Couple's holiday dream shattered
Nomads reunited with
Victorian grey nomads have been reunited with their caravan which was
filmed as a thief towed it away from their home. The Higmans of
Patterson Lakes in Melbourne were the victims of an alleged serial caravan
thief. Victoria Police claim the villain, who they said wore wigs to
disguise his appearance, had attempted to steal other caravans in the
area. Ron (72) and Leonie (67) Higman had only recently bought their
$50,000 21ft 6in Jayco caravan and were planning to leave this week on a
road trip to Darwin. Ron, a caravanner for 40 years, told Caravanning
News he was overjoyed to get the Jayco back. "We were devastated
when it was stolen," he said. "Leonie went to get the mail and came
running back inside saying it had gone. I didn't believe her. It was a big
shock." The former manager of a Fletcher Jones clothing store said the
couple's planned holiday would be put on hold while repairs were made to
their caravan. Daughter Faye Goodridge said a
neighbour had filmed the
caravan being towed away and this led to a quick arrest.
"It is my parents' pride and joy," she said. "Their recent tragedies in
life was leading to this wonderful holiday of new adventures until some
low life destroyed their dreams." She praised police who, she said, had
been "fantastic". A Queensland man has been charged with theft
and attempted theft of caravans in the Melbourne area.
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Camper recall after electrocution fear
issued an urgent recall after fears some Camper owners could risk
electrocution. The company has warned that loose wiring at the
appliance inlet connection could become detached and cause the chassis of
the camper to become live. "A risk of electric shock exists if this defect
is present," Australia's major manufacturer of RVs said. Campers with
chassis numbers between S12032 and S80366 could be affected. Jayco has
advised owners to disconnect any suspect Campers immediately from the
mains supply and contact a local dealer for an inspection and
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Chains used to drag away RV
Stolen caravan found abandoned
stolen caravan is safely tucked up at home ... complete with wheel clamps.
The owner of the Jayco poptop had just completed an 8000km trip around
Western Australia when the caravan crooks dragged it away ‒ lock and all ‒
from a front yard in Kalgoorlie. The Jayco Sterling's hitch lock failed to
discourage the determined thieves who simply hooked chains around the
A-frame and hauled it away into the darkness at the weekend. It was later
found in the bush about 10km north of the town. Its 62-year-old
owner, who has asked not to be named, told Caravanning News:
"The thieves had dragged it through the bush and for some reason had
stopped, ripped out the fridge, microwave, TV, battery, power supply,
mattress and all our belongings. After cleaning up, the only real damage
is the fridge and microwave recess, around the hotplates ‒ which they
unsuccessfully tried to remove ‒ the power supply and fuse areas and the
front door which was jemmied open. We are now arranging repairs under
insurance." He said there was no external damage other than a few branch
scratches. "I must admit, the 'van appears to have handled the bush and
rough track very well because it is undamaged underneath," he added. "I
have now fitted wheel clamps." Anyone with information is asked to
Have your say.
forums reach fever pitch
Park owner blasted
over free-camp stance
caravan park owner who is opposing council plans to open up free camping
areas has attracted an avalanche of criticism from angry travellers.
Peter Rankin, owner of the 4-star Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist park, a
member of the BIG4 chain, admits he is fighting "tooth and nail" to block
any moves by North Burnett Regional Council to provide the facilities. His
battle includes gathering support from traders and taking out a full-page
advertisement in his local newspaper in which he argues: "Why do the rich
people who drive RVs worth anything from $100,000 to $500,000 need to be subsidised by ratepayers who, themselves, can't afford such vehicles and
who can't afford to roam around the country on subsidies from government
bodies." Online caravan forums reached fever pitch, with many postings
attacking Mr Rankin's comments. One "flabbergated" member wrote: "Never in
the freedom of choice camping debate have we ever seen such tactics used
to frighten a community into supporting one business." But Mr Rankin told
Caravanning News: "It is not the caravanners we are against – it is
our governing bodies who make decisions that do not make sense." To read
the full story and the park's reply to critics plus council reaction to
the controversy, press the 'more'
news for protesters
Caravanners set to benefit from tax shake-up
announcement may settle the dust a little on the push for fairer
caravan rego in NSW
Story-Photo: Dennis Amor
Have your say
are set to benefit from the biggest shake-up in NSW's light vehicle
registrations in 90 years.
Public feedback is being invited on major changes which would see owners
of recreational vehicles and light trailers paying less.
The proposed changes were announced by Roads Minister Duncan Gay after
Tamworth and District Caravan and Leisure Club waged war against the
State's weight-based registration fees which, it says, are the highest in
More than 10,000 people have signed a protest petition organised by
the 29-member club calling for charges to be brought into line with neighbouring states.
Pam Wilson told Caravanning News members were not happy with the
"We wanted the cost to be into line with states such as Victoria and
Queensland," she said.
"But it's a long way short of that.
"Caravanners are not going to register in NSW, especially when the bulk of
'vans spend less than 60 days a year on the road and some travel a total
of only 1000km."
costing just $49 to register in Victoria but based on weight would cost a whopping $738 in
NSW where there are approximately 279,000 caravans registered.
Minister Gay admitted it costs more to register caravans in NSW than in
any other state.
“Our registration system, which dates back to 1924 is based almost solely
on calculating registration fees by vehicle weight," he explained.
"A new charging system to reduce caravan registration costs would also
acknowledge they are generally used much less on NSW roads than regular
this and numerous requests, the discussion paper says it is "not currently
feasible" to cut caravan registration charges in line with reduced
distance travelled and usage.
Mr Gay said
there would also be initiatives encouraging new car and motorcycle buyers
to choose safer and cleaner models.
feedback on the proposed changes until 24 July,
Grant (far right) with the other top four
fundraisers from SA.
Discovery boss sleeps
rough to aid homeless
Holiday Parks boss and co-founder Grant Wilckens slept rough for a night
... and raised $17,260 for the homeless. He joined other chief
executives during the recent Vinnies CEO Sleepout at South Australia's
Government House to experience just how tough it is for the thousands who
sleep rough every night. "Whilst we certainly experienced a rather chilly
night, I was fortunate that it did not rain!" Grant said. "I have
certainly gained a new-found understanding of the difficulties faced by
over 100,000 Australians experiencing these conditions every night. It was
an amazing experience." Grant's fundraising effort raised the fourth
highest individual amount in South Australia. Over 1000 business and
community leaders nationwide slept out to raise funds and awareness of the
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fanfare for launch of new body
THERE will be no fanfare when
Australia's new peak body for the caravanning and camping industry
swings into action this month.
"There will be no special ceremony on that day," a spokeswoman for the
fledgling Caravan Industry Association of Australia told Caravanning
News. She said next February's World RV Conference in Melbourne would
provide an opportunity to formally celebrate the commencement of the
association. Resulting from the merging of the Caravan, RV & Accommodation
Industry of Australia (CRVA) and RVM Australia, the new body will formally
begin operations on July 12.
trapped for over three hours
Geoff relives crash horror
Geoff Maher has relived the horror of being trapped with his wife for
hours in the mangled wreckage of their 4WD after a fatal head-on crash in
Victoria. It took emergency crews more than three hours to free him
and wife Carol from the Toyota LandCruiser after a campervan, driven by a
German tourist, smashed into the front of their tow vehicle in April. The
overseas traveller died and 71-year-old former truckie Geoff is still in
hospital. Geoff has now spoken to Caravanning News about the horror crash
and to express his gratitude to all the people who helped save his and his
70-year-old wife's lives. "But for them we would not be here today," he
said. Read Geoff's story by clicking on the 'more' button.
that caravan coupling could kill
CARAVANNER John Booth is thanking his lucky stars that his caravan hitch
failed when it did ... 10 minutes earlier he had been happily travelling
at 90kph with his 25ft Coromal in tow.
The coupling fractured after he had slowed down and was attempting a
U-turn, with only the safety chains preventing the 2008 caravan from
breaking free. Mr Booth is alarmed the Brisbane manufacturer, Ozhitch, has
not launched a recall after allegedly admitting there had been "a few"
failures. "It has the potential to kill people," he said.
park planned for Great Ocean Road
SURF Coast Shire Council will this month consider an application to build
a new $105 million caravan and tourist park at Torquay on Victoria's Great
Ocean Road. BCR Asset Management's
50ha "eco park" in Coombes Road would offer 204 caravan sites and 515
cabins and accommodate 1380 guests. A market assessment and economic
impact report described the proposed development, which would include a
wide range of recreation and other facilities, as an "attractive one" for
Torquay. It would make an important contribution to the holiday
destination's tourism infrastructure, complementing the range of existing
facilities available locally and in the wider region, it said. The plan
will go before councillors on July 17. It is estimated that up to five new
caravan or tourist parks will be required in the Great Ocean Road region
in the next 15 years to meet the predicted rise in visitor numbers.
Have your say
hits cyberspace to aid smoother towing
RV COMPONENTS supplier AL-KO has
launched a new website offering a comprehensive online resource to help caravanners have a smooth towing trip.
It offers up-to-date information, practical advice, "how to" guides and
handy tips for towing caravans, trailers and "anything else worth towing".
With research showing more and more caravanners are becoming active
online, including both grey nomads and younger families, the site will
provide an invaluable resource for those on the road or planning a trip.
To this end, it has been optimised for viewing on tablets and mobile
Tourist park plan put on ice
PLANS for a new multi-million dollar caravanning and camping park at
Murray Bridge in South Australia have been put on ice for the time being.
This follows news that the proposed council-owned Sturt Reserve site was
once used as a rubbish dump. The Environment Protection Authority has
advised the local council that a contamination audit would be necessary
before the development could go ahead. This could take up to two years and
land local ratepayers with a $600,000-plus bill. The council has now
decided that the plan should "lay on the table pending a workshop".
Have your say
Growing fad among travellers
Grey nomads not vegetating
Words-Photo by Dennis Amor
YOU could hardly accuse southern grey
nomads of vegetating during their annual winter sojourn to Queensland.
Many have taken up the latest fad among the travellers ... growing their
own vegetables and salads. Take a walk around caravan parks in the
Sunshine State and the chances are you will see travellers outside their
caravans lovingly tending to their crops growing in containers of various
shapes and sizes. Retired teacher Ron Johnson, of Werribee in Victoria
(pictured), is one of them. He is spending the winter at Moore Park Beach
caravan park near Bundaberg where his makeshift garden outside his 22ft
Roma Elegance has been fashioned from a big bag of potting compost. At the moment it is full of healthy lettuces and chives. "They grow
very well and provide us with a constant supply of fresh salad," he told
Caravanning News. "More and more people who are on the road are
doing this ... it seems to be catching on." At least half a dozen other
grey nomads at the oceanside park had mini gardens outside their RVs, some
specially built into A-frames. One grower said: "I've seen all sorts of
vegetables being grown ... puts a new slant on self-sufficiency."
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dispels 'urban myths' on gas bottles
ONLINE forums are perpetuating urban myths about caravan gas bottle
requirements, according to LPG gas supplier Elgas.
The company categorically denies claims that only gas bottles with certain
coating classification codes can be used on caravans and that using the
wrong gas bottle could void insurance. But it does warn that carrying too
many could be breaking the law.
Frightening night at BIG4 parks
BIG4 will be raising funds for Camp Quality during a scary evening at its
caravan parks around Australia.
General Manager Rachel Pugh - Marketing said the holiday park chain will
stage a Halloween 'Camp and sCare' event to support the children's
charity. Halloween-themed nights will be held at participating parks
around Australia on October 31 and in Victoria on October 24. "It will be
a fun event to bring families and friends together while also generously
giving back to the community," Ms Pugh said. Campers can take part in the
activity-packed event by paying just $20 to secure a site, she added.
Have your say
adventure turned out to be best medicine
YOUNG dad Cam Dubin, who has just completed an 18-month caravanning
adventure around Australia with his Asperger's son, has admitted there
were days when he had regrets.
"Being somewhat removed from society and the 'norm' has had a massive
effect on me as a person ... be it good or bad," the former childcare
worker said. Single parent Cam, who now lives with Jaiden on an eight-acre
property at Blackbutt in Queensland, told Caravanning News before
setting off on their adventures in 2013 that he believed a life on the
road would help the then four-year-old overcome many of the problems
associated with his mild form of austism. And Cam has now revealed how his
son is a changed boy after their epic road trip.
Comments invited on long-term tenancies review
NEARLY 30,000 long-term residents of WA's caravan, lifestyle and
residential parks are being invited to comment on a review of tenancy
arrangements. Consumer Protection
is seeking their views as part of the next round of a consultation process
on the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006. Consumer Protection
Commissioner Anne Driscoll said some park residents were potentially in a
vulnerable situation because they owned their home but not the land on
which it was located.
New chief executive for ATPM
AUSTRALIAN Tourist Park Management has named Mark Manteit as its new chief
executive officer. Mr Manteit will
take up his new appointment on July 14, replacing company founder John
Tilton who will step back from day-to-day operations and continue as a
part-time business development manager after 20 years building the
business. Chairman Graham Henry said Mr Manteit had more than 20 years of
experience in senior and executive management roles in both public and
private sectors, with a strong tourism and finance background.
NRMA parks in travel award finals
THREE NRMA holiday parks are finalists in this year's Out and About
with Kids Best of Family Travel Awards.
The popular magazine's annual awards aim to uncover the best places in the
world for families to stay, with readers voting in a range of different
categories. Treasure Island on the Gold Coast, Ocean Beach on the Central
Coast and Merimbula Beach on the NSW South Coast are all in the running
for Best Australian Family Holiday Park. Treasure Island is also nominated
for Best Baby and Toddler Hotel/Resort.
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welcomes reopening of cyclone-hit highway
OWNERS of the Silver Wattle Caravan Park in Queensland have welcomed the
reopening of Mount Morgan Range.
Traffic again flowed along the main road into the former gold mining town
on June 22, 513 days after it was devastated by ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald
which left a trail of 35 landslips along its length. More than 70,000 tonnes of stabilising rock and materials have been used in the $21.7
million reconstruction project to secure the key route, which normally
carries about 3000 vehicles daily. Sarah and Mark Dalton, who bought the
Silver Wattle Caravan Park about a year ago, described the reopening as
"fantastic" and hoped it would bring more tourists to their five-acre
pet-friendly park where new arrivals receive complimentary freshly laid
free range eggs!
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Job opportunities below average
JOB openings for caravan park and camping ground managers to 2017 are
expected to be below average, according to Australian Government's Job
Outlook. Statistics show a 95
percent of workers in this employment category enjoy full-time jobs and on
average they work a 63-hour week compared to 41 percent for all
Have your say
passes introduced for expo
MORE exhibitors, more variety and more entertainment are promised for next
month's fourth annual Border Caravan & Camping Expo at Wodonga in
Victoria. And for the first time,
visitors will be able to take advantage of a special discounted two-day
pass. The official industry show, staged by the Caravan Industry
Association of Victoria, will have all the latest products and
services at Wodonga Racecourse from August 15 to 17.
Annual conference will have
THE Victorian Caravan Parks Association's annual conference and trade
exhibition will be held at The Pullman Melbourne Albert Park Hotel from
August 18-20. This year's theme –
Building a Strong Association ‒ marks the 50th anniversary of
VicParks. The event will look at how the organisation will continue to
grow as a strong presence in the tourism and accommodation sector. Keynote
speakers will include Bernard Salt who will provide a projection for the
next five years on future clients of caravan parks, Mark McKeon who will
provide tools to develop time creation and tips for health and wellness
and co-founder of the Thankyou Group, Dan Flynn.
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to celebrate nomadic lifestyle
NEXT year's NSW Association of Caravan Clubs State Rally will celebrate
the growing popularity of caravanning and the nomadic lifestyle.
Tamworth and District Caravan and Leisure Club will host the annual event
at Manilla on March 20-22 when more than 100 caravans are expected to
converge on the local showground. Committee members Ian Butler, Pam
Wilson, Brian and Helen Hayward, Frank Wilson and Gavin Waters are
planning a range of activities and entertainment for the weekend.
Loaded gun found in caravan,
A COURT has ordered a 28-year-old man, who was found with a loaded gun at Bimbi Caravan Park in Cape Otway, Victoria, to undergo mental health
treatment. Scott Planner was also
placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond. No conviction was recorded. He
admitted possessing an unregistered handgun, having a firearm without a
licence and theft by finding. The Geelong court was told staff found the
sawn-down .22 firearm and ammunition in the third-year psychology
student's caravan. He later told police he discovered the gun in bushland
and kept it to protect him against people who were "out to get him". The
court heard that Planner had previously been bashed by men armed with
knuckledusters and bolt cutters during a home invasion.
Have your say
Calypso plan blasted
PLANS for a major $7m revamp at Yamba's Calypso Holiday Park in NSW have
come under fire from a grey nomad. Geoff File, of Orange, has been a
regular caravanner at the park for 65 years and claims the proposed
redevelopment will cost the local economy more than half a million dollars
in lost revenue annually. In a letter to local media, Mr File complains
that the plan will reduce the number of sites by 31 ‒ nearly 25 percent ‒
with most of the 'big rig' sites being taken over by cabins. "Some people
who have been coming back to Calypso for 30 years are going to find that
their site has simply disappeared," he wrote. He was concerned about the
adverse impact the redevelopment would have on all campers and the Yamba
economy. Mr File believed the local council needed to have a "common sense
rethink about this whole proposal".
Have your say
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