From the white hot coast to the hinterlands, Victoria's Great Ocean Road region offers plenty of opportunities to spend up a storm. As the birthplace of Australian surf culture, beachwear is big business with top brands such as Rip Curl, Roxy and Quiksilver dominating the scene. Whether you're after discounted wetsuits, boardies, backpacks or even skate-wear, the Baines Beach Surf Factory Outlet at Torquay has you covered. Alternatively, there are also a number of boutique labels along the way if you're in the market for a bespoke bikini just in time for summer.
Great Ocean Road shopping isn't just limited to water sport couture, however. Geelong in particular is quite a surprise for the buoyant buyer, with antique emporiums, handmade havens and interior design delights galore. For more mainstream retail experiences, Westfield and Market Square have all the chainstores Australians have come to know and love, while Pakington Street (or "Pako" in local lingo) is a great spot for al fresco browsing and buying.
If markets are a prerequisite on your travel itinerary, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula host the Central Geelong Farmers' Market and the ever popular Mill Markets, which pop up in several Victorian townships. Apollo Bay and Port Fairy also have a few markets to their name, while the Warrnambool Undercover Market has been going strong for some 25 years – a must-do for the avid marketeer.
At the prime location along Melbourne Road, Geelong's How Bazaar features more than 1,000 square metres of antiques, collectables, retro finds, kitsch bits and an assortment of all things weird and wonderful from the early 20th century to the 1970s. Jewellery and apparel, "automobilia", militaria, homewares, records, vintage signage and more can be found in this emporium of eccentricities, painstakingly sourced by owners Pete and Andrea over some 20 years. How Bazaar buys and sells everything time has left behind and is Mecca for the serious collector or bargain hunter.
Founded in the picturesque pocket of Lorne and now run out of Geelong, Beach Club Clothing is Victorian through and through. The popular women's wear brand produces a range of classically elegant "cafe-style" apparel made from natural fibres such as cotton and linen, ensuring ease of wear and care. Inspired by beachside living, Beach Club will have you feeling holiday-ready throughout the seasons with a palette of seaside hues awash on casual tees, floaty dresses, light knits and cropped denim. Beach Club retail stores are found all along the Great Ocean Road, including Anglesea, Queenscliff, Torquay and Warrnambool.
Holed up in an old garage on the Bellarine Peninsula at the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road, Kiitos Living by Design is a bright spot on the Barwon Heads retail circuit. Showcasing wares from distinguished international design houses, Kiitos will have you dreaming up interior overhauls as soon as you enter the colourfully inclusive space. Fabrics and textiles, homewares and fashion from the far reaches of Mexico and Stockholm, plus local designs sourced closer to home, find themselves side by side at Kiitos. It's impossible to leave Kiitos without a long wish list of beautiful things to adorn yourself and your home.
Lorne Surf Shop
Celebrating its 40th birthday in 2013, the Lorne Surf Shop has flourished under the philosophy that "surfing is a lifestyle" since its inception. The surfer-run retailer remains one of the original independently-owned surf shops along the coast, stocking an extensive range of active attire and water sport hardware (e.g. body boards, stand up paddle boards, skimboards and kayaks). Favourite big-name surf brands line the shelves of the iconic Lorne Surf Shop, including Billabong, Seafolly, Mambo and Speedo. When you're kitted out in your wetsuit and ready to hang ten, remember the credo of the Surf Shop: live it, love it, surf it.