I’ve made a point of skipping much of the boring detail of shipping a bike around the world- this blog isn’t about that sort of thing. Horizons Unlimited is where I post that info since, really- how many people care which customs shed you have to take form B to in order to get stamp 12 so you can return for form C?
But this is your luck y day! I’m going to give you a quick rundown on my experience entering Australia, a first world country, so you can get the flavour of the fun.
After washing my bike in a way that would involve an enema for human (AU has strict bio-hazzard controls), I shrank it down to reduce the transport cost by removing the front tyre, windscreen, handlebars, etc. Once it was small enough, it was crated and sent to AU…
On arrival in AU I went down to the airline cargo terminal to start the import process. But it was done! A $96 handling fee and I was ready to go! I got them to drop the bike off in the parking lot and started to unpack… But then I saw that my Carnet (bike passport) wasn’t stamped. Okay- a quick run to customs will handle that! A short walk across the airport to customs and… I need a form from the shipper, so I just have to walk back and then return…
On second thought, I really don’t want to relive this, so I’ ll paste in my e-mail to another rider about what they need to do and in it you’ll be able to see just how much running around you go through- even when someone gives you details on how to cut out the majority of the crap:
The customs thing at Sydney airport is a bit of a pain with some running around, but the quarantine can be a huge hassle. If you go with Quantas they will tell you to go to customs house and do it, but customs house will send you to the head office in Rosebury (about 6km away). Rosebury will tell you that you have to have the bike trucked to them. Do not do this! If you get the bike shipped uncrated they CAN do the check with the quarantine office at the actual Quantas freight terminal. You might have to go to Rosebury to pay (train take 5 minutes then a little walk, they’ll give you a map), but as long as they don’t have to uncrate or touch the bike to see everything they can do it there. If an older, largish, woman is there with short grey hair and last name of Onnasis (or something like that) tell her that she did my bike and yours is the same. At first she said no, but the Rosebury office called her when I went there and once she understood that the bike was uncrated and she could do the check easily she agreed. It took all of 30 seconds- she just walked around the bike, didn’t look at anything.
Here is what should happen:
-go to Quantas freight (beside international terminal, 5 minute walk)
-they will give some papers and get you to go to customs house, 10 minute walk
-at customs house they stamp the carnet and such.
-then go to quarantine in the same building but around back towards the parking lot, they will give you a map to Rosebury and send you there.
-Don’t go, go back to Quantas freight and go to their quaratine office.
-They will tell you no, but tell them the above, etc.
-They might still say no or ask you to go to Rosebury to pay. If so, take the train to Green Square (second station, $15 return) and then walk there (10 minutes).
-At Rosebury ask them to call Quantas and see if they will do the inspection. Stress that the bike is uncrated and that they can see the tires, etc without touching anything.
-Go back to Quantas and hopefully have a fast inspection like mine.
-Pay Quantas and they will release your bike.
-Your bike will be on a pallet with straps, etc. Quantas will drop the pallet off in the parking lot and let you get it ready to ride out. The warehouse guys are really nice and should lend you a crowbar if you need one.
-Get on the road and enjoy!
So, after all that I got to see Sydney. Wonderful city, but just another big city- like Paris or London, the big cities in AU might be the buzzing brains and beating hearts of the country, but I couldn’t wait to be back in the guts of a country- the gizzards that store the history that no museum will ever tell you.