10 things to avoid when traveling to Australia

As we enter the month of July, many international students will be traveling to Australia for the first time, as many Australian universities will resume their academic session by the end of this month.

If you’re one of those students, you might want some helpful packing tips before you make your big move to the Land Down Under. After all, Australia is notoriously strict on its border controls, and this can be seen on the popular reality TV show, “Border Security: Australia’s Front Line”.

If you are bound for Australia, it is worth familiarizing yourself with what you can and cannot bring into the country. It should be noted that some items require authorization or must be declared before they can be brought, including selected foods.

Failure to declare or give false or misleading information to a Biosecurity Officer regarding your packaged goods may result in severe penalties, which may include a fine of up to A$2,664, subject to civil liability and/or prosecuted for a criminal offence.

Your visa may be canceled and, if so, risk returning to your country after being refused entry to Australia, notes the Australian Border Force (ABF). However, they add that you will not be penalized under the Biosecurity Act 2015 if you declare all the goods, even if they are not allowed to enter Australia.

That being said, here are 10 items you should declare or avoid bringing to Australia, based on information on the ABF website.

Packing tips: what you can and can’t bring to Australia

International students are reminded to declare all dairy products they bring into Australia on arrival. Some dairy products are not permitted in the country and may be exported or destroyed at the importer’s expense. Source: Amir Makar/AFP

Cheese, butter and other dairy products

Although not prohibited as long as it is declared or inspected on arrival, bringing cheese into Australia can be risky for you if it does not meet import requirements. This could result in their export or destruction at your expense.

If authorized by ABF, the cheese, as well as other dairy products, can be used for personal consumption. Get more details here.

Dried fruits

Pay attention to the types of food you plan to bring to Australia for a cultural or seasonal event.

ABF advises you not to bring festive items such as dried fruit into Australia as they may pose a biosecurity risk to Australia.

Packing Tips

Certain sweets such as burfi, ras malai, rasgulla and pedas are not permitted to be imported into Australia. Source: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP


If you are celebrating Diwali (the festival of lights), you may be thinking of bringing some goodies as gifts to exchange with other international students or relatives in Australia.

ABF has strict requirements regarding the items you are allowed to bring or send to Australia. Sweets such as burfi, ras malai, rasgulla and pedas are among the prohibited items for import into Australia.

Packaging Tips

Certain spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel, dried chillies or capsicum are not permitted in Australia. Source: Sajjad Hussain/AFP


Spices are items that must be declared.

Cumin, coriander, fennel, and dried chillies or capsicum are not permitted and will be destroyed unless they meet the exclusions listed on the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment’s Urgent Actions webpage. Water and Environment to protect against the khapra beetle (a small but serious pest), notes the ABF.

Other dried and ground spices and spice blends may be permitted in Australia if they meet the following requirements listed here.


If you’re thinking of sourcing rice from your home country by bringing it to Australia, think again.

Rice is not allowed unless it meets the exclusions listed on the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment’s Urgent Actions webpage to protect against the khapra beetle.

Whole eggs

The ABF notes that whole eggs are not permitted in Australia unless accompanied by an import permit.

Packaging Tips

Bringing fake designer products into Australia carries stiff penalties for the offender. Source: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

Counterfeit branded items

If you have purchased counterfeit or counterfeit products, including brand name clothing, handbags, shoes, cosmetics, perfumes and hair straighteners do not bring them into Australia.

Not only do you risk losing your possessions, but you risk having to pay huge fines and face prosecution. A Tasmanian woman learned this lesson the hard way.

pepper spray

You may want to carry pepper spray for protective measures when you arrive in Australia, but you are not allowed to bring it from your home country.

You risk losing your property, legal action and heavy financial penalties. Examples of pepper spray include anti-personnel spray, pepper spray, mace capsaicin, defender spray, and riot control spray.

Live plants

You are not permitted to bring live plants into Australia unless you have obtained a valid import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

Packaging Tips

Fireworks are considered “dangerous goods” and cannot be brought with international students when traveling to Australia. Credit: David Gray/AFP


Fireworks or pyrotechnics will not even pass through Australian customs, as they are not permitted to be taken on board your flight (in the cabin or in the hold with baggage).

This measure was set by Civil Aviation Safety Authority legislation because fireworks are considered “dangerous goods”.