Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

Are you ready for an Outback Adventure?

The difference between a caravan, campervan and camper trailer and why you need one of them in your life. 

Australia must be one of the best countries in the world to road trip around (and across)!

But with so many travel options out there, it can get overwhelming to choose the best portable accommodation for your trip.

There are a lot of things to consider including budget, time spent on the road, where you’re going or even factoring in kids and pets!

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes
Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

First things first. What is an RV?

RV stands for ‘recreational vehicle’ and is a term that is mainly used in the USA with a fairly wide range of meanings. It refers to anything used as a means of travel and temporary accommodation. Everything below classes as some form of an RV.

So, what are the differences and what is the best for you? Let’s start from the smallest and generally cheapest RVs and work up!

Did you know?

In France, an RV is called a "camping-car". Spain and Portugal use "Auto Caravana" In Germany, it is referred to as a "Wohnmobil".

What is a Camper Trailer?

A camper trailer is towed behind a large car or 4 wheel drive but is much smaller than the common caravan that people are used to seeing. A camper trailer normally consists of a tent that folds out of the trailer and becomes the main living area. All kitchen amenities, like a small cooker and sink, and storage pulls out from the trailer outside the tent. These features are best used under an awning to protect you from the elements while you cook your daily tucker!

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

Why get one of these?

Camper trailers are perfect for camping and adventure and for people that don’t mind being a bit flexible and creative. They suit travellers that are more concerned with where they are going and not how they are sleeping!

Camper trailers are generally the smallest and lightest accommodation to transport. They are a lot easier for the driver to tow and makes fuel efficiency much better than with a heavier trailer. 

People with camper trailers do most of their living outside, meaning they feel more connected to the outdoors and fresh air! Camper trailers make the ultimate outdoor living and with a good awning and decent camp chairs, it can be as comfortable as any other RV accommodation, even if it takes a few extra minutes to set up.

The best for those on a tight budget and those who want to head off the beaten track, a heavy-duty Camper trailer is what you need if you want to go 4-wheel driving… anywhere! Get really off the grid in the Outback or take it through the rugged scenery in Karijina National Park, Western Australia. No other RV has this accessibility!

Did you know?

Many of the animal and vegetation types found in Karijini National Park exist because of Aboriginal land management methods such as fire stick farming.

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

What is a Caravan?

A caravan is also a trailer that needs to be towed behind a large car, but it is fully enclosed with a proper roof and walls and is equipped inside much like a small house would be. These days, most caravans are kitted out with a double bed, an extensive kitchen, a comfortable dining/lounge area and a separate shower and toilet of some sort. Everything is indoors, unlike a camper trailer, and the height inside is big enough for an adult to stand easily.

Why get one of these?

The main benefit of a caravan is that there is no setup required once travellers reach their destination, they just reverse into camp and unlock the door. The pack up is obviously quicker and easier too!

Caravans are great for those who like their creature comforts as they often have internal showers and toilets but also can have other small luxuries like microwaves, TVs and heaters!

Offering a bit more room and home comforts than a simple Camper Trailer, a caravan also provides better weather protection, especially when it comes to temperature. Security that the four solid walls and a lockable door provides is also another advantage.

Because of their limited mobility, caravans are usually used for extended camping or holiday trips, or as a permanent holiday home in a holiday park. A caravan would be great for driving the dusty roads of Central Australia or finding a beautiful spot to stay a few days in the Far North Queensland.

Did you know?

Uluru in Central Australia is taller than the Eiffel Tower.

What is a Campervan?

A Campervan is an everyday van that has been turned into a travelling home. There is generally no divide between the cab and the living quarters. They have the basics for cooking, washing, and sleeping but usually don’t have a toilet or shower unless it’s a very large, modern and expensive one!

Campervans do require some setup as usually they have a lounge or dining area which converts into a bed. They also have a very basic kitchenette, and storage in every nook and cranny!

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

Why get one of these?

These are the easiest and most manoeuvrable of all RVs as it’s just like driving a large car, with no trailer or excessive size to worry about! They also have the benefit of weather protection, but travellers are often left cooking while enjoying the outdoors.

Campervans have great fuel efficiency too as they are similar to a large car, so they are great for those on a budget or those who are not familiar with towing a trailer. Stick some mountain bikes on the back of the campervan and everything is covered!

Because they are so easily portable, campervans are great for long road trips with lots of driving. Do a round trip of Tasmania and see everything there is to see from the road or on a mountain bike! Stay in a different place every night and enjoy the luscious green views.

Did you know?

Tasmania isn’t small, it’s similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka.

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

What is a Motorhome?

A motorhome is a larger and more luxurious version of a campervan that is built on a truck or bus chassis and designed to serve as self-contained living quarters. It really is a house on wheels! But don’t worry, most can be driven in Australia on a regular open licence.

A motorhome has everything you could want on the road and more! There is at least one bedroom that has a bed that requires no setup, a full kitchen (some even have dishwashers!) and separate toilet and shower facilities.

Why get one of these?

A motorhome is the epitome of glamping (glamorous camping) and is ideal for those after as much home comfort and luxury as possible while travelling.

As well as comfort, a motorhome provides the most security while on the road. Travellers can do everything indoors easily and safe from the weather and other creatures on the prowl for crumbs that may have dropped!

There is no hassle of towing with a motorhome but because of their size, they are limited to places they can go. Sticking to tar sealed roads is best for a motorhome so a trip down the East Coast of Australia, especially the Great Ocean Road at the Southern End, is ideal.

However, some people will tow a 4-wheel drive car behind their motorhome to allow them to adventure more!

Because of the room and ease, motorhomes are popular for long road trips and family holidays with kids. They may be expensive but reselling a motorhome after a big trip could be the perfect solution!

Did you know?

The Great Ocean Road was built by around 3,000 returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and was dedicated to soldiers who were killed during World War I, making the road the world’s largest war memorial.

What is a Winnebago?

Winnebago is a brand name of an American manufacturer of luxurious RVs of all kinds, from single caravans through to tour buses over 13 metres long! Because of their extreme popularity and fame, the name has become synonymous with any kind of RV in general and is often interchanged with words such as caravan or motorhome. But a true Winnebago is the cream of the crop!

Campers, Campervans and Motorhomes

Why get a Winnebago?

It is the most recognised name in Motorhomes and it’s no secret how reliable, luxurious and what great value Winnebagos are!

Equipped with some of the most sought-after features in RVs today, enjoy the comfort of hassle-free motorhome living, with style that will impress! Some Winnebagos safely seat five people while driving, but can sleep seven. The whole family, plus a couple of guests, can fit!

These are an ideal investment for those wanting to live permanently on the road. Retirees often take to the road to spend their days exploring this beautiful country. Often selling their houses, downsizing to a Winnebago means they can still keep the comforts of home!

Did you know?

In June 2018, Winnebago started making boats!

So, after reading this you can see that these portable accommodation solutions are way better than the old tent you got in the ’90s.

The choice of buying a camper trailer, caravan, campervan or a fully-fledged motorhome comes down to how you are going to use it, your budget and your style of travel. Comfort, ease, price, being close to nature…It all depends on what your priorities are!

We have plenty of UNRESERVED, brand new camper trailers up for auction next week. You must see the amazing lineup being auctioned… including UNRESERVED off-road camper trailers in 2015, 2016 and 2017 models!

This auction features over 230 lots and bidding starts from just $1 so start the summer of your dreams for a bargain price!

Do you want to hit the road to see all the spectacular wildlife and scenery that Australia has to offer?

Then register here to receive alerts direct to your inbox for our Camping & Recreational Gear Auctions!

Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.