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ISSUE 571 | ON SALE JANUARY 4, 2018 $9.95 (inc GST)

$65-80K $100K+


Broker Finance


Gold Rush


BEST AUSSIE VANS WINNER’ 37 Capital Link drive Campbellfield 3061 Ph (03) 9357 6971 - Email: Email: Phone (03) 93576971


Freedom comes easy in a Jayco... Whether you plan to explore Australia a month at a time, get away to your favourite holiday spot on a regular basis, or set off on a lap with no fixed return date, your Jayco will make you feel right at home every moment you’re away. The simple things in life are always the best, and a feature packed Jayco makes them easier to discover, and easier to enjoy. So start planning your Jayco adventure today. Visit or call 1300 52926 78 to find your nearest Jayco dealer.

contents RV TESTS Jawa White Series Trax-12

Horizon Motorhomes profile 170

A light and easy compact tourer

Mountain Trail LXV 5.7 Off-Road


Luxury offroader redefines two-up touring


Clayton Kearney on staying true to the vision

Show me the money!


RV finance options explained

Tebbs Canvas profile


Canvas kings keeping you comfortable



Relive part one and prepare for more

$100K+ category


The big guns fire

Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat


A toy-hauler with more

Roadstar Sirius


TRAVEL Tumbarumba, NSW Fifty shades of green

Gympie, Qld

Industry Expert



$65-$80K category

RV news from around the country


The most fiercely fought battle of 2017

AusRV Finke


Tech Talk DIY

Pacific Island Club

How to install a stoneguard

Comfort and pizazz wraped in style

Tech Talk Q&A

New Age Big Red

Your questions answered


Road-focussed quality with slide out

Tow test: LDV T60 Luxe

Olympic Javelin X8

Challenging convention


Spacious off-grid tourer

Readers’ Rigs

Trackline Legend

Real people, real rigs


Tough bespoke built offroader


The Grampians, ptII

What’s happening around Oz?


Getaway Gear

Hankering for the hills

20 26

Have your say

Family friendly and tough to boot



Nothing but the best

Leading Engineer offers insight into the future



The town that saved Queensland


Offroad ready luxury


30 38 194 208


AL-KO BEST AUSSIE VANS The cream of the crop, part two

214 217

New products and accessories

SPECIAL FEATURES Beneath the surface


Uncovering the riches of our fossilised seas

Budget touring


DIY campsite fixes

Rise of the resort park Caravan parks broaden their appeal



COLUMNS Street Talk


Collective influence

On the Trails


Treasures on tour

Picture Perfect Cape Tribulation Beach, QLD



WIN! 194 120 The caravan you want is now easier to find





First Words

Tim van Duyl

EDITORIAL SENIOR EDITOR Tim van Duyl DEPUTY EDITOR Rachael Doherty STAFF JOURNALIST Peter Quilty FIELD EDITOR Malcolm Street DESIGNERS Janina Roque, Nicholas Ramsamy, Danielle Beadman COLUMNIST Anita Pavey CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kirstie Bedford, David Gilchrist, Graeme Kemlo, Ali Millar, Philip Lord, Cathy Anderson, David Cook, Steve Starling EDITORIAL AND NEWS 125 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North, VIC 3161




ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS Christopher Jefferson 0477 775 020 VICTORIA/SOUTH-EAST Rowena Lyrigis 0428 950 936 Renee Bordieri 0429 018 098 NSW/QLD/WA Serena Prasad 0429 489 615 Danielle Gowan 0435 065 325 NATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS Andrew Wilson 0437 034 003 PRIVATE ADVERTISING CUSTOMER SUPPORT 1300 MY ADVENTURE (1300 692 383)


SUBSCRIPTIONS Phone: 1300 MY ADVENTURE (1300 692 383) (ext. 3) Email: Web:

ADVERTISING TERMS & CONDITIONS Caravan World is printed in Australia. We are proudly Australian-owned and members of a number of industry bodies which are working to grow the caravan and RV market in Australia Total printed copies: 17,400


Caravan World is published by Adventures Group Holdings. ACN: 155 672 192 ABN: 29 155 672 192 All material in Caravan World is protected by the Commonwealth Copyright Act, 1968. No material may be reproduced without written consent. *Recommended maximum retail price. Distributed by Gordon & Gotch. Printed by Bluestar Web, 83 Derby Street, Silverwater, NSW. ISSN 2205-0620


NEW PERSPECTIVES As a special treat, we had a guest join us at AL-KO Best Aussie Vans, Peter Dunlop from GM Holden. Peter joined us as a favour through a mutual friend in the company. Unashamedly, we want to foster a better relationship with GM Holden, like we do all tow-capable vehicle manufacturers as they are vital to what we do. Peter’s role at GM Holden, as the senior manager, studio engineering, has him at the cutting edge of material use and technology in the automotive sector. Bringing his vast expertise, it was great talking with Peter as he approached van design with a very different approach. Immediately, there was talk of aerodynamics and of safety, two areas of van design that are receiving a lot of consideration currently. Peter’s comments did not factor into the scores for the vans, DOWKRXJKKLVÀHOGRIVNLOOVDQGWKHGLUHFWLRQ his comments took were not the same as our seasoned judges, we thought it best to have his comments treated as a separate appraisal. For his full thoughts, head to page 68. Many thanks Peter and to GM Holden for choosing to spend time with us and for offering your insight.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY! Some frustrating misunderstandings are erupting around us and I want to clear VRPHDLU&DUDYDQ:RUOGWKLVĂ€QHPDJD]LQH that has been around for over 40 years, is being associated with a dispute between a manufacturer, dealer and customer. The misunderstanding stems from the dealership operating under the same trading name as us. The dealership, Caravan World Sunshine Coast is commonly referred to as Caravan World. The issue is obvious and it hurts us when we are being dragged into the situation.

We are not associated with the dealership Caravan World Sunshine Coast or the dispute between the dealer, customer and manufacturer in any way. I have been asked to offer insight and opinion on the dispute but I refuse. The situation is so convoluted and comments so contradictory that I simply will not engage in it. We will leave it to consumer rights to come to a conclusion and will report on it then.

A NEW YEAR Twenty-eighteen will be a big year. We have DQHYHQWVFDOHQGDUWKDWKDVXVà DWRXWIURP early March through to our next edition of Best Aussie Vans in October. During the year we will head up to Cape York, across to SA and WA and hopefully across the narrow sea to Tasmania. Personally, I am hoping to get to the top of WA, an area that like Cape York LVGHYHORSLQJIDVWWKURXJKDLQà X[RIWRXULVP dollars and the attraction of its remoteness. On Cape York, the start of our epic journey completed at the tail of the dry season last \HDUKLWVWKHPDJD]LQHQH[WLVVXH,¡OOWDNH\RX through our race to the cape with a Zone RV ZF18.6 in tow. Was it a good idea to take a full VL]HYDQWRWKHFDSH"$EVROXWHO\LWZDVEXW taking it onto the Old Telegraph Track was the KDUGFDOO'LGZHPDNHLW")LQGRXWQH[WLVVXH and if you have any suggestions, I would really like to hear from you. Where we should go and ZKDWZHVKRXOGWRZ",I\RXZDQWWRVHHXVWDNH a pop-top to the best of WA’s beaches to watch the sun set or if you would prefer to read about us tackling the tarmac by way of a 1000km economy test, let me know. I would really love to hear your ideas. Safe travels, Tim.

Note to readers Caravan World does not solicit, nor would it accept, payment for editorial commentary within its pages. All reviews are completely independent and reect the opinion of the individual tester.

The Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park in Victoria offers not only pretty views, but the chance to play ‘pilot’ in a 737 ight simulator.

JET SIMULATOR SPARKS HALLS GAP TOP PARK WIN Boeing 737 simulator which gives visitors the experience of ‘aero glamping’ sparked interest at Neoen Grampians Pyrenees Business Awards, and earned Top Park member Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park the Best Tourism Attraction or Service award. 7KH WUDLQLQJ VLPXODWRU ZKLFK FRQQHFWV WR D Ă€YHVWDU OX[XU\ canvas safari tent, allows patrons to ‘land’ at an international airport of their choice. The addition was part multi-million dollar investment into Northern Victorian park, which included new accommodation VLWHV DGGLQJ WR SRSXODU DWWUDFWLRQV OLNH WKH ZRRGĂ€UHG KHDWHG


PEER-OWNED RV FLEET IS NOW AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST $XVWUDOLD V ODUJHVW 59 KLUH Ă HHW LV QRZ SHHURZQHG E\ HYHU\GD\ Australians, with steady increases in private listings turning the booking service into the largest outlet of locallyavailable rental RVs. Now in excess of 2000 rigs, the collection of caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes provide holidaymakers with accommodation at various budgets and tastes, from more than 1200 locations Australia wide. ´7KH  UHQWDO Ă HHW >RQ &DPSOLI\@ JURZV E\ DSSUR[LPDWHO\  new RVs per month,â€? says Camplify CEO, Justin Hales. ´:H DUH DPD]HG DW WKH KLJKVSHHG JURZWK ZH KDYH VHHQ LQ WKH sector with lots of RV owners in Australia getting involved and using their otherwise idle asset,â€? Hales explains. Commencing operations in 2015, Camplify's rental system is now backed by the NRMA, with its hiring capacity reaching 80 per cent for the peak summer period in Australia. “Not only is this exciting for owners but it shows that


outdoor swimming pools that operate year round. ´7KH ORFDWLRQ LV DPD]LQJ DQG ZH UH DEVROXWHO\ WKULOOHG WR EH YRWHG WKH EHVW WRXULVW DWWUDFWLRQ LQ RXU PDJQLĂ€FHQW UHJLRQÂľ VD\V park co-owner Rohan McDonald. Top Parks Executive Chairman Richard Emerson congratulates Rohan and partner Josephina for running the best tourist attraction in the Grampians. “They have both worked tirelessly and have gone the extra mile to ensure their guests are comfortable and have fun during their stay, whether they are camping, caravanning or staying in a cabin,â€? Emerson says.

Van owners can earn up to $2100 a week by renting out their rig when not in use.

Australians are still embracing caravanning as a holiday option and using the share economy to do so,� Hales says. Camplify says RV owners can earn between $280 to $2100 per week, with some taking their share economy role within Camplify to a full-time capacity to generate a yearly income.


ORIGINATING ACC BRANCH TURNS 10! 7KH6XQVKLQH1RPDGVWKHĂ€UVWHYHU branch of The Australian Caravan Club (ACC), has celebrated a major milestone in the group’s history with 2017 marking the end of its 10th anniversary year. The Club's originating branch formed back in April 13, 2007, at Golden Beach Caravan Park in Caloundra with the aim to meet the needs of the variety of recreational travellers. “Our Club has since grown and evolved to include the owners of pop-top caravans, motorhomes, slide-on campers, camperWUDLOHUVFDPSHUYDQVDQGĂ€IWKZKHHOHUVÂľ says ACC Chairman Craig Humphrey. “While our membership base has changed, our simple foundations have remained. Our focus now is to protect and represent the interests of all RVers.â€? Since its formation, the ACC has grown to 49 branches Australia-wide. Humphrey credits Sunshine Nomads for ACC's early expansion – particularly in the South-East Queensland – with many branches forming from the Nomads' membership base. ACC Sunshine Nomads branch President Chris Forrest concurs, saying branch members were proud to have


A huge congratulations to the Sunshine Nomads, celebrating their 10th year.

contributed to ACC's success. “Some members of our branch were founding members of the ACC,� he says. “Our branch enjoys the social aspects of caravanning,� Forrest explains. “We are friendly, easygoing and we welcome new members. We have a muster

approximately every six weeks held at various venues.� The club also hosts luncheons and tag-a-longs, with the ABBA Festival at Trundle, New South Wales and the Tara Camel Races in South-West Queensland the most memorable, according to Forrest.

Parks Victoria will soon introduce changes which will affect camping along the Murray River.

Free camping on the Murray River is set to change, as Parks Victoria moves to annexe land linking several reserves, delineate sites, formalise campgrounds and introduce bookable sites at three popular camping areas, which may incur fees. The proposed Murray River Park, expected to encompass 37,000ha from Wodonga to the west of Mildura, will allow dogs on leads as laid out in the River Red Gums Parks draft management plan. Taking in a 215,000ha planning area, the draft plan also names Lower Ovens, and Gunbower NP (among others) as potential sites for formalised campgrounds, with campsite delineation considered at Yarrawonga and Big Towns Beach. Anticipated changes could also see 0HUEHLQ &RPPRQ DQG 0F.HQ]LH %HQG upgraded to better accommodate RVs. Bookable sites proposed for Wills Bend, Farley Bend near Echuca and Stanton's Bend near Corowa may attract fees, but free, dispersed camping will remain mainstay within River Red Gums Parks.

The caravan you want is now easier to find


News News in brief

LEGEND EXPANSION Customers of Legend Caravans can expect lighter vans and shorter build times in 2018 as the manufacturer relocates to a larger premises from January 2018. Investment into new machinery has prompted the interim move, as Legend goes from using timber to aluminium in its frames.

According to Director Zoran Stojanoski, Legend Caravans will soon be able assemble vans in a similar way to how the automotive industry assembles cars. At the time Caravan World went to SUHVVWKHĂ€WRXWDW0DUROD:D\ &DPSEHOOĂ€HOG9,&KDGFRPPHQFHGZLWK plans for the move in January well under way.

CARAVAN & CAMPING PARKS & PRODUCTS GUIDE Travellers holidaying in NSW can plan trips with greater clarity with the 2018 release of CCIA NSW’s Caravan & Camping Parks & Products Guide. The guide, free to download, includes more than 20 NSW touring maps, details 400 member parks as well as 200 RV dealers, manufacturers and service providers. Visit www. to download it.

AUSSIE CAMPS DRAW INTERNATIONAL CROWDS International tourists are seeking out the great Aussie camp with more than  à \LQJ LQWR WKH FRXQWU\ IRU D caravan and camping holiday in the past year. Taken from the year-ending September 2017 by Tourism Research Australia, the ÀJXUH VKRZV DQ LQFUHDVH RI  SHU FHQW from the year before. While visitors from the UK (61,723),

Germany (55,042) and USA (38,694) have increased by 0.5, 4 and 18 per cent respectively the greatest interest came from China with numbers more than doubling to 103,000 from the year before. The increases highlight the importance China is to the caravan and camping industry as holidaymakers become more FRQĂ€GHQWZLWKWUDYHOOLQJLQGHSHQGHQWO\ around Australia.

ACCC TO ACT AGAINST JAYCO The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Jayco to Federal Court on claims it breached Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by failing to offer a refund or replace four vans to customers following unsuccessful attempts at repair between 2013-2015. The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, consumer redress orders, injunctions, disclosure and compliance program orders, and costs. “Caravans are an expensive item, typically costing tens of thousands of


dollars,� says ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. “People are entitled to expect that the caravan they purchase will be of acceptable quality, and that they will be afforded an appropriate remedy under the ACL consumer guarantees if their caravan fails to meet this standard.� In conjunction with the court action, the ACCC is urging all caravan manufacturers to review their complaints handling processes to ensure that they comply with the ACL consumer guarantees.

RANGE-BOOST FOR CW COLUMNIST Caravan World congratulates contributors and Big Laprunners Anita and Mike Pavey for acquiring the rights to distribute Travelander Tray Back campers at their dealership The Dirt Off Road Campers in Mt Barker, SA. The move provides South Australian RVers opportunity to inspect and purchase the popular slide-on campers, which offer automated setup, camping under canvas and a hard oor. Visit for more info about the store’s range.

News Check out our latest videos online!

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Best Aussie Vans - See all the action as we put the best vans for sale today to the test.

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Write to: Caravan World Postbag, 125 Hawthorn Road, CaulďŹ eld North, Victoria 3161; or email: Please include your full address (not for publication). Letters chosen will be edited for publication, may be shortened, and may appear online.


With the ongoing debate on weights of vans, WKHSUREOHPZLOOQHYHUEHÀ[HGXQWLOWKH manufacturers start weighing vans correctly when leaving the factory. The weight should include any extras ordered plus a realistic payload. Reading an article in issue CW568, the author was sceptical about the payload of 300kg on a single-axle family van reviewed. When the sums are done, as the author did, this van will always be overweight when loaded. The drawbar had a generator box plus two 9kg gas cylinders. How do you keep the ball weight down to NJZLWKWKHVHLWHPVSOXVJHDULQWKHWXQQHOERRW"$QHPDLO in issue CW569 from Philip Martin, having 200kg unaccounted for when he unloaded his van and weighed it to get his Tare weight is a cause for concern! An article written by a caravan repairer stated when you unload a caravan and weigh it to get WKH7DUHZHLJKWGRQ¡WEHVXUSULVHGLI\RXFDQQRWÀQGNJ 7KDWPDNHVLWYHU\GLIÀFXOWIRUFRQVXPHUVWRNHHSWKHYDQOHJDO In another article, the Victorian police did a public awareness exercise, weighing vans so people are aware of their weight. A big percentage of the vans were found to be overweight. They recommended everyone buying a new van should weigh the van on delivery as a lot of weights on compliance plates are XQGHUVWDWHG +RZ FDQ WKLV KDSSHQ" ,I WKHUH LV D GLVFUHSDQF\ JHW the dealer to have the compliance plate changed. Also, they said a single-axle van with a 300kg load and a tandem-axle van with a 400kg load will be overweight! In my experience, I found if you ZDQW WR À[ D SUREOHP \RX ORRN IRU WKH FDXVH RI WKH SUREOHP DQG attack it from that end. I think it is criminal for manufacturers to be able to put false weights on compliance plates and leaving the consumer to wear the consequence. It’s about time manufacturers and dealers are made accountable for false information. In recent times I see in your caravan reviews some manufacturers are making an effort, and are raising their payloads to 600kg. I’m hoping this trend continues in vans in the future, making life less stressful for us overweight caravanners. Barry Preston Bilinga, Qld Welcome to a hot topic in any number of places, including social media sites. This problem could arise for several reasons. One is that the caravan Tare mass might be measured at the factory and the dealer adds a few accessories like an awning, solar panels and battery without replacing the compliance plate. Also, I suspect LQ VRPH LQVWDQFHV WKDW RQO\ WKH ÀUVW YDQ RII WKH SURGXFWLRQ OLQH LV ZHLJKHG WR SURYLGH D VWDQGDUG ÀJXUH IRU WKH UDQJH To be fair, this issue is on the radar of a number of state industry associations and as you have noted a number of manufacturers are increasing the standard 300kg and 400kg payloads. Unfortunately, it’s still very much caveat emptor as far as the caravan buyer is concerned. That should not be the case and it’s not an ideal solution but I too would be recommending either asking the caravan dealer or the PDQXIDFWXUHU LI GHDOLQJ GLUHFWO\ IRU D ZHLJKEULGJH FHUWLÀFDWH RU immediately after purchase, heading to the nearest weighbridge to FRQÀUP WKH 7DUH PDVV Overweight caravans are a problem and in at least two states (Vic and Qld) there does at least seem to be some proactive action happening. Let’s hope it continues! Malcolm Street

WHICH WORLD, PTII I must agree with Eric Dalcol’s comments in CW570 especially regarding providing more information regarding the building techniques of vans tested. My wife and I are currently looking


Is your RV’s cabling able to handle those amp-hungry appliances? at purchasing a suitable van to do our future travel that will be required to handle rough conditions including severe FRUUXJDWLRQV /RRNLQJ DW YDQV LQ D FDUDYDQ VKRZ FDQ KHOSÀQGWKH layout and build quality you’re searching for but knowing which van will withstand punishment again and again on remote dirt URDGV LV GLIÀFXOW ZLWKRXW NQRZLQJ WKH FRQVWUXFWLRQ PHWKRGVEHVW suited to this application. ,W PD\ EH GLIÀFXOW IRU \RX WR VXSSO\ DFFXUDWH LQIRUPDWLRQ regarding gauge of 12V cable used in various vans, however, it would prove extremely useful for those owners considering installing amp hungry appliances to avoid overloading circuits. Ferg le Juge de Segrais Guilderton WA

MIRRORS PLEASE! From many articles and editorials over many years not to mention products promoted by your advertisers, proper set-up and safe driving of rigs is a key issue you advocate. Thus, I have been somewhat shocked when reading several recent editions that your test drivers frequently go on the road without appropriate mirrors and or would appear to execute unsafe driving. This was FOHDUO\ HYLGHQW LQ WKH 1RY  >&:@ HGLWLRQ RQ SDJHV DQG 109. There have been a lot of other examples, however, the image on page 109 also forced me to write this. That image showed no extended mirrors and disregard for the road line markings. Whilst touring around we have frequently seen rigs where the driver could not possibly see what was behind or beside their rig ODFNLQJ H[WHQGHG PLUURUV <RXU PDJD]LQH KDV WKH RSSRUWXQLW\WR promote safe driving and lead by example. $V D Ă&#x20AC;QDO LVVXH RQ VDIHW\ , VHHN \RXU YLHZV RQ ZKHWKHUDOOYDQV should be required to have articulated hitches. These only seem to be promoted for offroad vans. From our experience, the van PRYHPHQW KDV PLQLPDO WR ]HUR LPSDFW RQ RXU FDU E\ KDYLQJ DQ articulated hitch in place. This would almost be the number one item on the list of requirements for our next van. Russell Brewer Hi Russell, thanks for taking the time to write to us. We take safety very seriously and know our role in the market is to lead by example. The lack of mirrors in the shoots is something we have already discussed internally and relayed to our contributing team. Unfortunately, we cannot undo the past. On your question about

From touring to off-road we have you covered. Celebrating 30 years of manufacturing the best Australian Caravans Phone: 03 9301 8700

Postbag articulated tow hitches, I believe it comes down to personal preference which is often based on personal history with the product. I feel a lot of users do not trust articulated designs or assume them to be less stable laterally, me, I prefer them and would chose to have one on every trailer I owned but some will disagree. :KHWKHUWKH\VKRXOGEHVWDQGDUGLVPRUHGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWWKDQRIIHULQJ my opinion on their usefulness. Some will be against the move based on personal preference and some may decide they are not up to the task required, I feel it should be left to the owner to decide with input from the retailer. I agree they tend to be as stable, if not more so, and offer more freedom in movement which is handy when needed. Kind regards, Tim van Duyl

REMEMBER THE TITAN In CW568, John from Mooroopna, Vic, questioned whether there

Congratulations to Barry Preston whose submission has been selected as this monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CW Postbag â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Letter of the Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Barry wins an RV Inline Water Filter from B.E.S.T. Water Filters, valued at $110. With a B.E.S.T. (Bacteria Elimination Silver Treatment) water ďŹ lter, you can ensure you have clean, safe water â&#x20AC;&#x201C; wherever the road may take you. The ďŹ lter means you can safely draw water from town, tank, creek or bore water sources

The Optitec V2+ Remote Control Caravan and Trailer Jockey Wheel is the newest, most powerful portable mover. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simple to attach to any drawbar and with the handheld remote control, you can park your caravan or trailer in the easiest possible way. Perfect for manouvering even the largest caravans in extremely tight spaces.

DUHDQ\RWKHUYHKLFOHV>VXLWDEOHIRUWRZLQJ@RQWKHPDUNHWRWKHU than the Chevy Silverado, RAM and Iveco. I would like you to do your reseach on the Nissan Titan. The Nissan seems to be smaller than the Silverado or RAM (and considerably cheaper) but bigger than the 200 Series. The Titan is converted by two well-known conversion companies in Queensland. On a different matter, I attended this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leisurefest at Sandown like thousands of others and thought it was a very well run event. Just one small suggestion for us attendees of a certain age with eyesight issues (probably most of the attendees) is for the CIA to overlay the map with a grid for cross-referencing the exhibitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; list like a street directory such as a Melway. ,DPVXUH\RXNQRZZKDW,PHDQDVWKHFXUUHQWPDSLVGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOW WRUHDGRUĂ&#x20AC;QGH[KLELWRUVWKDWRFFXS\DVPDOODUHD Daryl Peace, Sale

to ďŹ ll your caravanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tanks, and the chemicals and sediment will be removed and the bacteria destroyed. The ďŹ lter is multi-directional, can be used after long periods of non-use and

involves a simple, DIY installation. For more information, visit www. bestwaterďŹ or call 1800 240 822.


Very Easy Operation Moves Caravans & Trailers up to 3500kg Weighs only 22kg Full Overload & over temperature Protection Built in Dynamic Brakes Solid Rubber Tyre on Alloy wheel Australian Designed & Owned

See it in action atZZZRSWLWHFFRPDX Call Gary onor email LQIR#RSWLWHFFRPD


12: $9$,/$%/(



Built tough with all the luxury you expect from a true legend

SECURE SHIELD When it comes to the protection of your van, a stoneguard is your guardian angel! stoneguard is the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;frontlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of protection for your caravan or camper trailer. Keeping stones and loose gravel from chipping your van, damaging its underbelly and smashing the tow vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rear window should be a top priority. Sharper rocks on many of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s toughest tracks can knock out plastic drainage pipes etc. Another vulnerable component is the exposed plumbing for front-mounted gas cylinders. Not only are they sitting targets for stones, but there is also the very real potential of fracturing the valve or LP gas lines. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imperative to invest in proper stone protection for your rig before setting off on any trip over rugged terrain, ensuring this extends to exposed areas underneath. 7KHUHDUHVHYHUDOUHDVRQVWRĂ&#x20AC;WDVWRQHJXDUG with most placing paramount importance on protection: Protects a vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frontal area from stone dents and scratches, thus preserving its aesthetic appeal. Reduces the risk of stones hitting the front of the van and bouncing back to break the rear window of the tow tug. (However we do recommend covering the rear window in extreme situations as they can be very expensive to replace.) (OLPLQDWHVWKHUHĂ HFWLYHJODUHIURP checkerplate into the tow vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mirrors. Maintains the appearance of the front of the caravan to retain its resale value. Protects against damage to front-mounted jerry cans, storage boxes etc. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re traversing roads less travelled (particularly the outback and 4WD territory), rocks, gravel and other debris invariably become airborne and may chip the front of your van while itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s being towed at road speeds that are conducive to this. This can be prevented, or at least minimised, by installing a stoneguard, which is usually made from a heavy-duty mesh tilted on an angle VRWKDWLWGHĂ HFWVVWRQHVDZD\IURPWKHYDQ 0RVWZLOODOVRKDYHPXGĂ DSVWRSURWHFWWKH plumbing and chassis underneath. You can also DIY using strong garden shade


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an expensive process to get your vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frontal surface repaired, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to protect it from the beginningâ&#x20AC;? 30

cloth, but you need to be handy with a few different types of tools and have some idea how to install the guard without damaging your van. 6SHFLDOĂ&#x20AC;OPVDQGSRO\PHUSURWHFWLRQFDQDOVREH applied to the surface of the van, but these can be expensive to install and labour-intensive to apply yourself. &DUDYDQQHUVZKRUHWURĂ&#x20AC;WVWRQHJXDUGVWR their vans, and even those who buy vans with VWRQHJXDUGVDOUHDG\Ă&#x20AC;WWHGQHHGWREHVXUHWKH stoneguard is compliant. A previous article in Caravan World reported the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria

Tech Talk

(CIAV) had issued a warning that stoneguards could be non-compliant if they blocked visibility RIWKHYDQ¡VIURQWUHĂ HFWRUV Caravans and camper trailers are required, by the Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 (VSB1), to have two white or colourless, non-triangular retroUHĂ HFWRUVĂ&#x20AC;WWHGDWWKHIURQW²RQHRQHDFKVLGH 7KHUHĂ HFWRUVPXVWQRWEHPRUHWKDQPP from the outer edge of the vehicle (including the awning), must be facing forward and must not be more than 900mm from the ground. That height limit, however, may be increased to 1500mm if the structure makes it impractical

The caravan you want is now easier to find

to keep within 900mm. In order to keep within the regulations, van owners are advised to place WKHUHĂ HFWRUVRQWKHVWRQHJXDUGLWVHOILIWKDW meets the criteria, or to place them on the van body above the stoneguard but not higher than 1500mm off the ground. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an expensive process to get your vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frontal surface repaired, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to protect it from the beginning. These images depict the installation of a Coast to Coast brand stoneguard by The RV Repair &HQWUHIRUHPDQ3DXO+HZDW,WZDVĂ&#x20AC;WWHGWRD Coronet RV Explorer XT2-5950 model.

Above: A stoneguard can be easily installed and will save you thousands in van repairs down the track.


Tech Talk How to install a stoneguard

1 The Coast to Coast caravan/camper stoneguard comes complete with the frame, mounting brackets and mesh insert. So it’s ready for the DIY install.

3 Next up, install the lower stone flaps using the brace support prior to positioning on the A-frame.

5 Remove the stoneguard from the A-frame and place the mounting brackets on the A-frame where marked. Handy hint: Take note not to interfere with the handbrake cable where installed.


2 Use the fixing bolts and follow the user guide to assemble the frame correctly.

4 Position the stoneguard on the A-frame and use pencil or crayon to mark mounting bracket locations on each side of the chassis rail. Handy hints: Use G clamps to hold the stoneguard in position; measure off to ensure the guard is central to the caravan/ camper body; and take into consideration clearance for gas cylinder and weight distribution install and removal.

6 Affix the brackets to the A-frame with the bolts supplied.

Tech Talk How to install a stoneguard (Continued)

7 Add the mounting plate support to the A-frame bracket as shown.

9 Affix the bolts to all mounting plates. Handy hints: Leave the mounting bolts loose and re-tighten when the stoneguard is installed on the A-frame; the base support bracket has slots to allow for final adjustment.

11 Re-tighten the base plate bolts after final measurements are completed and place the C clip to hold the stoneguard as shown. Handy hint: The stoneguard can be removed any time by removing the C clip.


8 Add the mounting plate insert to the stoneguard framework as shown on both sides.

10 Place the stoneguard into position on the A-frame as shown above. Handy hint: Recheck measurements and use the slots in the base support bracket to centralise the stoneguard.

12 Once the stoneguard frame is mounted on the A-frame and all bolts are secured, it’s time to prepare the mesh supplied in the DIY kit.

Tech Talk How to install a stoneguard (Continued)

13 Place the mesh on the front of the stoneguard and, if necessary, use G clamps to hold into position. Handy hints: Whilst not shown within this image, use a pencil or crayon to mark out the location of the self-drilling screws as described within the user guide; Then use a battery drill to install the screws as shown.

15 You’re ready to enjoy the benefits from your DIY Coast to Coast stoneguard.


14 Continue fixing the mesh mounting screws as shown. Handy hint: Ensure the mesh is consistently tight to avoid wrinkles when fixing.

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Tech Talk

Q&A TOW TEST TOYOTA RAV4 Thank you for the report by Philip Lord on page 136 in CW569, Nov 2017. I found it to be very interesting because it was about a small lightweight caravan being towed by a small fourcylinder vehicle as compared to most reports being about a rather large caravan towed by a rather large vehicle. Philip mentioned that the RAV4 is available with a 2L turbodiesel engine and I note that Toyota claims it produces 340Nm of torque as compared to 233Nm of torque for the 2.5L petrol engine in the vehicle used for his test, towing WKHNJYDQ>7DUHZHLJKW@+HDOVR mentioned that Toyota rates the towing capacity of the turbodiesel at 1200kg versus 1500kg of the 2.5L petrol RAV4. I notice that Toyotaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weight spec sheets give the gross combined mass >NJ@RIWKH/GLHVHOYHKLFOHDV compared to 3630 for the 2.5L petrol vehicle used for Philipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s test drive. I wonder why Toyota has done this to the GLHVHOYHKLFOH"&RXOGLWH[SODLQZK\WKH towing capacity of the diesel vehicle is JLYHQDVOHVVWKDQWKHSHWUROYHKLFOH" My experience is towing a CUB camper with a Tare weight of 580kg. I am not sure what the loaded weight of the camper trailer is with a full 60L water tank, a spare wheel, a toolbox and a full gas bottle on the drawbar, and all the gear we put inside the folded

camper trailer but I estimate that the weight would be 800kg. My experience of towing the CUB camper with a 2.5L petrol and also with a 3L petrol vehicle is that our 2L turbodiesel SUV with a stated torque of 360Nm does a much better job! Could I suggest that a weight distribution hitch may have reduced the amount that the rear of the tow vehicle GURSSHG >PP@" Malcolm and Beverley Hamilton, Karabar It is rather strange that the morepowerful (diesel) engined tow vehicle would have a lower GCM rating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and a lower tow rating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; than the lowerpowered version. Presumably, the tow vehicle manufacturer has also allocated (maximum downward) ball-load ratings for the two vehicle variants. It is vital that the driver ensures that, when the camper trailer is fully loaded, the ball-load rating is never exceeded. It is also vital that neither the ATM rating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; nor the GTM rating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is exceeded when the camper trailer is fully loaded. Often, the tow vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GCM rating is less than the sum of the tow vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GVM rating plus the camper trailerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ATM rating. Weight distribution hitches (load levellers) should not be required for relatively lightweight tow vehicle and

camper trailer combinations. Some tow vehicle manufacturers do not permit WDHs to be used; some require them to be used; some make recommendations on their usage. It is important to always abide by the instructions of the tow-vehicle manufacturer. Colin Young

SAFETY CHAIN TRADITION <HDUVDJRZKHQ,Ă&#x20AC;UVWVWDUWHGWRZLQJD van, I was told to cross over the safety chains when hitching up. I believe the reason I was given years ago, was that if the van became unhitched the vans coupling would rest on the chains and not go between the chains and dig into WKHURDG,VWKLVFRUUHFW" Steve Perkin via email The practice of crossing safety chains is to form a sort of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cradleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and prevent the coupling falling into the road. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a bit theoretical and could depend, amongst other things, on both the safety chain length and the angle of the tow vehicle and caravan to work properly. That said, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no particular downside and in some states, like NSW for instance, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually a legal requirement anyway. Malcolm Street


T HI S ! HITCHMASTERÂŽ D DO35 All-Terrain Drop-On Coupling The HITCHMASTERÂŽ DO35 is designed, tested and manufactured in Australia by Vehicle Components and valued at $405. This coupling provides an easy drop-on connection no matter the road surface. Featuring a smooth, spring loaded lock mechanism, a bumper and safety cap, an ultra low proďŹ le housing, and weight distribution hitch (WDH) compatibility for most vehicles. The winner will receive a HITCHMASTERÂŽ DO35 V2-R which includes a spanner, tow pin and tow pin cover.


How to win If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re stumped by a technical or towing problem, send your question to submissions@adventuresgroup. with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Tech Talkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the subject line or send a letter to Caravan World Tech Talk, 125 Hawthorn Road, CaulďŹ eld North, Vic 3161. All entries must include your full address (not for publication).

BEST of the REST Part two of AL-KO Best Aussie Vans 2017 concludes with more drama and deserving winners. PICS GRAEME NEANDER AND CAM INNISS.


f you missed last issue, you missed a cracker but do not fear, the full tests, results and videos of every van at AL-KO Best Aussie Vans 2017 are online at but if you are lucky enough to be on the road and don't have access to the internet, here is a breakdown of what happened last issue.



We had three categories last issue, the always popular Small Vans and WKHÀHUFHO\FRPSHWLWLYH.DQG $80-100K categories. Small Vans was a tight battle between two capable off-roaders with MDC bringing their XT12 and Dreamseeker their all-new F1. Although an established brand,

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Dreamseeker hasn't been seen in years with the brand changing ownership and sitting dormant for some time so it was a tall ask to come up against the juggernaut that is MDC. MDC are a market leader in many segments of caravans and campers and with global partnerships and semi-offshore manufacture, they offer great value and clever design but it was the newcomer that took the gong. The Dreamseeker F1, although a small van by dimensions, packed a lot of quailty WKLQNLQJDQGRXWVWDQGLQJÀWDQGÀQLVK inside its sleek outer shell. Our judges loved the layout and the unashamed high-end positioning of the design. It is all about making the owners as comfortable as possible and it works.



In $50-65K we had an encumbent in Kokoda with their Cadet II XLi Platinum, a mouthful RIDQDPHEXWRQHWKDWUHÁHFWVWKHFRQVWDQW UHÀQHPHQWWKHHYHUSRSXODU&DGHWKDVVHHQ Up against it was a real value buy and one that in earlier testing came out with glowing praise for its no-nonsense design and build and ease of towing, the Atlantic Endeavour. The Atlantic was always up against it with Kokoda having been in the winner’s circle and a more established brand but Atlantic can hold its head high even if the Cadet II pipped it at the post. Both vans were highly regarded by the judges EXWWKHÀQDOUHVXOWKDG.RNRGDWDNHDQRWKHU victory at AL-KO Best Aussie Vans. In the $80-100K category we had two entrants again. This time from established brand and previous winner Roadstar and new HQWUDQW$XV59ZLWKWKLHU%\ÀHOG7KH%\ÀHOG was polarising for its bright green cladding but impressed internally with a central ensuite DQGUHDUGRRUOD\RXWFUHDWLQJ]RQHVLQWHUQDOO\ that we all thought clever. The Voyager was, as with all Roadstar products, built with no exceptions. It was tough looking and proved its looks in testing over the event. Internally it was a standout too with luxury the theme but LWZDVWKHQHZFRPHU%\ÀHOGWKDWVXUSULVHG once the votes were counted taking a maiden win. Probably the biggest surprise of the three categories we checked and rechecked but the UHVXOWVWD\HGWKHVDPH7KH%\ÀHOGRXWVFRUHG the Voyager by a narrow margin.

LOCATIONS We found ourselves working around the majestic Grampians National Park with Horsham and Hamilton our two major hubs. Making the best of the mountainous backdrops we shot and tested along the western edge of the ranges with The Grampians Olive Co.’s orchard making up the majority of our working location. An ideal spot, it backs onto the ranges, offered good off-road testing opportunities and as much space to shoot video and stills without tripping over each other. As with years been, we celebrated our journey with a public viewing mid-event in Hamilton. It was a major success ZLWKDURXQGYLVLWRUVDQGHYHQDFRQÀUPHG sale of a caravan. We heard people came from as far as Melbourne, a good three hours drive, just to see the latest innovations in our special industry.

THE VANS Clockwise from top right: The showcase proved popular with local and travelers from as far as Melbourne; We had to test how easy the vans were to clean which meant getting dirty; Borgi in his element; Editor Tim preparing to introduce Small Van winner, the Dreamseeker F1.


The hotly contested $65-80K category was best represented this year which is no surprise as it is where the bulk of caravan sales are. :HKDGÀYHHTXDOO\DVGHVHUYLQJHQWUDQWVLQ the Olympic Javelin X8, a semi-offroader, the


Judging from experience The AL-KO Best Aussie Vans judging crew are some of Australia’s most experienced.





As the Field Editor for Caravan World’s sister publication Camper, Michael ‘Borgy’ Borg has lived and breathed the camping lifestyle for decades. In a previous life, he earned a quid spinning spanners, which comes in handy out on the tracks. A DIY tragic with five acres of projects on the go, including a decadeepic 40ft conversion with his old man, on-going repairs to his heartbreaker ’Cruiser Aunt Tilly, and continual upgrades to his Jurgens’ hybrid, Borgy takes five by gifting bait to fish in bush streams or cooking up a storm in his camp oven.

Ron Moon and his wife Viv have been 4WDing and touring remote Australia for more than 40 years. After eloping in the 70s, they wrote their first guidebook in 1984, and from 1988 Ron was editor of 4x4 Australia for 15 years and has almost spent another 15 years as their roving editor-at-large. Together the Moons have written more than a dozen guidebooks on travelling remote Australia. When Ron and Viv aren’t in front of a computer screen they can generally be found travelling somewhere in a 4WD, and if it isn’t work related, you can bet there will be diving and hunting on the list of things to do!

Field editor Malcolm Street began caravanning in the early 1970s, first in a Viscount and later in a York, the former towed by a Holden Kingswood. Malcolm has RV’d extensively across Australia, New Zealand and Britain. He became an RV journalist in 1999 and joined CW in 2002. Each year, he reviews around 40 vans and motorhomes in Oz and NZ. Yes, he’s a well-travelled bloke with no shortage of campfire opinions about how a given van could be better put together.

You might call CW staff journalist Peter a late starter, receiving a caravanning and camping baptism in his mid-40s. But roll on nearly a decade and he’s done his utmost to make up for lost time. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground, free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively. His first few expeditions were spent in tents, but he was soon hauling a Jayco Sterling behind a 1991 Mitsubishi Pajero. Pete relishes the freedom and relaxation of the great doors – just the feeling of being a million miles away from the rat-race.

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the Small Vans category, pushed established conceptions of what a caravan can be off the cliff. The F-14 Tomcat is known as a toy hauler and with doors down, it opens the eyes to dreams of hauling bikes, hunting gear and any assortment of adrenaline-inducing toys.


Clockwise from top right: Our backdrop was never tiresome with low-light adding to its beauty; The Small Vans off to ďŹ nd an offroad challenge; Borgi looking for his lost lunch; Malâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfectionist process; Judgement day.

AusRV Finke, a composite panelled and family IRFXVHGIRRWHUWKH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQG&OXE Lounge, another composite panel option but with a focus on luxury travel for a couple; the Legend Trackline, a tough competitor that had everyone taking a second look and the New Age Big Red, a stylish looking road-focused caravan with slide-out. Our second category, for caravans $100K and over, came down to two vans but two with very different target audiences. First up was another TXDOLW\5RDGVWDUWKH6LULXVWKHGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWLRQ of tough external and quality luxury inside. It came against the second Dreamseeker at Best Aussie Vans and this one, like the F1 in

We had slightly different judges to years been with two new faces working with two of our most well known. Ron Moon joined fellow Best Aussie Vans rookie Michael â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Borgyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Borg with YHWHUDQĂ&#x20AC;HOGHGLWRU0DOFROP6WUHHWDQGVWDII journo Peter Quilty. Borgy brought with him a technical nous, particularly in chassis and brake systems, that proved valuable while Ron, with his years of global exploration brought the ability to cut through bullshit and recognise true capability in design. Of course Peter came with his unwavering willingness to work along with a sense of humour that had everyone laughing between the odd cocked eyebrow. That leaves Mal who like Ron, challenged the manufacturers to prove their marketing claims were legitimate while also going to extreme depths in technical assessment; Mals work was a masterclass in thoroughness. Our team of videographers included Best Aussie Van regulars Anna and JP. Manning the stills cameras were two rookies in Graeme and Cam. Both had shot for us in the past and showed the needed metal to see the job done and to a high standard. On ground was our never tiring Lauren who takes the reins at all of our major events. Her role is probably the least envious and most demanding with a seemingly HQGOHVVVHWRITXHVWLRQVĂ RRGLQJKHUZD\ throughout every day and night.

Ground rules We couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t score 13 vans without ďŹ rst laying some ground rules. Comparing vans, regardless of how similar their price point, can be like comparing bananas with kiwi fruit. Our 10-point scoresheet aims to ensure a level playing ďŹ eld across the board.

1. Value for money Does this van offer good value for money? How many features are included, and what are its dimensions? And does it give buyers what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re paying for?

2. Self-sufďŹ ciency Is this van suitable for extended periods of remote touring, or a couple of days of free camping?

3. Liveability This is all about the small touches,


where a manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love of camping is seen. Could you call this van home? Is it intuitive to use?

4.Suitability for intended touring How does the van perform in its intended purpose, and is it adequately ďŹ tted out and built for the purpose?

5. Layout Is the van visually appealing inside, and has enough thought gone into the layout for easy, convenient touring?

Is there enough storage, and is it designed sensibly?

6. Quality of ďŹ nish

8. Creature comforts How does the van rate in terms of mod cons?

Whether the van has a ďŹ breglass or aluminium composite ďŹ nish, or simply aluminium cladding over a timber frame, is there enough attention to detail? How does the cabinetry and upholstery rate?

9. Innovation

7. Build quality

10. X-factor

Will the van fall apart at the ďŹ rst corrugations or is it a well-built rig?

Is there anything new and exciting about the design or build? Has the manufacturer employed a feature or manufacturing technique not seen before, and is it effective?

The WOW factor!

SPECIAL THANKS A special thanks needs to go to our event partners, especially naming rights sponsor AL-KO. AL-KO are market leaders in hitches, suspension and other key components supplying most of the caravan industry. It is great to see them step from the businessto-business shadows to support our special industry more publicly in partnering with us. Without them we could not have invested as much in the video and photography you see here nor could we have taken Best Aussie Vans DVIDUDĂ&#x20AC;HOGDVZHGLG)URPWKHZKROHCaravan World team you have our sincere thanks. And to Tebbs who stepped up last minute to provide XVDĂ HHWRIWRZLQJPLUURUVZHVD\WKDQNVWRR It was a prerequisite for all entrants to carry towing mirrors but with some succumbing to tree damage and some just being forgotten, having spares came in handy. Where Best Aussie Vans will be next year is a secret for now but with entrants already lining up and the team learning a lot from this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event, Best Aussie Vans 2018 will be bigger and better than ever.

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To subscribe, go to *Terms and Conditions apply. AU res 18+ only. Starts December 6, 2017. Ends 11.59 AEDST February 21, 2018. Draw: S5, Erina Plaza, 210 Central Coast Hwy Erina NSW 2250 on 20/03/2018 at 10:00 am AEDST. Winner announced at from 23/03/2018. The Promoter is Adventures Group Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 29 155 672 192) of 125 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North, Victoria, 3161. NSW permit number LTPS/17/20201.


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1986 MARKLINE 1000 CRUISER On he hard eady for inspection. 17 years owned and oved wi h extensive maintenance records. QLD 0412 321 244

1979 ROBERTS FLYBRIDGE CRUISER Set up as liveaboard with range A l he bells and whistles inc. Autopilot and 48 m le radar QLD 0409 630 385

2006 CUSTOM BUILT ULTRA LIGHT CRUISER Wood and composite construction. Mackay trailer, Tohatsu 5hp. Ready for short-hand sailing. TAS 0438 256 334

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For full subscription terms and conditions please visit: and select Terms and Conditions. Offer period commences, December 6, 2017 and closes on February 21, 2018. Open to all residents of Australia who subscribe to Caravan World magazine for a twelve (12) month print subscription during the offer period. Offer is subject to and automatic upon the correct use of a valid credit card and must be cleared for payment. Please see contents page for location of our Privacy Notice. If you do not want your information provided to any organisation not associated with this offer, please indicate this clearly at the time of order or notify the promoter in writing. The Promoter is Adventures Group Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 155 672 192)


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Two unique vans come to Best Aussie Vans to redefine what ‘premium’ really means. But which one will steal the judges’ hearts?





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Hard at play? Rest up in the Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat toy hauler for tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adventures with room for a family.





In brief... Toy hauler Family-friendly 4.5T riding gear The caravan you want is now easier to find


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve a firm honeycomb floor for sure footing, and cabinetry thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nice and practical to use, too.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

s more vanners integrate offroad sports into their adventures, manufacturers are responding in kind with internal garages, relegating luxury to the back seat. The Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat, however, comes to Best Aussie Vans 2017 with a fullyequipped living room plus space for all the sporting gear â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but does it deliver in the comfort VWDNHV" /HW¡V VHH




FIRM FOOTING :KDW FDQ , VD\ DERXW WKH )" ,W¡V D ELJ EODFN beauty if I ever saw one. Now, the chassis was VSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\ GHVLJQHG DQG EXLOW E\ 5RR &KDVVLV for the F-14. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made from 6in DuraGal and seems sturdy enough to be taken offroad if you wanted to. In fact, with the 4T Tuff Ride independent suspension and a set of mud terrain tyres there to back it all up, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really only the three massive televisions that would make you think twice about hitting the dirt. Although letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face it, a caravan like this is

always going to be an on-road van, so thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obviously where the guys at Dreamseeker have focused their efforts. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but feel LWFRXOGEHĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHGRIIEHWWHUXQGHUQHDWK especially when it comes to mounting electrical wiring. The F-14 feels nice and sturdy on the road, and it should do too with 480kg of weight on the ball when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unloaded. But obviously when you chuck a few motorbikes in the back it brings the weights back into line. Dexter VZD\FRQWURODGGVDOLWWOHFRQĂ&#x20AC;GHQFHZKLOH youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the road too, not that you need any PRUHFRQĂ&#x20AC;GHQFHZKHQ\RX¡UHOXJJLQJLWDURXQG with a big F-truck like we were. When it comes to the inside, it all feels nice DQGVROLG<RX¡YHDĂ&#x20AC;UPKRQH\FRPEĂ RRUIRU sure footing, and cabinetry thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nice and practical to use, too. I thought the combined toilet/shower ensuite was a bit cramped for WKHYDQ¡VVL]HDQGIHOWDOLWWOHROGVFKRROWREH honest. But, it serves its purpose nonetheless.




Clockwise from main: Remove the boys’ toys for a comfortable place to kick back; a living space that belies its toy hauler capabilities; a stovetop rests beneath the benchtop.

The caravan you want is now easier to find

The F-14 Tomcat is a niche product meant for those amongst us who can’t bear to leave all their big boy toys at home. This smart looking and well constructed 21-foot ‘toy hauler’ is built on a heavy duty chassis with independent dual-axle suspension featuring twin shocks and 12in brakes all round. With a Tare weight of 3220kg and a high ball weight, you need a Ford F250 or similar to drag this big imposing unit around. The Tomcat’s body features a fully welded aluminium frame and alloy composite wall panelling with insulation. Inside the van, the back half is taken up with the toy hauler area, which in this case had been custom built to take a Harley-Davidson motorbike weighing in at over 300kg. When the bike has been removed the area becomes a huge entertaining and lounge area, while the loading ramp/ rear door becomes a deck for imbibing on your IDYRXULWHÁXLGV7KHUH·VDELJ79 RQHRIWKUHH  an impressive sound system that would do my home lounge a favour or two, and a satellite receiving system that wouldn’t be out of place in the battlestar Galactica. The other half of the F-14 van is loaded with features although some may feel it’s a little cramped for such a big rig. There’s an east-west bed up front, basin, toilet, washing machine and shower down one side while the kitchen and sink take up the other. All the cabinets are made of 12-15mm lightweight ply fronted with high quality HI-MACS laminate giving the whole interior a very classy look. Outside there’s a roll-out kitchen and fridge while an impressive battery (including Redarc BMS) and solar system enhances the outdoor lifestyle wherever you may take it.


Clockwise from main: The garage converts to bedroom and has its own large screen TV; Satking satellite TV and Xplod speakers keep you entertained further afield.

Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat Weights and measures Overall length 8.6m (28ft 3in) External body length 6.4m (21ft 2in) External body width 2.4m (8ft 1in) Travel height 3m (9ft 11in) Internal height 2m (6ft 7in) Nameplate Tare 3220kg Nameplate ATM 4500kg Ball weight 480kg

External Frame Aluminium Cladding Aluminium Composite Chassis 6in DuraGal Suspension 4.5T Tuff Ride Coupling DO45 Brakes 12in Wheels 16in alloy wheels Water 2x95L fresh; 1x95L grey Battery 2x120Ah AGM Solar 2x150W Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier Inverter Gas 2x9kg Sway control Dexter






Cooking Full Oven Fridge 185L Dometic Absorption Automatic Microwave 25L Sphere Bathroom Thetford toilet and fully moulded shower Washing machine 4kg Camec front loader Hot water Suburban 22.6L gas/electric

Options fitted None

Price as shown: $120K +ORC SLIDE OUT SINK & BBQ


More information To enquire about this caravan, please visit or phone 0429 587 844




From top: An east-west bed provides room for the garage, bathroom facilities and kitchen; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even enough space for the washing machine.

Toy haulers in Australia are not totally rare but certainly a bit unusual. For that reason, it makes the Value for Money category very GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWWRMXGJHEHFDXVHLW¡VFOHDUO\DQ enthusiastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s caravan where the prime reason for purchase may not be caravanning. An additional cost will be a tow vehicle, because the ATM pushes the towing limits above the 3500kg (LandCruiser) category and into US pickup truck territory. Rating it on Suitability for Intended Use is just so much easier â&#x20AC;&#x201C; achieving its goal of carrying a motorbike or quad bike or even a full family set of bicycles â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the F-14 is also designed IRUDIDPLO\DVLW¡VĂ&#x20AC;WWHGZLWKEXQNVDQGRQ this, it scores very highly indeed. 7RĂ&#x20AC;WWKHJDUDJHVWRUDJHDUHDLQWKHUHVWRI WKHOLYLQJDUHDKDVEHHQFRPSURPLVHGLQVL]H and layout. Not too much, though. Probably the most obvious one is the east-west main bed (rather than an island bed) across the front of the van. That does give the van interior a different look and one which offers plenty of Ă H[LELOLW\HVSHFLDOO\LQWKHUHDUDUHDZLWKWKH folding seat and high-end audio-visual system. I do wonder whether this toy hauler might be EHWWHUDVDĂ&#x20AC;IWKZKHHOHU)RUDVWDUWLWZRXOG give more interior space in the nose cone area up front and secondly it would improve the tow vehicle range considerably. For instance, an Iveco Daily 70C with a GCM of 10,700kg is quite readily available in Australia and would be an excellent prospect. Just a thought.

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Judgesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notebook



SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED USE â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Dreamseeker is eminently suitable â&#x20AC;Ś [as] a toy hauler, complete with a large garage, living area and weight carrying capacity.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Malcolm Street

INNOVATION â&#x20AC;&#x153;I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seen anything else like it, so it gets a big tick in the innovation department from me.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg

CREATURE COMFORTS â&#x20AC;&#x153;Occasionally, mod cons will play second ďŹ ddle in a toy hauler â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but not so the F-14 Tomcat. Dreamseeker has deďŹ nitely avoided paying lip service in this division.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Peter Quilty


A rather unique on-road toy hauler, the Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat comprises a man cave/kid cave, which quite simply is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;dirt biker KHDYHQ¡,WĂ&#x20AC;WVWZRWRWKUHHGLUWELNHVRUDTXDG bike, or a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. And when the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;boys have put away their toysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a 49in Smart TV, which runs off a 3000W inverter, and a full Sony sound system LQFOXGLQJD:DPSOLĂ&#x20AC;HU IRUHQMR\PHQWÂŤ Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enough to blow your mind! The drop-down ramp or tailgate (I call it an entertainment deck) is made from very durable non-slip recycled rubber. It comes with a builtLQĂ \VFUHHQDQGHOHFWULFZLQFKDVVWDQGDUG LQFOXVLRQVDOEHLWQRWĂ&#x20AC;WWHGRQWKLVPRGHOGXULQJ this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s BAV. $VWHSLQVLGHWRWKHPDLQOLYLQJ]RQHUHYHDOVD VQD]]\LQWHULRUGHVLJQLQFOXGLQJIXQN\ÂśHYHU\ colour-of-the-rainbowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; remote-controlled RGB LED strip lighting. Internal space has been saved courtesy of an east-west bed and a shower/toilet combo. (The shower has a stunning glass black door.) The black chrome tapware and premium modern handles are eye-catching and up-tothe-minute, and the grey overhead cupboards and black lower cabinetry are a nice contrast. A Camec 4kg front-loading washing machine concealed under the vanity basin (plus a


cupboard with removable shelving above) is perfect for cleaning the thermals after a hard day riding on the tracks. And if your whim is dining and relaxing al fresco style following a dirt bike ride etc, then there’s a slide-out external kitchen and a 12V drawer fridge, which is ideal for holding meat for the barbie and cans of drink. But with a 4.5T ATM, this ‘gentle giant’ requires a tow vehicle such as a Ford F250 to act as the pilot!

Clockwise from above: The F-14 seen at Best Aussie Vans was designed to carry a Harley-Davidson; a through boot suits fishos who enjoy casting out a line on holiday; external cheffing facilities when it’s too hot to cook inside; the Weber baby Q completes the external kitchen.

Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find



Engineered for offroad touring, the Roadstar Sirius redefines class at BAV 2017.




In brief... HI-MACS benchtops Cruisemaster suspension Monocoque body The caravan you want is now easier to find


oadstar sets the pace at Best Aussie 9DQVZLWKLWVĂ DJVKLS6LULXVVSRWWHGE\ outgoing Caravan World editor Laura Gray months before. Monocoque construction DQGDQHIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQWFKDVVLVXQGHUSLQDĂ&#x20AC;QHO\WXQHG LQWHULRUIRUDYDQWKDWRR]HVFODVVRQDQGRIIURDG



â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gusseted and reinforced in all the right places with good quality welds.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg â&#x20AC;&#x201C;


When class and style meet practicality and usability, you just know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in for something special! This really is an impressive package for anyone who wants to go bush, but be a little sophisticated while theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there too. The chassis is built by Australian Hi-Tech Engineering, who has been in the game for over 45 years. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gusseted and reinforced in all the right places with good quality welds ²DOWKRXJK,GLGĂ&#x20AC;QGWKHPRXQWLQJSODWHVIRU the steps were a little average. It runs the full offroad Cruisemaster independent trailing arm suspension, which has proven itself as one of the leading suspension options in the game over the years, and runs a chunky set of Federal mud terrain tyres â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so you know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got the offroad goodies to go anywhere. Add in a tough full composite construction (that means no frame), oodles of ground clearance with skid plates protecting any vulnerable components at the rear and you just know it means business. What really stood out to me was the attention to detail with little things like having speaker boxes to improve the sound quality, gas struts on the cabinetry lids and custom-designed lounge/seat padding with genuine leather for maximum comfort. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obviously had plenty of thought put into it when it comes to the usability side of things, too. In fact, compared to the other vans, the front storage box area on the Sirius felt like the easiest one to access while maintaining plenty RISURWHFWLRQIURPĂ LQJLQJVWRQHVZKLFKLVD real asset on the tracks.



Clockwise from top left: A Weber baby Q for roasts on the road; the Vehicle Components independent trailing arm suspension delivers a sure ride; smart storage spaces that will suit campers; mouldings are made to Roadstarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s speciďŹ cations; gas cylinders are protected in a dedicated toolbox up front.

I didn't think I would rave about a van selling for 133 grand... but I did! This is a classy van both inside and out and the design, building PDWHULDOVWKHEXLOGTXDOLW\VWDQGDUGRIĂ&#x20AC;QLVK the attention to detail and the quality control are nothing short of exceptional in all cases. The van rides on a hot-dipped galvanised chassis supported by a Vehicle Components Cruisemaster XT independent, coil sprung offroad suspension which sits on 16in allterrain rubber. The most modern and strong construction WHFKQLTXHVVHHRQHSLHFHFRPSRVLWHĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVV panels for both walls, while a similar one-piece section extends from the very front, over the roof to the very rear. The 45mm thick composite Ă RRULVDJDLQRQHSLHFHDQGDOOWKHSDQHOOLQJLV locked together by aluminium extrusion and strong adhesives. Adding to the appeal and the exclusivity of the Sirius is the smart looking mouldings on the front and rear edges. Inside the Sirius you have a roomy interior decked out with the very best of appliances and equipment including satellite TV, and a dinette with the upholstery dressed in striking black leather. The attention to detail is incredible with high-quality cupboard construction from lightweight ply and HI-MACS benchtops where

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the joints are all but impossible to see, while the gaps between drawers, doors and lift-up benchtops are thin and even all around. %HĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJDQRIIURDGFDUDYDQGHVLJQHGIRU the long haul around Australia or for extended stays in far off exotic places, there is an impressive array of facilities for off-the-grid living, including three 95L water tanks plus a 95L grey water tank. All in all the Roadstar Sirius features youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll Ă&#x20AC;QGDEXLOGTXDOLW\WKDWDOORWKHUVVKRXOGDVSLUH to and be judged against!





7DONLQJ WR 5RDGVWDU RZQHU .HQ 1L]DP EHIRUH looking over one of his caravans, like the Ă DJVKLS 6LULXV LV GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ UHFRPPHQGHG DV KH FDQ SRLQW RXW DQ\ QXPEHU RI WKH Ă&#x20AC;QHU SRLQWV LQ its construction. Even without that, a quick look UHYHDOV D YDQ WKDW LV ZHOO SXW WRJHWKHU 1L]DP however, is keen to mention the full composite panels, aluminium extrusions and mouldings WKDW DUH PDGH WR 5RDGVWDU¡V VSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQ In addition to that, a look under any caravan can reveal a great deal. For instance, in this case, it is clear the chassis isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t built in the usual box-section style but to Roadstarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s VSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQ , QRWH DOO WKDW EHFDXVH WKH 6LULXV comes at a relatively expensive price as it is designed as a full offroader. Whilst quite a

Clockwise from main: Hard wearing HI-MACS benchtops throughout look smart, while the compressor fridge delivers off-the-grid; a Projecta Intelli-Wave inverter to make use of the Enerdrive ePower B-Tec lithium battery; discreet footrests and power outlets for a space suitable for many purposes; pantry items travel secure in the pull-out frame.

few manufacturers will build a tough-looking chassis and suspension, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do much to the bodywork. However, in the case of the Sirius, the chassis can be lighter in comparison due to the attention paid to the bodywork. On the comfort and practicality front, the Sirius is a well-appointed van and has much to offer the keen offroad traveller.


Judges’ notebook

LIVEABILITY “The combination of a great layout, advanced electronics (lithium batteries and so on) and a quality feel throughout make this one awesome package to enjoy,” – Michael Borg

QUALITY OF FINISH “Great quality control on fabrication of all the interior; fabulous looking benchtops and cupboards,” – Ron Moon








“Everything from the aluminium extrusions for the roof/wall joints to the lightweight cabinetry and 45mm sandwich panel flooring reveals all you need to know,” – Malcolm Street



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“Let’s start with the 12V compressor Vitrifrigo fridge, which is ideal while free camping, a tunnel boot with pull-out sink, mixer tap and glass lid – plus a Weber Baby Q – combined with a plush up-to-the-minute bedroom and ensuite, and a galley any camping chef would die for!” – Peter Quilty


Clockwise from top left: The sturdy Australian Hi-Tech Engineering chassis confidently straddles the tracks; the ensuite has a toilet, shower, basin and linen press; Federal muddies on Pheonix alloys mean business; two sturdy slide-outs service the van’s front toolbox.

Roadstar Sirius Weights and measures Overall length 8.8m (28ft 10in) External body length 6.3m (20ft 8in) External body width 2.35m (7ft 8in) Travel height 3.1m (10ft 2in) Internal height 1.94m (6ft 4in) Tare 2670kg ATM 3500kg Payload 830kg Ball weight 260kg

External Cladding Full composite fibreglass sandwich panel and 45mm floor Chassis Hot-dipped Hitec Engineering Suspension Cruisemaster XT Coupling Vehicle Components Hitchmaster DO35 Brakes 12in electric Wheels LT265/75 R16 Federal Couragia MT fitted to Phoenix alloy rims Water 3x95L (fresh); 1x95L (grey) Battery 1x125Ah Enerdrive ePOWER B-TEC lithium Solar 2x150W Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3 Gas 2x9kg Sway control No

Internal Cooking Swift 500 Series combo four-burner, grill and oven Fridge Vitrifrigo DP2600 240L compressor Microwave dLuxx Bathroom Full-width with separate shower cubicle and Thetford cassette toilet Washing machine 3.5kg Destination RV Hot water 28L Swift gas/electric

Options fitted SatKing aerial; slide-out kitchen; Weber baby Q; HI-MACS benchtop; third water tank; Waeco portable fridge

Price as shown $132,990

More information To enquire about this caravan, please visit or call 1300 762 378.


“Roadstar ’s top-of-the-line van is a real home… it’s a step into the future!” – Peter Quilty –


BRIGHTEST STAR The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and in that respect, the Roadstar Sirius has the entire box and dice. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the ultimate offroader â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a solid van thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s innovative and palatial. And inside, the Sirius is the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;brightest starâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. A highlight of the fully functional angled NLWFKHQLVWKH+,0$&6EHQFKWRS²DQDUWLĂ&#x20AC;FLDO stone which gives off a granite look and feel. Meanwhile, a 12V compressor Vitrifrigo fridge is ideal while free camping. The Sirius also boasts a luxurious cafe dinette with headrests and footrests, which donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;jut outâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; when closed. Complementing the vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s structural integrity is the one-piece sandwich panel construction of LWVZDOOVĂ RRU PP DQGFHLOLQJDQGWKHVHOI

designed plastic-injection moulding of the front and back corners gives it character â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a powerful visual effect! Attention to detail comes to the fore courtesy of slide-out drawers between the robes and dressers in the front bedroom, and also the laser cut decals. This van also had the optional â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sirius Packâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on board â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including the aforementioned HIMACS benchtops; SatKing (satellite TV); third water tank; tunnel boot with pull-out sink, mixer tap and glass lid; Weber baby Q; 125Ah Enerdrive ePOWER B-TEC lithium battery; and an extra large gullwing toolbox with jerry can holders on each side. Roadstarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top-of-the-line van is a real KRPHÂŤLW¡VDVWHSLQWRWKHIXWXUH


Roadstar Sirius Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find


r e n n wi

“This is a classy van both inside and out and the design, build quality ... attention to detail and the quality control are nothing short of exceptional.” – Ron Moon –





For war d

MOMENTUM Studio Engineering Manager Peter Dunlop for GM Holden Australia explains how motoringâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inďŹ&#x201A;uence played out at BAV.

aving spent a week inspecting our lineup at Best Aussie Vans, Peter Dunlop, Senior Manager Studio Engineering - GM Australia Design, shares his thoughts on caravans today and how automotive trends FRXOGLQà XHQFHWKHLUGHVLJQWRPRUURZ+HUH¡V what we discovered.


ONE VISION Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt about it, the way we experience the road is fundamentally changing with cameras and sensors playing a vital role. And, as interest in camping holidays booms, the caravanning industry is seeking out the opportunities. ´&DUDYDQVKDYLQJUHYHUVHFDPHUDV>OLNHZH VDZDW%$9@LVDJUHDWVWHSDQGLQWHJUDWLQJ these into the vehicle screen is even better, as it ensures all information is in the same spot for the driver,â&#x20AC;? Peter explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is an obvious plus in being able to see objects and people behind the caravan.â&#x20AC;? But as vehicles become increasingly autonomous Peter reckons the next logical step would be more feedback between their tow vehicle and caravan. $OUHDG\KHVD\VPRWRULVWVHQMR\WKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WV of 360-degree vision, full-vision rear panoramic views and parking feedback due to camera and sensor technology in their vehicles. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of new cars park themselves and adjust the steering position as the technology advances,â&#x20AC;? says Peter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For caravans, I could see the next step is parking sensors and radars.


Thanks! Although employed with GM Holden, Peter Dunlop attended Best Aussie Vans as an independent evaluator and not as an ofďŹ cial representative for GM Holden. Caravan World thanks GM Holden for allowing Peter to share his expertise shaped from his experiences working in automotive design and as an engineer for GM Holden.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Currently, the vehicle rear sensors need to be switched off or theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll keep thinking the caravan is an object to avoid.â&#x20AC;? If caravans and vehicles work closer together WRLGHQWLI\EOLQG]RQHVDQGDVVLVWLQUHYHUVLQJ and parking, Peter says tow rigs will eventually have the capacity to automatically park a van. Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) communication is another area in which vehicle and caravan connectivity could improve the driver experience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of modern cars have cameras that will detect an imminent crash and prepare the vehicle (by adjusting the airbags and brakes). If the caravan and vehicle smarts were WKHUHFDUDYDQVĂ&#x20AC;WWHGZLWK$%6FRXOGDOVREH prepped,â&#x20AC;? Peter explains.


Clockwise from main: The composite body construction used by Pacific Caravans earned brownie points from Peter for weight saving; Peter combs through the test vans at BAV; the impressive al fresco area of the Dreamseeker F14 Tomcat.

LIGHTER AND STRONGER Managing fuel economy is a major challenge for the automotive industry and Peter believes caravan manufacturers can help by investing in aerodynamics, and managing weights in the build and what’s on board. Although pleased to see the overwhelming uptake in solar among the BAV constituency, he wonders whether lighter options down the track will improve mileage. “In the future, I can see the potential for WKLQÀOP VRODU RU HYHQ SKRWRYROWDLF FRDWLQJV RU paints to replace solar panels,” Peter says. Likewise, Peter is optimistic that lithium-ion battery technology, adopted by Roadstar in the Sirius, will eventually deliver weight savings on a larger scale. But he wonders whether the

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GM Australia design Peter Dunlop has worked at Holden for 19 years including six as the head of the Senior Manager Studio Engineering â&#x20AC;&#x201C; GM Australia Design. The Studio designs entire vehicles (exterior and interiors) for General Motors, and specialises in advanced concept and production vehicles. Studio Engineering partners with designers to create form and function in harmony through: â&#x20AC;˘ Benchmarking â&#x20AC;˘ ConďŹ guring existing architectures â&#x20AC;˘ Developing ideas for new architectures â&#x20AC;˘ Inventing new ideas â&#x20AC;˘ Advocating for the Studio back mainstream engineering

technology is still cost prohibitive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the future sees more vehicles go electric KRSHIXOO\WKHFRVWV>ZLOO@FRPHGRZQDURXQG lithium and be more readily used in more caravans,â&#x20AC;? he says. Peter is pleased to see some manufacturers OLNH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F&DUDYDQVDUHXVLQJFRPSRVLWH bodies to reduce weight, add strength and insulation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weight is obviously important for towing vehicle options,â&#x20AC;? he says. 7KHXVHRIFRPSRVLWHĂ RRUVZDOOVDQGURRIV and lightweight chassis seen in the AusRV Finke as well as aluminium frames and hotdipped galvanised chassisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; also help to minimise weight. ´7RPHWKHXVHRIPDWHULDOVOLNHFDUERQĂ&#x20AC;EUH could help reduce weight and strengthen vans (especially used as part of the composite body).â&#x20AC;? 3HWHUEHOLHYHVWKHFRVWRIFDUERQĂ&#x20AC;EUHFRXOG change down the track. ´<HVFDUERQĂ&#x20AC;EUHFDQEHH[SHQVLYHEXWDJDLQ as the auto sector uses it more, then costs will be driven down,â&#x20AC;? he says.

ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ALL ABOUT AERODYNAMICS Peter says a focus on aerodynamics or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Aeroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; will reduce drag on the vehicle and lower running costs now and into the future as automotive needs change. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Caravans like the Atlantic Endeavour have a chamfer on the leading edge of the van, which would help with Aero. But in the future more is needed, especially as electric vehicles increase in the market, as EV range will be seriously affected by Aero,â&#x20AC;? he explains. Peter wonders if fold-out front panels connecting the vehicle to the van will reduce resistance caused by air trapped between the vehicle and the caravan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This, coupled with adjustable van-roof heights would also help. This could be taken further with active panels (similar to active grilles in vehicles) that adjust depending on speed. Improvements will come from looking at ways of channelling the air around, under, over or through the caravan and prevent turbulence caused by protrusions/cavities,â&#x20AC;? Peter explains. Peter also imagines a future where caravans share the driving load. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eventually, with the onset of electrical vehicles, the caravan could almost take on an extension of energy contribution,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If the van had an electric motor with its own battery storage (could also have regenerative braking) then with the right smarts it could talk to the vehicle and contribute to the overall range and power. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It would need to have its own independent system as running 400V between van and vehicle wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be practical.â&#x20AC;?

ERGONOMICS AND COMFORT Peter says the models he saw at Best Aussie Vans were well thought-out in terms of space, storage and comfort. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being able to move around the environment without feeling enclosed is important. We (GM) spend a lot of times in vehicles looking at occupant seating comfort, in leg angle, amount of cushion, proximity to controls and vision and overall feeling of spaciousness,â&#x20AC;? says Peter. From the perspective of a caravan owner, the ways in which a vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drawers slide out or doors hinge matter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The collapsing table in the Olympic Javelin X8 is easy to use and provides a nice small table for relaxing with drinks and folds out quickly for dinner,â&#x20AC;? he says. Peter says the Big Red 19ft Ensuite Slide uses space well, providing punters with a spacious kitchen and lounge by placing the bed across the van in a slide-out wing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Slide-out steps are good and give the option depending your height,â&#x20AC;? Peter says.



“I would think that eventually, automotive-grade carbon fibre should cost much less than the current Aerospace-grade available.” – Peter Dunlop –

Clockwise from above: Peter sees lighter and more sophisticated solar technology in our future; low profiles are best for the new trend of ‘Aero’; all models at BAV got a tick for space, storage and comfort; Peter spends a lot of time analysing a vehicle’s interior comfort and design.

Peter remarked that some interiors vans – like WKH'UHDPVHHNHU)²KDGYHU\QLFHÀQLVKHV and touches like the stand-alone basin. He also WKLQNVWKH$WODQWLF(QGHDYRXUKDVDZHOO]RQHG and balanced layout. But overall, the external designs were a very similar and he wonders if a more passionate or exciting exterior, balanced with a great interior space, could shine in the showroom. One van, the Dreamseeker F-14 Tomcat to be featured in our next edition, has a separate

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]RQHGDUHDZKLFKRSHQVRXWDQGFORVHVRIIWRD large undercover outdoor area that’s quite useful depending on the weather. Aesthetics with details such as embroidered headrests seen in Roadstar’s caravan or the FRQÀJXUDEOH/('VWULSVRQWKH'UHDPVHHNHU models were also noteworthy. Overall, Peter likes the use of interior strip LED lighting but believes it could be improved upon if the LED sources were concealed to create “waterfall lighting”.


Party of FIVE This collective of classy vans lock horns in Best Aussie Vansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; most competitive field, with just one taking the crown. Who will it be?



65 - 80K








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e d a M Built with modern manufacturing techniques to a genuine semi-offroad specification, the AusRV Finke 03 ups the ante on family adventures.




In brief... Luxury club lounge Family-friendly format Lightweight body The caravan you want is now easier to find


KHQZHĂ&#x20AC;UVWVDZWKH$XV59)LQNH months before, we were impressed by the intuitive layout and the modern manufacturing techniques adopted by the long-established camper trailer brand. Now returning Best Aussie Vans, can the old kid on a new block impress us with a familyIULHQGO\OD\RXW"2QO\RQHZD\WRĂ&#x20AC;QGRXW




,¡PGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\DIDQRIWKH$XV59)LQNH,WV overall design is a refreshing take on the average family touring caravan, and I reckon it offers the perfect combination of value, performance and comfort. One thing that really stands out to me is the fact that the Finke is a true semi offroad caravan. What I mean by that is itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a light duty on-road caravan with a fancy suspension system added to the mix. Instead, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

constructed exactly the same way as its big bad EURWKHUWKH%\Ă&#x20AC;HOG VDPHFKDVVLVWRR ,W¡VMXVW been down-specâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ed a bit to keep it affordable for the average family who wants adventure but isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to absolutely torture it offroad. You still get independent trailing arm suspension; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just the lighter duty option. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a mesh stoneguard up the front, but you still get a healthy layer of spray-on stone protection. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have rock sliders right around it, but letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lack clearance and you end up with a lighter setup in the end. In fact, the conservative Tare weight gets another big tick from me, too. The undercarriage is as tidy as it needs to be, WKHHOHFWULFDOJL]PRVDQGZLULQJDUHVHFRQGWR none and the cabinetry inside is a descendant of its full offroad counterpart, so you know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s up to the task. So yep, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a tough contender in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event if you ask me.




Clockwise from main: Plenty of clearance out on the tracks; rounded corners on the locker doors keeps things sealed; smart 16in alloys; dual axles and AL-KO suspension; spray-on stone protection up front.

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Meant for a family, the 19ft Finke from AusRV features a double bed at one end and a set of two (or three) bunks at the other. As youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d expect there are a few compromises for such a family-inclusive layout but these are pretty minor and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d easily get used to them. Built on a dual 1600kg (per axle) independent Al-KO suspension complete with electronic stability control, the hot-dipped galvanised steel chassis is built tough for Australian conditions. 7KHĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVIRDPFRUHFRPSRVLWHZDOOVDQG roof are smooth and smart looking and are ERQGHGWRDRQHSLHFHUHVLQLQIXVHGĂ RRUZKLFK results in a very strong and durable structure. There is a large east-west bed up the front, a club lounge and kitchen area in the centre of the van, while down the far end the bunks are located on one side with a toilet, shower and washing machine on the other. The kitchen features a stove with three gas burners and an electric hot plate and oven, a microwave and a /IULGJHZLWKIUHH]HU The battery and solar system are backed up by a Redarc BMS30 battery management system, the entertainment is looked after by a Fusion stereo system controlled by your mobile phone and a 24in HD TV, while each bunk has a small fold-away TV unit. Designed for living off the grid or taking it easy in a caravan park the Finke will take you near everywhere in Australia.


Clockwise from main: Facing the bed in an east-west direction saves on space; smart black chrome fittings; USB points are next to the bed; fuses are labelled for easy identification.

AusRV Finke 03 Weights and measures Overall length 8.13m (26ft 8in) External body length 5.87m (19ft 3in) External body width 2.42m (7ft 11in) Travel height 3.1m (10ft 1in) Internal height 2.02m (6ft 8in) Tare 2141kg ATM 2900kg Payload 759kg Ball weight 98kg

External Cladding Fibreglass composite Chassis Hot dipped galvanised Suspension AL-KO Enduro independent trailing arm coil spring Coupling Ball Brakes 10in electric Wheels 16in alloy Water 2x 80L Battery 1x 100Ah Solar 1x 200W Air-conditioner Truma Aventa Gas 2x9kg Sway control AL-KO ESC

Internal Cooking Dometic four-burner, grill and oven Fridge Dometic RMD 8555 190L Microwave NCE Bathroom Full-width with Dometic cassette toilet and shower cubicle Washing Machine NCE Hot water Suburban gas/electric 23L




Options fitted None



Price as shown $79,990

More information To inquire about this caravan, please visit or phone 1300 1AUSRV




“Within the overall body construction, emphasis is on getting the weight off but still retaining the necessary strength and rigidity.” – Malcolm Street –



AusRV’s Finke is a bit of newcomer in the Australian caravan scene but the design shows someone with plenty of caravanning experience has had a hand in the overall design. It looks a little different to many caravans produced in Australia but that’s because it’s built in Brisbane, Qld, and not Melbourne, Vic. I don’t hail from the Sunshine State but I reckon that can be an advantage in the world of caravans. In the jargon department, the Finke is classed as ‘all terrain’, which doesn’t mean full offroad (there is an Extreme Terrain Kit available) but more than suited for where most people might like to travel. To that end, it comes with an AL-KO independent suspension setup and AL-KO Stability Control.

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Within the overall body construction, the emphasis is on getting the weight off but still retaining the necessary strength and rigidity. That’s fairly obvious from the clean-looking chassis design and the composite wall/ extruded body structure. Priced at under the $80,000 mark, this Finke has a layout that’s designed for a family which is a bit of a challenge for any designer, given the 5.7m (19ft) external length. That was achieved mostly by facing the bed in an east-west bed across the front. The price may be a bit of a stopper for some but the saving, if needed, comes via the tow vehicle. Many family vans require something like a Nissan Patrol or Toyota LandCruiser but the 2900kg ATM means a less expensive tow vehicle can be used legally and safely.


Clockwise from main: Each bunk is equipped with its own DVD player; ALKO Enduro Cross Country suspension in action; a separate toilet and shower in the relatively compact family van.

Judges’ notebook

VALUE FOR MONEY “It’s built tough and full of features – you’ll undoubtedly get your money’s worth.” – Michael Borg

CREATURE COMFORTS “A family could inhabit this van for months on end in a congenial frame of mind. The east-west bed in the main bedroom looks ultra-cosy while the double bunks have DVD players. Meanwhile, the classy club lounge invites socialising and the contemporary ensuite is really spiffy.” – Peter Quilty

INNOVATION “[The Finke offers] wireless lighting control and the Fusion radio works with phone and app.” – Ron Moon





The AusRV Finke 03 all-terrain bunk van has virtually every conceivable mod con for the modern family. /HW¡VVWDUWZLWKWKHNLGVÂŤWKHGRXEOHEXQNV in the rear bedroom, each with DVD players and a window, will certainly keep the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;little nativesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; happy! And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty of room to stow all of their clothing and variety of thingamajigs courtesy of two centrally located cupboards and three slide-out drawers. The main bedroom has an east-west bed, and the dining room table drops down to form DQRWKHUEHUWK²PDNLQJWKH)LQNHDERQDĂ&#x20AC;GH Ă&#x20AC;YHEHUWKYDQ $QGKRZDERXWWKHFODVV\FOXEORXQJHÂŤ,FDQ envisage my wife and I kicking back with some nectar of the gods, in perfect harmony with background music emanating from the Fusion stereo system after a long dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s travelling. A pragmatic kitchen comprises a Dometic four-burner cooktop, grill and oven, 190L fridge with black plastic insert, and a two-tier slideout pantry. And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an alluring, large â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;black rotomouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; round-bowl sink â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a welcome change to stainless steel!

There is also a modern ensuite including a full-height shower with sliding door, a pedestalstyle wash basin, black chrome tapware, hand towel ring, towel rail, soap holder and toothbrush holder. And this Finkeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;all-terrainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; badging is far from marketing speak given it rides on durable AL-KO Enduro Cross Country independent trailing arm suspension and a sturdy galvanised AusRV 6in chassis. Furthermore, its build quality is something to behold â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including a hail-resistant one-piece Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVVFRPSRVLWHSDQHOZKLFKLVVLNDĂ H[HG into aluminium extrusions, and resin-infused Ă RRULQJZLWKNHYODUURYLQJVERWKDERYHDQG underneath. Raptor coating at the front and on the A-frame offers plenty of protection, while a nearside rear hatch and a large tunnel boot provide adequate external storage. Meanwhile, an aerodynamic front as well as Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVVPRXOGLQJVRQHDFKFRUQHUDUHDJUHDW aesthetic on the van. Family is a basic unit of society and the AusRV Finke 03 is a veritable bonding session on wheels!

AusRV Finke 03 Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find





e as y

The Pacific Islander has the comfort and pizazz to enjoy life at a leisurely pace.

In brief... Monocoque construction Club lounge Spacious interior The caravan you want is now easier to find


he quality build, competitive pricing and a smart choice of appliances are what earned this blacktop tourer a place at the table for Best Aussie Vans for 2017. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neat and clean underneath and luxurious within, but KRZ GLG LW VWDFN XS LQ WKLV FRPSHWLWLYH Ă&#x20AC;HOG"




7KH 3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F ,VODQGHU MXVW PDNHV PH ZDQW WR immediately hitch up and head off. Honestly, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something about it that just screams holiday-in-the-making to me. Starting from the bottom, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s built upon a sturdy 6in Road Runner chassis and sports a QLFH DQG VROLG Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVV FRPSRVLWH Ă RRU ,W¡V got one of the tidiest undercarriages of the competition too, which is largely thanks to the mid-mounted bathroom (toilet and shower) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that means a heck of a lot less plumbing running all over the place and left dangling vulnerably underneath.

All the electrical wiring and accessories are nice and neat, and the entire body is FRQVWUXFWHGIURPĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVFRPSRVLWHSDQHOOLQJ which gives it plenty of strength and a nice sleek look in the process. Being a full on-road caravan thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no real need for fancy pants suspension, so the Islander sticks to the good old 50mm solid square axle beam setup with a good set of leaf springs to keep it all under control â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not what I expected from a $70,000 caravan but other suspension systems are optional. Overall the van towed quite well. The weight is more than reasonable for a 22ft+ long caravan, but inside feels a lot bigger if you ask me. The club lounge at the rear of the van gets a big fat tick from me, and the same goes for the massive pantry and the bathroom layout, DOWKRXJK,ZRXOGGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ZDQWWRVHHDWOHDVWD privacy curtain installed between the toilet and the bed in the future... Awkward!

“Well appointed for resort-style living and touring, the Pacific Islander comes [with] … enough to keep you off the grid for a day or two.”


– Ron Moon –

Clockwise from main: The Pacific Islander is built for on-road journeying; a large sliding pantry for easy access; power is managed via the BMPRO BatteryPlus35SR; gas and electric cooktop for easy meals on and off the grid; splitting the bathroom and kitchen makes way for the spacious interior.




Judgesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notebook

VALUE FOR MONEY â&#x20AC;&#x153;This on-road tourer has all the bells and whistles and evokes a laidback lifestyle. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hit the hippocket nerve at $75K.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Peter Quilty

LAYOUT â&#x20AC;&#x153;Loved how spacious it felt inside and the mid-mounted bathroom just works with this caravan...belissimo.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg

INNOVATION â&#x20AC;&#x153;The composite wall structure â&#x20AC;Ś is made to order and rebated to give structural strength. Certainly, the underďŹ&#x201A;oor chassis area has to be one of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cleanestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; I have seen in quite a while, [in terms of] minimal structural members and pipework.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Malcolm Street


7KHERG\RIWKLVIWLQ3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHUYDQ is manufactured using the most modern construction techniques, with the full composite ZDOOSDQHOVDQGURRIFRQVLVWLQJRIĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVRXWHU layers and high-density foam in between. 7KHĂ RRULVDOVRDRQHSLHFHFRPSRVLWH construction and all panels are bonded together to form the strongest possible structure. A smart ORRNLQJYDQWKH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHUIHDWXUHVEODFN checkerplate on the lower half of the front and on the toolbox on the A-frame. Like most vans today, the nearside outer wall also has a drop-down table and the triple de rigueur plugs of 240V, TV antenna and 12V/ USB charger outlet â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just some are fancier than others. The front tunnel storage area could easily accommodate a slide-out kitchen-cum-barbecue. The body sits on a 6in Road Runner fully galvanised chassis, which rides on tandem-beam axles supported by leaf springs. While it is a

relatively basic setup, it is more than adequate for a caravan designed for the blacktop and possibly a short excursion down a good dirt road. The 16in tyres are an all-terrain model backed up by 10in brakes all round. You enter the van via the roomy living room featuring a club lounge, which takes up the rear wall. I was a little surprised to see a washing machine under the bench, which is essentially the kitchen area, the sink and four-burner (three gas, one electric) cooktop with mini-grill on the far side, while a 185L fridge sits close to the washing machine. There's a roomy central ensuite with a separate shower and toilet, while WKHOLIWXSTXHHQVL]HGEHGWDNHVXSWKHIURQW portion of the van. Well appointed for resort-style living and WRXULQJWKH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHUFRPHVZLWKDEDVLF solar and battery system along with two 95L water tanks; enough to keep you off the grid for a day or two.


HIDDEN TREASURES Stepping into a van at over $75,000 that isn’t an offroad model raises a few expectations of what else might be inside. In this case, the most obvious feature is the club lounge with windows all round in the rear. However, what you also get in this nearly 7m (22ft 6in) caravan is a larger-than-usual split kitchen. Because of the front island bed, a split bathroom is part of the design but it can be closed off quite easily from the rear living area. MALCOLM STREET Part of this caravan design also includes onepiece composite walls that are made to order and deliberately rebated at the corners so as to ÀWWRJHWKHUHDVLO\DQGVHDOSURSHUO\ Like a few other vans at Best Aussie Vans, the FKDVVLVRQWKH3DFLÀF,VODQGHULVQ·WTXLWHWKH conventional box structure; indeed, it's much VLPSOLÀHG DQG ZRUNV LQ WDQGHP ZLWK WKH PP FRPSRVLWH ÁRRU 'HVLJQ HOHPHQWV OLNH WKDW Clockwise from main: The bedroom is GHÀQLWHO\ DGG WR WKH YDOXH ZLWKRXW EHLQJ YHU\ a storage centre all on its own; together, REYLRXV DW ÀUVW JODQFH the shower, bedroom and bathroom If the aim of this van layout is to gain indoor create a private retreat; all-terrain rubber space without cramping the internal features rides on tried-and-true leaf springs; or installing a slide-out, then it has succeeded common connections are conveniently located next to the drop-down table. quite well.

The caravan you want is now easier to find


“The ‘split’ ensuite reveals a smart design, again with sufficient stowing space, and a spacious angled (or corner) shower with a glass door.” – Peter Quilty –

Pacific Islander Club Lounge Weights and measures Overall length 9m (29ft 6in) External body length 6.9m (22ft 6in) External body width 2.5m (8ft 3in) Travel height 2.9m (9ft 6in) Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in) Tare 2590kg ATM 3090kg Payload 500kg Ball weight 255kg

External Body Fibreglass Chassis 150mm chassis and drawbar Suspension AL-KO leaf spring Coupling 50mm ball hitch Brakes 10in Wheels 15in alloy, 235/75 R15 tyres Water 2x95L Battery 100Ah deep-cycle Solar 1x120W Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier inverter Gas 2x9kg Sway control No Kitchen No



Options fitted



Price as shown $74,990 (on-road, Qld)

More information To enquire about this caravan, please visit or phone (03) 9357 6971








Cooking Thetford gas/electric with mini grill Fridge Dometic 185L two-door fridge/freezer Microwave Sphere Bathroom Thetford C263-CS Washing machine 3.2kg front-loading Dometic Hot water Suburban 22.6L gas/electric



Clockwise from main: The monocoque body and chassis were designed together for a light, strong combination; LEDs to illuminate the storage space; a smattering of black checkerplate looks smart up front.

/D]LQJRQDQDOOXULQJSRVWFDUGSHUIHFW3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F island â&#x20AC;&#x201C; soaking up the sun, glistening white VDQGDQGD]XUHZDWHUV²LVDIDYRXULWHSDVWLPH for a myriad of tourists. $QGWKHDSWO\QDPHG3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHU&OXE Lounge is an on-road touring simile, which also evokes a laidback lifestyle. I realise the fully upholstered rear club lounge is somewhat space invading, but the trade-off is a luxurious setting. Oh, and a further compromise is the necessity of a mid-mount ensuite. Subsequently, the bedroom is divided from the kitchen and OLYLQJ]RQHV However, I liked the solitude of the sleeping quarters, which turns it into a private retreat. The bedroom is also a storage centre all of its own â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including under-bed, wardrobes and overhead areas. Meanwhile, the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;splitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ensuite reveals a smart GHVLJQE\WKH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHUWHDPDJDLQZLWK VXIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQWVWRZLQJVSDFHDQGDVSDFLRXVDQJOHG (or corner) shower with a glass door. The high volume of internal storage also includes wrap-around overhead cupboards above the rear club lounge where a telescopic WDEOHGURSVGRZQDQGZLWKWKHKHOSRIDQLQĂ&#x20AC;OO forms another berth (say for a grandchild). 7KHUH¡VSOHQW\RISDQDFKHSL]D]]DQGYHUYH associated with the stylish interior including the contemporary furniture, effective colour scheme DQG/('PRRGOLJKWLQJ$QGWKHUHDUHLQĂ DW screen TVs in the bedroom and lounge. On board the Islander are very welcome appliances including a Dometic 3kg front-loading washing machine, Thetford cooktop and mini grill and Waeco RPD-190 (two-door compressor IULGJHIUHH]HU DVZHOODVDVL[WLHUSXOORXW pantry. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m also impressed with its external traits like the monocoque-style construction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a one-piece


Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVVVDQGZLFKSDQHOIRUWKHZDOOVDQGURRI DQGDOVRWKHĂ RRU WKDWLVVWXUG\DQGZRQ¡WURW A Road Runner chassis and leaf spring suspension meet the demands of travelling on the bitumen, and external storage extends to a front toolbox with two compartments and two tunnel boots. And an Anderson plug on the nearside chassis rail provides somewhere to plug in portable solar panels. 7KH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F,VODQGHU&OXE/RXQJHKDVDOO the bells and whistles to appease any touring FRXSOHDQGLWH[HPSOLĂ&#x20AC;HVDQHDV\JRLQJDQG relaxed way of life.

PaciďŹ c Islander Club Lounge Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find


e m o c A wel If comfortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a priority, then the New Age Big Red BR19E with club lounge and slide-out may be the catalyst for your next grand adventure.




In brief... Bedroom slide-out On-road tourer Club lounge The caravan you want is now easier to find


he barriers to embracing adventure can YDU\DQGLIDGLVOLNHIRUFRQĂ&#x20AC;QHGTXDUWHUV is what's stopping you, then New Age's Big Red could be your way in. Pegged at around $80K, the New Age Big Red BR19E Slider provides a slide-out for space to walk around the east-west bed, making way for a full-width bathroom, large kitchen and U-shaped lounge. :LWKFRPIRUWVRĂ&#x20AC;UPO\SODFHGDWWKHIRUH Caravan World was keen to put it under the microscope at Best Aussie Vans. But did the MXGJHVDSSURYH"/HW VVHHZKDWWKH\VDLG



Clockwise from main: The Preston Chassis provides a sturdy foundation; the classic, easy 50mm ball hitch; quality rubber and alloy wheels; gas bottles protected en-route; high checkerplate at the rear offers protection against stones.


New Age has really hit the nail on the head with this one. I mean, it feels spacious and comfortable from the second you walk inside. Then you realise, hang on â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got a slider! Yep, it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the internal layout. For a while there it had me stumped as to how they could afford to offer such a big expensive feature for the asking SULFH6RPHWKLQJ¡VJRWWRJLYHULJKW":HOOWKH quality is all there. And being a full on-road caravan means it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be built like a Sherman tank, either. So I guess theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve saved a buck by sticking to good quality running gear without going overboard. AL-KO is the brand of choice for the 50mm full beam axles with leaf springs and drum brakes. Then thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the alloy rims with some decent rubber on them. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a massive payload out of the package, WKRXJK$QGWKHSO\ZRRGĂ RRUOHDYHVDELWWREH envied if you ask me â&#x20AC;&#x201C; modern materials seem to feel much sturdier on the foot these days. It all sits on a Preston Chassis, which are known for their quality and resilience. But all in all, I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great compromise between quality, features included and comfort.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;It feels spacious and comfortable from the second you walk inside. Then you realise, hang on â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got a slider.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg â&#x20AC;&#x201C;




The caravan you want is now easier to find

The New Age Big Red van was the only van that featured a slide-out in this year's Best Aussie Vans competition. This 6.3m van is an on-road model built in a very traditional style. The 6in galvanised chassis sits on a dual axle with leaf springs, 15in tyres and 10in brakes all round. The body panels consist of a meranti frame with ribbed alloy cladding with insulation between the outer and inner sheeting. A low skirt of checkerplate protects the panel work somewhat for its occasional forays onto a section of dirt road. The front entry door leads into the large club lounge area which takes up the front section of the van. The central section of the van is the kitchen area with all the normal appliances you've FRPHWRH[SHFW7KHQWKHUH VWKHODUJHTXHHQVL]H bed opposite the slide-out, which allows for a large screen TV to rise up from the wall opposite the bed at the switch of a button. At the back of the YDQWDNLQJXSWKHIXOOZLGWKZDVDJRRGVL]HG ensuite with separate shower and toilet, a vanity basin and a washing machine. While the Big Red sports a couple of 120Ah batteries, solar power was non-existent although I'm sure that could easily be added. As is, this New Age van can easily handle a night or two off the grid which could see you wander around Australia on the blacktop with few, if any, issues.


Clockwise from main: A wallmounted washer and curved benches optimise bathroom space; enjoy the open plan ambience with the sidefacing club lounge; an elegant curtain affords privacy without the weight of a door; strip lighting illuminates the kitchen benchtop.

New Age Big Red BR19E Weights and measures Overall length 8.4m (27ft 6in) External body length 6.38m (20ft 11in) External body width 2.5m (8ft 2in) Travel height approx. 2.92m (9ft 7in) Internal height 2.03m (6ft 8in) Tare 2650kg ATM 3050kg Payload 400kg Ball weight 210kg

External Frame Meranti Cladding Alucobond Chassis DuraGal Suspension Rocker roller (tandem axle) Coupling 50mm ball Brakes 10in Wheels 235/75 R15 Water 1x80L, 1x60L Battery 2x120Ah AGM Solar Solar provision Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier Gas 2x9kg bottles Sway control No

Internal Cooking Mini Grill Fridge 184L Microwave large Bathroom Ensuite Washing machine Mini front loader Hot water Gas/electric

Options ďŹ tted






WIFI router, powerpoints coupled with USB points throughout

Price as shown




More information To enquire about this caravan, please contact or phone 9305 1714








From the Big Red range of New Age caravans, this BR19E Slider is unique in this year’s BAV event in that it’s the only one with a slideout. Does that carry any advantage, given the price tag at about $80,000. Well mostly, only if interior space is a serious requirement and a front club lounge is highly desired. Because that’s what you get with this layout, along with a full-width rear bathroom and an adjoining east-west bed with the bedhead set into the slide-out providing room IRU WKH ODUJH ÁDWVFUHHQ 79 LQ WKH FXSERDUG

The caravan you want is now easier to find

Something else that is going to suit many buyers, is the fact that the living area, ie, the dinette/lounge and kitchen, is at the front of the van and the bedroom/bathroom is towards the rear. Slide-outs do add weight to the van, of course, in addition to the extra space. Which might explain why this model is one of the few at BAV with the standard payload of 400kg. Careful loading is therefore required, given the twin water tank capacity but it also means that a Nissan Patrol or similar is not the default tow vehicle.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any camping connoisseur will delight in its suite of mod cons.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Peter Quilty â&#x20AC;&#x201C;



Clockwise from main: The TV emerges from the cupboards at the push of a button; the Big Red was the only caravan with a slider at Best Aussie Vans; the ultimate happy hour accessory; tried and true springs deliver on road and at the tiller.


This value-for-money caravan emits a fair dollop of wow factor. Obviously, the real head-turner is the stately slide-out bedroom with an east-west bed. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really the piece de resistance of the vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lavish and spacious internal layout. In fact, when the slide-out is deployed, I reckon you receive almost an extra metre of living space. Moving around inside the van is effortless! Not only do you gain a heap of interior Ă RRUVSDFH EXW WKH LQ 79 RIIHUV D Âś*ROG &ODVV¡ cinema effect. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on a pop-up electric slide bracket that provides excellent viewing from the bed. Quite simply, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a room with a view! Now if the east-west bed to the front of a rear HQVXLWH FRQĂ&#x20AC;JXUDWLRQ IDLOV WR HOLFLW WKH FRPIRUWV of home, then the ultra-comfortable U-shaped lounge and a pragmatic kitchen with all the bells and whistles will seal the deal.

Any camping connoisseur will delight in its suite of mod cons. All in all, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a fully functional and well thought out interior design. I was also taken by the stylish full-width rear ensuite complete with the convenience of a mini-washer, along with an up-to-the-minute curved benchtop. Attention to detail is a hallmark of this contemporary New Age van, and that is evidenced in the quality glossy cabinetry, mirrored robes and LED strip lighting under the overhead cabinets. Externally, the BR19E Slider looks resplendent bedecked in ali-comp cladding, with high checkerplate at the front. Other nice touches on the Big Red are the massive two-compartment toolbox on the A-frame, gal-lined tunnel boot and a centre support bracket for the awning.

Judges’ notebook NEW AGE BIG RED BR19E

LIVEABILITY “The BR19E Slider is blessed with a large front U-shaped lounge which is the epitome of comfort. And the slide-out, when deployed, just makes walking throughout a breeze.” – Peter Quilty

LAYOUT “A good layout enhanced by the slide-out.” – Ron Moon

QUALITY OF FINISH “Great attention to detail internally with quality fixtures and fittings and tidy electrical work for the most part.” – Michael Borg

New Age Big Red BR19E Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find


The Olympic Javelin X8 delivers touring comforts off the grid.






In brief... Off-the-grid capability Internal and external cooking Cruisemaster suspension The caravan you want is now easier to find


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Structurally, the main chassis sports some top workmanship with premium quality welds throughout.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Michael Borg â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

lthough new to the market, the Olympic Javelin X8 quickly hit its stride with a smart package geared to the long-term tourer, riding on a solid foundation. The roll-out kitchen will draw crowds at camp but did it leave our tough audience at Best Aussie 9DQVLPSUHVVHG"/HW¡VĂ&#x20AC;QGRXWDQGVHH




7KH-DYHOLQ;ORRNHGOLNHDĂ DVKELWRIJHDU from the second it rolled into camp. It seemed well made on the inside and out, and sports a genuinely comfortable feel as you step inside. ,W¡VFODVVLĂ&#x20AC;HGDVDVHPLRIIURDGPRGHO+RZHYHU a few clues suggest itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more an on-road model with upgraded suspension, which is great if you QHHGWRFUXLVHXSDJUDYHORUJD]HWWHGGLUWURDG but not ideal if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a little more adventurous.

:K\GR,VD\WKDW":HOO,WKLQNFRUUXJDWLRQV would tangle those Roman blinds inside in no time at all, and I spotted a fairly large gap between the bedroom cabinetry and the front VWRUDJHELQ²HDVLO\Ă&#x20AC;[HGEXWGXO\QRWHG Structurally, the main chassis sports some top workmanship with premium quality welds throughout, and nobodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s introduced any weak points by drilling holes into anything structural HLWKHU%XWWKHROGSO\ZRRGĂ RRUZLWKWHFK screws punching through the bottom is getting a bit dated these days. And while Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m stoked it comes standard with three 100Ah batteries as standard, the massive big battery box does nothing to help with ground clearance in its current location. In saying all that, it would be a great choice for somebody looking for an on-road van with a bit more mongrel than most.


Clockwise from top: In it for the long haul; the toolbox lid enjoys checkerplate protection; proven Cruisemaster suspension; security mesh, a door light and speaker offer comfort and safety on balmy nights; no water-wasting corners on that round sink and the barbecue in the slide-out has a hood.

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Judgesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notebook

TOWABILITY â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pleasingly, this rock-solid van ďŹ&#x201A;oats like a butterďŹ&#x201A;y â&#x20AC;&#x201C; albeit we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stretch it to the absolute limit.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Peter Quilty

LIVEABILITY â&#x20AC;&#x153;A very liveable van with good features for resort living or off the grid.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Ron Moon

CREATURE COMFORTS â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the creature comforts is the island bed length. At 1.9m (6ft 3in), itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 50mm (2in) longer than most beds, yet the walk around space is still quite good. Included in the normal bathroom ďŹ ttings is a front loading washing machine. Outside there is the slide-out kitchen.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Malcolm Street


This semi-offroad 22ft van is built on a fully galvanised 6in chassis and rides on a dual-axle independent suspension backed up by single shocks and 12in electric brakes all round, while 15in all-terrain rubber keeps contact with mother earth. While you can have the option of aluminium cladding or composite panels for the body of the van our unit was of insulated composite construction with a lower skirt of black checkerplate for those offroad forays the van is designed to handle. While the Tare is 2625kg, the ATM is a respectable 3200kg giving a payload of 575kg meaning this van is really meant to be towed behind something like a LandCruiser or similar. The rear entry door of this Javelin opens into the NLWFKHQDUHDZLWKWKHIXOOVL]HHQVXLWHFRPSOHWH with washing machine, immediately to the rear. The well equipped and smart looking kitchen with its formed benchtops includes a 215L two-way fridge which in my opinion is the only way to go when travelling northern Australia. The front section of the van is taken up by a TXHHQVL]HGOLIWXSEHG IRUHYHQPRUHVWRUDJH  framed by a robe on each side. The van has a slide-out kitchen for outside living and with its impressive battery storage (3x100Ah) and solar panels (2x150W) plus two 95L water tanks and a grey water tank you are well set up to stay anywhere for an extended amount of time.




Clockwise from top: Gear stays put en route thanks to divisions in the overhead lockers, while the large two-way fridge works well up north; gas struts for accessing gear under the bed; the full-width rear bathroom is pretty darned snazzy; Roman blinds add style throughout.

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Olympic’s Javelin X8 is in many respects a fairly conventional caravan – tandem axles with Vehicle Components CRS independent suspension and a timber frame with composite panel construction. Olympic classes its Javelin X8 as a semi offroader meaning it is good for gravel roads and bush tracks but nothing too serious. Apart from anything else, the ground clearance is an issue but that’s not really a problem for what this van is designed for. What is a little surprising, is the remote travel capability. With three 100Ah deep cycle batteries, two 150W solar panels and two 95L water tanks, living off the grid really isn’t going to be too much of a problem. That is aided by the Javelin’s payload capacity of 575kg. More conventional is the internal layout with a full-width rear bathroom, front island bed, mid-station kitchen and cafe-style dinette. It’s all designed to offer a relatively spacious lifestyle, with the van being 6.7m (22ft) long. With a price tag around $76,000, it’s handy that although the van is really in LandCruiser/ Patrol towing territory it could also be towed by the slightly cheaper range of ute vehicles currently available on the market.


Clockwise from top: Press a little further without fear; external lockers are keyed for your muddy valuables; a TV mount in plain view from the bed.

Olympic Javelin X8 Weights and measures Overall length 8.5m (27ft 11in) External body length 6.56m (21ft 6in) External body width 2.34m (7ft 8in) Travel height 3m (9ft 10in) Internal height 1.96m (6ft 5in) Tare 2625kg ATM 3200kg Payload 575kg Ball weight 200kg

“Caravanners with a culinary bent will be ecstatic with the dual kitchen configuration.” – Peter Quilty –

External Frame Meranti Cladding Aluminium composite Chassis 6in SupaGal Preston Chassis Suspension Cruisemaster independent coil Coupling DO35 Brakes 12in electric Wheels 15in alloys, with 235/75 R15 all-terrain tyres Water 2x80L (fresh); 1x95L (grey) Battery 3x100Ah Solar 2x120W Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier Gas 2x9kg Sway control AL-KO ESC

Internal Cooking Swift four-burner cooktop/grill/oven Fridge Waeco 213L RPD-215 compressor Microwave NCE 25L Bathroom Thetford ceramic bowl swivel toilet, with full-height one-piece fibreglass shower Washing machine Dometic 3kg front-loader Hot water Suburban 23L gas/electric


Options fitted NA

Price as shown



$75,990 (on-road, Vic)

More information To inquire about this caravan, please visit au or phone 03 9357 6695









Olympic Caravans has unveiled a worthy torchbearer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the semi-offroad Javelin X8. ,WEXUVWVRXWRIWKHEORFNVZLWKVHOIVXIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQW attributes such as a Swift al fresco kitchen slideout, Dometic front-loading washing machine, exterior shower, and a full rear ensuite. And its semi-offroad status stems from a 6in Supagal Preston chassis and Cruisemaster independent coil suspension. Meanwhile, the vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s off-grid prowess is showcased by three 100Ah batteries, dual 120W solar panels, and a water tank threesome (2x80L fresh; 1x95L grey). 7KHWUDLOEOD]LQJ-DYHOLQ;DOVRZLQVWKH external race with a lockable front boot, entertainment hatch, and a rear hatch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all complementing the pull-out barbecue and exterior shower. $QGLWKLWVWKHĂ&#x20AC;QLVKOLQHKDUGZLWKDWUHQG\ interior that comprises a full raft of mod cons and creature comforts. Caravanners with a culinary bent will be HFVWDWLFZLWKWKHGXDONLWFKHQFRQĂ&#x20AC;JXUDWLRQ Obviously, you can whip up a feast in the fresh

air given the pull-out barbecue with sink, but if preparing meals indoors is your whim then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re catered for perfectly. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m taken with the amount of post-formed benchtop space, all adorned in an eye-catching laminate. And I relished the classy contrast between the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Arcticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; overhead cupboard doors and the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Graphiteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lower doors. The kitchen has bountiful storage, a continual theme throughout the van, and the overhead cupboards have dividers and shell-lock handles. A good nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s slumber is assured in the spiffy IURQWEHGURRPWKDQNVWRDFDUDYDQTXHHQVL]HG bed with innerspring mattress and supportive slat base. And you can pack away travel garments to your heartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s content. 7KHVQD]]\OLYLQJURRPKDVDFDIHGLQHWWH bedecked in black upholstery, with footrests and headrests for added comfort, and the full rear ensuite certainly gives off plenty of swagger. Surely a maxim for the Javelin X8 is â&#x20AC;&#x153;value for money, off-grid capability, creature comfortsâ&#x20AC;?. Burning bright as the Olympic torch, the trendsetting Javelin X8 appears certain to light up the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;caravanning cauldronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

Olympic Javelin X8 Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find




Buil t


Bespoke yet proven, light yet strong, the Legend Trackline Off-Road pulls it together at Best Aussie Vans 2017.

In brief... Made-to-measure Alloy frame G&S Control Rider suspension The caravan you want is now easier to find


“The weight’s kept under check thanks to the full aluminium chassis designed to add plenty of strength.” – Michael Borg – eter Quilty, our BAV judge who took the Legend Trackline Off-Road for a spin mere months before, reckoned it was just begging for tougher terrain. Fast forward to Best Aussie Vans where, under the intense scrutiny of our judging panel, the Trackline earned many plaudits for its strengthto-weight ratio, offroad potential, tour-ability and comforts off-the-grid. So what was it that VWRRGRXW"5HDGRQ



ONE TOUGH TOURER The Trackline Off-Road from Legend is a pretty cool bit of gear. Designed to be the perfect compromise between a luxury tourer and an offroad beast, it’s a great blend for the adventurous at heart. A quick glance at the chassis and you just know it means business. It all sits on a 6in Aussie-made chassis with a 4in riser, which is pretty standard these days, but it runs a few extra support beams which


go a heck of a long way in terms of strength and offroad reliability. While there’s adequate clearance, I would have liked to see a tad more protection for the undercarriage. It’s got bash SODWHVÀWWHGEXWWKHUH·VHOHFWULFDOZLULQJDQG plumbing pipes left exposed under there that are just begging to be torn off at some point. In saying all that, I thought the suspension system was a massive strong point for this caravan. It’s made by G&S, and is a seriously WRXJKORRNLQJELWRIJHDUWKDWMXVWRR]HV strength and ability. I like the mounting position of the shock absorbers – 90 degree angle, which I prefer to slanted versions these days. Weight wise, it scales in at a handy 2400kg while maintaining a 3500kg ATM, so you’ve got a well appointed 1100kg payload – perfect for touring! The weight’s kept in check thanks to the full aluminium chassis designed to add plenty of strength to the whole package.


Judges’ notebook

Clockwise from top left: Managing weights matters in an offroad offering; the DO35 provides excellent articulation; gas cylinders are pre-plumbed and located close to the body to minimise exposure; G&S Control Rider suspension; a drop-down table.

VALUE FOR MONEY “At just under $75K, it’s attractively priced for a dyed-in-the-wool offroader. What you get is a ruggedly handsome exterior combined with a sparkling interior.” – Peter Quilty

SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED PURPOSE “Hits the mark spot on! Very good offroad suspension (G&S), [and the] offroad facility (gas, water, solar, batteries) is as good as you would need for many days.” – Ron Moon

BUILD QUALITY “Aluminium frame and composite walls, battle-ready chassis, G&S suspension – it’s right up there … thought the plywood floor was a little under-kill compared to the rest of it, though.” – Michael Borg

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Clockwise from top: The lockers are rubber-lined; the luxe interior of this van belies its offroad intent, with the rather large 190L fridge sitting just behind the dinette; the footrests are reinforced with steel.


This is an impressive beast of an offroad van representing great value for money in a package where the body length is just under 6m long. Travel height is just a touch over 3m and while the Tare is 2400kg the GVM is 3.5 tonne giving LWDSD\ORDGRINJDQGSXWWLQJLWGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ into â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Cruiser or big rig tow territory. The chassis is a 6in G&S Supagal frame riding on a G&S Control Rider independent dual-axle coil suspension which is backed up by 12in brakes all round. Finishing off the ride department, 16in alloy wheels are shod with allterrain tyres. The body of the van is built around a fully welded alloy frame and covered in smooth, good looking ali-comp cladding which is, of course, LQVXODWHG%HĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJDQRIIURDGYDQDQGDGGLQJ to the tough, go-anywhere look, the bottom section of the walls are all covered in tough checkerplate. ,QVLGHWKHVWURQJRXWHUVKHOO\RXZLOOĂ&#x20AC;QGDOO the luxuries and top quality appliances youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need for an extended trip around our great continent or for a long stays camped beside a river in our mountains. The practical kitchen KDVDIRXUEXUQHUJDVWRSDIXOOVL]HRYHQDQG microwave with a 190L three-way fridge with sturdy cupboards and drawers and smart marble-looking benchtops. Across the back end of the van is a roomy ensuite while down the IURQWHQGLVDODUJHTXHHQVL]HGEHG Off-grid capability is impressive to say the least (even if there is no outside kitchen) with not only two 150W solar panels and two 120Ah AGM batteries but also two 95L water tanks and one 120L grey water tank. What more can I say, except... I want one!


“What more can I say, except... I want one!” – Ron Moon –



If the aim of building the Trackline was for an offroad van that’s not excessively heavy, has just about all the desired contemporary features and a comfortable living interior, then Legend has achieved it for the most part. Underneath the van, the independent VXVSHQVLRQ DQG JURXQG FOHDUDQFH VDWLVÀHV WKH offroad part of things. While still underneath, the RHS railed chassis with C section cross members shows some effort at weight reduction. Fitting the comfortable lifestyle component is the front island bed and rear bathroom layout.

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It comes with all the essentials and more, best illustrated by the neatly recessed hinged footrests at the end of the cafe dinette seating. It doesn’t stop there of course, outside on the drawbar is a slide-out barbecue on one side and a slide-out for a generator on the other – both enclosed in checkerplate storage boxes. For remote travel, the two 120Ah deep cycle batteries, two 150W solar panels and two 95L water tanks ensure the facility to stay away from civilisation for an extended period of time. Adding to all of that is the simple fact that the Trackline van has a good look about it as well.


Clockwise from left: The Italian buttonless handles are easy to use and look smart; a short A-frame helps when negotiating winding terrain; two jerries out back for fuel or extra water supplies.

Legend Trackline Off-Road Weights and measures Overall length 8.33m (27ft 4in) External body length 5.98m (19ft 7in) External body width 2.5m (8ft 2in) Travel height 3.03m (9ft 11in) Internal height 1.96m (6ft 5in) Tare 2400kg ATM 3500kg Payload 1100kg Ball weight 143kg

External Frame Aluminium (walls and roof) Cladding Aluminium composite Chassis 6in G&S Suspension G&S Control Rider TS Coupling Vehicle Components Hitchmaster DO35 Brakes 12in electric Wheels Vault 16in alloys with 265/75 R16 tyres Water 2x95L (fresh); 1x120L (grey) Battery 2x120Ah AGM Solar 2x150W Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier Gas 2x9kg Sway control No (optional)

Internal Cooking Swift four-burner cooktop (all gas) and full oven Fridge Dometic RMDX21 three-way fridge-freezer 190L Microwave Sphere 25L Bathroom Full-width with Thetford toilet and fibreglass shower Washing machine Sphere 3.2kg top-loader Hot water Suburban gas/electric 22.6L






Options fitted QUEEN BED



Price as shown $74,990 (driveway, Vic)

More information SHOWER ROBE


To enquire about this caravan, please visit or phone (03) 8339 2860




The tough-as-teak Legend Trackline Off-Road gives the distinct impression it could sustain some real punishment on our iconic outback WUDLOV$ERQDĂ&#x20AC;GHRIIURDGEUXWHWKH7UDFNOLQH boasts a ruggedly handsome exterior combined with a sparkling interior â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it really is a rough diamond. One of its key external attributes is an offroad aluminium frame which, on a pound-for-pound basis, offers greater strength than a timber frame and is rotresistant. Its offroad capability starts with a lightweight but sturdy 6in G&S Supagal chassis, with a 4in riser that provides excellent ground clearance. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also plenty of front of van protection supplied by a stoneshield and high checkerplate. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s matched by dual 120Ah AGM batteries, two 95L fresh water tanks and a 120L grey water tank, and twin 150W roofmounted solar panels. Another plus is its full under-body DUPRXUHQVXULQJDLUĂ RZGRHVQ¡WJHWFDXJKW up in the water tanks, plumbing and so on. From an internal perspective, I admired

the voluminous storage provided by the screwed-in overhead lockers, robes with cutouts, dressers and under-bed area, which can DOVREHDFFHVVHGDWĂ RRUOHYHO An additional highlight is that all acrylic cupboard doors are rubber-lined and have exclusive chrome, button-less, user-friendly Italian square handles. A modern and practical internal galley has almost all the culinary requisites, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also an external kitchen complete with a slide-out Weber Q. Meanwhile, a stylish and relaxing four-seater cafe dinette KDVXSKROVWHU\PDWFKLQJUHFHVVHGĂ LSRXW footrests with steel bi-fold latches for added support. And a contemporary rear full-width ensuite features a recessed top-loading ZDVKLQJPDFKLQHĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVVKRZHUZLWK opaque door for added privacy, and an oval-shaped washbasin built into the vanity benchtop. Undoubtedly, the Legend Trackline Off-Road is a made-to-measure offroader for tackling the outback and trekking towards uncharted territory.

Legend Trackline Off-Road Michael Borg

Ron Moon

Malcolm Street

Peter Quilty

1. Value for money 2. Self-sufficiency 3. Liveability 4. Suitability for intended touring 5. Layout 6. Quality of finish 7. Build quality 8. Creature comforts 9. Innovation 10. The X-factor The caravan you want is now easier to find


r e n n i w “A bona fide offroad brute, the Trackline boasts a ruggedly handsome exterior combined with a sparkling interior – it really is a rough diamond.” – Peter Quilty –



L 114


Automatic Satellite System

Just Turn On, Press “OK” And the Signal locks Within 80 Seconds! The SatKing ProMax Fully Automatic Motorised Satellite TV system is the most advanced satellite TV system on the market. The unit has a dual output LNB and suits both Foxtel and VAST satellite TV, just plug in your existing satellite receiver or purchase one of our new SatKing VAST receivers to be watching TV across Australia. Utilising the latest in flat panel design, the unit is compact using a very small amount of area on the roof of the van but yet very powerful. Adding to this the Pro Max has recently been upgraded to now provide Australia wide coverage (excluding the tip of Cape York) for all VAST and Foxtel channels. Also the unit is already MPEG4 HD unlike many other units on the market that are only MPEG2 that will stop working in the future.

Main Features: • Fully automatic with built in 24 Channel GPS for fast signal locating • Supports VAST and Foxtel Satellite TV across Australia • Automatic retraction once you are travelling above 10KPH • Suits Caravan, Motorhome and Motor Vehicle use • Easy to install and simple to Use, just turn it on and press “Ok” • 1300 Number Help Line to assist you along the way

To find your closest SatKing Dealer go to: or phone 1300 139 255


Researchers are still uncovering the riches of our fossilised sea! PICS DAVID COOK, SUPPLIED


ight now, Australia is a hotbed for prehistoric research, particularly in central and northern Queensland, with almost all of it accessible to those towing a travelling. 7HDPVDUHVWLOOĂ&#x20AC;QGLQJIRVVLOLVHGVSHFLPHQV in sandstones and shale deposits formed in a former vast inland sea, extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria to central Queensland, northern NSW and South Australia. %HIRUHWKHDUFKDHRORJLFDOERRPĂ&#x20AC;QGVZHUH often made by property owners but, in the past 20 years, concerted efforts are uncovering evidence of a whole new world of creatures dating to the age of dinosaurs in far-reaching outcrops and on featureless plains. Many varieties of species have been found in the waters, shores and on islands of this inland



Special Feature Beneath the surface

sea, including huge sauropod dinosaurs, with their long necks and tails making them among the largest ever to have walked the earth. Meateating theropods have also been uncovered, some similar to the famous T-Rex, others VLPLODULQVL]HWRDFKLFNHQZLQJHGSWHURVDXUV and huge marine reptiles. Travellers can now HQMR\WKHVHĂ&#x20AC;QGVDQGHYHQSDUWDNHLQGLJJLQJV or the preparation of the fossils. Richmond was home to the Kronosaurus Korner and has a statue and a museum GLVSOD\LQJORFDOĂ&#x20AC;QGV.URQRVDXUXVZDVDODUJH marine predator, growing to 11m in length, with a head more than 2m in length full of huge teeth. Its best known specimen â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Krisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; was dug up by an American expedition in 1932 and restored in 1959, when a family donated funds to Harvard University. In Lark Quarry, 110km south-west of :LQWRQ\RX¡OOĂ&#x20AC;QGHYLGHQFHRIDIRRWSULQW stampede, caused by small panic-stricken dinosaurs attempting to escape a large twolegged carnivore. The footprints, left in mud around the edge of a lake, are housed and preserved for all to see.

Main: Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need more than just a bigger boat if you wanted to hook a Kronosaurus. Bottom: The size of the vertebra found give an indication of the total size of the now extinct species.

Our big cat Mt Isa is home to the amazing fossils of Riversleigh Station (Boodjamulla National Park), dating from 25 to 15Ma. Many belong to marsupial ancestors of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current and extinct fauna, including the Wakaleo, illustrated below by Anne Musser (Australian Museum). You can even visit this fossil site, north-west of Mt Isa.

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Special Feature Beneath the surface Main: Unfortunately fossils are found in rocks, not on easy to work with computer desks.

Our inland sea

,Q :LQWRQ WKH +HULWDJH/LVWHG &RUĂ&#x20AC;HOG DQG )LW]PDXULFH JHQHUDO VWRUH KROGV D FROOHFWLRQ RI dinosaur and other fossil remains. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Central Queensland is a real gem, found 13km south of Winton and 12km off the Landsborough Highway on a gravel road. The museum runs tours of its fossil preparation area and exhibits. If you are super-keen, you can join the museum

staff in preparing specimens for display, or join a Ă&#x20AC;HOG H[SHGLWLRQ WR GLJ IRU GLQRVDXU UHPDLQV West to Boulia is another collection of dinosaur-aged marine fossils from an area well away from any remains of land living organisms. Here, (and the Kronosaurus Corner), youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll learn of the recent rare discovery of an early dino-bird evolving from dinosaur ancestors.

Australian age of dinosaurs Just about anyone can dig for fossils thanks to efforts of grazier David Elliott. David discovered a fossilised bone in 1999 mustering on his property, Belmont, near Winton, which was later identiďŹ ed as a partial femur from a huge sauropod. Inspired, David and his wife worked with the Winton community to ensure similar ďŹ nds were safely preserved and as a result the Australian Age of Dinosaurs not-for-proďŹ t-organisation was formed, with the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum opening in 2009 on donated land. Volunteers and patrons of the museum threw the door wide open on local dinosaur excavations in Australia, producing a ďŹ&#x201A;ood of specimens from the area around Winton. The whole view on the Cretaceous periodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fauna has changed drastically, all due to the enthusiasm and determination of one grazier and his wife.


Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fossilised inland sea formed during global ďŹ&#x201A;oods 145 million years ago (Ma). At the time, Australia was attached to Antarctica, as a part of the global supercontinent Gondwana. But narrow seaways on our southern and western margins were forming the rift that would cause us to shift north-east. Despite our location, the climate was much warmer, with tropical conditions as far south as latitude 70° (lower than Tasmania today) and the mean average temperature 10-15°C warmer than today. Sedimentary deposits formed, trapping the animal remains living in and around the waters. Those sediments hold the waters of our Great Artesian Basin.

Introducing Trakmaster’s latest addition to their range of fixed design offroad caravans. Following the long tradition of building offroad caravans that are high quality, tough and extremely capable, the Pilbara S takes the best, most popular of the layout designs and sits as a package ready and waiting for your next adventure. The Pilbara S incorporates 5 full height layouts at 15’10” x 7’, two 16’10” x 7’6”, 18’6” x 7’6” and 19’6’ x 7’6” with all the basics plus a few extras to make your travels just that bit more comfortable. Hand built to the same craftsmanship standards as any Trakmaster’s custom built caravans, the Pilbara S is built like a custom caravan without all the hassle.

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For more information contact Trakmaster today! 29-31 Waldheim Rd, Bayswater, VIC 3153 Ph: (03) 9720 0822 |

Simple Budget-busting DIY mods and clever campsite ďŹ xes to make your camping life easier than ever â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and all on the cheap. PICS GLENN WARDLE


n camping, as in many things in life, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the little things that make the difference. It could be those sand pegs you packed to support your annexe sidewall or the roll of duct tape that proves itself invaluable after hundreds of kays of corrugations, or perhaps itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the 12V lighting you rigged up in your storage bins so you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to rummage around in the dark anymore. The more time you spend on the road, the more you learn what you do and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need, and you begin to appreciate the simple items that can make camping life just that bit easier. These days, most vans come with all the travel necessities, but sometimes thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still little changes or additions that would better suit the way you want to live on the road. After all, everyone likes things done a little differently. There are heaps of really easy, low-cost campsite Ă&#x20AC;[HVWKDWFDQUHVXOWLQDPRUHFRPIRUWDEOH convenient or user-friendly camping setup, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got some ideas for the handyperson, sourced from campers who appreciate the elegance of a simple (and cheap) solution.


Budget Touring DIY campsite ďŹ xes

MULTI-PURPOSE MILK CRATE Kim and Paul from Bacchus Marsh, Vic, like to keep things simple. In line with this ethos, when travelling in their Blue Sky caravan they always throw in their recycled milk crate, which serves multiple uses, saving on valuable packing space. The crate is used as a table under the awning, DQH[WUDVHDWDURXQGWKHFDPSĂ&#x20AC;UHDVWHSWR reach the car roof and a storage box on the road. They used cable ties to attach a square of thick rubber matting to the base of the crate â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an ohso-simple and super cheap solution that makes it more comfortable to sit on and provides a more solid base for their drinks when used as a table.


OCCY STRAP SHEET TIE-DOWNS Kim and Paul were sick of their sheets ending up in a pile at the top of their bed whenever they lifted the mattress to access the under-bed storage or travelled to a new camp, and their solution is straightforward yet ingenious. They fasten an occy strap diagonally across either end of their mattress, hooked in place to the bars underneath the bed base. This holds the sheets in place at all times, including while they sleep. Problem solved!

CAMP CHAIR CARRIERS Clockwise from left: Finding cheaper solutions to camping niggles means you can afford to spend more time on the road; the humble milk crate serves multiple purposes for Kim and Paul; Davidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s camp chair stowaway method is genius; rogue bed sheets will never misbehave again.

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Stuck for a good way to stop your camp chairs VOLGLQJDERXWZKHQVWRZHG"'DYLG6PLWKIURP Geelong, Vic, has a solution. David mounted two short off-cuts of poly pipe with caps on one end to the rear door of his Tommy camper. With the capped end at the bottom, the poly pipe acts as a base for the chair legs to slot into while bungee cord is looped across the top of the chairs and attaches to rope buttons to keep them in place.


Budget Touring DIY campsite ďŹ xes

CAMP TOASTER REVAMP David bought a camp toaster and found it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite cut the mustard, or toast the bread to his liking, for that matter. Instead of going out to buy a different design, he decided a simple mod could solve the problem. He went through the shed and found a spare hose clamp and fencing wire, which he bent up and twisted around the clamp to hold it in place. He then attached it to the base of the original toaster and says their toast is now crisped to perfection in no time.

GAS CYLINDER HOLDER Many vans have purpose-built storage for gas cylinders, but if you want to carry an extra, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a cheap solution for securing it. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need a ratchet strap tie-down set with hooks at either end, heavy-duty needle and thread, and WZRFDUJRFRQWUROVWXGĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJVRUVLPLODUZLWKD base that you screw onto something solid and a removable ring to attach the ratchet strap. Transform the strap into a holder by sewing DORRSWRĂ&#x20AC;WWKHF\OLQGHUQHFNZLWKWZRVKRUW lengths coming off it. One of these should be the hook end of the strap, which will hook onto WKHULQJRIRQHRIWKHVWXGĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJVWKHRWKHU will thread through the ratchet mechanism. Sew the ratchet end of the strap to the loop of WKHVHFRQGVWXGĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJ7KHKROGHUQHHGVWR EH strong, so sew accordingly. Depending on where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re storing it, you may also need some rubber matting to sit under your cylinder to stop it rattling. Add a bike lock for extra security.



could be put to use in your car or as a way to divide or hold items in place in your vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s storage compartments. All you need is a good length of rope, the ability to tie a few simple knots and some rope buttons or other fasteners WRKROGWKHĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHGQHWLQSODFH7KHDUHD pictured is 55x80cm and took approximately 30m of rope. A quick Google search will bring up some good options for easy macramĂŠ knots that serve the purpose well.

JERRY CAN HOLDER Planning on carrying a few extra jerries on your trip"&UHDWHDVLPSOHDQGORZFRVWKROGHUIRU your car roofrack or van drawbar by building a lightweight rectangular wooden box with a strap to hold the jerry in place. Measure your jerry to get the right dimensions and then cut a sheet of marine ply, or similar, to length. Glue and screw your box together, and then top off with a lick of paint and attach a length of strap with a fastener. Use a couple of bolts and washers to secure it to your rig then glue some rubber matting into the base so the bolts donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rub against the jerry can in transit.


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PORTABLE 12V CAMPING LIGHT Sure, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a light on the outside of your YDQEXWZKDWLI\RX¡UHVLWWLQJDURXQGWKHĂ&#x20AC;UH RUZDQWVRPHOLJKWIXUWKHUDZD\IURP\RXUULJ" Create your own portable light with a 12V LED downlight, a length of garden lighting cable (10m is about right, but go for longer if you want more distance), a switch, a 12V cigarette lighter plug and a soldering iron. Solder the plug and the downlight onto the cable and install the switch. An empty yoghurt container makes a great shade to better disperse the light â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just cut a hole in the lid and thread through the cable.

EMERGENCY YABBIE NET Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve arrived at camp and discovered a creek stocked with yabbies but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got nothing WRFDWFKWKHPZLWK'LVDVWHU"1RWDWDOO/RRN DURXQG\RXUFDPS²\RX¡OOEHDPD]HGDWZKDW you can pull together. For this net, Glenn used the shaft of the collapsible shovel as a handle, WKHDUPVRIWKHMDIĂ HLURQDVWKHIUDPHIRUWKH QHWDPHVKĂ \QHWWRWUDSWKH\DEELHVDQG lengths of cord to tie it all together. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll all be happy to know that he successfully brought in a haul of yabbies.

POLY PIPE ROD AND POLE CARRIER TKLVRQH¡VDFDPSHU VFODVVLFIRUVWRULQJĂ&#x20AC;VKLQJ rods or extra awning poles and can easily be attached across the rear of your van or down the side of your carâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roofrack. Cut a length of poly SLSHWRVL]HDQGJOXHDQHQGFDSRQWRRQHHQG Use a screw-on cap for the other end for easy access to your gear. Keep your stuff secure by GULOOLQJDKROHWKURXJKWKHVLGHVRIWKHFDSWRĂ&#x20AC;W a bolt. Then drill a hole through the threaded end of the bolt to padlock it in place. Attach it to your rig using hose clamps.



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Cheap and easy! Clockwise from main: Don’t leave home without a collapsible bucket; you never know when you’ll need your DIY toolkit; wood blocks level a van at camp; a kindling bag for firewood; homemade jerry can holder; cargo nets can hold and divide; a ratchet strap is easily transformed into a gas cylinder holder; DIY camp toaster.

Here are some must-have accessories that should be on your packing list. These items are cheap, serve multiple purposes and have a big seal of approval from seasoned campers. Collapsible buckets: Perhaps not as cheap as their more solid counterparts, these guys win on ease of storage, are light, durable, come in all shapes and sizes, and are perfect for anything from washing your laundry to holding your catch of fish. Wood blocks: Ideal for levelling your van, a couple of wood blocks can also be used as a base for your jack if you need to change a tyre, a stand for your camp oven, or a seat by the fire. Spray bottle with detergent: This one is perfect for finding punctures in tyres but, you know what, it’s also pretty tops for cleaning your kitchen benches, too! Kindling bag: The perfect way to keep your van neat and tidy while carrying some essential firewood for your campfire. Stock it full and store it where you can. A good tarp: You really can’t go past a good tarp in your camping kit.


Use it for extra shade, to keep things dry, wrap your wood in it, the list goes on… Bungee balls: Pick up a packet of bungee cords with toggle balls and secure them to the end of your annexe walls to give more leeway in the wind. They’re also excellent for securing things like poles together. Rags: Throw in a stash of rags – either old sheets or towels or cheap microfibre cloths. Perfect for wiping down muddy camping gear, mechanical checks and general cleaning. DIY and quick fix essentials: There are some items you just can’t go past for easy campsite mods and fixes. Pack duct tape, ropes, tie down straps, heavy-duty needle and thread, wire, cable ties and zip ties. You never know when they might come in handy!

Budget Touring DIY campsite ďŹ xes

QUICK ACCESS FISHING ROD HOLDER For even easier access to your rods at camp, strap up a couple of lengths of rope or bungee cord between the grab handles of your car and twist them around themselves a couple of times. Do two â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one across the rear seats and a second in the boot area and then string your rigged up rods between them so theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ready to go as soon as you arrive at your preferred Ă&#x20AC;VKLQJKROH

Clockwise from above: Privacy curtains are cheap and easy to sew; hook the curtain â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; around your door handles; no more ďŹ shing around in compartments for your rods with this storage trick; the poly pipe rod is a camperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s classic; look out yabbies â&#x20AC;&#x201C; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re coming for you with our DIY net; a 12V portable light.

CURTAINS AND SHADE SCREENS Our curtains provide privacy at camp as we often sleep in the car, but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also excellent for security purposes when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re leaving the car parked full of valuables. Simply measure two pieces of fabric to run along the sides of the car from behind the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seats to the very rear. Pin and then sew a loop along one length of each curtain to thread onto stretchy curtain wire and attach in place using the hooks. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not up for sewing, buy some cheap UHĂ HFWLYHZLQGRZVKDGHVFXWWRVL]HDQGXVH double-sided Velcro to hold in place. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll keep the sun out as well as hide your valuables.

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Budget Touring DIY campsite fixes

LED CAMP LIGHT BARS Perfect for lighting storage compartments or your campsite, you can buy a kit of LED camp light bars including the required wiring online for next to nothing. Rig them up using glue or cable ties wherever needed, then connect to a power source and you won’t be digging around in the dark anymore.

QUICK FIX GLASSES STRAP Clockwise from top: Make fumbling in the dark a thing of the past with LED camp light bars; here’s an easy way to save your sunnies.

TKHODVWWKLQJ\RXZDQWDV\RXKRRNXSDÀVK is to lose your sunglasses into the water in your excitement. Grab a short piece of thin cord or twine and knot it onto either arm of your sunnies – they won’t be going anywhere.




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Tumbarumba, NSW

Fifty shades of Emma Ryan discovers the town of Tumbarumba, tucked in the verdant foothills of the Snowy Mountains. WORDS EMMA RYAN PICS LIUDMILA SMELYANSKAYA

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t doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter from which direction you arrive in Tumbarumba, the drive will take your breath away. From the north, through the charming riverside town of Tumut, the apple orchids of Batlow and the lush rolling countryside that connects them. From the east, YLD.RVFLXV]NR1DWLRQDO3DUNZLWKLWVSULVWLQH forests of snow gum, its wild brumbies (the stuff of literary legend), and that incredible feat of engineering, the Snowy Hydro Scheme and the alpine lakes and dams that go with it. From the south, you travel via idyllic hamlets dotted along the mighty Murray River, and upon sweeping open roads, where productive cattle country sprawls under the watchful eye of the Snowy 0RXQWDLQVVWLOOIXOĂ&#x20AC;OOLQJWKHLUQDPHVDNHGXULQJ our visit in October. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re thinking this route between Sydney and Melbourne sounds a whole lot more interesting than the tired old Hume Highway, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be absolutely right. But more than just a convenient halfway point between Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest cities, Tumbarumba is a wonderful destination in its own right, particularly for the caravan and motorhome crowd. From low-cost campsites which are amongst the best Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve encountered, to interesting history, wonderful local produce, award winning wine, and coffee as good as your local back home, this little high country town has it all. And donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even get us started on the plethora of surrounding natural wonders that await your exploration.


GIRL ABOUT TOWN Lured out of our cabin at the Tumbarumba Creek Caravan Park by the fragrant spring air, we headed straight for Nest Cafe, undeniably the best coffee in town. We were welcomed by the smiling face of Nestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner, Laura, and her seven-month-old babe in arms, Victor, whose


gummy grin and spikey hairdo had us lovestruck. A Sydney girl who made her tree change to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Tumbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; eight years ago, Laura found love here and is now kept wildly busy with three kids XQGHUĂ&#x20AC;YHDQGDFDIHFXPFLQHPDWRPDQDJH Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a charming space in a reclaimed Masonic lodge, and what was doubtlessly once a rather austere environment is now a vibrant hub serving delicious food, and offering a boutique armchair cinema experience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; complete with dinner and wine. Alternatively, the Tumba Bakery draws a crowd most mornings, and this sunny Tuesday was no exception. We befriended a group of bikers, who were more than happy to sing their praises of the region, its windy roads with breathtaking vistas tickling them rather pink. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s little wonder this region attracts the two wheel brigade, both of the motored and humanpowered variety.

SUGARPINE WALK After a mandatory visit to the antique shop on WKHPDLQVWUHHWZHKHDGHGRXWRIWRZQWRĂ&#x20AC;QG the famous Sugarpine Walk near the town of Laurel Hill, 22km north of Tumbarumba. A popular spot for wedding photography, the Sugarpine Walk is simply an isle of cleared pine trees amongst a forestry plantation, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rather beautiful. Tall, perfectly straight trees frame the cleared isle like a crowd of giant onlookers, their discarded needles forming a spongy carpet underfoot. The canopy whirs in WKHEUHH]HKLJKDERYHJLYLQJWKHLOOXVLRQWKDW SHUKDSVMXVWRYHUWKHQH[WKLOO\RX¡OOĂ&#x20AC;QGWKH ocean. The trunks and branches creak and crack at random, causing one to whip oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head around in expectation of a companion in these otherwise lonely woods. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all very whimsical, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll want to pack your camera.

Clockwise from above left: The two-hour Boggy Creek Show is a great demonstration of herding, whip cracking and ship cracking by mountainman Tim Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien; there are three great campsites to choose from near Tumbarumba.


Tumbarumba, NSW


Not one to shirk a celebration, the Tumbarumba community will again roll out the welcome mat on the relaxed, shady banks of Tumbarumba Creek for the annual Tumbafest celebrations, now in its 21st year. Crowds exceeding 4000 will have the chance to sample exquisite regional wines and produce to sweet sounds

performed live on the Main Stage, February 24-25, as summer draws to a close. ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Russell Morris, the headline act for Tumbafest 2018, is performing both days. He will be rocking out his hits on Saturday and blues favourites on Sunday just metres from the dancing crowds.

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River Cottage Australia’s vibrant Paul West will prepare meals to live audiences using local fare, matched to the region’s top wines. While festival-goers will also get the chance to wander the craft and market stalls and entertain the kids with a variety of amusements and rides. Vanners will find camping at

Tumbarumba Creek Caravan Park adjacent the grounds, at Rosewood Golf Club, which will be offering a bus service, or at one of the many nearby reserves, including Henry Angel Trackhead, Paddys River Flats and Mannus Lake.



DOWN MEMORY LANE We then headed over to the Pioneer Women’s Hut, where we were told that we would gain a vivid picture of the lives of Australian women from bygone times. We pulled into the museum grounds and parked the car, doing a double take at the silhouette of a bloke and two kelpies atop the property’s gentle hill. Inanimate, as it happens, and as we made our introductions to museum volunteer Ann Thoroughgood, we quickly learnt the sculpture is of her late father, who ran sheep and cattle on this property and founded the Glenroy Heritage Reserve on which the museum now stands. The main museum building – built from recycled prison cells from the nearby Mannus Correctional Centre – houses a quirky collection of domestic items that tell the tale not only of their owner or maker, but of pioneer Australian women more broadly. From hats made of tussock grass to hand-sewn dresses, the ingenuity of country women is evident everywhere you look. Most pieces were donated by relatives of their former owners, and the display tells the story of many of them. But the jewel in the museum’s crown is its quilt collection, where a wonderful assortment of handmade patchwork quilts are laid out upon antique beds, the stories of their maker presented at the foot of each bed. Ann tells me they wanted to collect something that would be both beautiful and sentimental, something that would tell deeply personal stories: a blanket made for a little boy to stay warm on the train back from boarding school; a quilt that grew


“The museum’s crown is its quilt collection, where a wonderful assortment of handmade patchwork quilts are laid out upon antique beds”


Tumbarumba, NSW

Clockwise from left: You too may do a double-take at the silhouette of the man with two kelpies at the Pioneer Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hut; hanging out with Laura, owner of the Nest Cafe, and her spiky-haired babe Victor; gorgeous views overlooking the vineyard at Courabyra Wines; time for another travellersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; snack yet?

layers like a tree throughout the years as the family of its maker moved to ever colder parts of Europe before migrating to Australia. These deeply personal tales are sewn together just like a patchwork quilt to tell the broader story of our nation. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really quite touching.

A SPARKLING TOWN After soaking in all that wonderful colonial history we were able to deduce one thing: we deserved a glass of wine. So it was off to Courabyra Wines, 6km north-west of Tumbarumba via a very pretty drive through the countryside. Cathy Gairn greeted us at the cellar door with a mottled German shorthaired pointer by KHU VLGH DQG ZHOFRPHG XV LQWR D URRP Ă&#x20AC;OOHG ZLWK Ă RZHUV ZLWK LQFUHGLEOH YLHZV DFURVV WKH vineyard to the mountains beyond. With a kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; playground and a menu that had me wishing it was lunchtime (home-made gnocchi gets me every time), I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but imagine whiling away an afternoon here amongst the stunning JDUGHQV JUD]LQJ FDVXDOO\ RQ SURGXFH JURZQ RQ site by Cathy, a former horticulturist. But alas, I was working, so it was time to get

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Tumbarumba, NSW

Clockwise from above: Take a wander along the mighty Murray; the Sugarpine Walk is a must-do for photography lovers (and newlyweds).

Camping unplugged The Snowy Valley boasts some great free campsites. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s our pick of the best, within a stoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s throw of Tumbarumba. Henry Angel Track Head: Located just 7km from Tumbarumba, this is a sprawling, grassy freedom camp offering plenty of space, lots of shade, ďŹ&#x201A;ushing toilets, BBQs and undercover picnic areas. Its lush greenery and mountain backdrop, combined with its proximity to town, make it our pick of the bunch. Paddyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s River Flats: 18km outside Tumbarumba youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ďŹ nd this ďŹ&#x201A;at, grassy campsite on Paddyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s River. It has ďŹ repits, picnic tables and toilets. Jingellic Reserve: Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lots to love about this one, from the shady sites to the scenic location on the banks of the Murray River. Best of all, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right next door to the historic Bridge Hotel. Jingellic is 45km southwest of Tumba. The pub has showers and toilets, so buy a beer or a meal to gain access.


down to business and sample the wines. I NQRZ ZKDW \RX¡UH WKLQNLQJ LW¡V D Ă&#x20AC;OWK\ MRE EXW someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gotta do it. Cathy chatted excitedly about how she was heading to Sydney the following day to rub shoulders with industry big wigs; her sparkling wine had again won the best sparkling in NSW and she was off to collect KHU SUL]H 6WRFNHG LQ VRPH RI WKH EHVW restaurants in Sydney, this wine is evidence of Tumbarumbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growing reputation as one of the best cool climate wine growing regions in Australia. Needless to say, I swiftly purchased a couple of bottles to enjoy in the sun that weekend. And yes, it was delicious.

PUTTING ON A SHOW :H Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\ WRUH RXUVHOYHV DZD\ IURP &RXUDE\UD and made a beeline for a property to the west of Tumbarumba for what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d heard was going to be quite the treat: the . Created and performed by fourth generation mountain cattleman Tim Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien, the twohour show is a thoroughly entertaining and often funny demonstration of life on the land, both past and present. Tim is a talented animal trainer, as evidenced by the impressive performance of his working kelpies, horses, ponies, goats and even pigs. Choreographed to music and performed in the custom built arena set against the backdrop of the Snowy

Mountains, the show is a fun exploration of $XVWUDOLDQDĂ&#x20AC;OOHGZLWKKHUGLQJKRUVHZRUNZKLS cracking, pony races, shearing and more. Tim is entertaining and charismatic, and the show is well worth checking out. For us, it was the perfect way to end a wonderful day exploring Tumbarumba.

Golden HILLS There’s plenty of travelling riches to be found in Gympie, the town that saved Queensland. WORDS AND PICS CHRIS WHITELAW

ith a resident population of just on 25,000, Gympie is a modest metropolis by any standard, but it enjoys the NLQJVL]HGUHSXWDWLRQRI¶7KH7RZQ That Saved Queensland’. How it earned this lofty sobriquet is a story that began 150 years ago with the discovery of gold in a gully at the IRRWRI&DOHGRQLDQ+LOO7KLVOXFN\ÀQGVSDUNHG a gold rush that proved to be the genesis of the town, an event celebrated by the Gympie Gold Rush Festival in October each year. Gympie straddles the Bruce Highway 160km north of Brisbane and I had passed through it many times without pausing to



make its acquaintance. But this year I took advantage of the Festival to do just that and I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with what I found. To better understand its modern persona ,ÀUVWWXUQHGEDFNDIHZSDJHVRIKLVWRU\WR reveal the fascinating story of its origins. Within a few of years of achieving separation from New South Wales, in 1859 Queensland suffered a prolonged drought that decimated LWVSDVWRUDOLQGXVWU\DQGSOXQJHGWKHÁHGJOLQJ colony into a severe economic depression. :LWKZRROSULFHVWKURXJKWKHÁRRUDQG unemployment through the roof, the Bank of Queensland closed its doors and the colony was facing bankruptcy. Almost in desperation, the Government offered a reward of £3000 for the GLVFRYHU\RIDSD\DEOHJROGÀHOGZLWKLQPLOHV from Brisbane.

“The Gympie Goldfield was worked continuously for 60 years until 1927, producing more than four million ounces of gold”

Travel Gympie, Qld

And so it was, in the spring of 1867, that Englishman James Nash came prospecting through the creeks and gullies of the Upper 0DU\5LYHU9DOOH\Ă&#x20AC;QGLQJVRPH´FRORXUÂľKHUH and there but not in payable quantities. Then, on October 16, his panning uncovered rich deposits of alluvial gold in a gully (Nash's Gully) near Caledonian Hill and in nearby Gympie Creek. On the strength of 75 ounces of gold recovered in less than a week, Nash staked a claim and the rush began. Within a year, 25,000 GLJJHUVZHUHRQWKHJROGĂ&#x20AC;HOGDQGWKHWRZQRI Nashville (later Gympie) was born. In partnership with his brother, John, Nash made ÂŁ7000 out of his claim and was awarded a further ÂŁ1000 by the Government for his GLVFRYHU\²QRWWKHIXOOUHZDUGDVWKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGZDV more than 90 miles from Brisbane. But Nash was not destined to enjoy the fruits of his labours for very long, losing the lot in bad investments and ill-fated business ventures. As some consolation for his misfortunes, the Government appointed him keeper of the powder PDJD]LQH DW *\PSLH DW D VDODU\ RI Â&#x2026; D \HDU

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Highlights Gold mining history Memorial Park Heritage buildings on Mary Street Lake Alford Recreation Park The Gold Mining and Historical Museum Gympie Gold Rush Festival in October Scenic driving in the Mary Valley

Clockwise from far left: The Gympie Town Hall (built 1890) was erected on the site of Nashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discovery in 1867; some of the fully restored machinery at the Gold Mining Museum; the 30kg Curtis Nugget was found in February 1868 and is the largest in Queensland.


and, after he died in 1913, his wife, Catherine received an annual pension of ÂŁ50. The town, however, continued to thrive and the mini-boom generated by the gold rush was a timely boost for the Queensland economy. 7KH*\PSLH*ROGĂ&#x20AC;HOGZDVZRUNHGFRQWLQXRXVO\ for 60 years until 1927, producing more than four million ounces of gold, making it the third ULFKHVWJROGĂ&#x20AC;HOGLQ4XHHQVODQGEHKLQG&KDUWHUV Towers and Mount Morgan, and the sixth largest in Australia. Gympie was also distinguished by yielding the largest nugget found in Queensland, the 30kg Curtis Nugget, in February 1868, as well as the Monkland `Big Cake' of 5972 ounces. Gympie was proclaimed a city in 1905 and, as the returns from the mines began to wane, the Mary Valley timber and agricultural industries continued to buoy the local economy, as they still do in modern times. Gold mining by traditional methods virtually ceased in 1927 but by then Gympie was well established as the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most important service hub and administrative centre. 7KH*\PSLH*ROGĂ&#x20AC;HOGHQMR\HGDUHVXUJHQFHRI fortunes in the 1980s with the amalgamation of mining leases under Gympie Eldorado Gold Mines Pty Ltd and the investment of funds for further exploration by major gold companies Freeport and BHP. The re-opening of several deep shafts during WKHVPDGH*\PSLHWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWSURĂ&#x20AC;WDEOH UHGHYHORSPHQW RI DQ KLVWRULFDO JROGĂ&#x20AC;HOG LQ eastern Australia. However, 20 years of diminishing returns and changes of ownership eventually brought operations to a standstill.

RISING FROM THE RUSH Although the mines are silent, Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s golden heritage is celebrated in the Gympie Gold Rush Festival, a program of cultural events and family activities spanning a weekend on or about the anniversary of Nashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discovery. I arrived early Saturday morning, before the stalls had opened, and took a walk through the still quiet streets to familiarise myself with their KDSKD]DUG OD\RXW D OHJDF\ RI WKH IUHQHWLF JROG rush days that brooked little time for orderly urban planning. It seemed appropriate to begin at Memorial Park to view the monument there in honour RI -DPHV 1DVK ,W ZDV D GLJQLĂ&#x20AC;HG 9LFWRULDQ rendering in sandstone and marble, standing at the edge of manicured lawns lush from recent rains and dotted with jacarandas, silky oaks DQG Ă DPH WUHHV EHGHFNHG LQ WKHLU VSULQJWLPH raiments of vivid lilac, yellow and scarlet. Within this peaceful oasis I also found the heritage-listed rotunda and a small but tasteful memorial paying tribute to the men and women



Travel Gympie, Qld

Clockwise from above: Pass through the War Memorial Gates to see mosaics depicting Australians in wartime; the gorgeous Reef Street gets a good dusting of jacaranda ďŹ&#x201A;owers; the annual Gold Rush Festival includes a Classic Car and Bike Show where visitors can peruse older models like this Valiant; friendly stallholders at Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Family Fun Day.

of Gympie and Widgee Shire who served and GLHGLQSRVW::,,FRQĂ LFWV Crossing Reef St, carpeted in jacaranda Ă RZHUV,SDVVHGWKURXJKWKH:DU0HPRULDO *DWHVDQGDORQJDQDUURZODQHĂ DQNHGE\ mosaics depicting the various theatres of war in which Australians have served, emerging on Mary St to begin the Heritage Trail through the town centre. When Nashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gully was in the grip of gold fever, a double row of prospectorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tents sprang up along its slopes, to be transformed over time into the picturesque shopping boulevard that is modern-day Mary St, a single WUDIĂ&#x20AC;FODQHZLWKZLGHIRRWSDWKVDQGPDWXUH trees that shade shopfronts and al fresco cafes. Armed with the Trail brochure, I turned north, criss-crossing Mary St to inspect the handsome Victorian architecture of the many heritage-listed buildings that sprang up during the gold rush era and now add charm and character to the city centre. Notable among these are the Royal Bank of Queensland (1892), the Australian Joint Stock Bank (1882) and the Bank of New South Wales (1890) that now houses the Gympie Regional Council Chambers. Turning into Channon St, I passed the

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Fast facts Gympie is 160km north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway (A1). It is the main service hub for the region with all amenities, fuel and supplies for travellers, and accommodation options to suit all budgets and lifestyles. Gympie Region Visitor Information Centre (Lake Alford), Bruce Highway, Gympie; phone 1800 444 222 or visit for more. Gympie Caravan Park, 1 Jane St, Gympie; phone (07) 5483 6800 or visit for more. Visit www.visitgympieregion. for touring details and accommodation on the region.

Clockwise from main: The recently unveiled statue of Lady Mary Fitzroy, after whom Mary St and Mary River were named by her husband and ďŹ rst Governor-General of Australia, Sir Charles Fitzroy; it was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hump dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for the kids at the Gold Rush Festival; live entertainment on Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main street before the rains hit; a multitude of stallholders attended the event.


imposing Uniting Church (1890), the Lands 2IĂ&#x20AC;FH  QRZWKHKRPHRIWKH$XVWUDOLDQ ,QVWLWXWHRI&RXQWU\0XVLFWKH3RVW2IĂ&#x20AC;FH (1878) and the Gympie Court House and Clock Tower (1900). At the other end of Mary St, on the intersection with Caledonian Hill, stands Gympie Town Hall (1890), erected on the site of Nashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discovery in 1867. On the subject of heritage, it is interesting to note that Gympie ZDVKRPHWR4XHHQVODQG¡VĂ&#x20AC;UVWOLFHQVHG

hotels, all serving the gold rush, and that Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oldest pub, the Mount Pleasant Hotel (1870), still occupies its original building. As the Festival activities were only just warming up at the various venues, I drove the short distance to the Lake Alford Recreation Park, near the visitor centre on the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s southern outskirts. At the entrance to the carpark stands the Statue to the Gold Diggers, designed and sculpted by Herman Husman and

Travel Gympie, Qld

presented to the city by the Lions Club of Gympie in 1976. It was mid-morning and many couples and families were taking advantage of the parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s picnic facilities and expansive lawns for smoko, or were strolling beside the lily-blanketed lake DQGZHWODQGVIHHGLQJWKHĂ RFNVRIDTXDWLF birdlife that reside here. Next to Lake Alford is one of Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major attractions, the Gold Mining and Historical Museum, where one could easily spend a day immersed in the many displays housed in 15 EXLOGLQJVRQWKLVĂ&#x20AC;YHKHFWDUHSUHFLQFW7KH Museum houses a vast collection of documents, artefacts and photographs that trace Gympieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evolution from gold rush to thriving mining town, as well as military exhibits, working steam driven engines and gem displays. The relocated and restored buildings include a blacksmith shop, the Calico Creek State School and the headframe and gantry over the original No. 2 South Great Eastern mine shaft. History buffs will also get a thrill walking through the cottage that was once the home of Andrew Fisher, who served as Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second Labor Prime Minister for three terms between 1908 and 1915.

FESTIVAL FUN By the time I got back to town, the Family Fun Day was in full swing at Nelson Reserve, UHSOHWHZLWKDQLQĂ DWDEOHSOD\JURXQGDQG camel rides for kids, market stalls for adults and food and beverage vendors for all. Another heavily patronised activity was the Classic Car and Bike Show, with many pristine beauties in immaculate duco and gleaming chrome. Returning to Mary St through the Minerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hill gardens and more stalls and buskers on 6PLWKĂ&#x20AC;HOG6W,DUULYHGDWWKHVRXQGVWDJHLQWLPH for some live entertainment and the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Pincurls and Petticoats Pageantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, both greatly enjoyed by the large audience gathered beneath the spreading shade trees. Eventually, overcome with hunger, I tore myself away and followed my nose around the corner to Paniniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bakery and Cafe, which was doing a roaring trade in hamburgers from its kerbside barbecues. $PSO\IRUWLĂ&#x20AC;HG,ZDVDERXWWRUHWXUQWRWKH SDUW\RQ0DU\6WZKHQWRP\DPD]HPHQW,VDZ a monstrous black cloud bearing down on the city. Thunderstorms had hammered the region with copious downpours during the week leading up to the Festival and this one looked like it was DERXWWRGRWKHVDPH7KHĂ&#x20AC;UVWIDWGROORSVRIUDLQ sent the crowds scurrying for shelter and within minutes the inky heavens opened to release a GHOXJHĂ&#x20AC;WWRĂ RDWWKH$UN It is the lot of people who organise open-air events that they are at the mercy of the elements, and the Gold Rush Festival was no exception.

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Gympie, Qld

Ratings RV Infrastructure: Attractions: X-Factor:

Still, it stands to the credit of the organisers, the participants and the patrons who stayed to watch, that the street parade went ahead, albeit in much reduced form, through a continuing shower later that afternoon. Sadly, though, a great many people decided to call it a day. Not so, the 9000 ticket holders who turned up for the live concert at Albert Park in the evening. Issued with free disposable ponchos at the gate (against the possibility of predicted shower activity) and braving muddy conditions DOD:RRGVWRFNLQWKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGWKHVHGLHKDUGVZHUH treated to a great gig by a cast of rock icons that included Jimmy Barnes, Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, Thirsty Merc, Reece Mastin and many others. By the end of the Festival, through the good times and the wet, Gympie showed it still has a heart of gold, as solid as any that saved the Colony of Queensland 150 years ago.

Above: The sandstone monument to James Nash at Memorial Park.

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Finishing our lap of the Grampians uncovered yet more wonder. PICS CAM INNIS, GRAEME NEANDER, AARON FLANAGAN



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aving explored the Grampians National Park and nearby regions, we were ready to Ă HVKRXWRXULWLQHUDU\ZKLOHGLQLQJDW7KH Royal Mail Hotel. Travellers had told us the Salt Lakes at Lake Bolac, only a touch over 45km from Dunkeld, were deepening in colour. 6RSDVVLQJĂ&#x20AC;HOGVRIFDQRODZHFUHVWHGWKHKLOOV to Lake Bolac, where the lakes were indeed a deep, opaque pink even on an overcast day. While there, the visitor centre recommended the edges of the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s namesake. The shores of Lake Bolac are popular for day trips but harbour a few free campsites suitable for caravans and motorhomes with access to basic toilets. No bookings are required but expect a rush during the warmer months as skiers and wakeboarders head to its shores. :LWKDEULVNEUHH]HRYHUWKHODNHZHWXUQHG north to our original destination, Ararat. The kind folk at the information centre told us of another worthy stop, Lake Buninjon. No camping spot, though it has a decent rest area, so we headed up in search of wildlife. With the strong winds, we expected the local birds to stay low in safe waters. Hoping to spot stilts and plovers known to the region we lucked out. Chins up, we hit the road again.



Clockwise from main: Green Hill Lake sits under the watch of the nearby wind farm; Relaxing at Red Rock Olives; A guiding hand at the lake; Pulling into Araratâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s information centre.

ARARAT We parked our rig in a trailer site at the Ararat visitors centre for advice before unhitching the Titan at Acacia Caravan Park, our stop for the night. As we walked the streets we admired the Heritage Victorian architecture dispersed between modern designs. There are good bakeries, second-hand shops, most major banks and key shops like pharmacies and RV supply stores. Earlier in the day, travellers recommended the sunset view at One Tree Hill. Grabbing some Indian fare from the main road we headed up the hill. The elevation is only about 190m but provides great views to the north, east and south with the Grampians dominating the ZHVWZKHUHZHJD]HGDVVKDGRZVJUHZWKURXJK the valleys out from the ranges. At the summit are picnic tables and a rotunda, so we ate till the sun was all but down. Morning broke and with it, the weather FDPHULJKWVR,IXOĂ&#x20AC;OOHGDSURPLVHWR/HDK my travelling companion. We would try our KDQGDWĂ&#x20AC;VKLQJ*UHHQ/DNH$IWHUEDFNLQJWKH Pajero Sport onto the Titan once more, we were off. Green Hill Lake is a popular campground ZLWKDGRQDWLRQER[Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLQJLWVXSNHHS:H IRXQGGR]HQVRIFDUDYDQVDQG59VDURXQGWKH southern edge of the lake, all sitting proud in the morning sun. Amenities are good for a donationsite and the grass is well kept meaning you VKRXOGEHDEOHWRĂ&#x20AC;QGDZDWHUVLGHVLWHOLNHZHGLG



during the shoulder and off-seasons. Like Lake Bolac, it quickly gets crowded in peak periods. If you are lucky enough to have a car-topper or small boat in tow, or even a kayak, launching is easy from the well-maintained ramp and the Ă&#x20AC;VKLQJLVUHSRUWHGO\JRRGWKRXJKZHOXFNHG out in our land-based efforts. Spending time in the warm, early summer sun honing my casting and teaching Leah the basics was still a highlight. There is no better way to end a day than watching a sunset. We chose not to head up to a high vantage like the night before but to stay closer to Ararat at Montara Wines. Perched high over its working vines, the cellar door offers a range of tastings as well as locally sourced produce served by way of tasting plate. Together with a book, we sat and watched the valleys darken. Parking is tight so it is best to leave the caravan at the park but being only 4km from the town centre, it is handily close.

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Clockwise from main: Looking for some quiet, we stopped at the foot of Mount Langi; The view from the top; Waiting for the sun atop One Tree Hill; Montara Wines is a worthwhile stop; The salt lakes impress more so on clear days.


PYRENEES CARAVAN PARK Our last stop in Ararat, apart from yet more early morning coffee with a welcome smile from one of the many local cafes, was Pyrenees Caravan Park. It had recently changed hands with the new owners injecting a new-found vigour into the already picturesque location. We drove through and picked up a gas cylinder

before another detour. I am a bit of a technology fan, particularly when it comes to power generation so we headed east for the wind farm off Warrak Road. The farm went fully operational in February 2017 with 75 wind turbines each with a 103m span. Getting up close to them is pretty impressive. If you have never been near one, they hum. Not part of our plan we found ourselves continuing east, further away from Ararat in search of some wildlife and peace. We had researched before we hit the road and knew Langi Ghiran State Park had good off-grid camping. Due east towards the park, entry is via Kartuk Road which leads to an open area ZLWKĂ&#x20AC;UHSODFHVDQGDPSOHURRP:HKHDUGWKH reservoir, up the valley, was a nice walk or 4WD away so unhitched the van and went up. It was certainly not tow-friendly but the Pajero made light work of it.


Best food and drink Red Rock Olives Address: 3594 Ararat-Halls Gap Rd, Pomonal VIC 3381 Phone: 0414 887 755 Barneys Bistro Address: Halls Gap-Ararat Rd, Pomonal VIC 3381 Phone: (03) 5356 6337 Montara Wines Address: 76 Chalambar Rd, Ararat VIC 3377 Phone: (03) 5352 3868 Bestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Winery Address: 111 Bests Rd, Great Western VIC 3374 Phone: (03) 5356 2250

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Where to stay

“Leaving Halls Gap was difficult. We could have stayed another week just exploring” 152

Lake Bolac Address: Lake Bolac Visit: Pyrenees Caravan Park Address: 6003 Pyrenees Highway, Ararat VIC VIC 3377 Phone: (03) 5352 1309 Green Hill Lake Address: 40 Vincent St, Ararat VIC 3377 Visit: Acacia Caravan Park Address: 6 Acacia Ave, Ararat VIC 3377 Phone: (03) 5352 2994 Grampians Paradise Camping and Caravan Parkland Address: 443 Long Gully Rd, Pomonal VIC 3381 Phone: (03) 5356 6309 Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park Address: 23-27 Tymna Dr, Halls Gap VIC 3381 Phone: (03) 5356 4281


NGES It was time to step foot on the east side of the Grampians so after relaxing in the depths of Langi, we head off once more. One stop on the way to Grampians Paradise Camping and Caravan Park, our next place to stay, was Moyston stood out. A ramshackle second-hand store drew our attention but the locals also claimed Moyston to be the birthplace of Aussie Rules. Up early to see the sunrise on the stunning backdrop that is the national park, we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite get the full rose-red seen in some tourist guides but the welcome at Paradise made up for it. We couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop for long even though hosts Aiden and Nesa were engaging and full of an LQIHFWLRXV]HVWIRUOLIHZHKDGDGDWHZLWK+DOOV Gap. We stopped in at Pomonal, just south of Halls Gap, which is developing at a fast rate. We arrived IRUWKHZLOGĂ RZHUVMXVWat the right time of year and a quick restock at the general store. We skipped north, past the turn-off to Lake )\DQVDQRWKHUZRUWK\ERDWLQJDQGĂ&#x20AC;VKLQJVSRW Our destination was to be Red Rock Olives, a standout attraction in the region. We stocked up with bottled olives and oils plus a beautiful tasting plate. Another day all but done, it was time to race the setting sun. An animal strike is a real threat around dusk so we drove cautiously and knowingly, and we came across many

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creatures including one of the prettiest sambar deer I have seen in Australia. Arriving at night at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park meant we missed the scale of the valley enroute but dawn revealed all. Once lit, your eye is drawn in every direction by the sheer scale of the ranges around you. Boronia Peak sits proud atop the arrow straight ranges to the east while the more jagged and stepped rocks to the west invite you to want to see more. The small valleys appeared to be shaped by forces stronger than nature, so our plan was set. We were to reach the peak at Boroka Lookout after exploring the exemplary Tourist Park and town.

Clockwise from main: Settling in at Halls Gap Lakeside Holiday Park; Our morning view from Paradise; Overhead at Red Rock Olives; The friendly wildlife at Halls Gap.



Top down: Stawell offers more than just a chance to restock with great shopping available; The Titan was a good match for the region.

For more info Lake Bolac Information & Business Centre Address: 2110 Glenelg Hwy, Lake Bolac VIC 3351 Visit: Ararat and Grampians Visitor Information Centre Address: 91 High St, Ararat VIC 3377 Visit: Halls Gap Visitors Information Address: 117-119 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap VIC 3381 Visit: Brambuk â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The National Park & Cultural Centre Address: 277 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap VIC 3381 Visit: Stawell Visitor Information Centre Address: 6 Main St, Stawell VIC 3380 Visit:

Set deep inside Halls Gap, the park is EHWZHHQ/DNH%HOOĂ&#x20AC;HOGDUHVHUYRLUDWWKHWRSRI the valley and a nature strip popular with deer, roos and a gaggle of cockies keen to inspect your breakfast. The park had to be one of the best places to stay on the trip; modern, friendly and surrounded by natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;VĂ&#x20AC;QHVW'RZQWKH road, only a two-minute drive, is Brambuk â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The National Park & Cultural Centre. A good place to learn about local culture or stop for coffee. Down in the town proper are enough supplies shops and cafes to satiate any traveller plus gas, petrol and diesel and a range of eateries open till late at night. LHDYLQJ +DOOV *DS ZDV GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOW :H FRXOG have stayed another week just exploring the different walks and lookouts. Should you go there, drop by Wonderland. We missed it but other travellers told us it was a worthwhile experience. If you are up for the walk, the formed and well-signposted track from the car park will take you to The Pinnacle via the aptly named Grand Canyon, a walk through deep crevasses. We missed the chance but it is popular and well worth the effort, we hear.

HEADINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; HOME Our last major port of call was Stawell via yet another of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous wineries, Bestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. A familiar feeling drive to the preceding 11 GD\V LW ZDV D VKRZFDVH RI $XVWUDOLD¡V Ă&#x20AC;QHVW in primary produce. Arriving at Bestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is an


experience in itself, off the beaten track, the cellar door is among working vines central to the Great Western basin. The staff are engaging at the small cellar door and the wine isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bad either. Stocked up, weKHDGHGIRURXUĂ&#x20AC;QDOVWRS. SLPLODULQVL]HWR$UDUDW6WDZHOORIIHUV lots including a highlight my time travelling Australia. We headed to the peak of the town, Big Hill Lookout, which revealed the working Ă&#x20AC;HOGVDQGWKHZRQGHURIWKH*UDPSLDQVSURSHU and where we stopped to re-caffeinate at Gallery Cafe. What we found was the essence of the trip been, hospitality and friendliness that sadly doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist in our cities. It left us wondering what more and certain to return to the surreal landscape and home away from home that is the Grampians region.


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Special Feature Rise of the Resort Park

Rise of the Resort-style caravan parks are increasing in numbers to meet the high expectations of a new market, as Kirstie Bedford discovered. PICS LIUDMILA SMELYANSKAYA

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;The caravan park is actually trying to say, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a portion of my audience that needs to be entertained.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CCIA Stuart Lamont â&#x20AC;&#x201C; he statistics say it all. Caravan parks are thriving, and their evolution is undeniably driven by an insatiable consumer with high expectations.


Caravan Industry Association of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research shows the industry has been, on average, the fastest growing domestic DFFRPPRGDWLRQW\SHIRUWKHSDVWĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUV In 2017, caravan park revenue exceeded $1.9 billion, and for every $1 caravan park revenue generated, there is $1.38 worth of direct HFRQRPLFEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WLQWRWKHORFDOHFRQRP\ In the last year alone, the RV market spent more than $8.6 million annually. So, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s


clearly a huge economic injection to be had by those who invest in their local parks â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just the public and private sector doing it. Rivershore Resort in the Sunshine Coast VXEXUERI'LGGLOOLEDKWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWSDUNWREHEXLOW in the state in 45 years, was the brainchild of a local family who had previously owned pubs and a retirement village. Less than 18 months old, the park has UHSODFHGĂ&#x20AC;HOGVRIFDQH%HUQLH0F*RYHUQVD\V the idea came about because his family saw an opportunity to provide something unique in the evolving market. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People want to get their kids back outdoors

Special Feature Rise of the Resort Park

Clockwise from above: BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park offers a traditional park feel just opposite the attractions of Movie World; luxury Ngurra Lodges cater to discerning consumers at BIG4 Sunshine Resort South West Rocks; plenty of room to explore the Gold Coast on three or four wheels; travelling pets get celebrity treatment with daycare and a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;day spaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on the Gold Coast.

and we felt others werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t catering to the new market. We wanted to bring in the latest WiFi and have a restaurant and bar, and we wanted it to be unique.â&#x20AC;? Unique it certainly is, with direct river front access and 15 luxury safari tents imported from South Africa, which Bernieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother styled. More like the feel of a new suburb than a park, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s undeniably stylish, although thongs are still the going footwear attire. This brand new park epitomises the new era, with retro bikes for hire and kayaks to take on a cruise down the river and, when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re done, \RXFDQVLWEDFNDQGHQMR\Ă&#x20AC;YH-star cuisine in the restaurant â&#x20AC;&#x201C; think pork belly braised with wild steamed rice and Asian greens, or bush VSLFHGEHHIĂ&#x20AC;OOHWZLWKNLSĂ HUSRWDWRHVDQG GULHG artichokes; all washed down with a glass of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best.

HOLIDAY HAVEN FOR THE KIDS Further south for those wanting something with a more traditional park feel is the BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park. Never would you guess directly across from 0RYLH:RUOGDQG:HW¡Q¡:LOGRQWKH3DFLĂ&#x20AC;F Motorway, is a 32 acre haven with villas tucked away in lush tropical gardens, where kangaroos bounce along the back of the property, and

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koalas clutch to enormous gum trees. This former residential park was redeveloped six years ago, and under the current owners is now a tropical oasis with a Bali-style resort pool, licensed cafe, salt water creek where you FDQ Ă&#x20AC;VK %0; WUDFN WHQQLV FRXUW Ds well as an animal farm.

Special Feature Rise of the Resort Park

A small, but key difference to other parks, are the shower screens, which separate the changing cubicles. There’s also a newly opened doggie day care on site, so you can drop the dog in and head to the theme park for the day. Manager Mark Sickerdick says the park appeals to grey nomads, as well as families, because they like the variety of sites available, and the accommodation options for extended family. He attributes the rise of this style of park to the “cruise ship mentality”. “If you give people everything they want, they don’t need to go off site. People’s expectations have grown and the dollar is harder to get and easier to spend, so people want value for money, and they want those facilities.”


“A lot of our parks are using a flexible price model, so you can stay in off peak environment and not have to pay peak prices.” – BIG4 CEO Steven Wright –

Clockwise from top: All aboard! The giant prate ship water park at BIG4 Sunshine Resort South West Rocks is a winner with kids; many resort parks such as Rivershore Resort cater to more serene activities to suit travellers without kids in tow.

A TOUCH OF LUXE In the NSW mid-north coastal town of South West Rocks, the BIG4 Sunshine Resort South West Rocks has also recently evolved to meet the demands of discerning consumers, launching new luxury lodges which literally blend in with the landscape. The seven Ngurra Lodges (meaning ‘place of home’ in the Dunghutti Aboriginal language) boast a decal that replicates the forest setting behind it. Two hundred original photos have been Photoshopped together to create the lifelike landscapes, which mould the lodges into the local bushland. The new two-storey Ngurra Lodges have leather lounges, three televisions, full kitchen and laundry facilities, and two large bedrooms. Resort owner Tony Mayne says holiday parks are changing dramatically. “We have always been at the forefront of meeting the new demand,” he says. Two years ago Mayne added a $1 million water park and the park’s list of facilities also includes a trampoline, putt putt golf course, saltwater lagoon, and go karts.

ROOM FOR THE GREY NOMAD, TOO The grey nomad, who makes up the lion’s share of growth market in this sector of travelling RVers, shouldn’t feel as though these new big resorts are only catering to families. Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s

Our picks Heading to the east coast with the extended family? Here are three of our favourite resort-style parks to keep the entire family entertained for hours.

Rivershore Resort, Diddillibah, QLD Best bits: Spacious sites, safari tents with uninterrupted river views, double slide-in pool, five-star cuisine and bar

Above: Rivershore Resort’s dual slide offers double the fun for active kids.

BIG4 Gold Coast, Helensvale, QLD Best bits: Resort-style pool with slide, lush gardens, new villas, plenty of powered and ensuite sites, 32 acres of land, BMX track, proximity to theme parks, koalas and animal park, doggie daycare

BIG4 South West Rocks, South West Rocks, NSW sunshine-resort-south-west-rocks Best bits: Pirate ship water park with three slide-in solar heated pools, resident kangaroos, food, as well as brand new lodges


CEO Stuart Lamont says that’s not the case at all, and parks are trying to meet the needs of all types of travellers. “These resort parks provide an incredible amount of services and facilities that consumers want at a time when they aren’t full of school kids, and they are an important part for consumer needs ... so I get frustrated that everyone says it has a jumping pillow and they are just trying to attract families,” he says. “The caravan park is actually trying to say, there’s a portion of my audience that needs to be entertained, and the jumping pillow is part of that, but they aren’t trying to exclude the grey nomad.” Lamont says when it comes to cost, everyone wins. “If it’s a mixed park with caravans and sites and is attracting families for the jumping pillow, that is subsidising the cost of people attending in caravans,” he says. “Look at Rivershore, and others like them which have cafes and an on-site restaurant and big sites, and unashamedly they charge a fee, and I would suggest it’s good value and continues to be relative to other domestic tourism product ... everyone focuses on a few properties and doesn’t look at the overall picture. I think there are plenty of opportunities for people to travel and stay at a place that their budget attracts.”

Special Feature Rise of the Resort Park

CLEARING UP THE CONFUSION BIG4 Holiday Parks, which has more than 180 parks across Australia, has recently changed its branding, to ensure clarity in the now diverse range of parks it offers. CEO Steven Wright says it decided there was a need to better describe the parks, so the consumer knew exactly what they were getting, and has renamed its parks as either classic, holiday or premium. “I get letters saying, ‘we went to this BIG4 park and it didn’t have a jumping pillow’, and then the grey nomad says, ‘I’m sick of paying for facilities so I’m not coming back’, so we are playing a role to ensure they choose the right park,” he says. “If you are a grey nomad who wants a quiet location and cheaper environment, then there are parks in the classic range, and we also have facilities for families and kids in the premier range with higher pricing.” He says it’s about making sure the park meets the consumer need. “If you’re in a quiet outback town driven by the nomad market then that’s what you have to deliver as an experience, but if you are on the beach in Gold Coast, or if in major family holiday destination, your park needs to address that and that’s what we’re doing, trying to help the FRQVXPHUÀQGZKDW·VULJKWIRUWKHPµ

Equally he says it doesn’t prevent grey nomads wanting the resort experience to choose that, at the right time of year when prices are lower. “$ORWRIRXUSDUNVDUHXVLQJDÁH[LEOHSULFH model, so you can stay in off peak environment and not have to pay peak prices,” he says.

SEEKING THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE Australian Tourist Park Management (ATPM) is Australia’s second largest investor in holiday parks. CEO Paul Davies says with the rise in resort parks, they’re seeing an increase in intergenerational travel. “We see those groups travelling more and more,” he says. “Every adult likes to see kids HQWHUWDLQHGDQGWKDW>UHVRUWSDUN@LVDJUHDWZD\ to do that.” He denies the resort park boom will burst. “There’s an inherent social aspect to travelling and staying in a caravan and holiday park and people enjoy being in a social environment. “The irony is the facilities they have in rigs are so developed and they can stop anywhere, but they still choose to come to a park because there’s something about that social aspect. “From talking to our guests we know that’s an important aspect of the experience, so I don’t anticipate that that will change, it’s an inherent human desire.”



David Gilchrist chats to Clayton Kearney from Horizon Motorhomes on customer relations and the importance of staying true to the company’s vision. WORDS AND PICS DAVID GILCHRIST


ZLGHKRUL]RQLVWKHSURPLVHRIan exciting adventure. It’s the wonder of boundless possibilities and the open road. In the small seaside town of Ballina on the NSW north coast, businessman Clayton Kearney has turned that promise into an awardwinning motorhome brand. HRUL]RQ0RWRUKRPHVVWDUWHGPRGHVWO\IURP the former motor mechanic’s workshop and used car yard in the late 1980s. Three decades later, Kearney moulded this idea of boundless possibilities and exciting adventure into the +RUL]RQSURGXFWOLQHDQGPDGHKLVWRU\E\ winning Manufacturer of the Year three years in a row at the NSW Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW Awards. And 2017DOVRVDZ+RUL]RQ0RWRUKRPHVSLFN up the Best of the Best category for the second year, cementing its reputation for high-quality workmanship as well as enter the Association's Hall of Fame. Clayton Kearney settles into a Casuarina Motorhome showcasing the exemplary styling IRUZKLFK+RUL]RQLVNQRZQWRH[SODLQWKHWULDOV behind the team’s success. He recalls how it started with one motorhome in his used car yard. That van sold immediately. Looking for similar opportunities, he started


Special Feature ProďŹ le: Horizon Motorhomes

â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the early 2000s, I decided to specialise in van conversion and try to be the best in Australia.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Clayton Kearney â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

A LONG ROAD TO RECOGNITION Looking back, Kearney VD\V UHĂ&#x20AC;QLQJ ´ZKDW ZH doâ&#x20AC;? was the key to his success, telling Caravan World that recognition didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come overnight. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Towards the late 1990s we got into the C class type chassis and in the early 2000s, I decided to specialise in van conversion and try to be the best in Australia.â&#x20AC;? IW WRRN D GHFDGH EHIRUH +RUL]RQ ZDV ZLQQLQJ the awards, suggesting heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d achieved that goal. Kearney says they reached it by â&#x20AC;&#x153;listening to the customersâ&#x20AC;? and providing exceptional customer service â&#x20AC;&#x153;right through the whole processâ&#x20AC;? from the time they met a prospective customer through to after sales â&#x20AC;&#x153;for many years to comeâ&#x20AC;?. He says when you administer that sort of service, customers help spread the word. Beyond that, Kearney says he puts a lot of store in what customers say and directs that feedback into the product in a process of FRQWLQXDO UHĂ&#x20AC;QHPHQW For Kearney +RUL]RQ LV DOVR HQMR\ about Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vast terrain. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have built some customised vans over the years to suit my family. We have done extensive travelling from short weekend trips to longer trips of one month or six weeks covering the outback,â&#x20AC;? he says. Trips through the Kimberley region of West Australia and cross the Gulf of Carpentaria from Darwin to Cape York were particularly memorable. Always with an eye on business, Kearney VD\V WKH\¡YH EHHQ YLWDO LQ UHĂ&#x20AC;QLQJ +RUL]RQ¡V SURGXFWV


â&#x20AC;&#x153;That led into buying second-hand Toyota &RDVWHU EXVHV DQG UHĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJ WKHP,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We put them out in the sales yard and people ZRXOG DVN Âś:KDW EUDQG DUH WKH\"¡ :H GLGQ¡W have a brand name,â&#x20AC;? he laughs. Smiling, he remembers mentioning the FRQXQGUXP WR KLV ZLIH ZKR RQ UHĂ HFWLRQ VXJJHVWHG +RUL]RQ %\ KHU UHFNRQLQJ LW ZDV D name that represented â&#x20AC;&#x153;the landscape â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the wide KRUL]RQ RI $XVWUDOLDâ&#x20AC;?. With that, history was created and a legend was born. â&#x20AC;&#x153;:H WKHQ VWDUWHG GRLQJ PRUH DQG PRUH Ă&#x20AC;WRXWV to second-hand buses,â&#x20AC;? Kearney explains. Then DURXQG  DV LI JODQFLQJ RYHU D QHZ KRUL]RQ KH OHDUQHG RI WKH 0HUFHGHV%HQ] 6SULQWHU¡V arrival on the Australian motoring scene. As far as Kearney was concerned, this Ă&#x20AC;YHVSHHG UHDUZKHHO GULYH EXV ZDV his next opportunity. Soon, Kearney and his team were Ă&#x20AC;WWLQJ RXW WKH Ă&#x20AC;UVW RI PDQ\

The caravan you want is now easier to find

Main: Horizon specialises in van conversions. Above: Writer David Gilchrist samples the comforts of a Horizon Casuarina motorhome.

However, through his market variations and trials and tribulations with the business, Kearney has stayed true to his goals. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been an easy road, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been plenty of up and downs and times when things change and sales drop off,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You question whether we should change lanes, shift gears and do something different. I think the important thing is to not be too reactive.â&#x20AC;? He says instead he works to â&#x20AC;&#x153;stay true to our beliefs and be the best van converter in Australia, provide a quality product and supply quality customer serviceâ&#x20AC;?. Looking back over the years Kearney says he is humbled that his business focus, his attitude of ORRNLQJ RYHU WKH KRUL]RQ IRU future opportunities, and his desire to care for customers has led to industry recognition. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes you question that you are doing it right but you continue on with your passion and your dream,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then to be rewarded and recognised by other people, particularly our industry associations, is a fantastic feeling.â&#x20AC;?


e h t e m Show


In the third instalment of a six-part series, we analyse the various options for caravan and RV broker ďŹ nance. KHIUHHGRPRIWUDYHOÂŤ,W¡VWKHJUHDW Australian dream. But the caravan or RV you choose will ultimately depend on your needs as well as your budget. $QGĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLQJFRXOGWDNHRQHWRVHYHQ\HDUV GHSHQGLQJRQ\RXUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOFDSDFLW\ Here, we seek the expertise of a leading LQGXVWU\Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLHU&UHGLW2QHLQDQDO\VLQJWKH various options available for caravan and RV EURNHUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFH Credit Oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general manager Jarred Lembo says the best options (ie, secured caravan loan, caravan chattel mortgage, personal loan etc.) depend on the scenario. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We explain what are the options and do terms and rates differ,â&#x20AC;? he says. Credit One also has access to a full suite of lenders. This gives the client a choice based on what best suits their needs (eg, if the client is planning to pay the loan out early, Credit One can go to a lender that has lower early termination fees). Lembo said clients are given comparative choice; thus advised of all options available to them, from secured loans to unsecured loans, consumer and commercial options. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With relationships between our teams and the lenders, we have the option to discuss each individual scenario in detail to get the best answer,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And we also offer tailored packages â&#x20AC;&#x201C; clients may wish to add insurances, warranty, etc. which, through business partnerships, we are able to package together for the client with one repayment.â&#x20AC;? 6RZKDWH[DFWO\DUHWKHVHĂ&#x20AC;QDQFHRSWLRQVDQG KRZGRWKH\ZRUN"



From top: You can hire purchase a van just as you would a car; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no need to rush. Find the ďŹ nance that sits best with you.


Special Feature Finance options

SECURED CARAVAN LOAN With a secured caravan loan, the caravan is used as security. An amount is lent that is either equal to, less than or greater than the value of the caravan. Under a secured caravan loan the Ã&#x20AC;QDQFLHUDGYDQFHVIXQGVWRWKHFXVWRPHUWR purchase a caravan. The customer takes ownership of the vehicle at WKHWLPHRISXUFKDVHDQGWKHÃ&#x20AC;QDQFLHUWDNHVDQ interest in the caravan as security for the loan. 2QFHWKHFRQWUDFWLVFRPSOHWHGWKHÃ&#x20AC;QDQFLHU lifts their interest in the caravan, giving the customer clear title.


The caravan you want is now easier to find

,QWKLVDUUDQJHPHQWDÃ&#x20AC;QDQFLHUSXUFKDVHVWKH caravan on behalf of the customer, who then SD\VWKHÃ&#x20AC;QDQFLHUDÃ&#x20AC;[HGPRQWKO\OHDVHUHQWDO for the term of the lease. At the end of the lease the customer can either pay a residual on the lease and take ownership RIWKHFDUDYDQVHOOWKHWUXFNRUUHÃ&#x20AC;QDQFHWKH residual and continue the lease.

COMMERCIAL HIRE PURCHASE Commercial hire purchase (CHP or HP) is also known as a corporate hire purchase, hire purchase or offer to hire. 8QGHUD&+3DUUDQJHPHQWWKHÃ&#x20AC;QDQFLHU agrees to purchase the caravan on your behalf, and then hire it back to you over a set term. You have use of the caravan for the term of the contract, but you are not the owner. You take full ownership of the caravan at Tradervs.Com.Au


Special Feature Finance options From top: Decisions, decisions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not just what to buy but how to ďŹ nance your dream; you can use your mobile home as security to ďŹ nance its purchase; balloon payments are low which takes the pressure off earning an income as you travel, especially if your investments are yet to mature.

the end of the term when the total price of the vehicle (minus any residual) and the interest charges have been paid in full.

CHATTEL MORTGAGE A chattel mortgage is a commercial loan product where the customer takes ownership of the caravan at the time of purchase. Under a caravan chattel mortgage the Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLHUDGYDQFHVIXQGVWRWKHFXVWRPHUWR purchase a caravan, and the customer takes ownership at the time of purchase. 7KHĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLHUWKHQWDNHVDPRUWJDJHRYHUWKH caravan as security for the loan. Once the contract is completed, the charge is removed which then gives the customer clear title to the caravan.


Finance brokerages such as Credit One specialise in loans Australia-wide for all types of recreational vehicles including caravans, campervans, camper trailers and motorhomes. Different options allow you to manage your Ă&#x20AC;QDQFHVZHOO'HSHQGLQJRQ\RXUSODQV\RXFDQ pay off your loan early, have a varying interest rate so you can take advantage of rate cuts, or choose to pay a lower monthly repayment with a lump sum at the end of the loan term. Fixed Interest Rate â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With this type of loan, \RXUPRQWKO\SD\PHQWLVĂ&#x20AC;[HGIRUWKHHQWLUH term of the loan. This is perfect for those who are budget-conscious and want to know exactly what they need to pay month after month. Variable Interest Rate â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Means that your repayments could go up or down depending on the current interest rates. Lenders may have different ways in implementing rate cuts and increases so make sure to ask about this if you are considering a variable interest rate for your caravan loan. Balloon Payment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; This arrangement means you pay a lump sum at the end of the loan WHUPDQG\RXDOVRKDYHWKHRSWLRQWRUHĂ&#x20AC;QDQFH the lump sum in case you do not have ready money for it. One of the main advantages of having a balloon payment is that your monthly repayments are low. Early Loan Termination â&#x20AC;&#x201C; If you have extra money, you may want to pay off your loan early to save on interest payments and to free yourself from the burden of paying month after month. Lenders may charge an early termination fee though so make sure to ask about this option if early loan termination is a possibility for you. Additional Payments â&#x20AC;&#x201C; This is one of the best features many of our lender partners provide. When you pay more every month you can actually save on your interest payments and pay off the caravan loan early. &RPPRQUHTXLUHPHQWVIRUFDUDYDQĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLQJ RIWHQLQFOXGHLGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQSURRIRILQFRPH bank statements; and credit record. In forthcoming issues of Caravan World, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll FRYHU WKH IROORZLQJ FDUDYDQ Ă&#x20AC;QDQFH WRSLFV â&#x20AC;˘ Securing the deal: How do I know Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m getting WKH EHVW UDWH ZKHQ LW FRPHV WR 59 Ă&#x20AC;QDQFH" â&#x20AC;˘ ,QVXULQJ\RXUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFHG59+RZZKHUHZK\ DQG ZKR" â&#x20AC;˘ 5HDG\ WREX\*HW\RXUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFHSUHDSSURYHG before you hit the shows for the best deal!


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g n i k a M Jawa delivers a comfortable compact tourer thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s light and easy on and off the tracks. PICS ALISON KUITER



Jawa White Series Trax-12

In brief... Pop-top hybrid 1650kg Tare Bedroom extension

The caravan you want is now easier to find


hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something about recent RV manufacturing that, to me, is all about world-leading innovation. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very refreshing to see raw ingenuity come to OLIHIURPWKHĂ HGJOLQJLGHDVDQGH[SHULHQFHVRI smart Aussie campers simply going about their business, camping. As popularity leans more towards hybrids, so too have Queenslandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jawa Camper Trailers, with its Trax-12 and larger Trax-15 models leading the charge. Take the time to have a second and maybe a third look at the Trax-12 that we recently took for a test on the Sunshine Coast; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in for a pleasant surprise. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m all about easy, especially when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m camping. However, I do appreciate some level of comfort especially on a long road or an extended holiday in an ideal location. The Trax12 supplies all of this with an exceptionally easy three-minute setup for a comfortable overnighter, or maybe a couple of minutes more to wind out the awning. It has a relatively light weight of 1690kg Tare, a solid aluminium ERG\ZLWKSRSXSĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVURRIDVROLG offroad capable van with independent trailing arm suspension, 200L of water and plenty of power. There's also plenty of cooking space, refrigeration and personal facilities, a few creature comforts and even an extendable bed unit that creates immense volume for a fully HQFORVHGTXHHQVL]HGEHG The Jawa Trax-12 is a tough little home away from home that is ready to go the hard yards on a challenging track, but also provides easy and appealing accommodation for satisfying nights in a remote location. It is built on a tough box section chassis most evident from the large 150x50x4mm A-frame drawbar out front with a 360-degree offroad heavy-duty Ark ball hitch (rated 3.5T), and heavy-duty independent coil suspension with double shock absorbers either side. The Trax-12 has an ATM of 2290kg with 136kg ball weight unloaded. Its overall dimensions are only 5.5x2m wide so it is quite easy to tow. The overall height on the road is 2.2m so it will cop a little bit of wind over the top of most towing vehicles, however, the front of the van is quite aerodynamically designed to reduce drag. The Trax-12 is quite a nice looking unit with its white aluminium composite body and black window frames, drawbar and checkerplate protective panels as offsets. Out in front is a replaceable mesh stoneguard with checkerplate ZLQJVDQGEHKLQGLWLVDSDLURIWRROĂ&#x20AC;UHZRRG boxes made of the same alloy that will resist wear in this highly abrasive area. There are also twin gas bottle and twin jerry can holders before you get to a large doorway in the front of the main camper body. One has


Measuring up Light but strong Ease of use Sensible options

Cons No shrouding for the water lines (Jawa has taken the hint and will ďŹ x it!)


access to the fridge compartment on the kerb side where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s room for a 110L Evakool fridge ($1899). The other houses the electrical control box complete with volt and amp meter, 240V and 12V circuit breakers and switch gear, 12V outlets plus independent 12V circuit fuses. There are two 100Ah AGM batteries as standard charged via the Anderson plug to the towing vehicle or via the 200W portable solar


Jawa White Series Trax-12

Clockwise from main: There’s plenty of protective checkerplate here; the optional 110L Evakool fridge slides out neatly; the replaceable mesh stoneguard with checkerplate wings protects the tool and firewood boxes; we can see ourselves cooking up a storm with slide-out kitchen.

panels, and a 30A battery charger is included (or upgrade to a Projecta 2510). Underneath the trailer the galvanised drawbar extends well down the chassis around the forward spring hangers, and all of the welding appears to be well executed. There’s more alloy checkerplate LQWKHXQGHUVLGHÁRRUXSWKHIURQWOHDGLQJGRZQ to impact protected Zincanneal beyond. It rides on 265/75 R16 mud terrain tyres with attractive

The caravan you want is now easier to find

6in stud alloy rims with 12in electric brakes. There are two 100L stainless steel water tanks giving plenty of life’s blood. They are well shrouded with checkerplate covers but I did feel the plumbing should be neatened just a little as I wouldn’t want to see a stray VWXPSGUDJJLQJRXWWKHÁH[LEOHKRVHV2WKHU trailer features include a handbrake, a tough Ark jockey wheel, wind-down stabilisers on


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole extenda process could be done in about 30 secondsâ&#x20AC;?


each corner and engineered recovery points to the rear. Out in back is a swing-down tailgate with single spare tyre wheel and tyre and this is beautifully balanced with gas struts to make life easy. You need to drop the tailgate in order to assemble the extenda.

LIGHTNING-FAST SETUP We took more time choosing our campsite than we did assembling the Trax-12 including the awning! The basics are: wind down the stabilisers to level (an electric drill and socket makes short work of that), drop the tailgate, lift the hinged rear wall panel and folding sides, pull out the bed base complete with the folding rear panel and clip it all in position. The whole extenda process could be done in about 30 seconds. Next we open the door, pull out the VWHSDQGKRSLQVLGHWROLIWWKHĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVURRI

with its easy spring-loaded mechanism. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all you need for a quick overnighter. Full assembly is just as easy. Wind out the overhead awning, slide out the kitchen from the rear, plug in the quick connect water and JDVĂ&#x20AC;WWLQJVDQGSXOORXWWKHIULGJHVOLGH'RQ W forget the music from the Bluetooth stereo, IROGRXW\RXUFDPSFKDLUVDQGĂ&#x20AC;QG\RXUGULQN holders! You can have a break for lunch on the road just as easily, including enjoying the shade from the 4x2m awning (optional walls). Jawa has standardised the stainless steel kitchen available in all its campers. It slides out easily from behind the doorway that features automotive seals and waterproof compression locks, as do all of the access hatches. The kitchen has a pressurised hot and cold water mixer for the stainless sink Ă&#x20AC;UHGE\D'XRHWWRKRWZDWHUV\VWHP RSWLRQDO


Jawa White Series Trax-12 Clockwise from main: Interior features galore; pump up the music via a Bluetooth stereo; great cupboard space for belongings; plenty of headroom around the queen-sized bed once the pop-top is up.

Jawa White Series Trax-12 Weights and measures Overall length 5.5m External body length 3.7m External body width 2.05m Travel height 2.2m Internal height 2.05m Tare 1650kg ATM 2290kg Payload 600kg (calculated) Ball weight 136kg

External Frame Steel Cladding Composite aluminium panel with fibreglass roof Chassis Welded box section with 150x50x4mm galvanised drawbar Suspension Independent trailing arm suspension with twin shockers and coil springs Coupling Ark heavy-duty offroad 3500kg Brakes 12in electric Wheels 16in alloy mags riding on 265/75 R16in all terrain Water 2x100L stainless steel with shrouds and filter Battery 2x100Ah AGM deep cycle Solar 200W Air-conditioner No Gas 2x9kg holders Sway control No










Cooking Four-burner gas with wind deflectors Fridge 110L Evakool Microwave No Bathroom External Washing machine No Hot water Duoetto hot water system

Options fitted EXT PANTRY

200W solar array; Dueotto hot water; 110L Evakool fridge

Price as shown From $38,496 with many optional extras AWNING

More information To inquire about this caravan, please visit or phone (07) 5479 6844

The caravan you want is now easier to find



Jawa White Series Trax-12

Ratings Value for money “White Series Trax-12 hits [its] target with a bullseye and best of all, it comes at a reasonable cost with a long list of sensible equipment and options”

Towability “The Trax-12’s overall dimensions are only 5.5x2m wide so it is quite easy to tow”

Liveability “There is plenty of head room even above the extension, and heaps of light and ventilation options”

Suitability for intended touring “We took more time choosing our campsite than we did assembling the Trax-12 including the awning”

Layout “The Jawa ... provides easy and appealing accommodation for satisfying nights in a remote location”

Quality of finish “Out in back is a swing-down tailgate with single spare tyre wheel and tyre and this is beautifully balanced with gas struts making life easy”

Build quality “My interest was straight onto how well the big bed sat within its extenda and I was pleasantly surprised”

Above: Dinette for two and a single bed for the occasional interloper.

Creature comforts “Jawa offers a huge array of options and accessories to provide you with your ideal package”

Innovation “Immediately ahead ... the table drop[s] down to form the base for a small bunk. Overhead is a foldaway bunk making the van suitable to a family with up to two small children”

X-Factor “This Jawa is really making Trax the best mate on your next journey”


extra), which heats the kitchen and outside shower. Jawa supplies portable gas hot water as a bonus. There’s a four-burner gas stove with windshield plus three utensil drawers, a pull-out bench extension and adjustable stabilising legs. There’s even a 240V outlet plus 12V outlets next to the kitchen in case you have an electric kettle or frypan. Slightly forward is another compartment that can be used for bowls, plates or pantry. Up in front is the large pressurised compartment for the fridge slide that is large enough to take a 110L Evakool or similar, plus a full-width enclosed pole carrier storage compartment above.

We enter the hybrid through a large and secure side door with separate security screens. I had to duck my head a little on the way in, and those taller than me (6ft or more) will notice this. My interest was straight onto how well the big bed sat within its extenda and I was pleasantly surprised. I like a big comfortable bed and this is a ripper. The mattress is two pieces to accommodate the slide out section and it is an inner spring that measures a large queen of 1520x2040mm. There is plenty of headroom even above the extension, and heaps of light and ventilation options so you won’t feel at all claustrophobic. 7KHVRIWVHFWLRQRIWKHSRSWRSKDV]LSSHUHG


Aura Caravans, will at all times strive to manufacture a range of products to suit the diversity of the ever evolving market place. We will do this in accordance with all regulatory bodies and achieve a result that will be well accepted and respected amongst our peers, our dealers and our customers. OUR DEALERS Cameron Caravans Kratzmann Caravans RC Cravans


Jawa White Series Trax-12

ZLQGRZVZLWKĂ&#x20AC;QHPHVKĂ \VFUHHQVDOODURXQG DQGWKHĂ&#x20AC;EUHJODVVURRISURYLGHVDGGHG insulation and drop lighting options. There are high quality windows either side of the bed, and at the head as well, all with sliding DZQLQJVDQGĂ \VFUHHQV,WZRXOGEHDORYHO\ place to awaken looking out over a trickling stream or majestic view. Under the bed is a compartment for a porta potti that can be kept inside. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d take it outside


WRWKHR]FDQYDVWRLOHWVKRZHUWHQWWKDW comes with a portable gas hot water unit as part of its White Series â&#x20AC;&#x153;Show Specialâ&#x20AC;? kit. It also contains solar panels, a padded vinyl stoneguard for the front and battery charger. Back inside there is a multi-use cabinet immediately to your left as you enter with a black stone laminate benchtop that is common WRDOORIWKHĂ DWVXUIDFHV,W¡VSUREDEO\EHVW described as a pantry but also has room for pots, pans and utensils, and is backed up by three more utility cabinets above the workspace. To your right is a proper wardrobe complete with some full length hanging space and shelving. Immediately ahead is the small convertible two-person dinette with the table dropping down to form the base for a small bunk. Overhead is a foldaway bunk making the van suitable to a family with up to two small children. If you have toddlers I reckon Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be putting a little bit of webbing around the top bunk as a further restraint but overall the design works really well. The Jawa Trax-12 has a good array of LED lighting both inside and out including

Clockwise from main: The full setup, including extenda queen bed, pop-top and kitchen takes very little time to complete once you choose a campsite; heavy-duty coil suspension with double shock absorbers each side allow the Trax-12 to handle the rough stuff.





* 16-10 IRONBARK $74,000 * 17-10 IRONBARK $78,500 * 17-10 BLUEGUM $75,500 * 18 -10 IRONBARK $82,600 * 18 -10 BLUEGUM $79,300 * 20 -6 BLUEGUM $82,600



K BAR ON R I 10” 18’-

















































18FT 10























Jawa White Series Trax-12

Above: With a body length of 5.5m, the Jawa White Series Trax-12 is a pretty nimble unit to tow.

individual reading lights to the queen bed. There is another 240V outlet at the benchtop and multiple 12V and USB sockets plus a CD/MP3/USB/radio sound system that I believe has now been upgraded to Bluetooth. Jawa offers a huge array of options and accessories to provide you with your ideal package, including an internal bathroom with Thetford cassette toilet and shower ($2000) that replaces the dinette and bunk beds and includes a small sofa bench opposite the wardrobe with swing-around table.

THE BOTTOM LINE I have to admit the more I see in this midrange hybrid market, the more I like. I enjoy the freedom of travelling a little lightweight and with some considerable offroad ability. Plus I demand immediate, easy creature comforts or I lose interest quickly. The Jawa White Series Trax-12 hits this target with a bullseye and, best of all, it comes at a reasonable cost with a long list of sensible equipment and options. This Jawa is really making Trax the best mate on your next journey.

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In brief... Incredibly capable offroad Luxuriously appointed Clever manufacturing techniques Surprisingly high value for money



Mountain Trail LXV 5.7


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Mounta n ra s atest oray nto the luxury offroad caravan market redefines two-up touring.

The caravan you want is now easier to find


uxury offroad. It almost seems like an oxymoron. The two canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go hand in KDQG $OPRVW E\ GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWLRQ WKH YHU\ LGHD of offroad means youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be roughing it. You will get dust in your toothbrush. You will need to trade style for bush-ability. And you will need to forgo many luxuries in order to keep weight down. Yet, here we are with the Mountain Trail LXV 5.7 proving all that wrong. For those familiar with Mountain Trail, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be hardly surprising. For those familiar with Nick and Heidi, the dynamic duo behind Mountain Trail, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be almost expected. We recently had the opportunity to not only spend the day exploring their Albury manufacturing IDFLOLWLHV EXW WR SXW WKH YHU\ Ă&#x20AC;UVW /;9  in existence through its paces. We traipsed through winding mountain passes, rolled through switchback after switchback on the EODFN WRS DQG Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\ ODLG RXU ZHDU\ KHDGV WR rest on the innerspring bed inside. Hey, if you GRQ¡W VSHQG WKH QLJKW VQRR]LQJ LQVLGH LV LW UHDOO\ D WKRURXJK UHYLHZ" , WKRXJKW QRW


Clockwise from below: German-built panels help keep the LXV 5.7 both lightweight and chic; the 95L Waeco fridge/freezer is standard; serious pantry space in the external kitchen; roadside cuppas are too easy with the three-burner al fresco stove.


ALL THE MOD CONS Flipping open the rear entry door and stepping up into the LXV 5.7, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immediately obvious

just how important liveability is to the Mountain Trail team. There are no dark shades, no complicated kick-out cabinets eating into space, and no walls or partitions breaking up the interior. The result is a beautifully bright, open and airy living space from front to back. 7KHIRFDOSLHFHLVWKHODUJHTXHHQVL]HGEHG taking pride of place at the van's head. The mattress is a pillow-topped innerspring with soft touch panels not only at the bed's edge, but DORQJHLWKHUĂ DQNDOORZLQJIRUHDV\VWRUDJHRI pocket-fodder, with the curved bedhead adding WRWKHĂ&#x20AC;YHVWDUH[SHULHQFH&RQWUROVIDOOWR hand perfectly around the bed, too. Both sides have large opening windows to SURPRWHDLUĂ RZRQKRWQLJKWVZLWKEHGOLJKWV on either side as well as individual 12V fans. The Fusion stereo has a second control unit at the foot of the bed with a pair of speakers mounted on the bulkhead. Make your way back down the length of the van towards the door and you'll notice itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broken up into two distinct sides. On \RXUULJKW\RX¡OOĂ&#x20AC;QGDIXOOOHQJWKORXQJH wrapped in marine grade vinyl by Mountain Trailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in-house motor trimmers. The lounge is complemented by an easily adjustable table


Mountain Trail LXV 5.7

“Stepping up into the LXV 5.7, it’s immediately obvious just how important liveability is to the Mountain Trail team”

Measuring up Pros Comparatively light weight Clever construction methods Large open plan living

Cons Needs a large tow vehicle Large footprint may struggle on tight trails I can’t afford one



Mountain Trail LXV 5.7

Clockwise from right: The large queen bed is the focal point of this delightful van; a full stand-up wardrobe offers 12 individual soft-close and lockable drawers.

Ratings Value for money â&#x20AC;&#x153;No dealer mark-up makes for wholesale pricingâ&#x20AC;?

Towability â&#x20AC;&#x153;Adjustable towball weight combined with a comparably low weight makes it a winnerâ&#x20AC;?

Liveability â&#x20AC;&#x153;Open plan living with internal and external cooking makes for a comfortable home away from homeâ&#x20AC;?

Suitability for intended touring â&#x20AC;&#x153;Plenty of storage inside and out and an extensive spec sheet make it a great home awayâ&#x20AC;?

Layout â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an apartment on wheels, and a damn nice one tooâ&#x20AC;?

Quality of ďŹ nish â&#x20AC;&#x153;In a word, unfaultable. Mountain Trail has gone above and beyond as alwaysâ&#x20AC;?

Build quality â&#x20AC;&#x153;Robust underneath and nice on top, no creeks, cracks or groansâ&#x20AC;?

Creature comforts â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everything you could hope for in a van, and all the best of the bestâ&#x20AC;?

Innovation â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not a single painted component, nothing that can rust, rot, or corrodeâ&#x20AC;?

X-Factor â&#x20AC;&#x153;If your tow vehicle turns heads, this is the van for youâ&#x20AC;?


providing ample bench space by day, that converts into a single bed at night if required. On your left is a full interior kitchen. Mountain Trail has designed the LXV 5.7 to be an all-weather van for when storms roll in, and part of that is staying out of the elements. The kitchen features ample storage space above and below for everything from pots and pans to groceries. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a three-burner Triplex stovetop above the oven/grill combo with a mixer sink converting into more bench space if required. A 50L upright fridge nestled in below the kitchen benchtop will avoid having to do a midnight run for a cold glass of water.

Hot water is provided by a diesel hot water system that's plumbed into the sink, as well as the shower. It also works as a diesel heater, although if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hooked to mains power the UHYHUVH F\FOH $& LV D PRUH HIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQW ZD\ WR KHDW or cool the interior. While considerable effort has gone into the internal form, the function isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t held back. Opposite the bed is a full stand-up wardrobe with 12 individual soft-close and lockable drawers to divide between occupants, with hanging space either side of the cabinet also LQFOXGHG 7R \RXU OHIW LV D RQHSLHFH Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVV ensuite which ensures water leaks arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a concern. It houses a toilet and shower, with a sink and mirror included above. Of course, the fun isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t all contained within the LXV 5.7's walls. On the outside under the electric awning is a full living area, not only with a full second kitchen including a 'RPHWLF DQG WKUHHEXUQHU VWRYH EXW D Ă LSRYHU stainless serving bench which can double as a bar when friends come around. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the obligatory outside shower which is fed both hot and cold water. The result is huge living spaces both inside and out. You can be comfortable bunkered down inside on cold nights, or open the van right up and entertain guests in the outside area.

SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY Rather than screw the LXV 5.7 together out of cladding and heavy frames, Mountain Trail looked to the future and ordered up a whole heap of lightweight composite panels. These German-built panels have a gloss white Ă&#x20AC;EUHJODVVVKHHWRQWKHLQVLGHDQGRXWVLGH with a foam insulation panel sandwiched between. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part of why the LXV 5.7 has such


Compact Pop Tops


Built in Australia

Distinctive Caravans



Peter Quilty - Caravan World

Wallaroo VICTORIA - Amazing RVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Phone: (03) 9786 7711 VICTORIA - Donehue's Leisure Phone: (03) 5571 1033 NSW - Alan Grahamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Caravans & RVs Phone: (02) 4328 4800 NSW - ARV Phone: (02) 6496 4411

Weight is the enemy in towing. Jurgens have taken weight out wherever possible with thoughtful engineering. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need a big vehi ow it, yet it enjoys a roomy layo the full complement of inclusions.

Anthony Kilner - RV Daily

John Ford - On The Road Magazine



NSW - Jurgens Caravans Coffs Coast Phone: (02) 6652 5523 NSW - Houlihans Caravan & RV Centre Phone: (02) 6021 1357 SA - Dave Benson Caravans Phone: (08) 8262 2500 SA - Donehue's Leisure Phone: (08) 8725 2826


Is the Jurgens Lunagazer Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most towable van? I spent quite some time hauling on dirt roads, narrow twisting roads and highways and the towability impressed me no end.

The Jurgens Lunagazer doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t compromise on comfort and conveni It also has the flexibility to take from the Nullarbor to the D e in luxury and peace of mind


QLD - Kratzmann Caravans Burpengary Phone: (07) 3888 2755 QLD - Kratzmann Caravans Loganholme Phone: (07) 3106 1299 QLD - Searleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s RV Centre Phone: (07) 4151 3000 WA - George Day Caravans Phone: (08) 9493 5557


Tooradin TAS - A & K Caravans & Motorhomes Phone: (03) 6228 1566 NZ - ALM Group Phone: 64 7 850 5512 jurgensau



Mountain Trail LXV 5.7

Clockwise from above: The Mountain Trailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s full interior kitchen means this is an all-weather van; the full length lounge is wrapped in marine-grade vinyl; one-piece ďŹ breglass ensuite has a toilet, shower, sink and mirror.

DUHODWLYHOLJKWZHLJKWEXWDOVRVLPSOLĂ&#x20AC;HVWKH construction process with no painted surfaces to fade, and no corrosive materials susceptible to the elements underneath. Services are run through one of two bulkheads along the length of the van. That mentality has extended from the front all the way through to the back. If Mountain Trail doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the equipment to build the best of the best, the team will reach out to the SHRSOHZKRGR7KRVHGRRUVGRZQHDFKĂ DQN" Triple sealed for maximum dust protection. 7KHOLJKWV"$XVVLHFRPSDQ\1DUYD(YHQWKH patterns for the fabric is precision cut by a computer-controlled machine complete with stitch marks for the in-house trimmers to work off. Put simply, if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a better way for the Mountain Trail team to put these things together, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re either already doing it or want to know about it so they can start doing it.


Building better products

Caravan and RV Accessories 15 Years of Industry Experience Supplying Over 70 Caravan Manufacturers







28 Randor Street, Campbellfield, Vic 3061 ph: 03 9357 6440 email: website:

“The LXV 5.7 is the kind of caravan you could comfortably load up and set off into the sunset for years at a time”

TAKE IT FURTHER $WÀUVWJODQFHWKH/;9VLPSO\VKRXOGQ·W work offroad. It’s too big. It’s too nice. It’s too «ZKLWH"%XWLWGRHV$QGLW·VWHVWDPHQWWRWKH mind-boggling amount of design and lateral thinking that has gone into the design. Starting from the bottom, the LXV 5.7 runs Mountain Trail's familiar independent swing arm suspension system. The arms themselves DUHPDGHLQKRXVHDWWKHÀUP V$OEXU\IDFLOLW\ WKHQRXWÀWWHGZLWKIRXU)LUHVWRQHDLUEDJ springs which are then kept under control by eight EFS shock absorbers. The whole arrangement is controlled by an Accu-Ride air management system that continuously monitors the van's position on and offroad then


adjusts bag pressures to keep things level and, more importantly, stable. The system also allows for quick and easy selection of one of three ride heights, the lowest allowing ease of access, intermediate providing a balanced ride on road and the highest setting providing considerable ground clearance for offroad – something we saw extensively with our time at Mountain Trail. Peer pressure is a hell of a thing. The system also allows for an adjustable ball weight to suit the tow vehicle and can self-correct for changing loads throughout your trip without any input from the driver. While the adjustability of the air suspension is bound to garner interest, the real boon is an increase


Mountain Trail LXV 5.7

in longevity, the smoother ride glossing over harsh bumps and corrugations often found with remote touring. The suspension mounts are integrated into the chassis too rather than a typical bolt-on arrangement, and the whole affair is Aussiebuilt then hot-dip galvanised with no painted surfaces prone to sand-blasting on dirt roads. Due care has been given to everything from brake cables to wiring and hoses, all being securely mounted up high and out of the way. That stout chassis extends all the way to the body too, with Mountain Trail's EROK system bracing the lower edges of the van's body ensuring wayward rocks or unexpected obstacles donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t destroy lower quarter panels. Likewise, despite the water tanks being made RIVXLWDEOHSRO\WKH\¡UHĂ&#x20AC;WWHGIURQWWRUHDUZLWK skid plates to ensure nothing snags as the van bottoms out through undulating terrain. If you Ă&#x20AC;QG\RXUVHOIWXUQLQJDURXQGRQWKHWUDLOLW¡V EHFDXVHRIVL]HOLPLWDWLRQVQRWEHFDXVHWKH LXV 5.7 canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it.

THE SPEC SHEET Despite having a reasonable Tare of 2580kg, the LXV 5.7 is no lightweight when it comes to creature comforts and accessories. The heart of the system is an extensive 12V setup. Nestled deep inside the body are two 100Ah lithium batteries for a total of 200Ah. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the road theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re kept topped up through a 50A Anderson plug on the drawbar with a RedArc 30A BMS monitoring charge levels. The system can automatically switch over to solar when disconnected allowing the huge 540W worth of WKLQĂ&#x20AC;OPVRODUSDQHOVRQWKHURRIWRIHHGLQWR the system. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re plugged into 240V mains the BMS will replenish the batteries as well as feed




Clockwise from main: The LXV 5.7 is a gateway for extended offroad living; plenty of nooks and crannies for fuel storage; deep front storage bins.

Mountain Trail LXV 5.7 Off-Road Weights and measures Overall length 7.2m (23ft 7in) External body length 5.7m (18ft 8in) External body width 2.1m (6ft 11in) Travel height 2.89m (9ft 6in) Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in) Tare 2580kg ATM 3500kg Payload 920kg Ball weight 180kg

External Body German composite ďŹ breglass Chassis 150x50x4mm hot-dipped galvanised Suspension Accu-Ride Coupling VC Hitchmaster DO35 Brakes 12in electric Wheels 18x8in, 285/60 R18 General Grabber AT2 with CSA Raptor alloys Water 125L+85L (fresh); 85L (grey) Battery 2x100Ah lithium and Redarc BMS (AC/DC/solar) Solar 3x180W thin ďŹ lm Air-conditioner Reverse cycle heating and cooling Gas 2x4kg gas Sway control Optional

Internal Cooking Three-burner gas stove, grill, oven and overhead rangehood Fridge 50L (internal); 95L (external) Microwave Optional Bathroom Shower/toilet combination Washing machine Optional Hot water Diesel

Options ďŹ tted Accu-Ride air management system; front woodbox and 18in wheels

Price as shown



Price as shown $129,095

More information DINETTE

The caravan you want is now easier to find

To enquire about this caravan, please isit or phone (02) 6040 4488.



Mountain Trail LXV 5.7

into the 240V outlets throughout the van. Yank the extension cord and the 2000W pure sine wave inverter springs into action to feed the 240V power outlets. It also packs enough grunt to power the reverse cycle air-conditioning. With enough solar to overcome battery GUDLQDJH DQG D / :DHFR IULGJHIUHH]HU included as standard, the LXV 5.7 is well and truly suitable for extended touring. Of course, when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the road your biggest concern is water, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well taken care of, too. Drinking water is split between three food-grade poly tanks. A 125L and 85L water tank provide a total of 210L of clean drinking water. A third 85L tank is included for grey water with separate gauges monitoring the levels across each tank.

THE BOTTOM LINE If Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve wafted on about the LXV 5.7 I apologise, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard not to. In a sea of mediocrity, Mountain Trail is a shining beacon of forward thinking. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evident in every single inch of


WKH/;9)URPWKHDLU\LQWHULRUĂ RZLQJ layout, multiple living options and beautifully DSSRLQWHGĂ&#x20AC;WRXWULJKWWKURXJKWRWKHWUDLOHUV very foundation itself. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simply on another level from almost all other manufacturing. Sure, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hair over the $100K mark, but considering the spec level and quality of the EDVHFDUDYDQWKDWĂ&#x20AC;JXUHVKRXOGEHKLJKHU Through a combination of smart manufacturing techniques and minimal overheads Mountain Trail has put together what is simply one of the most advanced caravans on the Aussie market by decking it out with appointment levels reminiscent of high-end German cars, and putting it on the market at a price not much higher than many imported offerings. The LXV 5.7 is the kind of caravan you could comfortably load up and set off into the sunset for years at a time. Factor it in with their incredibly high resale value and they start PDNLQJDORWRIĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOVHQVH,ZRQGHULIWKH\ WDNH$IWHUSD\"

Clockwise from top: This beauty looks like she belongs in a van park but is built for true offroading; the Accu-Ride air management system allows for an adjustable ball weight; Mountain Trail employs its own independent swing arm suspension.


ESSENTIALS ESSENTIAL CARAVANS ARE BREAKING THE MOULD WHEN IT COMES TO SOLELY MANUFACTURER-BASED THINKING A culmination of over 35 years experience in the industry, Essential Caravans are proud to introduce a new style of Caravan to the market - One that offers unheard of value for money, a standard of build quality that exceeds expectations and standard inclusions that would usually be expected in a van priced many thousands more. Our background sets us apart from the rest; We offer customer-based manufacturing and after-sales service that only someone with a dealership background can truly appreciate and understand, we get better than anybody the wants and needs of the ever-evolving caravan market. This knowledge coupled with our extensive team of managers, builders, planners and industry experts means each and every Essential Caravan is meticulously designed and crafted to the highest standard in all facets. Take the time to view our range and discover for yourself the Essential difference.







194 Eastern Service Road, Burpengary QLD 4505

3956 Pacific Highway, Loganholme QLD 4129

104 Eastland Drive, Ulverstone TAS 7315

5357 Princes Highway, Traralgon VIC 3841

64 Grand Junction Road, Kilburn SA 5084

42 Bruxner Highway, Sth Lismore NSW 2480

(07) 3888 2755

(07) 3106 1299

(03) 6425 7639

(03) 5174 1381

(08) 8262 2500

(02) 6621 6670

g o d d Ol

NEW TRICKS We put the LDV T60 through its paces to see whether it offers a change that Aussies might be willing to embrace. PICS SUPPLIED


Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

The caravan you want is now easier to find


Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

rom our snack recipes to our songs, our public holidays, and even the suspension set ups in our 4X4s, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s become clear Australia isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t big on change. Year after year manufacturers have butted their heads against the wall trying to convince us of the virtues of whatever new product theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve devised. Sometimes weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re right, and hold fast until the manufacturer buckles and gives us what we want. Other times, the changes stand the test of time until we eventually all accept they were for the best and move on with our lives. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen it with the rise of independent suspension and common-rail diesels, as even QHZDQGXQSURYHQEUDQGVOLNH,VX]XHQWHUWKH market, only to be accepted as one of the pack a few short years later. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this big upset we get every few years with Chinese manufactured 4X4s trying to gain a foothold on Aussie soil. In almost all cases the public has been proven right. The products are inferior, the prices not cheap enough, and the reliability simply not up to the task of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s punishing conditions. The end result is the manufacturer ends up slinking off with their tail between their legs. But thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a catch. The Australian new car market is worth around $41 billion a year. There are a lot of manufacturers keen to take a slice of the pie, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to keep trying until they get it right.


From below: LED headlights with auto dusk setting; a Chinese manufacturer has added features and dropped the price to be competitive here.


The latest overseas manufacturer to set their sights on the Aussie market is Chinese-based LDV with its brand-spanking-new T60 Luxe and Pro models. We recently headed out to their RIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOODXQFKWRGULQNWKHLUERR]HHDWWKHLU food, and see if we could break their utes while no one was looking.

WHAT THE FLIPPINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; HECK IS AN LDV? So youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve probably never heard of LDV, but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hardly a young upstart. In fact, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re one of the longest running manufacturers of commercial vehicles in history. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in LDV stands for Leyland Motors, which has been punching out commercial vehicles for over 120 years, right back to timber-constructed steampowered wagons. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stands for DAF Trucks, a Dutch company building everything from vans right through to semi-trailers. It has been screwing them together since right before the outbreak of WWII so has a reasonable handle on things by now. In 1993 the pair combined to form LDV (or Leyland DAF Vans) and set to work building no-nonsense work-horses out of the UK. Over the next 24 years the owners changed hands a IHZWLPHVEHIRUHĂ&#x20AC;QDOO\EHLQJERXJKWE\6$,& one of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;big-fourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Chinese manufacturers which produces its own lines as well as licensed vehicles for Volkswagen and General Motors. SAIC alone pumps out roughly six million cars

GSWH-2 New Model New Design


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Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

Ratings 1. Value for money 2. Towing performance 3. Hitching up 4. Creature comforts 5. Accessibility of spare parts 6. Fuel economy 7. Solo performance 8. Engine power 9. Innovation 10. X-Factor From top: Leather upholstery in the interior is very comfy; navigation runs from your phone.

a year. To put that into perspective, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one complete car rolling off the production line every Ã&#x20AC;YHVHFRQGVKRXUVDGD\VHYHQGD\VDZHHN ZHHNVD\HDU,I$XVWUDOLDZDVÃ&#x20AC;YHWLPHVWKH VL]H6$,&DORQHFRXOGPDQXIDFWXUHHQRXJK vehicles to meet our demands. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s around 10 per cent of total vehicles manufactured worldwide by the people steering the ship at LDV, but is it enough experience to build a uniquely Aussie vehicle for our uniquely Aussie FRQGLWLRQVDQGUHTXLUHPHQWV"

HOWâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S IT BUILT? )LUVWWKLQJVÃ&#x20AC;UVWKRZZHOODUHWKHVHWKLQJV VFUHZHGWRJHWKHU"7KHPRVWREYLRXVVWDQGRXW are theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re an all-new body and frame, not a parts bin special it has bought the dies for after


DQRWKHUPDQXIDFWXUHUKDVÃ&#x20AC;QLVKHGLWVUXQ:H found the panel gaps to be even, paint-rich, plastics but not plasticky. Rapping your knuckles along the body, you get the impression itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at least comparable to its peers, which is a bloody big compliment compared to previous Chinese offerings. If it came with a different badge youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d easily be forgiven for thinking it came from one of the more traditional manufacturers weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re used to. They havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gone the cheap option on components either. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re keeping mum on exactly whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone into the construction, but from the transfer case right through to the fuel injection system thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand name gear. It JLYHVDOLWWOHELWRIFRQÃ&#x20AC;GHQFHZKHQGHDOLQJZLWK a relatively unknown manufacturer that the vital components are pieced together by some of the biggest names in the industry. More importantly for some safety-conscious buyers, the T60 is actually safer than a few of its peers, recently picking up a 5-star ANCAP rating. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole bunch of tech required to achieve that score but the big stand-outs are a 16 out of 16 in the side impact testing and a 14.46 out of 16 in the frontal offset test. For comparisonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sake, the current generation VW $PDURNDQG,VX]X'0$;LQLWLDOO\RQO\VFRUHG IRXURXWRIÃ&#x20AC;YHVWDUVZLWKOHVVVWULFWWHVWLQJ procedures.



Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

From top: Brand-name components are used throughout, with the engine built under license by Italian dieselexperts VM Motori; Luxe options include a roll-out tray.

2018 LDV T60 Luxe Vehicle Tare 2060kg GVM 2950kg GCM 5950kg Towing capacity 3000kg Engine 2.8L 4-cylinder turbodiesel Torque 360@1600rpm 4WD system Part-time Fuel consumption 9.6L/ 100km Suspension Front: Independent double wishbone coil Rear: Live axle leaf Brakes F/ Disc R/ Disc Seats 5 (2/3) Wheel/tyre 17in alloy 245/65 R17 Style Dual cab

Dimensions External dimensions 5365x1900x1887mm (LWH) Wheel base 3155mm

More information

Price as tested $36,831 plus on-road costs


HARD YAKKA 6R KRZ GRHV LW SHUIRUP RIIURDG" 7R ÀQG RXW we punted it through a mix of high-speed dirt roads, corrugations and back country towns then through plenty of steep climbs and descents. The Pro and Luxe are both equipped with differing suspension which drastically affected the way they both handled each REVWDFOH 7KH /X[H LV ÀWWHG ZLWK WKH FRPSDQ\·V ‘comfort’ suspension, giving the top-tier ute a softer, and more willowy ride. Through the

UROOLQJEDFNFRXQWU\URDGVLW·GÁRDWWKURXJK the corners and clear across the bumps. It did feel a little soft in both springs and shocks but would be bang-on for running around town. The Pro model receives the ‘heavy-duty’ suspension. The heavy-duty offering stiffens up the ride considerably which will limit offroad articulation, but also adds 180kg to the payload, and an extra 100kg to the GVM and GCM, so choose wisely, although both can carry their maximum GVM and still legally tow their

Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

From top: The 10in touchscreen display dominates the front duco; small details deliver a pleasing driving experience; take command of your safety controls while offroad.


3000kg maxed braking capacity. In the offroad specs department the T60 is comparable to almost all its rivals. Flicking the 4X4 dial into low-range and the transfer case electronically selects the 2.48:1 ratio (bang on with market leader Ford Ranger and revered offroader LC80) which helps the otherwise uninspiring diesel ‘get-er-dun’. While it is one of the largest bodies in its class we didn’t have any issues going through the undulating testtracks either in large part to the breakover angle being almost bang on that of an LC200 (21.3 vs 21 degrees). In either case, as with most 4X4s

a set of bar work front and rear as well as a suspension lift will drastically change the way it performs on and offroad. If you’re after a pure offroader, the Luxe is worth digging a little deeper into the pocket initially. After-market upgrades will be limited, but the Luxe picks up a factory diff locker in the form of an Eaton mechanical locker that automatically engages if it senses wheel slip.

UNDER THE BONNET Under the LDV’s aggressive front end is a 2.8L turbo-diesel pushing out 360Nm from 1600rpm

The caravan you want is now easier to find

right through to 2800 rpm with peak power coming in at 110kW at 3400rpm. It’s one of the lowest power outputs in its class although with such a wide spread of torque does make it usable, especially when teamed with the six speed auto ‘box. If the engine looks familiar it’s because it’s built under license from Italian diesel-experts VM Motori which currently produces the diesel burner in both the Jeep JK Wrangler as well as the current generation Holden Colorado, although in the Colorado’s case it’s re-branded as a Duramax. Despite being under-powered


Tow Test

2018 LDV T60 Luxe

From top: Alloy wheels are standard; the Luxe earned a 5-star ANCAP rating straight off the bat.

from factory, the 2.8L donk should be easily upgraded through tuning as both the Jeep and Colorado punch out 33 percent more power at 147kW with the Jeep making 460Nm and the Colorado pushing all the way to 500Nm.

TECH-HEAVY Like it or not, any Chinese imported ute is always going to start life on the back foot. To get on any sort of even keel with the traditional manufacturers, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have to either slash SULFHVRUJUHDWO\DGGIHDWXUHV/'9Ă&#x20AC;JXUHGLW¡G

do both. Starting from the bottom the T60 in Luxe and Pro both sport four-wheel disc brakes which is only currently found in the big-buck VW Amarok. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alloy wheels all-round, as well as a bunch of safety systems like LED daytime running lights, blind spot monitoring, and even adaptive headlights thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll track the road as you spin the tiller as well as heated mirrors for defrosting on cold mornings. On the inside, the Luxe picks up leather trim as well as electric front pews but the big ticket item is the infotainment system. Measuring in at a huge 10in, it dominates the dash and dwarfs its competitors. 7KHVLPSOHOD\RXWDQGODUJHVL]HDFWXDOO\ make it an incredibly simple arrangement to use, although it is lacking in a few features. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designed primarily to plug your phone in through either Apple Car Play or Android Auto and run off your phoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maps, music, and phone system.

ARE THEY WORTH THE COIN Look, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not going to skirt the obvious, the LDV T60 isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t as nice as the pointy end of its class, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also close to half the price of some of those 4X4s, and an extra $20K in your pocket could mean youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a T60 and camper trailer for the same price as a Colorado by itself. There has been plenty of also-ran Chinese 4X4s aiming to enter the market on price alone, with quality just scraping by, but the LDV isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t one of them. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well built, well equipped, and performs well on and offroad. Factor in it comes ZLWKDĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUNPZDUUDQW\DQGLW VWDUWVPDNLQJDZKROHKHDSRIĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOVHQVH Would I buy one and set off to live in the .LPEHUOH\IRUD\HDU"3UREDEO\QRW%XWLI,ZDV after a nice, affordable ute for family duties and to lug around a mid-weight camper trailer itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be damn hard to look past the T60.


Weight Distribution Hitches Weight Distribution Hitches evenly distribute weight over the entire length of the towing vehicle and trailer, resulting in a more level ride with more control and stability. The use of this product requires a Hitch Receiver attached to the tow vehicle AirSafeâ&#x201E;¢ Compatible . . . Enjoy The Ride Arrive Alive . . .

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Street Talk

COLLECTIVE INFLUENCE Perceptions, whether real or relative, prove the power is in your hands. o perceive or not to perceive, that is the question. Perceptions are everything â&#x20AC;&#x201C; well, at least some things in the recreational vehicle business. Some time ago I was looking over a PLGVL]HG FDPSHU WUDLOHU EXLOW E\ D PDQXIDFWXUHU which I know quite well. I was a bit confused that the manufacturer had used 150x50mm (6x2in) RHS steel for the main rails and drawbar. Since there was not an excessive load on the drawbar, I asked the reason why and was told: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what the customers want. They think they need more steel to build a tough trailer, yet we know that all it does is add weight.â&#x20AC;? A very tricky position as you can see, especially if taking the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;customer is always rightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; line of thinking. In a totally different area, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve recently heard of a similar problem. A colleague of mine was leading a small motorhome safari in New Zealand. For that purpose, all the motorhomes were hired from Wilderness Motorhomes, a company that only has BĂźrstner and Carado PRGHOV LQ WKHLU Ă HHW 1HYHU KHDUG RI HLWKHU" They are both German built, readily available in the NZ market and, although built for the UHWDLO VHFWRU WKH\ DUH XVHG LQ WKH UHQWDO Ă HHW ZLWKRXW DQ\ PRGLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQ 7KDW¡V YHU\ GLIIHUHQW WR PRVW UHQWDO Ă HHW RSHUDWRUV ZKR XVH SXUSRVH built motorhomes. As an aside, I recently drove


Above right: Paradise motorhomes consistently offer great amounts of interior space thanks to slide-outs. Below: German-built BĂźrstner RVs keep the weight down with their internal layout style.

a BĂźrstner ex-rental with more than 150,000km on the clock in Christchurch and was suitably impressed with how good the overall condition was. Interesting, to say the least. A couple of the NZ safari group members were clearly unhappy with their (very new) Carado motorhome. When my colleague made enquiries he discovered they owned a Paradise motorhome back in Australia and what the Carado lacked was space. Paradise Motor Homes is well known for just how much interior space its slide-out based motorhomes offer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but it is just space. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing wrong with that because, for some people ZKRUHDOO\VWUXJJOHLQPRUHFRQĂ&#x20AC;QHGLQWHULRUVLW¡VD great asset. On the other hand, most European designs are based on space being a precious commodity and so quite a few interior (and exterior in some cases) features have dual or triple functions. Hence the same number of features that are built LQWRD3DUDGLVHPRWRUKRPHFDQDOVREHĂ&#x20AC;WWHGLQWR the Carado but with less space in which to move around. Both my colleague and I reckon the British and European manufacturers score big points on this front, along with keeping the weight factor down. Clearly, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a matter of horses for courses when talking design preferences and how each of us likes to travel. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an individual choice, and nothing to do with reviewer preferences. It does strike me as slightly ironic here that the Paradise designs would suit a climate for more living inside (ie, cold), whereas the Euro designs would better suit a warmer climate where you can live outside under the awning.

WARRANTY MATTERS Over the last couple of years there has been something of a rumble in the RV jungle, both from industry and owners over warranty and defective work issues. This is spurred on by the rise of social media sites set up on this issue. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something that all manufacturers and dealers need to heed if they have not done so already. As I write this, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it is taking Jayco to court alleging it has breached Australian Consumer Law. Now I know Jayco is just one manufacturer but I do wonder if in choosing to take action against this industry giant the ACCC is sending a message to any potentially noncomplying players to â&#x20AC;&#x153;get into line or elseâ&#x20AC;?. It seems to me that the Caravan Industry Association Victoria (CIA VIC) has had the same thought because in response to ACCC advice it has sent out a warning/advisory note along the same lines to all its members. In the state where much of the Australian caravan manufacture happens, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hope that everyone is paying attention.


T R AV E L H A P P Y We shine the spotlight on caravanners, their rigs and their travel tales.

Toni and John took this photo of their rig ut the front of the town hall in Menzies during their 11-week trip to Western Australia. “We went out to Lake Ballard, Kookynie and Niagara Dam [during our stay here] ... Lots of amazing history in this area,” says Toni. “Our 2014 Ford Ranger didn't miss a beat towing the 2007 Jayco caravan. We did nearly 16,000km this trip going up as far as Karijini then headed south via Perth.” The couple stayed at “lots of lovely places” and saw “many beautiful sites” along the south west coast before travelling across the Nullarbor back to their home in Cranbourne, Victoria.

John James snapped a photo of his rig, a 2006 18ft Geist XK535 and 2003 Ford BA Falcon, while travelling in the south-west of Tasmania last year. “We were heading from Strahan to Hobart and came across this small track which lead to a lake. Apart from some fishermen on the other side of the lake we were the only ones there,” writes John.

WIN! 208

Brian took this cheeky snap of his 2008 Coromal Lifestyle 615 named Sweet Lady towed by his 2009 Navara Nav at Hughenden, Qld “Been on the road since February 2009. Three laps, still more to go…,” writes Brian.

This month’s winner will receive a Purple Line Saracen Ultra hitch lock, valued at $149. Saracen Ultra is a highly visible, simple to use, compact, high security lock which works both hitched and unhitched to keep would-be caravan thieves at bay. It fits to most standard 50mm ball hitches on caravans, camper trailers, boat and car trailers, and even work trailers. For more information about this and a host of other vanning accessories, visit

Readers’ Rigs

Valerie and Ian Phillips found this idyllic spot for coffee with a perfect reflection of their rig in Walgett NSW. “2017. Another year to see and enjoy this great country and add 13,000km on the clock of our faithful 100 Series LandCruiser, which pulls our Galaxy with ease,” writes Ian and Valerie. Bliss.

The Denson Family took a shortcut to Kalgoorlie from Perth visiting Geraldton, Yalgo, Mt Magnet, Sandstone, Lake Ballard and Westonia in their new “to us” 2013 200 Series GXl ‘Cruiser and Spinifex Nomadix van seen here. “[We] took the kids to see a lot of the old mining sites and where the towns once were. Great to see some of the old equipment and mine shafts that they built by hand and how tough the did it,” Thomas explains.

HOW TO WIN Just email your most travel-inspiring picture (2-3MB) of yourself, family and friends with your rig, along with a brief description to submissions@adventuresgroup. with ‘Readers’ Rigs’ in the subject line, or send a print to Caravan World Readers’ Rigs, 125 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North, Vic 3161. All entries must include your full postal address (not for publication). Photo submissions may also appear on

The caravan you want is now easier to find


On the Trails



Making travelling memories last!


iven an opportunity, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d spend all our time travelling but life sometimes gets in the way. Work, money, grandkids and health, you get the picture. So, when it comes to remembering all those trips, your keepsakes and photographs help to re-live the moment. Technology has abounded in recent years. You no longer need to lug around a massive camera and peripherals. These days, a compact smartphone or tablet is all it takes. To get the best from your happy snaps, download them from your camera to a hard drive or USB VWLFNDQGVRUWWKHPLQWRHDVLO\LGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;DEOHIROGHUV VR \RX FDQ Ă&#x20AC;QG WKHP ODWHU $QG WR SUHVHUYH \RXU special pics, consider making a backup. At least if one hard drive fails, you still have a copy. Another way of preserving the memories from past trips is to acquire a keepsake. It could be a souvenir purchased from a shop, pub or something from unique to the local environment. Some keepsakes will be put proudly on display, such as the Aboriginal painting purchased in Kakadu. Others, such as a T-shirt or stubby holder only DSSHDU DW VSHFLĂ&#x20AC;F WLPHV <HW ZKHQ WKH\ GR LW¡V DQ instant reminder of the great memories from that trip. Here are a few of my favourite keepsakes:

G WITH ANITA PAVEY Clockwise from top right: Railway spikes from the old Ghan; many items are kept on display at Anitaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shop â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Dirt Off Road Campers; rocks and shells make great keepsakes if they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t protected; keep a safe digital backup of treasured photos with friends.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve kept rocks and shells from our big lap and stored them in large coffee jars at our storeâ&#x20AC;? 210

OLD GHAN RAILWAY SPIKES These critters litter the path of the Old Ghan route and continue to be churned up by graders and the SDVVDJHRIWUDIĂ&#x20AC;F:HSLFNHGXSDIHZPDQ\\HDUV ago. Just check whether historical artefacts such as these arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t protected by law.

ROCKS AND SHELLS Colourful rocks and shells make wonderful keepsakes, as a reminder of the unique environment from that area. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve kept rocks and shells from our big lap and stored them in large coffee jars at our store. Like historical artefacts, Ă RUDDQGUHODWHGREMHFWVPD\EHSURWHFWHGLQ national parks, so be careful what you take.

LIONS DEN HOTEL T-SHIRT This one dates to 2011. It was a special time as weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d met other travellers up at Cape York and travelled

Purchased from the Mt Dare Hotel on the western edge of the Simpson Desert. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small enamel cup ZLWKDQLQVFULSWLRQHPEOD]RQHGRQWKHVLGH6DGO\ itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seen little port since its acquisition and is used instead to collect used teabags in the kitchen. Yet it still attracts attention from all our visitors, and we happily recite the tale of our trip across the Simpson.

GLITZY STUBBIE HOLDER ,VWXPEOHGDFURVVWKLVDWWKH0DQVĂ&#x20AC;HOG0DUNHW Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pink and black in colour, decorated with trinkets. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great ice-breaker at happy hour, easily generating some conversation amongst other travellers. Well, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my take on keepsakes and photos. As always, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to hear about your personal keepsakes, so throw up a photo or two on the Caravan World Facebook page for all to enjoy. See you on the trails.

Australia’s B.E.S.T. RV Inline Water Filter WHAT IS BEST? We have 35 YE ARS of installing water filters in caravans

Bacteria Eliminating Silver Treatment

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e: The caravan you want is now easier to find


Cape Tribulation Beach, QLD Photographer Jack Murphy

Gear Canon EOS, f/2.8 @1/5000 second, ISO-1000


Picture Perfect

The caravan you want is now easier to find



Events around Oz What’s happening around the country in the coming months? QLD NOOSA FESTIVAL OF SURFING Mar 10-17 It’s all pure stoke with longboard, stand-up paddle, tandem and finless competitions with amateur, pro, underage and 70+ years divisions.



Mar 22-27 Spend six days indulging the sense with exotic tropical fruits, produce, seafood and gourmet treats of the Innisfail region on offer. Innisfail,

ROMA’S EASTER IN THE COUNTRY Mar 29-Apr 2 Celebrate the best of rural Queensland during this five-day event, now its in fortieth year, it is widely. With prized cattle, wood chopping, a side-show, equestrian events and family fun.


Clockwise from main: The local LGBTIQ community brings colour to Sydney’s streets during its annual Mardigras (Pic: Jeffrey Feng); riding waves at the Noosa Festival of Surfing; Kilmore Country Festival; Orange Blossom performing at Womadelaide.

LARDNER PARK MOTORFEST March 7-8 Get your revs up with two days of burn outs, high performance Go To Whoa competition and a Show’n Shine event where all proceeds go to Rotary-supported charities, Lardner,

March 22-25 Take a load off as local and international artists strum their stuff, Horsham, www.



Mar 2-3 There’s plenty of country pride at stake, with fine wool merinos and stud cattle on show, speed shearing displays, horse events, craft stalls, dog show judging and more. Boorowa, (02) 6385 5217,

MILTON AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL SHOW Mar 4-5 Outback life at its best with wood chopping, a rodeo, dog and equestrian events, the ‘U Beaut Ute’ and a ‘Battle of the Bands’ plus crafts, cooking and industry displays under one pavilion. Milton, (02) 4455 2845,

Mar 3 Join hundreds and thousands lining the streets in support of equality and enjoy the dazzling spectacle of sparkles and self-expression on show at this proud annual LGBTIQ event.

VIC KILMORE COUNTRY FESTIVAL Mar 3 Kilmore rocks country-style with live local trackside performances, beverages at bar prices and a ute competition awarded to best artwork, people’s choice, best show ’n shine and more. Kilmore Racetrack,

Mar 9-11 Enjoy live music, a bush poets’ breakfast, a family barbecue day or ride the beautifully-restored Tin Hare train shuttles or the 300 seater Steam Train with vintage car and motorbikes on displays. Junee,

Mar 1-4 This annual event hosts bush poetry competitions, street theatre, puppetry, market stalls and comedy entertainment, with early Australian music adding to the country atmosphere. Dunedoo,





FINGAL VALLEY FESTIVAL Mar 3 Watch everyday folk test their limits in the world coal shovelling, roof bolting, shearing, wood chopping and tree felling events. With yard dog trials and an array of food and craft stalls. Fingal Valley,

TASTE THE HARVEST Mar 12 (jan 2018) Delight your tastebuds with the best Tasmanian food and wine with plenty of entertainment for all ages. A highlight is the Harvest Celebration Dinner, offering a complete dining experience. Devonport,

A TASTE OF THE HUON Mar 11-12 Sample fine food and wine and immerse yourself in arts, crafts and entertainment from the Huon Valley, D’entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island regions. Various cafes, wineries and berry farms, Ranelagh, www.

BREAM CREEK SHOW Mar 17 Locals vie for the state’s wood chopping title amid country show festivities with yard dog trials, horse events, rides and vintage machinery displays. Browse and

purchase, produce, crafts and arts. Bream Creek,

SA ADELAIDE FESTIVAL March 2-18 Sample an extraordinary mix of international theatre productions, eclectic world-class musicians and dance with breathtaking art displays, with a writers’ Week, for those with a literary bent.

from the Adelaide Fringe mix it up with the locals for an easter weekend ranging from ballet to bollywood, country sounds, kids’ entertainment and more. Whyalla,

WA SCULPTURE BY THE SEA March 6-23 Perth’s Cottesloe Beach will become one huge outdoor gallery with more than 70 beautiful, crazy and random sculptures adorn it, Perth, www.

WOMADELAIDE March 90-12 Wander the Adelaide’s lush Botanic Park amid a four-day celebration of global music, food, thought and creativity. Adelaide Botanic Park,

PETERBOROUGH ART AND CULTURAL FESTIVAL Mar 23-Apr 2 Local artisans reflect on this cultural festival’s 10 year history with photography, needlework, papier mache, 3D printing, markets and historical displays. Peterborough, www.ourpeterboroughsouthaustralia.

UNEARTH FESTIVAL Mar 25-27 Catch the ultimate after party as stayers

The caravan you want is now easier to find

GAMEX GAME FISHING TOURNAMENT Mar 16-24 Feel the thrill of the reel with 40 different game species on offer or simply enjoy the clubhouse camaraderie, with socials, scientific studies and educational sessions during the nine-day event. Exmouth,

THE RAC PERTH CARAVAN & CAMPING SHOW Mar 22-26 Browse more than 400 stalls and bling your rig with the latest camping gadgets or nab a bargain with wide selection of up-to-theminute RVs from box-style camper trailers through to motorhomes. Claremont Showground, caravanandcampingshow.

TRADE HIRE KARRI RALLY March 25 Catch the excitement at Kin Kin Retreat, arguably Rally WA’s prettiest track, as rally hopefuls take the first step state championship status for 2018 Kin Kin Retreat,

NT TIWI ISLANDS ANNUAL FOOTBALL ART SALE Mar 18 Take this rare opportunity to visit Bathurst Island to buy Tiwi art and craft at community prices, and admire skilful displays in the footy grand final. Bathurst Island, (08) 8941 3593,

TOP END BARRA SERIES ROUND 1 Mar 10-11 Around 100 competitors will set off over two days of fishing. Fish can be caught by casting or trolling lures, or by fly fishing. No bait fishing is allowed. Shady Camp,

CIRCLE F EASTER FISHING COMPETITION Mar 30-Apr 1 Pack the rods and the kids and join the locals at Timber Creek for a great weekend of fishing on the Victoria River. Timber Creek, Katherine,


Special Feature Canvas king

Clockwise from top left: Fitting out blinds in the early days; Tebbs annexe walls integrated with the roll-out awning; celebrating 70-year milestone.

Canvas KINGS How iconic canvas supplier Tebbs Canvas keeps you comfortable out on the tracks.

ebbs Canvas in Dandenong, Vic, is a bit of an industry institution. For more than 70 years, van manufacturers and van dealers have been knocking on its doors to keep their customers comfortable undercover. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of the pop-top tent sections you see on the road are made by Tebbs as we produce them for most manufacturers. We also supply them with awning walls for the roll out awnings. We do deal with the public at shows but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll direct them through our dealer networks,â&#x20AC;? explains Rick, who has been working with Tebbs for 35 years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole setup is quite robust, and we always use Australian canvas to suit Australian conditions.â&#x20AC;? +RUL]RQWDO VWULSHV DUH V\QRQ\PRXV ZLWK 7HEEV¡ canvas but Rick says the current trend in walls is plain colours. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We offer contrasting colours DQG VWRFN RXU RZQ XQLTXH KRUL]RQWDO VWULSHG colour range. So if you have light grey walls we might highlight that with burgundy, charcoal, black or navy window covers,â&#x20AC;? Rick says.


MODERN MODS With all products locally made on site, the team can customise your walls to suit your


requirements. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re often asked to add in windows or doors RU WR Ă&#x20AC;W D FXEE\ KXWFK RXW WKH EDFN >IRU VWRUDJH@ WKDW¡V DOO ]LSSHG WRJHWKHU ÂŤ XVXDOO\ D FXVWRPHU will see a cubby hutch during their travels and UHTXHVW WR KDYH LW Ă&#x20AC;WWHG DIWHUPDUNHW :H RIWHQ JHW asked to repair other brand annexes as well,â&#x20AC;? Rick says. Mesh is integrated â&#x20AC;&#x153;as standardâ&#x20AC;? into the bottom skirts and top wedges to provide ventilation. ´:H DOVR KDYH Ă \PHVK ZDOOV ZKHQ JDV appliances are vented under the awning. We can do a part enclosure beyond the fridge and enclose WKH UHPDLQLQJ ZLWK Ă \PHVK VR LI WKH FXVWRPHU has a 20ft awning, we allow for a 14ft enclosure to leave the fridge out of the enclosure, to meet gas venting governed by the standards authority,â&#x20AC;? explains Rick. But adaptability and quality workmanship isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only hallmark of Tebbsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; success. ´7KURXJK H[SHULHQFH ZH XVH TXDOLW\ ]LSV and quality meshes. We use a 100 per cent polyester walling fabric, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no cotton which can deteriorate. The longevity is there. Other lightweight nylons arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worth considering and vinyl is quite heavy and less serviceable over time. With canvas, you can often stitch repair down the track,â&#x20AC;? Rick explains.

Charlie Tebb Up until he passed away in 2002, canvas king Charlie Tebb who launched Tebbs Canvas in 1947 lived and breathed the outdoor life. A mad ďŹ sho fanatic since he was a wee kid, Charlie owned six caravans and at least six boats during his life, which provided valuable insight into the needs of the caravanning public. The business â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which at its peak during the mid-70s employed around 70 staff â&#x20AC;&#x201C; started as a small stall in the Dandenong Market. Tebbs is now located at 33 Brooklyn Ave, Dandenong, employing a workforce of about 25, with many being employed for more than 10 years. Today, Tebbs is recognised as a major supplier of canvas and caravan accessories to the caravanning industry and continue to develop new and exciting products.

Getaway Gear

Squeaky clean Lower your impact at camp with this environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaner. WORDS AND PICS SCOTT HEIMAN

cocamidopropyl and other non-synthetic components. Among other things, these help the cleanser to produce foam while repelling lint and dust. And, why is all this important when ZH¡UHRQWKHURDG":HOOWKLVSURGXFWZRQ¡W bugger up the environment as much as most off-the-shelf cleaners. Having said that, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still a man-made product and, like all detergents, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pollutant. But this one breaks down quicker. So we shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get rid of waste water within 100 metres of a river or stream where it could encourage bacterial growth and reduce oxygen in the waterway. But, used sensibly, we reckon this cleanser is a much better option than comparable products. And every bit of environmental sensitivity counts. So, what product are we talking about DQ\ZD\²DQGZKHUHGLGZHĂ&#x20AC;QGRXWDERXW LW"'RQ¡WODXJKEXWPXPJRWXVRQWR it. The product is NutriClean Original Lotion Concentrate which is a Nutrimetics SURGXFW$QGLW¡VQRZDSHUPDQHQWĂ&#x20AC;[WXUH in our camp setup. With a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wee dramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in a spray bottle on the fridge-slide, this is our go-to product for hand cleaning, food prep and removing bugs smashed on the windscreen. All up, handy non-toxic goodness. $OO\RXQHHGWRĂ&#x20AC;QGQRZLV\RXUORFDO Nutrimetics distributor. Available from Nutrimetics.

CARA REST CARAVAN SUPPLIES & REPAIRS Ph 08 8162 5013 | Gate 2, 64 Grand Junction Rd, Kilburn

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NutriClean Original Lotion Concentrate RRP: $20 for 1L, $80 for a 5L bottle Where: Local Nutrimetics distributor More info:

â&#x20AC;˘ Repairs & alterations to all makes & models â&#x20AC;˘ Holiday servicing & preparation â&#x20AC;˘ Insurance work â&#x20AC;˘ Warranty work â&#x20AC;˘ Accessories & spare parts specialists â&#x20AC;˘ Air conditioning specialists â&#x20AC;˘ Country clients welcome â&#x20AC;˘ SA â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;S LARGEST CARAVAN RETAIL STORE


As overlanders, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d reckon most of us want to reduce the load in our rigs. We ensure that everything we carry has two or more applications to save space and increase HIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQFLHV$QGZHORRNIRUZD\VWRUHGXFH our environmental â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;footprintâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as we travel the highways and byways. 6RZHZHUHKDSS\WRĂ&#x20AC;QGDJHQHUDO purpose cleaning concentrate that we could pack in the van knowing it would be useful for a whole range of tasks while weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the road, and that wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t leave a heap of chemical residue in our wake. The product we found is good for washing dishes, removing water-based insecticides and chemicals off fruit and veggies, and for keeping upholstery, windows, kitchen and bathroom surfaces spotless. And if the fur-babyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s looking a little worse for wear after a day in the great outdoors, this cleaner can double as a pet wash too. 7ZHQW\Ă&#x20AC;YHPLOVRIWKHFRQFHQWUDWHLQ/ of water should see you through. Better still, the product is environmentally friendly. Dermatologically tested, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pH neutral, biodegradable (complying with Australian standard AS 4351-2), phosphate-free with no formaldehyde, chlorine, phenols, bleaches, disinfectants or animal derivatives. Instead of the usual nasties, the productâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main ingredients are plant derived from yucca extracts, coconut derivative


Getaway Gear


For many outback warriors, red dust is a source of pride but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a nightmare to clean and downright menacing if it makes its way into the inside of your van. Moving towards gas-free RVing is one way to keep it at bay and with the Thetford T1090 you can do this without forgoing the comforts of an internal kitchen. The 12V T1090â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique rear venting system lets you safely and legally seal your RV boosting and separates hot and cool air to help keep consumption low. (PLWWLQJMXVWG% $ WKHHIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQW Secop compressor draws 4A in day-mode and 2A in night-mode after dark making it perfect for travellers relying on solar. :KDW¡VPRUHWKH7LVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWR utilise natural refrigerant R600A in its class reducing its overall environmental footprint.

Thetford T1090 RRP: POA Where: RV resellers outlets Australia-wide More info:

Previously only available in the United States, Klymit has expanded its Australian sleeping range to LQFOXGHĂ&#x20AC;YHQHZSURGXFWVWKH6WDWLF9 Junior, Static V Ultralite SL, Insulated Static V Ultralite SL, Pillow X Large, and the Pillow Luxe. Equipped with Klymitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s innovative body mapping technology, the collection aims to provide more durable and easy-to-use outdoor sleeping equipment to the Australian public. Guaranteed to exceed all comfort and performance expectations, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll discover a whole new level of relaxation and luxury with any of these newly released sleeping pads or pillows. So if you value a good nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sleep on the road, one (or more!) of these award-winning items should be on your shopping list.

Award-winning RV accessories retailer Solar 4 RVs has just launched a new thin lightweight solar panel onto the Australian market. Backed by a 10-year product warranty, the eArche (pronounced e-Arc) panels for RVs utilise patent-pending composite material similar to whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s used in aeroplane windows. The panels, rated at 2400 pascals for wind and 5400 pascals for load, are accredited by the Clean Energy Council and come with three edging options. These include rubber for use on curved surfaces, a 6mm thin black anodised aluminium frame to provide rigidity and an air gap if desired, or a 20mm thick black anodised aluminium frame for additional strength without the weight.

Manufactured and developed in Queensland, Solarscreens are constructed from a unique, high quality, 9-layer, flexible fabric that has been designed to insulate against extreme conditions; providing complete UV protection and unmatched thermal performance. Solarscreens are tailor made to suit your motorhome, caravan, 4WD or boat and are easy to install and remove, with no modifications necessary. Solarscreen is proud to be 100% Australian family owned and operated, ensuring all screens are guaranteed!

RRP: Priced from $59.95 Where: Online More info:


For nearly two decades, Solarscreen has provided more than 20,000 quality window insulation solutions across Australia and the world abroad.


Klymit Sleeping Range

eArche Solar Panel RRP: Priced from $155 More info:

Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s B.E.S.T. RV Inline Water Filter



Vision is vital on those long country tracks especially when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re contending with wildlife blind to the risks of the road. Thankfully, Narvaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Explora Driving Light Bar delivers better reach with its Advanced Optic Drive Technology providing a 30 per cent boost in output compared to a conventional LED bar. According to Narva, the Explora bar produces an impressive 2400 Lumens, a staggering Lux of light at 269 metres rated GD\OLJKW DW Â&#x192;. 7KH UHĂ HFWRU PRXOGV the light produced from 12 3W highpowered LEDs to minimise wasteful spill, concentrating it on where the driver needs it most. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more, the ultra slimline design suits a variety of vehicles from passenger cars to 4WDs without needing a bullbar Ă&#x20AC;WWHG ,WV RQHSLHFH GLHFDVW DOXPLQLXP housing and polycarbonate lens require no end caps for superior heat dissipation and

We have 35 YE ARS of installing water ďŹ lters in caravans

Narva Explora Driving Light Bar RRP: $199; bracket $49 Where: Automotive outlets More info: allow it be sealed to IP68 and submersible to IP69K levels. An optional stainless steel bracket and a pre-wired weatherproof Deutsch connector provide easy installation. Consuming between the 9-32V multivoltage, the Explora LED Driving Light Bar suits both 12 and 24V vehicles and is covered by a 5-year LED warranty Narvaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Explora LED Driving Light Bar and associated accessories are available from leading automotive and transport outlets throughout Australia.

â&#x20AC;˘ You can safely draw water from town, tank, creek or bore water. â&#x20AC;˘ Chemicals & sediment are removed, bacteria is destroyed. â&#x20AC;˘ Reversible - reverse it and ďŹ&#x201A;ush away the dirt.



Bacteria Eliminating Silver Treatment

â&#x20AC;˘ Can be re-used after periods of non-use!!! â&#x20AC;˘ Can be used in any direction! â&#x20AC;˘ No set service period â&#x20AC;˘ DIY Installation â&#x20AC;˘ High quality â&#x20AC;˘ Low price â&#x20AC;˘ Compact

Clean, safe water... wherever the road may take you...

B.E.S.T. Water Filters 1800 240 822 m: 0428 240 822

e: info@bestwaterďŹ


TABLE SERVICE 7LUHG RI MXJJOLQJ SODWHV RI IRRG RQ \RXU NQHHV" *LYH WKHP D break by using a camp table from Helinox! Not only will you enjoy your meal in comfort, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also space for drinks, snacks, cameras or phones. The Table One Large is an upscaled version of Helinoxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original lightweight camp table, and has a generous 76x57cm surface area. It features the signature folding hard-top design â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ZKLFK PDNHV VWRUDJH D EUHH]H DQG DOVR FRPHV ZLWK D Ă&#x20AC;YH\HDU warranty. Weighing just 1.59kg, and with a packed length of just 60cm, this is a worthy addition to any outdoor enthusiasts gear kit.

Helinox Table One Large RRP: $196 with free delivery Where: Online More info:




The caravan you want is now easier to find


Getaway Gear

YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES COVERED With the rise in apps and downloadable maps, digital devices are increasingly considered overlander essentials. The outdoors, however, remain as hostile as ever, which is why Pelican designed a range of Mobile Product backpacks equipped to protect your precious data. Designed for active use outdoors, the backpacks provide room for general gear, water bottles, laptops, tablets and smart-phones ZLWKDORRSDQGORFN]LSSHUSXOOV\VWHPDIIRUGLQJSURWHFWLRQRQ pockets designed for digital devices. The 1000D nylon shell shields your gear in mild rain while the Q\ORQFRDWHGLPSDFW]RQHV and compression-moulded EVA shoulder straps back keeps you comfortable out on the tracks. Fitted with polyurethane-coated YKK RRP: MPB20 (20L) $139.99; MPB20 ]LSSHUVLQDQG/ (25L) $139.99; MPB20 (35L) $139.99 packs, the Mobile Protect More info: Backpack range is backed by Where: Pelicanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lif ti Pelican s lifetime guarantee.

Pelican Mobile Protect Backpack

FILL â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ER UP

Responsive Diesel Fuel Lubricant And Conditioner RRP: $34.50 per bottle More info: Where: Automotive care outlets Australia-wide


As a way of complying with our countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s emissions standards, Australian diesel has a very low sulphur content. However, a result of this is no lubrication in the fuel, which can result in engine wear and tear and fuel contamination. To combat this, Responsive Engineering has produced a diesel fuel lubricant and conditioner, designed to quieten rattly injectors, reduce emissions, improve fuel consumption, and boost the overall performance of your vehicle. It also lubricates moving parts and provides anticorrosion protection for diesel fuel pumps, injectors, and all fuel system components. All this by adding just 10ml per 80 litres tank of diesel. Cleverly FRQVWUXFWHGWRĂ&#x20AC;WSHUIHFWO\ in your door pocket, this Australian made product is a must-have.

SPARE PARTS Works with al antenn l as

Find TV stations and boost signal strength for your wind up antenna!




Service and Warranty workshop


Of repair parts for the tradesman and handyman

OPEN WARRANTY AGENTS 6 For most major caravan manufacturers DAYS PROFESSIONAL ADVICE For the home builder and repairer

SYDNEY’S LARGEST INSTALLER For all Dometic and Air Command products

417 Brighton Road, Brighton SA 5048 Phone 08 8358 4174

121 Hume Highway Lansvale NSW 2166 Ph: (02) 9728 6366


The Happy Wanderer Easy Tune is a signal finder and booster that works on all antennas. The Easy Tune will give an extra boost to wind up antennas that already have a built in booster. This extra boosting improves weak signals due to weather, trees, or distance from transmitter. Find signals and dial up the signal strength you need in one easy to use unit! See website for more details.


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The only choice for the great Aussie outdoors

INTRODUCING THE NEW TOURA RANGE FROM MILLARD Millard has been synonymous with tough, superior Australian caravans for over 70 years. It’s never been easier or more affordable to take the great Australian adventure. The Toura range has 9 models to choose from, starting with our compact 16’ up to our larger 23’ van, and with queen or bunk bed layouts, centre, rear and front door options as well as a variety of interior layouts, there is a model to suit everyone, no matter what your needs.

All Millard caravans are designed and built in Australia to suit our harsh conditions and come with solid steel, hot dipped galvanised chassis and aluminium frame, seated on CRS Cruisemaster independent suspension. If you are serious about the great Aussie outdoors, then Millard is the only choice.

Some of the standard features you will find in the new Toura range: • Single piece fibreglass roof • Microwave oven plus mini grill • Gas/electric hot water system • Washing machine (model dependent) • Roof air conditioning • 2 door 184L fridge (model dependant) • Full insulation to wall & ceilings • Double glazed windows with blinds & fly screens • Radio & TV/CD • TV antenna • External power point & annexe light

• Roll out awning • Trail-A-Mate jack • Battery pack • Drawers on metal runners • Bed spread with pillows • A-frame tap & protector • Quick release drop down legs & heavy duty jockey wheel • 2 x 9kg gas bottles & change over regulator • Fire extinguisher • 2 x 95L water tanks with galvanised water tank protector

• 15” all terrain wheels & tyres • Checkerplate front & sides • Map holder • Picnic table

Millard is a member of the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing Accreditation Program (RVMAP) and all their caravans come with a 12 month Australia - Wide Warranty.