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April 2015

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APRIL 24: Mother and grown-up daughter escaped serious injuries when their caravan rolled onto its roof on Cobden-Warrnambool Road in Victoria.

***  Click on BREAKING NEWS above to see full list of stories.


Perpetuating a potentially deadly myth

SO caravanners are furious over Holden's latest ad portraying an impatient caravanner (see story here).

Normally I'm pretty clear in my opinions, but I find myself in two minds with this one.

I drive a large RV with a car in tow on a trailer.

It is capable of driving safely at the speed limit, but doesn't have the acceleration to pass slower vehicles even at 85km/h quickly.

This means I need a good 2km of straight and empty road to get past.

Try getting that on the Bruce Highway!

I get stuck behind slower vehicles (invariably, it seems, older 'vans) whose drivers seem incapable or unwilling to pull over to let faster traffic get past when an opportunity exists.

I try to ensure faster vehicles pass me at the earliest opportunity, but it almost seems like some people see consideration as a sign of weakness and refuse to cooperate with other road users.

This behaviour was bound to attract an ad like this eventually.

If you don't want to be portrayed like this, then don't drive like that.

Conversely, I'm always worried when an ad portrays aggressive driving as good ... worse still, encouraging the next generation of drivers to act the same way.

Australian drivers and particularly Victorian drivers have a dreadful reputation for confusing aggression with competence.

We don't want car manufacturers and advertising companies perpetuating that potentially deadly myth.

John Christopher.


BLOOMIN' heck, how precious have we become!

If you take offence at this ad, hope no one ever refers to you as an "old fart in a caravan park".

Maybe John Williamson needs to apologise to us as well.

Have we lost the ability to have a bit of a laugh these (politically correct) days?


Farmers excluded

GREAT news for nature-based eco camping parks (see story here).

But the farmer who wants to obtain a few extra dollars from having a 'free-camp' site down on the creek bank seems to be excluded from this rule

If this is the case, it means that all WA farmers who have a caravan park within 50km of their front gate are still prevented from offering a bush-camp site to travellers.

Phil Jones.

Sales = profits

YOU reported that Fleetwood had been hit by smaller businesses (see story here)

We loved our Windsor, but when it came time to update we discovered no one was selling them in Victoria.

The local Coromal dealership's stock of Coromals disappeared too.

Perhaps they need to sell their product to make a profit?

Bob Taylor.

Nothing solved

A CARAVAN thief was handed a suspended jail sentence (see story here).

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

So an 18yo MAN, not a youth, received basically a suspended sentence for all those charges. They were not misdemeanours, they were hard core crimes.

NT magistrates have the same softly, softly attitude as their southern comrades. They just do not live in the real world.

They get sucked in continually by the defence: "Your Lordship, Honour, Judge, magistrate etc.

"This boy has come from a deprived, broken family, really a good boy but led astray by others and promises to not do it again.

"Sorry about the ICE addiction but sending him to jail will only make it worse.

"Let him go free and he will clean himself up and make a solid contribution to society."

I should have been a QC or SC.

So there we go, nothing solved at all.

Caravanners in the NT and all over Australia, lock up your caravans because the law just ain't gonna help you.

Rob Bradbery.


WITH the arrogance shown by Geoff, who responded to truckie outrage at caravanners in truck rest or parking areas, truckies would be well within their rights to run right over the likes of him (see letter here).

How dare he park up in their rest or parking areas for "a bit of a snooze".

He boasts of never having had any trouble. Well, I hope karma pays him a visit sometime soon.

As one of the other contributors states: "It is the absolute, care about myself only, buffoons that don't give a hoot about anyone else" that give all of us a bad name.

Find somewhere else to have a snooze, Geoff!

Julie Partridge

Hours query

I HAVE been trying to find out the various state laws on rest areas, in particular how long can you legally stop in a rest area with a caravan or motorhome.

Also what is the difference in rest areas showing sign 'No Camping' and others that don't?

It appears not all know their own rules.

I would like to use these areas but do not wish to break the laws.

It would be helpful to know the number of hours you can legally stop in each type of rest area in each state.

Richard Springer.


'He deserves to have his hands chopped off'

Anzac Day thief escapes with war medals from WA park

Greenough Rivermouth Caravan ParkBy Dennis Amor

POLICE are checking CCTV footage in a bid to trace an opportunist thief who made off with a Vietnam veteran's war medals from a WA caravan park today. Ironically, part of the haul included a Gallipoli war service medal, the theft coinciding with the commemorative service marking the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. Other medals stolen from the 65-year-old victim's LandCruiser at the Greenough Rivermouth Caravan Park, south of Geraldton, included four Vietnam war medals and RSL service badges. The theft was recorded on the park's closed-circuit surveillance system and footage has been handed to police. A spokeswoman at the park told Caravanning News: "This is really awful and the owner is very upset. The medals are not worth anything to anyone else. The thief deserves to have his hands chopped off. I am devastated." The medals are engraved with the service number 312629. The thief escaped in a dark coloured Falcon with mags and a sun-damaged bonnet and roof. He is thought to be in his mid-twenties, about 6ft tall, thin and with short facial hair. He wore a hoodie and a creamy coloured glove on his left hand. Have your say

Brad van Hemert, Fleetwood RV CEO

'We are here to stay'

Fleetwood RV rejects call to quit

FLEETWOOD RV has rejected a suggestion it should abandon its caravan manufacturing business. Analyst Simon Andrew of financial services company Hartleys believes the Perth-based builder of Coromal and Windsor caravans, part of Fleetwood Corporation, needs to be closed or sold to help reduce debt. "We struggle to see how Fleetwood can turn the business around in what is clearly becoming a more competitive market, both from local and foreign competition," he said. But Fleetwood RV chief executive Brad van Hemert, pictured above, told Caravanning News: "This is the view of only one analyst out of probably 10 or 12 at a briefing ... there is no question of us getting out of the caravan industry. We are producing the Coromal and Windsor brand of caravans and will continue to do so. We are here to stay." He said the analyst's comments had caused "a little bit of turmoil".

'Insatiable appetite' for caravans, says industry's peak body

Have your say

CARAVAN production has soared 26 percent over the last 10 years and continues to see steady growth, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia has revealed.

The latest figures show that last year's production was the second highest in over two decades, with a total of 21,300 caravans and motorhomes rolling off production lines ... 4.4 percent more than in 2013.

Releasing the statistics, the peak body for Australia's caravanning and camping industry said they demonstrated that the consumers' insatiable appetite for caravan and camping was continuing.

"In the context of failed car manufacturing, it's great to see our industry punching above its weight, producing a product that Australians want to use," delighted association chief executive Stuart Lamont said.

"Over 70 percent of all caravans bought in Australia are made here," he added.

Looking further back, production in 2014 was four times higher than combined production in 1995, when only 4982 caravans and motorhomes were produced.

"The strength of the caravanning and camping industry in Australia is undeniable," Mr Lamont said.

"Caravanning and camping provides the perfect backdrop for Australians to rediscover some of the great travel destinations in the world right here in our own backyard.

"The ability to reconnect with nature, spend quality time with family, and to escape the routine of an increasingly hectic lifestyle are just some of the attractions driving the current success of the industry," he added.


Stolen Sunland caravan Stolen Ambassador Adventure camper trailer

Stolen Sunland Winton caravan

Stolen Ambassador Adventure camper trailer

THIEVES with a penchant for recreational vehicles had a busy time on the weekend. A grey Ambassador Adventure camper trailer was stolen from the front yard of a home in northern Mount Gambier. And an eight-year-old Sunland caravan disappeared at Narangba north of Brisbane and a Jayco caravan was stolen in SA. Police said it was not known whether the camper trailer was towed away or removed on the back of a recovery truck. It was fitted with a tow hitch lock which would have had to broken off, they said. The trailer, registration S716TAD, has a spare wheel cover with 'Cape York' on it, solar panels, a tool box, ground mats and a Treg hitch instead of the usual tow ball. Meanwhile, it is believed the Sunland Winton caravan, registration number 397QNO, headed south after being stolen from outside its owner's home on Saturday. There was an unconfirmed report it was seen on Sunday morning heading south on the New England Hwy at Wallangarra on the Queensland-NSW border. Murray Bridge police are also investigating the theft of a 4WD and caravan at Murray Bridge in SA. The Toyota LandCruiser, registration S488AOX, and Jayco Sterling caravan with a Northern Territory registration TJ4852 were stolen from outside a home in Finch Road. The caravan has a distinctive checker plate toolbox on the frame, a table on one side and spare tyre on the rear. Have your say 

Abbey Waghorn

Her one wish: caravan with loo and door!

Abbey's dream comes true

By Dennis Amor

WESTERN Australia's big-hearted caravanning industry pulled together to make a seriously ill girl's dream come true. Five-year-old Abbey Waghorn, who is battling leukaemia, said her one wish was to go camping ... but in a caravan with a loo and door! The family's much-loved camping trips ended when Abbey's parents were Abbey's thank-you cardforced to sell their campervan to help pay mounting medical bills. But camping adventures are now back on the agenda thanks to the generosity of the state's Caravan Industry Association, Jayco CaravanLand and two other donors. They raised funds to buy a brand new $43,000 Jayco Expanda Outback, which was handed over to the family at the recent Perth Caravannng and Camping Show. Mum Tash said Abbey had dreamt of going camping again but "in a new caravan that had bunk beds and a toilet that had a door on it". After receiving the caravan, an overjoyed Abbey designed a special thank-you card for CaravanLand to show her appreciation. Caravan Industry Association chief executive Simon Glossop told Caravanning News that his association was proud to be a part of the "Caravan of Courage" for little Abbey. "Knowing how much Abbey, and indeed her whole family, love caravanning and camping it was great to be involved with Jayco CaravanLand to give the family an opportunity to get back outdoors," he said. Have your say

Police hunt after rig rips out bowser hose

Oblivious caravanner  triggers major drama at servo

POLICE were hunting a caravanner who unknowingly caused a major drama at a fuel station in NSW. The elderly traveller's caravan collided with a pole causing it to rip out a bowser's fuel hose as it left The Roadhouse on the Olympic Highway at Young on Monday. A quick-thinking attendant managed to hit an emergency switch to prevent any further fuel spillage. A police spokeswoman told Caravanning News that the driver was probably oblivious to the accident. "We have been unable to identify the tow vehicle but the caravan was an older-style with blue and brown stripes on its side," she said. She described the driver as aged between 60 and 70. His female passenger had blonde hair and was in her 60s. The rig was last seen heading north. Have your say

Above: The seriously ill patient about to be winched into the rescue helicopter.
Left: The chopper approaches the ship.

Caravanners in high-seas drama

Sick woman airlifted
from cruise liner

By Dennis Amor

CARAVANNERS found themselves in the middle of a high-seas drama when a cruise ship passenger was taken seriously ill. The Queensland couple, who did not want to be named, were on the final night of a 28-day round-Australia cruise on the 116,000-tonne Diamond Princess when they, and hundreds of other passengers, were ordered out of their cabins. "The higher decks were cleared for safety reasons and to allow a helicopter to retrieve the sick woman," they told Caravanning News. The drama happened at night about 50km north-east of Newcastle in NSW. The Westpac rescue chopper was unable to land on the ship's deck and hovered overhead for nearly 10 minutes while the elderly woman was placed in a gurney and winched aboard. "The captain told us that she was in a stable condition," the full-time caravanners, who were taking a break from their land travels, said. "It was a shame her dream cruise ended that way." The chopper made two flights to the ship, the first to winch down a paramedic and a crew member to prepare the patient for the mercy flight to the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle. It then returned to the mainland to refuel before flying back to complete the five-hour mission. "The pilot, medical crew and staff on the ship did a fantastic job," the caravanners said. "It was awesome the way that pilot controlled his aircraft over the moving ship. Luckily the seas were calm." They said some passengers grumbled about being locked out of their cabins for so long. Have your say

Beachlands Holiday Park allows dogs

'Peace of mind for dog owners'

Cabins for pampered pooches

A West Australian caravan park has decided that dogs can join their owners in holiday cabins ... but not during Christmas and New Year. BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park in Busselton has amended its policy to allow families to take their pooches inside ensuite cabins between February 1 and December 1. Dogs have been allowed to stay on the park's campsites since 2011. Park manager Gavin Farrell said the change of policy was in response to an increase in requests from guests. "It's very important to them that their dogs are comfortable and happy in an unfamiliar setting," he said. "Allowing dogs to stay with their families provides peace of mind for dog owners that their four-legged friends can be with them overnight, and it's sure to be a popular option as winter approaches. Of course, because the safety of our guests is the number one priority, dogs stay on a discretionary basis." Have your say

Winnibago's rainbow caravans on display
WINNIBAGO plans to brighten up the NSW Caravan, Camping and Holiday Supershow with its new range of colourful Minnie caravans.
It will be the first time the tangerine orange, lime green, racing red, sunshine yellow, baby pink and the more traditional platinum grey RVs have been shown together in Australia. "We know the Minnies will stand out not only because of their dynamic colours, but because this is the first year Australians have had access to an authentic Winnebago-built product straight from the USA," chief executive Luke Trouchet said. The caravans are designed and manufactured by Winnebago Industries in America and custom-modified specifically for Australian conditions. The nine-day supershow opens at Rosehill Racecourse on April 11. Have your say

Butane cookerButane cooker blamed for man's death
CARAVANNERS and campers have been warned about the dangers of using portable butane cookers after the death of a 33-year-old man in New South Wales.
Nathan Kliendienst suffered 100 percent burns when his caravan erupted in a ball of fire after a butane cylinder exploded at Casino's Glen Villa Resort. Now NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has issued a warning about portable butane 'lunchbox' type cookers due to safety issues, including overheating. "We recommend consumers do not buy portable cookers of this type," he said. Compliance certification for all current models of the cookers has been suspended by the independent safety certifiers and it is now illegal to sell them in NSW. Other states and territories are being urged to also outlaw them. More button

Pamphlets explain how to flout the rules
SOME campervan hire companies are dishing out pamphlets advising backpackers how they can flout the law, claims a former Victorian policeman.
The 62-year-old retired officer now caravanner, who wants to only be known as Ronin, told Caravanning News: "In my 30 years of law enforcement I have never seen or heard of a backpacker paying a fine ... and trust me I have fined a few." Ronin said overseas travellers soon learn by word of mouth how to avoid paying fines and caravan park fees. He said that in some cases pamphlets explaining how it can be done were supplied at backpacker hotels and even handed out when backpackers hired campervans. "The pamphlets contain information not only on flouting traffic laws but how to get freebies while travelling Australia," he claimed. Illegally camped backpackers in their campervans, and in some cases caravans, have created a headache for numerous seaside towns. more button

Independent board to direct peak body
AN independent board will strategically direct the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, it has been revealed.
The move follows a landmark meeting held in association with the peak national body for the caravan and camping industry's national conference and state associations. "This is a significant decision in the history of the caravanning and camping industry, one which will provide strategic direction, develop industry stretch targets and allow for harmonised thinking throughout the sector," outgoing chairman Mark Lindsay said. More button

Daniel Stahlberg joins CIA VICNew industry development manager for CIA VIC
THE Caravan Industry Association of Victoria has appointed Daniel Sahlberg to the newly created position of industry development manager.
Mr Sahlberg has extensive experience in the industry, especially in compliance and technical advice. He has built strong and long-standing relationships with regulators at a state and national level through his time at Windsor Caravans, RVMA and more. More button

Bumper Easter for Sunshine Coast parks
STRONG domestic tourism and a change in school holidays continues to underpin the good performance of a Queensland council's six caravan parks.
In fact, Sunshine Coast Council reports a full house at its beachside parks at Dicky Beach, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Cotton Tree, Mudjimba and Coolum for the first week of the Easter holidays, with just a handful of sites available for the second week. In 2012 the State Government extended the Queensland school holidays to make a full two-week block instead of the previous six days plus the public holidays. A council spokesman said figures now showed growth in young families staying at its parks. Have your say

Park staff receive thousands in underpaid wages
AN Alice Springs caravan park has been ordered to repay thousands of dollars to underpaid staff.
This follows an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman who found that 26 workers at the unnamed park were not paid their minimum hourly rates and weekend penalty rates over a 12-month period in 2013-2014. Ombudsman Natalie James said the employees were reimbursed in full without the need for further action after Fair Work inspectors contacted the park and explained its obligations. Have your say

Bauple rest areaFraser Coast plan to attract RV travellers
COUNCILLORS on Queensland's Fraser Coast have endorsed an ambitious plan which could lead to a bigger slice of Australia's burgeoning caravanning and camping market.
The local regional council decided to adopt the strategy, developed by the Fraser Coast Camping Stakeholders Working Group made up of representatives from the council, caravan industry and chambers of commerce. The strategy said it recognised that camping, caravanning and recreational vehicles were a significant industry worth $6.5 billion annually. Included in its 24 recommendations are that the council investigate introducing 'Stop and Shop' sites in Maryborough and Hervey Bay; retain Petrie Park near Tiaro as a designated bush camping site; expand the existing RV site at Bauple and investigate an additional RV parking area within the Glenwood township. More button

Brighton Caravan  Park's predicted revenue fails to deliver
PUBLICITY surrounding a council's decision to evict permanents from its caravan park is being blamed for a dramatic fall in revenue.
Holdfast Bay City Council took a hammering after Brighton Caravan Park residents were given their marching orders to make way for a $3 million redevelopment. The park was expected to reap in $849,000 for 2014/15 but council figures have revealed it will raise only about $320,000. A council report said revenue fell due to lower bookings after bad publicity surrounding a court case over the evictions,  and cabins being unavailable due to refurbishment or demolition. Development delays also resulted in new cabins not being ready for the peak summer season. Have your say

Geoff SmithBleak future for NSW caravan park
THE future looks bleak for a NSW caravan park which has been on the market for a decade.
Owner Geoff Smith (pictured), 75, has unsuccessfully been trying to sell the 3.5-star flood prone Lismore Palms but has now told tenants ill health may force him to pull down the shutters unless a buyer can be found within the next few weeks. Mr Smith, who bought the park in 1982 after working as a motel and caravan park broker in NSW and Queensland, was asking $2.5 million for the property which includes a two-storey five-bedroom brick home. Mr Smith, who is facing heart surgery, said the only way the park could be saved was if a freehold buyer could be found before the end of May. Have your say

New owners for Pardoo Station
PARDOO Station in WA's Pilbara, which offers caravanners the chance to stay on a half-million acre working cattle station, has been sold to a Singapore-based company for $13.5 million.
Its 140-site caravan park also caters for travellers wanting to chill out along the pristine coastline in the state's north-west. Other accommodation options at Pardoo are ideal for families, backpackers and corporate clients. The new owners reportedly want to improve cattle production and eco-tourism at the remote property. More emphasis will be placed on understanding indigenous culture, life on the station and deep-sea fishing. The caravan park copped a flogging two years ago when Cyclone Rusty left a $2 million trail of damage across the station. Have your say

World RV Conference delegatesWorld RV Conference a success
THE World RV Conference hosted by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia has been dubbed an "unmitigated success".
Last month's three-day global talkfest in Melbourne focused on worldwide challenges to the RV industry and their solutions. With 332 delegates from 16 countries, the third-ever world RV conference has grown from strength to strength since its inauguration in Dusseldorf in 2008. "We are very proud to have hosted such a breakthrough event for the industry globally," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said. More button

Caravan industry a leader in jobs security
AUSTRALIA'S caravan industry is a leading sector when it comes to job security, according to industry analysts IBISWorld.
In fact, it came fourth in the company's top 10 list of low-risk industries. IBISWorld revealed that a common theme in the safe industries list was the effect of the ageing population. "The increase in the number of baby boomers moving out of the workforce is significantly affecting the risk of a number of industries," it said. "The trailers and caravan dealers industry is an example of an industry facing a period of relatively low risk, with the industry in the growth phase of its life cycle as a result of demand from travelling and comparatively wealthy retirees."  Have your say

Stuarts Point caravan parkCouncil fined after caravan park sewage spills into river
KEMPSEY Shire Council in NSW has been ordered to pay $15,000 after huge quantities of untreated sewage escaped into Macleay River from its Stuarts Point caravan park.
A power outage was blamed for the problem which resulted in an estimated 2000 litres of raw sewage flowing into the adjoining river. The NSW Environment Protection Authority issued the penalty notice after carrying out an investigation into last October's incident. More button

Visitor survey puts caravanning on top
CARAVANNING and camping had the largest growth by accommodation type, with a seven percent rise to almost 45 million nights in 2014, according to a Tourism Research Australia national visitor survey.
This was backed up by the drive market, with trips increasing by seven percent to 58 million, and accounting for 65 percent of the total growth in overnight trips. Nights in hotels, resorts, motels and motor inns increased by 4 percent during the year. New South Wales was again the most popular state for domestic trips. Have your say

Jason BeckfordJason to improve links with trade members
NEW South Wales' caravan and camping industry has moved to strengthen relationships across its trade membership.
Leading the effort will be Jason Beckford, who has been appointed new manager of the Caravan & Camping Industry Association's Trade Engagement and Services. "Jason's skills and experience, with a background in transport, logistics and stakeholder management, along with a qualification in auto electrics, will be invaluable in his new role," association chief executive Lyndel Gray said. More button

Plans to allow RVs at luxury eco lodge on Apple Isle
AN award-winning luxury eco lodge in Tasmania's Freycinet National Park could be offering motorhomers somewhere to stay.
The island's peak motoring group, RACT, has submitted a plan to accommodate a dozen RVs at its upmarket Freycinet Lodge on the east coast. The project is one of six which have now been accepted for inclusion in the second stage of the state government’s expressions of interest process for development in reserves. Motorhome sites at the Freycinet Lodge extension would be powered, with each having a private ensuite toilet and bathroom facilities. RACT said the area was elevated and surrounded by trees. "There will be no visual impact, and the site is accessible using an existing roadway," its proposal explained. Have your say

Brad Illich

Caravanning industry honours IT whiz

Future Leaders award for Brad

BRAD Illich has been honoured by Australia's caravanning industry. He was named Future Leader for 2015 at last month's Caravan Industry Association of Australia national conference. A lifelong worker in the tourism industry, the 32-year-old (pictured with his award) said he was "excited and appreciative" to receive the prestigious award. "It has been a culmination of years of work beginning back in 2000 when I started my small IT business," he explained. Brad worked hard for the Illich family-owned and operated Ashmore Palms Holiday Village and Brisbane Holiday Village which, he once said, was his whole life. He took his understanding of the tourism industry and created Xtreme, an IT company specialising in holiday parks and the tourism and hospitality business. By 2010, he and a small team of skilled young IT techs, programmers and web designers had created NewBook, a property management and online booking system designed from scratch. Last year’s inaugural winner of the award was Josh Carnavas of Brisbane Camperland. Have your say

Clampdown on coastal camping
ISAAC Regional Council in north Queensland is clamping down on illegal camping.
Caravanners and other travellers have been warned that council officers will be more prevalent as local laws covering coastal camping areas are enforced. This follows changes to the area's Coastal Camping Management Plan which now clearly identifies where people can legally camp. Better policing to ensure travellers obey the rules are among the changes. Overnight camping on public land at Clairview has been banned. Camping is being allowed at designated areas in St Lawrence and Carmila at $10 nightly for each site. Councillor Geoff Bethel said the council was committed to acting in the best interest of local communities and the environment. "In the lead up to peak season, council will communicate payment methods available to campers and will begin making regular compliance inspections," he added. Have your say

NACC insurance scheme taking off
CARAVANNERS are said to be "rushing" to take advantage of an insurance scheme offered under the umbrella of the National Association of Caravan Clubs.
Although the take-up was slow, association spokesman Brian Kelleher said the word was now spreading throughout the nation's caravan clubs. He claimed that emails from members indicated big savings. The insurance scheme was made available through the help of MoTOURing, a body made up of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia, the National Association of Caravan Clubs and the Australasian Touring Caravan, Motorhome & Camping Club. For more information, click here.   Have your say

Rosehill Racecourse caravansSydney show all ready for the off
MORE than 75,000 caravanning enthusiasts are expected to flock to NSW's major show this month.
Sydney's Rosehill Racecourse will again host the nine-day Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow beginning April 11. "This year’s show has over 300 exhibitors and thousands of products on display allowing you to research, review, book and buy all in the one location," the state's Caravan and Camping Industry Association chief executive, Lyndel Gray, said. "People will come from all over the country because it's a great place to find everything they need ... from a new tent or swag to a luxury RV or the perfect camper trailer that can take them anywhere." She said the event would feature an expanded motorhome and campervan area with more luxury vehicles on show. Have your say

Aspen buys and sells
ASPEN Parks Property Fund has sold three of its holiday parks in WA and bought another in Queensland.
The Perth-based fund paid $6.3 million for the 107-site, 4.5-star Australiana Holiday Park at Hervey Bay. The park offers 107 sites with a mix of two thirds short-stay caravan sites and cabins and one third permanent residents. Aspen said it would provide exposure to the Queensland coastal market, with the acquisition being consistent with its objective to increase the geographic diversity of its portfolio. Meanwhile, Aspen has secured conditional contracts for the sale of Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort in Shark Bay, the Exmouth Cape Holiday Park in Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef Resort in Coral Bay. RAC Tourism Assets will pay for $33.7 million for the properties. Aspen said the move was in line with a decision to focus on more traditional short stay-residential parks, without exposure to extensive food and beverage operations. Have your say

Man charged with alleged animal cruelty at caravan park
A 33-year-old Tully man was arrested after Queensland police received complaints he allegedly punched and kicked a dog at a local caravan park.
A group of international tourists at the park contacted police after witnessing the alleged offence. Police took the animal to a local vet for treatment. The man was charged with cruelty to an animal and will appear at Tully Magistrates Court on April 23. Have your say

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Tariff move unpopular with caravanners

FREESPIRIT has urged caravan parks to stop publishing their tariffs (see story here).

Reading this article reminds me of corporations chasing their bottom line only, regardless of the product they are promoting or selling.

Typical 'head in the clouds' scenario.

Although I am not of retirement age yet, and still only get out and about with my family only a couple of times a year, I spend a reasonable amount of time researching our holiday plans.

A big part of that is the cost.

I won't contact any company or establishment which does not advertise its prices.

It suggests they have something to hide and are not interested in my business ... only my money.

Any company which changes its prices on the fly without notification is simply dodgy in my book, and therefore are not entitled to my tourist dollar.

Two things I look for and admire in all my business dealings are honesty and integrity.

If a company can't operate on these two principles, then they are not worth my time.

Providing a comfortable, clean, safe and enjoyable environment for all guests from all walks of life will bring in the business and generate return business.

No need to stress over the P & L sheets. That will happen naturally.

Advertising that fact and being transparent in your business dealings will automatically put your customer at ease.

I'm not saying you have to disclose all your business dealings, just the important bits.

Like a price list of your services and lists of activities, interesting points in the area, history and other important information.

Just my two cents worth.

Robert Kinsey.

Not booking

I WILL not make a booking at a park that does not show its tariff.

Brian Lamb.

Fuel for thought

TO me, if a fuel servo does not display its prices, I go elsewhere to one that does.

By not publishing tariffs, I regard a caravan park as being not open for business.

And the idea of increasing tariffs just because space is becoming more occupied is certainly not fair.

I reckon that when a park is over 75 percent full, customers need to be compensated for the often 'sardine-like' conditions.

In fact, there should be a cheaper tariff due to the worsening conditions created by so many adults and children being in residence.

Phil Jones.

Price gouging

THIS is just another way of justifying big tariff rises and price gouging at its worst.

People research their travel and often book caravan sites on price as well as location.

To arrive expecting to pay 'x' amount of dollars only to find the tariff has risen is price gouging.


Way to lose guests

I WAS in advertising and marketing for over 37 years.

If you want to lose customers, stop advertising your rates.

Ninety percent of your market want to know the cost before they get there ... or near as.

They will not just turn up and ask, just in case they can't afford it and be embarrassed if it was more than they hoped it would be.

If your rates were $33 a night but you did not advertise the rate and your competitor was advertising $35 per night, they will get most of the business.

Paul Elbourne.


THE way that management company does business doesn't appeal to us.

We like to know how much a site will cost before committing.

Would likely avoid any parks that didn't publish tariffs.

Leanne Killby.

No support

AND that is why people stop going to caravan parks ... greed!

Imagine raising your price just because the park is nearly full.

I for one will not be supporting FreeSpirit with this attitude!

Carol Harstedt.

Upfront honesty

BE honest and upfront, put your prices in for the various times of the year.

Let people decide whether or not they are prepared to pay for the services and facilities that you offer, or do not offer.

To win the support of the grey nomads, how about a "deal" for them?

Murray Parker.

Good reason

WHAT a good reason not to use FreeSpirit parks.

John and Laurel Hutcheon.


Thanks Kilcoy

I READ in your last edition about Kilcoy's Anzac Park now being free for overnight stays (see story here)..

We will stop and spend our money in the town that gives a bit. 

We will buy fuel, groceries and support coffee cafes.

Thank you Kilcoy.


Chill pill

GEE, Arthur Budgen should take take a chill pill (see original letter here).

As a member of the very healthy ACC I can tell you that this caravan club was set up to be inclusive of all no matter their mode of travel, unlike the CMCA.

But really, aren't we all out to do the same thing and enjoy this great country?

Alan Gurman.