I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published November 3rd 2013
Pamper Your Special Geek With The Perfect Present
When it comes to purchasing presents, blokes are notoriously difficult creatures. Unlike us girls who are usually quite happy with flowers, jewellery, chocolates or some type of pretty trinket, men can be difficult to please and I often end up buying boring practical items such as socks or undies to keep those in my life happy and feeling cared for. Geeks, however - those delightfully eccentric intellectuals and reclusive lovers of all things hi-tech and pertaining to cyber-space - are a whole different species. Whether their passionate enthusiasm is focused on IT, the parallel universes of science fiction or somewhere entirely different, once you've ascertained exactly where their heart lies, you can be assured that a pressie that has some connection to it will be greatly appreciated.
Geeks are actually quite easy to please when you know where to go shopping.
Of course, all geeks aren't guys, as those of us who have watched Beauty and the Geek on television will be aware. Girls can be geeks too. Since geekdom isn't particularly gender-specific, gifts for male geeks will generally suffice for female ones as well, provided you're sensitive as to where the particular person's interests lie. For example, is your geek into nuclear physics or is computer programming or cosplay more their thing?
The University of Western Australia's Co-op Bookshop is one of my favourite spots for geek shopping.
When birthdays and Christmas come around and its socially appropriate to shower our loved-ones with gifts, those of us who are not so attuned to the geekish realm may baulk at where to go and what to buy for the lovable geeks in our life. The following paragraphs attempt to solve this dilemma by providing a list of a few places in Perth which purvey potential presents that should please even the most fastidious of geeks, both the old and the young.
Scitech The Scitech Discovery Shop, the gift-shop of Perth's popular interactive science education centre is heaven on earth for geeks, both young and old. Stocking a mind-boggling assortment of groovy gadgetry ranging from Doctor Who merchandise to robotic kits, you really can't go wrong here. Other great gift ideas that your geek may like are a 3D Star Theatre, Galileo Thermometer, Fouccault's Pendulum, Newton's Cradle, helicopter kits, space station kits, medieval weapon kits and a miniature Stirling engine portable powerhouse. There is also a great range of puzzles and small quirky items such as mugs featuring the elemental tables and the human body's skeletal system.
The shop also stocks many good books relating to science and maths, and loads of cool science kits for budding engineers, physicists, chemists and biologists. Please note, however, that these kits and any of the gadgets in the store are not limited to children. While some may be primarily aimed at younger science enthusiasts, the vast majority are suitable for people of all ages.
Scitech's Discovery Shop
Scitech is located on Sutherland Street in West Perth. To find out more about the Scitech Discovery Shop, call 08 9215 0740.
Scitech's Discovery Shop
Altronics If your geek is a bit of a whiz with electronics, then he or she might like some of the cool uber-techno gadgetry at Altronics. Specialising in a wide range of electrical components and goods, this store is a paradise for geeks who are into robotics and other technical things. Trouble is with buying stuff here is that these guys all speak the same in-house language, and unless you know some of the lingo you could inadvertently purchase the wrong thing. However, robotics is extremely popular at the moment with geeks of all ages so if you have some idea about what your special geek is into and some basic know-how (or a mate who can come along to the shop and 'translate' for you), then you may discover a perfect present here.
There are three Altronics shops in Perth: Northbridge (174 Roe Street), Balcatta (Unit 7, 58 Erindale Road) and Cannington (Unit 6, 1326 Albany Highway). Alternatively, for online shopping, go to the Altronics website.
Australian Geographic stores
Australian Geographic gift-shops are always great spots to check out if you have a geek in your life.
Situated in several locations around the Perth metro area, Australian Geographic shops are another top spot for geek gifts. For little geeks there are lots of fabulous educational goodies ranging from books to science kits, kids' metal detectors, helix flyer rocket launches, children's microscopes, practical joke soap laboratories, neutron light-up balls and much, much more. Older ones will love cool contraptions including, but not limited to, remote-controlled helicopters (some with inbuilt cameras), weather stations, rain gauges, telescopes and antique globes. Fascinating stuff, indeed.
The Australian Geographic Shop in Perth City
Perth's Australian Geographic shops are located in the Carillon Arcade in the city , Westfield Carousel (Cannington), Karrinyup Shopping Centre, Garden City (Booragoon), Whitford City Shopping Centre (Hillarys) and Rockingham Shopping Centre. If you don't live near any of these, it's also possible to shop online. Check out their catalogue on this website.
Great gifts for geeks of all ages
The Western Australian Museum Gift Shop
Located in the old gaol building at the heart of the Western Australian Museum complex in Northbridge, the museum's gift shop is a paradise for nature-loving geeks. The shop stocks a large selection of books on Western Australian history, the environment, native plants and animals and much more. One of the city's best selections of good-quality children's literature is also available here, as well as educational toys, high quality local crafts, jewellery and gift-ware.
Check out the Western Australian Museum gift shop when you're next in the city.
Many locals don't realise that this little gem exists, so next time you're in the city, head for the museum and seek it out. You'll be glad that you made the effort. To see most of the products sold in the shop, go to the Western Australian Museum website.
The Western Australian Museum is a booklover's paradise.
Perth Observatory Gift Shop
Located at Bickley in the Perth Hills, the Perth Observatory Gift Shop is another spot to trawl for potential geek gifts. Amongst the many terrific products that they have in stock are books relating to astronomy, telescopes, periodic table playing cards, star charts, moon phase maps, night sky planispheres, CSIRO Astronomy Double Helix Science Kits and solar system jigsaw puzzles. A more complete range of products can be seen here. With a range of intellectually stimulating stuff like this, any self-respecting geek will be grateful to receive a gift from here. Therefore, if you find yourself in the area be sure to check out this magic little shop.
Perth Observatory is situated at 337 Walnut Road, Bickley. The gift shop is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am until 4.30pm, as well as during night viewing sessions. To find out more, give the observatory a call on 08 9293 8255.
White Dwarf Books
If the geek in your life is a science fiction or fantasy book enthusiast, then a quick snoop around the White Dwarf Bookshop in Forrest Place may be in order. Situated at Shop 1, 469 Wellington Street (Albert Facey House), the White Dwarf stocks everything from Joe Abercrombie to Timothy Zahn, and has Perth's largest Warhammer and Warhammer40K novels as well as Giant Microbes, Mana Potions, Oatmeal posters and lots of other interesting stuff. If this sounds as though it's your geek's scene, then pay the White Dwarf a quick visit. They're open seven days a week. To find out more, call them on 08 9481 3468 or 0411 091 784, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They're also on Facebook.
White Dwarf Books - Perth
Situated in the basement of London Court, Tactics is a popular destination for geeks who are into fantasy and war-gaming. Often considered to be Perth's foremost specialist in these areas, they've got an awesome assortment of must-have items including gaming tables and accessories, models, figurines, role-playing games, board games, cards, collectibles and books. Amongst numerous other goodies to be found in this unique treasure-trove, Star Wars enthusiasts will be glad to know that Tactic stocks a seriously incredible range of Star Wars Force FX Lightsabers.
To check out all the exciting stuff that's available in this cool store, take a peek at the Tactics website.
Red Griffin Games
Located on Level 1 at 858 Hay Street in the city, Red Griffin Games is another top spot for geeks who are into models, games, toys, clothing, fashion accessories and other similarly awesome stuff. For something truly different, take a look at the cool items on the Red Griffin website, visit their ebay store, or better still, visit their fabulous shop in person.
If you have a comic-loving geek in your life, Quality Comics at 872 Hay Street in Perth city may be a spot you'd like to peruse for gifts. As well as comics and graphic novels they also stock a wide range of apparel, toys, figures, posters and much more. Take a look at the Quality Comics website or Facebook page to find out more about them.
Described as one of Perth's weirdest but most fascinating shops, Tokyo Underground is situated at 1 / 890 Hay Street in the city. As its name suggests, it specialises in Japanese anime, toys, Gundam, Manga, Dunny, Tokidoki, Toys, Cosplay, Hello Kitty, Totoro and much more. If these, or something similar, sound as though they'd be of interest to your geek, Tokyo Underground is open from Monday to Thursday, 10.00am - 5.00pm; Fridays, 10.00am - 7.30pm, Saturdays, 10.30am - 5.00pm and Sundays, 12.00 noon - 5.00pm. To find out more, call them on (08) 9226 3677
The University of Western Australia Bookshop
Since geeks are an endemic species at universities, uni bookshops are a good place to head to for that special hard-to-find present. To research this article I trawled the University of Western Australia's Co-op Bookshop, and was pleasantly surprised at the diverse range of cool stuff that I discovered.
The UWA's Co-op Bookshop is a great spot to buy a quirky gift for your geek.
Potential pressies that I unearthed in the store included quirky mugs, funky gadgets, games, jigsaws, books, and even Star Wars figurines.
More cool stuff that your geek will love...
Other University Bookshops
Apart from the University of Western Australia, there are four other unis here in Perth: Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and the University of Notre Dame. These all have bookshops as well, which along with thousands of textbooks, also sell quirky gifts aimed at the geek market. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to visit them all before writing this article but if you're stuck for a gift, head to your nearest one and see what goodies you can find.
Outdoors Adventure Shops
Many geeks are into the great outdoors and enjoy activities such as long-distance bushwalking, rock-climbing and orienteering. If this sounds like yours, perhaps you could do your gift shopping at some of the terrific outdoor shops around town. Although Anaconda, Kathmandu, Mountain Designs, Main Peak and Paddy Pallin are a few names that immediately jump to mind, others do exist as well. Along with sporting equipment and specialised adventure clothing, these places also purvey some rather high-tech gadgets that every 21st Century adventurer can't go without: snazzy light-weight water filters, navigation equipment, and even the Power Traveller Solarmonkey Adventurer, a cool portable solar-powered charger for gadgets that hikers may need while exploring wilderness areas well off the grid. Could one of these be your perfect present?
Fantastic list for all the geeks in our lives. There is a great shop next to Sawyers in Leederville which sells good presents for geeks and the website thinkgeek.com is the ultimate in all things geek.
Boffins Bookshop in Perth City is a fantastic place to buy reference books from the very advanced and technical to introductory. It’s a must-visit for anyone who is shopping for a loved one who likes to learn or read.www.boffinsbookshop.com.au