A recent trip to Tauranga to visit Rob Axton at Country RV was timely as he was ‘pimping and priming’ the latest arrival from Hamilton’s Leisure Line Caravan manufacturer, the Leisure Line Nomad caravan. As luck would have it Colin Bates from Leisure Line was also there helping out with the setup of this latest model in their range.

Habitation entry – to the left in the nose of the vehicle we have the spacious U-shaped lounge-dining area

Designed and built to fulfil customers’ demands for a lighter weight caravan that would suit a larger range of tow cars, with a GVM of a fraction over 2000kg this model could well tick your boxes.

Classic Leisure Line build, aluminium exterior, pitched roof to prevent water sitting around, higher off the ground now to take out the wheel arch inside – a well-built New Zealand caravan

For over 40 years the Bates family has been producing these caravans, built for New Zealand roads and conditions with design flair and innovations to equal any imported models, Colin is proud to talk about the local suppliers the company works with; around 80 per cent of the vehicles are built with locally sourced products made right here in New Zealand, from the lightweight interior woods, locally made windows, quality fixtures and fixtures in the kitchens and bathrooms, to the locally constructed galvanised chassis.

View from kitchen bench shows bathroom access door, two cupboards for storage, open view and feeling of space looking through the vehicle

On the outside we have 14˝ alloy wheels, gas bottles on the draw bar under the purpose-built cover, bumper bar and spare wheel, four corner steadies, front stone protection including the front window and a pull-out step to the entry. The habitation door offers a window with blind, separate screen door and LED light handle on entry. All the Leisure Line models are constructed to be higher off the ground than in years gone by, eliminating wheel arch space issues with the interior walls. Grab handles for moving the vehicle by hand front and rear are also fitted.

A compact gas hob, oven/grill combination under bench, drawers for kitchen storage below

Stepping into the caravan, on the left in the nose of the vehicle a spacious U-shaped lounge and dining area. The table can be removed and the space then makes up into a large second bed option. Storage space underneath the seating on the entry side, and the rest of the under-seat area is taken up with heating, hot water, batteries, etc. Storage lockers around the roofline are spacious and numerous. LED lighting is plentiful with roof and under cabinet lights. A roof hatch in this area also offers light along with ventilation options. The front window is large, as are the side windows, all offering great viewing and open for improved ventilation. All windows are fitted with fly screens, and locally made curtains finish off the décor offering a homely feel.

Interior heating is as simple as turning on and dialling up heat required

To the right of entry is the bathroom wall. The bathroom is a combination toilet/shower, perfect for a unit this size giving you exactly what you need with vanity basin, shower and 12V flushable cassette toilet system. A window and cabinet storage complete this compact package. On the outside of this unit there are two large storage cupboards.

The living area to the left, kitchen unit mid ship and bedroom to the rear – design flair keeps this a light, flowing space

Opposite the entry there is the kitchen bench unit with 90L under-bench fridge, stainless steel sink inset, a Thetford gas hob with glass top and combined under-bench mini grill/oven unit, three drawers, and a cupboard for storage with utility drawer and bins. Behind the sink unit a back-splash and large window, range hood above and more overhead locker storage, plus 240V power switches as well as 12V socket for USB charging options. A curved wall ends this area to maintain the feeling of space and open flow.

The rear bedroom offers the very popular island bed with drawers and wardrobe storage on both sides, excellent sized windows for views and light, plus the bed lifts for more storage space underneath

To the rear is the fixed island bedroom, offering a comfortable 1450x1800mm bed. This lifts up to offer a large storage area underneath. On each side there are two drawers and shelf storage for a cup of tea, book and inevitable reading glasses plus wardrobe storage. Overhead more storage lockers, reading lights are available each side. Windows on both sides and the rear are large, offering excellent lighting, views and once again a feeling of lightness and space throughout the vehicle. A second roof vent offers further light and ventilation, with fitted fly screen and blind, of course.

Combination toilet/shower area is a good space, has an opening window, small sink, and on the wall to the right is a mirrored storage cabinet. 12V electric flush cassette toilet, adjustable-height shower head

As always, it was a pleasure to catch up with Colin; as one of our longest-running and -surviving manufacturers in New Zealand he is just as passionate about the company product today as he was in the beginning. This is a family business with son Wayne having taken over the running of the factory, and daughter Liz contributing her expertise in the office and factory. As usual, when sitting and chatting with Colin, you always pick up a few interesting nuggets of information regarding the RV industry (some that I can’t share with you, lol), but what I did note with interest, when talking about a problem with replacing interior cupboards in older RVs, was that all the internal cabinets can be removed and replaced in a Leisure Line caravan. This is not the case with many construction methods, Colin tells me. So replacing, upgrading or repairing a furniture unit is entirely feasible.

The indoor showroom at Country RV is ideal for wet winter days, with various models on display for customers to wander in and out of, comparing models, size and features in one space

The other point of note that Colin is proud of is how the Leisure Line product holds its value for many years, all due to the quality of the build and care in design to ensure the product is fit for purpose on our roads and terrain. There is no doubt that we love a Kiwi-built product; it is also great that once your have ordered your caravan through your local dealer, you can make an appointment to go to the factory in Hamilton to view your build in progress. Also great is the ability to customise a caravan to meet your individual needs (with a bit of extra budget of course), or where special needs from the client need to be fulfilled (disability access caravans have been built) – and if they have any problems or worries that they will be dealt with promptly.

So if you’re looking for a caravan, either big or small there are dealers around the country where you can view the quality Leisure Line and Southern Star range of caravans, produced out of Hamilton here in the Waikato.


Leisure Line Nomad 580 caravan $69,900

Towing length: 6800mm – body length 5800mm – height 2600mm – width 2300mm

Weight: GVM 2030kg – Payload 300kg

Living and Containment
Sleeping: Fixed island bed 1450 x 1800mm
Lounge converts to double bed, Self-containment
Battery 1 x 100Ah with 150W solar panel, controllers and monitors
90L under-floor fresh and grey water tanks fitted
Three-burner gas hob and small grill/oven combo
90L auto three-way fridge with removable freezer
Gas hot water and heating

19˝ RV-Media TV, stereo system, Winegard satellite dish

Double-dipped galvanised chassis, axle and leaf spring suspension, pull-out single step, galvanised rear bumper bar with spare wheel, AL-KO ESC, electric brakes, front stone protection including window. Single axle with 14˝ alloy wheels, gas storage locker

One-piece aluminium roof skin with insulation. Fully insulated H3 wooden frame walls and floors with external aluminium cladding, aluminium under-floor finish. Quality furniture glued and screwed for maximum strength.