Heading home from Australia and want a gift that’s quintessentially Australian? Or what about a souvenir for yourself?
Forget the keyrings and cheap t-shirts! Here’s a list of the best things to bring back from Australia.
There are few things as quintessentially Australian as vegemite. If you’ve never tried it before, Vegemite is a thick, dark spread that’s made from leftover brewer’s yeast extract. It’s mainly spread on toast, but it can also be spread onto croissants, crumpets, crackers – anything Aussies can get their hands on. It’s a rich, umami flavor and, being honest, not one that everyone immediately likes!
But as souvenirs and gifts go, you can’t get more Australian than vegemite. You’ll find it for sale in every supermarket and convenience store in Australia, and even at the airport as well.
UGG Boots are sort of Australian: the company is American, but the boots themselves do originate from Australia. The company was founded by Australians Brian Smith and Doug Jensen, who were living in California and studying at UCLA. The pair became the first American distributors for Country Leather but, unhappy with the name, registered the brand as UGG.
The company’s success has been largely in the United States: Decker Brands acquired the business in 1995, and Oprah featured the shoes on her second edition of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” in 2003. Naturally, she bought a pair for everyone in the audience.
While you’ll find plenty of shoe stores selling genuine UGG boots in Australia, you’ll also find plenty selling non-branded sheepskin boots. These aren’t necessarily counterfeits; sheep skin boots are originally from Australia. Many people even say the Australian-made boots are better quality than their American counterparts.
Australian wine has a mixed reputation. Its New World production methods have allowed it to become one of the largest producers of medium-priced, medium-quality wine. But not all of Australia’s wine is of the supermarket staple variety. Like any wine producing country, Australia produces wines of varying qualities and at a wide range of prices.
Being in Australia, however, will make it much easier to track down the good and avoid what’s typically exported internationally. Rather than go to a supermarket, it makes sense to go to a wine retailer like The Australian Wine Centre in Sydney as you’re much more likely to get given advice and maybe even a tasting.
While many people know about Australia’s love of Vegemite, Tim Tams are less well-known. Tim Tam is a type of chocolate biscuit made from two biscuits that have a chocolate cream filling in between, and are then covered in milk chocolate. If you’ve ever had a Penguin bar (typically found in the UK or Ireland), they’re fairly similar.
You’ll find them in every supermarket and convenience store in Australia and, given how small and light they are, they’re probably one of the easiest and most inexpensive gifts to bring back from Australia.
T2 Tea is one of Australia’s most innovative and popular tea companies. The company opened its first store in Melbourne in 1996, and since then has gone on to open stores in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and even in international locations like New York, London, and Singapore.
They stock more than 200 different types of teas from all over the world, and offer an excellent selection of teawares as well. If you have a tea lover in your life, or are just looking to get into tea yourself, this is the place to come to. Like Tim Tams, tea is also light and very easy to bring back as a gift or souvenir.
Gentlemen: if you’re wondering what the perfect ring to bring back to your lady-friend is, you can’t go wrong with diamond – especially a diamond engagement ring. Unique to Australia is a diamond from the Argyle Diamond mine.
The Argyle Diamond mine in Kimberley is one of the world’s largest, particularly when it comes to colored diamonds. It produces around 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, and is also known for the production of brown, red, and blue diamonds.
Colored diamonds, and especially pink diamonds, are becoming increasingly popular. The Argyle Diamond Mine is due to close by 2020 and fewer and fewer gem-quality diamonds are being found. This rarity is not only likely to push up the price, but will make them more and more difficult to come by.
If you’re thinking about buying colored diamond jewellery, then it’s definitely worth visiting a jeweller while you’re in Australia: Paul Bram in Melbourne or Mondial in Syndey, for example.
Lucas’ Papaw Ointment
Lucas’ Papaw Ointment has a bit of a cult status amongst Australians, and it’s now sold in shops all over the world. The company make moisturisers and lip balms that are not only incredibly effective against chapped lips, but also for application on burns and scalds, rashes, cuts – you name it.
Some people claim that despite containing natural ingredients like papaya, the products are really just expensive Vaseline. Whether or not you’re overpaying for petroleum jelly is up for debate, but this much is true: it makes a great gift.
Have you been to Oz? What gifts and souvenirs did you bring back home? Let us, and other readers, know by leaving a comment below.