Australia, Blog

Arriving Down Under – Bundaburg, Australia

Having radioed the officials, we pulled alongside the gated quarantine dock to start the process of checking into Australia. The couple of hours awaiting their arrival was spent frantically cleaning up the kind of mess only an ocean passage can create, and munching our way through the last of the food that would otherwise be confiscated by bio-security.

First on the scene were three Border Force (Customs and Immigration) guys complete with a sniffer dog. We were asked to step off of the boat whilst a thorough search was completed, whilst stood on the dock waiting we were politely interrogated. Their nicely worded questions translated as “you seem very young and happy, are you sure you don’t take drugs?”and “how do you afford to do what you do without smuggling something?” Eventually satisfied that we were just high on life and the joy of arriving in a new country, they let us be to await bio-security.

By the time bio-security visited, we had thrown together and devoured a creative vegeburger, seeded flatbread concoction that meant that all we had left to hand over was a measly bit of white cabbage and some cucumber. It took a little longer to convince the lady from bio-security that the paw prints on the sofa and dog hair covering our nicely cleaned floor did in fact belong to the sniffer dog, not a smuggled pooch of our own.

Next up was the termite check/timer inspection scheduled for the following day. Every section of timber on Florence would need to be closely inspected for the wood boring bug. Despite having cleared as much of our stuff onto the deck possible it was still a lengthy process emptying cupboards and lifting bunks. A 37ft boat soon becomes crowded when you empty the lockers of a live-aboard. After a suspect grain of sand found in the shoe cupboard was given the all clear under microscope, we were officially cleared into the country.


Although the process was both the most expensive and thorough of any country so far (AUS $490, not including visa’s, as we came in through the Go West Rally), the officials were polite and worked hard to get what they needed to do done as quickly as possible. It’s a great privilege to be able to bring your home into another country so we are always happy to jump through the necessary hoops to do so.

Finally allowed to stretch out our sea legs, we took a walk along to Burnett Heads, the local village with a small supermarket. Only in Australia would such a walk involve kangaroos. Cue two very excitable tourists. One day ashore and we have 1,000 kangaroo photos, this has to stop as we are planning to be in Australia for the next 9 months!

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6 thoughts on “Arriving Down Under – Bundaburg, Australia”

  1. Omg…Australia for the next 9 months! You won’t leave anything to come back to? Looking forward to looking over your shoulder where ever you take us. It’s been a great view… thank you for sharing!


    1. Australia is HUGE, we will barely scratch the surface in our time here. Especially as we have to carry out a number of time consuming general maintenance jobs on Florence whilst we are here. Always something to come back and see…


  2. Hi Matt, Hi Amy – welcome to the land down under. You‘ve come a long way! We‘ve been following you guys for the past couple of years and really enjoyed your travels. We see that you are currently on your way south from Bundy, probably behind Frazer Is or even further south by now. Anyway, we are currently in Sydney, heading up to Sunny Brisbane-by-the-Sea after Xmas. We were just wondering if you guys would be up for a visit? Happy to give you some local tips! Best regards Bruce&Anne Stewart


    1. Hi Bruce and Anne,
      We are a little ahead of our blogs and arrived in Sydney at the end of last week, just in time to meet up with friends for Christmas. We’re a bit busy between now and new year but plan to be in Sydney harbour for most of January. If you haven’t left for Brisbane by then we always enjoy learning more about the places we visit from the people that live there.
      Matt and Amy


      1. We head up to Queensland before the new year so enjoy your time in Old Sydney Town. It truely is a world city! We are regular cruisers of Queensland‘s coral coast and would be happy to share our favourite tips with you. Drop us a line on if you’re interested. One tip for now – get back up to the tropics as soon as possible after the wetseason finishes (ie be back in the Southeast Queensland region by April) to maximise your time cruising up through the Great Barrier Reef. You won’t regret it! Merry Christmas and have a memorable year ahead🎄


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