The Backpacker’s Guide To Buying Campervan in Australia

Backpacking in one of the driest countries on earth is a rite of passage for most international backpackers. However, if you are going to be backpacking in the Australian outback, you will need to have something reliable and versatile that can last the distance. For this reason, the campervan has become the vehicle of choice for those who are backpacking in Australia. This guide has been designed to assist you in your quest to buy a campervan in Australia. It covers all the important areas you should check and some of the best places to buy a campervan.

What to Check for In Your campervan

A mechanical checklist is one of the most important things you must perform if you are thinking of buying a campervan in Australia. Most the mechanical things you check for are basic. They should not take you more than half an hour to check.

The first thing you need to examine is the liquid levels in the radiator. Ensure the liquid reaches the ‘full’ line levels and it does not have a rusty or oily appearance. Besides that, feel the radiator hose to ensure that it does not feel squishy.

The other aspect you must check is the handbrake. Ensure that the handbrake can hold the van firmly on a slope. While you can use rocks to chock the tyres; there will come a time when you will forget.

The other aspect you must check for when you buy campervan Australia is frame rust. If it is too much, it could compromise the ability of your vehicle to resist a crash since it is already compromised. Besides that, rust can create leaks, which allow dangerous fumes to creep into the interior.

Additionally, you will need to check for oil leaks. After packing the campervan, come back later and examine the spot where you left it. If there is an oil patch that has a milky consistency and a burnt smell, it may indicate that the engine is damaged.

Check for excessive damage by looking for mismatched paint, scratches, dents, bent panels, and anything else that could indicate the vehicle was in an accident. Any damage could compromise the safety of the vehicle.

The other aspect to check for is the glass. If it has tiny cracks, they can be quite dangerous as they may turn into huge cracks as soon as you are on the road. Besides that, check if all the lights are working. It is especially so for the brake lights and headlights. You will also need to check whether the air conditioning is working.

Tyres are also an important part of any checklist. If you have uneven tyres, it can compromise wheel alignment, cause poor suspension, and low pressure. Bald tyres should also never be used on a backpacking trip. Besides that, bald tyres are illegal, and they can lead to hefty fines.

The exhaust is also something else that you will need to check. When the engine is sick, it will leak, blue, black, or white smoke. If the car is sick, do not buy campervan no matter what a bargain it seems.

Where Do You Buy Your Campervan?

  1. The Backpacker’s’ Market

One of the biggest markets where you can buy cars for backpacking is in King’s Cross, Sydney. There, you can find hundreds of vehicles being bought and sold. The best part about such a market is that you could get a real bargain. The reason for this is that some are in a hurry to leave the country. The main downside to this market is that some of the campervans have a lot of mileage and they are not looked after well.

  1. At Privates Sales

You can also buy the car online at places such as eBay or through ads in the papers. This will sometimes earn you a better deal since you will get to negotiate with the owner without a salesperson.

  1. From Car Dealers

The car dealers will earn a huge commission on the final price. However, they may also have the best campervans to buy in Australia if you have the cash. When you are done with the vehicle, car dealers will also offer to buy the car from you. You will get a fraction of the original price, but it is a great way to make fast cash if you are in a hurry.

Other Things You May Require

  1. Vehicle Registration

The vehicle will need to be registered annually, and the registration has to be changed to your name 14 days after the purchase. The vehicle has to be registered in your name in the territory where it was registered with the previous owner. Having the registration transferred to another territory can be quite costly. If you are not in the state, you can have it renewed online.

  1. The Pink Slip

The pink slip is simply a document that shows your vehicle has passed a safety inspection. This slip has to be renewed annually.

  1. Insurance Cover

After registering a vehicle, you receive a green slip that covers injuries if you are at fault in an accident. Technically, that is enough cover for your car. However, you will not be covered for any damage that occurs to property involved in the accident. If you are below 25, the cover is going to be a bit expensive.

  1. Breakdown Cover

Most of the time, Aussies will claim that this cover does not work for you when you need it. If you are willing to risk it, you can get the cover when you do break down for an extra fee.


When you are done backpacking, you will need to sell the car. You will have a simple time selling it if it has a good amount of Registration left. Besides that, ensure all the other paperwork is in order. Otherwise, selling the vehicle could end up being quite a complex process.

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