Solar-powered off-road caravan comfortably shelters a large family on outback adventures
Think "hard-sided caravan," and you might end up with images of poolside family vacations at motorhome resorts. But "Australian hard-sided caravan" tends to inspire very different visions - like battling off poisonous snakes and spiders on the Outback adventure of a lifetime, just hours before enjoying an air-conditioned family dinner prepared on a kitchen nicer than you'd find in many homes. The new Avida Rock is one of the latest such Australian caravans, and it's built to survive the harshest, driest slices of the Outback while showering the whole family in comfort and luxury.
Like other good Australian off-road caravans and trailers, the Avida Rock relies on an ultra-tough hot-dipped galvanized chassis as its foundation. A Cruisemaster XT independent coil suspension cushions the 16-in alloy wheels wrapped in 245/75R16 tires, and Dexter brakes deliver stopping power.
Up above that solid foundation, Avida has built a 21-foot (6.4-m) body with a proprietary sandwich panel construction. Wraparound checker plating along the walls and a stone guard up front helps those sandwich panels fend off the inevitable projectiles of off-road travel.
Avida's design is hard as a rock outside, but things soften immediately upon entering the side door, revealing a chic, ultramodern living space with nearly all the comforts of home. With sleeping options including the fixed double bed tucked neatly into the front, a convertible central dinette lounge, and two to three stacked bunk beds at the rear, the Rock sleeps up to seven people, including five adults, making it perfect for adventurous families, whether nuclear or extended.
Fit for the amateur chef, the Rock kitchen is about as far a cry from dangling skewered wienies over a campfire as you can get while still cooking in the wild. The standard three-burner gas stove with electric cooker hiding below the sleek glass lid makes easy work of boiling, sautéeing and frying, while the included gas grill (broiler) and microwave offer alternative cooking methods. Those looking for even more cooking versatility can opt for the available range with oven. The kitchen sink includes a separate filtered faucet for drinking water, and a two-door compressor fridge provides cold storage.
For those that prefer cooking in the open air while camping and traveling, a slide-out kitchen and slide-out BBQ grill are available options.
The Rock's bathroom is in the rear corner, across from the bunk beds. It features a dry bath layout with a toilet, sink and separate shower compartment. Next to the sink is a washing machine.
The Rock's generous standard equipment package helps to elevate its interior well above caravan average, and we think the use of neutral colors and contrasts further enhances things. Buyers have a selection of various furniture colors, but the palate appears to be filled with various tones of white, black and gray - not for everyone, but we think it gives the Rock a clean, modern look throughout, an interesting contrast to the natural earth tones that likely lurk just outside the window.
The Rock includes a standard 300W solar system, hot water heater, roof-mounted air conditioner and LED lighting throughout. A Bluetooth stereo system with included outdoor speakers and a TV with DVD player are also standard. Fresh water is split between two 120-L tanks, and grey water finds its home in a 125-L tank.
Additional standard equipment worth mentioning includes a roll-out awning, outdoor shower with hot and cold water, dual spare tires, and a drawbar toolbox with slide-out trays. Storage is available throughout the interior and exterior.
Avida doesn't list a simple base price on its website, but we inquired for a price specific to Victoria, Australia on Friday and were given a quote of AU$88,490 (approx. US$62,775). That's a whole lot of money for a trailer, but as we've seen in the past, Australian caravan and camper trailer makers tend to sell super-tough, top-quality trailers with all the bells and whistles to those willing to pay the price. Avida backs the Rock with a three-year factory-backed warranty, five-year structural guarantee, and two-year 24/7 roadside assistance program.