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Amazing Bundaberg Rally: Sailing to & arriving in Australia

by Colin Streeter 19 Nov 2019 07:13 UTC

We just had the most amazing three weeks in Bundaberg Port Marina Australia.

Our reason for sailing there, instead of directly to Brisbane, was because we chose to join the Loyalty Islands Rally, and the Go West Rally, which are run by John Hembrow and the Down Under Rally. We are now so pleased we did!

The Loyalty Islands Rally provides yachts that are heading to New Caledonia from either Fiji or Vanuatu with the opportunity obtain full inward clearance into the stunningly beautiful Loyalty Islands, as opposed to sailing past them to the only official port of entry, which is Noumea, some 150nm to the west.

The Go West Rally facilitates a seamless easy clearance into Australia at Bundaberg, with the usual Australian yacht entry Biosecurity fee ($450 AUD for Island Pearl II in 2019) included in the rally entry fee, and therefore paid by the Down Under Rally.

There were around 40 international yachts with us at the Bundaberg Port Marina who also joined the Go West Rally, and without exception, every international boat captain had nothing but respect and praise for John Hembrow's rally organisational skills, the Australian Customs/Immigration and Bio-Security, and the brilliant team at Bundaberg Port Marina.

The Australian Border Force (Customs) guys in Bundaberg specialise in small yacht entries, so the entire process becomes far easier there, and the wholke town appears to welcome international yachts each year.

Arriving into Bundaberg Australia is a pleasure, with free bus rides daily into the city, as well as to the local IGA Supermarket, plus the Lighthouse Hotel/Pub, along with the excellent Bundaberg Port Marina facilities, including 75ton lift crane, and always-spotless bathrooms and laundry.

Within hours of arriving we saw kangaroos jumping around the grounds opposite the marina, and a couple of days later witnessed turtle nesting at a beach down the road, where we saw a mummy turtle dig a nest then drop her eggs and cover them.

The Down Under Rally hold Welcome Week at the Bundaberg Port Marina, which is free to attend for all Go West Rally participants. Welcome Week is combination of fun social events, many of which are catered and include food and drinks, the opportunity to attend a series of excellent and informative on Sailing and Cruising the East Coast of Australia, plus the chance to win literally 100's of rally partner 'free giveaway prizes'.

During Welcome Week Island Pearl II won the following items: -

  • A free haul-out and wash down for Island Pearl II from Bundaberg Port Marina ($700 value)
  • A One-Year Subscription to PredictWind Professional Weather Subscription ($495 value)
  • A case of Iron Jack beer, and a $100 voucher for top quality sunglasses by Barz Optics ($150 value);
  • Three cleaning product prizes from CleanaWorx, valued at over of $100.
In addition, because we completed our World Sailing Circumnavigation here, we also received a lovely surprise on arrival that had been organised by the Down Under Rally, a huge hamper basket (value at least $100).

This was surely a lucky run for us compared to other yachts, but it seemed that almost every boat came away with valuable prizes. However, as we are now selling Island Pearl II, and as such we will stop sailing soon, we donated back the Predict Wind $495 Package, and some cleaning products for re-draw to share the love around a little more.

We have come away bamboozled at how the Down Under Rally can offer all of this, when the Go West Rally entry fee is just $495.00 AUD and this includes the biosecurity inspection fee, which as we mentioned earlier in our case was $450.00.

A huge thank you to John Hembrow, the Down Under Rally, and the Bundaberg Port Marina for a wonderful stay!

Colin & Lauren Streeter - Island Pearl II

Colin & Lauren have just completed a three year world circumnavigation aboard their Amel Super Maramu, Island Pearl II. To see their route and blog posts along the way visit their PredictWind tracking page: forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/IslandPearl2

It seems that Colin and Lauren are not the only ones to be expounding the virtues of the Down Under Rally. Richard and Jan of Morpheus of London also joined the Down Under Rally in 2019, and participated in both the Loyalty Islands Rally, and the Go West Rally. You can read what they have shared about the experience on their blog at: www.morpheusoflondon.co.uk

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