One thing you need to know is that Australians are fairly eco-conscious. As such, they do not like wasting plastic bags. You will gain mega points (along with more favourable bargaining power) if you break down and buy a few cloth shopping bags in which to put your purchases. Besides, these bags usually have handles long enough to fling over your shoulder, making carrying everything much easier.
Swanston Street is not listed inside all of those tourist brochures, but trust me when I tell you this has become one of my personal favourites. Just north of the Flinders Street Station are bargains galore ready to jump into your shopping bag. Do go down into the basement shops. There are a few clothing spots down there with unbelievable deals. Swanston is also a great spot to grab souvenirs a bit cheaper than other spots in Melbourne.
Bourke Street Mall is not really a mall in the American sense of the word; rather it is a pedestrian only section of Bourke Street full of all the big name stores like Myer and David Jones. If you are looking for up-market clothing and trinkets, then this is one of the spots you want to spend a day wandering through.
Queen Victoria Market can be easily accessed by the 55 tram, or walk north up Elizabeth Street, is a must-do while in Melbourne. This gigantic market has everything from souvenirs to food. This is one of the largest markets of its kind in the world, and you just will not get through the entire thing in one day. Aside from the clothing and stuff, they have a huge area of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Forget the grocery store; this is where you want to shop for food if you have a room with a kitchen.
South Melbourne Market is a smaller version of the Queen Victoria Market. South Melbourne Market has many of the same type of vendors, but in a less overwhelming setting. It is still very big, make no mistake, but you can get through this one in one day. Just be sure to go on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. That is when the most vendors are set up. They are also open on Wednesday, but mainly for the fresh fruits and veggies.
Collins Street is where you take your limitless American Express. Seriously. There are wonders galore in the uppity rich shops here, but they come at a hefty price. Even if your bank account isn’t close to that of Bill Gates, you should at least go have a look. There are some very cool items here to drool over.
Collins Place is at the upper end of Collins Street and is an enclosed shopping center worth seeing for the architecture alone. This is a beautiful building of glass and polished metal. Their food court has better than average offerings. Collins Place is very stylish and very popular. It is the place to be seen, if that kind of thing maters to you.
Melbourne Central is located on Lonsdale Street in the Central Business District. This one is a mall in the American sense of the word, boasting over 300 shops within its walls. Here you can browse through book stores, buy Australian opals, get your hair done, have a nice lunch, or fill your suitcase to the bursting point. The price ranges here run the gamut from bargains to froufrou.
Southgate is on the south bank of the Yarra River which flows through Melbourne. While Southgate is mostly nice restaurants and a less expensive food court, they do have a number of wonderfully unique boutiques. From here you can also catch any number of tour boats to take a relaxing break from all the shopping. On Sundays they also have a nice market lining the sidewalks. That is the best time and place to grab that leather Aussie hat you know you have been dying to buy.
Victoria Gardens is just down Victoria Street a few miles east of the Central Business District is an enclosed mall. This is where you will find IKEA, K-Mart, and a host of great Melbourne shops. Strand Bags has some wonderful luggage at great prices if you find you need more space to stow all of your delightful purchases. They have a nice bookstore, several jewellers, and clothing shops to die for.
Chapel Street is miles and miles and miles of stores. It is an eclectic area spanning second-hand shops to exclusive Australian designers. The best bet here is to plan to go up one side of the street one day, then go back the next day and work the other side of the street. No matter what it is you are looking for, you will find it here. Luckily, there are just as many eateries to sit and regenerate in between bursts of shopping. There you have it. The best ten places to empty your wallet in Melbourne, right from the mouth of the shopping queen. You can thank me later.