Buying a Vehicle
In New Zealand
If you're coming to New Zealand for more than 2 months, the chances are you will need to look at buying a vehicle as it will be wayyyy cheaper than renting, whether that be car, campervan or full size motorhome. Here's everything you need to know when buying a vehicle in New Zealand.
1. VEHICLES ARE EXPENSIVE HERE
Dan literally had to remind me of this small little detail a million and one times. You are NOT in England/France/Germany or where ever you are from, anymore.
What you could buy for £1000 back home, you will not be able to buy for $2000 here. FACT. This applies more so to campervans. The sooner you get used to that fact, the easier it will be.
For a car with a bed in the back (estate car or people carrier type) you will be looking anywhere in the region of $1500-$5000 - depending on style/age/quality.
For a converted van you will be looking anywhere in the region of $3000-$10000
For a high roof/long wheel base/solar powered you can expect to up this budget to around $10000-$20000
3. CHECK FOR REGO
This is just short for 'Registration' which translates as road tax. Similar to the UK, this can be paid annually, 6 monthly or just monthly however you prefer. Again, similar to the UK, you can not be granted registration without a valid WOF. The amount will depend on the vehicle. You can check how much it will cost here. To check the expiry, please see the link above under WOF. The registration card should be displayed in the bottom right corner of the windscreen.
5. SHOULD I GET A PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTION?
This, is completely your own choice as to how 'safe' or 'trusting' you want to be. You can take any vehicle to an AA Auto Centre or VTNZ (or other participating garage) for a pre-purchase inspection or request the current owner to do so. This is usually done at the buyers cost of around $170, however, some sellers may have done it already for your convenience.
We appreciate that as a backpacker, $170 for a vehicle you may not buy may seem expensive and a waste of money, but in honesty, it could save you a costly break down in the future.
We can not pass judgement on whether you should get one done or not as we chose not to do this - we trusted the sellers, didn't have the spare money and went with our gut instinct knowing a little about vehicles. However, we have also met lots of travelers that haven't been as lucky as us and ended up with big repair bills early on in their trip.
7. WHAT INSURANCE DO I NEED?
One of the most important facts you need to know is that INSURANCE IS NOT MANDATORY. It is however, HIGHLY recommended. There are a couple positive things about this though. The first thing is, that it is relatively cheap to insure a vehicle due to it not being compulsory. For example, insuring our campervan fully comprehensive for 12 months here was about £300, whereas, in England for a similar van was about £1000. Secondly, if you are just nipping for a test drive, you don't need to worry about temporary insurance and all that malarky. Unlike the UK, there isn't loads of options for insurance companies and your main providers are AA and AMI. Go with which ever one takes your fancy.
We hope this list gives you all the information you need to feel confident buying a vehicle in New Zealand. If there is something you wish you had known that isn't on here, make sure you let us know on the contact us page!