Buying items from other markets that will not ship to me.
I have now received one parcel from via vPost.
Notes: First, they did not note receipt of my parcel at the Jakarta warehouse. I emailed the vendor (in Indonesian) and got delivery receipt details. vPost did not respond to my queries about this when I used the Australia vPost contact address. Pro-tip: the Australian contact email address is UNATTENDED and will lead to unsatisfactory customer service if you believe it is real. Use the Singapore-based customer service form to avoid sadness. Once I tried that, they found my parcel in the warehouse within 2 days.
Next step: The projected shipping time to Australia was way off (36 days late, for an overall delivery time of 56 days). I guess they get a COVID pass for that this one time.
They provided me tracking number for Australia post, which was valid for the last two days of the delivery only, once it reached Australia. Before it reached the Australian border, the parcel was in the hands of the logistics arm Quantium Solutions who do have a tracking service but I had no Quantium tracking number, so it was unclear for most of that time if the parcel was lost or in transit. Emails to the customer service team were answered by people who said they would look into it and get back to me within 3 business days but were not able to do so, until the last one, who told me that the parcel was in Australia now.
Nonetheless vPost are one of very few only operator on the challenging Indonesia—Australia reshipping route, so maybe that is as good as it gets. Pricing was OK I guess? AUD83 for 5 shirts is less than the full air freight rate but more than the surface LCL freight rate. Delivery was surface freight speed, bulk-carrier level of service, which is probably my jam and would be OK except for how much manual intervention was required.
From the USA I got a small (0.5kg) electronics parcel delivered at a reasonably price (AUD34 including insurance) Paid on 13 Jan, estimated arrival 24 Jan -1 Feb, actual arrival on 9 Feb, so the service is converging towards punctual over time.
Shop & Ship
Shop & Ship services many challenging places, including some hard-to-get locations—Australia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, and USA.
Their Indonesia-Australia rates seem to be comparable to vPost per-item, but there is a USD45 membership fee to use the service (or a USD119 annual fee for the premium membership) so vPost is cheaper.
Shippn is a slightly different thing. It is a gig-economy style service where locals will shop for you in various countries. Not in Indonesia, but in many other places.
Previously I used Shipito, a US service for getting audio gear. That has not been recently useful; most things I could get in the USA have been available in Australia too for comparable rates.
Various other services are reviewed in Techvise. Australia-specific, see ShopMate and US freight-forwarding services compared.
Crowdshipping options sound like they could solve some problems here? But are any still working? Parcl was hyped for a while but now defunct.