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Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

April 2018

Monthly readership:
 19,867 to 32,232

(Previous six months)

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

Truckies up in arms over thoughtless caravanners monopolising truck parking spaces at Wallacetown rest area on NSW's Olympic Highway near Wagga Wagga.

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


* Fire rips through Tathra caravan parks ... 43,815 people reached.

* Dave Lewis launches mobile caravan weighing company ... 19,866 people reached.

* Jeep tow bar kits recall after safety fears ... 15,275 people reached

* 'Ship Creek' TV ad among most complained about ... 14,998 people reached.

* Proposed Bundaberg RV site moves a step closer ... 11,155 people reached.

* Crooks made off with camper trailer and dinghy ... 9381 people reached.

* Fuel tanker and caravan in fatal horror crash ... 9042 people reached.


Tail wag is
a recipe
for disaster

I WOULD like to comment on Oni Pony's recent letter on caravan rollovers and offer two other reasons (see original letter here).

1. Large caravans are often heavier than the tow vehicle, even if within manufacturer's limits.

2. Many tow vehicles have too short a wheelbase  ̶̶  e.g. a LC200 is only 2850mm (the same as an 80 series).

The above factors do not help if anything goes wrong, such as getting up sway.

Having the tail wag the dog is a recipe for disaster.


Repaying tenants

INTERESTNG news about Mulwala caravan park receiving a government grant (see story here).

Pity the original tenants were not all repaid money owing.



Adrian Cappola

Following 'a stronger path to growth'


By Dennis Amor

MEMBERS of Victoria-based Elite Caravans have decided to wind up the company. But customers have been told by co-owner Adrian Cappola (pictured) that "it's business as usual for Elite owners, with warranties and other support with full factory backing". Members of Elite Caravans (Australia), Caravan Sales Victoria and Caravan Sales NSW this week voted to wind up the companies and appoint David Ross Hall of Melbourne-based Chadwick Chartered Accountants as liquidator. Elite was put under financial strain last year after an alleged elaborate fraud siphoned more than a million dollars from its bank account. Mr Cappola issued a statement to Caravanning News saying the award-winning company was now moving forward with a "restructure" so it could follow a stronger path to growth. "Due to circumstances beyond our control and advice from our advisors, it was decided that the best course for owners, staff and customers was for a new structure to be incorporated," he said. A new company registered in February this year  ̶  Balistic RV ̶  will now build Elite caravans. "Under this restructure we will continue to drive innovation, excellence and business growth," Mr Cappola said. "Over the next few months, I will focus on Elite Caravans' seven-year strategic plan and will look at investing in technologies, processes and cellular manufacturing, with plans to open additional factories to facilitate this," he added. Have your say

Jayco caravan

Buyers of faulty caravans 'obstructed'

Jayco to face first Federal Court hearing this month

COURT proceedings against Australia's biggest manufacturer of recreational vehicles will get underway this month. Jayco has been accused by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of breaching Australian consumer laws by its conduct towards four buyers of allegedly defective caravans. A first case management hearing has been scheduled in the Federal Court for April 27. Its aim will be to identify issues before the main hearing gets underway, most likely within about five weeks. The ACCC alleges that between 2013 and 2015 Jayco acted "unconscionably" towards four customers by obstructing them from obtaining redress, such as a refund or replacement for their defective caravans. It claims the Victorian-based manufacturer did this despite knowing the caravans were defective and not functioning properly even after repeated and unsuccessful  repairs. The ACCC also alleges Jayco made false or misleading representations to the customers about their rights to obtain a refund or replacements for their defective caravans. Jayco will be represented by M&K Lawyers Group. Comment on this story

Highest ever recorded figures for tourist nights



MORE and more Australians are turning to caravanning and camping for their holidays, according to new statistics.

Tourism Research Australia has revealed that last year saw the highest ever recorded figures for tourist nights and trips within the industry.

Meanwhile, 2017 again saw RV production figures rise, with sales of large luxury caravans still leading the way.

The latest statistics show that caravan and camping trips generated a staggering 51.9 million nights as Aussies continued their love affair with the outdoors.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont described the boom as "an ongoing positive news story" for both Australians and the economy.

"It's an important economic driver for both small towns and regional centres and offers a unique experience and change from everyday life," he said.

"It is more than a holiday type ... it is a quintessential experience and lifestyle that Australians often equate with their personal values.

"The caravan and camping industry is unrivalled in its appeal. It champions accessibility to all people via shared values and caters for all budget types thus making it an attractive option for all."

Quarter-on-quarter figures for December also indicated robust growth within the domestic caravan and camping tourism economy.

Overnight trips increased by an impressive seven percent and total nights by 16 percent from December, 2016.

The figures are significantly higher than the overall domestic tourism economy, which increased by five percent and four percent each quarter respectively.

The increase within the caravanning and camping industry is particularly impressive considering the challenges faced by the industry.

These included Cyclone Debbie in Queensland, weakening economic conditions in Western Australia and increased competition from the rented accommodation sector which continues to influence consumer behaviour. Comment on this story

Dream trip ruined by 'low-life' crooks

Blow for dying Commonwealth Games volunteer as thieves steal his caravan

Stolen caravan Burleigh HeadBy Dennis Amor

HEARTLESS crooks have stolen a dying man's beloved caravan from Burleigh Heads on Queensland's Gold Coast. Danny Hancock, 64, who has terminal prostate cancer, was planning to work as a volunteer at the Commonwealth Games before taking off on a dream trip around Australia with his wife of 42 years, Sue. But the thieves removed locks on his custom-built Jayco Silverline caravan, registration 871QZH, and made off with it from outside his home on Saturday night. It is fitted with a unique black stone guard to the front. Mrs Hancock said her husband was "gutted" by the theft and described the thieves as "low-life scum who take, not work for what they want/need like the rest of the community. She wrote on her Facebook page: "It was a pride and joy. My husband, who as you all know, is fighting against and living with a terminal cancer diagnosis, was looking forward to his much longed-for trip around Australia (scheduled to depart on 17th after his stint of volunteering at Commonwealth Games) while he can." She advised caravanners to invest in heavy duty security and GPS tracking systems. "Make it harder for the low-life, and maybe they will even be caught and punished," she said. Anyone who sees the Jayco Silverline caravan should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. * Figures show that this story reached about a quarter of a million people on Caravanning News' Facebook page! Comment on this story

Flooding at Cairns park

Supporters take to online charity site

Insurance shock for owners
of flooded caravan park

THE heartbroken owners of a far north Queensland caravan park, devastated by flash flooding in the wake of Cyclone Nora, are reeling after their insurance company refused to meet the $150,000 damages bill. Swiftwater rescue teams in boats plucked more than 40 people to safety as they screamed for help at Cairns' BIG4 Crystal Cascades Holiday Park. Caravans and motorhomes were floating and crashing into cabins in the surging floodwaters. Miraculously no one was hurt but the Drayton family, who has owned the park since 1995, was left with a massive clean-up and repairs bill. Despite the park being insured, the insurer has refused to meet the damages claim on the grounds it was not directly caused by Cyclone Nora ... the flooding occurred after it had been downgraded. Supporters have now taken to online non-profit charity group Chuffed in a bid to raise funds for the family. Around $3000 of the $100,000 target has so far been donated. Comment on this story

Bundaberg's old showgroundRV-Friendly park a step closer
QUEENSLAND'S Bundaberg Regional Council has moved a step further in having an RV-Friendly site in the Rum City.
The news comes after the "outstanding success" of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s National Rally in Bundaberg last October. The council has announced it has now completed all formalities in granting the CMCA a five-year lease on the city's disused showgrounds. But only CMCA members will be able to use the park, prompting complaints from caravanners and other travellers. Read More button

Caravans benefit from 'tiny home phenomenon'
POTENTIAL home owners in Australia appear to be gravitating towards smaller dwellings ... and the once humble caravan is benefitting.
That's the view of New South Wales property stylists Vault Interiors who claim that soaring prices are the main driving factor of a shift towards the "tiny home phenomenon". Director and principal stylist Justine Wilson said there had been an emerging trend over the past year towards modernised and renovated caravans. Read More button

Roland GopelRoland's paradise lost
CARAVAN dweller Roland Gopel has vowed to fight rather than cough up thousands of dollars in fines imposed on him while living on his own land in the middle of nowhere.
WA's Shire of Menzies argues that 58-year-old Mr Gopel's lack of running water and sewage disposal facilities, together with the dilapidated state of his property, had left him in breach of regulations. It has been fining him $50 a day since last August and took him to court, where he was handed a $1000 fine for allegedly breaching the state's strict Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act. The university graduate, who admits to "being a nerd and a greenie of a fashion", said it was almost as though officialdom was pushing for a civil war.

Golden anniversary for Sydney show
SYDNEY'S longest running caravan and camping show will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month.
The six-day 2018 Caravan Camping Holiday Supershow kicks off on April 24 at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. It is the Caravan & Camping Industry Association of NSW's longest running event and will be celebrating the significant milestone in the growth of the industry and businesses that underpin its success. Read More button

Weather fails to put dampener on ACC muster
WIND and rain failed to dampen the spirits of Australian Caravan Club members attending their second North Queensland combined branches muster at Airlie Beach.
In fact, the organisers were quick to declare the event, which had something for everyone, a success. Attracting over 50 members from the club's Tropical Tourers branch (Townsville), Sugar City Pioneers and Coral Coast Cruisers (Mackay branches) and Capricorn Tourers branch (Rockhampton), the gathering was held at the Island Gateway Holiday Park at Jubilee Pocket. Read More button

Campco campersApollo steers into Europe
BRISBANE-based Apollo Tourism and Leisure, which builds caravans and is the world's biggest RV rental company, has bought the United Kingdom and Ireland RV business Camperco for around $8 million in cash and shares.
The Camperco Group owns and operates Bunk Campers, which claims to be the largest independently owned rental company in the UK. "This acquisition will further strengthen our position as a global operator of RVs and allow further expansion into Europe," Apollo managing director and chief executive Luke Trouchet said. Read More button

Food for thought at CIAA seminar
THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia and the nation's
largest industry super fund
, AustralianSuper, have held their first in a series of 'Economic Lunches'. The educational seminars are seen as a step forward for the new partnership forged earlier this year and will be held in each state around Australia. The lunch in Brisbane was "well attended" by industry leaders and sparked a lively discussion regarding behavioural economics in the workplace, the association said. Comment on this story

Thetford fridge and Jeep towbar

Cold comfort for caravanners

Fridges, towing kits
in safety recalls

  Comment on this story

CARAVANNERS have been warned of two safety recalls. Thetford three-way absorption fridges fitted to some caravans and motorhomes may pose a fire risk, while some towing kits fitted to Jeeps could come adrift and cause accidents.  It is believed the gas control valve pressure test point nut on some Thetford fridges may not be correctly tightened. "If the test point nut is not correctly tightened, it could cause a gas leak, potentially leading to a fire," an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recall notice says. Potentially affected serial numbers on models N304M.3R, N304M.3L, N504M.3FR and N504M.3FL are between 27381864 and 28220540. Owners can click here to find out if their fridge is included in the recall.

Meanwhile, tow bar kits fitted to some WK Jeep Grand Cherokees could be dangerous. It is feared bolts and washers could become loose during towing, causing the tow bar to possibly detach from the vehicle, putting occupants or other road users at risk. The tow bar kits - part numbers LA82210140 and LA82210141 - were sold between May 2017 and March 16 this year. Owners of affected vehicles are being contacted by direct mail and warned to stop using their tow bar immediately. "Once a remedy and parts become available, owners will receive a second letter advising that they should contact their nearest FCA Australia dealer to arrange an inspection and repair of the vehicle," the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says in a recall notice.

Tweed Coast park reopens after $21m upgrade
Tweed Coast Holiday Park Kingscliff Beach in NSW has reopened after a $21.8 million upgrade. The new-look 61-site park was as part of Tweed Shire Council's foreshore redevelopment project, introduced after the ocean swallowed a chunk of land. Seven cabins at risk of collapsing into the sea had to be relocated while some caravans were moved further away from the ocean. But after the year-long redevelopment the park is now back in business, with managers Brooke and Luke McKenzie welcoming 21 caravans on the first day. The couple was reportedly "excited" to be part of the new era at the holiday destination. Comment on this story

Anzac Park signCouncil restricts rest area hours
SOMERSET Regional Council in Queensland has cut the number of hours travellers can stay at its popular free Kilcoy rest area.
A report presented to a recent council meeting revealed complaints of overcrowding at the small site on the edge of town. It also mentioned people staying too long and "conduct/behaviour that is detrimental to the amenity of the area or the experience of other campers". Backpackers in their campervans have often been blamed for the problems. Councillors decided that overnight rest stops at Anzac Park would be restricted to a maximum of 20 hours in any seven-day period. Travellers were previously allowed 72-hour stays. The council points out that additional roadside rest areas are located at Linville, Moore, Toogoolawah, Harlin, Ferndale and Dundas. Meanwhile, seven-night stays are available a Kilcoy Showgrounds for $16 nightly. Comment on this story

Fraser Coast offers free internet for grey nomads
GREY nomads now have free access to computers and the internet at public libraries on Queensland's Fraser Coast.
The local council has decided to axe charges to bring the area into line with neighbouring local authorities. Acting Mayor George Seymour said libraries also offered free WiFi for people to link their own computers and portable devices to the internet. The council has five library branches, all with public internet access – Tiaro, Burrum Heads, Howard, Hervey Bay and Maryborough. Cr Seymour said free public access to internet services boosted the region's tourism appeal. "I think grey nomads, backpackers and tourists looking for accommodation especially will like the service. Because it is available at branches across the region there is an incentive for them to explore and stay in the outer regions and not just in Maryborough or Hervey Bay," he explained. Comment on this story

inskip PointCaravanner in court over unleashed dogs
A CARAVANNER who failed to keep her dogs on a leash at a Queensland camping ground has appeared in court.
Gympie Magistrates Court was told that Sarah Sutton's three dogs ran from under her caravan at Inskip Point in front of Queensland Parks and Wildlife rangers who were looking for camp site breaches. She was issued with an infringement notice for each animal but has refused to pay. The case was adjourned until July 17. Magistrate Chris Callaghan advised Ms Sutton to seek legal advice after she claimed that chaining up her dogs would have been a "safety issue" due to conditions at the popular campground. Comment on this story

ATPM wins $337,000 contract
AUSTRALIAN Tourist Park Management has been awarded a $337,000 contract to continue operating Shepparton’s Victoria Lake Holiday Park for the next 12 months.
The Greater Shepparton City Council put out tenders last year and is reluctant to award longer terms until it can secure a long-term developer and lease arrangement for the area, which will include a multi-million dollar art museum. The council’s corporate services director, Chris Teitzel, said some decisions were still a way off and the park needed to continue operating until they were made. Situated on the unfenced shore of Victoria Park Lake, it is Shepparton’s only non-permanent park. It offers informal waterfront caravan and camping sites and a range of cabins. Comment on this story

Gay Nomads motorhomeGay nomads laud caravanning's peak body
AUSTRALIA'S gay nomads have praised the nation's peak caravanning body for its involvement in this year's 40th anniversary Sydney Mardi Gras.
The Caravanning Industry Association of Australia, in conjunction with Caravan and Camping Industry Association of New South Wales and Apollo Motorhomes, displayed a float with Australia’s Gay Nomads at the event. It was the second time it had been involved in the celebrations. Lynne Hocking, a representative of Australia’s Gay Nomads, said the support meant a lot to the group. Read More button

Council cops flak over fencing demand
QUEENSLAND'S Sunshine Coast Council is under fire after demanding that the river near a proposed camping ground in the Kenilworth area be fenced off.
The council has approved Paulger Road and Bluff tourist campgrounds which will provide 20 regular camp sites, as well as event allowances for up to 100 camp sites for the duration of five peak holiday periods a year. Farmer Shane Paulger said it would help prop up his family dairy farm in what was a difficult time for the industry. But conditions attached to the approvals, which would require a new toilet block and the Mary River being partially fenced off, have upset some people, including Graham Freeman. "Should the river be fenced along Bradman Ave as the caravan park is across the road or can those people be trusted not to cross the road and fall in," he said. "How many other caravan parks are on river frontages with fences. This council will go to no lengths to astound the average person." Comment on this story

Fake couplersFake couplings could kill: manufacturer
CARAVAN and camper manufacturers have been warned to beware of counterfeit couplers which could put people's lives at risk.
Cruisemaster says the fake non-compliant copies are of its premium DO35 coupling. It says the copies are of the previous V2 version which ceased production last June with the release of the V3. The first copies were identified at a caravan and camping show but were withdrawn after discussions between Cruisemaster and a camper trailer importer. Read More button

Investors snap up mixed-use caravan park
BASS Hill Tourist & Residential Park on NSW's Hume Hwy near Sydney has been sold to a locally-based investment group.
The mixed-use caravan park offers powered tourist sites together with a range of park-owned cabins and villas. According to selling agent CBRE Hotels, the new owners plan to continue the operations of the "strong cash flow" business. it said the sale was negotiated after a "discreet off-market campaign" to a target list of qualified investors. The selling price was not disclosed. Comment on this story

Bulls Camp ReservceTravellers accused of abusing historic site
TRAVELLERS in NSW's Blue Mountains have been accused of abusing a former convict campsite which has been turned into a roadside rest area.
Bull's Camp Reserve on the Great Western Highway at Woodford was established in 1835 as a convict stockade and still contains relics from the bygone era, including a flogging stone and a cave believed to have been used as a cell. Although not an approved camping ground, caravanners and other tourists have been ignoring the maximum 24-hour stay rule and staying for much longer. There have also been complaints of human waste in the adjoining bushland despite the site's two toilets. Blue Mountains City Council now plans to erect clear signage on permitted use of the site and has threatened to take action against travellers who break the rules. Comment on this story

MosquitoTop End mozzie warning to travellers
CARAVANNERS heading to the Top End have been warned to 'cover up'.
Travellers are being urged to take precautions to protect themselves against disease-carrying mosquitoes following the recent detection of Murray Valley encephalitis virus in Katherine and the Kunjin virus in Darwin. Director of Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz said the high risk period would last until the end of June. "To avoid mosquito-borne disease, use personal mosquito protection and avoid being outdoors in or close to wetland areas or places where mosquitoes are active, especially after sunset," she said. People are advised to wear light-coloured clothing with long sleeves, long trousers and socks between dusk and dawn in areas where mosquito bites are likely. They should avoid outdoor exposure around dusk and at night near areas of dense vegetation and other areas of high mosquito activity, and use mosquito-proof accommodation and camping facilities after dark. Comment on this story

SafetankWine cask spawns unique RV water tank
THE humble wine cask is behind a new product which simplifies the storage of water on caravans and other RVs.
The innovative combined freshwater and grey water Safetank uses a double bladder housed within a marine grade aluminium tank weighing just 15kg. Safetank director and Inventor John Harrison commented: "You can blame cask wine for the inspiration behind the product. I saw how the bladder was collapsing and leaving space in the cask ... and the idea for a combination tank was born." Read More button

Artist's impression of suggested RV overnight site at GympieGold rush town may get third rest area
QUEENSLAND'S former goldrush town of Gympie is in line for a new 24-hour RV overnight site. Gympie already boasts two rest areas alongside the Bruce Highway, but now the regional council has the heritage-listed former Gympie railway station in its sights. Councillors have been told its proximity to the town centre would benefit local businesses and the historic Mary Valley Rattler tourist train. The project would require a development application, which would trigger public consultation. If approved, it is planned to have the landscaped park  ̶  which would include 13 bays for self-contained RVs, a dump point, tables and seating  ̶  operational around September next year. Comment on this story

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Dreading the summer onslaught of southerners

AS a regular user of Queensland's roads I am loving conditions at the moment.

But all this will change in just a few weeks when the dreaded southern contingent of caravanners head north in search of our wonderful winter sunshine.

No doubt there will be the usual spike in the number of road accidents and our highways will be choked with more than their  fair share of slowcoaches completely oblivious to other road users.

And to add to our frustrations, we will be squeezed out of our rest areas as the southern grey nomads settle in for some extended free camping.

It's as if these travellers lose their ability to read.

Signs which clearly give a maximum time limit for overnight stays are blatantly ignored.

Oh well, roll on next spring when things will hopefully return to normal.

Charles Carpenter.