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

April 2014

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APRIL 17: RVM Australia and CRVA will merge in July to form the new nationwide Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

APRIL 17: Victoria's Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow will move to Melbourne Showgrounds next February to accommodate its ever-expanding exhibits.

APRIL 17: Man, 33, charged with murder after stabbing at Crystal Brook Caravan Park in Perth earlier this week.

APRIL 17: About 2000 campers and caravanners have already booked Easter spots at Queensland's popular beachside Inskip Point camping area near Gympie.

APRIL 16: Victorian caravan builder Palace Caravans is being wound up, with Gregory Stuart Andrews of Carlton being appointed liquidator.


Come on southerners, play the game

AS a fulltime traveller presently enjoying Queensland's eastern seaboard, I can't help but dread the impending onslaught of the southern grey nomads!

There'll be the annual battle for spaces on rest areas and at free camping areas as these people again take over in their quest for winter sunshine.

While many will play the game and obey the posted maximum stay rules, there will be more than their fair share abusing the regulations and setting up permanent camps at these areas.

Rest areas and other favourite spots will be full to overflowing ... with little chance of genuine travellers squeezing in for an overnight stay.

It's about time authorities clamped down on these southern scroungers who seem to believe they have the right to free camp ... even for weeks at a time, despite the 24/48hr rules.

No wonder caravanners get a bad name.

Come on southerners, play the game. If you can't obey the rules then stay south of the border!

Cyril Hammerton,

Making waves over island ferry costs

PITY the Spirit of Tasmania operators can't see the benefits of reducing the astronomical ferry costs.

Fares for a vehicle with two passengers and a large RV are far too high.

As it stands, they are prohibitive to those on a budget.

If they were reduced, maybe hundreds more would travel to the Apple Isle.

Julie Partridge,


'A good result,' say police after accident

EPIRB saves stranded outback campervan tourists

TWO outback travellers stranded when they crashed their campervan were rescued after activating an emergency beacon, police said. No one was hurt in the single-vehicle accident on the road to Owen Springs, 67km south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. "The 52-year-old male and his 51-year-old female passenger activated their beacon after their campervan became undriveable," Southern Watch Commander Drew Slape said. "They were located by the Australian Search and Rescue helicopter and police were able to bring them back into town. It is a good result and shows the benefit of being prepared, having the correct equipment and plans for what to do in an emergency." He said the tourists were well stocked and prepared for travelling in remote areas. Have your say

Dogs can even lap up 'puppycinos'Pampered pooch

Five-star welcome for pampered pooches

By Dennis Amor

PAMPERED pooches are enjoying five-star treatment at a Gold Coast caravan park. They have been provided with more room to stretch their legs and can chase tennis balls to their heartsí content while on holiday. And the four-legged guests at the BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park are also revelling in a range of agility equipment, including a see-saw, hurdle, weave poles and more. The 32-acre park in Siganto Drive has opened a fenced, super sized off-leash doggy park. Thereís even an on-site cafe that will happily serve up 'puppycinos' to canine guests. Park owner Theo Whitmont explained: "We understand dogs are part of many families, so we think pups deserve to holiday in style like the rest of our guests. Dogs often get left at home when families go out on the weekend so this is a chance to share the fun with them." Dogs arenít the only four-legged creatures in the park ... a mini cow, two alpacas, chickens, goat and ducks call its mini-farm home. Have your say

Positive predictions for caravan production

Fleetwood boss resigns

Steven Price, Fleetwood Corp ceoBy Dennis Amor
Have your say

CHIEF executive Steve Price has resigned from Perth-based Coromal and Windsor caravan builders Fleetwood Corporation after it reported an 18 percent plunge in net profit during the first half-year.

The WA-based company admitted that Mr Price, whose resignation takes effect on June 30, had successfully led Fleetwood through "a particularly challenging period."

A Fleetwood statement said: "The Board expresses it appreciation for the significant service that Steve has given the group. He implemented a series of reforms and initiated processes which will stand the group in good stead in the years to come."

Mr Price, who had previously worked for the Wesfarmers group for 12 years, joined the company four years ago and a search for a replacement is underway.

Announcing its first half-year results, Fleetwood revealed that overall trading conditions in key markets had continued to be "relatively weak", but added that its recreational vehicles sector had shown signs of improvement.

In addition to building RVs, Fleetwood produces manufactured accommodation for the education and resources sector and operates the RV accessories company, Camec.

IIt also owns Flexiglass, which markets and distributes canopies and trays for commercial vehicles.

"Improved consumer sentiment has increased demand for recreational vehicles, resulting in a positive trend in new builds since September, 2013," Fleetwood said.

It expected caravan production to continue improving as the company shifted to a mix of higher specification caravans.

Revenue of $190.33 million from the Fleetwood's overall activities in the first six months of the current financial year was "significantly higher" than the previous corresponding period, with additional capacity and flexibility provided by sourcing more products from Asia.

Net operating cash flow was $18.51 million compared to $6.23 million last year.

Results for the first half had been negatively affected by some "one-off restructuring costs" for Camec's NSW operations, by labour inefficiencies at Fleetwood RV associated with ramping up production and by the weaker Australian dollar.

"The revenue increase at Fleetwood RV was driven by a 56 percent increase in the number of caravans and campers produced compared to the previous six-month period," Fleetwood said.

"Revenue increases at Camec and Flexiglass were driven by new products sourced mainly from Asia," it added.

The interim dividend declared was 2c compared with last year's 30c.

Jayco motorhomers sought

Travellers may hold clue in hunt for missing tourist

Aurelie Lhorme, missing in SA

LATEST: Woman's body found at base of cliff close to where Ms Lhorme was last seen.

POLICE in South Australia believe travellers in a Jayco motorhome could help them find a missing overseas tourist. The motorhomers are believed to have spoken to French national Aurelie Lhorme (pictured) before she disappeared from near a major tourist spot in the state's far west on Saturday night. The 30-year-old is thought to have been sleeping in her car on an access road about 10km from the Head of Bight Whale Watching Centre. The car was parked in the same location the next morning, but Ms Lhorme was gone. Police hold concerns for her welfare because her mobile phone, wallet and passport were left in the car. The search for Ms Lhorme, utilising a police plane, local patrols and SES volunteers, resumed this morning. "We are also interested to speak to the occupants of a Jayco motorhome that was parked at the Head of Bight on Saturday night, near to where Aurelie had left her car, and may have had some contact with her," a police spokesperson said. Have your say

Four airlifted to hospital after head-on horror crash


By Dennis Amor

ONE person died after an horrific head-on smash involving a caravan and campervan in Victoria. Four other travellers were airlifted to hospital from the crash scene on the Portland - Nelson Road at Mount Richmond. It is believed the Apollo campervan was travelling east when it was in collision with a 4WD towing a Jayco caravan. Emergency services released an elderly couple, believed to be from NSW, from the wreckage of the 4WD. The male driver of the campervan, reported to be on holiday from Germany, died at the scene. A teenage girl was airlifted to The Alfred in Melbourne with life-threatening injuries. Three other people in the campervan ‒ a female, male and a young boy ‒ were also flown to hospitals in Melbourne with serious injuries. Police were trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding the pile-up, which blocked the road in both directions. Have your say

Bright caravan park's new bike storage facility

Bikes rule at Victoria park

Bright guests turn to pedal power

MORE and more guests are arriving at Victoria's Bright Pine Valley Tourist Park on two wheels. And it's not just experienced cyclists turning up at the Top Tourist park ... an increasing number of holidaymakers are leaving their cars at home and pedalling their way to the front gates of the 4-star park, which has now installed new secure CCTV-monitored bike storage and basic maintenance facilities to meet the growing demand. Have your say

Teardrop caravan bed for kids

Caravan paradise for kids

No bedtime tears, just whoops of joy

A VICTORIAN company is offering kids their own slice of caravan paradise. The Great Australian Shelf in Melbourne describes its unique teardrop caravan bed, inspired by the classic retro RVs of the 50s, as the "perfect children's retreat", offering endless opportunities for imaginative play. Fashioned from sustainably sourced Australian hoop pine ply, it comes with shelving for toys and books, quick-release door, rotating caravan wheel and tow bar which doubles as a seat or shoe rack. Eco certified, there is also a 10-year warranty. And the price? A mere $2500 or $3000 depending on finish ... excluding mattress. John Lausberg, who runs the company with wife Phoebe, told Caravanning News he had already sold "a few" of the beds but admitted: "They are certainly not flying off the shelf. They are for a very select market and very expensive to make." John's first ever caravan trip was in a teardrop in SA when he was a child. "I actually slept in the caravan while it was being towed by my father," the 52-year-old recalled. "It was a different world then!" Have your say

$1m grant for New Age Caravans
VICTORIAN-based New Age Caravans has received a $1 million joint government and industry handout which will help boost production and create new jobs.
The grant was the first under Melbourneís North Innovation and Investment Fund, a tripartite Federal and Victorian governments and Ford Australia initiative. It will allow New Age Caravans to undertake a $3.7 million project to establish an advanced robotic manufacturing centre to improve the productivity and quality of its caravan and mining accommodation manufacturing activities to meet rising demand. More button

New toolkit 'major milestone' for camping
NEW guidelines released by the Queensland Government will help the booming number of caravanners and campers.
Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the Camping Options Toolkit would mark a major milestone for camping in the Sunshine State. It would deliver on the government's promise to grow tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy and allow travellers to enjoy a new range of quality options on their camping trips. Launched in Hervey Bay, the toolkit is the culmination of 18 months of industry engagement via workshops and community consultation around the state. More button

CRVA in high-powered government talks
CARAVAN, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia chiefs have had talks with the government over the problem of non-compliant RVs being imported into the country.
The topic was one of number thrashed out during a private dinner attended by CRVA's chairman Mark Lindsay and chief executive Stuart Lamont and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss. The high-powered meeting followed an earlier visit to Canberra by the CRVA Executive where an industry delegation met ministers, MPs, senior advisors and other officials to discuss the caravanning and camping industry. Other subjects raised at the dinner included regional Australia, vehicle safety standards and infrastructure development. Have your say

MacDonnell Range Holiday Park, Alice SpringsRed Centre park plans huge knees-up
CLAIMING to be the Northern Territory's most awarded caravan park, BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park threw a huge party to mark 30 years in the business.
The Alice Springs holiday destination staged a mammoth celebration to thank the local community and holidaymakers for their support. From humble beginnings as a small market garden in the 1970s, the family owned and operated park has developed into a tourist haven for local, interstate and international guests. Owners Brendan and Bev Heenan invited locals and tourists to a free family fun day at the park on April 6. More button

Cania Gorge park on the market
CANIA Gorge Tourist Retreat in Queensland, a member of Top Tourist chain, is on the market for $1.55m.
"No permanents to disturb the peace and quiet on this loved and well looked after park," owners Gerard and Margaret say in their advertising material. The couple opened the park in 2003 after arriving from the Netherlands but say they are now "ready for a career change". Set on 137ha at the gorge entrance, the park offers 40 powered and 50 unpowered sites together with seven cabins. Have your say

'Valuable experience'

Holden girl joins caravan manufacturers' peak body

RVM Australia has appointed former Holden engineer and avid caravanner Anne Campbell (left) to its technical team. She joins Daniel Sahlberg (also pictured), taking over from Murray Longe who has moved back into the IT industry after completing his contract with the recreational vehicle manufacturers' peak body. Chief executive David Duncan said Ms Campbell had valuable experience in the car industry, having worked with several project teams at Holden. This would complement Mr Sahlberg's first-hand experience in caravan manufacturing. "Her specialty was in the electrical area and she played a key role in developing the electrical systems of Commodores and Statesmans during her time at Fishermans Bend," he said. "She has a strong affinity for caravanning, having enjoyed family caravan holidays as a child and now continues the tradition with her own children." Both would continue the successful embedding of the RV Manufacturing Accreditation Program processes within the industry, Mr Duncan added. Have your say

Apollo lands Adria distribution rights
APOLLO Motorhome Holidays, the world's largest privately owned leisure vehicle operators and largest RV rental fleet operator in Australia, has officially taken over the distribution of Adria recreational vehicles.
Chief executive Luke Trouchet was "delighted" with the new partnership between the two brands, reassuring the more than 1000 existing Australian Adria customers that their RVs would now be considered part of the newly established network. Our full story carries a list of questions and answers on the takeover. More button

Registrations top half a million
CARAVAN and campervan registrations in Australia have topped half a million, says the RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA).
A report compiled by BDO Advisory on CRVA's behalf said registrations had reached 502,025, with Queensland's Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and Toowoomba being amongst the nationís top five spots. Victoria had the greatest number of caravans while WA had the highest combined caravan and campervan registrations per head of population (almost 30 per 1000). Tasmania continued to have more than twice as many registered campervans per head of population than any of the mainland states. CRVA chief executive Stuart Lamont commented: "Caravanning holidays continue to grow in popularity as families, baby boomers and older Australians increasingly choose to explore the country by road, and this is reflected in these new registration figures." Have your say

Victorian 60th anniversary caravan supershowAnniversary show an all-round hit
THE 60th anniversary Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow saw an increased attendance.
A total of 52,273 people flocked through the gates ... 2464 more than in 2013. Jubilant organisers said exhibitors had reported excellent sales figures during the six-day event at Caulfield Racecourse. More button

Geist owners roll again
GEIST caravan enthusiasts have formed a new owners' club.
More than 70 people attended the inaugural AGM of the Geist and Euro Imported RV Owners Club (GEIRO). Officials elected were John Pollock from SA (president), Darryl Walters from Queensland (secretary) and Paul Baker from NSW (treasurer). They will be assisted by a committee of 10 Geist caravanmembers. Committee member Karen Webb told Caravanning News the club was open to all owners of Geist and European-built caravans. "A decision was made to include other European 'vans as a means of interacting with other Euro van owners," she said. "The European imported 'vans have similar designs to the Geist ones and in many cases use the same parts, which can be a help to all Euro 'van owners." Peter Treasurer, who worked for the now defunct Queensland-based Oakhurst International Caravans which imported the popular brand of German-built RVs and also ran Geist's Australian website, is not involved in the new club. Asked whether Geist had any plans to begin importing their caravans into Australia again, Ms Webb replied: "That really is a commercial issue and not a concern of the GEIRO club." For more information, contact her at Have your say

More NSW families turn to caravan and camping holidays
MORE and more NSW families are turning to caravan holidays, according to the state's caravan and camping industry.
Caravan & Camping Industry Association of NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said more than half the people taking this style of holiday were in the 35 to 54 age group and with families. Ms Gray was speaking as more than 300 exhibitors from the industry prepared to showcase their products at Rosehill Racecourse later this month. More button

Stone the crows, it's all happening in Wagga
HUNDREDS of grey nomads from all over Australia will be heading to NSW this Easter.
Up to 1000 travellers from 172 different post codes will flock to Wagga Wagga for the second annual Stone the Crows Festival over the Easter weekend. The event from April 17 to 22 will feature concerts, workshops, fun events and competitions. There will be a mix of all RVs ... caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, fifth wheelers and even a couple of tents. A spokesperson said: "Participants don't have to be on the road full time, they don't even have to be grey ... they just have to be of that age group commonly referred to as grey nomads. Everyone must be at least half a century old. We may as well be proud of achieving that milestone! Probably if our children saw some of the things we get up to, we might be referred to as recycled teenagers. But we are all young at heart even though our bodies are saying we are getting older." For more information, click here.  Have your say

Jayco's Gerry Ryan at the opening ceremony

Silverline takes pride of place as ...

Jayco supremo officially opens dealership's new premises

CARAVAN magnate Gerry Ryan (left) has officially opened Jayco Newcastle's new multi-million dollar premises. The boss and founder of the Jayco RV empire was guest of honour as the dealership at Heatherbrae in NSW threw a cocktail party to mark its reopening a year after a devastating blaze destroyed the company's previous property in Hexham. Jayco Newcastle, which has been servicing the needs of the RV community for more than 30 years, now offers 100 new and used caravans including Jayco camper trailers, pop-tops, Expandas, Toy Haulers and fifth wheelers. There is also a new state-of-the art service and accessories centre. To help celebrate the opening, Jayco's next generation Silverline caravan took pride of place at the official ceremony. With its stunning Euro-styling, sporty look and aerodynamic exterior, the model received much acclaim when it rolled off the assembly line at Jaycoís Melbourne factory. Award-winning Jayco Newcastle is the largest seller of Jayco products in the Hunter and Central Coast regions. Have your say

Caravan Buyers Guide

New guide has mine of information

Taking the pain out of caravan buying

A NEW guide brings together independent, comprehensive and insightful advice on buying a caravan in Australia. With over 20,000 new caravans sold each year and well over 100 brands to choose from, it offers valuable guidance on making the right choice. Written by leisure writer and caravan enthusiast Andrew Woodmansey and edited by caravan stability, suspension and electrics expert Collyn Rivers, the Caravan Buyers Guide offers a mine of information on the complex beast that is the modern caravan. It arms consumers with the knowledge they need to make an informed purchasing decision that should lead to many years of happy caravanning. The guide also suggests a new way of categorising caravan types without using confusing terms such as 'off road' caravans. There is also a tow vehicle guide on towing capacity, tow ball mass, torque and fuel tank capacity for 30 of Australiaís most popular tow vehicles. Available online, the publication costs $34.95, with a special introductory offer this month of $29.95. For more information, click here. Have your say

The world's first carbon-fibre caravan

Space-age RV may head Down Under

Carbon-fibre caravan unveiled

THE world's strongest caravan has been unveiled in the USA ... and it could be heading Down Under. Built by Global Caravan Technologies and backed by Chinese investors, the unique six-berth, 35ft black carbon-fibre RV made its first public appearance at a private function in Indiana recently. The manufacturer has revealed the space-age RV is being tailored for market acceptance in Australia where it would cost a whopping $170,000 for the standard model, rising to an astronomical half a million dollars when custom made. Dubbed CR-1 Carbon, the futuristic RV is much stronger and lighter than similar-sized American caravans, weighing in at less than five tonnes. Have your say

Caravanners welcome scrapping of annual RWC plan
AUSSIE caravanners have breathed a sigh of relief after moves to introduce compulsory RV safety checks in Britain were scrapped.
Had the EU plan gone ahead, they claimed it would have been only a matter of time before similar laws imposing the annual roadworthiness checks on caravans and light trailers were initiated Down Under. "There's no doubt about it," Queensland grey nomad Bob Astle told Caravanning News. "There have been several pushes for this to happen over the years but thankfully were rejected by the powers that be." Meanwhile, the Caravan Council of Australia believed it would be "unwarranted overkill" to have annual roadworthy inspections for caravans and camper-trailers. More button

New app essential for NSW visitors
NEW South Wales' caravan industry has launched its first digital glove box tool to help caravanners and campers.
Visitors can now access the most comprehensive listing of the state's caravan and camping sites and a complete range of product suppliers ... anywhere and at any time. This is made possible by a new downloadable app of the Caravan, Camping & RV Holiday Touring & Products Guide 2014. "This app is an essential tool for NSW visitors and gives them a fully mobile option for looking up more than 400 holiday parks and over 200 RV product and services suppliers, with embedded links and videos," CCIA NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said.

Safety advice to outback nomads
SOUTHERN grey nomads heading to Queensland's outback in autumn and winter have been urged to prepare for their adventures.
Queensland Ambulance Service said the state's western regions were a popular destination for the nomads and other tourists but travellers should take some simple steps to ensure their safety. More button

Partnership 'a natural fit'
NSW's caravan industry and major motoring organisation have formed a major new commercial partnership, it has been disclosed.
The Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW (CCIA) and NRMA will work to further promote one of the tourism industry's fastest growth sectors. "This partnership is a natural fit," CCIA president Theo Whitmont said. "As two of the major organisations focused on travelling and holidaying in NSW, CCIA and NRMA have a mutual interest in developing and strengthening the caravan and camping sector, particularly given the strong growth we have seen in the industry over recent years. More button

Dawn Fraser with Starlight families.

Dawn Fraser with Starlight families

Water fun at Treasure Island

Ahh! Dawn opens pirate park

STARLIGHT kids and their families joined Olympic legend Dawn Fraser to officially launch Shipwreck Shores, a pirate-themed water fun park at NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park on the Gold Coast. Park manager Brendan Brady said he threw open the park to the local community in celebration of the new attraction which featured a desert island surrounded by a pirate ship and giant sea monsters. Each year, NRMA Holiday Parks provide much-needed four-day family holiday escapes to Starlight children and their families. Have your say

TALVOR 480A caravanTALVOR releases slide-out
Australian-owned TALVORís newest caravan demonstrates clever design and the advantages of modern slide-out technology to maximise space.
The compact 4.8m 480A is now available, with room to sleep three, an electric awning and 60 watt solar panel as standard. Other features within the 4.87m internal floor plan include full ensuite with washing machine, club lounge dining area and a separate sofa, both upholstered in ultra leather. TALVOR chief executive Luke Trouchet said the room slide-out was becoming a TALVOR trademark, featuring in a number of caravan and motorhome layouts. More button

New dump point for Busselton
A NEW dump point is being built at Busselton in WA to cater for the growing number of visitors travelling to the region in caravans and other recreational vehicles.
The facility will be centrally located behind Churchill Park Hall and adjacent to Kookaburra Caravan Park Number 2. While it will be free to use, it will be kept locked to ensure no dumping of contaminate refuse. An administrative process will be put in place to enable easy access. The public dump point is being funded by Tourism WA and the City of Busselton, with the council constructing the facility and taking responsibility for its ongoing maintenance. Have your say

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KEEPING yourself 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. Up to 13,000 readers log on monthly, with our Facebook and Twitter pages ‒ which are updated virtually every day ‒ attracting more than 2000 visitors weekly.


School camping: travellers are
not juvenile delinquents

I WOULD like to comment on Sunshine Coast schools in Queensland throwing open their grounds to travellers (see story here).

So Kristy, you are NOT concerned about business being taken away from caravan parks if we decide to camp on school grounds, but SO WORRIED about our safety if we do.

What a joke.

Who do you think we are ... juvenile delinquents who need people like you telling us where and when we can stay?

If that is so, you are very wrong.

Are you also going to look after our safety when we are free camping elsewhere and not in the caravan parks you represent?

You have raised a red flag to a bull, and the consequences of you and your ilk not wanting people like us to have a choice as to where we stay will have dire consequences for towns where people like you spout that "if travellers don't want to stay in the caravan parks, they can not stay here!"

Believe me, we won't stay there. We will go elsewhere and your town will miss out big time.

Be prepared for this to happen, and don't be surprised when it does!

Julie Partridge.

vision lauded

I WAS interested to read about the councillor's push for a rest area at Branxton in New South Wales (see story here).

The only problem is the local self-interest groups that feel by taking this road it would lead to them being financially disadvantaged.

In most cases they weren't in a position to be at an advantage in the first place.

Congratulations to the Branxton councillor, Mr Maybury, for his insight as it is the future for all these small towns that are being by passed.

There are more out there like myself that love travelling this great land and we don't like being ripped off by these self-interest groups (meaning big parks with high cost for overnight stops).

Keep up the good work.

Ian Morton.