Items that are considered "bargain" purchase in Aus/NZ/SP

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#1
new york, new york, USA
330 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Are there any items that an American can buy "down under" or in the south pacific that would be considered a "bargin purchase". Is the exchange rate in AUS or NZ favorable or unfavorable vs the US Dollar. Where is the best port to buy a sheepskin rug? How much would I expect to pay.?
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#2
nsw, Australia
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Joined Apr 2008
This is such a difficult question to answer, as the rugs come in all different types/grades/sizes/colours of wool. You can purchase here in Oz, rugs anywhere from approx $80 up to over a thousand dollars.....see what i mean! I personally think that NZ may have a better choice. NZ wool is meant to be far better for walking on ie carpets, rugs etc. (DH used to own a carpet business, and all the best quality was purchased from NZ). Sorry I cannot help any further.
Canadian friends of ours, recently visiting downunder, went mad with the possum socks. They can be purchased in various stores in Oz, but are all over the place in NZ....ie every port. Between NZ$15/NZ$25. Something different, exceptionally warm and super soft.
#3
1,971 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
The first time we went to Australia (and because of the strict weight limits for flights) I bought opal earings as my ´big´purchase then just bought 1$ green shoppping bags from various tourist places, in NZ it was Ugg boots, in Tahiti, I would have liked to shop for pearls, but didn´t have time.
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#4
Melbn, 'Straya
1,985 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
If you're hoping to score a great deal via the exchange rate I'm afraid you're about 10 years too late. The Aussie $ is strong these days (A$1 = US$1.05) so there probably aren't any real "bargains" in that sense.
#5
Gold Coast
10,061 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by stuNYC
Are there any items that an American can buy "down under" or in the south pacific that would be considered a "bargin purchase". Is the exchange rate in AUS or NZ favorable or unfavorable vs the US Dollar. Where is the best port to buy a sheepskin rug? How much would I expect to pay.?
I can't think of anything that an American would buy in Australia/NZ, which would be considered a bargain purchase.

I go to the US and SEAsia to do my bargain shopping.

However, quality purchases here include sheepskin products, such as rugs, steering wheel covers, ugg boots, lightweight fine merino wool clothing, socks etc. Some of our best hand made products are sold at weekend markets, such as Salamanca Markets in Hobart, Tasmania.

I have bought sheepskin rugs, car seat covers and steering wheel covers in NZ. The last time in Napier from memory, with a company which picked cruisers up at the tourist information on the waterfront and took them to their factory, with a guided tour en route.
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#7
Melbourne/AUS
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Joined Apr 2012
Not really any bargains to be had with the strengh of the Aussie dollar, plus things are so expensive here anyway, but some unique items you can buy here are things like Opal and pearl jewelry, sheepskin, possum products, and in the South Pacific south sea pearls.
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#8
Australia
786 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
One thing to watch out for is the 'tourist jewellery'. In Australia it is Opal, the good stuff is not cheap, you need to know where it was mined and make sure it is not a triplet (which is a thin shaving of opal with a black back to make it colourful). In NZ it is the jade, when holidaying there over the last couple of years I was determined to buy NZ Jade as it turns out a lot of the stuff in the tourist outlets comes from China etc, even Aus. NZ jade is much more interesting to look at (not just the solid green colour) but also more expensive but not ridiculously so. I got a very nice piece for $180 Aus, Maori carved by a local artisan, with a meaning behind the carving and blessed by the Maori lady that sold it to me (it was a reputable business not a market stall), but it took quite a lot of investigation to find authentic NZ jade. It comes down to the fact that tourist demand outstrips local supply so they supplement it with imported product. It is still a good product but I wanted a memory of my holiday not just a piece of jewellery.

Also in Akoroa there is this pearl manufacturing company that has developed the most beautiful looking blue pearl but way out of my league, very expensive. The shop is on the wharf if I remember correctly, worth a look even if you don't buy.

Sorry to waffle on about jewellery (my obsession) but as the other posters say, possum products and Ugg Boots are always a good buy, also don't forget local food products (the sort that can go through customs).
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#9
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
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NZ Jade, bone and Kauri wood carvings and Sheepwool items are among the nicest NZ souvenirs.
Woolen jumpers are also very beautiful, but are pricey.
For light and cheaper items which make great presents you can not go wrong with the Paua shell jewellery (just check it is from NZ!).

A unique thing I have brought over to Europe to give as presents were localy made paintings of a Maori basket with gold touches and feathers attached. Bought five, they were all different. Just used lot of bubble wrap, bit cumbersome but light.

You could do something similar in Australia with the beautiful and original Aboriginal art.
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#10
Muscat/Oman and Sydney/Australia
797 Posts
Joined May 2011
As previous posters mentioned, due to the strong Aussie Dollar, you are unlikely to find "bargains" or stuff that is cheaper in Australia.
Unique things, Yes.
Perhaps best avoid any shop that has lots of Japanese and Chinese advertising in the window. They tend to be a real rip-off!
Better stick to major shopping centers for shopping, other than your koala/kangaroo toys and touristy stuff.
Ugg boots can probably be had by mail order in the US for the same price.
A company called R.M. Williams makes excellent boots, "cowboy" style hats, coats etc.
Not cheap, but superb quality. Australian Opals or Western Australian pearls are an excellent, but pricy gift. Don't buy these in souvenir shops!
A cheap and delicious gift that can be found in every supermsrket and 7-11 are Tim Tam, the world's best chocolate biscuit. Seriously adictive. They come in a variety of versions, but the original is the best. Just ask anybody in the shop which one it is.
Another Aussie speciality is Vegemite. Aussies LOVE the stuff on buttered toast, but the rest of the world finds it pretty disgusting. 25 years in Australia and I still can't eat it.
Buy a jar to scare your neighbors!
#11
Melbn, 'Straya
1,985 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Ohhhhh, Vegemite battle! I love the stuff and always take some with me when I cruise. A fellow passenger (American as it happens) once made some very disparaging remarks about it so I asked him if he'd ever actually tried it? The answer was No of course but he was willing to give it a go so he got a slice of buttered toast and proceeded to spread an inch thick layer of my precious black gold My squawks alerted him to the fact he was doing it all wrong so I showed him that the toast only required a thin smear of the salty nectar of the gods and when he VERY tentatively nibbled it he was instantly transformed into a happy little Vegemite. Better late than never!
#12
nsw, Australia
2,993 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by room010
Ohhhhh, Vegemite battle! I love the stuff and always take some with me when I cruise. A fellow passenger (American as it happens) once made some very disparaging remarks about it so I asked him if he'd ever actually tried it? The answer was No of course but he was willing to give it a go so he got a slice of buttered toast and proceeded to spread an inch thick layer of my precious black gold My squawks alerted him to the fact he was doing it all wrong so I showed him that the toast only required a thin smear of the salty nectar of the gods and when he VERY tentatively nibbled it he was instantly transformed into a happy little Vegemite. Better late than never!
I read where Vegemite cannot be taken through US Customs, due to a certain ingredient within. Anyone else read this? I will be so upset, and possibly have withdrawal symptoms if I can't take it. (and it has to be the original Vegemite).

Back to the original question.....yes, Tim Tam biscuits are an excellent cheap choice....that is if they are not all eaten before you depart Oz
#13
Orewa , Auckland , N.Z.
18,889 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Jade or Green stone in NZ
Paua shell jewelery in NZ
Bone carvings in NZ , (traditional fish hook of Maui)

All can vary in quality and price. If you keep your eye out you can find very nice paua souvenirs at realistic prices..ie instead of being set in silver it will be stainless steel , which polished up is very attractive.

Buzzy Bee in NZ (if you want an heirloom keepsake for children.)


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#14
Nova Scotia Canada
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What is Busy Bee?
I bought Ugg boots & slippers in Western Australia 3 yrs ago and they were 1/2 price of here in Canada. I also bough a wonderful sheep skin winter hat that I wear and it is really warm I also bough a beautiful Australian Opal necklace & earrings
The Tim Tim biscuits are now being sold at some grocery chains in Canada
Muriel
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#15
Orewa , Auckland , N.Z.
18,889 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by cottagemama
What is Busy Bee?


Buzzy Bee...an iconic NZ childrens wooden toy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzzy_Bee

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#16
UK
1,635 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I have just bought myself Ugg boots here in the UK, after years of thinking they couldn't possibly be with that amount of money ..... but they are.

They are sooooo comfy, cosy and warm. My feet get really grumpy when I take them off!
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#17
Australia
2,758 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Consider buying a sheepskin in Napier New Zealand, this company does shuttle services to their factory from the tourist office (you will be dropped off there from the port as it is a working port). http://www.classicsheepskins.co.nz/ we bought sheepskins there 3 years ago and had them shipped back to Australia.
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#18
Sydney, Australia
1,644 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
In New Zealand, definitely Green Stone. It is rarely set in precious metal, unlike Paua shell so you are paying for the quality of the stone and the carving. There are several reputable shops close to the terminal in Auckland (shop around as I did) and local artisans do sell at markets. There is a brilliant display of Green Stone at the Te Papa museum in Wellington but the prices in the museum shop are inflated. If you are a maker of your own jewellery, you will find bead shops in both Dunedin ( near the Octagon) and in Napier. Google them. Both sell Paua Shell beads.
#19
Melbourne/AUS
736 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by bobhsv
I read where Vegemite cannot be taken through US Customs, due to a certain ingredient within. Anyone else read this? I will be so upset, and possibly have withdrawal symptoms if I can't take it. (and it has to be the original Vegemite).

Back to the original question.....yes, Tim Tam biscuits are an excellent cheap choice....that is if they are not all eaten before you depart Oz
It was incorrectly reported that this was te case a few years ago. It was because of the folate level in it. But no, it's not illegal to take Vegemite to the US.
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#20
Ajijic, Mexico
219 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by stuNYC
Are there any items that an American can buy "down under" or in the south pacific that would be considered a "bargin purchase". Is the exchange rate in AUS or NZ favorable or unfavorable vs the US Dollar. Where is the best port to buy a sheepskin rug? How much would I expect to pay.?
Bargains tend to be relative to where you come from. By USA standards, Australia is an expensive country and our strong dollar against the $USD just makes this worse for visitors. You will find unique and good quality items but this is definitely not bargain shopping territory. We Aussies head to the USA with empty suitcases when we want to shop 'til we drop! (although of late, I have found prices in the USA are definitely higher than previously had been)
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