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

 December 2017

Monthly readership: 19,867 to 25,867
(Previous six months)

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above DECEMBER 31:
Shot fired into unoccupied caravan parked on roadway in Adelaide's Elizabeth Grove early today. Bullet being examined by forensic experts.

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

* Sunland recalls caravans after gas fears ... 28,877 people reached.

* Qld Premier promises more protection for RV buyers ... 25,909 people reached.

* Boy saved from drowning in caravan park pool ... 15,648 people reached.

* ACCC takes legal action against Jayco ... 12,090 people reached.

* New primitive camp site for Broken Hill ... 11,296 people reached.

* Sex tours for grey nomads ... 11.177 people reached.


When it's easier to
ban than
to manage

I WOULD like to comment on your story in last month's edition about illegal camping in NSW's Clarence Valley (see story here).

They would encourage RV travellers to spend more in the Yamba area if they provided cheap unpowered campsites for self-contained RV travellers in a controlled environment.

I have never been able to find an unpowered site for our Winnebago in a Yamba area caravan park.

Most councils find it a lot easier to ban, rather than manage.

Shame local businesses have to suffer the resulting drop in cash flow.


'It's easy

JUST another way to make easy money.

It's being greedy.

An overnight stay should be allowed.

Wayne Barton.

Bush salute
in decline

INTERESTING story about hand waving falling out of fashion (see story here).

I have been on the road for five years and toured before that.

It is dying out and receding further inland each year, but still reducing there too.

Funny thing is we now have truckies giving the bush salute.

It definitely seems to be related to the remoteness of the road and distances to populated areas.


Peter Crichton.



Elite caravanCaravanning News exclusive

Police probe alleged $1m fraud at Elite Caravans

By Dennis Amor

POLICE are probing an alleged $1 million-plus fraud at Victorian-based Elite Caravans. An email to members of its owners' club claims the money was channelled through an unauthorised bank account. Co-owner of Elite Caravans Adrian Cappola exclusively told Caravanning News today: "It was a very sophisticated fraud by a rogue employee. I can't comment too much at the moment because there is a police investigation underway and it involves a serious amount of money." He dismissed reports that his company, twice named as Caravan Builder of the Year, was in liquidation but admitted the case had put a "financial strain" on his company. "We are still trading and building caravans," he said. comment bubble Have your say

Ill feeling between 'two tribes of road users'

Licence headline

Truckies claim some grey nomads are a danger on the road

Comment bubble Have your say
Would tow licences for caravanners prevent
scenes like this?
caaravan crash scene

By Dennis Amor

ROAD safety advocate and truckie Rod Hannifey believes caravanners should pass a special test before being allowed to hitch up and hit the road.

"Their rigs are akin to the size of a semi-trailer," he told an online Big Rigs podcast which raised thorny issues creating "ill feeling between two tribes of road users" ... caravanners and truckies.

The award-winning B-double driver and Churchill Fellowship recipient's call comes after a spate of horror caravan accidents in which several people have died.

Mr Hannifey pointed out that many caravanners were driving what were essentially articulated vehicles and he believed they should undergo training and require a towing licence.

There was a "vastly growing" number of grey nomads, and other road users were having to deal with people who may never have towed a big rig before.

"They can go out without any education, knowledge or experience whatsoever and kill not only themselves but involve themselves in a major accident and kill someone else," he said.

Meanwhile,  veteran truck owner-driver Bob McMillan questioned the ability of some grey nomads, claiming they were a danger on the road.

"It's not ill intentioned, it's just that they don't know what they're doing," he said.

Mr McMillan thought that because of the age and behaviour of some caravanners they should be required to take an annual medical.

** AN online poll has busted the myth than many caravanners have little or no experience before hitting the road for the first time. The Caravaner's Forum survey showed only 3.6 percent had no towing experience when they bought their caravan, while 96.4 percent had some or considerable experience.

lemonsNew business names registered

Lemon-aid for peak body's review

By Dennis Amor

AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravan and camping industry has registered two new business names ... each bearing the word 'lemon'. The Caravanning Industry Association of Australia now officially owns "Lemon Caravans" and Lemon Caravans Australia". It has also acquired the domain The somewhat strange move has triggered some lively discussion among mystified caravanners and on some caravanning forums, so Caravanning News decided to ask the association for an explanation. Chief executive Stuart Lamont commented: "I continue to be bemused by the level of interest in our organisation. Our internal strategies and activities are under constant review and will undertake a further examination through the induction process of the new office-bearers announced this week. This includes what we intend to do with the names you mention." Read More button

First Class Caravans factory inferno
FLASHBACK: Last year's factory inferno
Manufacturer's assurance to customers

'We're still in business'

By Dennis Amor

VICTORIAN caravan manufacturer First Class Caravans says it is still in business. The assurance came from owner and director Luke Jurrjens after it was announced the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation had lodged a Federal Court application for First Class Caravans Pty Ltd to be wound up. The company's factory in Scammel Street was destroyed by fire in June last year, leaving members of the family-owned business devastated. Mr Jurrjens told Caravanning News that his father, who owned the company, then retired. "I took over the business and we had a small name change," he said. "We are still in operation and building caravans." And a newly posted message on the company's webpage announced: "First Class Caravans (AUST) Pty Ltd would like to advise all our customers that we are open for business. The business being liquidated is not linked to us." comment bubble Have your say

Jayco factotryConsumer watchdog gets tough


THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched Federal Court action against Australia's largest caravan and recreational vehicle manufacturer. The consumer watchdog alleges Jayco, which has captured around 50 percent of RV sales in Australia, breached Australian Consumer Law by its conduct towards four customers who bought defective Jayco caravans. 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 caravan. It claims that despite requests from the buyers for a refund or replacement, Jayco repeatedly told them their only remedy was yet another repair. "This understandably caused a lot of distress for the customers," chairman Rod Sims said. "Caravans are an expensive item, typically costing tens of thousands of dollars. People are entitled to expect that the caravan they purchase will be of acceptable quality and that they will be afforded an appropriate remedy under the ACL consumer guarantees if their caravan fails to meet this standard." Caravanning News contacted the office of Jayco's founder and owner Gerry Ryan, but he did not return our call. Meanwhile, the ACCC, supported by the Caravanning Industry Association of Victoria, is urging all caravan manufacturers to review their complaints handling processes to ensure they comply with the ACL consumer guarantees. Comment Bubble Have your say

Fleetwood to review its RV business
FLEETWOOD has ordered a review of its recreational vehicles business. This follows news that the Perth-based manufacturer of Windsor and Coromal caravans has seen its rising sales come to a standstill. Managing director Brad Denison broke the news to shareholders at the company's annual general meeting. "The recovery in volume we saw in the caravan manufacturing business in 2017 (financial years), where revenue increased by 50 percent, has stalled in the first half of 2018 on the back of very unstable industry volume," he said. Read More button

Big spenders bring Xmas joy to Brisbane exhibitors

CARAVAN and camping enthusiasts went on a spending spree at Brisbane's Pre-Christmas Caravan and Camping Sale.
Organised by Caravanning Queensland, the event drew record crowds with more than 16,000 people flowing through the gates and spending more than $30 million. This was an increase of nearly seven percent on previous years, the state's peak industry body reported. A hundred exhibitors showcased a whole range of products, including everything from $900 entry-level tents to $300,000 motorhomes. Caravanning Queensland general manager Jason Plant said having the sheer variety of products on offer contributed to the most successful event in years. Read More button

Hill Top Golf Club caravan parkProfiting down to a tee
HILL Top Golf and Country Club in Tatura, Victoria, seems to have running a caravan park down to tee.
In fact, its 12-site, $25-a-night facility continues to grow in popularity, delighted club members heard at their annual general meeting. The treasurer's report revealed that the park made an overall operating profit of $57,367 during the last year. comment bubble Have your say

Highway upgrades open up more destinations
UPGRADES on NSW's Pacific Highway have tempted an increasing number of Queensland caravanners to head south for their short breaks.
Improvements on the highway have drastically slashed travel times from the Sunshine State, resulting in a bonanza for caravan parks in NSW's north and central coastal regions. It means RVers can cross the state border and be at their favourite destination in less than three hours. Clarence Valley Council's director of environment, planning and community Des Schroder reported that places like Yamba, Iluka, Wooli, Brooms Head and Minnie Water were now seeing more weekenders. Queensland caravanners have said the journey is now an easy drive and opens up more destinations for short-term holidays. Comment button Have your say

Danjera DamCouncil change of heart over Xmas camping
CAMPERS will be able to enjoy Christmas at NSW's Danjera Dam camping area at Yalwal after all.
Shoalhaven City Council has decided to postpone its decision to close the facility on December 4 pending a review. Meanwhile, the council is being urged to take immediate action to discourage ongoing illegal camping on Red Head Villages beaches and reserves. Read more button

Symposium hailed a success
A ONE-DAY symposium organised by Australia's peak caravanning industry body has been dubbed a resounding success.
Nearly a hundred delegates attended the Caravan Industry Association of Australia event at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Those taking part were from caravan and allied parts manufacturing industries as well as 10 trade exhibitors with industry businesses from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Read more button

Yetman Apex Park RVers restricted to small dumps
CARAVANNERS and other RVers will be restricted in the amount of sewage they can dump in a NSW village.
Inverell Shire Council has given the green light for a $10,000 dump point to be installed at Yetman's Apex Park in the New England region of the state's north. But because the village has no reticulated sewerage system, only removable toilet cassettes of around 15 litres capacity will be allowed at the free facility. A report to the council said larger motorhomes could have black water storage tanks up to 250L capacity so access would be physically restricted to allow use by smaller vehicles only. comment bubble
Have your say

New board members for peak body
THERE are new faces on the Caravan Industry Association of Australia's national board.
They are dealer principal of Australia Caravan Co (Jayco) & ALL RV Parts Accessories Matt Slee and Martin Cotterell, who has worked in the industry since 2000 and owned and operated Shalimar Caravan Park on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Dennis Austin, Chris Goddard and James Kelly were re-elected for another term.  Read More button

Woodgate Beach caravan parkNRMA takes over Queensland's 'hidden treasure'
NRMA Parks & Resorts has acquired the picturesque 140-site Woodgate Beach Tourist Park in Queensland. The news came just a week after it bought Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park in New South Wales. The chain now owns and manages 38 parks nationwide, making it the country's second largest investor in holiday parks. Chief executive Paul Davies said the Woodgate park, south of Bundaberg, was one of Australia's "hidden treasures" and was located along some of the country's most remarkable beachfronts. Read More button

New camp site a star attraction
A NEW campsite has opened at Broken Hill in NSW to entice tourists.
The Starview Primitive Camp offers 15 unpowered caravan sites and eight tent sites, with disability-friendly toilet and shower facilities. There is also a sheltered barbecue area. Stays are limited to two nights and cost $10 per person per night. "There was always a demand for it," Ranger Darrell Ford, who helped get the project off the ground, said. "We'd had lots of people from away wanting somewhere where they could camp out under the stars and get a real feeling of the bush." Read More button

Lakeview caravan park happy hourLakeview scoops a top honour
RICHMOND's Lakeview Caravan Park won top honours in the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards Caravan and Holiday Park category.
Hundreds of tourism representatives in Cloncurry heard Outback Queensland Tourism Association general manager Peter Homan say all award winners had "gone above and beyond" to provide outstanding service. Sixteen categories saw awards given to a range of Outback tourism operators, supporters and government counterparts for their efforts over the past year. Read more button

Aspen snaps up Darwin park for $19.5m
ASPEN Group has exchanged conditional contracts to buy Darwin FreeSpirit Resort for $19.5 million.
Located on Stuart Highway, the quality tourist park is a 15-minute drive south of Darwin and offers 430 sites, including 149 tourist cabins. The purchase is expected to be completed in time for the Christmas holiday period, subject to contractual conditions being met. Aspen chief executive Joel Cann claimed FreeSpirit was one of the largest holiday parks in Australia and the best affordable accommodation offering in Darwin. "We recognise the immediate opportunities within the asset which, under Aspen Group's ownership, have potential to generate higher returns," he said. "The addition of FreeSpirit to our portfolio is consistent with our strategy of becoming an industry leader in the affordable accommodation sector in quality locations." Comment bubble
Have your say

Toilet paper litters campsiteCouncils blamed for toilet litter
A CONTRIBUTOR to a major online caravanners' chatroom has fired a broadside at campers ... but blames their disgusting toilet habits on Australia's local councils.
"It is reminiscent of medieval London at some campsites with feces and paper everywhere," fumed the caravanner, who goes by the pseudonym SaltwaterBruce on the Caravaners Forum. "The crux of the matter comes back to the scanty provision of facilities by the councils that are one of the complainants about the spoiling of their country." He suggested there needed to be toilet facilities every hour of travelling time, especially on major roads ... and fines for "miscreants" who offend. "It's an indictment on humanity that there's so many maggots that mess these facilities," he said. Member Gandy offered an excuse, explaining: "From observation, some travellers going to and fro from Cape York are reluctant to use the long drop toilets provided, especially at night, as there may be spiders, snakes etc lurking in the facility. So they frequently use a cleared area such as a vacant camp site and don't bother to cover their deposits." Comment bubble Have your say

Gold for Inverloch holiday park
BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park took out the prestigious Gold Award in the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards caravan and holiday parks category.
"We congratulate this worthy winner for its innovation and focus on attention to customer service," Victorian Caravan Parks Association chief executive Elizabeth White said. "This park is an outstanding example of quality accommodation in regional Victoria, and of a commitment to staff training and product development to remain at the forefront of the industry." Comment bubble Have your say

Warragamba welcome signGreen light for $35,000 trial RV-friendly site
Wollondilly Shire Council in NSW has given the thumbs up for a new $35,000 experimental RV-friendly site.
Travellers will be able to roll into Warragamba to stay the night opposite the Boomerang Shelter at the Warragamba Recreation Reserve. Self-contained caravans, motorhomes and campervans can stay for free for a maximum of two nights. Read More button

Nomads make valuable contributions to national club

ACC branch celebrates 10th anniversary

Wide Bay Burnett Nomads anniversayWIDE Bay Burnett Nomads in Queensland has celebrated its tenth anniversary as a branch of the Australian Caravan Club. Branch president Daryl Smith said members were "very proud" of their contributions to ACC's success. "Our members joined the Wide Bay Burnett Nomads branch for many reasons. Some joined for the tremendous social events and musters and to share RV adventures and experiences with like-minded people," he explained. And ACC chairman Craig Humphrey commented: "Over the past decade, many members of the branch have made valuable contributions to our national club and have been a driving force in membership recruitment, growth, policy and club administration." Pictured celebrating the anniversary are (from left) WBBN outgoing president Dave Gatfield and founding members Ian Rehren, Jenny Rehren, John Hoffmann, Narelle Hoffmann, Fred Morris, Gail Gerchow, Bev Cornall and Ray Cornall (Photo: John Hoffman). Comment bubble Have your say

Camping banRegulator and council clash over camping
TASMANIA'S West Coast Council says it was "forced" to ban overnight camping at Queenstown Recreation Ground.
Council-erected 'No Overnight Parking' signs now greet travellers arriving in caravans, motorhomes and other RVs. In a lengthy statement defending itself, the council revealed its action was in response to the Apple Isle's Economic Regulator ruling that it was providing free camping services in contravention of the island's competitive neutrality principles. "Council disagreed strongly with the ludicrous suggestion that just because we were emptying rubbish bins and maintaining toilet facilities at sites we were therefore providing free camping," West Coast general manager Dirk Dowling said. Read More button

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