Melbourne Accommodation

Melbourne Shopping

Shopping in Melbourne is a dream: from exquisite and historic arcades to shiny new malls, the city provides for every retail experience imaginable. The choice in Melbourne is panoramic: from department stores high and low to unique boutiques, and from narrow alleys to wide boulevards. Conveniently, Melbourne's shops are mostly open seven days a week, with many staying open to 9pm on Fridays.

The Bourke Street Mall is the heart of Melbourne's shopping, housing both the big Australian department stores of Myer and David Jones. Swanston Street forms Melbourne's backbone and has most of the large retail chainstores, and the newly refurbished Melbourne Central.

Collins Street for sheer class, Little Collins Street for cool Australian designers. Here you can literally shop 'til you drop, as the opportunities for retail therapy are endless and, equally, the opportunities for revival in the cafés and bars is limitless. Replenish your energy as you choose from funky new designers and icy class. Accessories and jewellery (and menswear) complement the fashion here.

Between Collins and Little Collins Streets is the exquisitely beautiful Block Arcade, with Italian floors, ornate plasterwork and wrought iron and glass roofs reminiscent of the galleried arcades of Europe. Tiered with stunning shops and delightful eateries, the arcade belies its rather prosaic name and offers the best shopping experience. As if this gorgeous place needed any further enticement to get you there: it houses Haigh's Chocolates (http://haighschocolates.com.au/our_stores/victoria/block_arcade.html).

Cut to Flinders Lane, the historic rag trade centre of Melbourne, for hip and groovy designers. Then, on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets is the new retail development called QV. Again, fashion, homewares, jewellery and accessories abound here in the eclectic and innovative range of shops.

The old GPO (General Post Office) has been transformed into a galleried shopping precinct of fabulous fashion and luxury goods. Built in 1864 during the gold rush, the GPO is a renaissance-style building of enormous grandeur housing terraces of wonderful shops. You'll find it on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets. Even if you don't buy a thing, you'll love the refurbished building and the historic atmosphere.

Perhaps all this haute couture and grandeur is too much? Then head for the Queen Victoria Market. While a bit more down-market than the grand shops of the city, the Queen Vic is nevertheless full of the sorts of things you actually want to buy: well-priced clothing of every description and a range of souvenirs you'll just have to take home. The produce section of the market is a paradise of fresh produce. Bridge Road, Richmond and Smith Street, Fitzroy are also popular shopping strips of factory outlets and cutprice goods.

On Sundays the VCA hosts an arts and craft market from 10am to 5pm. The market's crammed with handcrafted things you'll not be able to resist as souvenirs or gifts for yourself. Also on Sundays there's a craft and art market on the foreshore at St Kilda. And down at Docklands on Saturdays there's a waterside market from 11am to 5pm.

Also by the water, Southbank has been transformed over the past few years into a sophisticated shopping strip, with cafés, bars and restaurants along the river. The shops include well-known designers and art shops of amazing Australian craft.

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