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February 2019

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FEB 28:
Man, 25, charged after a caravan was stolen from Clontarf north of Brisbane on Feb 4. It was later located at Landsborough.

FEB 28:
Award-winning Queanbeyan Riverside Tourist Park in NSW will pull down the shutters today after being managed for two decades by Kevin Pritzler.

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


* $250,000 caravans heist in Queensland ... 19,654 people reached.

* Shock figures on overweight caravans ... 19,522 people reached.

* Car and caravan destroyed in Queensland roadside blaze ... 17,069.

* Caravanner escapes serious injury as rig rolls in NSW ... 15,655 people reached.

* Sunland Caravans opens factory to the public ... 14,782 people reached.

* Disappointment over New Age dealership closure ... 11,749 people reached.

* Horror crash claims lives of two caravanners in NSW ... 9609 people reached.


The dirt on giving the finger on outback roads

 ALL the rubbish written about the finger wave.

My father told me it was what you did when a car/truck approached you on an outback dirt road.

Invariably you anticipate rocks being thrown up, so you push your finger on the inside of the windscreen to dampen the force of the impending strike.

The roads have improved, but the habit sticks.

Ron Brown.


Kokoda caravan

Hunt is on to find a buyer

Administrator's desperate bid to
 save troubled caravan business

By Dennis Amor

THE hunt is on to find buyers for the troubled Aussie Adventure Caravans group which is in voluntary administration. BDO Australia is urgently looking for expressions of interest from potential buyers of the business, which includes its manufacturing facility in Victoria and national dealer network. "This represents the best opportunity for the business and for staff to potentially continue their employment under a new owner," BDO said. Aussie Adventure Caravans has operations in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and WA. Brands include Kokoda, Dreamseeker and Grand Salute. The business is now operating under the BDO's control. Expressions of interest close on February 22, the day scheduled for the first meeting of creditors. Have your say

Records continue to tumble


YOUNGER caravanners are setting the pace as new figures from Australia's peak caravanning and camping body reveal a booming industry.

Records continue to tumble as more and more people take to caravan parks and camping grounds for their holidays, according to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

And leading the trend were the 20 to 29-year-olds who recorded a 16 percent increase over the previous year.

The 30 to 54 age group rose five percent to 300,000 visitors, while total nights spent caravanning and camping rose by nine percent to reach a record 54.8 million for the year ending September 2018.

This represented 15 percent of all nights spent in accommodation around Australia.

The association said growth was experienced across all states and territories, with Queensland seeing the most significant increase of 23 percent in nights and 12.4 percent in visitors.

It attributed this to Cyclone Debbie which savaged the state's caravan and camping economy, adding that fortunately this had now "positively rebounded".

Growth in the domestic caravan and camping industry continued to outpace the national visitor economy, where total overnight trips grew by seven percent to reach 102.7 million and nights grew by six percent to 368 million.

Research found that over 6.5 million domestic caravanners and campers ate out at a restaurant or cafe, making it the most preferred activity.

New breed of Coromal caravans

It's an exciting time: Apollo

New breed of Windsor, Coromal caravans roll off production line

By Dennis Amor

THE first of a new breed of Windsor and Coromal caravans has rolled off the production line. A range of caravans built by Brisbane-based Apollo Tourism and Leisure will be on show at the Gold Coast Caravan and Camping Show opening on March 1 at the Metricon Stadium. Apollo, which has an RV manufacturing factory at Nudgee, acquired the brand names last year from Fleetwood Corporation's loss-making RV division for a bargain $1 million. This followed pressure from the WA company's shareholders to abandon caravan manufacturing. Under the terms of the deal Apollo was this year also able to buy Fleetwood's remaining raw materials and finished goods stock. Commenting on the new breed of Windsor and Coromal caravans, Apollo marketing and industry liaison officer Jessica Adams told Caravanning News it was "an exciting" time. Meanwhile, Coromal and Windsor warranty agents have complained of being kept in the dark. Ge Wilson, of Wilsons Caravan Repairs at Midland, WA, told Caravanning News: "We have been told nothing or had anything in writing about the sale. Not a word from the beginning." Comment bubble Have your say

Silo Sights RV festBumper line-up of events for Silo fest
CARAVANNERS and other travellers will head to Coonalpyn in SA next month for the town's second four-day RV festival.
They will be enjoy a bumper program of arts, culture, history and nature-based recreation. Opening on March 1, the Silo Sights - RV Basecamp Coonalpyn Festival is expected to attract new visitors from all over Australia. It will be hosted by the Coorong District Council and Coonalpyn community and will build on the success of the inaugural 2017 event, which coincided with renowned artist Guido van Helten putting his final touches on the now-famous 30-metre high silo mural. Read more button

PowerballsWould-be caravanner scoops $107m
A SYDNEY mother who scooped a record-breaking $107 million with a Powerball entry may join the line of lucky caravanners who have also won their fortunes on the lotto. After being told of her phenomenal windfall, the healthcare professional admitted she had thoughts of buying a caravan for a round-Australia road trip. "The win gives me the chance to go and do the things I've always want to do," the 40-year-old battler, who requested anonymity, said. Previous lotto winners have included a couple of grey nomads from the Gold Coast who collected a cool $10 million. And a few months later they landed another $150,000 with a $10 Instant Scratch-Its ticket bought at Top News in Katherine in the Northern Territory. Another grey nomad from NSW was "ecstatic" with her $985,744.11 lotto win. The latest winner said she won the jackpot by "picking random numbers". They were 20, 18, 33, 44, 11, 26 and 4 and the Powerball was number 9. Have your say

Gympie Caravan ParkSound of silence upsets park proprietor
THE sound of silence is aggravating the proprietor of an award-winning Queensland caravan park.
Emma Noble said she has a 30-year lease to develop the council-owned Gympie Caravan Park, holder of an Australian Business Gold award for excellence in customer service. But in a letter to the Gympie Times, she posed the question: "I'm just publicly inquiring why the new head of tourism has not contacted me at all." Ms Noble said the appointment was made last October. "What's the hold up?" she asked, adding that it "seemed odd" the council-owned tourist establishment had been overlooked. "Doesn't that seem strange?" she added. There was no one available at the council for comment. Have your say

Greenhill LakeCouncil ponders permits plan reaction
PUBLIC reaction to proposed new rules for free camping at Ararat's Green Hill Lake Reserve in Victoria is being considered by the local council.
The reserve on the Western Highway is popular with caravanners and other travellers and has no designated camping spots. But the council now wants to introduce a permit system which would apply at other sites too. Camping will remain free but a donation box is located at the site, with proceeds going towards the upkeep and improvements to the lake and its facilities. The council's call for submissions from the public closed on February 1. A report to councillors at their last meeting said the cost-free permit system would "provide camping equity to all, maintain the social and recreational amenity of the location and guide social and recreationally responsible behaviour of campers". The 28-day permits would be required by campers intending to stay for more than 72 hours. They would be able to apply for another permit after the 28 days expired. Green Hill Lake Development Board treasurer and assistant secretary Morris Allgood told media he thought the system was unlikely to discourage campers but could attract new travellers into the area. Have your say

Mayor Adrian WestonRochester caravan park set for change
A CARAVAN park in the small north-central Victorian country town of Rochester is set for a change in name and management.
Campaspe Shire Council has announced it will hand Rochester Caravan Park back to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Mayor Adrian Weston (pictured) said it was on Crown land and currently managed by the council and leased to a private operator. Cr Weston said the committee would focus on increasing the tourism market and rename the park Rochester Riverside Holiday Park.

Ron Chapman

'Incredible dedication' earns Ron an OAM

Industry stalwart recognised in Australia Day honours

CARAVANNING Queensland chief executive Ron Chapman was recognised in the Australia Day honours for his tireless efforts and dedication to the caravan industry. Mr Chapman received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the Sunshine State's tourism industry. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said the OAM was well deserved. "Ron has been involved in the industry since 1966 and in that time has demonstrated incredible dedication to the industry and its people," he said. "There are very few people who have done as much for the Australian caravanning and camping industry as Ron." Mr Chapman has held many leading roles over the years. Read More button

Bruce Ninnis'Lost' camper's tee-shirt raises a smile
EXPERIENCED camper Bruce Ninnis had a lot of explaining to do after sparking a full-scale air and land search.
Frantic wife Melinda reported him missing after he failed to make contact while on a five-day solo camping trip to Woods Point on the Goulburn River, 180km north-east of Melbourne. The Police Air Wing and local officers launched an extensive search and finally spotted Mr Ninnisí car. The surprised and embarrassed camper explained that he had sent daily text messages to his wife, but it appears they were lost in the ether because of poor reception. While Melinda was relieved to hear that her husband had been located safe and well, she might have pondered and smiled at the motif on Bruce's tee-shirt he was wearing when found. It proclaimed: "I can only please one person a day, and today is not your day. Tomorrow's not looking too good either." Police have urged campers to always carry a satellite phone in remote areas where there might be no reception. Have your say

Free-camp area at TownsvilleCouncil considers free-camp permit system
TOWNSVILLE City Council in Queensland is considering setting up an online booking system for overnight stays at its six free camping areas.
It believes it would make life simpler for tourists at the sites on the northern beaches. Councillor Margie Ryder said the council was investigating setting up the new arrangement to "streamline the process" and encourage more visitors to the area. "Improved access to campsites will bring more money into the city," she claimed. Read More button

Bowen, QueenslandSign of the times for Whitsunday town
A NEW move to entice more caravanners into the Queensland town of Bowen is a sign of the times.
Whitsunday Regional Council intends to place signage on the Bruce Highway promoting areas where grey nomads and others travelling in RVs can park throughout the day. Mayor Andrew Willcox wants to dispel the myth held by some travellers that the town claimed to be a jewel in the Whitsunday crown is unfriendly. "I think once we get the people in here they'll fall in love with the place then hopefully stay in one of our paid caravan parks for an extended period of time," he told media. More and more communities in the Sunshine State are providing free camps to snare a slice of the lucrative market. But Bowen is not following suit, believing it is unfair to caravan parks. "I think you can be an RV-friendly town without it having to be free," Cr Willcox said. It is hoped the new signage will be in place before the annual pilgrimage of southerners escaping the chilly states for the warmer climes of Queensland. Have your say

Wallaroo Holiday ParkPark's income set to soar, says council
NEW foreshore cabins at Wallaroo Holiday Park in South Australia are expected to drastically boost the park's income, according to the Copper Coast Council.
Annual income at the park, formerly known as Wallaroo North Beach Tourist Park, will rise about $350,000 to $450,000 annually, it predicted in its newsletter. The park, which offers a range of powered and unpowered sites for caravans and tents, also has a new amenities block and kiosk. Have your say

Jenn McLeodWriter loves life on the road
AN author who makes a living from writing novels inspired by places she visits while travelling around in her caravan has been thrilling readers in the Sunshine State.
Jenn McLeod called in at Gladstone City Library as part of a regional tour. The successful writer, who penned one of her books in Central Queensland, did a reading from her latest novel A place to Remember, which is based on a fifth-generation farming family and set in Rockhampton. She spoke about her writing career and the joys and pitfalls of publishing, and answered questions from the audience. Acting Gladstone mayor Chris Trevor said the council strived to host a diverse range of authors within the region's libraries. Jenn said she loved writing books with a backdrop of country life while living on the road in her fifth-wheeler caravan called Myrtle The Turtle. Have your say

Barcaldine Regional Council signTrio of tiny towns set for new caravan parks
A TRIO of tiny towns in Queensland's outback will soon boast of having its own caravan parks.
Barcaldine Regional Council plans to open the $8-a-night basic parks in Muttaburra, Aramac and Jericho. It has received nearly a million dollars from the state government's Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund for the project. The parks are expected to be operational before May when Barcaldine hosts a world record attempt on the longest line of motorhomes. They will provide up to 200 sites with free Wifi, drinking water and sewage disposal facilities only. Council chief executive Steven Boxall hopes the new parks will help entice some of the grey nomads and other RV travellers making their way to places like Longreach, Winton and Birdsville. Have your say

Caravan and truck in near miss on Grafton Bridge

Errant traveller dubbed 'idiot of the year'

Bending the rules creates
near miss for caravanner

A CARAVANNER'S misfortune while crossing the infamous "Bendy Bridge" into the NSW city of Grafton has gone viral in cyberspace. The traveller was forced to brake heavily  when suddenly confronted by a B-double truck after crossing double while lines to pass a stationary vehicle on a sharp bend. The errant caravanner had to reverse his rig to  allow the giant truck to proceed across the bridge over the Clarence River. Dashcam footage on Facebook showed the near miss and attracted more than 75,000 viewers and was shared more than 2000 times. It was posted by Grafton local Sam Joyce who commented: "This clown wins idiot of the year. Dunno wtf (sic) he was thinking." Other comments also slammed the caravanner. The bridge has in the past come in for some criticism from caravanners who have described it as a "nightmare". One commented on You Tube: "Grey nomads do not look forward to driving over it, specially with a caravan in tow." Another said: "It has corners that are not made for caravans or trucks." Have your say

Mount Isa meeting of caravan park, police and council representatives.

Meeting tackles crime at Mount Isa caravan parks

POLICE and caravan park owners have met to discuss improving security at Queensland's outback city of Mount Isa. Owners and managers from four local parks attended the meeting, designed to help reduce crime and increase local awareness of crime-prevention practices. The parks were Sunset Top Tourist Park, Mount Isa Holiday and Caravan Park, Argylla Holiday and Caravan Park and the AAOK Moondarra Caravan Park. Representatives were advised to be aware of crime prevention through actions including installing security cameras and motion-activated floodlights, cutting down or trimming trees and hedges and identifying existing hotspots on their properties that needed attention to prevent the likelihood of a crime being committed. Read More button

Crows Nest tourist parkCrows Nest park finally sells
CROWS Nest caravan park near Toowoomba in Queensland has new owners after a near two-year sales campaign.
A member of the Kui Parks chain, the tourist park offers 103 sites, pool, camp kitchens, cafe, and well known restaurant. The new owners, Gerald Searle and Phillip Curnuck, have more than two decades of experience in the accommodation industry, buying their first park more than 20 years ago. They have also owned hotels and motels. Located on the New England Highway, the park went on the market nearly two years ago with a $2.5 million price-tag. It was previous sold for $1.7 million in 2008. Have your say

Caravan showHard-hitting questions for RV sellers
THE Caravan Council of Australia has warned potential caravan buyers to do their "homework" before signing on the dotted line.
"It is a real concern that so many caravan manufacturers have gone out of business in recent times," founder and qualified engineer Colin Young said. "A potential-buyer needs to be ultra-diligent when selecting a new caravan so as to have a high level of confidence in the future prospects of any particular company." He warned that caravan manufacturers were able to self-certify their products. "Unfortunately, this does not provide potential-buyers with anywhere near the same degree of assurance of compliance or quality compared with motor vehicles, where all compliance evidence is examined by Vehicle Safety Standards," he said. The council has produced a list of hard-hitting questions that potential buyers should get their sellers to sign. "If a supplier is unable - or unwilling - to answer any question, a potential-buyer may well wish to ask why, and seriously consider whether they feel comfortable doing business with them," Mr Young said. For more information, log on to the Caravan Council of Australia website.
Have your say

CaravanXpress issues storm advice
A BRISBANE caravan repair company has urged caravan owners to be extra vigilant during summer storms season.
"They should invest in high-quality caravan covers to protect the body of the 'van from flying debris and wind damage," a spokesperson for Brendale-based certified repair agent CaravanXpress said. It also recommended the safe storage of RVs at secure facilities and to avoid parking near trees or unsecured items. The Bureau of Meteorology warns that Queensland's cyclone season usually lasts until April, with strong winds, rainfall, and potential flooding posing a risk to outdoor vehicles such as caravans and other RVs. Have your say

Caravan in Queensland forestSharing your best camping moments
VISITORS to Queensland's National Parks and forests are being encouraged to share their experiences in a new campaign to attract more tourists.
The State Government has launched a four-month digital advertising campaign during which campers can relive their best moments and be in the running to win a $100 camping gift card. Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch commented: "With 485 camping areas to choose from, our parks and forests offer camping opportunities to suit everyone Ė from remote camp sites with very few facilities to camping areas fully equipped with toilets, showers and barbecue areas." She said that with 2019 being the Year of Outback Tourism, it was the perfect time to explore parks and forests in the Sunshine State's unique outback. "A new easy-to-use website will take the heavy lifting out of planning a camping trip and will include everything visitors need to know and take, and offer helpful tips to have the best possible camping experience," she added. For more information on the Lifeís Best Moments campaign, click here. Have your say

New Age CaravanNew Age dealerships merge
NEW Age Caravans' two dealers in south-east Queensland are being merged.
The company said that while the decision to close its Sunshine Coast dealership was taken "with some regret" it was necessary for New Age to be represented in a "bigger and better way". It will mean operations on the Sunshine Coast will be transferred to its Gold Coast dealership at Varsity Lakes. The new arrangement would provide a level of customer service that would be the benchmark across the country, dealer principal of New Age Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast Paul Cameron said. "This is only achievable by focusing our attention on developing the one dealership for New Age in south-east Queensland. All existing customers of Sunshine Coast can rest assured they will be cared for and communicated with throughout this transition and that their orders and purchases will be treated with absolute priority," he added. Have your say

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Kui Parks advert

Caravan Council of Australia

Pacific West advert

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Letter man

The question of recompense for
a victim of
caravan thief

HERE is my comment on jail for drug-affected caravan thief at Toowoomba (see story here).

And what recompense did the owner get for pain and suffering?

Even if one is insured there is a great deal of worry and loss with this sort of thing.

I'll bet there was no thought given to the victim by the court regarding their losses and angst.

Roger Lowry.


Armchair experts

IT was so sad to read about two caravanners dying in the Oxley Hwy horror crash (see story here).

Not a lot to say, but many so called armchair experts won't be able to help themselves in offering a "spray" as to what they think happened.

Iíll wait for the Coroner's report.

Terry Holt.