Coming from the UK, I have taken shopping centres for granted but since travelling I have come to understand that good shopping centres or malls are far and wide between.
After living in Auckland for 2 years, the lack of shops the city centre had to offer meant moving to Surfer's paradise was infact paradise. Shops galore. Everything I wanted or wished I could have, I found in the Centro Mall. However, a trip to Brisbane and a look around Myer centre and Queen street mall, and I was right back to UK standards. I didn't know where to look.
So since being back in Surfers, I have had friends recommend Australia and Pacific Fair to me for a bit of good old retail therapy, and thought it might be a bit of a battle of the malls.
I started with Australia Fair. A good friend in Southport said was a lot better than Pacific Fair. I was told Australia Fair had more variety and more designer and well known shops than Pacific which was full of random junk. So I investigated for myself.
The lay out of Australia Fair was as any mall should and would be. Pretty simple to get around with specific shops to find easily whether in for a lazy wonder or a mad dash. It did have a good variety of shops, designer or budget retail, supermarkets, outlets and a fair food court. It also housed a very nice cinema and offered a child care centre. (Although the child care centre looked more like a sheep pen, the kids looked like they were having fun.) All in all, I wasn't overly impressed but was happy with it. I had everything a good mall should and was a fair size.
Pacific Fair was nothing like I thought it would be, I was expecting another mall like Australia Fair where I'd pick fine lines between which one was better, but Pacific took me by suprise.
It was set up outdoors and reminded me of a Christmas market but with shops rather than huts, walking along I didn't know which path to turn down. Eventually I came to the indoor part which looked more like mall, probably just smaller than Australia Fair, filled with everything you'd expect it to have.
After walking out the opposite way, there were more outdoor shops and in the middle was a huge playground, benches, water balls and play things such as pirate ships, a large whale, and other fun. Really wasn't what I was expecting at all. It was like a mall in Disney Land.
Pacific Fair also offered a child care centre but this one was indoor, in a little shop, which looked a bit like Santa's workshop, but bribing the kids to go shopping with you to stay half hour in the big playground shouldn't be a problem anyway.
Walking away from all that fun, I entered another indoor mall building, this one a little smaller, with an arcade and food court and a very large cinema upstairs, a cinema like one I haven't seen outside of the United States.
I loved Pacific Fair (mainly because I am a big kid) however it is very complicated to get around, I was very confused trying to find the cinema never mind a smaller specific shop I may have been looking for as it could have been hiding in a number of alley ways, or anywhere in this large maze of a shopping mall.
So in conclusion, Pacific may hold a little more variety and difference than Australia Fair but if you know what you want and want it fast, I definately recommend Australia Fair.