If Melbourne, Australia isn’t your first thought when you hear “discount shopping,” well, maybe it should be. While the second largest city in Australia and the capital of the southeastern state of Victoria, it is also considered Australia’s cultural capital: with historic architecture, art galleries, sprawling public parks and shopping for nearly every budget.
The Melbourne Airport, with direct travel lines to many major cities all over the world, handles a substantial portion of the flights to Melbourne and the Skybus system can ferry eager shoppers into the city via a no-stop line along the freeway. So ditch your luggage and free up arms and hands for bags filled with hot deals, culled from the numerous factory outlets and bustling streets lined with discount-friendly shops that have established Melbourne as the shopping and fashion center of Australia. Melburnians and visitors alike can agree that this is the place to come for a world-class shopping experience at low prices you have to see to believe.
Direct Factory Outlets (DFO)
The Direct Factory Outlets have earned a reputation for being the best and most popular collection of discount stores in Melbourne, with native Australian brands like Quiksilver and Roxy and international names like Adidas, Levi’s, Calvin Klein and Guess. There are three locations in Melbourne and DFO Spencer Street is in the heart of the city and easily accessible by tram. More jaw-dropping than the number of merchants is the savings: up to 70 percent off retail prices and a selection of not only clothes, but footwear, travel items and home goods all in one massive location. If you’ve worked up an appetite, DFO features two food courts plus various cafes so you don’t literally “shop until you drop.” And while you’re on the north end, check out the mural depicting the history of Victoria’s railways, which took the artist, Harold Freedman, five years to complete.
Smith Street, Collingwood
Smith Street was an active shopping draw as early as the 1860s and today it is the place to go if you’re looking for a deal on new running shoes or stylish athletic shorts. With Nike, Adidas, Fila and Kathmandu outlet stores you’re sure to find something to get you on your feet; just don’t pull a muscle sprinting toward the sales. The Smith Street shops are also a great place to find cool street wear, as well as garb for the outdoor enthusiast. If just the thought of all that mesh and nylon makes you thirsty, check out the restaurants and cafes along the way, or stay late for a tonic at one of the many bars that has popped up recently.
Bridge Road, Richmond
For a well-rounded experience where even crowds of tourists can’t keep the locals away, Bridge Road, Richmond is a shopper’s heaven. Not only is it a Heritage area, with plaques along the streets describing the historical significance of different houses, but Bridge Road also plays host to numerous restaurants, cafes and pubs. It’s all perfect for putting your feet up between rounds of shopping or just catching up with a friend while people-watching. Yet the diverse collection of stores takes center stage, with some of Australia’s most well-known clothing brands offering up their wares at deeply slashed prices. Bridge Road is also the place to find designer goods for less, while offering a unique and unforgettable atmosphere in which to find them.
Queen Victoria Market
Known casually as the “Queen Vic,” this 17-acre behemoth of an open air market is the largest in the southern hemisphere and dates back to the 1850s. Named for the famous Queen Victoria of England who ruled the British Empire for over 60 years, this market offers up fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry, and seafood and special delicacies fit for royalty – but of course you don’t have to wear a crown to enjoy the Queen Vic. On Sundays, the Queen Vic transforms into a veritable carnival, with live entertainment for the whole family. Treat yourself to a new outfit, accessorize with new jewelry or shoes or find a one-of-a-kind gift from one of the handmade arts and crafts vendors. With over 600 merchants plying their wares (and a little friendly competition to sweeten the deal for you) on any of the five open days per week, you are sure to walk away with a bargain.
This article was provided by Sheryl Baldwin, a freelance writer and travel consultant. Sheryl is a Melbourne native and self-proclaimed “shopaholic” who can’t get enough of the great deals found in her home town.
(Image provided by Pieter Donkers from Flickr’s Creative Commons)