Iconic, historic and a stone’s throw from Melbourne’s CBD, Queen Victoria Market is an absolute must-see for tourists and locals. Trading starts early at 6am (9am on Sundays) so wake yourself up with a single origin coffee and browse the clothing, artisan jewellery and kitsch Australiana. With 600 traders, this is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere so take your time and stop frequently to refuel at the food stalls selling snacks from every world cuisine.
When you’ve had your fill of food, coffee and browsing the many stalls, hire your Melbourne share bicycle from the blue bike station at the corner of Victoria St and Elizabeth St.
Cycle past the market along Victoria Street and turn left onto Peel Street. On your right you will see Flagstaff Gardens with its beautiful mature elm trees before you continue down William Street all the way to the Yarra River.
Cross Flinders Street and turn right onto Yarra Promenade. This will take you along the river and over the bridge to Southbank. Turn left when you get to Clarendon Street and then at the first (very busy) junction, turn right onto quiet Whiteman Street. Cycle under the freeway and turn left onto Cecil Street, which will take you to South Melbourne Market. You can leave your bicycle at the docking station on the corner of Cecil Street and York Street.
South Melbourne Market has a very different feel to Queen Victoria Market. This is Melbourne’s oldest continuous market and its reputation is of a slightly more upmarket foody experience – with price tags to match. Here you will find high-end brands such as Padre coffee and Agathé pastries and cakes. Although smaller, the range of products for sale is still dizzying and you’ll find more than enough to satisfy among the specialist cheese shops, organic butchers, seafood stands and clothing boutiques.