Buying a car in New Zealand
Most backpackers buy there own car, as this option of travelling gives you the highest flexibility. You will find that buying a used car in New Zealand is usually a lot cheaper than in your own country.
Where can backpackers buy used cars?
You can buy a car at many places. Online on TradeMe Motors or at the weekend on the car fairs. There is are car fairs in 6 West St, Auckland City from 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday and one at the Ellerslie race course on Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm. There you can have a test drive and have the car mechanically checked for a small fee. All prices are negotiable and you might want to bring somebody who understands something of cars.
What driver license do backpackers need to drive in New Zealand?
You need a valid driver license to legally drive in New Zealand. It must be in the English language or be an international driver license. If your national driver license is not in English, you need to get an English translation by an approved translator.
After 12 months of being in New Zealand, you’ll need to convert your license to a New Zealand driver one, unless you left the country and returned, which restarts the 12 month period.
What other legal requirement must backpackers meet when owning a car?
When you are owning a car, you need to hold a valid registration and warrant of fitness at any time. Having the car parked on non-private property without these may result in a $200 fine.
The registration of a car can be applied for at the post office. You may choose to register the car for 6 or 12 months.
The warrant of fitness (WOF) must be renewed every 6 month and certifies that the car is technically fit to drive on New Zealand roads.
When buying a car you need to apply for a transfer of ownership at your local post office or AA Center, which both the old and the new owner must sign. The remaining time of an active registration and WOF will carry over to the new owner once the ownership has changed.
Buying a car step-by-step for backpackers
Can a professional check the car I want to buy?
Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) and Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ) offer a complete check-up of used cars. This is especially helpful when you invest a bigger amount of money to buy your car.