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Australia and Oceania

Souvenirs from Australia and Oceania

The Australian and Oceanic region includes Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. As you can imagine, with so many islands, there are a vast swath of Australian and Oceanic souvenirs available to the visitor, celebrating the natural resources, animals and people. In the next few paragraphs, we'll take a deeper look at the different items available for purchase. There will be variations in style and craftsmanship, but the majority of the crafts will have a similar feel, showing the connections that this region has forged via seaborne trade and ethnic traditions. You can also chose to enjoy more "fun" souvenirs such as slogan T-shirts with amusing graphics and sayings, shot glasses, plastic visors, magnets of local landmarks, games labeled with locations and key chains with cartoon animals. No matter how you choose to preserve them, the memories of your vacation will come alive every time you look at your souvenirs from Australia and Oceania.

Popular Symbols of Australia and Oceania

Australia is the largest country, and only continent on the list. Comprised of rugged desert lands, fertile growing spaces, and sandy beaches, Australians enjoy a fun, relaxed outlook on life. Popular memorabilia from Australia includes anything with a kangaroo, including plush animals, key chains, fridge magnets, T-shirts and postcards. Aboriginal handicrafts are popular for all ages and can provide a life time of stories. New Zealand is Australia's neighbor and offers the kiwi bird as its national symbol. Herds of sheep grazing the island's vast amounts of pasture land provide plenty of wool for sweaters and other handcrafted items. Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia offer tribal themed souvenirs, such as masks, baskets, and wall decorations for the home, and items from the sea. You can find seashell and pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings, and even carved wooden tribal idols, such as the Tiki God, whose grotesque smile appears on many souvenirs. Flowers, sea animals, and native apparel are also popular themes for key chains and tote bags.

Basket Weaving Is For More Than Just Baskets

Various island grasses and tree leaves are dried and woven into decorative and useful items, much of which would be ideal for souvenirs of Oceania and Australia. The most easily identifiable are baskets in an assortment of styles, colors and sizes. You could purchase a matching set to use as practical storage for a home office or bedroom. Floor mats are produced in a similar fashion, and can be rolled up to fit in larger pieces of luggage, allowing you to add beachy flair to outdoor parties and picnics. You may also wish to purchase a wall hanging of island motifs. Hats are also created using basketry, and vary in fashion from island to island, with variations in weaves and finishes. Woven accessories are also popular, turned into small wallets, cute purses and large tote bags, perfect for transporting sunscreen and a towel while on vacation or to haul files, lunch and a laptop to work.

Wooden Artisan Creations in Australia and Oceania

The island population has learned to use every natural resource available to them, and has created a tradition of turning local wood into an assortment of items used for everyday and ceremonial uses. The most evident use is for boats, built according to the ways of each tribe into canoe and barge shapes. Interested parties can often find small replicas of them for sale as souvenirs, making them ideal for decorating a study or child's bedroom. Turned bowls and utensils are sophisticated accents for a kitchen or dining room, and wooden trays are perfect for serving drinks on during parties. Small household idols, based on the spiritual traditions of the regions, are images of local animals and wildly disfigured people and believed to scare away evil spirits. You can also find plaques representing local scenes and historical events, or even maps used to navigate through the waters and islands of Australia and Oceania.

Bark Cloth Paper Production

Created from the bark of the mulberry tree, tapa cloth is a labor intensive decorative art that is made on many of the Oceanic islands. Once the bark has been harvested, it is dried in the sun and soaked in water. Completely damp, mallets are used to pound the bark into thin sheets that are then glued together to create larger areas to embellish. The cloth may be smoked to turn it a light brown at this point. Then, vegetable dyes are applied in traditional designs and symbols that are appropriate to the occasion, using coconut fiber stencils. The amount of work involved in producing a yard of tapa cloth can be seen in the relatively higher prices, so islanders tend to reserve them to mark special events, like a wedding. You don't need to have such an event in mind to purchase one, however, as a remarkable Oceanic souvenir for your walls.

Natural Bath and Beauty Products from Australia and Oceania

One of the hallmarks of the tropical island experience is colorful and highly scented flowers, and quite often you'll find their sweet essence captured in soaps and candles. Popular favorites of Oceania include orchids, hibiscus, jasmine, ginger, plumeria, heliconia and tiare. Beauty treatments made from ground seashells and pearls are also recommended by local women for their anti-aging and exfoliating properties. Just because Australia and New Zealand have different climates and landscapes doesn't mean that they are lacking for homeopathic beauty treatments. New Zealand is especially known for its goat's milk soaps, which are often combined with herbs for scent and cleansing properties. These same herbs, such as lavender, aloe, chamomile, rosemary, mint, sage and basil, are often distilled into fragrant oils and tinctures to use as spot treatments for difficult skin problems. Australia has access to many minerals that are made into clarifying products and the wisdom of the Aborigines to create healing treatments.

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