Help me buy a gift in Melbourne over the internet
June 20, 2010 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Melbourne MeFites – help me find a gift I can buy online for a Melbourne-dwelling friend.

A friend of mine is going to give me a pretty good computer she no longer uses, and won’t take any money for it. It’s a very generous gift, and I’d like to get her something to say thanks.

She lives in Australia, I live in Scotland, so I want to buy something online (we’ll meet for a few hours on Saturday as she’s passing through the UK, hence the laptop handover).

I’m looking for something, probably value up to about AUD200, though that’s pretty flexible. i.e. it’s not going to be near the value of the computer, but generous enough to be a real treat for her, not just a small token.

She’s just moved to Melbourne (from New Zealand, though she’s originally a Falkland Islander) to be with her fiance, so top candidate at the moment is restaurant vouchers for the two of them to have a nice meal with wine. (I wondered about this place, not least because it’s in a converted woolshed, which is a kind of nice Falklands link – that’s a place with a lot of woolsheds).

Other activities, spa-type suggestions would also be great. Useful info: she's: mid-30s, pretty stylish, loves shopping for clothes and jewellery, still getting to know and explore Melbourne.
posted by penguin pie to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could get her a Visa gift card - then she can have fun shopping for whatever it is that she's after. Some options are available here.
posted by msbutah at 2:31 PM on June 20, 2010

You could treat her to a massage.

From our very own goshling.
posted by special-k at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2010

How about a giftcard she can soend in any shop at Melbourne Central? Or a Novatix pass for ten cinema tickets at Cinema Nova (one of Melbourne's best arthouse cinemas) on Lygon Street?
posted by hot soup girl at 3:57 PM on June 20, 2010

I don't have any particular suggestion, but if you need legs on the ground to go and do something ror you, l;et me know. I'm in the city 3-4 times a week.
posted by tim_in_oz at 4:23 PM on June 20, 2010

Best answer: Longrain gift vouchers - fabulous Thai restaurant with amazing cocktails and more expensive than most people (I know) will tolerate for a regular night out (especially with the cocktails!). Having said that, $200 would buy a very fine meal with a good number of cocktails for two people and any change left over could be used to just visit the bar sometime. The food at this place is absolutely delicious.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:39 PM on June 20, 2010

I second hot soup girl's recommendation that you buy her a Melbourne Central gift card. If your friend can't spend a couple of hundred bucks there and come away quite pleased and thankful, then she'll never be happy!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:26 PM on June 20, 2010

do you whereabouts in melbourne your friend is living?
it's a big place
posted by compound eye at 8:36 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

you could combine dinner at wabi sabi with a present she could pick up a bit further down the same street from incube8r: which is a little shop in fitzroy where local artists and designers rent a shelf to sell their stuff.
posted by compound eye at 8:46 PM on June 20, 2010

Best answer: Bluestone is quite nice but longrain, as suggested, is definitively a cut above- excellent reputation for good food. Perhaps you could narrow down a cuisine, if restaurants are the way to go? Also, Aesop is a lovely brand of cosmetics/body care products that operates locally and, I'm fairly confident, online. And it's down the road from wabi sabi!
posted by jojobobo at 11:09 PM on June 20, 2010

yes jojobobo's suggestion of aesop products is a good one, and very melbourne.
also i should have specified wabi sabi salon is on the same street, and around the corner from aesop. wabi sabi garden is in another part of the city.
posted by compound eye at 2:35 AM on June 21, 2010

Best answer: Oh god please please please steer clear of Bluestone - I went there once a few years ago and it was great. Got a friend a gift voucher as an engagement gift. BAD IDEA. Unknown to me they were under new management. The food and service had fallen and the absolute kicker was - they spent most of the voucher but had about $50 left - the restaurant REFUSED to give them a new voucher for the balance. This was not explained as a condition on the sale of the voucher and must be illegal as I'd already paid a certain amount. Anyway - friend ended up buying $50 worth of little bottles of olive oil to use the rest of the voucher. End of rant.

I have been here Sakura Lounge before for a shiatsu massage - amazing. They do great packages as well.

If you think she'd find it amusing you could try this Tramcar Restaurant - can't vouch for it but I think it would be fun!
posted by nothing too obvious at 2:46 AM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the thoughtful answers, I'll go through all your suggestions when I get a moment and enjoy picking one (or more!) that I think she'd love. At this point, thanks especially to nothing too obvious for the Bluestone warning - consider it crossed off the list.

(compound eye - I was looking for her address when I put the question together and have mislaid it, otherwise I would certainly have included it, I realise that makes recommendations harder).
posted by penguin pie at 3:52 PM on June 21, 2010

Longrain is in the heart of the city, so it would be fine for anyone. I also think the Aesop suggestion is a good one - I love the stuff, but it is expensive (eg $42 for a 500ml bottle of shower gel). So anytime someone gives me some, I am thrilled. Currently using the coriander and black pepper one. They do some good gift packs, and do also have a facial spa place in South Yarra. Aesop is a Melbourne brand.

For an out-of-town dining option, the Healesville Hotel has fantastic food based on local and seasonal produce. About an hour's drive away.
posted by AnnaRat at 7:43 PM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again, all - have gone for Longrain this time round, so marked those as best answers, but will save all the other suggestions for future presents! (And thanks tim_in_oz for the offer of doing the legwork, not needed in the end, but a kind offer).
posted by penguin pie at 1:14 PM on July 4, 2010

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