Where to Buy a Backpacker Vehicle in New Zealand
Where to Buy a Backpacker Vehicle in New Zealand

Where to Buy a Backpacker Vehicle in New Zealand

© Pxhere

Get Your Road Trip Started!

You all know the score: if you want to do a New Zealand road trip over a year, then it is essential that you buy yourself a backpacker vehicle. Backpackers in New Zealand buy second-hand vehicles of all sorts of varieties, from small cars getting you from A to B to live-in campervans. You can read about the Different Types of Campervans in New Zealand here. You will find all of these types of vehicles in our guide below on where to buy backpacker vehicle in New Zealand.

There are heaps of backpackers who have just finished their trip in New Zealand looking to sell their car, as well as Kiwis hoping to upgrade. That means there is usually a good selection of second-hand vehicles across the country.

So get your New Zealand road trip started by using these places to buy a backpacker vehicle in New Zealand. We suggest you use a mix of these car-buying methods so that you find a vehicle quickly!

6 Things to Know Before You Buy a Vehicle in New Zealand

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

Find a Backpacker Vehicle on Facebook

Ah, the power of Facebook. Because most people are on Facebook and want to list their vehicle for free, Facebook Groups are the main place where you will find backpacker vehicles for sale from other backpackers.

There are quite a few Facebook Groups for New Zealand backpackers floating around, but a good place to start is the group Backpacking New Zealand.

The advantages of using Facebook to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Many backpackers will leave their cooking and camping equipment in the van for you.
  • You can pick up a bargain from backpackers needing to make a quick sale before they leave the country.
NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com


This is New Zealand’s very own auction website. You’ll find both Kiwis and backpackers list their vehicles on here, although Kiwis tend to use it more than backpackers. It’s definitely worth having a browse on here to find second-hand vehicles all over the country.

The advantages of using TradeMe to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • You can find better quality vehicles on there.
  • Browsing vehicles are easier due to the search filters on the website.
NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

In Your Hostel

Another way to buy a vehicle from a previous backpacker owner is by checking out the car listings in the hostel. In most backpacker hostels (but not all) there will be a “cars-4-sale” binder or something similar with printed out listings of vehicles for sale. Some hostels have “cars for sale” posters on their notice boards.

One issue with this is that they are rarely updated, however, listings to have a date on, so anything over two weeks old you can consider as sold.

The advantages of using hostel car folders and notice boards to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Many backpackers will leave their cooking and camping equipment in the van for you.
  • You can pick up a bargain from backpackers needing to make a quick sale before they leave the country.
pixabay© pixabay

Backpacker Car Fairs

In the larger New Zealand cities like Auckland and Christchurch, there are car fairs purposely arranged for backpackers. Car dealers use backpacker fairs to sell their older vehicles at a cheaper price. However, we only recommend car fairs to people who know their way around a car engine.

The advantages of using backpacker car fairs to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Time-efficient, as you can inspect many cars in one place.
  • Because car fairs are aimed at backpackers, the prices tend to be low.
pexels© pexels

Rental Sales, Professional Companies and Buybacks

Some vehicle rental companies in New Zealand will sell some of their older rental vehicles when it comes to the end of the busy tourist season or when they upgrade their fleet. For campervans especially, this is a good way to get a vehicle that has already been kitted up for a New Zealand road trip.

Look out for dealers and rental companies that offer a buy-back scheme. Professional sellers, such as Travel Cars New Zealand in Auckland offer a buy-back scheme. This is a great option to reduce the time it takes to buy and sell a vehicle because the dealer/rental company will buy your vehicle back at the end of your trip at an already arranged price.

The advantages of using rental sales and buybacks are:

  • It’s cheaper than renting a vehicle if you’re in the country for more than a month
  • You don’t have to waste time finding a buyer for your vehicle at the end of your trip.
 Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr© Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr

On the Side of the Road

Yes, it’s that simple. Throughout New Zealand, you’ll see vehicles parked on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign. Of course, this is not the most reliable method of finding a vehicle in New Zealand. We suggest just keeping an eye for these signs when doing your vehicle search. (Perhaps when you are taking the bus out of Auckland to find a quieter area with vehicles for sale).

The advantages of using roadside vehicles for sale are:

  • Get a first impression inspection of the vehicle while it is parked up.
  • Sellers using this method are usually hoping to make a quick sale, so you could get a bargain.

More on How to Buy a Backpacker Vehicle in New Zealand

Read this car-buying literature for more tips on backpacker vehicles.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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