Girls’ Day Out at Sunshine Plaza
Think you know the Sunshine Plaza? Think again. Generations gel when Carlie Wacker shares a day at the Plaza with Georgia Beard – there were revelations, celebrations and confirmation that this joint really has everything under the sun.
I’ve been sashaying through Sunshine Plaza for well over a decade, have excitedly embraced the expansion over the years and have a routine that rarely changes. I know where to park, shop and grab a coffee – my game is down pat but after a day with my savvy Hello Sunshine Magazine sidekick, 20-year-old Georgia Beard, I was forced to face the fact that I am an upper-level, new block snob and she is an alternative, adventurous cool kid who taught me to spread my wings.
Routine and loyalty – that’s the way this 45-year-old rolls at Sunshine Plaza. I always park in the new carpark near David Jones – the ascension from Millwell Rd East to the flashy new bays delivers me the sweet sensation that shopping, dining and fun has begun.
Rolling down the escalator at David Jones always ushers me in with its bright lights and heady scents – every single time. The next series of shop stops are in this order: Adairs, Polo Ralph Lauren, Country Road, Midas, Sheike, Mecca, Myer. If you know the Plaza you know my zig zag and you know at the end of the zag is a coffee spot – Little Sparrow.
My game is down to fine timing and after coffee, it is time to zig back via Tommy Hilfiger, Forever New, the new Dissh boutique, Wheel and Barrow and Gorman. As a fashion editor it is my duty to ‘research’ the current trends – and it’s my guilty pleasure. My one must-visit store is always Uncle George – the most colourful, happiest store in the world!
On days when I am dining, I am a sucker for El Camino Cantina and now that TGI Fridays has opened I will be reliving my youth enjoying a long island ice tea (we used to hang at TGI Fridays on Chapel Street, Sth Yarra in the 90s!).
When I asked Georgia to accompany me on this assignment, I thought I’d be teaching her a thing or two about how to navigate Sunshine Plaza. I’ve got more experience and I’ll show her how it’s done!
It turns out that G taught me a thing or two about my much-loved shopping, entertainment and dining precinct. Georgia’s way was worldy and wise, calculated and curated without being fastidious. She parked in the orange carpark near the cinemas and met me at the riverwalk where we meandered through the already cranking food court, past my friends at Chuckles and Boo and upstairs to her favourite fashion boutique of all time – Dangerfield. Windows filled with pleather, studded chokers and nannas knits should’ve alarmed me but I wanted the full Georgia experience so in we went. I found some sweet jumpsuits, pussy bows and taffeta skirts that have forever converted me. Next stop was Cotton On for the basic wardrobe essentials for winter and JB HiFi to peruse a serious collection of vinyl. I was impressed that G took me to a record store (actually JB is tech kid cool).
I needed a coffee break with a view, so we recharged at the glamorous Wine and Nine. G is an avid reader and I also loved exploring the Harry Hartog bookshop and its gift range. I wanted to see Georgia step out of her gorgeous vintage, retro style and into some sequins at Sheike (she can wear anything and look like a supermodel so it was fun to see her dress like me for giggles).
All day Georgia was banging on about bubble tea, some popping ball flavoured fruity beverage I had never heard of. Next minute we hit R-Crane Sushi & Bubble Tea ordering a bubble tea. My eyes and tastes have opened and now I am a lover of these brilliant bubbles in my tea – such exciting new experiences!
Before we left the Coles area, we popped over to see our friend David at Magic Massage and he insisted we do a quick Tik Tok – meanwhile Georgia is over at the colouring in wall erected while renovations are happening getting her graffiti on.
The Sunshine Plaza game forever changed for me – not gonna lie, feeling a bit younger and cooler and a bit less stiff after a relaxation massage with the Magic Massage master.
While I prefer to sit in and dine at a restaurant at Sunshine Plaza Georgia showed me another option – take away (I know, how modern!). We ordered the rainbow dumplings at Little Red Dumpling near the cinema while overlooking the activity on Cornmeal Creek. It felt like I was at a resort not a shopping centre – people were paddling and motoring in the creek, we were eating dumplings and sipping on bubble tea in the sun – my heart was full!
After more laughs and dumpling spills, we agreed there was more to explore and another date at Sunshine Plaza was required. I must show her the Carlie cinema experience and she wants to do the ropes course. We were too full to enjoy our fave snacks of Happy Dough donuts (Georgia) and I Heart Brownies (me) so we must return.
Sunshine Plaza is the gift that just keeps giving, a venue with everything under the sun – and bubble tea! I was walking on Sunshine!