12 Tips for Buying a Campervan in New Zealand

Buying a Campervan in New Zealand

✅ Last Update: Jul 23, 2024 @ 11:14 pm

If you are already in New Zealand or planning your upcoming dream holiday, travelling around NZ in a campervan is an option


But before you start planning your big adventure, there are a few points to consider before buying a campervan.


Weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying a campervan. If you only intend to travel for 6–8 weeks, renting is the way


However, if you have planned a trip exceeding the 2-month mark, buying and selling a campervan might be the right choice.


Selling your newly purchased campervan in peak season would likely see you making 100% of your money back, but even in the winter months, you might be surprised at the return you receive.

  • Planning your trip should set the tone for your New Zealand adventure, so we have compiled a guide to share the tips for buying a campervan in New Zealand!

1. Self-Contained Campervans VS. Non-Self-Contained Campervans

Self-contained vehicles require a more significant initial investment, but are the ultimate money-savers in the long run


These campervans allow you to park and sleep on any free grounds in New Zealand without considering the available facilities. For trips exceeding two months, this is something to consider.


Non-self-contained campervans are usually cheaper to buy and run, as they are generally on a smaller and more fuel-efficient scale. They force you to consider where your evening stops will be and what facilities you require in a camping ground.


If you plan to enjoy a more structured holiday plan, this option might work well for you and your travelling team!


🏞 For more information, check out the following post: Self-Contained Campervans in New Zealand


Nissan Self-Contained campervan

2. Spend Some Time Looking for The Perfect Campervan Before You Arrive

We recommend that you start looking for a car about a month before you arrive; remember that prices fluctuate according to the month of the year, so if possible, look outside peak times.


This will ensure you find a good deal and guarantee that the car you want will be ready and waiting for you once you arrive.


🔍 If renting can be an option, you can use the Travel Cars NZ search & compare tool for finding the best deal for your selected dates. 


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3. You’ve Arrived! Time to Find a Campervan

Once you have found one or two potential campervans, you should make an appointment to view the vehicle in person.


It would help if you always tried to make this appointment in the morning to give you an advantage over other potential buyers.


Ensure you have enough time to peruse the vehicle, do a pre-mechanical check, and have adequate time to purchase and change ownership.


New Zealand has a few websites that take the hassle out of buying a car. Check out Trade Me, Facebook Sale Pages, Groups, and our very own campervan listings.


🎯 Note: Ensure you complete all these tasks before 5 pm. Additionally, remember that scheduling a mechanical check in advance is crucial.


Mechanics typically require prior bookings or a couple of hours notice before accepting a car for inspection. Plan accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.

🚌 Latest listings at Travel Cars NZ

Toyota HIACE
2008 Nissan Vanette
Sexy Beast T5 Campervan 2014
2014 Mitsubishi L300 Campervan
Ford Transit 2012 - Custom Campervan

4. WOF “The Legal, Mechanical Requirements”

New Zealand has strict laws regarding the roadworthiness of the vehicles on the roads. The WOF or Warrant of Fitness is an annual or six-monthly vehicle inspection.


🔩 For more information, you can check the following article: NZ Transport – Warrant of fitness

Mechanical inspection

5. Registration & Road User Charges

Owning a vehicle in New Zealand comes with various levies that you must adhere to:

  • Registration (REGO): Car owners must pay the Registration or REGO tax to keep their vehicles on the road legally. Failure to display a valid registration may result in a $200 fine. Typically, registration costs range from $8 to $15 monthly for petrol cars and approximately $25 for diesel vehicles.
  • Road User Charges (RUC): This tax is specifically for diesel vehicles, amounting to approximately $60 for every 1000 km traveled.

🎯 Important Note: If you purchase an unregistered vehicle or have outstanding RUCs, you will be responsible for the associated costs. Ensure the previous owner provides proof of being up-to-date before finalizing the purchase of the vehicle.

Car registration

6. Where to Buy a Campervan

Auckland is one of the liveliest cities in the world but also one of the most expensive. This extends to house prices as well as vehicles.


Be prepared to pay more if you purchase a campervan in Auckland instead of Christchurch or Wellington.


However, the variety on offer in Auckland is hard to compare.

7. Buying a Campervan (the payment process)

There are a few payment options available in New Zealand, including:

  • Wise – If you register through the following banner, you will get your first transfer for free. Transferwise also has a credit card service you can use anytime, wherever you go, with low fees.
  • PayPal is a mobile payment option that allows the use of credit cards.
  • Credit Card
  • Cash
  • International Bank Transfer

🎯 Remember: Some international banks may impose withdrawal or payment limits, so safety should be considered when dealing with a private seller.


Changing ownership and making payments simultaneously/place is a safer option. Post offices are usually close to banks and ATMs.


💳 Register with Wise through the following link and get your first transfer for FREE: Register – Wise


⭐ Bonus: Once registered, the App allows you to invite friends and make money while travelling.


Wise App

8. Car Insurance

In New Zealand, it is not legally enforceable to have car insurance, but it is recommended. Most insurance companies offer insurance on monthly or 3, 6 and 9-monthly terms.


👨‍💻 Be sure to check out which company offers the right cover for you. You can check the following article and insurance provider: Backpacker Car Insurance in New Zealand

Car insurance guide

9. Petrol VS. Diesel

Before buying a campervan, you should know that most campervans in New Zealand run on petrol, but you can find a few diesel options.


Petrol costs in New Zealand have risen and currently cost around $2.40 per litre.


While diesel costs are around the $1.70 per litre mark, extra RUC costs will be incurred.

Petrol VS Diesel

10. Campervans With High Mileage

Don’t be discouraged by high mileage on a prospective campervan. It’s not uncommon for a 20-year-old car to have an average mileage ranging from 200,000 to 300,000 km.


Campervans in the affordable price range often boast higher mileage but have been diligently built and maintained in compliance with NZ laws, enduring hundreds of thousands of kilometers with happy travels.


Vehicles like the Toyota Hi ACE and Hyundai G200 have demonstrated remarkable endurance, running smoothly even after surpassing the 500,000 km mark.


🚌 For more information, check the post: Second-Hand Campervans in New Zealand.


High mileage campervan

11. Buy-Back Option

Unlike some dealers who may provide a buy-back guarantee subject to various conditions, Travel Cars NZ offers a written and guaranteed buy-back option.


This assurance allows you to embark on your travels with the peace of mind that, after your adventure, a significant portion of your investment will be returned to your pocket.


💰 Find more about in the following article: Campervans & Cars Buy-Backs


Travel Cars customers

12. Camping Gear and Other Basics

Camping gear is readily available at numerous affordable shops throughout NZ. While many individuals consider the included camping gear when buying a campervan, it can be optional.


A campervan might include essential items such as:

  • Power inverter for charging laptops
  • Water tanks
  • Petrol tank
  • Safety equipment like an Emergency Hi-Vis Triangle, spare tire & tools, jumper leads, and a tire jack.

Before embarking on your New Zealand journey, consider investing in:

  • USB charger cables and multi-port chargers
  • Comfortable mattress
  • Waterproof gear
  • Blankets
  • Favorite New Zealand snacks for the full experience

Affordable camping gear is available at The Warehouse, Kmart, and select camping stores.

Camping gear

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Buy, sell and hire campervans and motorhomes in New Zealand with Travel Cars NZ. We also operate as a platform for tourists and backpackers to give them the best travel advice with our weekly content. Contact us today; we aim to respond within 24-48 hours.