Australia's policies for carrying on liquid duty-free purchases are stricter than the most of the rest of the world, but I've been unable to find any sort of official source for this. I've empirically determined that there appear to be two kinds of airports:

  • Type A airports, like Singapore and Manila, have "acceptable gate delivery" and require that duty-free purchases are made at least one hour in advance so they can get taken to and picked up the gate. You are not allowed to bring duty-free goods purchased at other airports through, even if in a tamper-proof bag, and there may be an additional security checkpoint at the gate to enforce this.

  • Type B airports, like Vancouver, have no restrictions, you can pick up your booze normally and carry it on the plane yourself.

Is this correct, and if so, is there a list of these airports/countries and which categories they fall into somewhere?

Update for clarity: This is about the rules for bringing liquids purchased at the airport onto the plane, not the duty-free allowances that apply on arrival.

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    A totally vague comment: but I have found the whole panoply of Aussie customs / quarantine / border control / traffic tickets to be so astoundingly ... I"m not even sure what the best term is: something like "comically statist" ... that it is simply never worth bringing ANYTHING to Aus. By all means go, love the beer, get sunburned, be amazed at the real estate prices etc., and then go home. But just bring NOTHING. It's just plain not worth the hassle, and you'll never be able to figure out the minutia of the rules.
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 11:30
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    travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/onboard/… suggests that all airports fall into Type A (or they won't let you take liquids on board): "You can purchase duty free items at the last airport you stop at before entering Australia if the duty free retailer provides a gate delivery service"
    – EdC
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:58
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    @EdC Great find! Can you add this as an answer? Obviously practical enforcement of this is more than a bit lacking then. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 23:39
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    And then there’s occasions like my parents with about two kilograms of Haribo sweets for my host family first getting called into the separate room, receiving a severe telling-off by a very short but very resolute customs lady and then being waved on as if nothing had happened … Gotta love the country. (CC @JoeBlow)
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


The rules for Duty Free carried as Hand Luggage is that the bag must remain sealed and unopened and bought from an accepted location. Further, you must be on a direct flight from the airport of purchase / pickup or stow it in your checked-in baggage.

Your total allowance is 2.25L per person in your group over 18 (can be pooled)

As per the Travel SECURE website:

You can purchase duty free items:

  • at the last airport you stop at before entering Australia if the duty free retailer provides a gate delivery service
  • onboard the last leg of your flight to Australia
  • upon arrival at an Australian international airport.

If you are flying directly into Australia from an international airport and Australia is your final destination, any duty free liquid, aerosol and gel items you purchase and pack in your carry-on baggage [emphasis mine] are subject to the Australian Government's Immigration and Border Protection quantity restrictions (mentioned below).

Alcoholic beverages

If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 2.25 litres of alcoholic beverages duty-free into Australia with you. All alcoholic beverages in accompanied baggage are included in this category, regardless of where or how they were purchased.

Aviation security regulations may restrict the volume of liquids that you can bring into Australia as hand luggage. As an alternative, duty-free alcoholic beverages can be purchased in an airport duty-free shop on arrival in Australia. For more information about the restrictions, visit the TravelSECURE website.

Families travelling together can pool their duty-free concessions.

If you happen to be transiting countries on your way to Australia, your carry-on Duty Free luggage WILL BE FORFEIT before boarding your Australian leg of your flight. This is due to in-flight liquid, gel and aerosol restrictions (100ml of liquid only).

If you are transiting through an international airport of another country after departing Australia, you will be subject to liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions at that airport. Restrictions in that country will determine if the items are allowed.

Restrictions are...

  • Liquid, aerosol or gel items must be in containers of 100 millilitres (volume), 100 grams (weight) or less.
  • Containers must fit into one transparent and re-sealable plastic bag like a snap-lock sandwich bag.
  • The four sides of the bag's sealed area must add up to no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20x20 cm or 15x25 cm).
  • Only one bag is allowed per passenger, with exceptions for carers who may carry the bag/s for people in their care, including children.

[!] Containers larger than 100 millilitres or 100 grams, even if only partially-filled, will not be allowed through the security screening point. For example, a 200 gram toothpaste tube that is half-full will not be permitted.

At the screening point all liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on baggage must be separately presented for screening.

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    "As an alternative, duty-free alcoholic beverages can be purchased in an airport duty-free shop on arrival in Australia" what a happy coincidence for them
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 11:30
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    Sorry, this entirely fails to answer the question: I'm asking about the rules for bringing duty-free liquids onto flights, not the Customs rules on arrival. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 23:37
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    @pnuts So the question is about CARRY ON LUGGAGE duty free limits, not allowable amount across your luggage (inc. checked in)? Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 0:28
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    @pnuts I know what you meant, I just can't write that fast. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 1:19
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    @jpatokal I have managed to find the following statement on an Airports Council International release, however I am yet to find the list. "Harmonised Countries: The Australian Government has said it will have a list of States that have acceptable gate delivery in place for flights to Australia." Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 2:43

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