Melbourne is known as the “Milan of Australia,” said Tobe Report assistant editor Olivia Panella. The capital of Victoria, Australia, it is also the most multi-cultural city in the country, she said.
Tourists are pouring in. In 2011 alone, international visitors spent a record 4.3 billion Australian dollars in Victoria, up 9.4 percent from 2010. One incentive may be the government’s tourist refund scheme,known as TRS, which pays a full refund on the taxes paid on good purchased while visiting the country.
The city also makes it easy for everyone to get around. Shoppers can hop between shops by taking the city’s tram network — one of the largest in the world.
Swanton Street is a local, secret shopping area near Flinders Lane. Those in the know can find “a multitude of trendy vintage stores, bargain shopping and one-of-a-kind pieces,” Panella said.
Flinders Lane is more well-known and has a cool, downtown vibe. Stores of note include Christine, which carries “fashion forward” accessories; Alice Euphemia, which attracts younger consumers with trendy pieces; and Gorman, which is known for vintage-inspired clothing.
Chapel Street is where the Australian designers have stores. It is also a go-to place for second-hand shops.
Queen Victoria Market is an enormous swap meet that would take days to cover in its entirety. Browsers can find anything from one-of-a-kind trinkets to hand-made sweaters.
For high-end designer stores, consumers head to Collins Street. Those looking for a true mall experience will find it at Melbourne Central, which has more than 300 stores, restaurants and a movie theater.