Shopping Sydney: A Neighbourhood Guide
Stroll through three waterfront districts awash in unique boutiques, local labels and high-quality handicrafts.
From the Harbour City’s buzzy bistros and bars to high-end, boutique-filled boulevards, Sydneysiders know that their hometown is full of panache. Sydney-bound travellers will find plenty of Aussie appeal in the shopping scene. Take a walkabout in neighbourhoods on and around the city’s famed waterfront and you’ll find shops and galleries proffering wares from established Australian designers, while the bustling markets are the best places to stumble upon up-and-coming labels. Here, our guide to navigating three of our favourite shopping-driven districts.
The heritage buildings and amazing views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge tend to be the main selling points of the historic waterfront neighbourhood where Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is located. The Rocks’ cobblestone lanes are also the best places to kick off your shopping expedition. Every Saturday and Sunday, the north end of the street is closed to traffic in order to host an outdoor market. On Fridays, sample eats during the weekly farmers market.
The Candle Factory
The Metcalfe Arcade, Shop 5, 80-84 George Street; 61 2/9241-3365
This shop specialises in candles, from heavenly scented versions by established brands to the private label options handcrafted on site. The shop also runs dipping workshops for those curious about candle making.
19 Playfir Street; 61 2/9252-4328
Hathi takes a fine-art approach to jewellery, with a well-curated collection of one-of-a-kind necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings from local and international designers and artists, plus antique pieces from across the globe. For custom designs, Hathi has an in-house jeweller and will also connect clients with its various artist suppliers.
111 George Street; 61 2/9247-1487
Located in The Rocks Centre (also home to the Sydney Visitor Centre), this cosy shop is a great source for Outback-inspired clothing such as leather boots from R.M. Williams and Driza-bone oilskin coats. You’ll also find that ubiquitous Aussie export, sheepskin Ugg boots.
This skyscraper-filled central business district, a 10-minute walk from The Rocks, is Sydney’s central business district. You’ll find some of Australia’s chicest designer boutiques and top malls amongst the corporate headquarters and stately institutions that call the area home. George Street is the CBD’s major north-south thoroughfare.
The Strand Arcade, Level 2, 412-414 George Street; 61 2/9232-1078
Kyoto-born, Sydney-based fashion designer Akira Isogawa has a dedicated following for his soft, romantic silhouettes that blend traditional Asian influences with a modern sensibility. We especially love his capsule collection of silk scarves dyed using the Shibori method, a Japanese technique that was typically used for kimonos.
60-70 Elizabeth Street; 61 2/9233-1355
This family-owned shop was the first to offer jewellery made with Australian black opal around the turn of the 19th into the 20th century. The collection now showcases even more of the country’s natural wonders, including pink diamonds from Western Australia’s Argyle Diamond Mine, lustrous Akoya pearls from Broken Bay north of Sydney, and opals mined from fields across Australia.
Westfield Sydney, corner of Market Street and Pitt Street; 61 2/8246-9228
This 100-square-metre (20-square-yard) space on the ground level of the Westfield Sydney Shopping Centre is more of a rotating exhibition space than a simple, chic boutique, featuring emerging designers and top talents.
The district is home to the retail-filled Oxford and William streets. Oxford deals more in established Aussie brands, while William is a great source for avant-garde and indie finds. Several smaller boutiques line the lanes that veer off of Oxford.
Scanlan & Theodore
122 Oxford Street; 61 2/9380-9388
Arguably Australia’s most established luxury clothing label, Scanlan & Theodore is the best place to tap into mainstream fashions. Load up on streamlined cocktail dresses, sleek crop pants and micro-minis in metallic shades.
88 William Street; 61 2/9331-7033
Leona Edmiston has a penchant for travel-ready jersey dresses that can go from your suitcase to your form, no iron necessary. Their simple, unfussy design makes it easy to take them from day to night, and the flattering cuts are forgiving of any holiday-inspired indulgence.
468 Oxford Street; 61 2/9360-2602
This green-leaning, natural and mostly organic range of products is handcrafted in Australia’s Blue Mountains. Even better, most of the materials are actually found in the mountain range outside of Sydney.