If you’re striving to be the most stylish thing on wheels on your next luxury holiday, command the road with these decadent Australian touring options.
Driving holidays remain very close to the hearts of Australians of all shapes and sizes. From rugged 4WD or caravanning adventures with the family in tow to carefree top-down cruising of the Great Ocean Road with the wind in your hair, the road-trip possibilities in Australia are endless.
But what are the options at the lofty, luxury, tippy-top end of the road touring market?
Currently, the world’s most expensive luxury motorhome is the frankly extraordinary EleMMent Palazzo from Austrian manufacturers Marchi Mobile with a sticker price of a whopping $US3 million. (It took the title from the Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus which changes hand for a far more reasonable $US2.5 million).
The interiors are ridiculously plush and marble laden which justifies the hefty 600 horsepower engine – that’s a ridiculous amount of ‘horses’ as motoring nerds would say; the entry level Toyota Camry has 178 while an F1 car tops out at 1000 to give you a comparison.
One of the craziest additions to the “Mobile Mansion” (the MM in eleMMent) is the ‘Sky Lounge’. A lift elevates a deck from the roof of the RV to create a private roof top terrace accessed by a stairwell on the outside of the RV.
But it’s the drivers cab, they like to call it the ‘cockpit’, which will cause other drivers to rubberneck and run off the road. The sloping elliptical window may be aerodynamic is more spaceship than road warrior.
The king bed is made by the same company that supply the royal family’s bedding but you will have to want to get off the 4m sofa in front of the widescreen TV to use it. The full kitchen comes with the most important accouterments – an ice makes and wine fridge.
Both sides of the Palazzo expand to make the living space tiger swinging sized and the bathroom is full sized, accessible from either the bedroom or the living room. Driving, the passengers have some seriously gold class cinema seating to arrive in style.
Back on earth, I mean Australia, the most expensive RV used to be the Avida Winnebago Classic which used to set you back a comparatively modest $613,000. Times beign what they are the most luxurious and expense RV right now in Australia would probably be the Avida Longreach which is only half a mortgage at around the $250k-$300k mark.
Other ways to hit the road in style
There are a multitude of luxury touring options around Australia that have the high-end road experience firmly in mind – and they don’t all involve cars.
If that all sounds a bit too dirt-in-the-goggles for your tastes, there’s always the more luxurious option of exotic car hire. Can you picture yourself hugging the corners of the Great Ocean Road in a Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche or Lamborghini? Around $1900 will get you into a Ferrari California or $2300 a McLaren from Unique Car Rentals.
Or if winery touring the Mornington Peninsula is more your style, Red Balloon has a whole category of all luxury car rental, diver experiences and touring you can do.
Luxury at 300km/h
When it comes to sticker price, nothing comes remotely close to the amount of cash poured into your average Formula 1 car. However, unless you have the kinds of connections the rest of us only dream about, chances are you’re never going to get a drive in one (in fact, if you have, we’d love to hear about it). The next best thing, of course, is being trackside for all the action of the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne.
There are plenty of packages available to take this trip in style, and AT has seen a few good ones – but nothing we’ve seen so far comes close to the kinds of packages being organised by Sportsnet Holidays (1300 888 858, www.sportsnetholidays.com).
Their basic packages include three nights accommodation packages from $1029.
For upwards of $10,000 per person, you’re met at the airport and whisked to the Park Hyatt Melbourne for four nights lodging. You’re then given daily private transfers from hotel to track, a four-day corporate hospitality pass entitling you to food, drinks, reserved-seat dining, a dedicated viewing area overlooking Pit Straight, plus morning and afternoon tea, gourmet buffet luncheon with dessert and full bar service every day. Tickets to the Official Grand Prix Ball are thrown in, along with a champagne breakfast on the Sunday morning and (gasp!) a pit walk per day for each guest. Private access to a rooftop tiered viewing deck is the icing on the cake, as is a helicopter tour of the CBD and the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit before being whisked back to the airport at the end of it all.
Now that’s what we call a road trip.