Op Shop treasures in the Valley

Novelty sat and peppers shakers to antique collectibles, op shops have anything and everything. Picture: TANYA STEELE

By Tanya Steele

Yarra Valley can hold a treasure trove of antiques, history and bargains and visits to some of the region’s second-hand opportunity shops can turn over gold.

Op Shopping can be fun for everyone and no matter your age, a little rummage through some second-hand goods can be good for the soul.

A whole day can be whittled away driving through the Valley, with a progression of community op shops to investigate along the way.

Coldstream Op Shop Manager Rebecca said she recommends starting in Mt. Evelyn and Lilydale before branching onwards.

“The Mt. Evelyn op shop opens at 9 am, a lot of the smaller ones don’t open until 10 am,” she said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever managed to hit all of them in one day. – there are a lot of them in the Yarra Valley.”

The Discovery Op Shop in Mt. Evelyn followed by the The Mustard Tree in Lilydale (which has an attached café) can kick off a great day of op shopping.

The Discovery Op Shop updates its social media regularly posting about treasures coming through the store, so people can keep their eyes peeled.

The Mustard Tree has a bustling café vibe, you can sip a coffee and have a sweet treat during your shop and the volunteers often have a feature wall of half-price or special items on display.

“They also do classes on making Christmas wreaths and making things out of recycled goods,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca said a day out op shopping can be really fun but a little planning can go a long way.

“You need strength, so definitely work in a coffee break and then you have to decide which branch you want to do,” she said.

“You can do the Healesville branch or you can do the Warburton side – there’s so many out there.”

Rebecca has been managing the Coldstream Op Shop for a few months and said she loves the sense of community and connection she gets from customers looking for a bargain.

“You don’t know what you can expect and it’s nice finding something that you really, really needed at a bargain price,” she said.

Her op shop in Coldstream has high turnover and she said there is usually a bargain to be had.

“We always have a running special – you can fill up a bag of clothes for ten dollars,” she said.

Healesville is a great place to stop for second hand finds and has several options for the thrifty treasure hunter both along Maroondah Highway and in spots just off of it.

The Healesville Lion Dens Op Shop on Lilydale Drive is a must visit, the store is a haven for collectibles and worth a slow peruse.

The East End Op Shop is a lovely op shop run by the Healesville Living and Learning Centre and is open until 4pm most days.

Along with selling second hand goodies, the shop also offers retail experience and training for volunteers and people looking to expand their horizons.

Yarra Glen has a cute stopover known quite simply as Opp Shop and it has been part of the community for 35 years – it is perfect for people on mind winter getaways.

The Yarra Junction, Wandin and Warburton areas are not to be outdone and Rebecca said there are many stops all along the highway and it’s a beautiful day out.

The Golden Opportunity Op Shop in Wandin North offers just that, in Yarra Junction the Community Opp Shop is still classically cash only and the Benwerren Op Shop has “true op shop prices” and is a joy to sift through.

An avid op shopper for years, Rebecca said that she loves finding a bargain and finding really quirky retro stuff.

“I find so many weird things and wonderful items and the upcycling aspect is fabulous,” she said.

The op shops of the Yarra Valley lie waiting to be discovered and you never quite know what they will have in-store.

Online, Google Maps can reliably find most of them, but Rebecca said she recommends a leaving a little of the day unplanned.

“You never know what you will find,” she said.