As I mentioned in the last post, Auckland feels more like a bunch of interconnected suburbs than a big densely packed city. That being said, the public transportation system isn’t super developed and it seems like most of the interconnectedness happens via private motor vehicles. Since we’re going to be here for a whole year and are planning on traveling around not just Auckland but the entire country, we decided it would be a good idea to invest a little money in a car right from the get go to save us the time and hassle of relying on buses and planes to get from place to place.
We had to do a bit of searching, but there is a nifty website called ‘trademe’ that makes the searching easier. It’s similar to craigslist in that you can buy and sell used goods, but also look for jobs and apartments and other things. We set our budget at less than $2000 because we’ll only be able to use the car for a year and there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to resell it once we’re ready to go.
We found a couple that looked promising (as promising as an under $2000 car can look anyway) and made arrangements to check them out. The first one was pretty bad. The engine was clicking, the steering wheel was way out of alignment and the radio and ac were finicky. They were asking $1999 for it and since this was at the upper end of our price range we decided hold off on this one until we could compare with some others.
Fortunately the second one we looked at was much nicer. Nice enough that we decided to have a pre purchase inspection done by the folks at ppvehicleinspection.co.nz. It came back about as we expected. The car was really old and had its share of old car problems, but it would probably be fine for us to use for the next year. After this we were able to talk the price down to $1400 (about $981 US).
So here we are with our brand new used 1999 Nissan Maxima! It took a little while to get used to driving. First because you drive on the left side of the road here. But even more confusing than this was the fact that you sit on the right side. Everything feels backwards! The turn signal is on the right and the wipers are on the left. There were a few times where I was getting ready to turn and flipped on the wipers instead of the turn signal. I also found that I tended to drive closer to the left side of the lane because that’s where I’m used to being. It took a little while but after a few days I’m getting more comfortable with it.
It has served us well on the couple short road trips we have made so far, which is promising. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting tales of those very road trips coming your way!