Nugget’s Big Adventure
As part of our long-term test, we recently took our Goldstream Camper, affectionately nicknamed “Nugget”- it’s a Goldstream after all – on an extended trek through the Snowy Mountains and then along National Parks fire trails down to the South Coast of NSW.
A preview of the camper appeared a couple of issues back, but let me remind you of the extreme level of fitout the factory managed to squeeze into, under and on the standard package. Starting as a standard Wing 3 ST, the camper became a test bed for a number of suppliers, turning Nugget into a unique off-roader and a stunning head-turner.
Building campers and vans started for Goldstream RV with the original Wing nearly 25 years ago, so it’s fitting that our special camper pays tribute to the longest running model in the range. The ST layout is the most family-friendly version as it has a shower and toilet combination and two queen size beds in the end rollout sections along with a versatile and roomy club lounge and decent interior kitchen.
When I first saw Nugget in its last stages of production at the factory, I was surprised at how imposing it looked, with 800 kg capacity storage racks on the lifting roof and the stylish body sitting high on black 16” Primal alloy wheels with chunky offroad tyres.
On the road, it looks even better. Black checkerplate along the lower sides impart a tough edge to the smooth white composite construction of the body and the neat ABS rear body mould. Orange and silver graphics look a treat, and our magazine logos on the sides let everyone know it’s our special camper.
In a departure from most Goldstreams, it sports a Vehicle Components 2.5T Cruisemaster Trailing Arm Independent system with single shock absorbers each side matched to 12” electric drum brakes. The Preston Chassis and extended A-frame is 150 x 50mm box section Duragal steel right through.
A Vehicle Components offroad DO-35 hitch connects to the tow vehicle for maximum articulation in the rough stuff, and a full-width stone guard with mud flaps protects the front of the camper and twin 9kg gas bottles from flying rocks. Storage options in a full-width front boot with a tunnel boot immediately behind soaked up plenty of chairs and tables for our trip and I liked the fact the two 90ah LED crystal batteries have separate positions in an easily-accessed and secure box on the driver side chassis rail.
A fold-down step assists entry to the camper, and while these are handy when they work, they are notoriously hard to use when the mechanism fills with dust or mud, and they can be vulnerable to damage in hard going. To the rear of the doorway is a slide out BBQ over a picnic table large enough also hold serving plates and such.
External points for 12v, USB and TV are handy when cooking is finished, and external speakers send music outside from the quality Finch Wi-Fi sound system. A Fiamma awning folds out over the offside and the stylish but sturdy rack over the top is intersected by a Truma Aventa roof-mounted air conditioner. I liked the new construction method Goldstream has introduced where all electrical wiring is easily accessible behind an aluminium “wall track” cover along the sides of the camper. This makes servicing and troubleshooting much more accessible and also ensures a safe and durable installation.
A single spare and twin jerry can holders are mounted on a two-arm bar at the back where they are neatly integrated into the ABS moulding. The addition of an external shower on the driver side is a great idea, especially for travelling near the beach when a quick freshen up to remove sand will help keep the interior spick and span.
Like all Goldstream RV campers, Nugget has a windup roof that rises 1.1m to make 2.15m of interior head height. A handle slips into the mechanism at the front and even with the extra weight of the rack and air conditioner, it was an easy task to lift and lock the roof in place. Canvas sides sit neatly in place once the roof is taut and from there it’s an easy task to slide out the two bed ends and set their supports in place and erect the bed flys.
Once we had erected the camper a couple of times along our journey, two people were able to regularly set it up within about 20 minutes, which is pretty good going. If only one bed end were required, this time could be cut down by about 5 minutes.
Anyone stepping inside a Wing 3 ST for the first time will be amazed at the massive volume of room there is. Really, the living space is more than many larger caravans and this is especially obvious in the sizeable wrap-around lounge, with a trifold table on the driver side at the front. Some nights on our travels, when the outside temperature dropped to zero, we had seven people around the dinette, thawed by the Truma heater and the warm atmosphere of the Wing’s pleasant surroundings.
Forward of the lounge is one of two queen size beds with privacy screen and easy access using the couch as a step. Zippered canvas panels give as much privacy and air flow as you like and, like all openings in the camper, they are covered in mozzie-proof screens.
The kitchen includes a 93L three-way fridge, a cooktop with grill and a sink on a bench return, which adds space without hindering movement. A handy panel at the kitchen entrance houses the Finch sound system and has controls for the water and cabin heaters as well as a comprehensive Trek monitor for the BMPro battery management system and water tank levels.
As much storage is packed in as possible with cupboards everywhere and the inclusion of Sky Track soft storage modules take advantage of the blank space at roof level of this style camper.
Essential for a lot of folks is the onboard shower and toilet combination – an option that moves the camper more into the “Glamper” category and one that’s becoming a make or break deal in getting families on the road.
With twin 60L water tanks, and a good supply of gas and solar power through twin solar panels, Nugget is a capable off grid camper and we easily spent nearly two weeks in the bush at various locations on our journey, only needing to top up the water for showers.
As well as being a test for the Goldstream, our journey was also the initial tow test for our magazine manager Sue’s new 180 Prado. Almost straight out of the showroom, the Toyota proved a gutsy beast on the highways and a capable match for the 1791kg Tare of the Goldstream in the rough. Some of the fire trails we followed through Wadbilliga National Park had white-knuckle descents and rises and the combination handled things with ease.
The offroad suspension soaked up rocks, culverts and water crossings in its stride, faithfully tracking along behind without lurching or wandering.
The more time we spend with Nugget, the more we like it. All the added options might be turning us soft but they are sure welcome at the end of a long drive. Setting up and packing away the camper is easy once a routine is established and the solid build is reassuring when you are a long way from home.Tare weight is 1791 kg and with a very respectable carrying capacity of 819 kg, it takes the ATM to 2600 kg, still in a comfortable range of the new Prado.
A base Wing 3 ST is listed at $39,250 and although it doesn’t have the offroad capability of Nugget, it’s still a sturdy, roomy tourer with room for a family. Once our mega option list is included, the price blows out to $67,870 but you are getting everything you will need for years of trouble-free travel.
- It’s a good-looking camper with a rugged appeal
- Robust Goldstream RV build and excellent resale value
- Truma heater is hard to beat when it’s snowing.
- Off-grid ability will appeal to many.
- I’d order one without the pullout step.
Find Out More
Manufacturer: Goldstream RV
Model: Wing ST On the Road special
Overall length: 6.0m
Body length: 4.6m
Open length: 6.850m
Travel height: 1.61m
Tare weight: 1791kg
ATM weight: 2600kg
Carrying capacity: 819kg
Capacity without fluids: 610kg
Ball weight: 175kg
Price from: $39,250
Options fitted: Vehicle Components independent suspension, Primal Alloy wheels, DO-35 hitch, Aqua-Go gas water heater, BMPro charger, 2 x 80w solar panels, stoneguard, Truma heater, Thetford 93L fridge, Finch sound system, Sky Track storage, Swift BBQ, Fiamma awning, more
Price as reviewed: $67,870
75 Bald Hills Rd, Pakenham 3810
Ph. 03 5941 5571
From humble beginnings in the early 90s, Goldstream RV has grown into one of the leaders in the RV industry with their Australian made vans. From their two-acre factory in Pakenham in Melbourne’s east, they send approximately 350 caravans pop-tops and camper to their Australia extensive dealer network each year making them amongst the top ten in the country.
Goldstream RV has a solid reputation for build quality and aftersales service and the commitment to innovation and build quality is demonstrated in the fact that they were one of the first caravan manufacturers to go fully to CNC cut furniture in their factory. They were also early adaptors of composite panel cladding and the use of independent trailing arm suspension in a range of dirt road vans.
An owners group Facebook page is independently operated and has many loyal owners who share ideas and get together at different places around the country.
With a strong reputation for reliability and user-friendly vans, Goldstream RVs have an excellent resale value so when it’s time to upgrade you can be confident in securing top dollar for your trade.