A new country, a new car.

Since I really missed having a car in Australia, I decided to look for one straight away in New Zealand. After having done a couple of days of sightseeing I put my mind to it. Between the websites Trademe, Gumtree and Backpackerboard there were many options at this time of year. It seemed like everyone was ready to leave before the winter started. I was looking for a cheap car though, so my options were limited.



After making a few test drives in a few different cars I thought I’d found mine. The only question was if it was mechanically sound. I remember myself staring at the thing thinking I had no clue what to check or ask. It sounded alright, it looked alright, but what do I know? Since the car was due for a warranty of fitness check, I agreed with the seller that I would buy it if it didn’t need major repairs. I wasn’t prepared to pay hundreds of dollars for new clutches or batteries.

At the workshop I was told I was buying a good car. It just needed a new tire. Done deal! I am now the proud owner of my first car, house, campervan. Next summer this will be my house on wheels. It’s got a bed in the back that is big enough for two, and the whole space underneath is for storage. Besides that, it comes with pretty much everything you need for camping; gas cooker, plates, cutlery, picnic table, even fishing rods.

I immediately sorted out the paperwork, bought third-party insurance (even though that’s not obligatory here) and registration. For the coming months I’m sorted. It’s a big expense now, but I’m sure it will save me money in the end. As I drove out of Christchurch I felt the immense feeling of freedom. I am ready for the road!



4 thoughts on “A new country, a new car.

  1. Hi! I embarked on my own NZ WH in 2013 and I am excited to see how your adventures in Aotearoa pan out! I bought a 19 year old Toyota Corona for $1200 in Hawkes Bay and boy did that car save me a fortune when it comes to accommodation! A tiny tip you probably would already know about is to get a fuel discount card from gas stations like BP? Every $40 spent on the fuel net you a 4 cent discount. I remember getting a total of 80cent/litre discount by the time I finished my south island circuit, boy did that feel good!

    • You’ve gotta love those Japanese 2nd hands! At the moment I am in Queenstown for winter, but I can’t wait to start a big road trip, freedom camping, enjoying the hikes here. If you have any tips for things I have to see, let me know! 🙂

      • Hi again, seems like you are one keen tramper too! Well I am sure you would have heard of the usual “must-see” cities / places such as the glaciers, the university town of Dunedin, Milford Sound. I probably want to share the places I actually went to that is off the beaten track a little bit but not for you cuz you have that set of wheels going for ya.

        1) Abel Tasman Coast Track + Inland Track
        I actually did this tramp at the conclusion of the winter vineyard pruning season, so that would be the time when the cold wasn’t that bad anymore and the tramping season hasn’t started (resulting in very cheap huts!) I took 5 days to finish the whole circuit (close to 100km in total), the Inland Track gives you pretty good views over Golden Bay and the Coast Track (one of the 9 Great Walks) is exhilarating to tramp just because you gotta time your walk well to cross the estuaries at low tide (I remember crossing them with water up my hips because it rained so heavily that day, it made some memorable moments with my friend that very day)

        2) Stewart Island
        The home of the Rakiura Great Walk, low altitudes make this one easy track to do. Plus you get to spot kiwibirds if you are keen to (at night! These creatures love the dark). I met a guy from Netherlands who did the Northern Circuit (Basically a much longer and punishing walk, about 121km in total, lots of sandflies, but higher chances of spotting kiwibirds), I would very much try it myself if I ever go back there. Oh! the journey to this island involves getting to Invercargill, and the drive to Bluff itself was quite spectacular!

        3) Catlins Forest Park
        Man is this area out of the way, but this has got to be one of the parts of South Island I love the most. I basically camped over at a farmstay which charges $5, but you stay in your car, another $3 for a shower. The owner brought me and a couple guys to Nugget Point (? or was it some other point?) and we went mussel picking. This area also have some impressive coasts (This is the southern coast already, facing Antarctica), there is this bay where everything became fossilized somehow (can’t remember the name but nothing a search on Google wouldn’t find)

        4) Routeburn Track (Another Great Walk)
        WOW. Just. WOW. The ascend from ground zero to the first hut (I started from Glenorchy, and man Glenorchy is worth a visit too! And OH! If you are a fan of Lord Of The Rings, the area where Isengard was is here!) was just amazing! Basically it was walking through lush forests, then suddenly you emerge out of the bushline into snow covered plains. Just… AMAZING!

        5) Clifden Caves. Forget about Waitomo, this cave is publicly accessible and you get to experience face-to-face contact with the glow worms. A pity this cave was subjected to lots of graffiti 😦

        There’s more places but I can’t remember off-hand at the moment, but hey! Its all about discovering for yourself isn’t it? Oh one last one, back when I was travelling the West Coast, I heard about the Fox River walk (takes about two days), which takes you to a cave. This one is near Punakaiki I think. But on rainy days, doing this walk is a deathwish as the caves get flooded, and the West Coast sees > 200 rain days per year so if you manage to do this one… just post some photos so that I can see! And most importantly… stay alive!

      • wow, thanks for the tips. Will look into them for sure. Sounds like you had an awesome time too! And you’re right, so much is about exploring yourself and just going with it!

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