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November 2016

Monthly readership: 12,000 to 19,000

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

NOV 30: Ingenia Coomunities Group has bought the family-owned and operated Palms Oasis Caravan Park at Bluey Beach in NSW for $7.5m.

NOV 30: Aspen Group snaps up 96-site BIG4 Tween Waters Holiday Park at Merimbula in NSW for $6.8 million.

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

* Universal Caravans mystery ... 17,928 people reached.

* Trucks and caravan in horror smash ... 8002 people reached.

* Rego fee scepticism ... 7262 people reached.

* Dreamtime Caravan Park blaze  ... 7177 people reached.

* Arsonist destroys LandCruiser at Queensland caravan park ... 6397 people reached.

* Armed robbery at Queensland caravan park ... 6367 people reached.

* Apollo hits sharemarket ... 6033 people reached.


Service centre operators blamed

I SYMPATHISE with truckie Dave Sweeney and the problem of 38 caravans in the truck parking area at Yass Service Centre (see story here).

The operators of the centre are part of the problem.

From memory, there are less than 20 caravan spots there and they are tricky to get in and out of.

It requires a a couple of 90 degree turns in short order.

We avoid the problem by not going there now.

The RTA rest area some distance north is big and accessible for caravans and separate from the truck area.

Max Boyley.

Two hurt, caravan wrecked after Bruce Hwy crash

Bruce claims more victims

Caravanners hurt in crash on notorious stretch of highway

TWO elderly caravanners were taken to hospital after a truck and caravan crash on a notorious stretch of Queensland's Bruce Highway. The couple, thought to be in their 70s, were treated at Nambour Hospital for minor injuries. It is thought the husband suffered a broken ankle. The pile-up happened south of Caloundra at Bells Creek. One report said the grey nomads' Golden Eagle caravan had been parked on the hard shoulder of the southbound lanes with a flat tyre. It was extensively damaged on one side. The truck and dog trailer, which had also been travelling south, ended up in a dip on the centre median strip. The high-speed stretch of highway has seen many caravans come to grief over the past few months. Have your say

Good news for regional communities as RV registrations soar


Have your say

MORE and more new caravans are flooding onto our roads as orders continue to flow in.

The industry's peak body, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, has revealed a 30 percent rise in caravan registrations.

And campervans registrations have soared by 20 percent.

The good news comes from the latest BDO Caravan and Camping Data Report which highlights the growing popularity of caravanning and camping around Australia.

Combined registrations of caravan and campervans peaked at a record high of 615,301 for the year ending January 2016.

This represented a 4.9 percent rise on the previous year and makes RVs the fastest growing vehicle registrations by type in the country.

The total number is made up of 554,34 caravans and 60,957 campervans.

The average age of registered campervans is 17.8 years, suggesting that two thirds of them will be due for replacement in the coming years.

Sixty-five percent of campervans use diesel fuel while 74 percent have a tare weight of between 1000 and 5000kg.

Sixty-seven percent of caravans weigh less that 1.5 tonnes, but the largest growth in the last year has been in the two to 2.5-tonne range.

This indicates a growing trend towards bigger rigs or ones that are loaded with all the mod cons.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia said the report highlighted the increasing demand for the caravanning and camping lifestyle in Australia.

This bode well for regional communities which benefited from tourism generated by this sector.

Storm batters Dickie Beach caravan park

'Tornado-like' conditions

Storm batters Dicky Beach

By Dennis Amor

FEROCIOUS winds left a trail of damage at a Sunshine Beach caravan park in Queensland. The five-minute onslaught tore tiles off park buildings and ripped roofs from caravans at the 137-site Dicky Beach Holiday Park. Part of the park was evacuated after fears asbestos had been exposed in one building. A spokeswoman told Caravanning News: "Not all areas were badly affected by the storm, damage was mainly confined to the front of the park." Wind gusts of up to 150 km/h brought down trees and sent corrugated sheets flying across the park. The laundry also lost its roof as terrified caravanners sheltered inside. Miraculously, no one was hurt. One camper described "tornado-like" conditions in which many caravans, cars and cabins were damaged. A message on the park's answering service said the extreme weather event had caused "severe damage". Have your say

Sad news after founder's deathAussie by Design

Caravan builder in liquidation

By Dennis Amor

CUSTOM caravan builder Aussie by Design has ceased trading. The company, based in Port Wakefield north of Adelaide, is now in liquidation. The news comes 18 months after the death of founder and owner Ian Dutschke, who developed and refined the company's unique Humpback Smart Vans. A recent general meeting of company members resolved that the business should be wound up. Tarquin Koch, of Hrvatin Koch Accounting & Insolvency Services, has been appointed liquidator. The private company, which described itself as a 'one-stop caravan shop', was launched by ex-farmer Mr Dutschke in 2007. All caravans were built to order rather than mass produced. Aussie by Design's website has been taken down and calls to the factory went unanswered. Have your say

Evida factory blaze

Damage reported to be 'minor'

Over 100 firefighters tackle Avida factory blaze

By Dennis Amor

DAMAGE from the blaze which broke out at the Avida factory was not a bad as first feared.  More than 100 firefighters tackled the outbreak at the company's  caravan and motorhome manufacturing facility in Sydney. But Avida reported on its Facebook page that damage was minor. "We would like to thank you for all your well wishes and would like to advise that we will be back to business as usual on Monday (Nov 7)," it said. All workers at the factory in David Road, Emu Plains, were accounted for as flames roared through the building. Smoke billowed from the premises and all nearby streets were evacuated. No injuries were reported. Hazmat crews were on the scene. Four people were treated for smoke inhalation but were not taken to hospital. One report said the pall of smoke from the fire was clearly visible from Penrith's central business district. NSW Fire and Rescue said it received multiple Triple Zero calls and the factory was "well alight" when they arrived. Major Avida dealer on Queensland's Gold Coast Hinterland Motorhomes has been in touch with the manufacturer. "They will survive this, the news makes it look worse than it was," it said. "The Avida production line was undamaged and will continue to produce motorhomes and caravans as soon as they can. Obviously, due to the damage in the chassis area, there may be some small delays but the great news is Avida remains in Australia to build quality products."  Have your say

Kangaroo in caravan

Unwelcome intruder hops aboard

A r-oo-d visitor joins family

A YOUNG Newcastle family had to forcibly evict an unwelcome visitor who leapt into their caravan at a NSW caravan park. Bec and Justin Larimer had been travelling round Australia with their three young kids for nearly a year when a cheeky kangaroo decided to join them in their Jurgens caravan at Bream Beach Caravan Park in Erowal Bay on the state's South Coast. The roo leapt into their caravan quite unannounced, much to the family's astonishment. A funny two-minute online video showing how they dealt with the problem has now been viewed by people all over the world. The footage was posted on their website and Facebook page, Trip In A Van. "While staying at this caravan park, a kangaroo just jumped in our 'van to have a look while we were getting the kids ready for bed," Justin explained. Click here or on the photograph to view the video. Have your say

New Age caravanNew Age, new partnership
NEW Age Caravans and Walkinshaw Automotive are joining forces.
The new partnership brings together two companies known for cutting edge design, innovation and manufacturing excellence. Founder and owner of New Age Caravans Gabby Montagnese said: "Our partnership with Walkinshaw strengthens our ability to grow and bring new and exciting product lines to our customers." Earlier this year, New Age strongly denied rumours it had been bought by Walkinshaw Racing for $38 million. Read More

Caravanners attend free-camp's official opening
MEMBERS of the Australian Caravan Club returning from their Shepparton national muster attended the official opening of the Liverpool Plains new freedom camping area in NSW.
The Willow Tree facility was officially opened by Liverpool Plains Shire Council deputy Mayor Doug Hawkins. The pet-friendly camp is situated in Recreation Street and provides toilets and showers, potable water and caters for large caravans and motorhomes. Club deputy chairman Tom Smith presented Cr Hawkins with an ACC RVSTAY sign for the site. Cr Hawkins said $25,228 had been poured into the local economy by ACC members. Have your say

The CostinsNightmare trip to the races
LAST month, Caravanning News reported on Australia's luckiest caravanners who were scooping millions from the state's Lotterywest.
Now we report on a couple vying for the title of the country's unluckiest caravanners. Graeme and Sue Costin from the Maitland suburb of Windella in NSW joined thousands of other caravanners heading for this year's iconic Birdsville races in south-west Queensland. It was one of their bucket-list dreams and with their 40th wedding anniversary on the same weekend seemed the ideal trip. The planned 4000km 12-week adventure began smoothly enough ... but then turned into a nightmare. Read More

Peak body in ministerial talks
THE caravan industry's peak body continues to take its concerns to the corridors of power in Canberra.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont and government relations and policy officer Julian Harniman recently met with Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack. The meeting was part of a concerted effort that will see the association hold talks with over 12 sitting MPs in the coming weeks to discuss caravan industry issues. Read More

Elvis Festival, ParkesCaravanners miss out on Elvis Festival
THE town of Parkes in central New South Wales is set to be all shook up.
But there will be no shake, rattle and rolling for caravanners who haven't already arranged accommodation for next year's five-day iconic Elvis Festival. "Local caravan parks are already booked out," the event's communications manager, Matt Fraser, told Caravanning News. Next year's event marks the festival's 25th anniversary, and it promises to be huge. Read More

Record crowds flock to leisurefest
MELBOURNE Leisurefest attracted a record number of visitors.
A total of 32,175 enthusiasts passed through the turnstiles compared with 30,028 last year. The four-day event at Sandown Racecourse was organised by the Caravan Industry Association Victoria. Have your say

Camp QualityExpo raises $11,000 for Camp Quality
THE recent third annual Jayco Newcastle Caravan and Camping Expo, attended by over 4000 enthusiasts, raised $11,618 for a children's cancer charity.
Camp Quality event manager Donna George said the money would give 13 local youngsters living with cancer the chance to get away from it all on a kids' camp. "Whilst on camp, cancer takes a back seat as they enjoy just being kids," she said. "It was great to see the Jayco staff in action and meet lots of their customers. Thank you again so much for allowing Camp Quality into the Jayco Newcastle family." Jayco Newcastle has just been named Best Regional Dealer for the third year running at the NSW Caravan and Camping Industry Awards of Excellence. Have your say

Victoria second most popular for travel.
MORE and more Australians are choosing Victoria for their holidays.
Government data reveals that 21.6 million visitors to the state spent over $12 billion in the year ending June 2016. In fact, Victoria is now the second most popular state or territory for travel in the country, ahead of traditional holiday hotspot, Queensland. "Australia's love affair with caravanning and camping is still strong with families turning to holidaying in recreational vehicles to reconnect with each other away of the demands of technology," Caravan Industry Association Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said. Have your say

Kate Washington: caravan rego frayMP steps into caravan rego fray
THE long-running saga over "exorbitant" caravan registration fees in New South Wales continues.
Disgruntled caravan owners took their grouse to the state Government some years ago, but it appears very little has been done to remedy the situation. One Newcastle caravan owner told Caravanning News: "It's highway robbery considering we only use our caravan for about four weeks a year ... and then mainly on roads outside NSW." MP Kate Washington has now stepped into the fray, accusing NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay of failing to honour a 2014 Government promise to reduce the cost of registering a caravan. Read More

Council gives 10-year approvals
DUBBO Regional Council has granted new 10-year approvals to operate caravan parks and primitive camping grounds at Lake Burrendong and Mookerawa Waters.
Council administrator Michael Kneipp said the move recognised the more professional approach now being taken to manage the parks since NSW Crown Holidays Parks Trust assumed the role. "The parks were subject to a review to assess and report on applications for approval to continue operation of the respective caravan parks and camping grounds," he said. "The review supported granting of a new consent subject to conditions to ensure compliance with regulations." Mr Kneipp said millions had been spent improving the parks in recent years, and he expected more big improvements during the next four or five years. Have your say

Magpie swoops on National Caravan Clubs rally officialRain fails to dampen rallyists' spirits
OVER 600 caravans descended on Canberra for the 16th National Caravan Clubs rally.
After months of rain, 1122 members from 81 mainland clubs were determined not let the weather dampen their spirits at Exhibition Park. "We had to abandon some areas because of the nature of the ground," spokesman Ray Swift told Caravannng News. "But the rally has been seen as very successful notwithstanding the weather." One rally official had to brave a dive-bombing magpie as he attempted to help site caravans for the nine-day gathering.  Read More

Awards showcase NSW's best
NSW's recent Awards of Excellence showcased the best in the state's holiday parks and residential communities, quality dealerships and service providers, and manufacturing excellence.
"They are a hallmark of outstanding quality and service and form a valuable part of the ongoing success of our industry," Caravan & Camping Industry Association of NSW president Theo Whitmont said. "In the past year where we have seen a remarkable 22 percent increase in the number of visitor nights spent in caravan parks and campsites across NSW and this has come in large part as a result of the high standards of service and product offerings being delivered by our members." Read More

South Coast expoExpo a 'one-stop shop' for caravanners
MORE people than ever are enjoying the delights of the great Aussie caravan and camping holiday, according to NSW's caravan industry.
And, it said, the upcoming South Coast Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo would be a "one-stop" shop and the best place to find all the latest products and accessories needed to join the throng. Over a hundred exhibitors are preparing to showcase their products at Mackay Park in Batemans Bay from November 4 to 6. Read More

Long-term caravans get the push
THE days of families enjoying long-term caravan sites at a Lennox Head holiday park in NSW are over.
Crown Holiday Parks Trust earlier this year decided they must be cleared to make room for more short-term sites. Sixteen mobile homes, some up to 30 years old, have now been dismantled at the North Coast holiday park. Disappointed families, who had named their area in the park Struggle Street, mourned the "loss of a community". A Trust spokeswoman told media that removing the long-term caravans meant more room for tourist sites. Holiday caravans had an average occupancy of only 10 to 15 percent compared to 45 percent for powered tourist sites, she added. Have your say

Woodgate Beach HotelPub to double as tourist park
A SEASIDE town's pub on Queensland's Burrum Coast will soon be doubling as a caravan park.
Bundaberg Regional Council has given the green light for the Woodgate Beach Hotel south of Bundaberg to incorporate a 27-site tourist park. Locals are said to have welcomed the decision, hoping it would bring more people to the town. Work on the development is scheduled to begin this month. Tourists will be able to stay for up to 14 days, with no permanent residents allowed. Read More

New camping limits at Queensland dam
GREY nomads overstaying their welcome at a popular dam in Queensland has resulted in a two-week camping limit.
The news comes amid reports of travellers setting up semi-permanent campsites and even erecting 'Keep Out' signs at Wuruma Dam near Eidsvold, where overnight camping is free. SunWater said it had introduced new restrictions "to address overcrowding and to promote more equal access". "These new length-of-stay rules will help alleviate some of the strain on facilities and a consistent turnover of campers will give everyone more equal access to the site," it said. Similar restrictions have already been introduced at Burdekin Falls and Eungella dams due to long-stay campers. Read More

Beach Watch signCaravan crooks had better watch out
THIEVES targeting travellers at a Sunshine Coast caravan park had better watch out.
Cotton Tree Caravan Park, which has direct access to the beach, will be included in a new Beach Watch programme launched at Mooloolaba. The initiative brings together the Queensland Police Service, Neighbourhood Watch, Surf Lifesaving Queensland and the Sunshine Coast Council. It aims to encourage the community to report crime and suspicious activity so that there is more detection, apprehension and prosecution. "This will improve the security of people and property, and make our beaches and caravan parks safer," police said. The initiative is being funded by Australasia Neighbourhood Watch. Have your say

Brad Denison, Fleetwood CorporationFleetwood boss praises staff
FLEETWOOD staff have been praised for helping the caravan builder survive a dramatic plunge in orders. 
The Perth-based company has now recorded a "substantial increase" in demand for its Coromal and Windsor range of caravans. But in a recent report to shareholders the company said that while this was very encouraging, the business was not expected to return to profitability during the first half of the current financial year. "However, given how orders are trending, the board has confidence in the direction the business is taking," it said. Managing director Brad Denison (pictured) wrote: "On behalf of the directors, I sincerely thank our people for rising to meet these challenges. Difficult trading conditions in some areas and taking advantage of new markets required our people to extend themselves." Meanwhile, Fleetwood investor Sandon Capital said the company's previous excuses for poor performance deflected from the real issues that need to be addressed and promising improvement that never seemed to materialise. Read More

Beck ConnellBeck shows how ESC can save the day
RACING driver Beck Connell put a worried look on the faces of quite a few caravanners at the recent Melbourne Leisurefest.
Sitting next to Beck in a Commodore towing a single-axle caravan, they hung on as her test rig sped down Sandown Raceway's front straight ... and developed the wobbles. But they needn't have worried, AL-KO's revolutionary electronic stability control unit quickly brought the caravan back into line. The caravanners were taking part in swerve and recovery tests to experience just how effective the technology is. Beck, a competitive racer for over a decade, performed over 300 test drives during the four-day leisurefest. Read More

Jayco's dedicated new off-roader unveiledJayco unveils dedicated off-roader
AUSTRALIA'S biggest manufacturer of recreational vehicles has produced its first true off-roader after two years of dedicated development.
The prototype rolled off the factory assembly line with only days to spare before it was due to be unveiled at the recent Melbourne Leisure Show. Despite being without a name, it has already attracted much attention. Jayco now offers a comprehensive range stretching from a tiny J-pod micro caravan to the new robust off-roader. Read More

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Letter man

Solving the problem of monthly scripts

I READ last month's article about Tasmania's script woes with interest (see artcle here).

People complain about having to have their prescriptions filled by the month.

Next time you go to the doctor for your prescription ask him to initial it with REGULATION 24.

Your chemist will then give you six month's supply of your medicine.

My wife and I have been doing this for more then 20 years, first coming across this regulation when working overseas for short periods.

Jim Ruhe.