Shipping can be one of the most complicated aspects when setting up an online store that will deliver nationwide in Australia. High shipping and handling costs at the checkout stage of a purchase is a sure way to get the buyer to go back and check for competitor prices or abandon the sale completely. The closer you can get the shipping cost to FREE, whether by making the buyer reach a purchase amount threshold or building some freight cost into the price of the products the better.

Aus Post for less than 3kg

If your products can fit in an envelope or small parcel then Australia Post provides a flat rate arrangement which works well. Typically with Australia Post you are going to spend $3 for a large envelope, $8 for 0.5kg parcel and $13 for a 3kg parcel.

When you have products that are consistently small, for example, jewellery, then a Flat Rate freight calculation can work nicely. You might choose to absorb some of the shipping and handling costs into the sale price so that the buyers perceive a cheaper shipping option. A Flat Rate method of calculation can easily be handled by the default woocommerce installation and will probably range from $3 – 15 depending on your requirements.

Delivery by Courier for over 3kg

If your store sells bulky or heavy items these will usually need to go via courier. There is a substantial difference in shipping items between the metro areas on the east coast compared to sending products to remote regions and east to west coast. Local deliveries within a city can be as low as $8 while remote deliveries can be over $100.

Delivery by courier requires a postcode calculated delivery for reasonable accuracy which we can do by dividing the postcodes into regions that roughly match the regional delivery costs of the major courier services.

Bulky Heavy Items

Anything heavier than about 20kg or a box that is bigger than about 0.5m might need to be palletised or send via a specialised delivery service so find out what option you will use and make a decision so you are aware of the costs involved. If the freight cost is too high then it might limit the geographical area that your online business can service profitably.

Parcel Delivery Regions

Segmenting the delivery areas into postcodes works well since buyers expect to enter their postcode when they purchase so you can let the shopping cart calculate the freight cost from that.

The cost for a standard box by courier sent from Newcastle is based on typical charges but can vary according to the delivery company, parcel size and weight.

Full postcode and region csv from July 2012 – Postcode-Suburb-Region (CSV)

Postcodes segmented by region:

The digits on the end of each link is indicative of what we would likely set as a delivery cost for an average size box to that region for goods that depart from Newcastle/Hunter in NSW.

Most ecommerce platforms let you define postage cost according to postcode.

Filtering Postcodes by Distance from Your Location

If you are going to do your own deliveries or you are only going to sell within a certain geographic radius or maybe you have dramatically different shipping costs once a delivery is more than 100km away then taking a subset of postcodes which are a certain radius distance away from you is a simple and reasonably accurate way to do that.

Postcodes within 50km of 2300, Newcastle


Text file, one postcode per line: 0 – 50km from 2300

Postcodes within 50km to 100km of 2300, Newcastle

2250,2251,2256,2257,2258,2259, 2260,2261,2262,2263,2264,2265,2311, 2312,2321,2324,2328,2329,2330,2333,2334,2335,2336,2337,2415,2422,2423

Text file, one postcode per line: 50 – 100km from 2300

You can generate your own postcode radii using this website tool:

Freight Calculations in Woocommerce

The freight calculations module that we often use the Table Rate Shipping.

This lets us define multiple shipping rates based on location, price, weight, or item count. Wildcards may be used to match multiple regions too.

  • Create zones for target shipping destinations
  • Add multiple tables of rates per zone
  • Several types of table rate calculation: Per order, Calculated per item, Calculated per line, Calculated per class
  • Add rules based on Weight, Number of items, Number of items by class and Price
  • Add costs per row, per item cost, a percentage and per weight unit

There are a couple of screenshot examples of the interface below.