Review: Kakadu Caravans Sanctuary III

The semi-offroad Kakadu Caravans Sanctuary III offers excellent storage, a large bathroom… and a long list of standard features. Let’s take it for a spin.


Kakadu Caravans is a brand that is gaining more and more traction in the Australian caravan market. These Australian-built vans are available in on-road, semi-offroad and offroad configurations, ranging in size from the 17ft 6in Drifter to the 22ft Mulga.

One of the flagships of the range is the Sanctuary III. And on one cold Melbourne day one early August, we hitched it up for a shakedown.

This 21ft 8in van, with its white composite aluminium cladding over a meranti timber frame, black checkerplate protection and purposeful stance on the road, seemed very promising as I hitched it up.

The owner of Kakadu Caravans, Michael Steindorf, is very proud of the Kakadu range. He has used them on his own family trips for R&D purposes and feels they more than measure up…


Towing-wise, I felt that the Kakadu Caravans Sanctuary III behaved very well behind my Isuzu D-MAX. Hitching was straightforward, without any surprises, and it was rock-solid on the road as I towed it in strong wind.

kakadu caravansI traversed numerous grassy hills and boggy sections, and at one stage backed it into a muddy ditch. No damage – though the D-MAX spun its wheels as I tried to extricate the van. But it was nothing a little low range couldn’t fix.

The van weighs 2640kg Tare and has an ATM of 3300kg, giving it a decent payload capacity of 660kg. The unladen ball weight is 180kg. These figures seem quite reasonable for a van such as this.

It rides on 3.3-tonne-rated semi-offroad ARV suspension with single shocks and 15in alloy wheels with mud terrain rubber. It has a 6in extended A-frame and 6in main chassis members. Underneath, protected by gal sheeting, are two 95L fresh water tanks forward of the axle set, with a grey water tank mounted towards the rear. While the location of the fresh water tanks will contribute somewhat to the ball weight, it’s fair to say that this van is designed to be towed by vehicles capable of 350kg on the ball – that’s the maximum permissible ball weight of this van as well.

kakadu caravansA checkerplate storage box is mounted to the A-frame, behind two 9kg gas cylinders, and I liked that a slide-out tray suitable for a small generator had been fitted to the offside. Meanwhile, you’ll find two 100Ah deep-cycle batteries mounted to the offside chassis rail, inside a protective metal box with a checkerplate front. 

These batteries are kept up to charge by dual 150W solar panels on the roof, and let’s not forget the BMPRO Genius battery management system that’s included as part of the package.

kakadu caravansAt the rear, you’ll find a bike rack and Safety Dave reversing camera, all wired up and ready to go. On the nearside, there’s a picnic table, some speakers, a 12V point and full-length roll-out awning.

An oversized tunnel boot has been included too – storage space is something this van does very well.

kakadu caravansOverall, I felt that the exterior of the Kakadu Caravans Sanctuary III was well kitted-out. It is certainly not ‘spartan’. Instead, it appears to have all bases covered and more – and it’s visually appealing, too.


If the exterior was attractive, then the interior has wow factor in spades. I loved the colours and decor. While the layout is conventional, it offers a good blend of form and function. There’s loads of room to spread out and relax, while also attending to more mundane things like cooking.

kakadu caravansThe kitchen is a case in point. It offers a four-burner cooktop, griller and oven recessed below the benchtop, with a hinged section of bench over the stove that can be used for meal prep. But another hinged section at the forward end of the benchtop can be snapped into position to add yet more bench space. While not unique, it’s a clever addition that more manufacturers should fit to their vans.

kakadu caravansAnother highlight is the large club lounge fitted to the nearside. Not only is it spacious and nicely upholstered in faux leather, the table can be lowered to form the base of a second bed – just add the supplied infill cushion.

kakadu caravansThe storage theme on the outside continues inside. There’s a large pantry fitted to the wall in the entryway, which I loved, as well as a pull-out pantry under the kitchen bench. While the storage space beneath the bed is partially occupied by the housing of the tunnel boot, there is still plenty of space left over for bulky items, such as a portable solar panel.

kakadu caravansMeanwhile, the extra-large rear bathroom comes with a generous linen cupboard in the offside corner, along with storage space beneath the classy black washbasin. As if that wasn’t enough, a top-loading washing machine has been fitted below the vanity. The shower is a fully-moulded fibreglass unit, so it should never leak, and the black tapware is particularly sophisticated.

Among the other features of this van, there’s a Gree reverse-cycle air-conditioner, a 185L Thetford three-way fridge, an 25L NCE microwave, a flatscreen TV and a 28L Swift gas-electric hot water service.

kakadu caravansDownlights are fitted throughout and I appreciated that a 240V and 12V point was fitted inside each bedside niche. I would personally consider moving the isolation switches of the fridge, stove and air-conditioner from the kitchen wall to an overhead locker for the sake of neatness, and I felt the silicon work where the grey water pipe exits the cabin floor under sink could’ve been neater… but other than these minor details, I was genuinely impressed by the interior.


So where might you travel with the Kakadu Sanctuary III? As mentioned, it is a semi-offroad van and I see no reason why it wouldn’t faithfully follow your 4WD along root-studded tracks in national parks or washboarded roads in search of that perfect campsite.

kakadu caravansIt is undoubtedly an appealing package that even includes sway control for added peace of mind when towing. I reckon Michael Steindorf is right – this van really does measure up.


FIT AND FINISH – 4.5 out of 5 stars

LAYOUT – 3.5 out of 5 stars

INNOVATION – 3 out of 5 stars


  • Hinged kitchen bench extension – a fantastic addition
  • The storage space, especially the large tunnel boot, the entryway pantry and the bathroom linen cupboard
  • Ease of towing
  • Generous list of standard inclusions
  • I’d move the isolation switches for the stove, fridge and air-con to an overhead locker


Overall length: 9m

External width: 2.43m

Internal height: 1.98m

Travel height: 3m

Tare: 2640kg

GTM: 3120kg

ATM: 3300kg

Unladen ball weight: 180kg

Group axle capacity: 3300kg

Frame: Meranti timber

Cladding: Composite aluminium with checkerplate protection

Coupling: DO35

Chassis: 6in extended DuraGal drawbar with 6in main chassis rails

Suspension: ARV independent trailing arm coil

Brakes: 10in offroad electric

Wheels: 15in alloy

Fresh water: 2x95L

Grey water: Yes

Awning: Roll-out

Battery: 2x100Ah deep-cycle with BMPRO Genius battery management system

Solar: 2x150W

Air-conditioner: Gree reverse-cycle

Gas: 2x9kg

Sway control: Yes – Dexter

Cooking: Four-burner cooktop with griller

Refrigeration: 185L Thetford three-way

Microwave: NCE 25L

Shower: Separate cubicle, fully-moulded fibreglass; external shower

Toilet: Swivel cassette

Washing machine: NCE top-loader

Lighting: 12V LED

Hot water: Swift 28L gas-electric

TV: Flatscreen

$87,900 (subject to change without notice)