The American phenomenon that is the fifth wheeler is gradually making its presence felt in the van parks of Australia.
These vehicles are similar to caravans except they are towed by a ute or truck and the hitch is not at the back of the towing vehicle but rather inside the tray, just in front of the rear axle. This brings tremendous towing stability. Because the towing vehicle can be detached easily, fifth wheelers also offer greater flexibility than a motorhome once camp has been established.
The fifth wheeler-ute combination is not as long as the caravan-towing vehicle combination and is consequently easier for other motorists to overtake safely. There is also considerable manoeuvrability with the fifth wheeler as the turning circle is far smaller than with a caravan or motorhome, making it perfect for backing into those tight spots at van parks. They are a lot easier to hitch up than caravans and are a simple-person operation.
In general, the sleeping quarters of fifth wheelers are in the area that hangs over the ute tray, so headroom above your bed is minimal. Furthermore, most utes are only capable of carrying two people so there may be no giving friends a lift. Nonetheless, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the advantages considerably outweigh the disadvantages, and fifth wheelers are set to make further inroads into the Australian recreation vehicle (RV) market.
Many fifth wheelers are imported from the US and adapted to meet Australian specifications and road conditions.
Fifth wheelers cost roughly between $65,000 and $150,000.