The Best Ways to Find Secondhand Cars and Campervans for Sale in New Zealand
Doing an extended road trip in New Zealand? That’s awesome! Buying a car is much more cost-effective than renting long-term, where you’ll get the most affordable deals by buying a used car. Finding used cars for sale in New Zealand can be done both online and in-person, so use a combination of avenues to give yourself the most options, therefore, find the best deal. We’ll go through some of the best ways to find used cars for sale in New Zealand in this guide.
While you’re here, make sure you know how to do a vehicle inspection, test drive and the paperwork by following our guide, Buying a Car or Campervan in New Zealand Step by Step.
5 Tips for Buying a Used Car or Campervan in New Zealand
- Make sure you have a valid driver’s license for driving in New Zealand – either written in English or a non-English license with your International Driving Permit (IDP)
- Use multiple ways to find cars for sale – not just one! It will make the process faster and you’re more likely to find the right vehicle at the best price
- Inspect the car and/or get a pre-purchase mechanical check before purchasing. Find out more in Buying a Car or Campervan in New Zealand Step 1: Car Inspection
- Make sure the car has a valid Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
- Know what paperwork you need to complete to get ownership of the vehicle – the MR13A and MR13B. Find out more in our guide, Buying a Car or Campervan in New Zealand Step 3: The Paperwork.
For more information on these tips, see the 10 Tips for Buying a Secondhand Car in New Zealand.
TradeMe is an auction website – think eBay but for New Zealand! Here, locals and travellers list their secondhand vehicles from all over the country. We recommend organising with the seller to view the vehicle before bidding.
The Pros of TradeMe
- Browsing vehicles is easy by using the search filters
- There are some better quality vehicles than what you might find on Backpacker Facebook Groups (see below).
The Cons of TradeMe
- Sellers often want the best price, so getting a “bargain” is more challenging
- Some listings are from car dealerships that may advertise vehicles that are not available (this is commonly done to get potential customer contact details).
Facebook Groups are an excellent free resource for both the buyer and seller. Most used cars can be found on local Buy & Sell groups (usually with the group name: [Town] Buy & Sell), while camping vehicles and cars are more likely to be found on backpacker car Buy & Sell groups.
Local Buy & Sell Groups
“Buy & Sell” groups on Facebook are a popular way to find cars for sale in New Zealand. There are Buy & Sell groups for most towns and cities in New Zealand where locals sell their used vehicles, so when you are staying somewhere for a while, request an invite to the local group.
The Pros of Local Buy & Sell Groups
- Vehicles are convenient to view from your location.
The Cons of Local Buy & Sell Groups
- Mostly locals use these groups, so they often want the best price for the vehicle
- There’s limited choice.
Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
Additionally, there are backpacker car Buy & Sell groups where travellers list their used cars and campervans once they have completed their travels. Take a look at the 5 Must Join Facebook Groups for Backpackers in New Zealand for some groups you can join, some of which are dedicated to selling backpacker vehicles. For more advice on using Facebook Groups, see the 15 Simple Tips to Kill It on Backpacking Facebook Groups.
The Pros of Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
- Lots of choices for cars and campervans with camping gear
- Often cheap, as sellers usually want to make a quick sale before leaving the country.
The Cons of Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
- Most cars are sold from Auckland or Christchurch, which isn’t always convenient
- Not all cars are of high quality – expect them to have done a lot of kilometres.
Notice Boards (Supermarkets and Hostels)
Yes, physical notice boards are still a thing here in New Zealand and you’ll often find a car listed for sale on them. The most common type of notice board you’ll find are supermarket noticeboards, which are displayed either at the entrance of the supermarket or after the cashier counters. Cars are also posted for sale in binders or notice boards in the hostels of New Zealand’s larger cities, like Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.
The Pros of Notice Boards
- The vehicles listed are conveniently located in the local area for a viewing
- Backpacker hostel notice boards might have a few bargains from travellers wanting to make a quick sale
- You don’t need to find good WiFi!
The Cons of Notice Boards
- There’s limited choice
- Some listings can be out of date
- They are less convenient than searching online.
Car dealerships work a little differently, as you are buying from a professional seller rather than a private seller. There are car dealerships selling used cars all over the country, usually in large towns and cities. Note that many car dealerships list cars on TradeMe (see above), so that can be a good way to find a dealership and see what sort of vehicles they are offering. Otherwise, a quick Google search of nearby car dealerships should give you a few options.
The Pros of Car Dealerships
- Vehicles are professionally cleaned
- Vehicles have usually had mechanical checks
- You’ll get slightly more consumer protection
- There are multiple options in one place
- It’s usually a faster buying process than dealing with a private seller.
The Cons of Car Dealerships
- Vehicles are usually more expensive than buying with a private seller
- Some dealerships advertise vehicles that are not available (this is commonly done to get potential customer contact details).
Recommended Dealership: Backpacker Car
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 the team, saving you weeks off the usual buying and selling process! Check out their vehicles for sale at backpackercar.co.nz.
Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
Some car and campervan rental companies sell off their older models when they update their fleet. Most car rental companies are located in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown and may have cars and campervans for sale listed on their website. Additionally, some rental companies offer a buyback scheme where you can buy a vehicle from the company and then sell it back to them at a pre-arranged date and price – think of it as like long-term rental. Note, that dealerships like Backpacker Car also offer buyback schemes.
For car rental companies to browse, take a look at the following:
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Auckland
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Christchurch
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Queenstown
For campervans companies, check out:
- The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in Auckland
- The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in Christchurch
- The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in Queenstown
The Pros of Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
- It’s cheaper than renting a car if you’re in New Zealand for more than a month
- It’s usually a fast buying and selling process
- Cars are usually maintained to a high standard.
The Cons of Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
- It’s usually more expensive than buying from private sellers
- There are limited locations, which might be inconvenient for some travellers.
Get a Free Car Insurance Quote + Our Exclusive Discount
A great New Zealand-based car insurance for travellers is the option below from Frogs-in-nz. They offer comprehensive insurance in partnership with Star insurance and have tailored their plans to backpackers’ needs. Your options include Comprehensive policy, Third Party Fire and Theft as well as Third Party Only. As a new option, you can now also add Roadside Assistance.
New Zealand Backpacker Car Insurance Discount Code:
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More About How to Find Used Cars and Campervans for Sale in New Zealand
That’s it for our guide on the best ways to find used cars or campervans for sale in New Zealand. For more about buying the perfect road trip companion, check out some of our other useful guides:
- Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know
- 10 Things to Know About New Zealand Car Insurance
- How to Maintain Your Car for Travelling New Zealand
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.