There are so many different types of caravans on the market to choose from. We have summerised them below to help you to decide what might best suit your family. If you order a new van, you can pretty much design the interior yourself. Second hand caravans are another great option with many families already having travelled the country, many have adaptations that you can benefit from. As with anything second hand, do check safety issues first.
Onto the types of caravans themselves - I'm sure I have not used their official names, but you'll get the idea.
This would be your traditional van with a full height roof and solid walls (for a caravan anyway). Depending on the size, they come in single or twin axle.
There are many benefits of the full van:
Fairly new to the market, these types of caravans give you so much room! The benefits of the full van plus lots of space. Often have the option of putting fold up bunks (use as seats during the day) in the van therefore great for bigger families. They are starting to break into the second hand caravan market and often hold their value well.
This type of van is pretty much the same as the full van but the roof 'pops' up and down. This is mainly to aid in towing and making it more aerodynamic.
Has all the benefits of the Pop Top Caravan and adds another dimension with the pop out beds.
This is another popular family caravan - you also find lots of these type of second hand caravans on the market.
These are more like camper trailers that turn into a caravan rather than a tent.
One of the more luxurious ways to travel in... The Fifth Wheeler. A bit more like a home away from home and usually at the higher end of the market.
We found that many travelling Australia by this type of mode, were from overseas. A great option with little set up, but of course you have to take your 'home' to all the various sightseeing spots. The other option of course is to tow a smaller vehicle behind to use to sight-see.
This is my overview of the different types of caravans out there at the moment. The numerous caravan and camping shows around the country are great to visit and give you an opportunity to get inside the various vans and get a feel for what would suit your family. Also check out the second hand caravan market as you may pick up a bargain.
I would also suggest before committing to buying a van, try hiring one similar first and get away in it for a few days. We did this, we hired a Wind Up and Out and whilst thought it a great concept, realised that this was not for us, due to the amount of setting up it required. The other great thing about actually trying them, if you go to a caravan park during a peak period, it's like going to a 'real' caravan and camping show. You see so many different types of caravans and get a real opinion of them from people using them. Most are more than happy to show your around their caravan and tell you the pros and cons.
BUT There are some alternatives to travel the country in...... The Camper Trailer (to be written soon)