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iMotorhome

12: October 20 2012

.com.au

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

for crying out loud! CMCA's 27th National Rally doubles Boonah's population... Aquarius Rising

The Age of Luxury is upon us...

Weather or Not?

A free weather app worth investigating...


On my mind...

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ell, last issue's letter from Colin MacLean on motorhome safety certainly stirred up a hornets nest. Not from readers, mind, but from the Industry. By publishing it I was even accused of threatening the future of Australian Manufacturing! That people believe I have so much influence is flattering. Perhaps I should replace Allan Jones as Australia's most influential and outspoken media personality? Back in the real world, I'm writing this on my IPad, sitting at the dinette in Trakka's prototype Trakkaway 700 B-Class motorhome. The concept of the mobile office has truly become a reality with

the advent of smartphones, tablets, fast and lightweight laptops and reliable, highspeed mobile Internet. As this issues has been put together on-the-fly under sometimes 'challenging' conditions, please forgive more typos than usual and any other bloopers you might find. The mobile office might be a reality, but coordinating everything and publishing on the run is still a work in progress... Speaking of bloopers (of a kind), we've run into technical problems bringing you the second installment of Collyn River's excellent Vehicle Dynamics article. It's Murphy's Law that at the most difficult times things beyond the norm

will occur, but they have so we'll hopefully have that for you next issue. Whilst writing this I'm also attending the CMCA's 27th National Rally in Boonah, Queensland: my fourth such rally but my first for many years (the other three being Toowoomba, Maryborough and Mt Gambier). It's been great to see some familiar faces (I was going to say 'old familiar faces', but age is a moot point with many here!) and in many ways it feels like I haven't missed any rallies in between. If you've never attended a massed gathering of motorhomes like this it really is an eye opener in a good way. I've also been particularly encouraged by the

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On my mind... ...Continued

great response to iMotorhome from a number of people I've met here. Thank you! Moving on, the Trakkaway 700 I've been living and working in for almost a week measures a smidgen under 7 meters in length and is Trakka's first model with a slide-out. Built on the latest release 3.0-litre Fiat Ducato with a 6-speed 'auto' gearbox, it also features

Trakka's Remote pack. This includes 165 litres of fresh water and 135 litres of grey, 2 x 135 W solar panels plus dieselfired cooking, hot water and heating. This vehicle also has the optional rainwater retrieval system that can collect an additional 55 litres and should prove invaluable for anyone venturing away from civilisation - as long as it rains!

The iMotorhome Team

I'll be reviewing the Trakkaway 700 in detail next issue, but it's proving a great 'little' machine to travel and live in and as a prototype is a real tribute to Trakka's engineers for its 'completeness.' Production starts in February for March delivery and its a walk-up start for a host of Industry awards. See you next month!

d r a h Ric

Richard Robertson

Malcolm Street

Allan Whiting

Publisher & Managing Editor

Consulting Editor

Technical Editor

A long-time freelance RV, motoring and travel writer, Richard is a dedicated, longterm motorhome enthusiast.

Unquestionably Australia and New Zealand’s best known RV journalist, Malcolm is a fixture at CMCA rallies and RV shows and is now in his second decade as a specialist RV writer.

An experienced motoring writer when Japanese cars were a novelty, Allan’s career read’s like Australian motor writing royalty.

richard@imotorhome.com.au

He has held senior editorial positions with some of the best know recreational vehicle magazines in Australia. Richard also has a passion for lifestyleenhancing technology, which is why he is the driving force behind the new iMotorhome eMagazine.

malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

If it’s available on either side of the Tasman, Malcolm has probably driven it, slept in it, reported on it, knows how it’s made and can tell you just how good it really is.

allan@imotorhome.com.au

Highly experienced in or on everything from motorcycles to B-doubles, Allan also runs www.outbacktravelaustralia. com – an invaluable free resource for anyone into four-wheel driving or touring remote corners of Australia.

©2012 iMotorhome. All rights reserved. Published by iMotorhome. ABN 34 142 547 719. PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW. 2576. Contact us on 0414 604 368 or Email: info@imotorhome.com.au


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INSIDE EDISNI 2 ON MY MIND More musings from the Muse

7 NEWS

Slim pickings from the RV world this issue...

11 SHOW FEATURE Malcolm Street's CMCA Rally roundup

17 TESTED

Aquarius Rising - Richard Robertson samples the Age of Luxury

38 TRAVEL

17 44 CMCA MESSAGE Just north of Auckland...

Leave No Trace – more than just wishful thinking

21 48 ROADSIDE EATS Pies in Passing...

23 50 MOBILE TECH Weather or Not?

54 NEXT ISSUE Plus our regular Show Calendar


Paradise Motor Homes have Moved Paradise Motor Homes is excited to announce we have moved to the former Swagman premises located at 245 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters, Queensland. Our new headquarters houses a state-of-the-art production facility specially designed to meet the high demand for our new price-competitive Integrity Series. The exciting news for those wanting to trade will be the new 15,000sqm Paradise RV Sales & Service Division which will offer:

• Paradise New & Used Sales • Consignment Listings • Annual Motorhome Body Servicing • Solar & GenSet Supply & Fitment • Tilta Car Trailers & A Frames

• Trade-ins • Repairs to all makes & models • Insurance Repairs • Upgrades & modifications • RV Shop

This exciting move into such a high profile and well-known location will delight you with its easy accessibility, improved parking and extended services. We look forward to seeing you at the new home of Paradise.

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Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2012


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News...

Volkswagen on the up! Bluetooth as optional extras," said ANCAP Chairman, Mr Lauchlan McIntosh.

Image: © Volkswagen

M

otorhomers looking for a safe and economical small car to tow or run around in between trips should take a serious look at the new-butoddly-named Volkswagen up! Volkswagen says that from just $13,990 (plus on-roads) the up! “Brings unprecedented levels of safety to the sub-light category, offering innovative technology more commonly found in cars double the up!’s price.” The up! scores a maximum fivestar safety rating from ANCAP and includes the potentially life-saving laser-guided City Emergency Braking system: A first for cars under $30,000, let alone $14,000. It also becomes the cheapest five-star safety rated car on Australian roads. It also features driver and front passenger airbags plus front side/head airbags, ABS with brake assist and electronic stability control, in addition to a

decent list of standard equipment. Up! is available with 3 doors or 5, is powered by an apparently capable and willing 1.0 L 3-cylinder engine producing 55 kW/95Nm and weighs in around the 800 kg mark. Already awarded Europe’s NCAP Advanced Award for its innovative City Emergency Braking function, ANCAP Chairman, Mr Lachlan McIntosh said, “ANCAP is pleased to see that the Up! provides advanced safety features as standard and offers other occupant comforts such as

"It is hard to fathom why features that protect vehicle occupants are sold as optional extras by most manufacturers, yet alloy wheels and leather seats, for instance, come as standard. The move by Volkswagen to include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in the up! as standard across all variants is a welcome change." "The standard fitment of safety features and safety technologies is something ANCAP has been advocating for some time and all manufacturers should follow Volkswagen's lead," he added. The new up! is the first car in its class in the world to have a City Emergency Braking function, which at speeds of between 5km/h to 30km/h detects the risk of an impending collision and can reduce accident severity by initiating automatic brake interventions that can even avoid a crash.

Image: © Volkswagen


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News...

Winnebago update

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innebago Industries is continuing its fight in the Federal Court to secure the right to use the Winnebago name in Australia, despite an adverse ruling in August. While the appeal process

is winding its way slowly through the legal system the Company isn’t sitting on its hands awaiting the outcome. Plans are well advanced to secure the Brand’s future and an

Talvor Specials

T

alvor is offering three motorhome models at heavily reduced prices at Caravan Queensland’s PreChristmas Caravan and Camping Sale 25th – 28th October at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane. It’s also offering up to $2500 worth of extras on some models. They are: Murana B-Class (Mercedes) – As one of the most popular vehicles

in Talvor's range Murana comes with an electronic bed lift system, a choice of roof profiles, and a contemporary interior layout. Sale Price: $146,990 Hamilton B-Class (VW Crafter) – This 2-berth motorhome offers a well appointed layout including an extra-large shower, a 175 L 3-Way fridge/freezer and a full queen-sized bed. Sale Price: $124,990

announcement is expected as early as November detailing a bold new product and marketing initiative. That’s all we can say at this stage, but rest assured as soon as plans are made public iMotorhome will bring you the breaking news. Hayman 1 (mid-ensuite) B-Class (Fiat Ducato) – Talvor’s all-new flagship, the Hayman has “Been designed from the ground up to reveal a new standard in Australian motorhomes.” Swivel cab seats, a flat floor, a full-size slide-out dinette, a 175 L fridge/freezer, microwave, reverse cycle air-conditioning, oven and LED lighting top a long list of standard features. Sale Price: $153,990 drive away


Feature: CMCA National Rally

BOONAH TIMES FOR

MOTORHOMING!! Malcolm Street reports live (thankfully) from Rally Central...

Under sometimes dramatic skies my four-berth KEA provided a comfortable and practical home-away-from-home.


Feature: CMCA National Rally

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The massive scale of the event is evident from the air!

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his report comes to you from the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) National Rally at Boohan in SE Qld. About a half hour south of Ipswich, Boonah is the very pleasant Hinterland town that has been hosting the rally. And given the town's usual population of around 2400, the arrival of about an equal number of visitors for a week has had the town abuzz. As I write there are circa 1100 campervans, motorhomes, 5th wheelers and a few caravans parked around the Boonah showground. Just in case you might be wondering what happens at

a motorhome rally, the short answer is a whole selection of activities. All the attending members are enjoying a week of catching up with each other, having Happy Hour every evening, touring around the district, having Happy Hour, attending seminars of all description, having Happy Hour, taking in all the trade stands, having Happy Hour, checking out everyone else's motorhome, having Happy Hour, wandering around the town, having Happy Hour, enjoying the evening entertainment and of course did I mention that rally institution, Happy Hour? Some of us, however, are actually working while we are here.

Each CMCA rally helps raise money for the local community and a slightly unusual event used to assist the Boonah Rotary Club on this occasion were the pig races. You had to have see it to believe it! On opening night, several well deserved life memberships were announced – one being for keen iMotorhome supporters Bill and Dorothy McClintock. We should note that Bill does much for promoting the motorhome lifestyle both within and outside the CMCA framework. Logistics are a truly fascinating item if you look behind the scenes. Picture setting up a small town of about 2500


Feature: CMCA National Rally Formerly is a former fire engine now converted to a particularly distinctive motorhome!

people in a mostly greenfield site and supplying the basic necessities like water and electrical power, as well as a large meeting tent and a number of smaller venues. A small army of volunteers (around 250), in this case under the direction of Rally Managers Edna and Leo Huyghebaert, puts all this together in an amazingly short time. Richard drove to Boonah from Sydney in a very new Trakka Trakkway 700. It’s the first of the new B-Class range from Trakka and their first with a slide-out; it being built into the rear wall to extend the bedroom.

Bill and Dorothy McClintock (both keen iMotorhome readers!) received Honorary Life Membership of the CMCA for their tireless efforts.


Feature: CMCA National Rally I did things a little differently by flying to Brisbane and collecting a four-berth Kea Motorhome to drive to the rally. I had a little adventure on the way here. One of the rear tyres destroyed itself in a rather spectacular way in the town of Booval and I learned how to change the dual rear wheels on a Ford Transit. I was grateful for the assistance of a nearby father and son team who not only assisted with the wheel change but transported the wheel to and from a nearby tyre emporium. I also spent four hours in the local shopping centre whilst waiting for the new tyre to arrive. My only consolation with this was that there were worse places to have a flat tyre!

Happy Hour is a Rally institution that brings everyone together...

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Feature: CMCA National Rally

Some members go to great lengths to brighten up their campsites!


Feature: CMCA National Rally One of the benefits of the high tech world we live in is that it’s possible to work very effectively on the move, or at least in a mobile office like a motorhome. In particular I like the arrangement of the Kea four-berth which has a rear bed/seat arrangement and a large shelf area that makes for a good office space. I know most people would use the motorhome for leisure but that is one of the hazards of being an RV photo journalist.

From pig races to custom vehicles and more, you’ll find it at a CMCA rally!

As I write this the rally evening entertainment is drawing to a close and one of the benefits of being close to the big marquee is that it’s quite easy to listen to the music whilst sitting in the comforts of one’s own motorhome. In closing I’d like to pay tribute to retiring club Chairman Diana Worner. At this rally the AGM is held and Diana is standing down from both the board and her role as

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chairman. During her time on the board Diana has served the club tirelessly in any number of ways and is without doubt leaving the club in better shape for those efforts. I trust both Diana and partner Peter will continue to enjoy their travels in the manner they so love; that is in a motorhome!


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Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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Aquarius Rising The Age of Luxury is upon us... Review by Richard Robertson. Images by Richard Robertson & Aquarius Motorhomes


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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lush A-Class motorhomes are still a rarity – even a novelty – on Australian roads. Never big sellers in this country (unlike America) due their cost, fuel consumption and sheer size, they none-the-less epitomise the pinnacle of motorhome travel to many people. A-Class motorhomes have had something of a chequered

career in Australia in recent years, following the demise of Swagman and although Winnebago still promotes its huge Classic on its website, they are scarce and only built to order. Winnebago does build the Esperance Premium, based on a Iveco Daily, but it’s more Euro-sized and a little unusual in appearance; incorporating part of the Daily’s cab in its front end.

Aquarius Motorhomes is based in Batemans Bay on the NSW far South Coast, which might seem an unusual place to run a motorhome business from. None-the-less, Alan Imrie – Aquarius’ Managing Director – runs a modern, efficient and impressive operation from this idyllic seaside resort town. It’s part of a not-so-small business empire this quietly spoken entrepreneur has built in and


Tested: Aquarius A-Class around Batemans Bay in nearly three decades of living there. Alan’s entre into the world of motorhomes is a touching and personal story that I won’t recount here; suffice to say he’s embraced it with his trademark determination and thoroughness and there seems little doubt Aquarius Motorhomes will become a familiar sight around Australia. Unique Design aving cut his teeth importing and converting US-built Mirada Coachman A-Class motorhomes, the Aquarius is Alan’s own design, built exclusively for him in America by the US’s largest motorhome manufacturer: Thor Industries. The Aquarius does bear more

H

than a passing resemblance to the Avanti Motorhome – also built by Thor – but there are significant mechanical differences between the two so I’m just making a casual observation more than an uninformed guess!

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Bucking the American A-Class brick-on-wheels design tradition, the Aquarius is a sleek and modern vehicle with a much more European feel. Also unusual is the Aquarius’ pricing structure, where pretty much everything but the pots and pans are included in the drive-


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

The central colour display is a GPS and shows the rear and side-view cameras. Very useful. away (NSW) price of $389,000. Cutlery, crockery, bed linen, towels, house maid (gotcha!), you name it; it’s a part of the package. And while nearly $400 k is certainly a lot of money, there are other smaller motorhomes out there that can also relieve you of that much money... Importantly, everything Alan learned about the pitfalls of US motorhome importation and conversion he’s addressed in the Aquarius. So this vehicle is built to Australian specifications from the ground up; meaning Australian-compliant wiring and electrical fittings, gas connections and so on.

Appliances are sourced and fitted in Australia, too, meaning extra peace of mind for service and parts down the track. Measuring 10.287 m (33 ft 9 in) long, 2.438 m (8 ft) wide, 3.680 m (12 ft 1 in) tall and with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 9299 kg, the Aquarius is something of a baby in ‘serious’ A-Class circles. But for Australia it’s a canny combination of liveable real estate versus real-world practicality. Running Bear

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trip away the fancy bodywork and you’ll find the heart of the Aquarius

is Ford’s F53 Super Duty A-Class motorhome ladderchassis factory-built as righthand drive, with a 5.790 m wheelbase. This puts it about three quarters of the way along the available wheelbase sizes for the F53 although all models come with a front-mounted 6.8-litre V10 petrol engine coupled to a 5-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. Power is quoted at 270 kW while torque is 620 Nm, although at what engine speeds it develops these figures Ford doesn’t seem eager to publicise. The figures are also quite low for a petrol engine of this size, so I’d image


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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Top: The instrument cluster and steering wheel assembly is part of the Ford F53 chassis package. Above: Front suspension is leaf springs with air-bag assist. maximum power and torque are developed reasonably low down the rev scale, to minimise fuel consumption. Now, it’s worth bearing in mind that the quoted power figures are for the engine running on petrol, but the Aquarius includes a dual-fuel conversion that allows it to run on LPG mostly, if desired. The standard

conversion includes a 175-litre LPG tank, but that can be optioned up to a whopping 360-litres, which is what I’d be opting for. That’s in addition to the F53’s standard 302-litre petrol tank. Although specifically designed as a motorhome chassis, the F53’s suspension is fairly basic by modern engineering

standards. The front axle features a forged I-beam while the back is a full-floating Dana axle, while it’s parabolic leaf-springs all-round with supplementary airbags, backed by Bilstein shock absorbers. Rims measure 19.5 inches an run 245/70 radial tyres. Braking is by four-wheel discs with four-channel ABS and


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

Despite its size the Aquarius is a comfortable and enjoyable drive.

although it lacks an exhaust brake for auxiliary retardation (exhaust brakes are the province of diesel engines only), the transmission does have a selectable Tow/Haul feature. This changes down through the gears as the vehicle slows and also holds gears on long

descents, to make the most of available engine braking. The drive!

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ettling behind the wheel of any A-Class motorhome is always interesting and a little bit intimidating, even for a

former ‘Coach Captain’ such as myself. In my case the intimidation comes from a burning desire not to scratch the damn thing, but for a novice I can image it could be seriously unnerving!


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

The big, plush captain’s chair’s swivel for after-‘work’ relaxation. The Aquarius feature the trademark A-Class captains’ chairs and they are suitably impressive, plush and infinitely adjustable. Leatherettefinished, they also swivel to become huge after-hours arm chairs and one of the real pleasures of A-Class touring is to kick back at the end of the day, swivel the seats slightly and enjoy the view from your lofty perch, refreshment in hand. You really sit ‘in’ the view and it’s a perspective lesser motorhomes simply cannot deliver. But I’ve digressed... The F53 motorhome chassis comes with a proprietary Ford steering wheel and instrument cluster, featuring the ubiquitous American column-mounted gear selector. The instruments are comprehensive and well

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Tested: Aquarius A-Class

The rear-view camera also superimposes a distance grid to help make reversing easier to judge. It’s particularly useful in a vehicle this size... laid out and are flanked to their right by ancillary switch gear and to the left by the radio/CD/ MP3 player, air-con controls and a large, locally-installed colour monitor that provides rear as well as side views. Yes, side views. Beneath both the large, electrically adjustable/ heated side-mirrors are tiny cameras activated whenever you put your right or left indicator on. How cool is that? Actually, I think they’re on all the

time as I seem to remember the view on the monitor cycling between what was behind and what was down either side, as we travelled. Sat-nav is the other function built into the main monitor. The expansive windscreen provides a myriad of opportunities for the sun to dazzle you, but electrically operated blinds do a stirling job of keeping it at bay. Aquarius

also fit a pair of small electric fans – one in each top corner of the windscreen – to help circulate cooling air around the cab. Back in the command seat, the tilt steering wheel features integrated cruise control and when you’re ready to go, a simply turn of the key wakens the sleeping giant beneath your feet. Yet despite being frontmounted, the engine sits low


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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in the chassis rails and doesn’t intrude significantly into the cab area. Noise-wise, you certainly know it’s there when under acceleration (or when it down shifts on an incline to hold your speed), but when cruising it’s smooth and surprisingly refined. Steering is commendably light as you’d expect from an American vehicle, whilst the 18.3 m (60 ft) turning circle feels surprisingly nimble in a vehicle this size. Acceleration/ braking/steering responses are safe and predictable and even a novice will quickly feel comfortable behind the Aquarius’ wheel. Add in the convenience and safety of three rear/side-view cameras, in addition to the large side mirrors, plus a commanding view from the driver’s seat and the Aquarius quickly proves its mettle as a forgiving and easydriving machine.

As befits the size, style and price of this motorhome, a relaxed driving manner is the most rewarding – both in terms of fuel economy and ride comfort. It’s worth noting that whereas modern coaches run full airbag suspension designed for consistent high-speed driving over our indifferent roads, the comparatively unsophisticated air-over-spring set-up of the F53 starts to feel light and a bit bouncy in the front end at speed over poor surfaces.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class The test vehicle had not been fitted with LPG and ran purely on petrol. From what I could learn, a petrol consumption figure as low as 20l/100km could probably be achievable for gentle, open-road touring, but that could soar into the 30s when pushed or in mountainous terrain or city traffic. Where LPG is fitted, the system starts on petrol and automatically switches to gas when warmed. A couple I spoke to – Jenny and Peter – had just returned from 12,000 km around Australia in their brand new Aquarius towing a tandem trailer with a Suzuki Vitara onboard, said they averaged 33l/100km for the trip, which they were extremely pleased with. They also said they couldn’t have been happier with their new machine; had had no issues with it and often fought over

Top: Different sized gas bottles are an odd mix. Below: An Onan 3.5 kVa generator is standard, along with a 2700 w inverter.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class who would drive for the day. They were seriously in love with their new and still-immaculate looking Aquarius!

a smaller one at the rear on the kerb side that extends the bedroom.

Under-floor lockers around Body Beautiful the vehicle open to include martly finished and black a myriad of storage compartments, room for the and gold, the Aquarius body features two slide- LPG tank/s, an Onan 3.5 kVa outs: a large one at the front on generator, 4 x 6-volt 200 ah house batteries on a slidethe driver’s side that extends out tray, a 2700 W inverter/ the lounge and kitchen, plus

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charging system, an integrated water management system and even an outdoor entertainment system with swing-out 66 cm flat-screen TV/DVD and radio, an external barbecue and the ducted central vacuum unit. Beneath the Aquarius lurks a hydraulic Big Foot levelling system, which at the touch of a button or two will level the

Top left: An outdoor entertainment system is part of the package. Bottom left: The optional 360-litre LPG tank. Right: Hydraulic leveling jacks are standard.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class Top: the 4 x 200 ah house batteries slide easily out. Lower left: A self-seeking satellite dish is included, too. Right: A Roam Safe security screen door is a nice inclusion.

vehicle and also steady it when parked up for the night. On the near-side is a fivemetre electric awning that only needs human input to set the legs, while at the rear is the spare wheel and a ladder for roof access. You’ll need the ladder should you want or need to reach the 2 x 190 watt solar panels, satellite TV dish and the Winegard TV aerial, air-conditioning unit/s (2nd is optional) or just clean/inspect the roof.

Moving Indoors utomatic electric steps make entering the Aquarius’ inviting and impressive interior easy, as it is quite a height above ground level. I was pleased to see a Roam Safe mesh security door fitted as standard, too.

A

The floorplan has the lounge up front, the kitchen and dining area in the middle and the bathroom and bedroom at the rear. It’s pretty standard fare for motorhome designs these days – it’s just the scale of

the thing that looks and feels spectacular. Throughout the vehicle curved cabinetry made from strongyet-light bamboo is used, specifically because it’s a renewable resource. Other features include a soft-touch vinyl ceiling lining, carpet to the living area and bedroom, and tiled floors in the kitchen and bathroom. Ducted reversecycle air-conditioning is standard, as are Roman day/ night blinds (black-out optional).


Tested: Aquarius A-Class As mentioned, both front captain’s chairs swivel to provide very comfortable ‘afterwork’ seating. Immediately behind the passenger’s seat (between it and the entry door) is a fold-down writing table/ desk, with wall-mounted TV above it that swivels for optimal viewing. Opposite the entry door and just to the rear of the driver’s seat is an enormous, soft-touch fabric covered three-seater lounge, which sits in the slide-out (along with the kitchen) and is seat-belt equipped for three passengers. A four-seat dinette with two freestanding leatherette chairs and two matching, folding chairs for occasional dinner guests sits to the rear of the entry door, opposite the kitchen. Dream kitchen! he Aquarius’ kitchen is bigger and more comprehensively equipped than some flats or houses I’ve lived in.

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The upmarket Corian benchtop looks great and is also used on top of a slid-out cupboard at the forward end of the kitchen, where it meets the settee. This forms a servery or extra work space and also stops people walking directly into the Chef’s cooking area. Very clever. Standard fit-out includes a large bowl sink (but no drainer), an externally vented rangehood and two impressive Delongi integrated stove tops

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Top: Note the slide-out cupboard that extends the bench space. Middle: The settee has seat belts for three. Bottom: The dinette has free-standing chairs for maximum versatility.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

The slide-out cupboard also protects the chef’s working area.

(2 x gas and 2 x ceramictopped electric), plus a Delongi convection microwave/ grill mounted in place of a conventional oven. Across the aisle is a 224-litre 3-way twodoor fridge-freezer and a slim pantry cupboard with five slideout baskets between the fridge and dinette.

lighting is used throughout to enhance the overall effect. After Hours...

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o the rear of the kitchen is the bathroom, with a large shower with curved glass doors on the driver’s side and across the aisle, a separate powder room with dual-flush porcelain macerating toilet, It’s worth noting there are no Corian vanity with porcelain protruding cupboard handles hand basin and a full-length in the Aquarius. All cupboards feature recessed handles, which mirror on the door. The powder room door can also be used adds considerably to the clean for privacy between the and uncluttered style of the interior. Similarly, recessed down lounge/kitchen and bathroom/

bedroom. A washing machine is one of the few options listed, slotting in beside the shower. With 500 litres of fresh water on board the Aquarius certainly lives up to its Zodiac symbol of the Water carrier. This is one motorhome that allows a ‘real’ shower when free-camping – as long as you don’t get carried away! Along with this substantial fresh water supply, 181 litres of grey water and 170 litres of black (loo) water can also be carried, along with 22 litres


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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The water management system is a work of art.

in the hot water system. The Aquarius’ integrated “No Mess Termination System” handles all water management duties from an impressive panel in an off-side external locker. It includes a whole-of-house filtration system, on-demand silent water pump and a black tank rinse system.

but extending it also provides access to a small stool and desk/reading nook recessed into the wall of wardrobes on the bedroom’s off-side. There is good cupboard space above the bed head, with recessed reading lights below and a small bedside table/cupboard to one side.

At the rear, the Aquarius’ queen-sized bed is mounted across the vehicle and for walk-around access you need to extend the slide-out, as the bed-head is in it. The bed is still useable at other times,

Final Thoughts he Aquarius is an impressive and imposing motorhome that is well designed, seems well built and provides good value for

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money. It is a very sophisticated vehicle that even a review of this length struggles to do justice to. For your hard earned money you not only buy a lot of motorhome ‘real estate’, you get a very high level of standard equipment that’s been well thought out and integrated. Easy to drive and comfortable to live with, the Aquarius should prove reasonably economical to operate when driven on LPG. Although Australians expect a diesel engine in a vehicle this size, don’t let this issue put you off.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

The Aquarius' slide-outs provide extra living space but aren’t over the top.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

33

The bedroom is well appointed and private, with a wall of wardrobes and a reading nook revealed when the bed slide-out is extended.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

After sales service is something Alan and his team pride themselves on, too, and a wide range of spare parts – including windscreens – are held in stock and can be dispatched at short notice. They also have support

services available, nationally, for warranty issues and the like. Judging from the owners I met and the testimonials on their website, the Aquarius A-Class is a luxurious-yet-practical motorhome well suited to

Australian conditions. If you’re in the market for a vehicle like this be sure to put Aquarius on your shopping list. It’s likely to rise to the top.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class

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A QUARTER AQUARIUS TO GO... If you don’t have the money, time or inclination to own an Aquarius full time, but would like to spend a few months each year living the high-life, a 25 percent share might be the way to go. Sydney-based Own A Share is offering four people the chance to buy equal shares in a brand new Aquarius for $99,000 and guarantees to return $69,000 at the end of the 5 year contract. In return you’re entitled to 15 months usage (3 months each year), but you’ll need to find an additional $3830 in annual running costs and $320 per month for the term of the contract. Own A Share covers all registration, insurance, storage and maintenance costs; provides an on-line booking service, quarterly accounts and, I’m told, will deliver and pick-up the vehicle anywhere in Australia when it’s your turn to enjoy it. For full details visit www.ownashare.com.au or call Kevin Brandt on 0403 950 876 or (02) 9918 2147.


Tested: Aquarius A-Class


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Tested: Aquarius A-Class

Specifications Manufacturer

A&A Industries

Model

Aquarius

Base Vehicle

Ford F53 Super Duty A-Class chassis

Engine

6.8-litre V10 petrol/LPG

Power

270 kW

Torque

620 Nm

Gearbox

5-speed automatic

Brakes

Disc ABS

Tare Weight

n/a

Gross Vehicle Mass

9299 kg

Gross Combination Mass

11,793 kg

Licence

MR

Passengers

5

External Length

10.287 m

External Width

2.438 m

External Height

3.680 m

Internal Height

2.032 m

Rear Bed Size

Queen (unmeasured)

Cooktop

Delongi 2 x gas, 2 x ceramic electric

Fridge

Dometic RM4805RXB 3-way 225 L

Microwave

Sharp Convection

Gas

1 x 8.5 kg and 1 x 4.5 kg

Lighting

12V Halogen

Batteries

4 x 200 amp hour

Solar Panels

2 x 190 watt

Air Conditioner

Reverse-cycle (2nd unit optional)

Hot Water Heater

Suburban 22 L

Toilet

Thetford Dual-flush porcelain macerating

Shower

Separate

Diesel Heater

n/a. Truma LPG heater optional

Fresh Water Tank

500-litres

Grey/Black Water Tank

181-litres/170-litres

Price

$389,000 on-road NSW

Pros • Stylish • Comfortable • Australian designed • High equipment levels • Purpose-built chassis • Value for money

Cons • No diesel option • Size in some situations

Contact Click for Google Maps

A&A Industries 30 Cranbrook Road Batemans Bay. NSW. 2536. Ph: 1300 769 330 Ph: (02) 4472 5200 W: www.aquariusmotorhomes.com.au E: info@aquariusmotorhomes.com.au


Travel: North of Auckland

North of Auckland

It’s amazing what you can find, just a short drive north of Auckland Words and Images: Malcolm Street


Travel: North of Auckland

A

bout 45 minutes north of Auckland there’s a selection of sights and sounds to be discovered simply by joining up the dots of a few caravan/tourist parks and taking time out to visit a few other locations in between. Heading from south to north, the first of these is Waiwera Thermal Park. Waiwera is easily bypassed if you take the

Waiwera Thermal Park, Weiwera

39


Travel: North of Auckland

Wenderholm Park Northern Gateway Toll Road, so be sure to take the Hibiscus Coast Highway instead. Waiwera itself is quite a small village and the caravan park really doesn’t achieve a four star rating, but camping on one of the waterfront sites is certainly a wonderful attraction. Another is taking the short walk to the Waiwera Infinity Thermal Spa Resort. There’s nothing like a relaxing hour or so in the thermal waters there after a day on the road; especially as staying at the caravan park gets a good entry discount! An important tip when staying at Waiwera is that there is only a small shop there, so stock up for your


Travel: North of Auckland

41

Saints Peter and Paul Church, Puhoi

Cheese Factory, Puhoi evening meal beforehand or plan to visit a restaurant in the nearby town of Orewa. Just north of Waiwera is Wenderholm Park. A very rural and scenic place, it’s possible to camp there and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet whilst

taking a few short walks and Cheese factory, where you’ll observing the birdlife by day or find something for every taste the stars by night. in cheese - not to mention an excellent café for just about A little further long the Hibiscus everything else. Coast Highway is the historic town of Puhoi. Famous for A walk around Puhoi reveals some of its historic buildings some clues to its historic past it’s also home to the Puhoi including one of the smallest


Travel: North of Auckland

Historic Pub, Puhoi – www.puhoipub.co.nz

town libraries I have ever seen. Then there is the village pub, which not only serves good meals and drinks but also contains some very interesting memorabilia from past and present! Heading further north to Warkworth and then heading east out to Sandspit, the Sandspit Holiday Park is worth booking into. I first stayed here some years ago and one of its memorable features was the little historic downscaled ‘village’ they have created. If nothing else it makes for some interesting viewing, as well as for keen photographers


Travel: North of Auckland

43

Sandspit Holiday Park’s miniature historic village features a Kodak shop sure to appeal to photographers. a Kodak Shop that has an interesting display of historic cameras. Anyone planning an evening meal out should head for Warkworth as there isn’t much on offer around the Holiday Park itself.

All of these attractions can be visited easily in less than a day, of course, but taking a little more time it’s easy to enjoy some of the sights and sounds that are a short step away from the big city but a million miles

from care. And if you’re an Aussie holidaying in NZ, just grab a camper for two or three days and really make the most of this fascinating area.


A Message From CMCA...

Leave No Trace

Tread lightly as you travel across Australia

By Michelle Hogan, CMCA - Communications and Marketing Team


A Message From CMCA...

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Helping preserve our Country’s unspoiled natural beauty is the goal of the Leave No Trace Scheme.

A

ustralia is an extraordinary country of natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes, multicultural communities and a diverse range of exceptional flora and fauna. For many travellers, the opportunity to experience ‘freedom’ is lure enough to set out across the Country on a ‘big lap’ in an RV. Travelling in a self-contained vehicle gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the hidden oases scattered across Australia; you will have the luxury of being able to stop and take in the scenery for days, rather than being limited to a fleeting stopover. However, as you set off to an unknown destination with a vehicle full of supplies try to

keep in mind that there are other travellers still hoping to follow in your footsteps. Leave No Trace® (LNT) is an Australian scheme dedicated to promoting and encouraging travellers to demonstrate responsible outdoor travel and recreation behaviour. Leave No Trace® builds awareness, appreciation and respect for our cultural and natural heritage through education partnerships and research. The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) is Australia’s largest RV Club and established the Leave No Trace® Self Containment Code of Conduct Scheme. The CMCA has long been at the forefront of promoting

environmentally responsible camping and the LNT scheme is a major milestone for the Club's efforts in demonstrating to councils and other authorities that self-contained vehicles need not have a negative impact on the environment, even if a campsite has no facilities. The great advantage of being self-contained is that you are able to stop at remote locations, without facilities. But, it is important that you don’t abuse the privilege of being able to freedom camp while travelling. It is not an acceptable practice to leave rubbish behind at sites that are not governed by regular maintenance. When parking for free you must be prepared


A Message From CMCA... to remove any trace of your stay so that your waste does not vandalise or disrupt the natural environment and habitat of local flora and fauna.

of 20 litres of fresh water, have a grey water holding tank with a minimum capacity of 5 litres per person or 15 litres per person if the vehicle is fitted with a shower, and have a portable toilet cassette or black water holding tank with a minimum capacity of the smallest portable toilet cassette.

Members who participate in the LNT Scheme must have a vehicle that has the capacity to retain all waste within the confines of the vehicle and leave no trace whatsoever of its visit to a site. To qualify, To participate in this scheme vehicles must carry a minimum you must be a member of an

RV or caravanning club, such as CMCA. An application form for the LNT scheme can be found on the CMCA website, www.cmca.net.au, or in The Wanderer, the monthly CMCA Member magazine. You must also sign the declaration on the reverse side stating that you agree to abide by the Code of Conduct. This is a key part of the LNT Scheme as it is your commitment to, at all times, do the right thing


A Message From CMCA...

47

Riverside campsites require particular care to avoid localised water contamination. Picture by Chrissy Eustace, V23798

by the authorities and also do the right thing by your fellow travellers. Your upholding of the Code of Conduct will help to ensure many happy nights of camping for all, now and in the future. Vehicles that have qualified for the scheme display a sticker on the front windscreen, or for towed units, on the window closest to the entrance door, and the vehicle owner carries documentation of proof of

their participation in this Scheme. This documentation can be produced upon request. CMCA acknowledges that it is a privilege for RV travellers to be allowed access to controlled areas and will strive to develop and maintain the credibility and integrity of the Leave No Trace速 Self Containment Code of Conduct Scheme to ensure that RV travellers

comply with its environmental and ethical standards. The efforts of CMCA in promoting responsible travelling will not only benefit Members, but will bring considerable benefits to local councils and communities.


Roadside Eats...

Pies in Passing The Famous Warwick Pie Shop is worth a visit. I think. By Richard Robertson


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Roadside Eats...

Leanne Farrell is waiting for you with a warm smile and (hopefully) hot pies!

O

n the final day’s run into Boonah for the CMCA Rally I was on the lookout for a good Roadside Eats place and for most of the morning I kept seeing signs for the “Famous Warwick Pie Shop.”

who runs a local paddock slashing business, but they employ a specialist pie maker who bakes in-house to their own recipes. I counted around 20 pies of varying kinds and sizes, plus sausage rolls, pasties and so on.

I was expecting a place of not-inconsequential proportions when I arrived in Warwick and was a little taken aback to find a small shop on a suburban street corner, but it’s what’s inside that counts. And inside I found Leanne Farrell, who has owned the shop for the last six years (although it was established some 15 years ago).

Now 10:30 in the morning isn’t my ideal time to try a pie and to compound matters, they had just gone into the warmer and were not particularly hot. So Leanne quickly ‘zapped’ my steak and mushroom pie in the microwave (!), with the expected result of soggy pastry and a rather disappointed eater – me.

Leanne isn't the pie maker and neither is her husband,

The pie filling was fine and being an optimistic kind of

fellow I’m prepared to give the Famous Warwick Pie Shop the benefit of the doubt. So if you’re passing through Warwick – preferably around lunch time or later – pop in and see Leanne and tell her Richard sent you. Just be sure to decline her offer to “heat it up a little” if you arrive early, as I did. The Famous Warwick Pie Shop is open seven days and is on the southern side of town, on the Cunningham Highway. Maybe call ahead if in doubt! Warwick Famous Pie Shop Cnr Wood St (Cunningham Hwy) & Guy St Warwick. Click for Queensland. Google Maps Tel: (07) 4667 1308


Mobile Tech...

WEATHER OR NOT? AUS Weather Lite keeps a free eye on the sky...

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here are plenty of weather apps out there, both free and paid, but this issue we’re taking a look at AUS Weather Lite: A free iPad app that takes full advantage of the iPad’s expansive high definition screen in landscape mode

(that’s lying on its side if you’re not into technical jargon!).

implies, this app only covers Australian weather.

AUS Weather is well rated (218 votes and a 4.5 star average at the time of writing) and sources its data directly from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. As it’s name

If you have an iPad with GPS, AUS Weather will automatically set to your current location. In default mode it displays the real-time conditions for a list of cities


51

Mobile Tech...

Current conditions and forecasts are just a touch of the screen away down the left side of the page (with your current location at the top) and a detailed report for the day on your current location and surrounding towns, on the main part of the screen to the right. The cities list shows the

current temperature and forecast, plus the expected min and max for the day. You can easily customise this list plus rearrange the order it displays in, which is handy when you’re travelling and want to keep an eye on conditions at home as well as

at your destination or points along the way. Adding new places has been comprehensively taken care of: You can type in a name; choose from a list of capital cities; sort by alphabetical order; choose by distance


Mobile Tech...

from your current location; view a map or choose by state, selecting a sub-menu of places in alphabetical order!

humidity, wind average/gust, UV index and more.

The menu bar along the bottom lets you choose between Current and Forecast A clever feature is that by and choosing the latter touching any of the places changes the main display on Weather details for you current in the list on the left the app the right to a detailed sevenlocation and surrounds are brings up the detailed report in day forecast for whatever much more expansive and the main display to the right, place you’ve selected from includes details like apparent plus a list of its surrounding the list. You can also tap each temperature, dew point, towns.


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Mobile Tech...

For just $1.99 the full version offers a host of useful extra features.

day’s forecast to switch between a general summary and specific details. Very handy. The combination of a logical and well thought-out interface, pleasing graphics and good use of the iPad’s beautiful HD display makes

AUS Weather a particularly pleasing app to view and use. You can also upgrade to the full version for just $1.99, which adds radar, temperature charts, tides, marine forecasts and more. As always, I encourage you

to buy the full version if you like the freebie, just to help keep people like these going and encourage more app development.


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Next Issue... NEXT ISSUE

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nlucky for some, Issue 13 will see us pass the six month mark as we head strongly towards our first Christmas. Richard will be reviewing

NOV

NOV

OCTOBER 2-4 26-28 9-11

OCT

26-28

Canberra Leisure, Caravan, 4WD & Camping Show Exhibition Park, Canberra. ACT. • Open 10:00-5:00 daily • Free parking • Adults $15 • Seniors $12 • Website: www.rncas.org. au/homeshow/site/

Click for Google Maps

Trakka's Trakkaway 700 while Malcolm will bring you a KEA test from across the Tasman. We're also planning to include the second installment of Collyn Rivers' excellent Vehicle Stability article.

November 2-4

NOV

2-4

Watch out for a more Roadside Eats, more Apps and whatever else we can find to help inspire you to get into motorhoming, get back out there or just keep on going. See you on Saturday, 3 November and until then you can find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ and Twitter iMotorhome) (@iMotorhomeMag) Stay safe and keep smiling!

NOV

OCT

9-11 November 26-28

NOV

9-112-4

South Coast Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

NZ Motorhome & Caravan Show

Mackay Park, Batemans Bay. NSW.

CBS Canterbury Arena, Christchurch. NZ. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Free parking • Adults $12 • Kids U12 Free

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Free parking • Adults $10 • Seniors $6 • Accompanied kids free • Website: http://southcoast.supershow.com.au

Click for Google Maps

NOV

9-11

• Website: www. nzmotorhomeshow. co.nz

Click for Google Maps

Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

OCT

26-2


iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 12 - Oct 20 2012