THE great Australian road trip dream is alive and well. Despite the gloom surrounding the recent Federal Budget, the combination of low interest rates, a competitive marketplace and a greater range of options are causing a surge in the number of Australian families investing in caravans, camper trailers and tents.
The desire for more affordable holidays is one reason Caravanning Queensland is expecting to see record numbers at next week's annual show in Brisbane.
"Families are now spoilt for choice when purchasing caravans or motorhomes. There is a whole range of options to suit every taste and price, so it's an exciting time to enter the market," show manager Jason Plant said.
"Families will often start with a camper trailer, which many people don't realise actually includes most of the luxuries of a caravan such as beds, a shower and a kitchen, for the cost of a small car, so it's a great investment. They are extremely affordable, comfortable and practical products, and perfect for the budget-conscious."
John Swinglehurst from Lifestyle Camper Trailers says with the cost of a high quality, Australian-made, family camper trailer from about $9000, now is the ideal time for a family to buy their first vehicle.
"Now that families are looking for ways to holiday on tighter budgets, we are seeing a real increase in people entering the camper trailer market as a way to still take their kids on great holidays but save money at the same time," Mr Swinglehurst said.
"In comparison to spending money on hotels, a camper trailer is an investment for the future. More often we are hearing people say they could go overseas for one trip, or they could buy a camper trailer and potentially have a lifetime of holidays for the same amount of money."
Camper trailers aren't the only products appealing to families with tighter budgets, with Jon Burrell from Tentworld also reporting a rise in camping equipment sales to first time campers.
"We saw a notable increase in families entering the camping market after the financial crisis," Mr Burrell said. "Campgrounds are very low priced and include a lot of facilities such as kitchenettes, showers and barbecues, so it's one of the most cost-effective ways to take the family on a holiday.
"A good quality tent for a family of four costs approximately $150, while a comfortable camping equipment package would only cost between $700 and $2000, and considering those items will last a family many years, it really is the best option for the budget conscious."
Making its Australian debut is the revolutionary new range of off-road motorhomes designed by Brendale's TravelTrucks, which will allow explorers to leave the beaten track without sacrificing their creature comforts. Designed to be totally self sufficient, TravelTrucks (pictured above) are built on the Iveco Daily 4x4 Cab Chassis but with an added range of enhancements, making them expedition vehicles capable of crossing terrain from the Himalayas to the Bolivian desert.
"These vehicles are the ultimate purchase for the explorers at heart, because while they are comfortable holiday vehicles they also have no need for roads or tracks, allowing travellers to leave the beaten track and see parts of Australia that are normally inaccessible," TravelTrucks co-founder Kym Bolton said.
"TravelTrucks are solar-powered and can carry everything you need for long periods of time, which is important in a country with such vast spaces between towns."
Queensland-owned Talvor says it will have its largest variety of caravans and motorhomes to date for sale at the show.
Sales manager Shayne Culverhouse said the popularity of caravan and motorhome ownership continued to increase in Queensland due to affordability and flexibility.
"Queenslanders are in love with the great Aussie roadtrip concept," he said.
"It's the best type of holiday out there."
What: 2014 Queensland Caravan and Camping Show.
Where: Brisbane Showgrounds, 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Brisbane
When: June 4-10, 10am to 6pm daily (4pm on last day).
Admission: Adults $18, pensioners (aged, veteran, disability) $12. Accompanied school age children free.