Snowy River SR-Nineteen

Peter Quilty — 22 August 2019
River of dreams

There was movement at Caravan World, for the word had passed around…

So ‘saddle up’ all you caravanning ‘Clancys of the Overflow’ and let me take you on an exhilarating ride with the Snowy River SR-Nineteen!

We recently collected a tandem-axle 6.4m (21ft) SR-Nineteen from the Snowy River caravan manufacturing plant in Somerton before heading to our test location — the vibrant and tranquil Macedon Ranges — less than an hour from Melbourne. (Ironically, the undulating landscape enveloping the region could have been described in the iconic Australian poetry of ‘Banjo’ Paterson.)



Imported from China and finished off in Australia, the SR-Nineteen roamed freely — ‘where the pine-clad ridges raise’ — like an emancipated brumby. I towed the SR-Nineteen with a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport through the postcard-perfect setting and its amazing stability came courtesy of a sturdy DuraGal chassis and ultra-reliable AL-KO independent rubber torsion suspension.

NEVER SAY DIE

Needless to say, ‘it was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won't say die — there was courage in its quick impatient tread’.

I’m also enamoured with its vacuum-bonded sandwich panel fibreglass composite sheathing (mocha-coloured) wrapped around a welded box section aluminium frame. It’s an impervious setup beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’ve probably mentioned it ad nauseam, but aluminium, for the same weight as timber, offers considerably increased strength and corrosion resistance and is not susceptible to rot.

There’s also the van’s versatility given its capacities — battery (1 x 100Ah), water (2 x 95L) and solar (1 x 120W) — rendering it off-grid capable on at least a short-term basis. (There is provision for another battery courtesy of an additional battery box.) And with a relatively lightweight Tare (2273kg), the SR-19 boasts an imposing 600kg payload — a 200kg increase on a previous SR-19 I’ve tested.

But the icing on the cake is the standard kit such as a large four-tier pull-out pantry, a quartet of storage doors at entry, post-form benchtops, a 6in A-frame, reversing camera, and a 120W solar panel.

NO REGRETS

Thus, if the ‘colt from old Regret’ was ‘worth a thousand pound’, then the SR-Nineteen represents enticing value at around $55,000 / $57,990 as it’s no ‘wild bush horse’. It’s got the looks — and the goods — of a van in the $70-75K genre.

I’ve already alluded to a few external attributes, but the hits keep on coming…

There’s a voluminous front boot and three-quarter width tunnel boot, and the 6in drawbar comprises dual 9kg gas cylinders, with a tray behind. 

The front window has a shield, and the rear has a reversing camera and a spare wheel on a two-arm bumper bar. Meanwhile, there’s also the benefit of an Aussie Traveller awning and a fold-down picnic table.

Additionally, the SR-Nineteen has a 240V inlet and outlet, 12V external socket and antenna outlet, LED annexe light, gas bayonet, illuminated grab handle, four drop-down stabilisers, and a single pull-out step.

And for climatic comfort there’s a roof-mounted Houghton Belaire 3500 — a high output air-conditioner, making it ideal for the harsh Australian climate. Its ultra-low plenum has an elegant design that complements modern interiors. Meanwhile, a Suburban gas/electric hot water service delivers an instant and steady flow when required.

YOUR NEW HOMESTEAD

Now step inside, and you’re pampered by the showy decor and spacious layout revealing lateral thinking. It’s all showcased by an up-to-the-minute bedroom, ensuite and galley. And wow, don’t the convex overhead lockers look the cat’s pyjamas!

The lavish bedroom is highlighted by panoramic windows and deep robes complemented storage-wise by dressers, overhead lockers and corner cabinets, along with under-bed space. 

There is also a large Ranger RV ventilation hatch with screen directly above the bed and a 22in Finch flatscreen TV, which can be viewed from the bedroom or dinette.

Also the bee’s knees, the rear bathroom is resplendent with a chic vanity comprising a rectangular pedestal-style washbasin, with cupboards above and below, and a mirror. Other mod cons include a one-piece fibreglass shower (its opaque door is perfect for privacy) and Thetford toilet — plus a recessed 2.5kg top-loading washing machine, with a slide-out benchtop that’s a great spot to rest your washing basket. And the sliding ensuite door has a towel rail and a toilet roll holder.

There is also a Ranger RV ventilation hatch with screen at the entry to the ensuite, and immediately to the right of the entry door are four spacious shelved cupboards. And, at this point, I must say I simply admire the glistening white interior panelling (fibreglass walls and ceiling). It’s bright and fresh and sparkles with LED lighting.

A practical galley will delight the discerning camping chef. It has nearly all of the requisites including Aussie spec components such as recessed Thetford MKIII minigrill and 185L Thetford N3185E fridge-freezer. 

And they’re complemented by a three-quarter height, four-tier pull-out pantry, round-bowl sink with drainer, 12V NCE rangehood, with a built-in Finch RV entertainment system above, 20L NCE microwave — and generous storage all-round, including the lower cabinetry.

The modish living zone provides even more eye-candy courtesy of a fabric upholstered cafe dinette that will comfortably seat two, with plenty of legroom, around a trifold table. Storage is provided via three overhead lockers (one housing the electrical suite) above the table and two cabinets (with two double powerpoints) below the table. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Hold your wild horses! Methinks first-time caravanners and those upgrading from the camper trailer sector will ‘gather to the fray’... But only time will tell if this van from Snowy River will be a ‘household word today’.

Regardless, the SR-Nineteen proved it ‘would go wherever horse and man could go’.  

And happily, this ageing journo — ‘the old man with his hair as white as snow’ — got the opportunity to ‘tell the story of his ride’. 


WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

Overall length 8.23m (27ft)

External body length 6.4m (21ft)

External body width 2.4m (7ft 10in)

Travel height 3.05m (10ft)

Internal height 1.99m (6ft 6in)

Tare 2273kg

ATM 2873kg

Payload 600kg

Ball weight 125kg

    

EXTERNAL

Frame Welded aluminium

Cladding Fibreglass

Chassis DuraGal

Suspension AL-KO torsion

Coupling AL-KO 50mm ball

Brakes 12in AL-KO

Wheels 235/75 R15

Water 2 x 95L

Battery 1 x 100Ah AGM

Solar 1 x 120W

Air-conditioner Houghton Belaire 3500

Gas 2 x 9kg

Sway control Optional (Dexter)


INTERNAL

Cooking Thetford MKIII minigrill

Fridge Thetford N3185E 185L

Microwave NCE 20L

Bathroom Separate toilet and moulded fibreglass shower

Washing machine Top-loader 2.5kg

Hot water Suburban gas/electric


OPTIONS FITTED

None


PRICE AS SHOWN

$55,000 / $57,990 (NB. Subject to variation depending on dealers/location)


MORE INFORMATION

To enquire about this caravan, please phone your closest dealer:

NSW: (02) 4421 2055

VIC: (03) 9798 3954

SA: (08) 8277 4388

QLD: (07) 5356 5000

Tags

snowyrivercaravans review caravans srnineteen

Photographer

Phil Cerbu