You’re probably asking yourself how I got myself into this pickle aren’t you? Why would any sane person commit to spending 24 glorious (??) hours in a shopping centre in near peak Christmas pandemonium? Honestly, all it took was a casual “you couldn’t spend 24 hours in a shopping centre” and I was off. Challenge god damn accepted, friends.
In case you’re wondering (of course you are) I settled on Macquarie Centre when figuring out where to kill spend my 24 hours. Mainly because they have loads of food options, a comfy AF cinema and wine hiding around every corner. These things were important so I didn’t hit hour three and wonder why I do these things to myself.
I walk (strut may be a better word TBH) into the shopping centre full of enthusiasm—24 hours in a shopping centre will be 24 hours of gifts from me to me. And what’s not to love about that? In case you’re wondering, which I know you are, I head here before lunch time and park in Valet because everyone knows that’s the sweet spot between school kids on holidays flooding the centre and the early birds. It’s pensioner territory, and that’s just damn relaxing.
Now, it’s shopping time. I’d managed to shelter my poor, abused credit card from all the carnage for long enough—it was time to get serious. The first stop was personal shopping. Hiding in MYER, this service is not only free (save for the ridiculous wardrobe update you’re about to do) but it’s also run by the loveliest woman I’ve met in my life. Settle in and give this woman your full attention. She deserves it. Then I headed over to Australian designer galore (aka Scanlon & Theodore, Zimmermann and Alice Mccall) and Zara to blow my entire paycheck.
After spending a couple of hours strolling the centre and getting my bearings (bathrooms, coffee, booze—you get it) it was time for food. I’d put it off for as long as possible with the logic that I probably couldn’t spend the full 24 hours eating. Off to Hattrick for me. This spot has the perfect balance between OTT eats, healthy treats and boozy milkshakes. Wait, what? Yep, the boozy cocktails here are like freak shakes on steroids, and you absolutely need to order it with a huge freaking cheese board and rocky road doughnut fries. Oh yeah, team—rocky road doughnut fries exist and they’re only the best thing ever. Obviously.
By 3pm I’m clearly hanging for a nap—arvo naps are simply life. I went in search of a display bed (think Pillow Talk, Adairs and Bed Bath n Table) with minimal security lurking around because I’m smart. The last thing I need right now is a security guard mucking up my disco nap.
I know I’m not the only person who feels like she’s just crawled out of a raging hangover after an arvo nap, so at this point, I would recommend you do exactly what I did—head to Sephora and let a lovely makeup artist help you look alive. I sat in the chair and begged very civilly asked Kat to save my face. My take homes are to conceal, highlight and highlight. Did I say that already? Oh, and my actual take homes were the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and a magical It Cosmetics brow pencil. What do you think she was trying to tell me?
To pump myself back up to the blissful state I found in personal shopping, I hit the games. This place has Timezone (hello youth, I missed you), an ice skating rink (lasted 10 minutes) and Strike Bowling (bowling and booze is a no-brainer). At this point I should tell you the range of activities was my biggest selling point on Macquarie Centre because spending hours bowling while drinking is the ideal way to kill time.
Now the fun begins and by that I mean more food and Event Cinemas Gold. First I ate my weight in dumplings, noodles and a crazy good eggplant dish at Chef’s Gallery (which is allllllways a good freaking idea) and then I hit up the candy bar at Event Cinemas. I don’t care how luxe Gold Class is—downing your entire popcorn and frozen coke before the trailers finish is mandatory. Following it up with all the LOLs from Kirsten Bell and my girl Mila Kunis is just a bonus.
The other reason I chose Macquarie Centre is because there’s a hotel right across the road and it totally counts. Heading here for a nightcap, shower and a sleep that didn’t involve a security guard breathing down my neck was oh-so-welcomed and I regret nothing.
So I cheated. Sue me guys—you try spending 24 uninterrupted hours in a shopping centre and then we can talk. Yeah, that’s what I thought. With only two hours left in my 24-hour challenge, I had two things on my mind—coffee and Mecca. Coffee to make me moderately tolerable and Mecca to help me fake that ‘I just woke up like this’ glow. You get it.
View Macquarie Centre's extended Christmas hours here.
Editor’s note: This article was produced in partnership with Macquarie Centre. Thank you for supporting the partners who make The Urban List possible.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso + Iris Tian