The marathon shopping continues at South Melbourne

On Saturday one of my crazy friends, not content with the exercise ahead of her with our power shopping Saturday was up and at the Crown Metropol gym at 6.30am!

I was tour guide Saturday morning because I had read about the shopping at South Melbourne and none of us had been there. Walking distance from our accommodation (about 15mins) we started with breakfast at Caffe Panette, cnr of Coventry and Cecil St, which gave us the fuel to power shop and that we did.

South Melbourne’s main street is Clarendon St but the boutique shops are mainly on the adjacent Conventry St and consist of homewares, jewellery, antiques, stationery and fashion items. We started at Nest (289 Coventry St) then headed to Southwood Home which was one of my favourite stops. From there we headed up and down both sides of the street and the laneways in between. Shopping with graffiti spotting, gallery detours like Greenwood Gallery and a visit to the coffee bean institution, St. Ali in Yarra Place kept us busy for several hours.

Locals told us that South Melbourne is busiest on Saturdays between 8-3pm because the huge market is also open, which brings crowds from all over the city. Here you can buy fish, fruit, cheese, meat, chocolates, coffee and even clothes items.

But we had more non edible shopping to do so after a morning in South Melbourne we were off to Bridge Rd, Richmond for discounted fashion and sale items. A late lunch at Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder which is housed in a gorgeous 1860 Victorian building was absolutely superb and the wine – 2006 Hollick Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Coonawarra, SA – so good I had to have a 2nd glass. This restaurant/cafe & cheese shop is at the start of Bridge Rd so perfect spot to start shopping.

Finally I struck luck in the afternoon with a great leather jacket from Gorman on Bridge Rd as I was way behind my friends with the purchasers by this stage. This purchase is definitely an “investment” piece. Of course we shopped again till the death and then had to hot foot it back to our hotel for our spa treatments at Isika. Isika is on the 27th floor of Crown Metropol and with sweeping views of Melbourne, this oasis has a pool, gym and most importantly a day spa. Facials, pedicures later we were rested and ready to hit the town.

I had been responsible for booking a restaurant for Saturday night and I had even bought the Melbourne Luxe Guide to do some research. The best laid plans… I left this to the final week before the trip and tried desperately every day to book a hatted restaurant. I even asked to be on a few waiting lists but I never got the last minute call so the plan was to go to Guiseppe, Arnoldo and Sons, one of the Crown Casino’s more relaxed restaurants where you can’t book. We rocked up at 8pm fully expecting to have to have a glass of wine at the bar before being seated, but when they said it would be an hour and a half at least we were shocked! What the hell is going on in Melbourne! After that we restaurant hopped the Crown Casino complex and it was the same everywhere! We eventually ended up at a pub in the city. Note to self, book months in advance if you want dinner at your restaurant of choice in Melbourne!

On the way home from dinner I bought a pair of shoes at the Nine West store (11.30pm), one of the benefits of casino shopping, the shops are open all hours!

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