Incredible. I just can’t believe we are already at this point. But, almost exactly 13 (amazing) months after arriving, this past week we bid Australia a very sad “adieu”. Completely coincidentally, we realized that global mega star, Taylor Swift, flew in to Melbourne in a lavish personal business “jet” on the same day we flew out on a very late and rather cramped “Jetstar” commercial flight – despite the rather oxymoronic name, (and as all Aussies would know) a “Jetstar” flight is certainly NOT a jet for the stars ! I read this article on how Taylor travels – check it out in case you ever wondered. Lavish !

Our comparatively plebeian m.o. aside, it has been absolutely wonderful to spend this much time in my home country – we have been truly blessed to have seen and done so much and to have been able to spend so much quality time with all our family and many old friends. We would not have missed it for the world. Allow us to bring you up to speed on a very, very busy last 12 days or so ( I’ve sort of rolled almost 2 weeks into one here, so settle in, it’s a lengthy edition).

The almost 5 weeks spent on Tassie just seemed to fly by. Heading down there we were concerned it might be too long in such a very small place but it was, for us, just about right. We met many though, who spent 3, 4 and in one case, 6 months there !

Our last 12 days in Australia.

Sometimes you get a little “payback” when doing a return trip on the Spirit of Australia ( Tasmanian ferry ). Delighted to have enjoyed a dead calm 10hr crossing south to Devonport (you could have water skied behind the ferry on that crossing), Bass Strait gave us a bit of revenge on the journey north to Geelong, with 3 metre swells reminding us that we were definitely on the high seas. Doors to the outside decks were sealed for the duration.

Very calm by the time we got to Geelong ! In the final 3 hours it slowly navigates the shallow depths of Port Phillip Bay. That part of the journey is always sheltered from the high seas.

Back in Geelong we were now at liberty to firm up our plans to ship the van on from Australia. Frankly, we had expected to have had this confirmation on such a sailing long before we even went to Tasmania but upheavals in global shipping of late have meant that passage is now often not confirmed until just a couple of weeks before sailing. It leaves precious little time to make your personal plans (related flights etc ). Requests were placed long ago ( as is the norm ) with a primary route request and a secondary route but as of us getting back to Geelong we still had no confirmation – to anywhere !!!! See Shipping Out Of Melbourne at the end of this blog for full details of our booking which was ( thank god ! ) firmed up by the end of the week.

While waiting for the shipping confirmation there were still quite a few things for us to do. First up was a trip around Geelong to the scenic Bellarine Peninsula, or, more specifically, the community of St. Leonard’s, home of my cousin Helen and her husband, Bernie. They’d graciously agreed to act as a mail drop for a few Amazon items we’d needed but it was also wonderful just to stop by, catch up and spend a little time wandering their beautiful beachside neighbourhood. St. Leonards, and nearby Portarlington, gave us an opportunity to enjoy a little slice of trendy, almost rural, Victoria before immersing ourselves back in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne – given the perfect weather both were full of summer beach-goers.

Jeff, Lois, Bernie, and Helen, in St. Leonard’s.
Many kilometres of secluded beaches ring the Bellarine Peninsula, with Melbourne visible just across Port Phillip Bay.
Bellarine Peninsula, beachside, near St. Leonard’s.

Street side cafe scene, trendy Portarlington.

There was another matter to attend to and it made good sense to deal with it before leaving Australia. With 63,000 kilometres on our trusty BFG KO2 tires (42,000 of those on Australian roads – including many on harsh, corrugated outback tracks ) it was time for a set of new All-Terrains. Given the KO2’s had served us so well it only made sense to stick with the brand; the helpful folks at Bob Jane T-Mart took good care of us but had to make the tire changes manually as the van was simply too long to go on the hoist and too high to go inside the work bay.

Manager, Clayton, of the Bob Jane store measuring his hoist to see if our 6.9m long van would fit. Not quite, it turned out.!
Even if it was shorter, it was still too high for their shop access. Tires were changed the old way.

Still awaiting shipping confirmation and with its departure imminent ( but now getting encouraging news at least ) the decision was made to do a little exploring of rural Victoria without going too far from Melbourne. Our shipping agent advised that a Port of Melbourne departure was now possible on our requested route. This was great news – earlier, the advice had been that we’d possibly need to drive 3,500 kms to Fremantle in Western Australia, and load there- not a prospect either of us relished ( traversing the Nullarbor once on this trip was interesting – doing it twice, not so much) ! The approval may come at short notice, so “don’t go far”, was his advice !

Spent a couple of nights back at Little River Hotel camping after leaving Bernie and Helen but found the dust not conducive to unpacking and cleaning the van. That, and a desire to do some more exploring took us on to Ballarat.
Ok, we’ve seen lowered cars/trucks in our time but this one takes the cake ! Little River Hotel campground.

Ballarat, its history intrinsically linked with Australia’s gold rush era and famous for the Eureka Stockade, seemed like a good option to explore. Just an hour and half north-west of Melbourne, with much to see and an excellent municipally-run campsite, we ended up spending 4 nights in the area with much of that spent preparing the vehicle in anticipation of an impending shipping approval. Nice to be out of the big city and apart from some wind the days were just  beautiful. It’s certainly an interesting city.

Avenue of Honour ( to fallen Australian soldiers ), Ballarat
Unlike the pub camping in Little River, the municipal campground in Ballarat offered grassy sites, fresh water and much more space – ideal for a big vehicle thorough clean, unpack, repack.
Downtown Ballarat .
Eureka Stockade memorial, Ballarat.
Remnants of what is believed to be the original Eureka Stockade flag, Eureka Museum, Ballarat.
Story of Ballarat’s origins.
“Welcome Nugget”, the largest single piece of gold found at Ballarat, weighed 69kg ( over 152 lbs ) !

Finally, and with only a week till the cargo cutoff for port delivery, our van was confirmed on the requested RoRo ship. Hallelujah – at last we had our shipment confirmed ! We could now book plane tickets home for a return visit with our kids and new granddaughter while our van sailed to its next destination. There were many days we had doubts it would all come together. We will, for now, keep the next destination “up our sleeve” – it should make for a little more anticipation when our first blog from there is written ( feel free to submit your best guess in the comments………but you might be surprised). I will also put together an “Australia In Review” blog in the next week or so. It’s by far the longest time we have spent in any single country since we began the OneEndlessRoad global journey back in 2019. There’s definitely some valuable information and general tips we can provide to any readers contemplating an extended trip “Down Under”, as we know several readers are. Stay tuned for that.

Our travels over the 13 months and 42,000+ kms we travelled while in Australia.
Very much looking forward to reuniting with our son and daughter of course, but especially this little bundle of joy, granddaughter Hadley, who is already 6 months old.
Managed a couple of days R&R in Waikiki, Hawaii while en route back to Canada. Nice to break up what’s normally a 15 hour direct flight.

Lastly, we also know there are readers on the OneEndlessRoad subscriber base ( including 3 or 4 we’ve met up with in Australia ) who are keen to hear of our “shipping out” experience. While, as at time of writing, the ship has not sailed, our van has now been delivered to the MIRRAT terminal in Melbourne for onwards shipment. Rather a sad moment actually 😔. Ironically, right back to the very same terminal through which our ship ( and van ) had entered Australia more than a year ago. The addendum below documents our preparation, the step by step process we followed, and the documentation required – costs will be added up once we get to our destination as there are port charges and fees there that we don’t yet know. Heads Up: Unless the excruciating minutiae of an overland shipping tale holds you in thrall, probably best to exit this week’s blog right about now – you’ve been warned !

Till next week…….


As mentioned above, this process has taken an extraordinarily long time to get confirmed – months in fact. We were wait-listed on several ships before getting confirmed on ours. In normal circumstances this would not happen but such is the state of global shipping that it is the norm now. Container shipping seems easier right now ( in terms of getting space ) but we are too big for a container thus must go RoRo ( on a specialized car carrier ). So we had to be patient.


Our preference was for Melbourne or Sydney since they were close to where our travels ended but most shippers offered the option of either of those ports, and Brisbane or Fremantle – all at the same cost. Too late for us now, but based on the conversations we had with several other overlanders who shipped in, Fremantle was the easiest port to clear ( customs/quarantine there just seemed to be easier and it was less congested ). With no quarantine process on exit I don’t think the port of departure matters as much- go to which ever is closest.

Back where it all began ! Almost 43,000kms later, our van back in front of the Melbourne RoRo Terminal ( MIRRAT ), ready for delivery and loading on to a RoRo ship to sail out of Australia.


Once the agent got us confirmed they issued a Bill Of Lading ( or BOL – in flight terms, your airline ticket ), an Export Receival Advice ( or ERA – a boarding pass of sorts ) and a vehicle condition declaration. This is all done by phone/text/email – you often never meet your agent ( although we did while we were in Fremantle ). The BOL is required by Australian Customs to clear your Carnet ( it was stamped in when we came to Australia and once you have the BOL you take your Carnet to Australian Customs to be cleared out). This must be done BEFORE you take the vehicle to the port. With the Carnet stamped an appointment is made to deliver the vehicle to your chosen port. They give an appointment receipt, review all documents on arrival at the port and assign a port escort to take you to the drop point inside the secured port area.

Our port delivery appointment.
Declaration that is completed and left in the vehicle for shipping line review.


In the case of Melbourne, Customs are NOT at the port, they are near Melbourne Airport. Just take your passport, BOL and Carnet – mine was processed in 30 minutes but they can take 24 hours. Likely true of other cities as well.

The indispensable Carnet stamp. The counterfoils are stamped when you arrive and again when you leave. Without every page stamped in and out, your Carnet deposit will not be refunded.


Another very important step is Marine Insurance. Not obligatory but you’d be crazy to ship anything valuable without it. Many shipping agents either sell it or refer you to insurers who cover marine cargo. We have always taken it, as much for the risk of a “general average” claim ( it’s an insurance concept dating back to Roman times, and a risk not to be taken lightly – it could bankrupt you ) as for the protection of our vehicle itself. Cost depends on vehicle value so my quote may differ from yours but ours worked out to about $580 per $100,000 of insured value. Accepting a higher deductible reduces this of course. The vehicle is covered from the time it enters the port here till the time I drive it out at the other end. Our cover is fairly basic – more bells and whistles, more premium.

Marine Transit insurance.


The vehicle must be clean, working, with no leaks and no flammable contents. Take anything valuable with you on the plane ( we learned, the hard way ! ) and secure things that must be left in the van as best you can. Theft is an issue on any RoRo passage since port staff and shipping staff have access to your vehicle to drive it on an off the ship. Our highly valuable things are with us. We paid a little more for extra baggage on the plane to minimize theft risk on the ship. We’ve also been advised to prepare for the unexpected – what if the vehicle doesn’t start or the driver can’t figure out the controls ? Batteries can go flat over time while a vehicle is sitting idle and to that end we prepared basic jump start instructions in two languages along with a picture of the jump start contact points in the engine bay ( on a Sprinter van the battery is not easily accessible as it’s under the drivers seat). We left details on the passenger seat in the van. Better to be “looking at it than looking for it” as they say !

With solar panels, fans and exterior roof lights, we pegged our van’s height at 2.9 metres. We were pretty close. Here, going in for a final clean before shipment.
Highlighted yellow circles show the red and black contact points for a jump start ( if needed ) – this image is included on a laminated sheet on the passenger seat.
What to pack, what to leave ? We’d be going from a summer in Oz to the middle of winter in Canada while the ship had our van – but for how long ? All major valuables are with us on the plane. Once bitten, twice shy……..!


Sometime in advance of the ship’s load date ( just prior to sailing ) a window of time will be given for delivery of your vehicle to the port. Pick your day, contact the port and book your slot, usually done via the port’s website. We had no one assist us in delivering the vehicle to the port and it all went smoothly. MIRRAT was very organized and we were in and out within 45 minutes. Security is very tight at all ports and in every port we have been to an escort is required to accompany you through gate controls, document checks and so forth. In Buenos Aires we even had to wear hard hats, steel toe boots and a Hi VIZ vest. Just the vest in Melbourne ! The escort is paid for at the port and takes you through the security process to the point where you drop your vehicle . They then take you back out to the port exit, handing you a receipt to confirm that the vehicle is now in their hands. At this point delivery is done. Fingers crossed it arrives unharmed at the other end !

Following the port escort to the drop point.
I asked Daniel, our port escort, to stand in front of our vehicle ( all 4 sides ) for photos to confirm what condition it was in when we parted company with it at the port ( lest there be any damage in transit ).
Turns out the German folks( Ute and Stefan ) that we met in Tasmania were shipping their Sprinter van out of Australia at the same time, and on the same ship ( but that doesn’t mean we were both going to the same destination ! ). The yellow sticker tells port staff what ship to put it on and where it is ultimately to be unloaded.


Sometime after the ship sails, the shipping line will send a confirmation to our agent confirming our vehicle was safely loaded ( hopefully ! ) and that the ship is on the high seas. At that point I will be sent an invoice to pay for the freight and port fees. That’s about it, other than tracking the progress of the ship there is not much to do until it nears its destination but I’ll outline that process as and when we get closer to it.

I hope this helps those shipping, or even contemplating shipping, out of Australia. I’ll provide detailed costing when the journey is complete. Feel free to reach out to me on [email protected] if you require any further information.