News tips Customs restrictions for people flying into Australia

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Customs restrictions for people flying into Australia

Have you tried smuggling some pirated Bali DVDs into Australian customs or just been awfully unlucky to have found the perfect souvenir only to get it confiscated last minute at the security check at the airport. Here's Skyscanner's list of items you can and can't bring into Australia.

A lot of what can and can’t be brought into Australia is common sense. No illegal drugs, no terrorist propaganda and no bags full of cheap medicine. Other items may not be so obvious while others work on a case by case basis. Skyscanner Australia looks at some of the more unusual and borderline customs restrictions.

Fake goods

Whether you’ve bought a knock-off pair of designer jeans or a bundle of pirated DVDs, these illegal goods can be confiscated at the border and a fine imposed for attempting to bring these items into Australia. In some countries the market stalls will be full of realistic counterfeits, but common sense should tell you if the price matches up to the brand’s RRP.

Animal products

If you’ve bought anything that has fully tanned leather or fur products – items such as raw hide drums – this will be destroyed by customs unless you pay $100 to have it treated.

Other items such as jewellery with bones, teeth or horns may be destroyed if they are not clean and in new packaging.

Man wearing leather jacket holding stick wrapped in leather and fur


As a rule, weapons are not allowed into the country. All types of firearms (including paint ball guns and realistic replica guns) are banned, and your item will be confiscated and you can be fined. Exceptions can be made if you have a gun licence and written approval from state police or the Attorney General’s department.

Other weapons like daggers, throwing blades and nun-chucks are also banned (unless you have prior approval from state police). However, swords (both Japanese and European styles), Swiss army knives and fixed blade knives (such as kitchen knives) are all permitted.


Visitors to Fiji and other Pacific Islands may try kava during their stay and want to bring some back with them. This is okay so long as the traveller is aged 18 or above and has less than two kilograms with them. However, if you try to bring in more you’ll have your root confiscated.

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Wooden products

Wooden ornaments and trinkets can make great souvenirs, but not all are allowed back into Australia. As a general rule, anything with bark will be destroyed (or treated for $100) as will anything with signs of insects or insect-made holes. Items made out of wood (and seeds or leaves) must be declared on your customs form for inspection.

Some vendors know of this restriction and will try to tell you that their product is certified or has a guarantee, but this means nothing when you arrive at customs and, with your item confiscated, booking a return trip to complain will be fruitless.

Wooden statue souvenirs

Illegal pornography

This should go without saying, but bringing back pornographic material that includes children, animals or sexual violence can lead to confiscation, fines, prosecution and up to 10 years in prison.

Food products

Most travellers know they can’t bring back fruit, veggies or meat products (even if they were part of your onboard meal), however the one exception is that Indonesian meat jerky is permitted (although conditions do apply).

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Fruits sold at a floating market

Knowing the ins and outs of customs can make your return to Australia go more smoothly. Check out Skyscanner Australia’s best deals for flights, hotels and car hire to make your arrival more pleasant too.

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