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May 2019

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

MAY 30:
Visitors to the Queensland Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow in Brisbane from June 5 to 10 will get their exclusive first viewing of Apollo's new Queensland-built Coromal Element RTV 696 specially designed for families.

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


* Thieves escape with caravan from Cattana Wetlands car park  ... 69,407 people reached.

* Woman and children hurt in Hume Hwy caravan rollover ... 31,143 people reached.

* Walkinshaw takes over New Age Caravans ... 20,069 people reached

* Tiffin RV safety recall ... 19,328 people reached.

* Qld Govt pours $3m into Australia Zoo's planned caravan and camping site ... 18,702 people reached.

* Dubbo caravan park on measles alert ... 18,333 people reached.

* Caravanner Ken Wilson launches Truck Friendly programme ... 14,056 people reached.


Compliance days need
to spread
their wings

THE Redcliffe Compliance Day was a hit (see story here).

I would like to see them move further afield to encompass some areas west of Brisbane.

I bet the next one will be on the Gold Coast.

Ray Spindler.

Name change

SO Essential Caravans is to rename its Adventurer model after an approach from Jayco (see story here).

Why did jayco wait seven years before complaining?






Apollo's Brisbane factory

Apollo's Brisbane factory.
Inset: Mr Trouchet

Updated logo  'Deterioration in trading conditions'

Apollo shares slump after profit forecast in subdued RV sales

By Dennis Amor

SHARES in Apollo Tourism and Leisure, manufacturers of Windsor and Coromal caravans, opened at a 2019-low of 41c today. The slump follows yesterday's announcement by the global company that its predicted after-tax net profit for the current financial year would be even lower than expected. Earlier this month it put its shares into a spiral after revealing the figure would be between $17.5 million and $19.5 million. And yesterday it estimated would it fall even more to between $14 million and $15.5 million, blaming "further deterioration in trading conditions in RV markets globally". In a report to shareholders the company which manufacturers Windsor and Coromal caravans at its Brisbane factory said RV sales remained "challenging". Although consumer interest had increased after the recent Australian election the results of this were not expected to be seen until the next financial year. "The recent addition of the Windsor and Coromal brands to Apollo's retail offering represents a significant opportunity for the company," it said. "However, due to the subdued trading conditions for RV sales, the benefits are taking longer to materialise than initially expected." Chief executive Luke Trouchet has told shareholders that Apollo was implementing plans across the business to address issues in RV sales and the company was "well placed" to execute its long-term global growth strategy.  Have your say

BLUE OVER ZOO's $3m GOVT GRANTAustralia Zoo sign

'They're building a business at ratepayers' expense'

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

CARAVAN parks are fuming over a Queensland Government decision to pour $3 million into Australia Zoo's planned caravan park and camping ground.

The handout from the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund will go towards building the 108-site Camp Croc Hunter, which will offer everything from tent accommodation to caravan and RV powered sites.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the $8 million facility at the world famous zoo in Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast hinterland would be a magnet for 39,000 additional visitors annually, injecting another $4.5 million into the local economy.

But news of the grant has left local caravan park operators dumbfounded, describing the multi-million dollar grant as a "slap in the face".

'They're building a business at the ratepayers' expense'

"This is absolutely disgusting and I intend contacting Kate Jones to express my discontent and displeasure and also ask for a $3 million grant," one disgruntled owner, who requested anonymity, told Caravanning News.

"They're building a business at the ratepayers' expense. It just sucks," he said.

"Australia Zoo is a private enterprise company and there's no reason for a taxpayer-provided subsidy."

Caravanning News' Facebook page ran hot when it first broke news of the controversial plan at a time when many caravan parks were struggling to survive, reaching over 65,000 people and chalking up nearly 400 reactions, 114 shares and 54 comments.

"I am sure that Steve, God rest his soul, would have much preferred to see it expand for the protection and education of wildlife and not for a campground," caravanner Michael Shailer said.

Australia Zoo's Dr Terri Irwin said the grant would be a great boost for the State's tourism industry.

“Our tourism partnership with the Queensland Government will enable Australia Zoo to employ more people in the Sunshine Coast region, encourage visitors to stay longer and increase spending within our community which is fantastic for our local economy," she added. Read more button

Kui advert

Stolen Jayco

Angle grinder used in caravan theft

Thieves ruin couple's retirement plans

CARAVAN thieves have dashed the retirement plans of a Victorian couple. Their Jayco Sterling caravan was stolen from outside their home, with the last possible sighting being on the Hume Highway at Somerton where it was being towed by a silver Nissan Navara. "From the sighting I feel it is now in NSW," daughter Sarah Smith told Caravanning News. Her parents bought the 2010 white and burgundy caravan, which has a dent on the driver's side, in December and had used it only twice. "It was the start of their retirement," Ms Smith said. "Their plans have now been ruined." The thieves used an angle grinder to cut the towball lock and free the caravan, registration T82954. Anyone with information is urged to contact Carrum Downs Police on (03) 8770 4100. (Figures show that within 24 hours of the story being posted on our Facebook page it had reached 115,171 people and attracted 472 reactions, 346 comments ... and a staggering 1700 shares.)   Have your say


Study reveals fascinating facts

RV ownership soars to record high

MORE people than ever in Australia now own a caravan or some other form of RV, it has been revealed. And 42 percent of RV owners have children under 15 living at home. The average age of an RV owner in Australia is 33, has an average income of $48,000 to $72,000 and the average age of ownership is 2.07 years. These fascinating facts are contained in the Caravan Industry Association of Australia's inaugural RV Consumer Report 2018. It is being heralded as the most comprehensive consumer study of its kind in Australia to examine RV purchasing and usage preferences among current and former owners, potential new market entrants and consumers who have limited preference for buying into the RV lifestyle. Read More button

Manilla campingCamping tradition continues at Manilla
THE tiny town of Manilla on NSW's Fossickers Way near Tamworth is continuing its tradition of welcoming travellers.
It was originally a camping ground for teamsters and bullock wagons who stayed there before continuing their journeys carrying supplies to outlying cattle stations. And the time-honoured hospitality is now being made available to grey nomads and other adventurers ... in the shape of a permanent 72-hour freedom camping spot on a large flat shady area near the main street. Maintained by the local Men's Shed, the "stop and shop" facility offers drinking water and rubbish disposal, with a dump point nearby. Have your  say

Caravan relaxationCouncil endorses Fraser Coast RV strategy
COUNCILLORS have given the green light to Fraser Coast Regional Council's new strategy to turn the Queensland region into a premier RV, caravan and camping destination.
New plans include establishing Maryborough as an RV education and maintenance hub, investigating options to offer low-cost camping options, reviewing signage and looking at designated long-vehicle parking spaces. Councillor Paul Truscott said it would guide the monitoring and management of RV sites and provide a roadmap to grow the sector over the long term. Read more button

Burdekin Falls Dam campground kioskCamping kiosk offers 'easy option'
SUNWATER has introduced a self-service kiosk to help campers at its Burdekin Falls Dam in north Queensland.
And the kiosk comes with a benefit ...  offering a $1 discount for credit card payments. No pre-bookings are required and the maximum stay is four weeks. "We're just offering an easy option for visitors to make and manage camping bookings," SunWater said. Other changes at the campground include free use of the washing machines. Meanwhile free camping will continue at Wuruma Dam on the Nogo River near Eidsvold. "We understand the importance of local recreation and tourism in the North Burnett region and would like to assure the community that we are not closing or planning to prohibit camping at Wuruma Dam," SunWater said. The authority gave the assurance after phasing out camping on the foreshore near the boat ramp. dam wall and spillway. The new site provides 40 designated equally-sized free camping spaces on flat terrain away from trees and the dam's foreshore. Have your say

ACC logoACC pours $75,000 in city's economy
MEMBERS of the Australian Caravan Club poured almost $75,000 into SA's Murray Bridge economy during their Chairman's Muster in the city.
Club chairman Craig Humphrey said this equated to around $850 per recreational vehicle. About 170 members in 78 RVs and several cabins attended the gathering at the Murray Bridge Marina and Caravan Park. "They supported local businesses and clubs and were overwhelmed by the warm and friendly reception they received from the local community," club chairman Craig Humphrey said. Read more button

Kokoda caravanNew lease of life for Kokoda
KOKODA Caravans has been given a new lease of life after its umbrella company hit troubled times.
Kokoda was a sub-brand of Victoria-based Aussie Adventure Caravans, which is in liquidation. Associated director of liquidators BDO Australia David Brushe told Caravanning News it had failed to receive any "acceptable" expressions of interest for the business as a whole but had sold some intellectual property, including the Kokoda registered trademark. Buyer Antoine Le Pajolec described Kokoda ‒ founded in 2011 ‒ as a "strong brand, with amazing customers". He said: "With our design and experience we are going to see a whole new world of adventures open up for our Kokodians. Followers of this well-known Australian caravan brand have been happy to hear that its strong values and attributes are about to get a big boost." In a Facebook posting, Kokoda said its RVs had been built in long-established manufacturing facilities in Victoria. "We will continue to build in-house and partner with key facilities. We would like to confirm our commitment to our customers and the quality that we provide will continue for many years to come." Have your say

WA Shadow Minister Libby MettamFree camping issue goes to parliament
WA SHADOW Tourism Minister Libby Mettam has taken to parliament to raise the issue of free camping and its affect on caravan parks.
Ms Mettam (pictured) took up the cudgels on behalf of Steve and Shirley Smith whose Mount Barker Caravan Park is losing business to travellers using the local government-financed free camping area. They have operated the Albany Highway park which charges $30-$38 nightly for powered caravan sites but only $15 for fully self-contained RVs for 11 years. She told the Legislative Assembly there were concerns that some free camping sites were close to operational or commercial caravan parks. "We are seeing free camp sites supported and invested in by local governments, paid for by ratepayers and competing directly with small businesses that have been operating in the vicinity for some time," she said. While the Shire's free site provided many benefits, Mt Barker caravan park had substantial support from the business community. Have your say

West Beach caravan parkAlleged child snatcher returns to Qld
THE 73-year-old caravanner accused of attempting to kidnap a young girl at a SA caravan park has been allowed to return to Queensland.
The six-year-old child's father threw abuse at the man as he left Adelaide Magistrates Court. The caravanner, who was granted conditional bail and will face court again in August, was arrested two days after a Good Friday incident at the BIG4 West Parks holiday park west of Adelaide, where he was staying with his wife of 53 years. Police are alleged to have seized a number of items from the man's caravan. Have your say

DefibrillatorDefibrillators for 1000 caravan parks
AN estimated 1000 caravan parks around the nation are set to be equipped with life-saving defibrillators, courtesy of the Federal Government.
It has partnered with the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and will spend $1 million on the initiative. The association will manage the implementation of the program on a 50:50 basis, with caravan parks ‒ which attract over 11 million Australians annually ‒ contributing half the cost of each defibrillator. The industry's peak body will work with caravan parks to ensure a speedy rollout of the program as funding will be only be available this financial year. Read more button

Toowoomba RV Service CentreSeminar will help caravanners save money
A QUEENSLAND business plans to show caravanners how they can save thousands of dollars.
During its free Caravanners Workshop Seminar, the RV Service Centre at Toowoomba will be dishing out oodles of advice on cutting down on bills. Topics to be covered during the May 18 event include safety, maintenance, batteries and set-up hacks. It will also lay on a free sausage sizzle, drinks and super specials. "It's perfect for new caravanners and old hands that want to keep up to date," the company said. There will also be an extended questions and answer session during which experienced sales and technical staff will answer questions. Have your say

Gong recognises talent 'making serious waves' in industry


Adam Twist Amanda Baldwin Brad Hooper David Aitken Meher Virdi

Adam Twist

Amanda Baldwin

Brad Hooper

 David Aitken

Meher Virdi

THE Caravanning Industry Association of Australia has announced the finalists for this year's Future Leaders Award. They are Suncoast Caravan Service general manager Adam Twist, G'Day Group strategy and acquisitions manager Amanda Baldwin, AL-KO International marketing manager Brad Hooper, Track Trailer finance manager David Aitken and Meher Trailer Products head of innovation & technology Meher Virdi. The winner will receive $10,000 towards professional development and will be announced at the association's gala dinner on the Gold Coast on May 17. "This is an opportunity to recognise young talent already making serious waves in our industry," the association said. Have your say

Gerry RyanMerger creates Outdoria Group
The Outdoria Group is now the leading destination in Australia and New Zealand for planning, booking and equipping camping, caravanning, outdoor experiences and road trips.
TH2, a global joint venture of the world’s best travel, technology and RV companies, has announced a merger of its Roadtrippers Australasia and CamperMate businesses with Australia’s leading outdoor tourism marketplaces GoSeeAustralia and Outdoria. The deal involves a cash and asset investment into the merged entity whereby TH2 becomes the largest shareholder with a 35 percent stake. The newly formed Outdoria Group will be the region’s largest, dedicated marketplace for outdoor tourism and adventure seekers. It will offer customers booking and planning services for camping holidays and experiences, as well as equipment sales ranging from campervans to RVs, mountain bikes to fishing gear. Chairman of Jayco and founder of Outdoria Gerry Ryan (pictured) said the merger combined every aspect of outdoor travel into an integrated experience for the customer. "This means customers benefit from having one place to go when needing to plan, book, equip and then embark upon their outdoor adventures," he explained. Have your say

Measles jabMeasles alert at Dubbo caravan park
DUBBO Midstate Caravan Park in NSW is on measles alert.
People who stayed at the park on April 11 have been advised to contact their doctor if they suffer measles symptoms between now and at least May 6. The alert comes after a 22-year-old unvaccinated man was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease after returning from three weeks in New Zealand. Western NSW Local Health District public health manager Priscilla Stanley said attempts were being made to contact people who may have been in the same location as the man while he was infectious. "There is no public health risk at those locations now," she assured. "However, people who were there at the time and who have not had two doses of measles vaccine should keep an eye for symptoms." The alert also applies to anyone who visited the local medical centre and emergency department on April 11, 13, 16 and 17. Attempts by Caravanning News to contact the caravan park were unsuccessful. Have your say

BIG4 doggie

Pets 'deserve a little extra love'

Pooches enjoy pawesome
welcome at BIG4 parks

Have your say

THE BIG4 chain of holiday parks is going to the dogs. Well, it's probably more accurate to report that the dogs are going to BIG4 parks. There was a time when travelling pet pooches were banned from almost all their holiday destinations, but not any more. An increasing number are now welcoming canines with a plethora of facilities. For instance, the chain's holiday park on the Gold Coast offers a 'Puppy Pampering Palace' which includes doggie daycare kennels, pet-friendly cabins and dog washing facilities. BIG4's Beachlands Holiday Park at Busselton in WA has a pooch wash and blow-dry facility while its Cairns Coconut resort has opened a secured dog agility park complete with obstacles, ramps, poles, tunnels, jumps and more. Meanwhile, the BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park at Port Stephens in NSW also sells special dog treats for when pets "deserve a little extra love". A BIG4 spokesperson told Caravanning News: "With roughly one-third of BIG4 parks across Australia now designated as dog-friendly, our guests can emBARK on a break that includes the whole family!"

Camping: good for your healthCamping: the secret of good health
CARAVANNING and camping is good for your health, according to the industry's peak organisation.
"More and more, we are seeing people use camping as a way of recovering from all sorts of illnesses," the Caravan Industry Association of Australia said. "Maintaining a healthy lifestyle seems to be front of mind for our Aussie campers, with 68 percent describing their level of health as somewhat or extremely healthy. This is compared to only 50 percent of non-campers." The association said caravanners and campers were more active, satisfied, happy, optimistic and energised than non-campers. Have your say

AFL superstar and family hit the road
PATRICK Dangerfield, one of Australia’s most popular AFL sporting personalities, and his family recently hit the road to explore the best of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
They were filming for new television series Mobile Living, which focuses purely on the RV lifestyle disconnecting from the loud noises of everyday life and reconnecting as a family. The show has been developed by Dometic Australia and produced by Cameron Damon Media in association with the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. Dometic's head of marketing Justine Schuller said the company was deeply passionate about mobile living and committed to supporting the entire RV industry. Read more button

Lane Cove River Tourist ParkDelaware takes over Lane Cove
Delaware North has secured a 30-year lease to operate the popular 204-site Lane Cove River Tourist Park 10km north of Sydney.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has run the caravan park, which will be renamed Lane Cove Holiday Park, since 1998. Managing director Gary Brown said his company was honoured to have been selected by NPWS from a field of competitors. It continued Delaware North's expansion in the Australian and New Zealand tourism and leisure segments. "Lane Cove Holiday Park has established a great reputation among the tourism, caravanning and camping community for its many outstanding services, excellent facilities and of course its sensational proximity to Sydney and the picturesque northern beaches," he said. "To have been awarded the opportunity to operate and make further investments in this great facility is a real privilege for us and we look forward to applying our years of experience running similar facilities in Australia and national parks in the United States to our stewardship of Lane Cove Holiday Park." Have your say

gas bottleMinister advises on gas safety
CARAVANNERS and campers are being urged to check their gas appliances before hitting the road.
"In the wake of a barbeque gas bottle explosion that injured a Brisbane teenager recently it is timely to remind everyone that liquefied petroleum gas and butane appliances are dangerous if stored, transported or used incorrectly,” Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said. He delivered the advice during a media conference at the Broadwater Tourist Park on the Gold Coast. Dr Lynham warned that dodgy gas installs also posed a risk. "A fire from a poorly-maintained unsafe gas bottle or appliance is a sure-fire way to ruin your barbeque or entire holiday. Don't risk it - get a gas fitter to do the job, check your appliances for damage and look at the manufacturer’s instructions," he added. Have your say

Shire president Tania JacksonCommunity calls for more RV overnight parking
RESIDENTS at a Harvey Shire Council community meeting in WA called for more overnight parking facilities for caravanners and other travellers.
The shire already boasts of having seven caravan parks and "numerous camping grounds" managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation. Shire president Tania Jackson (pictured) said one of the major topics brought up at the meeting was a desire for 24-hour parking for recreational campers. "We certainly want people to come to our area and there are some issues with this to work through," Cr Jackson told local media. "We are already doing some work on this, but when a community brings it up it gives us a mandate to continue to work through the issues around this." She stressed it was important that such facilities should not impact on other accommodation providers. Cr Jackson said a major concern to work through would be to attract new tourists to the area with the 24-hour camping facilities while ensuring it did not negatively impact existing accommodation providers. This could be addressed by providing adequate signage for caravan parks. Have your say

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Letter man

Praise as New
Age Caravans step 'out
of the square'

REFERRING to the New Age takeover by Walkinshaw (see story here)

We are loving the look of the New Oz Classic Series 4.

Great design Gabby. Everything about it looks unreal.

Love the black sink and taps
Well done New Age for stepping out of the square.

Mark Lawry.

Looking after

I HOPE you look after the new and old owners of New Age caravans better than the old mob.

Ray Henry.

Quality control

HOPE their quality control lifts.