Items You Can Bring Back to Australia


Did going back to the Philippines after several months or years made you crave for so many things found only in the Philippines?


Were you tempted to bring some of this and that to your trip back to Australia?


Warning, whatever you bring back, declare it. Australia has one of the strictest border controls and laws about what things you can and cannot bring.


Lucky for you, dear reader, here is a list of things that you CAN bring to Australia from overseas.


Certain foods


Image Credit: Merzci

In general, you can not take fresh foods, vegetables and meat with you to Australia.


But you may be able to take cookies, sweets, tea and other kinds of food as long as they do not have anything that can still be planted or grown and are not raw.


The trick is to remember to declare that you are bringing in such things.


The government is strict on this because Australia has a unique biodiversity and is almost, if not entirely, free from most kinds of pests or diseases. One way of protecting this biodiversity and the citizens of the country is to ensure that no biological organism can enter the country and affect the environment.


Alcoholic drinks are usually allowed if you are 18 years and older as long as you do not exceed the maximum amount of 2.25 litres to keep it duty free.


Souvenir Items

Souvenir Items

Image Credit: mdgamboa

There are lots of things you can buy as souvenir and while you are free to shop for your loved ones, keep in mind that some items may be confiscated if it does not meet the requirements.


Items made of wood are allowed in as long as it does not have insects or signs of insect damage like holes, or any other contamination.


On the other hand, materials made from animals can be brought in under certain conditions:

  • leather and fur should be fully tanned

  • horns, teeth or bones should be clean, free from animal or plant material, insects, soil, mud or clay and other contamination and it should be in new packaging.


You can bring clothes, shoes and bags from overseas as long as they are genuine brands and not counterfeit.Pirated CDs will also be confiscated.

leather bags

Image Credit: Rappler

Speaking of CD, CD’s with any pornographic and terrorism related materials will certainly be confiscated and fined.


Other general goods including perfume, watches, sports goods, cameras, electronic equipment and gifts are welcome and it is duty free if everything is worth $900 (for those younger than 18 it is set at $450). If you exceed this amount, you need to pay duty for all goods.

If you have family or friends who smoke tobacco, you can bring them some duty free as long as it is only 50 grams or you may bring up to 50 cigarettes. Again, if you bring more than what is allowed then you have to pay duty for all of the cigarette and tobacco products.


Unfortunately, gun enthusiast may find it hard to bring firearms in. Even imitation firearms, soft air firearms and paintball firearms are prohibited. However, you may try to get a permit from the state or territory police.


Image Credit: Wikipedia

Interestingly, other forms of weapons are allowed including

  • fixed blade knives used for the kitchen, fishing or hunting

  • traditional Japanese katanas, Samurai swords and replicas of them

  • multi-tool knives like pocket knives, Swiss army knives and handyman tool.

  • single edged swords and bayonets that are made to fit firearms, medieval type swords – single or double edged except for daggers.

Other weapons may or may not be allowed depending on inspection of airport authorities. these are laser pointers, single handed opening knives and slingshots.

  • Laser pointers are ok if they have less than 1 mW in strength.

  • Pocket knives are only allowed if it does not open automatically and needs a button or both hands to open. These types of knives that open with a flick of the wrist, a shake or mere gravity are prohibited.

  • Hunting slingshots and slingshots without arm brace are allowed.

Other weapons are not allowed including those designed for self defense like stun guns and other electronic shock devices and pepper spray.




Image Credit: UrbanSamurai

Naturally, prescription medicines are allowed as long as

  • the quantity of medicine is only for three months

  • you have a letter from your doctor (written in English)

  • the medicine is in your accompanied baggage

  • you are arriving in Australia as a passenger on ship or plane


However, there are still types of medicine that would always require a permit like “steroids, products containing DHEA, yohimbine, thalidomide, fenticlor and triparanol,” for more information, please visit this site.


Like prescription drugs, the same rules apply for sedative drugs.


For hormone drugs, you need to follow the first 3 clauses and you should remember to leave the medicines in their original packaging. If you are an athlete or is associated with one, then you must carry a permit along with it.


You are also allowed to bring up to two kilograms of Kava root or dried powder in your accompanied baggage, no permits are necessary either.


Unfortunately, substances like steroids are a no go even if it is prescribed. You need to apply for a permit the Therapeutic Goods Administration first.


So now that you know which items you can bring with you to Australia there is just one more thing you need to do: check your shoes – the ones you are wearing and those that are packed in your luggage.


While you are at it, check all pieces of clothing you have especially those you wore on a hiking trip or to the beach. Make sure you wash these items because contamination through soil, mud, clay, animal feces, and plant materials are also a thing in Australia. If you are caught bringing back dirt, you have to have those items cleaned at your expense.

Australian Border Force worker

Image Credit: The Guardian

Compared to the Philippines, Australia may be very strict about what not to bring to the country but as long as you declare everything you have with you, there will be little to no problem. The worst thing that can happen to declared items is confiscation.


On the other hand, there are penalties, fees, and even prosecution if you are caught with items that were not declared. A popular television program is aired to show just how strict these laws are being imposed, and this is not a publicity stunt nor is it meant to scare visitors away. Rather, it sends a message that the country takes national security very seriously.


Border security is important to ensure that citizens will stay safe at all cost – regardless  if the cause of threat is a firearm or dangerous drugs, fake products or a disease carrying microorganism.


If you are still unsure, you may download an app Can I Pack That with versions compatible for IOS, android and the web.

  Special thanks to kikomatching for the main image.
Rica J

I am a mother, a wife and a technology loving Filipina who loves reading hi-fiction books (dragons!) , good stories, dancing, laughter, lying on the grass and eating balut. I am born and raised in the Philippines and now resides in Australia but finds myself in the Philippines for at least 3 months a year. I am part of the Filipino Australian Community and have been living between Australia and the Philippines since 2007.


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