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April 2016

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APRIL 28: Byron Shire Council in NSW today banned campervans bearing offensive and sexual slogans from using council-owned caravan parks in the area.

APRIL 28: Shares in Coromal and Windsor caravans builder Fleetwood continue to climb, closing at $1.66 yesterday ... their highest price since last August.

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

* Warning on hitch-pin thefts  36,393 people reached.

* Caravanner caught with drugs allegedly stashed in water tank ‒ 6627 people reached.

* Exhibition rumour leaves caravan builder hopping mad ‒ 5981 people reached.

* Woman flown to hospital after caravan smash ‒ 4714 people reached.

* Stolen caravan, South Australia 2497 people reached.

* Challenging future for Windsor and Coromal caravans ‒ 2246 people reached.


Fathers applauded over kids
in toilets

REGARDING your story on children using the wrong amenities block (see story here).

I applaud fathers for looking after their children, and if that means toileting them in the men's toilet, then so be it!

Public toilets have always been a place for pedophiles to frequent, and I would never allow my children to use one without me going with them.

I'm sure a six-year-old viewing a urinal would not be harmed.

As there are plenty of single fathers and mothers trying to do both jobs, taking their children into the toilet, (whichever, male or female), is a very responsible decision.

As for the gent wanting to use the urinal when a female child was in there with her father ... next time use the toilet and shut the door.

She won't see your pride and joy then!

Neralie Reynolds,

Insurance payouts

THE information about RACV insurance payouts is interesting (see story here).

But it does NOT tell you would be more interesting.

For example, how much do they collect in premiums for a 12-month period?

How many caravans are stored in the local government areas?

I have been paying caravan insurance premiums for over 30 years never had a claim.

Bob Taylor.


SO the NSW tourism body and caravan industry have united to attract more visitors (see story here).

Has the minister ever been a caravan/camper?

I think not!

June Watt.

Dealer woes

FLEETWOOD has correctly identified a weakness in its dealer network (see story here).

As the owner of a six-year-old Coromal, I am pleased with the design and build quality of the poptop caravan.

However, I have learned to never rely upon the dealer network (at least the members I have contacted) for spares or even reliable maintenance.

Max Boyley.

Too slow

I WOULD like to comment on your story about truckies being urged to be patient with caravanners.

Tell caravaners to do 90km/hr-plus in a 100/110km/hr zone ... not 60 to 80 like they do.

I am a large motorhome owner and it peeves me off when they are going slow on the flat.

This often means that when there is a hill coming up I can't overtake to climb it with any reasonable speed.

Ray Foster.

Dreams end in tragedy

A CARAVANNER died in a NSW crash (see story here).

It is tragic to see dreams cut short.

Often we retire, after dreaming for years of caravanning around Australia.

We buy a new luxury caravan and 4WD and set off on our dream retirement life style.

We have spent our super, $200,000 or more.

Not a thought given to learning how to handle such a large rig on our roads, how to relate to other road users, truckies, tour coaches, commercial drivers, not to mention other caravanners.

I believe caravanners should be tested and licenced to tow a caravan.

There is more to towing a caravan than just driving a car.

I am a commercial driver, and I have seen accidents caused by inexperienced caravanners.

Caravanning is a fantastic lifestyle ... it's a great way to see our country, meet new friends and do some wonderful things.

It should be safe for everyone.

Concerned Nomad.


Grandparents and children perish


Crystal Brook fatal caravan crash

By Dennis Amor

TWO children and their grandparents died in an horrific smash involving a truck and station wagon towing a caravan. The vehicles crashed head-on south of Crystal Brook on the Augusta Highway in South Australia's mid north. Police said all four occupants in the Subaru a 70-year-old man, 69-year-old woman and two girls aged five and 10, all from Adelaide died at the scene. The 52-year-old truck driver was airlifted to Royal Adelaide Hospital with critical injuries. Three of his passengers ‒ a man aged 50 and two women aged 42 ‒ were taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The caravan exploded on impact, littering the highway with debris. Witnesses who ran to help said there was little they could do. "It was a pretty big mess," one truckie told media. "There was a truck on the side and the car was more or less caught underneath the front of it. The caravan was spread all over the road." Another said: "It was terrible. The car was unrecognisable and debris was spread for metres." There were reports the caravan was "swaying" before the crash on a straight stretch of the 110km/hr highway. Social media was running hot with tributes to the victims. "So sad with the school holidays only just started," wrote one mother on Facebook. "My condolences to the family involved. Life will never be the same for them." The girls' mother told the Adelaide Advertiser that it would have been their first holiday away in their grandparents' caravan. "It was a special trip. We said goodbye to them in the morning and we took them over to Nanna and Papou’s with their bags," she said. "They were on an adventure." Have your say

Figures soar to new heights


Have your say

THE popularity of caravanning and camping is soaring to new heights, particularly in New South Wales.

Recent figures revealed that last year the state's caravan parks and camping grounds enjoyed their busiest time ever.

"It's been a great year with more than 14.2 million visitor nights spent in caravan or camping accommodation," jubilant Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said.

'Families enjoying traditional getaway'

"It is clear from the latest industry data, released by Tourism Research Australia, along with what we hear from our own members, that families are loving a traditional Aussie caravan and camping getaway."

She said similar reports were coming out of Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

"Our member parks offer amenities which appeal to families, including water slides and playgrounds, mini golf, cafes and restaurants, and kids clubs.

"There are also terrific cabins and safari-style tents on site for families who prefer the added convenience of these options."

Ms Gray said caravan and campervan registrations increased nationally by over 5 percent last year to well over 580,000, making the caravan and camping the fastest growing vehicle registration type for six consecutive years.

The upcoming Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow, to be held from April 9 to 17 at Rosehill Racecourse, was "an excellent way" to see all the latest products and experiences the industry has to offer, she added.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Caravan Parks Association reported that more than 85 percent of Australians have been on a caravanning or camping holiday at least once in their lives.

"More than ever they are returning to share these wonderful experiences with their families," chief executive Elizabeth White said.

Injection of capital and major restructure

Crusader Caravans back in business

Story-photo: Dennis Amor

Caravan number plateCRUSADER Caravans, which went into voluntary administration last month, is back in business. According to reports, the Victorian-based company has undergone a complete restructure after an injection of capital and the introduction of new ownership and management. "Crusader Caravans is poised to cement its place as one of Australia’s leading caravan brands," the Crusader Owners Club says on its Facebook page. "With the committed support of its employees, its national dealer network and major component suppliers, Crusader is ready to meet the strong demand for the new range of 2016 Crusader Caravans." Founded 15 years ago by company director Serge Valentino, Crusader employs about 60 staff. It found itself in trouble last year when one its caravans ran foul of the law for having a registration plate mounted 30cm too high. Its flabbergasted owner copped a $415 fine and three demerit points after being stopped by police in NSW. Crusader offered to pay for other illegally positioned plates to be remounted. The company is highly regarded as a quality caravan builder while maintaining competitive pricing. It has dealerships in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW and offers 18 models through six ranges.   Have your say

Casterton, Victoria ... RV-friendly

Picturesque rolling hills and farms

Casterton gains RV-friendly status

CASTERTON in Victoria is among the latest towns to become RV-friendly. located on the Glenelg Highway 42km east of the South Australian border, Casterton has a population of around 2000 and is surrounded by picturesque rolling hills and sheep, cattle and dairy farms. The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia says travellers can now stay free of charge for up to a month at the Ess Lagoon campground on McPherson Street. A dump point and drinking water are available at the nearby Island Park Caravan Park. Attractions in the area include the 40m high Bilstons Tree and ancient granite boulders called Baileys Rocks. Meanwhile, the small country town of Heywood on the Fitzroy River, 352km south-west of Melbourne, is offering a 48hr free stay at its campsite on Hunter Street East. Have your say

Boroma caravan

Boroma tradition lives on

Roamers plan annual get-together

OWNERS of Boroma caravans past and present are still working hard keeping the defunct caravan manufacturer's name alive. Members of the Boroma Roamers are planning a five-day rally at Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands from August 11. Up to 30 caravans are expected to assemble for the gathering which will see a packed programme of events. These include a happy hour and dinner, a planned tag-a-long tour of the Tablelands, BYO dinner and lots of story-swapping sessions. For Roamers who can't make the trip north to Yungaburra, there will be a week-long mini-rally at Casino, NSW, beginning October 10. Historically, the annual rally was organised by Boroma staff and always held within a three-hour drive of their former factory at Yatala north of the Gold Coast. The idea was that the bosses could display the latest models and ideas. But when Boroma went into liquidation in 2008 a loyal band of enthusiasts formed the Boroma Roamers, with members upholding the annual rally tradition ever since. Have your say

Comments sought on free-camping plan
GRANT Council in SA is seeking comments on proposals to provide short-term camping areas for travellers.
"The number of visitors to the region with self-contained motorhomes and caravans has been rapidly growing," Mayor Richard Sage said. "These visitors generally refuse to stay in caravan parks and are known to move through districts without stopping if free camping sites are not provides, taking their spending money with them." Sites under consideration are Tarpeena Recreation Reserve, Little Blue Lake, Mt Schank Carpark, Carpenter Rocks Recreation Reserve, Brown Bay Carpark, Donovan's Recreational Reserve, Port MacDonnell Cap Northumberland carparks and Port MacDonnell Clarke Picnic Reserve. Have your say

Coromal's first ever slide-outCoromal releases its first ever slide-out
AFTER nearly 40 years in the caravan manufacturing business, Coromal has released its first ever slide-out.
The extra space in the new Element 661 model helps accommodate an east-west queen bed and improvements to the interior. Fleetwood Corporation's RV division, which also builds the Windsor range of caravans, said the new slide-out model, which costs under $80,000, was in response to the growing demand for slide-outs in the Australian market. More button

Park's future in doubt
THE end could be in sight for Arrawarra Beach's caravan park in NSW.
The family-owned Astoria Group wants to subdivide the holiday park into 24 residential lots. It has submitted a development application to Coffs Harbour City Council. Holidaymakers have been enjoying the seaside caravan park which offers a wide range of accommodation including luxury villas, cabins, powered and unpowered sites since the 1930s. Have your say

Victorian caravanning and camping showVictoria's supershow a 'spectacular success'
ORGANISERS of last month's caravan show at Melbourne Showgrounds have dubbed it a "spectacular success".
Tens of thousands of enthusiasts flocked to the Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, which was making its second appearance at the venue. During its six-day run, a total of 50,418 visitors were inspired to 'Go Make Some Memories' as they enjoyed the best that the industry has to offer. Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren officially opened the show and spoke about the importance and growth of the caravan industry in the state. More button

Candidates' call has locals scratching their heads
RESIDENTS of a small Queensland town are scratching their heads after candidates in recent council elections called for an RV-friendly stopover.
Paul Bongioletti and Ross Peddlesden's electioneering included demands for more facilities at Gin Gin, which straddles the busy Bruce Highway in the state's south-east. But baffled locals were quick to point out it already offers a large rest area with extensive facilities, a budget-priced showground, caravan park, information centre and dump point. More button

Award-winners join Top Parks
THE recently rebranded Top Parks chain has signed up four more caravan parks.
Western Australia’s Kimberleyland Holiday Park and the Nambucca River Tourist Park in New South Wales have joined the group. Both are award winners and offer a waterfront location. Also joining the chain were Rest Point Holiday Village in Walpole, WA, and Windsor Gardens Caravan Park in the Adelaide suburb of Windsor Gardens, SA. With more than 203 member parks across Australia, Top Parks says it is the largest group of independent parks nationally. Have your say

Roebuck Bay Caravan ParkPlea to retain park as low-cost holiday destination
COMMUNITY members have pleaded with the Shire of Broome in WA to retain Roebuck Caravan Park as a low-cost holiday destination.
The call was the general theme among 103 submissions received by the council on redeveloping the park. A report to councillors said the current lease would expire in December, 2017, and the council needed "to be mindful" of expending funds which would be redundant if significant redevelopment occurred. More button

Hitch-pins theft could have been 'catastrophic'
CARAVANNERS have been warned to check their hitch-pins before every trip.
The alert follows a potentially deadly theft at a NSW caravan park where pins were stolen from towbars, causing one caravan to become detached as it left Myall Shores Holiday Park at Bombah Point. "This could have had catastrophic consequences, particularly had it happened at speed and in traffic," a police spokesman told Caravanning News. The victim took to Facebook to explain what happened. "We only made it just outside the park gate to have our caravan and towbar hitch collapse on to the road," he wrote. "This happened as a result of some low-life stealing the pin and clip out of our car's tow hitch." A quick check of other towbars at the park revealed that other pins had been stolen. Caravanners have now been urged to use lockable hitch-pins and carry out regular checks. Have your say

Gerry Ryan, Jayco

Market 'best' for 40 years

Industry on a roll, says Jayco supremo

CARAVAN manufacturing is on a roll, according to the boss of Australia's biggest RV builder. Jayco supremo Gerry Ryan told media: "This is the best I have seen the market in 40 years." His Victorian production lines are expected to pour nearly 12,000 caravans, camper trailers, poptops and motorhomes worth about $600 million onto our roads this year. In fact, Jayco which has a 1200-plus workforce accounts for almost 50 percent of RVs sold in Australia. Mr Ryan believes the government should allow more camping in national parks and allocate more land to cope with the soaring number of caravanners and campers in the face of caravan parks being sold off for redevelopment. Have your say

Major caravan supershow at Rosehill RacecourseExhibitors busy preparing for major show
HUNDREDS of exhibitors are busy preparing for this month's major RV and camping show in Sydney.
The annual Caravan, Camping and Holiday Supershow will feature NSW's most comprehensive line-up of all things caravan and camping. To be held at Rosehill Racecourse from April 9 to 17, the event will see over 300 exhibitors showcasing all the latest brands and products. More button

Tassie ferries warning
OPERATORS of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries are working with caravan groups to ensure caravanners are not stranded on the Apple Isle.
Despite an increase in sailings, reports reveal that there is no room on the ferries to the mainland until next month. The problem has been compounded by a decision to abandon a regular day service because it is now regarded as 'off-peak'. TT Line chief executive Bernard Dwyer told the ABC that his company was working with caravan associations around Australia to warn about the backlogs. "At certain parts of the year it's risky to think you'll be able to get spots on the ferry with a day or two's notice," he warned. Have your say

Caravan loses roof in low-bridge encounter
CARAVANNERS have been urged to check their height of their rigs after an accident in Victoria.
A hapless traveller lost the roof of his caravan after it was peeled off "like a tin of sardines" when the man attempted to squeeze under a low railway bridge in Geelong, police said. Debris was strewn over Brougham Street but no one was hurt. "It is important for drivers to know their height of their caravans before negotiating low bridges," a police spokesman said. Have your say

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Letter man

Beach camping banned at
Norval Park

Illegal campers at Norval Park

DUE to feral campers, the beautiful free camping area along the beach at Norval Park in Queensland, owned by Bundaberg Sugar, has been closed permanently.

Long-term campers and turtle watchers were regularly threatened by locals.

People defecated anywhere they liked and trail bikes screamed through camp sites and along the beach with very loud exhausts creating a high possibility of an accident.

Drug-taking seemed to be very prevalent amongst some campers.

Others drove their 4WDs over the dunes, destroying the fragile environment.

Police were called regularly due to abnormal behaviour of some.

This wonderful natural area has to be off limits until some sort of authority can be put in place ... all because some people are stupid and ruin it for the majority of good campers.


Manufacturers appear to
lack confidence

INTERESTING story from the Caravan Council of Australia last month on self-certification by manufacturers (see here).

The number of caravans running around with illegally placed number plates is a testament to this problem.

If manufacturers cannot get this simple point correct then what else have they got wrong?

The allowable weight limit for loading personal items is also another area which needs attention.

The 300/400kg allowance when a 'van has two 80/90 litre water tanks, plus a couple of gas bottles, hot water service and large fridge, is almost a guarantee the 'van will be overloaded.

Another area is warranties.

A 12-month warranty on a 'van, which in many cases will only be used two or three months in a year, is ridiculous.

Even car manufacturers, with vastly more complicated products, can offer three years.

It would appear that Australian caravan manufacturers have no confidence in their build quality.

Alan Johnston.

Families and parks

THE item about the poll on caravanners' ages was interesting (see story here)

We spent a couple of days in a popular tourist park on the Gold Coast in mid-December.

There were lots and lots of families with kids in the park and they fully occupied the three pools.

Knowing the rates those families were paying to be there, I too would expect to find jumping pillows and all the trimmings.

Caravan parks will only invest in equipment that is going to give them a return.

If you don't like paying for the facilities they have ... don't stay there.

Bob Taylor.