Review: Australis Caravans High Country

Go big or go home, right? Not so fast. The little High Country by Australis Caravans proves that good things come in small packages…


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you don’t need a 22-footer to be comfortable on the road. Yes, all that space is brilliant but, if storage space is limited or the thought of towing a long and heavy tandem-axle beast makes you uneasy, there are plenty of diminutive rigs with all the comforts available.

The 14ft 6in (internal length) High Country by Australis Caravans is a case in point. This little guy packs in the features of a bigger van into a much more compact space. That’s the true joy of this rig. It’s relatively light, it’s easy to tow – thanks, in part, to its shorter length – and it should be easy to store. As an offroader, it’ll also be easier to negotiate the tight corners of bush tracks, or turn around should you take a wrong turn.

australis caravansThe Australis High Country is brand new in the Australis Caravans range. It is this company’s dedicated offroader. In the depths of Melbourne’s winter, we hitched it up and hit the road…


The High Country was certainly one of the easier caravans that I have towed recently. Weighing in at 2248kg Tare, with an unladen ball weight of 133kg, it gave my 4WD no difficulty and felt well-planted for the duration.

australis caravansStepping inside for the fist time, I was quite impressed by what this van offered. By using a rear kitchen, front bedroom layout, Australis Caravans has created quite a functional living space for two people that even includes a bathroom. And it’s not a combo bathroom, as you might expect. It features a separate shower, a cassette toilet and even a separate vanity. Not bad at all.

australis caravansThe kitchen doesn’t have loads of bench space; however, it does have a stylish black sink with matching tapware, a separate filtered drinking water tap, a four-burner cooktop and griller, and a microwave recessed into he cabinetry space above.

Due to the compact nature of the living space, Australis has opted for a two-person bench-style lounge on the nearside with a multi-directional table. The reading lights either side have built-in USB charging points.

australis caravansA diesel-fired heater is one of this van’s key features. The control module comes with a remote control and it’s easy to use. Just push a button to turn it on, and again to turn it off. I wasn’t expecting to find a diesel heater on this little van, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I was also pleased to note the excellent 12V system. It is comprised of two 200Ah lithium batteries, three 210W roof-mounted solar panels, and an Anderson plug is also provided so that you can plug in a portable solar panel as needed. A DC-DC charge is included, too, meaning your batteries should be topped up by the time you arrive at your day’s destination. There is even a 12V dust reduction unit fitted on the roof to keep the van dust-free on those bush tracks.

australis caravansFurther, the High Country has a 2600W Enerdrive inverter wired to all powerpoints. Just switch it on to power appliances such as the microwave, the reverse-cycle air-conditioner, and your kettle. No mains connection needed. I was expecting a small under-bench fridge when I first climbed aboard, so I was once again impressed to find a 188L compressor unit.

australis caravansAustralis Caravans has managed to fit so much into such a limited space by orienting the bed east-west. It fills out the entire forward section of the van. The foot of the bed has a bracket and power/antenna point for a TV, while the bed head comprises a couple of storage lockers. Obviously, traditional bedside wardrobes aren’t possible, but Australis has found a workable compromise: overhead lockers all-round and a full-height cupboard between the bed and the fridge. To be honest, this van does well on internal storage space, especially considering it’s 14ft 6in length.

Overall, it’s an intriguing, clever layout that simply does not skimp on features and comforts, from the diesel heater, to the inverter and the full bathroom. Nice.


The High Country is built upon a 4in SupaGal chassis with 4in raiser, and a 6in A-frame with a 450mm extension.

australis caravansIt rides on 16in alloy wheels with 3000kg-rated Tuff Ride Airbag Level 4 suspension. ‘Level 4’ refers to the fact the airbag suspension has all the features, including the ability to independently raise or lower both sides of the van to level it on-site. Push a button on a remote and the onboard compressor will inflate to raise one side, or if you need to lower a side, a button will activate a valve to release air. There is also an auto-levelling feature.

australis caravansThe nearside is extensively fitted out. I’m talking an electric awning, a massive tunnel boot, a slide-out kitchen with a small barbecue and a sink with hot and cold water. There are LED light bars on all sides, too, with the nearside lights given amber filters that won’t attract insects.

Being an offroader, Australis Caravans has given the High Country rock sliders, a DO35 coupling, and a mesh stoneguard upfront to protect the dual 9kg gas cylinders which sit in front of the A-frame mounted storage box, which incorporates slide-out trays either side (one for a generator, the other for a 40L fridge) and a storage compartment in the top.

australis caravansIts water capacity is decent, too, with dual 95L tanks provided, along with a 95L grey water tank, and no doubt the ‘fast-fill’ connection will come in handy. At the back of the van, you’ll find a reversing camera and even a shower. If I was to criticise any aspect of the exterior, I felt the locker doors could have been sturdier, perhaps with compression seals added too.

The Australis Caravans High Country is framed in aluminium rather than meranti timber, which will appeal to many potential customers, while the floor is a timber-less ‘honeycomb’ structure – no wood is used in this van’s construction. The cladding, meanwhile, is composite aluminium. Australis Caravans, however, has eschewed the traditional black checkerplate protection in favour of 600mm-high X-plate, a more durable and undeniably more attractive material. The roof is a one-piece, fully insulated fibreglass sandwich panel, which should help to keep the van cool on those hot days.

australis caravansIt felt that the longer I spent with this van, the more points of interest I discovered. There’s an offside sail track, speakers linked to the internal Furrion sound system, an entertainment hatch, an instant hot water service, checkerplate protection for the diesel tank… I could go on.


You might think that 2248kg is quite heavy for such a small van; however, with so much gear packed into what appears to be a robust caravan, the weight is no surprise. And nonetheless, it is within the wheelhouse of the vast majority of popular 4WDs when considering the 3000kg ATM.

australis caravansSome caravans are worth a second or third look.  The 14ft 6in Australis High Country is one of them, especially if you’re in the market for a smaller rig that’s light weight and particularly easy to tow.


FIT AND FINISH – 4 out of 5 stars

LAYOUT – 4 out of 5 stars

INNOVATION – 4 out of 5 stars


  • Excellent fitout
  • Very long list of features, including a diesel heater
  • Fantastic 12V system
  • I felt the external locker doors could’ve been sturdier


Overall length: 7.1m

External body length: 4.47m

External width: 2.29m

Internal height: 1.98m

Travel height: 3.1m

Tare: 2248kg

GTM: 2867kg

ATM: 3000kg

Unladen ball weight: 133kg

Payload capacity: 752kg

Group axle capacity: 3000kg

Frame: Aluminium with fibreglass sandwich panel roof and ‘honeycomb’ floor

Cladding: Composite aluminium with X-plate protection

Coupling: DO35

Chassis: 4in SupaGal with 4 raiser; 6in extended drawbar

Suspension: 3000kg-rated independent Tuff Ride Airbag Level 4

Brakes: 12in electric

Wheels: 16in alloy

Fresh water: 2x95L

Grey water: 95L

Awning: Electric

Battery: 2x200Ah lithium with BMPRO battery management system, OdysseyLink, and DC-DC charger

Solar: 3x210W

Air-conditioner: Reverse-cycle

Gas: 2x9kg

Sway control: Yes

Cooking: Thetford four-burner cooktop with griller and oven

Refrigeration: 188L Dometic compressor

Microwave: Yes

Shower: Separate cubicle, fully-moulded fibreglass

Toilet: Cassette

Washing machine: No

Heating: Remote-control diesel

Lighting: 12V LED

Hot water: Girard instant

TV: 24in smart

$99,500 (ex-factory)