Australia is home to some of the most visually beautiful places. However, while beautiful, some of these locations remain extremely remote and cut off from the rest of the better-connected tourist hotspots.
It doesn’t mean they’re inaccessible. Instead, they require more planning and time on the road - and occasionally, something that can handle going off the beaten track. The best way to make a trip along bumpy and dusty remote Australian roads is to travel with an off-road caravan.
At Driva, we’ve looked far and wide at the best off road vans, campers, and caravans and have made this list of the best available! We’ll break down things you should know about off-road caravans, discuss some of the best road caravan manufacturers and let you know all the features to look out for!
Can’t wait to begin your adventure? We’ve already compared loan rates from over 30 lenders for you so you can get financed and into the best campers ASAP.
What makes a good off-road caravan?
There are several boxes caravans and campers need to tick off before they can be classified as a ‘good off-road caravan.’ These are the big 4 we’ll focus on:
- Strong chassis and drawbar
- Weight Versus Comfort
- All-Terrain Tyres
- Off-Road Suspension
Strong Chassis and Drawbar
When it comes to the chassis and drawbar, off-road caravans should have stronger and visually larger versions in comparison to on-road caravans. Additionally, the A-frame members should run the length of the van.
To further emphasise the strength of the chassis and drawbar, they should be constructed using high-quality steel. Furthermore, to promote protection and durability long-term, you'd want them hot-dip galvanised. Finally, they need to be under warranty when used in off-road situations.
Weight Versus Comfort
We all want luxury, but it sometimes comes at a premium we can't afford with off-road caravans. We're not talking monetarily, but instead practicality. When a caravan is fitted with unnecessary yet luxurious extras, it adds to the overall weight, thus making it far heavier. When a caravan is 'overweight', it handles off-road conditions worse depending on the degree of excess weight.
So when considering things like ensuites, large bathrooms, major appliances, etc., consider the weight of the caravan and the performance it might sacrifice.
An off-road caravan has tyres that are physically larger than that of its on-road counterparts. The usual tyres used are Light Truck Tyres (LTT). These are beneficial as they reduce the risks of punctures. The most ideal option is all-terrain tyres. If the ground you're travelling on is soft or you're going through mud, they might not be necessary.
All-terrain tyres are perfect for harsh road conditions but do add to the overall weight of your caravan and the fuel usage from towing.
It's obvious that an off-road caravan would need off-road suspensions. These are what enable a van's ability to traverse rough and uneven terrain.
To ensure a comfortable off-road experience, you'd need independent suspensions that have coil springs and high-quality shock absorbers. These reduce the risk of damage from rough terrain.
Best small off-road caravan with ensuite
Rhinomax Lost Trak
- Off-grid equipment
- Easy set-up
To kick off our list, we’ve got to mention the Rhinomax Lost Trak off-road caravan. This is a testament to that Aussie build quality. The Rhinomax Lost Trak is a brilliant caravan that’s clearly built to last. Thanks to high-quality parts used to ensure it not only withstands the rough roads of Australia but time itself. There’s been a great deal of off-the-grid living considerations given to this caravan with a 225Ah lithium battery and rooftop solar panels to keep the lights on! The interior features a great design with ample space to move around, all while providing a fully equipped en-suite bathroom. It is cosy, roomy, and is the perfect choice to take on the open roads.
Best off-road pop-top caravan
Goldstream Wing 2 RL
- Off-grid equipment
- Compact and light design
- Durable off roading caravans
- It’s expensive but considering the perks of the model it’s worth it.
Looking for the best pop-top caravans? This model offers a generous kitchen spacious design full of electrical appliances, making it it perfect for families. While it’s rather expensive in comparison to other caravans, it’s completely worth it considering what you’re getting. You’ve got a great living area and ample sitting and sleeping space to make the journey through the great outdoors that much more comfortable. It’s also extremely easy to transport thanks to the high-quality materials and compact and light design.
Best off-road caravan for families
Parkes 15 MK2 QUAD
- Double sealed bed hatch for dust reduction
- Pedders Shock Absorbers
- Truma reverse cycle air conditioning
- Costly model
For a family of four, this is possibly the best model out there for you and your family. Because it’s a comfortable off-road hybrid caravan, the Parkes 15 models are perfect for the family looking to experience a caravanning lifestyle and escape the hustle and bustle. This model features bunks for the children while there’s a king bed for the grown-ups. That’s not all, though. There’s also a kitchen, ensuite bathroom, and external kitchen. These models definitely provide enough space for those long camping trips where you’re planning on travelling far across the country with the family. There’s everything you need to keep the peace while you explore Australia.
Best off-road caravan under $50 000
Ezytrail Parkes 15
- Large fully plumbed en-suite
- Insulated bedroom
- Upgraded suspension system
- Storage opportunities in internal space minimal
This is an off-road caravan that’s made waves not just for its quality but also for its reasonable price. It’s a hybrid pop-top with a great fold-out bed in the rear of the caravan. This is an upgraded model from EzyTrail’s previous model, considering they’ve upgraded the suspension and refined the finish of the caravan. As a result, it’s a far more thought-out caravan that’s ready to take you to the most beautiful places in this great country straight off the market. With two shock absorbers per wheel, it’s sure to be able to take on just about anything without issue.
Which caravan has the best build quality?
The Solitaire By Empire Caravans
- Full bathroom
- Extra storage under the queen size bed
- Superior build quality
- Pricey (but difficult to complain considering what you get)
This might be the king of kings in the caravan world. This off-road monster is a massive well-built caravan that’s ready to be all you need for a killer adventure on the open roads. This model has considered everything, and they’ve spared no effort to bring their A-game. The Solitaire features a great sound system, toilet, hot water shower, gas and electric oven, skylights, 2 x 100AH batteries, IBIS roof aircon, and a whole lot more. It’s built to last, and that’s extremely clear. While it costs a lot of money, it’s well worth the price considering it’s an investment that will last a lifetime.
What's the best off-road caravan in Australia?
- Light yet rugged build
- Capable of handling extreme off-road conditions
- The quality and inclusion of features is high quality, without question
- Cooking equipment isn’t included
If you’re looking for the perfect caravan, you’re looking for the AOR Quantum. This is a high-quality build from a company known for quality that ticks all the boxes. The words used to describe this particular model include innovation and quality. While somewhat compact, the design is well thought out to provide comfort. It might not include a kitchen or bathroom or all the creature comforts you’re after, but it is guaranteed to help you feel comfortable while out in the harsh Australian outback. And besides - sometimes the best way to explore or experience an adventure isn’t with all the comforts and luxury of home, but just with an off road van, your friends and family and some of beautiful beaches and national parks! With included solar panels and a ton of extra features, it’s sure to win hearts and minds as one of the best, if not the best off-road caravans in Australia.
Ready to go off-grid on some off-road adventures?
You know the options are out there, now it's up to you to find the perfect option for you. When you're ready to make that commitment, Driva will be here to help get you the caravan of your dreams. We've got caravan and camper trailer loans waiting just for you.
Are new-age off-road caravans made in China?
No. New Age Caravans have designed and manufactured its huge range of caravans in Australia. They proudly employ over 180 Australian citizens across two factories, one in Victoria and the other in Epping. New Age Caravans are a proudly Australian caravan company.
What is the difference between full-off-road and semi-off-road caravans?
A full-off-road caravan is built tougher in order to withstand harsh and rigorous journeys across tough Australian terrain. These types of caravans usually feature a robust chassis, unique suspension, enhanced shock absorbers, and high-quality brakes. This is the kind of caravan you want when hitting the open roads where the journey is bound to get treacherous and requires a caravan with more hardiness.
While a semi-off-road caravan is a simplified off-road caravan. They are fitted with semi-off-road suspensions, larger wheels, high-ground clearance tires, and a raised chassis to hand rougher terrains. The major drawback of a semi-off-road caravan is that while they can handle off-road trails, they’re incapable of traversing rough conditions. So depending on where you’re planning on going, check if a semi-off-road is capable of the journey.
Can you convert a caravan to an off-road?
It’s certainly possible to convert a standard on-road caravan into an off-road caravan. It requires a few upgrades, but it’s often affordable and can produce great results. The most prominent upgrades necessary include an upgrade to independent suspension for better stability when towing. Another necessary upgrade is improved shock absorbers for better off-road handling, sway reduction, and reduced chance of easy wear and tear.
Do you need an off-road caravan to go around Australia?
The short answer is no, but it always depends on where you intend to travel to in Australia. Australia is a large continent with many remote places, most famously located from the centre and surroundings. These are remote areas of the country which require more intense travelling means. It takes longer to traverse and would be infinitely more comfortable with a quality off-road caravan. So while it’s not always necessary, it can be more beneficial in the long run to opt for off-road caravans. This is especially true if it’s a long journey instead of just a day trip.
Is independent suspension better on a caravan?
The vast majority of on-road caravans feature beam axles. When a caravan features a beam axle, it means the caravan can’t move one wheel without the other. So imagine driving, and you hit a pot-hole. In that case, the whole caravan will jump since all wheels are affected equally. When you have an independent suspension, it enables the opportunity to travel better when experiencing obstacles. The wheels no longer all feel the same thing and instead act as separate wheels making your caravan less susceptible to damage.