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17: January 19 2013


because getting there is half the fun...

Trakka Do! Next-Gen Trakkadu is a star all-rounder... Silentwind

Generating new interest in wind turbines...

Marlborough Country

NZ’s famous wine country has plenty to offer!

Trakkaway 700


On my mind...

Festivities, Frustrations and the New Youth...


link. In case you missed it, that was the Festive Season. Hope yours lived up to its name and was fun, safe and worth the effort. Welcome to 2013! A new website is the main focus for the beginning of our year and we had planned having it fully functional by the end of January. Work is already well underway, but the tormenting tentacle of technology has dictated we change web service (I use that word loosely) providers and as I write we are migrating the site to a new one. Wish us luck! Still on technology, I recently heard of interesting research

by a major Australia holiday company into the psyche of its customers. Predominantly targeting retirees, the company found that on average its customers feel, think and act 17 years younger than they are. I imagine there is a direct correlation with recreational vehicle buyers in that research, too, aided in no small part by the Internet and the subject group’s increasing take-up of mobile technology. I also wonder if this phenomena is aided by the rapid growth of social media, particularly Facebook? The ability to stay in daily contact with family and friends, no matter where you

are in the world and at little or no cost, has the potential to revolutionise “old age.” By staying connected, informed and interested in each other’s lives and activities there is far less risk of people suffering the effects of isolation; be it brought on by location, illness or mobility. The adage about a healthy mind leading to a healthy body surely has merit and as the current generations move through to older age it will be interesting to see if this allpervasive “connectedness” pays dividends in terms of mental and physical health. Where does this fit into Continued...

• Campervans • Motorhomes • Caravans • Hobby Haulers

• Campervans • Motorhomes • 4x4 Campers • Caravans

• Camper Trailers • Off-Road Caravans • Pop-top Caravans • Hard-top Caravans • Campervans • Motorhomes

5 Melrose Dr, Wodonga 3690 • Ph: 02 6024 4222 •

Onmy mymind... mind... On ...Continued

motorhoming? The increasing availability of mobile Internet and its rapidly approaching total integration into every vehicle we drive will mean that soon we will truly, never be alone. Or need to be if we don’t want to be, because the key to technology is to use it to your advantage and not become its slave. It will be fascinating to watch how this technology

integrates and to see which manufacturers are at the forefront. Applications like Smart TVs (with social media) and sat-nav are obvious; but what about apps that let you operate heating/cooling/ lighting remotely, or real-time weather alerts that respond automatically via your sat-nav and current/planned route? Or a TV guide that knows your favourites and schedules

The iMotorhome Team

them into a list, based on your location and TV station availability? I’m daydreaming, but manufacturers should be tracking the latest trends and working out how to meet the needs and demands of an increasingly tech-savvy market that feels younger and wants to do more. No pressure, mind...

d r a h c Ri

Richard Robertson

Malcolm Street

Agnes Nielsen-Connolly

Publisher & Managing Editor

Consulting Editor

Design & Production Manager

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.

Agnes is an experienced and talented graphic designer with extensive experience across a wide range of disciplines, including travel and advertising.

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.

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.

Designing and producing iMotorhome issues since June 2012, Agnes does much of the behind-the scenes work to ensure every issue looks great and is easy to read.

©2013 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:

Love your freedom. Love your Horizon.

Your freedom is well deserved and Horizon Motorhome is your perfect reward. Established in 1995, our motorhomes are built in, not bolted on, and use Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen Crafter and Fiat Ducato as base vehicles with the option of two or four wheel drive. A choice of five models with a huge selection of tailorable features allows you to personalise your motorhome to your travelling needs. Our quality interiors offer clever layouts to maximize storage and convenience, and our entire range is easy to drive and simple to park. Experience the difference. Test drive a Horizon Motorhome today.

p. 02 6681 1555 • 299 River St, Ballina NSW 2478


3 ON MY MIND Change On My Mind


The latest goings-on in the RV world


Trakka Do! – Malcolm samples Trakka’s popular small campervan


Generating Interest – Silentwind’s compact but powerful wind turbine


Marlborough Country – There’s more than Sav Blanc to this famous part of NZ

17 34 CMCA MESSAGE The Long and the Short of It


Bonny Ben Lomond – Snapshots from our recent travels


Track Your Spend – Get your post-Xmas budget under control!

50 NEXT ISSUE What’s coming up, plus our 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.

Enjoy the prestige of owning Australia’s best quality motorhome Paradise Motor Homes 245 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters, Queensland, 4216 , Australia ph (07) 5597 4400 - fax (07) 5597 5500 - email

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


FREEDOM OF CHOICE really telling some “porkies” and using a different slant on figures etc. Every little bit helps the cause. I do stay in a caravan park every now and then but I mainly free camp and am on the road for close to nine months a year but I want a choice of being able to do this.” The website says it welcomes input from individuals, Councils, State Governments and other interested parties and asks for readers' assistance in keeping it up-to-date.


new website has launched, www.freechoicecamps., that aims to fight to protect the rights of the ordinary travelling public to free camp. In an email, one of the website’s founders said, “The website is designed to eventually be a one stop resource for free camping issues. It should eventually also show up those towns/areas that are unfriendly, not by our hand but by the media articles (it does this

already for some on the site).” “It should also serve as a site that people writing letters to the Editor, Councils, Politicians, etc, can refer them to. You never know, some councils, etc, may not want to get on there as being unfriendly and the tide could tip our way.”

“Please advise us of any newsworthy articles in your home area and other items you come across in your travels or on the Net. No article, positive or negative, will be rejected provided its source can be confirmed.”

“Most importantly, I suppose, is that it is meant to counteract the Caravan Park Lobby. When you put all articles together they are



n ancient Rome the place to get the latest news was the Forum. Well, following the demise of the CMCA’s Forum last year and the subsequent OZeRV Forum just before Christmas, a new forum has emerged to meet the needs of motorhomers in Australia: Aussie MotorHomers.

You can meet fellow motorhomers, find old friends and meet new ones at forum/index.php and we wish them all the best with this new venture.





hat are you doing for Easter? The inaugural Stone the Crows Festival is designed specifically as a recognition of Grey Nomads, no matter what form of RV you choose. To be held at the site of Camp Kurrajong Scout Camp just outside Wagga Wagga, from March 28 to April 2, this is an opportunity for any RV'er to come and enjoy the camaraderie of others who share similar interests. Pets are welcome if they are accompanied by well behaved humans! The inaugural and unique

“gReyVees Awards" will be held over the five days, for topics as diverse as bush poetry, musical and vocal talent, gum leaf playing, disc bowls, petanque, photography, embroidery and quilting, plus the signature Stoning of the Crows event – all in recognition of the skills and expertise that exists in the Grey Nomad community. You could win a section of the gReyVees or you might end up being the overall gReyVee winner! There will be also be an Open Day, with craft and produce markets on Monday April 1, during which a Brass Marching Band from Wagga Wagga's sister

city Nordlingen, in Germany, will be taking part. The Festival Concert will be open to everyone, with entertainers such as Grant Luhrs, Jim Haynes and Wayne Horsburgh. Other events will be only for attendees, such as the Squawkers Dance, seminars, workshops, craft, poets breakfasts and more. The preceding weekend of March 23 is the Food and Wine Festival, so why not make a real time of it in Wagga Wagga (which means the Home of the Crows!)? For more information visit www. or email

News... Wheelaway



a l e w e ay h W

iwis do S e e N ew Z e a l a n d a s K


S e e N ew Z e a l a n


d as Kiwis do


About the Expert David Smith, together with his team at Wheelaway Holidays, is your expert.

The development of the Wheelaway Holidays website is the culmination of all this knowledge and experience, and was motivated by an industry demand for an independent booking service, available to any member, that transcended all other affiliations. The fact that over a 100 of New Zealand’s best Holiday Parks will participate in the system in Wheelaway’s first year is testament to the regard David is held by this sector of the industry, and we are confident that participation will continue to grow into the future.

David’s involvement in the Holiday Park industry began 25 years ago David Smith with the establishment of a boutique Holiday Park on the family dairy farm in 1988. Since then he has held secretarial and administration roles with a Holiday Park marketing group and in this capacity has travelled extensively around New Zealand, personally visiting most of the Holiday Parks throughout the country.

New Zealand Holiday Parks information and booking ser vice



new website that provides Sample Holiday Park Vouchers forward bookings for Wheelaway Holidays, the one stop shop for everything you or your holiday parks across clients need to know about Holiday Parks in New Zealand, is the New Zealand has just kicked off: only company providing an independent central booking facility Wheelaway Holidays 









 




that enables you to pre-book powered sites at individual Holiday Parks or to purchase open dated vouchers. According to spokesman Dennis 

  







      


Mischewsk, “The site went live just before Christmas and the response has been instant, bothall from direct We’ll answer your questions and pay The advantages: commission sales. customers and fromon theall travel • Impress your clients with an added service to their All you have would to do is suggest secure Agent access details from normal motorhome booking industry, which Dennis Mischewski and log in as an Agent on the Home Secure a point of difference over your competitors • it was a service that was much Page of the Wheelaway Holidays website. • Quality Holiday Parks only will be included needed. Certainly there is nothing Dennis: • Get answers to all those questions you have ever had else that provides an independent Website: about New Zealand Holiday Parks Want to know more? booking service as well as offering Complete your booking request and commission will Dennis Mischewski • Obtain Contact now - detailed information on over 100 Holiday Parks, automatically on receipt of confirmation including a location map competent advicebeondeducted all aspects See New Zealand as Kiwis do before Park payment is made. • Provide your client with a Map/Directory to help them of the and Holiday scene in New It’s as simple as that. plan their visit Zealand.” • Pre-book powered sites for independent travellers audience. Currentlyorwegroups have be selective so that standards are “Initially, the concentration is on 100 Parks •listed butopen nowdated vouchers maintained at any a level Be the first to offer this newaround service. Purchase for use at listedacceptable powered sites for motorhomes, that the site is live others to travellers,” Dennis concluded. Contact us now! Holidayare Park but in 2013 we will expand this vouchers purchases to include • Obtain viewing it as a viable option for for all To find out more with visityour www. clients’ departure documents to include other accommodation their marketing and we are being commission w w w. w h e e l a w a y h o linstantly i d a y s . c oon m all sales. • Earn valuable offered by the participating approached for membership. Our Parks, which will then make it aim is to increase the number to more comprehensive to a wider around 150 participants. We will  

  














      




 





 







ast issue we featured a short piece on a range of interesting European motorhome tours offered by Dieter and Gabriele Weigelt, under the name Well, the proofing gremlins broke in and we misspelled their web address, so here it is properly this time – www. – just in case the misprint put you off. Off you go!

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu

TRAKKa do!

Trakka’s all-wheel drive campervan just keeps getting better... Review and images by Malcolm Street

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu


Open wide! Trakka’s rear-hinged pop-top provides great headroom, while the sliding side door gives easy access to the rear seat and living/sleeping area.


nticipation of fun might be the best way to describe getting behind the wheel of the latest generation all-wheel drive Trakka Trakkadu: especially the latest All Terrain (AT) model. It’s the smallest of the Trakka fleet, thereby offering the least amount of internal living space, but at the same time having a great deal of versatility off-road, on-road and around town. The Vehicle aturally, Trakka chose the tried and tested Volkswagen T5 as their base vehicle, along with a very interesting (optional) paint colour – a metallic brown


called “Toffee”. If nothing else, it certainly stands out! Being their All Terrain model, it comes with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive package plus a VW suspension upgrade from 3000 kg to 3200 kg, which in a vehicle this size is a chunky amount. In addition, Trakka has also fitted Seikel raised suspension that lifts the T5 by 70 mm. That certainly results in better ground clearance but has the side effect of making the Trakkadu AT less easy to get into undercover carparks. Also added are a Seikel engine guard, rear differential lock, spare wheel and tyre and a bottle jack, rather than the scissor variety. On the tyre

front, all terrain tyres have been fitted, with a higher profile than usual to give a more comfortable ride. For the actual conversion, the most obvious items on the outside are the elevating roof and the Fiamma F45 Titanium awning. The roof, made from a composite construction, has a very low profile and is fitted with gas struts, making it very easy to lift from inside. More subtle are the table rail fitted to the sliding door and the water tank outlet on the mid off-side. Out of sight externally are the water tanks and the external shower, which is actually mounted inside the Trakkadu at the rear, but very much for

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu use outside, unless of course you like water running through your camper!

Simply stylish, Trakkadu’s interior reeks quality and intelligent design.

Of course, the T5 Trakkadu comes with all the cab comforts we’ve come to expect. In making that comment, I’d make the nostalgic observation that we’ve come a long way since the days of the T2s that were used in the early Trakkas! Extras include the radio/CD player with an iPod connection and the optional stereo upgrade with satellite navigation and rear vision camera. In the safety department, the T5 comes with front airbags as standard but this vehicle came with optional side and thorax airbags. Naturally, ABS disc brakes are fitted all round and the T5 also comes with an Electronic Stability Program. On the Road s I said, getting behind the wheel of the Trakkadu means a fun ride. Yes it is a van, but the gutsy 132 kW turbo-diesel VW delivers plenty of power and the seven-speed DSG gearbox is a very smooth performer indeed. On the bush tracks I tried, being an AWD, there was little scrabbling for traction and the ride was surprisingly smooth. All the controls are closed to hand, including those on the multifunction steering wheel, which are really handy. Rain


Off the beaten Trakkadu: all-wheel drive and extra ground clearance allows access to remote camping spots.


Tested: Trakka Trakkadu

Table for two! The dining table slides for and aft for maximum versatility. sensing wipers are part of the VW package and it’s always a bit of a surprise when there’s a nominal drop of rain and the wipers suddenly come on. The external rear view mirrors on the VW are good but the rear vision camera certainly aids when reversing around. A neat little addition are the folding rear-seat head restraints that would otherwise block the internal rear view. A bonus is that they are easier to move out of the way when making up the bed. Living Inside he living area of any van conversion is going to be considerably smaller than a coach-built motorhome, but it’s more than


The driver’s seat swivel action is limited, but there’s plenty of room to move with the table removed. adequate for this light weight camper, as well as being very versatile for an aroundtown machine. Both cab seats swivel around; there’s a kitchen bench/wardrobe unit along the offside; a day/ night lounge seat mid-van

and a large shelf in the rear. With the roof up, the large screened windows offer plenty of ventilation. There is a rear tent available for the Trakkadu but I have to say given the lack of opening windows, I might well be considering Velcroed

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu insect screens for both the sliding and rear doors. Light weight Euro Ply is used for all the cabinet construction. General storage is a bit limited, but there are both good sized wardrobe and under-shelf areas in the rear, as well as the kitchen cupboards.

There’s great headroom when standing at the sink or cooker.

Lounging Around suspect most campers will be living outside when the weather permits, but both the swivelling cab seats and the rear seat offer plenty of seating and stretch-out room – at least for two people. Even with the bed made up there’s still seating for two, although the driver’s seat, not being able to fully swivel, is slightly cramped.


Time to Eat imple is the word to best describe the Trakkadu’s catering facilities. A Webasto diesel fired cooktop is used for heating everything up; an underbench Waeco 80 litre fridge keeps things cool and the stainless steel, glasslidded washing up bowl keeps things clean. General storage consists of large cutlery drawer and two cupboards, both with space-saving roller shutter doors. In the larger cupboard are two drawers; a nice and convenient way of stashing everything. At the forward end of the bench, above the fridge, are both the Trakka electrical control panel and the Webasto cooktop


Secondary kitchen drawers are cleverly concealed behind a sliding roller shutter door.

Main kitchen drawer access requires the seat fully aft.

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu


Roller shutter doors beside the bed head conceal a surprising amount of wardrobe space. controls. I like the electronic control panel, with everything neatly in one place. There are two places for mounting the table that is stored behind the driver’s seat. The first is on the rail along the kitchen bench, thus allowing it to be used from all seats. Alternatively it can be used outside, by clipping to the rail on the sliding door. After Hours aking up the 1.95 m x 1.25 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft) bed is quite simple, a matter of folding the headrests back and releasing the seat back by pulling on the centrally located strap. The seat can be moved forwards and backwards a fair bit, so it is quite easy to fill the gap between the folded-down seat-back and the rear shelf. There’s one reading light, centrally located at the rear, so guess where the pillows are

There’s good under-bed storage. Note the pull-out shower.


Cosy but comfortable, a secondary roof-bed is also available.

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu The roof moulding recess is for an optional TV antenna.

going to go! If extra sleeping accommodation is required for children an optional roof bed is available. Insulated curtains are fitted all round, except for the cab windows, where a custom made, press-studded curtain is used - quite a simple arrangement but one that works quite well. LED lighting is used throughout, with a mixture of strip and reading lights. A tricky little feature are the LED strip lights fitted inside the awning mounting at each end. Not overly brilliant but still good enough to see what you are doing and not in your face either. What We Think t might look small and simple but the Trakkadu AT is a very sophisticated piece of


A tailgate tent is optionally available for longer stays.

The table attaches to the sliding-door rail for outside dining.

Tested: Trakka Trakkadu

Volkswagen’s new Toffee brown looks good... machinery. Whilst not being the size of say Trakka’s Jabiru motorhome, it does offer tremendous versatility in the ways it can be used. It certainly can be used very easily around town, with its capacity to carry four people or large loads. Alternatively, in the bush it’s kitted for remote campsites, along with the ability to get to those same places with aplomb and without difficulty. Being a relatively light weight camper it’s also good for the environment, by having a minimal impact on several fronts. In short, I like it!

Slightly raised suspension provides valuable extra ground clearance.

Relaxing, Trakkadu style...


Tested: Trakka Trakkadu

Continuing Trakka’s reputation for quality and design, the Trakkadu is both a daily driver and a capable tourer, which helps justify the premium price tag...


Tested: Trakka Trakkadu

Specifications Manufacturer



Trakkadu AT

Base Vehicle

Volkswagen Transporter T5 4 Motion (AWD)


2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel


132 kW @ 4000 rpm


400 Nm @ 1500 rpm


7-speed DSG auto


ABS Ventilated Disc

Tare Weight

2550 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3200 kg





External Length

5.29 m (17 ft 4 in)

External Width

1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)

External Height

2.13 m (6 ft 7 in)

Internal Height

2.0 m (6 ft 7 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.95 m x 1.25 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft)

Roof Bed Size (optional)

1.8 m x 1.2 m (5 ft 11 in x 3 ft 8 in)


Webasto diesel


Waeco 80 litre






1 x 100 AH


2 x 4.0 kg



Solar Panels


Air Conditioner


Hot Water Heater





External, flex hose

Fresh Water Tank


Grey Water Tank


Price Australia

$131,410.00 on-road, as tested


• VW Transporter base vehicle • Setting up is quick and simple • LED lighting • Decent radio/CD player • Good carrying capacity • Raised ground clearance • Hi-tech and energy efficient electrics

Cons • Not cheap but you get what you pay for!

Contact Trakka 9 Beaumont Rd, Mt-Kuring-gai NSW. 2080. Ph: 1800 872 552 W: E:

Click for Google Maps




This small wind turbine offers 24/7 power when conditions are right...



Compact and robust, the generator’s nose cone lifts off for easy access to the blades.


buildings, its not the be-all and end-all of ‘free’ battery charging – although it is very good.

Of course solar has its limitations; the biggest one of which is night time! Coupled with cloudy weather, heat (which reduces efficiency) and shade from trees and

In commercial power production terms, wind-power generation far outweighs solar on a global basis. For RVs, whereas solar is set-andforget, a wind turbine requires setting up and packing away – making it better suited to longer stops than short-stay touring. Still, for those who like to spend days or weeks in one place – especially by the sea – the latest generation of

olar is definitely the flavour of the month when it comes to supplementary power generation for RVers of all persuasions. Aided by ongoing and significant falls in the price of solar panels, it’s no wonder almost every motorhome you see these days has one or more solar panels fitted.

compact and portable wind turbines has plenty to offer. Silent Wind? olfgang Salinger, a German expat who has called Australia home for decades and is now semi-retired, is the man behind Silentwind wind turbines, designed by Spreco in Germany and manufactured to strict standards in Portugal.


Wolfgang lives in Church Point on Sydney’s far Northern Beaches and is a keen yachtie, which is how he


Wind tunnel testing in a German university helped perfect the aerodynamics

became involved with small wind generators. As the name implies, Silentwind turbines (which produce up to 400 watts at 12 or 24 volts) are very quiet; apparently not something that can be said of most small wind turbines. “The reason these units are very quiet is because of beautiful hand-laminated carbon fibre blades, complete with little vortex generators,” Wolfgang explained. “They are all very light – 152 grams – and all are exactly the same and dynamically balanced. It takes one person one day to make a blade, which is why

Blades can be individually removed, for replacement or storage and transport.



Silentwind’s own hybrid controller unit can handle 600 watts and is microprocessor controlled for optimum battery charging. It features a secondary output of 10 A capacity for charging normal electronic devices. they are made in Portugal and not Germany. When assembled it has a blade diameter of 1.15 m.” “The body of the unit is a cast aluminum that’s been powder coated and it’s nicely designed, looking like a small aeroplane. The whole unit weighs in at just 6.8 kilograms and there is no controller in it; the controller is outside, while the motor itself is brushless, meaning there is no maintenance.” “Power wise, it produces three-phase AC current, which allows the power to travel

longer distances without any voltage drop. And the unit has a slip-ring, so it can turn with the wind. The blades are fixed pitch and cannot be “feathered” in case of very strong winds, because as soon as you introduce mechanical systems into a salt-air environment you need regular maintenance. Whereas with this unit there is no maintenance.”

works properly,” Wolfgang continued.

“The whole system is very simple. The manufacturer went out of their way to make it simple and did a lot of research at a university in Germany to make sure it all

“Another thing is, the blades don’t shatter. We had one gentleman a few years ago who had a blade hit by something, on his yacht in the middle of the Pacific.

“Start-up performance is very good, it only needs four knots of wind to get going and at five knots its producing power. It has been tested to 122 km/h in the wind tunnel, at which point it was turning 1200 rpm and the blade tips were turning at the speed of sound, but it can withstand it.”


German visitors Brigitte and Wolfgang are happy users of the Silentwind system. It didn’t shatter, but it did crack and become noisy and unbalanced. The good thing is, by not shattering, nothing went flying off that could have hit him. When he came back I just replaced the one blade, and the bearings as a precautionary measure in case there was any movement, and away he went,” Wolfgang said. Control Centre The smart thing is the external controller, which can be basically anywhere in the vehicle. A microprocessor-controlled hybrid unit, it has two inputs:

one for the three-phase AC and one for solar panels, with a power limit of 180 watts. The whole controller can handle 600 watts; 400 for the turbine and 180 for solar, with a little bit to spare.”

battery you have, like AGM, Gel or whatever, and put the voltage set-point in, like 13.8 or 14.2 volts. Then as soon as the battery is charged the controller breaks off and acts like a tickle charger to keep them topped up. You also “There are two outputs: one for put in the maximum charging the battery – it can produce up amps, because some batteries to 35 amps in a 35 knot wind – can’t handle 35 amps, so and there’s an auxiliary output you need to set that to avoid up to 10 amps, for charging damaging them. The whole normal electronic devices.” system is actually very simple and its best feature is its very “Because there are many quiet.” different types of batteries you need to program the “Coming very soon is a slightly controller with what type of larger turbine unit that outputs



A Victorian family has been using a trailer-mounted Silentwind generator on its extended touring holiday. Ensuring the electronic controller is dust protected is important, though. at 48 volts and uses a different controller. The thing about that is it will allow it to generate 240 volt power directly, so you don’t need a battery. It will be very interesting for domestic use and will have bigger blades, producing 800 watts,” Wolfgang enthused. Bottom Line he Silentwind turbine unit and controller costs $1995 as a package, with the turbine covered by a three year warranty and the controller covered for two years.


Mounting it requires a two-inch mast, which isn’t included, because as Wolfgang pointed out most applications are different. However, he does have available some very well engineered external mounting brackets for two-inch masts,

as well as some heavy-duty electrical connectors that would make setting-up or packing-away a simple and straightforward task. The main criteria for positioning the Silentwind unit is that it’s in clear air, perhaps a metre of so above the roof of the a vehicle so that it can freely pivot without any chance of the blades striking anything, including nearby branches. From a user’s point of view, one of the real advantages of a wind turbine is being able to generate power while parked in the shade. Not to mention generating power around the clock if the wind’s blowing. “There is one motorhome manufacturer looking to develop an automatic roof mount which, at the touch of a button, will raise and lower the

unit into position. That would be the ultimate solution,” Wolfgang concluded. From a practical point of view the only real drawback to the Silentwind system in its current form – apart from the need to setup/dismantle each time – is storage. Unless you have a large vehicle with generous storage you’d probably need to remove the three blades each time – and store them carefully. To find out more visit www., email or call Wolfgang on 0407 079 700. The website has plenty of technical information plus a video of the unit in action that allows you to hear just how quiet it really is.

Travel: Marlborough Country



There’s much to discover in New Zealand’s fabulous Marlborough wine region... Story and images by Malcolm Street


Travel: Marlborough Country

Top 10 Holiday Park has a very pleasant river frontage where you can watch the ducks paddle by.


ention Blenheim, in New Zealand, in general conversation and whilst some people might look blankly, others will register keen interest. The reason? Blenheim, located almost at the top of the South Island, is one of the major centres in the Marlborough region, which happens to be one of the great wine making regions in New Zealand. I could also be controversial and add Australia to that list, because over the last few years one of the top selling Sauvignon Blancs in Oz has come from this very region. Wineries aren’t the only reason for visiting Blenheim, however, as there is much

more on offer. It’s unfortunate that Blenheim is sometimes only seen from the motorhome window as travellers drive past, going to-and-from the Picton dock of the Cook Strait ferry. So allow an extra day or two and let me tell you what can be found in and around this bustling town. Bicycles, Trains and Aeroplanes... lenheim is a large regional centre that offers just about every service and facility a traveller might desire, including several very good caravan parks. One I favoured is the Top 10 Holiday Park, which has a


picturesque river frontage and is conveniently close to town. For those who like their exercise, an excellent walking and cycling track has been established along the Taylor River, which runs right through the town. Further afield, the general area around the wineries is fairly flat, making it

Travel: Marlborough Country Bristol Freighter, part of the “gate guard” at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

great for exploring by bicycle. A good bike shop in town not only offers parts and repairs but also a hire service for those who can’t bring their own with them. In addition, the narrow gauge (2 ft/600 mm) Riverside Railway runs along by river and can be seen in action carrying passengers on running days, which happen on the first and third Sundays of the month, as well more frequently during school holiday time.

Brayshaw Park is the terminus station for the riverside railway.

shops and other buildings; motor and tractor museums and the provincial museum and archives centre, there One of the railway stations is is an enormous collection located at Brayshaw Park and of old farm machinery for anyone with an interest in early the dedicated enthusiast. colonial NZ history should Even for the non-enthusiast, make their way there, even if it’s interesting to look at not on the railway. Apart from agricultural machinery from a selection of reconstructed

a bygone era (you wild thing, Malcolm - Ed). Air history buffs should certainly head for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which has some fascinating and realistic dioramas created, in part, by none other than Sir Peter Jackson of Lord of the


Travel: Marlborough Country Grove Arm, not far from Picton, has spectacular views and pristine waters.

Inspector Morse, where are you? One of the classics at the Classic Cars museum.

Seymour Square has some beautiful flower displays.

Rings and the Hobbit fame. Even for those not quite so interested in aviation history, Omaka is still worth a visit: the dioramas so lifelike it’s hard to resist the temptation to reach out and touch them, although

a network of light-beam alarms discourages this sort of activity! In addition to the dioramas there are plenty of historical exhibits on display and by checking dates, a flying day is certainly a possibility.

Travel: Marlborough Country

Watching the ferries at the Picton dock.

Fancy a chocolate in the vines? Classic Cars and More f interest to motor buffs is Omaka Classic Cars, right next door. All the exhibits would have been seen on NZ roads during the second half of last century (some cynics might suggest even later) and all are in running order, not to mention beautifully maintained. It’s a fun place to look at cars we once owned that are now


One of the myriad wineries, good for both wine and cheese! more than thirty years old and see how they compare to modern vehicles! I should mention that not only are there plenty of wineries around Blenheim, but in amongst the vineyards is something I’m sure many of you will have no interest in; not much, that is! The Boutique Chocolate factory is where it’s possible not only to see

chocolates being made but to taste them before purchase, which is every visitors obligation and duty. I did! Further afield and familiar to many a traveller in the Marlborough region is the ferry-terminal town of Picton. If not actually embarking on the ferry it’s interesting to go to the lookout above the port and watch all the loading


Travel: Marlborough Country

Mahau Sound, not far from Havelock.

Quiet reflections on Queen Charlotte Sound

and unloading activity, which often includes a long line of motorhomes. A bit further along the road from the port lookout, another stop gives a good viewpoint over the loading dock for the logging industry: something that is quite prolific, away from the winery areas. Sound Advice... little attraction in this area is a boat trip on the Queen Charlotte


There’s nothing like a sunset, viewed from your “Bache.”

Sound. Apart from viewing the shoreline and watching out for marine and bird life, dolphins and seals, it’s also possible to indulge in fish feeding in one of the marine reserves. Undoubtedly one of the major attractions north of Blenheim are the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Quite a few NZ residents have a bache – that’s “beche” to non Kiwis – aka a holiday house, in this area. It’s not hard to see why, if you like drop-

dead water views, fishing, swimming or simply enjoying some peace and quiet. Many travellers head to Te Anau, in the Fiordlands to the south, to see the glowworms there, but a couple of locals in the Marlborough Sounds showed us their very own glowworm colony. If time permits do spend a day or two exploring this area, but if nothing else then enjoy a brief trip along Charlotte Drive, the road between Picton and Havelock.

Travel: Marlborough Country

This amazing Kenworth-based House Truck resides at the Top 10 Holiday Park in Blenheim and is an attraction in its own right, especially for disbelieving foreigners (like us)! Finally, I suggest touring around the wineries in your motorhome, picking up a few bottles of your favourite tastings and heading off to a campsite for the night. Then kicking back, popping

a cork (or two) and enjoying some of the finest wines and scenery the world has to offer. Marlborough Country never looked so good...

Information Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park

A Message From CMCA...

The Long and Short of It By Michelle Hogan, CMCA - Communications and Marketing Team

A Message From CMCA...


Not all motorhome owners sign-up for the big trip; many are content with local touring and short breaks away. Enjoying what you do is the key!


or those who own a motorhome (or campervan) or are considering purchasing one, it can be very easy to get caught up in the idea of the ‘ultimate’ trip. The journey around Australia; unchartered stopovers, unfamiliar towns and exploring the great unknown. It certainly sounds appealing to some. But for others, owning a motorhome simply means having access to a convenient way of escaping for the weekend. Whether you choose to travel permanently, part-time or

casually, take one long trip or several shorter adventures, motorhome enthusiasts are a diverse and growing community who come from all walks of life and travel in all types of vehicles. But they do have one thing in common: Enjoying the freedom to stop and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside, travelling where the wind takes them! Deciding the duration of your adventure does not have to reflect any ‘ideal’ other than your own. Self-contained motorhomes have their own

toilet, shower, water tanks, fridge, solar panels and/or generator, allowing owners travellers to ‘disappear’ for up to a week. When visiting a new region, the only extra services required is a dump point, a water tap, somewhere to dispose of rubbish and somewhere to stop for supplies and fuel. While many people enjoy travelling full time, or doing ‘the big lap of Australia’, there are equally as many who prefer shorter and less frequent trips.

A Message From CMCA...

A compact motorhome provides easy access to popular facilities and attractions, especially in and around built-up areas.

Real Life Reports ecently, a couple wrote into the Campervan and Motorhome Club (CMCA) expressing how happy they are getting away on the weekends in their motorhome. This particular couple, like many other members, are still working full time, but enjoy heading off to an unknown destination, not too far away, for breakfast. Richard Schafer and his partner Sonja Lynch said “It amazes us that we have such a fantastic country and that many people just


don’t make the time to break that ‘routine’ and see it. Well we have and we’re loving it. Within a 10 kilometre distance we have now had breakfast in six to seven different locations.” The great thing about owning a motorhome is that you can easily explore your own backyard. There are so many amazing places worth visiting in Australia, so why skip past your own state or local district? Short trips are ideal for many and even if you are planning ‘the big lap of Australia’ why not iron out any possible kinks

on some short trips first? Graham Sims, another CMCA Member said it perfectly, “There are beautiful places not necessarily far from home; freedom and enjoyment are personal concepts that sometimes need to be adapted to circumstances. As with life, it’s the journey, not the distance travelled, that matters.” Grey Clouds here are numerous misconceptions surrounding the RV lifestyle and it is important that


A Message From CMCA...


Whatever your reasons for travel, make time to find a spot for a couple of deck-chairs in the sun and appreciate the journey that brought you there.

these fallacies do not deter interested individuals.

stereotype based on a few, to represent many.

In 1995 a phrase was coined to depict Baby Boomers who travel in any RV: Grey Nomads. This affectionate phrase became popular within society until the media began using the term and created a false representation of old people ‘trailing their RV across Australia, lazing on deck chairs, burning up their children’s inheritance’. The resultant negative connotations not only affected the RV tourism market, but created a

The Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA) offers statistics on annual RV production and demand and, perhaps coincidentally, 1995 recorded a significant drop in new RV sales. It is impossible to theorise the cause behind the low figure, however one could speculate that the detrimental effects of the term ‘Grey Nomad’ caused the large drop in new vehicle sales.

Organisations such as the CMCA are working to ensure that the former stigma surrounding Grey Nomads is replaced by a more positive and real representation of a growing and vibrant community, no matter how far their travels take them.

Travel Diary...

BONNY BEN LOMOND Snapshots By Richard Robertson


Travel Diary...

No castle, despite what the sign says!

Ben Lomond is the highest village in Northern NSW (1370 m) and the main tur noff is exactly half-way between Glen Innes and Armidale, on the New England Highway. The town’s origins date back to the mid 19t h cent ury, when the 17,000 acre Manooan stat ion had the Ben Lomond Ranges as its sout hern boundar y.

Once the lifeblood of the local community, the Ben Lomond railway station opened in August 1884 and was part of the Main North Line that rain between Dumaresq and Glen Innes. The Station closed in December 1985, but the line continued in operation until October 1993. Similarly, the village’s Post Office opened in 1879 and closed exactly 100 years later, while the only store closed its doors about six years ago. Such are the realities of life in a tiny rural hamlet..


Ben Lomo

At 4473 feet (1363 m), Ben Lomond station was the highest railway station in New South Wales until the Skitube opened in 1987. It was also the highest passenger railway station in the southern hemisphere at the time of its construction.

Travel Diary...

Ben Lomond stat ion has long since fallen into decay and, I believe, is owned by a young couple who live across the road. Alt hough the railway tracks are stil l in place you’d never know it and about the only movement thr ough the stat ion these days is occasionally grazing catt le and the odd, curious visit or.

Despite its general state of disrepair the station still has a surprising number of original fittings, like these signs.

Fare enough?

The station’s interior is in surprisingly good condition. A ticket to, um, oh never mind..

Lever Alone

Rusted into their final resting place, these old track controls stand as a forlorn reminder of a time long since past.


Travel Diary...

Locals told me of the longest hand-hewn railway cutt ing in Austral ia, “About three kays down that dirt road ”, so off I went. After a nine kilometre drive and failing to find the (supposedly obvious) wal king track that lead off to the cutt ing I backtracked, hopped a fence and took this shot. I doubt it’s the right one but it does give an indication of what they had to cut thr ough, without mechanical assistance.

Field of dreamers? St Patrick’s Cat holic Church now holds services on the first Sunday of each mont h. Ben Lomond’s official populat ion is around 300, but in real ity only about 30-50 live in the village. each year Ben Lomond plays and life al soci ng stro a has ity mun Com the bers num ll sma Despite the m is usually vict orious! cricket against Glen Innes. Despite its tiny size, the local tea

Kindling Spirit!

As I drove into town I saw this lady gather ing sticks by the side of the road. “Although it’s nearly November we had heavy snow just a week or so back and I’m stocking up again just in case,” she explained happily as she walked home, embracing a huge armful of kindling.

Festive treats of all shapes and sizes are on offer, too.

Travel Diary...

The Ben Lomond Soldiers Club – circa 1919 – would once have been a (relatively) bustling local institution. These days it sits quietly near the middle of town but is kept in good condition and doubles as the community hall. I found the Honor Roll from the Second World War particularly interest ing because of the section at the bottom for “Females.” Fortunately they all survived; unlike five local men who answered the call to war. Soberingly, the fatalit y rate for those serving in WW1 was considerably higher.

Soldiering On...

Travel Diary...


The young couple who live directly opposite the railway stat ion saw me taking phot os of some of the husband’s welding handiwork (including a whimsical dog) on their front fence and invited me to check out their amazing Aussie lean-to bar at the rear of their house. Beautifully put together and incorporating plenty of local memorabilia, phot os fail to do it just ice. You’ve just have to love country hospital ity!

Mobile Tech...



Here’s a handy free app to help you keep track of where you money goes... By Richard Robertson


nother Christmas has passed and once again you’re wondering where you hard earned money has gone. Well, wonder no more! TrackMySPEND is a free app from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that is simple and can go a long way toward helping

you set a spending goal – and stick to it. TrackMySPEND is available for iPhone/iPad and Android and once installed requires just a few steps to get it running. You need to create a user account so you can backup your data and a powerful

feature is that by using the same account, you can share information between multiple mobile devices; thus keeping a real-time running tally of a common spending goal.


Mobile Tech...

Set a spending period, like monthly, and a budget and TrackMySPEND visually shows you how you are going. This is handy if you usually have too much month left over at the end of your money... How does it work? In Settings you enter your basic information; like the spending cycle you want to use (weekly/ fortnightly/monthly/yearly/ none), start date, spending limit (very important!) and if you want to include the Need/ Want feature. This latter item is psychologically powerful, as every time you enter a purchase you have decide if it was a need or a want. Once this basic information is entered, the home page displays a long bar at the top that represents your spending

limit for your chosen spending cycle. For example, let’s say you’ve got $2500 to last you a month. The home page bar displays $0 at the far left and $2500 at the far right, with the start and finish dates beneath them. Cleverly, the app breaks the length of the bar into segments, which in this example equates to 31, representing the days in January. As the month progresses these segments (days) are

filled in and if your spending doesn’t exceed the cumulative total to that point it displays a green line, showing you’re within your targeted rateof-spending. The app also displays, in large numbers, a running total of your spending (above the bar) plus how much of your budget remains and how many days until the end of the period (below the bar).

Mobile Tech...

The Settings screen is where you enter your basic details and set your time and spending targets. The Need/Want button is a powerful tool that makes you consider every purchase and can probably help modify your spending habits. However, if you have a big expense or just spend too much, the green line turns orange and races ahead of the filled-in segments, showing you how much of your future spend you’ve used up and how many segments until you’ll catch up (if you don’t spend any more!). Exceed your total planned spend for the entire period and the line turns red, letting you know you’ve really stuffed up.

But wait, there’s more...

As the month (or whatever spending cycle you’re using) hen you enter progresses you can go to individual items you the summary section, which allocate them to displays the various spending one of a number of pre-set categories in bar-graph form, categories and sub-categories; with Needs in black and Wants such as Groceries and then in orange and a running total either Supermarket, Butcher, at the bottom of the page. Fruit & Veg, etc, with custom It’s another powerful visual sub-categories an option. indicator of your spending You also have to choose if habits and one it’s a Need or Want, and can that can make save it to Favourites (the most you feel quite frequently used of which guilty! display on the home page).



Mobile Tech...

The bar graphs show where your money goes and if it’s on needs or wants. You can also view your spending in the History section, which displays a dayby-day list of the individual items you’ve bought. My wife and I use this app and are now in the habit of entering purchases in a batch, usually towards the end of the day. We then press the Log-In/Synch Data button (wireless or 3G required) and like magic, our individual spending is merged and our overall progress displayed,

with details of each other’s purchases for that day (I can’t believe she bought those shoes...). TrackMySPEND is a genuinely useful app that makes living within your means that little bit

easier. Highly recommended, make it your New Year’s resolution to download it today and take control of your finances (I STILL can’t believe she bought those shoes...).


Next Issue... Avan and More! road test series for 2013. It will be interesting to read his thoughts on this attractive and innovative motorhome, which looks like an interesting alternative to the models from more mainstream brands.


ext issue, Malcolm Street brings us an in-depth review of Avan’s attractive B-Class Ovation, as we crank up the

February 8-10



Meanwhile we’ll be working hard on our new website, plus some new content we believe you’ll find very interesting (sorry, top secret). Of course our ever-popular regulars like



20-34February 1-3





Eats, Apps and Travel will continue, but expect to see a more diverse range of topics covered in 2013. Until then why not follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter iMotorhome) (@iMotorhomeMag) and wherever you are, please stay safe.




1-3 8-10





Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show

Gold Coast Caravan, 4WD, Fish & Boat Show

Newcastle Entertainment Centre & Showground Broadmeadow, NSW, 2292.

Adelaide Showground Goodwood Road, Wayville. SA, 5034. • Open 10:00-6:00 daily • Parking not advised • Adults $13 • Seniors $10 • Kids U 15 free with adult

Parklands Showground Parklands Drive, Southport. QLD, 4215. • Open 09:00-5:00 daily (closes 4:00 pm Sunday) • parking not advised • Adults $15 • Seniors $11 • Kids U 16 fee with adult

• Open 09:00-5:00 daily (4:00 pm Sun) • Free parking • Adults $10 • Seniors $6 • Kids U 16 free with adults • Website: www.newcastle.

Click for Google Maps

• Website: www. caravanandcampingsa.

Click for Google Maps

• Website: www.

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 and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 17 - Jan 19 2013  

Australia & New Zealand's only dedicated motorhome magazine – published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome...

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