It would be hard to find two happier caravanners than Robert and Tina Wilson, the winners of the 2015 Caravan World Ultimate Adventures prize pack, worth more than $100,000.
The Wilsons, who hail from Warragul, Vic, were not long back from a caravan shopping trip to Melbourne Leisurefest when they found out, via a life-changing phone call from CW editor Max Taylor, they had won a new 5.94m (19ft 6in) Majestic Sierra Extreme offroad caravan worth $57,990 and a Stabicraft 1650 Fisher boat with a 100hp Mercury Command Thrust outboard and accessories, valued at $45,000.
“This will change our lives,” Tina bubbled, excitedly, when she laid eyes on their new van. “It’s the caravan we always wanted, but couldn’t afford. It’s going to take us to all the places we’ve always wanted to go.”
When the Wilsons visited Leisurefest, they were looking for a replacement for their 25-year-old, 16ft Roma caravan, which they bought second-hand just over two years ago.
“We had decided it was time for an upgrade to something with a bit more comfort,” Robert said. “I have some long service leave owing and there were a number of places on our bucket list that we wanted to go, but we didn’t have the right caravan to get there in the comfort that we
Ironically, they had read CW’s review of the Majestic, published in June 2015, and both commented at the time about how well it would suit them.
“Being avid Caravan World readers, we entered the competition, but we never thought we would actually win,” Robert said.
The couple has well and truly done their ‘apprenticeship’, having been camping and caravanning for many years. They went tenting on their honeymoon, moved up to a camper trailer and then on to the Roma pop-top.
“We went to Leisurefest looking for ideas for another second-hand caravan, not to buy a new one,” Robert said.
High on Tina’s list of priorities was an ensuite, while Robert wanted to be sure his 2003 Toyota HiLux could tow it.
“The old HiLux limited our choices, but now that’s all changed,” he beamed.
PERFECT IN EVERY WAY
The Majestic Sierra Extreme ticked all their wanderlust boxes perfectly.
“It’s got so much room,” Tina exclaimed. “I love the decor and the high-gloss cabinetry. The neutral colours are just what I would have chosen. It also has a full separate shower and toilet ensuite – plus a washing machine – which is a real, unexpected bonus. This is luxury!”
Robert was delighted that the Majestic Sierra Extreme was perfectly equipped for their extended travels.
“It’s got great ground clearance, a solid 150mm Austrail gal chassis and, best of all, there is tough Simplicity load-sharing tandem suspension underneath. This means we can travel off the beaten track with confidence, which is exactly what we wanted.”
Apart from opening up a world of travel to the Wilsons, the Majestic Sierra Extreme will have two other major impacts on the way they travel in the future.
“Our old Roma only had twin single beds,” Tina said. “We went on our original honeymoon in a tent and this will be like a second honeymoon!”
And Robert has now come to terms with parting ways with his dear old HiLux.
“It’s done its work, but it will only pull 1800kg, so it’s not strong enough to tow this van with its ATM of more than 2500kg,” he said, “So it will have to go.
“The good news is that we’ll now be able to afford a new or late model vehicle to replace it, using the money we’ll save on the replacement for the old Roma.
“This is a win-win all-round!”
The Wilsons have already started planning a big 2016 adventure in their new Majestic, beginning in late February or March.
“We want to go as far north as we can,” said Robert. “Then maybe a bit further!”
However, Tina said they would first do a shorter familiarisation trip, probably to somewhere closer to home in East Gippsland.
“There’s a lot to learn about in this new caravan,” she said. “We plan to enjoy every bit of it.”