The far North – in a new car!

10 Feb

6th February 2013

Like most people arriving in New Zealand, we were eager to get on our way. With only around four weeks for our trip we wanted to make sure that we did not spend too long looking for a car. We set ourselves a goal of finding one and agreeing a deal within the day. First we also needed a local sim so that we could call dealers or owners about the cars and also pick up any e mails from home.

It only really made sense to buy a vehicle on such a short trip for two reasons. Firstly we had contacts who said that they would store it for us and possibly even sell it once we had finished with it, and secondly because our two boys would both be travelling through New Zealand. It would also give us an excellent excuse to come back before it is sold!!

Buying a car in a different country is a mine field as you don’t really know the values, the models and the way dealers operate. So many backpackers get less than they pay for. They often know little about cars, and for some it is the first vehicle that they have ever bought. There are lots of stories about people who spend thousands getting cars repaired a few hundred km’s after they pick up the vehicle.

Our first stop was the Backpacker car market, but it was full of very tired battered looking vehicles with 20 plus owners and 250,000 plus on the clock. We decided to try and find a private vehicle or one from a dealer that we felt comfortable with. In the end we bought a Mitsubishi Chariot, which is a stationwagon / estate car imported from Japan. This one had been imported after a few years in Japan. The mileage can be checked as the WOF (like an MOT test) is done twice  each year and the mileage recorded on a central system. You can request a print out from the dealer. Our car showed 153,000 km and had a new WOF and so was valid until July. It could turn out to be a dud, but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best!

Mitsubishi Chariot

We can pick up the car tomorrow morning ready to head up to the far north. You can buy 3rd party insurance for a year for any driver over 22 years old  for the bargain price of $300 NZ . We will do it online when we pick up the car.

Once we are as far North as we can get we can work our way south over the next few weeks.

We also bought  a Vodafone sim for data and phone. All set!

7th February 2013

Everything went smoothly with the pickup and we headed out of Auckland with our 1996 Misubishi Chariot. It does not take long to leave the city behind and for the quiet pretty roads to start. There is so little traffic!

North of Auckland - empty roads


We made our way all the way up to Kaitaia (about 450kms from Auckland) and found a camspsite right on the beach. Lovely spot.


Camping at Shipwreck Bay Ahipara near Kaitaia


Strange ….. our little two man tent seems to get smaller each time we use it …. the carry mats also seem a little thinner ….

8th February 2013

Arranged to meet up with Tom in Kaitaia and go to a beach somewhere for the day before we head off. Tom is starting work at the pumpkin farm on Monday! His first job using the work permit for New Zealand.


Tokerau Beach Doubtess Bay


There are so many beaches to choose from and it is unusual to find anyone on them! Nice place to be lazy!


Worst places to read


Tomorrow we have booked to do the tour up 90 mile beach. Drive on the road either there and  then return on sand …..  or the other way around depending on the tide. Tom is taking the car for the day with some friends from the hostel.




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