Saturday, 9 June 2012

Window shopping

Melbourne is not a cheap place to visit - far from it.  We seem to have spent an absolute fortune whilst we have been here and don't really have a huge amount to show for it!  Presents to give when we go home are not lavish by any stretch of the imagination!  It's because the Australian dollar is so strong against our pound and the effects of that for us is eye watering actually!  For example when we visited the crocodiles last week I bought 3 coffees and 3 toasted sandwiches and it cost AUD$38!!!!  I acknowledge tourist prices but really!  I suppose on the upside shopping will seem very cheap when we get home - for a few days anyway.

Generally, though, wages here are good so despite the high cost of everything it would seem that the trends in retailing are not dipping at all.  Recent statistics show that cafes, restaurants and takeaway food outlets have the edge over supermarkets, fashion and department stores and in all our wanderings around the principal shopping areas in downtown Melbourne, the wonderful markets and along the streets a little further out, you certainly do not get the impression that there is any shortage of disposable income here.  The place is buzzing!  

In downtown Melbourne there are, of course, the big department stores.  The two largest, Myer and David Jones, sit right next door to each other.  Competition is always healthy!  There are also beautiful small Victorian shopping arcades which are lovely wander through.  Good tea rooms too - cake rules in Melbourne which makes it my kind of town!
Royal Arcade, off Bourke Street, Melbourne
Queuing for tea and cakes outside the Hopetoun Tea Rooms.  Serious stuff!
Here's why!  In the front there are eclairs shaped like swans!
And chocolate shops!
At the other extreme of mall-style shopping, we went to Chadstone in a nearby suburb and as well as the two big department stores mentioned above, every single big global name is there - Dior, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Apple, Tiffany, the list goes on and on.
The likes of Zara, Crabtree & Evelyn, Gap, Crocs, several expensive baby shops and umpteen other retailers are also present.  Chadstone is absolutely huge and I have never seen a shopping mall quite like it.  According to Wikipedia it's the biggest in the southern hemisphere!
There were also supermarkets as well as an incredible range of cuisines selling hot food to snack on whilst shopping.  It all looked fresh and delicious.  Tea Too was a very sophisticated shop selling every kind of tea you could wish for!
However we, generally, have had to confine ourselves to window shopping but even that has been thoroughly enjoyable.  The window dressing is great and although some photos are not always very clear because of reflections, I have really enjoyed recording the amazing variety of shops we have walked past!  Here's a small selection.
An Italian shop selling all sorts of housewares, some useful like these tea towels, and other random stuff!
A hatters - clearly you can't see the hats but I liked the name of the shop!
One of Myer's shop windows on Bourke Street in the centre of Melbourne
No prizes for guessing what this shop sells!
A shop selling fripperies - of which there are many, many in Melbourne! 
More fripperies!
The stationery shops here are fabulous.  Wonderful wrapping papers.
This magazine shop had publications from all over the world
A garden shop.  Not sure how you would get those terracotta pots home!
I could go on and on!  I've got loads of photos but it would bore you to death after much longer. However I have saved the best until last.  We went into a kimono shop and if, like me, colour is your oxygen, breathe in deeply now!

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