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  • Katie


Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Currently, the only way to sail to Australia with a pet without quarantine is to sail from New Zealand (or Norfolk Island or Cocos Keeling). It is required for the pet to be in New Zealand for 180 days (plus quarantine—in our case, 10 days) before eligibility to import to Australia (without quarantine). The dog must have a Leishmania test done (21 days or more after arriving in NZ) by an MPI vet. This test is sent off to a laboratory in the U.S. and typically takes 1-2 months, so it is advised to get it done well before setting off for Australia.

Here is a link to a list. of MPI Approved vets:

One thing we found difficult was timing a good weather window and the required 5 days (or less) of checking out with an MPI approved vet. We were in Opua and the closest vet was in Albany (Auckland) about 3 hours away. We ended up having to go back to the vet for another export certificate because a weather window we thought would be good turned out to not be as safe as we would have liked. Albany Vet ( was very accommodating and actually scheduled us for several appointments in a two week span so as to be able to pick the best time to come it.

The export vet visit is very simple, the vet administers internal and external parasite treatments and looks over the pet to ensure it is healthy. Export certificate requires an address for arrival so we used the port which we entered (Bundaberg). You must take the original copy of the certificate with you to present to Bio Security in Australia. They will want you to email with form as well as the negative Leishmania test prior to departure.

I cannot stress this enough: BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE! Make sure you are talking to the right people about importing your dog. I had an email chain with the Bio security Vet in Australia, Agriculture, Customs, Port Authority, probably somebody's grandma was on the email chain (kidding). What I'm saying is make sure they know you are coming. Australia is not messing around. If you do not alert them to coming with a pet, you are going to either be slapped with a fine, your animal destroyed, or forced to leave asap.

If you are NOT coming directly from New Zealand (lets say you make a stop in New Caledonia) you MUST enter in Melbourne because that is where quarantine is (you still need to fill out necessary paperwork and contact the right authorities before departure).

See the below article on information about arriving in Australia without declaring a pet:

Arrival in Australia couldn’t have been easier. Bio security wanted to see the original export certificate and took a picture of Logan so as to match with the picture we were required to send.

I had to do one extra step because we wanted to enter Bundaberg which is not a port that typically accepts bio security cargo. I had to submit this form:

Logan was able to touch land as soon as we were done with biosecurity. They did ask what we did with his excrement. They wanted to make sure we didn’t dispose of it within 3nm of shore.

Customs told me about a boat that had tried to enter Australia with a pet that they did not declare. They were Australian citizens who left for a circumnavigation 4 or 5 years ago when the pup was 6 months old. They were slapped with a $12k AUD fine and actually had to fly the dog to America for quarantine. $30k AUD later, the dog would be eligible for import into Australia. I don't know this boat or their circumstances--this was only what I was told by biosecurity/customs.

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