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December 2018

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DEC 30:
Caravan rollover on Queensland's Bruce Hwy south of Eden Lassie Road intersection near Bowen. Emergency services on scene.

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


* Gundagai caravan park opens weighbridge ... 89,865 people reached.

* Caravanners still squeezing trucks out of rest areas ... 59,028 people reached.

* Queensland hunt for missing 74yo caravanner ... 45,639 people reached

* Colorado Caravans in voluntary administration ... 31,771 people reached.

* Pain at fuel pumps for caravanners ... 27,796 people reached.

* Parks association wins battle to ban free overnights at Rockhampton's Kershaw Gardens ... 19,602 people reached.

* Grey nomad scoops cool $1 million in Lotto draw ... 17,147


Nothing too much trouble for Colorado

COLORADO Caravans are having problems and I hope they are able to work through them and continue trading.

They are by far the best quality caravan we have owned.

Nothing has ever been too much trouble for Colorado.

An excellent caravan and we wish them all the best.



I AM at Surf Beach Holiday Park Kiama in NSW and heard it will be closing early next year for development work.

A plan of development on this Crown Land site shows the trend for cabin accommodation, being increased from 24 to 35.

But caravan/tent sites will decrease from 39 to 19.

Currently the caravan sites are sloping and some are small, but really why is there not a better balance?

Slowly but surely, caravan/tents/camper trailers are being pushed out.

Ann Lynch.





Parks association had 'no alternative' but to take action

Kershaw Gardens signRockhampton council ordered to pay legal costs for Kershaw Gardens case

By Dennis Amor

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council has been ordered to pay the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland's legal costs following the Kershaw Gardens ruling. The Environment and Planning Court had upheld the association's argument that overnight camping offered by the council at the gardens was illegal and ruled it must cease on February 15 next year. Judge Williamson has now decided the council should foot the association's legal costs, which still have to be assessed. He rejected the council's submission they should be limited to 50 percent. In his ruling just published, he said the association had "no alternative" but to take proceedings against the council. "The council's conduct leading up to, and during the proceeding, was not consistent with its position as a local government who would be expected to comply with the planning law it is charged to uphold," he said. "This has come at a cost that would not have been incurred had the council acted in accordance with the planning law it has a duty to uphold in its local government area." The Judge said he had "some misgivings" about the council's conduct leading up to and during the proceedings. "However, it is unnecessary for me to make any specific findings about this," he added. Have your say

Rogue caravan manufacturers put on notice


Stuart LamontBy Dennis Amor
Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S peak caravanning body has welcomed new laws which it claims will transform the industry.

The new Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA) which will come into force next year  ̶  has navigated its final hurdle through the Senate after five years of lobbying by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

Chairman Grant Wilckens said it would put local RV manufacturers and importers on "a level playing field".

And chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) believes it will result in safer caravanning products and provide better conditions for industry businesses burdened with having to compete with cheap imported products flouting tough Australian standards and design rules.

"Australians will be better protected through the strengthening of the laws governing all vehicles, including trailers," he said.

He also welcomed increased powers for the government to slap penalties on businesses doing the wrong thing.

'RVSA will provide much safer and compliant caravans'

"The RVSA will provide much safer and compliant caravans and campers as well as other light trailers while maintaining consumer choice of both products manufactured locally as well as those sourced overseas," he added.

Mr Lucas said there were over 57 million nights spent caravanning and camping last year.

"When the RVSA takes effect those purchasing caravanning products can have even greater confidence in terms of safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of all vehicles (including trailers) entering the Australian market for the first time ... whether new or used." Mr Lamont said.

The new legislation will also see better identification of caravanning products and a consistent approach to those made locally or imported.

"The increasing demand for the caravanning and camping lifestyle in Australia, which has an estimated annual value of $20.4 billion to the Australian economy, is built around consumer confidence in the product and having the highest safety standards," Mr Lamont said.

"One caravan accident is one caravan accident too many, and the more steps we can put in place to provide better outcomes for Australian caravanners the better.

"Industry businesses who consistently ignore their obligations under Australian Design Rules should not be supplying product to the market, and they are put on notice of increased scrutiny against any such practices," he warned.

What new RVSA will mean to caravan industry

Companies suffer downturn in orders

Manufacturers hit troubled times

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S caravanning industry is reeling, with manufacturers falling on troubled times in recent weeks. The days when hordes of cashed-up baby boomers were hitting the road in their brand new luxury touring caravans seem to be over as companies report a downturn in orders. Customline Caravans, which entered the market three years ago and was founded by the former owners of failed Galaxy Caravans, is being wound up, with liquidators appointed. The company's Mark Burns told Caravanning News after its launch in 2015 that he was looking at producing high quality caravans with new features. Galaxy went into receivership after debtors failed to pay debts to the company. "Due to that we lost our beloved Galaxy brand name," Mr Burns said. "But we as family have moved onwards and upwards. We have started our new journey again to rebuild caravans, with fresh new exciting ideas." Creditors of family-owned and operated Colorado Caravans, which is in voluntary administration, will hold a second meeting on December 4 to discuss the company's future. Owner and managing director Jim Moutsia told Caravanning News it was hoped to save the business. "We are doing all we can to continue into the future," he said. Founded 12 years ago, Billabong Custom Caravans is now in external administration. The shock news came as the Victorian-based company was advertising for experienced caravan workers to join its team. The company manufactures quality, handmade custom caravans at its Campbellfield factory and more recently appeared to be concentrating on the family market. Family-owned Diamond Caravans, which had been trading for around 10 years, has closed and is in liquidation. A meeting of creditors decided the Victorian company should be wound up. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation has made an application to the Federal Court for Coach Built Caravans to be wound up and liquidators have been appointed for Blackburn Caravans following an order by the NSW Supreme Court.

Rear view mirror

Keep close eye on rear-view mirrors

Cops urge caravanners to show
courtesy to other road users

QUEENSLAND police have urged caravanners to drive carefully and show courtesy to other road users during the festive holiday season. This follows an accident on the New England Highway at Glenaven when a caravan and its towing vehicle overturned after hitting a depression in the road. Six people were taken to hospital with various non-life threatening injuries. Crows Nest Police Sergeant Greg Dawes said both vehicles were destroyed in the accident. "This year we have had a number of traffic accidents occurring in the division where vehicles were towing caravans," he said. "There is no suggestion that the drivers were driving recklessly, but because of extra weight being towed it is alleged the cars and caravans overturned due to the caravan swaying. In most cases the driver has been unable to regain control, then gravity takes over." Sgt Dawes warned that the festive season would see "a far greater number of vehicles" on the road towing caravans and camper trailers. "So please make sure you are driving carefully," he said. "If you are taking safety precautions and travelling 20-30km/h below the speed limit and this goes for everyone, not just people towing please constantly keep a close eye on your rear vision mirrors. If you start seeing cars banking up behind you be courteous, pull over and let them pass." For information on the legal and safety requirements visit the Queensland Government's website on Towing a caravan or camper. Have your say

Sunland Caravan's MY19 off-roaderSunland's off-roader wins major award
QUEENSLAND-based Sunland Caravans is celebrating after one of its high-end off-road caravans scooped a major award.
The elegant and eye-catching Phoenix MY19 was officially declared winner of Caravan World's 2018 AL-KO Best Aussie Vans $100,000-plus category. Judges considered value for money, self-sufficiency, towability, suitability for intended touring, layout, quality of finish, build quality, creature comforts, innovation and the 'X-Factor'. "This is a fantastic reward for the hard work, attention to detail, innovative thinking and customer-oriented manufacturing ethic that owner Roy Wyss and his staff have stuck by," Sunland's marketing manager Andy Fox-Hulme told Caravanning News. Have your say

Gidget Teardrop campervanStern warning after Gidget case
THE Office of Fair Trading has issued a stern warning to manufacturers "not to play fast and loose with consumers’ money".
This follows court proceedings in which Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper manufacturer Glenn Stuart Wills was ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines, compensation and court costs. Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said the collapse of the Brisbane-based company and the penalties handed down by the courts were a stark reminder to businesses. "Taking large sums from consumers based on empty promises is not only unethical, it is illegal," he said. "Businesses that cause detriment to consumers this way will be punished." Read More button

Mayor WillcoxRV camping site planned for Proserpine
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council in Queensland plans to provide an RV camping site in Proserpine.
It recently confirmed St Catherine’s Catholic School oval in Marathon St as the preferred location. Other options explored included the old Shell Service Station and the Proserpine Showgrounds. "After talking with relevant stakeholders and doing our due diligence it was clear that the best site was the St Catherine’s School oval which the school will be vacating at the end of this year," Mayor Andrew Willcox (pictured) said. Deputy mayor John Collins said the preferred site "ticked all the boxes". "It's central, it has easy access off the highway and the area is in a safe precinct," he added. The council will now seek the necessary approvals. Have your say

Tingha Gems Caravan Park managers and caretakers Craig and Rebel Bright, left, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall Gvt grant for Tingha's 'hidden gem'
TINGHA Gems Caravan Park in NSW, a member of the Kui chain of caravan parks, has been awarded a $47,250 government grant to help finance a facelift.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall visited Tingha’s hidden gem to announce the news. The money will come from the NSW State Government's Crown Reserve Improvement Fund. Mr Marshall was welcomed to the park by live-in caretakers and managers Craig and Rebel Bright, who said they were keen to get the work underway and ready in time for the end-of-year break. Read More button

Grassy HeadCaravanners blast state of NSW coastal paths
TRAVELLERS have fat chance of using coastal paths to stay fit on NSW's Mid North Coast, according to WA caravanner Erica Minarik. She claims that while the rest of Australia is tackling obesity by installing walking/cycle paths, Kempsey Shire is letting theirs "go to ruin". Erica says she and her partner have enjoyed numerous East Coast cycling and walking paths during their caravanning adventures. But they were "disappointed" when they reached her old stomping ground to find all the paths and cycleways "in a very sorry state". Read more button

Rivershore ResortIngenia snaps up Rivershore for $23m
INGENIA Communities, which operates a chain of lifestyle and holiday parks, has bought the Sunshine Coast's Rivershore Resort for $23 million.
The four-acre award-winning park at Maroochydore will add 95 high-yielding glamping, caravan and camping sites to Ingenia's offerings ... with future expansion potential. Chief executive Simon Owen said it represented "a rare opportunity" to acquire a well-constructed and capitalised tourist resort in Queensland's third largest visitor market. Ingenia's Sunshine State holiday park portfolio now includes Maroochydore, Noosa, Hervey Bay and Cairns. Have your say

Tow ballWarning over 'tail wagging the dog'
THE Caravan Council of Australia has stressed the importance of correct tow ball loading when hauling caravans.
"It is one of the critical factors that determine its handling and stability characteristics," founder and qualified automotive engineer Colin Young warned. "Serious safety issues arise if the ball loading is either too light or too heavy." He said the seriousness would increase "significantly" if the mass of the tow vehicle was not sufficiently high to be able to control any instability of the caravan. "There are far too many instances ‒ sadly, too often with damaging or even tragic outcomes ‒ where the 'tail wags the dog'," he added. Read more button

Donna Cocking and Nick HunterNew members for CIAA board
AUSTRALIA'S peak national body for the caravan and camping industry has two new board members.
They are Donna Cocking (pictured), who has over 22 years owner and operator experience in the caravan holiday park industry, and Sunliner RV's managing director Nick Hunter (pictured). Jayco founder Gerry Ryan and co-founder of Discovery Parks Grant Wilckens both retain their positions. Current board members James Kelly, Matt Slee, Martin Cotterell, Dennis Austin and Chris Goddard were not subject to re-election and will continue to serve for another year. Meanwhile, the association's chief executive, Stuart Lamont, has thanked vacating members Gabby Montagnese and Mark Lindsay. Read more button

Lotto balls

New car and cruise on horizon for lucky couple

Road trippers scoop cool $1m
and now plan to buy caravan

A SOUTH Australian couple on a driving holiday scooped a cool $1m Lotto win ... and now plan to buy a caravan to make their travels more comfortable. The roving wife and husband, who wanted to remain anonymous, couldn't contain their jubilation. “We were in Parkes (NSW) and thought we'd buy a Lotto ticket," the woman explained. "We've been driving around seeing all these nice little caravans on the road and saying 'if we win Lotto, we’ll buy one of those', and look what happened!" Their ticket was the only division one winning entry across Australia in Monday & Wednesday Lotto draw 3817. "Yahoo!", the woman screamed when their prize was confirmed. "We're on holidays driving around New South Wales. We're on a road trip and were sitting at the table checking our ticket. My husband said 'we’ve got four numbers, oh we've got five numbers. No love, we've got six. It was amazing." Apart from shopping for a caravan for future travels, the couple said they might also use their prize to buy a new car and enjoy a cruise. See also: Nomads join lucky line of Lotto winners. Have your say

Gympie goldmineGold mining town wants more RV travellers
GYMPIE Regional Council in Queensland is seeking feedback on how it can attract more caravanners and other RVers to the gold mining town and region.
Comments are now being sought to help shape the council’s Recreational Vehicle Strategy which aims to increase the number of visitors from this growing tide of travellers. The council said the caravan, motorhome and camping industry was the fastest growing domestic tourism sector. "It is important that this strategy aims to plan to support RV tourism by recognising existing and potential opportunities within the region for attracting and accommodating RV tourists," it said in a statement. Submissions close on December 7. Have your say

Roadstar owners head to Maryborough
MEMBERS of the 655-strong Roadstar Caravan Owners Group flooded into Maryborough Showgrounds in Queensland for their latest gathering.
Company owner Ken Nizam put on a special barbecue for caravanners who reportedly made many new friendships during the week-long event. Owners of Roadstar caravans have a go-ahead website, formed about two years ago. It is described as a "group for friendly chat" about Roadstar 'vans old and new. Have your say

John Snell ACCJohn joins ACC board
RETIRED financial services worker John Snell has joined the board of the Australian Caravan Club.
Mr Snell, from NSW, took up caravanning in 2011 after working for 44 years in the industry, the last three decades in a legal support role for retail and business bankers. He will serve as a director of the 4600-member nationwide club until the next annual general meeting in 2019. "I am pleased that John has accepted the invitation to join the board as he brings a wealth of professional experience and RV knowledge to the table," club chairman Craig Humphrey said. Mr Snell said he was "delighted" to join the board. Read more button

CMCA proposes members-only park at Penola
AN area of the McCorquindale Park sports facility at Penola in SA may be turned into a camping ground for recreational vehicles.
Locals have been asked to comment on the proposal put forward by the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia. The club wants to develop an area for self-contained RVs which would be available to its members only. Under a formal 10-year lease with a further right of renewal of 10 years it would be responsible for running the site and meeting all operating costs and general maintenance. Wattle Range Council has invited the local community to submit written comments on the plan before January 5 next year. Have your say

Artist's impression of Mooloolba CP entrance$3.5m to meet trend for larger RVs
IN a $3.5 million makeover, a caravan park on Queensland's thriving Sunshine Coast will have the number of sites reduced to make room for bigger caravans.
Sunshine Coast Council says the time has come for the industry to meet a trend for larger caravans, motorhomes and camping trailers. Councillor John Connolly described the Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park as a key economic hub for the area but needed to be upgraded from the ground up to ensure it remained contemporary and provided the modern park facilities expected by guests. Read More button

BIG4 parks pull off tourism awards trifecta
BIG4 holiday parks pulled off a trifecta in the Caravan & Holiday Parks category at the South Australian Tourism Awards.
The chain's Hahndorf Resort, West Beach Parks and Renmark Riverfront claimed gold, silver, and bronze respectively. The family owned and operated Renmark Riverfront park on the banks of the Murray River also collected two additional gongs from other categories including Excellence in Accessible Tourism and the RAA People’s Choice Tourism Award for accommodation. Have your say

Kimba free campThumbs up for Kimba's free camping site
CARAVANNERS and other travellers have given a big thumbs up to Kimba District Council's free camping site in SA.
A visitors' survey of more than 130 grey nomads by local tourism student Hayley Jericho showed great appreciation for the pet-friendly Kimba Recreation Reserve which offers free overnight stays, toilets, coin-operated shower, water, playground, oval and courts. Survey forms indicated that travellers usually stayed for one night and spent between $50 and $100 in the area. Ms Jericho said responses had been positive, with interstate travellers impressed with the free camping concept and quality of facilities. Have your say

Government funding for new outback parks
MORE camping grounds will be built in Queensland's outback and existing caravan parks will also benefit thanks to the State Government's $10 million Outback Tourism Infrastructure fund.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was investing in projects it knew would lure more tourists to the Queensland outback. "Tourism is vital to the outback's future and this funding will help ensure we deliver the infrastructure needed to create more tourism jobs for the future," she added. Barcaldine Regional Council will receive a grant to build "economical camping parks" in Aramac, Jericho and Muttaburra where no commercial camping grounds exist. Adels Grove Camping Park's grant will finance a conference room and camp kitchen while McKinlay Shire Council will build additional infrastructure to provide "an upmarket experience" at the artesian bath facility at Julia Creek Caravan Park. Have your say

Melrose caravan park logoName change and new logo for Melrose park
MOUNT Remarkable Council's Melrose Caravan Park in South Australia has had a change of name.
Councillors have approved a new marketing campaign for the park, including altering its name to Melrose Caravan and Tourist Park. It will also undergo short term improvements listed in an expansion study and introduce a new logo. "The improvements combined with the positive marketing campaign is expected to increase tourism and the visitor experience at the park," the council said. Have your  say

Celebrity hosts Julia Morris and Dr Chris BrownCelebrities on the tourist trail
MILLIONS of I'm A Celebrity viewers are tuning into the Australian "jungle" for the UK's latest series.
But what they don't know is that the awe inspiring location is in fact a popular public camping ground in the Gold Coast hinterland. Tourists in tents, camper trailers and campervans have been rolling into the area for decades. Climb one of the lookouts and you can even feast your eyes on the Pacific Ocean's coastal Glitter Strip. Hardened security guards in full camouflage and bodyguards prevented people from getting anywhere near the I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here set. They also kept a keen lookout for deadly snakes and spiders. Caravanning News understands local bug breeders were kept busy supplying creepy crawlies for the show's infamous bush tucker trials. The Australian version of the popular programme is scheduled to return to our screens in 2019. Photo: Australian show hosts ‎Dr Chris Brown‎ and ‎Julia Morris. Have your say

Denmark, waClub pours $247,000 into Denmark
FREE-SPENDING caravanners injected a whopping quarter of a million dollars into a small Western Australian coastal community's economy.
Over 380 members of the nationwide Australian Caravan Club descended on the township of Denmark for the club's annual national muster. And during the seven-day event, local businesses benefited to the tune of $247,000. "In fact, some of our members explored the region for a couple of weeks and this expenditure is not included in the tally," club chairman Craig Humphrey said. Read more button

Peak motoring body welcomes new 'lemon laws'
QUEENSLAND'S peak motoring body, the RACQ, has welcomed new "lemon laws" which will help protect carvanners and other RV buyers from shoddy RV manufacturers and dealers.
"This is a great step forward," spokesman Paul Turner said, but adding that in the long run the RACQ would prefer a simpler and formalised mediation process. "We've seen the boom in grey nomads and the boom in caravanning and camping for families so these changes will also give coverage for what's often a very significant investment," he said. The new laws will see the vehicle value which owners can take to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal increase from $25,000 to $100,000. Have your say

Hummock Hill IslandGo-ahead for Hummock Hill Island tourism plan
QUEENSLAND'S independent Coordinator-General has approved a $1.2 billion tourism project for Hummock Hill Island near Gladstone.
The ambitious development will include tourist accommodation, holiday units and camping grounds for about 2700 people. It is the only substantial undeveloped island in the southern area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park south of Shoalwater Bay. Gladstone is a popular stopping off place for thousands of southern grey nomads who head north for the winter sunshine. It is regarded as the gateway to the southern Great Barrier South. Read More button

Industry mourns passing of stalwarts
VICTORIA'S peak caravanning body is mourning the passing of well known contributors to the industry, David Hams and Gerald Anderson.
"Both were passionate and engaging contributors to the caravan industry and well respected by those who knew them," the Caravan Industry Association Victoria said. Mr Hams was part of the Hams family who, after seeing a caravan complex in the United States housing multiple dealers, established Caravan City in Croydon. The business grew to include up to12 dealers with between 1200 to 1500 caravans on site at any given time. In the early 1970s he joined the family in the Millard dealership and then in the late 1980s began working at Premier Caravans in Campbellfield before starting his own caravan hire business, including building caravans for hire in the early 1990s. His whole family was involved in the caravan industry and his career alone covered three decades. Mr Anderson started out as a motor mechanic trade instructor until becoming involved in the caravan industry about 25 years ago. Since that time he has been a great role model for caravanners, a creative and forward thinking educator who was extremely well liked, the association said. Have your say

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Letter man

Many more rest area options for RVers looking for free overnights

I READ your story on the truckie calling for action on RVs taking over truck spaces at rest areas (see story here).

Definitely agree with Bruce Skelton that there are many inconsiderate caravanners and motorhome travellers who have self-entitled attitudes when using rest areas needed by truckies.

Noticed many that pull up right in the middle of a rest area when common sense would be to leave long areas for trucks.

If signs say truck-only parking, leave it for trucks.

Truck drivers should be able to send a photo to police showing rego of the RV offenders, who should be fined.

More travellers want to free camp but should be banned, with heavy fines, from truck parking areas.

RVs have many more options.

CB Blank.

Message to
highway 'bully'

MESSAGE to the 'pedal to the metal' caravanner heading south through Gympie recently: slow down!

It seems the driver of the powerful blue 4WD towing a large Majestic caravan thought he was on the starting grid of F1 when pulling away from traffic lights.

And as for giving way when the road narrowed ... well, forget that!

Oh, and let's not forget a short spell of tailgating either.

Luckily, this bully turned off the Bruce Highway and onto the road heading to Rainbow Beach.

Well done idiot! You were certainly not helping the already tarnished image of us caravanners.