Bailey Rangefinder Gemini review
I may actually have swooned the first time I entered the oh-so-cool interior of the Australian-built Bailey Rangefinder Gemini.
There’s a new kid in town with an impressive family background. It’s the first generation of Aussie-made Bailey caravans, created for conditions down under, yet retaining all the advantages of an impeccable pedigree.
The Bailey Rangefinders debuted at Melbourne’s Leisurefest in October 2015 and at Camper Care’s Christchurch show a month later. On that occasion, time – and the pressure of the eager public clambering over the new rig – did not permit a full inspection, so it was December 2015 before I climbed aboard the Rangefinder Gemini on the lot at On the Way RV in Mount Maunganui.
The first thing I noticed was the island bed arrangement. It’s immediately to the left of the door and might be a little in your face if it were not for the clever design features of the light-flooded interior and the discreet screening which turns the master bedroom into a private sanctuary.
The white-washed interior is one of the best I have seen. With faux bleached wood-grain laminates the test model – kitted out in Glacier Fusion – is reminiscent of a posh beachside bach. It is light, bright and impresses as easy-care, just the way you would want the bach to be. But it’s no surprise that this ‘bach on wheels’, which can take you anywhere, still has all the bells and whistles you would expect to find, including a cunningly concealed compact washing machine.
In the galley, expect some more stand-out design features like the soft-close positive locking overhead cupboards that lift up, instead of opening out. Inside, everything is cleverly partitioned, but with this creative design solution you’ll no longer struggle with looking in cupboard after cupboard for that elusive item.
And lack of bench space, and dangerously positioned microwaves will not be an issue in this clever caravan designed with those of us down under firmly in mind. The bench (with extra fold out) is a great deal better than adequate; and the microwave sits safely low. Alongside the microwave is a Thetford combo four-burner cooktop with grill below, and a recently redesigned Thetford three-way fridge/freezer completes the appliance suite in the galley.
I loved the banquette seating which, in the test model, converts into a fifth bed, but those who prefer cafe-style seating can choose this alternative option. Put altogether, this design is open and immensely useable with good flow even with all the family on board.
The bathroom, which comprises a separate shower cubicle with vanity and toilet, is on the small side. Again, this was a non-issue for me as I’d prefer to have larger living spaces.
The strength of the super-thick floor and walls which are locked down to welded tags on the Austrail Durangal 100 by 50mm steel trailer makes the Bailey Rangefinder Gemini strong enough to hold a full-sized family car on its roof. The frame is comprised of structural Alu-Tech interlocking aluminium extrusion, with fibreglass outer panels.
Superior suspension to withstand roughhousing is provided by a roller-rocker (optional seven leaf spring) tandem system with Al-Ko axles, with the whole riding on 15-inch light truck tyres. The combination of his LandCruiser towing a carefully loaded lightweight-but-robust caravan provides a good towing experience.
The new Aussie-designed Bailey range is still making its way to dealers around New Zealand, but you will be able to discuss the entire Bailey range with experienced staff at Covi Auckland Supershow, Greenlane, 11-13 March 2016.
- The white-washed interior
- Open plan living
- Clever cupboards
- Small bathroom might not suit all buyers
Read the full review in issue #139 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine (on sale now!). Subscribe here.