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Where to Buy a Backpacker Vehicle in New Zealand


Get your road trip started!

You all know the score: if you want to do a New Zealand road trip over a year, then it is essential that you buy yourself a backpacker vehicle. Backpackers in New Zealand buy second-hand vehicles of all sorts of varieties, from small cars getting you from A to B to live-in campervans. You can read about the Different Types of Campervans in New Zealand here. You will find all of these types of vehicles in our guide below on where to buy backpacker vehicle in New Zealand.

There are heaps of backpackers who have just finished their trip in New Zealand looking to sell their car, as well as Kiwis hoping to upgrade. That means there is usually a good selection of second-hand vehicles across the country.

So get your New Zealand road trip started by using these places to buy a backpacker vehicle in New Zealand. We suggest you use a mix of these car-buying methods so that you find a vehicle quickly!

6 THings to know before you buy a vehicle in New Zealand

Nomads Hostels


Find a backpacker vehicle on Facebook

Ah, the power of Facebook. Because most people are on Facebook and want to list their vehicle for free, Facebook Groups are the main place where you will find backpacker vehicles for sale from other backpackers.

There are quite a few Facebook Groups for New Zealand backpackers floating around, but a good place to start in the group we set up: Backpacking New Zealand.

The advantages of using Facebook to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Many backpackers will leave their cooking and camping equipment in the van for you.
  • You can pick up a bargain from backpackers needing to make a quick sale before they leave the country.



This is New Zealand’s very own auction website. You’ll find both Kiwis and backpackers list their vehicles on here, although Kiwis tend to use it more than backpackers. It’s definitely worth having a browse on here to find second-hand vehicles all over the country.

The advantages of using TradeMe to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • You can find better quality vehicles on there.
  • Browsing vehicles are easier due to the search filters on the website.


In your hostel

Another way to buy a vehicle from a previous backpacker owner is by checking out the car listings in the hostel. In most backpacker hostels (but not all) there will be a “cars-4-sale” binder or something similar with printed out listings of vehicles for sale. Some hostels have “cars for sale” posters on their notice boards.

One issue with this is that they are rarely updated, however, listings to have a date on, so anything over two week’s old you can consider sold.

The advantages of using hostel car folders and notice boards to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Many backpackers will leave their cooking and camping equipment in the van for you.
  • You can pick up a bargain from backpackers needing to make a quick sale before they leave the country.


backpacker Car fairs

In the larger New Zealand cities like Auckland and Christchurch, there are car fairs purposely arranged for backpackers. Car dealers use backpacker fairs to sell their older vehicles at a cheaper price. However, we only recommend car fairs to people who know their way around a car engine.

The advantages of using backpacker car fairs to find a vehicle for sale are:

  • Time efficient, as you can inspect many cars in one place.
  • Because car fairs are aimed at backpackers, the prices tend to be low.


On the side of the road

Yes, it’s that simple. Throughout New Zealand, you’ll see vehicles parked on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign. Of course, this is not the most reliable method of finding a vehicle in New Zealand. We suggest just keeping an eye for these signs when doing your vehicle search. (Perhaps when you are taking the bus out of Auckland to find a quieter area with vehicles for sale).

The advantages of using roadside vehicles for sale are:

  • Get a first impression inspection of the vehicle while it is parked up.
  • Sellers using this method are usually hoping to make a quick sale, so you could get a bargain.

More on how to buy a backpacker vehicle in New Zealand

Read this car-buying literature for more tips on backpacker vehicles.

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