The Ultimate Melbourne Shopping Guide inner banner

The Ultimate Melbourne Shopping Guide

Heading to the Victorian capital to shop 'til you drop? Hit the ground running with this list of tips and tricks.
Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Design A Space, Windsor. Image: Visit Victoria

When it comes to fashion retail, Melbourne takes no prisoners.

From glitzy city department stores, mega-malls, and suburban strips, to second-hand stores, vintage salons, and outlet malls, the city offers an exciting — and at times bewildering — array of shopping options. And while the locals may be renowned for their love of wearing black, nowhere else in the country comes close to offering the same on-trend gamut of cutting-edge design and colour.

Our ultimate Melbourne shopping guide is packed with tips to help you bag more buys.

Watch our video of ten top things to do in Melbourne:

10 Top Things to Do in Melbourne, Victoria, 2022 | Melbourne City Guide

Welcome to Top Oz Tours’ YouTube channel! In this episode of our online travel series, we bring you ten fabulous things to do in Melbourne.

1. Trawl the CBD shopping malls

The CBD has several swish fashion hubs that bring many of your favourite labels and designers together in one convenient location. The glittering multi-level Emporium is one of the newer options and with more than 200 boutiques to browse in, it will keep you busy for hours.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Emporium. Image: Visit Victoria

Other options of note include the slightly ‘streetier’ Melbourne Central (which has the added convenience of a railway station beneath it), and Melbourne’s GPO — home to major tenant H&M and a select line-up of satellite retailers. The 19th century building itself is stunning. Seek coffee sustenance down Postal Lane.

2. Hit the strips

Melbourne’s GPO is located on the largely pedestrianised (but shared with the city’s trams, so remember to look left, right, and left again!) Bourke Street Mall. While they’ve downsized in recent years, Myer’s and David Jones’ flagship stores are located here and continue to jostle with each other for retail relevance.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Bourke Street Mall. Image: Visit Victoria

A five-minute meander from the mall will bring you to Collins Street. North of Swanston Street is known as the ‘Paris End’ of Collins — and the prices may well have you uttering sacré bleu. Uber-exclusive fashion brands, jewellers, watchmakers and everything fancy-schmancy has a presence here.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Collins Street. Image: Visit Victoria

Strip shopping opportunities aren’t confined to the city. The suburban streetscapes of Malvern and Toorak host high-end independent boutiques, while Brunswick and Fitzroy are ground zero for streetwear and vintage. Village precincts like Yarraville and Williamstown also have plenty to offer the intrepid shopper.

3. Love the laneways

If you’re looking for the NBT (check the Urban Dictionary online if you have to ask) in Australian fashion, you’ll likely find it brewing in Melbourne’s maze of inner city laneways and arcades. These quirky thoroughfares are home to lots of retail rising stars, including up-and-coming designers, fashion co-operatives and incubators, and pop-up stores. Book a guided laneway walking tour and get amongst it!

4. Check out Chadstone

We’ve talked malls, but this one is in a league of its own. Billed as ‘The Fashion Capital’, Chadstone (‘Chaddy’ to locals) in Melbourne’s south-east has more than 500 retailers under one vast roof. There’s a free shuttle bus from Federation Square to get you there and back, a visitor lounge and concierge, and a Hands Free Shopping Service (where your purchases are delivered to the lounge for collection later).

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Chadstone

5. Style it up or down on Chapel Street

Back towards town, a stroll along Chapel Street is generally on the to-do list for visiting shopaholics. It’s roughly 3.5 kilometres long and separated into three distinct zones — with Windsor’s purveyors of vintage at one end, the mid-priced chain stores of Prahran in the middle, and South Yarra’s upscale boutiques to round things off. If your Melbourne fashion enlightenment doesn’t happen here, it won’t happen anywhere!

6. Get funky in Fitzroy

Encompassing the creative vibe of Gertrude Street, the super-grunge feel of Smith Street, and the ‘bitza’ that is Brunswick Street (where you’ll find a bit of everything), Fitzroy is the kingdom of cool when it comes to pre-loved treasures, cutting edge local designers, and on-trend homewares. Rose Street Market showcases the wares of the city’s emerging makers-by-hand and is well worth a visit.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Rose Street Market. Artwork: Aaron Mackenzie

7. Soak up the vintage vibe

We’ve touched on vintage, but it deserves a more than a couple of fleeting mentions. The fact is, Melbourne is a fashion time capsule for those who know where to look. Whether your passion is glam 1920s frocks or floral 1970s flares, you’ll find them in spades in Windsor, Smith Street (Fitzroy/Collingwood), Sydney Road in Brunswick, and even in the city. Must-visit stores include fabulous Retro Star Vintage Clothing in the CBD and psychedelic stalwart Shag in Windsor.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Shop for vintage across the city.

8. Meet retail royalty at the Queen Victoria Market

She’s no high fashion plate, but the Queen Victoria Market has been an indelible and much-loved feature of Melbourne’s retail landscape since 1878. Referred to locally as simply the ‘Vic Markets’, here you’ll find everything from fresh produce, meat, and smallgoods, to homewares, casual wear, jewellery, and souvenirs. Slam down a legendary hot jam donut from the American Doughnut Kitchen if you feel your energy flagging.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Queen Victoria Market

9. Seek out the outlets

Outlet shopping (where one-offs, end of season lines, and odds and sods are sold off by retailers at big discounts) is huge in Melbourne, but there’s outlet shopping — and there’s outlet shopping. For many it begins and ends at the city’s DFOs, but you may get the feeling that you’re actually just being marketed to with slightly cheaper standard stock. Hidden down nondescript laneways and behind random garage doors in the inner-city suburbs is where you’ll snare the really juicy buys.

Melbourne Shopping Guide
Melbourne Shopping Guide: Hunt for bargains on an outlet shopping tour.

For the visiting bargain hunter, finding some of these outlets is nigh on impossible on your own. So, book an outlet shopping tour and let a professional guide you to retail nirvana. Fashion, accessories, jewellery, leather, and of course, shoes, shoes, and more shoes are all on offer.

10. Shop with a stylist

While a personal stylist is regarded as standard issue for celebs, many of us mere mortals are now turning to the same to help transform our weary wardrobes. Put yourself in the expert hands of head stylist Simone Thorpe at Melbourne’s Style with Soul. From hip hop to high couture, you’ll be matched up with a stylist proficient in your chosen look and escorted to a carefully curated selection of stores.

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Do you have any tips to add to our Ultimate Melbourne Shopping Guide? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

Julietta Henderson

About the writer

Julietta Henderson is a Melbourne-based travel writer and author. Originally planning to visit London for six months, she ended up staying for ten years and now divides her time between her home in Australia and several months of the year in the UK, Italy, and France. Julietta has travelled extensively through Europe, North America, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, and Russia, and believes the keys to a great travel experience are an open heart, an open mind, and an open-ended ticket. Her first two novels — The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman and Sincerely, Me — are now available in bookstores.

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours and Travel Ideas, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger, and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.

 

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