Before moving to New Zealand I found the idea of not only buying a car, but my first car, in another country incredibly daunting. In very Sammie style, I avoided the research and preparations until the last possible moment. But once I started searching for a car, I realized how incredibly easy--scarily easy--it is to buy a car in New Zealand.
Here's How to Buy a Car in New Zealand:
- The best places to look for a car are Backpackerboard and Trade.me. I found my little station wagon on Trade.me by searching for listings in Taupo but you can filter by every region.
- Most people suggest buying in Auckland because that's where most people with working holiday visas sell their cars before leaving the country. There are definitely more cars available but the demand is higher. My car, for example, was cheaper than anything I could find in Auckland.
- You'll want a car that has its WOF, or Warrant of Fitness. It's kind of like a US emissions test, and you can't drive a car without one. Look for listings with a valid WOF and confirm that it has its sticker when you go to look at the car.
- You can get a solid car for 800 USD. I bought my car for 1,200 USD, 1800 NZD. I was willing to pay more for my car because it has space in the back for a bed and it's in incredible condition. When you're looking for a car, look for make and model and kilometers. Toyota's, for example are a really good bet here.
- If you have a friend or someone who knows about cars take them with you to meet the seller and inspect the car. My bosses husband, a helicopter pilot, came with me to look at my car. He looked at the oil, the tires, the radiator, the lights, rust on the engine, the kilometers. We took it for a drive and he watched the temperature etc...
- Once you're ready to make the purchase you both go to the post office and fill out two respective forms (You can also fill the forms out online it's just easier if you're both there in person).
- Ten days later you should get a certificate of registration.