Goldstream 1760 Bunk Pop Top

Bunked down

Shaun Noble, one of the owners of Goldstream RV, with his family – wife Narelle and children Harrison and Ruby were part of the convoy on our recent Birdsville Big Bash adventure. Naturally enough they travelled with a Goldstream – a new 1760 Pop Top compact family tourer with bunks and options that made it ideal for outback travel.

The Bunk version of the 1760 Pop Top is a new addition to the Goldstream range and will suit families looking for a lightweight van suitable for towing behind mid-range vehicles like the popular Toyota Prado. Weight has been kept down to a tare of around 1920kg and an all-up ATM of 2500kg, giving a healthy carrying capacity of just under 600kg.

All up, the family spent three weeks in the van and covered nearly 4500km of rough outback roads including lots of muddy washouts and dirt roads, from the factory in Melbourne to Cameron Corner, along the Birdsville track and through the Flinders Ranges.

Talk about a busman’s holiday for Shaun and Narelle. After immersing themselves in caravan talk and work every day of the week you would think that hooking up a van for a break would be furthermost from their minds. Even though they claimed to be putting it down to research and development, they were all clearly enjoying every minute of the journey.

With a factory full of exotic caravans from which to choose, the compact pop top was an interesting choice but one they were keen to experience, wanting to see life on the road with children in a more budget conscious model.

This 1760 is a streamlined and well-proportioned design especially in travel mode when lowering the roof some 400mm allows it to hide in behind the tow vehicle and out of the wind. The forward section is raked back slightly, while the tail gets a squared off treatment without the cutaway seen in some off road versions.

Like all Goldstreams the exterior is clad in modern composite material that presents a smooth flat finish decorated with the familiar splash logos that give these vans such a distinctive look. Lower panels are aluminium checker plate for extra stone protection and a tough image enhanced even further by 265/70R16 off-road tyres on six stud alloy wheels.

A sturdy 150x50mm chassis is matched to a new lightweight Al-Ko Enduro independent coil-assisted 2.5-tonne trailing arm suspension, which proved itself on the rough tracks and unrelenting corrugations encountered around Innaminka.

Up front is an ever-popular Hyland Hitch, chosen for their easy setup and big range of articulation. I’m told it’s soon to go out of production, so it will be interesting to see if another local manufacturer will be able to fill the void. A stone guard on the A-frame protects a pair of 9kg gas bottles for the stove and hot water service and there’s a mesh tray for odds and ends or some firewood.

Two sets of heavy-duty mud flaps under the chassis at the A-frame and forward of the wheels were fitted to test how they would work in preventing stone damage underneath and by all accounts they did the job. As Shaun told me later, it was a real eye opener to see how the underneath of the van is continually blasted with rocks and sand on a dirt road.

Twin 80L water tanks have stone shields and all hoses and electrical leads are located out of harm’s way and survived the trip without incident.

Outside features include a full-width tunnel boot at the front, a fold-down picnic table with 12v and TV plugs, a full-length fold-out awning and a driver side hot shower, while a single spare at the back is mounted high on a sturdy bar along with two jerry can holders.

Just inside the rear entrance, you will find a set of three bunks to the right, the kitchen/diner in the centre and the double bed at the front. Goldstream was one of the early adaptors of CNC cut furniture and edge banding of the joinery in the van and the difference shows. Every cabinet and drawer has a perfect fit and the flush finish is modern and refreshing. They even go to the trouble of edge banding shelves and dividers inside the cupboards so there is no show-through in any gaps.

This new design features an open layout giving a roomy and bright feeling despite having only a 4.95m (16’) inside measurement. Dometic S7 windows let in loads of light and are a step up over many manufacturers. They look great with their flush finish and have a smooth operation with a quality feel.

Fitting a queen bed, a set of triple bunks and a workable kitchen is a real achievement. The 6’2” length of the queen bed is long enough for most people and still allows access to the end of the bed from the passenger side by leaving a narrow walkway. The layout eliminates the need to crawl over partners in the middle of the night. It’s only narrow, but it’s very usable and solves that age-old problem.

Another perennial problem is travelling with children and not having enough food on hand, so the 190L, two-door Dometic fridge is a real benefit. This three-way system worked very efficiently for the duration of the trip and delivered welcome cold drinks for everyone at the end of the day.

A scupper hatch in the roof very effectively prevented dust from entering the van and given the amount of blinding clouds some of the road trains produced that was a pretty good validation of how successful they can be.

Some might think the Evo Lithium battery is an expensive option at over $4,000 but having seen a few of these now in various Goldstreams I’m really taken with it.

This new Australian designed and built system uses technology that is lighter and more compact than traditional deep cycle batteries. The 180 ah battery is charged from the tow vehicle or an 80w solar panel on the roof much more quickly than older style batteries and delivers the equivalent of 320ah.

Its main benefit though is to be able to use stored power of the battery down to 20% performance without damage. This compares to a standard deep cycle battery that has difficulty running less that 60% of capacity.

A significant benefit is the long life of the battery – expected to last up to 20 years – which, over the term of the van, goes a long way towards helping cover the initial installation cost.

The kitchen has a 4-burner grill and microwave as well as a stainless steel sink and deep drawers and cupboards for provisions. The entertainment package includes a Radio/CD and a 19″ television and Winegard antenna. Although temperatures during the day were mild, the nights dropped to nearly freezing so the ability of the Finch ducted reverse cycle air conditioner to heat the van was a real bonus on powered sites or when the generator was cranked up.

Shaun’s daily drive is a Chev Silverado – something of an overkill for the lightweight van, so we swapped to one of the Volkswagen Amaroks that had been towing the big Goldstream Rhino on our trip. Capable of pulling 3000kg, the Amarok breathed a sigh of relief being hitched to the lighter 1760 and it proved a perfect match over sand hills and rocky ground for the journey down the Birdsville track and through the Flinders Ranges.

The Goldstream RV 1760 Bunk Pop Top is an excellent way to get the family out in the bush without breaking the budget and with plenty of room for everyone. Priced at $51,500 for the Offroad version with Independent suspension, the tested van was $62,625 (ex Melbourne) making it a good value, well-built, easily towed model I’d be happy to take on a lap of the country.


Manufacturer: Goldstream RV

Model: 1760 Bunk Pop Top

Overall length: (includes drawbar) 7.2m

Width: 2.28m plus roll out awning 125mm

Travel height: 2.55m as displayed

Tare weight: 1920kg

ATM: 2500kg

Ball weight: 210 kg

Price from: $51,500

Options fitted: Evo Lithium battery system, 2 x enclosed jerry holders, 190 ltr fridge upgrade, TV package, Dometic windows, solar panel, picnic table, A-frame mesh

Price as reviewed: $62,625

Find Out More

Goldstream RV

75 Bald Hill Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810

(03) 5941 5571

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