With a body length of 24 feet in the old money, the Southern Cross Barcoo Expedition is a big, imposing van, but then fifth wheelers tend to look bigger on the road than their caravan counterparts. But big or not, they handle a whole lot better than a conventionally towed rig. In fact, it’s a wonder there are not more fifth wheelers on the road.
The Barcoo Expedition 24-footer is perfectly suited for long range touring, with loads of space inside, a standard of construction that will handle dirt roads with ease, and the added advantage of easy reversing into van park sites.
The rig we looked at was towed by a Ford Ranger dual cab ute wearing the same 3.2-litre powerplant as my Mazda BT50. It skittled along nicely at the various speed limits from 60 to 100km/h and sat nice and steady on the road.
The Barcoo Expedition is built on a Supagal chassis with a composite panel body with smooth fibreglass exterior. It’s fully insulated with 25mm high density Dow-foam.
The suspension system is the Easy Traveller Gen 2 independent trailing arm with air bags and shock absorbers. Two tanks, one 130-litre fresh water and one 100-litre grey water, are fitted underneath. Two 4.5 litre gas bottles are fitted in a locker under the gooseneck.
At the rear is a narrow bar with a spare wheel attached, and above is a reversing camera. Along the kerb side is a Carefree awning, along with a picnic table, external lighting and electric entry steps.
While the Barcoo Expedition 24 might appear big on the outside, it looks even bigger inside. Entry is via a door positioned centrally, forward of the axles. The kitchen and lounge are forward of the entry, with the bedroom and ensuite to the rear.
The kitchen area forward of the entry is impressive, with benches along both sides providing a huge amount of room. Along the kerb side is a benchtop with a microwave oven beneath, alongside a full cooktop/grill/oven combo. The cooktop is concealed beneath a folding section of the benchtop and there are ample storage lockers beneath. A rangehood is positioned above the cooktop, with a nest of lockers in the overhead. The cooktop is backed by a tiled splashback and a window.
Opposite the cooking bench is the other half of the kitchen area, comprising a long bench with a stainless steel sink and draining tray. Beneath this is a big nest of drawers and yet more cupboards, while above a window is another nest of lockers. To the rear of this bench, opposite the entry, is the fridge console containing a 175-litre Waeco fridge/freezer, and on the forward bulkhead is a TV mount that swivels to suit the forward dinette.
There is more storage space in this kitchen than in many home kitchens.
Forward of the kitchen is the raised lounge/dinette, with two long, comfortable bench lounges and a large adjustable table between. A pair of windows flanks the lounge and a wide hatch above allows in plenty of air and light.
The bedroom is toward the rear of the entry and features a queen bed positioned east west. The bed is flanked by wardrobes, with bedside tables and drawers beneath. Above the bedhead is a set of lockers, with personal reading lights alongside. Windows are positioned at the head and the foot of the bed.
There is plenty of storage space beneath the bed, so with that and the robes and lockers you’d reckon that would be enough. But as they say, wait, there’s more! On the rear wall by the ensuite is a large wardrobe providing plenty of additional storage and hanging space.
The bathroom occupies the rear of the Barcoo Expedition and is in fact a true ensuite. A Thetford cassette toilet is fitted to the kerb side, with a vanity bench across the rear. Beneath the bench is a set of lockers, with a top loading washing machine concealed beneath a hinged section of bench. A raised, rectangular vanity basin is fitted forward of a big mirror, and a further set of storage lockers is fitted above. The shower recess is tucked into the driver’s side rear corner, and the ensuite can be closed off from the bedroom via a concertina door.
The layout of the Barcoo Expedition 24 utilises the available interior space very nicely, and there is an immense amount of storage space aboard.
The Southern Cross Expedition 24 is a genuine long range touring van, easy to tow and extremely comfortable. It could easily be a home on the road for a touring couple.
Model: Barcoo Expedition
Length overall: 7.350m
Width overall: 2.32m
Height: 3.24m (incl air con)
Tare weight: 2700kg
Price as shown: $135,540
Find Out More
Southern Cross Caravans
19 Nestor Drive
Meadowbrook. Qld. 4131
Ph: (07) 3200 6924
Fax: (07) 3200 8999