26. January 2022

Is the great Australian holiday out of reach?

By Daisy Henry

Towing the caravan to the seaside has been a summer season custom for generations of Australians.

But rising demand introduced on by two years of coronavirus journey restrictions means many caravans and campervans are actually out of attain for common households.

Changed holiday habits may have put caravanning off the agenda for many Australians.

Changed holiday habits could have put caravanning off the agenda for a lot of Australians. Credit:Michele Mossop

Melbourne resident Lani Lewis and her associate have been trying to purchase a second-hand campervan for greater than a yr. But a surge in reputation has led to skyrocketing costs and ready instances.

“We both love to travel and with overseas travel seeming too difficult, expensive and not as safe in the near future, we thought travelling Australia in a van would be a great way to satiate our travel bug,” Ms Lewis mentioned.

“We’ve been looking to get a second-hand van for over a year now, but prices have been extremely high for what is on the market. We’ve recently switched to looking for a caravan but are finding it is the same issue.”

Ms Lewis mentioned that the majority second-hand campervans listed on-line promote extraordinarily quick resulting from the excessive demand, leaving no likelihood to barter an affordable worth.

After a seven-month wait, Natalie Amoroso is excited to hit the east coast with her family in their new caravan.

After a seven-month wait, Natalie Amoroso is worked up to hit the east coast along with her household of their new caravan.Credit:Jason South

“I can’t speak on behalf of other people, but it’s definitely made it inaccessible [and] much harder for us,” Ms Lewis mentioned.

Amber Engelhardt had additionally spent months trying however discovered it troublesome resulting from the “ridiculous prices for second-hand vans.”

“We were certainly not going to pay over $10,000 for an unfitted van,” Ms Engelhardt mentioned.

People on-line had began referring to the campervan worth will increase as “the COVID tax”, she mentioned.

“I think unless you have some knowledge on vans or a trade behind you to be able to do up a van and still do it cheaply, it’s pretty inaccessible to a lot of people.”

Heightened demand has additionally positioned stress on producers.

Australian producer and retailer Jayco skilled a 35 per cent improve in gross sales throughout new and used RVs in comparison with the earlier yr.

National gross sales supervisor Scott Jones mentioned the important improve in gross sales may very well be attributed to new individuals coming into the market that will not have beforehand thought-about caravanning.

“Increased demand has meant we have put more of an emphasis on our production processes to increase efficiencies across all production lines,” Mr Scott mentioned, “[But] like all industries experiencing increased demand comes the potential for longer production lead times,” he mentioned.

Upwey resident Natalie Amoroso and her associate began searching for a caravan final yr, so they may enterprise off on a household street journey with their two kids.

They purchased a caravan in May 2021 and picked it up seven months later, on Christmas Eve.

Ms Amoroso’s household bought in simply earlier than the yr’s cut-off.

“[The dealership] did tell us that we were one of the last families to be able to purchase that specific caravan for the year,” she mentioned.

Caravan Industry Victoria CEO Robert Lucas mentioned that relying on the sort of car, what as soon as had been a six to nine-month wait was as much as twelve months in the previous yr. But he mentioned orders ought to return to regular ready instances this yr.

Chris Ellis, owner of @Peachwoodco_ in a van that he recently fitted out as a luxe campervan.

Chris Ellis, proprietor of @Peachwoodco_ in a van that he lately fitted out as a luxe campervan.Credit:Jason South

Others are opting to buy empty vans and make use of the providers of individuals like Chris Ellis, from Peachwood Co, to do customized fit-outs.

In an Instagram Q&A together with his followers, Mr Ellis mentioned that customized fit-outs for smaller autos like the Toyota Hiace can begin from $18,000 and improve as much as $33,000 for bigger vans like the Mercedes Sprinter.

Although that is along with the value of buying an empty van, it contrasts with the worth of new Campervans from retailers like Jayco and Winnebago which are likely to retail for over $120,000.

When he began Peachwood Co 4 years in the past, Mr Ellis would get one or two inquiries per week. Now he will get as much as 12 a day.

“I’ve already booked up until close to October,” he mentioned.

Mr Ellis mentioned that the “market is crazy” for individuals like Lani and Amber, who had been hoping to purchase one thing already fitted out.

In February 2021, Mr Ellis listed a completely fitted-out van on-line and bought it that day.

“I put it up. I didn’t look at the listing for a couple of hours and I came back to … 160 inquiries for it. After four hours. I just was blown away by the level of interest in that sort of market,” he mentioned.

The ZIP Weekly Spending Index, based mostly on information from December 2020, revealed a 242.9 per cent improve in spending with caravan sellers.

Data from Parks Victoria additional highlighted this pattern, as campsite bookings in the 2020-21 summer season interval elevated by 42.7 per cent. There had been greater than 60,000 bookings recorded in 2020-21, in comparison with about 42,000 in 2019-20.

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