Host: For many Aussies like you and me, the dream is to travel this amazing country of ours and explore places that we’ve never seen before. Whether it’s cruising the open road, camping in sun-kissed spots, or getting active, we just love to get out there. In order to taste the dream properly you need the right gear.

G’day, welcome to a special episode of Creek to Coast for your Saturday afternoon. Great to have your company. We’re at AusRV’s factory in Brisbane, checking out the latest and greatest in caravans that are just about to hit the market. Today on the show we’ve got a special journey as we put these brand new caravans through their paces. It should be plenty of fun.

Not only is this a new brand, these are the very first caravans to roll off the production line. On this road trip we’ll be testing them, making sure they’re up for the adventures they’re designed for. One of AusRV’s honchos, Ritchie Fort, has been in the caravan game for a long time and he knows a thing or two about getting them on the road.

Ritchie, AusRV, brand new company, brand new caravans just hitting the market, you must be excited.

Ritchie Fort: Yeah, it’s really exciting. It’s probably only been going three or four months, from the idea to making it happen. Here we are today, we’ve got our first two beauties rolling off the line.

Host:: Yeah, mate. There must be plenty of hard work that goes into making these vans perfect.

Ritchie Fort: Definitely. A lot of sweat and probably 250 to 300 hours to build a caravan from start to finish. It’s really exciting because everything’s done here on site. Cut the steel, the guys build the chassis,  it goes offsite to get galvanised, then it comes back here and we fit all the components. Australian components, lightweight composite walls, floor, roof.

Everything’s one piece so that means it adds strength. It also makes it dust-proof as well, and waterproof. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.

Host: You’ve covered every base.

Ritchie Fort: I’ve got no doubt, I think this is going to be a real success and we’re really looking forward to seeing what the public thinks.

Host: Our plan is to end up in Newcastle, where we’ll show the caravans to the public at the Caravan, Camping, and Holiday Expo. The final checks are being completed by the lads, but before we roll out we’ve got to meet the team we’re travelling with.

Steve Robson’s riding solo and is pulling the 22-foot Byfield with his Isuzu D-Max. I leave with Billy Berg in the 200-Series Land Cruiser, towing the Finke 19-footer.  Billy, are you pumped? We are in for an awesome trip, mate.

Billy Berg: It’s going to be a cracker. We’ve got the 22 Byfield, we’ve got the 19 Finke, brand new, state of the art, all the fruit in there. It’s going to be a cracker of a trip.

Host: This is what I’ve got planned for you guys. A little bit of fishing, bit of horse riding. We’ve got the home away from home. Are you ready?

Billy Berg: Oh, I’m ready.

Host: Let’s go.

Billy Berg: Let’s do it.

Host: Where’s the big man? Steve-O, come on. We’re going. Come on!

Now that we’re on the open road, it’s a good time to chat to Billy about how the caravan is going on its first test, the open road.

I’ll tell you what, Billy, we don’t even need even know you got this on the back.

Billy Berg: No, not at all. I’ll tell you what, the Independent Trailing Arm Suspension that these are coming out with standard with, rides so smooth. The other great thing on it as well, is the come standard with the electronic stability control. It takes out the guesswork here, so if you get a sway-out, that control automatically senses it, and before you even know the caravan’s moving it’s stopped it. It is, it’s a real great safety feature to have on your caravans.

Host: I guess also when they tow so straight and easily, cost effective. You’re not using as much fuel in the vehicle.

Billy Berg: Correct, correct, because you’re not always on and off the accelerator, it’s just a constant speed. It’s just so much easier.

Host: Our first stop is Ballina, about two and a half hours’ drive south from Brisbane. We’re pulling into the South Ballina Beach Holiday Park and  we’ll be staying there overnight.

So, little piece of paradise you’ve got here.

Kath: Yes, it’s our eco village in South Ballina. Right near the beach and on the river.

Host: Is there a better location anywhere?

Kath: No, definitely not.

Host: A big one, you’re pet friendly.

Kath: We love fur babies. They can go in the cabin. Not on the furniture, but yeah, they can go in the cabins. They love it.

Host: I’ve got plenty of energy this afternoon. Is there anything you can recommend?

Kath: Just down the road, horse riding. Taking on the beach, beautiful. [00:05:00] Best thing ever.

Host: Any advice for me?

Kath: Hang on. Don’t fall off.

Host: Great suggestion, Cath. It’s off to meet the team at Tassiriki Ranch. Being my first time on a horse for 20 years, it’s fair to say I’m a little on the edgy side.

I’m used to having five each one of the horse, not getting on one. Can they pick if you’re nervous?

Speaker:  They can pick up if you’re nervous. They will feed off your energy.

Host: I’m not nervous. Feed off my energy.

Speaker: If you’re nice and relaxed they’ll stay nice and relaxed as well.

Host: Okay, I’m relaxed. Whoop, hold on woo. Old horsy must be picking up on my vibe. Oh wow. Have a look at us, guys. On the beach, on our horses. Honestly, how good? The sun’s just about to set, we’ve got virtually the whole beach to ourselves. Is there any better place in the world?

Speaker : No, there’s not. This is our backyard. This is me and my staff’s office and we love it. Absolutely love it, it’s terrific.

Host: Well, there’s not many places in Australia where you can actually ride horses on the beach.

Speaker: No, that’s right.  There’s not.

Host: Good boy,. Good boy. Good boy, look after Scotty.