Buying a Campervan Australia
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 4:33 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Jan 30, 2013 3:26 AM
Buying a Campervan AustraliaHello,
Myself and my fiancee are planning on buying a campervan when we land in Sydney.. We are going to be travelling around Australia for approximately 7 months and thought this would be a brilliant way to see this beautiful country! Plus we're not afraid to rough it a bit and we think it adds to the experience and freedom we enjoy.
However, I seem to be confusing myself over the documentation needed?
Im really keen to find out the basic requirements to make sure we're driving legally and safely - (Oz equivalents of MOT, Tax, Insurance etc.) so if anyone has any advice id be really greatful!
Also, can we legally drive on a UK licence or will we need to apply for an internation licence?
Finding it very confusing!
Thanks in advance
Jan 30, 2013 3:37 AM
1If you are going to buy an Australian (actually a state based) registered vehicle you will probably need to get a temporary licence for the state in which the vehicle is registered. As long as your UK licence is not restricted this should not be a problem.
How or from whom, did you intend to buy your campervan. If you buy on the cheap from some other tourist trying to recoup on their investment you will be well advised to get the vehicle thoroughly inspected for road worthiness before handing over any money. You will then need to have the vehicle registration transferred into your name - yes there will be a transfer fee and you will also have to pay stamp duty on the sale price of the vehicle. You will also need to take out "third party insurance"(known locally in NSW as your Green Slip) - this you can get from most reputable insurance houses - even on-line with a credit card. Yes it can be a bit confusing but as long as you and partner are well prepared about the only thing you will have to come to terms with is the distances between towns/population centres. At least we drive on the same side of the road. (Have a look at a couple of the state Road Traffic Authority web sites - they should be able to answer most of your questions).
Jan 30, 2013 3:38 AM
2I would refer you to this branch FAQs - for advice on buying, registering, and insuring a vehicle. It's not particularly complex, however there are differences between states and territories that need to be observed. Thousands of overseas people do it every year.
There is no "International Driver's Licence" - there is a Permit system that translates licences across languages and scripts, but you do not need that - your licence will be good for your entire stay.
Most vehicles are advertised online these days ... there are 2-3 major website, including eBay Australia. There are thousands to choose from - and I suggest you rent a car for a week so you can visit them. Try to make sure the vehicle has registration that extends beyond the date you plan to dispose of it.
You do not advise when you're arriving into Sydney ... if you do so, people can provide a good itinerary that gives you excellent weather for seven months.
Jan 30, 2013 4:00 PM
i would advise you to NOT buy a camper in Sydney (or on the east coast for that matter). Sydney is the most expensive place in Australia, and this also applies to cars. Backpackers and 2nd hand dealers know that a lot of tourists want to buy a car as soon as they get of the plane, so they jack up the prices.
You should make your way to Perth (bigger choice) or Darwin (rock bottom prices because there are no buyers) and look for campers there; you will most likely get more car for the same amount of money.
Last time i checked the WA registration was also cheaper and easier to transfer later later if you want to sell it again, compared to the NSW rego.
Check out the prices for you car on the local markets via google or on ebay motors australia to get an idea how much you can expect for your money.
Jan 30, 2013 4:15 PM
4I do find in feedback we get from visitors to our country from the UK, are gobsmacked by the great distances you need to travel between places.
It has been said before that the TIME you will take, to get from one place to another puts it in a better perspective for people not used to driving in Australia.
Jan 30, 2013 5:38 PM
5All the information about registering a vehicle in NSW is on the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) website here
I can't find anything that says you need a NSW licence, although some people on this board seem to think so.
Travelling to WA or Darwin just to buy a vehicle could cost more than the difference in the price of the vehicle.
Jan 30, 2013 6:22 PM
6Having lived in Australia for all for my 63 years I can confirm that if the vehicle you buy in registered in NSW then you will need a licence or permit issued by NSW RMS (vehicle licencing authority). When I bought my current vehicle I had to change my ACT licence over to a NSW licence. I would recommend that our OP check the various state licencing authority web sites and confirm with them their requirements.
Jan 30, 2013 6:24 PM
7And I'm not convinced vehicles in Sydney are more expensive than in smaller centres anyway ... there are so many more to choose from, so there is substantial competition. Yes ... it's possible to find people in Darwin or Cairns who simply have to dispose of a vehicle to catch a plane ... but it is a high-risk strategy.
Jan 30, 2013 6:25 PM
8And over the years I have bought a vehicle in all states and territories except Tasmania - never had to have a driver's licence for that state or territory to do so (or to register it or insure it).
Jan 30, 2013 6:56 PM
9I don't see a lot of campers for sale in Adelaide.
Though NSW might tend to be expensive to buy, $$$ to register, lah lah, its the place where there are many many many backpackers, and its the place all backpackers ted to go for when they land, that it MIGHT be a good idea to buy there.
OR maybe buy in Qld or Vic.
We do have a Winnebago outlet here, in Adelaide $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, other than that, even second hand dealer yards on Main North Road, or South Road, not a lot of campers are seen in the lots.
Cars, yes, tonnes!
Campers, like hen's teeth!
Jan 30, 2013 7:03 PM
The link is for a South Aust business.
For a 1989 camper, its $8750 as per pix in link.
OR the ex ambulance, for $4950.
Jan 30, 2013 9:16 PM
11Anything to do with motor vehicles in Australia is a responsibility of state governments (a wonderful thing this federation!) and so things vary from state to state - vehicle registration, buying/sell cars, transfer of vehicle registration, driver licences, traffic rules etc.etc.
Regarding driving with an overseas licence see -
As already mentioned your can get an International Drivers Permit which is no more than your home licence translated into a number of languages. You get this done by the automobile association in your home country for a small fee.
Make sure you are aware of the vehicle transfer regulations in the state you are buying the vehicle and where you intend to sell the car. Some states require a roadworthy or safety inspection before the vehicle can be registered in your name. While these inspections are only for basic safety (tyres, brakes, suspension, no oil or smoke from the engine, windscreen damage etc) it can be expensive to bring a car up to the required standard. In Victoria you can not sell a car without a roadworthy inspection (unless you remove the number plates or sell it to a second hand dealer). The web link above goes to the motor vehicle department in each state and you can find car buying/selling requirements etc somewhere on each web site.
With insurance there are 3 types. Compulsory third party insurance which covers people injured in a car accident (it is usually a part of the car registration fees). Comprehensive insurance which covers damage to your car and other cars or property (this is not compulsory). Third party property insurance which only covers you for damage you cause to someone else’s car. This is not compulsory but is relatively cheap and covers you for crashing into say a Rolls Royce.
Jan 30, 2013 9:17 PM
12Last I looked, there was a backpackers vehicle market at Kings Cross Parking Station.
They insisted on sellers having a recent mechanical report, and would advise on transfer & other paperwork.
Regardless of the mechanical report, I suggest you get your own inspection done before buying.
Other places to find campervans: Gumtree & Trading Post (both online).
People that haven't done any/much campervanning seem to have all the objections. Having spent a lot of time campervanning (Aust & Europe) I strongly recommend it as the best way to travel & see Aust.
Jan 30, 2013 11:34 PM
Jan 31, 2013 2:01 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$114.23 per night
County MeathBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$22.30 per night
Stornoway (Steornabhagh)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$25.83 per night