There’s an element of prestige that comes with towing a van from Goldstream RV. They look good on the road and attract admiring glances from owners of lesser vans. But it’s more than cosmetic factors that makes Goldstream RV such a worthy player in the caravan market. Good build quality and the attention to detail evident in the overall finish have gone a long way to securing this manufacturer’s reputation. So when we put a Bush Pack-fitted Goldstream (our test van was termed the 20ft, centre-door, rear-ensuite model) through its paces, I had high expectations.
The overall layout is fairly conventional. It has a forward bed (measuring 5ft x 6ft 2in/1.5x1.85m), offside dinette, nearside kitchen, and a full-width bathroom in the rear. But though the layout yields few surprises, it’s well executed.
Up front, there’s a bedhead of two overhead lockers, wardrobes with deep drawers either side of the bed, and a full-height corner cupboard at the foot of the bed on the offside. This cupboard is split, with three shelves above with their own door, and two shelves below, also with their own door. Additional storage is provided by the cavity under the bed. The space isn’t particularly large because about a third of it is occupied by the tunnel boot and 100Ah battery.
There is seating for four at the café-style dinette, though it’s a bit of a squeeze. Two people would eat at the bi-fold table more comfortably. The 12V socket in this area is a nice touch– handy for charging mobile phones, etc.
Access to the storage area beneath the seats is via a hatch each, or by lifting the cushions and ply bases. A 14L Truma gas/electric water heater is stored under the forward seat, as are the water tank diverters which allow you to direct, for example, water of poorer quality to the shower and keep the other tank for drinking water.
Cooking in a caravan has its challenges and, without question, the biggest is space. Preparing dinner can be a messy business and without elbow room you’ll find yourself at the camp kitchen or local RSL most nights. Our review Goldstream, however, hits the mark. The black Laminex benchtop begins at the entrance, with the four-burner (three gas, one electric) Spinflo cooktop, griller and oven set at an angle where the benchtop meets the bathroom wall. And to create still more bench space, the sink has a colour-matched timber insert.
There’s a full-height splashback, stainless steel NCE rangehood, and an array of storage options, among them a narrow pull-out pantry with two chrome baskets. The internal edges of the cabinetry, in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the van, are properly sanded and painted for a smooth finish.
For entertainment, the van has a JVC stereo/CD/DVD player connected to a 19in LCD TV on a swing-arm at the forward end of the kitchen– it can be viewed from anywhere in the van save for the bathroom. The stereo is linked to four internal speakers.
Between the dinette and bathroom are a full-height split pantry and the fridge. The upper pantry door has two catches for extra strength and the chrome baskets are generous in size. The Dometic fridge is a decent 175L unit, above which is the microwave, recessed into the cabinetry at a sensible height. Meters, gauges, electrical switches, etc., are centrally located in a cupboard above the microwave. In many caravans, these ‘unsightly’ items are in total view, so hiding them in the way Goldstream has is a tick in its favour. There’s a digital volt/amp meter, control for the hot water heater, switch for the 12V Shurflo water pump, and 240V circuit breaker.
The fuse box is also kept here (all things 12V– awning lights, internal lights, etc.– have their own fuse).
The bathroom is set-up with the essentials: small vanity, Thetford swivel cassette on the offside and shower on the nearside. The ‘depth’ of the bathroom is 0.89m– enough space for towelling off, dressing, etc. The rear window adds a good amount of natural light, but no mirror was fitted to our test van– one above the toilet wouldn’t go astray. And if nature calls during the night, a switch beside the bed on the offside turns on the bathroom light. It seems strange that there isn’t a switch for the nearside sleeper, though.
Other features inside this van include a powerful Dometic B3000+ reverse-cycle air-conditioner, two Heki hatches, padded magazine holder in the doorway, and timber pelmets and timber-edged furniture and cabinetry. The van doesn’t want for 12V lighting or 240V powerpoints. Or head room– the internal height is 2.07m (6ft 9in), tapering to 1.9m (6ft 3in) at the bedhead.
Our Bush Pack-fitted Goldstream isn’t built for Cape York; rather, the Bush Pack equips a van for the corrugations of national parks and the like. And there’s no denying that our van looked the part.
The 6in DuraGal drawbar tapers to 4in at the spring hangers, with 6in main members on top. This effectively gives the van 10in of steel underneath, to which the 12mm ply floor is glued and screwed. The drawbar is home to two 9kg gas cylinders, a mesh stoneguard, a water tap (with stoneguard) and an (optional) Hyland coupling for better articulation.
External storage is limited to a front tunnel boot. A tight-fitting rubber seal to the hatches either side make the boot watertight– a good thing, considering the 15A battery charger is in there.
Underneath are two 80L water tanks with gal-sheet protection, Al-Ko load-sharing roller-rocker suspension, 15in wheels with electric drum brakes– pretty much the gold standard when it comes to trailer brakes.
The main external comfort feature is a swing-arm TV bracket that folds away behind a hatch – just grab your flatscreen from inside, fix it to the bracket, and you’re ready to watch the footy under the awning, your beer resting on the drop-down picnic table.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a very liveable van for two. It has all the bits and pieces for self-contained caravanning, and the underpinning and build are solid.
With its ATM of 2640kg, a fairly muscular 4WD is in order. Yes, not opting for the Bush Pack will save weight (the double-ply walls, for instance, add about 60kg), but I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off. After all, 2640kg is still within the range of many tow vehicles on the market, and certainly comparable to many vans with the same (or lesser) spec level.
Goldstream RV, Factory 1-4, 75 Bald Hill Road Pakenham, Vic 3810, (03) 5941 5571, www.goldstreamrv.com.au
Words Max Taylor, Pics Ellen Dewar. As featured in Caravan World issue 480, August 2010.
WHAT'S IN THE BUSH PACK?
Goldstream RV’s Bush Pack costs $3000 on top of the price for a standard van. It consists of the following:
Double-ply walls (with insulation between)
Higher checkerplate along the sides
Jerry can holders