- Step 1 - Budgeting for a road trip
- Step 2 - How to choose the best car for a road trip
- Step 3 - Where to look for a backpacker car
- Step 4 - Pre-purchase car inspection
- Step 5 - Pre-purchase test drive
- Step 6 - Car and Campervan Purchase Paperwork
- Step 7 - Rego (Licensing) & WOF (Warrant Of Fitness)
- Step 8 - Maintaining your car or campervan during a New Zealand road trip
- Step 9 - Safety tips to drive in New Zealand
Rego (Licensing) & WOF (Warrant Of Fitness)
What is a “rego”?
A “rego” is a licensing fee for your car or campervan in New Zealand. It pays for your use of public roads and their maintenance. It includes multiple items like GST tax, ACC levy, licensing fee and administration fee to come up with a total cost for you to pay directly to the NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency).
Diesel vehicles are subject to a Road User Charge (RUC) on top of their licensing fee making them more expensive to operate than gas cars. We recommend sticking with a traditional gas car in New Zealand.
Be aware: a “rego” is not a “registration” which is another administration form that you have to fill up to get new license plate on a new vehicle. You will not have to do that when backpacking in New Zealand.
When do you need to renew a “rego”?
A “rego” can be taken for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, you will need to pay it again before it expires. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will send you a reminder letter by mail: a MR1 form detailing the cost of your registration and your options to pay it.
Just to give you an idea here are some common car and campervan “rego” fees:
- Cars and campervans up to 2600cc
6 months rego: $176.85
12 months rego: $202.81
- Cars and campervans up to 4000cc
6 months rego: $207.90
12 months rego: $233.86
You will notice that getting a longer period “rego” is much cheaper than getting a short one, and it is also a great selling point to have a “rego” valid for a few extra months.
Do not miss your payment date or you could be fined for driving an unlicensed car or campervan and paying late will incur an extra fee.
Where to pay for a “rego”?
Paying for the “rego” is made incredibly easy by the New Zealand Transport Agency. You have three options to pay for it:
- NZ Post Shop
This is where most backpackers will take care of it as NZ Post Shop are plentiful around New Zealand and easy to find. Be aware that paying through NZ Post will add a few dollars to your administration fee.
- Other agents
Other agents that will be able to help you with your “rego” includes VINZ and VTNZ garages and AA shops along with independent agents. Be aware that paying through an agent will add a few dollars to your administration fee.
Make it simple. Do it here and now, any time of the day and night. Just go onto www.nzta.govt.nz/transact and pay online for your “rego”. This is the fastest and cheapest way to get it done with the lower administration fee.
WOF (Warrant Of Fitness)
What is a WOF?
A Warrant Of Fitness is an inspection of your car that evaluates it road-worthiness. It is a quick checklist that a mechanic will run through. It mainly covers:
- The accuracy of your speedometer
- The safety of your steering and suspension
- Leaks of excessive noise around your exhaust
- The condition of your tyres
- The safety of your brakes
- The structural condition of your vehicle to uncover dangerous rust damages
- The brightness of your lights
- The safety of your windscreen including windscreen washers and wipers
- Your doors are properly working
- The level of damage of your safety belts
- Leak check of your fuel system
Be aware that a WOF is not a pre-purchase inspection. Although it covers all the main points, a mechanic will not thoroughly check your engine and not look further than the check boxes on your WOF form. When purchasing a car or campervan we strongly advise you to get a pre-purchase inspection done.
When do you need to renew a WOF?
The rule is simple, the newer your vehicle is, the least regularly you will need to check it. Assuming that most backpackers buy used cars that are over five years old, we will not be covering rules for brand new cars or campervans in this article.
If you car or campervan was first registered more than 2 years ago, your WOF will be issued for 12 months.
If your car or campervan was first registered before the 1st of January 2000, then your WOF will be issued for 6 months only and you will need to renew it midyear.
Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to sell a car that has no WOF or a WOF that will expire soon (meaning less than a month) so you might want to dig into your pockets and get a brand new WOF done before trying to sell your car.
Where to get a WOF done?
Almost every garage in New Zealand is accredited as a WOF agent. It means that they will be able to issue your Warrant Of Fitness label to display on your windshield. This label applied on the driver’s side of your windshield includes the expiry date of your WOF. It is illegal to drive a car that has an expired WOF or no WOF at all. Don’t try it!
A WOF inspection usually takes 30 minutes and cost between $35 and $45 depending on where you go.
Don’t forget your backpacker car and campervan insurance
Backpackers Motor Insurance offers reliable and affordable car insurance for travellers like you. It includes unlimited kilometres, low excess and has no age limit. You can even add fire and theft cover and roadside assistance! Get a free quote right now:
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