Stand and deliver: The cry of the legendary Australian bushranger! That’s exactly what the terrific range of Aussie-made Bushranger campers do – they stand proud and deliver the goods.
Bushranger Campers is the brainchild of Matt and Kelly Oldham and the range is produced at a small factory in the outer Melbourne suburb of Pakenham. Matt assembles the majority of the campers, and has the formula just about right, so they’re easily customised to personal taste.
I have travelled with the Oldhams and their Bushrangers a few times. Firstly for CTOTY 2015 to Nundooka Station, around 100km north of Broken Hill, in the Bushranger Joey, and later to experience the raw beauty of the Flinders Ranges during a week of touring. The Joey never gave an inkling of any problem, hitch or breakdown on either occasion, in spite of the difficult terrain.
Like the Joey, the Great Divide battling out at this year’s CTOTY is solid shell hybrid with a roof-hinged rear door and a pop-top, but with the advantage of a separate forward bedroom and a sensational rear kitchen. Seriously, the kitchen isn’t some primitive offering you expect from a chuck wagon; it’s a full gourmet delight! What’s more, it is immediately accessible and easy to use. Simply open the tilting rear panel made easy by gas struts, and you are faced with a kitchen of epic proportions.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Unlike Ned Kelly in his infamous armour, the Bushranger is plated in state-of-the-art external panelling. The composite body shell has a 3mm Alumabond outer surface with 19mm of insulation and 3mm timber internal panelling allowing terrific comfort in hot and cold weather. The front of the camper has a completely independent bedroom with single beds in our demonstration model, and the option of either north-south or east-west doubles. I chatted with Matty about the possibility of a convertible lounge/double or even a trundle bed option and his reply was, “anything is possible because I build them myself!”
The Great Divide is an ideal overnighter as you simply open the door, push up the roof and you can fall straight into bed. Not bad for power nap at a wayside stop, either! The twin single bed configuration has a small bedside cabinet with a tri-fold table which will come in handy for a game of stud poker on cold nights, or even as a small dining table when the outback insects threaten to overwhelm. There are overhead cabinets, storage under the beds, 12 and 240V power and an easy pop-top that gives excellent head height as well as ventilation.
The Great Divide on review had a 12V TV/DVD combination with mounting points both inside the bedroom for going to bed with a good movie, as well as outside for the gang to watch the cricket in summer under the shade of the roll-out awning! There was even a handy flush mount, fold-down table on the kerb side for serve the drinks and nibblies.
It is all very appealing but the real pleasure is in the rear mount kitchen with its easy enclosures and optional kids’ room at the rear. As I said earlier, the kitchen is a beaut. It is feature filled and just so practical, especially with the simple rear door access that forms a solid roof when lifted. To my knowledge, the design is unique to Bushranger.
The external kitchen offers a two-burner Smev gas cooker, a 12V rangehood, 12/240V Waeco 80L compressor fridge/freezer, glass lid sink with a hot and cold mixer tap, tonnes of pantry storage and bench space, and this one even had and a full set of hanging utensils racks and magnetic containers for keeping coffee, tea and sugar always at the ready. You simply won’t believe a serious offroad camper could supply such luxury with added options including a six bottle wine cooler and, better still, a stainless plate drying rack!
The kitchen awnings are soft sides with midge mesh screens that slide on easily to the track in the folding back door/roof, and a further optional 1800x1200mm soft kids’ room that attaches at the rear. It is all made from tough Aussie-made 12oz Dynaproofed canvas. To add to the level of comfort there is a well-designed ensuite tent that attaches to the driver’s side of the main body where you can keep the porta-potti and have a hot shower in privacy supplied by the Duoetto 12/240V hot water system and 10L holding tank. You won’t run out of water even if the whole family needs a tub as there are twin 60L poly tanks tucked neatly under the trailer and shrouded to avoid accidental damage.
If you’re after a unique hybrid that caters for outside living with a separate bedroom and great facilities, then the Bushranger Great Divide could be the camper for you. You don’t have to rob the nearest stagecoach to pay for it! I make no apologies for sounding a bit excited.
I know we are all different in our tastes, wants, needs and budgets but as for the Bushrangers – I’d buy one!
HITS & MISSES
- Compact, lightweight design
- Separate bedroom
- Sensational kitchen
- Offroad ability
- Accessory selection
- No grill
- No air conditioner (yep – I know, soft, eh!)
Check out the full feature in issue #98 March 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.