How to Ship a Motorcycle to Australia

Welcome to the Australia motorcycle shipping guide. If you’re planning on shipping a foreign or Oz plated motorcycle to Australia, have a read of this packed guide first. 

Australia Motorcycle Travel Shipping
Reunited at the Melbourne shipping port.

Contents

How to Ship a Motorcycle to Australia

Australia is an incredible country to explore on a motorcycle. But it’s somewhere at the ends of the earth, and that puts a lot of people off taking their own bike there, which is a shame because it’s straight forward when you know how.

This guide’s aim is to help you get past the paperwork and quarantining and ship your own motorcycle to Australia by providing information on our personal experiences shipping with links to our recommended agent. Here’s what you need to know…

Paperwork

As with shipping a motorcycle to any country, you will need to sort your paperwork in advance. Firstly, you need a title/registration document to prove you own the motorcycle as well as a passport and valid visa for you to enter Australia to collect it. 

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Paperwork Explained

Carnet de Passage

Australia is a Carnet de Passage country. This means that you must use a CDP to temporarily import your motorcycle into Australia. Your bike will be allowed to stay for the validity of your CDP. 

A CDP typically lasts 12 months, so it depends how long you have left on your CDP when you ship it to Australia. Your bike will need to be stamped in and out of Australia. Your Carnet must be valid and in place before you ship to Australia.

You may be able to get an extension on your CDP. To do this visit: www.aaa.asn.au

READ MORE: Carnet de Passage Explained

Vehicle Import Approval

This one catches a lot of people out. You do not need a Vehicle Import Permit if you are temporarily importing your motorcycle to Australia using a Carnet de Passage.

Insurance

To legally ride a motorcycle in Australia you must have insurance. You can get this as a foreigner even before you arrive in the country. We recommend doing so as if your bike is ready to collect you will need to pick it up as soon as possible and won’t want to be hanging around on the phone. 

To get insurance before you arrive, we recommend purchasing through the official channel in each state. For example, if you are shipping to Melbourne in Victoria, we recommend using www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

Australia motorcycle shipping agents

We highly recommend using an agent to handle receiving your motorcycle in Australia and navigating the minefield of customs, duties, carnets, quarantining and storage.

In some countries, it’s easy enough to handle receiving your bike to save money, but in Australia it makes sense to use an agent – as not using one can cost you even more in the long run if things go wrong.

For example, once your bike arrives at the shipping port, it will need to clear customs immediately. If it is not then cleared and taken away to another storage centre, there will be a daily charge and these costs can be astronomical. Using a company will ensure that your agent arranges immediate transport of your bike to their own storage facility and for you to collect when you’re ready – thereby massively reducing the costs.

One of the reasons this is so important for Australia is because it’s an expensive country. For example, we shipped our bike to Melbourne and without an agent we would have had to arrive and wait for weeks just in case the bike arrived early spending a mini fortune on hotels. But instead, our agent took care of everything and told us when the bike would be ready so we could continue hanging out on a beach in Bali.

It is possible to do it yourself though, but it’s up to you to consider and weigh up whether it’s worth it or not. 

Recommended motorcycle shipping agent for Australia

We used Brent from Bikes Abroad to send our motorcycle from Bali, Indonesia to Melbourne, Australia. And again to ship our motorcycle from Brisbane to the UK.

Brent has been absolutely brilliant in arranging our motorcycle shipping both times. His entire service was incredibly smooth, communication was excellent and he went above and beyond to help with getting our bike cleared fast and keeping our costs as low as possible. We highly recommend his services, get in touch with him if you’re planning on shipping to or from Australia

Here’s the contact info:

Worldwide shipping agents

This article focuses on shipping motorcycles to Australia. So, the information provided is all about what happens when your bike arrives in Australia. But of course, you need to ship the bike from whichever country it is in first. 

You can do this yourself or by using an agent. In some countries it’s easy enough to do on your own, but in others (like Australia) it is highly recommended to use an agent. 

Have a look at our Shipping Companies Finder page. You’ll find a bunch of companies based around the world that can help with shipping your bike. They will get in touch with your nominated shipping company in Australia and will handled your shipment between them. 

READ MORE: International Motorcycle Shipping Companies

Australia quarantine

Passing Australian quarantine is the big fear for any motorcycle traveller visiting Oz. There are horror stories out there of bikes failing inspection and owners being charged hundreds, even thousands, for mandatory re-cleaning as well as ridiculous storage fees for each day until the bike has been re-inspected at the quarantine centre’s leisure.

Who knows if these stories are true? But what we do know is your bike has to be clean. And not just running a hose over it clean – we’re talking mint, spotless, not a morsel of dirt – think showroom clean. That means you’ve got to strip the bike of its fairings, get a toothbrush and get to work. And the same goes for your luggage, gear and anything else you send with the bike.

Australia is isolated and susceptible to pests and disease. It’s for this very reason it has very strict biosecurity controls in place and all vehicles are considered a high-risk because they can bring in contaminated soil and insects etc.

Our experience shipping motorcycles to Australia

We spent Christmas Eve in a Bali car wash cleaning our bike over and over again with toothbrushes. A worker in the car wash insisted on helping but was very confused as to why we kept cleaning. But the three of us went over every part with a toothbrush after taking the bike apart and everything off it. Once we were completely satisfied we rode under one mile to the shipping depot (go to a car wash close to your shipping centre so as not to risk getting any dirt on the bike) and then cleaned the tyres again before loading into the crate. The bike was checked one more time before being wrapped in plastic and crated.

Thankfully, our motorcycle passed quarantine. Interestingly, none of our bags were checked (we sent full panniers, helmets, riding gear in the crate, but everything had been meticulously cleaned). However, the staff working at the depot said that it’s the luck of the draw and that a different inspector could have looked over our bike and asked to open all our bags up.

There was a fellow traveller at the depot whose car had failed quarantine. He had to wait three weeks for his car to be re-cleaned (you can’t do it yourself) and pay about £800 for the pleasure as well as the re-inspection costs. He also couldn’t retrieve any of his stuff or from the car and had to fork out for a hotel during that time.

Don’t be afraid of quarantining. Just do a good job of cleaning your bike and you’ll be fine. Our motorcycle hadn’t been cleaned in 13 years before shipping to Australia and was held together via mud and oil and if that can pass, so can yours.

Additional motorcycle preparation

Other than being spotless, your motorcycle’s fuel tank must be drained (you can keep just under a litre in there) and the battery needs to be disconnected and the connectors taped up and isolated. 

Timings

How long it takes to ship to Australia completely depends on where you’re shipping from. The company in the country you send your bike from will have a more precise estimation. But to give a general idea, here are some rough timings for sea freight. Of course, airfreight is same day but eye wateringly expensive.

  • Europe to Australia – 45 days
  • USA/ Canada to Australia – 30 days
  • Southeast Asia to Australia – 30 days

Australia ports

There are a number of ports in Australia that you can ship your motorcycle to. Here are the most popular.

  • Darwin 
  • Adelaide  
  • Brisbane 
  • Perth 
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney

Crating

Motorcycles need to be crated for shipment to Australia. The crate should be made from ISPM15 treated timber and be stamped as proof accordingly. If your bike hasn’t been crated in the appropriate material then it will need to be fumigated on arrival for an additional cost.

Read more on motorcycle travel in Australia

Thanks for checking out The How to Ship a Motorcycle to Australia guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in Australia and Australasia that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning on shipping your motorcycle to Australia? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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