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Hops to Home
Photograph: Supplied Hops to Home

The best subscription boxes you can get in Melbourne

Give the gift that keeps on giving (and giving and giving)

By Sarah Theeboom
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Subscriptions are the happy medium between the expected and the unexpected. They offer you the thrill of the new, on a schedule; a surprise you know is coming. And these days, let’s be real, we could all benefit from the simple pleasure of having something to look forward to.

In addition to bringing a bit of excitement and anticipation to our lives, subscriptions are a great way to indulge an interest – a recommendations algorithm manifested in a box of stuff. Whether the contents are consumable or do-able, what you’re actually getting is a couple hours’ pleasure and distraction that doesn’t involve a screen.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Whether it’s for yourself or a gift, here are ten subscriptions offering delightful diversions of all types.

Looking for more gift ideas? Here are the best gift hampers to send in Melbourne.

Puzzle post
Puzzle post
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Puzzles

There’s something incredibly therapeutic about creating order from chaos, one tiny piece at a time. Puzzle Post will send you a new jigsaw every month, tailored to your preferences such as themes and difficulty level. They also offer puzzles for kids and will happily exchange a puzzle if you already own it. Choose between an ongoing or limited subscription (one, three, six or 12 months), which will set you back $33-$42 per month depending on the puzzle size.

Three Thousand Thieves
Three Thousand Thieves
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Coffee

When it comes to caffeine we are often creatures of habit, but sometimes it’s nice to discover a new favourite. That’s why each month, Three Thousand Thieves invites a different roaster – such as Wood & Co, Sensory Lab, Criteria or Geelong’s Cartel – to feature a coffee bean they love. You can choose between whole or ground beans, and specify your preferred roast (espresso, filter or decaf). The box also comes with information about the roaster, the featured coffee, flavour notes and brewing instructions. Monthly subscriptions start at $25 for 250 grams of coffee, and you can sign up for open-ended, three, six, or 12-month subscriptions.

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Easy Come Easy Grow
Easy Come Easy Grow
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Seeds

Got a green thumb or aspirations for a veggie patch? Easy Come Easy Grow sends you three herb or vegetable seed packets each month, along with growing instructions. You won’t just be raising tomatoes, either. The company likes to keep things interesting by including less common items such as purple carrots, kohl rabi, Chinese cabbage and even baby watermelon. Best of all, the seasonal, edible plants can be cultivated in containers if you don’t have a garden. Choose between a one, three, six or 12-month subscription; the cost is $11 per month with discounts offered for longer-term subscriptions.

Treat Crate
Treat Crate
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Snacks

It’s going to be a while before overseas travel is on the cards again, but at least your tastebuds get to roam far and wide with Treat Crate. The monthly snack box contains a selection of sweet and savoury nosh all sourced from that month’s featured country. Recent boxes have covered Turkey, Malaysia, Serbia, Taiwan and Colombia; there was even a special-edition Aussie box to support local businesses over lockdown. A rolling subscription costs $36 per month, with discounts offered on three, six and 12-month subscriptions. (Note: if you’re more of a Francophile than a citizen of the world, perhaps La French Box might be more up your ruelle.)

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bellabox
bellabox
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Beauty

If you love trying new products or experimenting with your look, give the monthly Bellabox a twirl. Each box costs $19.95 and contains at least five items spanning cosmetics, skincare, haircare, bath, nail products and fragrances. Most items are sample sized but there is at least one full-sized item per box. The brands range from high-end (Clinique, Givenchy) to local and boutique (Works Melbourne, Nak, Rasasara Skinfood), and many of the products are available to purchase through the Bellabox website if you want more. For Dapper Dans, there’s also the Bellobox, a quarterly men’s subscription that includes six to eight grooming products for $30.

Milk the Cow
Milk the Cow
Photograph: Supplied

Cheese

Move over, pre-sliced tasty cheese. Milk the Cow is about to class up your refrigerator’s cheese compartment (henceforth known as the fromage drawer). The licenced fromagerie offers cheese-only and cheese-and-booze subscriptions, paired with your choice of wine, beer or whisky. Each features two to four artisan cheeses each month (in 150 to 200-gram portions), along with crackers and tasting notes. Choose between an open-ended subscription, or a three, six or 12-month length; prices start at $75 per month for just the queso and $90 per month with booze.

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WellRead
WellRead
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Books

Never ask for a book recommendation again (but give them all the time). WellRead curates quality fiction and non-fiction titles for its monthly and bi-monthly subscriptions, with a strong focus on new releases to avoid sending you something you’ve already read. Unlike some book subscriptions, you can’t specify your chosen genres, so it’s best suited to someone who is keen to read widely and stay abreast of what’s current in publishing. Recent selections include A Burning by Megha Majumdar, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. Choose between three, six, nine or 12-month subscriptions at $35 per title; there’s also a kid’s subscription for $29 per book.

Condimental
Condimental
Photograph: Supplied

Condiments

Condimental is a subscription for people who understand that the right pickle, preserve or sauce can be the difference between sustenance and gastronomy. The seasonal subscription box includes five craft condiments made by Australian artisans and restaurants, along with an artist-designed info card with recipe suggestions for how best to use that Lankan Filling Station acharu pickle, that Fancy Hank’s barbecue sauce or that Olsson’s smoked red gum salt. The open-ended subscription costs $65 per box and is delivered every three months, which should be ample time to get through that jar of pickled, jerked beans.

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Yarn Together
Yarn Together
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Yarn

Queensland-based Yarn Together provides crafty types with monthly inspiration in the form of a knitting or crochet project. Aimed at beginner and intermediate crafters, each box contains a skein of hand-dyed Aussie yarn and a different pattern to teach you a new technique. There are also YouTube tutorials to accompany each pattern in case you need instruction, and a private Facebook group where you can ask questions and, yep, share a yarn. Each month you’ll weave a 30cm square, which can be used for your own creations or sewn together after 12 months to create an Afghan blanket. The open-ended subscription costs $29.99 per month.

White Possum
White Possum
Photograph: Supplied

Booze

If you’re looking for a gift, this is the crowd-pleasing subscription no-one will ever be mad at. The only question is, which poison to pick?

Act of Wine will satisfy vinophiles with natural, organic and biodynamic wines from small and independent producers. Choose red, white or mixed; your monthly quantity (one, three, six or a dozen bottles); and subscription length (ongoing or three months). Prices start at $30 per month.

Beer geeks will enjoy nerding out over the limited release brews in the Hops to Home subscription, which gets you five Aussie craft beers each month along with tasting notes, an issue of Froth magazine, and a beer-review podcast. Choose between 10 or 20 cans per month ($69 or $99), and an ongoing or three-month subscription length.

If spirits are what lift your spirit, you’re in safe hands with the folks at White Possum who source tipples from craft distilleries around Australia. Subscriptions are open-ended and each box contains a 500-700ml bottle of either whisky, liqueur, rum, gin or an aperitif. You can choose to get a “random” bottle for $69 or a gin-only subscription for $79 a box. Then select the delivery interval that matches your speed: monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Just remember, you want to be tipsy like a possum, not drunk like a skunk.

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