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February 2016

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FEBRUARY 27: Drivers warned of oil on northbound lane of NSW's Pacific Motorway near Hawkesbury River Bridge after car and caravan breakdown this morning.

FEBRUARY 27: Fleetwood Corp shares closed at year-low of $1.06 yesterday, two days before the Coromal and Windsor caravans builder is scheduled to announce its half-yearly results.

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

* Caravanner stranded at Cahills Crossing  ‒ 72,849 people reached.

* Kingdom Caravans goes bust  ‒ 33,755 people.

* Stolen camper trailer contains ashes of owner's daughter  ‒ 10,175 people.

* Man dies as tree falls on caravan at Sunshine Coast caravan park  ‒ 6286 people.

* Allianz to raise excess charges on caravan insurance claims  ‒ 3255 people.



Support for Apple Isle caravan park manager

REGARDING your story on the free camp which may force the closure of a Tasmanian caravan park (see story here).

WE are staunch free campers, but we are with the park manager on this one!

It's just spitting in his face to have a free camp so close to his park, and it's no wonder he is not a happy man.

We free-camp because we don't want to be in the middle of a busy town and prefer to be out of the precincts of a touristy area.

But if we needed to be in a town for any reason we would use a caravan park, as long as it's a reasonable price.

Greg and Dee.

Patronage 'never yours
to lose'

We are motorhomers in NZ travelling in a fully certified self-contained motorhome.

Our message to caravan park owners who demand that all motorhomers and caravaners stay in caravan parks at night is: "Our patronage was never yours to lose."

Smillie Henderson.

Talk to campers

I WOULD suggest that this park caters for overseas workers and not bigger caravans.

Last time I walked past there appeared to be more than one 'van on site and that was after January 8.

Maybe you need to talk with the campers behind the IGA who, incidentally, spend a lot of money in this town.

I'd say thousands of dollars each week and so I'm sure they will enlighten you as to why they don't use your park.

Maybe you should join Kui Parks because what you are doing doesn't work ... and never will.

Peter Spinks,
Latrobe resident and caravanner.

Small sites

I STAYED at this park last time I went down there.

I thought it would be a little more pleasant to head for it than stay in Devonport.

My 'van is only 5.5m body length but found the sites very small and had a problem fitting on them.

I would recommend that those with longer 'vans don't go near the park.

I consider that if it is not reconfigured to reasonable site standards it would be better closing up shop.

Latrobe was a far more pleasant town to stop in than Devonport.

However, I will not be back.

I also advise anyone who wants a powered site before or after a ferry crossing to put up at a park in Devonport.

You will be far less cramped.

Peter Davidson.


I WOULD like to comment on the tragedy at the Scarness Beachfront Tourist Park (see story here)

We were in another caravan park in Hervey Bay on this night, and we are saddened to hear about this terrible accident.

Our sincere condolences go out his family at this time.

The wind and the rain, plus the thunder and lightning, was surely keeping the emergency services busy, with power out to most of Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

It is important when storms like this come through to stay safe, keep off the roads and adhere to warnings issued by authorities.

Donna Winzar.

Minister John ErenAnother 'great show' promised

Minister to focus on booming caravan industry

CAMPING enthusiast and Victorian Tourism and Major Events Minister John Eren will officially open the state's biggest caravan show on February 24. Hundreds of thousands of visitors will flock to Melbourne Showgrounds during the six-day Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow. Mr Eren (pictured) is expected to focus on the state's booming caravan manufacturing industry during his address. Eighty-five percent of Australia's recreational vehicle products are manufactured in the state where 70 percent of the nation's RV manufacturers are based. "We are pleased to have the support of the Minister in what will be another great show promoting our industry products and tourism destinations in Victoria and Australia," Caravan Industry Assoication (Victoria) chief executive Rob Lucas said. "The Minister's support for our industry comes at a time when Victoria's love affair with our industry's products continues to be very strong." Have your say

Caravanners in tizz over toilet use

Kids in loos ... a dilemma for caravanning parents

Kids in loos ... a dilemma for caravanning parents

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVANNERS are in a tizz over children using caravan park toilets meant for the opposite sex.

Their concern comes as the number of child sex assaults in Australia continue to rise.

According to Adults Surviving Child Abuse, one in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

While caravan parks are generally considered safe places for children, there have been cases of pedophiles at work.

A 43-year-old man was charged in NSW after indecently assaulting a seven-year-old boy in the toilets of a NSW caravan park.

In another case, a 47-year-old serial sex offender was jailed after serious sexual assaults on a girl at a Victorian caravan park.

Kyle a victim

RADIO and TV personality Kyle Sandilands has revealed how, as a young child, he was the victim of a sex pervert while on a caravanning holiday in Queensland. He recently told listeners to his Sydney radio breakfast show about his terrifying ordeal, which happened during a family holiday at a caravan park on Bribie Island. He claimed a man exposed himself, made lewd comments and invited him back to his caravan to watch a pornographic movie. Kyle dashed to his own caravan but did not tell his mother until some years later.


And depraved pedophile Brett Cowan, in jail for murdering Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, was a frequent caravan park dweller.

Many parents are now unhappy about their children using caravan park showers and toilets while unaccompanied. And this is where the problem has arisen, with the task of taking children to the toilet or for a shower usually being left to mothers.

The dilemma of boys using the wrong amenity blocks at holiday parks was raised on Australia's biggest online caravanning forum.

One member revealed that his "pet hate" was the continual use of female showers and toilets by women for their sons.

On many occasions older unaccompanied boys had been asked to leave, he said.

Another member commented: "My wife gets very annoyed when the young lads are standing there with wide eyes like dinner plates and heads swivelling around like sideshow clowns.

"She and my daughter both feel intimidated and dare I say, so would most of the younger females."

Several caravanners said they would never allow young boys to use the male toilets while alone.

"I can give you plenty of examples why," wrote one. More button

Tireless voluntary worker honoured

Australia Day award for ex caravan park boss

By Dennis Amor

AVID caravanner and tireless voluntary worker Pat Coffey was honoured in the recent Australia Day Awards. The former operator of Highlands Caravan Park at Seymour in Victoria was awarded an OAM for her services to local communities. The 74-year-old regularly puts in more than 60 hours a week helping people. "Volunteering is something I have done all my life ... it's in my genes," she said. Secretary of Goulburn Valley Caravan Parks Association from 1996 to 2003, Pat told Caravanning News she was thrilled to receive the accolade. Despite all her volunteer work, she and husband Michael still find time to enjoy trips away in their Roadstar caravan. "We just love travelling in our 'van," she explained. "Even when we were running the caravan park we would go away in our own caravan. We have been round Australia a couple of times and still go somewhere every year in our caravan." Have your say

Winnebago's Minnie WinnieWinnebago predicts record year ahead
LAUNCHED less than a year ago, RV builder Winnebago Australia has predicted a "record-breaking" year ahead.
Chief executive Luke Trouchet reported that the iconic brand had made a strong impact with its quality Australian-built motorhomes, campervans and US-built Minnie Winnie caravans. "Australian caravan and motorhome enthusiasts have really welcomed Winnebago," he said. "2015 has been an exciting journey for us and we are making some big plans for the road ahead. With new models in production, brand new colour schemes and the launch of the first Australian-made Winnebago caravan, we're aiming to make 2016 a record-breaking year." More button

Allianz raises caravan excesses
INSURANCE giant Allianz has slapped a hefty increase on its caravan insurance excess charges. The normal $100 ($150 in WA) excess has risen to $250, while in NSW and ACT it will remains unchanged at $375. The company's last rise was more than a decade ago. Despite the new rate, its excesses were still generally at the bottom end of the range of other insurers, it said. They "more accurately reflected" Allianz's current claims experience. An Allianz spokesman told Caravanning News its excess rate had fallen out of step with the market in most states, where they ranged from $200 to $600. "There is a direct relationship between excess levels and premiums, evidenced by various insurance products where customers can reduce their premium by choosing a higher excess," he said. "Allianz has increased its caravan insurance excess to ensure our premiums remain competitive and our caravan insurance continues to provide market-leading value to our customers."   Have your say

Mudgeereba Holiday ParkDrunk allowed 13yo boy to drive in caravan park
THE main office building at the infamous Mudgeereba Holiday Village on the Gold Coast was badly damaged by an out-of-control car ... driven by a 13-year-old boy.
Alcohol-ridden Gordon Eggleton, 38, allowed a friend's son behind the wheel at the caravan park so he could be chauffeured because he was too drunk to drive himself. But the youngster crashed the car after failing to brake, Southport Magistrates Court heard. Police were called and Eggleton recorded a blood-alcohol level of 0.292, nearly six times the legal limit. He was fined $3000 and banned from driving for two years after admitting being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence and permitting another to drive while unlicensed. Eggleton is now working at the park to pay off the damage. Located just a stone's throw from the Gold Coast's bright lights of Surfers Paradise, the park has been dubbed Australia's worst. A former police officer who lives nearby told Caravanning News it was a disgrace and a blight on the world-renowned holiday strip. Have your say

Bus helps dialysis patients take a break
CARAVAN and tourist parks in Victoria are welcoming holidaymakers who depend on dialysis machines to stay alive.
In a world first, Kidney Health Australia is operating a mobile dialysis unit which visits the state's holiday spots, including caravan parks, enabling kidney disease patients and their families the freedom to travel. Hundreds of sufferers have already taken advantage of the Big Red Kidney Bus which is equipped with three dialysis machines. The vehicle spends six weeks in caravan parks at popular locations, giving patients the opportunity to enjoy a holiday while receiving dialysis treatment as required. Liam Curran, BIG4 Mildura Deakin Holiday Park manager Liam Curran told Caravanning News he was "very pleased" the bus would return to his park again this year. "We see the dialysis patients who have stayed with us and how happy they were and what a difference it made to their lives being able to take a holiday," he said.  More button

Alice Springs Telegraph StationHistoric connectivity gives way to wi-fi
CARAVANNERS will be able to stay in touch for free when they visit a remote NT tourist attraction.
Chief Minister Adam Giles said free internet access is now available at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. The historical Reserve marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. Established in 1872 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, it is the best preserved of the 12 stations along the Overland Telegraph Line. But now the iconic station has caught up with modern connectivity ... with the installation of free wi-fi for visiting tourists. More button

Park's library suggests caravanners are romantics
OWNERS of 45-site Tambo River Tourist Park at Swan Reach in Victoria are selling their caravan park for $1.1m after operating it for 16 years.
Greg and Aileen Cooper said they needed another challenge after bringing the once "terribly rundown" park up to spec. Facilities now include a recreation room, children's playground, solar-heated pool, free undercover barbecue, camp kitchen ... and even a well-stocked library. "It's grown over the years and we now have hundreds of books," Greg told Caravanning News. "There's certainly a lot of Mills & Boon novels ... it seems caravanners are a romantic lot." The Coopers said they would be sad to leave their picturesque and well cared for park. "We will miss all the people and their stories. It's lovely hearing about what they're doing with their lives and all that," Greg said. Selling agent is Michael Keltie of Business Sales Victoria. Have your say

Kingdom Caravans goes bustupdated logo  Kingdom creditors to meet
CREDITORS of Victoria-based Kingdom Caravans, which went bust last month owing more than $1 million, will meet on February 10.
The meeting will be held at the liquidator's office in William Street, Melbourne at 3pm. The main creditor is listed as the Australian Taxation Office. Liquidator Con Kokkinos, of Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants, told Caravanning News "a number of parties" had expressed an interest in buying the failed caravan manufacturer's business, which was founded in 2007. Kingdom caravan owners Peter and Judy Hannah were not surprised the company has folded. They claim phones were rarely answered and the business lacked leadership, vision and company control. "We are proud to be Kingdom caravan owners but when we were told a group of employees had left to start their own caravan building company we knew the writing was on the wall," they said. "Management were to blame for the demise of Kingdom Caravans ... not the quality of the product." They said any business looking to buy "the company's bones" would acquire "great designs". "Its name is renowned for quality and solid construction. The closure is a sad day in the grey nomad calendar."  Have your say

Call to ban grey nomads while people drive to work
A SUGGESTION that caravanners should be banned while people drive to and from work has been rubbished.
The idea, published in NRMA's Open Road magazine, caused a backlash and resulted in a avalanche of support for grey nomads. "Maybe we should also ban all trucks and delivery vans," one furious reader wrote. "Caravan and RV travellers have earned their retirement. The taxes they have paid over their working lifetime have helped towards paying for our living conditions today. From my own observations of the caravan and RV driving habits, most of them travel at a speed suitable to road and traffic conditions." Have your say

Lake Eppalock's dwindling water levelFalling lake levels 'crippling' caravan parks
FALLING water levels at a Victorian lake are reportedly crippling caravan parks in the area.
Holiday destinations near and on the banks of Lake Eppalock say their income has plummeted by up to 50 percent as caravanners and tourists shun the once busy holiday area. Owner of the 250-site Lake Eppalock Holiday Park Peter Rose told Caravanning News the problem had had a "massive" impact, with many of his pre-bookings being cancelled. "The lake usually brings in around $40m a year to Bendigo and surrounding townships but this has dropped to around $25m," he said. Struggling businesses blame Goulburn Murray Water for allowing too much water to be drawn from the lake by a range of water entitlement holders, resulting in a serious drop in levels. The Save Lake Eppalock pressure group argues that businesses and caravan parks who rely on the lake for recreational purposes are suffering.  Have your say

Inconsiderate 'van parkers cop a hiding
CARAVANNERS have copped a hiding from shopkeepers for hogging a NSW town's car park.
Traders at Warwick's Alfresco Centre claim inconsiderable travellers are causing peak-time problems at the 23-bay car park by squeezing out regular customers. "When someone comes in with a trailer or a caravan they can take up 12 spaces without even trying," Eagle Boys owner John Riley told local media. A sign at the entrance warns of parking restrictions. Have your say

Newcastle ExpoEasy way to compare products
NEWCASTLE'S largest annual Caravan and Camping Expo in NSW this month will showcase the products from over 180 businesses.
The three-day event opening February 5 will feature the latest products and equipment, according to Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW chief executive Lyndel Gray. "Come along and compare the hundreds of brands and products on display, and check out the best that the caravan and camping industry offers," she said. More button

Treasure Island voted best family park
NRMA's Treasure Island Holiday Park on Queensland's Gold Coast has scooped another top gong.
It has been voted Australia's best family holiday park in the latest Out & About with Kids readers' poll. The five-star park was also included in the Women's Day top 10 family hotels list. NRMA deputy president Wendy Machin said it offered premier customer service and "great facilities" which met holidaymakers' needs. Have your say

Top Parks logoTwo more members for Top Parks chain
THE expansion of the Top Parks chain continues, with award-winning Kimberleyland Holiday Park and Nambucca River Tourist Park becoming members.
Located in West Australia's remote and rugged Kimberley region at Kununurra, Kimberleyland recently took out silver in the WA Tourism Awards' caravan and holiday parks category. Multi-award winning Nambucca River Tourist Park on the mid-north coast of New South Wales boasts of being a one-stop holiday park with caravan and camping sites, luxury villas and self-contained cabins. Have your say

Traders want doomed park to stay
NEARLY 80 percent of local traders want an iconic oceanside caravan park on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to stay, according to a survey.
Councillors have decided to close the park to make way for more public open space. But nearly 4000 people have signed a petition calling for the Mooloolaba Beach Esplanade Caravan Park to remain open. And an action group is fighting to save the park which has provided holidays for generations of caravanners. Its members have visited 48 local businesses to gauge their feelings over the proposed closure, with 79 percent opposing its demise. More button

Frypan blazeCaravanners cost insurance company $7m
CARAVAN insurance claims in New South Wales averaged nearly $5000 in 2014-15, it has been revealed.
According to RACV Insurance, RV-related incidents accounted for 1397 payouts totalling around $7 million. The most expensive claim stemmed from fire damage when a frying pan in a caravan erupted in flames. Apparently it had been left unattended on the stove after the owner returned from a trip. The caravanner's misdemeanour resulted in the insurance company forking out $72,400 for fire damage. Have your say

Horrendous price of overtaking badly
THE dangers facing caravanners overtaking other vehicles have been highlighted by the Caravan Council of Australia.
General manager Colin Young said risking lives to save a few seconds can come with enormous risks. "Are you prepared to pay this horrendous price?" he asked. "Safety is by far the most important consideration when towing a caravan. You must have sufficient power available to accelerate at a reasonable rate, and to maintain a reasonable speed when climbing hills." Mr Young has drawn up a blueprint to help caravanners overtake safely. More button

Top Parks new guideTop Parks releases new guide
THE Top Parks chain, which claims more pet-friendly parks than any other group, has unveiled its "new-look" free annual park guide.
It features updated information on the chain's 63 caravan, 134 holiday and five resort parks across Australia. A total of 143 of them welcome pets. Chief executive Stuart Livingstone said the guide was even more user-friendly and loaded with top tips for travellers. It is available at Top Parks Australia-wide, national caravan and camping shows and at  Have your say

New high-security hitch from Purple Line
CARAVAN and trailer accessory manufacturer Purple Line has launched a new high-security hitch lock which secures standard Australian 50mm ball hitches both when hitched and unhitched.
The Saracen Ultra anti-theft hitch lock is made from high strength composite metals and has an anti-pick seven-pin cylinder lock with tubular, anti-copy key. Have your say

Collinsville welcomes caravanners

Mining town welcomes RV travellers
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council in Queensland has formalised an agreement to have Collinsville declared an RV Friendly town.
Mayor Jenny Whitney said the status would enable Collinsville to be better promoted to RV travellers and drive tourists as an ideal destination to stop, shop and explore. "To earn RV Friendly status, Collinsville had to satisfy stringent criteria and ensure RV travellers can enjoy ease of access to shopping areas, low-cost overnight parking and potable water," she said. More button

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Letter man

Claims from
so-called budget travellers are
a bit rich . . .

SO caravanners are threatening to ditch Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and take their money elsewhere.

Their gripe? Poor things are being kicked out of the oceanside caravan park because the prime spot is being given back to the general public.

Good riddance, I say.

The park is an eyesore in the town centre and situated on a beautiful stretch of coastline.

These poor campers claim they spend hundreds of dollars daily at local businesses.

Who are they trying to kid?

My experience of many modern-day caravanners is that they believe we owe them a living.

Many think they should be given free camping at specially-provided overnight areas because they spend big in the areas.

What a load of nonsense.

Plenty of them argue they are travelling on a budget and are not wealthy.

That's a bit rich coming from people who drive around in 4WDs hauling flashy modern caravans costing up to $100,000.

Ernest Adams.

Another place
to avoid

LOOKS like another place to avoid ... a concrete jungle just like the Gold Coast.

Ray Mole.

RV friendly?

SO VicParks and the City of Greater Geelong have "self declared" the city to be RV Friendly.

However, this may not be the way RV users see the municipality.

According to its own website, VicParks (aka The Victorian Caravan Parks Association) "was formed in 1964 to protect, promote and advance the caravan park industry"?

Richard Allen.

Questions answered

SORRY to read about the collapse of Kingdom Caravans but this answers some questions (see story here).

We had a caravan on order since November 2014, due for delivery August 2015.

But after several delays and blaming supplier problems, I cancelled the order and got my deposit back.

The last delivery date they gave me was February this year.

Close call for me I think.

I ended up buying a Royal Flair stock caravan from May West Caavans in Hoppers Crossing.

Great 'van, great service.

It's a shame about Kingdom because I really liked the caravan I ordered.

Glenn Griffiths.


WHAT will happen with the warranty of all the vans they have built?

Martin Gunn.