Very occasionally we RV mag people actually get to properly test tow a new RV to really get the feel of it. This proved to be the case when we travelled to the Big Red Bash with the magazine convoy of three rigs. With the boss along as co-tester (always good to get the bride’s opinion) we towed the new Goldstream Rhino Series 20.5 off-road caravan from Rutherglen in Vic, up the Newell to Gilgandra, then to Lightning Ridge, Roma, Charleville, Windorah and on to Birdsville. The return run was via the Birdsville track to Maree, Flinders Ranges, Burra, Ouyen and through to Melbourne.
I mention the route to show that we really did clock up over 5000km with the Rhino, including country highway and regional tar roads, plenty of dirt roads and even some fair dinkum city tollways.
A point to note is the weather in Queensland and south of Birdsville prior to the run. Some quite serious rainfall had the Channel Country pretty wet, with the channels flowing and the desert country wet, green with new growth, and with blooming flowers. Roads were closed across the region, and we were fortunate that they opened in some cases the day before we got to them.
This gave us the opportunity to tow the Rhino through running water over causeways, and through soggy dips on the dirt roads. As you might guess, dust wasn’t really a problem. There was a bit about, but the little scupper in the forward roof of the Rhino kept the dust out by overpressuring the interior. Mud was a different matter, but thanks to the boss’s strict rules I managed not to traipse any through the van on my boots.
Externally, the Rhino looks good and performs well. It rides on a gal chassis, with a laminated gal floor, Cruisemaster Coil independent suspension and 16-inch wheels. On the A-frame is a DO-35 hitch, which proved easy to use and handled off road conditions with ease. A stoneshield protected the pair of 9kg gas bottles.
At the rear was a single spare and jerry can holders on the rear bumper. I think I’d prefer two spare wheels out where we went. A rear cutaway provided good clearance and scrub bars protected the bodywork.
A fold down table, power outlets, awning and reverse camera are fitted, with extensive black chequerplate all round. The front boot had loads of room.
Internally the Rhino was very comfortable, with an efficient fridge and kitchen set up, a very comfy bed and dinette, and a bathroom that suited the bride nicely. The layout on this particular rig had the entry forward of the axles, with the bathroom forward, the kitchen and dinette midships, and the bedroom at the rear. There was plenty of internal storage and good lighting, with effective privacy screens on the windows.
Over all, the boss was pretty pleased with the Rhino, and not a little envious. She’s now looking somewhat askance at our little slide-on camper. Methinks a change is coming!
The Rhino has a very strong independent camping capability, as you’d expect in a genuine off road caravan. The Redarc battery management system, with dual batteries and two solar panels provide heaps of independent power. The two 80-litre water tanks, the 18 kilos of gas and the spacious and efficient fridge/freezer means extended off-grid camping is practical.
Effective insulation can enhance any caravan journey, and the Rhino’s roof and wall insulation and double glazed windows kept things comfy. Additionally, the air conditioning and the super under bed heater kept the boss warm when we needed it. We copped a range of temperatures, from the warm days and chilly nights of the desert country in western Qld to snowing back in Vic. At all times we were as snug as bugs in the Rhino.
We had the Rhino hitched to a VW Amarok dual cab ute, and this rig towed quite well. Mind you, I didn’t check the tyre pressures on the ute when I jumped in, and with a factory set 65psi it was very touchy when towing and tended to wander. With tyre pressures down to 45psi everything clicked, and the van towed very well. We encountered heavy crosswinds in Western Victoria but the Rhino handled that pretty well.
The sole problem we encountered on the run was waking up to a flat tyre at Ouyen. That was a problem only because changing the tyre prevented me from visiting the local pie shop and hooking into one of their famous vanilla slices!
All in all, the Goldstream Rhino proved to be a very comfortable, practical and reliable off road caravan. At over eight metres in length and almost three metres in height it’s a fair sized van, but we had no trouble pushing it into genuinely off-road areas, and overall it was good to tow on the tar. And perhaps most important of all, it passed the bride’s test as a comfortable home on the road.
Manufacturer: Goldstream RV
Model: Rhino 2050
Outside body length: 6220mm
Interior length: 5650mm
Travel length: 8300mm
Travel height: 2980mm
Tare (approx): 2500kg
Ball weight (approx): 240kg
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75 Bald Hill Road
Pakenham, VIC 3810
Phone: 03 5941 5571
Facsimile: 03 5941 5572