Just like Borat put Kazakstan on the map, so did Kath and Kim make Fountain Gate Shopping Centre famous. We felt it was about time we visited this icon.
It’s quite far from Melbourne, a good 40kms away and out of Melbourne proper. At first glance it looks tiny and pretty sad. There’s the usual collection of shops, Officeworks, Priceline. Aldi, Safeway, Big W and so on. My face fell when I first saw it and I even wanted to leave immediately, but we were there already and decided to walk around.
This place is not elegant. There’s no decor to speak of, no glamour, no ambience. There were plenty of shops, however and we were amazed by the number of shoe stores. Shoes, shoes, shoes, wherever we turned. Not much in the way of fresh food but enough supermarkets to cater for the area.
The one thing that Westfield always does well is to provide good food courts and restaurants and quite frankly, Chadstone Mall is inferior to Fountain Gate in that respect. Chadstone is not operated by Westfield and can be quite a frustrating place in which to find something to eat. Westfield, on the other hand, are the masters in their field and I’m looking forward to visiting Doncaster Shopping Centre which is getting a face lift at the moment and what I have seen so far is terrific.
But back to Fountain Gate. Surprisingly, the shopping centre is much bigger than it appears from the outside. It reminded us of the Tardis with its huge interior. We easily had a three kms walk around the place and could have achieved more. The only thing missing is a department store like David Jones or Myer, but it doesn’t really matter since I have often said that the days of department stores are numbered.
A notable difference beween Chadstone and Fountain Gate was that in the latter centre shoppers were sloppily dressed. Even my husband commented on it so it must have been noticeable. We had been under the impression that ALL Melburnians were better dressed than Queenslanders. Well, we were wrong because there were so many women there who were dressed just like Kim. In fact, we didn’t see anyone as colour co-ordinated as Kath. Apparently, tattoos are still the fashion accessory de rigueur at Fountain Gate as are pony tails on some of the men. Can’t imagine that Kel Knight could have gotten away with carrying his manbag at Fountain Gate.
We searched for a butcher shop there but must have missed it. As Kath would say “You have your Ikea, you have your K-Mart, what more could you want?”
It was a fun day and I bought a few bargains at the $2 shop. Fountain Gate is a great shopping centre, unpretentious and efficient. I have to agree with Kath.