Annual home leave is a nice little perk that most expats enjoy. A chance to reconnect with family and friends back in America. And many of us want to bring gifts to all those people to let them know that even though we live on the other side of the world we haven't forgotten about them.
One can only buy so many stuffed koalas and coin purses made from kangaroo scrotum. That's why I have put together the following Aussie Gift Guide. There's a little something for everyone.
An Oroton Bag
These beauties are designed in Australia and sold in boutiques around Oz and Europe. As far as I know they are not widely available in the US. A great gift for someone special. They also sell key fobs and umbrellas if you're looking for something less expensive.
Von Treskow Coin Jewelry
This collection featuring Aussie coins that have been turned into necklaces, bracelets and earrings is one of my favourite things. They're beautiful and wearable and Australian without being cheesy.
Ken Done Hoodie
These hoodies are nicer than your typical souvenir shop sweatshirts. The colours are fun and Done's signature kangaroo silhouette is eye catching.
Havianas Aussie Beaches Flip Flops
Of course, in Australia they call them thongs. These sport a small metal charm in the shape of Australia and they have the names of popular Aussie beaches printed on the sole. So cute! And everyone loves Havianas.
My favourite bottle shop is the Australian Wine Centre near Circular Quay. They are helpful and have a great selection. They will even package up your purchase in a box that can be checked as luggage on any major airline.
Havianas (see above)
In addition to the Beaches version, Havianas also come with an Aussie Flag on the strap.
These kangaroo leather bush hats are fun, and the Squashy collection are easy to pack in your suitcase.
Ken Ducan has some amazing photographs of this beautiful country. One of his prints (or a less expensive calendar or book) would make a great gift.
Between the Flags Gear
This shop benefits the Australian surf lifesavers, so you can feel good about shopping here. Plenty of cute kids swimmers, hats, and towels. Great sales in June- I saw lots of items for only $5 each!
Candy by Sticky
This shop in The Rocks is a big hit with kids. I picked up the cutest candy with a tiny koala on each piece. Packaged in cellophane bags they make great little give aways for friends at home.
Anything from Paddy's Market
Paddy's Market (in Chinatown) is the place to go for cheap souvenirs. If you need 30 pencil sets with Aussie animals on them, you'll find it at Paddy's. They also have bags, towels, t-shirts and, strangely, a huge selection of trashy lingerie. But that's another post. Paddy's is a good place to go if you need to buy cheap gifts in bulk.
These beautiful little wooden toys are designed in Australia. The Aussie pouch, containing an echidna, koala and wombat is my favourite.
Now that I'm back in the U.S., the one thing I wish I had more of is video. I found a 45 second video of Balmoral on my phone today and watched it over and over. I would love to be able to look back at quick snippets of our life in Sydney. It would be the best gift of all.