Caravanning News mastheadmastheadleftmastheadcentremastheadright








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

July 2016

Facebook logo

Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

JULY 25: Queensland fire crews fought blaze which destroyed caravan as it tore through shed in Three Chain Rd, Bundaberg, in the early hours of today.

JULY 24: Top Holiday Parks' four-star Echuca Holiday Park scooped gold in the caravan and holiday parks category ‪at last night's Regional Tourism Awards in Echuca Moana, Victoria. BIG4 Deniliquin won silver and the Great Aussie Holiday Park collected bronze.

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

* Family of four injured in Hume Hwy caravan smash ... 12,946 people reached

* Floods at Longford Caravan Park ... 8806 people reached.

* Blaze destroys First Class Caravans factory ... 6860 people reached.

* Woman dies in Price Caravan Park inferno ... 6152 people reached.

* Mars Campers to begin caravan production ... 6062 people reached.

* Sunland Caravans 'over the moon' after record show sales ... 5061 people reached.


Sharing the road always a big issue

YOUR article on a truck allegedly forcing a caravan off the road was interesting (see story here)

Sounds like the truckie cops the blame and no doubt should front up to state his case.

But I wonder if the caravanners had UHF and tried to call him up and allow him to get past by slowing down when he drew alongside.

I have never been an advocate of a special licence for towing, but wonder if it's not a bad idea.

It would enable some rules and common sense to be conveyed to caravanners.

Sharing the road is always a big issue, and many newbies donít know the rules.

You often see them tootling along at a sedate 80km/h with a great string of traffic behind.

They are blissfully unaware of the need to pull over when safe to do so traffic can pass.

We all know this, as members of forums and clubs, but many don't when they're just starting out.

However, there are always a few cowboys among the truckies too, and we donít know the circumstances of this incident.

He may have been new on the job and misjudged, or impatient.

Only he can reveal that.

Bevan Wittwer.

No guarantees

REGARDING the Anglesea caravan park lease affair (see story here).

As a stakeholder in the original lease and the development of the park, my understanding was that at the end of the 21-year lease the then lessor made no guarantee whatsoever of any extension or further lease.

Having said that, it should not be a surprise to the current stakeholders that the lease has not been renewed.

I have come across current management on several occasions including the boat show and I am sure they have done very, very well out of it.

Many omissions have been made in the media of information provided and credit taken where it may not always be due.

What goes around comes around.

I McPherson.



GOOLWA rejects plans for low-cost RV site (see story here)

It is disappointing to read that story.

It seems we would be made to feel unwelcome. Maybe Murray River should just be bypassed.

There are plenty of friendly places in South Australia.

Michele White.


GOOD on the Blue Mountains caravan parks banning Wicked campervans (see story here).

But the thing is, backpackers who drive these vans don't stay in caravan parks ... they free camp most of the time.


Updated logo  Fireball after head-on crash


By Dennis Amor

TWO Tasmanian grey nomads in their 70s were killed in a horror crash involving a motorhome and their 4WD towing a caravan on a remote section of the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs. Police said the couple's rig jackknifed and collided head-on with a Fiat Ducato motorhome travelling in the opposite direction, before erupting into a ball of flames. The caravaners, who were in a Land Rover Discovery, died at the scene. Emergency workers freed two seriously injured NSW travellers, also in their 70s, from the wreckage of their motorhome.  Two Royal Doctor Flying Service helicopters with specialist medical teams on board flew to the crash site and airlifted the survivors to Alice Springs Hospital 286km away. Detective Acting Superintendent Janelle Tonkin said the caravanners, a 76-year-old man and his 74-year-old wife, had been heading north when it was thought their rig ran off the bitumen about 5km north of Barrow Creek. "The driver has over-corrected, causing the 4WD and the caravan to jackknife," she said.  The crash happened on a stretch of highway where an open speed limit is being trialled, but it is not thought speed was a factor in the tragedy. Police have appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward. Have your say

The woman clutches one of her dogs as she climbs aboard a rescue boat

Ms Griffiths clutches one of her dogs as she climbs aboard a rescue boat - Photo: Facebook

Tourist cuddles dogs for warmth

Diabetic woman, 76, survives
croc-infested tidal flats ordeal

By Dennis Amor

A 76-year-old diabetic tourist from a WA caravan park is safe and well after being stranded for 20 hours in crocodile-infested waters. Staff at the Port Smith Caravan Park 160km south of Broome spent several hours frantically searching for South Australian Helen Griffiths who failed to return from a walk on the nearby tidal flats. Police were notified and a full-scale air and land search was launched. She was eventually found clinging to mangroves. A woman at the caravan park told Caravanning News Ms Griffiths was now "fine". Police said she had become disorientated but did not panic, even though the water at one stage had reached her neck. She had cuddled her two Jack Russell terriers for warmth, sucked on lollies to control her diabetes and wrapped her bare skin in with discarded plastic bags from the water to ward off blood-sucking insects. Police said M Griffiths had been "very resourceful" and had not panicked during her ordeal. Have your say

Pressure from activist investor

Fleetwood again urged to quit caravan production

New designs generate 'significant interest'

Fleetwood caravans composite

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVAN and portable accommodation builder Fleetwood Corporation has clinched a lucrative five-year deal to supply manufactured homes to National Lifestyle Villages.

The news comes after a call from one of its investors, Sandon Capital, to dump the production of Coromal and Windsor caravans.

Perth-based Fleetwood has been under pressure from the activist investor, which recently became a shareholder with a 5.4 percent stake, to abandon its poorly performing caravan manufacturing interests and focus more on manufactured accommodation.

Activist investors are described as shareholders who seek to influence a company's decision making by voicing concerns and taking a proactive and hands-on approach to improve things.

Fleetwood was asked by Caravanning News for its reaction and while not commenting directly on this particular issue, managing director Brad Denison said the company had recently introduced new caravan designs to the market which were generating "significant interest" amongst consumers.

It's not the first time Fleetwood has been urged to quit building RVs.

Last year, an analyst from financial services company Hartleys said the division should be closed or sold to help reduce debt.

He argued that caravan builders were now in a more competitive market, both from local and foreign-built RVs.

But Fleetwood dismissed the call, with the then chief executive Brad van Hemert saying there was no question of the company abandoning its RV production.

In its last half-yearly report, Fleetwood admitted it had been a "challenging" six months for sales, but the introduction of new caravan models and a focus on developing the dealer network had resulted in a "modest increase" in orders and production levels.

"The impact on end consumer demand will be clearer at the conclusion of major caravan shows," it said. More button

Brexit signGrey nomads feel the pinch, but ...

Industry escapes Brexit turmoil

By Dennis Amor

THE peak body for Australia's caravan industry believes Britain's decision to quit the European Union will have little effect Down Under. "In the short term, we wouldn't expect any dramatic impacts to the sale prices of European-built RVs here in Australia," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont told Caravanning News. But the falling value of the pound in the wake of Brexit is already hitting many Aussie grey nomads who rely on pensions and other assets in the UK to boost their income. Caravanner Ben Shardlow told us he he would be losing several hundred dollars a month and this would seriously reduce his travels and spending power. More button


Turner Caravan Park, Augusta'Fun' park receives gong for second year running
TURNER Caravan Park at Augusta in WA has been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the second year running.
Owned and run by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, the park is highly rated on the world's largest travel website. Park manager Hettie Enderes said guests had described it as a safe, well-kept and fun place for families with young children. It was "a great honour" to receive the award again, she added. More button

Concept caravanConcept expansion well ahead of schedule
CONCEPT Caravans' new $3.1 million production facility in Melbourne is likely to be operational well ahead of schedule.
The 12-year-old company launched the development after receiving a grant from the $24.5 million Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund. The job-creating scheme was developed by the Australian and Victorian governments and Ford Australia after the car manufacturer's shock announcement it would abandon local production this year, throwing about 1000 staff out of work. Concept managed to secure a handout for a project involving "expansion to increase production capacity and facilitate the development of new products for the recreational vehicle market". More button

Anglesea Beachfront caravan parkAnglesea lease controversy heads to court
OPERATORS of the Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park in Victoria are taking Supreme Court action after they were rejected in a controversial tender process for a new lease.
The Morris family has run the award-winning 539-site park for 20 years. But the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has announced it will take over the 4.5-star park at the end of its current lease next year. More button

The McKay family ... Follow the Sun AmbassadorsMcKay family to hit road for cancer charity
THE owners of a Queensland caravan park and their children will embark on a three-month charity fundraising odyssey next month.
Cameron and Julie McKay plus their four kids ‒ Darcy, Tiarna, Maddison and Hamish ‒ will leave their August Moon Caravan Park in Innisfail to travel south to Melbourne. During their adventure, with caravan in tow, they will be raising funds and awareness for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The McKay clan beat thousands of hopefuls from all across Australia to be chosen as Dometic Follow the Sun Ambassadors. More button

Home-built caravan with 1966 Ford F100 351 Cleveland tow vehicle

'It has all the home comforts'

Home-built 'van turns heads

Story-Photo: Dennis Amor

QUEENSLANDERS Michael Tooker and wife Anne turn a few heads when they hit the road in their somewhat unusual rig. It's not unusual for their modest and immaculate home-built caravan to share camping spots with flashy new models just off the production lines. But they wouldn't have it any other way. The couple's 13.5ft single-axle caravan is the result of a rough doodle 60-year-old Michael scrawled in the sand while relaxing on a beach near his home at Cawarral near Rockhampton. "It just grew from there," the commercial fisherman told Caravanning News. "I built it from scratch using marine ply and keeping it to the 1950's style. It has all the home comforts including shower, toilet and a 12V hot water system. It certainly attracts a lot of interest." Michael and Anne have toured extensively in their pride and joy and are now planning a trip to WA. The couple tow the two-tone ochre coloured caravan with their eye-catching red 1966 Ford F100 351 Cleveland, which Michael stripped and completely rebuilt about six years ago. Have your say

Norval Park beach signsBundy Sugar sours illegal camper's snags
QUEENSLAND'S Bundaberg Sugar is continuing its battle against illegal campers.
In the latest action, a young camper was fined $150 at Gladstone Magistrates Court for trespassing on the company's land at Yandaran north of Bundaberg. The court heard that the company's security officers gave him 15 minutes to leave after discovering him cooking sausages at his illegal campsite. He failed to comply and was eventually escorted from the land. Dozens of illegal campers, including caravanners, were evicted from the company's land at nearby Norval Park beach in March after terrified turtle researchers were abused and attacked by drunken and drug affected campers. More button

Council needs new park manager
CABONNE Council in New South Wales is looking for a new manager to run its caravan park for the next three years.
The 25-site Molong Caravan Park in the State's Central West offers on-site cabins and shady powered and unpowered campsites. There is a powered camp kitchen together with barbecue and picnic areas. Tenders for the position close on July 20. Have your say

Caravanning resurgence in NSWNSW leads way in resurgence
AUSTRALIANS in their droves are returning to caravanning and camping for the typical great "Aussie" holiday.
And nowhere is this more true than in New South Wales where the growing trend has brought a welcome 16 percent boom in visitor nights. The caravan and camping getaway has resulted in a massive 15.7 million nights of caravan and camping in the State during the past 12 months. "NSW has recorded one of the strongest quarters of growth in the country for the caravan and camping sector and nationally," Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said. More button

Welfare worker honoured
FORMER policeman John Hakes, 77, who spearheaded a health and social welfare initiative to help problem families at Maitlandís Coachstop Caravan Park in NSW's Hunter Valley, received an Order of Australia medal for his services to the community in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr Hakes, who has spent 20 years working for St Vincent De Paul, said he wanted to thank the person who nominated him, but added: "I have done no more than what other people have done." Have your say

Curtis Goldring and Adam SkeltonSoul sells for cool $185,000
DESCRIBED as probably the most expensive caravan manufactured in Australia, Soul Caravans has already made a sale.
The Gold Coast company's 22-foot Soul 22 oozes opulence and was one of the stars at the recent Brisbane caravanning and camping supershow. And it wasn't long before one impressed visitor from Singapore opened his cheque book and sealed a deal for the luxuriously kitted out $185,689 caravan, which features one of the largest slide-outs on the market. more button

Locals block new park development
LOCALS have won their battle to block plans for a new caravan park in Sydney's semi-rural suburb of Glossodia.
Developers PRJM Pty lost their appeal to the Land and Environment Court after Hawkesbury City Council refused to approve a development application. Nearby residents had argued the 8.6ha site would have been overdeveloped and not in keeping with the rest of Glossodia. Have your say

Bailey caravan under towBailey accepted into accreditation programme
BAILEY has become the first European-owned caravan manufacturer to be accepted into the Caravan Industry Association of Australia's RVMAP Manufacturer Accreditation Program.
The well-respected 65-year-old UK company began importing its caravans Down Under in 2011. It now claims to be the only European company to design and build caravans in Australia. It said all its products met the Australian design rules, regulations and standards. Its owners' club now boasts 234-plus members and in conjunction with the company will hold a rally at Merimbula Beach Holiday Park on NSW's South Coast on August 27 and 28. Have your say

All change at Aspen Group
ASPEN Group chairman Frank Zipfinger has quit amid news of a major overhaul of its board and sale of the group's interest in Aspen Parks Property Fund.
Mr Zipfinger has been replaced by Clive Appleton. Meanwhile, chief financial officer Adam Marrs Ekamper and chief executive Clem Salwin will leave the company at the end of August and September respectively. The property fund has a chain of holiday parks which was sold to Discovery Holiday Parks for "an attractive" but undisclosed price. In a statement, the group said it had a portfolio of six material properties mostly concentrated in major population areas. All were wholly owned and freehold titled. "The total property portfolio is valued at $80 million as of 31 December, 2015, and is currently generating a high income yield of approximately 12 percent," the statement said. "Our balance sheet is very strong with approximately $61 million in cash and no debt."
  Have your say

Caravan cartoon

'Now ain't that just the truth'

Caravan cartoon has our Facebook followers smiling

A CARTOON published on Caravanning News' Facebook page last month reached nearly half a million people, statistics reveal. Facebook figures show that an astonishing 428,484 people were amused by the portrayal of a caravan descending a steep hill followed by a massive queue of other vehicles. "All this spectacular scenery ... and not another car in sight," the oblivious caravanner is saying. The cartoon attracted more than 2000 likes, 4500-plus shares and scores of comments. Queensland traveller Dan Summers quipped: "Now ain't that just the truth. There are far too many caravanners who just don't have the foggiest idea of what's going on around them." Have your say

Yea Riverside Caravan Park$1.3m facelift for Yea's riverside park
THE council-owned caravan park on the banks of the Yea River in Victoria is to undergo a $1.3 million facelift.
New operators Sustainable Park Solutions has been offered a 21-year lease and will take over the small park in Court Street this month. A member of the Family Parks chain, its name will be changed to Yea Riverside Caravan Park. Murrindindi Shire Council chief executive Margaret Abbey said work was already underway by the new operators, with council approval. More button

Award-winning builder had debts of $1.5m
MAYTOW Caravans and RV Accessories in South Australia had debts of around $1.5 million when it went bust recently, it has been revealed.
Established in 1982, the former national metropolitan caravan dealer of the year has 72 creditors including six staff. There were no signs of the company being in trouble when it received an Excellence Award for its display of Nova caravans at the Adelaide Caravan Show earlier this year. Maytow's owner John May has declined to comment on the company's demise. Have your say

Dump pointMotoring club warns on illegal dumping
CARAVANNERS have been warned by Queensland's biggest motoring club to ditch unofficial dumping ... or face hefty fines.
The RACQ points out it might be easy finding dump points while travelling between caravan parks and campsites, but adds: "It's much harder when you're off the beaten track and dump points are few and far between." The club says that while it might be tempting to dispose of black water in public toilets, storm water drains and drop toilets, this can have negative consequences for the environment. "It's also illegal under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and you could face prosecution if you're caught,"  it warns in its Road Ahead magazine. The RACQ advises travellers to plan ahead, mapping out the route and taking note of all official dump stops along the way. Have your say

Clothing-optional park for sale
A TOURIST park in NSW where caravanners have been baring all for over 30 years is on the market for a cool $4.75 million.
Commercial real estate agency First National Tourism Sydney described the 176-site River Island Nature Retreat as a "clothing-optional holiday park resort set in a stunning 1400 acre valley". It was established on the banks of the Wollondilly River near Mittagong by Colin and Katina Sell in 1984. Selling agent Nick Brook said the naturist retreat side of the park was a "very strong business with sound profits". "The new owner would probably want to have that operating as it is," he added. Have your say

Home Hill caravan park signUpgrades for Home Hill park
BURDEKIN Shire Council in Queensland will spend thousands in upgrading its 2-star Home Hill Caravan Park in the State's north.
Carryover funding is available to build a new ablutions block, Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said. "The current block has had numerous refurbishments over the years and is past its use-by date, so it was decided to build a new one," she explained. In addition, the council has allocated $15,000 to replace the existing fence and another $7500 for five new power heads. Have your say

Royal honours for trio
FORMER policeman John Hakes, 77, who spearheaded a health and social welfare initiative to help problem families at Maitlandís Coachstop Caravan Park in NSW's Hunter Valley, received an Order of Australia medal for his services to the community in last month's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Walter Pisciotta, chairman and founder of (which includes was awarded an AOM for his contributions and service to the automotive industry. John Robinson, whose company did construction work at the NT's former Red Gum Caravan Park in Katherine, received an AO for his contributions to business, the community and a range of health, sport, social welfare and charitable organisations. Have your say

Pioneer Park freedom camping signSearch continues for budget campsite
BALLARAT City Council in Victoria is still searching for a new budget camping site for travellers.
A year-long free camping trial at Pioneer Park was abandoned prematurely in March after complaints from local caravan parks. Travellers, many in non self-contained caravans and campervans, were accused of blatantly overstaying the 48-hour limit. The council has said it does not oppose freedom camping. Councillor Vicki Coltman told media the idea of a budget camping area "was not dead in the water as such". She added: "The council is looking at other sites in surrounding townships which will bring economic benefit not just to the city, but also boost townships on the outskirts of Ballarat."  Have your say

Queen Mary Falls Caravan ParkQueen Mary Falls CP set for auction
THE award-winning Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park on Queensland's Southern Downs will fall under the auctioneer's hammer this month.
The park at Killarney, which offers 26 powered campsites and an acre of unpowered sites, is being marketed George & Fuhrmann Warwick and will be auctioned on July 15. It is located on The Falls Drive, rated in the top 50 tourist drives in the Sunshine State. Abundant wildlife is one of the many features of the park. Handfeeding of king parrots and crimson rosellas attracts families, day trippers and international tourists. Louise Reed, whose family has operated the park for five years, said working seven days a week was now too much. Have your say

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


   Search Caravanning News:





Web pages designed and produced by Dennis Amor

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without
the prior written permission of Caravanning News.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
All Rights Reserved


roadstar caravans

kui parks

Caravan Council of Australia advert

Advertising with Caravanning News

Don't forget to refresh this page to ensure you have the latest version

KEEPING up-to-date with what's happening in the world of Australian caravanning is easy, thanks to Caravanning News. Published online since 2005, each monthly edition is updated as major stories break. We attract up to 18,000 visitors monthly, with our Facebook and Twitter pages being updated almost daily. Figures show the number of people reached on our FB page can top 10,500 weekly. To receive the latest Caravanning News updates on your FB news feed, just 'LIKE' our Facebook page ... over 7000 followers have already done this.


Letter man

Budget camping and giving 'van parks a fair go

REFERRING to Lake Albert caravan park backing an RV-friendly call (see story here)

No doubt councils have a bit of a job juggling between attracting tourists to their region and keeping ratepayers happy.

In a small community like Meningie I can see Jacquiís point, a free camp site could ruin her business.

Perhaps she could structure her pricing to suit what campers need.

But only she can know what that might entail, or whether it's affordable, to maintain her business.

We have seen too often where councils prohibit free or budget camping in deference to local caravan parks.

The parks then indulge in a little gouging, and in the end we don't stay and they lose business.

If Meningie does provide a budget site for, as Jacqui suggests, $15 a night they should limit the stay to one or two nights to give the caravan parks a fair go.

Australia thrives on small business. Heaven knows weíve seen enough go to the wall because of big business.

Let's not be too miserly, most of us can afford what's on offer.

To be RV-friendly, a small town doesn't need all the strict guidelines of the CMCA.

All most of us need is a sign to the nearest dunny, dump point and caravan parking so we can go shopping ... and a big sign saying BAKERY!

Then let the council add it all onto their web site.


Private ensuite

I THINK $32 a night for a powered site is a great price.

Something that we can now enjoy when staying  is our own private ensuite.

Maybe you could do something with this and win your customers over.

Gary Bushell.

An alternative

ONE alternative for this caravan park ... become a CMCA RV-Friendly park.

Costs only $10 maximum for overnight parking, with the CP owner stipulating what services (if any) are included.


Award deserved

IT was great to see the inaugural Richard Davis Award go to Ron Chapman (see story here)

He is such a deserving person.

Congratulations, Ron.

I know him from many CC shows with Les Moulds.

Deb Clark.

Vegie gardens

GREY nomads with their own vegie gardens ... what a great idea (see story here).

I think we have seen this in one of the caravan parks around Nelson Bay.

Lynn McGavin.