Financial advice regarding buying your own transport in New Zealand

At the beginning of your journey

What kind of vehicle do you need, what's your budget and what do you want it for during your trip?
A van with bed to be independent and to save on accommodation costs?
A little car to get from A to B? A four wheel drive to conquer the roughest gravel roads? Most of the unsealed roads you'll be able to handle in a two wheel drive car.
A station wagon as a compromise to spend the odd night in? Do you prefer diesel or petrol? Diesel vehicles have to pay RUC, but diesel fuel is cheaper than petrol so in the end it doesn't make a big difference.
Manual or automatic? Electric windows, aircon and central locking or is your main issue that you can wind the window down for some fresh air and even more important up again :0) and the doors lock somehow?


In any case you should allow for enough money to give your vehicle a bit of tender loving care during your holiday. Your car as a form of transport and mobile home will most likely be your biggest asset. Trying to save money at the beginning might cost you a lot more in the long run. And even if you consider the odd mechanical brake down as part of the adventure – we can think of at least 253 other more entertaining things to spend your money on :0)


Usually the vehicles vary quite a bit in age, mileage, condition, make, model and engine size so it's hard for us to make general statements about prices.
Although in February / March your chances are better to find a "backpacker bargain" than during peak season from October onwards – but to find something safe, reliable and road legal with a bed for under NZ$3,500 is a challenge at any time of the year.
Even for a small car, which will take you safely and reliably around both islands you will need to spend at least NZ$2,500.

At the end of your journey

Please be realistic. Buying your own vehicle is probably one of the cheapest means of transport for an extended New Zealand holiday. But it isn't completely free!
And we are not just talking about costs for fuel and insurance. In comparison to Germany for example this in actual fact is very affordable. What we mean are the sort of backpackers who try to sell their vehicle for the same price as what they have paid for it several months ago when it had thousands of kilometres less on the clock. Plus of course the cost for the new set of tyres that they had to buy at some stage and the battery which died one day under the load of iPod, laptop, digital camera and electric shaver. After one year such a vehicle then doesn't cost $3000 anymore, it'll be $4000 and again one year later you will find the same vehicle offered for “only” $5000 incl. plastic plates and camping cooker. And so on and so on. You get the idea….?! Consumables, maintenance costs and smaller repairs will always occur with old vehicles and you should include them realistically in your planned budget as well as some depreciation of the vehicle after several months of travelling!
The buy back agreement we offer for cars or vans purchased through us could be a hassle free way to sell your vehicle at the end of your journey. .