Australia is almost 9,500 miles away from the UK and the sixth largest country in the world, so if you are sending important documents or some other kind of business parcel it pays to keep your package as light as possible, preferably under 2kg.

On the other hand, competition around price is likely to be keen among courier companies because of Britain’s close historic and trading ties with Australia. It is a well-worn and popular commercial route.

Your parcel has to go a long way, so make sure the box – though light – is strong enough, that it is clearly addressed and the customs forms are filled in correctly.

When you are getting your package ready, pay attention to the weight of the box or packaging itself – a lighter weight box means lower shipping costs. For padding, shredded recycled paper, plastic bubblewrap or plastic air-filled padding balls or wood wool is a great choice. Make sure you select the right sized box to keep padding to a minimum and the weight down.

Use a reputable courier company with plenty of positive (independent) online reviews. For your own peace of mind, it might be a good idea to search for courier companies on a website such as Trustpilot to get the low down on whether they are reliable and offer good value. Alternatively, pay an online parcel broker such as RANDlogistics who can access multiple UK and international courier services, including FedEx, UKMail, DPD and TNT, often at a sizeable discount.

Make sure you know what service is included by the courier company before you book. You can usually get a quote online if you know the weight and dimensions of your package and where it is going.

It helps to have a list of questions ready so you can select the level of service you want and easily compare quotes from different companies. For example, you can choose the level of cover you want to pay to insure your parcel. If you regularly ship business parcels to Australia you may be able to negotiate a discount.

Your courier checklist:

  • Will you collect my parcel?
  • When is delivery guaranteed by?
  • How much does it cost to send?
  • Can I track my parcel online?
  • Will I receive email or text updates?
  • Will a signature be required on delivery?
  • Is compensation included if my parcel is lost or damaged?
  • If so, up to what value is this compensation?
  • Is proof of delivery included?

Australian customs regulations

Australia has strict rules about what items can be posted. Even though a business package is unlikely to contain these things, you should know these rules before you post anything to avoid problems at customs.

The banned list includes: any forms of currency, precious stones and metals (excluding some jewellery), goods produced in prison, radioactive materials, items with ‘Anzac’ written on them, used bedding and perishable infectious biological substances.

You will need special permission from Australian quarantine officials to send meat, animal products, milk or medicines. You can check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for a factsheet on importing goods into Australia.

Filling out customs forms

It is really important to fill out the customs form properly in order to avoid your package being delayed, opened, sent back or confiscated. First, ensure the item is safe to send to Australia, next work out its approximate value and list the contents on the customs form. You will also need to indicate that your parcel is a commercial one.

If your package is worth less than $1,000 AUS (around £556) you will not need to pay any additional taxes or duties. If the amount exceeds this, you’ll need to fill out extra paperwork and you may have to pay charges on top.

Once the commercial customs form is complete, put it in a plastic wallet and attach it to the outside of an item. You can buy these wallets from the Post Office. Make sure you check out the Royal Mail website for which customs declaration forms you should fill in.