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July 2018

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

JULY 31:
HOLIDAY park on Nepean Hwy at Dromana in Victoria cordoned off for three hours last night after reports of gunshot. Man, 51, arrested and charged with being prohibited person possessing firearm.

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


* Australia's highest priced caravan sells for over $200,000 ... 66,363 people reached.

* Suncorp reports spike in caravan insurance claims ... 28,819 people reached.

* Hunt for missing grey nomad in far north Queensland ... 26,580 people reached

* New $4m caravan park planned for Hervey Bay ... 22,829 people reached.

* Apollo buys Fleetwood's loss-making Coromal and Windsor operations ... 14,733 people reached.

* NSW caravan rego fees slashed by 40 percent ... 13,155 people reached.

* Caravan's solar panel smashes through windscreen of following car ... 10,643 people reached.





Second win for lucky caravanners

Multi-millionaire grey nomads
hit another winning streak

By Dennis Amor

MULTI-MILLIONAIRE grey nomads from the Gold Coast have done it again ... scooped a major prize on the lotto. The lucky travellers, who collected a cool $10 million seven months ago, have just landed another $150,000 with a $10 Instant Scratch-Its ticket bought at Top News in Katherine in the Northern Territory. The unnamed winners are on a round-Australia adventure in their brand new caravan, bought from their previous windfall. "It's unbelievable," they said after being told of their latest good fortune. "We have never considered ourselves to be lucky. Now we are wondering if these things come in threes and whether we'll have another win before the end of the year." Top News owner Sondra Barry, who sold them the winning ticket, said the jubilant grey nomads at first couldn't believe their latest win was for real. “It was so exciting – we’re so pleased for the couple," she added. To read Caravanning News' story about their first win click here. Have your say

Caravan headline

By Dennis Amor

CARAVAN and camping trips remain the favourite holiday option for many Australians, new figures reveal.

And the latest data from Tourism Research Australia shows the popularity is continuing to grow more than ever.

National overnight domestic caravan and camping nights have risen 3.5 percent to reach a record 51.3 million for the year ending March 2018.

The most prominent age groups were the 30 to 54-year-olds (5.5m) and the 55-plus market (3.4m).

Annual economic value reported to around
$4.5 billion annually

The 20-29-year-age group saw significant growth, soaring 11 percent from the previous year to 2.1 million trips.

The news comes as the caravan and camping trade industry reported that its economic value was around $4.5 billion annually.

The sector comprises manufacturers, dealerships, part and accessories retailers, service and repairs businesses together with RV storage and camping equipment retailers.

Additionally, the sector made up more than 21,000 full time jobs across 4300 trade businesses in Australia.

The caravan and camping sector is regarded as pivotal to Australian tourism because it disperses visitors and employment throughout Australia.

The most popular activity was eating out at restaurant or cafes, which was enjoyed by more than 6 million travellers and provided economic value to many regional areas with caravan parks.

The majority of visitors (77.76 percent) took caravan and camping trips as a form of holiday rather than for business or visiting family and friends. Comment bubble Have your say

Coromal caravanCoromal, Windsor heading east
ARRANGEMENTS are underway to switch the building of Coromal and Windsor caravans to a factory 4000km away.
Perth-based Fleetwood has sold the "goodwill" of its loss-making two brands to Apollo Tourism and Leisure for $1 million. This follows falling sales and heavy pressure from shareholders to offload its caravan business in the face of savage discounting by other RV manufacturers in Victoria. Fleetwood, which will continue its manufactured homes operations, had for some time been pondering whether to shift operations to the east coast because of high manufacturing costs in Perth. The value of the fixed assets in its caravan business were written down to nil earlier this year after the company recorded a bigger underlying loss of $5.6 million in the December half and in the face of an oversupply of caravans nationally. Fleetwood's caravan manufacturing facility in Perth will close this year, paving the way for Apollo to buy inventory and raw materials at discounted prices and begin building Coromal and Windsor caravans at its factory in north Brisbane. To read Fleetwood's announcement revealing the sale, click here.
**  Company secretary Yanya O'Hara resigned from Fleetwood soon after the sale was announced, leaving the Perth-based company looking for a replacement. Chief financial officer Andrew Wackett was appointed interim company secretary. Ms O'Hara joined Fleetwood as assistant company secretary in 2011 and was appointed company secretary three years later.
 Read More button Have your say

The travelling KelseysHalseys discover simple things in life
IT has taken an extended caravanning road trip for a young NSW family to discover that the simple things in life are the best.
The Halseys are midway through a four-month adventure in their 22ft WonderlandRV Adventus bunk caravan towed by an Isuzu MU-X 2017. And with nearly 20,000km chalked up so far, Todd and Kirryn told Caravanning News: "It has reminded us that it's the simple things in life that make us the happiest and has taught us to appreciate life and each other so much more." The couple, who are travelling with their two boys ‒ Taj (5) and Jai (2) ‒ said each day of their journey brought memories that will last a lifetime. Read more button

ACC continues to branch out
THE Australian Caravan Club's soaring membership over the past year has led to the formation of two new branches in Queensland.
ACC Rainforest Ramblers has taken off with a running start in the state's far north, becoming the club's 51st branch and boasting an initial 34 members. Meanwhile, the club said its new ACC Awesome Bundy Cruisers at Bundaberg would fill a gap along the Queensland coastline. Read More button

Rob LucasVic still holds industry crown
VICTORIA continued to dominate Australia's $4.5 billion caravan industry last year, accounting for almost half its total economic contribution and almost two-thirds of its manufacturing jobs.
But the state's peak body for the industry admitted there was "still much to do" to raise business standards to match the expectations of "increasingly knowledgeable and sophisticated customers". The Caravan Industry Association of Victoria has welcomed a major report showing that the state is still the heartland of Australia's booming caravan industry and the national leader for every major metric. Chief executive Rob Lucas (pictured) said it led not only in jobs and economic contribution, but in revenue, the number of enterprises, value-add and payroll.

Picture: Caravanning News

Boost for local economy

Rum City's new RV park already proving popular

THE Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia's latest RV park has opened in Queensland's Rum City. And the 50-site facility on Bundaberg's old showgrounds in Burrum Street is already pouring thousands of dollars into the local economy. "It's proving to be extremely popular," custodians Daryl and Bec Lumsden (pictured) told Caravanning News. "Receipts handed into us after only a few days of opening the gates to members showed they spent around $5000 in the city," they said. The park provides low-cost, no-frills five-night maximum stays for CMCA members only. Each person pays $3 nightly and their caravans, motorhome and campervans must be self-contained. The pet-friendly park has a ban on smoking and its only facilities are a dump point, drinking water and a small undercover area. The land is in a flood-prone area of the city but the local council says the itinerant nature of park occupants would mean their vehicles could leave quickly in the event of an emergency. Comment bubble Have your say

Hoedown to benefit cancer research
KARUMBA Point Sunset Caravan Park in Queensland's Gulf Country will hold a country hoedown on July 6 to raise funds for the Cancer Council.
Guests will be able to donate as much as they like after paying a $5 cover charge to attend the fundraiser. The park has raised $1600 for the charity during the past two years. Have your say

Wrecked caravanCaravan accidents cold comfort for insurer
GREY nomads escaping the southern states' freezing conditions are driving a frightening increase in Queensland caravan accidents, it has been revealed.
New figures from Suncorp show that insurance claims from caravanners soared by a massive 94 percent in the Sunshine State during winter months, with August being the worst time for accidents. Western Australia came in second at 40 percent. Meanwhile, the number of claims plummeted by 30 percent in Victoria, the home base for many grey nomads heading north in search of the winter sunshine. Read More button

Amenities block planned for Kimba's free camping area
THE District Council of Kimba in South Australia has set aside $194,739 in its annual budget to provide an additional amenities block at its free camping area.
The town of 1300 residents is situated halfway across Australia on the world renowned Eyre Highway, National Highway One. Its Community Development Group has a novel way of welcoming grey nomads ... seven nights free camping and full use of camp facilities In return for two full days of volunteer work with local organisations. Comment bubble Have your say

The Palmer familyWorld bouquet for RACQ
A FATHER, whose daughter and her family are on a year-long round-Australia caravanning adventure has taken to the world's leading online travel site to praise Queensland's top motoring organisation for getting them out of a predicament.
It appears the hapless travellers Mark and Cheryl Palmer and sons Braedyn (13) and Corbin (11) were left stranded when their tow vehicle gave up the ghost 20km out of Emerald in the Sunshine State. "They contacted the RACQ who arranged to have the car transported to a garage in Emerald, the caravan towed to a motor park, paid for six nights at the park and for a rental car for six days," Barry Campbell, from Te Anau in New Zealand, wrote on the worldwide TripAdvisor website. "Absolutely fabulous service. A big thumbs up to RACQ."  And in an update to Caravanning News he said: "
They have spent their enforced time in Emerald fossicking for gemstones ... hoping to get enough to pay for the $3500 repairs." Read More button

Busy time ahead for Retreat owners
OWNERS of Retreat caravans are preparing for a busy time ahead.
More than 150 members of the Retreat Family Group will be heading for Queensland for their national caravan rally later this year. Seventy-six caravans have already been registered for the event at the Maryborough Showgrounds. But organisers Barry and Sandy Neilsen expect many more to sign up before week-long programme of activities get underway on September 10. Read more button

Truck and caravansHelping truckies and caravanners coexist
A QUEENSLAND caravanner is working on a programme to help create a better understanding between recreational vehicle owners and truck drivers.
Ken Wilson believes his Truck Friendly driver education project will help them improve their relationships when it comes to sharing the highways, rest areas and other places where the two groups come into contact. "As a caravan user myself, I have seen both sides of the argument between who is right and who is wrong in the truck verses caravan debate on our roads," Mr Wilson, who has spent two years devising his programme, told Caravanning News. Read More button

Camping mooted for Lake Proserpine
QUEENSLAND'S Whitsunday Regional Council is planning new recreational facilities at Lake Proserpine following its takeover of Peter Faust Dam's recreation area from SunWater.
They include camping areas and fishing and boating opportunities. Mayor Andrew Willcox said Lake Proserpine, one of the area’s iconic natural assets, had been identified as a key area to develop recreational and tourism facilities. "Lake Proserpine is largely untapped and developing it into a recreation hub that can cater for camping, boating, fishing or just be a nice spot to visit for a barbecue will add significant value to the Whitsunday region," he said. Have your say

Rest area sign

Club rests its case on roadside facilities
AUSTRALIA'S national caravan club has called for more rest area facilities in NSW.
"While RVers acknowledge that truckies operate on a time schedule and must have regulatory rest stops, RVers too need fatigue management," Australian Caravan Club chairman Craig Humphrey said. While welcoming the State Government's decision to slash caravan registration fees by 40 percent, this was only one issue affecting RVers in NSW that needed attention. "The government needs to start doing something to improve not only the number of roadside rest areas, but also the allocated space available in rest areas for RVs," he said. Read More button

Pet ban 'will cost Newman dearly'
WHALEBACK Village caravan park in Newman, WA, has reopened after BHP splashed out $450,000 on an upgrade.
Local shire dignitaries and Chamber of Commerce and Industry representatives attended the official opening of the 22-site park, timed to coincide with the peak grey nomad season. But some travellers have questioned the wisdom of banning pets and open fires at the park on Newman Drive, arguing it will cost the Pilbara town dearly. "There are numerous caravanners with dogs and other animals touring this great land of ours ... it's such a shame they are being turned away," Queensland grey nomad Harry Fitzmaurice commented. "It just means Newman businesses will be missing out on an awful lot of tourist dollars." Have your say

Betoota Hotel ... world's most remote caravan business?Oz's most remote 'van repair business?
THE new owner of an historic pub in outback Queensland could become one of Australia's most isolated caravan repairer.
Robert ‘Robbo’ Haken, a smash repair businessman from Brisbane, is reopening the 97-year-old Betoota Hotel, the only building on the 380km rugged road between Birdsville and Windorah. The pub fell into disrepair after its previous owner died two decades ago but has now been renovated and should be open to tourists this month. Mr Haken hopes to capture business from grey nomads and other travellers by offering caravan and vehicle repairs along with fuel, a camping area, beds for tourists, food and a breakdown service. "We’ve done so much work there and put in so many changes," he said. Comment Bubble Have your say

Industry figures feature in Queen's Birthday Honours
TWO leading figures in Victoria’s caravan industry were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Chairman of Prestige Jayco John Spence received the Order of Australia Medal while David Mann, the industry's radio voice, became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Both have a long association with the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria, the peak body for Victoria’s caravan industry. Read More button

Pictured at the official opening are, from left, Mr Wilson, Boyup Brook Shire president Graham Aird and WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.

Pictured at the official opening are, from left, Mr Wilson, Boyup Brook Shire president Graham Aird and WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.

Safer access to WA shire

New Tone bridge improves safety for caravanners

CARAVANNERS have heaved a sigh of relief with news that the new $4.9 million two-lane Tone Bridge on the Boyup Brook to Cranbrook Road at Tonebridge, Western Australia, is now complete. Hundreds of vehicles used the old single-lane bridge daily, including a high number of trucks, road trains and caravans. Local MP Rick Wilson, who officially opened the new Tone River Bridge, said it would facilitate safer access for vehicles entering and leaving the Shire of Boyup Brook on one of its major distributor roads. "Around 400 vehicles used the old single-lane bridge daily, including a high number of caravans," he told Caravanning News. "By removing the need to stop and give way to oncoming vehicles, the new double-lane bridge will improve safety for people travelling with caravans." The original single-lane wooden bridge was built in 1925. Have your say

PamplonaBailey to produce Aussie chassis
MAJOR UK caravan builder Bailey has decided to produce a specially-designed Australian chassis at its Melbourne factory.
After the successful release of its fully Australian-designed Rangefinder and Coastal caravans, Bailey ‒ the UK's top selling caravan brand ‒ is now taking the next step in diversifying its range Down Under by assembling its UK caravans on a specially designed, Australian-made chassis in Victoria. But managing director Adrian van Geelen stressed that it was extremely important the new Aussie Pamplona remained "quintessentially British". Read More button

Jayco benefits from new battery management system
BMPRO has released a new battery management system exclusively for Jayco.
The JHub controls on-board features of Jayco caravans or motorhomes from a tether-free Android tablet using the latest in Bluetooth connectivity. It manages incoming power, battery charging, tank levels and more, including the control of onboard features such as lights, slide-outs, hot water and water pumps. BMPRO is the leading Australian brand of power management solutions for the RV industry. Chief executive Louise Bayliss said Jayco was highly respected within the industry for leading with innovation and delivering the best value-for-money to their customers. "So when we worked with them to build something that would dramatically improve their customers’ adventures, we were ecstatic that it evolved into the JHub system," she added. Comment bubble Have your say

Follow the Sun RelayAdventurers wanted to follow sun
DOMETIC has joined forces with Australia's peak caravanning body and Winnebago to promote a year-long road trip.
Friends, families, mums and dads, retirees, singles and others are beng invited to share the adventure. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said the Dometic Follow the Sun Relay would showcase to the world how great it was to explore Australia on a caravan and camping adventure. Participants will be asked to share stories, videos, photos and fun moments from their trip. Read More button

Glamping fiesta hailed a success
GLAMPING will become an annual attraction at the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park on Victoria's iconic Great Ocean Road.
This follows the success of a sell-out Glamping Fiesta at the Great Ocean Road Committee's park involving 40 campers spending three nights of luxury under canvas during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. They also enjoyed music, films, wine, gourmet meals and fire pits. The committee also manages the Anglesea Family and Torquay Foreshore caravan parks. Chairman Ken Northwood said the committee was thrilled with the glamping success and looking at more new ways to drive winter trade. comment bubble Have your say

Kedron's "Palace on Wheels"

Australia's highest prices caravan?

'Palace on wheels' turns heads in Brisbane

WHAT is thought to be Australia's highest priced caravan has been turning heads in Brisbane. The triple-axle custom-built Kedron Top Ender TE7, reported to have been sold for over $200,000, was unveiled at Caravanning Queensland's major caravan show in the Queensland capital. It has already made several trips along city streets, one for a comprehensive photo-shoot. The new owner's identity has not been revealed but Brisbane-based Kedron said it will be towed by a "big American vehicle". The "palace on wheels" has everything a caravanner would ever want, including 1000W solar system, 900 amps of lithium, satellite TV, auto airbag levelling, heated leather seating, home theatre, four fridge/freezers ... and even a dishwater. Have your say

Caravan hire businesses on market for $2 million
A QUEENSLAND caravan hire business is being sold for $2.195 million.
The unnamed company, billed as one of the State's largest and most profitable of its kind, is being marketed by Brisbane-based broking and commercial sales firm Mercury 5 Sky. It says the single-owner operation provides flexible time input to the "niche and unique" company. With assets of around $1m, it claims to offer one of the largest fleet of 'vans for hire within the State. "Due to the sheer size and capacity of this business, with its sales and net income being so high and on the increase, there is ample more that could be done immediately to derive even more reward for owning this investment," the seller says. "Conveniently located, there is simply a growing market for this type of ‘rolling abode’." Have your say

Brisbane Valley Rail TrailRail trail benefits caravan park
THE Brisbane Valley Rail Trail in southern Queensland has already had flow-on effects for one local caravan park.
A team of Tweed Shire Council design engineers and environmental scientists from NSW recently took to bicycles for a 40km ride to gain first-hand experience of the trail, soon to be Australia's longest of its type. It runs from Ipswich to Toogoolawah, with an extension to Moore scheduled to open this month. NSW is now planning its own rail trail. Project manager Iain Lonsdale said his team was particularly interested to learn of the business opportunities provided by Queensland's trail, reporting that the demand for accommodation generated by users had prompted a $1 million expansion and upgrade of the Esk Caravan Park. "Our visit to Brisbane Valley certainly fuelled the passion of the Tweed team to deliver a first-class rail trail product for northern NSW to build a new regional tourist attraction to drive economic growth and jobs," he added. Comment Bubble Have your say

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UHF radios
would help
reduce angst
on our roads

I THINK a lot of the angst between caravanners and truckies could be reduced.

I am sure that if all caravanners were trained in the use of UHF radio and used it to talk to the truckies then everyone would benefit.

Caravanners should be encouraged to join clubs where they would gain a wealth of experience and advice from veterans.

Many new 'vanners are unaware of the rules, unwritten or otherwise, of sharing the road with our truckie mates,

Sure, there are a few cowboys amongst the big guys.

But mostly if you call them up on the UHF and invite them to go past when safe they will thank you and go rocketing past when they can.


Cue for anger

SO there's going to be an attempt on world's longest RV queue (see story here).

What a bunch of idiots ... no wonder RV owners get a bad name,

There are enough hold-ups caused under normal driving conditions other than to have these dropkicks take part in this circus!

These people should realise that they do not own the road.

Peter Allott.