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5 Ways to Find a Car for Sale in New Zealand

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Where to find a car to buy for your backpacker road trip!

So, you have chosen to hit the road and experience the true freedom of a road trip in Kiwi land. Good on you! We’ve received heaps of questions about this article, along the lines of: “Where is the best place to purchase/sell a car in New Zealand?”

In New Zealand, we take pride on doing things a bit differently. Forget about Craigslist when looking for a backpacker car here. You’ll have to find other ways to connect with sellers near you. But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with these five places and resource to find a car for your road trip. Using them all will help you cover the best ground and be sure to have the largest amount of cars to choose from. The list below is in order: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington.

Don’t forget to refer to our car purchase guide after browsing this article, as it includes a ton of useful tips on what to look out for when purchasing a car in New Zealand. And one more thing: make sure you can legally drive in New Zealand with a proper driver license. Find out more in How to Drive in New Zealand and Converting Your Driver License into a New Zealand Driver License.

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1. Car binders in hostels

It’s pretty old-school but most hostels have a “Cars For Sale” binder, as well as a cork board where sellers can post ads for cars. Although the binders and cork board are rarely up to date, this remains your best option to find a backpacker car in New Zealand. Seriously, we love these binders here!

Tip: Some hostels write the “posting” date on the top right corner of each ad. An ad that is over 2 weeks old is unlikely to still be valid.
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2. Facebook Groups

Moving online now, there are many “backpackers in New Zealand” groups on Facebook where travellers exchanges tips and sell their cars before departure. Here’s a list of some of the groups we love, one of them being our very own Facebook group where cars are listed almost every day. Plus, we respond to your questions on a daily basis. You can also find travel buddies and show off your best pictures of New Zealand on the group while you are at it. Get some tips from our 15 Simple Tips to Kill It on Backpacking Facebook Groups.
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3. Trade me

New Zealand’s largest auction website does it again… TradeMe has thousand of cars listed every day by locals and travellers alike. It is unlikely that you will find a car perfectly suited to your needs on it as the site is mostly used by New Zealanders, but the sheer amount of cars available makes it a safe bet if you are looking for a basic car or if you are planning to sell your own vehicle.
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4. Other online boards

There are a few other online boards and forums where travellers post cars available in New Zealand. To be honest, most of then have only a handful of listings every month, so don’t waste too much of your precious time trawling these websites. We recommend focusing more on the above instead.

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5. Car fairs

Fairs can be tricky in New Zealand. This is usually where professional sellers come to unload their older cars to travellers looking for a bargain. We made sure to talk about car fairs extensively throughout our guide, but in short: buyers beware. We only recommend car fairs to travellers who know their way around an engine and will be able to spot potential issues with a vehicle.

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Once you have found a car for sale in New Zealand …

When you find a car that seem to be a fit, make sure to follow our extensive step by step to buy a car in New Zealand so you can be sure that the ride you are about to buy will last:

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