(Shopping) Heaven is a place on earth, and its name is Melbourne

The city is known for fashion, but for those who don?t live there and want to shop like a Melbournian, the Hidden Secrets Shopping Tour comes highly recommended. The Lanes and Arcades Tour runs everyday from 10am to 1pm and gives visitors the best on what?s offer in Melbourne?s eclectic shopping precinct. Visit the retailers the locals love, including loft and basement businesses on a tour that exposes Melbourne’s X factor quality.

Melbourne?s Chapel Street is the epitome of urban street style. Discover everything from cutting edge fashion to funky homeware and inspiring gifts. Home to top Australian designers like Scanlan and Theodore, Collette Dinnigan and Bettina Liano, Chapel Street is as much about shopping as people watching, making this an irresistible temptation for the fashion conscious wanting to see and be seen. Keep an eye out for a visiting international celebrity or local Neighbour?s starlet, because as the A-list knows, you can?t find better fashion that at the Chapel. Nearby Greville Street specialises in seriously contemporary street wear style. The more adventurous shoppers detour to here (just off Chapel Street in Prahran) for offbeat retro clothing and streetwear, as well as eclectic gifts, jewellery and record stores.

If you?re looking for shoes, turn into Toorak Road for Dolce Firme in the Como Centre or Gary Castles across the road. If all this shopping is wearing you down, head to Pound caf? (down from the Corner of Chapel Street on Oxford Street) for a Grinders coffee and mouth watering panini.

Once one of Melbourne’s working-class suburbs, Richmond has been shone into an inner-city jewel filled with caf?s, restaurants and bargain shopping. Big-brand designer labels including Mimco, Country Road and Atelier have factory-outlet stores here, making it a Mecca for deal hunters with an eye for fashion. Bridge Road is always buzzing with bargain hungry shoppers overloaded with bags full of shoes, clothing accessories and gifts. Some of Melbourne’s most successful retail stores have their warehouses along Bridge Road, selling the latest fashion items at clearance prices. If shoes are your thing, make sure you pay a visit to the Nine West outlet (109 Bridge Road). The bargains are so good you will walk out with a whole new shoe collection. For something edgy pay a visit to Exentrix (307 Bridge Road), a shop that stocks a good range of samples and first runs by young designers.

If you want to power-shop with the best bargain hunters in Melbourne, it is worth going on a Shopping Spree Tour. With over 20 year?s experience, this tour guarantee to take you on the best discount outlets in Melbourne. Let yourself be escorted to a variety of Australia’s best factories and warehouses, where you can browse and buy until your hearts content. With lunch thrown in as part of the price, there is no better way to experience bargain shopping in Melbourne!

While Collins Street is all class with high-end luxury brands, its little sister is a commune of cool. From haute couture to hip culture and funky threads, Little Collins Street is where the city?s streetwise head to shop. Howey Place is the shop to go to if you are after an eclectic array of fashion. The store stocks a wide range of Stellini, La Bella Donna, Alannah Hill, Jacqui Fernandes and Andrea Yasmin just to name a few.

Another precinct for fashionistas is Flinders Lane, the shopping destination for the hip and happening. The lane is lined with distinctly Melbourne boutiques like Christine (fabulous for accessories) and Alice Euphemia (experimental designs by young and emerging designers).

If you are after high-end glamour with a touch of sex-appeal, head to Smitten Kitten, Melbourne?s exclusive lingerie boutique. Just around the corner from Flinders Lane (6 Degraves Street), the store stocks a fabulous range of hard to get Agent Provocateur, Valery and Kirby Purrs.

Yes, shopping heaven is a place on earth and it can found in Australia. South of border down Victoria way, where you will find the high-end and the glamour, the bargains and dirt cheap along with the quirky and unusual ? but best of all you will be spoilt for choice no matter your budget or your taste. Everything you need or want for shopping can be found in Melbourne.

More information on shopping in Melbourne can be found at visitvictoria.com