Buying A Vehicle in Australia Our guide

Our Guide to Buying a Vehicle in Australia

So do you want to embark on that epic road trip, across the vast continent that we all know and love as Australia? Our guide to buying a vehicle in Australia is based on our own experiences of buying and selling a van in Sydney.

In 2017 we embarked on an epic trip. Setting out from Sydney on a 6 month, 23,000km overland adventure that we can only describe as sensational.  More importantly it was life-changing in so many ways.

To get the wheels in motion, there was just one obstacle, we needed, a vehicle! Although we could have shipped our own perfectly adequate 4×4 off road Sprinter from the UK to Sydney. Instead, we chose not to, a big mistake, but we live and learn.

Instead, we chose to buy a van on arrival, then do a quick conversion to make a campervan and drive off into the sunset. However, it didn’t quite end up as we’d intended.  If you have a read of our Buying a Van in Australia blog piece you’ll get the bigger picture!

For those determined to buy that perfect set of wheels.

Here’s our all important 12-Step Quick Guide to Buying a Vehicle in Australia!

1. Most adverts for all vehicle types are found on the website Gumtree. Check out “Facebook backpacker” or buy and sell groups too.

2. Expect lots of walking, public transport & time wasted viewing and searching for the right vehicle for you. If you’re in Sydney like we were, it’s big and the old way of going to one place to view (think Sydney Backpacker Car Market), seems to be dwindling in favour of the many forms of Social Media.

3. Ensure the vehicle has a REGO. This is the registration document and each state is different.  It’s best to buy a vehicle registered in the state where you are, otherwise it can be costly to get it transferred. For example, Sydney is NSW (New South Wales), Cairns is Queensland (QLD).

4. The vehicle needs to be free from previous owner liabilities, e.g Fines, HP etc. If buying from a dealer they should have already checked this before selling.

Our Guide to Buying a Vehicle in Australia

5. The date the next service is due should be shown on the right hand corner of the windscreen. Check this to make sure it’s recent.

6. When you make the purchase, you need to take the transfer form and receipt to an RMS office to get the vehicle registered in your name. You can find the nearest office online. There are lots, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find one close to you, (they have a big red sign).

7. Ensure you take with you 2 forms of Identification, showing your full name, e.g Passport and Bank card. As long as the latter shows your full name and not initials, it should be fine. A UK driving license was not acceptable when we registered our van.

8. You need to have an Australian address (we used our hotel accommodation), also an Australian phone number, we got a pay as you go sim from Telstra (take a passport to get this by the way!). There must also be an address where any fines etc can be sent. This bit can be a P.O. Box, we got a P.O. Box address for $35, through an advert on the Backpacker Cars Australia FB Group

Our Guide to Buying a Vehicle in Australia 

9. If you buy from a dealer, register any warranty online, our van came with a 12 month independent warranty from the dealer. This was because it had over 150,000 KM, so it came without a dealer warranty. Ensure it’s serviced every 100,000km to keep it valid & get the dealer book stamped. Don’t expect this to be foolproof, a warranty may not cover items. We had work carried out and the warranty was useless for this. Be realistic and expect to have to pay for any work after buying that may need doing.

10. There’s usually a basic 3rd party insurance with the REGO but don’t rely on this, instead take out a proper 3rd Party, Fire & Theft insurance policy. We used Coles (supermarket) to buy an online policy, costing $358 which included breakdown cover. We couldn’t take out fully comprehensive insurance as we aren’t Australian Citizens.

11. Toll Roads are in some cities, especially Sydney, so before you head off on the road, register online with Transurban Link, you’ll need an address, mailing address ( we used our P.O. Box) and a credit card to submit for automatic vehicle recognition payments of tolls. It’s $1.50 to set up the tag-less option, this covers you throughout Australia and you can input a start and end date so that it automatically stops when you leave the country or sell the vehicle.

12. Unlike the UK, when you take your paperwork to the RMS office, they register the vehicle instantly for you and provide you with your new registration document for you to take with you on your journey!

Australia Camper Conversions


Here’s some more blog posts and feel free to subscribe to future posts too!

Hiring a Campervan In New Zealand Top Tips

Lac de Vaches walk

Lac de Vaches Walk

The most breathtaking walking route which feels like you’re walking on water

Rosuel French Alps

FRENCH ALPS Mountain Splendours

Part 4 of our Summer tour reaches mountain highs at Les Chapieux and Rosuel

Beautiful Lakes around Beaufort

Part 3 of our Summer Tour of The French Alps reaches Lac de Roseland

Meandering through The French Alps

Part 2 of our Summer tour of the French Alps

The French Alps in Summertime

Part 1 – Lake Geneva to Les Houches – Mountain passes and Hiking Trails

sunflower fields

French Travels Through Burgundy

From sunflower fields to canals Burgundy is idyllic

Lake Iseo Italian Lakes

Lake Iseo Italian Lakes

Exploring the lesser known of the Italian Lakes

Lake Como by Campervan

If narrow roads and cycle paths are your thing, you’ll love Como!

Lake Garda by Campervan

From Lemons to Dinosaurs Lake Garda has it all

adventure Aires Alps Australia Australia Roadtrip Beaufort Blog Campervan Campervan Parking Italy campervan trip new zealand Coronavirus Europe Explore France freedom camping French Alps Heathrow Airport Italian Cities Italian Lakes Italian Riviera Italy Sosta Motorhome Motorhome Sosta Mountains New Zealand new zealand road trip Northern Italy North Island North Island NZ North Wales Off Grid Road Trip Roman Ruins spa Travel Travel Blog Travel Writing Tuscany Vanlife Wales War Memorial Sights Waterfalls Wellington Winter Travel

One Comment on “Buying A Vehicle in Australia Our guide

  1. Pingback: Finding and Buying a Van in Australia | Campervan Castaways

Campervan Castaways Comments

%d bloggers like this: