Family of 4 moving to New Zealand

AK Burwell

New member
Cool. Do you know where you will be working/living? North/South island? Rural or city?
We're working on sorting out where we'd like to go. Ideally source the location, job and visa long before the flight over. The practical side of having small kids and possible urban needs but not wanting congestion or long commutes to get into nature means we'd like to ideally be on the rural/urban fringe. Most of my wife's colleagues have worked on the North Island. I haven't done enough research to develop an opinion yet.

In the effort of full transparency - we're 2 years from our move so this thread is part information gathering then planning then execution so hold on for an epic! Kids ages were projected out to our trip too so we've got our hands full with little ones as well and appreciate the patience should there be lag's in appreciation or reply.

From this thread so far I think it makes more sense to set aside the cash to buy something over there as RHD would be fun/unique/helpful driving against the grain. Also being a big time Toyota fan I'd like to consider what would be the most fun for day-day driving and weekend adventures. Initial used postings on 80 series, 100 series, Ute Hilux CC or 70 Series Ute or go more campervan conversion on the Hiace/Liteace vans if able to be found in 4WD plus seat 4 safely, not a gutted back with full RV set up. A recent Adventure Ace caught my eye as pretty bad ass and practical (see attached). Others I could see picking up something like this: and adding a 4 person RTT and not having a whole lot else to add for the rugged tours.



Engineer In Residence
4x4 toyota hiace vans are around, they do command a bit of a premium. Mitsu 4x4 vans are also about, likely a bit cheaper. Mid sized suvs from various Japanese makers can be found with AWD/4WD, and will seat 4. Toss a modest sized caravan behind for sleeping arrangements.

RTTs are not super common in NZ. For good reason I would think. When it rains there, it doesn't stop. The wind can be absolutely nuts in places, especially on the coastal south island. Planning a longer excursion, and having the weather close in means you will be stuck (often soaking wet) in the RTT. A van, caravan, or campervan can make this weather bearable. You park up and wait for a break in the weather. Then do your thing. Auckland for example rains 185 days per year. Being surrounded by ocean weather is high variable and difficult to predict. Much less so than the North American continent.

As mentioned 4x4 is really only needed if you plan on technical 4x4 tracks (lots of mud) or you like beach driving. Though campgrounds can turn into quick-mud real quick in the winter though.

We drove over 25,000km in NZ, and there was only a handful of times we actually wished for 4x4. Both were in poorly picked spots in campgrounds (winter rainy season). There are numerous forest 4x4 tracks, but they are tight and steep often. Not suitable for weekend outings in a nice vehicle, especially a larger one that seats 4+. That's just my opinion of course.

Given NZs population density, the north island has few dirt roads in general (at least to places you would really want to go). The south island has quite a few more gravel roads and tracks, due to its much lower population density. Most actual roads are decently well maintained, and not really 4x4 roads. There are some worthwhile tracks there, but they can be highly seasonal.

I would suggest digging into the 4x4 and off-road enthusiast forums for NZ before you make any firm decisions. Lots of great info I would guess.

Do you plan on visiting Australia while you are in NZ? Its a short flight away, and Aus has more dirt tracks per capita than any other 1st world country. Shipping your NZ vehicle over for a month or two may be worthwhile.
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Paddler Ed

I'm just organising my permanent visa here in Australia; the processing time is about 2 yrs at the moment from start to finish, just so that you aware... I don't think NZ is a long, but that gives you something to be aware of.


Any particular make/model 4x4 vans you recommend? I had a buddy years ago with some sort of spaceship looking Toyota that trickled down from BC but can't recall what it was. Seems like MItsubishi and Toyota win the day on the one used site I looked.
Sorry i didn't see your reply,

I would't go past a 4x4 Diesel Hi ace, the Mitsubishi's are good as well they have the drive line from a Trition, just watch out for the petrol V6 as it chews through the gas.

Trade me is a good site to look at vehicles, Trade Me (NZ eBay version) is the go to website in NZ

I found vehicles and Rego over there quite cheap, it's just the Fuel that is expensive.