Posted by Discovery Parks on 19 Mar 2020
Updated July 2022
It’s time we talked...about buying your first caravan!
If you’re about to take the leap and purchase your first ever home on wheels, we know it can be daunting.
To put you at ease about your decision, we’ve put together this list of the most common recreational vehicles (RV’s) on the market, who they might suit and what you can expect to spend.
Whether it’s the full-on comfort of a motorhome, the versatility of a caravan cruiser or the straight up get-up-and-go of a campervan, there’s a make, model and style of travel out there for you.
The stereotype of the beaten up old caravan is long dead.
And while we know they still exist, if you want something that’s going to get you around Australia in the level of reliabe comfort to which you have ‘ahem’ become accustomed, you shouldn’t expect to part with anything less than $45,000 for something second-hand or $150,000 at the top end of the market.
Most hard tops today come with showers and toilets as standard, as well as household safety features like circuit breakers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Further, depending on how luxurious you want your adventures to be, modern caravans can be custom built to your own layout specifications to include full kitchens, ensuite bathrooms, king-size beds and bunks, air-conditioning and ample storage options.
Apart from lording it over your still tented friends, one of the great benefits of the caravan lifestyle is that there’s so little set up involved once you arrive in our parks.
You might want to take a day to learn how to reverse your vehicle, but once you’ve mastered this, there’s not too much else to worry about.
To make things even easier, many of our holiday parks have drive-through sites, so no reversing required!
THE POP TOP CARAVAN
Similar to the hard-top caravan, the Pop Top comes with customisable features and facilities.
Able to go alittle more off-road than its more heavy-set cousin, the main benefit of a pop top is that they are smaller, cheaper, and lighter, which makes them easier to tow and better on your vehicle's overall fuel economy.
In addition, their reduced size makes the pop top caravan easier to store, and able to fit under most carports. If you're ready to buy, expect to pay anywhere from $12,000-$60,000 for something new or in very good condition.
READ ALSO: Long weekends your family will love.
THE TENT TRAILER
This is a great option for first-time caravanners, as the tow is compact, lightweight and easily drawn by most regular sedans or SUVs.
Models and floor plans can vary and as a result so does the average price tag, which can range from $5,000 for an older model to $30,000 at the top of the range. All of this depends on the build, design and features selected.
Once your average trailer is reversed onto site, the living area isn’t huge, meaning this kind of setup is most appropriate for adventurous couples looking to explore a little further.
As its name suggests, the tent trailer is ultimately a tent but with a few added comforts like a permanent mattress and usually a small cooktop and sink.
Obviously there are no built-in ensuite bathrooms here, so you’ll need to book a powered ensuite site if you want to achieve some bathroom privacy.
Storing a tent trailer while not in use is easy, and should comfortably fit in most carports. The utility of the tent-trailer is obviously its ability to explore more, so what you might lack in creature comforts, you make up with its versatility.
THE CAMPER TRAILER
Somewhere between the Pop Top Caravan and the Tent Trailer, the Camper Trailer is a more luxurious version of the latter.
Still pretty much a tent on wheels, most of these have a pop-up annex made from canvas, a permanent mattress and bedding, slide out cooktops, fridges and barbecue hotplates. Again you’ll need to book an ensuite powered site if you want bathroom facilities.
Able to sleep up to 8 people in some cases, the set up is similar to that of a caravan, once you’re in park you can simply unhitch and be free to explore.
Easy to store while not in use, the average price tag on these can vary depending on brand but you can expect to pay up to around $80,000 for a top of the range version of this or as little as $10,000 for something with a few miles under the belt.
Want to feel like the King or Queen of the road?
Get yourself a motorhome, where the sky's the limit in terms of the features and amenities you can achieve - with a price range to match.
Perfect for those who aren’t yet comfortable with manoeuvring a big rig on the road or around campsites, the motorhome experience is perfect for those unencumbered couples on their big lap of Australia, or for smaller families who love doing the road in style.
Most come with the standard luxuries of home including ovens & cooktops, fridges, bedding, lots of storage, a TV, ensuite and air-conditioning.
As we said, the price tag here is far from light, and you can expect to pay upwards of $100,000 for even a basic model.
READ ALSO: 15 signs you're definitely a caravanner
Campervans have surged in popularity over the last few years, with couples and families making the most of the current climate to live their dreams in the get-up-and-go campervan lifestyle. If you’ve ever heard of #vanlyfe, you know exactly what we mean.
While many of what you’ll see on social media are converted postal or tradie vans (the van conversion business is also booming) you can expect to fork out from $60,000 for a used hire product or up to approximately $150,000 for one that comes straight off the shelf.
Ideal for 1 or 2 people but also manageable for a smaller family, most of these will come with bedding, fridges, galley kitchens and enough storage.
Not normally inclusive of a bathroom, ‘van-lifers’ usually aren’t shy about fully embracing the outdoor lifestyle. In other words, book a powered ensuite site if you’d like to stay close to a hot shower and toilet.
The ultimate in convenience - there's no towing or unhitching involved - the campervan really is the ‘all-in-one’ caravan and camping lifestyle product.