Melbourne, Australia City Guide


today’s city guide comes courtesy of d*s reader lucy sharbanee and is just in time for the last week of anne’s regional roundup focusing on the australian city of melbourne. lucy is taking us through the city’s best shops, sites of interest and some great places to eat and drink so click here for the full guide or just click “read more” below. thanks, lucy! if you missed any of anne’s melbourne artist roundups click here for the final post and links to the previous three.

Melbourne City Guide

Welcome to Melbourne—the unofficial design capital of the Southern Hemisphere! Way down where the wild things are is this stylish and super creative meeting place that blends classic, cool design, with an irreverent spirit and technical nous. There’s world-class art, fashion, music and architecture, and a whole whack of independent, free-spirited designers dishing it upside down. In the 19th century, this area which once harbored convicts, was rushed by gold and glamour; today the “world”s most liveable city” is a practical playground of good design. Catch a tram or stroll around, with your brand new best mate, Melbourne.

If you’re really serious about design and Melbourne, get your mits on ‘The Melbourne Design Guide‘. It’s got a thorough listing of galleries, furniture stores and design spaces that we haven’t even dabbled in. For a regular Melbourne dose subscribe to: and

“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…” Don’t we all? In iconic St Kilda you’ll find bohemians by the bay, great pubs and shopping strips, and a kitsch-ass theme park. Princely Albert Park – home of the Melbourne Grand Prix – boasts stylish ‘Vic Av’ and some stunning period homes. And the revamped Port Melbourne, once filled with dockworkers and fishermen, is now a trendy beach suburb of high-rise apartments, six-figure tans and the Gasworks art precinct.

Main drags:
Victoria Avenue Albert Park, Carlisle and Acland Streets St Kilda, Clarendon Street South Melbourne, Bay Street Port Melbourne.

Spotlight on St Kilda:
-THE BITCH IS BACK – Great name, great warehouse for late 20th century design furniture (Barkly/Inkerman Street).
-THIRD DRAWER DOWN – Textiles, decal art and frameable tea towels too good to wring out (52 Robe Street, moving to 93 George Street, Fitzroy in September).
-URBAN ATTITUDE – Funky and cultish gift shop (152 Acland street).
-LULU –Super cute. Check out the stationery and handwriting sets by beautiful people like Poppies for Grace (322A Carlisle Street).
-CHALK N CHEESE – Why don’t they make clothes like this for grown-ups?! Locally designed and made free-spirited retro children’s wear in great prints (27 Blessington Street).
-KLEINS PERFUMERY – A haven of bottles, lotions, potions, soaps and all things that smell divine; gorgeous packaging (72 Acland Street).
-AESOP – Internationally famous apothecary for skincare; simple in design and philosophy (Acland Street, near bakeries). Also in Gertrude Street (North).

Coffee and cake at IL FORNAIO (2 Acland Street), book shopping at READINGS books and music (112 Acland), pizza at I CARUSI II. Drink at CICCIOLINA BACK BAR while you wait for a table at their restaurant.

-St Kilda Esplanade Art and Craft Market, every Sunday 10am to 5pm
-GASWORKS Port Melbourne Former government utility building converted to community gallery, theatre and workshop space. Great kids bookshop! (21 Graham Street, Albert Park). Farmers market on third Saturday of every month.

Calling all next-big-thing trawlers, inner city crawlers and underground style maulers – the CBD is strictly for play! With more possibilities than a chessboard, this ten by ten-square grid is constantly surprising. Amidst the graffiti and garbage of back lanes and alleyways are some of the hottest boutiques, bars and galleries in the land.

-CRAFT VICTORIA – The first place to find local artists’ crafts in gallery and ‘Counter’ retail space (31 Flinders Lane).
-IL PAPIRO – Florentine papers and stationery (10 Degraves Street).
-KIMONO HOUSE – Situated in the iconic Nicholas building and home to vintage Japanese textiles, craft kits and patterns; runs classes (37 Swanston Street).
-ECKERSLEYS – It’s impossible to leave here empty-handed. The best art supply store, also stocked with great books and gifts (97 Franklin Street).
-LOUISE MACDONALD MILLINER – Millinery studio; runs classes for visitors and locals (37 Swanston Street).
-NGV INTERNATIONAL SHOP – Design and art books and merchandise based on collections and exhibitions (2 Swanston Street).
-SPELLBOX THE WORLD – Witchipoo! Spells, magic herbs, incense, books and treasures, psychic readings and workshops (387 Little Bourke Street).
-THE GPO – Historic post office building now houses some must-visit Australian designers, including Akira, Zimmerman, Gorman and Mimco. This visit won’t be cheap. (Bourke Street Mall).
-WUNDERKAMMER – ‘Chamber of curiosities’ indeed. Your one stop shop if you’re in the market for pressed butterflies, fossils, skulls, botanical prints or a stuffed owl. Fabulous. Still curious? Head to E.G.ETAL (185 Little Collins Street) for the delightfully macabre, jeweled and wearable taxidermy of Julia Deville.
-GALLERY FUNAKI – Exhibiting contemporary jewelery such as unusual paper jewellery by Nel Linssen.
-THE CATS MEOW – Australian designed and manufactured fashion originals made in real people sizes, great fabrics and small production runs (Campbell Arcade, Degraves St Subway).
-ALICE EUPHEMIA – Fashion, jewellery and original Australian style (also on Gertrude Street, see North) (Cathedral Arcade, 27 Swanston Street). Alice Euphemia also collaborates with illustrators, artists and designers on ‘One Trick Pony’.
-CATHERINE MANUELL DESIGN –Fun prints in matchy-matchy luggage sets, bags and accessories. (273 Little Lonsdale Street).
-LITTLE SALON –Adorable local crafts and fashion (also on Gertrude Street, see North) (353 Little Collins Street).
-GENKI – Opened in 1998, and now in Prahran (see East), Melbourne loves Genki’s Japanese-inspired playfulness and shopping (Cathedral Arcade, 27 Swanston Street).
-STICKY – Zines! Zines! Zines! in an underground tunnel (enter via Degraves Street). HILL OF CONTENT -BOOKSTORE — 84 years of “books with distinction”; classics within a classic (80 Bourke Street).

Street art:
For insane Melbourne graffiti and stencil art check out Croft Alley/Paynes Place, Heffernan Lane, AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place, Hosier and Rutledge lanes and Centre Place for the best of the best.

Stop by JOURNAL for Portuguese tarts (253 Flinders Lane); great coffee draws a crowd AT BROTHER BABA BUDAN (359 Little Bourke Street) Tapas at BAR LOURINHA (37 Little Collins Street).

If you’re in town as the sun sets, consider a CBD bar crawl, starting at MOVIDA (Hosier Lane) for wine and tapas and check out the street art down the lane. Then get serious starting with a Melbourne Iced Tea at the GIN PALACE (Little Collins St, off Russell Pl). Continue to top up at1860 for a cocktail, the CROFT INSTITUTE (Croft Alley) for a beaker of liquid, DOUBLE HAPPINESS (Liverpool Street) for cosy good karma, ST JEROME’S for the locals, DING DONG LOUNGE (Market Lane) for the rocking tunes, late-night jazz at BENNETTS LANE and finish off with a post-midnight snack upstairs at the SUPPER CLUB (Spring Street).

-ACMI – Australian Centre for the Moving Image is a city-run film archive and exhibition space for reel lovers and video artistes. Friday nights see classic cult films in a state-of-the-art sound theatre, and the games lab is a must-see for Generations X, Y & Z (Federation Square).
-STATE LIBRARY – A great place to hang out, borrow kids stuff and cds (253 Flinders Lane).
-NGV Australia – The National Gallery of Victoria (180 St Kilda Road) and The Ian Potter Centre (Federation Square). Both current and touring exhibitions.
-ACCA – The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art ( is housed in a “sculpture in which to show art” designed in 2002 by architect Wood Marsh (111 Sturt Street Southbank). Don’t miss it for the space alone.

-The Melbourne Writers Festival kicks off this week and UNESCO has just announced Melbourne as the second World City of Literature (after Edinburgh).
-International Design Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival in August and the Comedy Festival in April.
Try to catch the Melbourne Fringe Festival (April) or The Famous Spiegeltent (Spring).

Hang tough in Melbourne’s very cool inner north. Close to many universities, these are the most prominent postcodes for the city’s design crowd; poster-on-brick, prima galleria, hipsters with headaches on High.
Fitzroy and Collingwood are once-famously gritty football suburbs that lifted their loft apartments and funked up the flats; Northcote, above it all on the hill, is filled with artists who make a decent living (and many who don’t!); while Brunswick is the Godfather of cafe culture, imported from Europe with dirty white sleeves rolled up.

Main drags: High Street, Northcote; Rathdowne Street, Carlton; Brunswick and Gertrude Streets, Fitzroy; Sydney Road, Brunswick; Victoria Street (near the Vic Market) North Melbourne; Smith Street, Collingwood.

Spotlight on Fitzroy
-DOUGLAS AND HOPE – A treasure trove of original scarves, textiles, hats, gloves and jewellery. A Melbourne classic – also a store in the Block Arcade CBD (181. Brunswick Street).
-FAT – The original FAT design store (209 Brunswick St) focussed on Australian avant-garde and contemporary fashion and design. Now four stores citywide.
-KLEINS PERFUMERY – The original and the best, smaller than the St Kilda store (313 Brunswick Street).
-POLYESTER – Totally weird books and stuff (Brunswick St).
-PG PRINTMAKER GALLERY – Truly beautiful, original and affordable art (277 Brunswick Street).
-KAMI – Paper and book arts concept store, Japanese and Nepalese papers, bookbinding and stationery (217 Brunswick Street).
-ZETTA FLORENCE – Now also in High Street Armadale, this store is magic. Papers, archival photography albums and storage, stationery, Italian and nostalgic accessories (197 Brunswick Street).
-WILKINS AND KENT – Furniture and design from kooky to practical. Love their make your own rag doll sets (230 Brunswick Street).
-STUDIO INGOT – Original crafted precious jewellery, next to Wilkins and Kent (234 Brunswick Street).
-MEET ME AT MIKES – A self described “happy place for craft types”. What else is there to say? (63 Brunswick Street)
–SPACECRAFT – Recently moved from the GPO in Melbourne and temporarily located on Gertrude Street, Spacecraft is not to be missed. Stewart’s screen-printed homewares and fashions are original and divine (255 Gertrude Street).
-INDUSTRIA – Vintage clothing, Altered, industrial, medical and commercial furniture fittings objects and lightings. Stainless steel fabulous (202 Gertrude Street).
-ROBIO – funky Japanese gifts and objects (73 Gertrude Street).
-AMOR Y LOCURA – Custom made furniture and imports made from antique Argentinean balconies. Also make custom mirrors, dining tables, coffee tables, bedrooms (77 Gertrude Street).
-COTTAGE INDUSTRY – Locally designed and made Penelope Dunston fashion, tea towels, bags and cushions made from vintage fabrics, and gorgeous clocks made from Boys and Girls Annuals (67 Gertrude Street).
-SHOP SUI – Original fashion for small and big people, children’s t-shirts printed with ‘Tired and Emotional’ (227 Gertrude Street).
-LITTLE SALON – Also in the CBD, a showcase of local design talent — gorgeous ‘Nancy Bird’ soft leather bags by Melbourne designer Emily Wright, ‘Love’ acrylic brooches and necklaces, ‘Luce’ handmade patchwork scarves and ‘Kitty Come Home’ metal jewellery (71 Gertrude Street).
-DEANS ART – 1 of 4 stores across Melbourne; fine and graphic art, school supplies and framing since 1854 (188 Gertrude Street).

While on Brunswick Street visit BABKA to indulge in cake or pies with fabulous home made kasundi, grab a coffee at the BLACK CAT, or for something more substantial stop by MARIO’S for breakfast or pasta.
Start your night with a shot of absinthe at POLLY and move onto BAR OPEN, a Brunswick Street institution. From there you’re spoilt for choice.

Spotlight on North Melbourne:
BAMAKKO (358 Victoria St) Absolutely everything at Bamakko is handmade by local designers and artisans.
KIDS IN BERLIN: His and hers gear all made by Australian designers (472 Victoria Street).

-BURROUGHS – Cute 50s-styled goodness specialising in hand made with a focus on Australian design, and a dash of our wandering eye for overseas and vintage (345 Lygon St, Brunswick East).
-BBOLD – Art deco and Scandinavian effects, typophiles won’t be able to resist digging into drawers of letterpress characters (187 Elgin Street, Carlton)
-SAVERS (Sydney Road) and BROTHERHOOD OF ST LAWRENCE (Barkley Street) – two Brunswick op-shop institutions that will have you scoping racks for super cheap vintage fashion and priming your D*S d.i.y. projects with verve.
-Check out the Northcote High Street too, don’t miss I DREAM A HIGHWAY (259 High Street) for lovable locally crafted jewellery and other bits.
-ABBOTSFORD CONVENT – Artists studios and creative spaces for writers and designers on the banks of the -Yarra (1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford) near the COLLINGWOOD CHILDREN’S FARM.
-The Rose Street Artists’ Market, Saturdays 11am to 5pm

Melbourne has this whole south/north of the river thing going on, but in truth it’s more like east versus the rest. The pretty, leafy inner-east combines big money/big fashion with more superlative design raconteurs. Toorak, Prahran and South Yarra have been street-savvy since black-and-white was a photographic certainty. Come hither for a history of style.

Main drags:
Greville Street, Prahran; Chapel Street, Windsor; Toorak Road, South Yarra; High Street, Armadale; Bridge Road and Church Streets, Richmond;

Spotlight on Prahran:
-CHAPEL STREET BAZAAR – Dive into Melbourne’s brickety brackest emporium and find your treasure — old movie posters, collectables, kitchen canisters, vintage clothes, piano accordions, you’ll lose time (217 Chapel Street).
-LE CONTRASTE – 20th Century antiques from northern Europe and collectible must buy lamps (83 Chapel Street).
-FAT – As in the GPO Melbourne and on Brusnwick Street (see North) (272 Chapel Street).
-GORMAN – An Australian fashion darling, adorable design with a conscience (248 Chapel Street).
-T.L WOOD – Upmarket stylish Melbourne designs perfect for day to evening wear (216 Chapel Street).
GENKI – Local fave since 1998; Japanese cult and other international labels, in a playful shopping environment (167 Chapel street).
-SHAG – A vintage fashion time warp (130 Chapel Street).
-ECKERLSEYS – see CBD (120 Commercial Road).
-GEOFFREY HATTY APPLIED ARTS – rare and eclectic 20th century collectibles (296 Malvern Road).
-RHYTHM AND SOUL RECORDS – Vinyl and vinyl paraphernalia. Are we the only people that think vinyl is design related?!) (128 Greville Street).
-GREVILLE RECORDS – Just like the 80s; a real record store with old school posters and gross carpet (152 Greville Street).
-GREVILLE STREET BOOKSTORE – A great selection of design books and international mags (145 Greville Street).
-DINOSAUR DESIGNS – Addictive and uniquely Australian art, Dinosaur Designs have been creating tactile jewellery and homewares in distinctive textures and colours since the 80s. For those unable to visit, they have an online store (562 Chapel Street).

While up the edgier Windsor-end of Chapel Street, don’t miss out on cheap pizza at the LUCKY COQ, beers at the WINDSOR CASTLE, and coffee or cocktails at ORANGE.

Spotlight on Armadale/Malvern
-ROOST – Café and imported homewares on Glenferrie Road, Armadale – beautiful French cade burners, horned cutlery, linens and chandeliers, more chic than shabby.
-MARKET IMPORT – Mexican imports, ceramics, and a great selection of marmimekko – slightly out of the way but worth the effort (19 Morey Street, Armadale)
-KINDERPLAY – Wonderful traditional toys for children (1032 High Street, Armadale), bound to inspire stories that start with ‘when I was small…’. The rest of your time on High Street, Armadale will be antiques and interiors focussed.
-HUSK – Now also in the CBD, Husk is a great Melbourne imports story. Moroccan inspired candles and tea glasses complementing fine Australian fashion like Easton and Pearson, as well as local artists. Check out the birdcage prints by Tuesday designs (557 Malvern Road) and enjoy a cup of chai.

When you’re working the High Street Armadale antique and interiors Mecca, make sure you stop for cake at SPOONFUL (543 High Street).

-Bridge Road, Richmond is notorious for fashion outlets and great sales, but remember that Richmond is also great for furniture. Check out the KAZARI WAREHOUSE (William Street, off Church Street) – it’s Japanese furniture heaven. And if you can afford it, SPACE (Church Street) is a designer’s impossible dream.
-Camberwell Market, Station Street, every Sunday since 1976
-The Prahran market (probably the most expensive food in Melbourne, but a foodie experience)

Out and About

Melbourne surrounds:
-HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART – anyone who wanted to name their daughter after Sunday Reed before Nicole Kidman did will have once visited Heide. Set among lush Australian natives, Heide has been home to Australia’s great artists, and continues to showcase local art. Pack a picnic or lunch at the café, and don’t miss walking in the footsteps of Tucker, Nolan, Blackman and Boyd for a slice of Australia’s bohemian past (7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen).


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