Queensland outback

Carnarvon Gorge

Moore Park Beach turtles

Sydney circular

Santa's trip

Formula One interlude


Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

October 2014

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OCT 22: Caravan businesses in Nowra, NSW, have defended their decision not to exhibit in recent Nowra caravan show, arguing they are 'on show' in the town all year round.

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


Customers want quality and service

I WOULD like to comment on last month's story on Fleetwood profits plunging (see story here).

It's not new products or better marketing that Fleetwood need in order to improve their products, I think it's better customer service.

I have a Windsor caravan and have sent several queries and requests to Windsor regarding warranty issues and have never received a reply from them.

In fact, I have been ignored by a company whose motto is: "Travelling with You".

I will never buy another Windsor and could not with a clear conscience recommend them to any prospective caravan buyer.

Fleetwood need to face up to their real problem. Customers want quality and service!

John Rees

Questions over park fees

REFERRING to your story on off-peak periods getting shorter and the caravanner slamming 'ridiculous' park fees (see story here).

I fully agree with Dave Windle's comments.

Park charges have skyrocketed over the last few years.

The overnight cost for use of toilet, shower and electricity could not be much more than $10.

So why do parks charge over $30 a night?

Why do charges increase in so-called peak periods?

There is nothing extra given for these periods.

Seems like a grab for more money to me.


Dumping scorn on fee

BALLARAT has given the approval for a 12-month free-camping trial (see story here).

And BIG4 parks will be paid a $10 fee for each non-guest using their dump point.

Seems to me this will only encourage dumping on the roadside.

I refuse to stay at any BIG4 park.

I think they are overpriced and only cater for kids.

Name supplied.

A conflict of interest?

THE story on the Aspen Group year results was interesting (see here).

Having been a shareholder in the caravan parks from the beginning, I find it not very good what Aspen are doing.

They are shareholders, run the parks and cost the worth of parks.

I call this a conflict of interest ... one moment the shares are worth $1.20 then suddenly only 54c.

Terry Atkins.


Driver lives with terror on victim's face

Truckie who killed grey nomad jailed

Suzanne CaudellA TRUCK driver whose vehicle struck and killed grey nomad Suzanne Caudell as she worked as a traffic controller on Queensland's Bruce Highway has been jailed. Rockhampton District Court heard that Thomas White had suffered recurring nightmares since the horrific accident near Marlborough in January, 2013. He was sent to prison for three years, suspended after 10 months, after admitting dangerous operation of a vehicle. The court heard White, an accident-free truckie for 31 years, had been driving too fast through road works when he hit the brakes of his B-double and swerved into 64-year-old Mrs Caudell (pictured above). "He cannot forget or erase from his mind the terror on Mrs Caudellís face,Ē defending lawyer Doug Winning told Judge Paul Smith.  Mrs Caudell had just taken over control duties from husband Colin who watched helplessly as the giant truck hit his wife. Members of the Southern Cross RV club, Mr and Mrs Caudell were working as traffic controllers to earn extra cash for their dream trip around Australia in their Southern Cross fifth wheeler. A shocked Mr Caudell said after the tragedy: "She was my mate, she was my lover, she was my best friend, she was everything that I needed. We were going to grow old together and now someone's taken that away from us."  Have your say

Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow video grab

Music video goes Balistic

Steamy romps in Elite caravan

SAUCY scenes from country singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers' new video were filmed inside a luxurious Victorian-built Elite caravan. The award-winning entertainer's three-and-a-half minute black and white official music video, Wheelbarrow, features steamy fondling and romps on the caravan's queen-size bed. The single has been released from Kasey's new album Bittersweet, launched at the annual Gympie Muster and attended by thousands of caravanners and campers. Campbellfield-based Elite Caravans said they had received a call from the film crew requesting the use of a caravan for the shoot. "We were happy to let them use a Balistic," a spokesperson said. "Blokes, take note of the pose you need to hold at the door of your Elite." To view the video, click here. Have your say.

New policy will mean more budget sites

Camping go-ahead

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVANNERS and other travellers will soon be enjoying more budget camping on Queensland's popular Sunshine Coast.

This follows news that local councillors have given the green light for an interim policy on limited facilities camping.

The welcome move will allow more freedom to approve basic overnight camping areas on the holiday strip which attracts millions of travellers and families every year, many of them southern grey nomads seeking the area's winter sunshine.

A Sunshine City Council report said the new policy was an important move in helping the drive tourism market, which accounted for 70 percent of Queensland's overnight leisure market.

It would enable the region and local businesses to generate economic benefit from the expanding market while a comprehensive drive tourism policy is developed by council.

"This interim policy provides a clear framework for council to approve limited facilities camping without the need to satisfy the requirements that are ordinarily applied to accommodation parks," the report said.

It stressed that limited facilities camping would serve a different tourism market than that catered for in caravan parks, which have come under fire from travellers because of their high site fees and lack of facilities for pets.

Under the new policy, overnight sites will only provide rubbish bins, water access, toilets and/or a dump point.

Permits would be issued for a maximum of 12 months ... with the risk of cancellation if strict conditions are not adhered to.

Regent caravan

Former boss 'sad' at sell-off

Chinese take over Regent: report

THE giant Chinese Daide Group is understood to have bought Victorian-based Regent Caravans. Regent crashed in 2012 but was later taken over by newly-formed Caravans Australia. A CA spokesman declined to comment on reports that Regent was now in Chinese ownership, saying the parent company's boss was in China. It is believed that Regent caravans would still be manufactured at its Campbellfield factory but there is no information on proposed long-term plans. The Chinese are known to have been showing interest in the Australian caravan market for some time. Former general manager of CA Graeme Groves told Caravanning News shortly after the 2012 takeover that "Regent Caravans has been resurrected, dusted off and put back on the shelf. And this time it's here to stay." Mr Groves left the company in August, 2013. He told Caravanning News this week that he was "sad" such an iconic brand would be sold off. "I had nothing to do with the sell-off of Regent Caravans to the Chinese and did not know this was happening until a couple of weeks ago after hearing Chinese whispers," he added.  Have your say

The world's tiniest caravan

World's smallest caravan

Tiny tow raises many smiles

THE world's smallest caravan has earned a place in the 2015 Guinness World Records book. Built by Londoner Yannick Read, the 2.39m fully roadworthy QTvan weighs in at 131kg and boasts a full size bed, interior lighting, TV, drinks cabinet, sink and even a kettle. Yannick said the thing he enjoyed most about his tiny pride and joy was the smiles from people of all ages who saw him towing it along the road. "It has lots of features you find in a full size caravan," the part-time inventor and web writer explained. He had named the caravan after three British obsessions ... queuing, drinking tea and caravanning. His inspiration came from caravans built in the 1940s. Yannick said it was "awesome" to have his QTvan officially recognised as the smallest caravan on the planet. Have your say

Todd Devine: feeling blue

Cabin suppliers challenged to 'paint-off'

Todd turns blue for a good cause

TODD Devine, whose company supplies hundreds of cabins to Victoria's caravan parks, could be forgiven for feeling a little blue recently. Todd's company, Todd Devine Homes, has just taken part in this year's Blue September - Fighting Cancer in Men. And it exceeded its target by over $3200 to donate more than $8200 to the worthy cause. The end result was that Todd decided to paint himself blue for an entire business day. "The more awareness we can create about men's cancer issues, the more we can help to reduce the horrifying statistics," he said. Todd explained that over 55,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. At least one in three cases is preventable by implementing simple lifestyle changes and regular health checks, he said. Todd has now challenged other Victorian cabin suppliers, including Jayco, to join him next year for a 'paint-off'. Todd's company also supplies holiday cabins to Lifestyle Villages, owned by Victorian Caravan Park Association vice-president James Kelly. Have your say

Thieves busy at SA caravan parks
THIEVES have been busy at caravan parks in Port Lincoln, South Australia.
Police have now issued a warning to holidaymakers to take extra care. A spokesperson said: "There have been a number of incidents reported to police in which cars have been interfered with or had items stolen from inside. Thefts have also occurred in the Ceduna and Whyalla townships." People were advised to remove all valuables from their vehicle or conceal them in the boot. "Opportunistic thieves will look into vehicles to see what items can be easily stolen and even a small amount of cash or a bag be the catalyst for becoming a target," the spokesperson added. Anyone seeing someone behaving suspiciously near parked cars in caravan parks is urged to call police immediately on 131 444. Have your say

AL-KO anti-sway deviceIndustry support for anti-sway device
AL-KO's revolutionary electronic anti-sway device has received the backing of Victoria's caravan industry.
"We are not in the habit of endorsing products but we found this product was so important to the safety of the consumer and the innovation of the industry," Caravan Industry Association Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said. "We are more than happy to get behind it and support it." Since its launch in mid-2012, AL-KO's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has left its mark on the caravan industry and towing safety in Australia. More button

Chinese burn for caravan seller
CARAVAN sellers have again been warned to be on the alert for scammers.
This follows another incident in which a Victorian woman was conned out of $1350 by Chinese fraudsters faining interest in her Viscount pop-top. The Camperdown victim, who is in her 60s, was contacted on her mobile phone after advertising the caravan for sale for $5500. As requested by the caller, who claimed he was working on an oil rig, she paid the $1350 to a Chinese address through Western Union to have the RV taken to his alleged home in Darwin. But her suspicions were aroused when she received another request for a further $2550 for "insurance". The victim, who does not want to be identified, told media: "It was a sickening experience", adding that she would now only take cash and deal face-to-face with prospective buyers. Have your say

Caravan park ... happy places

Caravanning, camping at all-time high
THE growth of Australia's caravanning and camping industry has soared to an all-time high, according to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. It revealed that caravans were the fastest growing motor vehicle by registrations ... and the number was set to grow. The association said 85 percent of Australians had experienced caravanning or camping in their lifetime, with research showing this form of holiday made families happier. "There is more to the value of camping and caravanning than the cost," chief executive Stuart Lamont explained. More button

Roamers keep Boroma name alive
QUEENSLAND quality caravan builder Boroma may be no more, but a dedicated band of enthusiasts is keeping the name alive.
Dozens of owners will gather at NSW's Casino Caravan Park on October 17 for their 11th annual Boroma Roamers rally. The three-day event will feature a whole host of activities, including a special meeting to discuss "all things Boroma" and the location of next year's gathering. It will be the final rally organised by the current team and the search is on for volunteers with new ideas to keep the group going forward. Boroma was forced into liquidation in 2008 as the global economic downturn hit hard, closing its doors when sales plummeted and jittery customers cancelled orders. For more information on the Boroma Roamers, click here Have your say

Truck parking signTruckies cane errant rest area caravanners
TRUCKIES have taken a swipe at thoughtless caravanners who insist on using their rest areas as camping sites.
Weary truck drivers have frequently complained of being squeezed out of heavy vehicle parking areas alongside the nation's highways as more and more caravanners hit the road. Australian Trucking Association NSW manager Jodie Broadbent said problems arose when the areas were used as camping sites. "These are not camping spots and pretend caravan parks so people should not be putting up their awnings and having their cups of tea," she told the Australasian Transport News. "These are dedicated rest areas for truckies and we need to be making sure there are plenty of those." She said rest areas for freight vehicles were important so drivers could comply with legislative requirements. "Having somebody set up their caravan and camp there is entirely inappropriate," she added. NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has suggested a scheme in which truckies could pre-book parking spots in rest areas. Have your say

Organisers thrilled over ACC muster
ABOUT 400 Australian Caravan Club members will converge on the tiny South Australian town of Lucindale for their eighth national muster.
The seven-day gathering in Yakka Park kicks off on October 13. It is expected to pour tens of thousands of dollars into the local community, best known for hosting the annual Field Days organised by the Lions Club. Muster committee coordinator Therese Gregory, who is also president of the ACC Sundowners Branch, said local members were thrilled to be organising the state's first national muster. Other branches involved were the Limestone Coasters and Southern Cross Overlanders. A full programme of social events, presentations by qualified guest speakers, games and competitions, local tours and a dinner/dance will keep participants busy. "A warm welcome awaits any local RVers who would like to visit the muster," Ms Gregory said. Have your say

Spicer Caravan Park's Elvis

Facelift after $79,000 windfall

Grant helps park to rock

THE council-owned 3.5-star caravan park in a New South Wales town famous for its Elvis festival will undergo a $79,000 facelift. Work at the 86-site Spicer Caravan Park at Parkes will be financed through a Regional Visitor Economy Fund grant. The funding will contribute to the development of new cabin accommodation and upgrading to accommodate RVs under the RV-Friendly towns scheme. Co-manager Ann-Marie Devlin told Caravanning News five unpowered sites were now available for $12 a night. "We happily dropped the price so we could qualify for the scheme," she said. Next January will see the 23rd annual five-day Parkes Elvis Festival rocking the town, also famous for its radio telescope used by NASA throughout the Apollo program. "It sets the town alive and the whole place really rocks," Ann-Marie said. "We are packed out every year."  Have your say

WA caravanners favour their own state
NINETY percent of caravanners and campers in WA last year were from the state itself, according to new figures.
A Tourism Western Australia visitor snapshot revealed this form of holiday was most popular among the 35 to 44-year age group. Three out of five international caravanning and camping visitors were under 35 and mainly travelled alone (50 percent) or as an adult couple (28 percent). Both domestic and overseas visitors preferred regional WA, with Exmouth proving the most popular among foreigners (43 percent). Locals were not so keen ... only nine percent favouring the destination. Have your say

Tathra caravan parkGumnut gongs for green seven
CARAVAN and tourist parks across Australia have been recognised for their commitment to sustainability and environmental practice.
Seven have received awards this year for achieving the high standards required to meet the Caravan & Camping Industry Associationís (CCIA) Gumnut Eco Program. CCIA NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said that since its launch 12 years ago, the program had helped over 280 businesses in the caravanning sector identify and improve sustainability opportunities in areas such as water and waste management, energy efficiency, landscape and design, corporate responsibility and staff and community culture. More button

Melbourne show has attractions for young and old
THE final touches are being made to the seventh annual Melbourne Leisurefest which will feature over 300 exhibitors.
Opening on October 2, the four-day show at Sandown Racecourse will showcase the best products in the caravan, camping and 4WD industries. "This year's show is jam-packed with activities for young and old," CIA Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said. "There are also new attractions to the show including the towing track, educational seminars and the Kids Caravanning Explorerís Club." More button

New Age caravan owners

Over 30 at inaugural event

New age dawns for owners

NEW Age caravan owners have held their first gathering. More than 30 enthusiasts attended the inaugural event at Cowes Caravan Park, Philip Island, Victoria. Spokesman Bryan Crow said the four-days comprised "fellowship and sessions on tech talk, reversing and handover procedures". To read more about the event, click on the MORE button. More button

Caravan parks ballboy

'No accountability or responsibility'

Ball games spark heated debate

KIDS playing ball games in packed caravan parks at Christmas have ignited a heated discussion among members of the online Caravaners (sic) Forum. A member, who plans to spend some of the festive season in a caravan park, started the ball rolling when he asked whether park managers should ban ball games around caravans, especially as there was usually no accountability or responsibility "when things go belly up". His posting attracted more than 2000 viewings on the 11,000-member forum. Many members appeared to be on the children's side. One wrote: "I'd be very very surprised if any caravan park banned such things as ball games, or even attempted to restrict them to certain areas. I guess if people don't like what is associated with caravan parks they shouldn't go to them. Sounds a lot like their problem and no one else's." But another commented: "I find it incredible that many respondents believe it ok to play cricket or football amongst caravans that are also very closely packed together." Have your say.

Assurance from new owners of Maroochy Palms
THE new owners of a popular caravan park on Queensland's Sunshine Coast have promised that caravanners will not be squeezed out.
Regulars at the Maroochy Palms Holiday Village fear they will not be welcome after a takeover by Gateway Residential Lifestyle Parks. The previous owner of the BIG4 holiday destination has retired. Gateway is an Australian owned and operated company which specialises in developing and managing residential parks. It says its aim is to "consistently fulfil the lifestyle expectations of our residents by creating and maintaining sustainable, secure and vibrant communities". Some concerned caravanners believe this could sound the death knell for family holidays at the park. But Gateway's head of sales and marketing Tonia Ivanni told Caravanning News: "We will be continuing tourism in this park as part of our plan with only a few small changes to the number of caravan positions available." Have your say

Winnebago Minnie

Colourful US-built RVs set for Down Under
BRIGHTLY coloured US-built caravans are set to hit Australian shores before Christmas.
Importer Apollo Motorhome Holidays says red, lime green and bright orange Minnie Winnebago caravans are already a huge hit in America due to their adventurous styling and colour options. And US-based Winnebago Industries has decided they could also be well accepted on the Australia market and has designed and manufactured models specifically for Down Under. Australian RV dealer and manufacturer Apollo Motorhome Holidays announced a licencing deal with Winnebago Industries. More button

Locals raise glasses to Ryan's winery plans
JAYCO caravans founder Gerry Ryan plans to pour millions of dollars into his winery north of Melbourne.
Mr Ryan and his family acquired the historic riverside Mitchelton Wines in 2011, promising to turn the Nagambie site into an iconic food, wine and hospitality destination. Mr Ryan has now revealed $22-million plans for a 70-room hotel and day spa, chocolate factory and a 90-cabin residential-leisure park on Nagambie Lakes. Locals are said to be raising their glasses at the news. They believe the additions will bring more tourists to the region. Have your say

Adria caravanImporter reveals Adria 2015 line-up
IMPORTERS have revealed details of the 2015 line-up of award-winning European-built Adria caravans now available in Australia.
The Apollo Group said the five unique models were on show at selected dealers. Business development manager Peter Eller said the range was an outstanding selection providing Australians with the most innovative and affordable caravans ever offered by the Slovenian manufacturer. "Travellers will be amazed by the attention to detail and practical designs of the 2015 Adria range," he said. More button

Caravan parks under threat, claims CIAWA
WA's caravan parks are under threat, warns the peak body for the state's caravan and camping industry.
The claim comes from the CIAWA in a 45-page submission to the Department of Commerce in response to a consultation paper on the Residential Parks (Long Stay Tenants) Act 2006. The 250-member association is concerned over some aspects of the government review into the Caravan Park and Camping Ground Act. Its lengthy submission claims that those involved with the review had failed to recognise or identify that caravan parks provided an essential housing option for low income or transient residents. More button

Parklands: When Caravan Is HomeNew book on park permanents
A UNIVERSITY researcher who spent five years studying caravan park residents in WA, has released a major new book on her findings.
Janice Newton from the Victorian-based Federation University Australia turned the spotlight on pathways to caravan park living and social lives created in a caravan park environment. Her book, Parkland: When Caravan Is Home, offers new insights into a range of problems affecting contemporary Australian society, around dimensions of work, health, relationships, identity and belonging. More button

Discontent over plans for new caravan park
CARAVAN park operators have questioned the wisdom of building a new park in Broome, WA.
The 596-site development at Cable Beach, which would also offer 156 cabins, would be released under a partnership between Tourism WA and the Shire of Broome, with Discovery Holiday Parks as the preferred contractors. Public submissions will be invited when the business plan is released. One local caravan park owner claimed there was no need for another park because existing ones struggled to fill their parks for 90 percent of the year. Have your say

Mitchell Gardens Holiday Park, BairnsdaleATPM takes over Bairnsdale park
AUSTRALIAN Tourist Park Management has acquired the lease for Mitchell Gardens Holiday Park in Bairnsdale, Victoria.
The nine-year deal with East Gippsland Shire Council brings the company's property portfolio to 30. ATPM chief executive Mark Manteit said he was looking forward to working with the council to manage and improve the park facilities, maintenance and the overall guest experience. The park has already been renamed and its signage will be refreshed in the coming months with the new name and brand. More button

To view previous editions of Caravanning News, click on the appropriate month:

Editor: Dennis Amor
PO Box 127
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Queensland 4671


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When it's ok to install electrics and plumbing
in caravans

REGARDING last month's story about a caravan builder advertising for unqualified people to install electrics and plumbing (see story here).

As an electrician, I have no qualms with semi-skilled workers running cabling or pipework.

But it must be fitted off and inspected by a licenced tradesperson, electrician and gasfitter/plumber.

Trade assistants have been used in the building trade and in fitting out transportable accommodation units for years.

Portable accommodation and modular building units have been coming from China pre-wired and plumbed, then fitted off and tested in Australia.

I am positive my 1981 vintage caravan was not wired by an electrician (12v single insulated wires running beside 240v).

But this and many others like it are on the road still with the original energy authority approval sticker!

My only worry is that they may be allowed to fit off joints and fixtures as this would contravene most state laws and I would not want a caravan that I couldnít trust.

Terry Young,
Electrician and caravan owner.

Owners not averse to doing own work

SO a caravan builder advertised for an unqualified electrician and plumber.

Whilst agreeing it's not appropriate that unqualified tradesmen are being sought to work on caravan construction, one must also wonder how many owners do their own electrical and gas work.

Both 240v and gas work in RVs must be performed by qualified tradesmen.

But how many owners have changed a hot water system element or run an extra power point.

Even changing a gas regulator should be done by someone with a qualification to do so.

It just seems hypocritical to me.

Name supplied.