Need registration information/advice

Submitted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 03:36
ThreadID: 78379 Views:4378 Replies:13 FollowUps:7
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Hi, being from Canada and planning shortly to visit your great country, I need some advice, specifically about registering vehicle and van. We plan to land in Sydney, as it's the cheapest place to get to from Canada, followed by a couple of days in a vehicle rental while we get time-adjusted, and look for our own vehicle. After purchasing a vehicle, we'll get some camping gear (tent, etc.) and travel to Tasmania for a couple of weeks. Following that we plan to get a caravan for our extended stay. Our plan is to travel all over Australia for several months. So:
1. Can I register a vehicle in NSW when I don't have any permanent Australian address? (I do know some people in NSW, and could "borrow" their address if necessary I guess).
2. Can I purchase and register a van in Victoria (for example) and pull it with a vehicle registered in NSW?
3. I notice on used vehicle and caravan ads that some are registered for longer periods of time than others. Is there any advantage to purchasing a vehicle/van with longer registration? What about one on which the registration has expired?
The process seems different than what I am used to in Canada so thanks for any and all advice.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 05:29

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 05:29
David, firstly we welcome Canadians, you guys are kinda like us but with an American accent :-)

Not sure about 1) I think you have to be an Australian Resident.
NSW Roads & Traffic Authority

In Victoria, you do need to show proof of residency in Vic.

2)Provided you get over item 1) then yes, you can tow it with a NSW vehicle.

3)There is no real advantage to having longer amounts of registration on a van. It is an annual renewal and not too much ( $60??). There aren't any safety checks, or inspections for the renewal. Just throw money at the government and you are away.

I would email both the RTA in NSW and RTA in Vic to see if there is a way to register a vehicle. There does seem to be a lot of backpackers who buy cars then sell them. Maybe in your friends name.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 05:30

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 05:30
Oops that is Vicroads in Victoria.Vicroads
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 08:25

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 08:25
In NSW you will need an "address" it can be your friends address or a post box. some have even given a caravan park as your address.
How long are you here for travelling around? as there may be restrictions on how long you international drivers licence will cover you and you may have to have a local one.
You can tow a van from another state with a vehicle reg in a different state.
Rego is for 12 months and are renewed annually (now some can be reg for 3, 6 or 12 months). The cost and requirement differ from state to state. NSW requires a roadworthy inspection (pink slip) on all vehicles over 3 years old (all commercial vehicles inc some 4wd's regardless of age), green slip (3rd partry personal ins) on vehicles (but not trailers or caravans) plus the rego cost.
Don't even think about changing rego from state to state if you are only here for a short time as it can be a nightmare.
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Reply By: DIO - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:22

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:22
H'mmm, using an address that is not your own can be frought with danger. If you do so and your vehicle(s) involved in a collision, insurance (both 3rd party and property) may be an issue. Furthermore, if you are stopped by Police and directed to produce your driver's licence, if it is not an Australian issued licence and if the rego on your vehicles is also checked and found to have 'dodgy addresses' then you could also be in trouble for false information etc. Some people will suggest that to do otherwise is OK, BUT I very much doubt than any of them have found themselves in a situation whereby they could be out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars. Most (if not all) Australian States require that the person applying for a Driver's Licence or vehicle registration have a place of rewsidence/address in the State in which the application is made. The only way around this requirement is to lie to authorities and make a false declaration. The only other 'possible' way around it, that I can see, is for someone else who is resident in the State in question registeres the vehicles in their name with their address. Then of course there will be problems with insurance etc. So in reality there is no legal and honest way around the issue.
As suggested, contact one or all of the State Registration Authorities, put the question(s) to them regarding your circumstances and await their reply. Good luck.
AnswerID: 416238

Reply By: get outmore - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:38

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:38
NSW would be one -if not the worsty places to register a vehicle due to the higher costs and manditory inspections -
AnswerID: 416239

Reply By: ChipPunk - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:39

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:39
You guys ARE like us. Forget the accent bit..... (wink wink)

AFAIK, Vehicle registration includes insurance (compulsory third party aka CTP) and is valid throughout Australia with the exception of the Northern Territory (NT) whereby their vehicles do not include CTP that covers outside of NT.

Registration is handled by each state (or each of the 2 Territories NT & ACT). Costs vary from state to state. In Melbourne/Victoria (which may be cheaper than Sydney/NSW), country rego is a bit cheaper than Melbourne.

Also in Victoria, the unused component of CTP can be refunded, though I'm unsure if that is subject to a minimum (ie, no less than 6 months refunded).
Rego for a passenger car in Melbourne is about $550-$600 per year (CTP is the same, but the "registration fee" itself varies with the vehicle type, size etc).

In Victoria, transferring a vehicle (eg - after a sale) required a roadworthy certificate (RWC). Only buy a vehicle with current RWC (valid for ~30 days).
Unregistered vehicles must be re-registered and that involves and RWC and usually an inspection by the RTA (the Authority).
Other states may not require that - especially those that have yearly RWC inspections.

Things may have changed to the above AFAIK's.
And I suspect Tasmania may be a cheaper place to register a vehicle.
Sydney's vehicles use to be more expensive than Melbourne and have more rust due to saltier air. (Or was that from acid rain coming up from the acrid venting of Melburnians?)

Being Kanaks I don't have to explain our distances.Sydney is just up the road from Melbourne - 1 hour by air, 8-10 hours by road (~780km).
Tassie is just across the ditch or channel (Bass Straight) - a few hundred km of water that can be worse than Cape Hope & the North Sea. (Not to be confused with the Australian - New Zealand "ditch" - aka the Tasman sea.)
Phew! (Just in case like Europeans, you thought you'd walk or catch a taxi from Sydney to Melb or Tassie etc.)

FYI - often the cheapest interstate travel is by extension of your international ticket. IE - save a day and hop straight to Melbourne from Sydney.
There is a ferry service that operates from Melb to Tassie (Launceston) daily that is quite popular. (I think 1 morning and 1 overnight service; big ferries that take trucks etc, and do not sink. We no longer use the catamaran - I think James Bond blew that up thinking it belonged to expatriate Rupert Murdoch.)

BTW - carry ID on you in case Aussies think you are septics (Yanks) trying to get away as Canadians. Many Aussie's can't pick the accent, and those yanks are getting smarter (hard to believe eh?).
AnswerID: 416240

Follow Up By: DavidDice - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:06

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:06
I'm not sure I'd know what a Canadian accent is ;-)

Take Cape Breton for example -- I once inquired for directions at a service station, and after asking four times for clarification, finally politely said "Thank you" and walked away -- no wiser. Although he was speaking English, I found it a lot easier to understand with my very poor French in Quebec!! Certainly find most of my Australian aquaintances a lot easier to understand than that.

As for distances, yes, no problem understanding them. I guess in some ways Canada and Australia aren't too different, in that 90% of our population lives within 100 km of the US border, and I think I read somewhere that Australia has a similar portion in approximately the same relation to the ocean. And we travel very long distances all the time without thinking much about it (my wife drives 200 km (return) to work every day).

The biggest difference is probably our weather. We really do have 4 seasons, and here in the central plains area it can go from +40 C in summer to -40 C in winter (and in winter it's not unheard of for it to go from +20C to -20C in one day).
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Follow Up By: ChipPunk - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:37

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:37
LOL!! My mate and family took me from Quebec to Thunderbay. Yep - very similar. Except the landscape....

And I don't think many Aussies understand windscreen washer heating nor auto-start vehicles. Nor why you do NOT wash windscreens at -15C @100kph (unless you have good side window vision and some reference markers)!
And our kangaroos are smaller. Even our few wild buffalo are safer to hit.
But we do get black ice.
And Europeans seem amazed that we have more snow (area) than Switzerland (that's a foreign country about two hours by three LOL!).

But I think I prefer our coastline (politically speaking), though it does mean we have to plan & fund out own defense (lol & wink).

But in anticipation - Welcome. And Enjoy!
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Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:06

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:06
Hi David,

I'm getting a little ahead of myself but WELCOME to Oz.

This reply is not related to your question but I couldn't help mentioning a few things that may be obvious if you have done your homework.

Australia is a similar size to Canada. We have some good, fast roads but many are not. By far, the majority of roads are one lane each way and a large percentage are winding, especially in Tasmania. Much of the real Outback is only accessible by unsealed, sometimes very corrugated roads. Depending on the time of year, roads may be closed due to flooding - especially in central areas, as is now the case. These roads may remain impassable for weeks or months.

I say all this so that you do not come with unrealistic expectations and that you will consider your time of year, whether you will be happy to stay on the blacktop, as thousands of happy travellers do, or whether you want to get off the beaten track. Your decision will need to reflect the type of vehicle and caravan or camper trailer you choose.

I have German friends who have been here six times and are planning their next trip. They come for 2 months at a time, and once for six months and have a troopy and a tent which are stored during their absence. They feel they are beginning to see below the surface.

Planning is a part of the holiday and much of the fun. Don't hesitate to ask more questions on this site as people will be only too happy to respond. And use many other features of the site including road conditions and track notes.

John 'n' Min

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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:37

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:37
One other thing is its not cheap to take a rig to Tasmania. It may be cheaper to go on your own and hire a camper over there.

My car and van is 14.5m long overall and was going to cost us $2 700 return to go to Tassie

Look up Sealink for prices and high /low season

In Queensland it costs $800 for reg and CTP for a 6cyl car and $180 for a caravan.

Did mine both in February
AnswerID: 416249

Follow Up By: DavidDice - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:47

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:47
Actually one of our reasons for the order of our travels is to buy the van after we return from Tasmania. We'll just take the vehicle over and use a tent until we get back onto the mainland. It looks like it's about $80 - $90 for a car/4wd.
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Reply By: cycadcenter - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:55

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:55
Hi Dave,

Here is the rego form you will need to complete for NSW.


Note that you will need Proof of Identity generally three things

Drivers Licence
Credit card or other recognised photo ID

It's fine to use someones address which is preferably a friend or a relative who will pay any speed camera fines for you.

The Customer Number at the top of the form will be generated with your proof of identity (POI)

For Compulsory 3rd party Insurance AAMI is as good as any.

I just have a California DL and have had no problem registering cars in NSW using my sisters address in Sydney.

I have also transfered rego to our farm in Qls with no problems and am still classed as a non resident,

Bruce in San Diego

AnswerID: 416251

Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:14

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:14
Hi, this thread is about registering a vehicle????? right, for this naive not so little old Granny can someone please explain to me why DavidDice can't buy a second hand vehicle with at least a few months licence on it, that way the problem of registration doesn't come into it or do you still have to re register 2nd hand vehicles over there???? What am I missing?



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Follow Up By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:18

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:18
It still has to be registered to an owner than can be found,hence you need a real address, speed cameras, red light cameras, parking fines, tollway cameras, all rack up fines that various authority's chase, must need to be sent somewhere, registered owner gets the fine if driver cannot be identified.
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Reply By: tonysmc - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:37

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:37
Do a Google search for travellers autobarn. They sell cars to people from overseas all the time and usually have a buyback offer as well. Make sure you have an international licence before you get here. The only thing I would be concerned about is that some states (I think NSW) you have to have a roadworthy every 12 months. This can be a real pain when travelling as a roadworthy done in another state is not recognized. That is part of the reason why you see so many hire cars with Victorian rego in other states.
Enjoy your trip
AnswerID: 416264

Follow Up By: cycadcenter - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:13

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:13
Actually there is no need to get an IDL for Australia if you are here on a visitors visa. A license from Canada will suffice for driving in Australia.

Here is a link:

Overseas drivers license requirements

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Reply By: _gmd_pps - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:51

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:51
Well I don't know about the "being similar" Canada and Australia I mean ..
well ... if you look at the food .. there is similarity ... it's cr@p in both countries
ok .. I put my flame suit on ...

My son lives in Kelowna married to a Canadian, so I know what a Canadian accent is :)) ..

now to the rego bits ..

We just had guests from Switzerland staying with us. They traveled for 6 months in WA (mainly for kite surfing) and sold their vehicle to another swiss couple. These guys traveled Tasmania first with a backpack and the came to Western Australia to pick up the vehicle and drive it to Sydney and sell it there.

If you are under 25 you may have a little trouble with insurance. Prepare a statement from your insurance about accident free driving for x years ..
If you are over 25 there is less problems .. with a mobile home you can become member of CMCA and get cheaper insurance (A 4wd camper qualifies)
but this insurance is NOT a must if you are willing to pay for your own damage.

I strongly recommend a WA rego. No roadworthy certificates but a slightly higher stamp duty (payable at transfer) than for example QLD but not that much more than the other states, BUT so much more relaxed about vehicles.

I would never even think to register a car again in any other state and travelers who know a little bit look for WA cars and get a WA friend with his address for the transfer of ownership.

It is NO problem to register a car in WA with a local address. If you do not know anyone just get your own PoBox at any WA post office. This will suffice.

When you buy a car in Australia you have a grace period of 14days to execute the transfer of ownership, but you can also do it by mail when you have a WA address. So in case you have a WA address and buy a WA car in NSW you can do the transfer of ownership by mail. DO NOT DO A CROSS STATE TRANSFER meaning a NSW car registered in WA or worse a WA car registered in NSW. You need to go to the pits and may get the runaround. Same with an unlicensed car. DO NOT BUY A CAR WITHOUT REGO. If you have to register elsewhere than WA I would request the road worthy from the previous owner as part of the deal.. so you do not get any surprises. With a WA car transfered in WA this is NOT a problem ..
If you register the car for 12 months and sell it before that period you get some rego back.. cheque in the mail .. so it is good to have an address someone is looking after. Different rego timeframe only means that the people registering for 6 months can not handle money and have not enough on the side to pay a 12 month rego OR someone has decided to sell the vehicle and finds it easier to register it for 3 or 6 months instead of getting the rego refund. You do not need an additional insurance -- it is up to you .. with the rego a third party insurance is included. If you do not require theft or collision cover for your own damage then you do not need an insurance.

Do NOT buy a vehicle from a dealer unless you have seen it. Some other friends currently have their vehicle on our property. They live overseas and have their vehicle registered permanently in Australia without any problems.

It all is fairly easy and can be done in person or by mail. Again I stress the fact that WA registration is by far the easiest, not necessarily the cheapest. Then again there is no stamp duty for ownership of caravans in WA...

good luck

AnswerID: 416293

Reply By: Bazooka - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:09

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:09
Quick web search for "overseas visitor care buying" turns up much useful info and advice eg

Good luck!
AnswerID: 416301

Reply By: Gazal Champion - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:30

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:30
Hi David, if you are doing Tasmania first then Victoria would be a good place to buy both vehicles as a goodly number of van manufacturers are in Victoria and there are any number of suitable vehicles for sale, and at reasonable prices.
Suitable cars are also plentiful in Victoria. You could check with the Australian Embassy in your nearest big city as to registration requirements for foreign tourists in Aus. We love people from overseas traveling our country so the authorities my be a bit more accommodating

I live in NSW (500 K north of Sydney) and I don't recommend you buy in NSW.
I call NSW "the state of extortion" as every thing is so dear. Ask your friend and they will probably verify this.

Western Australia (WA), as advised, is probably a good place also but I have no experience there.

This is the best I can do regards advice
Cheers and good luck.
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Follow Up By: Gazal Champion - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:36

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:36
Just a further thought, you may be able to use a Victorian caravan park as your address when registering in Victoria. We also have several companies which a mail forwarders when you are on the road traveling around Aus. this may also assist re follow up mail re your insurances and registrations.
Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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