Eight Golden Rules For An Australian Bringing Their Vehicle To NZ For A Driving Holiday

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Posted on 8th August 2015 – Shipping Vehicles


I mean, why wouldn’t you? Rather than having to pack enough water to last you across The Nullarbor or put up with the same dusty scenery kilometre after kilometre, you could enjoy the ocean roads, mountain passes and forested plains of New Zealand.

And if you want to import your own four or two-wheeled friend along for the ride, so much the better, because it’s pretty darned easy to get your pride and joy across The Tasman.

Cars2NZ and McCullough provide shipping for your car or motorbike from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle to all major New Zealand ports in the North and South Islands – and can even arrange to get the vehicle shipped straight to your door so you can be out on the road in no time.

There are some rules you have to stick to to make sure you have all the paperwork to drive in New Zealand, but basically if your holiday is going to be less than 12 months long – then here are the eight golden rules to bringing your car, van or motorbike along to enjoy the journey.?

1. Keep NZ Customs onside: You’ve got two choices here – either get hold of a Carnet de passages en douanes (commonly known as a carnet) which are issued by AIT/FIA-affiliated member clubs and mean you don’t have to pay duty when you cross the border; or apply to NZ Customs for a temporary import entry. The temporary import entry requires a cash deposit which is refunded once the vehicle is exported within 12 months of your arrival.

2. Make sure it’s clean for quarantine: The Quarantine Service for the Ministry of Primary Industries is going to go over your vehicle with a fine tooth comb to make sure you’re not bringing any of the dangerous critters which live on the Australian side of the Tasman into New Zealand. And dangerous doesn’t just mean eight legs or venomous fangs – they’re just as careful about anything which can harm New Zealand’s agricultural industry so they’re especially keen on things like fruit flies and any dirt or soil which can harbour disease. There’s a fee for the inspection – which McCullough can handle for you – but it’s going to be more expensive if your vehicle needs to be scrubbed down, so the golden rule is: get it cleaned before you set off.

3. Keep your rego up to date: You’re fine to drive on New Zealand roads without having to resister the vehicle in New Zealand – just so long as the registration is valid at home and the car or bike remains in the ownership of the person who imported it. It’s worth noting that if your rego expires, then you’re going to have to fully certify, register and license your vehicle in New Zealand and it’s going to receive a vehicle ID number and New Zealand registration plates – none of which come cheap.

4. Pay your dues: Although vehicle insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand – it’s certainly recommended. The Accident Compensation Corporation is not the same as insurance but does provide comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for anyone visiting the country – and you will have to pay its levy when you notify the NZ Transport Agency of the vehicle’s details. This has to happen before you get to drive in New Zealand, but, again, is something McCullough can look after for you. If your vehicle runs on diesel or weighs more than 3500kg you might also have to pay road user charges – you can check here if that applies to you.

5. Ensure your vehicle’s roadworthy: This seems like a no-brainer and it’s certainly something McCullough will help get checked for you if you need, but the entry certifier is going to inspect your vehicle before issuing it with a warrant of fitness (if it weighs less than 3500kg) or a certificate of fitness and certificate of loading (if it weighs more than 3500kg).

6. Keep your driver’s licence on you: You can drive legally for up to 12 months on your Aussie driver’s licence – just remember that if you’re on a restricted or learner’s licence you need to understand and comply with what those restrictions mean in New Zealand.

7. Let New Zealand know when you’re going home: Your entry certifier will give you an application to cancel registration form (an MR15) to complete which is your main ticket out of the country! Three things to remember financially are: if you used a carnet get it stamped by Customs on the way out to make sure it’s valid; if you entered on a temporary import entry, contact Customs to get your deposit back; and if your stay’s cut short in any way contact ACC to see if you’re due a partial refund of their levy.

8. Keep Cars2NZ and McCullough in the loop: We’ve had more than 20 years’ experience of shipping vehicles across The Tasman so we know the Customs and MAF requirements inside out. We know all the pitfalls and will make sure you have everything ship-shape before you start the shipping process.

For a FREE quote for shipping to Australia or shipping from Australia, simply fill this form, email info@mmnz.biz, or phone us on +64 9 303 0075.

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