There are few things better than hitting the asphalt for a weekend road trip – if not for stopping at every award-winning vanilla slice bakery along the way, then rummaging through some giant dusty warehouse marveling at dozens of vintage kettles. We’ve rounded up some of the best in the country, so you can be assured of returning home a kimono and lava lamp or three heavier.
Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar, VIC
If your home draws an aesthetic from a certain nostalgic era, a visit to Castlemaine Vintage Bazaar will sort out any gaps you might have – be it matching coffee, tea and sugar canisters from the 1970s, or a Giovanni Bragolin Crying Boy reproduction painting from the 1950s. Vintage-clothing hounds will quickly sniff out sequined 1970s disco tops, old Wrangler denim and Grace Jones or Madonna sweatshirts among the goods. Even if you’ve visited before, know this bazaar simply won’t stop growing – it doesn’t quite rival nearby Daylesford’s Amazing Mill Markets in size, but it definitely does in quality.
Where it has the real edge on Daylesford is its location in the Old Woollen Mill, also home to the Austrian-themed Das Kaffeehaus, Sprout Bakery, Boomtown Wine, and brewery and live music venue The Taproom, among others – making it well worth the 90-minute road trip from Melbourne.
Victory Theatre Antique Centre, NSW
Blackheath can get passed over by visitors to the Blue Mountains for the art deco wow-factor of nearby Katoomba. But inside this period theatre built in 1915, previously home to a cinema, ice-skating rink and peg factory, lies a cafe, gallery and the largest antique centre west of Sydney.
Around 50 old-school dealers are spread out over the two floors, selling vintage jewellery, rare books, collectables such as dolls and medals, furniture, and fine china. As if the grand exterior of the Victory Theatre wasn’t eye-catching enough, there’s also a colouful flora-and-fauna mural down one side, the vision of artist and fashion designer Jenny Kee, who settled in Blackheath. (While here also see murals she also designed on the toilet block in the Ivanhoe car park and school hall.)
Once you’ve stocked up on trinkets there’s plenty of virtuous sightseeing to be done in the area, such as taking in Govetts Leap lookout.
Littlest Vintage, SA
As the name might suggest, Littlest Vintage is a cute outlet likely to appeal to a younger demographic of artisan groupies and retro tattoo collectors. It says on the outside of its shed it stocks “Old goods for good people”, but primarily it’s interested in working over your house and garden – with the odd foray into cowboy boots and western shirts.
You may not realise you want a vintage typewriter, taxidermied stag head, rustic piece of farm equipment, industrial furniture or old school desk (as opposed to an old-school desk, though they have those too), but you’re likely to leave with one. The resident dogs are also obliging models if you fancy a pre-trip browse of some of the stock online. Don’t forget that if you’re here, you’re smack bang in the McLaren Vale wine region.
Trish’s Place, WA
You can’t go wrong in North Fremantle for browsing antiques – you can scarcely head down any road without tripping over a brass coal bucket. But if your goal is one-off pieces for the home, make Trish’s Place your first stop. While it may sound like a sandwich bar, it takes its trade very seriously.
The pink heritage-listed Victorian building usually has some curios in the window, and the 15 rooms spread over two floors are packed with items highly sought after by restaurants and interior designers. Should you need a French settee, a ship’s wheel, Murano lights or a chandelier, you’ll likely find them here. There’s also a big range of glassware, sporting memorabilia, taxidermy, clocks and lights. If you’ve got a theme in mind it’ll even try to source unusual items for you.
Miss Brown Vintage Gold Coast, QLD
Brisbanites in the know will readily take a 70-minute drive to Burleigh Heads for the Miss Brown Vintage experience. The Gold Coast isn’t exactly known for its vintage apparel, but then Miss Brown stocks a very beach-y take, sourcing surf tees, roughed-up Levis boyfriend jeans, boho belts, hats and scarves, gypsy dresses, silk, fur, and all the other paraphernalia needed to put together a just-stepped-out-of-the-shack look.
If that’s only whetted your appetite, keep pointing the car in the same direction and you’ll reach its sister store in Byron Bay. The handful of stores across the country were founded by vintage buyer Madeleine Thomson 25 years ago. She more recently teamed up with Rochelle La Rochelle, who founded the Hello Sailor Vintage Fair in Melbourne. In other words, they know exactly how to find the niftiest threads.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with MINI and is inspired by the MINI Countryman, which boasts a luggage compartment of 450 litres.