Who says the best retail therapy can only be found in the shopping meccas of the world like Hong Kong, Italy, New York, Paris and Dubai? Australia is also home to some of exciting pedestrians malls. During my travels around this beautiful country and its cities, I've wandered through all of them in search of their unique characteristics and offerings. The best I've found are in the heart of the country's central business districts and accessible to residents and visitors alike. Here are 6 of Australia's top pedestrian malls to get you shopping.
Hay Street & Murray Street Mall - Perth
Hay Street Mall, Perth / Photo by Greg O'Beirne of Wikimedia Commons
Despite Hay Street being a major thoroughfare, it was converted into a pedestrian mall and serves as Perth's main shopping precinct alongside Murray Street Mall. They run parallel to each other for the length of a city block.
In addition to the 2 major department stores of Myer and David Jones, there are plenty of specialty boutiques, souvenir shops, places to dine, supermarkets and smaller malls off the main walkway.
What's really interesting is the art deco style Piccadilly Theatre and Arcade which opened in 1938, with the arcade connecting Hay Street and Murray Street. Unfortunately the cinema closed in 2013. Another usual feature is the adjoining London Court, a Tudor style and heritage listed shopping area built in 1937.
While shopping at local, national and international labels and flagship stores is all the hype at this mall, its the events that make Queen Street Mall remarkable. Over 1,000 events take place here annually. The extensive program includes QSM Live music, QSM Kids and Christmas events, sporting team appearances, performances by leading artists, major event showcases, retail promotions and product launches, fresh produce markets and community events.
Adelaide's premier retail destination is a hive of activity with over 400,000 customers every week and 23 million visitors annually. Opened in September 1974, it is Australia's first pedestrian street mall.
With over 1,000 retailers and services including 3 large department stores and 15 arcades and centres, Rundle Mall offers the largest selection of shopping facilities in Adelaide.
Modern sculptures make this mall even more interesting including a group of life-size bronze pigs, a fountain from the late 1800s, a giant cockroach statue and 2 large stainless steel spheres balanced one on top of the other fondly referred to as the Rundle Mall balls.
Rundle Mall has been undergoing a $30 million redevelopment since February 2013 to create an even more vibrant and exciting retail precinct to be enjoyed both day and night.
If this pedestrian mall in Melbourne wasn't already bustling enough with Zara, David Jones and Myer, the addition of H&M clothing department store in the GPO building in April 2014 has ballooned the crowds. In addition to the shopping frenzy, the Mall is home to street buskers, adjoining laneways with street art and the famous Myer Christmas windows during the Christmas season.
Visitors can access the Melbourne Visitor Booth located midway along the Mall for help with places to visit, things to do and directions. Officially opened in 1983 by Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Charles and Lady Dianawas, it is the only pedestrian mall of the 6 that shares the street with the tram.
Pitt Street Mall - Sydney
Pitt Street Mall, Sydney / Photo by Mw12310 of Wikimedia Commons
This mall is just one block long but like much of crowded Sydney, it packs more than 500 specialty shops and flagship stores into the pedestrianised section of Pitt Street. With shopping centres and arcades like Westfield Sydney, Strand Arcade, Mid City Centre, Glasshouse and Sydney Arcade fronting the Mall, you can only expect traffic and more shopping traffic.
The Strand, Sydney / Photo by MSardaka (talk) of Wikimedia Commons
While this is the smallest pedestrian mall among the 6, it is by no means less interesting. Shopping enthusiasts will find an ample collection of major high-street names, national chain stores and specialty offerings in Hobart's retail hub, including a box office for all theatre shows and gigs. The more interesting aspect of the Mall is its use as a long, open stage for community events.
Elizabeth Street mall, Hobart / Photo by Roger Wong of Flickr
The Hobart City Council encourages the use of the Mall for events that are of an entertaining nature to all visitors. The Mall came alive with a showcase of circus skills, acrobatics, live acoustic music and hip-hop dancing during the city's School Holiday Fun program; kids were able to meet a real life scientist and learn some exciting things about science that were not taught in school; and people shaved their heads for Leukaemia Foundation's 'World's Greatest Shave' campaign.