Is it possible to buy, register and insure a car by a tourist (i.e. non-resident citizen of another country that entered on a tourist visa) in Australia or New Zealand? I was thinking about buying a car (camper van) at the beginning of an extended visit and selling it before leaving the country.

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    Are you asking about Australia or New Zealand? They're two separate countries, each with their own laws. If you want to ask about both, that should be two separate questions. May 6 '16 at 0:13
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    @DavidRicherby Australia being a federal state, exact procedures for things like buying cars actually vary quite a bit at the state level as well. May 6 '16 at 5:48

I bought a car a week after arriving in the country. I was on a WH visa, but at the moment of purchase/registration the visa status was never mentioned/asked/inquired.

I bought my car in a fair, so I can't be sure what the process is with a car dealer. If you decide to buy, check the car fairs in Auckland and trademe for good deals.

Be sure to have your international drivers license and passport with you, they do ask for that when you register the car.

I haven't sell a car either, but I don't see it being any different than the first transaction, someone pays for the card and you transfer the registration to them ($9NZD last time I check).

NZTA is the government agency you should check with if you are still unsure about something.

Also, check the car you buy has its WOF sorted for the period you are staying in the country, or you'll be paying $70NZD approx to keep the car on "legal terms".

Uh, final thing: another thing you might consider is renting a car. There's a few alternatives other than the usual renting agencies, like YourDrive. Depending on what you plan to do in NZ, it might be a good hassle-free alternative.

  • Was it an issue to insure the car as a non-resident? I know that in many European countries (e.g. the UK) it is a major pain, especially if you don't have a EU driving license.
    – Grzenio
    May 6 '16 at 8:31
  • @Grzenio, I actually don't have insurance for the same reason. We tried to get AA insurance the first weeks, but since we weren't residents (so they couldn't guarantee how much time we were going to stay in the country), they were going to charge us double. We said no, and didn't tried with other agencies... But at least for that you can get quotes online and directly contact the agencies so you know what you are up to when you get here.
    – Nunser
    May 8 '16 at 20:45

Yes, I understand this is common in NZ. More information on the process is available from the NZ Transport Agency (a governmentt department) here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/buying-and-selling-a-vehicle/buying-a-vehicle/

If you have any queries, you should be able to get them answered by NZTA.

The auction website trademe.co.nz is commonly used for trading vehicles in NZ so that may be a good option for selling it when you leave.

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    The link you give doesn't seem to say anything about whether foreigners can or cannot buy, register or insure a car. May 6 '16 at 0:16
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    @DavidRicherby It seems it's not mentioned simply because there's no rule preventing those things. More info here that indicates how common it is in NZ for visitors to purchase a car, and provides more useful information: backpackerboard.co.nz/articles/buying-car-new-zealand.php May 6 '16 at 11:32

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