Alto Caravan Club, tear-drop charmers at inaugural meet in Toowoomba
Feet up, with a glass in hand to celebrate the Alto Caravan Club’s inaugural meet, the group watched all the fuss as another Alto caravan rolled into camp.
“Lesley and John arrived late and they were inundated,” Cynthia laughs, recalling their fellow Altoiste’s fate, as they joined the crew at Toowoomba Motor Village, mid-August this year.
“We saw a lot of double takes, people taking sneaky pics … people wanted to see the roof go up. And we’re like, ‘we’re all over here’.
“They [the onlookers] didn’t realise there were another four Altos set-up right beside them,” she exclaims.
THE ALTO CARAVAN, A CROWD PLEASER
With an aerodynamic tear-drop body, silver accents and glass-fronted elevating top, the Alto Caravan certainly attracts attention.
“You barely get through the reservation gate,” Cynthia laughs.
“You can’t own an Alto and be anti-social!”
Thankfully, Altoistes are people people, happily welcoming in curious onlookers after setting up at camp. In fact, during the meet, Cynthia led prospective buyers through her own van as a favour to the Melbourne crew at Alto Caravans Australia.
“The one thing they’re shocked at, is how big it [the Alto] is inside. Compared to its closed version but when you pop the top.
“Someone once described it to be like Weasley’s tent (like in the Harry Potter movies)”
A COMMON PASSION
Now, sharing your passion with curious onlookers is one thing but to mingle among fellow ‘Altoistes’ is quite another. And Toowoomba Motor Village helped to make it happen allocating neighbouring sites for the event.
“We pretty much talked everything Alto,” Cynthia explains.
Storage ideas, travel and modifications also topped the agenda.
“Jen and Geoff modified the interior to allow for a permanent lounge and installed a 32in Smart TV. They were watching Game of Thrones before bed. It was like being at the drive-in.”
TOURING IN THE ALTO CARAVAN
Tales of Alto adventures past ran thick.
“Lesley and John had just gone out to Cooktown. They’re from Canberra so they’ve just spent three months in their Alto, which is great.
“Paul and Finella have gone to Far North, Qld. They’re doing everything. They’re planning a trip across the Nullarbor. Which will be a first time ever for an Alto van.”
Although not designed for off-road travel, the Alto’s plenty nimble.
“They’re only about a thousand kilos; we weighed ours at a weighbridge, and the operator said he’d hadn’t seen anything so light,” says Cynthia.
Through her experiences at camp and as an administrator on Alto Caravans Facebook page, Cynthia understands Alto’s appeal.
“It feels comfortable and looks nice, and everything is very well appointed. It’s like travelling in a five-star B&B. It travels very easily … it can’t go off-road, but it will go gravel roads and suffers less draw because of its design and the way it’s built.
“They’ve done all the proper wind tunnel tests.”
HOW THE ALTO CARAVAN CLUB MEET STARTED
The Altoistes collective leapt from Alto’s transatlantic Facebook feeds, when page fans Lesley and John announced their three-month trip.
“It seemed like a good opportunity. I wanted to give people the option to come together,”
The Facebook administrator said the group had never organised such an event before.
“Right away there was interest, we ended up with five Altos. So our Facebook page now has an events calendar. And we will be doing a lot more,” says Cynthia.
During their three-day stay, the Altoiste 10 did their own thing, meeting up at camp or over dinner to discuss their day’s play.
“The street art is awesome,” says Cynthia. “And there’s Park Picnic Point lookout.”
“Some of us went to the local [4 Brothers] brewery.”
The parks and gardens within Toowoomba were particularly popular.
“We all came back pooped because there are so many great places to walk. So it was Happy Hour …with Panadol Osteo!” Cynthia says.
The Altoiste 10 (left to right): Finella, Paul, Pam, Jan, Lesley, John, Gail, Jen, Cynthia, and Geoff. Finn the wonder dog, out front