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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

DEC 30:
Local council considering the future of the 72-hr Burekup RV rest area on the South Western Highway in WA's south-west after suggestions from local community.

DEC 30:
Campervan erupted into flames on NSW's busy Pacific Motorway at Mount Colah this morning. Motorway closed in both directions. No reports of injuries.


* Trial RV campground closes due to 'inappropriate' behaviour ... 13,507 people reached.

* Julia Creek caravan park scoops major gong  ... 11,450 people reached.

* Caravan rolls on Queensland's notorious Bruce Highway ... 9866 people reached.

* Victorian Business Awards finalists named ... 7542 people reached.

* SA thieves make off with caravan ... 6788 people reached.

* Free weighing for caravans and tow vehicles at Wagga Wagga ... 6246 people reached.



Turtle Sands  Development application lodged

Turtle Sands park adjoining Mon Repos in line for new lease of life

By Dennis Amor

THE once popular Turtle Sands Tourist Park adjoining the world-famous Mon Repos turtle rookery in Queensland could be destined for a new lease of life. Owners David and Jenny Baker plan to turn it into a 127-site park with an accommodation mix to meet the current tourism market and have lodged a development application with Bundaberg Regional Council. They pulled down the shutters at the million dollar-view beachside eco park in 2010 saying they wanted to help protect threatened survivors from the dinosaur age. Read more button

Bunbury Foreshore park  Opening delayed until March

Epidemic sinks plan to open
new splash park in time for

COVID shattered Discovery Parks' plan to open a new splash park in time for the festive season at one of its Bunbury holiday parks in WA. It is now anticipated to open the foreshore park next March following delays brought about by the epidemic. Chief Operations Officer Matt Lang said that factors beyond the company's control meant the facility would not be opening in time for Christmas as hoped. "We know the local community and tourists have really been looking forward to the splash park opening," he said.

  'Forging a new alliance'

G'Day Group sails into new waters with navy

Grant Wilckens

Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S leading group of independent caravan and holiday parks is sailing into new waters to expand its national touring network.

Adelaide-based G’day Group has secured 50-year leases with Navy Canteens, which provides a range of welfare and lifestyle benefits for the Australian Navy's 16,000 personnel.

They will be welcomed with special deals at WA's Amblin Holiday Park in Busselton and the BIG4 Bungalow park at Ulladulla in NSW.

The G'day Group will offer free G'Day Rewards memberships and other benefits to the naval personnel.

G’day Group chief executive Grant Wilckens, pictured, said the move would boost the group’s presence in tightly held coastal markets and also forged a new alliance between Navy Canteens and G'day Rewards.

"This deal will expand our presence in these stunning tourism destinations and we have plans to invest in the signature experiences and customer service Discovery Parks is famous for," he said.

“These parks are already favourite holiday destinations for families travelling within their own state but we believe they'll be even more popular."

Mr Wilckens thought they would eventually attract interstate and international visitors after investment in new facilities including a waterpark for Ulladulla and the opening of borders after the COVID pandemic.

Along with other measures and discounts, the deal will maintain the existing discount regime provided to naval and armed forces personnel.

"We are really excited about the potential to provide fantastic Aussie holidays and loyalty rewards for service personnel who make such an important contribution to our country," Mr Wilckens said.

"The driving factor in winning this tender was that G'day Rewards could provide properties close to all naval bases so that the wider group of navy personnel can benefit from cheaper accommodation at any of our Discovery or G'day Parks."

Navy Canteens operates holiday centres across Australia with discounts of up to 30 percent for Navy personnel.

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Discovery Parks Byron BayFour positive cases

Hundreds of schoolies in COVID outbreak at NSW caravan park

A NSW caravan park has been caught up in a COVID outbreak involving hundreds of schoolies. Four positive cases were identified at Byron Bay's Discovery Park, where hundreds of youngsters were celebrating the end of their schooldays. Many had to isolate in their caravans and cabins after the positive tests. Meanwhile, about 500 school leavers were transported by charter flights and coaches back to Sydney where they had to travel straight back to their individual homes by private transport. They were ordered to undergo PCR tests and self-isolate at home until they return a negative result. Byron Shire Council had urged the teenage revellers to make sure they complied with all Public Health orders relating to the virus. This included using QR codes to check into shops, venues and other places, wearing masks when necessary and social distancing. Discovery Parks said the park was now open to travellers and guests.   Have your say

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Cops visit park to advise on safeguarding property

Cops at Coolum caravan parkQUEENSLAND police visited the beachside Coolum caravan park on the Sunshine Coast to advise residents and holiday visitors on how to secure their property during the festive season. One of the most obvious insecure property items at the park were bicycles which were not locked up. "It is very easy for a person to walk past your caravan or tent and see the bicycle, hop on and go," they said. Whilst at the beach, they observed numerous bags left unattended on the sand. "Be mindful not to have anything of value in your possession," they added. Have your say

Caravan King  Minister's visit 'amazing'

'Supercharged' demand for caravan work leads to grant

Have your say

AN award-winning caravan company in WA will receive $160,000 from the state government to expand its busy workshop. Caravan King Mandurah will use the Peel Regional Economic Development (RED) grant to help meet the "supercharged demand for caravan maintenance and repairs". Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTierna revealed the latest round of grants while on a visit to the workshop. "Caravan King's expansion will help the business to meet the massive escalating demand for caravan maintenance and repairs, supporting 10 new full-time jobs on the ground in the region," she said. "Our government is committed to supporting regional local business and creating the diversity of jobs needed to help our regions meet their full potential." Caravan King described the minister's visit as "really amazing", adding: "We were asked to host Ms MacTiernan, the Peel Development Commission team, our local MP Robyn Clarke, the Shire of Murray and six very special local businesses for the RED's grant funding recipient announcements." It was "really excited" about the opportunity the grant created to reduce its customer wait times, to support tourism and job creation in the region and the support it provided for its future growth goals. It had been "humbled" by its customer and community support.

Jason and Nicole Smith"We are very excited"

Leeton council appoints new caretakers for rebranded park

LEETON Shire Council in the Riverina region of New South Wales has appointed new caretakers for its rebranded Gogeldrie Riverside Park. Jason and Nicole Smith, who will take over the reins of the 17-acre park in the new year, said they were looking forward to maximizing the park's potential. Mr Smith grew up in the area and the couple moved to Leeton four years ago to raise their daughters. "We are very excited to be helping the council operate this important visitor attraction and local recreation area," they said. The park will be temporarily closed from December 23 and will reopen under its new management on January 10, 2022. Read more button

Luke Trouchet 'Like-minded cultures'

Apollo plans merger with New Zealand's Tourism Holdings

By Dennis Amor

BRISBANE-based Apollo Tourism and Leisure is planning a merger with New Zealand's premier tourism company Tourism Holdings Limited. The amalgamation would expand their respective global recreational vehicle networks which include the rental, sales, manufacturing and service of recreational vehicles and establish a leading diversified travel company across the key markets of Australia, New Zealand, North America, the UK and Europe. Apollo manufacturers Australia's Windsor and Coromal caravans. Managing director Luke Trouchet (pictured) said the two businesses had similar operations and like-minded cultures, strongly believing in the potential of the global RV market. "The proposed merger would give us a better platform to meet the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, continue to offer our guests the best combination of products, services and prices possible and better leverage the re-opening of global travel," he said. "With a more diverse portfolio of brands, strong presences in the key RV travel markets and a more robust balance sheet, the combined business will be better able to capitalise on near-term growth opportunities as borders re-open and cross-border tourism begins to return to pre-pandemic levels."  Apollo would own 25 percent of the merged company. Have your say

Saving water    Nothing but positive feedback

Holiday parks join council in
new initiative to save water

VISITORS to holiday parks on NSW's Mid Coast are being urged to conserve water. In a joint initiative between MidCoast Council and more than 20 park operators, signs and stickers have been introduced urging people to save water in the shower and at the sink ahead of the busy summer season. Director of Infrastructure and engineering services Rob Scott said the initiative was a simple but effective way to remind visitors that water is considered a precious commodity in the area. Twin Dolphins Caravan Park at Tuncurry has had the signs and stickers up for more than a month and park manager Andrew Walker (pictured) said he had received nothing but positive feedback. Read more button

Victorian caravan awards  Together again after challenging times

Excellence is celebrated at prestigious caravanning event

THE Victorian caravan industry celebrated excellence at the most prestigious night in its annual calendar. More than 370 members, Hall of Fame inductees, life members and guests attended the Victorian Caravan Industry Hall of Fame and Business Awards gala event. The theme for the evening was Strictly Caravanning. It marked the industry coming back together after challenging times brought about by the COVID pandemic. "This event would not operate to the highest standard we have set without our amazing partners," Caravanning Industry Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said. The evening had again demonstrated the "outstanding calibre" of member businesses and their people, he added. Read more button

Caravans on road  'Prepare well in advance'

Festive safety message as 100s
new RVs prepare to hit road

THE easing of borders has prompted Caravanning Queensland to issue a safety message ahead of new RV deliveries this festive season. "Since the announcement of the December 13 border reopening, many intra and interstate travellers are set to enjoy a quintessential Queensland Christmas holiday and for some, that means hitting the road in a brand new caravan or motorhome," it said. Trade chief executive Jason Plant said there would be hundreds of new caravan and motorhomes, with many first-time ‘cara-fans’ excited to test out their recent purchases. "Understanding caravanning and road safety has always been important," he said. "With the increase in new product and users on the road, it's especially important that travellers understand the do's and dont's and prepare well in advance, to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday - and to help create safer roads for all Queenslanders." Read more button

Illegal camps  'Risk to human life unacceptable'

Council warns rural landowners about allowing illegal camping

A VICTORIAN council has warned it will take action against landowners who allow illegal camping on private rural properties. Mansfield Shire Council says some were advertising camping facilities without relevant approvals and appropriate facilities. It is concerned that many of the locations would place campers at severe fire risk. There could also be environmental impacts on waterways and vegetation, with campers often not having access to septic systems and other services. "The risk to human life from natural hazards such as bushfires, floods and storms is unacceptable," Mayor Cr James Tehan said. Read more button

Crusader celebrate Manufacturer of Year gong

Crusader Caravans workers celebrate winning Manufacturer of the Year award.

CRUSADER Caravans staff and workers were celebrating after the company was named the 2021 Manufacturer of the Year at the Caravan Industry Victoria's Hall of Fame business awards. "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team," Crusader said in a Facebook posting. "We are so proud and humbled," managing director Serge Valentino and director Michael Paidoussis said. Company director Michael Valentino was also named this year's CIV George Pantazopoulos Young Achiever. Have your say

  'Heated demands to dealers'

Caravan Council of Australia calls for RV code of practice

THE Caravan Council of Australia has stressed the importance for RV manufacturers to be ruled by an official quality standard or code of practice. Founder and general manager Colin Young said there had been "thousands of calls, emails, and letters" from upset caravanners who had unacceptable problems with their new RVs. "Despite often frequent requests and heated demands to their dealers, they had unwarranted hassles in getting the defects rectified," he claimed. Mr Young said a high percentage of complaints involved non-compliancy with legal requirements, some of them being "downright dangerous". Read more button

Ingenia   Over 100 communities and developments

Ingenia Communities complete $441 million of acquisitions

Have your say

INGENIA Communities announced expansion of the group’s lifestyle and holiday park businesses with the completion of $441 million of acquisitions. These comprised a mix of established communities and development sites and were included in the $552 million of acquisitions identified with the group's $475 million equity raising announced on November 1, 2021. Chief executive Simon Owen was "pleased" to see such rapid deployment of the equity raised, with the majority of transactions now complete. "Despite a marked increase in competition for quality communities and development sites, these acquisitions demonstrate our ability to grow the portfolio, as we benefit from a pipeline and relationships that have taken many years to establish," he said. "We now have over one hundred communities and developments, with enhanced exposure to our key markets."

Stuart LamontMore women members welcomed

New CIAA board is a real changing
of the guard, says chief executive

AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravanning industry has welcomed new national board members for a two-year term. Following an election by the state caravanning associations, the composition of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia board has been updated. Kate Meldrum, Martin Cotterell and Grant Wilckens were re-elected with three new members ‒ Nikki Milne, Chris Woods and Margaret Shannon ‒ joining them. Current board members Donna Cocking, Brad Slater and Gerard Waldron were not subject to re-election and will continue to serve for another year ahead of a ballot next November. Chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) described it as a real changing of the guard. "We acknowledge the tremendous contribution of the retiring board members and look forward to new debate ahead," he said. The association has welcomed the results, saying that even the most male dominated industry sectors have seen more women in the boardroom. Read more button

Inskip Point  Staged closures to restrict spread

Warning to campers as battle continues against Inskip gastro

CARAVANNERS and other campers planning to head to Queensland's Inskip Point for the festive season have been warned of restricted sites. The news comes as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) continues to battle an outbreak of gastroenteritis at the popular camping area east of Gympie. The number of holiday revellers will be capped to existing bookings only up until December 24 in some camping areas. "Queensland Health has provided expert advice on this issue and recommended QPWS reduce camper numbers and temporarily close camping areas in a staged approach, to limit the spread of the illness," QPWS said. Read more button

Fraser Coast caravan park  'This is the community's chance'

Comments are called for on redeveloping caravan parks

QUEENSLAND'S Fraser Coast Regional Council has appealed for comments on master plans to redevelop caravan parks at Pialba and Torquay. "This is the community's chance to tell us what features and facilities they would like to see in refurbished council-owned caravan parks," caravan enthusiast Cr Jade Wellings said. It is anticipated that feedback on the concept plans will be presented to the council next year. The council owns four beachfront tourist caravan parks and is preparing master plans to guide their future development. It has allocated $22 million to the redevelopment over five years, with work already well underway at the Scarness park. Read More button

Suburban heaterMore than 8000 could be at risk

Concern over RVs with potentially
deadly heaters prompts appeal

AUSTRALIA'S consumer watchdog has again issued an appeal to caravanners who could have a potentially lethal water heater in their recreational vehicle. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urges them to check for dangerous Suburban-branded dual fuel gas/electric heaters before setting off on post COVID-lockdown holidays. It is concerned that more than 50 percent of the units could emit deadly odourless carbon monoxide if used in gas mode. There are still over 8300 consumers who have not registered their water heaters for a free inspection. Read more button

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Letter man

Mother Nature provides Allan with dose of déjà vu

AFTER several years of blissfully touring this great country of ours in dry weather with just the occasional wet spell, I have suddenly been reminded of what Mother Nature can really throw at us when she gets cranky.

The latest La Nina has seen downpours similar to those we experienced in 2011 and 2013 while making our way north on the Bruce Highway in Queensland.

The heavens opened for day after day, creating inland lakes and trapping my wife and I on the highway.

Our caravan had never leaked, but it couldn't cope with being pummelled by the torrential rains.

Well, would you believe it ... here we are a decade later in the same area and experiencing similar conditions.

The 'Sunshine State' is providing an unwelcome dose of déjà vu!

Allan Brand.

Checks important

A STORY in your last edition said the Caravan Council of Australia had urged caravan safety safety checks after the pandemic

People should do this yearly anyway. It's   very important and a safety first must.

Bobby M.