There’s something about shopping in Melbourne that is synonymous with a girls’ trip.
Even though around Australia – and around the world – you can visit any capital city and find the same global chain stores, Melbourne still offers up that promise of something more, something you might not find anywhere else.
And if you don’t live in a capital city, Melbourne has all of the fashion stores you might browse online while bingeing on Netflix – all in one easy-to-access location.
Last weekend, for my Hello Me styling and shopping tour, we spent the majority of our shopping time in the CBD because of this winning factor. Many in the group did not live in cities with access to the shops you or I might have, and our hotel was in easy walking distance from it all.
Shopping in Melbourne
Melbourne’s CBD precinct is now incredibly vibrant. From the major players along Bourke Street Mall, through to the new-ish Melbourne Emporium and Melbourne Central shopping centres, it’s all there – undercover and easy. If you’re travelling in a group, this is the perfect starting point for your Melbourne shopping getaway.
Venture out from these major players and into the arcades and laneways around the CBD and you’ll find that something different you might be looking for. The Melbourne design and creative scene is still very much alive and well in these laneways and at markets around the city.
Got time to venture further afield? Jump on a tram, train or Uber and explore some of the inner city, bayside and suburban shopping precincts such as: Chapel Street (Windsor to South Yarra); Brunswick Street, Fitzroy; Acland Street, St Kilda; Bay Street, Port Melbourne; Church Street, Brighton.
As part of our weekend, we headed across to Williamstown on a picture-perfect autumn-day for an in-store event at Motto, before wandering Ferguson Street and checking out the mix of lifestyle and fashion shops on this strip.
Wherever you choose to devote your dedicated shopping time, rest assured there is good coffee and good food every step of the way. Shopping is hungry and thirsty business.
Where we ate and drank
Westin Melbourne Lobby Lounge: an espresso martini is always a good idea but the signature one here is very, very good. Not-so-secret addition: Frangelico. This is a great place to sit and watch the passing parade at any time of the day or night. The floor to ceiling windows mean the outside is always in but in a dry and warm kind of way.
Rooftop at QT: I’ve never met a QT Hotel I’ve not loved and I’ve never met a rooftop bar I’ve not enjoyed. Put them together on a “balmy” autumnal Melbourne evening and you’re on a winner for a night out. The canapes we enjoyed were delish too. This isn’t an “all weather” venue but the inside bar is a whole of fun if the weather isn’t cooperating for you.
Junk: my friend’s restaurant is new to the Melbourne eating scene but its Asian street food concept is very much at home in Punch Lane. Order ALL the things but do not miss the crispy pork belly in a kaffir lime and dark palm sugar caramel, served with laska and green papaya and cashew nut salad (pictured).
Supernormal: the banquet meal we had here on a very busy Friday night was up there with one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Stunning Asian flavours served up in share plates that had you scraping the bowl for every last mouthful. The banquet menu at $65 per person was extremely good value. Bookings are essential here. We were in for the early sitting and had to be out by 8.30pm.
Madam Brussels: my girlfriend’s friend owns this quirky (and cheeky) rooftop cocktail bar. Standing on the verandah, it felt very Queensland-ish. Especially on a mild evening. Love its retro ways, from the fake wisteria hanging from lattice on the verandah, through to the astro turf and ’50s-style garden benches and seating. When the plates for our shared platters came out and they were of the vintage tea variety, I could have squealed. May have done so. Oops, blame the French Rose the waiter insisted we drink.
Where we stayed – Westin Melbourne
The Westin Melbourne is in the Champagne-budget part Collins Street (Dior and shoe boutique, Miss Louise, are downstairs) and runs through to funky Flinders Lane with its myriad of cafes, restaurants and shops.
From the bay window of my Deluxe city view room, I could see Flinders Street Station in one direction and the art deco Manchester Unity building on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets to my right.
You are smack back in the centre of things. Excepting our trip to Williamstown, we were able to walk everywhere for drinks, dinner and shopping.
But you could be forgiven for choosing to NOT leave your room. It’s that good.
The king bed was HEAVENLY, as is the signature way at the Westin. The superior mattress topper and soft pillow situation ensured a very good night’s sleep was had from the first night. This is unusual for me. I checked and you can buy them to take home. Sadly, my credit card and luggage allowance did not allow. This time 😉
I’m one of those people who unpacks for a stay in a hotel that is longer than one night. Unpacking in this room was a treat. SO much cupboard space. Big, big tick. Also big on the space factor was the bathroom. Hello full-sized bath, double vanity and rain shower.
More information HERE.
High Tea with me
When in Melbourne, why not ask another 120 or so of your nearest and dearest readers to join you for high tea. And that’s what we did. Thanks to the Westin Melbourne and our sponsors, Motto, I got to meet so many more of you. Such a treat.
If I could have bottled the vibe in the room, I would have. So much positivity and support with a whole lot of laughter, washed down with a few glasses of Prosecco … and a few more.
I talked about being visible – and how it was up to each one of us to be visible in our lives. No matter what our age, shape, size or appearance, we all deserve to feel good about ourselves. If we can achieve that with a little help from clothing, accessories and makeup – things that we can work to show our personality to the world – then so be it.
These are just a few of the photos from the day, head on over to the Styling You Facebook page to check out the whole album (thanks to James from The Photo Pitch for catching the spirit of the day). Do tag yourself if you spot yourself in a photo.
Thanks to Motto, Revitanail, Garnier, Maybelline NY and Essie for our fabulous gift bags
So tell me, if you’re from Melbourne where is your favourite place to shop?
PS. The tours I do in conjunction with Lea at Hello Me Escapes are all about offering women a chance to travel (by themselves or with friends) with like-minded women. It blows me away, with each group, just how wonderfully and seamlessly everyone connects with each other. That’s something special, for sure. If you’d like to join us in Bali in October, we’d love to have you. Details HERE.
PPS. Thanks to these amazing women for making our inaugural Melbourne trip such a memorable one.
Want more travel packing and planning advice?
Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer e-book.
Nikki Parkinson from Styling You’s latest e-book, Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer (How to Plan For Your Next Escape), has you sorted on the dreaded “what to pack” question for your next trip.