I always think it’s a bit special to be able to send people at home gifts from Australia. Gifts from our home away from home are totally unique, a great reminder of the sender, and something you can be sure the recipient won’t get duplicates of. Admittedly, my first year or so here, I used to head straight down to the souvenir shop at Circular Quay for some stuffed koalas or embroidered tea towels to send home, and I’m sure those things were appreciated, but these days I feel like I can do better – more interestng, more genuine, and definitely made in Australia, not a factory in Shenzhen.
So, here’s my gift guide for sending “Aussie As” gifts back home, just in time for the holiday shopping season. All of these items may be shipped internationally from the company’s website, from Amazon in the U.S., or easily purchased at stores in any Australian mall. Get in soon, if you’re shipping for Christmas!
*This post does contain some Amazon affiliate links. That simply means that if you purchase through that link, I get a little extra Tim Tam money. It doesn’t impact your purchase price in any way.*
For the Foodies
*Note: All of these things should make it past U.S. customs, just be sure to declare them on the shipping label, if you’re doing the shipping. For other countries, check local customs rules about importing food to ensure your gift makes it to the receiver.*
Tim Tams (2 for $5 at Woolies, if you play your cards right!) – Well, this is a no brainer! Is there any more widely beloved Australian snack food than the mighty Tim Tam? I bring them home with me every visit, and they never fail to make an impression. (And, yes, I know you can now buy them in U.S. Target sometimes, but there’s nothing like a few packages from Aussie-land). Send lots! And, toss in a few of the special flavours for comparison, as well.
T2 Teas – (price varies) – Does everyone love walking into a T2 store as much as I do? The impossibly stacked boxes, the gorgeous smells, it’s just an oasis of serenity inside the Westfield. The Melbourne-based tea haven just makes a lovely tea experience. Pick up some at your local shop to mail with the Tim Tams, or they offer international shipping through their website.
Personalize a Jar of Vegemite ($10 AUD) – A bit of kitsch, if ever there was one, because – let’s be honest – your overseas recipient is probably not going to just love Australia’s favorite toast spread, but most everyone’s a bit curious about it thanks to the Men at Work, and how fun to receive a jar with your own name on it? You can get them printed right now at KMart Australia. Just make sure to send some directions for serving on toast (spread thin with plenty of butter!), so that your poor giftee doesn’t try to just lick it off a spoon … gross.
Bush Tucker ($89.95 AUD) – How gorgeous is this “Australian Bush Spirit Hamper“? “This stunning all-Australian pack features Nathan Ferlazzo drawing ‘Buddha of the Bush’ koala tea-towel; some delectable honey-roasted and sea salted macadamia nuts, Outback Spirit Chutney and Baylies Epicurean Delights Dipping Crackers.” Class act, this one.
In a Sunburned Country ($11.55 USD) – Want to coax someone to come visit you in Australia? Bill Bryson’s book on his travels across Australia (called Down Under here) remains one of the most endearing and beloved book about visiting this beautiful country. You may have to talk them down about the killer animals, as Bryson does obsess on that a bit more than I think is probably necessary, but otherwise, it’s a love letter to this country.
Qantas Gear – Australia’s national airline is easily recognizable across the world by its flying kangaroo logo. Even if your giftee is just dreaming of hopping on a Qantas flight, at this point, I think the logo merchandise in their store is a lot of fun. I’m especially partial to this limited edition retro style shoulder bag ($49.99 AUD).
Your film lover probably knows Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Strictly Ballroom. But what about these?
The Castle ($10.30 USD) – Based on a true story about a working class man who fights the system to save his family home, The Castle is probably the most “Aussie-As” Australian film ever. It’s full of quotes that are part of the lexicon, like, “straight to the pool room” and “tell him he’s dreamin'” – and it’s a quirky, endearing story about the triumph of the Aussie “battler.” Nothing more Australian than that.
The Sapphires ($7.99 USD) – Set in 1968, The Sapphires is a “girl group” comprised of four Aboriginal women. They are discovered by a talent scout, who sends them to Vietnam to play for the troops. A period piece full of great music, with a compelling story. I loved this movie. Based loosely on a true story.
The Dish ($14.37 USD) – Apollo 11 is set to land on the moon, and the world’s first moon walk will be televised using a satellite dish in a tiny Australian sheep farming town. When the dish malfunctions, the offbeat Aussie staff and their straight arrow American NASA supervisor scramble. Another true story – the famous moon landing broadcast that almost wasn’t. Completely charming movie.
Warlukurlangu Paintings ($120 AUD and up) – Paintings created by the Warlukulangu Artists, a group based in the community of Yuendumu in Central Australia. “It is a fundamental aim of Warlukurlangu Artists to share Warlpiri culture and in addition, to increase awareness about Aboriginal culture generally, and to broadly support Indigenous causes.” Paintings are sold through the Blak Markets site, or follow Blak Markets on Facebook to find out where they will be next for many more gift options created by Aboriginal artists (Sydneysiders, make it out this weekend for Blak Markets at Barangaroo on Sunday 4 December!).
Ken Done – Bright and cheerful, Ken Done has such a distinctive take on Australia. His work has been seen all over the world, and shows Sydney and beyond at its most colorful. Prints at the Ken Done online store start at $20 AUD, and you can also purchase clothing, books, and gifts.
Summer From the Verandah
For the Blokes
Australia cufflinks ($45.00 AUD) – Maybe cufflinks are up there with socks and ties on the boring gift list, but I’ve never seen ones quite like these before. Made from solid timber, they are a cut out of Australia (except poor Tasmania). I think these would be an especially great going away gift for an expat finishing up an Australian assignment, or one for expats to send over to dads and brothers who will get a little smile thinking of faraway family whenever they wear them.
Kookaburra Cricket accessories (various prices) – Listen, I don’t know Thing 1 about cricket, but I do believe that a lot of Aussies and people around the world do. And, I’m told that these Kookaburra sports balls are the real Aussie deal, and have been since the 1940s. Plenty of other cricket bats, bags, and accessories on offer, as well.
Stuff Ladies Like
Lucas Paw Paw Ointment ($14.20 USD for 75g) – This stuff is a wonder of the world. Use it as a lip gloss, hand lotion, diaper rash cream, or help with healing bug bites or sunburn. The not-so secret ingredient (it’s right there in the title) is paw paw fruit grown in Queensland. I always have a little tube in my handbag.
Liane Moriarty novels – Sydney author Liane Moriarty truly knows how to turn a suspenseful yarn. They have great characters, compelling stories, and a good dose of humor. I recommend them to just about every book loving female reader I know. For my money, I’d start with Big Little Lies ($18.86 USD), the tale of a group of Sydney suburban school mums whose lives become intertwined.
Big Little Lies
Oroton handbag – Want something a little more schmick? Your style vixens would be more than happy to receive a handbag from Australian brand, Oroton. They’re plenty pricey, but good quality and well-loved. You can also dip your toe in for a more budget friendly, but still lovely, wallet or key fob (men’s options, too).
Beautiful, Bouncing Babies
Love to Dream Swaddle ($33.02 USD) – This Aussie invention is my number one must buy gift for every single new baby in my life, and that’s because it was one of those miracle items that helped us so much when Hushpuppy was tiny. The thing that makes the Love to Dream swaddle different from others is that it puts the baby in an arms up position. Once most babies “discover” their hands, they want those buggers in their mouth at all times. So, if they’re swaddled to their side, it makes them really, really angry! (Or, at least that’s what happened with our kid) Getting to sleep with their hands up (Maggie Simpson style, as someone I know said) makes for a happy little Vegemite.
Bonds Wondersuit (currently 2 for $39 AUD on sale) – See an Aussie baby? Good chance they’re dressed in a Bonds Wondersuit. Having been the owner of a few of these things, myself, I have to admit that they’re pretty wonderful, indeed. I can’t really explain what it is that makes them so popular, but beyond an exceptional marketing campaign, they’re easy wearing fabric, super rugged, good for day or night, and they come in so many cute patterns. But, whatever you do, go for the zipper ones – ain’t nobody got time for buttons on a baby suit.
Kids, Kids, Kids
Diary of a Wombat ($14.54 USD) – If you’ve been hanging around this site for long, it will come as no surprise to you that this picture book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley is much beloved in my world. Because … wombats. And, quite the cheeky wombat, just doing wombat stuff, at that. It is, just as the title suggests, the diary of the wombat’s days – and it’s the cutest. Suitable for kids up to about age 7.
Mem Fox books – For years, Australian kids have grown up on the books of Mem Fox. For the young ones, Where is the Green Sheep is the sweetest little board book. And, for the ever slightly older, Possum Magic is one of the most classic Australian story books (great introduction to Australian place and food names, as well). You can pick these up at any bookseller in Australia for shipping, including KMart and Target.
Lego Sydney Opera House ($310.00 USD) – The epitome of Aussie gifts for a Lego loving kid. Look at this thing! This one is guaranteed to keep them busy for a good, long while. This is quite a complex set, so best suited to older kids – preteens and teens (maybe even some Lego loving parents).
Caramello Koalas – In any package for kids, toss in some Caramello Koalas from the grocery store. Manufactured by Cadbury Australia, it’s both real Aussie chocolate with a caramel center and an iconic marsupial from Down Under. They’re a cute and tasty little ad-on that will delight almost any kid.
Do you have a tried and true Australian gift that you send overseas? Let us know in the comments!