Process to get bike from Sydney to Christchurch (airfreight)

My process to import bike (BMW R1200GS) from Sydney (Australia) to Christchurch (New Zealand) by airfreight (December 2013):

  • I contacted several airlines (Quantas, Emirates and Air New Zealand), all of them asked me to get in touch with freight forwarder (I got recommendation for two different companies: Matzen Cargo and DB Schenker.
  • I also asked several companies regarding sea freight, but overall price was really close to airfreight and quite many were full already.
  • DB Schenker was quite slow with their answers (because person who is responsible for these shipments was on holiday). Matzen Cargo answered within few hours.
  • Matzen cargo gave a good offer so, next thing was to start planning where to get crate and other needed processes (price was for a crate which is not labeled as “Hazardous material”.
  • BMW Sydney (Procycles) said that they can arrange crate, wash the fuel tank and prepare a document which states that all needed actions have been done (to avoid hazardous material treatment).
  • I needed to wash the bike, but could not find a place from Sydney where I could properly clean it, so I decided to ride 50km south from Sydney, stay at the campground and do washing there. Before this I went to the customs house in Sydney airport and got my Carnet stamped out from Australia. NOTE: you will need to show your AWB (Air Way Bill) in the customs!
  • After washing, I took my bike to Procycles who cleaned the tank with “white alcohol” (or something like that), disconnected the battery and wrote me a document (It stated that tank has been cleaned and battery disconnected). They had some problem to get BMW crate, so they arranged Victory-motorcycles crate (it was metal, so better than wooden BMW crate). I got plenty of straps from them too.
  • Procycles transferred my bike and crate to Matzen cargo warehouse where I packed my bike and all the stuff inside the crate (total weight 386kg).
  • Service from Matzen cargo was great and I can highly recommend their service to everyone.
  • I flew to NZ on Tuesday, bike on Wednesday. REMEMBER: that you will need a return ticket and a proof that you have enough money to get in to NZ!
  • On Wednesday in NZ, I went first to the customs house next to Christchurch airport. Got my Carnet stamped, got Customs Delivery order- and Manual Biosecurity Authority/Clearance Certificate -documents. At the same time I paid Inspection fee.
  • Next I went to Air New Zealand Cargo to agree how things would go onward over there later that day.
  • I could not get my bike out this day because Air New Zealand Cargo needed few hours to get the crate to the warehouse and to fill all needed documents.
  • Before 16:30 (closing time) I called to the Biosecurity office +64 3 943 1753 and agreed an inspection time for Thursday morning.
  • On Thursday morning I went to the Air NZ Cargo before agreed time (had a Jerry can full of fuel with me). I gave all the papers to the person behind a counter and paid their fees (port fee ?).
  • After this was inspection (which I think was tighter than in Australia (so make sure that bike is clean as also your camping gear (tent pegs, tent also from inside)) which I passed without any problems.
  • Next thing was to get ACC levy and WoF (Warrant of Fitness) done. For this I went to Vinz (it is close to the airport). Showed my carnet and passport and filled MR2C-form (you can download, print and fill this beforehand). Fees to pay here are ACC and inspection fee. Inspection took around 20 mins, it was tighter than in Australia.
  • Last thing was to mount proof of my ACC-levy payment (need to be visible from the back) and tape WoF to the bike

Costs (airfreight + other fees for R1200GS, total weight with a crate 386kg):

  • Crate from Procycles: 55AUD
  • Bike and crate delilvery to Matzen Cargo warehouse: 59AUD
  • Prepare for crating (tank, battery and document): 60AUD
  • Shipping (Matzen cargo): 1000AUD
  • MPI NZ inspection fee: 51NZD
  • Air NZ cargo payment (port fee?): 57NZD
  • ACC-levy and inspection fee: Around 85NZD

  • Thing to note is that by seafreight port fees are much higher.

Usable links:

  • NZ Transport Agency – Importing a vehicle temporarily:
  • Ministry for Primary Industries – MPI Clearance Services and Facilities:
  • Vinz – ACC-levy and WoF:


  • North South Holiday Park in Christchurch is close to the airport, cabin price is reasonable and they can loan 5l jerry can for you.


  • North South Holiday Park, Christchurch: S 43°28.210’ E 172°34.283’
  • Vinz, airport Christchurch: S 43°29.146’ E 172°33.064’
  • Air NZ Cargo, Christchurch: S 43°29.532’ E 172°32.828’
  • Customs house, Christchurch AP: S 43°29.428’ E 172°32.638’
  • Sydney customs house: No coordinates, but can be found just opposite of International departures in Sydney AP.

6 thoughts on “Process to get bike from Sydney to Christchurch (airfreight)

  1. Hi Thierry!

    Good that my blog has been usefull 🙂
    Yes, I remember Mario, do not remember where I met him (starting to loose track of who I met and where)…
    I do not have personal fb account, but you can find my trip from Fb (there is a link in right side of the page.

    Wow! You have been a long time on a road and I guess you are still going to be few more years!

    I wish you a good and safe ridng year 2014!


  2. Hi Helmuli

    I follow your website since a while (discovered you in HU) and like to thank you very much for your detailled informations. I’m also on a trip around the world (since 6 years, starting in Mexico) and now it happens, that one year behind you on your traces. I am now in Bali and will ship my bike from Dili to Darwin in February (I already studied your informations concerning that shippment!). By the way, I met here in Bali a guy called Mario Iloth. You met him in southeast asia somewhere. I believe in Thailand, Or was it here in Bali? I’m not sure anymore, but Mario told me, that he met you. I just finish to spend 10 days in Bali and will proceed the 2nd to Lomobok….

    Anyway, thanks again for your valuable informations. In febraury 2015 I will also continue to New Zealand, hence I can also use your infos for this upcoming transfer. Are you in facebook? Under what name? So we can also hook up in fb, if you like. You find me in fb under Thierry Wilhelm. Foto is me on the bike on the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia (the saltflat of Uyuni)

    Take good care and I wish you a very happy, healthy and accidentfree new year!


  3. From Heike & Steve British Columbia Canada. It was great meeting you this afternoon at Bluff NZ. Heike & I both ride GS bikes. We wish you the best in you incretable journey around the world. on said:

    It’s Steve & Heike from British Columbia Canada
    We met you this afternoon in Bluff NZ
    We both ride a GS and admire that you are doing the dream ride of anyone who owns a GS
    Happy trails and keep the rubber side down
    Cheer & Best Wishes

  4. Hi from Spain. Too much time I do not write. Sorry dude but anyway I follow all your posts and with joy all your adventure. Congratulations and go on!!! Best regards, Carlos

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