Maybe your feeling homesick, or perhaps would like to give a traditional gift to one of your Scandinavian friends?
At the Scandinavian Festival, most stalls had some kind of traditional gifts for sale. I saw crockery, clothing, wooden toys and accessories, wooden letter racks with handpainting, teddy bears and a lot more.
It just might be the place to find that unique gift for somebody special, either for Christmas or a Birthday.
ADMISSION IS FREE and so is parking, so the only cost is the gift you buy!
The emporium is part of the Brisbane Arcade...the Queen Street end ...just go down the stairs under the sign.
There is a vast array to delight you from delicious High Teas, gourmet lunches, exquisite Australian and imported designer fashions, to exclusive gifts and home wares.
The little fellow in the photo is an example...press the button and he sings "When I'm 64"
What to buy: I want to buy the Birthday Boy but most times we are there the emporium is closed...and the arcade.
But I have some news I must share....the quite elegant restaurant serve crab sandwiches to die for....at a price of course...but a real treat.
What to pay: Whatever you wish.
Well this is pretty special as I did not know you could buy genuine Aboriginal Fine Art in the centre of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
But you can...so do make a point of visiting...just round the corner from Queen St Mall in Edward Street.
Sat - Thur: 10am till 6pm
Fri: 10am till 8pm
What to buy: Paintings from over 50 Australian artists are represented....and I saw a boomerang or two and a didgeridoo.
Every friday night 5-10pm, Saturday 10am-5 pm and Sunday 10am-5pm the South banks vendors take the area by storm. Bring the family, a picnic luch and enjoy shopping in the park on the weekend.
What to buy: Arts, crafts, jewelry and just about anything.
What to pay: A little more expensive than some areas, but still some good deals out there.
Wherever you go in the world, you'll always find shopping malls. But why travel if they're the only type of shops that you ever visit?
In Brisbane, avoid the malls (they are the same as everywhere else) and instead head to the beautiful suburb of Paddington where you'll find the most gorgeous little shops in town.
Spend a day ambling along a 1.5km stretch of road called Given Terrace (becomes LaTrobe Terrace), it's lined with quaint little cottages in the traditional "Queenslander" style and many of them have been converted into independantly owned retail stores. In fact, as yet there are only one or two "chain-stores" in Given Terrace and many locals want to keep it that way.
Start at the lower end near the world famous football ground, Suncorp Stadium and head west. Along the way, you'll find homewares, fashion, jewellery, vintage, antiques and lovely little bistros where you can rest over a cool drink or coffee. It's definitely worth walking the entire length because many of the stores are spaced between residential cottages and you don't want to miss The Paddington Antique Centre at the end of the walk.
One warning though - you'll need to cross the road back and forth a few times and the traffic gets a little busy.
What to buy: Vintage fashion, antiques, young fashion, shoes, handbags, handmade jewellery, homewares
What to pay: Because most of these stores have been opened by independant operators paying reasonable low rents, expect to pay less than you would in a shopping mall
A nice place to go to on weekends. There are lots of places to go to. Just check out the website of the Brisbane City Council for the schedule for each of them. Fresh produce and a variety of things can be bought at this markets.
If you want some iconic Australian clothing or leather accessories from R M Williams, the best place to get this is at the Ekka! There is a large R M store in the Queen Street Mall, where you can get the full priced items, but, the large tent shop at the Ekka is by far the best way to get a bargain.
My husband and I both have yearling Craftsman (best style) boots from the Ekka, purchased for about half the full price - which is about $300 now. While they are basically "seconds", mine has just a small nick in a fairly invisible place, and do not diminish the standard or durability of the boots.
Best to get in early, on the first day or two of the Ekka, as the stock goes quickly. The smart people, in the know - ie. the country folk - are there on the first day, which is cattle judging day. This is a good day to come to the Ekka anyway - if you are interested in the "real deal" Ekka - minus all the townies there for sideshow alley - and looking more at the business of the country.
What to buy: There are hundreds of shirts, jeans, jackets, t-shirts, belts, shoes and boots, belts, bags, caps etc.
What to pay: Usually ranges between half and a third of the full price - well worth the venture.
There are about 4 fairly large souvenir stores in the Queen Street Mall - from one end to the other. They have relatively similar stock, some of which is more or less kitsch variety of goods. But, some of the stuff is actually quite nice and of reasonable quality. A particular favourite of the kids' is the cane toad purses - or keyrings with a toad leg!
If there is anything you need for travel, particularly adventure range items, head for Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley. Conveniently situated in one street most of the best stores - Mountain Design, K2, Paddy Palin, Silk Road and the Scout Shop - and a few minutes down the road in Ann Street is a huge fairly new Kathmandu store.
Having all of these stores clustered makes it easy to compare products and prices. There's also a discount outlet for Mountain Design supeceded stock tucked around the corner. This is usually where I start!
There are smaller stores in the city, but the range and availability of reduced price items is mugh greater in the Valley stores.
What to buy: Any outdoor travelling needs
This is the newest addition to the Queen Street Mall, built on the site of the thankfully deconstructed original David Jones store. In addition to the new and much more user friendly DJ's, is a range of specialty stores - largely clothing and accessories. Many of the designer label stores, such as LV, have relocated from Elizabeth Street to this more central one-stop shopping location. One does wonder how many Tiffany's customers Brisbane actually has, but that's one of the new stores as well.
Generally, the stores in this centre are a "cut above" those housed in the Myer Centre, so there's a certain compliment between the two.
What to buy: Largely clothing and accessories, as well as the single department store.
What to pay: A lot!
This amazing market is on every Saturday - starting from as early as you can get up - until mid afternoon. There is a smaller market on Sundays, but Saturday is the major market. There are many restaurants serving breakfast-brunch-lunch etc. through the main mall where the market is held, live music entertainment, and plenty of things to look at, buy or just watch the people go by.
The range of stalls is much wider than most weekend markets - antique and bric-a-brac, ineresting books, old and new, CD's and old vinyl records, plants, young new designer clothes or the much more interesting retro options - or new fashion made out old resurrections - 70's bedsheets and chenille bedspreads never looked so good! Oh - and you'll quickly realise the value of dad's old safari suit sitting as a nasty joke of the 70's, in the back of the wardrobe at granny's!
There are also plenty of handicraft stalls, many of which are interesting and different, if not frankly quirky! There are also stalls, which often extend beyond the primary mall, selling a host of mass produced Asian imports, including knock-off jeans etc.
This is probably the area of Brisbane where you can most easily see the full cosmopolitan representation of our city - from the homeless, uni students, young workers, trendy young ones who align with groups like Imo, individuals in all sorts of ways and the middle class and beyond conservatives, who love to get down into the Valley for the great shopping as well as the market itself.
What to buy: Used and individually crafted clothing, original arts and crafts, vintage books, jewellery, antique collectables, DVD's and CD's - and some old vinyls. You will see the best range of daggy 70's and 80's clothing resurrected as expensive and trendy here - so safari suits and body shirts live on! Chenille bedspread fashioned into clothing! - aaaagh, but looks very soft and comfy!
What to pay: A little or a lot!
Carindale is a giant shopping centre on the southside of Brisbane. I rarely go into the city as I can find most things I need here. From DVDs to clothing to home wares, you can find anything you need here. Lots of great coffee shops and a food court. A cinema on the 3rd floor, lots of parking and good public transport make this a great shopping centre.
What to buy: Virtually anything you can think of.
What to pay: Normal shopping centre prices.
What to buy:
Many years ago Stones Corner was just a main street with a few shops and a pub. Now it has become the fashion outlet centre in inner Brisbane. You can purchase shoes, handbags, mens, womens and childrens clothing. A lot of major shops sell their surplus stock here and it is amazing what you can find. Apart from the shopping there are a number of coffee shops so you can rest your weary feet.
What to pay: $10 up
Direct Factory Outlets brings a new and exciting style of shopping to the retail scene, with over 90 individual outlets under the one roof. With many well-known brand names in the complex, stores offer ladies and mens fashion, childrens wear, footwear, handbags and luggage, home wares, lingerie and jewellery, in addition to further unique stores catering for your every need.
Merchandise includes discontinued lines, previous seasons stock, current season end-of-lines and special purchases.
A Brisbane City Council bus route number 308 connects travellers from the Centro Toombul bus interchange to Direct Factory Outlets Brisbane. The Toombul railway station is across the road from the bus interchange.
Patrick Mayne, a wealthy butcher-cum-landowner, who I have written about elsewhere - was a despised man in Brisbane, due to the rumours of his insanity, depravity and murder to obtained his initial investment money - I dare you not to read about him now!
Mayne commissioned the now Brisbane Arcade in 1853, as a two storey building, with a dwelling upstairs and glass fronted shop and coach house below. The current site of the Colorado store is believed to have been his original butcher shop. It was here that his last 3 children, William, James and Emelia, were born, and where he made his deathbed confession of murder in 1865. The arcade has always had shops on both the Queen and Adelaide Street faces, and served as a thoroughfare between the streets.
After his death, the Mayne children inherited the site, and, in 1921 Dr James had Richard Gailey Jr design a conversion to the building, paving the way for a 3 storey traditional European style arcade. It was completed in 1923 and cost 70,000 pounds. The basic structure has not changed since that time. The original arcade housed 20 shops in the central gallery area, and an additional 20 shops + offices were on the mezzanine level.
The Edwardian facade remains unchanged, and Brisbane Arcade can still be clearly read. The terrazzo stores at either end are original, as are the ballustradings and panelling in this beautiful little centre. The roof consists of light weight steel trusses and natural light filters through the clerestory spaces. The arcade was Heritage listed in 1992.
Brisbane Arcade is a hub of young clothing designers, bridal and accessories stores, and well known for jewellery stores and high quality goods.
There is an annual sale here in January, where great bagains can be got - we once bought a silk skirt and bustier for $100 - original price over $700. Throwaways I am happy to have! For those who sew, the designers sell a great amount of fabrics, buttons and adornments at this sale as well.
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