It had been just over 22 years since I last set foot in the ‘City of Churches’, when I was fortunate enough to pick up press room tickets for an AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and Collingwood. Unfortunately, my beloved Magpies didn’t take home the points on that occasion!
Perhaps I was inclined towards drowning my sorrows, but the following day, along with my wife-to-be and a close friend, we stumbled across the Barossa Valley’s world-class wine region. And I can tell you, even after more than two decades, on my recent visit I found the Barossa still radiates this same, old-world charm.
I didn’t get my footy fix this time, but instead a CW assignment to review a leading-edge caravan manufactured in Melbourne and sold exclusively by Camperagent RV Centre in Parafield Gardens, 16km north-west of Adelaide.
Needless to say, when it comes to satisfaction or approval ratings, the 6.4m (21ft) custom-built Hitch Hika Limited Edition receives the big thumbs up!
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The Hitch Hika’s elegance and attention to detail is accentuated in the comfortable cafe-style dinette. The lounge is double line-stitched leather and I found it offered good lumbar support, making it a comfortable spot to kick back and relax. Even the wheel arches are leather upholstered (now that’s taking luxury to the next level!) and I liked the flip-up footrests, which would be appreciated by any weary traveller.
There are four overhead cupboards, with three, three-stage LED lights. One of these cupboards conceals the van’s electrical ‘control centre’: Projecta battery charger, ProStar 30Ah solar controller, water pump switch, 240V circuit breaker, fuse box, water level indicator and hot water service switches (gas/240V). Under the tri-fold table are two cupboards with drop-down access doors, a double powerpoint, 12V powerpoint and two USB outlets.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
The bedroom comprises a 5ft x 6ft 4in bed with a pillow-top, innerspring fixed mattress, three piano-hinged overhead lockers, and wardrobes either side of the bed, both with 12V and USB outlets accessible via side cut-outs. Another smart touch is the shelf above the bed for reading glasses, books, etc. Mirrors are recessed into the wardrobe doors giving a seamless, classy finish. A split, full-height corner cupboard on the nearside incorporates the 24in NCE 12V LED TV/DVD combo and there’s a full-height corner cupboard on the offside to match.
It really is a bedroom with the lot, with two large Dometic double-glazed windows that feature built-in block-outs and flyscreens, powerpoints, LED ceiling lights, and a Ranger skylight with built-in LED lights, block-out blind and flyscreen. Throw in a leather-padded headboard with the same patterned stitching as the van’s seating, an electric blanket, and an under-bed RoadVac vacuum cleaner with 12m suction hose, and you have the full package.
Additional storage is provided by a rear locker, located behind the shower, which has a light, double powerpoint, and a vent for accessing the shower plumbing. This locker doesn’t intrude on shower space, and has a false floor concealing a safe. There is also a heavy-duty, three-pronged, galvanised-looped rear bumper, which is ideal for carrying a second spare wheel, bike rack or jerry can holders.
Creating a banquet from the Hitch Hika’s angled kitchen would be easy considering its practical design, complemented by an array of quality appliances and abundant benchtop/cupboard space. At the camping chef’s fingertips are a Swift 500 recessed, fan-forced full oven and rangehood, Sphere microwave, a raised Dometic 221L three-way fridge-freezer with water pump underneath, dual pull-out pantries, and a large deep-bowl sink with three-in-one (cold, hot, filtered) mixer tap.
Above the bench is the microwave and four lightweight ply cupboards. One of these houses a Fusion Bluetooth entertainment system along with USB input and two 12V switches, allowing for isolation of the outside speakers. And you can let the sun shine in through the panoramic window – offset to allow opening of the entry door – above the post-formed, rolled-edge Laminex benchtops. I also noted the neat acrylic splashback and the fact all plumbing is neatly tucked away.
Comfort and convenience is at a premium in the rear ensuite. The vanity has a modern mixer tap and large, recessed ceramic bowl plus two sizeable drawers and cupboards located underneath. Increasing the mod-con stakes is a Dometic 3kg front-loading washing machine, to the side of the ceramic bowl toilet, with a generator storage area below. The fully-moulded shower with integrated door latch and ceiling light comprises a height-adjustable shower rose and a mixer tap that matches the vanity tap.
For privacy there’s a solid sliding door, barrel locked with a secondary fastener to the floor, with two towel rails attached to the back. A 30in mirrored overhead cupboard, double powerpoint and three LED ceiling downlights complete the picture.
THE BOTTOM LINE
At $83,990, the Limited Edition may stretch the budget a little but I feel they would be pennies well spent. It’s an up-to-the-minute van in which a couple on a romantic travel escape could share a red or two – not only in the Barossa Valley but anywhere!
Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, I will receive another call to ‘thumb a ride’ with a Hitch Hika.
HITS & MISSES
- All-embracing sleeping quarters
- Kitchen fit for a degustation menu
- Swanky rear ensuite
- No slide-out barbecue
- A reversing camera would increase safety
- 16in wheels/tyres would be a plus