1. Camphor Cutting Board
Handmade in Sydney, camphor laurel cutting boards are not only beautiful additions to the kitchen, but their natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties make them one of the safest cutting boards to use. The Wood Life, a boutique woodworking company in Sydney, produces these beautiful kitchen essentials, along with a host of other hand-crafted wooden homewares and accessories. The Wood Life cutting boards range in price from AU$ 35.00 to AU$ 129.00 and are available online at the Wood Life website and at their stall at The Rocks Markets on George Street, which is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Owner, Ben Leahy, is at the stall most weekends and is always happy to chat about his craft. The Wood Life stall is located in the northern end of the markets, towards the Sydney Harbor Bridge side of The Rocks. The Rocks Markets is a great day out besides being an ideal gift-buying location, with a profusion of local craftsmen and cuisine and all the famous landmarks of Sydney an easy stroll away.
Australia is famous for the quality of its opals and Sydney is home to a large variety of opal products, from investment gems to delicate jewelry. The mesmerizing colors of an opal are always shifting and changing with the light to reveal new dimensions. Expertly set in Australian gold, a pair of opal earrings makes a special gift that will be treasured. For a pair of studs, prices start around $AU 79.00 and go upward, depending on the size of the gem and the gem quality. An opal bracelet set in gold will cost upward of AU$250. For real quality gems, that are a true investment, it is essential to buy from a trusted retailer.
Where to find it:
Address: 55 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia
Phone:+61 2 9247 9885
3. Ugg Boots
Ugg boots are iconic Australian footwear. Made from the highest quality sheep skin, Ugg boots are warm and comfortable, and are a staple in most Sydney households during the chilly winters. Originally intended for inside use only, Ugg boots have become a fashion statement even outside the house, with big-name celebrities, like Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria, seen sporting the comfy boots; although it was Pamela Anderson who first took the trend off Aussie shores. The original Ugg boot can be found right in the heart of Sydney, with the factory outlet of the Genuine Australian Ugg Boots Shop located at 1/85 Williams Street, which is a central thoroughfare in the city. The classic Ugg Boots at retail shops will set you back upward of AU$450, however, at the factory outlet you get massive savings with the classic Ugg, costing AU$170. Baby Ugg and Kids Ugg sizes are also available, starting from AU$80 at the factory outlet, which is open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also find Ugg boots, as well as ladies' Ugg heel boots, at Ugg At The Rocks, Shop 2 Clocktower Square. They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. also.
4. Dinosaur Designs
Sydney-siders, Louise Olsen, Stephen Ormandy and Liane Rossler formed Dinosaur Designs in 1985, with the first of their now-famous jewelry sold at Sydney’s Paddington markets. The design trio have gone on to achieve phenomenal success in the design world, with their hand-cast resin jewelry gracing the pages of high fashion magazines and accessorizing the outfits of numerous celebrities. Bangles and rings are the bedrock of Dinosaur Design’s collections, with bangles starting from AU$55.00 and rings costing upwards of AU$50.00. They have also branched into homewares and metal work. Their Sydney stores are located at 339 Oxford Street in Paddington, and at shop 77 in the Strand Arcade in the Sydney CBD. The Paddington store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Strand Arcade store is open Monday to Wednesday and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays is late night shopping in Sydney, so the Strand Arcade stores stay open till 8 p.m. Saturdays it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m.
5. Akubra Hat
Made famous by the 1980s film franchise ‘Crocodile Dundee’ the Akubra hat is an Australian staple. Akubras are crafted from rabbit fur felt. Paired with a “driza-bone” oiled leather coat, Akubras are one half of the classic Australian stockman’s outfit, which was the official outfit of the 2007 APEC Leader’s conference held in Sydney. Akubra’s are wide brimmed, designed to ward off the burning Australian sun and typically have a thin leather band around the base of the crown. This is sometimes substituted for a bullet belt by the real outback “Aussies.” Akubra hats range in price from AU$110 to AU$164, depending on the style. Akubra’s are available in a variety of locations across Sydney, including the lively shopping street of Chinatown. Other shops stocking Akubras in Sydney include Country Classics Australia, located at shops 26 and 28 of the iconic Queen Victoria Building shopping arcade in the heart of Sydney on George Street. You can find them also at The Rocks Hatters at The Rocks on George Street, and The Sheepskin Shop, as well as at The Rocks on George Street.
6. Ken Done
Ken Done is one of Sydney’s most famous artists, and a true Australian icon. His gallery and store have a variety of Ken Done artworks, as well as everyday items, sporting Ken Done designs. Done’s art is characterized by bright, contrasting colors and childlike abstraction. Australian landmarks – from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney Harbor – always feature strongly in his work. A set of twin Ken Done coasters will set you back AU$9.95. Ken Done Calendars are AU$20.00 and there are a variety of Ken Done prints available. There are also silk ties for AU$79.00 or a baby bib for AU$19.95. Ken Done Gallery and store are located at 123-25 George Street, in one of Sydney’s most historic areas, The Rocks, which sit just below the Sydney Harbor Bridge and a stone throw from the Opera House and Circular Quay. The gallery and attached store are open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
7. Penfolds Grange Wine
Australia boasts some of the finest wines, with the famous Penfolds Grange ranking among the top wines in the world. Penfolds is one of the oldest Australian wineries, and early vintages of the Grange are now considered collector’s items. Penfolds Grange is prized for its deep aroma, with tones of five spice and blackberry and dark chocolaty tannin that provide an intense flavor length. While there are plenty of wine bars and great pubs to sample Penfolds Grange and other Penfolds wines in Sydney, for purchasing a bottle to take back home, head to the Oxford Street Vintage Cellars. Located at 97 Oxford Street in the trendy Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, Vintage Cellars not only stock a large range of Penfolds wine, but have some of the most passionate and knowledgeable staff around. For the prized Penfolds Grange, prices start at AU$599.99 per bottle for a 2006 vintage. For Cabernet Sauvignon - AU$43.95; and for Penfolds Shiraz - AU$49.99 per bottle up to AU$649.99 for the 2005 vintage.
8. Kangaroo Leather
Sydney boasts some of the highest-quality kangaroo leather, carefully crafted into wallets, bags, belts and other goods. Kangaroo leather is prized because of its unique cross fibring, which allows it to be split very thinly without losing strength. It is considered the strongest type of leather for its weight. Prices vary according to the type of leather goods you choose, but a kangaroo leather wallet will set you back upwards of AU$29.95. A hand-embossed kangaroo leather wallet by a local aboriginal artist is AU$65.00. Harrington Street Leather is one of the most famous places for picking up unique leather goods, while in Sydney. They are located in The Rocks, at 32 Harrington Street, and are open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. Crocodile leather also features strongly through the Harrington Leather collection, and all leather is derived from sustainably farmed animals, under strict guidelines from the Australian Wildlife Protection Act.
9. Gold-Plated Eucalyptus Leaf
The eucalyptus tree is an Australian native, and Sydney is surrounded by ancient eucalypt forests. The skeletons of these eucalypt leaves are collected by Bush Art Australia and gold plated to form the most delicate and beautiful jewelry. Necklaces with a single leaf cost upward of AU$25.00, and a pair of earrings with one leaf on each earring - upward of $AU40.00. Brooches and necklace, and earring sets are also available, as well as gold-plated gumnuts. Bush Art Australia operates out of The Rocks Markets, which are on every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can get to The Rocks Markets via Circular Quay, which is a scenic walk of about 5 minutes. From the CBD, The Rocks are about a 10-minute walk down George Street, or you can access The Rocks through Hickson Street via Darling Harbor – on every side The Rocks is surrounded by Sydney’s biggest landmarks.
10. Macadamia Nuts
Sweet, buttery macadamia nuts are the pride of Australian nuts. Almost every shop in Sydney’s Chinatown district will have a variety of macadamia nuts, and you can buy them canned and roasted, honey-coated, chocolate-coated or spiced. Macadamia nut butter, oil and cream are also available. Macadamias are not only delicious, but they contain lots of essential nutrients, minerals and fatty acids, and are said to be very beneficial for the skin. Chinatown is located in the Haymarket district of Sydney, a five-minute walk from Sydney’s Central train station and Darling Harbor. While Chinatown is open for business from early to late every day, if you go during the day, from Wednesday to Sunday, you can buy fresh macadamias from the farmers markets held at Paddys Market in the Market City complex at the Hay Street entrance to Chinatown. For a truly nutty experience, you can also find a full range of macadamia nuts, starting at AU$6.00, at The Nut Shop, just a short walk from Chinatown at the Strand Arcade on George Street. The Nut Shop is open Monday to Wednesday and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Late night shopping is on Thursdays, so they stay open until 8:30 p.m. and on the weekends they are open Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
11. Cricket Bat
Cricket is considered the national sport of Australia and a cricket bat is a great gift for a sporting enthusiast. Kookaburra cricket bats are world-renowned and used by the cricketing elite. Kookaburra has been making cricket bats and other cricket gear since 1890 in Australia. A Kookaburra cricket bat will set you back from AU$70.00 up to AU$745.00 for a match-grade bat. They are available from the Mick Simmons sporting store, located at 478 George Street. Mick Simmons are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Friday. Thursdays they are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays - 9:30 to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is recognized world-wide as the home of Australian cricket. Miniature cricket bats from the SCG are carefully crafted bats, approximately 15 inches long, with the SCG logo embossed near the handle in gold. Perfect for getting autographs from your favorite cricket star, these bats make the ideal cricket-lovers gift at AU$25.00. They are only available from the joint Sydney Football Stadium and SCG store, located at the entrance to the SCG complex at Moore Park, about 10 minutes drive from the CDB.
12. Emu Oil
Emu oil has been used for thousands of years, as a healing ointment, by the Aboriginal Australians. Made from the fat of emus, the oil is used for all sorts of skin and joint conditions, from eczema to arthritis, rashes and bug stings. It is even said to do wonders for fine lines and wrinkles. Emu oil is anti-inflammatory, as well as being an antihistamine and anti-microbial, so it's a definite multi-tasker in the medicine cabinet, as well as for skincare. You can buy straight emu oil or emu oil skincare products, from facial moisturizer to night creams and healing ointments. Life Spring in Chinatown stock a great range of emu oil products, and are located at 47 Dixon Street in Haymarket. They are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Life Spring emu oil moisturizer costs from AU$12.00 to AU$30.00, while straight emu oil costs $AU30.00 for a 50ml bottle.
Used for thousands of years as a hunting tool, the boomerang is a symbol of the aboriginal Australian culture. Boomerangs are thrown through the air, much like you would throw a Frisbee, but their unique crescent shape means that they return to the spot they were thrown from. This means a hunter would never lose his boomerang while out seeking prey. They are typically painted in vibrant colors, using traditional dot painting techniques, and cost upward of AU$7.50. You can find boomerangs in Chinatown in the city, or down at Circular Quay, where there are a number of shops selling hand-painted boomerangs. Australia The Gift is located at shop 516 Gateway Plaza on Alfred Street, Circular Quay and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Australian Collection Opera Quays is located at shop 1-2 Circular Quay East, and is also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gifts At The Quay is located at shop 9 on George Street at the entrance to Circular Quay near the train station.
14. Koomurri Aboriginal Music CD
Koomurri are a local aboriginal performance group and are fixture down at the famous Circular Quay in Sydney, playing fusion traditional music for the pleasure of passers-by. Koomurri specialize in bringing their native culture to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, via their performances at Circular Quay, as well as through educational programs and special events. The Koomurri members, who all dress in traditional loincloths with tribal body paint, performed at the opening of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as well as the Athens Olympics of 2004. Their live performance at Circular Quay is not to be missed, and they are always happy to chat about their music and culture. Their CD’s are available at the live shows, and cost $19.95. Koomurri perform at Circular Quay, usually toward the Harbor Bridge side, below the Museum of Contemporary Art. They are always there on the weekends, and are often there on weekdays too, especially during holiday periods and in summer.
15. Aboriginal Artwork
The aboriginal people of Australia have a rich artistic heritage, which is captured in contemporary and traditional artwork, displayed at numerous galleries in Sydney. The aboriginal people use their art to tell stories about the land, its animal and plants, or the spiritual landscapes, called the Dreaming. Often natural ochre paints and bark canvases are used, making these artworks a true piece of Australia to take home. For original artworks, prices start around AU$500 and go into thousands, but most galleries have prints available, as well. One of the most renowned gallery chains in Sydney are the Aboriginal Art Galleries, which display and sell works at three central locations in the city. The Opera Quays gallery is located at shop 13, 2 in East Circular Quay at the Opera Quays and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Queen Victoria Building gallery is located at shop 47-51 on level 2 of the QVB, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The third gallery is located at The Rocks in Bay 5, 1-5 Hickson Road, right on the corner of George Street and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.