By Dennis Amor
Have your say
FATHER, whose daughter and her family are on a year-long round-Australia
caravanning adventure, has taken to the world's leading online travel site
to praise Queensland's top motoring organisation for getting them out of a
It appears the hapless travellers ‒ Mark and
Cheryl Palmer and sons Braedyn (13) and Corbin (11)
(pictured right) ‒ were left stranded when their tow vehicle gave
up the ghost 20km out of Emerald in the Sunshine State.
"They contacted the RACQ who arranged to have the car transported to a
garage in Emerald, the caravan towed to a motor park, paid for six nights
at the park and for a rental car for six days," Barry Campbell, from Te
Anau in New Zealand, wrote on the worldwide TripAdvisor website.
"Absolutely fabulous service. A big thumbs up to RACQ."
Mr Campbell told Caravanning News that builder Mark and his family
had wanted to circumnavigate Australia for some time.
"This year they decided to take the plunge while the boys were still
young enough to want to travel with their parents and were of an age when
mom and dad still had some control over them,"
"They bought a used caravan and Mark spent a couple of months refitting
it, which basically involved gutting it and starting from scratch."
The Palmers sold their two vehicles and bought a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder
which they modified by adding solar panels on the roof, a slide-out 12V
freezer and air shocks.
"It had performed perfectly but their troubles began when driving from
Carnarvon Gorge to Emerald," Mr Campbell explained.
"They suddenly lost power and there was engine noise. The fault light also
came on for the first time. It seemed OK under light load so they
continued on to Emerald where they had a mechanic look at it."
After changing the plugs, the family continued in the direction of Cairns
but the fault "returned with a vengeance" about 20km
"They called RACQ and the car was loaded onto a recovery vehicle and the
caravan hitched up for the journey back to Emerald," Mr
"RACQ handled all the details, making a stressful event almost
"Mark and Cheryl were so grateful they had taken the Ultimate package. Of
course this is what you expect when you buy a premium product, but is is
gratifying to find that when the chips are down it actually works as
He said the problem was traced to a faulty oxygen sensor, which caused the
catalytic-converter to fail, probably some considerable time
"The cat finally internally haemorrhaged, sending its insides into the
muffler, almost completely blocking it. Hence the loss of power."
The Palmers were awaiting the arrival of spare parts before continuing
their road trip to Darwin, Alice Springs, the east coast and to Tasmania by
They will then head west towards Perth and around the Top End.
"There's no fixed time frame, which is fortunate given the current
problems," Mr Campbell said.
"They have spent their enforced time in Emerald fossicking for gemstones
... hoping to get enough to pay for the $3500 repairs. Ouch."