Australia 2010

A circumnavigation (with risks).

Not Clean Enough!

Note that what follows relates only to vehicles arriving at Brisbane (Queensland) in early 2010. Other states and territories can be significantly different.

There seem to be two schools of thought about the best way of getting your vehicle out of the clutches of the port and onto the road. You can deal with the port authorities, customs, AQIS and the vehicle cleaning companies yourself or you can pay an agent to do it for you.

We used Kuehne + Nagel as our agent (Recommended). We contacted their Brisbane office before Man was shipped and nominated them as our receiving agent with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (our shipping company). As soon as we received our electronic Bill of Lading (Sea Waybill) we forwarded this to Kuehne + Nagel. On our arrival in Brisbane Kuehne + Nagel's representative (Colin Brame) called at our hotel to collect our Carnet (which was returned two days later when Man had cleared customs).

Customs did not query any of the equipment or spare parts within Man, neither did they question the value of Man on the Carnet.

Colin sent us text (SMS) updates on Man's progress (or lack of it) during the next five days.

As we had been warned it was AQIS, not customs, that proved difficult. In spite of 130 hours of cleaning AQIS were not satisfied and required that a section of the chassis rail be re-cleaned. This had to be done by an approved cleaning company within the docks. Man had be transported (not driven) between AQIS and the cleaning company. If you use an agent they will take care of these arrangements and make all the payments for you.

It is worth noting that AQIS inspected Man very thoroughly, unpacking all the equipment, tools and spare parts.

One thing you must get sorted out before you take delivery of your vehicle is insurance.

Australian vehicle insurance is significantly different from most European insurance. You will probably end up with two insurance policies.

In Australia you must have Compulsory Third Party Insurance (always called CTP). CTP covers personal injury to everyone other than the driver at fault. Note that it does not cover damage to third party property, and is thus considerably more restrictive than normal UK third party insurance.

CTP is sold by half a dozen insurance companies. The cost for 12 months insurance of a campervan (in 2010) is $347.00Aus (about €234.00). You can phone up most of the companies, give your vehicle details (including your VIN number rather than your registration number), pay by credit card and have your certificate sent to you by email or fax within a few minutes. We used SunCorp and had the insurance certificate printed out by our hotel. Note that although the owner's name is on the CTP certificate, we are assured that it covers all drivers of the vehicle.

If you want more insurance than CTP you can get it from lots of places but the insurance sold via the CMCA (Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia) seems particularly good. With a valuable campervan and the maximum UK no claims discount you can expect to pay around €800 for a full year's comprehensive coverage. You can purchase this insurance (in the the UK) via email after you have joined the CMCA (which you probably would want to join anyway). You will need to supply (via email):

  • A completed proposal form (The usual stuff)
  • A copy of your motorhome purchase receipt
  • One photograph of each side of the outside of the motorhome
  • Two internally photographs of the motorhome

After all this paperwork has been accepted you can phone and make payment by credit card.

Another thing you can at least get started with before you get your vehicle is your Overseas Vehicle Permit.

Before you can drive your vehicle on Queensland's roads you need to get an Overseas Vehicle Permit. You get this document from a suitable Queensland Government Customer Service Centre. You need a centre that is able to deal with motorhomes (most of them only deal with cars). After calling the vehicle registration help line (132380) we eventually found someone who seemed to know a little about registering overseas vehicles and she sent us to the centre at Chermside. Luckily we first went there by taxi, rather than wait for Man to be released.

The Chermside centre was efficient and helpful. Although the person we dealt with had never heard of an Overseas Vehicle Permit she found the documentation on her system and worked her way thru the required documents (passport, stamped Carnet, UK registration and CTP). However she then came to the inspection requirement and told us Chermside was unable to inspect anything larger than a car. So she sent us on to Zillmere (69 Pineapple St., Zillmere, Qld 4034).

The Zillmere centre was equally efficient and helpful, but again had no experience of issuing Overseas Vehicle Permits. After consulting their system they also asked for, and copied our passport, stamped Carnet, UK registration, driving licence and CTP. They also confirmed that the vehicle must be inspected at the adjacent inspection centre. It was not necessary to make an appointment, just turn up and drive in between 08:30 to 16:30. But there was one problem. We were told Man had to be transported to Zillmere, it could not be driven there!

A phone call to Colin was all that was needed to arrange this!

In summery: Man arrived on Saturday. Colin collected our Carnet and a full set of keys at 09:00 on Monday and Man was delivered to us at Zillmere on a transporter at 09:30 on Friday.

With all the paperwork already completed it took just an hour for Man to be inspected (only lights, seat belts, windscreen wipers) and for the VIN and engine numbers to be checked.

We were then free to drive to the excellent nearby camp site (Big4 Brisbane Northside Caravan Village - S27.35579 E153.01969) and start re-stocking Man for our Australian adventure to begin.

The approximate cost of getting Man onto Australian roads for one year was:

  • CTP Insurance - €234
  • CMCA Comprehensive insurance - €800
  • Customs clearance - €105
  • Port charges - €360
  • AQIS fees - €165
  • Transport fees - €240
  • Cleaning fees - €225

A total of €2129.