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

January 2020

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Breaking News headline
For full list, click above

JAN 28:
Man, 59, died when his car collided head-on with motorhome driven by 66-year-old German tourist on Tasmania's Huon Hwy at Dover.

JAN 28:
Thieves made off with a 2007 twin-axle Regal caravan from a yard at Cobram in Victoria. The white and gold 19.6ft-long 'van carried the Victorian registration R65598.

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


* Rumpus over caravan parking squeezing trucks out of servos  ... 163,783 people reached.

* Thieves make off with caravans worth $200,000 ... 55,378 people reached.

* Six members of one family hurt in caravan-rig rollover ... 19,919 people reached.

* Caravan couple strikes it rich with lotto win ... 17,712 people reached.

* Boy, 10, dies in caravan park swimming pool tragedy ... 13,078 people reached.

* Walcha caravan park's social media plea to attract guests ... 9862 people reached.


A real weighty problem served on a plate

THE Caravan Council of Australia has fired broadside at the industry (see story here).

It was a good article and I agree that quality assurance and warranty responsiveness are essential.

Compliance plates should also be accurate.

Our recent experience was with an imported RV understating the tare (stock standard) by 100kg.

It also stated the ATM as 200kg above the actual axle plate rating ... on a small caravan.

Self certification of caravans must be strengthened by surprise weights and measures inspections at all importers and manufacturers, with severe sanctions for egregious "errors".


Bigger rally

SO the recent pipsqueak ACC rally poured nearly $200,000 into Warrnambool (see story here).

There was a much bigger rally held by the National Association of Caravan Clubs shortly after that one.

How much did they spend?

I suggest you also keep an eye on the next one ... the The 18th National Caravan Clubs Rally in 2022.

Rollover records?

DOES any authority keep records of the number of caravan rollovers that occur in Australia.? There seems to be a lot.

Geoff Mitchell.



A CLUMSY caravanner created a major drama after colliding with a fuel pump at a NSW service station. The errant traveller's RV clipped a bowser as the rig was leaving a Caltex servo at Gunnedah, tearing a fuel delivery hose from the pump and causing diesel to swamp the forecourt. Amazingly, the caravanner then drove off apparently unaware of the mayhem left behind. Fire, HAZMAT and council crews were called to the scene. Gunnedah Fire and Rescue captain Dave Welch said the accident occurred "unbeknownst" to the driver. Have your say

bushfire peition

Homeless being impacted by law

Petition calls for bushfire victims
to be allowed to live in caravans

Have your say

PETITIONERS are calling for a change in NSW law so that homeless bushfire victims can use caravans for as long as they need. Over 500 have signed an online petition demanding the homeless be allowed to use their caravans as their home during rebuilding work. Organiser Brett Wilson, who is aiming for 1000 signatures, said victims were being impacted by a law restricting use to two days at a time and no more than 60 days in total a year. "The rebuilding of homes may take longer than temporary accommodation will be available, and in some more remote it could take much longer," his petition to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Robert Stokes says. "Where are those bushfire victims expected to live if this law is enacted and how are they expected to earn a living if farmers can't live on their property?"

'Privileged to be part of this great industry'

Australia Day honour for Discovery
Holiday Parks board member

By Dennis Amor

QUEENSLANDER Grant Hunt, a non-executive director of Discovery Holiday Parks since 2014, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours for his "significant services to the tourism and hospitality sectors". Mr Hunt told Caravanning News he was "very honoured and a bit overwhelmed" by the award. "I feel very privileged to be a part of this great industry of ours," he said. "While it's wonderful to be recognised in the Australian Honours list, I'm very cognisant of the many people that have been part of my journey. Without great people around you, none of the accolades are possible." From its humble beginnings of just one park in 2004, Discovery Parks is now Australia's largest owner and operator of parks, with over 2500 powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites and 1500 cabins. Mr Hunt, who lives on the Gold Coast, is also a board member of Tourism Australia and has been connected with numerous tourist concerns. He was the former owner of Hunt Tourism Services which offered specialist advice on nature-based tourism planning, development, management and marketing.  Have your say

Manufacturers 'hope for the best'

Basic but critical technical items ignored: CCA

Have your say

VERY few caravans built in Australia are professionally designed, according to the Caravan Council of Australia.

"Far too often, they are simply copied from other caravans," founder and general manager Colin Young said.

He claims that manufacturers "hope for the best" and ignore basic but critical technical items which control how their vehicles handle on the road Ö especially in emergency situations.

"They should take heed of the need to design their basic crucial components and systems so as to best-provide safe and predictable roadholding characteristics under all conditions," he said.

The qualified automotive engineer has urged caravanners to consider how much genuine professional engineering design goes into the building of their RVs.

"Or was it just simply copied from a competitor's caravan that was quite possibly copied from another caravan made many years before ... and possibly sketched-up on the back of an envelope?" he said.

Mr Young pointed out that while potential-buyers need not be "walking encyclopaedias" on caravan design engineering, it was still a good idea to be reasonably informed on the "whys and wherefores" of fundamental technical issues.

"If a salesperson cannot credibly explain why a particular caravan has, or does not have, certain features they may want to question their understanding of what they are actually selling," he said.

Mr Young has now penned a comprehensive technical article on what potential buyers should be aware of before handing over their hard-earned cash. Read More button

Kui Parks advert

Praise for raising industry's profile

New partnership further cements relationship

THE Caravanning Industry Association of Australia has signed a new three-year preferred partnership agreement with RMS, a leading provider of property management technology to the industry for more than 35 years. It further cements a deep relationship stretching back for decades. CIAA chief executive Stuart Lamont said RMS had always been able to be relied upon to support the organisation and its members. Meanwhile, RMS founder Peter Buttigieg praised the association for its role in raising the profile of Australia's caravanning and camping industry among consumers and key government stakeholders. Read more button

RVs on road

Program will target key areas

CMCA awarded $1m grant to
make RV road trips safer

THE 70,000-member Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia has been awarded a $1 million grant to make road trips safer for RVers. It comes from the Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund, part of the Federal Government's strategy to increase road safety awareness and education. The CMCA the largest club of its kind in the southern hemisphere plans to organise a three-and-a-half-year program targeting key areas to minimise incidents and encourage consistent and compliant behaviour on the road. Priority areas will include towing, vehicle weight and distribution, speed, overtaking safely, UHF radio communication, rest, roadside services, consumer behaviour and licencing. Educational and instructive material will be available to all RVers and will aim to support improved behaviours on roads, minimise issues relating to overweight or non-compliant vehicles and provide resourceful material. The club will also attend RV events and trade shows. Have your say

Advertising panel

Townsville rest areas

'Majority willing to contribute'

Council strategy suggests fees
be introduced at free campsites

TRAVELLERS may have to pay to stay at Townsville's council-operated campsites and rest areas if the city's draft camping strategy is approved. Six facilities are currently free but the recently released RV & Camping Strategy suggests that a $10 to $15 fee should be levied to make them sustainable. "Calculation of the appropriate fee would consider market rates for other campgrounds with similar facilities, balanced with the need to provide ratepayers with an acceptable recovery of costs spent on the campgrounds," the strategy says. "While a small proportion of travellers prefer to only stay in free sites, the majority are willing to pay a small fee to contribute to the upkeep of facilities such as toilets, rubbish bins and potable water." Reead more button

Una and Wayne Turner

Concerns for welfare

Police appeal for public help
to trace caravanning couple


POLICE are appealing for public assistance to help locate a missing couple believed to be travelling in their caravan in the Portland area of Victoria. Una and Wayne Turner live at caravan parks and travel from park to park within the state in their white Ford Falcon sedan, registration ZAU 519 and white pop-top Evernew caravan registration X88862. They were staying at a caravan park in Portland on Christmas Day when they called family about midday to say they will be in the Portland area for the next three months. But they have not been in touch since and their mobile phones are switched off. Police and family have concerns for their welfare as it is out of character. Anyone with information is urged to contact Portland Police Station on 03 5522 1500. Have your say

Yelgun rest area

Six-month trial on Pacific Hwy

Fines for travellers who breach
rest area rules in northern NSW

GREY nomads and other travellers who flout new rules at two NSW rest areas will now cop a fine. Transport for NSW is launching a six-month trial at two facilities on the Pacific Highway to ensure spaces are available for all drivers to rest and manage their fatigue. Changes at Yelgun rest area, north of Brunswick Heads, and Arrawarra rest area, north of Coffs Harbour, will include the enforcement of fines for light vehicles parked in heavy vehicle spaces or for breaking the four-hour limit for light and recreational vehicles in other areas. The state government said some rest areas, particularly on NSW's east coast, had become a popular overnight and longer stay option for recreational vehicles. "This is causing overcrowding and reducing space for heavy vehicle drivers who have a legal obligation to rest," it said in a statement.

Ken Wilson

'Arrogance and lacking respect'

More courtesy needed on roads, says TruckFriendly founder Ken Wilson

Story-Photo: Dennis Amor

AN avid caravanner who founded a nationwide caravan road safety campaign has called for more courtesy on our roads and rest areas. Ken Wilson's TruckFriendly program is designed to help RV travellers better understand how to work with others, particularly truck drivers, on Australian highways. "Respect is earned so if caravanners, RV drivers and truck drivers want to be shown respect then we all also need to start showing some respect for others," he said. "It won't happen overnight and we won't educate all, but we can make a big difference to the safety, enjoyment and stress of our trip." TruckFriendly places a great deal of importance on relationships at rest stops and other areas where the various groups of travellers come into contact. Mr Wilson has accused some caravanners of "arrogance and lacking respect for the law and other people". Read More button

'We got smashed'


Floodwaters at Helensvale's BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

By Dennis Amor

CARAVAN parks on the Gold Coast are recovering after the worst torrential rains for more than a century. About 300mm was dumped on the BIG4 holiday park at Helensvale, leaving many cars and caravans partially submerged. Guests were forced to evacuate as the floodwaters continued to rise. "We got smashed," one wrote on Facebook. "No one could have seen this coming," said another camper. Ironically, a brand new water park is scheduled to be opened at the park in a few weeks time. Highways into the Gold Coast were impacted by flash flooding, with police receiving 50 reports of flooded roads across the area. Nearby theme parks were forced to close. The NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park copped a drenching but was not flooded. "Things were a bit soggy and some campers did pack up and leave, but we escaped the worst of it," a spokeswoman told Caravanning News. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman at the Southport Tourist Park said that two units had been affected, but there were no major problems. "The rain really hammered down but luckily we have good drainage," she said. Have your say

Updated facilities and easier access

Apple Tree Creek rest area set for facelift

WORK will begin next week on upgrades at a popular Bruce Highway rest area north of Childers in Queensland. The Apple Tree Creek community park is a favourite with southern grey nomads and other travellers heading north for the winter sunshine. Construction work is scheduled to start on January 20 and will provide visitors with updated facilities and easier access. The ageing toilet block will be replaced with disability compliant facilities and change tables will be included. The park will remain open and portable toilets are being provided until the facelift is completed. Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said Apple Tree Creek provided a quiet rest-stop for weary travellers and was a place to "stretch the legs while taking in nature before hitting the road again". Work is expected to be completed in May. Have your say

Toll sign

Vans reclassified as trucks

Angry politician in battle to
cut toll fees for caravanners

NSW politician Sonia Hornery says she is "disappointed" with the state government's refusal to cut toll fees for caravanners using the M2 and M7 motorways. The state's Member for Wallsend has been told by Roads Minister Andrew Constance there are no plans to reverse the decision to increase the tolls for caravanners and trailers. "This now means many caravanners and people towing horse trailers to events will be forced to pay the massive increase or move onto the back roads to avoid paying the tolls," the angry MP said today. Caravanners are outraged that their rigs have been reclassified as trucks, raising their tolls for using the roads network from $15.92 to $47.75. Ms Hornery now has a Notice of Motion on the issue which will be debated when Parliament resumes on February 4. She is also urging travellers to sign her petition calling for lower fees. "It is even more important that we get as many signatures on our petition to take back to Parliament in early February," she said. Have your say

Man charged after 'van stolen from fire-ravaged area

A MAN has been charged after a caravan was stolen from an area savaged by bushfires in NSW. The 23ft Deeson RV worth $40,000 disappeared from Surf Beach, south of Batemans Bay. It was found at Mogo. Three chainsaws and a generator stored inside were also recovered. A small amount of cannabis was allegedly located and seized by police. A 52-year-old man attended the property and was spoken to by officers before being arrested. Have your say

Caravan safety checks

 'Fine-free' zones

Caravanning Queensland releases dates for free RV safety checks

Photo: Caravanning News
Have your say

CARAVANNING Queensland has released dates for this year's round of free RV safety checks. Owners of caravans, motorhomes and other RVs can now book to have their vehicles inspected during the first half of 2020. The program is an initiative of the state's official caravan industry body and is organised in conjunction with the Department of Transport and Main Roads. "The event has been designed to increase driver understanding of the challenges they may face whilst travelling on the roads, and to ensure they are better equipped to avoid accidents," Caravanning Queensland said. "The program also features towing equipment and other safety accessory displays, which attendees can inspect and discuss with experts on the day." Venues will be "safe zones" where no fines or breaches will be issued. "It is purely an educational activity with the ultimate aim of ensuring that you are travelling safe and compliant," CQ explained. Checks will be held at the Gold Coast (Feb 23), Moreton Bay (March 20), Mackay (March 20 and 26), Townsville (March 27), Cairns (March 28), Rockhampton (March 29 and April 16), Brisbane (April 17), Maryborough (May 16), Bundaberg (July 17), Maryborough (July 18), Nambour (July 19), Toowoomba (August 14, Sept 24 and 25) and Brisbane (Sept 26). For more details email here.

Plans for a 'collective event'

CMCA pledges help for struggling bushfire towns

Have your say

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia has pledged to help RV Friendly towns seriously affected by the bushfires. They include NSW's Cobargo, Bega, Batlow and Tumbarumba, and Victoria's Corryong and Tallangatta. CMCA chief executive Richard Barwick (pictured) said letters had been sent to mayors informing them that the club aimed to inject money back into the towns by organising "events" there. "We have identified the Victorian Gippsland region and NSW South Coast region as possible areas," he said. "Preparation and execution will take some time as we need to give these regions time to recover." Mr Barwick said the CMCA was also considering arranging "a collective event" involving members of RV clubs in Australia, including the National Association of Caravan Clubs, Australian Caravan Club and the Australian RV & Touring Club.

Stuart Lamont

'Devastation we have seen is heartbreaking'

Help a mate: caravan industry acts as
killer fires leave trail of destruction

Have your say

AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravanning industry has waded in to help businesses recover from the nation's worst bushfires in living memory. "The devastation that we have seen across media in the past weeks due to bushfires is heartbreaking," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont (pictured) said. "Our sincerest appreciation goes out to all industry personnel and those volunteers on the ground who are battling these conditions to save lives and property in the most trying of circumstances." Bushfires in NSW, Victoria and SA have left more than 23 people dead, destroyed thousands of homes and devastated caravan parks. An estimated one billion animals have perished. Mr Lamont said that at this time of year many affected areas should be brimming with tourists but whole regions remained closed. Read more button

Harry and Meghan with caravan

Royal photo amuses caravanners

Renegades Harry and Meghan ... budding grey nomads?

By Dennis Amor

A NEW photo of royal renegades Harry and Meghan has amused Aussie caravanners. It has surfaced on social media and purports to show the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are quitting the Royal Family, happily posing with a Sprite caravan. It was posted by the Home Farm Holiday Park at Burnham-on-Sea in England claiming a "lovely couple" had booked a pitch to get away from the hustle and bustle. Within hours of being posted on an Australian Facebook page it had attracted 84 reactions, more than 30 comments and had been shared more than 50 times. Australians thought the royal lovebirds would adore caravanning while one admitted he couldn't think of another couple to have a "right royal happy hour" with. Many suggested caravanning would soon see Harry and Meghan crossing swords, particularly when trying to set up an awning. "Royalty cannot escape the mandatory set-up fight," one contributor wrote. "Better still when Harry loses the toilet key and they lose their $20 deposit," suggested another. Reversing the rig was another topic Aussie readers poked fun at. "I hope we are there when they arrive so we get to see the 'trying to back it in' fight," one message said, with another adding: "Ha-ha. I'd pay to see Meghan with those hand movements guiding him in." Have your say

Trevor Page

Trevor loses battle with cancer

Victoria's caravanning industry
mourns passing of a stalwart

VICTORIA'S caravan industry is mourning the death of one of its stalwarts. Page Bros RV founder and respected member of the Jayco family Trevor Page died in hospital after losing his battle with cancer. He entered the industry in 1956 and 20 years later became a Jayco dealer, an association that is now over 40 years old. Caravan Industry Victoria said Mr Page had been an "active member" who supported many of its initiatives as well as shows. His company had been a longstanding member of the association. "We wish to pass on our deepest condolences to Steven and the whole Page family at this sad time," CIV said. Mr Pageís funeral will be held on January 14 at The Boyd Chapel, Springvale Botanical Cemetery in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, followed by a wake at the same location. "As a mark of respect for Trevor and his contribution to the association and the broader Industry, there will be representatives from the association in attendance. We would encourage any members who knew Trevor to attend to say farewell," CIV added. Have your say

Bushfires fighters

Three parks seriously impacted

Ingenia's bushfires bill
likely to top $2 million

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

NSW's deadly bushfires are likely to cost Ingenia, which operates a chain of holiday and lifestyle parks, at least $2 million. Three of its tourist parks on the state's South Coast ‒ Lake Conjola, Broulee and Ocean Lake ‒ have been seriously impacted by tourists and residents fleeing fire-affected areas. "Given the lack of services ‒ including telecommunications, power and road access ‒ and uncertainty over future conditions it is not yet known when the tourism parks will return to normal trading conditions," Ingenia said in a statement. Management teams were "working tirelessly" to ensure the safety of residents and guests. Read more button


Pets bringing in the bucks

Four-legged friends help throw Lake Mac holiday parks a $6.5m bone

REVENUE from council-owned caravan parks at Lake Macquarie in NSW has reached a record $6.5 million ... and pets played a major part in achieving the milestone. Holiday parks coordinator Garry Ellem said new pet-friendly cabins at Blacksmiths Beachside and Belmont Lakeside holiday parks, and the earlier decision to welcome pets across all caravan and camping sites at Blacksmiths Beachside, had helped drive bookings. "This has significantly contributed to the growth in park revenue and occupancy so far this financial year," he said. Read more button

Travellers should be 'fully informed'

Parks info as deadly bushfires rage in NSW, Victoria and SA

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

BIG4 Holiday Parks has urged travellers to be "fully informed" about bushfires in areas they plan to visit. The plea comes as Australia struggles through what is being called the most devastating bushfire season in living memory. Thousands of firefighters, emergency workers and volunteers are battling blazes in NSW, SA and Victoria which have claimed at least nine lives, bringing the death toll this fire season to more than 20. Thousands of caravanners have been forced to flee camping sites, rest areas and caravan parks as the bushfires worsened. "Please ensure that you are fully informed about the status of bushfires in the areas that you are travelling through or visiting," BIG4 said. It has now released a list of its NSW and Victorian holiday parks located in affected regions. Meanwhile, Discovery Parks has posted information on its parks at Eden, Pambula Beach and Jindabyne. Read more button

Set for Life

'Incredible coincidence'

Caravanners set for life

By Dennis Amor

LUCKY caravanners continue to coin it in after having a flutter on the lotto. A Victorian man scooped first prize in a Set for Life draw just days after a couple from South Australia also won a fortune from the game. Both winners will receive $20,000 a month for the next 20 years. "By an incredible coincidence, both turned out to be caravanners," a Tatts official told Caravanning News. "The thing about lotto is that you never know when its going to be your turn. Lots of winners say they want to buy a caravan and tour Australia but the latest lucky people already have the means ... but now they can do it in style." The happy couple from Williamstown, who want to remain anonymous, say they are now looking forward to hitting the road "big-time" in their caravan. Meanwhile the Victorian winner, who also requested anonymity, said he was in his caravan watching television when he saw an ad for a lottery draw. "I said to my wife 'God, it would be great to win one of those'." And when a lotto official rang to break the good news, he spluttered: "I can't believe you've just called me to say I actually have won." Have your say

Hadspen caravan park

Discovery Parks 'brought into disrepute'

Former Tassie park manager wins
compo in unfair dismissal case

THE former manager of Tasmania's Hadspen Holiday and Caravan Park at Launceston has won his fight for compensation over his sacking. The Fair Work Commission has decided the Discovery Holiday Park's decision to fire Benjamin Stebbeings after seven years in the job was "harsh" and ordered his former employers to pay him 16 weeks' wages. Mr Stebbeings was fired in February last year for allegedly failing to disclose criminal charges. It was claimed he had engaged in illegal activity on company premises, bringing Discovery Parks into disrepute. But the Commission's deputy president David Barclay said Mr Stebbeings had not tried to hide his involvement with police, nor that he was appearing in court regularly. "Whilst he may have failed to tell the respondent of the nature of the charges it is notable that Mr Chadwick (his supervisor) made no inquires," he said. Mr Stebbeings was a "good employee" who had been paid bonuses and was trusted. "He had been employed for over seven years without any disciplinary matters," Mr Barclay added. Have your say

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Letter man

When good behaviour does not fit the bill

YOU reported on a $200,000 caravan heist in your last edition (see story here).

Our wheelchair accessible caravan was stolen from a business in North Geelong in May/June.

It was found but there was too much damage for it be fixed.

We are gutted, having to start again and so scared it will happen again.

There should be tougher laws and criminals need to be punished for their crimes, not let out on good behavior bonds.

Good behavior didn't put them in jail, so good behavior shouldn't let them out.

We are starting again but are scared shirtless it will happen again.

We paid for this 'van ... the thieves didn't.

Barbara McDowell.

Barking mad

LAST month's story on the park with no pets or campfires deserves a comment (see story here).

No dogs, no camp fires ... two reasons why I wouldn't stay there.

Shepparton is well known for its lack of interest in caravanners.

They actively discourage us.


No way

NO campfires, no pets, no way!

Cheryl and George Knight.

That's ok

WE wonít be using it thatís for sure.

 Pets are part of people's lives in this day and age.

Anyway, that's ok ... there are other parks that accept pets as part of our needs for our camping.

 We will be going elsewhere.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to comment.

Jo and Bill.

Fine with me

IT'S fine with me.

I live next door to a barking dog ... don't want to hear one when I'm holidaying.

Gail Bray.

Not staying

I WON'T be staying.

I don't have a pet but think there's more pet owners these days than not.