Review: Bargains and Bubbles Outlet shopping tour in Melbourne reveals the city’s best buys
Everyone loves a good deal and outlet shopping around Melbourne offers a bargain bonanza for those who know where to look. Not sure where to bag the best buys in Australia's retail capital? Climb on board this popular outlet shopping tour. Review: Vanessa O'Hanlon
Bargains and Bubbles outlet shopping tour in Melbourne with Melbourne Shopping Experiences
Enjoy a relaxed and fun day of discount retail therapy on this popular Bargains and Bubbles outlet shopping tour in Melbourne. This small group tour will take you to back street warehouses, pop-up stores and discount shopping strips such as Bridge Road in Richmond and Smith Street in Collingwood. Shop up a storm without the need to carry bags or navigate your way around the city. Duration: 8 hours (approx.)
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
Melbourne may be known for its trendy shopping strips and glitzy retail centres, but hidden down laneways in inner-city suburbs is where you’ll snare the real bargains.
For the untrained bargain hunter, finding these hidden gems on your own can be tricky. So when I was offered a spot on the Bargains and Bubbles outlet shopping tour in Melbourne with Melbourne Shopping Experiences, I couldn’t resist!
Shot of coffee. Tick.
Comfy shoes. Check.
Credit card. You betcha.
It’s Saturday morning and the city is already bustling with Christmas shoppers. Our tour may start at the iconic Forum Theatre on Flinders Street, but we head straight out of town and on towards an industrial area near Port Melbourne. My first lesson in Melbourne outlet shopping – expect to find an outlet where you least expect it!
We’re a lively bunch of eight, mainly from Tasmania and Queensland, and ready for an eight-hour shopping frenzy. Our tour guide Tracey, a self-confessed bargain shopper, tells us it’s a crazy weekend for outlet tours.
‘It’s the end of the bus season and the last weekend for many larger outlet tour buses from outside Melbourne. So it may get a little frantic!’ Fortunately this small group Bargains and Bubbles outlet shopping tour in Melbourne offers a flexible itinerary, and we manage to avoid the other bargain hunting hoards altogether.
‘Who’s after what?’ shouts Tracey from behind the wheel. ‘Shoes, shoes and more shoes’ yells someone from the back. To which Tracey replies, ‘It wouldn’t be a shopping tour if we weren’t hunting for shoes!’
Our first stop is Fields Knitwear, which stocks heavily discounted cashmere and wool blends. It’s a 30-degree day, so I decide to put this on my ‘must return to’ list.
Next up is the shopping mecca of South Yarra. Tracey points out the Darling Street building that featured on ‘The Block’. The conversation quickly turns to Dee, a contestant, as we drive past her favourite cafe on Toorak Road.
We pull up on Toorak Road, and head down a garden path and up a staircase. A door opens to reveal Azeta Wholesale Jewellery. My eyes light up with the amount of bling on display, all at bargain prices of between five and twenty dollars.
Clutching my bag of shiny new jewellery, I head past the macaroons on offer at Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie and into the leather Aladdin’s cave that is Siricco. This is followed by the main event on this tour — shoe shopping on Swan Street in Richmond. I’m in retail heaven!
We’ve had the bargains — now it’s time for the bubbles. Our lunch stop at the Kingston Hotel includes a much-needed glass of bubbles. It’s a chance to rest the feet and compare the goodies we’ve bought so far.
Refreshed and ready for more, we hit the nearby suburb of Abbotsford. Tucked away is the Richmond Chocolate Factory Outlet. I enjoy a quick hit of sugar, then it’s off to Collingwood for one last shoe shop.
Loaded with bags, I make my way back onto the bus. Our final treat for the day is a raffle and one of our lovely Tasmanian ladies claims the prize. You guessed it — more delicious chocolate!
After a long day of retail-wrangling I return home with plenty of bargains. This Bargains and Bubbles outlet shopping tour in Melbourne is a fun way to shop without the hassle of carrying your bags or dealing with public transport or parking. For a shopaholic like me, that’s bliss!
Vanessa O’Hanlon is an Australian television news presenter with the Nine Network and an avid traveller. Her travels began with a flight to Egypt, a visit to the pyramids and a camel ride, and she knew there was no turning back. Since then, Vanessa’s backpack has seen a thing or two — from exploring relatively untouched Bhutan to braving the cold on the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro.