For a long time, I’ve felt like the only Australian to never have been to Melbourne. All of my friends have been. Several times. Some have moved there and then sheepishly moved home a few months later. All bemoaned how awful Perth’s bars/restaurants/shopping/public transport/everything were in comparison to Melbourne.
Well last month, I finally got to see Melbourne.
There was no way I was going to Melbourne without going op shopping. Which is good because I forgot my coat and even though it was nearly summer, it was freezing. So I did a bit of research and figured out that Brunswick was where I wanted to go.
My friend, Deena came up to visit from Geelong and we were both as lost as each other but we got on a tram that we hoped would take us in the right direction. With the help of a few locals, we managed to get off at the right stop which was actually a fair walk from where we wanted to be.
The first place we stumbled across was The Brotherhood St Laurance. I’ve seen these op shops mentioned a lot in blogs, but we don’t have them in Perth so I was intrigued.
First of all, the op shop was huge. And it had everything; clothes, books, furniture… if I had this when I first moved out of home, I would’ve been very happy. The front end had a lot of vintage clothing and homewares. They were all under their own label (I can’t remember what it was) and they were a bit more expensive than your usual op shop items but seemed pretty reasonable. If memory serves me correctly, dresses were around $30-40 and were actual vintage and wearable, not 80’s monstrosities and shoes were around $15.
This is a photo from near the back, at the furniture section. The op shop just kept going and going
After that was the rack of usual op shop clothing, including a buy one get one free sale on winter coats. I came out with an armful of options, but unfortunately most of them didn’t fit, womp womp. However, the options were good quality and well priced – I suspect the store has a high standard for what they put out on the racks.
There were so many amazing options as far as furniture and I was calculating shipping rates to Perth in my mind. I think prices were a lot better than you see in Perth – not sure if it’s something to do with the store or if there are just so much more 2nd hand furniture in Melbourne than in Perth.
I also chose out a couple of books – they were organised by genre which made it really easy to find something interesting and the prices were comparable to what I’d pay at home.
After a good hour or so at the one op shop, I ended up leaving with a scarf and two books and Deena bought some pants and a nice top.
Now let me say, one hour in a single op shop isn’t much for me. I’m sure a lot of you seasoned op shoppers are the same – how else are you going to find the best stuff?! But Deena was new to op shopping and had probably underestimated what is involved. So when we walked into a Savers (another op shop not found in WA), this was her reaction
I have to admit, even I was unprepared for Savers. It. Was. Huge. Like warehouse huge. Like Kmart huge. Just plain huge. It was racks apon rack apon racks of clothes. Like a supermarket but instead of groceries, there was second hand stuff. They even had multiple checkouts like a supermarket.
I made it as far as the book racks before Deena suggested we come back later.
I agreed because I had my Salvos vouchers and Google maps told us that the Salvos were just a few stops away.
We managed to find the Salvos and finally found a normal sized op shop. After the two warehouse sized op shops, this was a nice change.
Once again, this op shop seemed to focus on quality over quantity in its clothing. They had some great options for shoes, all of which were – of course – slightly too big or too small for me. But luckily, they had a great selection of coats.
I did eye of this signature Burberry trench which was only $15 but it didn’t quite fit me right and wasn’t really my style so I left it behind for some lucky person.
I did however find these two snuggly coats:
The brown one ended up being worn every day for the rest of my trip.
So to summarise: Melbourne op shops are huge, possibly slightly cheaper than Perth and have great quality clothing. And Melbourne as a whole was so great that I didn’t really take any holiday photos so you’re just going to have to trust me here.
And you know what? I never made it back to Savers. So I’m definitely going to have to plan another Melbourne trip just so I can spend three hours combing through the store.