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July 2017

Monthly readership: 20,900 to 27,200
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JULY 28:
Traffic problems after rear wheel on 4WD towing ageing caravan fell off in Naracoorte's main street in South Australia today.

JULY 28:
Emergency services called to an accident involving a car towing a caravan on NSW's Newell Highway 15km north of Narrandera. No further details available.

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

* Caravan industry welcomes 'co-exist' initiative with truckies ... 86,348 people reached.

* Dawson Highway caravan rollover ... 35,847 people reached.

* Carrington RV Centre closes down ... 30,986 people reached.

* Lotus Caravans' alert on C&S chassis recall ... 30,664 people reached.

* Cruel thieves ruin Victoria family's planned caravan trip ... 25,252 people reached.

* Nomads eye up church for sale in Qld ... 23,014 people reached.

* Motorhome towing caravan in Bruce Hwy accident ... 21,801 people reached.


Goldstar caravans

'Potential risk to road users'

Goldstar caravans recalled
over drawbar safety fears

GOLDSTAR RV is recalling some of its caravans because of safety fears. The announcement was made by Product Safety Australia. The South Australian caravan company has warned that the structural longevity of drawbars is "uncertain" on some models built with an aluminium frame because there are no strengthening gussets. "This could lead to potential failure of the drawbar, posing a potential risk for road users," it says. Goldstar said affected owners were being contacted. Goldstar RV will send affected owners additional gussets and arrange for them to fitted by an approved caravan repairer. The gussets will need to be given to the caravan repairer. For further information owners can contact Goldstar RV on 08 8186 7040 or email the company at Have your say

Caution signBy Dennis Amor
Have your say

A TRUCKIE has launched a vehement attack on grey nomads, branding them a bunch of "sanctimonious house-hauling b*****ds".

Scotty Douglas comes out with all guns blazing in his 887-word expletive-riddled article in the nationally circulated road transport newspaper, Owner Driver.

He grumbles furiously about RVs generally being driven under the speed limit by "mean-spirited-selfish-entitled morons" trying to save fuel and with no regard for others.

Your determinedly sit on 80-90km/h with your badly-loaded wobble box (you need a genny to power the TV and hot water, remember) with a whole line of traffic snaking along behind you as you selfishly haul your house to the next destination," he fumes.

The disgruntled truckie says he would "kill off" the RV industry or at the very least raise rego charges,

"Vanners, please stop trying to make everyone else on the road around you pay the price for your privilege and lifestyle," he pleads.

His outburst has saddened Australian Caravan Club chairman Craig Humphrey, who told Caravanning News: "Slandering caravanners does not help resolve anything.

"Both caravanners and truckies need to be able to travel together in harmony on the road and the last thing we need is a raging, hostile fight emerging between the two."  More button

Lottery balls

Traveller hits road to riches

Another grey nomad scoops fortune
as lotto entry comes up trumps

By Dennis Amor

A NEW South Wales grey nomad is celebrating a near one-million dollar Gold Lotto win. She joins a lucky band of travelling caravanners who have come up trumps with a lotto flutter. The identity of the latest winner is being kept secret but she is said to be "ecstatic" with her $985,744.11 windfall in last Saturday's draw. "Itís amazing! Iím so happy!" the excited traveller said when a Golden Casket official confirmed her win. She bought her winning 12-game QuickPick from Fresh Fields Casket Agency at Proserpine in Queensland and realised she had won while ticking off the numbers in her caravan at a nearby caravan park. "I went very quiet as I was in a caravan park and I couldnít very well go silly," the happy winner said. She described her good fortune as an "amazing addition" to her ongoing big trip around Australia, which had seen her already clock up tens of thousands of kilometres. She now plans a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday overseas. Several gambling caravanners reaped in millions of dollars in Western Australia last year when they struck it rich with entries on the state's Lotterywest ... collecting more than $42 million in a few months (see story here). "There's no doubt about it, they are a lucky bunch," a Lotterywest spokeswoman told Caravanning News. Have your say

Man facing assault and wilful damage charges

Security guard and cops injured in caravan park fracas

By Dennis Amor

A SECURITY guard and two police officers were hurt in a disturbance at a Queensland caravan park. They suffered bruising in the melee at the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort in Cairns. A spokesman at the park told Caravanning News there had been "a security incident" but because a man had been charged he was unable to comment further. Police allege a man was at the park with others when he began yelling and creating a disturbance. "A park security officer attended and the man allegedly kicked the windscreen of his vehicle before punching him to the head," they claimed. Police were called and he allegedly struck out at officers and had to be restrained before being taken into custody. "Both the security guard and the two officers sustained bruising as a result of the incident," police alleged. A man was charged with two counts of serious assault and one each of assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage.

Firie warns on portable gas cookers

User error blamed for explosions

Firie warns on portable gas cookers

By Dennis Amor

A QUEENSLAND fireman has urged campers and caravanners to be careful when using portable gas cookers. The warning comes after a camper was injured when a cooker exploded at the Cobb & Co Nine Mile Camping Grounds near Gympie. Fire officer Chester Penfold said he had attended three separate incidents involving the appliances in the last six months. "User error was the cause in all cases," he said. "The product was too close to another heat source, causing the cylinders to expand, rupture and ignite. Please, when using these portable cookers use them away from other heat sources in a well ventilated position and abide by user guidelines of pot size. The gas in these cylinders can expand by 270 times when heated, which is why they can cause such terrible injuries. Be safe campers ... and if in doubt throw them out." Have your say

Min Min sign

Light phenomenon amazes caravanners

Min Min prelude to camel races

CARAVANNERS claim to have had a ringside view of the famous Min Min Lights as a prelude to next weekend's famous Boulia Camel Races in Queensland. Campers, caravanners and RVs in their hundreds will descend on the outback town's Racecourse Reserve on Sunday next week for the famous 'Melbourne Cup of Camel Racing'. Marcia and John Paxton were staying at Boulia Caravan Park this week when the mysterious lights put on a spectacular display. "I was woken by a very bad dream and got out of bed as I couldn't sleep," Marcia explained. "It was a beautiful night, totally clear with thousands of stars ... mesmerising." She then noticed a very large intense circle to the north-east and raised John from his slumbers. "When he saw the very bright glowing circle we both agreed we had seen something very special," Marcia said. After later visiting the local Visitors Centre and seeing photos of the Min Min Lights they were convinced they had had seen the unusual light phenomenon. "I feel amazed that both John and I have seen a Min Min. I hope it is lucky and wonder why we were chosen to see it." Have your say

Another special interest group formed

Australian Caravan Club welcomes Lotus owners

AUSTRALIAN Caravan Club (ACC) members who own Lotus caravans now have a special 'in-house' group of their own. The club-within-a-club has been formed after several ACC members attended a Lotus Caravan Owners' muster last weekend. ACC now has six 'special interest groups' within its ranks, including former and current Defence Force members, full-time travellers and owners of English caravans. "Catering to the interests of all RVers is important and something our club feels strongly about," ACC chairman and Lotus caravan owner Craig Humphrey (pictured) said.  "All owners of Lotus caravans are welcome to come and join our club and the Owners of Lotus Vans special interest group." Have your say

Sites stand empty and forlorn

End of an era as iconic park closes

ALL sites at the Sunshine Coast's immensely popular Mooloolaba Beachfront Caravan Park are now empty. The iconic 34-site park with million dollar views over the South Pacific Ocean finally closed despite a two-year battle to keep it open. Even a 3241 signature petition and an application to the state's Heritage Council failed to save the holiday destination, used by generations of holidaymakers. The park will be bulldozed and used as a carpark until the local council turns the area into parkland and a public walkway. Have your say

Billabong caravan

'It is a bit disheartening'

Caravan builder hits back after being ordered to pay sacked worker $15,000

By Dennis Amor

A WELL-renowned caravan manufacturer says it is becoming more difficult for companies to run their own businesses and conform to new  regulations. The claim comes after Victoria-based Billabong Custom Caravans was ordered to pay a former worker, who took time off to have his daughter baptised in Malta, $15,000 for unfair dismissal. The Fair Work Commission decided the sacking of caravan finisher Ruben Galea was "harsh, unjust and unreasonable". But a spokesperson for the company told Caravanning News: "We provide workers with a safe working environment, listen to their suggestions for a better working environment ... and still some employees attempt all means they can to legally obtain more financial benefit. But when you try and satisfy all requirements and still get penalised it is a bit disheartening." More button

The Morris familyEscaping suburbia's hustle and bustle

New blondies planning to hit
the open road in caravan

MOVE over all you grey nomads ... the young blondies will soon be hitting the highways and byways of Australia! Rob and Tracy Morris are busy packing up their home to join the increasing number of young families enjoying the freedom of the open road. Dubbing themselves The Blonde Nomads, the couple and their children Marli (4) and Ziggy (2) will explore the country in a custom-built 22ft Jayco caravan. The Morrises said their main goal was to unplug from modern technology as much as possible, provide a hands-on learning environment for their children and inspire other families to travel. "We wanted to break away from the hustle and bustle of suburban life so decided it was time to hit the road again," they told Caravanning News. They plan to travel for at least a year and then will "see where the winds takes us after that".  More button

The GleesonsTributes flow for nomads killed in horror crash
VICTORIAN bowlers have paid tribute to a grey nomad couple who died in a horror highway smash in New South Wales.
Avid bowlers Linton and Lynne Gleeson, who were in their mid-60s and lived in Broadford, died when their Mitsubishi Triton ute towing their caravan collided with a cattle truck near Wanganella. They were on their way to the Northern Territory but had planned to first compete in a bowling tournament at Hay. But they never made it ... their rig veered into the path of a cattle-carrying B-double travelling in the opposite direction on the Cobb Highway. The Gleesons were bowling fanatics and during the last five years had spent many hours playing the sport while on their regular winter travels to the northern states. More button

Caravanners die in horror day on WA roads
TWO caravanners in their mid-40s died in a horror smash in Western Australia.
Their rig collided with a road train carrying cattle on the Great Northern Highway, about 150km south of Port Hedland. Two teenagers, believed to be related to the victims, were also in the 4WD and were taken to hospital as a precaution. The fatalities came only an hour after another caravanner received minor injuries near Marble Bar to the south. Debris was strewn over Marble Bar Road, forcing police to operate diversions. It is thought the caravanners were among the hordes of grey nomads and other travellers heading to the Marble Bar Races. Have your say

Lone Trekkers off to Trangie
AUSTRALIAN Caravan Club's Lone Trekkers are planning a muster at the small country town of Trangie in New South Wales.
The five-day event kicks off on July 20 and follows the major success of their recent muster at Bordertown. It will be held at the pet-friendly Trangie Caravan Park where park owners Andrew and Deb are lining up a pizza night, bush poet and a tour of the Cotton Gin. Have your say

Tiaro's revamped rest areaRest area revamp less than impressive
CARAVANNERS stopping in a small country town straddling Queensland's busy Bruce Highway are less than impressed with the regional council's facelift at the local rest area.
They complain the new design means fewer travellers can now use the free, 48-hour facility behind the local pub at Tiaro south of Maryborough. Fraser Coast Regional Council has poured $150,000 into revamping the popular rest area, used by many southern grey nomads in search of the Sunshine State's warmer weather. More button

Spectrum RV 'alive and well'
FIFTH wheeler importers Spectrum RV at Burleigh Waters on Queensland's Gold Coast dismissed rumours it has ceased trading.
A spokeswoman at the company told Caravanning News: "We are alive and well". She said people had made the assumption after a major server crash several weeks ago. "We were without technology and our website was out of action," she explained. "But we certainly haven't closed down." Have your say

Caravan at BIG4 Great Lakes parkSite too dear? Just pay what you like!
AS caravan park fees continue to soar, one go-ahead operator is encouraging guests to pay only what they consider a powered site is worth.
BIG4 Great Lakes at Forster-Tuncurry in NSW has taken the bold move of allowing campers to set their own price during August. The Pay What You Want promotion has already sparked interest amongst caravanners keen for a getaway before the busy spring and summer holiday periods. More button

Coromal and Windsor caravan club planned for WA
KINGSLEY'S All Boats and Caravans dealer is putting its weight behind plans for WA's first statewide Coromal and Windsor caravan club.
The idea was initially suggested by Tony Sherry, business development manager for the brand's manufacturer, Fleetwood RV. "We are very keen to run with this club as well and will also support it," All Boats and Caravans principal Maz Yahiya said. Members must own a Coromal or Windsor caravan. The new club will be an affiliate member of the West Australian Association of Caravan Clubs with its own management committee. An information night to discuss the proposed Perth-based club will be held at the Corinthian Park Tennis Club Hall in Riverton on July 26. For more information, ring 0417907968 or 0448444014. Have your say

Caravan Show cops

Visitors pass on gratitude as ...

Cops target caravanners at show

POLICE and Crime Prevention officers were targeting caravanners at a major exhibition in Brisbane. But they were not clapping handcuffs on visitors to the Queensland Caravan Camping and Touring Super Show ... just handing out valuable advice. They were there to promote the Stay on Track Outback project which promotes safety when driving on outback highways and roads. Officers gave information to caravan owners and others looking to buy a caravan. Some of the points highlighted included ensuring vehicles were well maintained, stocked and that both drivers were skilled enough to handle the conditions. "It was a great week with lots of people passing on their gratitude," a police spokesperson commented. Have your say

Snakes alive - Helen's scrapbook tells all!
HELEN Smart is reliving the day she found a five-metre python swallowing a kangaroo behind her caravan.
She is busy putting together a scrapbook detailing her somewhat unusual experience at a Cooktown caravan park in far north Queensland. Her story made world headlines after she posted a gruesome two-minute video, complete with commentary, on You Tube showing the five-metre amethystine python, Australia's largest species of snake, tucking into its early morning marsupial meal. It has attracted nearly 135,000 views. "It was a truly amazing to see nature up close and at its best," Helen told Caravanning News while working on her unusual scrapbook story. More button

Lions still roar over council takeover
TASMANIA'S Latrobe Council will hold a public meeting this month to discuss its takeover of Sorell Lions Caravan Park.
The 128-site riverfront park near Devonport has been run by the local Lions Club for about 30 years. The club is furious and has handed the council a 269-signature petition opposing its controversial decision to take over the reins on July 1. The council insists its decision "was not taken lightly" and has given an assurance the caravan park will not be sold. It has invited people to make written decisions before the meeting at the Banksia Centre on July 19, but will accept questions at the forum. Mayor Peter Freshney, who has decided not to chair the meeting, believes there is no reason to change the council's decision but is reported to have said it depends on what happens at the meeting.  Have your say

Fun a BIG4 parkBIG4 chain helps dreams of sick kids come true
THE BIG4 chain of holiday parks is joining forces with a major children's charity to help make the dreams of sick kids come true.
The partnership with Make-A-Wish Australia will see caravan parks across the country hosting a variety of events on behalf of the charity, founded in 1985. "BIG4 Holiday Parks sees family, fun and connectedness at the heart of its values," BIG4 chief executive Steven Wright said. More button

Rotary donates defibrillator to park
KINGAROY Showgrounds Caravan Park in Queensland has been presented with a defibrillator, courtesy the local Rotary Club. Hundreds of travellers, including many grey nomads, camp at the South Burnett National Show Society's park every week. The $3000 lifesaving device was one of 12 distributed around the town, which is located at the heart of Queensland's peanut country. Rotary said that with the increase in caravan numbers using the showgrounds and facilities, the society and its staff were ideally placed to provide emergency assistance to anyone needing it.   Have your say

Wyllie ParkWyllie Park future again in doubt
THE future of a popular overnight rest area north of Brisbane remains in doubt ... again!
Moreton Bay Regional Council is planning to review its decision to reopen the Wyllie Park facility off Old Gympie Road at Petrie following complaints from local residents. Self-contained caravans and motorhomes have been allowed to spend up to 48 hours at the site on the banks of the North Pine River for about a year. The trial follows a decision by the former Pine Rivers Shire Council to ban overnight stays almost a decade ago after claims the park had been turned into a 'shanty town'.  More button

Redevelopers chosen for Lancelin Caravan Park
GINGIN Shire Council in WA has decided that Experience Holiday Parks will redevelop Lancelin Camping and Caravan Park.
The people behind the company Reginald and Donna Cocking, and Christopher and Ornella Sialtsis say they will spend $7.5 million over five years to turn the park into a high quality holiday destination. They already manage Central Caravan Park at Ascot and the Mandurah Caravan and Tourist Park. The council has recommended that the company take over interim management of the existing park whilst lease negotiations continue. More button

Kim PapaliaConcern over 'downfall' in caravan safety standards
WA'S Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia has called on the Australian caravan industry to move quickly on manufacturing safety standards.
This follows a horror smash on Indian Ocean Drive in which a Singaporean tourist died and a caravan disintegrated at Breton Bay. Former policeman Mr Papalia said no one should have died that day. "I believe this death was due to a lack of industry safety standards for caravans," he said.. "This caravan should not have exploded as it did due to the impact of the crash."  Mr Papalia also wants a five-star rating system for new caravans so potential buyers can make informed decisions before ordering.

New budget RV site takes off
GREY nomads are injecting thousands of dollars into a Queensland town, courtesy of local footballers.
Fraser Coast Regional Council accepted the $1000-a-year tender from Doon Villa Soccer Club to set up a low-cost RV site on council land in the grounds of the Maryborough Airport. Opened in March this year, the facility is already proving popular with caravanners and other travellers in self-contained vehicles. A survey indicated that it poured more than $100,000 into local businesses in its first 45 days. Doon Villa president Brendan Barsby admitted he was originally sceptical, but now describes it as a huge development in the club's history. Enthusiasts were quick to give the thumbs up when Caravanning News carried news of the new $10-a-night site. "This is a fantastic initiative for our town," Lesley Nussbaumer wrote on our Facebook page. "It will bring much needed funds to the town that RVers would previously have passed by." Have your say

Caravan jackknifingCaravan disc brakes now ok for ESC systems
CARAVANS fitted with AL-KO hydraulic disc brakes can now also benefit from its revolutionary electronic stability control system.
Released five years ago for caravans with electric brakes, the AL-KO's ESC system quickly revolutionised towing safety in Australia by automatically applying the brakes to help maintain control in the event of dangerous towing instability. While electric brakes are still fitted to the majority of caravans in the market, the growing popularity of caravans with hydraulic disc brakes led to calls for AL-KO to develop an ESC equivalent to suit this sector. More button

Caravanners the big winners in ACT Budget
CARAVANNERS were the big winners in the latest Australian Capital Territory Budget.
Handing down his sixth budget, Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr revealed that caravan registration fees in the ACT would be halved to align with those in New South Wales. It will mean savings of around $120 for owners. Meanwhile, campers across the territory will have to dig deeper into their pockets as fees soar by 20 percent, raising $30,000 a year. Have your say

Rest area signFunding to help truckies and caravanners 'coexist'
AUSTRALIA's peak caravanning body has welcomed moves to get a better understanding between truckies and caravanners.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has granted financial support for an education and awareness campaign to help truckies and travellers in recreational vehicles "coexist" on the road and at rest areas. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said the initiative was one of 12 programs approved for a share of $3.9 million funding by the regulator, supported by the Federal Government. A partnership education program would address growing "conflicts" between RV users and heavy vehicle drivers, he said. More button

More sites planned for new Bulahdelah park
NSW's MidCoast Council is considering an application to add an additional 99 caravan sites to a proposed tourist park at Bulahdelah.
The former Great Lakes Council has already given approval for 61 sites, five cabins, amenity block, admin office and function hall. Developers Gary and Kim Ekert also want permission to build two amenity blocks and a communal kitchen. They say the new park would bring hundreds of tourists to the town weekly and generate more income for local businesses. Have your say

Asian holidaymakersParks attracting more Asian holidaymakers
ASIAN holidaymakers are beginning to figure prominently in Australiaís regional caravan and camping industry, it has been revealed.
The first quarter of 2017 continued to show robust growth in international caravan and camping arrivals to Australia, growing by 10 percent to 368,490 visitors for year ending March 2017. The increase is being primarily driven by the traditional markets of the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, increasing by one percent, nine percent and 24 percent respectively on the previous year. However, newer Asian markets are starting to make their presence felt in the caravan holiday parks around the country. More button

New products help RVers keep in touch and to reverse
NCE has released two more products to help caravanners during their travels.
The first is an RV-dedicated WiFi system which enables them to keep in touch while on the road. The other is a WiFi rear view camera designed to make life simple and safe when reversing any RV. The company says it is easy to use and even easier to install. More button

Air Opus design teamAir Opus wins top design gong

MELBOURNE'S Opus Camper Trailers is celebrating after receiving a top award for its unique self-inflating camper trailer. An international panel of design experts chose the Air Opus for a Good Design Award in the Australian Design Award's automotive and transport category. Only the Tesla Model X and a semi-autonomous Caterpillar digger could beat the camper for top honours in its class. Using air beam technology to replace traditional poles, it transforms from a compact trailer into a six-berther within two minutes at the touch of a button. Australian members of the camper's design team are pictured with the prestigious award. They are, from left, Purple Line director Malcolm Hill, design engineer Ben Liu and production manager Jason Dodd. Have your say

Work begins on new caravan park
WORK is underway on a new caravan park at Thornton in New South Wales.
Maitland City Council approved the development two years ago. Twenty-eight sites will be available for tourists while another 52 will be for long-term guests at the park between the suburb's fire and railway stations. Have your say

ACC welcomes Canberra's new branch
THE 4500-member Australian Caravan Club has announced its first branch for RVers living in the Canberra and its surrounds.
Capital Country Nomads already has 24 members. ACC chairman Craig Humphrey said it was an "exciting time" for his club. The new branch caters for owners of caravans, pop-tops, motorhomes, campervans, slide-on campers, camper-trailers and 5th wheelers. Have your say

Nightly fee mooted for Southern Downs rest area
CARAVANNERS and other travellers may soon have to cough up $10 a night to stay at a popular rest area on Queensland's Southern Downs.
The local regional council is considering slapping the fee on Dalveen's long-established free Jim Mitchell Park just off the New England Highway but will ask locals for their opinion first. A council report pointed out that the area was a reserve for park purposes and was regularly used by campers. "The park has been identified as a highly utilised area and is considered to be appropriate for implementing paid camping facilities, i.e. with suitable access and the provision of limited amenities including toilet facilities," it said. Meanwhile, councillors at their recent meeting agreed that the possibility of more RV rest areas and camping facilities in the Southern Downs' smaller communities should be explored. Have your say

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Letter man

Faulty fridge solution
a recipe
for disaster

TALKED to a bloke on the road, as you do, who was having trouble with his fridge.

He solved his problem by running on gas while driving.

Can you imagine the potential disaster and chaos when he pulled into a servo.

We should never forget that pilot lamps and fuel vapours are a recipe for disaster.

I guess that is one advantage of diesel.

Ross Bennett.