Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Berry, New South Wales – Australia’s Novelty Shop Town

Pity the poor resident of Berry, Australia who wants a loaf of bread and bottle of milk. For such a small town, it has the most bewildering array of shopping. However, the amount of things that are actually useful can be counted on one hand. A disfigured hand, at that.
For some unknown reason, any Australian that has every dreamed of selling something of such narrow interest that there isn’t possibly a market for it has descended on Berry, and they are thriving.
A ramble down Queen Street in the New South Wales town is truly enthralling. You can buy sundials, cuckoo clocks, lizards made out of recycled metal and a ceramic biscuit jar in the shape of an elephant in high heels, sitting on an armchair. Are people actually buying this stuff?
If not, they are certainly not buying the fountain with two pigs playing tongue tennis inside it, the big furry owl in the castle turret, the acres of fake fruit and jester outfits.
It is all quite, quite surreal. Berry is the epitome of quaint, from the ye olde buildings to the bales of hay on the pavement of the high street. It’s undeniably gripping too, especially for those fond of people watching.
The British tourists are easy to spot – they’re the ones raiding the sweet shop and taking out the entire supply of biscuits thought long extinct. Then there’s those browsing the shops. Is anyone going to buy the granny nighties that everyone seems to have on prominent display? And perhaps more intriguingly, is anyone going to be fooled by an antiques shop that contains a glass model of the Sydney Opera House (opened in the ancient year of 1973)?

Getting to Berry, New South Wales, Australia

Nearest International Airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith airport

Using Public Transport: Berry is about 2 ½ hours drive south of Sydney. It is also on the South Coast train line from Sydney Central.

More information: Berry Website

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