The interior of Curiosity Merchants, a jewellery and crystal store in Melbourne.
Photograph: Nicole England

Weird and wonderful shops in Melbourne

Whether shopping for yourself or others, there's a cool and kooky gift here to suit everyone

Adena Maier
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Sure, everyone always loves receiving classic presents like a bottle of booze or a box of specialty chocolates. But if you're looking to give someone a one-of-a-kind gift, we're here to help you acquire something mighty strange. Shop spellbooks and potion ingredients for any aspiring witches in your circle, pick up a frog-shaped teapot or purchase some David Shrigley 'cocaine and heroin' shakers for the dinner table. And don't forget to grab a lil pressie for yourself, too.

Looking for a second-hand gem? Hit up Melbourne's best vintage stores and op shops.

Cool shops in Melbourne

  • Shopping
  • Melbourne

Yearning for a bit of magic in your life? Make your way to Spellbox, a shop in the Royal Arcade hawking all things witchcraft. Opened in 1993 by owner Danae Thorp, a witch and psychic reader, Spellbox is filled with an enchanting array of spellbinding products. Pick up spells to weave sacred healing, prosperity, fertility and more; apothecary goodies like sage smudge sticks and oil blends; tarot card decks and books on numerology, palm-reading and rituals; and all manner of crystals. You can also book in for reiki healing or tarot reading sessions, or take online courses in topics like astrology and tarot.

  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Melbourne

This tiny shop in the Royal Arcade looks like it was plucked off the pages of a gothic novel, its dark and ornate shelves filled with curios like skull-shaped crystals and hand-blended perfumes. It's the brainchild of Kiwi jeweller Zora Bell Boyd and husband Dan Zizys, and according to the husband-and-wife duo, its intention is to "engender a sense of wonder, surprise and discover for shoppers." Inside, you'll find opulent and striking objects including crystals, jewellery, candles and perfumes. Many of Boyd's one-offs and collections can be found in-store, and if you desire bespoke jewellery, you can also make an appointment to meet with her. 

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  • Shopping
  • Melbourne

Located in Royal Arcade, Babushkas has been around since 1991 and sells everything from traditional babushkas to ones painted like presidents and rock stars. Sets start at as little as $18 but if you feel like splashing out, you can find elaborate sets of up to ten pieces for around $350. And while the store is named after its top-selling product, babushkas aren't all this store sells. You can also shop for products like wooden chess sets from Poland, hand-made marionettes and puppets, lacquered jewellery, key rings and pens or wooden toys shaped like animals and vehicles.

  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Brunswick

If you were under the impression that toys are just for kids, the crew behind the designer toy collective This Is Not A Toy Scene is here to dispel that notion. For three years, this collective has been working with local creators to showcase designer toys, and now it has taken up residence in a store on Lygon Street. You won't find your average dime-a-dozen toys from a big box store at This Is Not A Toy Store. Instead, you'll find limited-edition pieces that are aimed at collectors of all ages. The store features works from collective members like Facter, who makes hand-casted and hand-painted toys of fantastical creatures, and Tiddy Bean Toys, which specialises in resin action figures. Other members you can expect works from include Imaginarium, Zng Toys, Night Terror Toys, Kensville, Cepholopede and more. 

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  • Shopping
  • Collingwood

Need a little spice in your life? From mild to scorching, there's a sauce that will challenge your taste buds. Mat's Hot Shop stocks some of the most innovative and exciting small-batch sauce makers, and has somewhere between 100-150 varieties on its shelves at any one time. Plus, it's considered Australia's very first hot sauce tasting room. A word of warning, though: one wrong move and your mouth may need days to recover.

  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy
Third Drawer Down
Third Drawer Down

This objets d'art emporium is your one-stop awesome gift shop. Starting out more than a decade ago with a range of artist-commissioned tea towel designs (which you’d keep in the third drawer down, naturally), this Collingwood joint is now a design studio, museum and shop all in one. Shop garden gnomes giving you the middle finger, giant pineapple stools and offensive decorative plates by David Shrigley.

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  • Shopping
  • Melbourne

Wunderkammer is German for 'cabinet of curiosities', and this shop certainly lives up to that name. You'll find a wide array of scientific curios and antiques here that are a mix between educational and artistic. Shop antique globes and maps, taxidermied animals, timber castles and more.

  • Shopping
  • Arts and crafts
  • Melbourne

On top of being stocked with a wide range of Lego sets, this store will also be home to a world-first Melbourne tram made from more than 650,000 Lego bricks. It's the perfect destination for children and adults who are still children at heart, with fun areas like the Pick a Brick wall and Minifigure Station to explore, and you can even leave your mark by using the Mosaic Maker to leave a portrait of yourself at the Personalisation Studio.

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  • Shopping
  • Accessories
  • Melbourne

Here us out: are you even besties with someone if you haven't gifted them an adult toy? High Tide rallies against the archetype of sex shops emblazoned with flashing neon signs or blackened windows, aiming to make purchasing sex toys a shame-free, approachable and inclusive retail experience. It sells products for all genders and sexualities, including toys, equipment, lubricants and oils, from a curated collection of more than thirty sexual wellness brands

 

  • Shopping
  • Gifts

Fun, quirky design at accessible prices is the go at Monsterthreads – a series of gift shops that began as stalls at several Sydney markets. Regular customers love Monsterthreads for the brand’s signature animal designs, which pop up on necklaces, men’s and women’s clothing and wallets; think robot pandas, sailor cats, bears in dapper suits and toothy sharks. 

More of Melbourne's best shops

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