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May 2015

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MAY 24: Caravanner reportedly cops hefty $415 fine in NSW after police stopped him for having his rear number plate more than 1.3m above the ground.

MAY 24: Pioneer Tourist Park at Deniliquin and Griffiths Caravan Village at Griffith, both in NSW, join Kui Parks chain.

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


Caravan park tariffs: No 'one size fits all' model

WE came across your article about FreeSpirit in March's Caravanning News (and your followers' feedback in the April edition).

For us as a business operator who wholly and solely supports the caravanning industry and has done for many many years it is disappointing to see the negative comments which have been posted.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but not when the entire story/article is not told ... not unusual for the media.

Our full article actually talks about days gone by where caravan parks printed a particular price in a brochure or on a sheet of paper that is handed to guests.

We live in a very technologically savvy world now where people demand real time information at the touch of their fingertips.

In actual fact you have contradicted yourself in your article because if you take the time to look at websites of all the holiday parks we operate you will find all the tariffs are clearly displayed.

There is no hidden agenda or price gouging as stated. We are as open and honest as they come ... we wouldn’t have been so successful if we weren't.

However, from a business perspective, you might like to share with your readers/followers that our tariffs are set and based on the operational and seasonal demands of our parks, which these days includes dynamic pricing.

We try to thank and reward our guests who book early by offering them lower rates if they book in advance (so how is that being dishonest?) instead of waiting until the last minute.

Have you ever tried to book a flight at the last minute ... it's always dearer than if you had given some forethought and booked months earlier.

We are no different.

We write our website blogs (obviously where you got the snippet of the article from) to share operational information and experience to other caravan park operators who may not be aware of different ways to set their tariffs.

There is no one size fits all model for every holiday park ... there are too many variations to take into consideration.

Danella Rockley,
FreeSpirit Resorts.

Lock repair
to die for

I THOUGHT readers might be interested in this idea for repairing pop-up boot locks on European caravans.

I bought a local black plastic lock (not a pop-up style) with a 5/16 inch square shaft.

Because this shaft is a little smaller than the old one, I made up a 6mm deep steel bush from some scrap .55mm thick galvanised sheet.

I just folded it around three corners of the lock shaft with the ends meeting at the fourth corner.

The shaft and locking bars press together snuggly and the lock turns them like new.

Finally, to retain the locking rods and centre lever I tapped the lock's shaft with a 3/8 inch die and used a nut either side.

An easier option would be to drill two small holes and use a washer and split pin either side.

Threading square rod is NOT easy by hand but it can be done if you have dies and grind the corners off the rod until it fits the hole of a drill of the size you want (3/8 inch in my case).

And take care as the die slips after each thread is cut and it needs to be carefully repositioned to cut the next

Tedious at 24 TPI! But I only needed about an inch of thread.

Hopefully this will inspire others to share their ideas about replacing items that are not readily available.

Ian Campbell.



Bruce Clark Max Weir Darryl Dahler John Embleton

Bruce Clark

Max Weir

Darryl Dahler

John Embleton

Story/photos: Dennis Amor

CARAVANNERS have blasted truckies and train drivers for allegedly keeping them awake at night. Members of a major online chat room accuse them of deliberately activating their air horns as they pass rest areas alongside train lines and highways after dark. "Seems they have nothing to do but to wake us poor old tired buggers in the middle of the night," one weary traveller wrote. "I mean, it's hard enough to get to sleep without them blowing their horns. Damned inconsiderate, I say." But caravanners approached by Caravanning News at rest areas alongside Queensland's busy Bruce Highway dismissed the complaints as just "whinging". Former train driver Max Weir, a caravanner for over 40 years, regularly uses rest areas and has never had a problem. "It's a load of garbage," he said. Ex truckie John Embleton, from Bribie Island, also didn't think there was a problem and Queenslander Bruce Clark commented: "Sounds like someone's been whinging unnecessarily." Meanwhile, fellow Queenslander Darryl Dahler believed the problem was on the increase. "They do it all the time," he said. "I think some truckies have a dislike of caravanners." More button

A 'home' at Mudgereeba Holiday VillageHoliday park 'a living hell'
IT'S called a holiday village, but for some residents it's a living hell.
Mudgeeraba Holiday Park, just a stone's throw from the Gold Coast's bright lights of Surfers Paradise, has been dubbed Australia's worst caravan park. About a hundred tenants survive dangerous and squalid conditions which even in some Third World countries would be regarded as slums. One told of how he has to flush his toilet with buckets of water. And a round-Australia caravanner described to Caravanning News how he did an immediate U-turn when he turned up to stay there with his dog. "The place looked horrendous and some of the characters appeared very suss," he said. More button

Caravan industry has 'reinvented' itself, say analysts
CARAVAN parks and camping grounds have "reinvented" themselves over the past decade to meet a changing market, according to industry analysts.
IBISWorld claimed they had moved away from their original core services and now offered more facilities and better accommodation. "The industry has become a more significant component of total tourist accommodation in Australia, competing fiercely with other forms of budget accommodation such as motels and backpacker hostels," it said. The analysts pointed out that newcomers to the industry faced low barriers but there had been no new parks or camping grounds built Australia-wide during the last five years. More button

Great Otway camping groundCampers 'delighted' after site fees axed
CARAVANNERS and campers have welcomed news that fees to use basic campsites in Victoria's regional national parks have been scrapped.
More than 500 basic camping sites at 70 campgrounds in 19 national parks throughout Victoria will be affected. "We want Victorian families to have an affordable holiday and get a chance to experience our great national parks," Environment Minister Lisa Neville said. "You can't put a price on the beauty of our national parks." Members of an online caravanners' forum said they were "delighted" at the news. More button

Southern Cross to spend $1.1m on Horsham park
SOUTHERN Cross Parks has been awarded a 21-year lease for the council-owned caravan park on the banks of the Wimmera River at Horsham in Victoria.
Council economic and business development manager Colin Kemp said it would ensure Wimmera River Caravan Park was maintained at a three-and-a-half star standard. Southern Cross Parks has agreed to spend $1.12 million on upgrades during the next three years. Have your say

Justin HalesCamplify links renters with rarely-used RVs
A FLEDGLING business in New South Wales is connecting campers with the owners of rarely used caravans and other RVs.
Camplify ‒ a finalist in the Best Regional Startup category of the 2015 StartupSmart Awards ‒ allows owners of caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes to list their RVs for hire for a set booking fee. Chief executive of the Newcastle-based company Justin Hales (pictured) told Caravanning News that owners could chat and choose potential renters they felt comfortable with. "Owners get to set their own prices and rules and we match them with holidaymakers who want to hire from them," he said. "Control is all with the caravan owners and we make sure we provide them with the right people." More button

New Age pops up with its first Wallaby
VICTORIAN-based New Age Caravans has released its first pop-top, the Wallaby.
The 15ft and 16ft models feature a full shower, toilet and vanity ensuite across the rear of the caravan. The Wallaby is said to be perfect for people who have limited garage height restrictions or prefer not towing a large caravan. Have your say

Child porn charges after 'suspicious' caravan park behaviour
A MAN will appear in court on child pornography charges next month after being seen behaving "suspiciously" at a SA caravan park.
The 43-year-old, of no fixed address, has been accused of possessing and producing child pornography and will front Adelaide Magistrates Court on June 16. He was arrested after being interviewed by police in the Hills Fleurieu Local Service Area. They have declined the identify the caravan park. Have your say

MP Bruce ScottMP pleads with nomads to help struggling outback
MP Bruce Scott has used the floor of Parliament to entice southern grey nomads to Queensland's struggling outback.
Small towns are on their knees as the worsening drought in vast areas dramatically impact on small businesses. Some traders have reported a 50 percent plunge in turnover during the past two years. The Maranoa MP and Deputy Speaker told fellow MPs in his 90-second statement that he wanted to issue an invitation to southerners to escape the "cold and dreary days" of southern Australia and head north to the Sunshine State's outback this winter. "People will welcome you ... and you would do a great deal for our economy which we would welcome as well," he said. More button

Elite set to feature on Discovery Channel
VICTORIAN-based Elite Caravans will feature in Discovery Channel's How Do They Do It? series this year.
Viewers will be able to see exactly how its caravans are built, from start to finish. The company said it was the only caravan manufacturer in Australia to be approached by the world renowned TV channel.  "Presented with the chance to show Elite to the world is beyond comprehension, and we're thrilled to present a manufacturing process in which we're extremely proud," co-owner Adrian Cappola said. More button

The injured caravanners receive medical care the accident site before being airlifted to hospital.

The injured caravanners receive medical care the accident site before being airlifted to hospital.
Photo: CareFlight

Drama on remote dirt road

Grey nomads airlifted to hospital after 'van rolls

A QUEENSLAND couple in their 70s was lucky to escape serious injuries when a caravan rolled on a remote dirt road in the NT. The Gold Coast travellers suffered only cuts and bruises in the accident on Shady Camp Road at Point Stuart east of Darwin. St John Ambulance called the CareFlight rescue helicopter which airlifted them to Royal Darwin Hospital. A motorist who found the injured caravanners drove to the Stuart Point Wilderness Lodge to raise the alarm because there was no mobile phone coverage at the accident scene. Have your say

Easier parking for caravanners
PICTURESQUE Naracoorte in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia is making it easier for caravanners to park.
Work is underway on turning the town's Market Square into a premium recreation area. This includes providing special stopping places for caravans and other RVs. Mayor Erika Vickery said the area would provide an ideal rest stop for visitors. Have your say

Free-campers at Norval Park in QueenslandFreedom camper slams parks industry
AUSTRALIA'S caravan parks have been accused of "fraudulently misrepresenting" travellers who prefer to free camp.
Freedom Camping Australia's Phil Jones told a gathering of grey nomads at Wagga Wagga in NSW that the caravan parks industry had been very vocal on the issue. "However, in doing that they are fraudulently misrepresenting those travellers who are not their customers ... the 'freedom-of-choice' campers," he said at the annual Stone the Crows Festival. This had resulted in what he called emotive and often inaccurate media headlines. More button

Overflow plan upsets caravan park operators
CARAVAN park operators in Western Australia's coastal town of Denmark have blasted their local council over plans for a 68-site overflow area at the local oval.
Manager of the Ocean Beach Caravan Park Michael Barton expressed disappointment over the lack of consultation. The council recently approved a motion to use $248,000 of Tourism WA funding to establish an overflow camping area at McLean Oval. But Mr Barton pointed out that his park was already planning to expand its capacity. He has told the council he believes it should be the role of park operators to provide for overflow and not the council. Noel Phillips from the Rivermouth Caravan Park, who also complained about the lack of consultation, said he was concerned a new overflow camping area would disadvantage existing businesses. Denmark Tourism chief executive Justine Nagorski said she supported the proposal to ensure no caravanners and campers were turned away from Denmark during peak periods if existing caravan parks were full. Have your say

Cairns Coconut Resort wins gold againCairns park crowned the nation's top resort
CAIRNS Coconut Holiday Resort has been officially crowned Australia’s top tourist and caravan park for the seventh time.
The park, a member of the BIG4 chain, took home the Gold award for the second year running at the Australian Tourism Awards in Adelaide. BIG4 chief executive Steven Wright said the holiday destination was highly deserving of the accolade and should be proud of its efforts in delivering a unique and memorable holiday experience. The resort's team had "shone the brightest in providing the ultimate Australian break". More button

Rally will offer feast of entertainment
THE Goulburn Valley in Victoria will lay on a feast of entertainment at its inaugural rally for caravanners and other RV travellers.
September's GV RV Rally at Shepparton Showgrounds will offer an opportunity for RV enthusiasts to meet and interact, share their stories and experiences and enjoy local highlights, say organisers. It will feature a Safe Swaying Seminar on driving skills, road safety and legal requirements and the Shepparton Heritage Motor Rally. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the region on guided tours including culture and history walks, shopping tours and visits to local farm and milk factories as well as wineries and orchards. Other activities will include golf and bowls, fishing and sailing, table tennis and woodworking as well as events like the GV Big Breakfast, comedy night, moonlight movie and a Saturday night social. For more information, click here. Have your say

Australian Cararan Club members play gameBusy times for ACC
THE Australian Caravan Club's branch activities have never been busier, say officials. "The club is in a very healthy state, with membership of over 4100," chairman Tom Smith told Caravanning News. "Our club has been growing at about 20 percent a year." Club publicity officer Lionel Mussell said plans were well advanced for its ninth national muster at Beaudesert in October, with plans for tag-alongs to the event.

Caravan industry predicts bumper year
RV PRODUCTION in January and February soared 16 percent over last year's corresponding period, new figures show.
The result come on the back of figures for 2014 which revealed the second-highest annual production in two decades. And the Caravan Industry Association of Australia predicts that more RVs will roll off production line this year than ever before. "Our research shows that more and more families are turning to caravanning and camping for leisure in Australia," chief executive Stuart Lamont said. More button

Tallangatta Holiday ParkCouncil keen to take over struggling park
A COUNCIL is attempting to save a struggling caravan park on the banks of Lake Hume in north-eastern Victoria.
Visitor numbers at the 147-site Tallangatta Holiday Park have taken a dramatic nosedive during the last decade, despite caravan registrations soaring. Towong Shire Council is now keen to take over the struggling park ‒ currently operated by Goulburn-Murray Water ‒ which was historically a popular holiday destination for young families and older people. A planning report, prepared for the council by Southern Cross Parks, suggested that given the importance of the park to the town and region as a whole, the authority should consider its future management and redevelopment. More button

Campground host training
THE South Australian government will hold a training weekend for people interested in becoming volunteer campground hosts.
Organised by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the campground host and induction training will be held at Mambray Creek Campground in Mount Remarkable National Park from June 19 to 21. "Campground hosts have a sense of adventure and enjoy sharing their love of the outdoors with like minded people," volunteer programs coordinator Lynn Newman said. Campsites will be available for people taking part, but places are limited and bookings are essential. For more information, click here.

HomeCamp site in Byron BayCouncils urge caution over HomeCamp scheme
HUNDREDS of home and land owners have been warned they could be breaking the law by opening up their properties to caravanners and campers.
The advice comes after newly-formed Sydney-based company HomeCamp urged them to allow travellers to pitch a tent or park their caravan on their driveway, land or garden in exchange for cash. Similar schemes already operate successfully in seven countries. But local authorities have told Caravanning News that property owners should exercise caution when considering joining the scheme. More button

Caravan rolls on Bruxner Highway in NSW

Couple and dog escape

Rig destroyed in
highway rollover

THIS is all that remained of a caravan which came to grief on a NSW highway. A couple and their pet dog escaped virtually unscathed when their rig overturned at Yellow Creek Bridge between Tenterfield and Tabulam on the Bruxner Highway. The stretch of road is notorious for sudden wind gusts. A rescue helicopter was despatched to the scene but was recalled after original reports of the couple being trapped were proved to be false. Have your say

Storms leave $1m repair bill at showground
FLOODS at the Stroud Showground in NSW's Hunter Valley have left a $1 million-plus repair bill.
Several campers were rescued by boat as raging storms left up to 7ft of floodwaters at the council-owned facility. Some buildings at the showground were destroyed and the heritage-listed grandstand damaged. Stroud Show Society president James Harris said it was "absolutely amazing" no-one died in the storms. Have your say

Community Welcomes Recreational Vehicles scheme

WA industry scheme to attract RVers
WESTERN Australia's caravan industry has launched a new initiative to help local authorities attract more travellers.
CIAWA said it understood that governments were trying to attract as many caravanners and other RVers to their towns and communities as possible. With this in mind, it had developed a Community Welcomes Recreational Vehicles scheme. Areas adopting it would "make the community eligible for inclusion in all CIAWA marketing activities and promotion of the community on the CIAWA consumer webpage, with over 100,000 unique visitors annually". Have your say

New identity for Little Joey's
LITTLE Joey's Caravan Centre at Epping in Victoria has been renamed Caravans on Cooper.
The business decided it needed to differentiate its caravan centre from the hugely successful Little Joey’s caravan brand launched in 2009. "This will not affect the high level of service and products that we offer our customers, if anything it has reinvigorated our team to only get better and keep winning awards and praise," the company said. New Age Caravans recently presented the dealership and service centre with an award for achieving the highest sales at a major show. Meanwhile, New Age Caravans director Gabby Montagnese has been nominated for the Telstra Business Women of the Year award. Have your say

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Beachlands barking up the right tree

SO Beachlands Holiday Park is now allowing pooches into their cabins (see story here).

Congratulations ... I need to say no more.

I may never get to your park but you will make many a traveller very happy.

I hope you will have enough cabins and are very busy.

Marcia Mulhearn.

Moving with
the times

WITH more and more people wanting to take their pets with them when they hit the road, Beachlands Holiday Park is to be applauded.

Far too many parks close their gates to animals, even those travelling in their owners' own caravans and motorhomes.

This makes it very difficult for travellers who cannot leave their pets at home.

One of the worst places I have found in this regard is the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, where precious few parks take pets, particularly on those near the beaches.

Beachlands has moved with the times.

Betty Sinclair.

Job adverts

WHY, with the growth of the caravan industry, is there no mention of jobs in newspapers.

I'm thinking that maybe they're not advertised is because they are being obtained through referrals or other means.

This means they can't be measured in employment statistics.

Michael Walker.

Name and shame war medal thief

I WOULD like to comment on your story on war medals being stolen from a WA caravan park (see story here).

I am a Vietnam vet and to say I am extremely mad at the theft would be an understatement.

If the person is caught he needs to be named and shamed.

Terry Brock,
69/70 Vietnam.