Travel makes personal history, and with ownership of three AOR vans Sue and Bob Hall are ensuring that their great history repeats.
By Gary Tischer
With a philosophy of simplicity in design and the use of the most sophisticated materials available, Australian Off Road (AOR) has been in the business of making campers designed to conquer the punishing conditions of the outback for the last 16 years. AOR company director Steve Budden states that “business is not about money, it’s about people”. Repeat customers Bob and Sue Hall speak very highly of both AOR as a company and of the AOR vans they have travelled tens of thousands of kilometres in. Their friends ask why they leave their wonderful Sunshine Coast hinterland home to travel throughout Australia towing a van.
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The AOR vans make their trips of exploration and relaxation a reality. They are not restricted to staying in parks or to the bitumen, the Quantum Plus has everything to make their trip so enjoyable, they are always looking forward to the next one. Built from the chassis up in the AOR Caloundra factory, the galvanised high-tensile steel provides a strong base for the lightweight fibreglass body with fully insulated walls and roof. The storage areas are huge and a great L-shaped kitchen under the awning provide easy access whether it’s for a road-side cuppa or for a long stay.
With 220 litres of fresh water, two 120Ah batteries and 300W of solar on the roof the Quantum Plus can go off grid for extended periods. From the marine macerator, chemical-free toilet, internal Webasto diesel air heater and the Redarc battery management system, the Quantum Plus has numerous quality inclusions that make life on the road easy and so comfortable no matter where you go.
I spoke to Bob and Sue only a week after they returned from a trip across the country, taking some highways and many corrugated outback roads in their travels. One might expect them to be worn out after months on the road but no, Bob and Sue happily told me about their recent travels and that they will be heading off again soon. Needless to say, they were very happy with their Quantum Plus.
What were you looking for in a van?
Bob: This is the third AOR van we’ve owned and this is by far the best. We went back to AOR because we knew the quality and the standard of the gear. The quality of their gear is such … unsurpassed. Genuine off-road. The vehicle is weighed before it is delivered so you know the Tare and know exactly what payload you can put in it. With AOR you get a genuine payload.
Sue: We wanted a van with a shower and toilet inside and a great kitchen set-up.
What are the most important features of this van?
Bob: The rugged design, as AOR vans have evolved, I think that AOR have reached a peak with the Quantum Plus. It has all the features you possibly need. The off-road capability it unsurpassed. The limitation will be the tow vehicle.
Sue: Everything is very convenient in the van, the kitchen works very well, it’s comfortable. I like the shower and the toilet, having that is very handy if you are not near a caravan park. We find that it has everything that we need. The EvaKool 82-litre fridge/freezer works very well and kept everything cold on our big trip – didn’t miss a beat.
What sort of trips have you done in the Quantum plus?
Bob: We have just come home from a 22,000km trip with 4000km of that on gravel roads and not an ounce of trouble with the van. Everything worked perfectly, so I think that is a pretty good test.
How did you find towing the Quantum plus on that trip around Australia?
Bob: The towing of it is very easy. It just sits there, with no sway. Most of the time you don’t even know its there. The nose cone on the front has dramatically reduced our fuel consumption from our previous van which basically had a straight wall. They are good features. I find maneuvering the Quantum, and backing it into tight spots is not difficult at all.
What are some of the options you have taken up with the new van?
Bob: We took up a few options like combining two drawers into one so it was a deeper storage drawer. We didn’t take up the air-conditioning so we have an extra storage bin. The van is very comfortable and there is no feeling of doing chores when you are working with it.
What are the best features of your new van?
Bob: One of the many good things of AOR is that the aftersales service if you need it, is very, very good. They have a very active owners’ forum … and one of the key points of that forum is the involvement and responding by the managing director of the firm.
Sue: I find everything very convenient and we’ve got everything close to hand. The pantry works very well and all the storage areas in the kitchen. It really has everything that we need.
With Bob and Sue coming back for their third AOR van, its easy to see that they have been very happy both the AOR vans and the AOR experience. With a 22,000km trip completed, the Quantum Plus looks and performs as well as ever. The next trip to the Snowies and Tasmania will be in the coming few months with Bob and Sue looking forward to life on the road again with their AOR van.