Sydney Shopping

You will never want for shopping in Sydney. There are shopping venues of all sizes, shapes and, within reason, price range. Whattayawant?

Everybody accepts credit cards, and there are ATMS hooked into the real world scattered handily. During business hours you can find money changing booths conveniently located, but some close in the early afternoon, so time things right if you are using cash as your financial media. All but the most touristy places have sizes in local standards, centimeters and kilograms, so know your conversion tables. Local electrical systems are incompatible with the US and Canada, and lots of other places, so be sure to check before buying anything that plugs in.

Queen Victoria Building

Downtown, in the Central Business District (called CBD), you will not want to miss the Queen Victoria Building (called QVB). This is as much of a sightseeing venue as it is a place to actually exchange money for goods and services. Start at the Town Hall train/subway stop and follow the crowds. You'll pop up above ground right in front of, ta da!, Town Hall, which is worth looking at, at least briefly. It is pictured below, with the red flags. Across the street is Woolworths, which has nothing special but is reasonably priced, and a large bookstore called Kinokuniya which is a great browse.

The QVB was built in 1898. It is indeed a marvelous Victorian structure, the largest and best presented of the many beautiful Victorian buildings that decorate downtown. Right out front is an enormous statue of the Queen, even bigger than the historically enormous Queen was in real life. Next to her is a more modest statue of the Queen's dog, set into a wishing well (proceeds to charity; it's all explained). If you go close enough, you activate a weird hidden speaker that uses the voice of a famous Australian radio DJ to animate the dog. Kind of freaky for an otherwise staid place.

OK, time to go inside. The building is huge, with multiple floors and many boutiques and expensive, trendy shops with trendy staff and trendy trim patrons. Unless the money in your pocket has become too heavy or you have a stolen credit card, there is probably not much to buy, but it all worth a look. There are cafes all around with nice looking pastries for sale and tea. Enjoy the atmosphere: the spiral staircases, the stained glass, the giant hanging clock, the murals and the sense of slower pace fueled by money trickling outward.

If you are really into the history or architecture of the building, guided tours are available seven days a week.

Mid Centre Point

This is just one of several enclosed mall-like shopping complexes downtown. I'll highlight it because it is near the base of Sydney Tower, so it is easy to find and you'll be near it one way or the other, and because it has Sydney's largest hobby store inside, HobbyCo. This is a great store, filled with models and slot cars and radio controlled everythings and trains and dollhouses and Corgi cars and crafts and well, we had a great time there.

Across the mall from HobbyCo is PetsWorld, also worth a browse. There are benches nearby, both stores have only one entrance/exit, and if your little ones are tired of old buildings and grownup tourism, this makes a nice break. Kinda pricey food court one flight down, but trust me, that cappuccino was worth every penny since it bought me 20 minutes off my feet with the kiddies safely occupied.

Be sure to see our sections on Darling Harbor and Sydney Harbor/Circle Quay for information on the shopping available in those locations.

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