We first were exposed to 'motorhomes' in 1971 when in England we bought a late model 'Romany' Dormobile based on a Bedford CA van and did occasional tours around UK and the Continent. Its wonderfully versatile seats (front seats swivel around, all fold flat, rear fold up, fit to a double bed), concertina-up roof and roof bunks were a treat.
In Australia, several hires in Queensland and Tasmania heightened our interest. We resolved to buy our own, and slowly built a profile of what we required. As can be seen from our historical photos, the kind of motorhome we needed would be one that is capable of bush camping for several days at a time. Long stays in organised caravan parks are not our scene!
So now that we are in that stage of life when we have the time to do something about it, we have acted!
Several months of indecision around whether to go for a motorhome or an off-road caravan were finally resolved when we decided that while bush camping is our love, this can mostly be done without resorting to a 4WD setup. Since the motorhome would need to double as a second car, and since we had to be able to park the thing somewhere off the street, a large vehicle was out of the question. We would need a fully self-contained Campervan or "MotorCamper" motorhome.
Some criteria that we decided on that differentiated the offerings:-
Reading reviews and visiting sale yards narrowed the choice down to one vehicle only: the Fiat Ducato-based A'van Applause 500. The decision then was whether to buy new or second hand. If new, whether (early 2007) to wait for the promised new model, or buy the current one.
In mid-2007 two (white) secondhand Applause 500's with less than 5000 km on the clock became available through The Trading Post. We bought the second of these, from Country Motor Co, Nowra. It is a 2006 build, had done 3700 km, had solar panels and a tow bar already fitted, along with 4 x reversing proximity sensors, and was substantially lower priced than the new model.
We are pleased we made this choice. While the new Ducato is undoubtedly better in several ways, it also had (still has) some new-model problems. And the 2007 layout of the Applause 500 was, in our view, not as practicable as the one we have.
There are several pages detailing the Applause and some modifications we have made to it. Use the site map to navigate these.
1971 on the Rhine in Germany
1972 in Sweden
1982 in Queensland
2004 in Tasmania at Cockle Creek
2005 in Tasmania
2008 in Far North Queensland on north bank of the Jardine River
2009 in Western Australia, north of Mullewa on the banks of the Greenough River
2012 in Western Australia on the west bank of the Pentecost River, Gibb River Road