Where to shop in Canberra… that’s the million dollar question.
The ACT is the new capital of shopping, home to lots of unique boutiques and bustling markets. Here are the must-stop-and-stare shops to while away a weekend and splurge in style. (By Leigh-Ann Pow)
1. Moxom and Whitney
Helmed by friends Belinda Whitney and Lou Moxom, Moxom and Whitney is a florist with an edge, producing exuberant, organic arrangements, as well as its signature whimsical made-on-the-premises terrariums, filled with all manner of lush greenery, as well as tiny people and animals. Book a place in their Terrarium School to learn how to make your own little world in a glass.
DETAILS: 28/30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
Headed up by creative director Brian Tunks, Bisonhome sells its ceramics and glassware from its light and airy flagship shop in the suburb of Pialligo. Rendered in a rainbow colour palette, Bison’s beautifully crafted ceramics are tactile and organic in shape, with everything from plates to mixing bowls to serving platters to vases to its signature tea bowls on offer here. The temptation to take home one in every colour is hard to fight.
DETAILS: 6/8 Beltana Road, Pialligo
3. Hustle & Scout
Founded in 2013, Hustle & Scout is a regular twilight market showcasing the best in independent Australian designer fashion. Since then it has grown and grown (and incorporated local street food event The Forage), requiring a new venue, a new multi-level car park, to contain it. Once there you will find fashion and designs that are big on unique value, from the vintage to the sustainable pieces to the handmade and the up-cycled, lots of it made in and around the city itself. Keep an eye on the website for the date and details of the next market.
DETAILS: Little National Hotel, 21 National Circuit, Barton
Equal parts cafe, wine bar and bookshop, Muse is the latest addition to the hip East Hotel in the equally funky Kingston neighbourhood. Inspired by a similar concept discovered by co-owner Paul Eldon when he lived and worked in Beijing, the bookshop, with its oak bookshelves and vintage Afghan kilims, has 2000 new and second-hand titles to peruse. This can be done while tucking into breakfast from 6:30am, lunch during the day, brunch on the weekends or just a relaxing glass of red in the afternoon.
DETAILS: East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston
5. The Hamlet
A former garage space that has been resurrected as a space for ‘makers, foodies and local creatives’, The Hamlet features food vans galore, selling everything from coffee to pizza to hotdogs from crowd-pleaser BrodDog, and there’s fashion, jewellery and ceramics to shop, as well as live music and night markets.
DETAILS: 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
6. The Curatoreum
After you’ve finished walking among nature, admiring bonsai or watching the kids play in the totally fabulous Pod Playground, you have to visit The Curatoreum before leaving The National Arboretum. This brilliantly considered book and gift shop is filled with books, toys, homewares and jewellery, much of which I had never seen anywhere else before. A personal favourite is the lovely selection of stationery, including delightfully quirky offerings such as the Beautiful Chickens Notecards (no, seriously).
DETAILS: Forest Drive, Weston Creek
7. Old Bus Depot Markets
Held every Sunday in the old bus depot located on the Kingston foreshore, which is getting a serious makeover at the moment with lots of new apartments, restaurants and bars moving in, these markets have been around for over 20 years. You’ll find fashion, jewellery, homewares, art, collectibles and food all under cover, so the show goes on no matter what the weather.
DETAILS: 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston
8. The Shop at the National Gallery
One of the best art gallery shops you are likely to frequent, the range at The Shop at the National Gallery is expansive and well curated, especially its books, which cover everything from art to fashion to interiors to architecture, and lots more besides. This light, bright space should not be relegated to a cursory browse as you leave the gallery; you will want to spend some serious time here discovering all it has to offer (arts, crafts, diaries, journals, stationery, prints, posters, toys, games, jewellery… should we go on?).
DETAILS: Parkes Place, Parkes
9. Lonsdale Street
Once you’ve finished your coffee at Lonsdale Street Roasters, take a stroll around the neighbourhood to browse fashion, books, vintage design stores and more.
DETAILS: 7 and 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
10. Canberra Centre
Big and bold and jammed with all the labels and outlets required to be considered a true shopping destination. Canberrans flock to the Canberra Centre on the weekends and spend up big. There is a pleasant precinct feel about the place, though, with ample eateries located in and around the centre and pedestrian-ised side streets snaking out from it.
DETAILS: Bunda Street, Canberra; 02 6247 5611.