Australia tours and acitivities on sale
Australia tours and acitivities on sale

Australia Shopping

Experiences in Australia

Australia prices are highly competitive, the goods of a high quality and the layout of shops and shopping centres is so good that many tourists miss out on sight seeing they are so taken by the shopping experience. Here are some things to explore when shopping.

If you are interested in art and indigenous art in particular, Australia has a thriving art market. Galleries and outlets are in major cities and particularly in Darwin and Alice Springs. Here you can purchase not just quality paintings, sculpture etc but mainly unique items.

Australia has a booming wine industry, one of the biggest in the world, and many wineries have restaurants and wine-tasting sessions. There are fabulous wine-growing regions in Australia and the Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Barossa Valley regions are only three of the dozens of areas where fine wine is produced Down Under.

Opals are almost unique to Australia with up to 95% of these stunning stones being found here. The colours are pretty much limitless and the jeweller’s skill in polishing and cutting the raw opals is an art in itself. Queen Victoria was a great admirer and wearer of opals. There are opal mining areas around Australia and a trip to the outback could include a trip to an opal mine. Buying the precious stones can be done in major capital cities where there is a wide range of finished opals. Cody Opal in Melbourne is a typical example.

Souvenirs are widely sold in Australia. There are vendors at airports, in any large city and of course at tourist spots all over the country. You can buy shirts with Aussie slogans, replicas of Australian iconic objects like a boomerang, Sydney Harbour Bridge and kangaroos and the famous Ug boots.

Markets and discount stores are found in most countries and Australia is no exception. There are shops with factory seconds in clothing and gifts as well as factory outlets. You can even take a bus package tour which calls at a number of these stores. Rundle Mall in Adelaide and Bridge Road Richmond in Melbourne are two places where there is an abundance of clothing outlets, shoe shops and coffee shops for relaxation between shopping.

Here are some shopping destinations which many tourists admire. The only downside is that some outlets have restricted hours and you would do well to check to see if shopping is possible before setting off on your expedition. Another tip can be to use public transport or a taxi rather than use a hire car. Parking can be both expensive and time consuming.

In Brisbane the Queen Street Mall comes highly recommended.

The Rocks in Sydney have both early European history and many shops while the Greenwood Plaza has a wide range of stores.

The Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is famous for its shoes, clothes and unusual gifts not to mention its fabulous food.

The market stalls in Fremantle are only open a couple of days a week but their produce including arts and crafts is unique and decidedly Australian.

Some tourists reckon there is better shopping in the suburbs or at least out of the CBD [Central Business District] in the big cities. This of course depends on what you are looking to buy. But antique shops are often in smaller country towns or regions such as the Dandenongs about an hour out Melbourne which is where you’ll also find the tiny steam locomotive Puffing Billy.

In the suburbs of capital cities you will find giant shopping malls. These give you a range of hundreds of shops and also free parking. This is opposed to the CBD areas where it can be costly and difficult to park. Chadstone in Melbourne and Chatswood in Sydney are good examples.

The Salamanca market in Hobart Tasmania is only open on Saturdays but you’ll find a wonderful array of arts and crafts including Tassie timber products, ceramics, glassware and clothing – it’s uniquely Australian.

In Sydney the Paddington market on Saturdays is crammed with stalls selling almost anything and everything and a walk along Oxford Street offers some wonderful shops and some just as wonderful sights.

Where Not to Shop

Around the world there are cheap prices on things like DVDs, CDs and computer games and software. In many cases these are bad copies and are illegal as well. Apart from robbing the royalty owners of their living, these goods are often faulty and have no guarantee. It may seem like a bargain at the time but is in fact often a complete waste of money.

If you are buying goods with an expiry date such as a disposable camera, check the date before buying. There are always tourist traps in every city. Signs claiming to be the cheapest may not be true. Compare prices and ask at your hotel for advice and guidance.

There are many outlets for almost every type of shopping need and there are plenty of bargains. Australia is a great place to shop if you follow the simple guidelines.

Australia Taxes

Australia is a great place to shop. But one thing you need to consider is the government tax known as the GST. It came into law in 2000 and pretty much adds 10% to everything with a few exceptions including food. But if you are buying clothes, jewellery, luggage, perfume, cameras, etc., be aware of the GST.

If you are a local travelling overseas, there is the government approved Tourist Refund Scheme. This allows you to claim back the GST [remember it’s 10% of the purchase price] but your total spending must be over $300, you have to carry the item or items in your hand luggage and you cannot make a claim if 30 days have elapsed since you made the purchase.

Note that tourists with an overseas address do not pay the GST in the first place. You need proof [passport, visa, etc] at point of purchase and the simple way to calculate the cost of an item is to divide the price by 1.1 which will give you the GST free price. It’s easy to shop tax free in Australia.


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