Melbourne is Australia’s fashion capital, and the range of stores and retail environments reflect this. From markets to bargains to high-end fashion to unique Melbourne designers, the city is a wonderful place to spend your hard-earned cash. Keep in mind though that the city has a smaller population than others in the world, so the range is nowhere near as wide as major metropolitan centres like New York or Milan.
If you have plenty of room in your budget, try Armani or Prada in the “Paris end” of Collins Street in the CBD. If your tastes run more to the quirky and eclectic, head to Fat Helens or Eurotrash at the Southern End of Chapel Street in Prahran for one-off vintage and collectibles. If you prefer strip shopping (or High Street ambling), then head to areas of South Yarra like Chapel Street, or Sydney Road in Brunswick where you will come across clusters of shops selling everything from food to fashion to auto spares.
In the outer suburbs there are plenty of large shopping centres that have the all-in-one ease of mall shopping, or warehouse style bulk-buying.
Australia, and particularly Melbourne, has a strong culture of shopping online. EBay and a number of specialty sites do brisk business and thanks to a strong culture of honesty (and the effectiveness of Australia Post) there are very few horror stories.
It’s also worth noting that expats from larger cities often complain of the early closing hours for shops, even on the weekends. Most shops in Melbourne are open from 09:30 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday. Sunday trading in Melbourne is becoming increasingly popular, although the opening hours tend to be shorter than the rest of the week, with shops closing at around 16:00 or 17:00.