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January 2019

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JAN 21:
Townsville City Council in Queensland is considering setting up an online booking system for overnight stays its six free campsites in the northern beaches.

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


* Coach Built Caravans hits troubled times ... 13,179 people reached.

* Colorado Caravans in liquidation ... 11,498 people reached.

* Blaze destroys caravan at Boxers Creek ... 11,475.

* Rockhampton council ordered to pay legal fees in Kershaw Gardens case ... 10,120 people reached

* Sunland Caravans scoops major award ... 8861 people reached.

* Police issue safe driving plea to caravanners ... 6970 people reached.

* New caravan industry laws welcomed ... 6781 people reached.


Caravan parks 'not for true travellers'

REGARDING the $3.5m makeover for the Mooloolaba caravan park, Sunshine Coast Council would be more in tune if they spent the money providing free camping facilities for travellers (see story here).

Travellers spend their money in the town, not wanting to waste their money on overpriced caravan parks that provide unwanted facilities.

Increasing the size of a camp site, given time, will only incur more cost to those who choose to use the park.

Currently, site prices just cannot be warranted, let alone future increases.

Companies such as BIG4 or Top Parks cater for a different market and are no longer true caravan parks.

They are not for the traveller or true caravan owner who is more than likely is self-sufficient and looks for the freedom this country once had.

Caravan parks continue to close as they self-destruct, based on business models with no vision.

The caravan park association should seriously review the effect that large company ownership is having on smaller privately-owned or leased parks together with what the traveller wants, not what they think they need.

Many a town can testify to the value of travellers staying in the town and the difference their dollars make to its economy and survival.

These town provide free facilities for travellers to supplement private caravan parks ... and the model works well.

Paul Goldfinch.

No oasis for pets

SO holidaymakers will be unwelcome at Palms Oasis Caravan Park (see story here).

Well, there goes another place to visit if you have a fur baby/babies.

Ingenia is certainly taking over some wonderful spots up and down the east coast of Australia.

Can only see the average caravaner/motorhomer with a pet being squeezed out of some lovely parks.

Yvonne Perrin.


Rescuers free third traveller from wreckage


Caravan remains

By Dennis Amor

CRASH experts were trying to piece together the moments before a horror smash on a NSW rural highway which claimed the lives of two caravanners. Emergency services were met with "absolute carnage" on the Oxley Highway near Yarrowitch after a 4WD Toyota Prado and caravan rolled. No other vehicles were thought to have been involved. Police said the rig was travelling east on the Oxley Highway when it hit an Armco railing before careering into a tree. The front seat passenger, a 72-year-old woman, and rear seat passenger, a 38-year-old man, died at the scene. The driver, a 58-year-old man, and a 38-year-old female backseat passenger who had to be freed from the wreckage, were flown to Tamworth Base Hospital by two Westpac Rescue helicopters. Both were reported to have non-life threatening injuries. The vehicle also contained two dogs and a cat. One dog died but the cat fled the scene and has not been located. Officers from Northern Tableland Crash Investigation Unit were continuing with inquiries into the crash. A report will be prepared for the Coroner.  Have your say

Not the time to 'take foot off the pedal'


Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S caravan industry pumped over $20 billion into the nation's economy last year, it has been revealed.

Announcing the news in its 2018 annual review, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it had been "a challenging year" but had seen some growth as caravanners and campers experienced what was on offer.

They notched up a record 12 million-plus individual trips during the year ... much of which went into regional Australia.

Chief executive Stuart Lamont said the association appreciated and acknowledged the financial and logistical support from industry businesses which came together and invested in the National Marketing & Advocacy Fund.

"This underpins many of the activities which we undertake on behalf of the industry, and the selfless investment that nearly 700 industry businesses make to allow for industry activities to occur is very much valued," he said.

The association had already devised "an array of new and exciting marketing stimulation plans" to reach new markets this year.

But, Mr Lamont warned, there were some 'headwinds' in the market.

"However, now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal, and we will be increasing our marketing activity to a level never seen before," he said.

This would be achieved through strategic investments and new co-operative partnerships to ensure the industry remained front of mind in the eyes of consumers looking to take a genuine Australian holiday.

"We will also be increasing activities in the areas of research, compliance and lobbying to new levels, as well as looking at bringing an even more exciting National Conference in May which we believe will be a must-attend industry event, Mr Lamont added.

Bunbury mayor Gary BrennanWelcome mat already benefiting traders
BUNBURY City Council in WA is already feeling the benefits of throwing down the welcome mat for caravanners and other grey nomads.
Within weeks of opening three new experimental overnight camping spots for RV travellers the tills at local businesses have been ringing merrily. According to reports, scores of nomads have already taken advantage of the rest areas at Wyalup Rocky Point car park, Ocean Drive car park near Scott Street and the Maidens Reserve car park, also on Ocean Drive. Local Mayor Gary Brennan (pictured) is delighted with the results. Read more button

Stolen caravan wreckedPrison for drug-affected caravan thief
A WOMAN who stole a 4WD and caravan in Queensland while high on drugs is now behind bars.
The 27-year-old and another woman were attempting to evade police at high speed in Toowoomba when the caravan began swaying before breaking loose from the Toyota Prado and smashing into a unit complex. It was destroyed. Its owners had been preparing for a road-trip, Toowoomba Magistrates Court was told. The woman, who was on parole, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after admitting eight offences, including dangerous operation of a vehicle while adversely affected, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and obstructing police. The court was told she had taken the drug 'fantasy' about an hour before making off with the 4WD and caravan in September. Have your say

Turtle Sands caravan park signTurtle Sands set for new lease of life
THE once popular Turtle Sands Tourist Park adjoining the world-famous Mon Repos turtle rookery in Queensland is destined for a new lease of life.
Owners David and Jenny Baker plan to transform it into a 127-site tourism park with an accommodation mix to meet the current market. Bundaberg Regional Council will soon consider their development application which includes turtle-friendly lighting conditions said to have been drawn up by an internationally recognised expert. The Bakers pulled down the shutters at the million dollar-view beachside eco park in 2010, deciding it would
not cater for single site bookings or overnight accommodation. ... to help protect threatened survivors from the dinosaur age. Read More button

Weighing a caravanCaravanners 'turning a blind eye' to weights
MORE than half the caravans weighed by a Queensland business were overweight, shocking new figures have revealed.
Weightcheck Mobile Caravan Weighing founder Dave Lewis told Caravanning News that owners seemed to be "turning a blind eye" to the problem. During the last 14 months his Brisbane company has completed over 350 weigh-ins. And some frightening statistics have emerged off the back of the weighings, with 62 percent of caravans and 31 percent of tow vehicles being over their weight compliance limit. Read More button

Gary ShiffmanGlobal executive joins Ingenia
INGENIA Communities, which operates an Australian chain of lifestyle and holiday parks, has welcomed a global executive to its board.
Sun Communities chairman and chief executive Gary Shiffman has been appointed a non-executive director. His company has over 300 manufactured home communities and RV resorts in 29 states throughout the US and Ontario, Canada. He has over 30 years' experience in all aspects of the US and Canadian manufactured housing and recreational vehicles market. Ingenia chairman Jim Hazel said his company looked forward to drawing on the success of the US market and Sun Communities to further Ingenia's aspiration to become Australia's leading owner, operator and developer of lifestyle and holiday communities. Sun has twice received the US Manufactured Home Community Operator of the Year award. Have your say

Drop  water-wise campaignTravellers urged to be water-wise
CARAVANNERS heading to Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast have been encouraged to use water wisely this summer.
Barwon Water has urged holiday parks throughout the region to encourage guests and travellers to take shorter showers, turn off taps when brushing teeth and report leaking taps and running toilets. The water authority, which supplies half a million consumers in an 800,000 square kilometre area, has adopted a water droplet called Drop (pictured) who is taking a road trip in a vintage caravan, stopping at local festivals and markets along the way. Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said the idea was to remind people that while they are relaxing on holidays they should not be relaxing their water-saving habits. Have your say

Scam adBudding grey nomads warned of ads scam
NSW police have warned of an elaborate scam targeting retirees wanting to buy 'bargain' caravans from classified adverts in newspapers.
They have received "numerous" reports in recent weeks relating to the re-emerging ruse involving crooked sellers of RVs. It begins with what appears to be a genuine classified advertising a sale price below market value. The advertisement will feature a mobile number, which will not be answered, instead responding via a text message claiming they are unable to talk on the phone. Read More button

Manilla in NSWCommunity push for rest area brings results
TAMWORTH Regional Council in NSW has given the green light for a new rest area to be provided in the tiny town of Manilla on the Fossickers Way.
The 72-hour 'freedom camping' site will be operated by the local Men's Shed which will be provided with a community mower to help maintain the area. Travellers will be provided with potable water and waste and recycling bins. Bollards will be installed at the northern end of Progress Lane. A council report said the idea of a freedom camping site was initiated by the local community. "The key driver for this initiative is the associated tourist campers who would provide an economic benefit into the local community and the promotion of Manilla across camping and RV networks," it said. Letters of support were received from 39 "prominent" businesses and members of the community, it added. The council said that while Manilla Caravan Park supported the concept, it would have preferred the site be located outside the town boundary. Have your say

Colin YoungCaravan Council tips on safer trips
ENSURING your caravan and tow-vehicle are both in good condition is essential before heading off on holiday, says the Australian Caravan Council.
But it is just one factor in making trips safe and trouble-free. "We always hope we will not be involved in any emergency situation but unfortunately it can happen to anyone … sometimes with tragic consequences," general manager and founder Colin Young warned. Never cause an emergency situation, do not take chances or get "caught out" on the wrong side of the road, he said. "Always drive within the limits of your own abilities and those of your tow-vehicle and caravan. Make sure you know how your combination handles before heading off on a trip. Find a safe and legal area to practise on to get a good appreciation of the time and distance needed to accelerate to, and decelerate from, certain speeds. Check whether the combination handles predictably and safely on curves and during heavy braking." Have your say

WudinnaCouncil moves to attract more caravanners
SOUTH Australia's Wudinna District Council is reaching out in a bid to attract more caravanners to its region.
The area boasts the Gawler Ranges and the impressive Organ Pipes formation, the wave-like Pildappa Rock and the pristine white salt of Lake Gairdner. A group of council representatives will join members of the Wudinna and District Business and Tourism Association and head to Adelaide for next month's South Australian Caravan and Camping Show. They will be part of the Eyre Peninsula site at the exhibition from February 14 to 17. The stand is being coordinated by Regional Development Australia, and other councils across Eyre Peninsula have indicated they could be attending. Have your say

Australian Caravan Co teamName change and exciting times ahead
ONE of Jayco's major dealerships is having a name-change as it enters the next chapter of its long and successful history.
Founded in 1978, the award-winning family-owned Australian Caravan Co at Edwardstown in South Australia will fall under the control of the family's next generation and become known as Jayco Adelaide. "There are exciting times ahead," dealer principal Matthew Slee told Caravanning News. "We are a proud South Australian family company with further growth strategies planned," he said. Read More button

Calliope Caravan ParkPark still recovering after horror killings
CALLIOPE Caravan Park in central Queensland is still recovering after two people died from horrific injuries.
Park manager Matthew Wilson told Caravanning News the park in Stowe Road was in shock after the killings. And another man at the park commented: "Everyone here is really distraught and it will take a long time to get over it." A 64-year-old man was later arrested near the park and has been charged with two counts of murder. He is expected to appear before Gladstone magistrates in March. It is understood the accused and victims were known to each other. Have your say

Helping ease the devastation caused by drought

Club members muster up $5000 for farmers

Members of the ACC's Golden Westerners NSW branch at Mt Oxley near Bourke in NSW.

Members of the ACC's Golden Westerners NSW branch at Mt Oxley near Bourke in NSW.

THE Australian Caravan Club raised $5000 at its recent national muster to help drought-affected farmers. Chairman Craig Humphrey said members had been very strong in wanting to provide more support to the water-parched areas. "As a group of senior RV travellers covering the four corners of this great country our members have seen the devastation caused by drought," he explained. Members have been invited to have a say in how money raised by the 4600-member nationwide club should be distributed. "Some examples of rural initiatives may include a BBQ within an affected area, donation to a local charity working in an affected region, personal support of farmers through buying groceries and donating to an affected area's charity or a local council initiative," Mr Humphrey said. The club was founded in 2006 and says it is now the second largest multi-brand RV club in Australia. Have your say

CIAA Accreditation keyAL-KO gets tick of approval from peak body
AL-KO, which serves Australia's caravan and motorhome markets, has been approved as an accredited supplier by the industry's peak body.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has presented the leading innovator and provider with certificate and logo to demonstrate that it has received the tick of approval. AL-KO was required to undertake a supplier accreditation assessment, demonstrating that its business operations and workplace practices were of a high standard. The assessment included a review of performance levels in business planning, risk management, business improvement, HR management and sales and service conduct. Managing director Peter Mannfolk commented: "We are committed to being the leading innovator and provider of towing and RV solutions through our people, quality products and service." And CIAA chief executive Stuart Lamont said: "We are very pleased to offer AL-KO accredited status and provide recognition that their business operations are among the most professional in the industry." Have your say

ZoneRV SummiotBuyer pays almost $250,000 for caravan
WHAT has been hailed as Australia's most expensive caravan has rolled off the production line.
Queensland-based Zone RV built the carbon fibre Summit series off-roader, which cost almost a quarter of a million dollars, for Gold Coast businessman Brendon Dickinson. And director Matt Johns told Caravanning News that four more caravans costing a whopping $174,000 each were also on order. "Obviously we are pleased with the result of building and selling the most advanced caravan Australia has seen," he said. "But to be honest, with limited production slots available in 2019 our biggest challenge is how to keep up with demand." Read More button

Caravan accidentCaravan insurance claims rise in Tassie
A SPIKE in insurance claims has promoted a warning to caravan owners in Tasmanania.
RACT Insurance chief executive Trent Sayers revealed a seven percent increase in caravan claims. "We typically receive an average of 210 claims for caravans each year," he said. "The most common caravan claims mirrored those of boat claims, with accidental damage on the top of the list at 48 percent, storm damage coming in second with 38 percent and theft third with five percent. We also found 64 percent of claims were made away from the claimant’s home suburb. This reinforces the need to be prepared for every eventuality." Mr Sayers said it was important when stopped in a town for lunch or setting up camp at the final destination, to ensure the caravan and towing vehicle were locked whenever owners were away from them, even if they were not venturing far. Have your say

Belvedere Caravan Park signPrison sentence after broom attack
A MAN who knocked another unconscious with a broom at a WA caravan park has received a prison sentence.
The 65-year-old victim was hit several times after he told Sean John Wonnacott to slow down as he drove his 4WD through Belvedere Caravan Park in the seaside town of Mandurah. The injured man was treated at the Peel Health Campus for head injuries. "It was a mistake," Wonnacott told the local magistrates court. "I just snapped and I am sorry. I accept responsibility." He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Have your say

Manufactured home dwellersReport sheds light on new trend
COMBINING all manufactured housing estates and caravan parks would create Australia's 25th biggest town.
That's one of the interesting thoughts to emerge after the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and the Residential Land Lease Alliance officially released a new report. Long Term Residents in Caravan Parks and Manufactured Housing Estates: A Census 2016 Social Trend revealed that more than 70,000 Australians live in MHEs and caravan parks, and that this living arrangement is a vital aspect of affordable housing from both the supply and demand side.

Bushy Parker free camping siteFree camping sites create friction with locals
TOWNSVILLE'S free camping sites are creating tensions with local residents, according to a report to local councillors.
The city council has six non-commercial campsites, all located within the Northern Beaches area. "Their unique character and locations within or next to well-maintained parks and proximity to natural water frontage both ocean and creek has made these sites popular destinations for self-contained drive visitors," the report said. "These sites attract over 5000 visitors annually, leading to wider economic benefits for Townsville. Their popularity, however, also brings problems of management and tensions with local residents." There have been complaints of travellers overstaying the designated 48-hour period, unclean and smelly toilet blocks ... and people allegedly showering nude in public. The report said it was necessary to address management of the sites "to improve the visitor experience and protect the amenity of surrounding residents". The meeting was told that a proposed Non-Commercial RV and Camping Site Operational Plan would deal with signage, amenities, management and regulations for the sites and address any amenity impacts on adjoining residents. Have your say

Caravan share highway with other usersShedding light on caravan safety
MEMBERS of the Men's Sheds organisation have discussed how caravanners can become safer on our roads.
Sharing the highways with heavy trucks and other road users was one of the major topics at the Gippsland and Cardinia Men's Sheds Cluster Muster at Lang Lang in Victoria. About 80 members attended, and nearly all owned and regularly towed caravans. The event came after reports of many southern grey nomads coming to grief during their travels north for the winter sunshine. The muster included the local Highway Patrol, members of the caravan industry and truck drivers who provided a truck for the day so caravanners could sit behind the wheel. The forum was run as question and answer event with topics including weight/mass requirements for caravanning, sharing highways with trucks and other road users, UHF radios and their use, trip planning and special challenges of driving around trucks. The group said it would be happy to share information about how the day was organised. It also suggested that similar forums could be duplicated in any region with Men's Sheds. Have your say

Riverview Family Caravan ParkParks committee anxious to protect lifeblood
Coast Committee of Management will review accommodation trends and improve online marketing.
It wants to "ensure the prosperity of our lifeblood income" from its Barwon Heads and Riverview Family caravan parks and Riverside Camp Ground. The committee's annual report revealed that 98 percent of its revenue approximately $5.8 million was generated by visitors to the facilities. People have been camping in the Barwon Heads park since 1910 and on the Ocean Grove Spit, site of the Riverview Family park, since the 1880s. "During 2018 we reviewed our caravan park customer feedback and worked with our staff to create a new 'look' or 'brand' for our caravan parks that reflect the easy coastal beachside holidays that we offer on the Barwon Coast. We think the new looks are great," the committee said. It reported an overall loss of $40,976. Have your say

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Letter man

Public land should be available for everyone

I SAY 'no' to the CMCA proposal for a new RV park at Penola in SA (see story here).

Assuming that McCorquindale Park is public land under the jurisdiction of the Wattle Range Council it should be available to all members of the public, not just a members-only group.

Better still, it would be more appropriate for the sports club or a local community group to manage the proposed recreational vehicle camp ground with the income raised going directly in to the community.

Compare this with the sports club that manages the camp area at Doon VIlla in Maryborough, Queensland, for the public ... a resounding success.

Keith Welsh

Problem plate

JUST traded our 2013 Esperance and was told the plate was too high and  the cost given to relocate was $250.

Surely the manufacturer should wear this cost and not the unknowing purchaser of a new caravan.

All 'vans built after 2000 should be ADR compliant.

We have been through roadside checks and this was never brought up by the authorities.

Phil Davis.

Sites aplenty

REFERRING to outback tourism benefiting from government grants (see story here).

What are they talking about? All three locations mentioned are very well served with sites.

Aramac: No less than three camps.

Jericho: A camp and a 'van park (showground).

Muttaburra: 'Van park and two camps not too far away.

There's heaps of places with nothing out there!

WJ (Bill) Frost.

Where's the others?

IN reference to your story about a major award for the Sunland off-roader (see story here).

Great plug for Roy and Sunland!

But when were the other competitors and awards?

Alan Youngman.

Kershaw Gardens

JUST a pertinent observation on your article regarding the closure of Rockhampton's Kershaw Gardens (see story here).

The holiday parks need to adapt their business model to meet the preferences of all modes of traveller, rather than trying to bully travellers into their parks.

There’s two basic types of traveller out here - family holidaymakers that want long stays in a particular location, and
nomadic overnight short-term, generally only couples, who want a convenient overnight perch mostly minus facilities.

Certainly don't need or want to pay for Disneyland-style features. And no unhooking.

If the holiday parks provided an area with nothing more than the space for a minimal sum, and a two-minute book-in without all the pallava that
goes with a regular booking, space allocation, reversing, unhooking, rehooking in the morning and so-on, they would better serve the retailers elsewhere in town.

Who wants to arrive at a park and jump thru all the hoops just mentioned and pay $35 or more dollars to sleep 12 hours and move on?

It just won't work and if they do not adapt, the associated towns will be the sufferers.

Maybe the local retailers should rise up against the parks since they are the ones missing out.

Next we will be seeing the bookshop moving against the library, or the retailers doing likewise against the op-shops!

WJ (Bill) Frost.

Travel north

IN view of this ruling I would suggest all RVs bypass the Capricorn region.

Travel further north to the Whitsunday region, and Proserpine in particular, where you will be welcomed.

We have bypassed Rockhampton for years now as a result being ripped off and rudeness.

Trevor Smith.