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Go Australia!

Years ago, when Paul and I met, we made a list of places we wanted to travel to. Number 2 on that list was Australia. (The first was France, and we ended up moving there.)  I had started noticing all the amazing designers and brands coming out of Australia and I realized there was something cool going on down there and I wanted to see more of it. So I was over the moon when my friends at Go Mighty said that they were putting together a really cool project with Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand. I feel super lucky to be going with 10 other bloggers to Australia where we are going to check some things off our life lists and share our experiences over at Go Mighty.

I’ve never been to Australia and have just started to do some research. Do you have any places you recommend in Sydney and Melbourne? Especially great places to eat and places to shop. When I travel I like to go to party supply shops and office supply shops, sometimes the practical stuff is the prettiest without even trying. Also, my 15 year old self is very interested in making out with Jim from The Man from Snowy River. How do we make that life list goal happen?

Bondi Beach

A huge thanks to Tourism AustraliaAir New Zealand and Go Mighty for making this adventure possible. If a trip Down Under is a dream you’ve had, please be sure to check out the Tourism Australia site for all sorts of information about Australia; in addition, Tourism Australia, Air New Zealand and Go Mighty are running two additional campaigns to help make your dream come true in 2014:  the first, Fill-A-Plane, where you can sign up to be one of 322 people to get a special discount on air travel for folks who take the pledge to travel to Australia next year; the second, “Win a Wild Card ticket to Australia,” for a chance to win a trip to Australia, by simply becoming a member of Go Mighty and adding your wildest Australia-based dreams.  You can check out all the details here.

Photo of Bondi Beach by Mark Allen

  1. jo

    September 24, 2013

    Thank you for the Man From Snowy River reference. It made my day. :)

  2. Lena

    September 24, 2013

    Oh my goodness! I never thought I’d see the day! I live in Sydney and have been drooling over your craft night wishing that I lived in San Fran. This must be the first time I’ve ever commented, but I adore your blog, I found it about three or four years ago through Frankie magazine and have adored it ever since. I’m only 20 so I’m a little younger than your target audience (ie. won’t be having kids for another like 6-10 years) however right now I’m in the midst of making a ’21’ pinata and a giant fringe garland. Needless to say, your a constant source of inspiration for my crafternoons.
    I would suggest new town and alexandria for shopping, how ever I live in randwick (on the eastern suburbs) and Coogee beach and Maroubra beach are experiences not to be missed (especially at sunrise, I try to make it my jogging route because it always seems to make me forget I’m working out).
    Also I’m not sure if your able to travel outside of Sydney, but I’m originally from the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. Don’t tell anyone because it’s ment to be a secret that tourists overlook but they are so beautiful. Lake Macquarie, the vine yards, Darby and King street in Newcastle (those places are make for you) as well as the walk out to the break wall past the Newcastle light house is breathtaking.
    If you’re in need of a guide or company to dinner I would burst from my study desk and love to join you. And obviously more than welcome to have dinner at my apartment (however small it may be, maybe you’d be able to relate!).
    Have the most amazing time!! I can’t wait to see the posts and hear what you think!

  3. Erin @

    September 24, 2013

    Oh, I am so excited for you to come to my city! I live in Melbourne and there are so many places I want to recommend.

    Places to buy pretty paper/office supplies:
    Handworks (Chapel St, Prahran)
    Zetta Florence (Brunswick St, Fitzroy)
    Kami (Brunswick St, Fitzroy)
    Lombard (There are a couple of these, one in Epping on High St and one in Armadale on High St, plus a bunch more, they’re all over Australia)
    Kikki K (there are quite a few – Melbourne Central, Chadstone, pretty much any shopping centre)

    Cafes (for coffee):
    Mr Tulk (at the State Library, on La Trobe St)
    a little bird told me (Little La Trobe St)
    Brother Baba Budan (Little Bourke St)
    Proud Mary (Oxford St, Collingwood)
    The League of Honest Coffee (Little Lonsdale St)

    Cafes (for the food [and the coffee]):
    Three Bags Full (Nicholson St, Abbotsford)
    Gypsey & Musquito (Bridge Rd, Richmond)
    Seven Seeds (Berkeley St, Carlton)
    Auction Rooms (Errol St, North Melbourne)
    Pope Joan (Nicholson St, Brunswick)

    Places to buy other pretty things:
    Embiggen Books (Little Lonsdale St)
    Clementine’s (Degraves St, oh, my goodness, you have to go to Degraves St.)
    Corky St Clair (Flinders St Subway)
    Retro Star (1st floor, Nicholas Building on Swanston St)
    Smith St in Collingwood/Fitzroy
    Gertrude St, Collingwood

    I hope this is helpful, I really hope you love Melbourne. There are so many beautiful places here. If you’re coming soon, spring can definitely be a bit unpredictable, weather-wise, but it can really be beautiful. I love my city so much. Welcome to Australia!

  4. Kelly Smith

    September 24, 2013

    Kikki K was my favorite shop when I lived in Australia (there is one in the Eastern suburbs in Sydney at the East Gardens Mall)! The zoo in Sydney is also amazing, but takes a whole day to explore. Darling Harbour was my favorite go to place to spend the afternoon. Enjoy your visit!

  5. Abby

    September 24, 2013

    Hooray! You’ll have a great time! I’ll make it short:


    *Read “In a sunburned country” by Bill Bryson, get it on audible! I love this book, and listen to it every so often and reminisce about my trip there. He talks about Sydney and Melbourne near the beginning of the book.

    * Fitzroy has a great street with awesome shops– be sure to look up “Ink & Spindle” to find their location, I see their lovely hand printed textiles all over blogs.

    *Go to St. Kilda– really take in all the great houses on the tram ride down there. It’s a really unique architecture.

    *While in St. Kilda- go down Acland St. and look in all the pastry shop windows… to die for! Rows and rows of beautiful desserts!

    *A good restaurant in St. Kilda is Ichi Ni , poke your head into The Esplanade– super cool building/ music hall/ bar

    Have fun— oh and best investment ever: Bose Noise canceling headphones. Such a qulaity of life improvement for the long haul flight!

  6. Maddy

    September 24, 2013

    I just recently watched Man From Snowy River, after I saw it on netflix and was remembering how much I loved it. Ha! It was a little more humorous this time around. Jim is still a sexy though!

  7. Nichole Alex

    September 25, 2013

    I have visited Australia at Last month. I eat a lot of foods. Here mentioned a some foods,

    I loved below

    Macadamia nuts, Lamingtons, Fish ‘n’ chips by the beach

  8. Kim

    September 25, 2013

    Best thing to do on Sydney? Swim in an ocean pool. Visit the MCA and the Opera House. Go to Manly, Palm Beach or Whale Beach. Check out Megan Morton’s The School – you would be crazy to miss it! Buy some Rachel Castle.

    Save the shopping for Melbourne! Go to Fitzroy! Shop at Gorman for beautiful clothes and accessories, see Hobes for shoes, Kikki.k for stationery. See the NGV, ride a tram to St Kilda.

    Have a blast!

  9. Nom

    September 25, 2013

    Our top ten guide to Melbourne based on our favourites is here:

    If you’re there over Christmas you shouldn’t miss the Boulevard lights!

  10. Annie

    September 25, 2013

    Hi! I am Australian and in addition to all of the tips above I also recommend getting out of the cities to see some truly beautiful scenery. Daylesford is a gorgeous little town about 1 hour from Melbourne with a very creative community! As previously mentioned, the Great Ocean Road is a spectacular drive. I always break it up by staying in Port Fairy and Apollo Bay. The Grampians also have fantastic restaurants and you can see plenty of wildlife in their natural habitat! Enjoy your visit and I look forward to see your posts!

  11. lisa :: the red thread

    September 25, 2013

    Oh exciting, lucky you! You’ll love it here. There have already been a lot of suggestions for Sydney, but I have to second the Bondi to Bronte walk, The Grounds of Alexandria and Koskela, there’s also Follow, Paper2, and lovely stores in Surry Hills, Potts Point. Also the Northern Beaches area is beautiful and you find lovely shops up there in Avalon and surrounding suburbs, including a little shop in Mona Vale called Little Paper Lane. If you’re in town when the Finders Keepers markets are on (Sydney and Melbourne) they are probably the best markets for up and coming designers and handmade things. Check out The Design Files blog ( for lots of Melbourne info, and some on Sydney too. I hope that helps!

  12. Lisa

    September 25, 2013

    Some restaurant reviews to get you in the mood: and

  13. Bridget Sung

    September 25, 2013

    I will buy you a coffee and take you places if you come to Melbourne. Or please run a workshop night in Australia, I’ve been dying to know what they’re like and to learn from the master ;D

  14. Rachel

    September 26, 2013

    Oh gosh, that is so exciting! Go tourism Australian for promoting this country!
    My tips for Melbourne would be:

    – Smith street, it runs parallel to Brunswick street and has just the best of local designers/food and amazing bars. On Brunswick street there is a pretty awesome fabric store and a few paper stores (but they aren’t anything super special)
    – go to Burch and Purchese on chapel street, Prahran (AMAZING sweet treats)
    – Food at Boneys is delicous on Little Collins street in the city
    – You should hop on a plane for 1 hour and come to Adelaide, the wine capital of Australia. Adelaide is home to some of the best chefs and there is always amazing creative things happening here.

  15. Brett JK Lasers

    September 26, 2013

    Does know one have the UK at the top of their ‘must visit’ list? In many ways it is like Australia – less the sunshine and the glorious beaches. OK I’m probably not selling it too well! but there is lots of stunning scenery and architecture to take your mind of the chilly weather.

  16. B in Melbourne

    September 26, 2013

    A couple of local suburbs worth of a visit while you are in town, Fitzroy, Melbourne city, St Kilda, Windsor

    Fitzroy: (my favourite and very Melbourne – a few below all in vicinity of Getrude St)
    – Lark – , a beautiful collection of goods including party ware.
    – Obus –, local fashion designer
    – Preap and Coutts- more clothes
    – Spacecraft beautiful textiles
    – Third Drawer Down art and design collection of goods
    – Mud Australia, locally made porcelain
    – Books of Cooks
    – Little Salon collection of pretty things
    – PG Print gallery if you would like a piece of affordable local art to take home
    – locally designed illustrated tees
    there are a million food options around there, I suggest using http://www.broadsheet to screen based on your cravings at the time.

    In Melbourne city
    Stores that bring together great collections of interesting local +/- international brands (clothing)
    Go to one of our great bars : Madame Brussels (you will love), Double Happiness, Supper Club, HiHou to name a few.

    Melbourne is all about gems hidden in lanes, inside unassuming buildings- visit Curtin House, Nicholas building, Block Arcade, Flinders Lane, Degraves St

    Other stationary/gift shops that might be be worth a visit given your interests (this is in Windsor -if you go there, pop down the road to and and wander around Greville St, have a coffee at Market Lane at the Prahran market and if it is the right day, get their Mushroom burger or go across the road and eat at Hutong Dumplings)

    Markets: A couple of options
    – Rose St Market (art and design market every weekend)
    – The Finders Keepers Market (this one brings together a lot of local art/designers/crafters under one roof)
    – If you wanted to see great local food producers – for a farmers market

    – do not leave Melbourne without visiting a McConnell restaurant, optimise Melbourne food schene, very fun, great ingredients and experience-
    – Too many options, we are very obsessed- use and to filter and find

    I really hope you enjoy our home town :-)

  17. Hannah

    September 26, 2013

    The most beautiful handcrafted party supplies and stationery (Melbourne) is Poppies For Grace ( Also in Melbourne, Lark Store (, which stocks some Poppies for Grace stuff. I’m pretty sure they’re all mates actually. Small party supply and crafting community :)

    For letterpress, The Hungry Workshop in Melbourne (

    I agree with the previous person who mentioned Pepe’s Papperie in canberra if you are in the capital. The creative community here is amazing – you’d also want to touch base with Megalo in Canberra (

    Anyhoo, no matter what you get up to I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Australia is a beautiful friendly country! Enjoy your visit :)

  18. Mirella

    September 26, 2013

    My must do for Melbourne is the Rooftop Bar – have a mocktail or go to the outdoor rooftop cinema..

  19. JaimeeK

    September 26, 2013

    This IS exciting news! I’m a huge fan of your blog get a lot of inspiration from you! I also live in Melbourne and it’s one of my favourite cities ever. Most of my tips have been mentioned already & second most of them- especially checking out Broadsheet- I check it every time I plan to eat/drink/shop somewhere.

    Gertrude st in Fitzroy has had plenty of mentions but its worth the trip- the 86 tram will take you straight there. Heaps of good food, coffee and shops- one which you will love is Lark store which actually just opened their Fitzroy store today.

    Some of my fab places to eat: cafes- Sugardough in Brunswick East, cornershop in Yarraville, restaurants: Coda, Yuyu (Japanese place down hideyhole stairs off a lane way ) an Bowery st all in Oliver lane (off Flinders st) Tonka, Maha, Rumi, Ladro. and so much more- Briadsheet will help!

    One of my favourite places ever to eat is a teeny tiny cafe in north Melbourne called Beatrix. It’s something else. Amazing coffee, baked treats & these ciabattas that are like works of art. The lady who cooks there is beautiful.

    Also lots of things close on Mondays so best to check before you head out :)

    Have an amazing trip!! I look forward to reading about it.

  20. Alysia

    September 26, 2013

    Are you holding any classes or seminars while your down here?

    I’m from Sydney and this place is great:
    – Sydney Flower Market (Check out our great crazy native flowers)
    You will have to get up early for this. It’s good for when you have jet lag I guess, it finishes around 9am. But I would suggest going around 5am, no later tho.

    For food check out Ms G’s.
    The Stoners Delight dish is so good, dribble good.

    Also check, it list all the ‘trendy’ spots (pop-up bars, markets and shop’s)

  21. Mareesha

    September 27, 2013

    Recommendations for my hometown of Melbourne:

    Ziguzagu (450 Malvern Rd, Prahran) for vintage Japanese kimono fabrics and trims.

    The Chapel Street Bazaar (217 Chapel St, Prahran) for all sorts of vintage and retro finds.

    ClearIT (188-192 Brunswick St, Fitzroy) is an outlet for company Factory X that has a number of clothing brands under its umbrella. If you’re in the mood for a rummage, generally there is Alannah Hill head pieces, stockings and gloves for cheap. Sometimes Gorman shoes on sale too. Upstairs (be warned, it’s a mess) are fabrics and trims.

    Across the road is Zetta Florance (197 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy) for gorgeous stationery, journals, posters and archival supplies.

    Babka (358 Brunswick St, Fitzroy) is an Eastern European-ish café, with delicious baked goods and bread.

    If you are willing to get amongst the mess, Jimmy Buttons (375 George St, Fitzroy) is a button, trim and ribbon wholesaler. It is open to the public, but be warned, you will have to walk over and around boxes.

    For cocktails and a dance, tiki theme bar The Luwow (62 – 70 Johnston St, Fitzroy) has a mixed crowd and a fun retro dance vibe.

    The western suburbs are definitely worth the short 15min train ride.
    Yarraville has a quant village atmosphere.

    Wee Jeanie (50 Anderson St, Yarraville) have amazing toasted sandwiches and cakes.
    And its sister café The Cornershop (9 Ballarat St, Yarraville) is great for Brunch/Lunch/Dinner/Late night bowls of hot chocolate. (The zucchini and mint fritters are to die for)
    Both make excellent coffee and teapots of Chia lattes.

    Across the road is The Sun Bookshop (10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville) and next door The Younger Sun, both divine little bookshops. Pick up some Aussie theme books for the kids (baking and craft books for yourself)

    Attached is the Sun Theater, a glorious art deco theme movie theater. The choc top ice creams are amazing.

    In the city, Clegs (60 Elizabeth St, Melbourne) has a decent supply of quality fabrics, yarn and hat making supplies.‎

    Melbourne Artist Supplies (34 Little La Trobe St, Melbourne) where local Uni students grab supplies.

    Madame Brussels (Level 3 59 Bourke St, Melbourne) for an English garden/Alice in Wonderland themed cocktail.

    Local artists you might be inspired by are illustrator Kat Macleod ( and silkscreen printers Ink and Spindle (

    Country wide:
    Australian clothing brands you might like are Country Road and Gorman‎

    Officeworks is the Australian equivalent of Staples, you might find some cute stationery supplies.‎
    Typo has cheap and cheerful stationery

    Spotlight is a fabric and craft store, kind of like your Michaels, some stores have a large party section (called Spartys) for balloons, decorations, loot bag supplies.

    If you get to travel out of Melbourne, two towns I would recommend are the seaside Lorne (, and bush surrounded natural spa region Daylesford (

  22. Christina

    September 27, 2013

    Like previous mentioned Fitzroy is a nice street for shopping. There are a few cute paper stores although I can only remember the name of one: Zetta Florence. Little Creatures on Fitzroy is good and fun little restaurant.

    Acland St in St Kilda has some good places to eat.

    When I was there a few years ago downtown also had an art street fair on the weekends!

  23. jamaeswhite

    September 27, 2013

    Really Australia is the best place to enjoy vacations, countless shopping centers, food centers are available there. Australians are more inovative and creative in case of their every celebration whether it is a time of birthday or any other event. There are huge number of Party supplies Australia available in order to provide full party services as it is a country, famous for its celebrations.

  24. Heidi

    September 27, 2013

    Where to start! I live in Sydney and work in retail leasing with a crush on stationary, craft and homewares!
    Typo, in all main shopping centres, (Westfield Sydney) cheap, fun crafts, party, homewares and stationary
    Koskela in Roseberry
    Little Paper Lane Monavale
    Must go for a coffee at The Grounds in Alexandria
    The Zoo for good views over the city and the animals
    Marrimekko just if George St, near Burberry
    Wander the streets of SurryHills along Oxford St! Vintage, fashion, cafés, gift shops
    You will like Peter Alexander Pajama Shops too (various locations in the CBD)
    Definitely take a trip north of Sydney to Central a Coast for the beaches, and Newcastle for Darby Steet.
    Have a blast!! Let me know if you need a tour guide!

  25. Meg

    September 28, 2013

    AH! Amazing! I can’t wait to see everything from your adventure.

  26. Bec

    September 28, 2013

    Definitely recommend a lunch eats at EARL (Sandwich) bar in Melbourne. Their pork belly sandwich with apple coleslaw is Ah-Mazing. Also, the NGV in Federation square is a must visit & has a lovely gift store. I love to do a self-guided walking tour of the Melbourne CBD alley’s & arcades, you can get a map from the tourist centre. There are so many cute, kitsch & indi shops to see (not to mention some great architecture). Enjoy!!
    Ps Sydney- Bourke St Bakery in Sydney too!!

  27. Felicia

    September 30, 2013

    You definitely must vist Lark Fitzroy.
    They have a fantastic online gift/homewares store but recently opened a shop in Fitzroy Melbourne. They have lots of cute party gear too.

    You can read all about it here:

    BTW: is a great resource of places to check out in Australia.

  28. Paulette Leto

    September 30, 2013

    Holy cow, there are a lot of comments on this one!

    I’ve always wanted to see Australia, but never been there. I’d like to visit both Sydney and Melbourne, and take like a guided tour or something into the wilderness a bit. I’m certainly no survivalist so I wouldn’t want to go far, but if I could go with a group or something, that would be neat!

  29. Diana

    September 30, 2013

    Lucky you! so many terrific suggestions here, even a sydney sider like myself might take a few onboard! Sydney is a great place to explore, I always feel pretty safe here. Last time I was in San Fran I ended up on Turk st with toddler in tow. The beaches are free and sandy, the coffee is brilliant. I go to for dining suggestions when I have little ones along for the feed. Have a brilliant time!

  30. Xanthe

    October 1, 2013

    Another Sydney Sider here.
    How exciting!
    Load of great suggestions already.

    I’m amazed that The School hasn’t poached your for a class while you are here! It would be great to do a class with you!

    I have to add Koskella & kitchen by Mike- all one place with The School

    For mesmerizing paper art ( I am biased here)

    A stylists dream

    Fab cafe

    Best Vietnamese

    Fun Bar

    Spectacular View Bar

    A day trip to Palm Beach

    Oh and Broadsheet is good for keeping up to date

    Have Fun!

  31. Eliesha

    October 1, 2013

    You have so many readers who know all about Sydney – but Melbourne is the best city in the world! Especially for eats and drinks! I could recommend you enough places to eat in Melbourne to keep you going for the rest of your life – for all occasions, all budgets and all tastes. Melbourne is a true foodie’s paradise.

  32. Erin

    October 2, 2013

    Yay! So glad you’re coming over here!

    Sydney ferries are a MUST! My husband and I never get tired of taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay where you can get hot fish and chips at Doyles on the wharf, hang out in the park and beach, and walk 5 minutes up to the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

    Food: Definitely Surry Hills. They’ve also got cute shops, and if you’re looking for something a little funky/indie, try Newtown.

    You might also find a few ideas on my old blog

    Good luck, I know you’ll have a blast!

  33. Jennifer Byrne

    October 3, 2013

    I am sure you are going to have the most amazing time in Australia and with all of the suggestions you will have an endless list of activates too!!


    THE BOATHOUSE PALM BEACH – An amazing place to go for breakfast or lunch and hang out in the sunshine over the water. You can also walk up to Barrenjoey lighthouse after

    ARMCHAIR COLLECTIVE – A elective shop and cafe combined! Eat in between amazing homewares

    LITTLE PAPER LANE – Jade the owner is amazing and I am sure she will squeal if you pop into her lovely little shop of paper goodness

    HEMINGWAYS MANLY – Dine next to bookshelves filled with vintage book. They have the most amazing cocktails served in tea cups

    BELGRAVE CARTEL – Go in the morning for a bit to eat or for a evening cocktail

    PULP PAPER – a little paper shop filled with amazing details in every corner

    HUGOS MANLY – Positioned right on the water at manly

    ADRIANO ZUMBO – the best macaroons in all the flavors your heart desires

    EL LOCO – a fun cheap Mexican hang

    GELATO MESSINA – the best and most creative gelato you have ever tasted! If you go to the shop on Victoria st in Darlinghurst they have a creative department next door where you can purchase mini mushroom cakes and bombe Alaska all made of ice ream!

    BOURKE ST BAKERY – You must try their sausage rolls and wash it down with an ice coffee
    KITCHEN BY MIKE – make sure if you are going for lunch you are there at 11.45 because the line will get so long you will have to wait an hour. It is a cafeteria style set up but it works oh so well. Fresh and tasty food. KBM also backs on the KOSKELA which is an amazing Australian home wares and furniture shop and MEGAN MORTON’S THE SCHOOL AND STUDIO is attached too.

    THE GROUNDS OF ALEXANDRIA – an amazing mix of good food great coffee and a well styled venue

    BREAD AND CIRCUS – if you can’t get a table at The Grounds then walk on over to bread and circus for fresh and healthy food

    THE STANDARD STORE SURRY HILLS – A great boutique clothing store

    GORMAN – A quirky and fun Australian brand with lots of stores all over Australia

    I LIKE BIRDS – a great homewares shop

    HINKY DINKS – a cute little bar


    have such an amazing time!!!

  34. angel swanson

    October 3, 2013

    You are going to LOVE Australia!!! We went earlier this year and it was phenomenal. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Sydney and honestly that made the trip. It is BEYOND and worth every single penny. My parents dined at Quay and thought it was just meh. We had a brilliant dinner at Pony Lounge (The Rocks); definitely a favorite of the trip! The opera house tour was so fascinating, and we also loved wandering around the Art Gallery of NSW and the nearby Botanical Gardens. Bill’s (in Surry Hills is my pick) for brekkie is a MUST. Gelato Messina is also amazing. Sydney is easily one of my fav cities in the world. Enjoy!!

  35. Kristen

    October 4, 2013

    Australia is amazing, the trip of a lifetime. Darling St. in Balmain lives up to its name. The Sydney Fish Market was yummy–lots of delicacies to try. Have tons of fun!

  36. alice {sweet dreamer}

    October 6, 2013

    How exciting! I live in Sydney and cannot say enough wonderful things about it.

    I hope you have a great trip. Can’t wait to see your posts!

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