Goldstream may love their acronyms but we certainly love their caravans.
As on past Walk Throughs with Goldstream RV, we headed out into the bush with a fleet of new offerings to both give the vans a good run and to find new locations for photography. Our latest trip took us well away from the Goldie factory in Melbourne’s outskirts and out through rich dairy country around Maffra and Heyfield to the banks of Lake Glenmaggie where we assembled at the Wallaby Run Caravan Park for a well earned rest and a cup of tea.
Among the new products is the subject of this review, the newly revamped 16’6” FKST Aussie Adventure Pack which as might be expected has an interior length of 16’6” and then by following the acronym has a front kitchen with shower and toilet (FKST). Goldstream seem to love their acronyms but if they had more room on the side they should probably call it the 16’6” FKST Aussie Adventure Pack Pop-Top Rear Cutaway because all these descriptions have been included in previous examples of the model.
Goldstream RV, like many manufacturers, has gone through a period of rethinking their range of vans and campers over the last year or so to keep ahead of expectations of customers. Always at the forefront of innovation and customer service they turned their collective minds to present a more modern look. At the same time they needed to balance the outcome of retaining their legendary strength and durability with keeping weight down while increasing the carrying capacity.
In the case of this new van, everything on the checklist has been ticked and they have added a few items along the way to sweeten the package even further. To achieve weight saving, the factory has invested in new CNC equipment. I know – more acronyms! It means, for us less technically knowledgeable folk, that they now cut their furniture and caravan fittings on state-of-the-art Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines to precisely and efficiently cut, rout and drill the bits that go into making up the van. This means every part is accurately produced day after day exactly the same, rather than relying on human operation to get things right.
For Goldstream RV, it means that they can now make the interior fitout in a different way using flat pack furniture from strong but light poplar ply instead of the light timber framed system previously. For the customer it means more attractive finish that is both stronger and lighter. We’ll come to the interior soon but first the outside.
At first sight the new pop-top was quite different from anything I’d previously seen from the company and Shaun Noble from Goldstream explained they had developed a new exterior cladding from a 3mm composite flat panel that is a laminate of polyethylene between two aluminium layers that is extremely strong and has high insulating properties. It looks great. It’s modern and simple with a high gloss finish and perfectly flat surface set off by dark tinted windows.
The composite is fixed to a 19mm x 42mm meranti frame with plenty of studs for strength. Customers wanting a more traditional look can opt for the ribbed finish, but it’s so good it would surprise me if the new design doesn’t outsell the old style 100 to 1.
Underneath, the body sits on a ply floor and a heavy-duty 6” Duragal chassis and 6” main rail with 16” six stud alloy wheels and 235×75 light truck tyres. All conventional Goldstream build so far, but things now take a new twist. Part of the Aussie Adventure Pack is an AL-KO independent rubber torsion suspension system with a 2500kg rating. This allows the van with a tare weight of 1830kg and a conservative ATM of 2300kg to legally carry a generous 500kg of cargo and still keep it towable by medium sized vehicles.
Up front things are pretty conventional with an AL-KO 3500kg ball hitch, breakaway brakes, and two 9kg gas bottles but I noted a very sturdy mount for the jockey wheel which is centrally mounted between the drawbar rails to keep it out of harm’s way.
Inside the full-width boot, marine carpet lining keeps things neat and a battery system is located tidily to the driver side. A Ctek charger powers the battery from the tow vehicle and there’s an isolating switch to shut things down when the van is stored. Solar panels are an option and can be easily fitted later as the van is pre-wired for them.
Along the curb side I noticed a folding picnic table, LED light and a Dometic ANE830 annex, while at the back there’s a sturdy bar carrying a spare and two enclosed jerry can holders. Shaun pointed out that rear lights and number plate bracket are set to new Australian standards because a number of travellers are being booked for lights being too high – they can’t be detected by fixed speed cameras!
Lower sections outside are protected by aluminium checkerplate to 500mm on the side and around 1200mm at the front. There’s also a folding stoneguard over the front window.
Entry is towards the front via a folding alloy step through a three-way door and into the kitchen. I’m about 5’11” and I had no trouble standing inside the van with the top down and it’s a simple matter of lifting the ends on a pair of EasyLifters struts to raise the roof.
If you like the new outside look then you are going to be delighted with the revamped interior. The craftsmen at Goldstream RV have done themselves proud with the clean lines and immaculate high gloss finish of the joinery. It makes the older style picture frame cabinets so last century and the acrylic finish is claimed to be durable and easy to clean. Colours of the test van included off white walls, a very contemporary urban ash on lower cupboards and mocha up high.
Layout of the van has a kitchen at the front with the ensuite in the driver side corner leading back to a food preparation bench. Opposite is the diner and the bedroom is at the back. It’s a design that allows a lot to go into a smallish configuration and there are a lot of a people who like the idea of a compact van that’s easy to tow and store and yet has features included for independent camping.
The kitchen then, is in two sections – running along the front of the van is a 900mm high bench with sink, 12v pump, hot and cold water, draining board, 3 big pot drawers, 3 cutlery draws and a 4-burner Thetford mini grill. And while overhead cupboards are set low because of the poptop, there is still a useful amount of work area and storage.
To the rear of the ensuite the second part of the kitchen comprises a 1050mm high bench with a 128L Thetford 3-way fridge and Jabiru reverse cycle air conditioner and two drawers positioned below. Set onto one end of the bench is a small fixture with a 20lt stainless steel Daewoo microwave and a cupboard housing the fusebox, water levels and mains power switch.
In the corner the combination shower and toilet has a frosted Perspex door and a fully moulded one-piece liner with built in vanity. It includes a Thetford cassette toilet, 12v extractor fan and a bright LED light. Nobody is going to pretend this is a bathroom you would find in a luxury home. It’s not. But in a van this size there needs to be compromises and if you want an ensuite then it has to be a small one. It’s there for when you need it and it’s perfectly workable.
The diner is a simple L-shaped lounge with a swiveling table and comfortable lounge in patterned nylon upholstery. Four could fit at a pinch but a couple would find plenty of room to stretch out and relax.
Down the back the inner spring, queen size bed is set on a Posturepedic steel frame and has north – south orientation for usable space either side to allow access or bed making. There are small tables and cupboards either side as well as a hanging robe and overhead storage cupboards.
New style Dometic S7 windows either side of the bed let you get a good view of the scenery and with five opening windows in the pop-top vinyl there’s lots of light for a pleasant open feel inside the van.
As the name indicates this Aussie Adventure Pack version has all the requirements for travellers to get off the blacktop and into restricted places a little way into the bush. It’s not a dedicated off-roader but with the rear cutaway it can get you into places that are restricted to more conventional road vans.
The pack includes, the heavy-duty suspension, air conditioner, hot water, and battery pack and twin water tanks to allow a degree of independent camping. Goldstream have set the very competitive price at $49,990. That’s good buying for such a well-made and stylish model.
Manufacturer: Goldstream RV
Model: 16’6” FKST Aussie Adventure Pack
Country of manufacture: Australia
Overall length: 7.1m
Travel height: 2.44m
Tare weight: 1830kg
Gross weight: 2330kg
Ball weight: 168kg
Price as reviewed: $49,990
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