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NOV 30:
Police searching for missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay find human remains about 15km north of small town of Dargo in Victoria's alpine region. A man has been charged with their murder.

NOV 30:
Proserpine's free 48hr RV Park in Queensland's Whitsunday region will close from tomorrow for the duration of the wet season, reopening on April 1.

NOV 30:
Former BIG4 Bungalow Caravan Park on banks of NSW's Lake Burrill at Ulladulla has joined the Discovery Parks chain and is now known as Discovery Parks - Ulladulla.


* Park's vaccination rule causes uproar ... 11,126 people reached.

* Snakes Alive! Toilet hazard ... 10,794 people reached.

* Broome's camping trial ... 7517 people reached.

* Travel plans in turmoil ... 6920 people reached.

* RV safety event cancelled due to COVID ... 5781 people reached.

* New rest area planned for Bruce Highway ... 5364 people reached.


Rest area rubbish dumpers under fire

I CANNOT believe just how many travellers abuse roadside rest areas.

Many have been transformed into rubbish dumps as caravanners and other travellers swamp our highways and byways.

People would be surprised at the amount of garbage they leave in their trail.

Wiith so many families now on the road, I've even come across disposable nappies and other personal items.

Admittedly many travellers are on the road fulltime and do not have the luxury of a frequent collection like householders, but this does not give them the right to just leave it behind willy-nilly.

If bins are already full, just hold on to your garbage until you find somewhere legally to offload it.

Come on guys, clean up your act.

Steve Albrighton.


Inskip Point  Staged closures to restrict spread

Warning to campers as battle continues against Inskip gastro

CARAVANNERS and other campers planning to head to Queensland's Inskip Point for the festive season have been warned of restricted sites. The news comes as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) continues to battle an outbreak of gastroenteritis at the popular camping area east of Gympie. The number of holiday revellers will be capped to existing bookings only up until December 24 in some camping areas. "Queensland Health has provided expert advice on this issue and recommended QPWS reduce camper numbers and temporarily close camping areas in a staged approach, to limit the spread of the illness," QPWS said. Read more button

Fraser Coast caravan park  'This is the community's chance'

Council invites comments on redeveloping caravan parks

QUEENSLAND'S Fraser Coast Regional Council has appealed for comments on master plans to redevelop caravan parks at Pialba and Torquay. "This is the community's chance to tell us what features and facilities they would like to see in refurbished council-owned caravan parks," caravan enthusiast Cr Jade Wellings said. It is anticipated that feedback on the concept plans will be presented to the council next year. The council owns four beachfront tourist caravan parks and is preparing master plans to guide their future development. It has allocated $22 million to the redevelopment over five years, with work already well underway at the Scarness park. Read More button

  'Insurance a stumbling block'

CIAA welcomes Govt's tourism recovery report

Stuart Lamont

Have your say

A GOVERNMENT report spelling out the way forward for the nation's visitor economy has been welcomed by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

The Reimagining the Visitor Economy draft was released by Minister for Tourism Dan Tehan and recognises and addresses key issued facing tourism.

"This report is an important step towards the recovery of an industry that has been devastated throughout the last 18 months," CIAA chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) said.

"Looking ahead, it is vital this strategy is resourced appropriately and receives bipartisan support as the sector moves to recover losses and build back with greater resilience."

The report identifies the importance of domestic tourism as the bedrock of tourism moving forward and also places strong emphasis on product and destination development, particularly in regional Australia.

As the largest provider of holiday nights around Australia, the caravan and camping industry will be a vital part of the tourism recovery.

However, like many sub-sectors of the visitor economy, access and affordability of insurance as well as sourcing labour is restricting businesses from operating at full capacity.

"Many businesses are understaffed with numerous caravan parks reporting insurance premium increases of up to 300 percent," Mr Lamont said.

"Worryingly, some parks are simply unable to find insurance providers. These businesses have an uncertain summer ahead."

CIAA will continue providing support for the 6000 businesses across Australia's industry and drive demand for caravan and camping experiences through Let's Go Caravan and Camping and via industry partnerships.

Despite lockdowns and border closures during the last 12 months, caravan and camping accounted for 53 million nights around Australia, with 92 percent of these in regional Australia.

Suburban heaterMore than 8000 could be at risk

Concern over RVs with potentially
deadly heaters prompts appeal

AUSTRALIA'S consumer watchdog has again issued an appeal to caravanners who could have a potentially lethal water heater in their recreational vehicle. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urges them to check for dangerous Suburban-branded dual fuel gas/electric heaters before setting off on post COVID-lockdown holidays. It is concerned that more than 50 percent of the units could emit deadly odourless carbon monoxide if used in gas mode. There are still over 8300 consumers who have not registered their water heaters for a free inspection. Read more button

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Colin Young  'An excellent opportunity'

Council welcomes ACCC survey
into Australia's caravan industry

THE Caravan Council of Australia has welcomed a new survey by the nation's consumer watchdog on possible consumer law issues in the caravan industry. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed it has received more than 1300 reports about the industry in the last five years. Common complaints included retailers selling new caravans not meeting consumer guarantees, and faults leading to disputes between manufacturers and retailers about which party is responsible for repair costs. "We are looking for further information from consumers and industry about the issues they have had with their caravans and their experience trying to get their concerns fixed," the ACCC said. "This information will help to inform our future work, including possible enforcement action." Caravan Council of Australia general manager Colin Young (pictured) commented: "This is an excellent opportunity for all highly-aggrieved 'vanners to help appreciably improve the professionalism of the industry." He believed it would improve the compliance, safety, quality and after-sales service of caravans marketed in Australia. Have your say

Hopkins family  Queenslanders keen to explore backyard

Brisbane event takes a jab at aiding Qld's tourism recovery

Have your say

MORE than 16,000 enthusiasts flocked to the recent four-day Let’s Go Brisbane Caravan and Outdoor Sale. And in a first for organisers Caravanning Queensland, this year's event at the Brisbane Showgrounds was home to an onsite COVID-19 vaccination site. Visitors and exhibitors alike took the opportunity to get vaccinated at the Queensland Health pop-up clinic, with more than 120 vaccinations being administered over the weekend. Caravanning Queensland Trade chief executive Jason Plant said the event's high attendance in 2020 and 2021 showed just how keen Queenslanders were to explore their own backyards. Scott Hopkins and his family (pictured) travelled all the way from Hervey Bay for the event, where they bought their very first RV.  Read more button

Gutted caravan  'I hope we can help her out'

GoFundMe plea after Jay and Muffin escape caravan inferno

By Dennis Amor

THE daughter of 61yo widowed grey nomad whose Colonial caravan was burned to the ground in a fireball on Queensland's Bruce Hwy has launched a $4000 GoFundMe appeal. Wildlife carer Jay Boden and pet dog Muffin, who had been on the road for 18 months, escaped the inferno near Townsville. "Mum and Muffin were safe but her caravan, which she worked on and made feel truly like a tiny home on wheels, is completely gone," Kate Halliwell said. "She has lost all her possessions, including clothes, sewing machine, knitting needles and wool (mum knits children's toys and clothes for charity and tiny baby clothes for premmie babies)." Kate said her mother was insured. "I hope to raise some funds to help her while she waits for claims to be processed," she explained. "Mum has been through a lot even before this accident, and I hope we can help her out, as she has always been an example to me as a person who is truly kind and charitable to others." Jay's insurance company is paying for her and Muffin to stay in a dog-friendly cabin at a Townsville camping ground. More than 30 people have already donated to the fund, raising more than $3000. Have your say

Caravan under tow  'Speed, load common causes of crashes'

Free towing checks courtesy Wagga Wagga council

CARAVANNERS in the Wagga Wagga area are being invited to have their RV and tow vehicle weighed before heading off on their travels. The local city council is giving away a limited number of vouchers for a free caravan towing vehicle check. This follows a significant rise in the number of caravans back on the roads as holidaymakers make the most of domestic getaways across NSW. Road Safety Officer Emma Reynolds said the popularity of caravanning has grown 30 percent since the COVID pandemic started, a statistic which had also increased potential for more unsafe vehicles on the roads. "Towing a caravan takes more concentration than driving your car as your vehicle becomes much heavier, wider, longer and taller," she said. "It's harder to move and much harder to stop – so allow extra time and space for all manoeuvres, including overtaking and turning corners." Issues with speed and load were common causes of crashes, which often started with a swaying vehicle that could end with a rollover, she added. Have your say

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Delia Rickard 'Strong sales growth'

Industry watchdog launches survey for purchasers of new caravans

AUSTRALIANS who have recently bought a new caravan are being urged to take part in an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission survey about possible consumer law issues in the industry. The ACCC has received more than 1300 reports about the caravan industry over the past five years. Common complaints include retailers selling new caravans that do not meet consumer guarantees, and faults leading to disputes between manufacturers and retailers about which party is responsible for the cost of repairs. "The caravan industry has experienced strong sales growth in recent years, and this is expected to increase as more Australians choose to travel domestically rather than overseas due to the ongoing pandemic," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard (pictured) said. Read more button

Menindee Lakes Caravan Park 'A positive step forward'

Barkandji to manage spruced up Menindee Lakes Caravan Park

MENINDEE Lakes Caravan Park in NSW's Far West, which this year underwent a $750,000 facelift, will be handed to the region's traditional owners in a landmark agreement for the region. The State's Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands will work with the Barkandji Registered Native Title Body Corporate to progressively transfer management and ownership over the next 12 months. The park was brought under the Department's management in August last year. The handover is regarded as an important acknowledgement of Barkandji's traditional links to land from which they will be able to manage and benefit. The park, on a Crown land reserve on the eastern shores of Lake Menindee, was established in the early 1960s and was a popular weekend recreational area for residents of the Broken Hill region with its caravan, camping and cabin accommodation in a stunning outback location. For caravan park visitors, there will be no change to the use and enjoyment of the park in the immediate future. Barkandji Registered Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Derek Hardman welcomed the transfer as a positive step forward. Have your say

Simon  Owen  Constrained in their operations

'Incredibly challenging times' cost Ingenia a whopping $10 million

By Dennis Amor

HOLIDAY and lifestyle parks operator Ingenia Communities today revealed a $10 million loss in revenue caused by COVID-related closures and restrictions. But with the easing of travel restrictions it was seeing strong forward demand in its holiday parks business. Speaking at the company's virtual annual general meeting, managing director and chief executive Simon Owen said the situation for most businesses had been "incredibly challenging" but Ingenia had demonstrated the inherent value and resilience of the platform built over the past decade and the attractiveness of sectors in which it had focused growth on. "Revenue holdings per park through to June, 2022, were up 26 percent compared to last year, supporting our view that the rebound in holidays performance will be strong, as it was when the market reopened last year," he said. Chairman Jim Hazel said guidance for the current financial year took into account the material impact of government restrictions on Ingenia's holiday parks in NSW and Victoria. They had been constrained in their operations for four months of this financial year and were subject to no changes in market or operating conditions. Have your say

EV charging  'Let's not dawdle on this'

Call for parks to be provided with chargers for new age of EVs

By Dennis Amor

TRAVELLERS have supported a call from the nation's peak caravan industry body for the Federal Government to help holiday parks provide electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has acknowledged the Federal Government's Future Fuel Fund, whose first funding round will see over 400 public fast charging stations for EVs rolled out nationwide. But it wants to see caravan parks included in the funding. Traveller Simon Lapwood said the new age of EVs was fast approaching and there would be a need for more chargers, including at RV parks. "Let's not dawdle on this," he told Caravanning News. "Electric cars are becoming very popular. Now is the time to move into top gear and prepare for a flood of the new generation of vehicles." Read more

Cr Jess MilneNew overnight areas planned

Gold rush city throwing down welcome mat for RV travellers

THE Gympie region, which straddles the busy Bruce Highway in Queensland, is throwing down the welcome mat for caravanners and other RV travellers. The local regional council plans to provide six new free overnight areas for the booming "grey nomad" tourism industry. The former gold rush city already provides free overnight camping at six locations but will offer new ones at Amamoor, Gunalda, Gympie Showgrounds, Kilkivan, Tin Can Bay and a second Kandanga park. Its rest areas alongside the major highway on the fringe of the city centre are often full to overflowing at holiday times. The proposed new facilities would all be provided on council land. Councillor Jess Milne (pictured) raised concerns that a new site near the coastal town of Tin Can Bay would take tourism business away from existing accommodation providers. There was already illegal camping in the area and she believed there would be risk of travellers abusing the proposed 72-hour limit proposed at the new site. Have your say

Arnaud grant  Making it more attractive

$270,000 government handout
for historic Victorian park

THE Victorian Government is providing $270,000 to upgrade an historic 22-site caravan park at the gateway to the Silo Art Trail and overlooking the town of St Arnaud. The funding is part of a $2.8-plus million investment in caravan park upgrades across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee regions. Located on Crown land owned by Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, the leased St Arnaud Caravan Park has seen a downturn in visitor numbers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Its popularity was also impacted by the absence of a waste disposal point for caravan users within the park. The funding will bring the park in line with the expectations of modern caravan park users making it a more attractive stay. Read more button

Victorian caravan industry logo  Recognising outstanding achievement

Victoria's caravan industry gongs all
set to be handed out next month

VICTORIA'S caravan industry Hall of Fame and Business Awards have been given the go-ahead for next month. Caravan Industry Victoria said the December 3 event would provide an opportunity for member businesses and individuals to be recognised for their outstanding work, achievement, commitment and dedication to the industry. The 2020 awards were cancelled and there have been several postponements in 2021 due to COVID-19. Chief executive Rob Lucas said he was "pleased" to confirm the awards would now go ahead. They would recognise business and individuals for outstanding achievement from July 2020 to June 30 2021. Tickets for the event, which will be held "in person" at The Centre Ivanhoe in Upper Heidelberg Road, are sold out but businesses wishing to attend can join the wait list by emailing Click here for full list of award finalists. Have your say

Cleo Smith in hospital after her kidnap ordealCLEO ABDUCTION: MAN CHARGED

A MAN has been charged after the alleged abduction of four-year-old Cleo Smith from a caravan and camping ground in Western Australia. Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, has been remanded in custody until December 6. He is charged with forcibly or fraudulently taking or enticing a child under 16. Cleo is now safely with her parents after disappearing for nearly three weeks from the remote Blowholes camping ground, 75km from Carnarvon. Photo: Cleo in hospital after her ordeal.

Justin Hales

Kiwis 'excited' to welcome back Aussies

Camplify becomes NZ's biggest
RV peer-to-peer platform

By Dennis Amor

CAMPLIFY has entered into an agreement to fully acquire Mighway and SHAREaCAMPER business and assets in Australia and New Zealand from Tourism Holdings. Shares in the NSW-based company rose 11 percent within hours of the announcement. The takeover positions Camplify as the largest peer-to-peer marketplace operator in New Zealand by adding an additional 900-plus RVs to its platform. Chief executive and founder Justin Hales (pictured) commented: "The timing is ideal. Our New Zealand growth performance has already been strong, and with the expected return of unrestricted Australia and New Zealand travel, our New Zealand-based RV owners are excited about welcoming back Aussies in 2022." Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster said it would help his company to benefit from the scale developed by Camplify. "We look forward to assisting Camplify's continued growth in their New Zealand and Australian operations as they build on the success of Mighway and SHAREaCAMPER to date," he added. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of November. Have your say

Caravan  'It is extremely important'

Pandemic's idle caravans in need of checks, says council

THE Caravan Council of Australia has issued an appeal for owners to give their caravans the once-over, particularly those which have been sitting idle because of COVID travel restrictions. "It is extremely important to thoroughly check your 'van as no doubt the long stationary period will have caused some deterioration of components," general manager Colin Young explained. The council has prepared a basic Inspection check-list to help guide owners through the various steps to best-ensure their RVs will provide safe and reliable travel. "While many items should be able to be satisfactorily checked by the owner, it is essential that an experienced service-technician be engaged to inspect, adjust and service components that are crucial to ensuring safe travel on the road," Mr Young said. And he reminded owners that the 'van was only half of the combination. "It is vital that the tow vehicle is also professionally serviced," he added. An inspection check list is available via email from the council. Have your say

Rob Lucas  'All options had been considered'

Organisers pull pin on Bendigo
Leisurefest after time runs out

Have your  say

THIS year's three-day Bendigo Caravan & Camping Leisurefest, scheduled to open at the local racecourse on November 19, has been cancelled. Caravan Industry Victoria Rob Lucas (pictured) said COVID restrictions had been closely monitored and it was now "a little too late" to hold the event. The association’s governing council had considered all options and left the final decision to the last possible moment to give the event every opportunity to go ahead in late November. It said that for the association to operate the leisurefest to the highest standard, it required a clear six-week period before the event commences to be able to logistically operate. Meanwhile, Caravan Industry Victoria has launched its Exhibitor Applications for the 2021 Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, which will be held from April 6 –10 back at the Melbourne Showgrounds. "This will be a great opportunity for exhibitors to get in front of eager customers as we see border restrictions ease, and more to come, encouraging more national travel," CIV said.

SA Police hunt caravan thieves

Stolen Atlantic Murchison

POLICE in South Australia are hunting crooks who made off with a caravan from McLaren Vale. The 2015 Murchison Atlantic carried the SA registration S497TEX and was stolen from a storage yard on Field Street between 1am and 8am on October 29. If you see the caravan or know of its whereabouts please call police on 131 444.

Crusader caravans  Earn and learn initiative

Govt steps in to help caravan factories meet booming demand

THE Victorian Government has waded in with help for the state's caravan industry as it meets a huge demand for locally-built RVs. Economic development agency NORTH Link and Caravan Industry Victoria are providing specialist on-the-job training at caravan manufacturers in Melbourne's north, including at Crusader Caravans in Epping. Under the 'earn and learn' initiative, 150 workers will receive support and skill development in areas including assembly, service and repairs, warehousing and logistics, administration and sales to kick-start their new careers ... while earning an income. Ten manufacturers have been engaged. Crusader Caravans will take on two new staff members as part of the program as it works to meet a soaring demand from long-time caravanners and recent converts to mobile holidays. Read more button

Boroma caravans at rest area  Members have fingers crossed

Boroma Roamers beef up their campaign to keep name alive

MEMBERS of a group dedicated to keep the Boroma name alive are keeping their fingers crossed that COVID restrictions will be lifted before their next get-together. The Boroma Roamers are already working on plans for next year's rally and have made a booking at the Casino Caravan Park on NSW's north coast. Organisers Colin and Warren said the date had been fixed for May 23 to 30 and would coincide with the area's Beef Week, which celebrates all facets of the Australian beef industry. "We understand it is one of the busiest booking times and that the daily rate will be $35 a day for a powered site in the area we usually occupy," they said. In its heyday, Queensland-based Boroma was regarded as the Rolls Royce of caravans but shocked the industry when it was forced into liquidation in 2008 after a global economic downturn caused sales to plummet as jittery customers cancelled orders. The Roamers have vowed to keep the name of the now defunct manufacturer alive. Have your say

Clive AppletonStrong trading performance expected

Aspen Group revenue soars despite 'challenging' operating environment

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

ASPEN Group, which operates a chain of holiday and lifestyle parks throughout Australia, has revealed a 27 percent rise in total revenue for the first quarter compared to last year. In an update presentation to shareholders, it said the unaudited figure of $11.77 million was "reasonable in a challenging operating environment". Aspen's NSW coastal parks especially Adelaide Caravan Park and Tween Waters at Merimbula near the NSW-Victoria border had been impacted the most, with a large proportion of the net operating decline versus previous corresponding period being attributed to the end of JobKeeper. Aspen was expecting a strong trading performance at its NSW coastal parks during the peak summer trading periods ... provided people were free to travel. Meanwhile, Aspen chairman Clive Appleton (pictured) said in the group's annual report that revenue from short-stay guests at its holiday parks had been negatively impacted by travel restrictions. "However, profits have generally held up due to our strategy to pivot between short-stay and longer-stay leasing depending on the season and lockdown status," he said.

ProSmart   Info at the click of a button

New ProSmart eases remote and off-grid travels for caravanners

BMPRO’s revolutionary new product will allow caravanners to venture off-grid without worrying about water, gas or battery management. Its new ProSmart is being hailed as the company's latest-designed future proof system to help monitor RV functions all in the palm of their hands. BMPRO said the ProSmart reduced risks of any potential issues while travelling off the beaten path. "Individuals are able to travel with the help of accurate readings and measurements of their vehicle functions regardless of their knowledge in the area ... receiving all their ‘need to knows’ with the mere click of a button," it explained. Read more button

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Letter man

Story on terrifying chainsaw attack sends shudders through traveller

LAST month's story about an elderly man's ten minutes of terror at a caravan park made me shudder.

A court in Queensland heard that the poor guy thought he was going to die as a career criminal held a revving chainsaw just inches from his body as he relaxed in his bush site.

It was described as an unprovoked attack on an elderly and vulnerable man.

How can such such a thing happen?

We have been touring for six months now and always thought that caravan parks were safe places to stay.

I'm happy to say that apart from rowdies at a few parks we have never experienced any violence.

But this story proves you should always be on your guard.

Fred Bishop.