Planning a trip down under? Well, get ready for the low down on what you should put down and leave behind, before you get to the airport and in duty free. Border Security Australia works both ways. It’s just as important to know what you can take with you, as well as bring back to the UK. So, to make sure your trip of a lifetime isn’t dampened by a disappointing encounter with customs in Australia, we’ve put together the complete guide of what not to pack when travelling to Australia, and what you can bring back.


When travelling to Australia, a standard suitcase full of clothes, cosmetics and even a hairdryer are all fine. However, it’s easy to innocently pack something that isn’t allowed in the country, without even realising. For example…

Animal Products

It would probably never cross your mind that some of the items you own contain prohibited animal products. For instance, that lovely necklace you own with the feathers on might be confiscated and destroyed! Essentially, to be safe, all animal items must be declared. Any leather and fur products must have been fully tanned in order to be allowed in to Australia. And any items containing animal teeth, bones or horns must be clean, in new packaging, and free from any other contamination.


Taking food into Australia can be a tricky issue. If like me, you wouldn’t dream of boarding a flight to the other side of the world without a bag of your favourite coffee, don’t worry, that’s actually OK (provided it’s un-opened). Customs Regulations Australia recommends it is best to declare any food items, just in case. That way, the worst that can happen is it will be thrown away. However, most foods are a no-go. So don’t waste your time packing an inflight snack of fruit, nuts, seeds, dairy or meat.

Fake Goods

If there are some knock-off sunglasses or fake designer shirts buried in the depths of your drawers, maybe it’s best to leave them there. If you are caught bringing fake items into the country, you are likely to not only have them taken away, but also to be given a fixed fine. It’s just not worth the hassle.

Duty Free

When you pass through Australia customs, it’s not just your possessions they are checking, but any new duty free items you have purchased whilst passing though the airport. Australian customs duty rates are as follows: your personal allowance includes 50 cigarettes, or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products; 2.25 litres of alcohol; and up to $900 worth of general goods. Items classed as “general goods” include souvenirs, cameras, electronics, leather goods, perfume, jewellery, watches and sports equipment. If you go over your personal allowance, you will have to pay duty and tax, not just on the excess spend, but on everything you have purchased, so beware!



After enjoying a trip of a lifetime down under, you may be sad to be returning home and want to cheer yourself up by splashing the last of your spending money in the airport. But it’s important to keep in mind that just as there are limits to your duty free allowance on the journey out, there are limits for your return journey too.

You alcohol allowance depends on the type of drink you purchase. For example, you’re allowed up to 16 litres of beer; 4 litres of wine (not sparkling); 1 litre of spirits and liquors over 22%; and up to 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22%.

On your return to the UK, your tobacco allowance increases from your departure allowance. You are able to bring back either: 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.

Again, for “general goods”, your allowance is £390. If you go over this spend, you will pay Customs Duty at a rate of 2.5% for goods worth up to £630. You may also have to pay import VAT, so it’s worth remembering your restrictions before you buy.