Shipping a caravan
October 9, 2009 4:45 PM   Subscribe

What difficulties/expenses should I expect in shipping a caravan from the US to Melbourne Australia?

We've been looking for a caravan here in Victoria to put on a block of land and the prices for what we are looking for are in the $20k to $30k (used) range.
The same styles, but newer, nicer versions with slide outs, etc, are being had on Ebay in the US for under $3000. I've bought a similar one on Ebay for some Upstate property I have with no problems, so I have no issues with the whole Ebay thing.
The style we're looking for are called camper trailers in the US, they get towed behind the car, and have hookups for water for the sink, toilet, shower, etc., LP, and electric.
I know shipping is expensive as I've had a half container shipped from NY to Melbourne and that alone was $2500 back before gas prices went through the roof, but I'm interested in other issues I might have bringing one of these from the US to Aus. as well.
Anybody out in mefi land ever done this before?
posted by newpotato to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (2 answers total)
Best answer: I can't provide any specific advice based on personal experience with caravans, but a couple of thoughts come to mind. If the caravan is narrow enough to fit in a standard container, then the calculation for shipping costs should be straight forward. If not, it's liable to be very expensive.

Other considerations are whether there are any differences in fittings and attachments between the US and Australia with the US still being primarily imperial and 100/60. I'd also be slightly concerned about any additional road- or electrical-related considerations: braking systems, lights, voltages, wiring, etc.

Not sure if that was helpful, but always glad to assist a fellow Melbournian.
posted by michswiss at 4:15 AM on October 10, 2009

Best answer: Australia has pretty strict regulations on trailer tongues that your average American trailer does not meet. Also you may need to replace the coupler as Australia requires the coupler on a trailer over 1000kgs to be bolt on rather than welded. Plan on replacing the A frame.

Australia requires a 7 pin wiring connector though an American trailer of any size would probably be so equipped. I don't know whether they are plug compatible but that would be a minor issue.

Inside you'd need to deal with incompatible outlets and incompatible voltage and frequency for hard wired devices as the Australian standard is 240V/50hz vs. the American 110V/60Hz.

Does Australia use LPG or AutoGas? If the later that'll be something else you'd have to deal with.
posted by Mitheral at 9:15 AM on October 10, 2009

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