It’s probably fair to say that a test of a Goldstream van invariably leaves me with a very positive impression. Over the years we have put many of their vans through the wringer and they have all delivered without fuss, without losing bits or having drawers or appliances come loose. And from talking to a lot of travellers, that’s not always true of all manufacturers.
Our 5000km test last year to south-western Queensland was a case in point. The van competently handled the corrugated roads and sandy desert tracks and delivered a pleasing level of comfort over our three week trip. That van had the Aussie Adventure pack, which equipped it for rougher roads but our van on test is a full-blown off-roader with the impressive Rhino upgrade.
Off-roaders have become increasingly prevalent in the line-up of many manufacturers because of the inherent ruggedness that we like to have on board. We like to think that we have the ability to be prepared for the unexpected: conditions on dirt highways can turn treacherous overnight; the track into a glorious free campsite can resemble an opal field sometimes or you can inadvertently turn onto a nice looking green paddock that is really a lurking quagmire.
All these circumstances can face the adventure traveller and having a rugged van can be a real bonus. Not to mention that they are visually appealing and macho-boosting to boot.
With the Rhino 2300FB, Goldstream has brought the demands for adventure and the needs of a growing family together. It’s an off roader with room for the kids to enjoy the journey without being banished into a tent every night.
Being built for the rough world of the Australian countryside doesn’t mean compromises have been made on comfort and style because the Rhino retains the well-crafted interior of all Goldstream products as well as appliances and features that set it up for extended independent camping in far away places.
Exterior design of the rig is a no-compromise look that hollers “look out I’m coming through” from a charging Rhino head up front and loud graphics along the sides. Black checkerplate down low and grey composite panels add to the high testosterone image while big wheels and a high ground clearance enforce the go-anywhere impression.
The look is all part of the fun but if you want the practicality without the bling then forego the Rhino head or select a more modest sized logo and maybe opt for a plainer white and silver colour scheme. You will get the same performance while passing more unobtrusively through the landscape.
Features outside include a handy storage box and a pair of 9kg gas bottles on the A-frame protected by a stone guard, a front tunnel boot, a picnic table with TV and power points and a low profile, slide-out gas BBQ. A hefty bar at the back supports a single spare and the black full-length awning fits in with the colour theme and offers plenty of shade.
A reversing camera and LED spot lights front and rear will help you get into tricky spots at night and keep an eye on following traffic on the highway.
Adding to the bling factor, but somewhat incongruous for a hard core off roader, is a set of black alloy 20” wheels fitted with low profile off-road tyres. Looks cool though.
You won’t find such frivolity under the van: just a hard-core suspension and heavy-duty chassis. Check out the photo of the trailing arm system with coil springs assisted by twin shocks. Notice too the wires and lines that have been routed well out of harm’s way. Aiding articulation over rough ground is a DO35 hitch and brakes are 12” drums.
A heavy duty Austrail chassis with a 150x50mm draw bar and additional 100×50 risers under the body makes a strong platform that should see years of reliable service. Also underneath are two 80L water tanks, which would be enough for several days camping with frugal use of the shower.
Because of demands for free camping there is plenty of electrical power on hand. Twin 105ah AGM batteries located in a steel box ahead of the driver side wheels are charged through a Redarc 1230 battery management system from four healthy 120W solar panels and through an Anderson plug when the tow vehicle is connected when travelling. The Redarc system is lithium battery compatible so they can be fitted as an option or later when the price is more accessible.
Goldstream base this Rhino on the road going version of the Australis 2300FB- a 23’ van with family bunks – so the interior exudes the luxury and refinement of these up-market models.
Using the standard model as a base poses no issues because cabin build is super tough with a meranti frame including studs set at 250mm, all furniture screwed and glued from inside and out, not stapled. The composite smooth exterior is a hallmark of contemporary Goldstreams and it reinforces the modern impression. It has good insulation properties especially when combined with the polypropylene foam in the wall cavities.
The modern interior is finished with precision cut CNC furniture in a layout that includes a queen bed, a kitchen and diner and ensuite as well as a set of either twin or triple bunks. This efficient design has been achieved by laying out the ensuite lengthways at the rear, with the bunks opposite and while this may cut down on the size of the bathroom, to me, it’s a sensible arrangement offering room to move, and a decent sized vanity and mirror.
The bunks have a generous 6’2” length and a built-in ladder to the upper level. Each bunk gets its own window as well as LED lighting and there’s a storage cupboard along the rear wall and a 12v Sirocco fan for ventilation.
A sliding door separates the rear section from the living space to give parents and children some room to themselves.
Living space has a driver side kitchen and an L-shaped lounge with lots of light from Dometic S7 double glazed windows and Heike hatches. There is a choice of colours of course and the test van’s Siena Teak cupboard doors blended well with the Downtown Taupe of the upholstery.
Happily the family van gets a large three-way 190L Dometic fridge /freezer and to feed the troops a Thetford Mini Grill 3 with a 4 burner cooktop along with a Daewoo microwave. Benchtop space isn’t overly generous but there are good storage options in overhead cupboards along with drawers and a slide-out pantry under the bench.
Options include a Dometic Freshjet air conditioner, fusion sound system 21” TV with Wineguard antenna and a Wi-Fi hotspot to keep the kids happy.
We took the Goldstream out to the hills around Noojee and it towed well behind the Isuzu D-Max along the highway. We had no trouble on the steep hills in the area and it was smooth over the dirt roads and farm tracks we found to test the suspension.
Tare weight is 2880kg and all up it’s capable of carrying 620kg for an ATM of 3500kg where it would be at the limit for most of the current crop of 4WD tow vehicles.
With the level of refinement and all-road capability it’s not too surprising that the price as tested is $92,990. While not inconsiderable, you get a van that should last for years and handle the worst that our roads can throw at it.
Manufacturer: Goldstream RV
Model: Rhino 2300FB
Overall length: 8.58m
Travel height: 3.1m
Tare weight: 2880kg
ATM weight: 3500kg
Ball weight: 273kg
Price from: $63,000 for on-road version
Price as reviewed: $92,990
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75 Bald Hill Road
Pakenham, VIC 3810
Phone: 03 5941 5571