Let's Go Queensland Caravan & Camping Supershow 2024 - Caravan World Australia

Let's Go Queensland Caravan & Camping Supershow 2024

Written by: Malcolm Street

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Malcolm Street reports from this year’s Let’s Go Queensland Caravan and Camping Supershow held at the Brisbane Showgrounds.

Of all the capital city caravan and camping shows, the Let’s Go Queensland Supershow differs slightly from the others. Apart from the famous Queensland warm weather in mid-winter, another prime reason is that there are several local manufacturers based in the southwest Queensland area in attendance, along with some well-known local characters. 

I won’t mention any names here except perhaps one. Not long after I walked through the show gates, I ran into the former CEO of Caravanning Queensland, Ron Chapman. Ron retired from the CEO role in 2019 but still takes an active interest in the industry and has always been a good friend to this magazine. Ron is still getting around but like many of us these days, a little slower.

The caravan and motorhome industry is going through a little post-COVID correction, amplified somewhat by the current economic conditions. Sales have certainly slowed down in some areas, but not all, and that was indeed reflected at the show. Several smaller and boutique (i.e., more expensive) caravan dealers and manufacturers reported strong interest and, in many cases, firm orders. 

Similarly, just about all the motorhome people told me the same thing. However, things were certainly downbeat in the budget and family van sector. One dealer told me that the best sales of late had been in both the most expensive and the cheapest vans he had; it was the mid-range vans that were slow. 

The Queensland Supershow can be challenging to navigate, particularly this year when one of the walkways had to be closed off at the last minute for safety reasons. However, after some orientation, there was much to see and a lot of other outdoor enthusiasts ready to explore the latest offerings. 

Retro times

I’m always interested in lighter-weight caravans, so it was a bit ironic that the first thing that caught my eye was the 1926 caravan owned by Caravanning Queensland. No worries about ball weights or gross combined mass. I suspect the biggest problem may have been the reliability of the Model T Ford ‘Woody’ tow vehicle!

1922 Model T Ford ‘Woody’

Still on things old-fashioned, Goldy Caravans, a Queensland manufacturer that builds retro caravans using modern technology, displayed a couple of colourful vans. Nothing like the good old days but using contemporary products.

Budget pricing

In my hunt for something budget-priced, I came across a Jayco Starcraft Bushpack 15.48-3 — a van with an external length of just under 5m (16ft). It’s a family rig complete with bunks, in a surprisingly compact layout, yet with a price tag under $58,000. In a similar vein was a Fantasy Caravans Mystic 12F, a Chinese-built family van with a body length of 3.7m (12ft 1in). 

Jayco Starcraft Bushpack caravan

In a slightly different league but still on budget pricing, a surprise on the Sunland stand was a brand-new caravan with a price tag under $100,000. Given that Sunland’s pricing is usually well north of that, it drew my attention. It’s built in the Sunland style but with a trimmed-down features list. 

Avan is well known for its lighter-weight caravans, yet even so, the Avan Aspire is just 3.86m (12ft 7in) long. Designed for a couple or single traveller, this compact van is ideal for a smaller tow vehicle yet has all the basic features. 

On The Move, an importer/manufacturer of Chinese-built caravans, recently set the industry talking with its new offroad Crossfire 4.7 van. However, a new addition at the show was the Infinity 5.5. A little different from most of the On The Move range, the Infinity 5.5 is a road tourer constructed in the same way as the Crossfire but designed for a lighter-weight tow vehicle in a cost-effective way.

On The Move’s new Infinity road tourer

Upmarket

At the other end of the towing (and price) spectrum was a 7.2m (23ft 5in) Lotus Trooper — a dual axle, dual entry door offroad caravan. The dual doors mean that the adults have an entry door at one end, and the kids have their own at the rear. It’s not a cheap proposition at around $180,000, especially when the necessary Silverado/RAM tow vehicle is considered.

Impressive Lotus caravan at the Supershow

Something a little different was to be found on the Vision RV and Sunseeker stand — a Vision RV Nirvana pop-top with a folding boat trailer on the drawbar and a tinny on the roof. This is very much for the fishing enthusiast, but I did wonder about the little matter of tow ball weights. Another boat carrier was Royal Flair’s Raptor caravan. However, it had a purpose-built rack on the back for a quad bike!

Royal Flair Raptor caravan

Also, two teardrop manufacturers/importers, Tucana and Jag, were a little different. It must be a Queensland thing, but it’s not hard to see the attraction if you desire a lightweight camper but one in which the walls don’t flap at night.

Slide-on campers are very popular in the US but less so here. However, they are certainly available in Australia, and a new name on the scene is Ute Cabin. The slide-on is made in Thailand but designed for Aussie utes. What’s different is that the Ute Cabin slide-on has a slide-out, which improves the internal space and allows for a north-south bed up front. 

Show-goers looking at the impressive range from CrusaderInside the Majestic Sierra

Motorhomes

As always, motorhome manufacturers were well represented at the show, and some reported good sales. Queensland-based Explorer 4WD Motorhomes had its latest model, a Nomad, on display. It features a north–south bed up front, something not common on ute-based motorhomes, and a sideways club lounge in the rear. 

Another surprise launch at the show was from Stoney Creek. As a manufacturer/importer of camper trailers, the LDV-based van conversion could well be an interesting contender in the motorhome market. 

Fifth wheelers are getting rare these days, which is a mystery to me, at least, since towing a fifth-wheeler is a more stable proposition than a caravan. Indeed, the only fifth wheeler I saw at the show, apart from the RACQ’s mobile unit behind a prime mover, was from Toowoomba-based Winjana. It is a very practical unit and easily towable by a dual cab ute. 

Other varients

At one time in the recreational vehicle market, there were mostly caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes. These days, there is considerably more variety. At least two manufacturers/importers, Signature and X Series, turned up with camper trailers fitted with roof-top tents — mix ‘n’ match for sure. 

X Series RV Path

There’s much technology built into contemporary recreational vehicles, from building techniques to battery and solar technology. Quite a few manufacturers, big and small, had helpful information stands, covering everything from Bushtracker’s full aluminium demonstration frame to battery management systems from suppliers such as Enerdrive and REDARC. A growing trend is the manufacturers who build the entire battery charger/inverter setup into the side of their vans. 

Campervan conversions, particularly those based on either a VW Transporter or a Toyota HiAce tend to have several versions of a standard layout. Every now and again someone comes up with something different and this HiAce conversion by Van Adventure is certainly in that category. The slide-out bench and table setup at the rear of the vehicle is a very novel idea.

Van Adventure

There was something for everyone at the Let’s Go Queensland Supershow and even if you couldn’t get there but are interested in a ‘Show Special’ price then some of those might still be available. And if you haven't quite decided, we're sure next year's Supershow will bring some exciting new offerings for Australian travellers to be enticed by. 

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