About a week or so ago I was asked for directions to High Street as I stepped off the train at my home stop – Armadale. At first I was surprised by the enquiry, as High Street is merely a few paces walk away from the station, but then I realised it was probably not a particularly standard or advertised destination to visit unless you were a local. The pair enquiring were tourists looking for 'good shopping' and I assured them that of course High Street was lovely, and directed them to the adjacent cul-de-sac and through Kings arcade.
Walking home past the nearby (and my favourite) Coin Laundry Café, I began considering the charm of the shopping strip at my doorstep, qualities I so flippantly and regularly take for granted.
Kings Arcade, High Street Armadale
Walking down the steps of Armadale station on the Morey Street side takes you straight to a cluster of chic little boutiques including the gorgeous Market Import, offering an eclectic and ever-so-trend range of furniture and home décor from around the world. This leads into the Kings Arcade, a National Trust classified building built in 1983. The arcade's old charm has been immaculately maintained and is filled with equally charming specialty cafes and shops including Lauriston Press Artist Studio & Gallery, Lululoloft fashion and décor, and The Cup Cake Queens bakery.
Market Import, Armadale
Venture beyond the arcade to the right and High Street stretches out before you in typical Melbourne style. The variety of stores is surprising, ranging from antiques, painting and Persian rugs to designer fashion, high-end bridal couture and children's toys. One of my personal favourites is Kinderplay, a children's treasure trove of toys and educational playthings that rivals any others I've come across. You must also be sure to visit the big kids' treasure trove of vintage and industrial inspired home décor and furniture, The Industrial Revolution – one of those places you wish you could afford to furnish your whole house with.
Some of the many wares on offer at Industrial Revolution, Armadale
There are so many more gems to discover on high street, including plenty of coffee and eats to keep you going whilst you shop. I'd recommend walking the station side up to Glenferrie Rd, then returning down the opposite side. Walk a little further than the station this time so you don't miss the couple of beautiful outdoor décor shops and the lovely House of Orange on the crest of the hill. This brings you to the High Street/Armadale Station tram stop to take you back to the city, or alternatively back to the station to journey home. Armadale station is on the Frankston line, trains run regularly from Southern Cross station but check you do not take a limited express, as these often do not stop at Armadale.
Euro cafe on the cnr of King's Arcade and High st has a wonderful array of pastries, and the "arcade" tables are perfect for those with prams, and dogs. Thomas Dux is an excellent grocer, always something a little different, and the vegies and fruit are good quality. May be a bit more expensive, but very fresh.
A walk down Glenferrie road towards the Malvern station is also worthwhile - great shops, especially book shops plus a deli, men's wear and the wonderful Fleischer's cake shop (now Brunetti's). These are all part of my Malvern/Armadale charm.