Planning on travelling around New Zealand in a car or camper van? Then you may be thinking of buying your own vehicle instead of renting one to make the transport portion of your budget the most economical. You’ll also be intrigued to hear that you’ll be among a few other thousand visitors and working holidaymakers who decide to do the same every year. Read on if you want to get a head start on finding the perfect vehicle for you by knowing the most important sales channels in advance.
So, where to start? Once you have decided to buy instead of renting, the next step is to know where to look for your new ride. Broadly speaking, there are six options available, and depending on the season and the location you’re in, they may be more or less suitable for you.
- Local used car dealerships
- Local used car dealerships, specialised on backpackers and holidaymakers
- Local car fairs
- Online, e.g. TradeMe (New Zealand’s eBay)
- On blackboards at hostels and motels
All these options are separate posts, so go check out the categories you want to explore!
New Zealand has a huge used car market that also includes many imports from Japan. Don’t be surprised open your glove compartment to find your car’s instruction manual and booklets entirely in Japanese! In Japan, the older the vehicle gets the more tax the owner pays, and hence many Japanese regularly upgrade to new cars. New Zealand’s tax and import duty regulations are favourable, so many Japanese cars end up in Aotearoa. So, you’ll find two categories of cars in New Zealand: “New Zealand New”, meaning cars whose first registration was in New Zealand, and imports, meaning those cars were first registered abroad (mostly in Japan).
Checklist for buying a car
See here for a good checklist for buying a used car from Consumer NZ as a starter for ten.
In my first article on buying a car, I will start with local car dealerships. Hope the information is useful. Please post a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!