Lagoon Monaco

This Monaco from Lagoon Caravans comes packed with features and should suit couples planning some long distance touring.

As it happened we were travelling in the Northern Territory when the deadline for this issue loomed over the horizon like a roadtrain rushing towards us. Time to settle down somewhere and complete this Walk Through before the editor starts sending nasty text messages.

Luckily, when travelling in relatively remote areas like the Stuart Highway, phones and internet are scarce between towns so nobody can hassle you when you want to lay low.

Seeking somewhere quiet and relaxing to work we diverted from the blacktop near Elliott to the Longreach Waterhole where picnic tables offered a pleasant place to set up the laptop. It was hardly a distraction free environment though, with birds of all sorts whistling me to stop working while a nearby kite berated me for my late copy.

Looking around I realised I had happened upon a most appropriate place to write as the waterhole is in fact a well laid out and beautiful Lagoon, just like the subject of our test, the Lagoon Monaco.

You would be hard put to find a better place in the outback to set up camp as testified by the dozen or so vans scattered along the lake. There was plenty of room for everyone and it seemed like the sort of place buyers of the Monaco dream about when contemplating getting into caravanning.

For this trip we are travelling light but this is the sort of place a bit of luxury wouldn’t go astray. The Monaco is just the shot for spending a few days – ok a week or so – just taking in the scenery and relaxing with a line dangling in the water.

In the few years they have been building vans, Lagoon has chiselled out a strong reputation for quality and value and on a recent visit to their impressive production facility I saw a keen attention to detail and quality control.

The Monaco is one of seven models in Lagoon’s on road stable (there are also two off-roaders) and at 21’ it’s the second largest and right in the most popular segment of the market for travelling couples.

Its sturdy meranti timber body is built on a 4” chassis with a 6” A-frame sitting on tandem axles with load-sharing Rocker leaf spring suspension which, while not specifically aimed at off-roading, is capable of traversing corrugated dirt roads.

This heavy-duty suspension allows an ATM of 2640kg including a payload of 400kg.

Taking away a weight of 180kg for the water in two underslung tanks and 18kg for the gas there is still around 200kg to share between food, clothing and sundries, although vans can be individualised for greater load carrying if needed. This weight means of course that you need a decent vehicle to tow it, putting you in 4wd territory.

The hitch is a simple 50mm ball and Al-Ko electronic stability control is standard, offering extra levels of safety for and peace of mind. The gas bottles sit in cradles on the drawbar where there’s also a tap and nearby gas bayonet.

From the outside the Monaco shares the understated grey and black colour scheme of the Lagoon family. Black checkerplate panels run along the lower edges and the main body is clad in raised profile aluminium sheets. Black swirls along the sides revert to silver over the black doorway and the theme is completed with glossy black alloy wheels under black arches.

All this is immaterial if the correct assembly procedures aren’t followed so I was pleased to note at the factory the sturdy construction and care taken with weather sealing at corners and under cover strips with generous amounts of strategically placed quality sealant.

External features include a full width tunnel boot at the front, a folding picnic table, TV access points, external speakers, a black, roll-out awning and a driver-side hatch at the rear, suitable for a generator.

Lagoon have recognised the trend amongst travellers for free camping so the inclusion of a 120w solar panel to charge a 100ah deep cycle battery will be a welcome idea. Sharing space on the roof is an Ibis 3 air conditioner and a jack antenna for the standard 19” television.

An illuminated grab handle and a drop down step assist passage through the three-way security door to a very modern interior with the bed at the front, a full width ensuite at the rear and the living area taking up the rest of the space.

Big windows and roof hatches create an area full of light, enhanced by the off white walls and ceiling. A row of ten LED lights in the roof would brighten things at night or, with the option of blue or white reading lamps at the bed and table, you could create a more subdued atmosphere.

While Lagoon offers a range of interior colours, I like the choice in the test van where a combination of Laverto Oak cupboards, light granite-look benchtops and soft beige upholstery allowed a peaceful ambience. Flush and glossy cupboards and doors along with modern brushed alloy handles added a contemporary feel to a look that isn’t too “out there”, ensuring it should stay fashionable over time.

All windows are flush-mount Mobicool double-glazed style with inbuilt screens and blockouts. They are sometimes referred to as European style but local builders have taken to them in such a way that we could now, like pavlova, call them our own. And while you sometimes see them fitted with curtains, I prefer the way Lagoon has chosen the naked, more modern and practical look.

Small corner cupboards are fitted either side of the walkway into the bedroom where a queen bed has an inner spring mattress with the usual storage space below. Mirrored hanging cupboards sit astride the bed and a trio of overhead storage spaces and drawers below the hangers are all useful places to store oft used items.

It was good to see twin 240v power points either side of the bed, making the bedside tables a handy place for charging phones and laptops. In fact, the van was well equipped with power sockets including a double and a 12V outlet at the dinette, a double in the kitchen and another in the ensuite.

A well laid out kitchen runs back from the entry door and kicks out for extra space where it meets the ensuite wall, giving a usable bench top and lots of storage in drawers below and cupboards overhead. A brushed aluminium spashback covering the wall between bench and overhead cupboards ties everything together and should help keep things looking spick and span.

Cooks will like the wide expanse of preparation area with the oven set under a cover in the bench until it’s needed. It seemed to provide a good workflow back to the stainless steel sink and overhead microwave to the rear of the kitchen.

The Swift 500 has a grill, small oven and 3 gas and a single electric burner while the rangehood includes a 12v light. The sink has a nice looking mixer with a 12v pump and its own LED light built into an overhead cupboard as well as a low window so the washer-upper shouldn’t have any excuses for not getting the plates clean.

Finishing off the kitchen facilities is a Thetford 3-way 184L fridge freezer and a slide-out pantry. While compressor fridges are all the rage now, there is something to be said for the backup of gas when free camping and the weather means the battery is running low.

Plush seating at the club lounge was as comfortable as it looked and gave ample room for a couple to spread out, with padding on the wall to allow sitting lengthways when watching TV or reading. Storage drawers are built underneath, doing away with having to lift bulky cushions to access storage.

It’s almost a shame to have a door at the ensuite. It’s a beauty and you would be proud to show it off, coming as it does with a floating square ceramic sink and a row of mirrors on four overhead cupboard doors. To the driver side is a Thetford ceramic toilet and a Destination RV 3kg washing machine while at the other end is a moulded shower with non-slip floor, sliding shower head and an overhead hatch with 12v fan. If you are going to have an ensuite it may as well look as good as this one.

Lagoon have packed a lot into their Monaco and it’s very good value at $56,990 ex Melbourne. It’s got everything most couples would want for extended touring on the blacktop around Australia. Throw in an extra solar panel and battery and it can keep you travelling off the grid indefinitely.


Manufacturer : Lagoon Caravans

Model : Monaco

Overall length : 8.5m

Width : 2.4m

Travel height : 3.0m

Tare weight : 2240kg

Gross weight : 2640kg

Ball weight : 180kg

Price as reviewed : $56,990

Find Out More

Pasadena Caravans

37-41 Cooper St, Campbellfield Vic 3061

Ph 03 9305 3929


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