Caravans, A'vans, Pop- tops, and 5th Wheelers
Caravaning has been around since 1884. The first caravan club we have found recorded was in 1907.
It is difficult to determine exactly when caravanning began in Australia. There are many variations of Australian caravanning history. It is widely understood the first caravans were horse drawn covered wagons.
Early drovers moving herds of cattle would be away from civilization for months at a time, travelling across outback regions of Australia. Their basic caravans provided a bed and shelter – nothing like the present luxurious caravans available.
With the shift from horses to motor vehicles, the caravan world was revolutionised. The early vehicle drawn caravans were very heavy due to the materials and construction techniques used at that time. This caused problems with the low power produced by the early cars of this era.
With the advancement of aluminium alloys, much larger and elaborate caravans could be built and still reduce weight. High powered cars also had a dramatic affect on the vehicle's towing ability. With weight no longer being a burden, designers "cut loose" and caravans started being fitted all imaginable accessories - including the kitchen sink.
Trying to reduce the caravan drag on the towing vehicle meant the introduction of Pop-top caravans. These vans could be lowered for towing, greatly reducing wind drag, and raised when the traveller reached their destination.
Off Road caravans
With the invention of 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles, there was an obvious need for an off road caravan. The off road vans have greater ground clearance to enable them to travel through creek beds and over rough rocky terrain. They have a stronger chassis and sealed underbody to cope with the harsher conditions, reduce dust and water entry.
Slide on campers became popular with owners of flat tray Utes and trucks. The attraction of these campers enables the owner to use the vehicle for dual purposes - a camper during holidays and a work vehicle for the rest of the year.
For more information visit Wombat Conversions website www.wombatco.com.au
A'vans are a new design of caravan. The range is continually growing with dealers in avery state of Australia.
They come in various types such as Caravans, Campers, Poptops and Slideouts.
Aliner is the original Avan design and has the classic "A"
shape. There are 8 different layouts available. Length 4.85 M. GTM 909 kg.
Tare 680 kg
Sportliner is a more compact smaller model than the Aliner. Length 3.92 M. GTM 830 kg. Tare 590 kg
Cruiseliner Avan enjoys more living area from the Aliner. Fitted with a larger storage boot and upgraded chassis. There are 8 models of Cruiseliner to choose from. Length 5.76 M. GTM 1090 kg. Tare 900 kg.
Cruiser has the same features as Cruiseliner, but does not come with a boot. Also has 8 models available. Length 5.13 M. GTM 1072 kg. Tare 840 kg.
Poptop A'vans are available in 11 models and various sizes. Gabrielle is the smallest at 5.247 M. Liam is the largest in this range at 6.925 M and is fitted out with a toilet and shower.
Eurostar is the newest addition to the A'van fleet. Complete with toilet and shower, home theatre, LCD TV, A/C and full 12 volt power system. Length 7.375 M. GTM 1985 kg. Tare 1700 kg.
Slideout A'vans are a great innovation giving valuable extra space inside once extended. The Ray is available in 3 different lengths.
There is a dedicated club catering for owners of A'vans. Click here to see a list of clubs in Australia.
5th Wheelers are not Motorhomes but are not exactly a Caravans either. They rely on a vehicle to tow them and like caravans, can be unhitched to enable the towing vehicle to travel around in freedom. When it is time to continue travelling, the Fifth Wheeler is quickly and easily recoupled to the vehicle again. The hitch is attached to the tray of the vehicle approximately above the rear axle (a bit like a semi trailer) rather than being attached to the tow bar. This arrangement enables better towing stability and handling. Depending on the size of the 5th Wheeler, a special licence may be required. Please check before purchasing one.
For a list of Caravan clubs around Australia, click here
For a list of A'van clubs around Australia, click here
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