Sending Australian Gifts Around the World

One of the things we love most about Australian Choice is having the opportunity to send great Australian gifts all around the world. 

Particularly in the lead up to Christmas we spend a lot of time packaging up reminders of home for ex-pats living overseas as well as special gifts for friends and family living across the world. 

One of the products that are especially popular are our range of Aussie calendars that provide a great reminder of special trips and memories for people after visiting our lucky country.

The following is a letter we received from Brian in Malvern Worcs, United Kingdom, letting us know about the enjoyment he got from receiving a calendar in the post.

Dear Australian Choice,

How very kind of you to send me the Sydney Northern Beaches 2018 calendar - so kind to trust me with payment in this day and age, and then to send it with your compliments! I am overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity, which is most unusual for an 80 year old in 2017. It will give me great pleasure to hang it up on 1st Jan and receive so many happy memories and although I never managed to visit Canberra, what I did see of Australia and especially Sydney was so beautiful.

I hope you and your company all have a merry Christmas and much hapiness throughout 2018. I am enclosing a few $ to show my appreciation to put in your 'tea kitty' (or Australian equivalent) and should I still be with us in 2019, will be in touch with you again.

My sincere thanks and best wishes,


Camphor Laurel

Camphor Laurel timber boards

As well as having a beautiful look and feel, there are a number of other health and environmental benefits to using Camphor Laurel boards when preparing and presenting food.

Camphor Laurel was first introduced as a shade tree into Australia from Asia in the middle of the 19th century. It quickly adapted to the rich volcanic soils around Mullumbimby in the New South Wales North Coast, where the timber developed some of the most beautiful grains and colour ever seen. It has become a feral pest, but with the blessing of producing a much sought-after cabinet timber. As such, the harvest of Camphor Laurel trees for use in timber boards and other furniture plays an important part in managing the native forests in these regions. 

Camphor Laurel timber has also been found to have innate anti-bacterial properties due to the naturally occurring oil in the timber, which makes it ideal for use in breadboards. The naturally occurring chemicals that provide these properties include; camphor, safrole, cineole, cinnamaldehyde, fatty acids, mannitol, limonene, tannins, terpineol, eugenol, pinene, linalool, and geraniol (3, 4). The kiln drying used in the processing of the timber ensures that these chemicals will not contaminate food prepared on the boards.

 A study that looked at the total numbers of micro-organisms found on the surface of cutting boards made from various materials showed that glass boards had over 3 times the number of micro-organisms compared to Camphor boards whilst plastic boards had over 4 times as many microbes on the cutting surface.

So the next time you're looking at buying a chopping board why not consider a beautiful and functional Camphor board that has been made right here in Australia. It will reduce the number of potentially harmful bacteria present during food preparation and also help with the sustainability and on-going management of native timber stands in north-eastern NSW.

At Australian Choice we have a great range of Camphor Laurel timber boards available so come in to see them in store or have a look on our website at the following link - Timber Boards

Floriade 2017

Floriade 2017 is about to start...

This year Floriade celebrates it's 30th birthday with the theme 'rejuvenation' and the event will be running from Saturday the 16th September until Sunday the 15th October.

As an annual event, Floriade has now become Australia's biggest celebration of spring and an iconic event on the shores of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin.

Click here to find out everything you need to know about Floriade 2017

The event is open from 10am to 7pm every day with two NightFest sessions running on the 22-24 Sept and 29 Sept - 01 Oct where you can check out Floriade after dark.

As well as the amazing floral displays (this year there will be well over 1 million bulbs and annual flowers on display) there are bands, comedians and pop up performances happening all throughout the event, along with the usual gift and food stalls, sculptures across Commonwealth Park and lots more.

This is Canberra's biggest annual tourist attraction drawing over 500,000 visitors to the Capital and injecting over $50 million into the local economy.

While visiting Canberra, why not drop in and see us in the Canberra Centre to have a look at our range of all Australian Made gifts and souvenirs that are the best in town.

We look forward to seeing you! 

Wattle Day

All About Wattle Day

Since 1992, the 1st of September has officially been national Wattle Day all across Australia. Prior to this it had been celebrated on various days between August and September in the different states and territories.

The wattle has had special meaning for Australians for a long time and in 1988 the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) was officially declared as Australia's national floral emblem.

How is Wattle Day Celebrated?

Wattle Day is considered a great way to celebrate the arrival of Spring and everything that is great about Australia. People will often wear a sprig of wattle on their clothing or wear green and gold colours in recognition of the day. A number of schools, workplaces and families organise picnics, morning teas or other small events to celebrate the day. 

The Golden Wattle Award

This an award used to recognise the exceptional achievements of an Australian or Australians who have provided outstanding service to their country. Previous recipients of this award are Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne and her champion strapper brother (2016), Steve,Champion surfers Mick Fanning and colleague Julian Wilson (2015), VC winner Ben Roberts-Smith (2014), Mel Irons a Tasmanian student and community activist (2013), Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Schmidt (2012) and Tour De France Winner, cyclist Cadell Evans (2011).

About Wattles

  • Stylised designs of wattles in flower have been used as part of floral motifs on official Commonwealth Government documents from as early as 1912 when it was added as part of the Commonwealth Coat-of-Arms
  • All wattles belong to the genus Acacia
  • As of 2016, there are 1,064 different wattle species described in Australia with more yet to be added. Of these, 99% can only be found in Australia
  • The word 'wattle' originally referred to a barrier that is made from woody branches. The early settlers in Australia made a lot of their initial dwellings out of branches and mud, termed wattle-and-daub huts. The word 'wattle' soon became a common name for the Acacia species of trees that often provided the branches used for these early buildings
  • Indigenous Australians have many uses for wattle trees including as food and medicine and for making weapons like boomerangs and spears
  • Wattles grow across all parts of Australia

Kangaroo Leather

Find out more about the sustainable harvesting of kangaroo leather and what makes it such a great product.

Kangaroo leather is used for a wide range of commercial purposes including shoes, gloves, jackets and fashion accessories. It is very highly regarded as a leather product due to a range of factors including:

  • Soft feel
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Sweat resistance
  • Superior strength

In fact, weight for weight kangaroo leather is the strongest and lightest natural leather available. It has up to 10 times the tensile strength of cowhide and is 50% stronger than goatskin. The kangaroo skin has a unique structure with fibres running parallel to the leather surface providing exceptional strength.

Responsible and Sustainable Harvest

Australian Federal and state governments maintain a strict control over the harvest of kangaroos for commercial purposes. This includes licencing restrictions for harvesters, strict quota setting and enforcement and ongoing monitoring of kangaroo populations to ensure the sustainability of the industry. Every year each state in Australia that supports a kangaroo harvesting industry is required to produce a detailed report on the management of kangaroo populations. To find out more you can visit the following link on the kangaroo industry.

Quality Australian Souvenirs

At Australian Choice we stock a range of products made from quality kangaroo leather. The kangaroo skins used in the production of our products are all obtained under the Australian Federal Government's Wildlife Protection Act. 

The following is a list of some of the quality Australian kangaroo leather products you can find on our website with a link to each page:

All About Opals

find out all about opals - an iconic australian gemstone

The following information gives a brief rundown on the three main types of opals that are available and the three main techniques used when displaying them in jewellery. Opals have become an iconic part of the Australian souvenir market with tourists wanting to take home a unique piece of Australia.

Black Opal

Black Opal is characterised by a dark body tone causing brightness of colour which is unmatched by lighter opals. Black Opals are usually mined in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, and are the most famous, and sought-after type of opal. The term 'black opal' does not mean that the stone is completely black (a common mistake), it simply means the stone has a dark body tone in comparison to a white opal.

White Opal

Also known as 'milky opal', white opal features light white body tones, and is mined in South Australia. White opal is more common and because of its body tone, generally does not show the colour as well as black opal. Nevertheless, white opals can still be absolutely magnificent in colour if a good quality stone is found.

Boulder Opal

Boulder opal forms on ironstone boulders in Queensland. This type of opal is often cut with the ironstone left on the back, as the opal seam is usually quite thin. Leaving the ironstone on the back means that boulder opal can be very dark and beautiful in colour. The opal forms within the cavities of the boulders in both vertical and horizontal cracks. Boulders vary in shape and size, from as small as a pea, to as big as a family car. Boulder Opal has a tendency to cleave; when cleaved the "split" leaves two faces of opal, with a naturally polished face.

There are three main techniques used for setting opals; solid, doublet and triplet. As the name suggests, a solid opal is exactly that - a solid piece of opal in it's natural state that has been shaped and polished. Doublets and triplets consist of a paper-thin slice of opal cemented to a black backing. Triplets have, in addition to this, a clear quartz or glass capping over the top to magnify the colour, protect the stone, and give it a cabochon (domed) appearance. The idea of doublets and triplets is to imitate valuable black opals at a fraction of the cost. 

The following diagrams show the differences between solid, doublet and triplet opals.

Solid Opal

Most cutters prefer to produce the opal as a solid cut 'en cabochon' if the gem is sufficiently thick. The opal is left in its natural state and simply shaped and polished on the cutter's wheel.

Doublet Opal

A thin veneer of opal may show enhanced colour with a dark backing of either black or grey silica material, or a thin slice of common opal cemented to the back of the opal with epoxy resin.

Triplet Opal

A slice of quartz may be used to cap the thin opal veneer to protect it from abrasion. This produces a three-tiered gemstone known as a triplet, which can often display brilliant colours. It is a cheaper method of presentation and can enhance the appearance of the opal.

You can find a great range of Opal Jewellery on our website or come and see our collection in store. 
Ground Floor - Canberra Centre - Canberra

New changes to 'Australian Made' Criteria

Products are no longer required to meet the previous criteria of having at least 50% of the cost of production incurred in Australia

There has recently been a change made to the criteria used to establish if a product is eligible to be called ‘Australian Made’.

Previously a product had to meet 2 key criteria:

1. The goods must have been substantially transformed in the country claimed to be the origin (in this case Australia); and

2. Fifty per cent (50%) or more of the costs of production must have been carried out in that country

This second criteria has now been removed and only the first has to be met by any product claiming to be Australian Made. 

Change to 'substantial transformation'

The definition of 'substantial transformation' which is the key component of the remaining criteria, has also been revised. The previous definition of ‘substantial transformation’ was:

Goods are substantially transformed in a country if they undergo a fundamental change in form, appearance or nature such that goods existing after the change are new and different goods from those existing before the change.

The revised definition is:

Goods are substantially transformed in a country if … as a result of one or more processes undertaken in that country, the goods are fundamentally different in identity, nature or essential character from all of their ingredients or components that were imported into that country.

More information on these changes is available at

These changes will not affect our commitment to sell only the best Australian Made gifts and souvenirs. We will continue to work with our current suppliers to ensure the quality of all our products is maintained whilst also searching for new suppliers to keep our range fresh and interesting. 

At Australian Choice everything we sell is Australian Made.

Tourist Refund Scheme

Claim your tax back on purchases made in Australia and taken overseas

The Tourist Refund Scheme allows Australians and overseas visitors to claim a refund of the GST (goods and services tax) they have paid on goods bought in Australia and then taken out of the country.

Claims are made when exiting the country at international airports or cruise terminals.

When making your claim you will need to present the goods, your original tax invoice, passport and boarding pass at the TRS facility.

What are some of the conditions?

1. Goods need to have been purchased within 60 days prior to departure

2. The value of the goods needs to be at least $300 and they need to have been purchased from a single Australian business with an ABN (Australian business number)

3. The traveller must have personally paid for the goods

4. You need to provide an original tax invoice

5. You need to carry the goods as hand luggage so you can present them at the TRS facility at the airport or terminal as you leave

6. Bulky goods that need to be transported as checked baggage can still be claimed but there are extra conditions. Find out more information here

7. For claims of $1000 or more the tax invoice must contain personal details of the person making the claim (name, address and email)

Australian Choice Customers

For any online purchases made through the Australian Choice website we provide a tax invoice that includes all the information required when making your claim at any TRS facility. Similarly our tax receipts provided in store are suitable for making any claims up to $1000 and if you spend over $1000 we are happy to provide the further evidence you need to make your claim. 

If you need more information feel free to contact us by email or consult with any of our staff in store.

More Information

To find out more about the scheme and confirm your eligibility Click Here

How to throw a boomerang

So, you’ve got yourself a boomerang. Now all you need to do is learn how to throw it…

First thing is to make sure you’ve got plenty of room. Select a large open field or beach where there is little or no wind. The boomerang flies in a circle approximately 30 metres in diameter, but allow more space than that. Make sure there are no rocks or hard obstacles around which could damage your boomerang.

Next, warn any spectators about your impending practice session and gently suggest they keep a safe distance.

If there is a breeze, determine where it is coming from and aim 45 degrees to the right of it. Grasp the bevelled arm of the boomerang in your hand and hold the flat side of the boomerang against the palm of your right hand. You should hold a comfortable two fingers depth of boomerang. To gain spin it is important to hold no more than 4cm in your hand. You should hold the boomerang at eye level and lean it over 30 degrees. (If it were the hand on a clock it would be pointing at one o'clock). This is called layover. To obtain different effects the layover or lean may be varied from 0 degrees to 30 degrees ( 12 o'clock to 1 o'clock ). A near vertical or zero layover is used to compensate for a breeze and will make the boomerang fly low and tend to land in front of you.

The most important part of boomerang throwing is to spin the boomerang really fast. Bring the boomerang over the shoulder and sharply draw your arm forward to full extension like a whip cracker. The boomerang should spin out of your hand with its own inertia pivoting over the index finger, which is kept bent around the tip. Throw it straight outward, neither up nor down. If you are strong do not throw it too hard.

When thrown correctly the boomerang should circle around to the left and climb steadily, finally slowing to a hover in the vicinity of the thrower. With practice, experience and courage the boomerang can be caught at this stage of its flight. It is best to wear a glove on the left hand when learning. Catching is best achieved by clapping both hands together over the boomerang as one does with a frisbee.

Left Hand Throwers

A boomerang can be readily thrown with the left hand - here is what you do. Hold 4 cm of the bevelled end in the left hand with the flat side toward your face.

The boomerang is then brought over the left shoulder and thrown in an arc over the head, like a tennis serve, so that it leaves the hand inclined at an angle of 30 degrees (the one o'clock position) with the flat side leaning to the right. As in the case of a right-handed thrower it should be thrown straight outward and be spinning fast.

Common Difficulties and their Remedies

The boomerang lands to your left....aim more to your right.

The boomerang lands on your right....aim more to your left.

The boomerang crashes without gaining height, or skips along the ground....give it more layover.

The boomerang lands in front of you....give it more layover.

The boomerang lands behind you after flying high....give it less layover.

The boomerang swoops up high after throwing....

Be sure you are not throwing it up. Throw straight out at eye level


Be sure that your layover isn't too great.


Be sure the wind is not too strong.

It spins slowly....

Do not hold too much of the tip of the boomerang (2 fingers depth)

Try holding the lifting arm being sure that the flat side is to the palm. Although less accurate, this method will help you gain more spin as the weight of the boomerang is now in front of your hand.

It flies straight out and does not curve....hold the boomerang with the flat face out.

Safety Tips

Boomerangs do come back and it is important that you take some precautions to protect yourself, others and your boomerang from unfortunate mishaps upon its return.

Remember that ideally you are the target!

Don't attempt to throw a boomerang in gusty or breezy conditions.

Don't throw them if there are uncontrolled children present.

Spectators should stand at least 10 metres behind the thrower preferably on their right.

If it looks as if a boomerang may hit someone they should turn their back to it and cover their face with their hands.

Do not run away from the boomerang as its curved flight path is difficult to judge and you may actually run into it.

Do not throw too hard, especially when learning.

Do not throw over obstacles or hard uneven surfaces.

Do not use too much layover (lean).

Take your time throwing it. Remember once it has left your hand you have no control over it.

Despite these warnings, boomerang throwing is a relatively safe sport so have fun and enjoy!

What does Australian Made really mean?

At Australian Choice we only sell products that are Made in Australia - but what does that really mean?

For a product to be 'Made in Australia' their are two key criteria that must be met:

1. The goods must have been substantially transformed in the country claimed to be the origin (in this case Australia); and

2. Fifty per cent (50%) or more of the costs of production must have been carried out in that country.

Only products that meet this criteria are allowed to display the Australian Made logo.

The criteria is set by the Australian Made Campaign Limited, which is a government funded body set up to administer the Australian made logo. You can visit their website here: Australian Made Campaign Limited
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) also plays an important part in protecting country of origin claims.

Country of origin claims
A country of origin claim is any labeling, packaging, logo or advertising that makes a statement, claim or implication about the country from which goods come.
The most common claims are 'Made in Australia', or 'Product of Australia'.

The law
The Trade Practices Act prohibits businesses from making false or misleading representation concerning the place of origin of goods.The Act defines a set of defences for goods that pass certain tests. These are set out below:

Substantial transformation
The provisions define substantial transformations as:
A fundamental change - in form, appearance or nature such that the goods existing after the change are new and different goods from those existing before the change.
What does that mean?
It means that simple treatments or processing - such as repackaging or mere assembly - are not likely to qualify an otherwise imported good for the 'Made in Australia' claim.
An item must be "substantially transformed" in Australia.

Costs of production
Under the Act, three broad categories of costs of production or manufacture are considered:
a) expenditure on materials
b) labour, and
c) overheads. 
The costs must relate directly to the final goods.

'Product of Australia'
This is now regarded as a premium claim about the origin of goods, and two rigorous criteria must be met:
1. each significant component (or ingredient) of the good must originate from the country of the claim; and
2. all, or virtually all, of the production processes must take place there.

More information
The ACCC's guide to Country of origin claims and the Trade Practices Act is available free from all ACCC offices or on its website