Can A Foreigner Buy A Campervan In Australia?


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If you’re heading to Australia for an extended road trip, you might have read about people buying campervans to explore the country. But what if you’re a foreigner? Can you buy a campervan? 

A foreigner can buy a campervan in Australia, but you need to have a valid driver’s license and register it in the state where you bought it. In Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria, you’ll also need a roadworthiness certificate. 

Read further to discover what you need to do to buy a campervan in Australia. I’ll also compare buying versus renting one so that you can make an informed decision. 

What Do I Need To Buy A Campervan In Australia? 

Having a campervan in Australia eliminates staying at expensive or less ideal accommodation in remote locations. But what do you need to buy a campervan in Australia? 

To buy a campervan in Australia, you need to register the campervan in the state where you bought it. You’ll need to provide a valid driver’s license, pay the registration fee, and perhaps obtain a roadworthiness certificate, depending on the state. 

I’ll discuss these requirements in more detail below: 

Campervan Registration In Australia

Anyone can buy a campervan in Australia, but it must be registered for the campervan to be legal on the roads, which involves changing ownership from the seller to the buyer. 

The campervan registration process varies from state to state, but all states require you to provide the previous, original registration certificate in person at the transport customer service centre. 

You will also need to buy third-party insuranceOpens in a new tab. (a basic insurance policy covering you for injuring or damaging another vehicle or person) and provide proof when you visit the transport customer service centre. If you’d prefer comprehensive insurance for your campervan, that is fine. 

Suppose you’re looking to buy a campervan that is not currently registered. In that case, you’ll need to buy an unregistered vehicle permit Opens in a new tab.and third-party insurance to allow you to make essential journeys only until you obtain the registration certificate. 

Valid Driver’s License 

For your campervan to be registered in Australia, you must provide a valid driver’s license at the transport customer service centre. 

A valid foreign driver’s license is acceptable if it’s in English. If not, you will need to provide an international driving permit. You can get one from the AAA (Australian Automobile Association)Opens in a new tab., but it will take a few days to be processed, and there will be an extra cost involved. 

Roadworthiness Certificate (RWC)

Not all Australian states require a roadworthiness certificate (RWCOpens in a new tab.), but it’s a good idea to get one, anyway, for peace of mind that your campervan won’t break down on your travels. 

The following Australian states require a roadworthiness check: 

In these states, you’ll need to have an RWC before applying for the registration certificate. 

Buying vs. Renting A Campervan In Oz: What’s Better?

I explained what you need when purchasing a campervan in Australia in the previous section. If this sounds like too much admin for you, you might wonder if it’s worth renting one instead. So, when it comes to a campervan, what’s better – renting or buying? 

Whether you should rent or buy a campervan depends on how much admin you’re willing to do, if you have a campervan preference, the length of time you’ll be staying in it, and how much maintenance you’re ready to do. 

I’ll discuss these factors in more detail below: 

Rented Campervans Mean Less Admin

When renting a campervan, you can reserve one online or simply turn up at the campervan rental company! The only admin will involve filling out a personal detail form, providing your driver’s license, and paying for the rental and insurance. All this can take less than half an hour. 

Purchasing a campervan, in contrast, involves many hours of admin, including: 

  • Arranging the campervan registration
  • Obtaining insurance 
  • Sorting out the RWC, if needed
  • Looking for a suitable campervan
  • Paying the seller 
  • Selling the campervan when your trip is over

If you don’t want to waste your time in Australia attending to admin, renting is a great option. However, if you want your very own campervan without having to follow the rental company’s rules, buying is an excellent idea. 

Buying Can Be Cheaper for Long Trips

If your trip is only a few weeks, renting a campervan could be cheaper, but if you’re staying for a month or more, buying one could be more cost-effective, even after considering the registration and RWC costs

Campervan rental rates are usually lower in the low season (June and July), so it’s worth making a cost comparison. 

Older Campervans Cost Less

Renting Gives You Access To Modern Campervans

Depending on your budget, investing in a campervan might mean having to opt for an older model without all the comforts that a modern, rented campervan can offer. 

If you don’t mind roughing it on your camping or fishing trip, purchasing a campervan might be for you. However, renting one could make your trip more enjoyable if you like being as comfortable as possible. 

Buying A Campervan Involves More Maintenance 

With a bought campervan, it’s good to check your campervan’s engine, change the oil, and attend to any niggles before hitting the road. If you break down, you’ll need to pay for the repairs and may be delayed while you wait.

You could always sign up for and pay for roadside assistance, but this is an added cost and could eat into your time. 

On the other hand, rented campervans usually come with free, 24-hour roadside assistance, and the rental company will have checked over the campervan before handing it over to you. If there’s a significant problem with your campervan, they will likely replace it so that you’re not inconvenienced. 

Final Thoughts

Foreigners can buy campervans in Australia, but they need to possess a valid driver’s license in English or obtain an international driving permit

Buying an Australian campervan involves registering it in your current state, arranging insurance, and obtaining a roadworthiness certificate in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, or Victoria

If your camping or fishing trip is less than a month, it may be worth renting a campervan instead of buying one.

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The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 29 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time. I have been running websites since early 2000 and also have a tech business in Hervey Bay.

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