How to buy a campervan in New Zealand?

If you’re reading this, you are probably amidst planning a trip to New Zealand, or maybe you’re already here? In both cases you might be interested in a way to explore this beautiful country with a bit more freedom than plain old bus services taking you to all the places everyone you meet has already been to!

Awesome, so first question answered – you need a vehicle to explore all the hidden spots!

That’s where it can get tricky at times; maybe you have heard a bit about the market, and maybe you’re a total newbie when it comes to buying vehicles – especially overseas. Here’s where this little guide can help you a lot: We will help you going through the stages of knowing what you need, finding the right car, purchasing and understanding the paperwork you will have to deal with when buying and driving a vehicle in NZ.

Backpacker vehicle

First of all, you should of course make sure you are legally allowed to drive in New Zealand.

If your driving licence from back home is in English, easy peasy, you are permitted to drive in NZ for 12 months from your arrival, after which you will have to get a New Zealand driving licence.

If the driving licence is not issued in English, you will need to carry an official translation alongside your home country driving licence with you when driving. The most comfortable (and cheapest) way is getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) from the driving licence authority in your home country, so you are settled before you arrive, but it is also possible to translate your driving licence at NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency) approved translators in New Zealand.

So many choices..!

If that is sorted, the questions don’t stop just yet...

Before you go out there looking at random cars, think about what kind of vehicle you want, and which features are a must-have. This will make it easier for you to navigate the car market and find the right vehicle.

If you only need to get from A to B and don’t need it as a place to sleep and relax, a simple car might be ideal. Consider how many seats and storage you will need, and whether you would mostly be driving in the city or long distance.

If you want to sleep in your car once in a while, but actually need it for driving, a vehicle with enough space in the boot or the possibility to fold the seats to make a bed would make sense. This could be classified as a camper car. It would be suitable for sleeping, but due to the limited size and space, this would not be a solution for longer trips for most people

Road trip in own camper New Zealand

If you want to take it to the next level and really live in your vehicle most of the time, you probably need a fully equipped campervan to store your treasures, enjoy a good nights sleep enough space to stay inside, if it should be raining all day.

Here you can choose to get a self-contained or non-self-contained one. If you want to read more about self-containment, and which option is best for you, we have the perfect guide right here.