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Shopping in Melbourne; Australia and South Pacific

Shopping in Australia and South Pacific - Melbourne

Welcome to Australia's shopping capital. Scattered through the city's network of laneways and arcades lies a smorgasbord of shopping delights, from department stores and shopping centres to countless boutiques and specialty shops. Discover the latest in fashion from local designers all the way to famous international brands. From Armani to Zambesi, Melbourne has it covered at a price to suit all budgets. See Akira Isogawa's collection of contemporary Japanese silks on Bourke Street; for a sexy pair of jeans check out Bettina Liano on Little Collins Street; or pick up the latest in sunglasses from Peter Morrissey on Little Collins Street.

With its vibrant energy, great choice of restaurants, café-filled laneways reminiscent of Europe, cool bars, unbeatable galleries, luscious parks and village-like inner suburbs, Melbourne is a treasure trove of surprises and encouragement for the dedicated shopper.

Shopping hours

Most stores are open seven days a week. Typically, city shops are open: Saturday to Wednesday from 10am to 5pm; Thursday 10am to 7pm; and Friday 10am to 9pm.

Best buys

Local and international fashion, fashion accessories, high-end jewellery and luxury goods.

Best time to visit

Year round, but Melbourne is at its best from October to July, with an average temperature of 18°C and an average of 23°C in summer (December and January). Melbournes' weather can be fickle.

Best shopping areas

Here's a rundown of Melbournes' most interesting shopping areas.

Melbournes' arcades

Discover Melbournes' historic arcades, selling everything from kewpie dolls to premium quality cacao.

The Block Arcade (282 Collins Street) Built in 1891 and modelled on the arcades of Paris, London and Milan, the Block offers an old-world stylish elegance complete with imported Italian mosaic floors (the largest in Australia), carved stone details and an etched, glass dome ceiling supported by elaborate iron-lace columns. Don't miss seeing the 1907 ceiling murals in Chelsea Design at the entrance to the arcade, witnessing the 'little man' who taps on the window of Haigh's Chocolate Shop or savouring a refreshing cup of tea in the charming and historic Hopetoun Tearooms. Walking up and down this section of Collins Street in the late afternoon or on Saturday morning was a favourite pastime between 1870 and 1918. Today the arcade forms part of Melbournes' Golden Mile heritage walk.

Royal Arcade (355 Bourke Street) Stroll through Melbournes' oldest shopping arcade, built in 1869. Admire the wrought-iron portico and time your visit to hear the mythical monsters, Gog and Magog, strike the hour in time with jeweller Thomas Gaunt's great clock. Don't miss Koko Black, where chocolate treats rule supreme: try a premium quality cacao while you nibble on a praline or ganache. Or pop into Spellbox and browse for a spell to restore your mojo or creative juices.

Other arcades to visit include Collins two3four, Australia on Collins, The Walk, the Galleria Shopping Plaza and Centrepoint Mall. All offer an impressive mix of large flagship stores, unique owner-operated shops and quality cafes all located within a block of each other off Little Collins Street.

Melbourne shopping districts

Collins Street, CBD Glamorous and stylish, tree-lined Collins Street is famous for high-end jewellery, fashion and luxury goods at international stores including Chanel, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. Discover exclusive jewellers, chic designer shops, 5-star hotels and private clubs housed in striking heritage buildings. Further west, between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, explore the chain and concept stores that lie within the bustling retail centres of two3four and Australia on Collins.

Little Collins Street, CBD Discover an enclave of cool fashion, from haute couture to funky threads. Here you'll find some of Melbourne's best designers and boutiques. The stretch between Swanston and Russell streets is lined with the best in menswear. After a days' shopping, relax at some of Melbourne's best bars and cafes that you'll find crowding the narrow lanes around Little Collins Street.

Flinders Lane, CBD Look out for the indigenous and contemporary art and craft galleries, groovy bars and designer boutiques selling a range of funky fashions and esoteric accessories. Check out Christine for fashion and accessories, Alice Euphemia for experimental designs by young and emerging designers and Cathedral Arcade for edgy fashion. Pop into the Nicholas Building for a range of interesting shops, galleries and studios. Take a break in any of the atmospheric cafes along Degraves Street, Centre Place and Scott Place.

Southgate and Crown Entertainment Complex Cross the river to find a range of eclectic shops selling luxury lingerie and perfume, as well as high-end fashion stores such as Versace, Burberry and Prada. With its riverside setting and fantastic views of the city skyline, the Southbank promenade along the Yarra River is one of Melbourne's most popular dining areas. Dine al fresco, do a spot of people watching and enjoy the antics of street performers, all backed by stunning views of the Melbourne skyline at night.

Bourke Street Mall, CBD Running between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, this pedestrian and tram-only strip is home to Melbourne's two large department stores, David Jones and Myer, along with a varied array of shops and chain stores that sell everything from shoes and novelties to music and jewellery. Regarded by many as Melbourne's shopping heart, the mall is always buzzing with shoppers, buskers and city workers. Chapel Street, South Yarra Lined with trendy shops selling all things groovy and hip, Chapel Street is home to some of Australia's top designers, including Scanlan & Theodore, Colette Dinnigan and Bettina Liano, as well as many cool bars and cafes such as Café Domo, Pieroni and Chinois. Head to nearby Toorak Road for Gucci and other exclusive boutiques, and Greville Street for offbeat retro clothing, eclectic gifts and jewellery and record stores.

Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Home to Melbourne's bohemian culture, this is where you can discover a range of quaint and quirky shops and markets offering retro and recycled fashion, arty homewares and locally made jewellery, along with bookshops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. The area is also renowned for its vibrant nightlife. For a taste of Spain, cruise down Brunswick to Johnston Street and you'll find a range of tapas and flamenco bars.

Chinatown Browse everything Chinese, from medicine, music, gold and jewellery to unique and exotic gifts, on Little Bourke Street between Swanston and Spring streets.

Markets

Discover everything from cutting-edge fashions to fresh fruit and veg at Melbourne's eclectic mix of markets.

Arts Centre (Corner St Kilda and Southgate roads, Southbank) Browse a showcase of more than 150 stalls offering some of Victoria's finest artisans' work. Look out for hand-made jewellery, leatherwear and an esoteric collection of artwork from painting and sculpture to ceramics. Buy colourful garments from stylish boutiques and market stalls, treat yourself to an inexpensive t-shirt or a one-off hand-sewn creation by a local couturier. Open every Sunday.

Queen Victoria Market (513 Elizabeth Street) Opened in 1878, the market is an historic landmark and a Melbourne institution. Wander among the 150 covered stalls groaning under the weight of exotic local and imported gourmet foods, along with clothing, shoes, luggage, toys, jewellery and authentic Australian artefacts and souvenirs all offered at bargain prices. Sample a range of world cuisines freshly prepared on-site, groove to some of the best live music and check out the tarot and aura readers. The Suzuki Night Market is open every Wednesday evening from 5.30pm to 10pm from December to February.

The Rose Street Artists Market Wander one of Melbourne's leading open-air markets, showcasing the very best in emerging designer creations. The market is held in a disused yard in the back streets of Fitzroy and showcases up to 40 artists and designers each week. While you're browsing the stalls, you also get to enjoy the sounds of live entertainment, and when hunger strikes, the market's gourmet café is a great choice. Held every Saturday throughout the year from 11am to 5pm.

St Kilda Esplanade Art and Craft Market Browse the handicrafts of more than 220 artisans that include everything from painters and potters to jewellers and glass blowers. Held every Sunday above the beach in St Kilda from 10am to 5pm.

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