It's been more than ten years since we last entered Australia, and both times we had simple and easy clearance, though Customs wouldn't verify its rules. The published rules said that USDA inspected canned beef could be brought into the country, but they confiscated all our USDA approved dried beef because it wasn't in "cans" but rather glass jars (which is how all foods were "canned" back in the days, and how dried beef is still "canned" due to its high salt content). As one Oz TV commentator said, "two cultures divided by a common language." Nothing I said could make them check and verify that "canned" foods need not necessarily be in metal cans.
Their posted rules prohibit the import of canned pork products, so that emergency ration of SPAM had to be eaten or discarded before arriving in Australia. And lo and behold, I found US imported SPAM and various canned hams for sale in Australia. Nobody could explain that to me.
Australia seems to have bipolar disorder. For several years before we first sailed to Australia, Australia required that foreign yachts affix a sign to their topsides with their clearance number (exact description of this is fuzzy after all these years). It was intended to be visible to the flyover planes as well as observers from the shore. To properly fulfill Customs requirements meant defacing the boat. This was insisted upon by Oz officials for years.
Then there's the 72-hour prior notice of arrival into Oz waters, which caused extreme financial hardship to at least one boat because the Oz Embassy in the country where they obtained their visa was unaware of it and provided a printed incorrect procedure. Australia refused to admit their error and unreasonable prosecution of a visiting yacht in that instance.
We like Australians, but found the government and politics were often silly, but stupid at its worst (though I could say the same about many other countries' politics, including the US). The difference seems to be our US courts will usually stomp on the stupidest of our civil servants' errors and consider extenuating circumstances, whereas in Australia the courts seem to feel that visitors to their shores should know when Australian officials have given them bad information and will punish them anyway. No such thing as extenuating circumstances.
Now for guns. You would be foolish to enter in Darwin, it's a difficult place to get to from the rest of the South Pacific, and once there you could be stuck for the entire cyclone season and then would have to extend your visa for another year in order to do any cruising of Australia. But Australia is the least of your problems. At least in Australia, if they remove the guns from your boat in Brisbane or Bundaberg, they'll ship them to Darwin for you to receive them to check out. You might not be so fortunate in many of the other countries you visit - you'd have to go back to the entry port in order to check out and get your gun(s).
Friends of ours almost got thrown in jail for not declaring their gun upon arrival in Fiji, and that was before the two military coups in Fiji. Nowadays to be caught with undeclared firearms in Fiji would most likely be even worse, what with a military regime uneasy about its hold over the citizens and the fear of an armed uprising facilitated by smuggled firearms.
Dogs. See the downloadable information package for importing dogs and cats into Australia. The information assumes the animal will come by air, so perhaps further info. is necessary, but it's an expensive and long process. Import of animals into Australia, info. package
Application fee (all in Australian dollars): $330.00 Entry fees - quarantine entry, veterinary inspection and document clearance: $113.00
Quarantine accomodation fee: $17.55 per day while in quarantine (food and board for between 30 and 120 days).
there can be other fees as well.