Here’s Why Caravans Cost So Much

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May 12, 2021

$210,000 – is what you’ll pay for some top-of-the-range caravans. Suddenly, the $50,000 or so for a mid-range caravan doesn’t seem so bad.

Previously, found out why luxury cars, carbon fibre parts, servicing and tyres cost so much. Today, we take a look at caravan costs and why they command the prices they do.

Key Points
  • There are a huge range of caravans
  • Off-road caravans are becoming more popular
  • Labour adds a lot to caravan costs
  • There are additional costs other than the purchase price
  • You’ll need a sufficient towing vehicle too
Firstly, some caravan background

Just like vehicles, caravans come in all shapes and sizes and feature different amenities and suit different kinds of travel.

Some common kinds of caravans on Aussie roads
Conventional caravans

Conventional caravans(source:

The typical type of caravan that most people think of when they imagine one. They have four solid walls at full height and come with one or two axles. They are often designed for a (smallish) family and offer home-like comfort.

Pop-top and pop-out caravans

Pop-Top Caravan(source:

These often appear slightly smaller than conventional caravans but have fold-out panels, often made of fabric. They can be easier to store when not in use and create less wind resistance when in motion as they are more compact in size.

Off-road caravans

Off-Road Caravans(source:

These offer a unique suspension setup which can explain the high caravan cost they come with. They also have enhanced brakes, a stronger coupling hitch and a higher ground clearance than other caravans. These have become more popular in recent years thanks to Australia’s interest in domestic tourism.

Off-road caravans also have dust protection, stronger frames and more secure storage than conventional caravans.


Fifth Wheelers(source:

These are typically the largest sized caravans available. They offer a huge amount of living space with all the amenities of a home, including tables, beds, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. These caravans require a powerful, high-torque vehicle to tow them. Due to their large size, some caravan parks are unable to accommodate fifth-wheelers.

Caravan costs explained

Caravans generally cost more in Australia than in other countries. For example, the average new conventional caravan in the United States comes with a price tag of around AU$25,000. In Australia, expect to pay around $37,000 for a similar caravan. But why?


A primary reason that caravans cost so much is the labour that goes into manufacturing. Remember that they have to comply with Australian standards which include road safety, electrical systems, plumbing and building materials.

Europe and America’s giant markets also have an effect. Factories capable of mass producing caravans in countries with high demand are able to push down caravan costs.

Australian manufacturers have lower sales volumes and have to pay workers more. In fact, Australia has one of the highest minimum wage requirements in the world – great for workers, not so good for caravan buyers.

  • Side note – some countries with the highest minimum wage (in AUD)
    Australian – $19.84 / hour
    New Zealand – $17.52 / hour
    Canada – $15.06 / hour
    UK – $13.23 / hour
    USA – $9.28 / hour (2020 federal minimum wage)
Amenities and luxuries

It wasn’t until the early 2000s when caravanners grew to expect air conditioning, showers/toilets, TVs and kitchen appliances.

Today’s caravans often come with LED TVs, Wi-Fi, onboard batteries, solar panels, ducted a/c and multiple power outlets. These complex electrical systems must meet Australian regulations.

This goes for any imported caravans too and, due to the lower sales volumes, explains why factories overseas don’t often retool specifically to build Aussie-spec versions.

More amenities and luxuries also mean higher quality suspension and chassis are required. Today’s caravans are much more secure than in the past.

More caravan costs

Other than the purchase price, caravans also attract some additional costs.


You’ll need to register a caravan to use it on the road. Prices vary per state and weight of the caravan.


Most people don’t have the luxury of using their caravan whenever they want. This means storage is needed. Ideally, a caravan is kept in a covered, dry place to protect it from the elements and theft. Some owners use caravan covers and elaborate security systems.

Servicing and maintenance

Like vehicles, caravans need servicing at specified intervals. Usually, this focuses on wheels, brakes, suspension and electrical systems. If the caravan isn’t used very often, things might need replacing prior to going on holiday.

Tow vehicle

One of the biggest caravan costs, other than the unit itself, is a vehicle to tow it. The heavier the caravan, the more power – both in terms of engine torque and brakes – is needed.

Luckily for Australians, utes and SUVs are ultra popular in our country which means that finding a towing vehicle is relatively easy. Paying for one might not be, however.

It’s hard to pitch an average weight for a caravan, but most range between 1,650kg – 1,900kg. Add on BBQs, supplies, water, sleeping gear, mountain bikes, etc, and they can easily weigh in at over 2,200kg. Caravans are getting bigger and heavier, just like cars.

Some popular top towing vehicles with their maximum braked towing capacity

  • Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series – 3500kg
  • Ford Ranger XLS – 3500kg
  • Toyota HiLux SR5 – 3500kg
  • Isuzu D-Max – 3500kg
  • VW Amarok – 3500kg
  • Chevrolet 2500HD Silverado – up to 5.89 tonnes!
Get into a new towing vehicle offers a full-online process which means you can start, stop, pause and continue anytime you like. With our quick quote feature backed up by a professional team, clients have access to fast finance solutions as well as competitive rates.

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