Gap year gifts: What should I send to Australia?

Given that Australia has Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, glorious sunshine and average annual rainfall of less than 600mm, it's easy to see why more than 100,000 people from the UK choose to move there every single year. What might be quite the surprise, however, is just what people miss from back home. Indeed, it might well seem rather remarkable that, when sipping a cocktail on Whitehaven beach or enjoying some of the country's much-touted seafood, all Brits can think about is getting their hands on a packet of Wotsits.

Surprising as this may seem, it's wholly accurate and businesses have even started springing up to offer expat Brits the chance to buy some of the food, drink or household items for which they may be yearning. Of course, it's not only food that people miss from back home, but given that you can't package up the family in a trans-global parcel, it's the next best thing.

Love it?

One of the most common gripes for Brits in Australia is the distinct lack of Marmite - replaced as it is with Vegemite. Even those who manage to get their hands on Marmite down under complain that the flavour is different to that from back home, which is down to the fact that it's actually a modified version created by a New Zealand-based manufacturer, so is indeed different to the 'original'.

Whilst Marmite (the British version) and Vegemite have their similarities, the former is renowned for having a much stronger flavour - which is often the reason for Brits being unwilling (or, indeed, unable) to make the change.

Sweet treats

After the potent, salty strength of Marmite, there will probably be call for something a little sweeter. Some Dairy Milk, for example, or a bar of Galaxy? Not likely.

Just as with the British vs. New Zealand Marmite as noted above, some products Down Under purport to be the same as back home, but actually taste very different indeed. This is also the case for Dairy Milk, which - in Australia - uses many of the same ingredients but does so in different quantities. As such, the milk and cocoa solids may vary greatly - thus not only giving it a different flavour but also altering the texture as well.

Some people won't be able to tell the difference, whilst for others it couldn't be any clearer. Either way, lovers of the UK version may welcome any chance they have to enjoy once again that taste of home.

Galaxy, meanwhile, is much more difficult to come by - in any of its variations. Australian shops rarely sell Galaxy (meaning that Ripples and Caramels are out of the question as well), so this may well be the first item in any self-respecting care package for chocolate lovers Down Under. The same is also true for Yorkies, Wispas, Revels and Munchies, which are all rather rare in Australia.


Another British staple that goes without saying for those travelling abroad is tea. It's an institution across the UK and done so well that some very workaday trends from overseas seem positively barbaric by comparison. After all, you can instantly tell if someone's a Brit from their reaction to seeing a cup of tea being made using water from the hot tap.

Thankfully, Australia is one of the closest nations on earth to the UK where tea drinking is concerned. Unarguably down to the long historic links between the two countries, Aussies also have morning and afternoon tea, made properly, using a kettle and good cups or mugs. The big issue, however, comes when specific brands are concerned.

Many Brits come to find their favourite UK brand, only to then discover it's not made the trip halfway across the world like they have. Tetley has done just that, so too has Twinings, but you'd be hard pushed to find more regional variants such as Yorkshire or Lancashire Tea.

With the cup of tea sorted, it's time to turn attentions instead to its natural accompaniment, biscuits - or more specifically, the humble digestive. An absolute icon across the UK, our digestive is almost unheard of in some quarters of Australia. Furthermore, even those who are familiar with the dunking special only know its chocolate-coated iteration, not the true original.

It's a similar affair for that most dunk-able of all biscuits, the HobNob. Mention it Down Under and you're more likely to get a titter at the name than any pang of recognition, so anyone with oat-based urges may be better off getting them sent from home.


Cheese lovers should have plenty of choice at their fingertips in Australia, but may struggle to find the perfect accompaniment - pickle. This is especially true when considering the age-old British favourite, Branston. Very few places will stock a jar of Branston and countless expats have noted there aren't any alternatives which can really compete.

On a positive note, though, pickles are increasingly being sold in plastic containers, which should not only bring down their weight but also make them less susceptible to breakages for anyone thinking of shipping a jar or two.


For all of the above, it's worth remembering that Australia has strong regulations where its natural environment is concerned. The habitat Down Under is a finely balanced one which the authorities are unwilling to disrupt - with good reason. This means that transporting foodstuffs in from abroad can be a somewhat fraught experience. Some parcels manage to get through unscathed, whilst others never actually reach their destination. So, before packing anything up for delivery, check the likelihood of it being delivered to prevent a notable waste of time and money.


Food and the family aren't all that Brits miss from home when travelling, however. Believe it or not, many people miss the TV as well - even the soaps!

Maybe it's down to the good weather, vast beaches or sociable nature of Australians, but UK expats regularly note that significantly less time is spent staring at the box Down Under than back home. As viewing audiences are so low, much less attention is put into TV output in Australia, which has even left some to label it "rubbish".

Of course, there's plenty of streaming services available to watch TV wherever you are in the world, but in the case of a slightly less popular programme that won't have made it to such sites, a DVD will certainly do the trick.

So it seems that even with Australia's golden coastlines, warm weather and clear oceans, at least a small part of many Brits there yearn for their creature comforts. Even tropical idylls aren't quite perfect without some digestive biscuits and a jar of Marmite, then.

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