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May 2016

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MAY 31: Investigations continue into accident in which car and caravan overturned and ended up on safety fence on new stretch of NSW's Pacific Highway north of Frederickton. No further details available.

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

* Jayco recalls camper trailers  27,022 people reached.

* Crusader Caravans back in business ‒ 15,020 people reached.

* Four die in horrific caravan smash ‒ 13,428 people reached.

* Police urge caravanners to secure RVs ‒ 13,342 people reached.

* Kingdom Caravans' assets auctioned 4969 people reached.

* Silver Wattle caravan park on market for $1.15m  ‒ 3412 people reached.


The benefits of  providing low-cost or free camping

I WAS just reading the article about Grant Council wanting comments on free camping spots (see story here)

Well, here's my two cents worth.

Many small towns I stay at have an overnight or 48-hour stay close to a shopping strip.

We can walk to the shops and either purchase items we need or eat there.

A place to stop which is out of town would not bring in as much money as one either in or next to the town.

For longer stays in small towns we use showgrounds which charge a modest fee for electricity and water.

Having a toilet and a dump point helps.

Showers are not needed as most modern caravans have them.

We do make donations, normally $5 a night, if a donation point is placed in the area to help with costs.

We did cross SA in 2015 on our half lap around Australia, staying at a number of free camping spots.

In NSW, one small town reopened its showground for low-cost camping due to the loss of income to local shops.

One local resident informed me that the local free camping spot brought over $250,000 worth of business to the town.

Glenn Watson.

Lovely spots

GRANT Council's suggested sites for free-camping are all lovely spots.

A small fee (honesty box with tickets where credit card numbers can be used as well as cash) would be most welcome.

Also the use of grey water containers on the ground and taken away to a sullage point would be good.

Grey water tanks can be difficult to retro fit as well as very unhygienic over time.

We carry a cassette which is lifted and taken to dispose of at an approved facility.

Ian and Sally.

Don't miss out

DO IT or you will miss out. Just look at the NT and WA.

Danny Hicks.

Well done

WONDERFUL to hear that Grant Council in South Australia is considering opening more free campsites.

Well done.

Lucy and Noel Calleja.

Sit and think

MY motorhome is self contained and I don't need the playgrounds supplied by caravan parks.

My wife and I like to support the many other shops in a town that are trying to make a living.

Most caravan parks rely on the council to protect them, at the expense of the other businesses.

Caravan parks don't worry about motels when they keep adding cabins in opposition to them.

Caravan parks need to sit down and think how they can encourage travellers to stay rather than expect councils to force us in.

We will bypass the town ... we all have social media now and word travels fast, good and bad.

Robert Mann.

Updated logo  Dealers shocked as company folds


Exclusive by Dennis Amor

ANOTHER leading caravan manufacturer has hit troubled times, with Vanguard Caravan Sales being placed in liquidation. The factory  in Epping, Victoria, was locked and no telephones were being answered. It is understood company members met this week and decided the business should be wound up. Vanguard built custom and contract manufactured caravans, including 5th wheelers, and had a network of nationwide dealers. Vanguard director John Kyriakidis did not respond to our telephone calls and emails. A spokesman at Ipswich Lifestyle Centre west of Brisbane told Caravanning News he understood Vanguard was "in a bit of a hole" but he was still shocked by the announcement. "The news is very sad," he said. Another said they heard something was wrong from a caravan delivery driver. "We're in the dark, we don't know what's going on," a spokesman said. A creditors' meeting will be held at the Gateway Theatrette in Melbourne on June 7. Vanguard's demise comes just weeks after well respected Crusader Caravans went into voluntary administration. The company was saved following a "competitive sale process". Have your say

'Protection of children and teenagers from harmful material is paramount'


Wicked campervan Wicked campervan with suggestive slogan

Wicked campervans ... not welcome in Byron Bay

Story-photos: Dennis Amor

CAMPERVANS daubed with offensive and sexual slogans have been banned from caravan parks in a popular NSW holiday region.

Byron Shire Council has bowed to public pressure and approved a raft of measures which include shutting them out of all council-owned holiday parks.

The move follows a recent incident in which an angry local grandfather spray-painted over lewd words on a backpacker's Wicked campervan.

Ballina Shire Council is also urging the NSW and federal governments to support a ban on "inappropriate messages" painted on the Australian-based company's vehicles.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Classification Office has ordered three of the controversial Wicked campervans off the road immediately for their "objectionable publications".

Caravanners interviewed by Caravanning News at a rest area on the Pacific Highway north of Byron Bay had mixed views on the controversial 'whizbangs', so-called by grey nomads because of their noisy sliding doors.

"I can't help but feel this has been blown out of all proportion," Queenslander Bruce Martin commented.

"Some people seem to take offence over the slightest thing but I find many of the slogans quite funny and they make me smile while on an otherwise boring journey."

But Victorian grey nomad Tony Morcroft thought the "sexist scribbles" were often degrading, particularly to women, and should be outlawed.

"Wicked by name and wicked by nature," 68-year-old Mr Morcroft said. "They certainly have no place in caravan parks where young families with children are holidaying."

In its findings, the NZ Classification Office said it had considered the right to freedom of expression.

But it added: "The likelihood of injury to the public good arising from the availability of the campervans, specifically the harm caused to children and young teenagers who view the images and text dealing with criminal drug use, has been identified.

"The protection of children and teenagers from harmful material  is paramount in this instance. This is not an unusual or excessive limitation of commercial free speech."

NSW Premier Mike Baird has rejected increasing calls to ban the offensive slogans.

Tasmania's Commissioner for Children Mark Morrissey expressed concern that children and young people were being exposed to messages which commonly derided and denigrated women.

He said there were also worrying examples of campervans showing childrenís characters such as Snow White, Cookie Monster and Barbie in compromising and offensive situations which were equally alarming because children would "be drawn to images of their beloved characters".

He welcomed the bans and pointed out that New Zealand's Queenstown Council now also imposed $300 fines for the offensive slogans.

Mr Morrissey believed similar action could be introduced in the Apple Isle to protect Tasmania's children and young people from seeing them.   Have your say

Defer retirement and become a grey nomad, urges pollie


Story-photos: Dennis Amor

Barry Moloney

Barry Moloney:
wages bill

Trevor Holmes

Trevor Holmes:

FEDERAL Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ken Wyatt has urged people to defer retirement and become grey nomads before returning to work. And the idea of a gap year has been backed by caravanners who think it's a great concept. Mr Wyatt told delegates at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum in Perth he wanted to see baby boomers work longer and access their superannuation later. "When we get to 60 and think about retiring, workplaces could encourage us to have a gap year from work, go and do the grey nomad bucket list and then come back and make a decision about retiring. I think that would change our mindset," he said. Caravanning News went on the road to ask caravanners for their views. Barry Moloney, 66, thought Mr Wyatt's idea might work for 50-year-olds, particularly those with trade qualifications. "But giving workers a year off on full pay could pose problems for some businesses which may not be able to afford it," he told us. "Will the government meet their wages bill?" Round-Australia travellers Trevor and Raelene Holmes, who have been virtually fulltime grey nomads for 17 years, said many people would like to take a year off to travel but didn't have the courage. "It might be difficult getting a 12-month sabbatical, but perhaps they could use long service leave for the gap year," Mr Holmes suggested. Warwick Erskine, 72, believed a gap year was a good idea ... if people could afford it. "But there could be problems getting their jobs back when they return," he said. There was also the question of whether workers would buy a caravan just to use for one year. Fred Portman, 67, who has been travelling fulltime in his ageing Jayco caravan for two years, was not too impressed with Mr Wyatt's "ridiculous" idea. "It's ok for him to come out with these silly suggestions, but just remember he's on a very lucrative wage and his fat super will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life," he said. "Ordinary workers have to safeguard their jobs, not risk them by taking time off to swan around Australia ... especially for a whole year. Get real, Mr Wyatt." Have your say

Maytow Caravans in liquidation
MAYTOW Caravans and RV Accessories in SA, established in 1982, is in liquidation.
Gates at the former National Metropolitan Caravan Dealer of The Year award winner in Northfield have been padlocked and phones disconnected. Its website and Facebook page have been taken down. Creditors' will meet at Adelaide-based insolvency company Clifton Hall's offices on May 11. No one was available to comment today. Maytow recently received an Excellence Award for its display of Nova caravans at the Adelaide Caravan Show. Two years ago, Maytow's business manager Benjamin May called for a limit on all imported RVs under five years old to protect Australian manufacturing. Have your say

Scam caravan advertCaravan crooks target Sunshine State
CROOKS are still using unwary newspapers in Australia in an attempt to rob potential caravanners of tens of thousands of dollars.
In the latest outbreak, an advertisement appearing in some central Queensland newspapers offers a 2007 tandem-axle semi off-road Crusader caravan "in excellent condition" for the bargain price of $14,000. It would normally fetch around $30,000. But the "too good to believe" steal has been proved to be yet another scam. "It's the old case of buyer beware," one caravan dealership told Caravanning News. More button

Govt cash to help drought-affected park
DIMBOOLA Riverside Caravan Park in Victoria will receive a $320,000 government handout to help recover from the drought.
The money has been donated from the $10 million drought support fund and will go towards installing six new cabins at the holiday destination on the edge of the Little Desert National Park. Hindmarsh Shire Council will also contribute an additional $133,000. The new cabins will form stage two of a 10-year master plan for the park, initiated in 2014. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he understood that communities were suffering from the effects of drought. "With consultation with communities, we have come up with a number of projects that will bring long-term benefits to those communities well after the drought ends," he added. Have your say

Gerry RyanNew board role for Ryan
VICTORIA'S caravanning industry has congratulated Jayco supremo Gerry Ryan on being appointed to the board of newly created Visit Victoria.
He was appointed by Tourism Minister John Eren, who said the board comprised a selection of "our leading business and industry figures and brightest minds". The industry said Mr Ryan would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the body. Its objective is to expand Victoria's calendar of major events and is the product of a once-in-a-generation shake-up of tourism and major events in the state. More button

Tathra snares double in Star Ratings awards
TATHRA Beachside Holiday Park in NSW is celebrating a double win in the Star Ratings Australia awards.
The popular caravan park blitzed a strong field of national competitors in the Gold List of Australian accommodation, determined by more than 200 criteria. The park, located on the Sapphire Coast, snared number one place in the national top 10 caravan-holiday parks category for best overall guest experience. It was also voted best park in NSW. Have your say

CMCA rallyOver 1000 RVs on the move after rally
 ROADS leading from Mount Panorama at Bathhurst were choked with hundreds of motorhomes and campervans.
More than a thousand RVs left the famous motor racing circuit after the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia's 30th anniversary rally. Activities during the week-long gathering included seminars, trade stalls, Menís and Ladiesí Sheds, a craft barn, photography competition, walking group and tours. The highlight was a Black and White Checkered-themed Ball. The club's 31st National Rally will be held at Exhibition Park in Canberra from October 8 to 14. Have your say

Budget and election to feature at national conference
THE political scene will feature prominently at the national conference of Australia's peak body for the caravanning and camping industry.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia, which represents over 4000 businesses, will hold the three-day talkfest at the Gold Coast's Jupiters Hotel and Casino beginning May 11. Speaker Matt Hingerty of Barton Deakin will provide an insight into how the next election is likely to impact the industry and effective ways to raise business specific issues with candidates. Meanwhile, John Peters, a senior economist at the Commonwealth Bank, will address delegates on the state of the economy and how the Federal budget could affect the caravanning and camping industry. The event will also feature the inaugural Future Leaders Conference, specifically created for people under 40 years old in the industry. Have your say

Jayco camper trailerJayco camper trailers recalled after safety fears
THE giant Jayco manufacturer is recalling nearly 2000 camper trailers after fears their owners could be injured.
The Victorian company, which produces nearly 50 percent of Australia's RVs, has warned the vehicles' roof lifting system could suddenly drop up to 450mm when being opened or closed. "It could pose a potential crushing hazard to hands or limps," it said in a statement. The suspect camper trailers were manufactured between October 2015 and March this year. Meanwhile, Jayco has also recalled nearly 100 motorhomes and fifth wheelers after fears power points were installed too close to ensuite sinks, presenting an electrocution hazard. Chassis numbers between S20001 and T90194 could be affected. More button

New dump point for Seymour
THE Goulburn River town of Seymour in Victoria now offers caravanners and motorhomers a place to empty their onboard toilets.
Mitchell Shire Council has spent about $5000 connecting the new dump point to sewer and water services. Local mayor Sue Marstaeller said the new dump point would better support visitors in RVs who often scheduled their travel itineraries to align with convenient access to this type of facility. "This important piece of infrastructure was identified in the Goulburn River Valley Tourism destination management plan and aligns with the councilís strategy to support Mitchell's growing visitor economy," she added. The dump point is located on High Street. Have your say

Council moves to provide more low-cost camping
FRASER Coast Regional Council in Queensland is seeking expressions of interest to provide commercial low-cost camping options for the growing RV market.
It has already asked the State Government to endorse amendments to the area's planning scheme. The council is encouraging anyone interested to come forward with development proposals. Plans may include the provision of 100 camp sites or sites for 50 self-contained RVs on rural zoned land or in connection with an existing caravan park. Meanwhile, Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council in WA has agreed to allow landowners to set up small-scale caravan parks if their properties are bigger than 5ha and zoned for agriculture. The decision, to help accommodate fruit pickers, has angered some local caravan park owners. Have your say

crookCaravan thefts prompt police plea
POLICE in South Australia are pleading with caravanners to be more security conscious.
Their appeal came after thieves made off with two caravans ... one from Dublin and the other from Evanston Park. "Caravans are popular targets for thieves who steal the contents, fixtures and fittings as well as the actual caravan," a spokesperson said. "Many people regard their caravan as a second home, so if you haven't already considered the security of your valuable asset, now is the time to protect your home on wheels." More button

Port Hedland opens overflow campsite
PORT Hedland Turf Club in WA has again thrown open its gates to self-contained caravans and motorhomes.
Mayor Kelly Howlett said last year's inaugural overflow campsite had been a huge hit with grey nomads and was expected to be even more popular this year. But travellers will only be able to use the facility when the Pilborough town's caravan parks are busy. "Tourists can stay at the overflow campsite for a maximum of three nights when alternative campsites in town are at 50 percent occupancy or if their self-contained recreational vehicle is too large to fit into a vacant caravan park spot," Cr Howlett said. Pets were welcome. It will cost $10 a night, with the money being used to cover maintenance and monitoring at the facility which will remain open until August 31. Have your say

Crusader caravan'Competitive' sale process saves Crusader Caravans
CRUSADER Caravans, which went into voluntary administration after hitting troubled times a couple of months ago, was saved after a "competitive sale process", it has been revealed.
Administrator Rahul Goyal, of advisory and investment company KordaMentha Restructuring, said in a statement: "After running a competitive sale process, we are pleased to have achieved the sale of the Crusader Caravans manufacturing business which allows this well established, innovative and high quality brand to continue." Mr Goyal said the company had been sold to director Serge Valentino, who founded the company 15 years ago, and a group of new investors. The sale meant the 50 "dedicated" staff would have the security of ongoing employment. "Current and future customers will be relieved as the purchaser is honouring all approved warranties," Mr Goyal said. "This is rare in these circumstances but shows how much the purchaser believes in this business and quality of the caravans." The Crusader Caravan Club's Facebook page reports Mr Valentino as saying the company had undergone a complete restructure, trimming down to a "lean and efficient financial model". This followed an injection of capital, plus the introduction of new ownership and management. "Crusader Caravans is poised to cement its place as one of Australiaís leading caravan brands," the posting added. Crusader Caravans has dealerships in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW and offers 18 models through six ranges. Have your say

Cadell Ferry campsite rubbish

Angry councillor takes to Facebook

Litterbugs blasted as 'disgusting pigs'

FERAL campers are being accused of seriously littering free camping areas on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia. Local councillor Kevin Myers took to Facebook to air his disgust after rubbish was recklessly strewn over several campsites, including a popular area near Cadell Ferry. "Totally disgusting pigs," he fumed on Facebook. The Mid Murray councillor, who posted photographs showing scenes which met council workers after the Easter holidays, said the local authority had resolved to charge for camping along the Cadell riverfront, adding: "We think that will bring in a different clientele." Have your say

Belmont Pines caravan park at Lake MacquarieMayoral accolade for city's caravan parks
LAKE Macquarie's caravan parks have been applauded by local mayor Jodie Harrison.
The accolade came after her council scooped a NSW Local Government Excellence in Asset Management award. A recent tourism study showed that every year about 130,000 visitors to Lake Macquarie chose to stay in a caravan park or commercial camping ground. More button

Birdsville park benefited from grants scheme
THE Queensland Government is offering cash for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects in the state's south-west.
Councils have been invited to send expressions of interest for a share in another $70 million worth of Building our Regions grants. The scheme has already funded a half-million-dollar upgrade at the Birdsville caravan park. Have your say

Turquoise BayFree camping on Turquoise Coast
SIX rest areas near Western Australia's Jurien Bay and Cervantes have become free nature-based camping sites.
The Shire of Dandaragan hopes the Turquoise Coast facilities will help reduce driver fatigue and encourage caravanners and other travellers to stay longer in the area. Former picnic spots at Hakea, Banksia and Smokebush reserves are now 24-hour rest stops, while Drummonds, Wandoo and Tuarts reserves have a 72-hour limit. Shire chief executive Tony Nottle said the rest stops would allow self-contained travellers to arrive late and then potentially spend the next day enjoying the shire. This would benefit small businesses and boost the local economy. Users must carry at least 20 litres of fresh water, a waste water holding tank and have a portable toilet cassette. Campers must retain all waste and dispose of it off-site in appropriate facilities. Have your say

Toodyay caravan parkFour more parks join Kui chain
KUI Parks has welcomed four new pet-friendly holiday destinations to its growing number of parks. They are the Toodyay Holiday Park in WA, Mitchell Caravan Park at Bourke in NSW, Tenterfield Lodge Caravan Park at Tenterfield in NSW and Spring Creek Caravan Park between Warwick and Toowoomba in Queensland. Kui was founded about 18 months ago and now boasts more than 60 budget-priced caravan parks around Australia. Have your say

Show staff offered $1000 for each sale
GOLD Coast's Hinterland Motorhomes has advertised for seven-day contract sales staff, offering them $1000 for each Avida RV they sell at Brisbane's Caravan Supershow in June.
"Currently working and happy in your job?" the advertisement asks. "Fantastic, take annual leave and come work with us at the show." It says successful applicants would even be provided with accommodation in Brisbane. "We want the best sales people to come along and get customers to the tables, where our closer will do everything to get the sale," the company said. "We have a brand new range for the show and are very excited and only want great people who want to sell and get paid well for their efforts." Have your say

Adria Altea SportNew Adria model has 'Aussie toughness'
SUPERIOR European styling, complete with a side-serve of "Aussie toughness", feature in Adria Australiaís newly released Altea Sport range of caravans.
Business development manager Richie Fort said Australian caravan lovers would enjoy the "whole package" of luxurious interior comforts combined with a practical and durable exterior. With two different four-berth, and soon to be released six-berth, models available, the classic Adria Altea is a European Innovation Award winner. It is built on an AL-KO chassis and features numerous intelligent design and stylish interior features. "Adriaís 50-year history of innovative design really shows, but our Sport upgrade takes it to the next level, making an exceptional caravan more suitable for Australian roads," Mr Fort said. Have your say

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Letter man

Exposing a problem in caravan park toilet blocks

REGARDING last month's letter from Neralie Reynolds (see letter here).

You have to wonder where that woman's mind is!

A young girl in a male's public toilet leads to possibilities of having the wrong men expose themselves intentionally.

It also leads to the possibility of an honest man who got there first and is relieving himself ending up being viewed by a young girl and later being charged for indecent exposure in the only place that a man can use in public.

Have a little sense woman!

Any male toilet is no place for a young girl at ANY time.

Use a block designed for females or if the child's father is the only parent and has no other choice, there are changing rooms for babies with toilets in them and also toilets for the disabled where the father and child can go.

Have some common sense Neralie!

In the end, where do you expect men to relieve themselves?

Would you like to have a strange 10-year-old boy watching you relieving yourself in the women's block?



WE often read about caravans swaying before accidents.

First thing I would ask is why?

Is it fatique, incorrect load distribution or overloading?

In my opinion there needs to be more training in these areas.

If you have never driven a truck the chances are you won't be very aware of these issues.

We have spent the last three days weighing everything going in our caravan.

We ensure plenty of heavy stuff goes behind the axle to balance our front toolbox and tunnel boot.

Phillip Robinson.

Hitch pin thefts

REGARDING last month's story on the warning following hitch pin thefts (see story here).

Hmm ... has us wondering about the victim's pre-departure safety check programme.

Ian and Sally.

Short-term gain?

SO the end could be in sight for Arrawarra Beach caravan park (see story here).

Seems to me to be a short-term gain.

Think of future generations.

Danny Hicks.

Quality control

JAYCO boss Gerry Ryan recently spoke about the booming caravan manufacturing industry (see story here).

May be a booming time for Jayco, but while they increase production, their quality control should be doubled.

Nothing can ruin a holiday like a new caravan with a list of problems to deal with on return.