There are always a question that people always ask me if they’re in Melbourne:
What should I bring home as souvenirs?
It could be for yourself, or it could be souvenirs for your family and friends. But it’s a question that always leaves us scratching our heads, including me.
Everytime friends ask me this question, or I think about it when I’m about to fly home, I have noo idea what the answer would be.
So here’s a list! Slowly compiled from asking people what they’ve been bringing home, whether in official interviews or just randomly asking people for suggestions. And not just the tacky souvenirs, but real things that others enjoy.
Some perfumes are a lot cheaper here than back home, especially when there are sales going on. If you’re a fan of celebrity perfumes, then stock up on Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga. I mean, if you like them obviously.
Priceline generally has sales going on, and Myers or David Jones tend to have perfume sets that come with rollerballs or lotions. But it depends, only certain brands are worth buying over here. Ralph Lauren for example is, Marc Jacobs isn’t. Do your research.
And… Australia doesn’t necessarily stock up all the perfumes that other places sell. Hugo Boss Bottled Sport, I miss you so much! Seriously, they don’t sell that here 🙁
Moisturizers / skin care / creams
Everybody I know who likes soaps and lotions will always get Aesop hand wash / hand lotion before they go home. There’s loads of Aussie creams too.
The best thing about these products are that they’re made of local ingredients like emu oil, so if you’re looking for souvenirs, these are totally an option.
And not only that both guys and girls will use them, something I never realized until a few weeks ago when I suggested getting moisturizer for a friend’s mother, and the friend decided he wanted to get some for himself too.
Definite Aussie item. You can see this in every pharmacy and grocery store, until you actually need to buy it (that happened to me! I couldn’t find it the very day I tried to buy it which was so frustrating).
Most people use it as a lip balm, although you can actually use it on dry skin, chaffing, cuts and wounds. They come in a tube or a tub, but I hate sticking my fingers into tubs so tube applicators it is!
Actually, the rest of the world might not be as familiar with this product. Once I was watching a beauty vlogger (from America I think) opening her haul from another Australian beauty vlogger on YouTube, and she pulled out a papaw ointment tube before asking people if they knew that brand. And I was like GIRL EVERYBODY IN AUSTRALIA KNOWS THIS BRAND.
Whether you like them or hate them, UGG boots are totally Australian. There are fake versions too, but why walk on grass when you can walk on carpet?
Okay to be honest I have no idea if there’s too much difference between real and fake UGGs. But I’ve tried the fake ones and they really do feel like you’re walking on carpet. Forget heels in the Winter!
Traditional Aussie items
If you’re interested in didgeridoos, kangaroo wallets, locally made soap or opals, there’s loads of shops around the city. BUT… the cheaper ones are made in China. HAHAHA. I guess that’s the peril of commercialization. It’s all about the profit margins as opposed to authenticity.
I mean, Melbourne is the home of hipsters. They drink their coffee, they use up all the wifi at cafes, and they’ve got lots of creative things. Rose Street Market that runs every Sunday in Fitzroy is a really fun place to get some kind of souvenir.
They’ve got funny slogans, homemade shirts and candles, necklaces and Batman. And cute keychains / magnets in the form of Lego Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Avengers, Toy Story and Ninja Turtles. I mean, c’mon! So cute!
Perfect for parents of newborns. I’d totally hang that on my wall. And also, the third card just below this artwork says “I’d go to Zone Two for you”. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Only Melbournians with Myki cards will probably understand that joke though.
My personal favourite find is Miss-a-Ree-Guts Creations. I mean, her work on display is like the inside of my brain. The part that’s unoccupied by intellectual debates and corny jokes and modeling pictures.
Look at this! Candy hearts, a purple unicorn and a giant glittery heart. I’m in love.
Which one is your favourite? The mermaid one is calling to me. But, you know, the Cat Lady one is somehow looking at me too…
If you won’t be in Fitzroy, there’s always Queen Victoria Market. Some artists sell their paintings or photography.
My favourite is the Heath Ledger picture by Andrew Bertuleit. Totally miss the actual graffiti picture out in Flinders, it’s been painted over, although I don’t know why. Don’t graffiti artists get really upset or mad when they see their artwork being painted over by other graffiti artists? Maybe I’ll just go up to someone randomly one day and ask them.
Okay you don’t have to go all the way to the chocolate factories just to get chocolate! They’re more of a tourist things anyway.
But there’s totally a whole lot of chocolates and different flavours that you can’t get in other countries, as well as lollies. Australians call sweets lollies, so the first time I heard it I kept wondering why Australians were so obsessed with just lollipops.
Tobleron&on&on&on&on&on anyone? (And yes, I wore wings out to Target HAHAHA) It was a very boring day before that happened.
HO HO HO total Aussie-ness!
Gotta stock up on the Tim Tams man, unless you don’t like chocolate. And if you don’t, then I’m sorry we can’t be friends.
No, just kidding. Tim Tams are super awesome, especially when you can get the large packs. They’ve also got different flavours so if you don’t like milk chocolate, there’s always white chocolate or dark chocolate.
My personal favourite is Adriano Zumbo’s (from Masterchef) red velvet Tim Tams. But nobody else I know shares my love for the red velvet Tim Tams, so maybe I’m just alone in this. I’ve let some friends try it and they comment that “it’s nothing special”. Wait, what?
Okay I’m just biased here.
I love eating this cereal for breakfast, and then when I flew back to Singapore for a couple of months… I found out they don’t sell this cereal back home! Super sad. Had to stock up when I returned to Australia, just to curb the cravings.
But Australia is a lot more health-conscious, and that’s why they have lots of health products that you wouldn’t find in Singapore. It’s not just juices or muesli bars, plenty of people stock up on fish oil and health supplements.
Uhh, if you really are hard-pressed to find a gift… maybe try some vegemite? It’s a personal preference though, I hate that stuff myself but I see Australians and non-Australians who like it. I mean, if you really want something from the land down under…
But be warned, non-Australians rarely like Vegemite.
Well there’s always honey. I don’t know why but a lot of people like to bring home Australian honey!
Okay well actually there’s a huge story behind this addition.
When I was about 9 or 10 years old, a friend shared this with a bunch of us, and I really liked how cute it was. The ‘ice cream’ frosting is actually in a tube that looks like toothpaste, so you have to squeeze out the ice cream on the tiny cone (as per the image on the box).
After that, I went around looking to buy it, and even asked my mum to help me find it. We both never found it, because she only found a very different ice-cream-looking sweet, and I was left disappointed.
Fast forward 14 years, I find this in an innocent-looking Asian Grocery Store and my mind was blown. 14 years. 14 years before I finally found it again!
There are some popping cooking boxes available in Singapore, especially those that import Japanese items, but not this product. Trust me, it’s not available in Singapore.
Since fruits are grown here, they’re cheaper and a lot easier to get when they’re in season. Mangoes, cherries, strawberries, grapes, pick your poison.
In fact, win one from the Moomba Festival or Royal Melbourne Showgrounds! Or any one of the random carnivals that pop out during some public holidays! They’re so adorable and quite easy to win. The small ones I mean. The giant ones are much harder, but that’s the point.
Singapore, you need more carnivals. And carousels. There’s too many arcades / video game shops.
Shark By Shark Jacobs from IKEA
No really! IKEA Australia is apparently the only IKEA that sells shark plushies, meant to raise awareness for shark protection and stuff. He’s HUGE. And when I carried him around the city (we were going for dinner after a trip from IKEA) so many people came up to ask where the shark is from. The most popular soft toy I’ve ever carried.
Any recommendations on the kind of things you’ll bring home?
- Fari Wu