Sydney

Sydney's shops vary from those with international cachet to Aboriginal art galleries, opal shops, craft bazaars, and weekend flea markets. If you're interested in buying genuine Australian products, look carefully at the labels. Stuffed koalas and didgeridoos made anywhere but in Australia are a standing joke.

Aboriginal art includes historically functional items, such as boomerangs, wooden bowls, and spears, as well as paintings and ceremonial implements that testify to a rich culture of legends and dreams. Although much of this artwork remains strongly traditional in essence, the tools and colors used in Western art have fired the imaginations of many Aboriginal artists. Works on canvas are now more common than works on bark. Much of the best work of Arnhem Land and the Central Desert Region (close to Darwin and Alice Springs, respectively) finds its way into Sydney galleries.

Australia has a virtual monopoly on the world's supply of opals. The least expensive of these fiery gemstones are triplets, which consist of a thin shaving of opal mounted on a plastic base and covered by a plastic, glass, or quartz crown. Doublets are a slice of mounted opal without the capping. The most expensive stones are solid opals, which cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. You can pick up opals at souvenir shops all over the city, but if you want a valuable stone you should visit a specialist. Sydney is also a good hunting ground for other jewelry, from the quirky to the gloriously expensive.

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  • 1. Bondi Markets

    Bondi Beach | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    This relaxed and friendly beachside market at Bondi is the place to go for clothes—vintage and by up-and-coming designers—plus handmade jewelry...Read More

  • 2. Paddington Markets

    Paddington | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    About 200 stalls crammed with clothing, plants, crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs fill this busy churchyard market (sometimes called Paddington...Read More

  • 3. Belinda

    Double Bay | Clothing

    This is where Sydney's female fashionistas go when there's a dress-up occasion looming. From her namesake store that scores high marks for innovation...Read More

  • 4. Cooee Aboriginal Art

    Bondi Beach | Art Galleries

    This gallery, open Tuesday–Saturday 10–5, exhibits and sells high-end Aboriginal paintings, sculptures, and limited-edition prints. It's a five...Read More

  • 5. Gertrude & Alice Café Bookshop

    Bondi Beach | Books/Stationery

    Need something to read on Bondi Beach? Take a stroll to Gertrude & Alice Café Bookshop, named in honor of lovers Gertrude Stein and Alice...Read More

  • 6. Oxford Street

    Paddington | Shopping Centers/Malls

    Nicknamed the "Style Mile," Paddington's main artery, from South Dowling Street east to Queen Street, Woollahra, is dressed to thrill. Lined...Read More

  • 7. Scanlan & Theodore

    Paddington | Clothing

    This is the Sydney outlet for one of Melbourne's most distinguished fashion houses. Designs take their cues from Europe, with superbly tailored...Read More

  • 8. Collect

    Surry Hills | Specialty Stores

    Come here for beautiful glass, wood, and ceramic creations. Its attached gallery, Object, displays a larger selection of Australian-made crafts. ...Read More

  • 9. Orson & Blake

    Woollahra | Specialty Stores

    This feels like an art gallery dedicated to great modern design, with eclectic housewares, fashions, handbags, and accessories. ...Read More

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