Buying or renting a car

When it comes to finding a suitable vehicle for your trips in New Zealand, you generally have to ask yourself: "What do I want to see a lot of New Zealand? The touristic or the authentic places?" 

If you chose seeing the authentic (and in my opinion the more beautiful) places, I would either recommend you renting a car; if you are staying for less than 3 weeks,  or buying a car/camper van; if you plan to stay in NZ for a couple months.

Rental Options

If you are in NZ for a couple of weeks renting a car or campervan is definitely a good option for you. Normally a car should cost around NZ$40-50 per day (inc. insurance).
Have your foreign driver's license handy! 

Here are few links:

The last option is especially a good idea if you want to rent a car for a few days and get a good deal. It is basically the Airbnb system for cars. ;-)

Buying Options

When you are planning to stay in NZ for a couple of months it is definitely the cheapest option to buy a car for your trip and sell it at least 1 to 1 1/2 months before you head back home. 
Normally you can find cars for sale on backpackers board, BBH notice board or on Facebook.
Try to get into as many "NZ Work & Travel" groups on Facebook as possible. Usually, there are a lot of cars for sale, which are already transformed into camper vans and have a lot of equipment. But you can only see the offers if you are a member of the group as most of them are private. 

!Do not buy a car from a car dealer!
I heard from a lot of people that they seem to offer you a "good" deal with the option of re-purchase. However, most of them do not mention they will only pay you back around 30% of the price you paid, which is normally a very bad deal for backpackers, as you can sell your car usually for a lot more.

Things to look out for when buying a car

Firstly, you have to look for 3 basics:

1. The Model
Good and reliable labels of backpacker cars are Honda, Mazda and Toyota.

2. The Make
Normally a good backpacker car should not be older than you. It should be 15-18 years old, meaning the make should be not before 2000.000 km.

3. The Mileage
If you are looking for a car, suitable for longer road trips, you need to check the mileage. The car should not have driven more than 200.000 km.

After having looked at these 3 things and you have maybe already found a car matching these criteria, you need to further check:

- The tyres (especially those in the front/back, if the car is front/back driven, the front/back tyres then should be in a good to new condition, check for a spare tyre)
-The lights (eg. brake lights in the back, front/back lights, turn signals in the back/front as well as on the left/right and the full beam)
- The motor oil and heat exchange water (check the oil and heat exchange water, ask when the last oil change was done)
-The equipment (check and ask if the equipment shown is actually included in the price)

Normally, you cannot compare any of the NZ cars to for example German cars, regarding the appearance (scratches, marks, etc.), so do not decide whether to buy a car or not by only focussing on how many scratches the car has if the whole condition of the car is good.

Do not skip car insurance

Do get at least a third party insurance when driving a car here. It is not too expensive and easy to complete. Just do it over BBH in one of their hostels. It takes 10 minutes and afterwards you are good to go. ;-)

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