Look inside the million dollar off-road camper, commissioned to carry a family of 8 around the Aussie Outback
Kiwi interest in campervans is at an all-time high. Perhaps two-stories high.
While it's hard to predict what's on the road ahead, many travellers who would otherwise be planning trips overseas have taken a punt on a motorhome holiday. Online search traffic jumped ten times in the month of May, around the time we started looking at our backyards for travel inspiration. Last month over 100,000 people Googled the term 'camper conversion'.
This summer will be a roadie like no other.
However, you're unlikely to bump into anything like this on your travels.
The 8-wheel drive Commander was commissioned by an adventurous Australian family who wanted to explore the interior of the Australian continent – without leaving any home comforts behind.
To do this the Queensland company SLRV which specialises in custom-built expedition campers built a created a that extends to two-stories, navigate the outback off roads. "They want to explore places that a road going vehicle can't go," said Warwick Boswerger of SLRV.
While going there, the family wanted to be able to bring a lot of things with them. With 10 bunks, four televisions and 475 litres of freezer space – the camper offers "off-grid living" in only the most literal sense. In essence the Commander is a two story house that can drive up the side of a Northern Territory canyon.
There's even a washing machine, tucked away into the side of the van.
To power it, Boswerger installed five separate electrics systems from 12v up to 415v a 3 phase power. They designed an 9.5kVA alternator specially for it, to keep the batteries topped up.
Inside, it is a different beast entirely. Modern white furnishings, a sitting area and kitchen galley are deceptively domestic. Only a few odd touches like the spare bed which lowers over the kitchen table would be out of place in an apartment. Upstairs, is a bit more Spartan with bunks and storage for eight.
The project was finished at the end of last year in Queensland. After which, the family headed into the Australian interior, essentially opting out of 2020. A smart move.
As of June the family were still touring the Outback, waiting for inter-state travel to resume after Covid 19 travel restrictions were put in place.
But Boswerger was confident they would be fine in the 40-foot expedition vehicle, which has been described as "apocalypse-grade".
Although the Commander is their most ambitious project, they "have built vehicles for a number of NZ owners who have toured Australia in them."
"We have had continued demand for our larger vehicles as they present a luxurious option to tour the country with all the comforts of home – especially in times where overseas travel is not possible."
Although the final cost of the project was not disclosed, an earlier interview estimated cost of the project at between $1 million and $2.08 million dollars.
Although the Commander might be a bit overkill for a Kiwi roadie to Bluff, Boswerger said his team were "Only too happy to build and send our vehicles to NZ."