Where to Find a Car or Campervan to Buy for a Road Trip Around New Zealand
So, you have chosen to hit the road and experience the true freedom of a road trip in Kiwi land. Good on you! We’ve received heaps of questions along the lines of: “Where is the best place to buy a cheap car/campervan in New Zealand?”
In New Zealand, we take pride in doing things a bit differently. Forget about Craigslist when looking for an affordable car or campervan. You’ll have to find other ways to connect with sellers near you. But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with this list of resources to find a car or campervan for an extended trip in New Zealand. Using them all will help you cover the best ground and be sure to have the largest number of vehicles to choose from.
Don’t forget to refer to our Car Purchase Guide after browsing this article, as it includes a ton of useful tips on what to look for when purchasing a car or campervan in New Zealand. And one more thing: make sure you can legally drive in New Zealand with a proper driver’s license: find out more in our guide, Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know.
For a smooth buying and selling process, take a look at Backpacker Car. All of their cars, campercars and self-contained campervans for sale are pre-serviced, fully equipped with camping gear and have a 30-day warranty, so you can hit the ground running once you arrive in New Zealand. You can reserve your vehicle before you arrive and there’s even the option to sell the vehicle back to to the team, saving you weeks off the usual buying and selling process! Check out their vehicles for sale at backpackercar.co.nz.
2. Facebook Groups
There are many “backpackers in New Zealand” Facebook Groups on Facebook where travellers exchanges tips and sell their cars before departure. Check out the list of some of the groups we love in the 5 Must Join Facebook Groups for Backpackers in New Zealand with some having cars listed almost every day. You can also find travel buddies and show off your best pictures of New Zealand on the group while you are at it. Plus, get more tips for car-buying success in our 15 Simple Tips to Kill It on Backpacking Facebook Groups.
3. Car Binders in Hostels
It’s pretty old-school but most New Zealand hostels have a “Cars For Sale” binder or a noticeboard where sellers can post ads for cars and campervans. Although the binders and noticeboards are often out of date, you can find some real bargains!
Tip: Some hostels write the “posting” date on the top right corner of each ad. An ad that is over two weeks old is unlikely to still be valid.
New Zealand’s largest auction website does it again… TradeMe has thousands of cars listed every day by locals and travellers alike. It is unlikely that you will find a car perfectly suited to your needs on it as the site is mostly used by New Zealanders, but the sheer amount of cars available makes it a safe bet if you are looking for a basic car or if you are planning to sell your own vehicle.
For more websites worth knowing while in New Zealand, check out the Useful Websites for a Working Holiday and Backpacking in New Zealand.
5. Car Fairs
Fairs can be tricky in New Zealand. This is usually where professional sellers come to unload their older cars to travellers looking for a bargain. We made sure to talk about car fairs extensively throughout our guide, but in short: buyers beware. We only recommend car fairs to travellers who know their way around an engine and will be able to spot potential issues with a vehicle. Car fairs can usually be found in Auckland and Christchurch.
What About Those Other Online Boards?
There are a few other online boards and forums where travellers post cars available in New Zealand. To be honest, most of them have only a handful of listings every month, so don’t waste too much of your precious time trawling these websites. We recommend focusing more on the above instead.
More Ways to Find Cheap Cars and Campervans for Sale in New Zealand
That’s it for our list of ways to find cheap cars and campervans for sale in New Zealand, but for more options to find a variety of cars for sale, check out How to Find Used Cars for Sale in New Zealand.
When you find a car that seems to be a fit, make sure to follow our extensive step by step to buy a car in New Zealand so you can be sure that the ride you are about to buy will last:
- Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 1: Car Inspection
- Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 2: Test Drive
- Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 3: Paperwork
- Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Buying a Car or Campervan in New Zealand: A Step by Step Guide.