Are you ready?

Are you ready to drive on Australian roads? Do you have everything you need? Your new car is beautifully clean, you’ve completed all the necessary paperwork. your surf board is on the roof waiting for the biggest waves you have ever seen and your travel mates are sitting beside you BUT… What if you crash? Are you covered? I know its not the first thought that springs to mind when planning the trip of a lifetime but it needs to be considered. After all, would you drive in your own country without insurance? In Australia Third Party Property Insurance is not compulsory, though highly recommended and 98% of residents choose to purchase it. OK! So what type of insurance do you need? How much will the insurance cost and if you do have an accident how much will the excess be? Come into the Sydney Travellers Car Market any day of the week and we will answer all questions and take care of everything for you! The insurance we offer is designed specifically for backpackers travelling around Australia, it takes around 10 minutes to complete and for the price of around $1.5 per day its money well spent! Can you imagine the cost of crashing into a brand new BMW and not having insurance! We have seen it so many times before and every person says exactly the same thing! “WE WISH WE HAD TAKEN THE INSURANCE!!!!!!” Have a safe trip and rest easy, We have you covered!

Until the next time, STCM…

Dont get Scammed!!!


Ok guys, I know we said that already two weeks ago, but when you buy a car from a private, please BE CAREFUL !
Remember, we had that German couple a few weeks ago buying a van from 3 backpackers and their dream-car turned to be a nightmare…well, that happened again last week.

We had that Swiss couple coming into the Sydney Travellers Car Market looking for a great deal. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, great deal rhymes with nothing else but cheap car :WRONG ! A great deal is a valuable car that can actually run safely. Anyway, they found what there were looking for and bought it quickly (no need to specify that no basic check such as a pre purchase inspection was done before buying the car). And here is the thing : they wanted to deal out of the Car Market, which is fair enough since all the sales here are PRIVATE. So they went out to do their business with the sellers, bought the car and took the road to Melbourne.
When they finally made it to Victoria, the car suddenly broke down, but here is another thing : while they were at the VicRoads office, transferring their new broken wagon under their names, they were told “ Sorry, the registration of your car has been cancelled by the old owners a few days ago”. “But we filled out the papers with them and everything was alright” the Swiss couple said, but no everything was quite not alright since the sellers had actually given fake names to the buyers on the Transfer of Ownership Form and cancelled the rego after the purchase to get their money back…How dishonest is that, right ?!

So a few days ago, we had that poor Swiss couple in our office, back from Melbourne by train, asking us if we could help them tracking the sellers; we did what we could by giving them their names but that was about all we could do for them since they dealed out of the Car Market.

The thing I am trying to say here is not that every seller is a liar you cannot trust, no, I am just saying since you come and buy a car in the Sydney Travellers Car Market, why don’t you take advantage of the advices we can give here in the office, after all that’s what we, the Car Market staff, are here for too, advising and helping people with the paperwork involved in a car purchase to make sure that that kind of story doesn’t happen anymore.


Congrats, you made it to the promised land, Australia! Now that you have reached Down Under, you can’t wait to discover the country, to hit the road for the first time, right? Then naturally, buying a vehicle is one of the first thing you want to do with opening a bank account or getting an Aussie number.

Well, buying a car in your own country is already not something that easy if you are not a mechanic, but at least you’ve got family and friends back home to help you with that. But here in Australia, a very backpacker-friendly country, you’ve got to be even more careful when you buy a car! Yes it does make sens but sometimes though, things can go wrong…

Two weeks ago, we had a German couple coming in to the Sydney Travellers Car Market interested in buying a van after arriving in Australia, just like many backpackers. They quickly found a van in the car market sold by other backpackers and decided to buy it the week after.
A few days after the purchase, we received an e- mail from A German couple telling us that the van they just bought was leaking oil and that a mechanic told them the van was not safe to drive. They wanted us to help them because the older owners were not answering since they already left Australia.

The day after that, we had that couple visiting us at the car market with some friends, complaining about the bad conditions of the van they bought…and indeed, the repairs needed were going up to thousands dollars !
As the Sydney Travellers Car Market is not a dealer and does not sell any car but only provides a place for backpackers to sell their cars to other backpackers, we told them there was nothing we could do. “ But we bought the car from here “ they said, and yes they did buy a car here, from other backpackers which is a private sale. But they did it without basic checks before purchasing the van.
When you buy a car from a private, you should always get at least a pre-purchase inspection: a check done by a professional that will tell you if the vehicle is good to safe to buy or not. And here is the mistake that couple made: getting an inspection after the purchase which was too late and now the only ones they can blame is definitely not the car Market but themselves.

In summary, the warning to all buyers in Car Market is: buyer beware ! As it is with any private sale.

Unpaid fines, watch out !

Fine Mess PictureAfter a year of travels around Australia, you finally decide to leave your best fellow, your car !
Selling your car comes with many things you have to keep in mind : safety inspections, ownership transfer and registration transfer. Here in Australia, every State has its own rules regarding the rego transfer, some are a lot easier than others but there’s one thing that all state have in common : fines!

Here is a story that happened recently : As every day in the Sydney Travellers Car Market, we have new people coming in, wanting to sell their car, van or 4WD before going back home or keep on travelling overseas, just like that couple we had last week. They were selling their Toyota Town Ace, before taking their flight, which was due 10 days after. Registered in Western Australia, we had to check the expiry date of the van…and there came the problems : the car was not registered anymore.

Really confusing for them as they paid $400 odd to renew the rego a couple of month ago. We asked them to call WA Transport Services to find out and they were told that their vehicle had two years of unpaid fines so they decided to cancel their rego ! “ But we only had the car for 6 month ” they said.

Unfortunately in Australia, when you buy a car you buy the unpaid fines with it. It is really important when you buy in private that you go and check with the police before purchasing.

Buying from a dealer, such as Travellers Auto Barn, you will get a title of ownership which means that all fines are cleared and you won’t get bad surprises.


Back on track!

At the end of last month Travellers Auto Barn sold a 1995 Ford Econovan to a young French couple who where planning on travelling Australia for 1 year. Within the first week of owning the van they found a serious problem that caused an immediate stop to their trip. It could potentially ruin their time in OZ and here is their story -


Gaetan and Audrey arrived in Sydney at the beginning of June with the intention to take their time finding the perfect van they could call home for the next 12 months. They wanted to visit most of the country and work along the way. Knowing that they would probably drive around 20,000km it was important to make sure that the van was reliable, comfy and most importantly going to last.

They had visited the Sydney Travellers Car Market, looked at vehicles on Gumtree and even test drove a couple but after much deliberation they decided that buying from a dealer was the safer option… even if it was going to cost them a little more. They wanted the warranties that came with a dealers vehicle so that if anything was to go wrong the van would be covered. Gaetan and Audrey decided on a long wheel based Ford Econovan. The van had only 236,000 which is below average for a “backpacker” van and was equipped with a bed, camping equipment and all the necessities they would need to get them started. On its test drive the van drove perfectly, it had been serviced by one of TAB’s mechanics and came with a Pink slip. On 30th June the guys officially started their trip and headed north towards the sun.

After driving for about 10 hours / 750km over 3 days Gaetan and Audrey had reached Glenn Innes which is about 200 km inland from Coffs Harbor. They had been checking the water level daily and had added small amounts but by the time they had arrived the van had started to seriously overheat. Obviously concerned, they called TAB who arranged for the vehicle to be towed to a local mechanic. After a couple of hours they got the news no backpacker wants to hear -

Mechanic – “There has been an internal coolant leak and your van has overheated. There’s not much you can do apart from replace the engine… your van is F@%ked…!!!”

Gaetan – “How much is that going to cost?”

Mechanic – “About $4000 for the engine and labor but it is going to take us about 7-10 days to get the parts and do the work.”

How could this be? They had spent the extra money on a “better” vehicle from TAB that was supposed to last for 1 whole year! It had been serviced, checked over and drove perfectly. Gaetan who by now was obviously upset called TAB’s aftersales to complain. Even though the vehicle was covered under warranty it was based in Sydney where they had purchased the vehicle. TAB explained that there wasn’t much they could have done to prevent the problem as it is near impossible to check for internal leaks. The only thing they could do now is help them to continue their trip.

The guys left their van with the mechanic in Glenn Innes and took the bus back to Sydney. They stayed in a hostel over night and come in to see TAB the next day. Even though Gaetan and Audrey where outside of their warranty Travellers Auto Barn arranged for the couple to be exchanged into another van to equal value. They even refunded them for the bus tickets and their night in the hostel.

Ok so what’s the motive of the story? Even though these guys had a problem with the vehicle they had purchased through TAB the problem was solved within a matter of days and the guys could start their trip again! Can you imagine buying a vehicle privately without any warranty and having a similar problem to Gaetan and Audrey? Firstly, you would have to find a mechanic and arrange the towing yourself and then you would have to make the decision to invest thousands of dollars into the vehicle that you have just purchased or to abandon it and loose everything! When you buy a vehicle privately you are “rolling the dice” you take the risk in spending less money and hope that the vehicle will last for as long as you own it. Now, you may not have to replace the engine on your vehicle, you may be one of the lucky ones that doesn’t have to spend a dollar while you own it. BUT! In reality, if you buy a vehicle privately always put money aside for when something does go wrong. Make sure you always get a pre-purchase inspection before committing to a vehicle and always, always consider spending a little more and buy from Travellers Auto Barn. If Gaetan and Audrey had spent less and purchased privately they would have probably abandoned their van and it would have affected the rest of their time in Australia. Until next time.. STCM



Travelling in a campervan is known to be the cheapest and easiest way to explore Australia. You don’t have any rent to pay AND the freedom to leave or stay whenever and wherever you want, being a white sanded beach or a farm where you’re currently earning some extra dollars.

The average camper is fitted out with double mattress, sink, water tank, gas cooker and some cutlery. However in our Sydney Car Market you will meet people from all over the world sharing their experiences with you. They’ve owned a camper, seen it all, spend all their free time to turn it into their home on wheels and sometimes you would be amazed how creative and awesome these vans end up to be.

BUT there is a saying that beauty isn’t everything… Cecilia and Joakim, a nice Swedish couple, bought a fancy van via the internet from other backpackers. An upper class camper with heaps of camping equipment, nice lay-out, fridge, dual battery system,… They bought it for $8,600! And as many others they where seduced by all the equipment and the fantastic paint job.

Unfortunately for them a few kilometers after the purchase they start having problems. Oil was leaking and fifth gear wasn’t working properly anymore. In the middle of nowhere (yep Australia is a huge country) they searched for a mechanic who charged them $2,000 for, according the him, only the urgent repairs. As Cecilia and Joakim had no mechanical background they had absolutely no idea that their ‘dream van’ had two bad rear tyres, basically no brakes left and a gearbox that needed to be replaced.

Once the van was up and running, they finally hit the road again! Their first plan was relaxing on the bounty-like beaches on the east coast and sipping cocktails in the sun. However they first needed to earn some dollars to cover the unforeseen costs, so they did some fruit picking (getting up at 05.00AM in the morning!!) instead.

Fortunately after these two months they started enjoying their adventure, saw some wonderful places, met some interesting people, upgraded the van which became their home and most of all they had the road trip they first had in mind.

They are now at the end of their travels and sell their 5 star van in the Sydney Car Market for $6,900 ONO.

The most important message these guys want to share with all the backpackers who are just in the beginning of this big adventure is to remember that any vehicle can sound and look in a good condition but you never know for sure. A pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended and will give you peace of mind and safe you from bad surprises and a lot of extra costs!

Our Kings Cross garage can do that for you, cheap and easy, so just ask our Car Market team for the information and once you’re on the road you will be searching for idyllic places and weird animals instead of mechanics and spare parts…


until next time…

Exploring 4WD Australia by Eric Gerald Worthy

All of Australia’s populous coast is now easily accessible by standard two-wheel drive car. So a regular vehicle will be good for tourists that aren’t too adventurous. Those seeking to see the special wilderness places that are unique to this continent will need both a 4-wheel drive and pick the right season.

Australia’s Winter is the time to see the North (Top End). While the city dwellers will be watching and complaining about the mercury, May through October is ‘the Dry’, glorious warm dry tropical days. Streams shrink and the muddy roads dry out. Inaccessible places suddenly become open to those with the right vehicle.

Some of Australia’s greatest and most unique spots are only available to the 4WD crowd and even then not always. We would recommend you only drive on pavement when it is raining or has recently rained. Dirt roads rapidly turn to heavy mud which can bog you, be as slippery as ice, and/or stick to everything like cement.

 Great sections of Australia are sandy not just the islands like Fraser Island which are entirely sand and then of course there are the beaches.

In the centre and north, once you leave the main highway, nearly every road will have a section where 4WD is needed. The corrigations (washboard) may just require a heavy duty vehicle or a soft spot of sand or mud just might swallow your tires.

You don’t need a 4X4 to see much of Australia but if your want an adventure in one of the world’s most accessible wildernesses, you’ll be able to explore it all with the right equipment.



Hey guys!

The newest addition to our sellers in the car market is Digby (from the Netherlands) and Sophie (from France.)  They purchased a 95’ Mazda E2000 here in Sydney back in January.

When checking them into the Car Market I asked them about their trip around Australia and if they had any tips for buyers looking at doing something similar. This is what they had to say! – Enjoy.

So guys, welcome back! Tell us where and when you purchased your vehicle?

We flew from Tokyo into Sydney just after New Year and decided that our first 3 days we would dedicate to finding a good van. Both of us are not mechanically minded so it was important to find a vehicle that was going to work well while we travelled. For a while we didn’t find anything we liked but then thanks to Edd and Delz we got a good one!

How long did you stay in Sydney before setting off around Australia?

We spent New Year flying from Tokyo to Sydney which was a little weird. Nobody said happy New Year on the plane but we looked at our watches and celebrated it. We where not in Sydney for long before we set off but managed to check out a lot of the tourist spots like the Opera House and the Botanic gardens, It’s a place that you must visit while over here.

How much did you pay for your van?

We paid $5’500 for our van in peak season. We were happy paying that as it came with loads of camping equipment and added extras that saved us money while travelling!

Our Vehicle is a 1995 Mazda E2000 van. It has reasonably low kilometers of 280,000 and comes with heaps of camping equipment that we have added to since we have owned it!

Looking back, do you think it was worth the money you paid for it?

We thought that it was good value for money given all of the camping equipment that came with it! It also had lower kilometers than a lot of other vans we looked at. It came with a Pink Slip and we got a pre-purchase inspection done before we drove away as we didn’t know much about buying a van, we wanted to be safe.

The thing that I liked most was the LPG engine. I had been warned not to buy a van with LPG as they can be expensive to fix and can have quite a lot of problems but we got our one checked by a mechanic before we drove away.

It is a lot cheaper than unleaded petrol and saved us lots of money in fuel. It cost on average $120 to travel 1000km which is the same as travelling from Sydney to Brisbane.

A lot of travelers give their vehicle a name, Did you?

The previous owners named the van “The Beast” which we didn’t really like so we wanted to change it. After travelling up to Byron way we called our van “Woodgee” It was named after a local surf brand called ‘Mt Woodgee” We got lots of stickers and put them on the side of our van!

So where did you guys travel to?

We drove from Sydney to Cairns and all the way back down again. The main reason we decided to buy was so we could have complete freedom. If you travel for a long time it is also a lot cheaper. We looked into renting a car or taking a bus first and staying in hostels but it would have cost us a lot more money. We could stop off and stay in places that we liked for longer. We made lots and lots of stops along the way.

We used to try our best to find new things that you wouldn’t find on a typical tourist path. We stopped and worked in the Gold Coast for a while. It was amazing waking up in the morning on the beach going for a surf and then going to work.

How long did you Travel for?

We travelled for 3.5 months. We met a lot of people that done the same trip in 4-5 weeks but we wanted to take our time and see as much as possible.

What was your favorite part of Australia?

Two places that really stood out were Crescents head, Queensland and Burleigh Heads, Queensland. They were amazing locations for surfing and not massively over-populated by tourists like Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise.

We wanted to get off the beaten track and explore places where not many people visited. We planned our trip quite well but still found new places all of the time. We would meet new people everywhere we went and swap stories and new places to check out, Crescents head and Burleigh Heads where just two of many.

If you could do this all over again is there anything you would change?

No! We loved every minute of our travels and plan to come back again really soon, maybe to do the west coast but there is still so much to explore on the east coast. The country is HUGE!

Do you have any tips to give any potential buyers looking at doing something similar to what you guys have done?

Even if you are good with cars, spend a small amount of money on a mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection before you consider buying. We have heard so many horror stories while travelling of people that have got a vehicle for a really good deal and then spent an extra $1500 – $2000 on new parts. Sometimes it is better to work a little more before you start travelling and buy a better vehicle that you know will get you around safely. The last thing we wanted was to be stuck on the side of the road in the heat with a car that does not work!

Lastly take your time! This is probably going to be the only time you will have the opportunity to do something like this so don’t try to rush it. If your on a working holiday visa sometimes its best to either work along the way or work before you start travelling so money doesn’t become a problem and you have to cut things short!. Take lots of pictures and enjoy your time!

So, what’s next?

We are only half way through! After Australia we are off to New Zealand, then South America, North America then Home! – STCM

Thanks guys! Sounds like you have had a trip of a lifetime. You can continue to read about Digdy and Sophie while they travel the world! Check out their blog.

If you would like to become the new owner of their awesome van it is currently for sale at the Sydney Travellers Car Market. You can also view it here

Come down between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10:30-3:00 on Sunday and speak with the STCM team for free advice on what’s best for you!

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Hi there,

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL BACKPACKERS  thinking of buying or selling a car in Australia

A car market for backpackers has been re-established in Kings Cross, Sydney Australia.

The establishment of the new Sydney Travellers Car Market is an initiative of Sydney Lord Mayor and Independent MP Clover Moore.

The new Car Market is located in the original location of the previous Car Market in Kings Cross and under new management. The new Sydney Travellers Car Market operates in almost exactly the same fashion as the previous Car Market. It is simply a place for buyers and sellers to meet. Whilst the new Car Market is FREE until Feb 15, after that date the sellers will need to pay a fee to park and display their vehicle for sale.

Buyers will benefit as they will have an independent and experienced car market staff member always on-site with which to ask questions regarding, transfer, registration & insurance.

In past the Car Market was an Iconic venue for self driving backpackers and we have no doubt the new Sydney Travellers Car Market will achieve that same status very quickly.

Note: The Sydney Travellers Car Market is not affiliated or associated in any way with the previous management of the Kings Cross Car Market which still advertises under that name as a used car dealer in Woolloomooloo.

For more information on the new & official SYDNEY TRAVELLERS CAR MARKET please refer to the links below or contact me direct.

We kindly ask that you update any reference to the Car Market in Kings Cross to reflect the information provided.

Mike Jenkinson


SydneyTravellers  Car Market

Car Market Resources


Media Links

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Backpackers Outa Sight Outta Mind

One Month into a year long trial and the success of the new licensed car market in Kings Cross looks certain. The new backpackers market place, known as the Sydney Travellers Car Market, was an initiative of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore who due to her other role as an independent state MP was able to solve the seemingly intractable problem of dozens of backpackers camping & selling their cars along Victoria St, Potts Point.

The City of Sydney, in response to a deluge complaints from unhappy ratepayers, struck an agreement with Wilson’s Parking, the operators of the Ward Ave car park in Kings Cross where the new car market is located.  40 spaces have been set aside on Level 2 of the underground car park.  It was only a month ago that at times up to 30 or more cars & campervans belonging to young travellers from all over the world would line both sides of Victoria St from 9am to 6pm 7 days a week, taking parking from residents and causing local shop owners to suffer due to a lack of turnover in parking spots for their customers. This combined with the sellers often setting up makeshift picnic sites besides their vehicles, and even boiling water on the footpath for tea, coffee or that backpacker delicacy – 2 minute noodles.

The new car market has virtually solved the problems on Victoria St overnight and it’s easy to see why. The new car market provides an orderly, sheltered, centralised location for buyers to view the cars offered for sale by fellow travellers. The operator of the Car Market, Peter Burke, says “buyers are finding the environment and the advice regarding registrations & transfers very helpful and are therefore able to make a decision faster and with a greater degree of confidence, and nothing pleases the sellers more than a quick sale”

During the Car Market’s first 4 weeks over 60 cars have registered and almost 80% of vehicles have sold in less than 7 days

For further details regarding the Sydney Travellers Car Market please refer to

Or contact Peter Burke on 0414 601 500 /


The new car market will be known as the Sydney Travellers Car Market and will be run & managed by the management team behind Travellers Auto Barn, a successful national backpacker car dealer & campervan rental company, that has been working with backpackers since 1993 and has 6 branches around Australia. The Managing Director of Travellers Auto Barn, Peter Burke, was also the first ever manager of the original Kings Cross Backpackers Car Market back in 1991 before going on to establish Travellers Auto Barn. Mr Burke says “his experienced and well resourced team will ensure the success of the car market allowing Victoria St residents and shop owners to enjoy an ongoing return to relative normality, for what is a very bohemian inner city avenue”

The new Sydney Travellers Car Market is not associated in any way with the business known as “Kings Cross Car Market”, which is a licensed Motor Dealer in Woolloomooloo.

Peter Burke has previously held the positions of President, NSW Backpacker Operators Association and Chair of Backpacker Tourism Advisory Panel

Travellers Autobarn is the winner of the following awards;

  • 2011 Golden Backpack Award best car/campervan rental company – finalist
  • 2010 Golden Backpack Award best car/campervan rental company – Winner
  • 2009 Golden Backpack Award best National Transport Company – finalist
  • 2008 Golden Backpack Award best National Transport Company – Winner
  • 2007 Golden Backpack Award best National Transport Company – Winner.


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