Visitors to Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia, inevitably find themselves in the Queen Street Mall, a shopping strip in the CBD with all the usual suspects. Its saving grace is the Queen's Plaza, a newly refurbished upmarket shopping centre that is home to Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and the vast David Jones department store. Nearby, the heritage-listed Brisbane Arcade, built in 1923, with its array of jewellery and fashion boutiques, also helps put distance between shoppers and the dreaded mall.
Those in the know, however, venture further afield in 'Brisvegas'. Fortitude Valley, once the city's dirty, dodgy backyard, has become a hip hub. Here, you'll find local clothing designs with a Japanese twist at Maiochhi (370 Brunswick Street) and shoes that rock at Jules and Roc (362 Brunswick Street). Fashionistas flock to Dogstar (713 Ann Street) for its unusual range of structured clothing. James Street, which adjoins Ann Street, is the latest to benefit from the trendy fairy's touch and now hosts chic eateries, bars and boutiques. The Emporium (1000 Ann Street; www.emporium.com.au) is Fortitude Valley's new kid on the block and is packed with ultra-modern boutiques, including Ella Bache, Camargue and Alla Moda.
Those who like to shop alfresco have several options on weekends. They can return to the Valley (above) for handmade jewellery, organic beauty products, printed T-shirts and jeans. Another choice is the South Bank Lifestyle Market (www.southbankmarket.com.au), held on the Brisbane River waterfront and featuring an eclectic mix of arts and crafts, massage tents and fashion stalls.
No shopping trip in Brisbane would be complete without a trawl of Paddington. Here, quaint shop fronts display everything from vintage fare (at Endos, 29 Latrobe Terrace) to girly-girl threads (La La Latrobe, 21 Latrobe Terrace), stylish homeware (Olive Home, unit 2, 220 Given Terrace) to antiques (Paddington Antique Centre, 167 Latrobe Terrace).
For more old-world charm, head to Brisbane Antiques (23 Crosby Road, Albion; www.brisbaneantiques.com.au). Founded by the former organiser of the city's antiques market, this one-stop shop taps the former frontier town's fusion of colonial and indigenous history.