Melbourne is Australia’s shopping capital with everything from high-street brands and quirky outlets to luxury labels and bespoke boutiques. There are arcades, pedestrian malls packed with shops and department stores, and multi-storey centres in the city while the suburbs are home to mammoth malls with Chadstone in the east and Highpoint to the north two of the biggest.
There’s discount shopping at the DFO compounds in Essendon, Moorabbin and South Wharf while the lanes between Flinders Street and Lonsdale Street in the CBD are stacked with artisan designers and craftspeople selling eclectic creations. Markets are also a passion in Melbourne with the long pavilions at 'Queen Vic' the location to browse for treasures on the weekend and South Melbourne Market another traditional food-and-goods enclave on the other side of the Yarra River.
Our top picks
287 Lonsdale Street
Emporium Melbourne – with 225 stores on eight levels and elevated pedestrian bridges providing easy access to neighbours David Jones, Myer and Melbourne Central – is the city’s newest shopping wonderland opening its doors in 2014. And, after shopping up a storm at designer boutiques and high-street stores, there’s plenty to eat in the Cafe Court which is a chic update on the typical shopping centre food court.
Paris End of Collins Street
Between Spring and Swanston streets
It’s all about designer names and haute couture on the 'Paris End' of Collins Street with the shady blocks between Swanston Street and Spring Street home to five-star hotels and fine-dining establishments as well as heritage buildings accommodating esteemed fashion houses. Recharge with a snack in Collins Place or head upstairs to the 35th floor at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins and dine in style – with a magnificent city view – at No35.
Shop like a local
Books are a passion for Victorians so spend some time with locals browsing the shelves at Readings in Carlton, Perimeter Books in Thornbury, Hill of Content on Bourke Street, or Books for Cooks in Fitzroy. Bookhouse in St Kilda is the location for second-hand titles, Kay Craddock in Collins Street is the spot to secure antique tomes, and junior bookworms are the focus at The Little Bookroom in Carlton.
A collection of high-street stores under one roof, roughly halfway between the city and Melbourne Airport – DFO Essendon is always busy with savvy shoppers looking to land a bargain.
Sitting beside the traditional halls of the South Melbourne Market, SO:ME Space is dedicated to selling the work of emerging and established artists, designers and craftspeople, as well as a swag of boutique brands.