Customs and Duties
Australian customs regulations are unlike any other. As an island long isolated from the rest of the world, Australia is free from many pests and diseases endemic in other places, and it wants to stay that way. Customs procedures are very thorough, and it can take up to an hour to clear them.
All animals are subject to quarantine. Many foodstuffs and natural products are forbidden, including meat, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, and all food served on aircraft. Most canned or preserved foods may be imported, but you have to declare them on your customs statement and have them inspected, along with wooden artifacts and seeds.
Airport sniffer dogs patrol arrivals areas, and even an innocent dried flower forgotten between the pages of a book could incur a serious fine. If in doubt, declare something—the worst-case scenario is that it will be taken from you, without a fine.
Otherwise, nonresidents over 18 may bring in 50 cigarettes (or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco) and 2¼ liters of alcohol. Adults can bring in other taxable goods (that is, luxury items like perfume) to the value of A$900.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Services. This organization is a good resource for information about duty-free allowances. www.customs.gov.au.
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. This department can tell you what you can and cannot bring into Australia. 1800/020–504. www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (866/880–6582. www.cbp.gov.)