Opulence & Quality
Billabong Caravans in Campbellfield Victoria have been working steadily with a view to quality for 10 years and have just launched a flashy anniversary model to celebrate.
It was a pretty miserable day as I sat inside the Grove anniversary model van with Nick Salce, Marketing Manager for Billabong, and I have to admit that being out of the wind and the rain was far nicer than a short time earlier when we were dodging raindrops to snap the pics for this story.
Nick was walking me through the special 10th anniversary van and was chatting about his ten years working in the caravan industry and some of the changes that have occurred. Nick has worked his way up from the factory floor and into the office and knows his vans inside and out. He is a part of the family that started Billabong 10 years ago and is proud of the way they work and manufacture their vans.
The anniversary Grove offers a huge amount of comfort whilst being very practical yet opulent in feel because of the quality of products used and the way the van has been put together. Nick explained that since their move to Sydney Road, which has been huge, they have been averaging about five vans a week. This is not a huge number however they are building volume up slowly and concentrating on best build practices as they always have.
I was pretty impressed with the Grove we reviewed which is one of Billabong’s show vans. It was launched recently at the Melbourne Supershow and received some rave reviews. Wandering around the van I can see why.
The Grove is based around a G&S 6-inch Supagal chassis and features a full meranti timber frame wrapped in white composite cladding. It features black checker plate front and skirts which accentuate the white cladding. Dometic windows are fitted throughout the body which, combined with the hatches in the roof, provide plenty of ventilation and light throughout.
Other features on this van include a full width tunnel boot for long items and a large locker near the door which when opened reveals a huge 32-inch flat screen TV for entertainment and outside living. Twin 6-inch external speakers provide the sound. A Dometic awning provides the all-weather protection that is needed for touring this amazing country.
Mechanical bits include 16-inch Trooper Blue alloy rims shod with off-road tyres, 12-inch electric brakes, AL-KO ESC and an 8-leaf, tandem load sharing leaf spring suspension system.
Underneath the van is neat and tidy and features two 95 litre water tanks with shields.
There is also a battery box housing two 120 amp/hr AGM batteries mounted on the driver’s side of the chassis, pretty much under the bedroom window at the front.
Upfront on the A-frame is a Hyland coupling, mesh in the A-frame, twin 9kg gas bottles, tap and a large tool box with twin Jerry can holders for longer haul trips. At the back end is a rear bumper with spare tyre, moulded light insert with LED lighting throughout.
Up on the roof are two 120w solar panels which feed the electrical system seamlessly with Ctek charging gear mounted under the bed. A Wineguard digital antenna provides the reception for the entertainment systems.
Overall I liked the contrasting black and white finish used on this van. Perhaps that is due to my Collingwood allegiance! The contrasting blue decals and finish with the alloy rims tie things in very neatly as well.
Smooth and opulent is a great way to describe the interior of this van. From the dark smouldering colour scheme in the cabinetry to the white leather lounge and dark bed line, class is definitely a feature of this van. Strip lighting just adds to the overall stylish feel of the van.
Stepping into the van the master bedroom is at the front and features a queen sized bed mounted island style off the front wall. There are cupboards above the bed and very deep wardrobes either side. These are the largest wardrobes I’ve seen and very practical. A large corner cupboard will house extra clothing and the like plus there’s good storage under the bed.
A TV is mounted on the wall backing onto the dining room on the driver’s side of the van as well as a smart wall mounted magazine holder complete with a small mirror which I think is a great touch. Another great feature is the concertina door that separates the bedroom from the main living area. This is very helpful when wanting to hide stuff out of sight if people drop in.
The main living area is dominated by the c-shaped dining seats trimmed in luxurious leather. Between the seating and the ensuite at the back of the van is a large 2-door 184 litre fridge and a huge pantry as well. It’s a practical use of space indeed. This space is comfortable and allows easy access to the main kitchen area which is opposite.
The main kitchen bench runs from the doorway to the ensuite and features a Swift full oven and grill with 3 gas and 1 electric cook top and a neat looking rangehood as well. There is a deep sink and a reasonable amount of bench top. A microwave is mounted above the bench in a good possie and yet another TV is mounted near the door for the best view when sitting on the dining seats.
I liked the amount of storage space in the cupboards and the handy little slide out pantry next to the stove. This kitchen is neat and very practical.
The last room we visited was the ensuite across the back of the van. This room incorporates the same flashy look and feel as the rest of the van. There is an under bench front loading washing machine and a good-sized basin mounted on the top of the bench. A wide mirror is excellent for grooming and the strip lighting looks good.
There’s plenty of cupboard space and a Dometic ceramic toilet is mounted on the driver’s side of the room. Opposite the toilet is a good-sized shower complete with fan, hatch and light. A concertina door to match the bedroom one seals off this room to.
Other interior extras include an Ibis reverse cycle unit, acrylic splashback and vinyl flooring to name just a few items.
The quality of build really shows through on this van and it’s practical to boot. I liked the interior layout and while I wouldn’t choose white leather myself, it does add to the classy look and feel.
Overall this Grove is very neatly fitted and features plenty of accessories to make touring life easy and fun. The price tag of 85Gs as reviewed seems excellent value for money and the opulent appeal. The whole look and feel inside and out just works well.
Manufacturer: Billabong Caravans
Model: Grove 22’ 10 Year Anniversary Model
Length: 6.88m (22ft 6in)
Width: 2.46m (8ft 1in)
Tare weight: 2786kg
Ball weight: 219kg
Price: $85,000 as reviewed drive away ex Melbourne
Find Out More
1551 Sydney Road Campbellfield Vic 3061
03 9359 6313