Planning a shopping expedition to Melbourne, Australia? Read how Flight Centre’s events manager applied her planning skills to shopping in Melbourne. Meredyth crammed in a lot of shopping across six different Melbourne locations in just four days! If you want to know where to shop in Melbourne, and learn top tips for serious shoppers, look no further.
Melbourne and shopping. The two words are virtually synonymous. Of all the Australian cities Melbourne was definitely the top recommendation from friends and colleagues for a pre-winter clothes-and-shoes shopping jaunt.
With a tight four days to cram everything in and a rapidly weakening dollar, we decided to start our Melbourne Shopping experience with the discount retail outlets. We did a bit of online research, talked to friends and compiled a rough shopping ‘tour’ of sorts.
After stumbling off our morning flight and dropping our bags at the hotel, we made straight for DFO Melbourne, the new Direct Factory Outlet at Southwharf. With ‘big brands, big bargains and big savings of up to 70% off’ it lived up to its name. We spent about three hours making our way through a variety of shops – over 100 under one roof. It was only a twenty minute stroll back along the river to our hotel in Little Collins Street, so we stopped off at one of the many riverside bars to enjoy a late afternoon drink in the autumn sun.
Day two started with a look around the shops in Bourke Street, the major retailing precinct in the CBD, including the two well known department stores, Myer and David Jones. Myer had just completed a major redevelopment and had had a celebrity-studded grand re-opening the night before. The lower level alone houses an almost overwhelming collection of fashion spread out across a vast 6,000m2.
From downtown Melbourne we headed over to Harbour Town Shopping Centre, located in Docklands, west of Southern Cross Station. It was a fairly long walk but we enjoyed discovering the different precincts that are developing in the Melbourne Docklands area and the stunning views back to the city and out over the harbour. We strolled along a Mediterranean-style promenade, passing marinas full of expensive boats, residential apartments with award winning architecture, designer boutiques and stylish waterside restaurants and bars.
A welcome touch at Harbour Town Shopping Centre was their ‘tourism lounge’, complete with clean toilets, free water and coffee, and a bag minding service. This open air shopping complex is set over two levels and there was a different selection of shops to the previous day so it made for a good few hours of successful shopping. The free tram back to the centre of town with all our purchases was handy - although it’s very popular and can get pretty full. We made for Ponyfish Island, a hipster bar situated on a platform out in the middle of the Yarra River. Accessible from a stairwell on the Southgate footbridge, this place is the perfect spot to people-watch and enjoy the local vibe.
The next day was intense shopping mania. We started on Bridge Road, an easy tram ride from the city centre. Aside from the chain stores that we’d already been to, there were enough other quirky boutiques and outlet stores to make it a worthwhile trip. The area felt scruffy and a bit run down with a number of empty storefronts so after a couple of hours we headed to Chapel Road, using our all day tram pass. This is a more exclusive area and definitely lives up to its reputation as the style and fashion capital of Melbourne. The choice of shoe shops alone makes it worth visiting!
With growing excess luggage concerns, there was just one final place to squeeze in on our last Melbourne shopping day before we headed to the airport – Melbourne Central, an inner city shopping centre with up to 300 stores. Most of these we had already been in to in other malls but it’s worth a visit especially if you are pushed for time or only have a couple of spare hours to do shopping.
Overall the trip was deemed successful, despite the unfavourable exchange rate when we were travelling. To avoid distraction and bad purchase decisions we’d come armed with a list of specific things we wanted to purchase and ticked most of those off. We enjoyed the wide variety of different stores that are not (yet) in New Zealand, and the friendly, helpful shop assistants.
A final couple of tips – stay central and walk, but wear comfortable footwear for all day shopping expeditions. And take a half empty suitcase, because it will be bulging full of new purchases on your flight home!