Opal Caravans have been a family owned business since 1975 and managing director Tony Morihovitis has spent a lot of time perfecting what goes into making a great caravan. With only 3–4 custom vans made per week, these aren’t coming off a mass-produced assembly line. A lot of thought has gone into the quality of the workmanship and well-thought out interior. This particularly stands out with the Opal Tourer MK1 220.
GLAMOUR MEETS PRACTICALITY
Most caravans stick to a tried and true formula when it comes to the interior layout, so one point of difference in the Opal Tourer MK1 220 is its east-west, walk-around, queen sized bed. This is an unusual feature that requires a little more space than your traditional bed setup and only works in a van this length or longer. Tapered edges on the mattress help alleviate awkward corners for extra walk-around room without compromising on mattress size. There is easy access to the left-hand side of the bed, as well as the floor length wardrobe with an integrated desk just big enough to set up a laptop and fit an office chair.
This is the kind of light-filled bedroom I would love to wake up in. Not only is it comfortable and positioned so that you can look out through a large window vista, but the floor length vanity mirrors adorning the robes give this bedroom an extra bit of glamour, plus the impression it’s larger than it actually is. Storage is not an issue either, with wall-to-wall cupboard space both above and underneath the bed, as well as the aforementioned wardrobe hanging space.
Plenty of power points and, most importantly, USB points (I find some caravans never have enough of these) can be found within easy reach of the bed and in the kitchen and lounge area.
There’s a wireless smartphone charger beside the bed as well as direct viewing of the 24in NCE Smart TV/DVD player, should you not want to leave the comforts of the boudoir.
WINING AND DINING
The large club lounge sits opposite the kitchen prepping area and could comfortably entertain four or more people. It has plush seating, footrests, and a pull-out rotating table with extra storage space underneath. The table does collapse down, but not quite low enough to drop an extra cushion on top and create an additional sleeping arrangement, which would have been an added bonus.
There’s little issue with any walk-through congestion between the lounge and the cooking area, and the kitchen is light and spacious enough for two people to prep and cook food at the same time. The decent sized bench space has an integrated Thetford 3 x 1 gas and electric stove top, as well as an oven/grill, with the NCE microwave sitting just at the right height above eye level (well, for me anyway).
The slide-out double pantry with 6in-wide baskets (as opposed to the average 4in-wide baskets) will fit more than enough dry goods to last a couple of weeks.
To the right of the kitchen bench space, is a 3-way Thetford fridge/freezer combo which is still quite a common inclusion in caravans these days, as it can run off 12V power, mains electricity or gas without the use of a compressor, should you find yourself without electricity or vice versa.
THE LITTLE DETAILS
Small things make this a ‘home away from home’, such as the multi-functional dimming/coloured LED lighting running throughout the interior and exterior, in addition to filtered water on tap and a magazine rack/clothes hook in the rear entry doorway.
The interior finishings are immaculate, with handcrafted Stylite, high gloss cupboard doors and woodgrain laminate benchtops. It doesn’t surprise me to find that when I check inside the cupboards, all electronic wiring has been neatly tucked away, and any PVC piping has been moved to the side to allow for more storage, a quality that some large caravan manufacturers tend to miss.
The bathroom includes a Thetford swivel seat ceramic toilet with 2-way fan above, a 3kg top loading NCE washing machine under the bench and a decent-sized shower. With multiple drawers below the sink and cupboard space above and beside the toilet, it’s probably a bit of an overkill on storage space, but when it’s a home away from home, I guess you can never have enough, especially in a van with a 600kg payload, such as this one.
Another small point of difference in this van is that the Swift hot water service is hidden behind a cupboard, next to the toilet — a good example of how space can be utilised inside and accessed more readily.
With its high-rib panels, white aluminium sides, and front and rear burgundy composite panel, the Opal Tourer MK1 220 is somewhat old school in appearance, but the black checkerplate skirt and underbelly is a nice touch. Custom built on a G&S chassis with a Meranti frame means this van earns credit in practicality and the quality of the build, rather than trying to win points on style.
The MK1 220 has a standard outdoor setup, with a BBQ point, drop-down picnic table for the cheese and crackers, an easy to reach pull-out awning, NCE indoor/outdoor sound speakers, and an external TV box with 12V power all awaiting outdoor entertaining. For those wanting to wash off sand and salt water, there’s also a rear, external shower with clip-in shower head.
A large storage locker utilises the space under the bed inside and is accessed from outside the van — a convenient and clever storage compartment for all your outdoor items such as camping chairs and sports equipment.
With the inclusion of two 160W solar panels on the roof (more than enough for a caravan of this size) and two 12V batteries, you should be well-equipped to live off-grid for up to a couple of weeks, although, with two 95L water tanks at the rear, you’ll most certainly need extra water to be self-sufficient for that long if you like long showers.
WHAT LIES BENEATH
Just like the rest of this caravan, the underside is neat and tidy. PVC piping is used for a lengthier lifespan, rather than flexible piping, and S bends are created on the grey water pipes to ensure no smell leaks inside. However, for a semi-offroad van, these would be better sitting slightly higher off the ground than they were to avoid a good battering or just getting clean wiped off. The Rocker Roller leaf spring suspension helps reduce the load on each spring, so the rocker assembly will last longer than your standard individual leaf spring and offer a better ride.
The Projecta batteries have been mounted in battery boxes on the chassis rather than inside — another example of saving space and keeping a clean, streamlined interior.
THE END OF THE ROAD
This van is no wallflower at 23ft (including the front boot), and while towing it around the majestic autumnal streets of the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, it was a nice enough spot to test the ease of driveability around its small winding streets. It did help it was being towed behind a Ford Ranger with more than a four tonne towing capacity, but I can definitely say it handled itself well on the blacktop.
As an end note, the Opal Tourer MK1 220 has just the right mix of a high quality build and sophisticated interior to make it suitable for blacktop touring with the added benefit of being self-sufficient for a couple of weeks, should you need to be. What I appreciate the most about this van is that time has been taken to ensure that all the comforts and pleasures of home are brought on the road, and for a price tag that’s less than $80,000, it’s a pretty good deal.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
External body length 7m (23ft)
Internal length 6.7m (22ft)
Overall length 9.1m (30ft)
Width 2.3m (7ft 7 1/2in)
Height 2.9m (9ft 6in)
Ball weight 139kg
Cladding White aluminum sides, burgundy composite panel front and rear, black checkerplate
Chassis G&S 4in frame with 2in raiser (5-year warranty)
Suspension Dexter Axle Rocker Roller leaf spring
Coupling 50ml Ball
Brakes AL-KO Electric Brakes
Wheels 235 x 15 with MPC24 A/T Tyres
Water 2 x 95L fresh water tanks
Battery 2 x 12V Projecta Deep Cycle
Solar 2 x 160W solar panels
Air conditioner Gree Reverse Cycle A/C
Sway control N/A
Kitchen Woodgrain laminate benchtops and stylite cupboards with a beige and white veneer
Cooking Thetford Caprice MKIII oven/grill and stove top (3 x gas burner, 1 x electric hotplate)
Fridge 182L Thetford N614E.3F 3-way fridge/freezer
Bathroom Full ensuite with toilet, shower and washing machine
Washing machine NCE 3kg top loading
Hot water Swift
Bed Queen-size east-west island
2 x jerry can holders
External TV locker
Nuova Mapa table leg
Double pull-out pantry
24in Smart TV
PRICE AS SHOWN $79,499 On Road Drive Away
To enquire about this caravan, contact Opal Caravans:
(03) 9357 1430
Or visit them at 852–854 Cooper street, Somerton, VIC 3062.