Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Tucked away inside the Galleria Shopping Plaza on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke is every child's dream come true - bears of every size, shape and squeezability, along with quite a few non-bear huggables as well.
Prices in the shop start from $4.95 and the affordable range covers everything from the very cute, through to the super cute, from tiny to have-to-have-it's-own-bed-it's-so-enormous. There are collectable miniature bears, cartoon character plush toys and traditional bears.
Delightful owner, Sybella Murphy, showed me this magnificent German Steiff bear. A replica of a 1908 bear (the first 'Teddy Bear' - apparently named after President 'Teddy Roosevelt' - arrived on the scene in 1903), this gorgeous character has a hidden cavity in his tummy-tum-tum for a hot water bottle. A snap at $1150 - consider cashing in your shares and investing in him instead: there's a much better chance of a good return, according to the Antiques Road Show.
Steiff Bear with owner, Sybella Murphy, at The Teddy Bear Shop
This is definitely the place to go to buy that very special childhood companion, who will listen to your child's fears and triumphs when they are tucked up in bed at night. If you do head into the store with a child (or even without one!) - don't expect to come out empty handed. Each bear comes with a birth certificate and a whole lotta love. What's not to like?