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-   -   getting from SE asia to australia by car ferry? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/trip-transport/getting-se-asia-australia-car-39597)

awakenasleep 20 Dec 2008 02:33

getting from SE asia to australia by car ferry?
i'm in the middle of setting up a trip to travel from europe to australia only by vech, and car ferry (only where need).. but i've hit a snag!.. i can seem to find any available car ferry that brings you from se asia (like indonesia or papa new guniea) to mainland australia.. i've heard you can get a freighter but thats not the same as staying with your vechile..

any help, thoughts or experiences who be great!!..

i cant leave on the trip otherwise!!


pecha72 20 Dec 2008 11:37

It seems car ferries in SE Asia only operate on rather short distances these days, and most international lines are a thing of the past. Flying has become so cheap, and its so much quicker, so people fly, and very few have their own vehicles to transport. I dont think you can find a passenger car ferry from anywhere in Asia to Australia.

In 2007, someone in India was certain that there is a ferry between Chennai and Singapore, even gave me some cellphone number (which never replied)... later on, I noticed, there may be a big freight ship operating that route, with a few cabins available for passengers, but even that was super-expensive, we probably got our bike and us flown across the Bay of Bengal for cheaper. Maybe it is a good choice, if you got a car. The last time a regular passenger ship went from Chennai to Malaysia (Penang) was in the 80´s, then it burnt.

There have been some ferries going between various ports in Malaysia & Indonesia, so if you get lucky, one of them hasnt sunken, and may still be operating, when you get there, or they´ve opened up a new one just in time (dont mean to scare you, but their safety standards arent too high!) These lines seem to come and go almost each month, and current economic crisis probably isnt helping a lot. Lots of ferries all around the Indonesian islands, too, but getting accurate info about them is sometimes hard.

The seas around Europe, for example, we are actually very lucky to still have many car ferries operating, so we dont need to freight. Its not the same everywhere.

farqhuar 20 Dec 2008 12:10

You've got 2 chances - Buckleys and Nunn (none)!
I've been travelling throughout Asia since the early 70s and during this period there have NEVER been any car ferries in to, or out of, Australia. Even stronger than this, there have never been any regular passenger ships of any sort coming into the country. The only passenger ships have been cruise ships, and these are not an economical mode of transport.

There is the occasional cargo ship which may take 10 or so passengers but these are few and far between. The last person I knew who came to Australia by cargo ship was my wife, who sailed from Yokohama to Perth back in 1978.

Garry from Oz.

Keith1954 20 Dec 2008 18:47

You could try Perkins Shipping. They operate a cargo sea-transport service from Singapore <~~> Darwin, Australia. Passage time is about eight days.

It might be an idea to try and arrange shipping from Singapore Harbour, then fly down separately from Changi Airport (SIN) to Darwin (DRW) on a standard commercial flight .. thereafter meet & greet your vehicle in the Port of Darwin .. maybe stopover in Bali for a few days en route, eh?! .. :cool4:

pecha72 20 Dec 2008 19:49

Many travellers report to have used that Perkins line. Do note that it makes a stopover in Dili, East Timor, so you can ride through part of Indonesia, and ship from there.

We were planning to do just that, but fighting erupted in Dili, because their president & prime minister had been attacked, and we were already running out of visa time (do get a 60 day-visa, if you can!)... and it was the rainy season, so boat timetables were anyones guess. So we ended up freighting by air from Bali.

Still, Sumatra, Java & Bali were a huge experience, something I definitely wouldnt leave out by shipping straight to Oz from Singapore. Or you can do that, and go backpacking through Indonesia.

RogerM 20 Dec 2008 19:59

Many RoRo ships consolidate loads in Singapore for onward movement to Australia's major East coast cities - (sometimes Townsville with mining vehicles) Brisbane, Sydney, (then to NZ or) Melbourne and Adelaide. The other route is to go via Perth.

I'm not sure that Darwin gets any RoRo ships at all nowadays - its not a very big market for the ships to bother docking there regularly. You could get lucky if big mining equipment is being unloaded in Darwin.

RoRo is available ex Singapore to Port Jarkata, but you would probably have to back track to Singapore to go onto Australia, security maybe a bit sus on this leg.

There is a freight/passenger line that operates around Indonesia, I cant remember its name. Does not have a good reputation for safety and reliable schedules.

I'm not aware of any RoRo ships that have passenger services and I tried to find one last year ex S Korea via Singapore to Australia.

RoRo is far safer nowadays, its very rare for anything to be stolen from a vehicle whilst on the ship. The risky part is always on the wharf, but even that has improved 1000s of % since all the anti terror security began in 2002.

Lenz2 31 Dec 2008 14:46

Hi everyone ...

If anyone's got a direct contact either phone or mail for Perkins would appreciate it. After going to their website can't see any info' for this.

I'm heading into Indonesia over the next couple of months, so need to consider shipping options to Australia.

Thanks in advance. Len (Len Jones)

pecha72 31 Dec 2008 15:17

Hi, it seems I still had in my mails some of the ones that were sent to me, when I was inquiring from them. Hope this is of any help.. it is from nearly 1 year ago (and even though they havent tried to kill the president just lately, I would find out about the situation in Timor Leste, before going heading that way).


For vessel bookings ex Dili and all your queries regarding Dili cut off
(when Cargo is required to meet a voyage), please contact our Dili Agent

SDV East Timor
Timor Loro Sae, Dili Harbour
Dili, East Timor
Tel : (670) 3322 818
Fax : (670) 3324 077
email: r.ribeiro@sdv.com
Contact : Rafael Ribeiro

Kind Regards

Karen Ison
Import/Export Officer
Perkins Shipping
Frances Bay
Darwin NT 0800
Ph: +61 8 8982 2012
Fax: +61 8 8941 0991


Ham46 17 Feb 2010 07:32

You say you air freighted from Bali, was this expensive, where did you fly into and did you travel on the same flight?

ColinD 17 Feb 2010 08:20


Originally Posted by Ham46 (Post 276859)
You say you air freighted from Bali, was this expensive, where did you fly into and did you travel on the same flight?


I have been researching this issue in some detail for a few months - shipping bike from SE Asia to Sydney and v/v.

Keep in mind that you have to be present when the bike goes through quarantine. For me, I prefer that to happen in my home town (Sydney) rather than have me waiting around and pay accommodation for a week some place else. Your priorities could be different.

Here are some options. Some are for 1 bike, some are for 2 (there will be two adventure style bikes on this trip).

1. Air freight from Bali USD $1450 (1 bike)

2. Air freight from KL USD $3,500 (1 bike). I'm pretty sure I could do better on this if I asked for more quotes.

3. Shipping from KL to Sydney (two adventure bikes) about USD $1,100.

4. Shipping via Dili to Darwin with Perkins - only a couple of hundred dollars and 1 day's sailing but you will have a layover of between 5 and 11 days until you can pick up the bike at the other end. Bike has to be dropped off 2 days prior to *arrival* of the ship in port, and it can be in port for up to 4 days, and take 2 days to unload in Darwin, and you can't pick it up on a weekend.

5. Shipping from Kupang to Sydney USD $1600 (2 bikes). This goes back via Surabaya, so it would take a long time sailing, which does not bother me 'cause I would already be back at work. If you just want to get here with least hassles, this makes no sense, but if you want to ride all of Indo, this makes stunning sense. You can't go no further than Kupang :)

BTW - this quote includes a full 20' container from Kupang to Surabaya. Kind of wasted for 2 bikes!

6. Shipping from Surabaya to Sydney USD $1100 (2 bikes).

7. Air freight from Brunei to Brisbane about AUD $2500 (1 bike).

9. Truck freight from Darwin to Sydney at least $830 (1 bike).

I have lots of other info about connections via Borneo but I'm assuming you are not planning to go that way. It's harder. Waaaay harder.

Hope this is helpful...


pecha72 17 Feb 2010 10:22


Originally Posted by Ham46 (Post 276859)
You say you air freighted from Bali, was this expensive, where did you fly into and did you travel on the same flight?

was this expensive: yes. Somewhere in the region of 1200 euros (for shipping alone!) And this was almost 2 years ago, in March 2008.

But it is worth noting, that we wanted to get to Perth. Garuda and Qantas had direct flights, but our shipping agent (CAS Cargo Bali, near Kuta) claimed that Garuda won´t allow to send any packages of over 50 kilos, and that Qantas (on that route) operates a plane, which wont be able to load a package this big into the cargo hold... so that´s why it was needed to route it Denpasar-Melbourne-Perth, and while the direct flight was about 3 hours, this way the bike flew for +10 hours, and this probably affected the costs big time, maybe 1/3 of the total.

No, we didnt arrive on the same flight, as we flew on the direct Qantas flight Denpasar-Perth.

I heard you could send from Surabaya (which is not so far from Bali) to Perth by sea for about 300 euros, but expect it to take a month to arrive. We didnt have that much time, but we were there at the same time with a couple of Aussies, who sent their bikes that way. I dont know, how it worked for them in the end.

The Australian customs & especially quarantine regulations (AQIS) are something that are worth studying, before you send your vehicle over. And I believe the carnet is mandatory now (so it´s changed after our trip).

And in case someone´s still wondering: there were no scheduled ferries or passenger vessels whatsoever between Indonesia & Australia two years ago. And I dont believe that has changed, because it would be kind of bad business to operate a regular line, that maybe some 10-20 overlanders would use each year. Unfortunately flying is so cheap these days, practically no-one without a vehicle to get transported would go by ship!

There may be some small boats, that would operate from Kupang (and region), but expect finding any accurate info about these to be very tough to find, unless you go there personally to find out (and even then it could be hard!) There seemed to be zero boats of any kind to leave for Oz in Tanjung Benoa harbour in Bali.

Ham46 17 Feb 2010 13:20

Hi Pecha72,
Thanks for the feedback, I'm heading that way around June and looking into all the options.
Hi Colin,
Which airline did you get quotes from leaving Bali, do you know if they only fly in to Sidney?
Thanks for the info!!!

ColinD 18 Feb 2010 06:49


Originally Posted by Ham46 (Post 276917)
Hi Pecha72,
Thanks for the feedback, I'm heading that way around June and looking into all the options.
Hi Colin,
Which airline did you get quotes from leaving Bali, do you know if they only fly in to Sidney?
Thanks for the info!!!

Hi Graham,

I don't know which airline - it would be either JetStar or Guruda, I presume. Both fly to Sydney. I got the quote as follows:

By airfreight will be around USD 1450.00 for the weight of 200 kg, already including crating, fumigation and custom clearance at Denpasar airport, but this is from other agent, not us. Please be advised.

Best regards,

RIM Cargo
The Business Centre
Jl. Laksmana No 32 Oberoi
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Phn. 0361 737670
T : 62 361 737670
email : <pm Colin for this - I don't believe in feeding spammers by publicly posting email addresses>
Rim Cargo


che.darmo 22 Jun 2010 06:26

Dear Colin,
Would it be possible to get the contacts from you.
My query is not for bike shipping to Sydney but I'd hope that maybe your same forwarder can give me more insights.

Thank you for your help!

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