Parks rattled in quake
By Dennis Amor
A POWERFUL magnitude-5.8
earthquake, the biggest to hit Queensland for 20 years, rocked caravan
parks on the east coast. Aftershocks were still being
recorded off Airlie Beach days after the tremor, which was felt in Mackay, Airlie
Beach, Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton. Caravanner Bronwyn McDonald
wrote on Facebook: "Caravan shook like a train was rattling past."
Meanwhile, Mike O'Rourke reported his caravan at Cannonvale "shook for
about 15 seconds" while Gunna Go Caravan Park at Myrtlevale spoke of
shaking roofs and the ground "rumbling". And a caravanner at Alva Beach
Caravan Park commented: "The caravan shook like it has never shook
before". Because the quake's epicentre was only about 50 kilometres off the
coast, there were no fears of a tsunami. Six aftershocks had been recorded
by 5pm, the highest at magnitude-4. Queensland Police said there been no reports of major damage,
though they were still receiving "a large number of calls" to their
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FLASHBACK: Finemore Caravan park ... permanently closed after
the 2011 floods
Businesses and residents to be consulted
FLOOD-PRONE LAND MOOTED FOR RV PARK
Photo: Dennis Amor
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COUNCILLORS in Queensland
have decided to go ahead and investigate the possibility of short-term camping facilities
for caravanners and others travellers ... on notoriously flood-prone land.
A Bundaberg Regional Council
report argued that being mobile, caravans and motorhomes would easily
escape any impending floods.
But one councillor
‒ Jason Bartels ‒ went against the flow,
claiming that with 23 registered caravan parks and camping spots already
available throughout the region there were sufficient sites available to
cater for RVers.
The council will now consult local businesses and residents living near
the two suggested sites, one adjacent to the old showground and the other
in the city's north which bore the full brunt of devastating floods in
Dozens of homes and a shopping centre adjoining the proposed
northern site were
destroyed, and two caravan parks just a stone's throw away wiped out ...
The council had said it would
call for expressions of interest to build the RV Park near the rum city's centre after calls from travellers
and a deputation to former mayor Mal Forman.
The developer of the new short-stay park for self-contained RVs
would be responsible for all costs associated with building and running
the facility, including maintenance and insurance.
Under the proposal, the council would be able to give the operator six
months' notice to quit.
A council report admits that a council charter bans temporary
accommodation in the city's flood-prone areas.
But it added: "The high mobility of RV users and the development of a
sufficient emergency exit plan could justify an exception."
It claimed that despite a high demand, there was evidence that existing
"cheap short-term accommodation" in the Bundaberg region was of "low
By Dennis Amor
CRIKEY ... plans to allow
overnight camping at Australia Zoo in Queensland have left local caravan
parks hopping mad.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council has given the green light for the
world-renowned tourist attraction at Beerwah to accommodate recreational
vehicles and tents.
The nature-based plan will provide eight cabins and 100 caravan and
camping sites, a reception area, amenities block and easy access to the
zoo via a pedestrian link across Irwin Road.
Dickson, who holds the council's Planning and Development portfolio,
commented: "It will be a huge economic boost to the local economy and will
continue to boost the profile of the incredible Sunshine Coast worldwide."
But the owner of one nearby caravan park, which sells between $3000 and $4000 zoo
tickets monthly, described the council's approval as a "slap in the face".
"This has come as a big shock," she told Caravanning News.
"We are already competing with council showgrounds which can take
caravanners and other travellers for next to nothing without all the red
tape and regulations caravan parks have to cope with," fumed the
owner, who declined to be named.
"It's just not appropriate. We have spent over a million dollars since
taking over our park a year ago but it seems the council just wants to
take business away from us.
"I'm not happy about this at all."
She claimed caravan park owners were kept in the dark about the plan. "Why
weren't we told about it?" she asked.
Beerwah Caravan Park owner Len Smith also said he knew nothing about the
"I can see the zoo's point of view in wanting to allow people to stay
overnight, but this could hit parks which are struggling," he commented.
Caravanning News' Facebook page ran hot when it revealed
news of Australia Zoo's plan, reaching over 65,000 people and chalking up
nearly 400 reactions, 114 shares and 54 comments.
Contributor Michael Shailer wrote: "Sadly, I think they are missing the
"I am sure that Steve, God rest his soul, would have much preferred to see
it expand for the protection and education of wildlife and not for a
And Coll Dwyer wrote: I think a lot of what was Steve's real passion has
been lost already."
Others welcomed the idea of being able to stay overnight, but many
wondered whether the camping area would be 'pet friendly'.
Attempts by Caravanning News to obtain a comment from Australia Zoo
by phone, email and via its webpage went unanswered.
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Care needed on roads
Jailbird at grey nomad gathering
Dubbo schoolteacher-turned grey nomad Alan Hill, 80, loves dressing up.
And the avid traveller certainly made his mark at Mareeba's Davies
Park in far north Queensland, where hundreds of grey nomads have been
celebrating Christmas in July. The annual festivities were organised by
the Far North Nomads branch of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of
Australia in conjunction with Mareeba Shire Council. Police urged
road users to take care when over 200 caravans, motorhomes
and other RVs left the four-day event. "Please be patient as we get the
influx of 'vans back onto our roads," a spokesperson said.
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urged to play the game
CARAVANNERS and campers are being asked to play the game.
But they will have to wait until later this year before they can become
property tycoons on a unique Monopoly board with a real true blue Aussie
caravanning theme, believed to be a world first. The board game is
expected to be released in November and follows a joint effort by the
Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Monopoly.
event reels in grey nomads
GREY nomads are flocking to register for an event which could land them a
million dollars. The Top End's inaugural Million
Dollar Fish competition lured nearly 26,000 interstate tourists to the NT,
many of them caravanners. Registrations have now opened for this year's
event which gets underway on October 1 and runs until February 28. And the
second season of the competition will have even more prizes to hook
tourists and anglers and promote tourism in the Top End.
VICTORIA'S caravan park industry will this month
stage what is being billed as "largest annual tourism conference for
caravan park owners and operators". The
three-day VicParks talkfest will be held at the Pullman Melbourne Albert
Park hotel from August 22. Delegates will focus on "innovation and
inspiration". About 300 delegates are expected to attend. A trade
exhibition of over 50 suppliers to the caravan park industry will run
concurrently. "The conference is about equipping parks with the
inspiration, skills and confidence they need to continue to innovate,
invest, create, grow and together build a leading tourism industry in
Victoria," a spokeswoman told Caravanning News.
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with friends can 'drive you nuts'
THE potential pitfalls of caravanning with buddies have been outlined by a
caravan finance company. "It can be the most
disastrous outing," warned the Savvy Group, which lends cash to people
wanting to buy their dream caravan. "Even your best friend (who has
donated a kidney to save your brother, hypothetically speaking) can drive
you nuts when on the road," its online blog cautioned.
Park among nation's most popular: council
A SMALL town on the shores of South Australia's Lacepede Bay boasts of
having what could be one of the most popular free RV Parks in Australia.
A Kingston District Council report presented to councillors recently said
it was clear that relaxing by-laws, erecting new signs and monitoring the
RV Park had been extremely successful. In fact, it has proved such a hit
that the council will continue to make the facility, adjacent to the Lions
Park, accessible to motorhomes, caravans, campervans and 4WD vehicles with
dedicated roof-top tents ‒ whether self-contained or not.
Zone RV plans
to double workforce
A QUEENSLAND caravan builder plans to double its workforce by December.
Established in 2015, Zone RV will employ an extra 25 staff to meet the
demands of customers. It will also upgrade its factory at Coolum on the
Sunshine Coast to streamline production. Zone RV was recently nominated
for Caravan World's Best Aussie Caravan 2016.
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accreditation scheme for caravan dealers
AUSTRALIA'S caravanning and camping industry's peak body has officially
launched a retail dealership accreditation programme to improve business
standards. Caravan Industry Association of
Australia says its new scheme is "about leadership and professionalism".
It would identify leaders in the industry and recognise them for achieving
benchmark performance levels in business planning, risk management,
business improvement, HR management and sales and service conduct. "This
provides a framework for good business practice and encourages continuous
review and improvement," the association said. "It also provides an
assurance to consumers and industry that the operators possess a
commitment to quality and good customer service."
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THE Caravan Industry Association Victoria hosted its prestigious annual
Hall of Fame Industry Awards and Gala event at Melbourne Crown Palladium.
Over 550 people attended the event, which recognised the achievements and
excellence of its members. "The association has a long tradition of
recognising people who have contributed so much to the industry, and our
prestigious Hall of Fame awards recognise both past and present pioneers
of our industry," chief executive Rob Lucas said.
could invalidate RV insurance
OWNERS who modify their caravans could invalidate their insurance, a
motoring club has warned. "If you are in an accident, one of the first
things an insurance company will do is inspect the 'van for any
modifications that could affect its handling," the RACQ said. "If the
weight is above the ATM stamped on the compliance plate, they may consider
there are grounds for not paying out any insurance."
War hero and
former park manager fined over drugs
A WAR hero and former manager of a Queensland caravan park who grew
cannabis to help him sleep has been fined.
Police found the drug and utensils after searching Craig McGrath's caravan
at the Big Mandarin Caravan Park in Mundubbera. Gayndah magistrates fined
him $400 after he admitted possessing 33.6 grams of cannabis and utensils.
The court was told McGrath ‒ who suffered post
traumatic stress after Naval service in Iraq, Cambodia, Afghanistan and
East Timor ‒ grew the cannabis 18 months ago.
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Call for Royal
Commission into rogue RV builders
WELL-known caravan industry identity Barry Davidson, designer of the
original Phoenix off-road caravans, believes there should be a government
inquiry into rogue RV manufacturers. Mr
Davidson, who operated one of Australia's biggest caravan repair
businesses at Caboolture north of Brisbane, has often complained to
Caravanning News about the build standards of some RVs, even including
those from some leading manufacturers. He argues there are still
inadequate regulations and enforcement controlling the RV industry which
now has around 4000 manufacturers. Former policeman Mr Davidson, who
claims only 10 percent of them are able to produce a decent product,
wants a Royal Commission into the industry.
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continue to snub no-camping rules
DEFIANT travellers continue to flout no-camping rules at an idyllic beach
in Queensland. Caravanners are still enjoying
million-dollar views across the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean at Norval
Park beach just north of Bundaberg, despite signs clearly indicating they
are trespassing and it is illegal to camp there. One campervan was even
pitched next to one of the signs, while other RVs were parked just a
couple of hundred metres from Bundaberg Regional Council's official
permit-only camping area, which is set back from the beach and lacks sea
views. A local property owner told Caravanning News travellers were
trickling back to the dunes despite frequent raids by security officers
accompanied by police. Read More
double at awards
AL-KO International scored a double at the Victoria caravan industry's
Hall of Fame Industry Awards. The market leader
in trailer, caravan and motorhome technology was named joint Manufacturer
of the Year while one of its bosses also received the Charlie Tebb Service
to Industry Award for 2016. AL-KO shared the Manufacturer of the Year
title with New Age Caravans, becoming the first component manufacturer to
receive the prestigious award which recognises manufacturers for their
outstanding business performance during the last 12 months.
nomads urged to beware of wildlife
GREY nomads have been urged to take extra care while driving near the
central Queensland town of Dingo. New statistics
from insurer AAMI have revealed the area is the Sunshine State's top
hotspot for animal-related road accidents. Thousands of southern
caravanners pass through the area every year in search of Queensland's
winter sunshine. But they risk hitting kangaroos (88 percent of insurance
claims), wallabies (six percent), wombats (three percent), dogs (two
percent) and other wildlife (one percent). AAMI reported that nationally,
Queanbeyan in south-eastern New South Wales is the riskiest region. The
most hazardous areas for individual states included Bendigo (Victoria),
Madura (WA), Canberra (ACT), Mount Gambier (SA) and Launceston (Tasmania).
No figures were given for the Northern Territory. The average cost of an
animal collision claim was $5123, AAMI said.
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birthday celebrations at Roadstar
BIRTHDAY and anniversary celebrations are in the air at the Roadstar
Caravans factory in Victoria. Long-term employee
Noel Zammit notched up another milestone when he recently celebrated 38
years in the caravan industry. Meanwhile, production manager Mick Dubojski
will be blowing out the candles as he marks his 73rd birthday this month.
The workers have spoken about their experiences and changes to the industry
over the years. Read More
Grey nomad escapes
Wheely fair cop on Pacific Highway
A CARAVANNER escaped a
hefty fine after being caught hauling a caravan minus one of its wheels
along a major NSW highway. The errant 75-year-old grey nomad was
stopped by flabbergasted police as he headed south on the Pacific Highway
at Pimlico south of Ballina. "He had no idea he was missing a wheel," a
spokeswoman told Caravanning News. "Officers helped him get the
caravan off the road and gave him a few tips on maintenance." She said the
man was not charged with any offence.
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boost for WA camping-caravan grounds
THE WA Government is investing another $1.072 million in improving caravan
and camping grounds in the State's Mid-West.
Dandaragan, Coorow, Irwin and Northampton shires will use the money to
develop new nature-based campgrounds across seven coastal areas, adding
300 sites. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the
Royalties for Regions funding would provide attractive and functional
camping areas with appropriate amenities such as designated camping areas,
walkways, eco toilets and rubbish bins. Read
park over low pay
OPERATORS of caravan park in far north Queensland have been placed on
notice after Fair Work inspectors found they were underpaying dozens of
workers they supplied to local farms.
The park has received a formal Letter of Caution after investigations
revealed it had underpaid 84 workers almost $30,000. The Fair Work
Ombudsman, who investigated after 10 workers contacted the agency
requesting assistance, would not name the caravan park when contacted by
Caravanning News. But a spokeswoman told us it had fully
co-operated with Fair Work inspectors. "It did all we asked," she said.
beginnings lead to supreme celebrations
TWO brothers, who built their first caravan in a lowly backyard shed, and
their family will celebrate 30 successful years in the industry next
month. Frank and Karl Prosenik's humble
beginnings grew into what is now Supreme Caravans, one of the most trusted
brands within the Australian caravan industry. The Victorian-based
company's success story will be celebrated at a special gala event at its
state-of-the-art dealership in Hume, Victoria, on September 2.
Website honour for
BIG4 Holiday Parks' website has been highly commended in the 2016 AMY
awards, the Digital Industry Association of Australia's most prestigious
honours. The tourist and caravan park chain was
pipped to the post only by Tourism Australia's Chase the Sun, in
which photographers capture time lapse sequences of the sun all over
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body welcomes Turnbull's new Cabinet
THE caravanning industry's peak body expressed "much excitement and hope"
after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his new Cabinet.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont
said he now welcomed the opportunity of working with ministers and their
departments with "positive dialogue" so the iconic Australian caravanning
and camping industry could continue flourishing. He said the passing of
Motor Vehicle Standards Act reforms remained the most immediate and
pressing issue for his association. Read More
group submits heritage application
AN action group fighting to save an iconic
Mooloolaba beachfront caravan park has submitted an application to have it
heritage listed. Sunshine Coast councillors in
Queensland want to close the holiday hotspot to make room for more public
open space. But the State Government's Department of Environment and
Heritage Protection has now confirmed that an application by Danielle Ryan
and Jon Erbacher on behalf of the Save Mooloolaba Esplanade Caravan Park
Action Group has been lodged. The action group argues the park should
remain open because of its cultural significance.
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scoops excellence award
NEW Age Caravans managing director Gabby Montagnese has received the 2016
Excellence in Manufacturing Award. The Women in
Industry gong recognises and rewards the achievements of women working
within the mining, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and commercial
road transport industries. Gabby thought it was "fabulous" for her industry
to be recognised for excellence in manufacturing. "This is the first time
a caravan or RV manufacturer has had a nomination, let alone a finalist
and a winner," she said. "This allows us to showcase that our industry is
a career of choice for women all over Australia." She said her company's
success was based on not being complacent but always striving for
excellence in all aspects of business. "It's more than just product ...
it's also about leadership, workplace culture, business-to-business
relations and aspiring to improve the quality of life of our customers,"
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shows strong revival
ROAD tripping around Australia is experiencing a strong revival in the
wake of low fuel prices and historically low interest rates.
That's the view of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. "We are
witnessing a new and robust era in domestic tourism that has the potential
to introduce new consumers to the caravan and camping experience," chief
executive Stuart Lamont said. "There is also a reconnect with existing
markets who in the past may have holidayed internationally." Tourism
Research Australia has indicated concerns over uncertain economic
conditions created by the fallout from Britain's pending exit from the
European Union and unstable EU monetary policies. It is suggested this
could lead to a fall in European visitors to Australia. However, any
fluctuations in the Euro could encourage more Australians to travel at
home and provide further opportunities for domestic tourism and the
caravan and camping sector, it is claimed.
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light for more Orange parking
CARAVANNERS will soon find it easier to park their rigs in the NSW city of
Orange. The local council has agreed to set
aside more parking facilities for them in the CBD. Extra space will be
located around the corner from the new Visitor Information Centre in
Peisley Street. Traffic committee chairman Russell Turner said the council
wanted to make things as convenient as possible for travellers. "There's
potentially dozens of caravans and RVs stopping in Orange to see what's
on," he explained.
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