Christmas shopping is stressful enough at home. But when you’re running around as a traveller to a new city, not only do you come up against the same holiday crowds, it’s also difficult to know where even to begin the hunt. There’s no shortage of stocking fillers in Sydney, a major city that’s just as welcoming to big-name brands as it is to home-grown labels—it’s just about knowing where to look before you throw yourself into the fray. From the art-lover in your life to the intrepid traveller to that person you’ve always thought would look great in a wide-brim hat—we’ve put together a list of the best places to find gifts for all your loved ones in Sydney.
From classic to kitsch, Victoria’s Basement has all points of the homewares spectrum covered. The store occupies the entire south-end of the basement level in Sydney’s iconic Queen Victoria Building, itself a treasure trove for Christmas shopping. Stocking the world’s most famous kitchenware brands—Victorinox, Cuisinart, Tefal, Scanpan and Noritake among them—you’ll find glassware, kitchenware, cookware, dinnerware and every other ware you can think of. At this time of year, the store is also filled with collectable seasonal Christmas trinkets.
Basement level, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, Sydney.
Quintessentially Australian gifts can be found at Strand Hatters, a veteran name in the hat industry. Located in The Strand Arcade, a heritage gem in Sydney CBD, Strand Hatters specialises in heritage Australian brands such as Akubra, of which it has the largest range in Sydney. However, the boutique doesn’t limit itself to just one look. Here you’ll find everything from Ecuadorian panama hats to summer straw styles to other accessories such as crafted leather belts, cuff links, canes, umbrellas and gloves. Strand Hatters also offers an in-store blocking and shaping service to match the hat specifically to the head of its wearer.
The Strand Arcade, 412 George Street, Sydney.
Kate Owen Gallery
There is no one style of Australian Indigenous art; rather, there are vast and rich variations in styles and practices from region to region, and a strong contingent of contemporary Indigenous artists who are giving long-held practices and traditions new life. The sheer variety of Indigenous art is something that the staff at Kate Owen Gallery are well-placed to showcase. The Rozelle gallery has a huge stockroom of Indigenous art that encompasses traditional styles, contemporary works, and pieces of all scales. This month, the gallery is throwing a massive end-of-year sale, with a stockroom of more than 1,000 sale artworks to choose from. Original paintings start from $95 and range from small works by emerging artists to collectable pieces from some of the country’s most respected names. All paintings purchased from the gallery come with authenticity documentation.
680 Darling Street, Rozelle.
Since it was established in Switzerland more than 130 years ago, Victorinox has become a household name globally for its measured approach to innovation, tradition and quality in travel products. Their range centres around a number of core products that the brand does extremely well (it is known for its Swiss army knives and luggage in particular). Although new collections and designs are regularly released to meet contemporary aesthetics, there is no fast-paced production; rather, any changes that are made to these core products are carefully considered and tested. Although Victorinox doesn’t have a standalone store in Sydney, it’s not hard to find stockists. Check the website for the best place to find their products.
Summer means pool parties, picnics and long days on the beach, all of which need music. The new WONDERBOOM 2 range by Ultimate Ears is not only ultra-compact and portable, it is also drop, dust and waterproof. This tiny pocket rocket is capable of supplying up to 13 hours of high-quality audio with crisp, bass-heavy sound. It is also equipped with an Outdoor Boost button, especially tuned for outdoors listening. You’ll find the new collection in many of Sydney’s audio specialists, but JB H-Fi in particular is a solid bet if you want to check out a larger range of Ultimate Ears products.
JB Hi-Fi, Level 6, Westfield Sydney, Cnr Pitt and Market Streets, Sydney.
It’s seldom that a bottle shop develops a cult following, but in the case of P&V Merchants, it’s well-deserved. Opened in the past few years on Enmore Road in Newtown, this little store has fast developed a reputation for their curated range of natural wines, artisan spirits and handmade drinking vessels. The selection is kept relatively tight, and is chosen by people who live and breathe fine wine. Whatever you settle on, it’s all but guaranteed to go down a treat.
P&V Merchants, 64 Enmore Road, Newtown.