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

September 2016

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SEPT 29: Fraser Coast Regional Council in Queensland to scrap scheme in which caravanners had to spend $10 locally before being allowed free overnight camping. Will also add additional spaces and invite tenders to provide low-cost camping on land at Maryborough Airport.

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

* Charity rider's bike stolen from caravan park ... 29,819 people reached

* Diabetic grey nomad airlifted to hospital ... 21,174 people reached.

* Banned driver caught towing caravan ... 7706 people reached.

* Caravan industry appoints political adviser  ... 5991 people reached.

* Caravan registrations soar ... 5674 people reached.

* Research shows more young families taking to caravanning ... 5651 people reached.

* Earthquake rocks Queensland caravan parks ... 5300 people reached.


Zoo 'rubbing salt into wounds'

SO Australia Zoo in Queensland plans to build a 100-plus site for caravans and campers and also provide cabins (see story here).

I suppose in one respect this is to be applauded, but it's little consolation to struggling local caravan parks.

It certainly rubs salt into their wounds, particularly those selling thousands of entrance tickets on behalf of the zoo.

Some caravans parks are finding it difficult to make ends meet now that many modern caravans are wholly self-sufficient and taking advantage of the many free rest areas.

I only hope planning permission is refused for this selfish development.

Australia Zoo should concentrate on its core business (animalium) so the caravan parks can get on with their's (homines).

Colin McPherson.

Big tick

WELL done Australia Zoo. This means that I can now go to the zoo.

Being disabled, it makes it so much easier.

Big tick from us.

Patti Telfer.

Good idea

POOR caravan parks ... my heart bleeds for them.

I think it's a great idea.

Mind you, we will wait for the cost of a site at the zoo before I get too excited.

Ben GM.

Same script

HERE we go again, all that has to be done is notify your insurer of any and all alterations (see RACQ warning story here).

All it takes is a phone call and most, if not all, will endorse the policy accordingly.

Weight can be a killer, many have no idea of the weight of a kilo of water (yes, kilo).

The vast majority of caravans have never been weighed fully loaded.

Many have an unrealistic ATM as many have tare weights that are in fairy land.

Another part of the problem is that general insurers have no idea about the item they are insuring, especially the franchised ones.

I have many modifications to my caravan and all are listed on my policy.

It gives the insurer a heads-up and usually a small increase in premium, but it keeps both parties reading from the same script.

Peter McKill.

Lotto balls

Forgotten ticket lands them a fortune

Millionaire caravanners

A CARAVANNING couple from WA's Wheatbelt has scooped $1.3 million with a ticket bought on their travels. The unnamed winners discovered their good fortune only when they had their entry checked six weeks later at their local newsagent. It has been tucked away in the man's wallet and forgotten. The stunned instant millionaires, who said they were now planning more caravanning trips, won on line 40 of a 50-game slikpik. The lucky ticket was bought in the Perth suburb of Clarkson. Have your say

'Not out of the woods yet'

Coromal and Windsor turnaround

By Dennis Amor

FLEETWOOD Corporation's struggling RV division, which builds Coromal and Windsor caravans, is seeing a welcome turnaround, it has been revealed. The Perth-based operation suffered a 13 percent plunge in revenue to $29.6 million during last financial year. But according to Fleetwood's recently released preliminary 2016 final report its newly revamped caravan range has now led to a "substantial increase" in orders with production stepped up to meet demand. Managing director Brad Denison said the figures were "very encouraging" and it was expected the division would return to profitability during the first half of the 2017 financial year. "We have a lot ahead of us ... we are not out of the woods yet," he told shareholders. The RV division's 150 factory workers are now producing twice as many caravans as this time last year, with the weekly figure in its mid-20s. Fleetwood would have to raise this to the mid-30s to break even. Its dealer network is being expanded, with two new ones appointed in NSW and an additional outlet in Victoria. Mr Denison described the corporation's general financial position as "robust", but Fleetwood would not be paying a final dividend. Have your say

On a roll as registrations soar


Have your say

THE once humble caravan is on a roll, creating a trifecta of growth from which the whole of Australia is benefiting.

Newly released Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show continued and significant growth in caravan registrations, aligning with comparable growth in manufacturing and tourism trends.

In fact, caravan registrations have soared by five percent, making them the leader of all RV types.

There are now 554,540 caravans registered, with campervans registrations hitting 60,899 ... a 4.3 percent increase.

The overall 4.9 percent rise in RV registrations for the year ending January 2016 follows a 5.4 percent hike over the previous year.

In a hat-trick of positive growth, the industry is also the fastest growing commercially-operated accommodation sector with an average annual growth of five percent.

In short, manufacturers are producing increasing numbers of RVs, consumers are buying and registering them in greater numbers and caravan and camping tourists are out there enjoying the great Australian holiday more than ever before.
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Floodwaters inundate Corowa Caravan Park

Floodwaters inundate the park

'It's beaten us and is still rising'

Murray River park loses
battle to stop floodwaters

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

OWNERS of the Corowa Caravan Park on the banks of the Murray River in NSW are "devastated" after losing their battle to prevent floodwaters inundating their park. Much of the Bartlett family's park was under water after sandbags and seven pumps failed to keep the waters at bay. With 90 percent of sites affected, the park has been closed until further notice. "We did absolutely everything we could and gave it 100 percent, but it's beaten us," the park said on its Facebook page.  The damages bill is expected to be up to $100,000. An army of volunteers had laid about 2000 sandbags in an attempt to reduce damage from floodwaters caused by heavy rains and releases from Lake Hume. The level was expected to peak at 6.7 metres. The park has been owned by the Bartletts for more than a decade and the river level was the highest they have ever seen. Julie Bartlett thanked members of the local community who filled and placed sandbags. The park had been completely evacuated, with help from SES volunteers and the Rural Fire Service. 

Painters Island CP flood

Floods close Wangaratta park

FLOODWATERS at Wangaratta in Victoria forced the closure of the 182-site Painters Island Caravan Park for the second time in as many months. Residents and tourists evacuated the park as the adjoining Ovens River continued to rise. The photograph shows the flooded entrance to the 20-acre park.


Caravan crash, Bruce Highway Caravan crash, Bruce Highway

All that was left of the caravan after today's smash on Queensland's Bruce Highway. Photos: Clayton's Towing

A TRAVELLER was taken to hospital after a spectacular crash involving a caravan in Queensland. Witnesses described the scene near Torbanlea as "carnage". It is believed a 4WD crossed to wrong side of Bruce Highway and smashed into a caravan being towed in the opposite direction at about 1.45am. Queensland Ambulance told Caravanning News one person was taken to Hervey Bay Hospital with minor injuries. The Jayco Silverline caravan was demolished. The driver of a semi skidded into the debris, just clipping the 4WD. Photos: Clayton's Towing Have your say

Jaeger caravanFactory gates padlocked

Jaeger RV ceases trading

By Dennis Amor

ANOTHER caravan manufacturer has hit troubled times. Victoria-based East Venture, which operates Jaeger RV, has ceased trading and is in administration. Staff at the Jaeger factory in Campbellfield were sent home and the gates padlocked. The manufacturer's website is blank and telephone calls were not being answered. East Venture was registered last year and is also associated with Hunter RV and Skylark RV. Joint administrator David Quin told Caravanning News it was too early to make a statement but confirmed the company was in administration. He could not comment on the number of creditors. One dealer told us he had been attempting to contact the company for a week but without success. Have your say

Ian Hance

Grey nomads among main culprits

Termite mound decorators get
a dressing-down from Debbie

THE quirky practice of dressing up termite mounds in Australia's far north has come under fire. Traveller and Caravanning News reader Debbie Bendon believes that adorning the nests in clothing, hats and other paraphernalia is nothing short of littering. She said the perpetrators never returned to remove "that nice tee-shirt or hat" which eventually deteriorated and left a scar on the landscape. "They look so crappy as they deteriorate," she complained. Businessman and PhD student Ian Hance (pictured) said tourists and grey nomads were the main culprits of the unique humour. Read More

Julian HanimanPolitical adviser to spread the word
THE caravan industry's peak body has appointed former political adviser Julian Harniman to its newly created role of government relations and policy officer.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it wanted to ensure the industry's collective voice was heard where it could effectively assist businesses in the industry. It was confident Mr Haniman's "strong communication and stakeholder relationships skills" would help strengthen its presence politically and achieve the best outcomes for the industry. Read More

Govt  pays so caravanners can take a leak in the dry
GUESTS at a community-run caravan park in NSW will soon be able to take a leak in the dry!
Dodging the drips from a leaking roof had become quite a sport in the amenities and toilet block at Tingha Gems Caravan Park. But all that will be a thing of the past thanks to a $2277 grant from the state government. Local MP Adam Marshall commented: "A leaking roof can represent a major expense thatís not easily found in the trust's reserves." Located between Guyra on the New England Highway and Inverell, the five acre pet-friendly park is a member of the Kui Parks chain. Have your say

Waverley Creek rest area signTruckies blast grey nomads over parking
OUTRAGED truckies have blasted the grey nomad brigade for taking over their parking spots at a major Queensland rest area.
They complain they are being forced out of the Bruce Highway's Waverley Creek facility 11km south of St Lawrence by irresponsible caravanners and motorhomers parking overnight in the truck-only area. Veteran truckie and safety advocate Rod Hannifey, who contributed to the design of the Waverley site, told Caravanning News the problem was getting worse as more and more caravanners hit the road. Read More

Hundreds at Avan gathering
LAST month's 17th national gathering and annual general meeting of the Avan Club of Australia attracted around 600 members.
More than 270 Avans flooded into the Murray River town of Renmark in South Australia for the event. Four caravan parks were used to accommodate the influx. The packed programme of events included happy hours, games, wine tasting, craft sessions and the annual dinner ... which had to be split into two sittings because of the numbers. Club founders Brendon (secretary) and Joan Smith (original president for nine years) were thanked for their significant contributions to the club after announcing their retirement from the committee. Both will remain members of the club. Cliff Hicks, who has been at the helm for the past three years, also retired. Have your say

Winnibago caravanApollo joins the 'big guys' in RV hub
AUSTRALIAN-owned Apollo Caravan & RV Sales has opened a retail outlet in Campbellfield, Victoria ... regarded as Australia's RV hub.
"We're in with the big guys now and we're keen to make our mark," chief executive Luke Trouchet said. Established in 1985, Apollo ‒ which specialises in Winnebago, Adria and Talvor brands ‒ already has successful dealerships in Brisbane and Sydney. Read More

Chamber hopes free RV camping idea will take off
MARYBOROUGH Chamber of Commerce in Queensland is pressing for free short-term camping facilities for RVs.
It warns that businesses are missing out on the tourist dollar and something had to be done to entice caravanners and other travellers off the nearby Bruce Highway. One site suggested is at Maryborough Airport which would handle larger rigs. They would be allowed to stay for up to four nights. Meanwhile, smaller ones could spend up to two nights at the city centre's Alan and June Brown Car Park in Kent Street, the chamber said. Have your say

Caravans board Spirit of Tasmania ferryThat's the spirit ... nomads lead the charge
MORE and more grey nomads are heading to the Apple Isle.
They lead the growing number of travellers using the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, with passenger numbers up 8.9 percent to 418,831 in the year up to July. "The financial year has been a particularly big year for grey nomads," Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding told the Tasmanian parliament. Tourism Tasmaniaís chief executive John Fitzgerald told Caravanning News the figures were "a great outcome" for regional communities and the local economy. "Tasmania has long been popular with Australians wanting to tour the island with their caravans and motorhomes," he said. Read More

Councillors rally for new Bathurst caravan park
COUNCILLORS are in favour of a new caravan park being built in the shadow of NSW's famous Mount Panarama motor racing circuit.
They have voted in favour of Bathurst Regional Council referring the allocation of funds for the proposed park, estimated to be between $6000 and $7000, to the 2017/2018 Delivery Plan for consideration. The new park would be built on council-owned land at College Road. The move follows a recent council meeting which considered a report pointing out that city had only one caravan park, the BIG4 Bathurst Panarama Holiday Park. "The proposed College Road park would provide a further option for visitors to Bathurst," it said. Have your say

Jayco Newcastle's customer appreciation weekendFree weekend for Jayco customers
AWARD-winning Jayco Newcastle in NSW showed its appreciation to 250 customers by treating them to a free weekend away.
"Customer service is a key component of our business," general manager Damian Charleson said after the event at the BIG4 Koala Shores Holiday Park. It was the dealership's tenth official customer appreciation weekend and the biggest yet, with over 80 RVs rolling into the park for a packed programme of entertainment. Read More

Muster all set to tee off
AFTER last year's successful inaugural Omeo High Country Caravan and RV Muster in Victoria, the local golf club will repeat the event in November.
Three day's of full-filled festivities will kick off on November 4 and will feature fishing and hole-in-one competitions together with Friday night fireworks and live music. There will also be tag-along tours, helicopter flights and a Sunday market. For more information, telephone (03) 5159 1356 or email Have your say

Melbourne LeisurefestNew layout for Melbourne Leisurefest
ORGANISERS of the mammoth Melbourne Leisurefest have been busy at the drawing board to ensure visitors see more.
Caravan Industry Association Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said improvements at Sandown Racecourse would mean a brand new layout at next month's show. Show manager Scott Leahy had created a better flow throughout the venue which would "enhance the visitor experience". "The new layout will mean an even better opportunity for visitors to see even more," Mr Lucas explained. Read More

Parks benefit from rumble in Red Centre
CARAVAN park in Alice Springs are bursting at the seams as bikie fans rumble into town.
Harley Davidson Australia and over 100 members of the Harley Owners Group are among two and four-wheel enthusiasts flocking to The Red CentreNATS, giving a "turbo boost" to the local economy. The three-day event kicks off on September 2. Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles said caravan parks would be among a whole host of businesses benefiting from the event, which last year attracted 450 entrants and over 13,500 spectators. Alongside the motorbikes will be elite show cars, hot rods, classics, exotics and supercars. "The success of the Red CentreNATS will only grow in size and sit alongside existing iconic Territory events such as the V8 Supercars and Fink Desert race," he said. Have your say

Armidale showgroundGood fortune for run-down heritage showground
TRAVELLERS have helped turn the fortunes of a run-down heritage showground in NSW.
The Armidale Showground's income has slowly increased since caravanners and other RVers were allowed to overnight at the facility. And it has now received a $57,282 grant from the state government's Public Reserves Management Fund Program to carry out urgent upgrading of the entrance road and rewire the pavilion. Showground Reserve Trust administrator Rodney O'Brien said: "As we start to generate funds from the caravan park and other activities, and with government support like this coming in, we're definitely making a difference." Have your say

Wildlife bugs caravanners
 WILDLIFE is making things miserable for caravanners in NSW.
The state government's Local Land Services in the Hunter Valley said rabbits, foxes and wild dogs were on the hunt for food as winter turns into spring. Biosecurity officer Kyra O'Brien warned that the pests were becoming bolder and were often turning up in townships. "A lot of people around caravan parks have actually been contacting us about rabbit problems," she said. Caravanners have been urged not to keep food outside their RVs. Have your say

Sundowner Breakwall Tourist ParkATPM snaps up park for $8m
GOLD Coast-based Australian Tourist Park Management has clinched an $8 million deal to operate the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park at Port Macquarie in NSW.
The 8.29ha waterfront property on the Hastings River is the 36th holiday park to fall under ATPM's management and leasing umbrella. General manager Lyndall Murray said the company would spend $4 million transforming the park into a dynamic, modern tourist destination capable of matching a growing market and changing consumer expectations. Read More

Over 150 exhibitors set to showcase products
MORE than 150 exhibitors will showcase their products when NSW's Caravan & Camping Industry Association annual show throws open its doors.
The Penrith Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo will feature hundreds of caravan, motorhome, campervans, camper trailers and tent brands. There will also be equipment, accessories, holiday park and destination displays. The three-day event at the Penrith Panthers Exhibition Centre gets underway on September 9. "It really is the best place to stock up and plan your next holiday," association chief executive Lyndel Gray said. Have your say

Hannaby Park, CapelResidents' views sought on overnight rest area
CAPEL Shire Council in WA's south-west will ask residents for their views on a proposed overnight rest area for caravans at Hannaby Park.
It had considered other locations but decided to delay a final decision until after locals had been consulted. A council report said the Hannaby Park site was only 430m from town, had good vehicle access and was in a pleasant setting. But it was close to housing, a playground and was without power and toilets. The report said $26,000 had been allocated for site works at the chosen location. It also stressed the importance of an overnight rest area not competing with the local Peppermint Grove Beach Caravan Park. Have your say

'Three-in-one' resort opens on Sunshine Coast
A NEW pet-friendly BIG4 camping, glamping and caravan park has opened on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Rivershore Resort at Diddillibah is offering powered caravan sites for $49 ... while the more discerning camper might prefer one of the nearby unheated luxury "glamping" safari tents for a cool $230 a night. Developer Bernie McGovern said the 10ha site boasted three different accommodation options to appeal to separate markets. "We've broken the concept of a tourist park," he explained. Facilities include a restaurant-cafe, huge pool with waterslides, extra large sites, boat ramp and soon-to-be-opened pontoon. Have your say

Phillip Campbell, Fleetwood Corp chairmanFleetwood appoints new chairman
FLEETWOOD Corporation, builders of Coromal and Windsor caravans, has appointed a new chairman.
Melbourne-based company director Phillip Campbell (pictured) replaces Michael Hardy, who joined the board in 2005. Mr Campbell told Caravanning News he was "thrilled and honoured" to have been asked to join the board. Fleetwood said in a statement: "He has a proven track record of guiding businesses through challenging and volatile environments to restore and enhance shareholder value. Fleetwood has also announced that John Bond, who joined the board in 2013, has resigned as a non-executive director. Read More

Stop and Shop scheme may be reviewed
The Stop and Shop scheme aimed at attracting grey nomads to Queensland's Fraser Coast could be reviewed.
The local regional council has decided to take a look at its Camping Options Strategy to see whether recreational vehicles could be better catered for. This could include a shake-up of the Stop and Shop project, introduced last year. RV travellers who spend at least $10 at a local business are entitled to a voucher allowing them to stay for up to 20 hours for free at designated parking areas. It has been suggested the length of stay should be increased to 48 hours. Stop and Shop sites are located at Hervey Bay Visitor Information Centre at the junction of Maryborough and Hervey Bay roads, the Alan and June Brown carpark in Kent Street, Maryborough, and at Beck Road in Hervey Bay. Have your say

Young families rejuvenating caravan park industryMove over grey nomads, families are here
FAMILIES are reviving Australia's caravan park industry, according to new research.
A Tourism Research Australia study shows the industry ‒ a part of Australian culture since the 1930s ‒ is entering a new and exciting rejuvenation stage, with more and more families choosing to caravan or camp. While active retirees doing the 'Big Lap' have become synonymous with the caravanning and camping lifestyle, young families make up the bulk of this market. Read More

Free RV safety checks
CARAVANNING Queensland, in conjunction with police and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, will carry out free safety checks on RVs next month.
Owners of caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes and other recreational vehicle will be able to have their units weighed and measured and have questions answered on any nagging problems. Participants have been assured that inspectors will not be issuing breach notices ... only advice. Sessions will be held at Townsville (October 8), Mackay (October 9), Brisbane (October 22) and Sunshine Coast (November 5). For more information, click here. Have your say

Premer freedom campsiteTown moves closer to another freedom campsite
THE small town of Werris Creek near Tamworth in NSW has moved a step closer to having another freedom camping area for grey nomads and other travellers.
The proposed Australian Rail Track Corporation-owned site on the western side of Single Street, south of Poole Street, was recently given the thumbs up by the community's 355 Committee. If given the owner's consent and approved by the Liverpool Plains Shire Council the freedom camp will undergo a 12-month trial. Mayor Andrew Hope said another freedom camp was planned for Willow Tree to complement existing facilities at Wallabadah, Currabubula and Premer. Read More

Second caravan park for Moore Park Beach
BUNDABERG Regional Council in Queensland has given the go-head for new caravan park to be built near the tavern at Moore Park Beach, despite strong opposition from the local community.
It will offer 50 caravan sites, 70 cabins ... and 36 backpacker beds. The park will operate in opposition to the oceanside council-owned Moore Park Beach Holiday Park, which is only a stone's throw away and has always been popular with southern grey nomads seeking the Sunshine State's warmer winters. Have your say

VicParks members discuss key issues
MEMBERS of Victoria's caravan industry ‒ 240 of them ‒ attended the recent VicParks annual conference which focused on innovation and inspiration.
They came together to listen, learn and debate key issues facing the industry. A large trade show of 51 exhibitors added an extra 120 people to the crowd attending across the three days. Read More

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Letter man

Self-regulation 'always sets the lowest standard'

YOUR story on the call for a Royal Commission into the caravanning industry was interesting (see story here).

With regard to regulation of the caravan industry, or any industry for that matter, self-regulation has never ever worked.

Why? Because the regulations are always set at the lowest standard to accommodate those manufacturers that are at the lowest standard.

I witnessed this up close and personal in the industry in which I was the leader in quality.

Other manufacturers created an 'association' which set up a ridiculously low set of standards so that they could all become 'accredited members'.

The whole thing was a complete farce which I refused to have any part of.

We have all seen many examples of similar 'self regulation' ... enough said!


Code of silence

BOUGHT a new single-axle caravan advertised as suitable for a Prado, which has a maximum ball weight of 250kg.

Took delivery with a ball weight of 220kg tare, both 95-litre water tanks and battery were in front of the axle.

When water was added the ball weight was 290kg ... way over the maximum allowed for the tow vehicle.

Initially the dealer was in denial, then asked me to suggest a fix.

As my vehicle and maximum ball weight was written on the purchase contract, the dealer relented and moved one tank and the battery behind the axle. The ball weight was then acceptable.

During the course of this most unpleasant process I became aware that design errors resulting in overloading the caravan was not an uncommon occurrence.

I believe the CIA was well aware of this problem, as was the Caravan Council of Australia.

Many buyers are unaware their caravan is unsafe. They are overloaded, breaking the law and insurance could be invalidated.

Insurance company CIL has undertaken research on accidents that should receive more publicity.

There is a code of silence in the industry regarding the flouting of good design practice.

The retailer and the manufacturer continue to sell the same vans with all the tanks in front of the single axle.

Whilst I doubt the need for a Royal Commission into the industry and its many failings, there are numerous problems and a lack of protection for the customer.

Helen Pontarellli.

Toothless tiger?

SO there is now a new accreditation scheme for caravan dealers (see story here)

Does this mean another toothless tiger in the industry?