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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

December  2014

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For full list, click above

DEC 23:Northbound traffic on Pacific Highway in NSW at a crawl after accident involving caravan and car near Newcastle.

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


Enough travellers for parks and free camps

NYNGAN has withdrawn from being an RV-friendly town.

These sort of towns and narrow-minded people disappoint me.

Most people who are travelling have worked hard their whole lives to be able to enjoy their retirement and travel.

Most wouldn't have taken many holidays through their working life and be able to get out there to enjoy what Australia has to offer.

We are not self-funded retirees ... we've worked hard and paid off our modest house and caravan.

But if we had to go into caravan parks every night at an average price of $35 we just wouldn't be able to travel at all.

All our money goes on petrol, food and bills.

Don't these towns realise there are heaps of people out there who simply don't like free camping and will stay in the parks.

And the ones who do free camp usually spend money locally too.

It doesn't take long for word to get around to avoid  an RV-unfriendly town.

There are thousands of travellers out there ... enough to go around the caravan parks and for those to free camp.

Marie Billings.

Should RAC be spending like this?

SO the RAC is planning to buy more caravan parks (see story here).

I do not think it should be spending members' money like this.

After all, it is supposed to be a motoring organisation ... not an accommodation one.

Terry Atkins.

Sadness over Regent going to Chinese

SO Regent Caravans has new overseas owners (see story here)

I feel very sad that yet again an Australian product has been sold off to China.

It is such a shame that new Regents may be sent here as flat packed caravans to be assembled in Australia.

We had just bought a new Regent Cruiser a couple of months prior to the sale of the company.

We really love our 'van and have been assured we will still be covered under warranty etc by the company we purchased from.

Lois Martin.




Caravan blaze'Caravan safety always critically important'

Minister warns of festive fires

FAMILIES are being urged to take caravan safety seriously over Christmas. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said people should take some simple steps before setting off on vacation. "Plans for your caravan trip shouldn’t only include where you are going and the type of food to take. You should also consider fire safety," he said. "On average, Queensland firefighters respond to more than one caravan fire every week so it's essential to have a plan and the correct fire safety equipment before hitting the road." This included a photoelectric smoke alarm, fire blanket and a fire extinguisher on board to survive a fire emergency. Mr Dempsey said most caravan fires in Queensland were started by cooking equipment. The state's Fire and Emergency Services acting manager of Community Engagement, Kevin Reading, said caravans were often made from relatively combustible materials and could pose a greater fire risk than other dwellings. "Whether you're camping in a caravan park or somewhere remote, fire safety is always critically important," he said. "Make your trip fire safe by turning off gas cylinders while the caravan is being towed or campervan engine is on and before going to bed." Have your say

'Caravanners do not want to pay for facilities they do not use'

New chain of budget-priced parks hits scene

Kenau and Bert: new caravan chain 'fills a gap'

Kenau and Bert: new caravan
chain 'fills the gap'

Have your say

A NEW chain of caravan parks specifically for budget-conscious travellers has made its national debut.

Kui Parks, a growing group of cost-effective, clean and friendly parks, was unveiled at the recent Caravan & Camping Leisurefest in Bendigo, Victoria.

Created by experienced caravanners Bert and Kenau van Spronsen, the network of nomad-friendly parks has signed up its first 20 holiday destinations and aims to top 100 within a year.

It has nine parks in Victoria, six in Queensland, four in New South Wales and ACT and another in Tasmania.

Bert van Spronsen said Kui Parks "fills the gap" between free camping and resort-style holiday parks, offering inexpensive, nomad-friendly facilities run by independent caravan park operators.

"Nomads seek cost effective and clean, friendly parks while travelling, and they do not want to pay for facilities they don’t use," he explained.

"There are four key criteria nomads require – a park must be cost effective and well maintained, with clean amenities and friendly staff – and this is what they can expect at Kui Parks.

"And even nomads with young families are not always looking for resort facilities – they are more likely to visit a rock pool, go trail walking or visit unique local attractions."

Before being accepted into the chain, all parks are thoroughly checked out personally by Bert and Kenau.

Caravanners becoming members of Kui Parks are entitled to a 10 percent discount on site fees up to a $30 maximum.

Missing father and sons

Lucky to be alive, say police

Farmer find father and sons

By Dennis Amor

NEWSFLASH: Father and two sons found safe and well but very hungry by local farmer. Vehicle bogged in isolated and rugged Expedition National Park near Taroom in central western Queensland. Police said they were lucky to have been found alive.

POLICE believe heavy rains could have stranded a father and his two young sons somewhere in a remote part of Queensland. Now they have appealed to caravanners and other travellers to keep an eye open for Lota man Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and Ethan (7) and Timothy (5) who may be in an off road or isolated location between Brisbane and Cairns. They were last seen at a Miles servo on December 11. Detective Acting Superintendent Owen Elloy, South Brisbane District, said it was possible the trio had packed their trailer with camping gear and headed off road. It is believed Mr Van Lonkhuyzen was planning to travel to Cairns via Dingo and Charters Towers and was expected to arrive in the northern city on December 15 but has made no contact with family or friends since last week. "This is a vast geographical area and many roads are cut due to localised flooding or swollen creeks," Detective Acting Superintendent Elloy said. "If Mr Van Lonkhuyzen has gone off road, onto isolated tracks or dirt roads, it is possible that he and his sons have become stranded." Police appealed to property owners, station workers and motorists and travellers to stop and check camping areas, rest stops and publicly accessible private roads and tracks.  They are travelling in a 1995 model white Mitsubishi Pajero, Queensland registration 426 MCZ, towing a silver trailer. Have your say

Caravan accident on Eyre HighwayMiracle escape on highway

Caravan family 'lucky to be alive'

POLICE believe fatigue could have played a part in a spectacular caravan accident in South Australia. They said a family was "lucky to be alive" after their rig flipped on a straight stretch of the Eyre Highway at about 4.15pm. A spokesperson said their car towing a single-axle Jayco Expanda caravan was heading east towards Ceduna when the driver lost control about 23km east of Penong. "The car completely overturned and the caravan was left on its side with both facing in the opposite direction," the spokesperson said. "Miraculously the occupants of the car escaped with only minor injuries." Police reminded drivers to rest 15 minutes every two hours when travelling long distances. Have your say

Esperance in WACaravan industry fires broadside at CMCA
THE Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia has copped a caning from Western Australia's caravan industry.
It came in a submission to Esperance shire council which was considering a request from the 66,000-member club to join its RV Friendly Town scheme. This would involve the south-east coastal town ‒ population around 10,000 ‒ providing free or budget camping, water, dump point, signage and other benefits for travellers. But the Caravan Industry Association Western Australia, which represents 150 caravan parks and 100 caravan-related businesses, expressed fierce opposition to the plan. More button

Electric shock fear sparks Jayco recall
SCORES of Jayco Silverline caravans have been recalled after fears ensuites could be become deathtraps.
This follows the discovery that 240V sockets have been incorrectly placed. "If water is splashed onto the power point it may cause an electric shock," Australia's biggest manufacturer of recreational vehicles has warned. The 86 suspect caravans were sold nationwide. Owners have been urged to stop using the power point immediately and contact their local dealer or service agent to arrange for it to be relocated. For a full list of affected caravans, click here.

Brad IllichCaravan Industry’s favourite son honoured
BRAD Illich has been named the Queensland Tourism Industry's Young Achiever of the Year.
A lifelong worker in Australia's tourism industry, the 31-year-old said he was honoured to win the award. His family owns and operates Ashmore Palms Holiday Village and Brisbane Holiday Village. Brad's holiday park management and online booking system NewBook now competes head-on with large, long-established companies. More button

Nyngan not RV unfriendly, says council
BOGAN Shire Council in central NSW has denied that the tiny town of Nyngan is RV unfriendly.
The council came in for criticism after deciding last year to ban free overnight stays for caravans, motorhomes and campervans at its showground. Now, after reading a reader's letter in the current edition of Caravanning News, it has admitted in a statement that it had received "a lot of emails, letters and adverse comments". But, it stressed, nothing has changed. "Our attitude to any travellers passing through Nyngan remains that they are welcome to stop, stay and shop in our friendly town," it said. More button

Victorian caravan showNew home will mean more space
AUSTRALIA'S biggest outdoors caravan and leisure show is on the move.
After celebrating its 60th birthday this year, the Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow will next year relocate from Caulfield Racecourse to its new home at Melbourne Showgrounds. It will mark the dawn of a new era, with even more of the latest and greatest caravans, camping gear and outdoors accessories on display from February 11 to 16 than was previously possible ... and the return of CIL Insurance as the major sponsor. More button

Rising RV production 'a beacon of hope'
AUSTRALIAN RV production statistics released by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia tell a story of recovery and growth in the Australian auto-manufacturing sector.
New recreational vehicle production figures for September showed a year-on-year growth of 9.8 percent, compared to September 2013, and overall production for 2014 was 5.1 percent higher than in 2013. RV registrations have increased by 21.6 percent since 2008. The association described the production increases as "a beacon of hope". More button

Steve Dodd: a gentle soul

Park boss pays tribute to actor and war vet
ALOHA Caravan Park owner Russell Neville delivered a eulogy at the funeral of aboriginal actor and Korean War veteran Steve Dodd.
Eighty-six-year-old Mr Dodd, who had lived at the caravan park at St Georges Basin, NSW, for about 20 years, died after a short illness. The former stockman, horse breaker and rodeo rider played the role of an indigenous Australian in advertisements and movies, including Gallipoli and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, for about 70 years. Over 150 people farewelled him at the funeral on a waterfront reserve outside the caravan park. Mr Neville told Caravanning News he had known Mr Dodd for about 15 years. "He was a gentle soul who would never say bad words against anyone," he said. "There was something spiritual about him." Have your say

Grey nomad fined $15,000 after dog attack
NSW grey nomad Janet Walker, 68, whose dog mauled a man's leg in Queensland has been hit with a $15,000 fine.
Caloundra Magistrates Court on the Sunshine Coast heard how an 81-year-old pedestrian spent a month in hospital and underwent skin grafts after the vicious German shepherd sank its teeth into his calf. The dog had already been declared dangerous by the Greater Taree Council and should have been wearing a muzzle, the court was told. The attack happened as Mrs Walker was taking the leashed and choke-chained dog on its morning walk. The animal was later put down. Mrs Walker was charged under the Animal Management Act which carries a maximum penalty of $34,000. Magistrate Stephanie Tonkin said a message had to be sent to the community. She hoped other dog owners would be alerted to the consequences they could face by not taking the requisite care of their animals. Have your say

Anglesea dog-friendly cabinsPampered pooches live the high life
PAMPERED pooches can now holiday in luxury at a 4.5-star Victorian caravan park.
Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park, a member of the Top Tourist chain, is now offering two dog-friendly cabins for guests who can't bare to be separated from their pets.  Their dogs can sleep inside the cabins and are provided with a kennel, water bowl and a specially labelled pet towel so owners can dry off their pooch after a walk along the beach.

Caravan industry donates $5000 to RSL
VICTORIA'S caravan industry has donated $5000 to Bendigo District RSL to support its welfare work for veterans of all conflicts in which Australians have served.
The gift from the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria coincided with the recent 13th annual Caravan & Camping Leisurefest at Bendigo Racecourse. President Peter May presented the cheque to the RSL president, Cliff Richards. "We're delighted to help the RSL with its welfare work, which shows our veterans in a very practical way that we appreciate what they have done for our country," Mr May said. More button

Overturned caravan

Fears that rollovers will increase

More caravans coming to grief

AN increasing number of caravan rollovers are being reported as more and more RV adventurers hit the road. Major insurer CIL dealt with 135 claims last year and there could be even more this year. Rarely a week passes without police reporting an accident involving an overturned caravan. Now, Caravan and Motorhome Book’s Collyn Rivers has prepared a special feature for Caravanning News shedding light on why some rigs come to grief on our highways. "I seriously believe that unless this issue is addressed at industry level, caravan rollovers will increase," he said. More button

Council rejects vineyards caravan park plan
SINGLETON Council in NSW has rejected plans for a new caravan park in the Hunter Valley vineyards.
Councillors threw out Casuarina Estates' development application, claiming it did not comply with state and local planning guidelines. Local landowners were also against the plan. Councillors believed it was not in the public interest to allow the park to go ahead, suggesting it would lead to over development. Have your say

Bougainvillia Holiday ParkIngenia snaps up Bougainvllia for $12m
THE family-owned Bougainvillia Holiday Park at Tewantin in Queensland, a member of BIG4 chain, has been bought by Ingenia Communities Group for $12.5 million.
Ingenia chief executive Simon Owen said the 6.5ha park opposite the Tewantin Noosa Golf Club was "an attractive investment delivering a strong yield and diversified revenue base". It offers 43 permanent homes and 135 short term sites for caravan, camping and cabin accommodation. Facilities include jumping castle, camp kitchen, games room, two swimming pools shop and petrol station. Have your say

Free roadside assist for Bailey owners
BAILEY Australia has launched a scheme to help keep owners of its caravans on the road.
Highly trained, Bailey-specific experts are now on call 24/7 under its new Bailey Roadside Assist program. The company has teamed up with NRMA to guarantee owners can receive help when they need it most. The service is being offered free for the first 12 months to all new Unicorn Series 2 and 3 customers. Other owners can join for $250. Have your say

Aspen confident about future
DESPITE a difficult year, Aspen Group, which operates a chain of 23 holiday and accommodation parks, is confident about the future.
It recorded a statutory loss of $81.8m for the year but chairman Frank Zipfinger believes hard work has provided a "sound basis" to move the group forward. Speaking at the company's annual general meeting, he said the board was "acutely aware" that returns to shareholders in recent years had been "unacceptable". More button

Suzanne CaudellAttorney-General rejects appeal plea
THERE will be no appeal against the jail sentence of a truckie who killed grey nomad Suzanne Caudell (pictured) as she controlled traffic at road works on Queensland's notorious Bruce Highway.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has revealed this in a letter to widower Colin Caudell, who now lives in a Sunshine Coast caravan park. Truckie Thomas White was handed a three-year jail term, to be suspended after 10 months, after being convicted of the dangerous operation of a vehicle. Rockhampton District Court was told the 60-year-old's B-double had been travelling 46km/h over the speed limit before it hit Mrs Caudell, 64. The Caudells were working as traffic controllers near Marlborough during a break from their round-Australia travels in a fifth-wheeler. Mr Caudell told media he felt betrayed by the sentence which he considered too lenient. Have your say

Mayor to open Ballarat's new free campground
BALLARAT mayor John Philips will officially open a new campground for travellers this month.
The facility at Wendouree on the outskirts of the Victorian city has been designed for self-contained caravans and motorhomes. Travellers will be allowed to stay for up to 48 hours for free. The official opening will take place at 1pm on December 6. Have your say

Police hunt caravan after fatal crash

Traveller may have vital information

Appeal to 'vanner after fatal crash

POLICE are hunting a caravanner who might be able to help their investigations into a fatal accident in Queensland. The rider of an orange Harley-Davidson motorcycle died when his machine collided with a truck on the Capricorn Highway, about 30km west of Gracemere. Rockhampton Forensic Crash Unit officers have now appealed for anyone who saw the vehicles before the October 31 crash to come forward. In particular, they would like to trace the driver of a white extra cab utility towing a "poptop-type" caravan (see photograph) which is believed to have been in the area. They think the caravanner could have vital information which could assist them. Anyone with information is urged to call Rockhampton Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Have your say

Colorado supports mentally ill
VICTORIAN caravan builder Colorado Caravans is giving people with mental illness a chance to work.
The family-owned and operated company, founded 15 years ago, has already taken on five members of staff with disabilities. General manager Sam Sakkal has now urged other businesses to follow Colorado's example. "You won’t regret it. You won’t get more loyal staff," he told his local newspaper. Have your say

Key documentIndustry delivers blueprint to pollies
NSW'S politicians have been handed a blueprint for building on the state's $2 billion caravan and camping sector.
The State’s peak industry body, the CCIA NSW, says the next state government has the opportunity to stimulate further growth. It has now delivered its Key Issues, NSW Election 2015 document to ministers and shadow ministers, offering constructive advice on policy measures to ensure this happens. "Last year we saw a 15 percent growth in the number of visitors using caravan and camping accommodation in NSW and we know the market has a lot of room for further expansion," president Theo Whitmont said. More button

Leisurefest continues near-record run
THE Caravan and Camping Leisurefest at Bendigo, Victoria, attracted more than 14,000 visitors for the fourth time in five years, organisers have revealed.
A total of 14,100 people flocked to the local racecourse to see – and in many cases buy – the latest in caravanning and camping gear. Caravan Industry Association of Victoria chief executive Robert Lucas said the attendance almost matched the all-time record. More button

BIG4 logoBIG4 revamps digital presence
LEADING tourist and caravan park chain BIG4 Holiday Parks says it has "revolutionised" its digital presence with a revamped website.
The site now provides improved functionality and benefits offering a consistent and full responsive website experience whether visitors are using a computer, tablet or mobile device. Executive general manager (strategy) Kari Hunter believes the new functionality will lead to people spending more time exploring the website and an increase in bookings. "We're responding to the changing needs of our guests by introducing a dynamic site that engages with users throughout their visit," she said. More button

National park smokers told to butt out
CARAVANNERS and campers will soon no longer be able to enjoy a quiet smoke in NSW's national parks.
The State Government will slap a blanket ban on cigarettes in its 860 parks from January in a bid to reduce litter and bushfires. Environment Minister Rob Stokes said seven billion cigarette butts littered the nation every year, putting lives and property at risk, ruining beaches, spoiling the beauty of parks and endangering wildlife. Butts contained hazardous chemicals such as arsenic and lead, which leached into the environment, contaminating waterways and the environment, he said. The ban will apply at picnic areas, campgrounds, beaches, lookouts, walking tracks and on national park roads. Have your say

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Value of new compliance
badge brought
into question

SO the peak caravan industry body has another compliance badge (see story and photo here).

I would suggest this is another useless, meaningless piece of decoration that will give false hope to caravan buyers that their caravan is manufactured to regulations.

It is no different to the previous RVMAA round sticker.

I complained to this industry body about my illegal safety chains (2500k max capacity on my 3500k 'van) and it was not interested.

Same as it was not interested in my non-compliant chassis and its resultant failure.

It ended up costing me $10,000 to repair. I successfully sued the manufacturer.

Paul Elbourne.

Compliance checking and auditing

WHAT compliance checking and auditing is done to ensure manufacturers are complying with this standard?

And what assistance does the association provide to a purchaser who encounters an issue with their caravan and a manufacturer does not address it appropriately?

Glenn Henson.

Rest areas: common sense needed

I WOULD like to comment on the story about a truckie designing a segregated rest area (see story here)

I know about the importance of rest stops for trucks and totally agree.

As caravaners we do at times find it difficult to find a place to stop.

With hubby (driver) a diabetic, it is also important for us to stop.

We are always set up early in the afternoon for the night (not in truck stops) but morning tea and lunch stops are sometimes hard to find.

Not only important for diabetics but also for everyone else who need to take rest stops.

Sometimes you will find many stops close together ... then you can go for miles with nothing.

Definitely some common sense by road planners needed for the number of travellers on the road requiring the same rest facilities provided for trucks.

Lesley Melville.

ACC promotes separate areas

THE Australian Caravan Club has been promoting separate areas in rest areas for some time.

It was discussed at the Queensland rest area forum in Toowoomba last February.

We also encourage RVers not to park close to tables and chairs and therefore stopping the general motorists from using them.

Tom Smith.

One man's view
of Galaxy demise

I WOULD like to offer my view on Galaxy going belly up (see story here).

I see they were having a cry about those terrible imports.

Maybe they should have reduced costs by getting on board with modern world-class construction methods.

Tony Sutherland.

Reason implied
for decline

I BELIEVE the quality dropped off the day Steve Borg walked away from Galaxy.

It seems the company has been in decline ever since.