is the tour to do! This is one tour that must go on your ‘must-do’ list!
The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Markets is an amazing opportunity for visiting foodies and locals alike to taste and discover foods and flavours from around the world.
As the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Market is a one-stop destination for food, shops, culture and heritage.
If you only do one tour when visiting Melbourne city, this is the one!
What to expect from the Ultimate Foodie Tour?
Expect a fun morning as this guided walking tour takes you through the iconic Queen Victoria Markets. This tour is approximately 2 hours long and includes generous tastings throughout the tour.
Led by a market tour guide, you’ll discover the very best produce while learning about the history of the markets and the family owned specialty stores.
Discover local wine, specialty cheeses and deli lines, home-made pasta, fresh seafood, chicken and meat. There is a store specialising in kangaroo and rabbit meat, African food, chocolates, spices and much more.
Each tour offers different tastings which is great for someone like me who has done the tour twice and each time with different guides. Remember, bookings are essential. Book here.
The Ultimate Foodies Tour
Our tour commenced at 10 am sharp with a brief introduction to the tour and some guidance about the tour process.
Queen Victoria Markets was established in 1878 and remains the largest open-air market in the world. Many of the stallholders are descendants of the original market stall holders with sons, daughters and other family members working as part of their team.
The Meat and Fish Halls
Starting out tour we headed into the Meat and Fish Halls. We wandered past the different butchery outlets specialising in pork, sheep and beef. There are offal suppliers, sausage makers, and steaks the size of dinner plates!
I was fascinated to learn about the ‘metal hook and rail’ system above and amazed that it is still in use today. This overhead roller system comes into play at around 2 am to hoist the meat meat carcasses and push the meat through the meat hall to deliver to the stalls in preparation for the next day. The butchers start work later to have the meat prepared for the days’ customers.
From the Meat Hall we moved to the Fish Hall and was surprised by the fresh supplies. Fresh crayfish, prawns, oysters, huge sea scallops and enough fish fillets to feed an army. If I was a local, this is where I would buy my seafood for sure!
Our first tasting was thinly sliced Tasmanian trout, served sashimi style. Delicious!
The Dairy and Produce Hall
Next we headed into the Dairy and Produce Hall and discovered the range of fresh breads, cheeses, spices and international style small goods including cheeses, cured meats, antipasto, dolmades and olives.
You will find Polish food, a Bratwurst shop, African foods, hand-made Pasta and so much more. We were introduced to the stall holders as we passed and noted that they were also third and fourth generation vendors.
It was interesting to learn that the Dairy and Produce Hall was architecturally designed to face south, keeping the dairy produce cool. Smart!
We tasted a specialty platter of tasty samples with an assortment of cheeses, bread, delicious stuffed olives, dolmades before moving on through the hall.
It was here that we were introduced to the specialty traders and offered a tasting of freshly roasted Kangaroo. Kangaroo is a delicious low fat meat and can be complimented with a range of complimentary flavours and spices.
Taste the Kangaroo, it’s tender and quite delicious. You really must try it!
Our visit to the specialty chocolatier was a treat as we were offered a selection of delicacies to try. Hand made chocolates are always divine!
Tip: Come back when the tour is done!
Fruit and Vegetables
The Fruit and Vegetables section is tucked in behind the Dairy and Produce Hall. You will find stocks of fresh peaches, plums and nectarines. Further to apples, oranges and bananas and a range of unusual fruits like this golden watermelon. If it’s in season, it will be there!
There is an entire aisle dedicated to organic produce!
As we walked to the top of the building, we sampled some of the beautiful organic creams and lotions at the Food for your Skin Stall and received a gift pack as part of the tour samples. We returned later to purchase some cream to take home.
American Doughnuts are the bomb
The next stop was at the iconic American Doughnut Kitchen. The original van from 1950 gathers an audience of onlookers and has been serving at the Queen Victoria Markets since 1950! Sample one of these donuts and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Tip: Buy a bag of 5 for just $6
Gelato was indeed the grand finale
The tour was coming to an end and we’d been forewarned that Gelato was last on our tasting menu.
This Gelato shop in one of the back laneways of the markets has some of the finest flavours I’ve tasted anywhere. Choose your own flavour but for me, my favourite is the Lemon Sorbet. The perfect finish to a great tour!
We sat and chatted to fellow tour-goers before heading back into the markets to pick up a few irresistable treats to take back to our hotel.
10 Top Tips to Shop like a pro at the QV Markets
- Always have cash. Have your cash ready when you get to the front of the line.
- Know what you want when you get to the front of the line. Be ready to order.
- Buy your meat last. If you’re doing a big shop, be smart. Meat is heavy!
- Buy 5 donuts. 1 is never enough! 5 piping hot American donuts for $6
- Don’t haggle with the market traders. It’s not that kind of market.
- If you want the freshest food, go on a Tuesday.
- There are plenty of bargains. Listen for the specials!
- There will be tourists everywhere! Queen Victoria Markets is listed as one of the best things to do in Melbourne so be kind to our visitors.
- Don’t run over people with your trolley. Those things are uncontrollable! Be careful not to run into others.
- Bring your reusable bags. Victoria, like the rest of Australia went plastic bag free in 2019 so bring your own bags!
The Ultimate Foodie Tour basics
Tour runs for approximately two hours so check with your booking website as to your starting time.
- Markets are Open: Tuesdays and Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
- Cost: $79 – includes guided tour, tastings, $5 voucher and shopping bag
- Gift vouchers are available: A great idea for family or friends visiting Melbourne.
For more details and to book your tour go here
How to get to the QVM
The Queen Victoria Markets are a short walk from the City centre, and is bordered by Peel, Franklin, Victoria & Elizabeth Streets.
- Car: Parking is available on Queen Street between Therry and Victoria Streets, and also in the Market carpark which is accessible via Franklin or Queen Streets.
- Bike: There is free bike parking in and around the Market. Major bike lanes leading to the Market run along Royal Parade and Victoria Street.
- Tram: It’s super easy to catch a tram! Just jump on Yarra Trams route 19, 57, 58 or 59 which stop right outside the Market and depart every 5 minutes.
- Train: Only a 7 minute walk from Melbourne Central and Flagstaff Stations. Walk north along Elizabeth or William Street.
The Ultimate Foodie Tour
As mentioned previously, we’ve done this tour before and wanted to revisit our experience. We were guided by someone different this time so it was a great add-on experience.
When you’re next in Melbourne make sure you book yourself into The Ultimate Foodie Tour. You will not be disappointed. It’s great value for money, interesting and good fun. Book here.
There is so much to see and do in Melbourne, so make sure you take the time to explore as much as you can. Each time we visit we try to add some new tours and destinations around the city. Watch this space for the latest fun things to do.
Pin this to Pinterest and don’t forget to book when next in Melbourne.
Where to stay in Melbourne
We tend to stay in the city often around Little Bourke Street which has easy access to good restaurants, a short walk to the city centre for shopping and the theatre if you are heading to the big smoke for a show. Last visit we stayed at Ridges Melbourne which was a nicely appointed hotel, and not too expensive.
Here’s a map to scope out your next place to stay.
Please take out travel insurance once you’ve booked your trip away. It’s the only way to safeguard against the unpredictable things that interrupt your travels. Get your free quote here.
Read about more things to see and do in Melbourne.
- Melbourne City’s Street Art – Hosier Lane
- Best Things to do in Melbourne
- Melbourne to Sydney – a 7 day road trip