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October 2015

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OCTOBER 6: Aspen Group exchanges contracts to buy 76-site Adelaide Caravan Park for $9.24m. Aquisition will be funded from existing cash holdings, Aspen said.

OCTOBER 6: NSW police hunt woman in early 20s who glassed another woman, 44, outside cabin at caravan and holiday park in Monterey Ave, Lake Macquarie.

OCTOBER 6: Yamaha 2.4Kva generator stolen from outside caravan at caravan park on Evans Road, Bramston Beach, south of Cairns, Qld.

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


'Pep' talks: wrong road users targeted

REGARDING your story on police pulling over caravanners for "pep" talks on allowing people to overtake (see story here).

Surely speed limit signs in our country are maximum limits, not minimum ones

Police are stopping innocent drivers for being careful on our roads ... and trying to make them go faster.

Drivers travelling at a slower speed feel safe at reduced speeds.

Police should do their job and pull over and talk to drivers who are impatient, angry, in a hurry and are prepared to take unnecessary risks with their and other road users' lives.

Most people that tow are courteous and understand what is happening around them but don't always have the opportunity to move over.

People that complain are very often those who tailgate and harass drivers in front of them.

Most people understand that when you tow a longer and heavier vehicle it becomes more difficult to stop and that room to do that is important.

Just remember folks, common courtesy and commonsense will keep our roads safer.


Pull overs

WHEN towing our caravan I am always very conscious of any traffic build-up behind us and pull over whenever possible.

However, no number of "pep talks" from police will solve the problem that, so often, involves finding a suitable place to pull over to allow others to pass.

This is particularly so in Queensland.

There are many narrow and winding major roads with no safe pull-over places for long stretches.

Where they do exist, no thought has been given to caravans and they have been established allowing only a single vehicle space.

We seldom find a pull-over space long enough for a caravan.

Truck stops are also scarce.

This would be a problem that road maintenance crews could work on without enormous expense.

More longer pull-overs (with appropriate signage well before them) would alleviate a lot of frustration.

Lynne Collins.

Good idea

I RECKON these "pep talks" are a jolly good idea.

Surely we caravanners should have learnt some road etiquette by now ... and know not to bunch up.

John James.

Thumbs up

JUST travelled from Brisbane to Cairns and sat on the speed limit, or just under.

If traffic did build up behind us, we pulled over and always slowed in overtaking lanes to allow traffic to pass.

Received many thumbs up from traffic or truckers.



THIS is a hot topic and should attract an exponentially greater amount of focus.

I drive cars, trucks and tow caravans and am 55 years old.

I commonly see caravanners of my vintage and older sitting on 90kph in a 110kph zone in the centre and passing lanes of multi-lane carriageways.

They think it's their right and that they will teach those speedsters a thing or two.

They are surely infuriating other drivers who drive at the limit, plus a margin that they think they can get away with.

Drive the highway north of Brisbane to Gympie and you will see an example of this any day.

I will be the first to say that I am most comfortable driving no faster than 90kph, with an occasional burst to round up the inevitable blue rinse driving a Daihatsu Charade at crawling speed.

But courtesy and awareness should be drummed into the increasing number of caravanners.

As to the issue of some manufacturers and importers selling potential death traps to the trusting buyer, that's another big issue the industry needs to face (just thought I'd slip that in!).

Andrew Winks.

Too few

FROM our recent experience in Queensland we found that suitable places to pull over in rural areas were almost non existent.

Perhaps it should be the roads departments that should put in more overtaking lanes.


Early warning

HOW about all the areas where you can pull into to allow traffic to pass have warnings signs 5k ahead of them.

Maybe that way all those inpatient drivers wanting to pass will cool it a little.

This article really annoys me because people still want to overtake even when you're sitting on the speed limit.

V. Bieler.


Adelaide Caravan Park

New logo  First step in 'pure play' policy


By Dennis Amor

ASPEN Group has taken the first step in achieving its new "pure play" accommodation portfolio, signing contracts to buy Adelaide Caravan Park for $9.25 million. The group recently merged with Aspen Parks Property Fund after revealing a $31.7 million loss during the last financial year, partly blamed on the weakening resources sector. It said the merger would make it one of largest accommodation park owners and operators in Australia. Adelaide Caravan Park is purely a tourist park with 76 sites, 45 of which are cabins. Backing onto the River Torrens, the 1.5ha holiday destination is located about 3km from the city centre and within walking distance of the Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Zoo. Aspen Group chief executive Clem Salwin said the property was already producing a strong cash flow and its acquisition was in line with the group's focus on "very well located short-stay properties in metropolitan areas". The purchase was being funded from existing cash holdings. "This long-term family-held property is expected to benefit from a renovation programme of cabins to commence after settlement," he said. Settlement is scheduled for mid-October. Have your say

Debris at Inskip Point

Salvage crew recovering debris

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

SALVAGE crews have failed to recover the caravan and 4WD which were devoured by a giant sinkhole at a popular Queensland campground.

They spent two days trying to pull the vehicles from the ocean floor after a massive landslip at Inskip Point near Gympie in the state's south-east.

But on Tuesday night they admitted defeat, describing it as "an impossible task".

Hundreds of terrified campers fled for their lives shortly before midnight on Saturday as thousands of tonnes of sand disappeared from under them at the MV Beagle camping area near Rainbow Beach.

Round-Australia grey nomads Jenny and Dieter Gass, who sold their home in Victoria to become full-time travellers, were getting ready for bed when the drama unfolded.

They managed to escape just in time as their new home a Jayco Sterling caravan and 4WD disappeared into the murky depths of the nine-metre deep hole which has been estimated to be the size of two football pitches.

A camper trailer and several tents were also swallowed up.

Specialist workers recovered the camper on Tuesday and retrieved parts of the caravan and "miscellaneous floating debris" yesterday.

Divers also found Mrs Gass's handbag containing her medication, purse, credit cards and driver's licence.

The caravan is lying at 45 degrees and mostly covered by sand.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service admitted the vehicles will probably have to remain buried forever.

"The caravan chassis, deeply embedded in the underwater sand bed, was not recoverable and there remains no sign of the four-wheel drive," it said in a statement.

"Diving and recovery specialists have advised they are unable to retrieve the remaining vehicles and efforts to do so will cease from today."

The site will be cleared, secured and barricaded.

Meanwhile geotechnical experts have warned that minor erosion could continue at the site for several weeks.

The MV Beagle campground has been closed "to ensure camper and visitor safety" but other areas on the Inskip peninsular remain open.

Chopper airlifts father and young son to hospital


TWO adults and two children were rushed to hospital after a reported gas explosion at caravan park in NSW's Manning Great Lakes. Other holidaymakers fought the blaze which left the family with burns at the North Coast Holiday Parks Forster Beach park in Forster. An 11-year-old boy and his 45-year-old father were airlifted by the Westpac Rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital with serious burns. A 12-year-old boy and his 43-year-old mother were taken by Ambulance paramedics to Manning Base Hospital. The children were transferred to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead for further treatment. The younger boy's condition was "stable", while his older older brother has been released. The parents were transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital. Police said none of the injuries were life-threatening. Park manager Chris Maconachie declined to comment when contacted by Caravanning News. Have your say

Fleetwood moves to increase sales
FLEETWOOD is battling to increase its share of the caravan market, its annual report reveals.
Sales of its Coromal and Windsor range of caravans have been falling in the competitive market and initiatives have been introduced to address "performance issues" in production. But these have yet to show improved profitability, managing director Brad Denison said in the report released yesterday. "A fresh approach to product design is expected to increase consumer appeal for Fleetwood caravans, while allowing for manufacturing economies to be realised," he added. More button

Queen inspects Bailey caravan

Purpose-built factory in Bailey sights
BRITAIN'S oldest manufacturer of caravans, which began exporting to Australia four years ago, may set up a local purpose-built manufacturing facility.
There are already about a thousand Bailey caravans on Australian roads, with Bailey Australia's sales showing a healthy upward trend. Bailey UK marketing director Simon Howard believed it would be a logical move to begin production Down Under. "From our point of view it makes sense to have a second production and design development centre here because the Australian market has been very successful," he said. Bailey made world headlines several years ago when the Queen visited its UK factory, stepping inside one of its caravans and expressing surprise at how luxurious it was. Have your say

Frankie the Friendly Caravan up for saleDilapidated caravan comes with bragging rights
QUEENSLAND caravan owner Russ Brown reckons he has one of the most "fortuitous offerings in the history of fortuitous offerings".
Mind you, his caravan sale of the century will involve a little hard work to bring his once-proud lady of the road back to pristine condition! But it does come with bragging rights. Russ, who says he studied for a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at the University of Southern Queensland, is asking a mere $450 for his somewhat dilapidated ‒ and that's putting it mildly ‒ "prime example of a time-locked 1960s or '70s" caravan. His comical and honest description of Frankie the Friendly Caravan is spreading on social media after he announced the sale on Facebook. More button

Roamers keep Boroma name alive
OWNERS of Boroma caravans will hold a rally at the BIG4 Casino Caravan Park this month.
Boroma may be no more, but a dedicated band of enthusiasts is keeping the name alive. Up to 30 caravans are expected to assemble for the 12th Boroma Roamers get-together from October 16 to 18. Highlights will include a Pot Luck dinner and a meet-and-greet BYO barbecue in the camp kitchen. Historically, the event was organised by Boroma staff and always held within a three-hour drive of their former factory at Yatala north of the Gold Coast. The idea was that the bosses could display the latest models and ideas. But when Boroma went into liquidation in 2008 a loyal band of enthusiasts formed the Boroma Roamers, with members organising the annual rally. They are expected to discuss whether to hold next year's event on the Atherton Tablelands. Have your say

Stop and Shop site at Hervey Bay

Feedback invited on other proposed locations

Council opens 'Stop and Shop' RV site

QUEENSLAND'S Fraser Coast Regional Council has opened its first 'Stop and Shop' RV site at Hervey Bay's Visitor Information Centre. Travellers must spend at least $10 at a local business and show their receipt at the centre at 227 Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road to qualify for a free 20-hour stay. "The ‘Stop and Shop’ concept encourages consumers to stop within CBD areas and to explore and support local businesses," the council said. It is now seeking feedback on locations for two additional sites. These include Zephyr Street, Becks Road, Doolong Road and Tavistock Street.  The deadline for comments is October 7. Have your say

Conto campgroundConto's $1m upgrade opens
IMPROVED facilities await caravanners and campers visiting one of WA's most popular national parks.
The $1.1 million upgrade at Conto campground in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, 20km south of Margaret River, has been officially opened by Environment Minister Albert Jacob and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman. The upgrade includes 29 new camp sites, each with a fire ring and picnic table, as well as new double-cubicle toilets and barbecue shelters. More button

Expo promises lots of fun
JAYCO Newcastle will stage a Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish & Boat Expo at its Heatherbrae sales centre in NSW this month.
Now in its second year, the three-day show beginning October 9 will feature over 30 exhibitors showcasing their new products and services. There will be plenty of family fun too with a charity barbeque, kids' show bags and balloons, a visit from J-Jay Bird and more than $5000 in prizes up for grabs. Jayco Newcastle's Damian Charleson said anyone who loved the great Aussie outdoor lifestyle would be set for a great day out. Educational how-to demonstrations will be held throughout each day with RV industry experts on hand for question-and-answer sessions. Admission to the expo will be free. Have your say

Facebook group gather at BIG4 park
MEMBERS of Facebook site Everything Caravanning and Camping are currently attending a 'get-together' at Swan Hill in Victoria.
The group has nearly 58,000 members and provides opportunities to ask questions and identify caravan and and camping sites across the country. Founder Matt Sutton is attending the gathering, which lasts until October 7 at the BIG4 Riverside park. Have your say

Avida awardsDouble gong for Avida Gold Coast
AVIDA Gold Coast has scooped this year's caravan and motorhome Dealer of the Year awards.
The gongs are awarded to the business demonstrating high achievements in sales, customer satisfaction, sales training and overall representation of the Avida brand. Avida Gold Coast began operations in 2012 and is part of the Hinterland Group of companies. More button

Hot visitor figures for Sunshine Coast winter
THE Sunshine Coast Council in Queensland reports a bumper winter season at its six caravan parks, thanks to sun-seeking southern grey nomads.
Visitor numbers began rising in June as thousands of RV-owners deserted the onset of winter down south, with July and August proving to be the most popular months. The council said its parks reported a near-90 percent occupancy rate. Caravan parks in Queensland's northern areas also reported a rise in visitors this year. Have your say

Show organisers donate $5000 to local charity
THE success of Wodonga’s annual RV expo in Victoria has confirmed the demand for an official industry show in the Border region, according to the organisers.
Caravan Industry Association of Victoria chief executive Robert Lucas said exhibitors at the Border Caravan & Camping Expo had reported strong buyer interest across the board. The show attracted 11,809 visitors during its three days, with exhibitors using it as a regional launch pad for new products. "The expo just keeps getting better each year, thanks in large part to the significant expansion and enhancement of the venue since we first began," Mr Lucas said. The industry association donated $5000 of the proceeds to Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare. Have your say

Bosch to improve trailer safetyBosch set to improve trailer safety
BOSCH Australia has allocated a research and development budget to improve caravan and camper-trailer safety.
Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, has set up a global centre of competence for trailer safety at the company’s headquarters in Clayton, Victoria. It will host the development of solutions for the local and global market. "Australia is an important location in our research and development network – both in Asia Pacific and worldwide," Bosch board of management responsible for Asia Pacific member Peter Tyroller said. "Our engineers in Australia have been responsible for some of the Bosch Group's most outstanding vehicle safety solutions and we expect this spirit of innovation to successfully extend to trailer safety." More button

CCA launches survey on ratings and masses
MORE and more concerned caravanners are contacting the Caravan Council of Australia over unreliable ratings and masses of RVs.
The independent body told Caravanning News they now make up the biggest cause of complaints. "In many cases, the actual tare mass is greater than the advised tare mass," founder and qualified automotive engineer Colin Young said. "Some manufacturers and dealers still believe in the long-held and potentially dangerous formula that empty ball loading equals ATM rating minus the GTM rating. Subtracting one rating from another cannot possibly give an actual mass." The CCA is now conducting a survey to find out how many caravans incorrectly state the empty ball-loading on their compliance plates. For more information, click here.

Pioneer Park free-campingReprieve for free-camping trial
THE controversial free-camping trial at Ballarat in Victoria has been given a three-month reprieve.
Local councillors had been urged to prematurely abandon the 12-month experiment at Pioneer Park after complaints of misuse, overstaying and non-compliant vehicles overnighting there. Two of the city's caravan parks also complained of losing business and provided photographic evidence of alleged non-compiance by travellers. But after considering a lengthy report, councillors voted 5-3 in favour of continuing the trial period. The council resolved to hold further discussions with the trial's supervisory team and the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia on alternative models and locations for freedom camping in Ballarat. The trial will be continued for another three months and its future will be decided at a later date. Have your say

Rottness Island glamping in the pink
A WASTEWATER treatment plant upgrade has released valuable land which may be tranformed into an luxury 'glamping' campsite on WA's Rottnest Island.
"Upmarket camping, or glamping, is becoming increasingly popular around the world," Tourism Minister Kim Hames said. "Private development would transform the area, providing a link between the Basin and popular Pinky Beach without spoiling land or ocean vistas." The site is next to the recently upgraded campground and championship-grade Bathurst tennis courts. Have your say

Penrith expo fansPenrith expo attracts nearly 18,000 fans
THE recent Penrith Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo attracted nearly 18,000 enthusiasts, according to the organisers.
"People could see the best of what the industry offers in caravans, motorhomes, campervans, camper trailers, tents and camping equipment, holiday parks and much more," Caravan & Camping Industry Association chief executive Lyndel Gray said. "The success of the expo, along with all other CCIA shows, is that we provide such a broad range of products and destinations in the one place." More button

Peak body meets Dusseldorf Trade Fair reps
REPRESENTATIVES of Australia's caravanning industry's  peak body have held talks with overseas industrialists.
The meetings formed part of the annual Dusseldorf Trade Fair from Germany, America and China during which matters of "common interest" were discussed. "The emergence of China remains of concern to industry leaders as their domestic market grows out of infancy, and their export market struggles with differing compliance obligations in international markets," the association said. "These international delegations remain important as we share information more than ever before on marketing, lobbying and compliance strategies and how we can collectively stimulate worldwide demand for the caravanning and camping lifestyle." Have your say

Saracen Gullwing FHL555 hitch lockNew hitch lock for European caravans
LEADING accessory manufacturer Purple Line has introduced a new hitch lock for AL-KO stabiliser hitches fitted to many European caravans.
The Saracen Gullwing FHL555 has been designed to secure the AL-KO AKS2004 and AKS3004 hitches on top brands such as Bailey, Swift and Adria. Developed to be highly secure and easy to fit, it joins the Saracen 50mm hitch lock and Nemesis wheel clamp in Purple Line's range of anti-theft products. The company's Australia director, Malcolm Hill, said the growing popularity of European caravans had prompted the decision to add Gullwing to the Saracen range for Australia. More button

Denmark opens oval to help combat illegal camping
THE coastal town of Denmark in WA's Great Southern region believes it will solve the problem of illegal camping ... by throwing open its sports oval to travellers. The shire council will use a Tourism WA grant to upgrade the oval and turn it into a peak holiday overflow camping ground during Christmas and Easter. It will be used only when local caravan parks are 90 percent booked. Council chief executive Dale Stewart said it was preferable to having rangers upsetting illegal campers by issuing fines. He said the council would rather have campers in a "contained and constrained environment" where it could control their activities. Have your say

CaravansCaravanners invited to get in on act
WEST Australians are being invited to have a second and final say on proposed changes to the state's caravan and camping laws.
Announcing the consultation period, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said he hoped people with an interest in caravanning and camping would comment on the first significant changes to the legislation since 1997. The review was part of the Western Australian Caravan and Camping Action Plan 2013-2018, made possible by the state government's Royalties for Regions program. "With 30 caravan, camper-trailer and campervan registrations for every 1000 people in WA, it is important people with an interest have a say," Mr Simpson said. More button

Leisurefest promises to be biggest ever
THE upcoming Melbourne Leisurefest will be the biggest ever, organisers say.
Tickets are now on sale for the four-day event which kicks off at Sandown Racecourse on October 8. And visitors to Australia’s largest RV, camping and 4x4 show will be able to stay longer for less. Two-day passes are just $20 for adults and $15 for concession cardholders ... a saving of over 50 percent over two individual single-day passes. More button

Clem Salwin, Aspen GroupAspen amalgamation 'major step forward'
ASPEN Group will merge with Aspen Parks Property Fund to become one of largest accommodation park owners and operators in Australia.
The ASX-listed company announced the news nearly a year after the property fund rejected a $217m acquisition offer from Adelaide-based Discovery Holiday Parks. Group chief executive Clem Salwin (pictured) described the merger as a "major step forward". More button

Petition may lead to new RV-friendly area
SURF Coast Shire Council in Victoria is considering a short-stay RV-friendly camping area on the banks of the Barwon River.
This follows a petition from local advocacy and leadership group Growing Winchelsea Inc. The council said it was particularly interested in gaining feedback from landowners surrounding the proposed site and users of the riverbank. It will hold 'Listening Post’ sessions in the town today (Oct 1) and on October 5, where residents will be able to ask questions and discuss the proposal with a council officer. The council believes the camping area could make a "moderate but important contribution to the town's economy". A Cultural Management Heritage plan may be required for the area, which would cost about $30,000. Have your say

Moore Park Beach Holiday ParkNew park planned for Moore Park Beach
BUNDABERG Regional Council in Queensland is considering whether to approve a new caravan park which would compete with one of its own.
An application has been lodged for a new privately-owned 120-site caravan park at once-sleepy Moore Park Beach. It would be located next to the local tavern, just a stone's throw from the council's Moore Park Beach Holiday Park. Local councillor Alan Bush admitted there would be competition but pointed out that the council's seafront park attracted a "different clientele". The park is popular with southern grey nomads who flood into the region every year to enjoy Queensland's warm sunshine. Have your say

$40,000 grant for grey nomads jobs finder
AGTASKER, which has helped thousands of grey nomads get casual jobs on the land, has won a $40,000 grant from a major bank.
The online job marketplace for farmers wanting temporary labour was among five winners of the 2015 Westpac Agribusiness Innovation Challenge. AgTasker founder Ella Shannon will now undertake a six-month placement with technology innovator Blue Chilli to further develop the job placement scheme. Have your say

Man jailed after caravan park killing
A MAN who murdered another at a Perth caravan park over a threesome involving his girlfriend will spend the next 17 years behind bars.
Ryan Christopher Hawke, 34, was found guilty of fatally stabbing 50-year-old Mark Koller at Crystal Brook Caravan Park in Perth's south-east last year. The Supreme Court was told Hawke went to Mr Koller's caravan and stabbed him four times as they wrestled on the ground. He was jailed for life with a 17-year minimum. Have your say

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Letter man

Threatened park is almost a Mooloolaba institution

REGARDING the plan to close Mooloolaba Ocean Beach caravan park (see story here).

People have been holidaying at this caravan park for over 40 years so why kick them out.

It is located on such a small area of foreshore that is best suited for this holiday park which is almost an institution of Mooloolaba.

The park is a small paradise and some people are envious of what the tenants have for a fraction of what others pay for an apartment.

Not everyone can afford the several thousands of dollars a week to stay in an apartment during the school holiday seasons, so do not begrudge the people who are fortunate enough to secure a spot in the holiday park.

Leave it where it as, as it is.

Anne Deans.

Money earner

ARE councils really that dumb.

It may only be a small park but I would say it would generate many hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community during a year.


Win-win fees

GUESTS at Kulin caravan park in WA can pay what they think it's worth to stay there (see story here).

We stayed there recently and expressed our thanks at the local shire office.

It said that following its decision for a 'pay what you like' caravan park, the numbers of campers has increased considerably over this time last year.

All the local shopkeepers are also enjoying more business, and the council's caravan park receipts are greater than last year too.

As a fully self-contained motorhome with hot and cold running everything, we gave them $10 a night for a no-frills site at a no-frills price.

It has been a 'win-win' for all ... campers + shopkeepers + the shire.

Phil Jones.

Cut us some slack

I WOULD like to comment on the restricted swimming for kids story (see here).

Yes, we were all kids once, but that does not equal out to us old folk desiring a dip in diluted pee and a football denting my $90k 'Cruiser.

It's the only new vehicle I've been able to afford for 30 years.

We certainly screen potential parks but mostly free camp anyway, far way from swings and slides.

So I say to those who think we are awful ... cut us some slack or else we will spend ALL your inheritance!

Andrew Winks.

Over parks

JUST to comment on the free (or cheap) camping issue.

We have just returned from a round-Oz trip, and being of the grey nomads clan like to free camp when we can.

However, this trip (our third) took us north and we decided we would use caravan parks so our air conditioning would keep us a little cooler.

But we are both now over caravan parks.

As we travel with our small dog, we found availability of parks limited and many of those we did use were overpriced.

Some were under-maintained and sites probably established in the '60s or '70s when caravans were much smaller.

Brian Rimmer.