Here’s All of the Stuff You Can’t Take Into Australia

Here’s All of the Stuff You Can’t Take Into Australia

Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard made headlines across the globe last week when their bizarre, hilarious and totally excruciating apology video to the Australian government was leaked online. While smuggling living animals into the country is an obvious no-no, our strict biosecurity legislation covers much, much more: everything from noodles to dirty shoes can land expats and tourists in hot water.

Australian Customs image from Shutterstock

For those not up to speed on their canine-related celebrity gossip, Jack Sparrow and his missus got in trouble with the department of agriculture and water resources last May when they falsified court documents in order to smuggle Amber’s pet dogs into the country. Which is why they were forced to apologise and explain the importance of the Australian ecosystem in this video:

Sure the incident has brought plenty of attention to Depp, Heard and their ability to play pretty darn convincing hostages on camera. But it’s also showed the rest of the world just how strict Australia’s biosecurity legislation really is. And this got us wondering, what else can’t you bring into the country on your travels?

Well, there are all the “usual suspects”, which are things that very few countries allow you to bring in and don’t have anything to do with biosecurity, like knuckle dusters, illegal porn and throwing stars.

But the more unusual stuff that’s prohibited by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources includes:

Soil or mud on your shoes, fruits (including frozen fruits), vegetables (including frozen vegetables), meat (fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted and preserved), eggs (whole, dried or powdered), products that contain more than 10 percent egg (like mayonnaise), all dairy products, all mammals, birds’ eggs, birds’ nests, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, all plants, cuttings, roots and bulbs, cereals, popping corn, nuts, chestnuts, pine cones, bird seed, commercially packaged seeds, pet food.

There are also plenty of things that are technically allowed into Australia, but that you have to declare first and have them checked or even treated. These include:

Noodles, rice, all snacks, biscuits, herbs, spices, feathers, bones, horns, tusks, skins, hides, furs, stuffed animals, shells, coral, used animal equipment, wooden things, anything made from plant material, like mats, bags and clothes, straw products, coconut shells, Christmas decorations, flowers, camping equipment, sporting equipment.

Sure some countries have similar policies, but Australia really takes the biscuit (except don’t take any biscuits in unless you want to declare them, okay?) when it comes to cracking down on biosecurity laws.

These aren’t exhaustive lists, check out the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website for more information.


  • I don’t think the list is wildly different to the EU’s restrictions (for example); it’s just that they’ve described sub-categories in a more detailed fashion. When you’re dealing with hordes of general public who can’t distinguish between animal, vegetable and mineral (especially after a 22h flight) then concrete examples are necessary.

    That also applies to people who may be enforcing these issues. I won’t detail the excruciating pain of trying to explain the difference between weight and volume for carry-on limits to an official at Sydney airport.

  • I like how the article is called ALL THE THINGS then at the end you say it isn’t an exhaustive list.
    Plus illegal port. Really you can’t take something into the country that is illegal?

  • Doesn’t a lot of the plant and animal matter depend on whether the seeds etc. are viable or could carry disease? I’ve never had a problem with certain processed goods because there’s no way you could grow something else out.

  • Recently came back from the Cook Islands with a coconut shaped as a monkeys head declared it and had a certificate from there to say it had been fumigated however wasn’t allowed to keep it however other family members had no issues must be the one checking was having a bad day????

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!