The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - JILL HOCK­ING

THERE is noth­ing — ab­so­lutely noth­ing — half so much worth do­ing as mess­ing about in clas­sic car­a­vans. Apolo­gies to Rat in Ken­neth Gra­hame’s The Wind in the Wil­lows, but the mis­quote fits per­fectly with Jane Field-Lewis and Chris Had­don’s book My Cool Car­a­van (Pavil­ion, $29.95).

This en­gag­ing vol­ume cel­e­brates the delights of retro car­a­vans. A vintage car­a­van hol­i­day — or a one-minute com­mute to the car­a­van cum home of­fice at the bot­tom of the gar­den — an­swers a yearn­ing for a time when life was sim­pler and less hur­ried. The 40 car­a­vans fea­tured were built be­tween the 1930s and 70s.

Two Aus­tralian car­a­vans make the cut, in­clud­ing Ol’ 36, the old­est road-reg­is­tered car­a­van in Aus­tralia. Car­a­van own­ers have metic­u­lously re­stored their vans, track­ing down match­ing ac­ces­sories and pair­ing them with vintage tow­ing ve­hi­cles. The im­ages of the retro chic in­te­ri­ors are a joy, en­com­pass­ing kitschy and cot­tage-style, un­clut­tered and over-the-top eclec­tic.

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