Right after a heavy brunch at Bills, it was shopping all the way till dinner time.
Having traveled a fair bit to different countries, my philosophy for shopping is to just go for native products or products and services that are hard to find in other parts of the world. I would usually shun the mega malls selling international brands to the like of Gucci, Prada, Nike and so on, unless it is in the brand’s country of origin or their flagship store. Most of the time, such malls will just feature more of the same – different cities, but selling the same Starbuck coffee and GAP apparel. Eunice, who is much more well traveled than I, shares the same sentiment.
We were both delighted that our guide, Duglass had planned for us to go shopping at local markets and streets instead of just dropping us at a run-of-the-mill mega malls.
The first place we went to was Paddington Markets. Located in Paddington, an inner-city, eastern suburb of Sydney, Paddington Markets is a popular open-air market held every Saturday in the grounds of the heritage-listed sandstone Paddington Uniting Church on Oxford Street. There are 250 stalls selling Australian contemporary art, craft and fashion, directly by the artists and craft makers. It is open every Saturday from 10am.
I like Paddington Markets for the fact that many of the stuff sold there are unique to Sydney. There are clothing booths helm by emerging local designers; handicraft stalls touting wares such as pottery, paintings and clocks; there was even a Chinese dude selling Bonsai (盆栽) plants!
Photography is generally frowned upon at Paddingtons Markets. This is understandable as the artists and designers would want to protect themselves from copycats. Duglass got Eunice and I media passes so we can get some pictures to showcase the vibrancy of the market:
After we are done with Paddington Market, we hit Oxford Street next. This is the section of Oxford Street to the east of Taylor Square, running through Paddington. The area is an upmarket shopping strip, noted for fashion, gift and homewares, kind of like Duxton Hill in Singapore.
Rachel had tasked me to get some stuff from Aesop, one of her favourite skincare brand from Australia. I got them from a store at Oxford Street which we had visited previously during our honeymoon in Sydney.
Eunice on the other hand was hunting for a pair of boots, with the help of the resourceful Duglass.
There’s a chic, upmarket, yet casual feel to the whole Paddington and Oxford Street shopping experience. Pretty unique and I would definitely recommend tourists to pop by the area versus just hitting the mega malls.
Next, we visited The Entertainment Quarter, an entertainment precinct beside Fox Studios Australia in the suburb of Moore Park, located 3 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district.
The precinct features many specialty shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, two cinemas, live entertainment venues including a comedy store and function centre, children’s playground, parklands and sporting facilities such as ten pin bowling and an ice rink during winter.
It also hosts a Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and a Merchandise Market on Saturdays and Sundays. We were there specifically for the Farmer’s Market:
We then did a drive around Centennial Park to do some people watching and sight seeing. Centennial Park is a large public, urban park that occupies 220 hectares in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
The park was bustling with activities when we arrived. Joggers, skateboarder and cyclists were whizzing pass us. The green space was well utilised, but not congested.
Our last shopping stop was Glebe Markets, another one of Sydney’s most established and well known Saturday markets beside Paddington.
Located in Glebe, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, Glebe Markets is less flashy than Paddington, but has a more alternative character and bohemian style.
Fashion and design are the main draws here as well, featuring many hand made clothing and accessories stalls. There are also some second-hand and vintage stalls which are not found in Paddington.
The shoppers here are more laid back and relaxed than in Paddington. There’s a open grass patch where many people were just sitting around for a picnic or reading a book after they got tired of shopping.
I bought a pair of Dr Seuss tees for Rachel and Asher, then I found a nice little corner to rest on as I waited for Eunice to be done with her shopping.
Eunice and Duglass joined me on the grass patch too when we met up again. We lazed there for quite a while, almost forgetting that we still need to rush back to Sydney city for dinner and an opera performance at the Sydney Opera House!
This concluded my day of alternative shopping experience in Sydney. Stay tuned for my next update. 🙂
FYI: There’s a voting contest going on via the official HTC Escapade website. Vote for your favourite Sydney photos taken by me and stand a chance to win a HTC EVO 3D smart phone for yourself! Triple your chance by voting for a photo each from Willy, Eunice and I!