! n i W
the r o f 0 $5 ter! t e l t s be
Compact & Capable! New S Series 4x4 Suncamper Sherwood… New Release Concorde Credo A-class
Feature Action Merc!
Bürstner Ixeo I 729
2 | About iMotorhome
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Helpful Tips | 3
Here’s how to get the most out of your iMotorhome Magazine with each issue – some tips help youwith navigate our magazine on any device. Here’s how to get the mostbasic of your #RVtoexperience each issue - some basic tips to help you navigate our magazine on any device!
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Double tap any page to bring Double tapfull any page to bringatupthe up the issue contents the full issueof contents at the bottom bottom the screen. Then, of thescroll screen. Then,and scroll through through select for and select for quick navigating. quick navigating. To return to To return to thesimply page, double simply double the page, tap tap once more. once more.
Easy as pie - swipe between Easythe as pie - swipe between theor to pages to read in order, pages readand in order, to go gotoback rereador(because it back and reread (because it was was that good!). that good!).
Links throughout the magazine Links throughout magazine are are highlightedthe in blue - simply colored red inonce boldto- simply tap tap#RV on them bring up on them once to bring up the link in the link in your device browser. your device browser.
4 | On My Mind
Motorhome continues to evolve and what an interesting process it is. I’m genuinely heartened by the number of you who have chosen to come across and become paying customers. Thank you. However, it’s a real tightrope walk between the requirement to increase revenue, the ongoing costs associated with our iOS and Android apps, plus the need to retain our loyal advertisers and keep their message in front of as many reader as possible.
Juggling those needs is an evolutionary learning process and part of it is the new mid month iMotorhome Lite, which debuted a couple of weeks back. As we get more issues of this ‘full strength’ version of the magazine under our belt we’ll have more content to pick and choose from to keep iMotorhome Lite interesting and relevant. The plan is also to introduce some unique content each issue, when and where possible, as an extra reward for our most loyal readers. This evolutionary journey is the biggest change the magazine has been through since inception and while there have been (and probably will be more) teething troubles, hopefully we’ll emerge from it a leaner, meaner motorhome reporting machine. Well, fingers crossed. I have to apologise for being rather preoccupied this past 12 months with our American magazine, #RV. As a start-up in a foreign market it has being a bold and adventurous move, and certainly far from plain sailing. They say things cost twice as much and take twice as long as you plan,
and it’s certainly holding true in this case. We’ve just published issue seven and are hunkering down to the long run, but it’s a challenge. I once heard somebody say, “When you bite off more than you can chew, chew like hell!”. Best I leave it there for now as it’s not polite to talk with my mouth full… Speaking of America (burp), Mrs iMotorhome and I were supposed to be heading there this Sunday (7 Oct), but instead we’ll be heading north-by-northwest for the CMCA’s National Rally in Gunnedah. Polly needs a run and we need to reconnect with “ya’ll”, plus Malcolm needs company. We’ll be there Sunday night to Thursday morning and I’m hoping we’ll be parked next to him and his loaned Trakka. If you see us please come and say g’day. We don’t bite (and in fact couldn’t eat another thing). Our pre-departure preparations uncovered a major water leak in Polly, so I’ll be reporting on that next issue as fixing it has lead to another problem, and I’ll be seeking some help at the rally. Ah, the joys of motorhome ownership Watch for iMotorhome Lite on Saturday 20 October and see you up the highway, at the rally or down the track. Safe travels!
ISSUE 7 NOW OUT!
Download the free app from r the App Store o Play Store today!
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Street View Haera Mai!
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
30 Tested: Suncamper Sherwood S Series 4x4 40
Tested: Bürstner Ixeo I 729
New Release: Concorde Credo
Pride & Prejudice
Corner of a Foreign Field
Three more RV Friendly Towns
What’s coming up!
8 | Street View
Haera Mai! Just the other day in the Western Island, I was out on a photo shoot and whilst parked in a popular stopping off place for RVers on the move, noticed a very unusual motorhome entering the car park. It was indeed a Bürstner Ixeo Time IT 585, a smaller motorhome with a drop down bed directly behind the cab and a kitchen and bathroom in the rear. Kiwis might wonder why this was a memorable sighting, given the strong Bürstner presence in NZ, but it’s only the second one I have seen in Australia (and I don’t think there are too many more). There are slightly more Hymer motorhomes, but again, not in multiple numbers. My little point here is that our Kiwi readers can be very smug about this. That’s because of the number of quality European-built motorhomes currently rolling around New Zealand, whereas in Australia there are very few of any manufacturer, not just Bürstner or Hymer. There are just four official importers in Australia – Auto Trail, Swift, Concord and Adria – and all have a common theme: the entry door is on the passenger/kerb side. Anyone who wishes to get a private Euro import into Australia has to jump through any number of compliance hoops, not helped by the fact that the States have different regulations on top of the Federal ones (go figure - Ed). Keeping in mind the Bürstner Ixeo I729 A class motorhome reviewed in this issue, there’s one other area NZ RVers have the edge. In Australia and apart from coach conversions, there are no locally built A-class motorhomes, just the German built Concord range and a very few U.S. imports. Whereas, in NZ there
are Bürstner, Hymer, Dethleffs, Morelo, Frankia, Niesmann & Bischoff, Roller Team, McLouis, Pilote and Carthago. It’s a great selection and some are quite moderately priced! Looking at a totally different motorhome category and slightly differently, I was talking to an Australian motorhome manufacturer recently about large van conversions; that is, those motorhomes based on Fiat Ducato or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans rather than cabchassis. Australia has quite a few motorhome manufacturers who either specialise in van conversions or have them as part of their range. I realised after thinking about it that apart from the likes of Britz/Maui, who have them in their rental fleets, there are very few readily available new van conversions in the retail NZ market sector. I suspect the person I was talking to was keen to check out market niches and I wonder whether there might just be one? In the Southern Hemisphere, Spring is with us and for those who have been hibernating for the cooler winter months it’s time to get the motorhome out, give it a bit of a spring clean inside and out, check the mechanicals and tyres, restock the fridge and cupboards and head out for the many destinations, both big and small, that NZ has to offer. Enjoy your travels (especially if it’s in also Euro A-class – Ed).
10 | On your mind
WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER!
It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. email@example.com and we’ll If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
We of the Never Never The wife and I are looking around to find our ‘dream’ motorhome for our looming retirement. Apart from the ‘dream’ regularly changing, I’m also looking at ways to pay for it. It seems selling the family home or cashing in a big chunk of super are our only real options, as finance seems largely unknown. We’re not looking at long term ownership, just a few years will probably be enough, and so a finance option would be good. We were in the USA last year and in a magazine I picked up I saw lots of finance packages, with terms to 240 months at 2 or 3% per annum!! Can you tell me why finance is so hard to find here or are we missing something? Thanks, Jon. Hi Jon, you’re not alone in wondering why finance isn’t more common, but I guess RVing in general here is a retirement thing and most people do sell up, downsize, use superannuation or savings. I know from talking
with one factory-direct manufacturer here some years back about finance that they only had two customers use in more than 20 years. From observations in America it seems RVs are treated much more like commodities, but can you imagining financing one for 20 years (240 months)? Most motorhomes over there are getting dodgy after 10 years and by 20 are relics, if still going. At least build quality here is better and there’s a chance a two decade old motorhome would still be viable! Perhaps readers and/or dealers can shed some light on their experiences? It’s an interesting topic and anything that can start a discussion and encourage industry growth has to be a good thing. For getting it going please accept this issue’s $50 towards your dream motorhome – whatever it might turn out to be!
On your mind | 11
S.A. Fiat Service Something the South Australian readers (and others who are visiting here) who own Fiat motorhomes may wish to know. Recently, when we were having our VW Polo serviced by Solitaire Motors (who are also an authorised VW commercial service dealer), we were advised they are now also an authorised Fiat Car & Commercial service centre, so happy to now service our Ducato.
for years, so adding Fiat to their range should fit well with their knowledge and have all the necessary heavy lift equipment needed. Our Fiat is due for a service later this year, so will let you know how that goes in coming months. Regards, Eric
Thanks for that Eric, sounds like a good setBeing a large service centre based just west of up. I’ll share it next issue as I’m sure it will help the city, at Mile End, they are centrally located. some people out. They have been servicing VW motorhomes
Frustrations! It must be totally frustrating to have the delays that you have experienced over the last few days – I feel for you! I have just read your lead article about the German show and imports in general. I feel like a traitor in some respects as I have recently bought an import – an English Swift. Your comments regarding adjusting to foreign competition are very relevant and I will keep you up to date on my imported experiences as they develop. Cheers, Ross. Thanks for your email and yes, frustration levels these last few months have reached fever pitch. Ongoing problems with the App Store’s haphazard approval process is just another along the way. I’ve contacted them with a simple and logical solution to enable deadline driven publishing, with the expected, dismissive reply. It seems power, arrogance and intractability are common bedfellows.
Good on you for buying an import, please let us know how it goes; the total ownership experience including dealer support, which will really interest readers. Let us know all about the vehicle itself (build quality, warranty and general suitability for Australia) as your time with it progresses. Re my comments on competition, there is a genuine case to be made for opening up the market so that everyone benefits. I’m far from anti-local manufacturing, but I am against closed markets and stifled competition. Customers are the only reason any business exists and survives, and creatively meeting their needs is the key to success and longevity. Doing a ‘Trump’ for example and hiding behind tariffs and trade barriers is both foolish and a true lose-lose scenario.
12 | On your mind/News
Penny For Them What are your thoughts on the latest Transit, Crafter and Sprinter, and is the Ducato getting a bit old now? I’m not sure about the reliability of all these European vehicles in Australia. Cheers, Fred. Well Fred, how long have you got? I was really impressed by the petrol-engined Transit automatic I drove across America. It felt modern, was comfortable and performed flawlessly, even with 15,000 miles (24,000 km) rental use on it. Can’t comment on it in Down Under spec, but think it’s probably a good thing. If our Project Polly is any indication of form it should handle our conditions easily. I also can’t comment on driving the new Crafter and have only had the briefest of test drives of the new Sprinter (in Dusseldorf), but it was truly impressive. It’s more modern in the cab compared to the new Crafter, which although carrying over the current VW car interior design appears less ‘on trend’ and involving. If the Transit can be serviced by any Ford dealer then it should be a serious contender for a big lap of
Australia. However, both VW and MercedesBenz are reasonably well represented, dealer and service wise, with the latter perhaps better if you add in its truck servicing centres (ditto Iveco, which you didn’t mention). Regarding the Fiat Ducato, as Malcolm actually comments in this issue, its six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) is “Getting a bit long in the tooth”. A seven, eight or even nine speed full automatic is required to bring it back to a level playing field with the new Crafter and Sprinter, plus the eight-speed Iveco Daily. Transit’s new auto is a six-speed unit and already behind in the numbers game, but it’s still a smooth and capable unit. There’s nothing actually wrong with the Ducato’s self-shifter once used to it, it’s just there is a learning curve involved to get the best from it. Fiat’s service network is also probably the smallest of them all, but with long service intervals and the general reliability of all new vehicles these days (plus 24/7 roadside assistance), help is never too far away – for any brand. Hope this helps!
DUVALAY AUSTRALIA FOR SALE
he Duvalay Australia business is for sale, due to the ill health in the family of owners Neil and Dee Hobbs that requires their return to the U.K. The business is well established and has a customer base of some 5000 (to supply new covers and other items to), plus has significant growth potential. Full training will be provided and interested parties should contact Neil on (02) 6653 4640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 | News
TRAKKA’S NEXT GENERATION JABIRU are still officially under wraps, but what they can say is they’re sticking with two and four seater layouts, in what will be “an incredible evolution” of its predecessor. For more information you’re requested to check back with their website for updates over the next couple of weeks.
rakka says it’s very close to finalising specifications and pricing on its popular Jabiru, based on the all new MercedesBenz Sprinter. The company says details
iMotorhome is also wondering if we might see a all new van-conversion motorhome built around the equally all-new Volkswagen Crafter? Previously, there was a Crafter-based version of the Jabiru, but the launch of the totally new Volkswagen raises the tantalising possibility of an all new model in the Trakka lineup.
REAR DOOR SUNSHADES who asked us for a suitable rear annex for their vans,” said co-owner Pia.
nique rear door sunshades are the latest innovation from Brisbane-based Southern Spirit Campervans.
“We have been listening to all the VW Crafter and Mercedes Sprinter owners over the years
“After months of developing and getting the right products together and weeks of testing our prototype – now you can get rear sun and weather protection for your barn doors. Designed only to suit VW Crafters and Mercedes Sprinters from 2006 to 2018, they are suitable for all mid-roof and highroof models. The shades are small to pack way (only 2.5 kg) and made from durable but lightweight material with reinforced corners and are easy to set up. And of course, they are designed and made – by us – in Australia!” You can purchase online here or get a 5% discount if you buy from Southern Spirit’s shop at 103 Delta St, Geebung.
Calling All Wilderness Explorers
16 | News
THOR BUYS HYMER
.S. RV giant Thor Industries and the shareholders of Erwin Hymer Group announced on 18 September that they had entered into a definitive agreement for Thor to acquire Erwin Hymer Group, a privately held international company, for a value of approximately US$2.45 billion (A$3.45 billion), with the purchase price to be funded with cash and equity. According to a press release, equity consideration will consist of approximately 2.3 million shares of Thor.
in the industry and the combination creates the world’s largest RV manufacturer, with the leading position in both North America and Europe, and establishes a global sales and production footprint for the company. Erwin Hymer Group CEO Martin Brandt will continue to lead the business post-closing, reporting directly to Thor President and CEO Bob Martin. No changes in production facilities or employee levels are anticipated within EHG or Thor as a direct result of this transaction.
The Hymer family will thereby remain engaged
old Coast-based Revolution Motorhomes has just released an image of its latest model – the Zenith. Built on the newly released VW Crafter 35 LWB van, it has a full driver’s-side slide-out, 2.7 m internal width, 1.5 m X 0.97 m kitchen,
2 x 9kg gas bottles, 1.5 m wardrobe, a large separate shower in the rear ensuite, a lithium battery, solar power, instantaneous hot water and more as standard. No word on pricing but stay tuned for further details and a review soon.
SWITCH A great place to start
making the motorhome lifestyle easy
18 | News
GOONDIWINDI ABANDONS FREE CAMPING TRIAL
oondiwindi Regional Council has decided to abandon a free-camping trial in the town on the NSW and
Queensland border. Mayor Graeme Scheu said Council had decided it could not warrant investing extra ratepayer’s funds into the possibility of extending the trial at Redmond Park in Goondiwindi. Councillor Scheu said that while tourism and the drive market were major contributors to the regional economy, the council needed to ensure it made decisions that were financially responsible. “We have excellent free camp reserves on offer and we were pleased to learn continued..
NORTHCOACH STARFIN AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Quality ISO 9001
Australian Designed product, specifically with the harsh Australian conditions in mind. Being tested and approved by the ADR62 (Australian Design Ruling 62), the Pro-Tow Predator A Frame is the only choice with peace of mind of Australian Certification.
Together with our agents, we are Australia’s specialist in Aframe towing
Agents: Loganholme Custom Towbars & Trailers Phone: (07) 3209 7669
Ringwood Locsed Products Phone: (03) 9879 3545
Bundaberg A2Z 4x4 Phone: 1300 229 494
Wodonga Brooks Motor Cars Phone: (02) 6055 8555
Hatton Vale Lockyer RV Pty Ltd Phone: (07) 3333 1806
Victor Harbour Victor Steel & Engineering Phone: (08) 8552 1010
Newcastle Australian Motorhomes Phone: (02) 4948 0433
Salisbury SA Salisbury Towbar Service Phone: (08) 8258 2638
Sydney Sydney RV Phone: (02) 4722 3444
Perth Total RV Sales Phone: (08) 9453 1493
Terrey Hills RVGO Phone: (02) 9986 2952
Launceston Carswells Phone: (03) 6331 2511
PO Box 5231, Daisy Hill QLD 4127 Phone: 0409 581 471 Email: email@example.com ABN: 30 615 270 678
News | 19
that some of the caravan parks have now decided to offer a low-cost camping option,” he said. He said the Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy had notified the council that its preliminary view was that the trial should not be extended. “We were presented with just two options: either discontinue the town free camping trial or inject further resources into the management of the site in order to
demonstrate a suitable level of compliance to extend the trial,” he said. “Compliance was by far the biggest issue as the trial was highly unregulated.” Councillor Scheu said the council was fortunate enough to benefit from Works for Queensland funding in upgrading locations such as Rainbow, Yellow Bank, Lees and Bengalla reserves. The council will negotiate with DNRME to arrange a transitional period for the closure of the town trial.
The Wirraway 260 SL
With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !
From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.
Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!
View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500 Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: firstname.lastname@example.org & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
20 | News
APOLLO OUTLOOK POSITIVE
pollo Tourism and Leisure has told shareholders it is pleased with its performance during the last financial year. It makes the comment in its annual report to investors, which came as the
Brisbane-based global company’s shares took a pounding on the stock market to reach their lowest level for a year. Since humble beginnings in 1985 renting out just one pop-top caravan from a shed in the city’s north, Apollo has grown into a multinational company focused on manufacturing, renting, selling and distributing a range of RVs including motorhomes, campervans and caravans. The report said Apollo’s revenue for the year ending June 30 was $355 million, representing a 122 percent rise on the previous year and returning an aftertax net profit of $19 million. Shareholders were assured the outlook was positive, with increased rental bookings for the year ending June 2019.
PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL LIVES ON
he annual Elvis Festival in Parkes, NSW, a popular event on the Grey Nomads’ calendar, will receive financial support from the State Government for another three years. Caravan parks in the area, which
are generally packed to overflowing for the annual five-day tribute to the King of Rock ‘N Roll, are already reporting bookings for the iconic event, Announcing continued financial backing, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, said visitor numbers to the festival – claimed to be one of the world’s largest Elvis Presley tribute celebrations – had soared by 32 percent. “The Parkes Elvis Festival has become a must-see, must-do event for tourists from around Australia and the world,” he added. Next year’s event will open on January 9 with the theme ‘All Shook Up”.
Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.
Lake Pukaki, South Island
No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealand your way in a premium rental motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz
22 | News
LEGO WORLD RECORD
aravanning Queensland and Top Parks have been officially recognised as holders of a new Guinness World Records title for the largest ever LEGO caravan. Guinness World Records adjudicator Brian Sobel announced the news after inspecting the caravan at the Brisbane Holiday Village. It beat the record set up in the UK by 73,472 bricks. Built to celebrate the 50th annual Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, it took a team of up to 20 adult fans of LEGO from across Queensland and interstate to accomplish. The project took 10 weeks to plan, over 20 weeks to build, more than 530man hours and features 288,630 LEGO bricks held together by 70 litres of glue. The life-size replica is of an iconic 1973 Viscount Royal – Australia’s largest caravan manufacturer in the 70s – and sits atop an original and functioning Viscount chassis. Head of Top Parks, David Smith, said as
Australia’s largest network of independent parks, the company had thrown its support behind the project. It was also hoped the caravan would hit the road, visiting key destinations in his company’s park network, “It’s fair to say it will turn some heads, and we hope it will also inspire people to make their own dream holidays a reality – no matter how ambitious they may be.” Avid caravanner and LEGO builder Ben Craig said the project was not without its difficulties, with the capabilities of LEGO bricks being pushed with its large open interior. “Overall, I’m really happy with the result. Let’s go camping,” he quipped. The caravan is fully equipped with a double bed, wardrobe, sink with running water, stove, refrigerator, dinette, cupboards with sliding drawers and operating tail-lights.
24 | News
NEW QLD PARK POWER DEAL
eople living in caravan parks in Queensland will now be able to buy their energy directly from an authorised retailer. Queensland Energy Minister, Anthony Lynham, said changes to energy legislation now brought greater choice for park tenants who were previously only able to buy their electricity from the owner of the embedded energy network. Meanwhile, thousands of caravan park dwellers in NSW have signed a petition calling for action to stamp out overcharging.
Australian Residential Parks Association vice-president for Tweed Ken Cummins, who lives in a caravan park, claimed some tenants were being charged three times the normal cost of power. â€œThese park managers are driving around in their Mercedes Benzes and BMWs and ripping pensioners off left right and centre,â€? he told media.
26 | iMotorhome Marketplace
Connect at home! Connect anywhere!
15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection
Australia’s leading solar power and satellite TV manufacturers! We stock the revolutionary In Flex and Mini Flex panels, Plus our Complete Traveller Satellite TV package is perfect for motorhomes.
In the heart of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Come and enjoy our natural beauty, famous lakes, High Country and expansive beaches. Find ‘Experience 40 Great Things to Do’ on our website too!
T: 1300 483 249 W: itechworld.com.au
T: (03) 5144 1108 W: tourismwellington.com.au
AUD per person twin share
AUD per person twin share
AUD per person twin share
28 | iMotorhome Marketplace
The Duvalay Memory Foam Sleeping System – No lifting, no tucking, no fighting over the doona and bedding that stays put. Find out why it’s Europe’s bedding of choice for caravans & motorhomes. The premium grade memory foam ensures total comfort and the award winning design cover means your bed is made in seconds.
Roberts RV World
An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.
Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!
T: 1800 273 136 W: robertsrv.com.au
T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au
Southern Highlands Service Centre • • • • • •
More Versatile Than Any Other RV Camp Anywhere - It’s Self Contained Large Bathroom With Shower & Toilet Easy To Operate With Electric Jacks Models For Single, Extra & Dual Cabs Plus! Famous Ozcape Quality & Support
duvalay.com.au | (02) 6653 4640
Southern Spirit Campervans FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Full & part fitouts Hitop, Poptop and Reimo roofs True custommade conversions Repairs & improvements BYO van from Hiace to Sprinter
Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!
An Authorised Repco Service Centre just off the Hume Highway at Mittagong. Auto electrical and mechanical service specialists happy to look after your motorhome or campervan! Call Mark or Sharon and tell them iMotorhome sent you!
T: (02) 4872 2822 E: email@example.com
Over 11 years cover manufacturing experience Australia wide.Free Measure & Quote Call in Factory 1:354 Mons Road Forest Glen : Sunshine Coast Queensland PH-‐1300 304 332/0754564818 www.caravancovers.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org
iMotorhome Marketplace | 29
Battery Traders Super Store
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.
Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.
Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!
T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au
T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au
T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au
hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available
5th wheeler specialist
Our vehicle-specific insulation screens are Australian made from specially designed and tested material to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. As featured in iMotorhome’s Project Polly!
T: (07) 3398 5500 W: solarscreen.com.au
Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.
T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au
Find power anywhere with a REDARC Inverter
America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!
T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au
The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults LATEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RV OWNERS
The alternative to a bike!!
25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg
Folds away quite compact for small storage
Plug in and get 240 volt power on the go. Click here.
To ﬁnd out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email email@example.com www.e-twow.com 1
30 | Tested: Suncamper Sherwood S Series 4x4
Compact & Capable!
Suncamper’s compact Sherwood 4x4 is capable and still on the money… by Malcolm Street
Tested | 31
Apart from exploring densely overgrown terrain the Sherwood 4x4 is well suited to off-road adventures. It’s compact with minimal overhang, while the HiLux is capable and reliable. Suncamper has been building Sherwoods for years and the design is proven and well sorted.
our wheel drive motorhomes are a bit of unique category in the Australian RV industry: The choice being either something based on a Toyota HiLux 4x4 or Ford Ranger 4x4 cab-chassis, a MercedesBenz Sprinter van 4x4 conversion or for the most part, something considerably more expensive!
However, a solution is at hand in the form of a GVM increase via a suspension upgrade. This is what Suncamper has done with the latest generation of its Sherwood 4x4 range – the S Series – offering the option of the HiLux’s GVM being increased from 3000 kg to 3450 kg.
Since most potential owner’s budgets aren’t unlimited, the choice often comes down to either the HiLux or Ranger as a base vehicle. A weighty issue with these vehicles is the standard gross vehicle mass (GVM), which can lead to a nominal amount of payload capacity. It’s a problem manufacturers like Suncamper Motorhomes has with its HiLux conversions, particularly the 4x4 models.
oyota’s HiLux is certainly a popular vehicle in this genre of motorhome, especially with its four-wheel drive capability. In this case the SR model is the base vehicle, which comes with a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel that delivers a maximum power of 130 kW and a healthy 450 Nm of torque. For those who like to cruise along, there’s a six speed full auto gearbox, but for the drivers a manual shifter is also available. Our review vehicle came with a few extras like
32 | Tested Clearview mirrors, tow bar, Diesel alloy wheels and Falken tyres.
windows are quite large and are the familiar double-glazed acrylic awning style.
Helpfully, the door comes with its own security screen and electric steps, which are handy given the height of the door off the ground. A weakness often with this style of motorhome is the lack of external storage, but this one scores well with a tunnel boot at the rear. Unusually, the doors are different sizes but I don’t see that being a problem. Although only a single four-point-five kilogram gas cylinder is supplied there is room and a spare mounting bracket for a second. In my book, two gas cylinders, unless you are forgetful, always means not running out of gas at inappropriate moments.
ariations of Suncamper’s popular and proven Sherwood have been available for years. However, the new S Series has a couple of differences to the usual layout, which I will get to in a moment. Externally there are no surprises in the body construction. Suncamper uses fibreglass composite panels with corner mouldings on the rear wall, to take away the square look. To add to the off-road look, the obligatory strip of alloy chequer plate has been added to the lower body walls. All
You’d probably be surprised where a 4x4 Sherwood would take you…
Tested | 33 Powering the 12 V electrics is a 120 Ah gel-cell battery. There’s an option for a second battery and also a 200 W solar panel, which was fitted to this motorhome. At 86 litres the freshwater capacity is on the small side and anyone considering remote travel might like to think about a second tank. Certainly the grey water tank is sized for quite regular draining, but these lower capacities are to try and balance weight and payload, even with the increased GVM.
ith this length of motorhome (5.8 m/19’), layout variations aren’t numerous and some items are more or less fixed in space, like the bed over the cab and the bathroom cubicle behind the cab. A spacious kitchen bench fills the kerbside wall and that leaves room for a decent sized lounge/dinette seat around the driver’s-side rear corner, plus a small cabinet by the rear-set entry door. All the cabinetry is built using light weight plywood and the overall finish results in a bright and breezy interior.
The rear-set entry door necessitates an L-shaped dinette, which is fine as it’s surrounded by windows. Although compact the interior is practical and well suited to organised couples. It’s also great for a solo traveller, although through-cab access is an issue.
34 | Tested Moveable beds
he over-cab bed makes this a C-class motorhome, albeit at the smallest end of the size spectrum. It has been designed so it can either be used as a transverse double measuring 1.94 m x 1.75 m (6’ 4” x 5’ 9”) or two singles: the kerbside one having a length of 2.13 m (7’) and the other being shorter at 1.75 m (5’ 9”). It’s an interesting idea that only works if one of you is short enough, but it’s good to be given the choice. Above the bed the ceiling height is 0.8 m (2’ 8”) and for getting into the double a small step (complete with a hinge lid for storage) is fitted against the kitchen bench. Reading lights are provided at
Top: A security door is standard, as are electric steps for the reasonable climb up. Above: Cleverly, this extension (plus an infill cushion) turns the passenger side of the bed into a long single
Tested | 35
Above: The over-cab bed would usually be used east-west, while windows and lights at both ends lets you choose which way is best depending on terrain. Below: The fridge is the new slimline, 141-litre 2-door Thetford.
both ends of the bed, but the driverâ€™s-side light is optional. Between the bathroom and the bed is a half height wardrobe that also provides a bit of bedside shelf adjoining the double bed.
itted into the benchtop is a Thetford three-burner hob with a stainless steel combo sink. That allows for a reasonable bit of bench top working space, especially as the microwave is fitted in the cupboard area. Two large drawers, two cupboards, two overhead lockers and one wire basket provide overall kitchen storage. Of interest is the Thetford 141-litre three way fridge; one of the new slimline designs Iâ€™ve seen a fair bit in New Zealand motorhomes over the past few years but which apparently have only just arrived here. The cupboard under the fridge contains the battery charger, 12 V fuse panel and 240 V circuit breakers.
36 | Tested Combo Bathroom
n a motorhome this size the bathroom is always going to be fairly small as there’s really only room enough for the essential; things like the flexible hose shower, Thetford cassette toilet and small vanity wash basin. In addition, there is good sized wall mirror, collapsible towel rail and fan hatch.
t’s not quite an NZ Back layout (a U-shaped rear lounge with windows on all sides), but both the side and rear seats have large sized windows behind them that give a good view of the outside world. A Lagun mount is used for the table and it’s nicely located so that it both swivels effectively and is reasonably stable when leant on – not always the case with some I have seen. By the door the half-height cabinet is a neat little multi purpose item that doubles as a switch panel, device charging panel and a neat bit of shelf space. The wall area above is used for the flat screen TV mounting point.
What I Think
iven the Sherwood S Series has a tare weight of 2680 kg it does make the standard 3000kg GVM practical – just – but if a number of options are being considered (and the list is quite long), the GVM upgrade is a wise move. It’s interesting how the best point of something can also be its worst. The Sherwood has a small interior compared to the average motorhome, yet it also means it’s well sized for four-wheel drive travel. Short and narrow enough for open country off-road exploring, it also has living space adequate for two without being squashy. Suncamper has done well with its latest design and it will undoubtedly contribute to this popular model’s longevity.
Top to bottom: Kitchen bench is big for a small motorhome; New combo cooker and sink works well; New HiLux cab modern and comfortable, but access is best from the living area. Use the main door going the other way!
Tested | 37
Clockwise from top: Corner unit has charging outlets and power controls, but TV location could be a bit awkward; Compact wet bathroom uses a combo tap and shower nozzle; High-set fridge and lower chest freezer is a great idea; Kitchen has plenty of storage.
38 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Sherwood S Series 4x4
Toyota HiLux SR
2.8 litre turbo diesel
130 kW @ 3400 rpm
540 Nm @ 1600 - 2400 rpm
6 speed auto
ABS, EBD, BA, TRC, driver and passenger air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
3000 kg (3450 kg optional as tested)
320 kg (770 kg)
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
5.80 m (19')
2.09 m (6' 10")
3.25 m (10 " 8")
1.93 m (6' 4")
1.94 m x 1.75 m (6' 4" x 5' 9")
Single bed configuration
Lengths - 2.13 m (7') & 1.75 m (5' 9")
Tested | 39
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Thetford 3 burner combo with sink
Thetford N3141 141 litre 3 way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
2 x 12 V /5 V USB
Hot Water System
Flexible hose, combo unit
1 x 120 AH
1 x 4.5 kg (room for 2)
PRICE ON ROAD As Tested
Warranty – vehicle and motorhome
Warranty – structural
Pros… • 4x4 • Toyota quality • Optional GVM upgrade • External storage capacity • Rear seat layout • Double or single bed layout option • New slimline Thetford fridge
CONs… • Water tank capacity • Single bed configuration won’t suit two tall people • Limited through-cab access
Manufacturer Suncamper Motorhomes 3/9 Sefton Road Thornleigh, NSW. 2120 T: 1300 416 854 E: sales@suncampermotorhomes. com.au W: suncampermotorhomes.com.au Click for Google Maps
40 | Tested: Bürstner Ixeo I 729
Integrated & Affordable
Meet Bürstner’s new, more affordable A-class Ixeo I 729… By Malcolm Street
Tested | 41
There’s something about an A-class, especially when finished in metallic champagne! Bürstner’s new Ixeo I 729 blends size, specs, quality and price into a desirable and more affordable package that is sure to find favour with buyers in NZ.
p until a few months ago, the only A-class (‘Integrated’ in their speak) Bürstners available in NZ were the Elegance and Grand Panorama, both well over the NZ$200K mark in some cases. However, when wandering through the Christchurch premises of Smart RV back in July, I happened to notice a very new addition to the Ixeo range. It was indeed an A-class unit – the Ixeo I 729 – and looked stunning in its champagne colour scheme. What Bürstner has done is use the best features of its mid range Lyseo models and combined them with the premium Ixeo range to create a series of A-class models under magic the $200K mark. At ‘just’ $189,990, the Ixeo I 729 comes in well under that figure, too…
designs, the front and rear body mouldings add a touch of class. And like all the Bürstner range, the I 729 has Fiat Ducato underpinnings, in this the case the Multijet 150.
ne of the benefits of buying this more upmarket motorhome is that you get the mid-range Fiat Ducato engine, the 2.3-litre 110 kW/350 Nm turbo-diesel. Designed for easy cruising, the I 729 does indeed roll down the road very smoothly. Well most of the time. It will be nice when Fiat does something about its automated manual gearbox, which is getting a little long in the tooth.
Motorhome with Style
ertainly, the Ixeo I 729 is a very stylish motorhome and in the early morning sunlight when I took it out for a run, it positively glowed. Like quite a few A-class
ith a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3850 kg and a tare mass of 3205 kg, the motorhome’s payload of 645 kg is certainly good. Garage-style rear storage
42 | Tested
areas are de rigueur in A-class motorhomes these days and although this one is slightly smaller than some I have seen in recent times, it still provides plenty of space for all the usual camping items. Along the passenger side are both a gas cylinder locker and a smaller one for access to the water tank fillers. As is usual on Euro A-class motorhomes, the I 729 has two doors: a conventional habitation door on the driverâ€™s side and the passenger seat cab door. Itâ€™s a handy feature and one I appreciate if on my own and getting in and out of the driverâ€™s seat quite often during photo sessions.
Apart from providing panoramic views an A-class blends the cab into the living area, making the most of available floorspace.
ndoubtedly the most obvious feature of the I 729 is that it is a single bed layout, with the two beds at the rear of the motorhome. The rest is fairly conventional, with a split bathroom butted-up against the bedroom and further forward, the kitchen, with
Tested | 43
the lounge-dining area up front. As is usual with an A-class, there’s a great panoramic feel to the entire front area. Extensive use of concealed and semi concealed lighting adds greatly to the general ambience of the entire interior.
here’s no doubt single beds in a motorhome are definitely more practical for both designer and user. With a minimal measurement of 2.04 m x 0.8 m (6’ 8” x 2’ 7”) they result in a good bed length and wider walkway in between. Both get a bedside shelf, reading light and a large window, whilst the kerbside bed gets a flat screen TV mounting as well. In addition, the central wardrobe has a good bedside shelf area, with power point and light switches, but disappointingly, no USB charging outlets. Both beds have decent storage underneath, with one a large drawer and the other cupboard space. Top: The cab affords huge views, but the high-mounted side mirrors take a bit of getting used to. Above: Single beds are increasingly popular, plus there’s a pull-down over-cab double for guests or as an alternative.
44 | Tested
ith the toilet/washbasin cubicle located on the driver’s side and the shower cubicle opposite, the bathroom is designed so it can be closed off from the bedroom or living area. It’s a workable idea that allows for bathroom space that can easily be used as a walkway through-access. Incidentally, the toilet cubicle is nicely appointed, with a Thetford cassette toilet, wash basin and both upper and lower cupboards with plenty of shelves.
ne thing Bürstner does is produce stylish looking kitchens that are practical, too.
Top: Rounded cabinets avoid sharp edges and help the interior ‘flow’. Above: The split bathroom provides privacy by allowing simultaneous use of the loo and shower without embarrassment.
Tested | 45
In this case it has the usuals space efficient L-shape kitchen bench that comes with a three burner hob, round stainless steel sink and a grill/oven below. There’s a good selection of drawers and overhead lockers, plus a rangehood above the hob, but only one single power point on the wall.
Lounging and Dining
nviting is the word I would use when stepping in through the habitation door and seeing the front lounge area. Typically Euro designed with swivelling cab seats, an L-shaped lounge and sideways facing sofa behind the driver’s seat, it all looks like a great place to sit, eat and relax. The table, of course, can be moved around to suit both walking past and
The kitchen is compact but has good storage. Once used to the L-shaped design it’s also surprisingly practical.
46 | Tested the relevant seating positions. Despite having a 1.96 m x 1.39 m (6’ 5” x 4’ 7”) drop-down bed overhead it isn’t intrusive, and in case you’re wondering about the ladder, it’s stored in its own compartment below floor level.
or remote camping the Ixeo I 729 is well appointed, with two 90 AH deep cycle batteries, a 150 W solar panel and even a 1000 W inverter. Also, the pair of nine kilogram gas cylinders gives good capacity for the Truma Combi water/space heater, hob and three way fridge. For controlling all of the electrical devices, touch panels and the hot water/space heater are located by the habitation door, above the flat screen TV. It’s not obvious, but in the lipped shelf below the TV there’s a USB charger outlet – handy for stashing phones/tablets whilst being charged. There are even a couple of LED pin lights there so you can see what you are doing.
Behind the Wheel
eing based on a Fiat Ducato chassis, the dashboard setup and driver controls are very familiar. Slightly different are the coach-style side mirrors, which require looking up at rather than sideways. Quite handy is the cabinet beside the driver, which has both a hinged-lid storage bin and a shelved compartment. I quite like these little storage places, which are handy for smaller items that need to be found in a hurry.
What I Think
an I have one? Although some may see the single bed layout as an issue, there are two other models available: One with an island double bed and another with two dropdown beds (the bed in the rear being above a lounge area). It’s hard not to be impressed by the A-class Bürstner Ixeo I 729 motorhome. It’s well appointed, has all the expected Bürstner features and as a bonus is quite reasonably priced.
There’s good storage in a myriad of shelves, cupboards and drawers, while decor is ‘on trend’ and includes highly effective, concealed LED strip lighting.
Tested | 47
48 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Ixeo I 729
Fiat Ducato Multijt 150
2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
110 kW @ 3600 rpm
350 Nm @ 1500 rpm
6 speed automated manual (AMT)
ABS, ESP, Hill Hold, Dual airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.49 m (24' 7")
2.30 m (7' 7")
2.98 m (9' 9")
1.98 m (6' 6")
Nearside single Bed
2.06 m x 0.80 m (6' 9" x 2' 7")
Offside single Bed
2.04 m x 0.80 m (6' 8" x 2' 7")
Drop Down Bed
1.96 m x 1.39 m (6' 5" x 4' 7" )
Tested | 49
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Round stainless steel
145-litre Dometic RML 9435 3-way (12V/240V/LPG)
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma 6E Electric/LPG
Hot Water System
Truma 6E Electric/LPG
Pros… • Style • Quality • Overall storage • Sub-$200K pricing • Internal lighting • Interior space • Central locking on all doors
CONs… • Single outlet power points • Limited TV viewing positions. • Small kitchen bench area • Not available in Australia
2 x 90 AH
Inverter 12V to 240V
2 x 9 kg
PRICE - ON ROAD NZ As Tested
Warranty - Vehicle
Warranty - Motorhome
Warranty - Water ingress
Click for Google Maps
North Island SmartRV Auckland 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland. 2022 T: 0800 007 627 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz Click for South Island Google Maps SmartRV Christchurch 3 Export Ave Harewood. ChCh. 8051. T: 0800 007 628 E: email@example.com W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz
50 | Tested
“Bürstner’s Ixeo I 729 (is) well appointed, has all the expected Bürstner features and as a bonus is quite reasonably priced.”
Your dream is within reach Great brands? Definitely. Exceptional service? You bet. Prices to suit? Absolutely. At SmartRV we have an extensive range of used German motorhomes for sale, meaning the best of European safety and design can be yours. We are the exclusive New Zealand distributor of popular Bürstner, value brand Carado and premium HYMER motorhomes. Don’t wait to start living the life you dream of.
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52 | New Release
Concorde Credo Thereâ€™s a new and more affordable Concorde A-class in Australiaâ€Ś
New Release | 53
he most compact model from Europe’s self-proclaimed leading brand of luxury motorhomes, the Credo by Concorde Motorhomes, is now available. The 7.69 m (25’ 4”) Iveco-based Credo – selling from $300,000 – is the most compact of Concorde’s locally available four-vehicle range and has a 5200 kg GVM.
Credo is said to add a new level of luxury and an extensive range of features for an entrylevel premium motorhome. “For example, the especially generous headroom, with a comfortable 3.25 metres total height, an Alde hot water heater for perfect interior climate, the Concorde One Level Concept, with one continuous 350 mm high-raised floor running through the entire vehicle so there “The Credo is different from typical compact are no steps, as well as a high-quality wall motorhomes sold in Australia in that it is and ceiling trim for optimum insulation. The designed, finished and fitted out to the Credo is designed to be a best-in-class entry uncompromising standards of Europe’s leading level luxury motorhome. Every design detail producer of luxury motorhomes, Concorde has been meticulously crafted for maximum Reisemobile GMBH, which sells more than comfort and functionality,” Mr Stocker said. 500 luxury motorhomes a year in some of the world’s most discriminating marketplaces. The company says that while Concorde’s Concorde has built its name over 53 years top-of-the-range 11.5 m Liner Plus model can by being passionate about motorhomes that tip the financial scales at $1 million plus, the deliver a lot of space, a lot of luxury and a lot Credo provides a luxurious option at a fraction of enjoyment,” said Concorde Motorhomes’ of the price for those seeking uncompromising general manager, Allan Stocker. standards of luxury and space combined with an optimised driving experience. It includes
A rear island bed is one of the floorplan options available
54 | New Release
Concorde has done an impressive job of integrating the Iveco Daily’s instrument cluster and cab controls to create a seamlessly stylish driving position. an elevated seating position, panoramic windscreen, large coach-style exterior mirrors, crisp, clear personalised dashboard and smooth power-assisted driving features that appeal to men and women alike. “If you think about the $300k price tag, that’s less than most studio apartments in Australia’s major cities. And even if you did find one for that price, the design and finishes of the Credo would easily outshine it – with the advantage that you can take to the roads and holiday with your motorhome,” said Mr Stocker, whose Newcastle-based (Bennetts Green) business has exclusive rights to distribute the Concorde range in Australia. “For such a high level of luxury and class, $300k is an attractive price point. The
Credo has an extensive range of features as standard, with even more options to suit individual needs,” he said. The first Credo has just been sold to an Australian couple ready for their next adventure. “As a family-owned company, customer service is in our nature. We listen to all our purchasers, because we won’t sell anything that we wouldn’t believe in ourselves,” says Mr Stocker. Concorde says that for an entry level premium motorhome, Credo is fitted with one of the most comprehensive ranges of safety, luxury and functionality features in Australia and its highlights include:
New Release | 55
Single beds that can become a large double are probably the best choice.
Living Room: The ergonomically designed suite and lightweight furniture in a quality Wenge look combine with the high-gloss overhead locker fronts in an elegant cream white.
Bedroom: Depending on the floor plan, options include a rear transverse bed with padded headrest or two single beds and one queen bed as well as an optional pull-down bed. They all share the Concorde Comfort Plus bed system of slatted bed frame and Kitchen: Pull-out larder units, drawers cold foam mattress for a restful nightâ€™s with servo soft close, an intelligent waste sleep. Numerous LED spotlights and indirect management system and the mineral kitchen lighting provide a pleasant light for reading worktop with moulded, integrated stainless and relaxation. steel sink set industry benchmarks in terms of space utilisation, design and usability in Driverâ€™s Compartment: A clear layout this class of motorhome. provides outstanding visibility in any traffic situation. An elevated seating position and Bathroom: Pumps and piping systems the large coach-style external mirrors further ensure water pressure provides the same enhance road safety. And the new Concorde shower experience as a fixed home. The dashboard means that all essential buttons large wardrobe and a separate dressing area and controls are in full view. complement the bathroom.
56 | New Release Vehicle features include: • A wide range of leather and fabric finishes • Insulated front shutter • Mastervolt battery management system • Easily accessible engine compartment • Service flaps for easy access to intermediate floors, making loading and unloading this cross-cut storage space, even with bulky objects such as camping furniture, significantly easier • Fully insulated front wall, to protect against outside noise and enhance insulation in colder months • Adjustable Alde hot water and gas central heating To view the full range of more than 200 standard features and an equally extensive Decor and style are impressive, as is the inclusion of an L-shaped lounge and swivelling single seat by the dining table.
New Release | 57 range of optional extras, see the Credo Technical Specifications document. “The Credo is the highest level of luxury on the market at its price point, which we believe is an attractive offering to Australians looking to combine adventure with comfort,” Mr Stocker concluded. iMotorhome welcomes the arrival of what appears to be an excellent and smaller A-class and looks forward to the opportunity to review the Credo and bring you a full report.
Credo must be one of the few European motorhomes with a decent sized kitchen, and one that isn’t L-shaped.
58 | Feature: Action Merc
Action Merc! Forget Action Man, this 6x6 Action Mobil is tougher than anyoneâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Feature | 59
Now that’s a bike rack! The Atacama’s spare wheel is also mounted ‘on high’ and like the bike rack is power operated. Note the perimeter frame on the body to fend off errant tree branches.
think it was my second day at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon when I came across the expedition wagons. Only the Germans and Austrians seem to make machines like these, which is interesting given neither country is the first place that comes to mind for bigger-thanBen-Hur adventures. What these machines are really built for, of course, is extended travel across distant and rugged lands like Africa. Happily for the owners this is possible through a combination of Teutonic engineering and tectonic randomness (the movement of the continents, if you catch my ‘drift’). In Australia and New Zealand we tend to forget there are places you can drive across international borders – never mind the World’s biggest combined landmass – without getting wet.
The market for monster expedition wagons is understandably small, even in their home markets. Thus, there were but a handful of manufacturers with such vehicles on display, but without doubt the king of them all was
this Atacama 720 by renowned Austrian manufacturer, Action Mobil. “Spezialfahrzeuge für Fernreisen. Expedition und Wissenschaft,” is its catchy slogan, which Mr Google tells me translates to an almost equally memorable “Special vehicles for longdistance travel. Expedition and science.” I guess when you’re spending around €861,000 (A$1.38 million or NZ$1.51 million), inc 19% GST, you want engineering prowess not feel good marketing hype. However, there’s irony here worth sharing: Action Mobil’s founders, Otfried and Stefanie Reitz, got into the business through running an advertising agency! It was the 1970s and one of the agency’s specialties was fashion shoots in Africa. However, the young models were unimpressed by the dust and lack of facilities. To placate them the couple designed and built a motorhome-cumstudio body, mounted it on a Chevy Blazer chassis (yes, apparently) and off it went. Soon everybody wanted one and the advertising
60 | Feature
world lost an agency (no bad thing judging by their slogan!) when Action Mobil was born.
ction Mobil’s show stand had just this one vehicle, but judging by the camera flashes and throngs of spectators it was all they needed. Inspection was by appointment, invitation or gall (it never hurts to ask!).
I was shown around by Otfried himself, a quiet but intense man immensely proud of his vehicles – and rightly so. While Action Mobil has a multi-vehicle model range, Otfried explained that each vehicle is custom built to the owner’s requirements, which is understandable.
The Mercedes-Benz AROCS 6x6 chassis is designed for the construction industry but looks purpose-made for expedition work. Headlight guards are standard as are diff locks and an automatic transmission. It’s an impressive piece of kit and one well suited to operations in harsh conditions.
Feature | 61 The Atacama I was inspecting was about two weeks from delivery to its excited, 60-something self-made businessman owner and his wife. I asked how soon it would head to Africa and was surprised to learn it was destined for a couple of years in Scandinavia as a semi-nomadic home office. Once retired the couple would then head south towards the Veldt.
xternally, the Atacama is overwhelming. The base vehicle is a Mercedes-Benz AROCS 3351 AK 6x6, a model aimed at the construction industry and well suited to low-speed, off-road work in harsh conditions. It’s powered by an inline 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine of unreported output and drives all six wheels via a simple automatic transmission. The cab is a picture of ergonomic efficiency and driving desirability; the sort of thing boys of any age would give their Tonka toys for.
This particular machine was 10.9 m (35’ 8”) long, 3.85 m (12’ 7”) tall and 2.47 M (8’) wide. It had a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 27,000 kg, but there was no word on its tare weight. Still, it shouldn’t have any trouble carrying its 800-litres of fuel, 800-litres of fresh water, 220-litres of waste water or its 100-litres of blackwater. It should also be fine with its 6 x 180 Ah 6-volt lithium-ion batteries (providing 1080 Ah @ 24 V); its 1760 W of solar panels,13 kVa generator and 2 x 5 kW sinwave inverters (it’s not overkill, a man has to keep his beer cold).
Top: Kerbside rear boot houses the lithium-ion battery bank and associated electronics, plus has room for a slideout ramp and an e-bike. Above: The entry door is twopiece, with a top hatch section that lets you look out while maintaining security against unwanted entry.
The body looks like a shipping container, but isn’t. It’s highly insulated and while the windows might seem a bit small, you’ve got to remember the extreme climatic conditions it’s built for. At the rear, a hydraulic platform carries the owner’s BMW adventure motorcycle. Of course.
62 | Feature
ife inside the box will be very comfortable for the owners. At first glance deceptively plain and simple, the interior is a masterclass of design that conceals most features until required. What you can see displays an obsession with quality and durability, with doors and windows of impeccable quality and industrial robustness.
It will probably come as no surprise that the floorplan is anything but usual.
Top: The cab is a model of comfort and ergonomic efficiency and provides a true commanding driving position, while walk-through access from the living area is excellent. Above: Kitchen is simple and straightforward, with good bench space and the sink moulded into the benchtop.
Climbing inside puts you opposite the long kitchen bench, with the open plan dining and sleeping area to the left (rear) and a hallway with the split bathroom and cab access to the right. This is no curvy, stylised cosy Euro motorhome interior; itâ€™s just functional flat cupboards and drawers that will be easy to clean and maximise storage. The light timber decor of this vehicle is in keeping with the
Feature | 63
owner’s Scandinavian tastes, but while simple, everything is beautifully finished and functional. The most unusual layout feature is the huge rear bed you access by literally climbing over the large U-shaped lounge (which also converts to a bed if desired/required). It’s a curious arrangement but one that does maximise sleeping and seating space as it ‘wastes’ nothing to walk-through access space. The kitchen is massive and has a plethora of cupboards, while a combination of recessed LED strip lighting and strategically positioned Top: Massive rear bed is reached by climbing over the huge U-shaped lounge, which doubles as a second big bed. It’s an interesting arrangement that doesn’t ‘waste’ floor space. Left: Decor is distinctly Scandinavian, while LED strip lighting is discreet and effective. Tall unit on left has systems control up top and the oven below.
64 | Feature
individual fittings keeps the whole interior bright. Heating is via an Alde hydronic system and thereâ€™s a Bose sound system, Nespresso coffee machine and Miele washer/dryer to add to the home comforts. To the left of the entry door is the eye-level systems control panel, which is deceptively simple but seems sufficiently comprehensive to run a small power station (which this machine effectively is). Beside it, a slideout 81 cm (32â€?) TV lives in a tall storage cupboard. Heading up front, the split bathroom straddles the hallway and separates the living space from the cab. Domestic-strength glass doors feature on both cubicles, with the toilet/vanity Top: Toilet cubicle is simple but functional and right behind the cab for quick access. Left: Miele combo washer/dryer tucks neatly away in a hallway cupboard.
Feature | 65
compartment door able to close off the aisle (curious, as it affords no privacy!). Bathroom fittings are simple but of superb quality, including a heated towel rack in the shower that looks strong enough to double as a short ladder. At the end of the ‘hall’ is what looks like a three-quarter height security door to the cab, with a toughened glass window and deadlock. Clockwise from top: TV is 32” and slides out of the cupboard by the systems control panel; Cab door looks military grade, while glass bathroom and shower doors are domestic quality; Heated towel rail is hugely strong.
66 | Feature
Considering the countries this machine might visit, the security aspect is understandable.
What I Think
he Action Mobile Atacama 720 would have to be the ultimate Boy’s Toy. Well, this boy’s at least. Shock and awe aside it’s hugely capable as both a vehicle and home, and truly deserves the title of Expedition Wagon. It’s also an abject lesson in bespoke design and engineering that for all the expense is only about the cost of an average Sydney home. Export it from Europe and save the €137,000 GST (A$221,000 or NZ$241,000) and it’s starting to look like a real bargain!
Real estate fortunes aside, should a Lotto win or inheritance come your way and you have a hankering for serious off-road adventure, this could be your ticket to becoming the Action Man (or Woman) you always dreamed of being…
Top: Whichever way you look at it, Action Mobil’s Atacama is a remarkable machine. Above: Battery and electrical set-up appears industrial quality and helps explain the hefty price tag.
Hitting the great outdoors this year? Book a check-up appointment at motorhomedoctor.com.au All makes all models
68 | Travel
Some Corner of a Foreign Field A chance encounterâ€™s unlikely outcomeâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
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“If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England.” Rupert Brooke
Clockwise from top: What’s left of the main building at the former RAF Wildenrath base (file pic); Entrance to the Rheindahlen War Cemetery; Fenced-off guard house to the RAF Hospital Wegberg.
funny thing happened on my recent trip to the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon. Mrs iM’s Father was a Royal Air Force pilot based in Wegberg, Germany, in the 1960s. Wegberg is only 40 km or so west of Düsseldorf and close to the Dutch border, and on the Saturday of the first weekend of the Salon I ventured out to try and locate her
birthplace. Specifically, Mrs iM was born at the RAF Hospital Wegberg, which not only served the RAF base some miles away, but was adjacent to JHQ (Joint Headquarters) Rheindahlen, the headquarters for British forces in Germany and the NATO Northern Army Group.
70 | Travel
Above: Aerial view showing the former RAF base’s transition to an industrial estate. Below: The object of my unlikely quest. The RAF base – Wildenrath – closed in the 1992 but the hospital and headquarters soldered on until 2013. While the old RAF base is largely an industrial estate these days, the hospital is still intact although fenced off and derelict. The closest I could get to either was padlocked security fences, although I did manage to get hasty snaps over my shoulder of the abandoned RAF headquarters (hasty because I happened on what appeared to be a drug deal in progress at the end of a deserted laneway and so I quickly turned around and departed!). The hospital is out of sight from the fence, but still visible on Google Maps/Earth, which is where I did my research. Got to love technology… My initial attempt to reach the hospital using GPS led me down tiny back lanes though fields of harvested corn on the edge of a postcard village. Along the way I passed a sign to Rheindahlen War Cemetery. Later, when my initial exploration was done, I retraced my steps to visit that, “Corner of a foreign field that is forever England”. It’s a truly out-of-theway place; down a narrow lane, past a farm
and surrounded by towering oaks. It’s utterly peaceful but also feels sadly alone. The gates of the deserted cemetery were open and the grounds immaculate, but a cold autumn wind stirred the fallen leaves and heralded a rapidly approaching thunderstorm. I
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had just a few minutes to look around and was surprised and saddened to find headstones of newborn babies, infants and children. It seemed this Commonwealth War Cemetery was the resting place of the unfortunate children of equally unfortunate service personnel. But the wind built to a crescendo and heavy rain arrived, and strangely/ spookily my camera wouldn’t take photos of the headstones. I hurried back to the car as thunder crackled and the hairs on my neck bristled, and thanked ‘goodness’ I don’t believe in the supernatural. Still, I locked the doors just in case…
ack at the hotel I did some research. Despite my initial impression of it being full or infants and young children, I discovered it to be ‘home’ to many adults, both service personnel and their kin, although nobody buried there died in combat. At the bottom of the Commonwealth War Graves information page was an unanswered reader’s question about the location of a mate’s grave. Having already decided to head back to the area the following day I replied, asking for his name and offering to help locate him. As the question was dated eight weeks earlier I had no real expectation of a reply, never mind the one I received within a few hours. Charlie was looking for his mate George, who was 19 at the time of his death in 1968.
Reading between the lines, both were from Malta and served in the Royal Malta Artillery. George died in a tragic accident and was the only member of his regiment buried in Rheindahlen, and Charlie was planning a visit for September and wanted to know how to find him. The next morning I sped down the autobahn again, the time on a ‘mission’ to locate George. Back at the cemetery on that warm Sunday morning, and with a family respectfully
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George’s headstone was the only one I saw with a photo and it was good to be able to put a face to the name. exploring the grounds, it felt like another world. My iPhone’s camera worked, although to dispel any Twilight Zone notions I had rebooted it the night before as it also wouldn’t take photos back at the hotel (it’s an occasional iPhone thing).
eorge was waiting in the second row of section F, fifth from the end, by the main pathway that leads up to the official memorial. He was smiling when we met – literally – because George’s was the only headstone I found with a brass photo frame It took me about an hour to find George, but I figured that didn’t matter as he had all the time attached. Turns out he was 21 not 19 (so I in the world and I wasn’t rushed. Firstly, I had to wasn’t the only one with a memory problem!) work out how the graves were arranged, which and as it turns out, he died 11 weeks to the day before Mrs iM was born. I have to say it was is in year order but not necessarily/obviously an emotional moment and I spent some quiet logically. Secondly, it was only after scouring time with him, dusting off the inscriptions and the1968 burials that I decide to do a complete grid search from one end to the other (only back his beaming face, and silently recounting the unlikely tale of our meeting. The father of the at the hotel did I realised he’d died in 1964). wandering family gave a respectful nod as they
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The unusual double horseshoe layout of RAF Hospital Wegberg. headed out and for a moment we shared a common sadness. On my own again I lingered a while, took photos for Charlie and then made my way back to the car. I left George in his little corner of that foreign field, saddened by his loss and wondering what his life might have been… Back at the hotel once again I took a screenshot of the cemetery from Google Earth and then annotated it in Photoshop to show Charlie where his mate lies. I sent it, along with a selection of photos, but it took a couple of weeks to hear back. It seems Charlie was on holidays and wasn’t really expecting to hear from me. He was very thankful for my help and explained how George ended up in a cemetery in Germany, a long way from home. Being in the artillery I’d imagined George’s “Terrible accident” to be a cannon misfire or similar, with him evacuated to Germany for specialist treatment. Turns out he was a mechanic working under a truck at a British
Army base in nearby Dortmund, when a new recruit drove his truck into Georges’s, knocking it off the jacks and crushing him. Tragic indeed… Charlie and I are now Facebook friends. He lives in Switzerland these days and by the time you read this will have visited George for the first time in 50 years. I guess it’s the anniversary year and it’s strange to think of that smiling young soldier now being 71 and the life he might have lived. People sometimes curse the Internet for the perceived problems it creates. Yet without it, this wandering Australian would not have found his wife’s distant birthplace and in doing so stumbled across a hidden cemetery, met Charlie, and eventually George. We three are now intrinsically linked by the random chance of life; the chance that knocks a truck off a jack and cuts a life short; that brings a couple together who seek their origins, and that brings old mates together after half a century, in a little corner of foreign field that is forever England.
74 | Wanda
Pride And Prejudice
By Sharon Hollamby
Wanda | 75
ur first camp this month was at the beautiful Lake Ellendale. Set on private property this lovely camp offers plenty of room to spread out, lots of shade, friendly cows, loads of bird life and even fresh water crocodiles. I patted some cows, got a metre away from a fresh water crocodile and even met some other coaster lovers. We stopped there not only because it sounded nice on Wiki Camps, but also because of the dire warnings I received from other tourists about Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. Half expecting to be attacked by a marauding tribe of spear throwing indigenous people, we drove into Fitzroy Crossing with some trepidation. Of course, it was nothing like Iâ€™d been told and we had no problems at all.
Just out of Fitzroy Crossing we picked up a young German backpacker. He was trying to get to Katherine and I was only going to a camp about 100 km down the road, but he welcomed the ride. He was a nice young man and I felt sorry for him when I dropped him off and turned into the camp. It was a hot day, and there was no shade at the camp, so I decided to go on a bit further to Mary Pool. The look on the young manâ€™s face when I drove out and stopped for him again was priceless. Mary Pool was a quiet, relaxing place and even though there was no water, it was still a lovely spot. I was sitting outside Wanda when I noticed a tree that had been sliced nearly in half, horizontally. The cutaway of the tree resembled a womb and on closer inspection there appeared to be the head of
There is no swimming at the Victoria River due to crocodiles
76 | Wanda a calf poking out. This was not carved by a human, just nature doing its’ thing and I found it fascinating. The tales of terror concerning Halls Creek plagued me, but we had to stop there. At the Post Office a young, well-groomed indigenous lady was trying to pay her bills and the man serving her rolled his eyes and groaned when she politely asked for what she needed. He was rude and aggressive towards her, but fine towards the next customer who was white. Thankfully, the lady that served me was very nice and I was soon on my way. I had no trouble at all with the indigenous people but I was horrified by this incident. Wanda was doing well in the heat but I wasn’t, so when I discovered that the Warmun Roadhouse had a swimming pool, we booked in. Like an oasis in the desert, it was wonderful and I spent the afternoon in the cool clear water. I didn’t want to leave the next day, but $30 a night for a single person is a lot of money, even for a powered site. The drive through the ranges was magnificent. Trees stood atop the hills like loyal sentries while the morning sun caught the mesas and bathed the world in a wondrous glow. Every turn of the road offered up more amazing scenery and I was so grateful to be living in such a beautiful country. Even Wanda just seemed to glide through this stretch of road and the hills didn’t phase her one bit. Sadly, there was nowhere to pull over for photographs, but in reality no photo could ever do justice to such beauty.
Hot & Hotter
e arrived in Kununnura early but it was getting hot, fast. My phone overheated, the fridge was struggling, I was drenched with sweat and Wanda felt like a sauna. I was in no mood for the attitude of the checkout lady in the
Wanda | 77 supermarket towards an elderly indigenous man. After pushing his groceries through with a look of disgust, she loudly announced that he wasn’t registered with them for Centrepay (he was). Finally, another lady came to sort it out and with a snort of disgust the checkout lady turned to serve me. She greeted me pleasantly, but I ignored her as I watched the old man struggling to pick up all his groceries. She hadn’t even asked him if he wanted a bag, so I offered him one of mine and he gratefully accepted. He had done nothing wrong and I was annoyed he had been humiliated like that. After dropping some clothes off at the local op shop we headed out of town. I didn’t buy any fruit or vegetables as we would soon be crossing the border into the N.T. and I saw signs saying to drop off any citrus fruit. I was expecting a check point at any moment, when suddenly there was a small sign saying welcome to the Northern Territory! I didn’t think that was right and expected a bigger sign up the road, but no, that was it. So sadly, I didn’t get a photo of the border. We stopped at Saddle Creek rest area and I was exhausted. The plan was to do absolutely nothing for a couple of days and I accomplished it well. It was here that I met a couple of lovely iMotorhome readers. Jan and John had stopped for a quick break and were heading off to Broome. I’m a bit slow sometimes and I didn’t think to get a photo until after they had left. It was lovely to meet them though and I hope they have many safe travels.
ur next stop was at the Big Horse Campground in the Gregory National Park. There wasn’t a lot of shade but they did have toilets and water, so for $3.30 a night it was a good spot to stay for a few days. It was only a short walk to the boat ramp and the Victoria River, but there is no swimming
78 | Wanda because of the crocodiles. I walked down there daily, but never saw one. However, I did notice that the local fisherman never put their feet in the water when putting their boats in! One boaty said they encountered big crocs every few metres while they were fishing. The heat and humidity were increasing rapidly and with no way to cool off, it was time to head to Katherine and a caravan park with a pool. I didnâ€™t think we would make it in one day, but surprisingly Wanda kept her cool (which was more than I could say for my phone and fridge) and we reached Katherine around midday. At $35.10 a night for unpowered it was expensive, but they had a pool and the Thermal pools were only a short walk away. I loved the thermal pools and there were a variety to choose from. The top pool was deep, the next one relaxing (with a wheelchair ramp), then there was a shallow one for the little kids. Finally, the challenging one had a waterfall that
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tried to send you downstream! I was enjoying the relaxing pool with some other people when three young indigenous children jumped in and I was disappointed to hear the others complaining that they should be in school. I couldnâ€™t keep my mouth shut this time and I asked how they knew these kids werenâ€™t on holiday. I was told that they were there yesterday with another man and that it was not school holidays. They changed the subject and moved away from me and the children.
I looked at the splendour of these pools and imagined how the indigenous people would have enjoyed the serenity of them many years before we came along. I believe that as tourists we need to respect that and be grateful that we can now share these special places with them.
80 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival
RV Friendly Towns
he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country. An RV Friendly Townâ„˘ (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers. When
RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. This monthâ€™s featured RV Friendly Towns are:
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cone is in the Hunter River catchment, surrounded by magnificent National Parks and known as the horse capital of Australia. Itâ€™s an agricultural town with the largest concentration of thoroughbred studs in the country. Serviced by a regional airport and Sydney Rail, transport to and from Scone has been made relatively easy with quick travel options to nearby cities such as Newcastle and Sydney. Whether youâ€™re just passing through or planning a trip to the Scone Cup, this town
has perfect facilities and services for any RV traveller. For those visiting the area, casual parking can be found on the corner of Liverpool and Kelly Streets. Short term parking; however, is located at Scone Sports Club, for up to 24 hours. This is only available for self-contained vehicles, and pets on leads are welcome at this site. Both potable water and the dump point are located nearby on the corner of Kingdom and Aberdeen Streets.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Scone Visitor Information & Horse Centre Cnr Kelly & Susan Sts, Scone Ph: 02 6540 1301
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Cnr Liverpool & Kelly Sts, Scone
Short Term Parking
Scone Sports Club Aberdeen St, Scone Self-contained vehicles only, 24hrs, pets on lead, mobile coverage
Cnr Kingdom & Aberdeen Sts, Scone Lat: -32.051936, Long: 150.859521
Cnr Kingdom & Aberdeen Sts, Scone
82 | Travel
town steeped in history, Maryborough boasts a relaxed atmosphere and is nestled upon the Mary River. With beautifully preserved colonial streets, visitors have the chance to soak up some of Queenslandâ€™s richest history and heritage architecture. Maryborough is a delightful town with a variety of attractions for its visitors. Take some time to check out the original wharf district, now home to a variety of vintage restaurants, pubs, museums and art galleries. The weekly markets are also a must, with the city centre Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking Long Term Parking
Dump Point Potable Water
transforming into a bustling outdoor market boasting a wide range of art, crafts and fresh produce. RV travellers will find short term parking at the Alan & June Brown Carpark on Kent Street. Parking is available for self-contained vehicles only and for a maximum of 48 hours. Longterm parking is located at Doon Villa Self-contained RV Park. This is available for self-contained vehicles only, for a maximum of 7 days at $10 per vehicle per night. Pets on a lead are permitted and access to toilets, showers and water is included.
Maryborough/Fraser Island Visitor Information Centre 388-396 Kent St, Maryborough Ph: 1800 214 789 www.visitfrasercoast.com McDowell Carpark and Alan & June Brown Carpark, Kent St Maryborough Alan & June Brown Carpark, Kent St Self-contained vehicles only, 48 hrs, no pets, mobile coverage, nil charge Doon Villa Self-Contained RV Park Airport Dr off Saltwater Creek Rd Self-contained vehicles only, 7-day max stay, pets on lead, mobile phone coverage, showers, bins, tlts, water. $10pvpn. Maryborough Airport off Saltwater Creek Rd Lat: -25.51905 Long: 152.7102 McDowell Carpark, Kent St and Maryborough Airport off Saltwater Creek Rd
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hill is a thriving country town halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide. Offering visitors a picturesque backdrop, this town is surrounded by beautiful National Parks. In 1897 a major tornado swept through, destroying most of the town. However the post office, built in 1887, survived and still stands today. The townâ€™s commercial centre boasts attractive parks and stunning gardens within
the median strip and with many places of interest, Nhill is definitely worth a visit. Short term parking is available for selfcontained vehicles at Nhill Aerodrome, free of charge. Parking is only available for up to 96 hours and bins and toilets are accessible. Pets on leads are also permitted. A dump point is located at the aerodrome and potable water is available at Victoria Street day time parking area.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Nhill Tourist Information Centre Goldsworthy Park, Victoria St Nhill Ph: 03 5391 3086 www.hindmarsh.vic.gov.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Victoria St, Opposite Home Hardware
Short & Long Term Parking
Nhill Aerodrome, Nhill Airport Aerodrome Rd 96hrs, self-contained vehicles only, pets on lead, mobile coverage, bins, toilets, nil charge Nhill Aerodrome, Aerodrome Rd Lat: -36.334933, Long: 141.648425 Victoria St day time parking area
Dump Point Potable Water
84 | Mobile Tech
Be Focused. Increase productivity by efficiently managing and tracking workflow.. By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 85
Be Focused Size: 38.2MB Cost: Free (Pro version $2.99) For: iOS
hen your editor suggests writing a review on an app designed to increase productivity itâ€™s a good thing,
Be Focused is an innovative timeboxing app designed to improve workflow and motivation with the use of a visual activity and interval timer. It utilises an 80s era time management method called the Pomodoro Technique as its foundation. The idea is you set aside a period of time to work on one specific task, eliminating the tendency to jump from thing to another. Be Focused aims to assist users to get organised, get on track and stay on task â€“ with the added ability to digitally record progress and view achievements over time. Perhaps it taps into some underlying principles of psychology regarding accountability, responsibility and
rewards, but whatever the reason, itâ€™s a popular and effective solution to a somewhat modern problem. Some say our increasing lack of focus is due to the overwhelming amount of stimulus we encounter in this modern technological age. While there is no quick or easy answer to overcoming decreasing levels of concentration, training and strengthening our focus one activity at a time will certainly help. The creators of this app have clearly recognised the fast-growing market of remote workers. As offices and time sheets have been replaced with digital nomad freedom and smart devices, so too have our structured workdays. Avoiding distractions within the home or wider world is not the easiest task, with or without connectivity, making Be Focused suitable for tracking any type of activity, in or out of the virtual office. This app is successful on several levels. Not only does it help you stay focused on a task by restructuring your time, it also lets you plan ahead, track your progress, set priorities and develop insights about your workflow. By drawing attention to your use of time you can
86 | Mobile Tech
break down complex projects into manageable tasks, set breaks and work at intervals of achievable lengths. With time and use the app will generate a clear picture of your unique working habits, identifying what works and what doesn’t by tracking achievements, areas of difficulty and your growth over time. It keeps you focused and accountable to your priorities and deadlines.
he more you use Be Focused, the more insight you can gain into your work habits. The app’s analytics window can graph how well you met your goals over a specific period. It also displays how much time you spend working and in how many intervals, and how many individual tasks you’ve completed. Simply open the graph tab and adjust the parameters to suit. You can track
your progress over any timescale: a week, a month or year. This can be a powerful tool for motivation and should help you identify when and why your productivity surges or slumps. It may even be the simple task of creating and documenting achievable goals that sets your motivation in motion. The app itself is not overly complex and has a simple and clean user interface that’s subtle but effective. Designed obviously to decrease distraction, it happily works in the background. It’s also completely customisable. So, finding what works for you will be a gradual process and utilising the tools available will help to discover this. The traditional Pomodoro Technique uses intervals of 25 minutes with 5 minute breaks, then after 4 cycles a longer break of around 30 minutes is taken before starting again. Within the settings menu you can adjust these lengths and frequencies of
Mobile Tech | 87
breaks and work intervals. Are you a frequent short breaker with few long intervals? Test yourself by increasing your work time and stretching out break intervals. Will the use of a continuous audible reminder of the passing of time motivate or annoy? And who doesn’t deserve a hearty, “Yee Ha” or trumpet fanfare once work is completed? Well, at least it’s an option! The free version of this app is quite functional and offers most features. However, upgrading
to Pro will remove the banner ads, allow you to export a CSV file and let you sync details between iDevices and Mac computers. Currently unavailable for Android devices, there are similar Pomodoro apps in the Google Play store. Incorporating tools such as this into your daily routine can only strengthen concentration and improve productivity, whatever the task. Habits can be as hard to develop as they are to break, but with a little persistence and assistance, it’s certainly a possibility!
Technology can be either a cause or a cure for today’s distraction epidemic.
Next Issue | 88
JUCY & MORE
e’re working on options for next issue’s local motorhome review, dependant on vehicle availability following the Melbourne Leisurefest. Hopefully it will be Trakka’s new singe-bed Trakkaway 720, but you’ll have to wait and see.
Melbourne Leisurefest Sandown Racecourse, Springvale. Vic. 3171 • Open 9:30-5:00 (4pm Sunday) • Adults: $16 • Concession: $13 • Kids - Not advised.
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From across the Tasman, Malcolm brings us his thoughts on the compact Jucy rental’s camping car he and Mrs Malcolm used for day travel on their re-cent South Island skiing holiday. Polly makes a return with tales of a pre-CMCA Rally departure water leak, plus we’ll have a report from the Rally, in beautiful downtown Gunnedah. Next issue will be out on Sunday 4 November. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
20-23 October 20-23 20-23
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Brisbane - Pre-Xmas Caravan & Camping Sale
Canberra Home & Leisure Show
Brisbane Showgrounds, 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Brisbane. Qld. 4006
EPIC, Northbourne Ave Mitchell, ACT. 2602
• • • •
Open 10:00-5:00 Adults: $10 Concession: $8 Kids - School age free with adult • Visit Website
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• • • •
Open 10:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) Adults: $15 Concession: $12 Kids - U16 Free
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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 email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
The October issue of the only magazine dedicated to motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand!