The rectangle bounded by Elizabeth, King, York and Park streets is Sydney's prime shopping area, with a number of beautifully restored Victorian arcades and the main department stores . The city also has plenty of sparkling shopping complexes where you can hunt for fashion and accessories without raising a sweat. Still in the centre, The Rocks is packed with Australiana and souvenir shops , where you can satisfy the urge to buy boomerangs, didgeridoos and stuffed toy koalas, and it's also the best place for duty- and GST-free shopping.

Paddington is best for stylish one-stop shopping, with its enticing array of designer shops, funky fashion, some of the city's most appealing bookshops - and the best weekend market in town. The more avant-garde Darlinghurst and Surry Hills (notably the stretch of Crown Street between Devonshire and Oxford streets) have become a focus for retro-influenced interior design and clothes shops. In the inner west, Balmain has chic shops and gourmet delis to supplement its Saturday market, while cheerfully grungy Newtown and neighbouring St Peters are great for secondhand fashions and quirky speciality stores. Down at the beach, Bondi Pavilion has an excellent souvenir shop, and the Campbell Parade strip offers lots of beachwear and surf shops.

Finally, if you've run out of time to buy presents and souvenirs, the revamped Sydney Airport has one of the biggest shopping malls in Sydney, with outlets for everything from surfwear to R. M. Williams bushoutfitters, at the same prices as downtown stores.

The main sales happen immediately post-Christmas and in August, although there are also stock clearances throughout the year, often around public holidays.

Other useful information for tourists (each section contains more specific sub-sections):