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April 2017

Monthly readership: 19,000 to 24,000
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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

Three new parks have joined the ever-growing Kui chain. They are the Red Cliffs Caravan Park at Mildura, Four Seasons Holiday Park at Busselton and Mt Larcom Caravan Park near Rockhampton.

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

* Shock as Cell Caravans cease to trade ... 35,763 people reached.

* Jail for man who raped woman in caravan park amenities block ... 30,779 people reached.

* Free swimming vouchers for park guests ... 11,168 people reached.

* Caravan rolls on Bruce Hwy near Gympie ... 11,122 people reached.

* Star ratings system to be axed ... 11,080 people reached.

* Dealer wins industry accreditation key ... 9943 people reached.

* $150,000 facelift for Tiaro rest area ... 6514 people reached.


Employee laments Cell collapse

AS a former employee of Melbourne Caravan Centre, I am a victim of the company's collapse (see story here).

Neither myself or any other employee knew the magnitude of what was to eventuate.

We were shocked in disbelief that the closure was sudden and swift.

The moment we knew that the end was near, myself and the other sales person immediately advised customers of the impeding closure.

We advised them not to lodge any deposit until it was viable and safe to do so.

Fortunately for all Coromal and Windsor customers they are protected by Fleetwood and all orders taken will be honoured.

Unfortunately, this is not the same fate for Cell customers.

All employees are victims, losing thousands in unpaid superannuation and entitlements.

We can only hope that obligations will be met and debts paid to all victims.

Geoff Gauci.


I AM another who was stung by leaving a deposit on a second-hand caravan.

I left a $1300 deposit in January and when the finance didn't work out I contacted the sales lady in Feb/Mar and requested our deposit be returned.

She did say she wasn't sure if the boss would do it, but I still expected to see it back on my credit card statement the following month.

When the current statement arrived and no sign of any part of a deposit returned, I called the number only to discover they were no longer in business.

Onto the internet where I discovered the Caravanning News piece on their demise.

I would like to think I would get something back, but am realistic enough to know that I have probably said goodbye to my money.

One wonders when they are likely to get in touch ... wonít hold my breath waiting.

Gill Reid.

No indication

THANK goodness we didn't put our deposit on our new Cell caravan.

But like many people who had dealings with Amy from Cell, there was no indication of a problem.

Debbie Chirichilli.


Great respect
for Fleetwood

LAST month's article on Fleetwood's half-yearly results was interesting (see story here).

We own a Coromal caravan and although the company from which we bought it went broke, another dealer took on all our warranty issues.

We have great respect for this company.

We have had our 'van for three years and the only thing we should have done was bought a smaller one.

We have watched Fleetwood with great interest.

For a while its focus was on building dongas for the mining industry, but since that industry's decline it seems like Fleetwood's focus is back on caravans.







Caravan safety checks at Bundaberg

'One of best things we have ever done'

Free safety inspections for caravans proving popular

CARAVANNING Queensland's free safety inspections for caravans and other RVs are proving extremely popular. The state's peak caravanning body has now checked more than 500 RVs in conjunction with the Queensland Transport and Main Roads Department and Queensland Gas Inspectorate. RVs were weighed and measured, gas connections checked and experts handed out advice on safety. "We do this as a community service and people really appreciate it," chief executive Ron Chapman told Caravanning News. "It's one of the best things we have ever done. There's absolutely no commercial advantage for us because it's a totally free service." To read details and see photographs from the latest round of checks, held at Bundaberg, click on the 'more' button.  

Happy times at caravan parkBy Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVAN parks and camping grounds enjoyed an unprecedented boom in business last year, new figures reveal.

Data shows the highest recorded annual growth in overnight stays since records began in 1998.

Caravan parks and commercial camping grounds saw increases of 12 percent to 33.3 million nights, according to Tourism Research Australia's national visitor survey.

And the number of nights spent at non-commercial caravan parks and camping grounds soared 22 percent to 18.3 million.

The welcome growth is being experienced in every state and territory across the country, highlighting the significant role played by the sector in Australia's tourism industry.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said the figures represented many consecutive periods of growth in total overnight caravan and camping trips nationally.

"The current global environment seems to be encouraging more Australians to travel at home, benefiting local economies and regions right across the country," he said.

Chairman of the 4500-member Australian Caravan Club Craig Humphrey believed the figures reflected the growing number of caravans and other RVs out on the road.

"There are over 620,000 registered RVs in Australia, with an estimated 120,000 on the road at any one time," he said.

"The RVer is becoming a valuable commodity in the survival of many regional towns.

"Many councils and chambers of commerce underestimate the economic value of having affordable and accessible caravan parks and budget freedom camps in their communities."

NSW Caravan & Camping Industry Association chief executive Lyndel Gray said caravan and camping holidays across the nation now accounted for over 50 million nights, with NSW contributing 33 percent to that success.

"These figures are outstanding, and are reflective of the wide range of caravan and camping experiences on offer," she said.

Growth was also being stimulated by innovative RV products being continually produced by the industry.

Debbie unleashes her furyBIG4 reveals status in wake of Debbie
BIG4 has provided updates on the state of its parks in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.
Some within Queensland and NSW were badly impacted by the recent storm, including six in the region where the ferocious cyclone made landfall. Many coastal parks were evacuated before Debbie hit, leaving a damages bill estimated to be in the billions. Some are still struggling to recover from the destruction caused by the torrential rains and fierce winds which made their way down the Queensland coast and into NSW. It even reached the Bay of Plenty township of Edgecumbe on New Zealand's north island. More button

Police on engraving missionCops on engraving mission
VOLUNTEERS In Policing and the Crime Prevention unit have called at caravan parks on Queensland's Fraser Coast to take property security to a new level ... by offering guests free engraving.
This follows a spate of thefts at local caravan parks. Officers have visited Pialba Beachfront, Scarness and Torquay caravan parks. "What better way to increase police presence and also increase property security than to walk through, have a chat and offer free engraving to the happy campers," a police spokesperson said. "After a few mixed reactions, usually most were 'Oh, is everything ok officer?', and establishing the reasons for our visit, mostly all were very keen to have their property engraved. One gentleman in particular from Brisbane had his chairs, kayak and paddle and BBQ engraved and finished off with some prevention stickers for outside his caravan." Have your say

Camping prohibited signNew instant fines for Spit campers
NEW on-the-spot fines will help clean up illegal campers and rubbish dumpers at the Gold Coast's Spit.
The Queensland Government has announced that Gold Coast Waterway Authority employees can now issue instant fines of up to $120 in Doug Jennings Park for a range of offences including illegal parking, littering, and lighting fires. "This is waterfront parkland that should be there for everyone to enjoy without being overrun by illegal campers and rubbish, " Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said. More button

ACC Chairman's MusterTown benefits from caravanners' muster
AUSTRALIA'S major caravan club has poured tens of thousands of dollars into a small Queensland town's economy.
Nearly 200 members in 96 RVs descended on Kingaroy's showgrounds for the Australian Caravan Club's Chairman's Muster. And figures revealed they spent around $51,000 at local businesses during their five-day event. "This shows that towns and localities that can attract RVers can really benefit economically from the RV community," club chairman Craig Humphrey said. More button

Show will commemorate fallen soldiers
THIS month's annual caravan show at NSW's Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney will honour all Australians who served and died in war and while on operational service.
Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray said the six-day Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow would open on ANZAC Day (April 25), with a special commemorative ceremony at 11am. The association would also be supporting RSL DefenceCare in its fundraising activities. Have your say

Last-ditch e-petition to save iconic park
A LAST-DITCH petition to Queensland Government to save Mooloolaba's iconic beachfront caravan park on the Sunshine Coast has attracted more than 1600 signatures.
The popular 34-site Mooloolaba Esplanade Beach Holiday Park with million-dollar views over the Pacific Ocean is destined to be bulldozed to make way for parkland and a public walkway. But opponents claim the short-term plan is to transform the site into a carpark because of Sunshine Coast Regional Council financial constraints. The battlers have now launched a formal Queensland Parliament e-petition. More button

Theo WhitmontPeak body announces new caravan expo for Sydney
NEW South Wales' peak caravanning industry body has announced the launch of a new consumer expo to be held at Sydney Showground.
The Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW said the four-day event would be held at Sydney Olympic Park from November 3 to 6 and will feature a full range of the latest RVs, holiday spots and products. President Theo Whitmont (pictured) said the news comes at an excellent time for the industry due to major construction works happening at its Penrith Expo venue, making it impossible to hold that show there this year. More button

Dump dollars aid firefighters
A WEST Australian caravan park has raised hundreds of dollars for its local firefighters, thanks to its dump point.
The facility at the 85-site Collie River Valley Tourist Park is the only one in town ... and a blessing for passing caravanners with full toilets. Park manager Patrick Honeywill decided to ask them for a donation to use it. So far, it has produced more than $400 which has been passed on to the grateful bush fire service which will use the money to buy fire blankets for volunteers. Have your say

Apollo Bay Holiday ParkApollo named GOR's top park
APOLLO Bay Holiday Park has been voted number one park on Victoria's Great Ocean Road.
The accolade came in Time to Roam magazine's recent survey which asked readers to name their favourite destination and holiday park. The iconic Great Ocean Road was voted the fourth most popular spot in Australia, with Apollo Bay Holiday Park taking the honors for being its top park. Owner-operator Bruce Flak was "proud" to receive the award in an incredibly competitive category in an ever expanding region. "The success is a credit to our entire team," he said. "Their enthusiasm and dedication allows us to offer the best possible experience for our guests." Have your say

Hinterland Caravans in new elite partnership
AWARD-winning caravan manufacturer Elite Caravans has signed a long-term distribution deal with Hinterland Caravans in Queensland and New South Wales, to sell their caravans.
Elite's co-owners Adrian Cappola and Peter Smith were both "pleased" about the new partnership. It would increase the brand's presence and visibility to new and current customers in both states, they said. Winner of the 2013 and 2015 Caravan Manufacturer of the Year titles, Elite claims to be the only caravan manufacturer in the world to be featured on the Discovery Channel. Have your say

Safe Towing's ball weight calculatorHorror purchase spawns Safe Towing
WHEN John Blake hauled his brand new dream caravan out of the dealer's yard, little did he know he was breaking the law.
The $90,000 caravan appeared very heavy, swayed and was very difficult to un-hitch from his Jeep GC Overland. It didn't take him long to come up with an explanation ... the RV's ball weight was grossly overrated. And it cost him dearly in legal fees to get matters put right. "Our dreams have been shattered and we no longer have the faith in the caravan industry that we used to have," he said. Mr Blake has now launched his Safe Towing business to help fellow caravanners, particularly unsuspecting caravan buyers, from suffering the same fate at the hands of "cavalier caravan dealers". And he hopes his newly developed $20 ball weight calculator, which can be used before buying a caravan, will help. More button

Red letter day for Fraser Coast's new RV-friendly city
MARYBOROUGH on the edge of Queensland's busy Bruce Highway is now officially RV-friendly.
The Fraser Coast city hopes its new status will help capture a bigger slice of the grey nomad market. Councillor Paul Truscott described it as "a red letter day" for the community. "It recognises the hard work of the community committee that has been working with council to make this happen," he said. Mayor Chris Croft commented: "We are a welcoming community and I hope people take the time to drop on down to the RV sites at Brownies Carpark in the CBD or the one at the airport to say hello and let them know about the stories and attractions of Maryborough." With the self-contained RV tourism market estimated to be worth more than $2.5 billion annually, Maryborough believes it is now well-positioned to access this lucrative tourism market. Have your say

Dogs at Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan ParkCanines to be given run of Anglesea park
DOGS will be given the run, so to speak, of Victoria's Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park from next month.
The Top Parks member has decided to lift the rule which restricts them to a specially designated dog-friendly camping area at the rear of the park. Manager Justin Morris said canines would now be welcome on all caravan and camping sites from May to September. "Over recent years we have tried to accommodate guests travelling with dogs in a limited way," he explained. "We also added two pet-friendly cabins which are constantly booked out. However, due to restrictions on our lease arrangement, we could never welcome pets in the way really wanted. We are dog owners ourselves and we know how hard it is to leave pets behind when you go on holidays." Dogs will have to be kept on a lead at all times and will not allowed into buildings, cabins, playgrounds or the fenced jumping pillow and pool areas. The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee will take over the park at the end of its lease on December 1. Have your say

Gold Coast Caravan and Camping ExpoOverjoyed exhibitors make $10 million in sales at expo
OVERJOYED businesses chalked up more than $10 million in sales at the recent Gold Coast Caravan and Camping Expo, it has been revealed.
Caravanning Queensland described the three-day event as a 'van-tastic success', with more than 12,000 visitors. Enthusiasts bought around 200 caravans and other RVs as 106 exhibitors showcased everything from top-of-the-line caravans and motorhomes through to affordable camper trailers and camping equipment. More button

Mayor promises warm welcome for caravanners
MORE than 500 caravanners are expected to swoop on the small town of Goondiwindi in Queensland for the Caravan Clubs of Queensland's 40th state rally.
And local mayor Graeme Scheu has promised a warm welcome. "It will be such a pleasure to welcome this group of explorers and friends back to Goondiwindi, as well as hopefully some new faces," he said. "I know Goondiwindi with its abundance of facilities combined with our country welcome from all locals, will make this a memorable journey." The club last held its rally in Goondiwindi in 2006. Based on its 2015 state rally, this year's weeklong gathering beginning September 18 is likely to generate over $350,000 for the local economy. Have your say

CARAVAN number platePeak body creates envy on a plate
Photo: Dennis Amor
CARAVANNING Queensland bosses turn a few heads when they hit the highways and byways in the company car.
Its special and coveted number plate 'CARAVAN' attracts more than its fair share of attention. Many envious caravanners would no doubt give their eyeteeth to sport it on their own rig. Caravanning News recently spotted the plate on the peak body's Izuzu 4x4, with chief executive Ron Chapman (pictured left) at the wheel. He said: "The plate was bought nearly 10 years ago for $2900. The Izuzu is usually driven by our general manager, Jason Plant."  Have your say

Jeff Dowling joins Fleetwood board
FLEETWOOD Corporation, builders of Coromal and Windsor caravans, has appointed Jeff Dowling as a non-executive member of its board.
He is described as a highly experienced corporate leader with over 40 years' experience in professional services with Ernst & Young and as a non-executive director on both listed and unlisted corporations. He is currently chairman of S2 Resources and audit chairman for NRW Holdings Ltd. Mr Dowling is also a non-executive director for the non-profit Telethon Kids Institute and chairman of unlisted St Andrews Insurance, a subsidiary of the Bank of Queensland. Have your say

Tasman HighwayTassie's east coast highway a concern to RVers
CONCERNED caravanners have called on the Tasmanian government to improve the Apple Isle's popular east coast highway.
Lyn Gladman raised the issue after a caravan trip along the coastal route and talking to other caravanners. And the problem was again thrown into prominence recently after a crash involving a caravan and 4WD closed the Hobart-bound lanes of the Tasman Highway between Cambridge and Mornington. More button

Host farm and caravan park plan rejected
VICTORIA'S Greater Shepparton Council has rejected plans for a new caravan park on flood-prone farming land at Kialla.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal had already decided that no permit should be issued. It was hoped to build a host farm and store, restaurant and a caravan park incorporating 22 accommodation pods and 10 caravan sites on land zoned for farming. A council report said it had been acknowledged that the application included agricultural elements including goat, chicken and pig rearing and cropping. But, it added, the proposal was largely unrelated to agriculture and would permanently remove land from agricultural production. It believed the development was primarily for accommodation which was unrelated to agriculture. Have your say

Caravanner's golden ticket comes up trumpsGrey nomad happy to receive ticket from booze cops
COPS had no hesitation in dishing out a ticket when they pulled over a caravanner in Queensland.
They were conducting roadside breath-tests on the Bruce Highway near Halifax when the grey nomad was breathalysed. The avid and experienced traveller passed with flying colours, but was delighted to still receive a ticket, which landed him a free television and sound system.

Prize win for supershow visitor
THE Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow at the Melbourne Showgrounds attracted 50,613 visitors, its organisers said.
Soaring temperatures during the six-day event did not deter enthusiasts. "It was an exceptionally busy period, but it was great that the weather was brilliant for the preparation before and during the supershow," Caravan Industry Association Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said. For one visitor it proved to be an exceptionally successful experience, winning first prize of a $53,000 caravan in the Passport for Freedom competition. More button

Australian Caravan Club weigh-inMuster members pull their weight
AUSTRALIAN Caravan Club branches were pulling their weight at a recent muster in Victoria.
About 20 caravans belonging to members of the East Gippsland Roadrunners and Gippsland Gypsies subjected their rigs to police and VicRoads representatives for a "tug-and-van" weigh-in. Members had loaded their RVs to full capacity to simulate an extended trip rather than just a few days away for a branch muster. Generators were packed onboard and water tanks and gas bottles filled to capacity. "While some of our members' caravans failed to meet their legal weights in one or more areas, for most, all that was required was a reconfiguration of how they carried their load," a club spokesperson said. "They left the muster with a far better understanding of towing weights." No infringements were issued during the public relations and educational exercise. Have your say

Kui captures two more parks
TWO more caravan parks have joined the growing Kui Parks chain.
Diamond Waters Caravan Park is located on the shores of Camden Haven River on the Mid North Coast of NSW at Dunbogan. Meanwhile, Killarney Sundown Motel Tourist Park east of Warwick in Queensland is close to the Queen Mary Falls in the Main Range National Park. Have your say

Richard EmersonEmerson takes over reins at Top Parks
TOP Parks' chairman Richard Emerson will take on the role of executive chairman in a group restructure.
Meanwhile, chief executive Stuart Livingstone is leaving to "pursue other interests". Mr Emerson will lead an executive management committee comprising members of the board in the move which, Top Parks said, would further strengthen the groupís day-to-day management team. "This will strengthen Top Parks' focus on representing and advocating the business interests of our 200-plus members during a period of change for the accommodation and hospitality sectors," Mr Emerson said. Have your say

Club aims to recruit 1000 new members
THE Australian Caravan Club will launch a year-long campaign to attract a thousand new members.
"The more members we have, the more influence we will have when lobbying caravan manufacturers and all levels of government for the betterment of all RVers," chairman Craig Humphrey said. The membership drive will begin next month. Supporting material will include new branch banners, beer coasters, magnetic car signs and bumper stickers. Members will receive a $25 fuel voucher for each new one they recruit. "A lot of work is also being done to increase member benefits to attract new members, and to encourage membership retention," Mr Humphrey added. The nationwide club already boasts a membership of around 4500. Have your say

Belfast Cove holiday parkName change for Belfast Cove
BELFAST Cove Holiday Park has changed its name to Port Fairy Holiday Park to emphasise its location in regional Victoria.
Owner-operator Rebecca Holt said it needed an identity which gave better positioning in the marketplace and region. "Belfast Cove is well known locally but unfortunately does not stretch to areas outside our municipality," she said. "Everything, other than the name, will remain the same." Have your say

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Letter man

Gobsmacked at mini-charger being used to start engine

I AM gobsmacked after reading your story about a Mini Jump Starter owner suffering serious burns (see story here).

Going by the image, the appliance is intended more for mobile phones rather any form of vehicle engine, let alone a diesel.

Having been in the trade for 50 years I have seen some strange things happen, but this seems to take the cake.

There are many lessons to be learned.

A 4WD starter will have a current draw of up to 400-500 amps or more

At 12000 mAh, that 'jump-starter' is pushed to provide no more than 12 amps for an hour.

Connecting it to an starter motor is nothing more than a dead short, and that is why it got so very hot.

Look at the size of the cables between a car battery and a starter motor.

They need to be that size to carry the current required, not the small wires on that poorly named and obviously dangerously misleading mini 'jump-starter'.

I am here to warn everyone who has one of these kits to be cautious ... buy decent automotive equipment, not phone chargers!

Dennis Wood.

Seeing red over grey water tanks

I WOULD like to comment on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula councils being urged to work together (see story here).

I rang the information centre and was advised that because we were not a motorhome we couldn't stay at their two free facilities.

It said we didn't have grey water tanks etc.

Maybe it should firstly understand that some caravans do have tanks now. And secondly that most of us opt not to have them.

But we will not pay $10 for no facilities at all and have people be rude to us.

Caravanners are the majority of RVers on the road and will take our money elsewhere.