The Australian shopping experience offers a vast range of both imported and locally-made goods.
Local products include the inevitable toy koalas, kangaroos and wombats. But many local fashion designers are making names for themselves. In tune with the laid back 'Down Under' lifestyle, Aussie designs tend to be more casual and comfortable than those from Europe. Notable local brands include Sass and Bide, Carla Zampatti, Jag, and Adele Palmer.
Locally-mined opals are one of the best buys in Australia but you really need to know what you're doing when shopping for any kind of gemstone.
And of course if you're after serious Aboriginal art or just a boomerang or didgeridoo, Australia's the place to go.
Shopping In Sydney
Downtown Sydney is home to the standard retails outlets. For department stores, the two major names are David Jones and Myer. David Jones is the largest, selling goods ranging from the latest fashions to designer furniture.
For more individual wares you have to head to Paddington, Glebe and Newtown, home to distinctive boutiques showcasing the threads of local designers, along with jumble shops and markets for penny-pinchers. Oxford Street is the domain of myriad fashionable clothing outlets featuring the creations of the city's most avant-garde designers.
A must visit is the Queen Victoria Building which houses a delightful Victorian shopping arcade offering four levels of male and female fashion items in 200 boutiques.
Shopping In Melbourne
Melbourne is acknowledged to be Australia's shopping capital. It is home to grand fashion houses, department stores, fascinating souvenir shops, and glorious arcades.
The arcades are one of Melbourne's treasures. The finest is the Block Arcade home to over 30 businesses such as the historic Hopetoun Tearooms. Another gem is the Royal Arcade and don't miss the massive Melbourne Central shopping complex between Latrobe and Lonsdale streets.
Other Melbourne shopping attractions include South Yarra featuring Australian fashions, and Toorak Road for high-priced, brand names such as Gucci.
For the more thrifty shopper, head to one of the thousands of retail shops and factory outlets. They're spread around Melbourne especially on Bridge Road and Swan Street. Here you can pick up designer clothes, perhaps last season's top picks, for just pennies on the dollar.
Shopping In Brisbane
Australia's third-largest city boasts a broad array of shopping outlets gracing its tropical landscape. Brisbane's shopping scene is centered on Queen Street Mall which houses around 500 retail outlets.
Queensland's own fashion creations are on sale at the Brisbane Arcade. The nearby Broadway on the Mall and MacArthur Central offer a wide range of gifts and accessories and designer labels and Swiss watches.
But for an authentic Brisbane shopping scene, you have to head to one of the city's many markets. Valley Markets is the place for alternative and retro fashion. It's open on weekends from 8 am to 4 pm On Friday nights, the South Bank Art and Craft Markets come to life with its stocks of handicrafts.