Review: Great Alpine Caravans Bright 21ft 6in

What is it about the 21ft 6in Great Alpine Caravans Bright bunk van that makes it so popular?


The team behind Great Alpine Caravans have been building vans for over seven years. The company is owned by Rio Caravans, a manufacturer based in an unassuming factory in the caravan manufacturing capital of Australia: Campbellfield, Vic.

Not being overly familiar with the brand, I jumped at the opportunity to spend some time with Great Alpine Caravan’s flagship model, the Bright.

This van comes in two sizes, a 19-footer, and the 21ft 6in model reviewed here. This rig is among the company’s most popular, with numerous layouts available. Ours was a family van featuring a rear kids’ bedroom. As I stepped inside, I could see why it was so popular…


The interior of this van is undeniably appealing. It features a time-honoured layout with a forward queen-size bed, an offside kitchen, nearside L-shaped dinette, and a separate bathroom in the rear-nearside corner adjacent to the bunks.

Great Alpine CaravansMy initial impression of the overall fit and finish: classy, stylish and elegant. Now, the Great Alpine Bright is available in a special ‘Black Series’. In this format, it comes with a number of extra features over and above the standard Bright. Inside this caravan, these extra features include the black sink in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as the black tapware. The timber bulkhead with downlights above the kitchen, dinette and bed, are Black Series inclusions, too. The sink also comes with filtered drinking water – the cartridge is mounted under the sink.

Being a family van, the Bright 21ft 6in has a generous amount of onboard storage space. The full-height slide-out pantry is a case in point. Positioned between the Swift four-burner cooktop, griller and oven, and the generous 270L Thetford compressor fridge-freezer, this pantry should store enough food for a week – at least.

The kitchen’s overhead cabinetry is home to a recessed microwave, a sound system, and a BMPRO Genius battery management system. While this van comes with two 100Ah AGM batteries (the second battery is part of the Black Series), the BMPRO equipment is lithium-capable, should you wish to upgrade to lithium batteries. There’s a swivel arm for a 24in flatscreen TV on the leading end of the kitchen overhead cabinetry, too, allowing you to watch TV from either the bed or the dinette.

Great Alpine CaravansThe two bunks in the back of the van seem particularly spacious. I really liked the curved openings to each bunk, too. Each is equipped with a 240V point, 12V point and reading light. On the rear wall, between the bunks and bathroom, is a sizeable wardrobe with a front-loading washing machine at the bottom. There is nonetheless enough space, in my opinion, for most of the kids’ clothes.

Great Alpine CaravansThe bedroom offers a decent amount of space either side of the bed. It’s a small point, but I appreciated that Great Alpine Caravans included a mirror on each wardrobe door. Despite having some bedside table space, the company has included wardrobe niches – great! However, the under-bed storage space is taken up somewhat by the housing for the external tunnel boot. Nonetheless, there’s still some room here to store some bulky items.

Great Alpine CaravansOne thing I appreciated: the ply base for the dinette’s cushions had been laminated. So often, a manufacturer leaves these bases as raw ply, since it’s not typically a visible part of the interior. This extra attention to detail is a tick in Great Alpine’s favour.

Among the other features, you’ll find a Belaire 3400 reverse-cycle air-conditioner, a separate, fully-moulded fibreglass shower cubicle in the bathroom, piano hinges to all locker doors, classy LED strip lights above the cabinetry… and did I mention that the cupboard laminate is smudge-proof? That’s right: your fingerprints won’t leave unsightly marks.

Overall, I felt that the interior had loads of visual appeal and, beyond that, offered a functional, sensible layout.


Great Alpine Caravans offers a few different construction methods: a standard meranti timber frame, full CNC-cut 18mm-ply, or aluminium framing. Our review van was built with meranti timber, clad with composite aluminium and a lower waist of black checkerplate.

The chassis was comprised of 6in SupaGal steel on an extended 6in A-frame. The extension is part of the Black Series features. The A-frame runs back to the tandem-axle leaf-spring suspension system. The floor is one-piece 12mm marine-grade ply glued and screwed to the chassis.

Great Alpine CaravansYou’ll find three water tanks underneath: two 95L fresh water tanks and one 95L grey water tank. Each is protected by galvanised sheeting; however, the grey water tank’s outlet is not protected. The second fresh water tank is part of the Black Series features.

Our van was also equipped with a dual 170W solar panels fixed to the roof. The second panel is also a Black Series feature – one panel is standard.

Great Alpine CaravansGreat Alpine Caravans has fitted a checkerplate storage box to the A-frame, behind the dual 9kg gas cylinders, with a slide-out tray on the offside to suit a small generator or perhaps a portable fridge. The floor of the tunnel boot is lined with checkerplate.

On the offside, you’ll find an external shower, so you can wash the sand off your feet after a day at the beach before stepping inside, and towards the rear, there is a hatch to provide access to the storage space underneath the lower bunk.

Great Alpine CaravansThe rear of the van is equipped with a bumper to which the spare wheel is mounted, along with a reversing camera – the in-cab monitor is provided as well, of course.

The nearside is equipped with a roll-out awning, a picnic table, a speaker, awning lights, and 240V and 12V points. Hatch access to the cassette toilet is also found here.


The Great Alpine Caravans Bright 21ft 6in van is certainly an attractive and well-fitted-out caravan, especially in the Black Series format. It comes from the factory with everything the family will need for comfortable adventures on the blacktop.

Great Alpine CaravansIf you’re in the market for a family rig that offers lots of living space with the capacity to free-camp a couple of days here and there, it’s one to have a good look at.


FIT AND FINISH – 3.5 out of 5 stars

LAYOUT – 4 out of 5 stars

INNOVATION – 3 out of 5 stars


  • Lots of visual appeal
  • Large bunks
  • Functional, sensible layout
  • Although it’s not an offroad van, I’d still add some protection to things like the grey water outlet

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Overall length: 8.99m

External width: 2.41m (including awning)

Internal height: 1.98m

Travel height: 3m

Tare: 2600kg

ATM: 3200kg

GTM: 2980kg

Group axle capacity: 3200kg

Unladen ball weight: 220kg

Cladding: Composite aluminium with black checkerplate

Frame: Meranti

Coupling: 50mm ball

Chassis: SupaGal 6in with 6in extended A-frame

Suspension: Tandem-axle leaf-spring

Brakes: 10in

Wheels: 15in alloy

Fresh water: 2x95L

Grey water: 95L

Awning: Roll-out

Battery: 1x100Ah AGM deep cycle with BMPRO Genius battery management system

Solar: 2x170W

Air-conditioner: Belaire reverse-cycle

Gas: 2x9kg

Sway control: No

Cooking: Swift 500 Series four-burner cooktop with griller and oven

Refrigeration: Thetford 270L compressor

Microwave: Yes

Shower: Separate cubicle

Toilet: Swivel cassette

Washing machine: Front-loader

Lighting: 12V LED

Hot water: Gas-electric

TV: 24in LED smart

Black Series feature package

$74,000 (with Black Series)