KYO in Ocean Grove is a gem. Or rather a thousand gems, displayed in an exotic jewellery box, inside the eclectic home of a well-travelled friend. Two enormous warehouses (and surrounding courtyards) are filled with unique furniture and homeware sourced primarily from Japan, China, India and Argentina.
Tucked away in the industrial estate of Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula, this trade warehouse is open to the public 7 days a week over the summer, but weekends only during the quieter winter months. We easily spent over an hour wandering through discovering Indian wooden stamps, marble sinks, aged timber tables, antique kimonos, a room of hanging Moroccan pendant lights - and a life-sized elephant sculpture. It has two separate indoor play areas for children, plus plenty of spots to rest for teenagers (or others!) who may eventually run out of steam.
The staff are friendly and approachable if needed, but leave you free to browse. There is no pressure to buy anything or rush your visit. A small area near the front counter has shelves filled with small and lower cost items such as jewellery, beads and tiny pill boxes. Don't get caught here when you arrive, make sure you save it for the end. We picked up some chopsticks and bangles for a few dollars each, which helped coax the kids out of the door and back into the car.
Most of us don't really need an antique, carved teak gate for $2500 – but there are ceramic door knobs, carved paisley stamps, and Japanese bowls from $2 each. Kyo is a true emporium (rather than a typical factory outlet), there really is something of interest for most people.
Fast facts What: KYO Trade Warehouse sells furniture and homewares direct to public When: Winter hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10am-5pm Why: Discover original and quirky items for your home, or simply wander through for an emporium experience (without being hassled). Child-friendly.
Kyosk Cafe The only thing KYO Trade Warehouse lacks is a café onsite (there are toilets at the rear near the textiles). The industrial area is particularly quiet on the weekend, so if you want more KYO goodness with your caffeine or kombucha, drive 5 minutes to the associated Kyosk Café, just off the main shopping street in Ocean Grove.
Kyosk Cafe, 91 The Parade, Ocean Grove, VIC 3226 (look for the yoga signage)