It’s a brand we’ve admired for a long time. Back in 2012, we had our first close encounter with the Kimberley Kamper hard floor, tasked with the opportunity to review this capable little off-road camper. Then the following year, we looked at the more opulent Kimberley Karavan hybrid.
Back then, the Karavan was one of those dream campers you could never see yourself owning, due to the lusty price tag, innovative design, and high-end componentry. Each time we’d attend a camping show, we’d ogle the Karavan as the ultimate luxury tourer.
The Karavan has always held its own lane, being quite unique in the RV landscape. In transit mode, it fills around the same dimensions as a Tvan, yet once at camp, it morphs into a much larger hybrid camper and without the canvas walls. The upper body raises above the lower body and the bed pushes out, to create a useable internal space, with enough room for four adults at happy hour if the weather isn’t playing ball.
Some of the other key features include the waterless composting loo; induction cooking; internal ensuite with swing away toilet for extra showering room; huge Lithium battery bank and roof top solar array; air conditioning that can run from 12V; and an external kitchen.
Then there’s the diesel hot water and space heating, air suspension, and remote-control operation for both the actuators for opening the camper and the air bags for levelling. It’s very cool!
So, it should come as no surprise to learn we’ll be wheeling one through the Pavey garage doors in the coming months. While we’ve loved the internal space of the Track T4, its right at the top end of our tow vehicle’s 2.5 tonne limitation. The Karavan, in comparison, will give us more contingency, being around 300kg lighter. And in addition, it’s a lot more slippery behind the vehicle with its lower roof line.
Many years ago, we tagged along with good friends Jake and Simone, also owners of a Karavan, for a tour around Jamieson in the lower Victorian alps as an introduction to freshwater fishing. Back then we had a Series 3 Topaz, and it was interesting to compare the two side by side.
Well, we’re doing it all again later this year, as we reconnect and compare notes on our Karavans during a weeklong tour in the Victorian High Country.
That trip was quite an eye opener, and included learning to fish from an inflatable kayak. Beyond the initial frustration from accidentally flicking lures into the scrub and having to fetch them from the water, it was an exhausting exercise. Over the course of the morning, we’d access areas visited by few others. We’d paddle one section of river, portage our kayaks to the next deeper section, all while carrying our fishing equipment. And then repeat.
By mid-morning I was glad to take a breather, stretching out on the kayak at the riverbank and feeling the warm rays of sunshine filter through the towering gums. Jake had shared a similar situation when he’d snoozed off at the riverbank, lulled into a deep state of relaxation from the sound of the river and natural bush environment. He awoke to the sound of the river rock tapping nearby, tap tap, tap tap. He looked up to see a large snake foraging for food amongst the rocks nearby. It’s amazing the wildlife that appears when the environment is still and quiet!
We didn’t catch any fish this time around, but we did get to discover a pristine section of river.
Now we’re looking forward to our upcoming trip, breaking in a new camper, and exploring the high country with our friends in our new compact and comfortable Karavan.
See you on the trails!