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Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

October 2018

Readership: Up to 32,000 monthly

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Caravanning News readership stats for Sept 2018

Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

OCT 30:
Emergency services attended scene of caravan accident on NSW's M1 Pacific Motorway near Dog Trap Road. No further details available.

OCT 30:
Australia's newest holiday park has opened in Tasmania. The $10m NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park offers 26 cabins and 45 powered camping sites.

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


* Drought hits outback caravanners' water supplies ... 20,135 people reached.

* Another sinkhole opens up at Inskip Point ... 16,394 people reached.

* 'For Sale' caravan creates mayhem on Victorian freeway... 12,240 people reached

* Caravan parks included in sale of roadhouses ... 8001 people reached.

* Grey nomads paying cash for their RVs ... 6781 people reached.

* Grey nomads coming up trumps on Lotto ... 5660 people reached.



Billabong caravan

Diamond caravan

Shock news for caravan industry as ...

Diamond, Billabong
hit troubled times

By Dennis Amor

TWO renowned Victorian caravan manufacturers, Diamond and Billabong, have hit troubled times. Family-owned Diamond Caravans has ceased trading and is in liquidation. Creditors have met and decided the Victorian company should be wound up. Shane Leslie Deane and Nicholas Giasoumi were appointed liquidators. The manufacturer's website has been taken down and telephones disconnected. Diamond had over 10 years experience in the caravan industry and described their lightweight aluminium caravans as having the 'Diamond Touch'. It had a network of dealers and in a recent Twitter message proclaimed: "You feel so much better when you have happy customers." Meanwhile, Billabong Custom Caravans has been placed in administration. The shock news came as the company was advertising for experienced caravan workers to join its team. A creditors' meeting will be held at the offices of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne on October 31. Founded 12 years ago and with nationwide outlets, the company manufactures quality, handmade custom caravans at its Campbellfield factory and more recently appeared to be concentrating on the family market. Have your say

Customers reassured system now safe


Cybercrime Gold Coast company attacked

By Dennis Amor

HACKERS have targeted a major Gold Coast-based resort and caravan park management company, it has been revealed.

The cyber criminals accessed login details which allowed them to access an email account used to communicate with Australian Tourist Park Management (APTM) guests and customers.

"We have been able to confirm that the likely purpose of the activity was to attempt to conduct company invoice payment fraud," the company said.

"None of these attempts were successful."

The accessed email contained only limited contact details of people who may have attended an event, function or made an online reservation or inquiry to an APTM-operated park before March 23 this year.

"No other guest or customer information, including financial, credit card, bank details, passport or driving licences, usernames, passwords, login details, tax file numbers, date of birth etc. were affected," the company said.

APTM, which was acquired by the National Roads and Motorists Association last year, reassured customers it had now "re-secured" its system after consulting IT and cyber experts.

It has also has contacted the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about the incident. Have your say

MP Bronwyn HalfpennyNova Caravans to play important role

New $1.2 million project will offer
cutting edge training for RV industry

VICTORIA'S caravan Industry will soon have access to cutting edge training thanks to a new project funded under the state government's Workplace Training Innovation Fund. The welcome $1.2 million project, which will deliver the Certificate III in Recreational Vehicle Manufacture for the first time at scale, on-site and with collaboration between industry and the training provider, was announced by local MP Bronwyn Halfpenny (pictured). The Caravan Industry Manufacturing Excellence project is being led by Caravan Trades and Industries Association of Victoria in partnership with Melbourne Polytechnic and Nova Caravans. Read more button

Wallace Motel and Caravan ParkCaravan parks 'thrown to the wolves'
THE boss of a Maryborough caravan park in Queensland has warned that free camping will kill off family businesses. Wallace Motel & Caravan Park's John Kennedy claimed the Fraser Coast council would not dare to provide free camping in Hervey Bay or Burrum Heads where they operated their own "very profitable businesses". "But here in Maryborough, where they have none, we are thrown to the wolves," he complained. Mr Kennedy claimed there had been a concerted push by lobby groups, allegedly led by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, to convince councillors to provide free camping in towns ... or lose business. ReeAd more button

Apollo's Brisbane factory

Outlook 'positive', Apollo tells shareholders
MAJOR RV player Apollo Tourism and Leisure has told shareholders it is pleased with its performance during the last financial year.
It makes the comment in its annual report to investors, which came as the Brisbane-based global company's shares took a pounding on the stock market to reach their lowest level for a year. Since its humble beginnings in 1985 renting out just one pop-top caravan from a shed in the city's north, Apollo has grown into a multi-national company focused on manufacturing, renting, selling and distributing a range of RVs including motorhomes, campervans and caravans. The report said Apollo's revenue for the year ending June 30 was $355 million, representing a 122 percent rise on the previous year and returning an after-tax net profit of $19 million. Shareholders were assured the outlook was positive, with increased rental bookings for the year ending June 2019. Read more button

Ashton BrownBoy's charity for homeless may soon be on a roll
QUEENSLAND'S peak caravanning body is helping a young boy achieve his dream.
Caravanning Queensland has promised to do all it can to help Brisbane's 11-year-old Ashton Brown who is on a mission to help the homeless. The big-hearted Year 6 student has been operating his own charity ‒ Homeless Helpers ‒ for the past two years providing meals, blankets and other necessities to the less fortunate but now believes a caravan would be a great asset to his work. And CQ chief executive Ron Chapman told Caravanning News that his organisation was only too willing to help the young hero. Read more button

Council abandons free camping trial in border town
GOONDIWINDI Regional Council has decided to abandon a free-camping trial in the town on the NSW and Queensland border.
Mayor Graeme Scheu said the council had decided it could not warrant investing extra ratepayer’s funds into the possibility of extending the trial at Redmond Park in Goondiwindi. Councillors arrived at their decision after a lively council chamber debate. "We were presented with just two options: either discontinue the town free camping trial or inject further resources into the management of the site in order to demonstrate a suitable level of compliance to extend the trial," Mayor Graeme Scheu said. Read more button

The converted FranklinConverted Franklin helps business blossom
A GRAND old lady from yesteryear is helping a young woman's business to blossom.
Florist Ebony Travers from Geelong in Victoria has taken to the road in a restored and modified Franklin caravan built in the 1970s. Rather than setting up a permanent shop for her Wildfolk Flowers enterprise, she now has the ability to work from wherever she pleases. "There was a lot of driving around Victoria to purchase and renovate the 'van," 23-year-old Ebony told Caravanning News. "But once it was home, myself, partner, mum and dad spent countless hours transforming it." Read more button

Tribe members invited to weekend of learning
Owners of New Age caravans will be heading to Henty in New South Wales later this month.
The manufacturer and owners' group New Age Tribe have invited them to join in a weekend of learning about off the grid caravanning. The gathering at the Henty Field Day site on October 19 and 20 will include technical sessions and a welcome sausage sizzle. Comment bubble Have your say

Lego cakeIt's official! We built biggest ever LEGO 'van
CARAVANNING Queensland and Top Parks have been officially recognised as holders of a new Guinness World Records title for the largest ever LEGO caravan.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Brian Sobel announced the news after inspecting the caravan at the Brisbane Holiday Village. It beat the record set up in the UK by 73,472 bricks. Built to celebrate the 50th annual Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, it took a team of up to 20 adult fans of LEGO from across Queensland and interstate to accomplish. Read more button

Beware cybercrime, warns association
CARAVAN industry businesses are being warned to take precautions against digital criminals.
This follows recent cybercrime attacks on unwary small and medium enterprises. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has received reports of malware and other cybercrimes and says this is a timely reminder to ensure businesses are well protected. It appears the crimes involve trying to extract information for the purposes of invoice fraud. Read More button

Camper trailer and 4WD winners Scott and CarlaCamping couple scoop $100,000 prize package
A REDBANK Plains couple is planning a big trip after scooping the top prize, worth more than $100,000, at the 50th Queensland Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow.
Scott and Carla, who requested their surname not be used, were the winners of the biggest prize ever given away by Caravanning Queensland at its annual industry showcase, and at any caravanning industry event in Australia. They are now the proud owners of a one-of-a-kind, 50th anniversary Cub Camper Trailer and a Volkswagen V6 Turbo Diesel Amarok. Their windfall was even more unexpected because they went to the supershow only looking to buy a basic 12V camper shower. Read more button

Revised law targets excessive power bills
THE days of unscrupulous caravan park owners charging exorbitant power bills may be over in the Sunshine State.
People living in caravan parks will now be able to buy their energy directly from an authorised retailer. Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said changes to energy legislation now brought greater choice for park tenants who were previously only able to buy their electricity from the owner of the embedded energy network. Meanwhile, thousands of caravan park dwellers in NSW have signed a petition calling for action to stamp out overcharging. Australian Residential Parks Association vice-president for Tweed Ken Cummins, who lives in a caravan park, claimed some tenants were being charged three times the normal cost of power. "These park managers are driving around in their Mercedes Benzes and BMWs and ripping pensioners off left right and centre," he told media. Have your say

Elvis festivalNomads prepare to be all shook up
THE annual Parkes Elvis Festival in NSW, a popular event on the grey nomads' calendar, will receive financial support from the State Government for another three years.
Caravan parks in the area, which are generally packed to overflowing for the annual five-day tribute to the King of Rock 'N Roll, are already reporting bookings for the iconic event Announcing continued financial backing, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said visitor numbers to the festival claimed to be one of the world's largest Elvis Presley tribute celebrations had soared by an incredible 32 percent. "The Parkes Elvis Festival has become a must-see, must-do event for tourists from around Australia and the world," he added. Next year's event will open on January 9 with the theme 'All Shook Up". Have your say

Caravan holidays beneficial to women: report
THE number of Aussies taking caravanning and camping holidays is on the rise ... and it seems women could soon be leading the charge.
Research results revealed in the Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s Real Richness Report show that people who regularly take caravan and camping trips are happier, energised and more satisfied than those who do not. And more than half the women surveyed readily agreed that caravan and camping trips could make them healthier. The study revealed both physical and mental benefits, with three-quarters of participants strongly agreeing that camping helps them 'recharge their batteries', 63 percent strongly agreeing it relieves stress and 51 percent strongly agreeing it can make you fitter. Have your say

Boroma caravanBoroma Roamers keep name live
A GROUP of faithful enthusiasts continue to keep the name of a now defunct Queensland manufacturer of luxury caravans alive.
Members of the Boroma Roamers club will gather at the Gateway Lifestyle Casino Caravan Park in NSW later this month for their annual get-together. They say the October 12-14 event will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and to make new ones into the bargain. Boroma, once regarded as the Rolls Royce of caravans, shocked the industry by pulling down the shutters in 2008. The Stapylton-based company was forced into liquidation as a global economic downturn hit hard, closing its doors when sales plummeted and jittery customers cancelled orders. For more information on the Boroma Roamers, click here Have your say

BIG4 and peak body join forces
THE Caravan Industry Association of Australia and BIG4 Holiday Parks have revealed a multi-year partnership to help Australia's leisure accommodation market to grow.
BIG4 chief executive Steven Wright said his holiday park network was looking forward to working more closely with the caravanning and camping industry's peak body. "We have a number of exciting initiatives we'll be working on together including large scale consumer promotions to draw more attention to the benefits of holidaying in the great outdoors across our beautiful country," he explained. Reead more button

Doggy night aids RSPCA
REFLECTIONS Holiday Parks' Moonee Beach park on NSW Coffs Coast raised over $2000 for the RSPCA from its inaugural 'Doggy Date Night'.
The event attracted over 100 visitors and their canine companions. Park manager Kelly Shaw said there were now plans to turn the event into an annual affair after it received much positive feedback. Have your say

Sheng YeeSheng's travels benefit cost-conscious grey nomads
COST-CONSCIOUS grey nomads are benefiting from Sheng's love of the open road.
The Sunshine Coast traveller has chalked up tens of thousands of kilometres checking out free and budget camping spots all over Australia. "It's my dream job and lets me go to many places that I want to visit," he told Caravanning News. Sheng is an auditor for the popular Camps Australia Wide guide, regarded by many caravanners and other RVers as the 'Traveller's Bible'. Read more button

Janice Bell

 I feel really honoured, says battler

Kimberley caravan park owner Janice honoured in song

By Dennis Amor

THE owner of a caravan park overlooking the Indian Ocean in WA has been recognised in a song. Twice Golden Guitar Award winner Tom Curtain tells the story of battler Janice Bell who established the Kimberley's Barn Hill Station caravan park 130km south of Broome, where he proposed to his wife Annabel. Janice launched the business in 1986 while building a mud-brick home for her family. The singer decided to write the song after hearing of the tough times and hurdles she had to conquer as a single mother. "It was just her passion, self-belief and motivation that really blew me away," Tom said. "I asked why she decided to settle there, and she said it was where the red pindan soil meets the ocean." And that's the title of the music star's catchy release, which is complemented by a four-minute official video. "I really feel honoured," 58-year-old mother-of-two Janice told Caravanning News. "I never thought I would feature in a song, but it's very nice. I have had people contact me and offer their congratulations." Have your say

Apollo caravansWould-be grey nomads pay cash for plush RVs
PROSPECTIVE grey nomads are shunning personal loans and forking out millions of dollars in cash for their luxury RVs, according to Apollo Tourism and Leisure.
"Very few use any form of finance," chief executive Luke Trouchet said. During the last year, the global Brisbane-based company sold $139 million worth of RVs including caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers, and there's no sign of sales falling. Read more button

Security plea to campers
QUEENSLAND police are urging grey nomads and other travellers to tighten up on their security at caravan parks.
This follows a spate of thefts from holiday parks and campsites around the State and comes after thieves made off with bicycles from a caravan annexe at the Cotton Tree Caravan Park on the Sunshine Coast. Senior Constable Lynda Dowd said people should ensure valuable items such as bicycles, fishing rods, wallets, purses, mobile phones, eskies and alcohol are secured and where possible placed out of sight. "Police often see high numbers of incidences occurring at camp sites, involving caravans and their annexes," she said. "In most cases there have been no signs of forced entry." Have your say

Michaela WebsterNew chief operating officer for Discovery Parks
FORMER On the Run chief operating officer and Westfield Marketing executive Michaela Webster has taken over the role of chief operating officer at Australia's largest holiday park company, Discovery Parks.
South Australian Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Award winner (corporate) Ms Webster oversaw the growth of the South Australian fuel business into a fast food, coffee and convenience store network and has worked in senior marketing roles with Westfield in Australia and the UK. Discovery Parks chief executive Grant Wilckens said Ms Webster ‒ who recently worked on Discovery Parks' licensed park strategy as a consultant ‒ was ideally placed to oversee the next stage of his company's growth and transformation agenda. Read more button

JaycoJTRAKJayco's new offering with intent
AUSTRALIA'S biggest manufacturer of RVs has launched its first ever tent-trailer range.
Jayco has designed its inaugural Australian-made JTRAK with camping enthusiasts in mind. Pitching is speedy and easy, with an exclusive key feature being an inflatable annex option. JTRAK is also the first Jayco product to showcase the new generation of Jayco chassis with JTech 2.0, designed specifically for off-road adventures. With a 950km tare weight and 4.8-metre body length, the tent-trailer offers four floor plans to suit families. Jayco claims it is the perfect trailer for getting off the grass and exploring further. Prices begin at $18,000. Have your say

JB Caravans opens new factory

Years of planning comes to fruition

Official opening marks
'blue ribbon' day for JB

JB CARAVANS, launched eight years ago with an output of just one caravan weekly, has officially opened its new multi-million dollar factory in Campbellfield, Victoria. Caravan Trade and Industries Association Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas described it as a "blue ribbon" day for the company. "Seven years of planning has come together now in a fantastic new facility," he said during the official ceremony. Mr Lucas, JB owner Alex Bi and staff were joined by Hume City Council Mayor Geoff Porter and MP for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire. Mr Bi (far right in photo) thanked customers, the association and suppliers for supporting his company. With the help of a government grant JB was able to employ an extra 55 workers, many from the now defunct local car manufacturing industry. The factory incorporates many technological advances and allows its 100-plus workers to harness their caravan building skills. Have your say

Bernard Hudson and wife with their new Jayco camper trailerBernard 'over the moon' after win
BERNARD Hudson is now the proud owner of a brand new Jayco camper trailer.
He won it after entering the Caravan Industry Association of Australia's Win a Weekender competition, run in conjunction with Jayco, Dometic, Top Parks and NewsCorp. A thrilled Bernard collected the prize from Jayco's Sydney headquarters where he undertook an induction in preparation for his first trip. "I was over the moon," he said. "I'm getting a bit old in the backbone to be sleeping on the ground now." Read more button

CIAA calls for board nominations
AUSTRALIA'S peak caravanning and camping body is looking for people with the skills and experience to help drive the industry forward.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has called for nominations from individuals wanting to provide "strategic direction for the industry" by joining its board of nine which has a rotation requirement requiring about half the members to be up for re-election on an annual basis. This year they are Mark Lindsay (Parks), Grant Wilckens (Parks), Gerry Ryan (Trade) and Gabby Montagnese (Trade). Members not subject to re-election are James Kelly (Parks), Matt Slee (Trade), Martin Cotterell (Parks), Dennis Austin (Trade) and Chris Goddard (Trade). Nominations must be received before October 4. Have your say

RTA revised pocket guide for caravan park tenantsRTA releases new pocket guide for park tenants
QUEENSLAND'S Residential Tenancies Authority has updated its pocket guide for caravan park tenants.
The booklet contains important information on rights and obligations, moving in, tenancies, moving out, domestic and family violence support and contact details. The revised guide features a more user-friendly layout with side tabs, updates on the consequences of breaching park rules and important information regarding domestic and family violence in a caravan and/or leased site. It is now available online and in hard copy. To order hard copies, call 1300 366 311. The authority stresses that all caravan park tenants must be given the revised pocket guide, the proposed moveable dwelling tenancy agreement (Form 18b) with a copy of the park rules before they pay any money or commit to the tenancy. Have your say

Theo Whitmont opens North Star slidesNew slides 'the icing on the cake'

Twisting and turning kids
enjoy park's new attraction

KIDS at North Star Holiday Resort at Hastings Point in NSW are finally enjoying the park's multi-million dollar ultra-modern twisting and turning double waterslides. But it was a long, costly and stressful fight for owners Ian and wife Diana Beadel to get approval for the new attraction after local residents tried to block the development, claiming it would generate more noise and impact surrounding fauna. President of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW Theo Whitmont officially launched the two new 8.2 metre-high tubular waterslides, saying the Beadels had created "possibly the best caravan park in Australia". Mr Whitmont said the park was once a bare campsite struggling to employ two people. "Now it is the pride of industry, employs 75 people and has won the Australian Tourism award of excellence twice," he added. The Beadels said the new waterslides would be "the icing on the cake" for families holidaying at the resort. Mr Beadel told Caravanning News that every year there was an increasing level of professionalism in the industry in response to guests' expectations. "However, one area that has always been a challenge is providing facilities to satisfy teenagers and adults who are young at heart," he said. "By the positive comments since the launch of these slides it appears we have hit the target." Have your say

NRMA adds six more parks to its stable
NRMA Parks and Resorts has added another six holiday parks to its stable.
They are the Stockton Beach Holiday Park (Newcastle region, NSW), Yarrawonga Mulwala Holiday Park (Murray River region, NSW/Victoria), Warrnambool Riverside Holiday Park (Great Ocean Road, Victoria), Halls Gap Holiday Park (Grampians, Victoria), St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park (Bay of Fires, Tasmania) and Bowen Beachfront Holiday Park (Whitsunday Coast, Queensland). Further expansion of the 44-park chain is expected in the coming months. NRMA Group chief executive Rohan Lund explained that the organisation was committed to boosting regional communities by encouraging more tourists who would support local economies. "Tourism produces flow-on benefits for these communities and this economic injection – in the heart of this drought – is more important than ever," he said. "We want more Australians holidaying locally and as the NRMA’s tourism footprint continues to grow so too does the opportunities for our members to have an enjoyable and affordable holiday." Have your say

Ingenia signChristmas regulars given the boot
REGULARS at a NSW caravan park are hopping mad after being told to vacate their semi-permanent holiday sites by Christmas.
Dozens of families who regularly spend their annual holidays and the festive season at the Palms Oasis Holiday Park have received eviction notices from Ingenia Communities Group, which bought the property for $7.5 million. It now wants to turn the park at Bluey Beach into an over-55s village. The mixed-use property had 187 tourism and permanent sites and 25 others approved for new permanent homes. One regular commented: "This really is a slap in the face. It had become a family tradition to spend Christmas there. I don't know what we'll do now." Have your say

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