Everything you need to know about buying CAMPERVANS in NEW ZEALAND

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Honestly, I had had zero knowledge about campervans

before coming to New Zealand. How to buy one, what you need to do in order to find one, which one is good enough, what the prices should be. Simply nothing. That is why I decided to sum up all the gathered information (based on my personal experience) hoping it will help as many of you as possible.

1 SELF-CONTAINED vs NON SELF-CONTAINED CAMPERVANS

To be honest, I had no idea what a term “self-contained” campervan meant at the beginning of my search. However, then I was explained that in order to be able to park almost anywhere around New Zealand without being fined, you need to get a campervan with “a blue sticker”, thus a campervan that is self-contained. A self-contained campervan actually means a campervan with a tiny kitchen and toilet, thus you can be anywhere around the island not needing public toilets or staying at official camping spots (very simply explained).

2 Terms such as WOF and REGO

Once again, terms such as WOF, REGO or RUC was completely new terminology in my vocabulary. However, I find knowing them very useful now, so let me explain you simply what they mean and why they are so important.

WOF – warrant of fitness, something like a technical check of a car. In New Zealand every car made before 2000 needs to have 2 checks per year, thus the validity of WOF is only for 6 months after making one with a specific mechanic. All the cars/campervans made after 2000 need to be checked only once per year. Thus, when you buy a campervan, you want to look for one with a fresh date of WOF preferably after 2000 so you won´t have to deal with technical checks of your future campervan any time soon.

REGO – vehicle licensing – most vehicles must have REGO before using them on public roads. You pay a fee for the licence and also get a vehicle licence label to be displayed on the vehicle. Licensing fees are different for different kinds of vehicles. To check how much you have to pay for your REGO (you will need to insert a license plate info) , click HERE.  And all the fees can be paid simply online on following WEBSITE, however they will send your label to your designated address in NZ which can be inconvenient so if you want to get a REGO LABLE immediately, go to a local NZ post retail outlet and buy it there. It can be renewed for 3, 6 or 12 months.

3 PETROL OR DIESEL

These days (January 2022) the prices of diesel and petrol are very similar, however, there is one big difference between these two. If you buy a campervan with DIESEL, you will have to pay additional so called RUC fees. Fees depend on the type of the vehicle and are paid for every 1000km made on the road. So take that into account before choosing your campervan. Petrol will be definitely more convenient and less expensive with long term (or long KM) usage.

4 SOURCES FOR BUYING CAMPERVANS

Our main source for looking up campervans was FACEBOOK. You can add yourself into various FB groups such as New Zealand ?? Car Market and Campervans for Backpacker / Traveler OR Campervans for Sale NZ 2022-2023 or simply browse through FB market. Another useful website could be TRAVEL CARS NZ or TRADEME.CO.NZ.

5 CHECK THE CAMPERVAN BEFORE BUYING

You can simply ask your future seller for a licence plate of the campervan and insert it into the CARJAM web where you can see all the important information about the history of this vehicle. And you will receive more detailed CarJam report if you pay $15. Another useful thing is to bring a mechanic to the viewing or take your future campervan for a comprehensive check to make sure you are buying quality campervan. However, if you come in the middle of the season (like we did), you might not have time for this as selling and buying campervans is like holding a hot potato – they go VERY fast!

6 Registration of campervan to your name

Well, if you are not an owner of New Zealand driving license (as me), you will have to go and seek a specific “agent”, complete the “Change of registered person buyer form (MR13B), bring your ID and a way to pay the NZ$9 fee. Otherwise, you can do it simply online if you have NZ license. You will receive a “Certificate of registration” by email or in the post within 10 days.

Who are these “agents” though?

  • AA – the automobile association
  • NZ Post (post shops)
  • VINZ (Vehicle Inspection New Zealand)
  • VTNZ (Vehicle Testing New Zealand)

7 Car insurance

As everywhere, you can find many options for your car insurance. What you should know is that in New Zealand car insurance is not obligatory, however, very recommended. We got our insurance from AA company and you can choose from 2 various plans – comprehensive, third party. You can pay it every 14 days, month by month or for the whole year. Our costs us $56 per month and can be cancelled any time. We also bought exclusive AA membership for $79 (one time fee) which includes towing-service 24/7 aywhere around New Zealand.

PRICES of CAMPERVANS

Prices really depend on the fact if you are buying campervans during the high season or off-season. Prices can vary in thousands of dollars. The best time for buying campervans (price-wise) is the winter time (kiwi winter time – thus from June till November) and the worst is probably between December and March. As an example, we bought our Mazda Bongo 2009 for $9825 (around 5820 euro) in January, however, this one could be bought for a way less in winter time. Prices of some campervans can reach up to $25 000. So take that into account before coming to New Zealand and buying a campervan.

All the USEFUL information about buying and selling a vehicle (car, campervan, etc…) can be found at the official website NZTA. I hope this article will come in handy for those travelling to New Zealand with an intention to buy a campervan. Feel free to share it further. 

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PS: Looking for great travel insurance with great prices for your future travels? Insurance which you can book even when your journey has already started? Have a look at The True Traveller. I am more than happy with them.

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