Melbourne is often regarded as Sydney’s smaller but hipper cousin. However, with a population of some four million people it is still big enough to support a vast array of different retailers, making it a perfect destination for shoppers of all kinds, from those looking for designer labels to those who prefer big brands, as well as shoppers looking for the quirkier purchase with which to flex their credit card.
In the centre of the city are two famous thoroughfares for shopping: Collins Street and Bourke Street. Tree-lined Collins Street is ideal for those with expensive tastes. All the famous designer labels have premises here, while high-end jewellers and shoe designers also favour the street – just don’t forget your credit card! Collins Street is also home to several arcades. These art–deco covered emporiums are home to decadent confectioners and luxurious home wares.
Bourke Street, just two blocks north of Collins Street is has a very different feel. Famous high street chains form the majority of shops here, alongside mobile phone retailers and department stores. All accept payment by cash and credit card; both of which you can also use to pay for your tram ticket, so you can travel on to your next shopping destination.
Over the river is the Southbank, home to the Southgate shopping centre which features three levels of shopping housing over 80 retailers.
Slightly further afield lies Chapel Street, home to the famous bazaar. Here, shoppers can find all sorts of vintage items, from furniture and clothes to retro magazines and toys. Be advised that credit cards may not be accepted as payment for small items.
Back in the city and those looking for the cutting edge of Melbourne fashion should head to Flinders Street. Once the hub of the city’s famous rag trade, Flinders Street is now populated by independent fashion boutiques selling original clothing and accessories that can range from the eccentric to the sublime. If you are looking to put a one-off creation on your credit card, Flinders Street is probably the place for you.
Swanston Street, running north and south through the centre of the city, has a host of shopping options, from multi-storey retail centres full of fashion emporiums to converted traditional buildings from which one can purchase records, books, furniture and zines.
Take the train to the suburb of Northcote and your credit card will see a lot of action as you explore the retailers lining what is one of Melbourne’s oldest shopping precincts. Lots of independent designer clothing stores rub shoulders with local art galleries, retro furniture shops and baby stores.