There is a special greeting reserved for travellers beyond that vague geographic boundary that separates here from there, that divides Australia into green and red, the two lifted fingers off the wheel, the imperceptible nod: the Toyota wave.
Nobody can explain why we do it and how we know when we are far enough into the core of this vast desert island to begin, but whatever is behind it is similar to what defines the kind of folks you might meet at your next Kimberley Karavan Owners Group meet.
We caught up with Andrew Spurling, president of the quickly growing independent organisation, to learn a little more about what the club is and why people join.
“We are working together,” Andrew says, “to create a community of like-minded people and to foster their enjoyment of their investment in a Kimberley Karavan or Kruiser. We make friends, share locations and knowledge. Our forum is a great resource in itself, and is the gateway and primary ‘meeting place’ for members aside from group gatherings around the country. The new logo we have just developed is designed to showcase the fact that we embrace both Karavans and Kruisers in the KKOG”.
Andrew has been a Kimberley Kruiser owner and group member since 2016, and his journey from tent to top-of-the-line caravan was hewn through experience.
“We joined the Land Rover Club of Victoria in 2008 with a tent. We did many trips with the club, and after a while we realised that, with our age and infirmities both on the rise, we didn’t like sleeping on the ground.
“We graduated to a simple but rugged offroad Pod trailer. Our first big trip with it was the Burke and Wills route with the Land Rover Club of Tasmania. That was our real introduction to offroad and outback travel. Our trip from south to north was almost entirely on dirt! We saw a lot of country very few people have ever seen. That gave us a lot of confidence to do our own trips.
“After a while, we would see people pull over, open the door and make a cup of tea, and you can’t do that in a camper trailer. We thought we’d move into something more comfortable, and began our two year search. Eventually, despite the price, we looked at Kimberley, specifically an S-Class Kruiser. From there, to get what we wanted, we ended up going bigger and better with the T-Class. We started out looking for something under 2t and ended up with a van over 3t!”
While it’s always tricky business trying to tie down any group of humans, Andrew concedes that there is something particularly cohesive about Kimberley owners.
“The average owner is looking for a different experience. They want to go anywhere offroad, but without compromise. Our members are attracted to what the Karavan and the Kruiser represent. They aren’t perfect, they have their eccentricities, but they are well built and unique, with nothing else like them on the road. When you are confined inside a Kruiser, due to weather, dust or flies, the continuous run of windows on both sides means you feel you can bring the outside in and not feel enclosed, unlike conventional vans”
“When we arrived at the Grampians back in 2019, for our first KKOG National Gathering, we were initially horrified to find over 80 vans there. It ended up being the best club trip we’d ever done, with members coming from all over the country.
“We all had the same issues. We all were there for the same sorts of reasons, and we loved our vans because they were different and were exactly what we were looking for.”
“Everyone was very welcoming. Everyone there wasn’t just looking for comfort, we were looking for something that embraces the Australian outback.”
If you want to find out more about the club or join just visit the forum.