Brisbane Caravan Show goes retro

By: Malcolm Street

It seems old is new again, as CW field editor Malcolm Street discovered at the popular Brisbane Caravan Show.

Brisbane Caravan Show goes retro
A refurbished Franklin van on display at the Brisbane Caravan Show

Despite the ever-encroaching apartment blocks and construction cranes overhead, there was good spirit at the recent Queensland Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow at the Brisbane Showgrounds. I quite like the Brisbane show because there is usually something a bit unusual lurking around the corner. Indeed, there were plenty of corners this year, with visitors and traders alike having to use some basic detective skills to get around and find things.

It was certainly no easy task for Ron Chapman and his team to set up this year’s show, given the restricted access and, in some cases, they had to be very creative with the location of sites.

There’s no doubt that the entire RV industry in Australia continues to move forward with the latest in technology but there was also a pleasant retro whiff about this year’s show. For instance, the aptly-named Jackaroo Vintage Retro Caravans has produced a small range of caravans, designed in an earlier style but using modern technology. Similarly, at the Kratzmann Caravans stand, there was a refurbished ‘barn find’ – an old-style rounded Franklin caravan, along with a very modern duplicate. I thought it was very stylish.

At the Retreat Caravans stand, dealer Mark Glencross had a great-looking Morris Minor Traveller refurbished in a ‘Woody’ style, hitched up to a similarly upgraded bondwood caravan, from which great coffee was served. At the other end of the scale was the Glencross purpose-built family caravan with a striking orange interior. Stay tuned for more on that.

A highly unusual caravan, also on the Kratzmann stand, was the Caria Adventure Bound full caravan with a very high pop-top roof at the rear! The pop-top created a second level which contained, among other things, a second-storey bedroom!

The fifth wheeler sector of the RV industry seems to be in a period of waning at the moment. I suspect that’s, in part, because the benefits of fifth wheeler towing really aren’t understood by a lot people. On the Cut Loose fifth wheeler stand, Nick Oliver was keen not only to promote the benefits of fifth wheelers but also to talk about his new lightweight construction methods.

At the Trakka stand, where they were kind enough to set up a temporary and much-needed office space for me, one of the latest Trakka Torino motorhomes had a full-hinged double bed in the rear. So you not only get the benefits of a fixed bed but also a walkway through the rear doors.

As with many things in Australia, the range of imported products continues to grow. On the A’van stand was one of the latest German Knaus vans, a very swish and sophisticated looking Eurostar (you can read our review of this model on page 42).

Meanwhile, on the Adria stand, was the first European van with a slide-out to hit Australia. Also on the Adria stand was the first of the new Coral motorhomes to be imported in Australia. And across the way, the Swift team had one of its new Rio motorhomes on display – coach-built with not only a side entry door but also a full-width lift-up rear entry door.

Something for everyone at the Queensland show? You bet! The show has been declared a huge success by Caravanning Queensland, with more than 55,000 people visiting the show over the duration. And vanners were not shy in opening their wallets, either, with more than $65 million in sales recorded over the course of the show, including more than 1200 caravans and RVs.