What to shop in Sydney, Australia
Those quintessential Aussie souvenirs – stuffed koalas and kangaroos, various “Australiana” knick-knacks – can be found in any souvenir store around the city, as well as in airport shops. Authentic Aboriginal/indigenous arts and crafts, such as traditional paintings, hand-made didgeridoos, are expensive, and the range in Sydney is much smaller than in Alice Springs. For those who only wish to take home a replica, as a memento of their trip to Australia, head to Paddy’s Markets in the Haymarket area of the southern end of the city. The markets also sell a huge range of souvenirs at much better prices than regular souvenir stores. Dollar shops also sell souvenirs at bargain-basement prices, albeit at a much reduced quality.
Australia’s unique style and creativity means Sydney is developing on the international fashion circuit, as designs from Australians such as Wayne Cooper, Collette Dinnigan, Akira Isogawa, Lisa Ho, Oroton and Easton Pearson are seen around the globe. In fact, around 60 Australian labels are currently exporting their designs to boutiques and department stores in Asia, Europe and the United States.
The greatest concentration of clothing and accessories stores are to be found in the northern half of the CBD, starting from the Town Hall precinct, near the Queen Victoria Building.
Queen Victoria Building in the City Centre is a renowned, beautifully maintained, 19th century sandstone building, home to over 400 stores. The stores in the building are laid out in a hierarchical style- literally. The basement level has cheap, casual-fashion stores with a food court, the street level mid-range brand-name chains and level 3 is where various Australian designers, some European labels and Italian shoe stores are located. It is one of Sydney’s more photogenic pieces of architecture. Located on George St adjacent to Town Hall and Pitt St Mall.
Castlereagh Street in the City Centre is lined by many of Sydney’s most expensive European-label boutiques and jewelry stores.
There are only two Department stores in the City Centre, Myer and David Jones, located practically next door to each other near the Pitt Street Mall, and joined by an above-ground covered pedestrian walkway. Both offer your standard department-store range of goods.
Pitt Street Mall is a pedestrian mall in the City Centre. It is one block long between Market Street and King Street and is one of Australia’s busiest and most cosmopolitan shopping precincts. Despite the areas small size, it is home to many flagship chain stores. It has now become a part of Westfield Sydney.
Oxford Street just east of the city is lined with shops, bars and nightclubs. The section between Taylor Square and Queen St, Woollahra is particularly good for mid-high end Australian fashion designers and boutiques. Some of these boutiques and other fashion retailers sell at Paddington Markets, which are held in the grounds of the Paddington public school every Saturday from 10am.
Queen Street in Woollahra also east of the city is an upmarket shopping destination with high-end boutiques, food and home wares stores.
King Street, Newtown in in the inner west is a long strip of inexpensive boutiques, and the odd chain store, with plenty of places to stop for a coffee or wine along the way!
Westfield Shopping Centres are large shopping malls at Bondi Junction, Chatswood, Parramatta, and Miranda. The Bondi Westfield offers the most upmarket experience, with many European fashion labels available. All are easily accessible by car and public transport.
Birkenhead Point is a multi-story factory outlet in Sydney’s Inner West.
DFO is a place to shop for brand name fashions at discount prices. It is located near Sydney Olympic Park at the corner of Homebush Bay Drive and Underwood Road.
“Westfield Warringah Mall’ is a large cheerful mall on the Northern Beaches on a sprawling complex that includes dolphin-featured waterfalls and sunny courtyards.
For food and essentials prices are inflated in convenience stores and in tourist areas; and it is worth seeking out the supermarkets – even in the city centre. Overcharging tourists and people with foreign accents is common in convenience stores. It is best to keep an eye on the clerks’ especially in touristic areas and check the receipts and amounts charged. The main Supermarket Chains in Sydney are Woolworths, Coles, IGA Australia and Aldi.
Sydney postcards are least expensive at post offices, where you can buy stamps from as well. Do look in Paddy’s Markets. Convenience and souvenir stores may sell a wider range of (more expensive) postcards, but generally they do not sell stamps.