Sydney has some great shopping precincts. This article will cover:
- Downtown elegance
- Glamourous Oxford St
- Factory Outlets
- Bondi Junction Bling
- Bohemian shopping in Newtown
- Back streets of Bondi Beach
Downtown Elegance - QVB
If you like to shop in elegant settings, visit the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in the city centre. The QVB is one of Sydney’s most beautiful historic buildings and also one of its premier shopping destinations.
There are grand staircases, intricate mosaics and a fantastic cuckoo clock which chimes on the hour. If you subscribe to the idea of retail heaven, this is it. Almost all major brands have a presence in the QVB. You’ll find such icons as Gianni Versace, Polo Ralph Lauren and Camper shoes. If you don’t find the brands or stores you’re looking for in the QVB, head over to the Pitt St Mall one block away (there are underground passages if the weather turns for the worse). Address: George Street, Sydney (opposite Town Hall Station).
Glamourous Oxford Street Paddington
If you like shopping in glamourous destinations, Sydney’s Oxford St has it all. Home to the famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Oxford St has an atmosphere that is unique to Sydney. It’s large gay and lesbian community give this street an edge you won’t find in downtown Sydney.
As for its stores, check out Sass & Bide at #132 and Scanlan & Theodore (#122) for two unique offerings in women’s fashion. If you love arty bookstores, step into the delightful Ariel bookstore at #42 and Berkolouw bookstore across the road. Brand-name junkies will find plenty of shopping options here too. There are flagship stores by Puma at #2, Ben Sherman (#355c) and Australia’s own Country Road (#255c)
For a rest, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, sit down at Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar at #447. A Sydney local, Max Brenner has come up with a range of dessert bars with some truly amazing chocolate treats. Prepare for heaven, people! On Saturdays (10am - 4pm), you can find some hand-made treasures at the Paddington Markets, which are held at 395 Oxford Street.
Sydney's Factory Outlets
Sydney’s factory outlet shopping is mostly found in Alexandria. Here you’ll find outlets by stores such as Reebok (19 Riordan St), general shoes wholesaler Shoes 2000 (13139 MacEvoy St) and Puma (Shop 1, 290 Botany Road).
There is also a factory outlet shopping centre out in Homebush if you’re prepared for a bit of a drive (I wouldn’t really recommend this trip by public transport). The centre is called DFO and it is located at the corner of Homebush Bay Drive and Underwood Rd, Homebush.
Bohemian Shopping On King Street, Newtown
King Street Newtown is a wonderfully zany and creative place. If you like to shop for the bohemian and the eclectic, welcome to paradise. This is one of the few places in Sydney that people still walk around barefoot. Amidst the hippies, you’ll find Indian and Asian homewares stores, vintage clothing stores and used book and CD stores.
Stop off for a chai tea or a curry at one of the many excellent cafes and restaurants along the strip. If you’re still in Newtown at 6pm, why not head to Kuleto’s cocktail bar for happy hour (6pm until 7:30 pm). You’ll get two cocktails for about $11 AUD - you won’t beat that anywhere. On Thursdays, there is a second happy hour from 9:30pm until 10:30 pm.
The Most Glamourous Shopping Centre In Australia
Westfield Bondi Junction (up the road from Bondi Beach) is the most glamourous shopping centre in Australia (although the QVB or the Strand Arcade in the city are classier).
It’s filled with soccer mums pushing designer prams from the Versace store and the Armani Exchange. Even the food court has harbour views!
Westfield Bondi Junction also has department stores, a Borders book store and beach lifestyle stores (Quiksilver and Surfection). If you love electronics and music and want your money sucked out of you real fast, visit JB Hi Fi. They have the most amazing range of MP3 players, CDs, DVDs and digital cameras. They always have specials and I love going there. Address: 500 Oxford St, Bondi Junction (you will see it - it’s massive)!
Bondi Beach's "Secret" Shopping Street: Gould Street
Gould Street is a bit of a “secret” in Bondi. Most tourists just head for Campbell Parade (the main drag). But if you want to see some one-of-a-kind stores with a bit of funk, head one street back from Campbell Parade to Gould Street. Here you’ll find some fashion stores you won’t find anywhere else in Sydney. It’s much more fun than shopping at a mall, and you’re ten times more likely to discover something unique.