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Where to Buy Second Hand Cars & Campers

So, you have done all your research and read our guide on 'Buying a Camper - What You Need to Know'. Now you're 100% ready to get out and tracking down that bargain which will be your ticket to freedom and adventure in New Zealand. But where do you start? Not all of the ways of finding camper vans for sale are obvious.

Before we go any further though it is worth noting that if you buy a camper during high season (October to December) you can expect to pay considerably more than if you are buying in low season (March onwards). Also, buying in Christchurch and selling in Auckland will probably get you the best possible deals as you are going the other way round to how most do it. If you're clever and lucky enough and if you time things right, you might even sell a camper for more than you bought it for.

Hostel & Online Notice Boards

Don't just check your own hostel notice board but do a circuit of all those in the vicinity or check out an online notice board which covers the whole country. Both these places are often chock full of cars and campers for sale and as they are being offered by fellow travellers they tend to come fully equipped with all kinds of camping gear and on-the-road necessities. No-one is going to be taking that all with them either on the next leg of their trip or home. As most folk fly out of Auckland the hostels here will tend to have the greatest number of camper vans for sale.

Backpacker Car Markets 

These establishments – which have been around in one guise or another for many years now – originally sprung into being purely to cater to the backpacker overseas visitor looking to buy and sell campers and cars. Prices in these places can typically be a little (to a lot) higher than buying elsewhere but there are some advantages. Most importantly, all you could need is pretty much available to you under one roof or can be organised for you such as legal checks, pre-purchase mechanical inspections, change of ownership, insurance and roadside assistance cover.

There are also some other services available such as van modifications and quick-sell options if you are in a hurry and as they are open 7 days a week you won't have to wait around for a sale day.

Travel Cars New Zealand - 671 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland 

Backpacker Car World - 20 East Street, Auckland (North Island)

Backpacker's Car Market - Battersea Street, Christchurch (South Island) 

As with hostel & online notice-board options, vehicles here are often passing from short-term traveller to short-term traveller and usually have at least the basic camping needs included if not heaps of goodies for free which you will inherit.

If the thought of buying a vehicle in a foreign country really seems overwhelming these options are a great choice for sourcing and buying your camper:

Car Fairs

Once the haunt of dodgy sellers hoping to reel in some naïve backpacker, Auckland's car fairs now offer all of the everything-under-one-roof bonus which used to be the sole domain of the backpacker car markets mentioned above. (Pre-purchase mechanical inspections, insurance, change of ownership papers and so forth.) Buying these days is safe, incredibly easy and possibly the cheapest potential option you will find.

The only down side is that you may not inherit the reams of camp gear you might with the other options and fairs are typically only once a week.

Auckland City Car Fair, Saturdays 9.00 am to 1 pm, 27 Alten Rd

Auckland Car Fair, Sundays 9.00 am to 12 noon, Ellerslie Racecourse, Greenlane, Auckland


This is New Zealand's number one on-line auction and classifieds site which works along similar lines to Ebay. Before you even head out of your home country you can start looking to see what's around and the kind of prices you might have to pay. Just as with Ebay, some camper vans will be bid only but others may have a 'buy now' price.

Car Dealers

Dealers will help you much more and maybe give a warranty but it it will obviously cost you much more. Some places offer the option of a buy back. This means the place that sells you the car will then guarantee to buy it back off you for a set price (conditions will apply). A popular option for buying a vehicle in Auckland is Ed’s Campervans ( Edgar Munro from Ed’s Campervans (, has been selling cars and campervans to travellers for over 10 years. He is one of the few licensed motor vehicle dealers that offers a pre-purchase option, buy back option and one month warranty. 

Alternatively, Backpacker Car ( also located in Auckland offer a very similar service with all vehicles having a one-month warranty, buy-back option as well as the very useful 'buy before you arrive' option. The folks at Backpacker Car have made this as easy as possible with their 5 step process, so you can hit the road in your new wheels almost as soon as you have landed!

One of the other licensed dealers is Kiwi Road Trips, where most of their customers buy before arriving in New Zealand and they specialise in buy-back self-contained campervans for backpackers.

Escape Campervans Backpacker campervan & car rental
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