! n i W
the r o f 0 $5 ter! t e l t s be
Olantas Found! Forget lost cities, Sunliner’s Olantas is worth discovering… Covi Show
Pics and thoughts from Auckland
VW’s 4x4 Crafter
Dethleffs Trend 6757
Hartley Historic Village
2 | About iMotorhome
iMotorhome Magazine is published monthly and available by subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome!
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4 | On My Mind
This ’n That
bservant readers will notice the promised Sunliner Habitat 4 is absent from this issue, due to a thoroughly unreasonable $5000 insurance excess from the western Sydney motorhome dealer supplying the vehicle. You might be surprised to know we have to pay an insurance excess if we damage a vehicle we are road testing (to help promote the manufacturer and/or dealer), but we do and it’s usually around $1000-$1500. Imagine my surprise when I went to sign on the dotted line and noticed the $5000 figure. “Yeah na,” was my reaction and I apologised to the dealer for mucking them around, seeing as they had washed and prepared the vehicle. That little exercise cost me 3 1/2 hours driving, fuel and half a day out of the office. In the good old days we were thrown a set of keys and fortunately there are still a few small companies where that’s the case – bless ‘em! I share this not only out of frustration/annoyance, but mainly because if you test drive a new or used motorhome, do you know how much you’re up for if things go pear shaped? And I’m not just talking about at a dealership; do you know the insurance situation with the private seller? It could be thousands, so check ahead and confirm it in writing. A bit of pre-driving inconvenience could save you a world of financial pain.
Extra Thoughts? My Extra Thoughts editorial in the mid-March issue of iMotorhome Magazine Lite didn’t create as much feedback as I’d anticipated. Phew. My distinctly anti Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) stance drew no reaction from them, but did result in one phone call from the proprietor of a well-known motorhome
manufacturer. “Good on you for saying what needs to be said,” was the gist of the conversation. “Next time my CIAA rep calls by I’ll be voicing my displeasure at their actions”. Small steps, but it’s a start…
Covi Thoughts It will be forever impossible for me to separate memories of Auckland’s annual Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor show from those of the Christchurch massacre. That Mrs iM and I were in Auckland at the moment a fellow Australian was murdering New Zealanders in Christchurch was – and remains – utterly, utterly bewildering and incomprehensible. There are truly no words to express our sorrow and I think I can speak for all Australians in saying to our Kiwi friends, “This is not who we are – nor what any civilised people is – nor what you deserve”. By tragic coincidence, on 10 July 1985 I flew into Auckland for the very first time. It was the day of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by French secret Service operatives and my host took me to the dock to see the partially submerged Greenpeace ship. Then as now, it seemed incomprehensible such terror could descend on so peaceful a nation… I’m told Kia kaha is a Maori phrase used by the people of New Zealand as an affirmation. It means ‘stay strong’ and has especially significant meaning for Maori due to its usage by the legendary 28th Maori Battalion during World War II. Kia kaha my friends. Our thoughts and sincerest hopes for true healing are with you, and will remain. Kia kaha.
H A B I TAT
GO FURTHER. STAY LONGER
EXPLORE ONE TODAY AT YOUR LOCAL SUNLINER DEALER.
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Tested: Sunliner Olantas 0425
Tested: Dethleffs Trend 6757
Covi Show Report
This ’n That
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Street View Haera Mai!
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
Now on the new Sprinter, Olantas is a premium range worth exploring
An ex-rental bargain that’s almost like new
Pics and thoughts from NZ’s biggest RV show
VW Crafter 4x4
Survival Tips for all travellers…
Hartley Historic Village
Mobile Tech Wikicamps
Three more RV Friendly Towns
Next Issue What’s coming up!
8 | Street View
ust a few weeks back, Mr and Mrs iM and I attended the Covi Show in Auckland. Have you ever noticed that RV shows often have very long titles, like for instance the “Covi Motorhome, Caravan and Outdoor Supershow,” but most people just shorten it to either the city name or the organiser’s, and everyone knows what they are talking about? As I landed in Auckland, the news broke of the horrifying massacre in Christchurch. Dear old Christchurch of all places, which sadly took years to get over the 2011 Earthquake. Apart from anything else, New Zealand – hitherto regarded as one of the safest nations on earth – had suddenly become a terrorist destination. A terrorist somewhat home grown (relatively speaking) since he came from Australia; another country regarded as safe and friendly. As I wandered around the show, it seemed to me that the numbers were down and I did wonder how much the events in Christchurch affected things. Nothing and yet everything to do with RV shows: I think it was a sharp reminder to us all in the Antipodes that we should be constantly vigilant about this type of terrorism, if such a thing can be categorised. It can have relatively innocuous beginnings, often on the political front, and be something
many of us simply roll our eyes at, yet tragically end in places like Christchurch. It’s also something that in the extreme might affect the RV freedom we have in both New Zealand and Australia, which is as good a reason as any to stamp it out. Meanwhile back at Greenlane, there was much to see at the show, with many of the regular organisers putting on a fine display of all their latest and greatest. As well as some interesting offerings from Europe there was a small range of factory-built motorhomes from LDV in China, plus the first electric motorhome I’m aware of: The Evolve from THL/Britz, which rides on an all-electric LDV cab-chassis. After the show I managed to get a test drive, which was decidedly interesting. Apart from anything else it’s a bit weird driving something where there’s little engine noise! Given the distance limitations (max 120 km apparently – Ed), Britz has developed a tourist route to suit and in a way I could use it for my work related travel around the Auckland area. To say the least it’s an interesting development and one we’ll be watching with keen interest. Still on the subject of electrics, power leads have unintentionally been a subject of interest of late – and quite unintentionally
Street View | 9
I should point out. It was all a bit déjà vu: When I borrowed the McRent motorhome reviewed in this issue, the power cord was missing. Or rather there was one, but just the domestic 15-amp type, not the one required for connecting RVs. Australian readers should note that in NZ, the connecting plugs and sockets are different and better, I reckon, than our 15-amp style. Fortunately, a trip to Bunnings (any excuse will do!) sorted that problem. Digressing slightly, it’s funny that both countries use exactly the same electrical standard, yet somethings like power lead plugs and sockets are very different. More recently, for my Covi Show trip I borrowed a motorhome from Wilderness Motorhomes. For the duration of the show I camped with the rest of the NZMCA folks at Ellerslie Racecourse. I didn’t have a power hook-up, but because of my recent experience I did a casual check. How could this be? Twice in a row?? In this case, the power lead bag didn’t have a power lead at all! Do I have some sort of hex on power leads (well, yeah! – Ed)? Anyway, the problem was quickly sorted: The next day at the show, a visit to the Wilderness/Smart RV stand produced the necessary power lead!
Still on motorhome utilities; a motorhome I was driving around in recently was producing some rather odiferous odours as I travelled. I immediately suspected the toilet cassette tank and gave it a flush and clean, but to no avail. Next on the list was the grey tank which I also drained and gave a bit of flush. Having done all that, I suspect that there had been a small quantity of water left in the grey tank for a period of time which was sloshing around as I drove, producing the unpleasant smell out of the various drains. Ensuring the tank was empty before I drove anywhere was a short term solution but it was definitely a tank in need of serious treatment. A little reminder that all tanks fresh, grey and black should be regularly flushed and cleaned out. On that charming note, happy motorhome travels!
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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Cleaning Up I recently made a discovery that I thought would be worthwhile sharing with other motorhomers. For quite some time I had been staring up at the white strip on the underside of my awning, where it is attached to my motorhome external wall, and lamented that it was stained a dirty brown. Why did the makers put a white strip there, instead of one of grey, which doesn’t show the accumulated dirt, dust and grime of 1,000s of travelling kilometres? I thought the brown stain was permanent, until I invested in a Cheap Shop $3 box of large ‘Cleaning Erasers’, got up on a ladder and applied a small amount of elbow grease. Like magic, all the brown stuff was wiped away without any detergent, and dissolved in a bucket of water! Perhaps a microfibre cloth would have achieved the same result, but I was thrilled with the effectiveness and ease of use of the damp sponge. The attached photos show before and after the sponge application. Kind regards, Di. PS care needs to be taken if cleaning shiny painted surfaces. Thanks for another handy tip Di, it’s amazing
what you can find in those $1 stores and the like. Please accept this issue’s $50 prize for your efforts, which really is a great return on your $3 investment!
On your mind | 11
Tassie Insights So pleased I saw the link to your wonderful iMotorhome magazine from the CMCA newsletter. I have been a long time active member of the CMCA, and back in 2007 I worked with our local Council and prepared and submitted on behalf of Council the RV Friendly sites application here in the Huon Valley, at Franklin and Port Huon.
The Tasmanian Government has changed the rules for camp grounds across the state, and clear guidelines now say that if they offer a benefit to the community, they can apply to be register as such at no cost or low cost. The CMCA are generally happy with the Government approach I believe, although it’s not perfect.
I did like your article on the CIAA. It’s extraordinary the way they try to discredit the CMCA and its efforts to provide camping alternative that are not full service. In Tasmania, our Economic Regulator, in response to a few complaints for some caravan operators, has forced some low cost or no cost camp grounds to close due to the so called not-level playing field.
I also liked your article Richard in the February issue titled Fortress Australia, such a worthy and factual article, good on you Richard. Look forward to reading iMotorhome each month; please keep up the great magazine, the smaller sections of the industry and users need your voice, great reviews and articles of interest.
In our RV Friendly towns of Franklin and Port Huon, Council was directed to close the sites or increase fees to make it more level with caravan parks. How ridiculous. With credit to our Council, they asked the local communities through a survey, if they wanted the RVFriendly sites in their towns. Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes.
Thanks Kel and glad you like what we’re doing. It’s great to know you’ve been so active in promoting ’the cause’ in Tassie and thanks for the related information – very interesting. Thanks also for your encouragement and support, it’s very much appreciated!
Kind regards, Kel
Parking Up In Issue 134 in On Your Mind you asked about parking a motorhome when not being used. I park mine at MSS in West Footscray, which costs around $330/month and I can take it out of storage with 24 hours prior notice. The motorhome is kept in a building and I opt to keep the key. Plug-into power is included and it’s very secure, and even has an onsite caretaker. Regards, Glenn.
Thanks for the information, Glenn, which I’ll pass on. Sounds like a good deal to me for secure undercover parking. The only downside sounds like the 24-hour’s notice requirement, which means you can’t suddenly head away for the night when the urge for seaside fish and chips strikes!
12 | On your mind
Idiots! Great editorial, it’s a shame that so many RV industry players keep their mouth’s shut on the CIAA’s push to drive us all into caravan parks. For years the family has been camping at a favourite spot on the Murray near Renmark, when we can escape Melbourne. It’s a long drive but worth it, but now the kids have grown up so we don’t get there so often. But when we were last there the place was covered with rubbish and we spent more than an hour cleaning it up before we could set up. When Joe Public see places like that it’s no wonder they don’t want us camping where we like, and it just makes my blood boil at how bloody stupid and ignorant some people are when they go bush. Idiots! Anyway, give ‘em hell and keep up the good work. Someone has to speak up!
Asleep at the wheel is a term that comes to mind when thinking about many RV related businesses. However, I also appreciate the commercial considerations when trying to make a living in this business, so speaking out can be ‘unwise’. That’s why we’ll never get advertising from any of the State caravan and camping associations, nor (thankfully) invitations to their back-slapping awards dinners. It’s a messy and compromised old world we live in, but here’s hoping we can chip away at the problem of overregulation, bit by bit.
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14 | News
SUNCAMPER SCAM WARNING
he following was sent to all Suncamper owners by company owner Keith Harrison, but is worth sharing as a warning to all private buyers: I have just received a disturbing phone call. A person who is not a customer saw a Sherwood 2-wheel drive for sale in a local newspaper for a third of the price of others coming up in his search. He phoned the number and was told that the vehicle was in Geraldton, because the owner had been working in the mines, but had since married a Thai lady and was now living in Thailand. The vehicle was stored at a freight company depot and if he would like to contact the freight company, they would give him all the details, including photographs and organise the vehicle to be transported to his Queensland address at their cost. To hold the vehicle the purchaser was to pay an $11,000 deposit and as soon as the motorhome was loaded ready for freight, the final amount of $11,000 was to be transferred and it would be on its way.
The purchaser phoned the freight company, but noted there was a delay in the conversation from when he spoke and the freight company spoke. He said it did feel off, but nonetheless continued with the transaction. He felt a little uneasy, but this vehicle was too good of a deal compared to similar vehicles of this age and kilometres. This person has now paid $22,000 for an expensive lesson, because of course there is no motorhome. I, as the owner of Suncamper feel obliged to let as many people as I can be made aware of this scam. This could apply to other brands of motorhomes as well, and not to Suncamper alone. I havenâ€™t verified anything that I have written so havenâ€™t named people or the freight company. Please be aware when purchasing vehicles direct privately.
16 | News
he mid-March issue of iMotorhome Magazine Lite featured a UniCampa M4 review that originally appeared in June 2018 issue of iMotorhome Magazine, two months before we switched to the paid subscription model. Its inclusion was accidental as our Lite issue is intended to carry reviews from the full, paid issue, but a few months behind. Subsequently, that review has been replaced with one of the Revolution Motorhomes Zenith and the cover updated, accordingly. What brought the ‘issue’ to our attention was an email from RVIA, the parent company of both Sunliner and UniCampa, which read as follows: “We have just read the UniCampa story in iMotorhome by Malcolm. There are some facts that are incorrect, but most importantly, UniCampa is a not a new budget brand from Sunliner. UniCampa is a stand alone brand. RVIA is the manufacturer of, at present, two brands of motorhomes – Sunliner and UniCampa. We have worked hard to separate these two brands in order to create path ways for new dealer distribution networks and to assist in managing expectations of consumes”. iMotorhome apologies for any confusion in buyers’ minds, but notes RVIA didn’t raise any concerns when the story was originally published. Now the distinction between the brands is clear we look forward to reviewing more UniCampa models, and in particular the UCM 402: an affordable and well equipped B-class on the latest Renault Master cab-chassis
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18 | News
SUNCAMPER OPEN DAY REMINDER
t’s not too late to put your name down to join the Suncamper open day at its Thornleigh factory in Sydney’s North, on Saturday 13 April. “Learn all about the motorhome industry, how we build and why we choose to work with the companies and products we do. We have lined up some exciting speakers and representatives from a number of companies that make up the major components of the motorhome/ outdoor industry. They’re thrilled to educate and speak about their experience/tricks of the trade/products and services, how they operate and the important roles they play in the overall journey,” a press release says.
“There will be some incredible give aways and lucky door prizes. Plus we are excited to give you a factory tour, a free sausage sizzle, fun gift bags and so much more! Please RSVP by April 1st for catering and gift bag purposes! RSVP here”. Mr iMotorhome and Malcolm Street will also be on hand, as will Project Polly, and we’ll be giving away a number of free 12 month subscriptions to iMotorhome Magazine. Book in now and see you there!
20 | News
BUDERIM OVER 50s LIFESTYLE RESORT
atureâ€™s Edge Buderim over 50s lifestyle resort says it has a limited release of RV lifestyle homes ready to secure now. Located on the Sunshine Coast, the resort is said to offer a tranquil rainforest setting and vibrant social scene created with the traveller in mind. The architecturally designed homes are freeflowing with ample natural light and a lock-up garage big enough for a motorhome or RV and a car. A secure gated community, you can lock-
up-and-leave at any time. When home you can make the most of the resort style facilities, which include a 20-metre swimming pool, tennis court and bowling green. There are no exit fees or stamp duty and you get to keep 100% of any capital gain when you sell. Call 1800 218 898 to speak with a lifestyle adviser, email, visit the website or call in at 25 Owen Creek Road, Forest Glen, QLD. 4556.
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22 | News
TRAKKA’S BIG RED BASH
The Simpson Desert in Queensland is set to light up again from 16-18 July for this year’s Big Red Bash and Trakka is organising a convoy and full camp out, and would love fellow Trakka owners to join. So far, they have owners coming from WA, NSW, VIC and QLD. For those who aren’t accustomed to this unique Outback experience, the Big Red Bash is a family friendly desert camping/
concert that draws together iconic Australian musicians (think Midnight Oil, Richard Clapton, 1927) at the sand dune called Big Red, 35 km west of Birdsville. While this is a Volkswagen Commercial Sponsored event, the Trakka convoy will have its full crew of models and hopes owners will join them. Spots are limited so if you’d like be part of the adventure contact Alex Berry by email HERE
Calling All Wilderness Explorers
24 | News
RUTHERGLEN TWEED RIDE RETURNS geography teacher tweed, but the quirky, sophisticated, young (or young at heart) trendsetter. As such, the Tweed Ride is back in Rutherglen, just shy of 10 years running, and bringing with it all the three piece suits, flat caps, skirts and penny farthings you will need for your complete vintage experience. As per previous years, the fortifieds are back on show, complimenting a range of tasty stops along the way, including The Wicked Virgin, Stanton & Killeen and a delicious afternoon tea thanks to Louisa Morris at Chambers Winery.
ushbikes, fine wine and smart dress make an excellent combination. The annual Rutherglen Tweed Ride – inspired by similar events in the U.K. (of course!) is on again on 4 May between 10:00 and 4:00 and looks like great fun. The organiser says, “If Rutherglen were a person, they would be dressed smartly in tweed. Not your ‘did-not-quite-nail-it’
The low down: 20 kilometres of gentle cycling through glorious wine country interspersed with three incredible food and wine experiences with lunch at Stanton & Killeen. You will be heading down some dirt roads – all terrain bikes are most suitable” Further information and tickets are available HERE.
MT ISA’S EXTRA SPACES
Vers will welcome Mount Isa’s decision to provide more parking space in its central business district, with new facilities opposite the Kmart Plaza at the foot of Frank Aston Hill. Council has provided enough parking spaces for up to 15 RVs, with access via Ada and Shackleton streets, and the exit on to Gray Street. However, only daytime parking is allowed as overnight camping is banned.
News | 25
MORE WOMEN RVING
ore women are embarking on caravan and camping trips, according to the latest statistics. Data from the Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey has revealed that in the year ending September 2018, 5.2 million caravan and camping trips were taken by females, and they chalked up a total of 24.4 million nights during their travels.
dining at local eateries, with three million women making the most of restaurants and cafes in the areas they visited. That was followed by outdoor activities including going to the beach, sightseeing and bushwalking/ rainforest walks.
Caravan and camping trips have also been proven to be beneficial for women’s health. The CIAA’s Real Richness Report revealed The figures are a significant increase on those that those who regularly go on caravan and at the same time in 2013, when women took a camping trips are happier, more satisfied, total of 3.9 million caravan and camping trips optimistic and energised than non-campers. and spent a cumulative total of 18.5 million The research revealed both physical and nights caravan and camping in Australia. mental benefits, with 74% strongly agreeing camping helps them ‘recharge their batteries’. The largest age group was 30-54, which Additionally, 63% percent strongly agreed that accounted for 48.98% of all trips, followed it relieved stress, while 51% strongly agreed it by the 55-plus group, which made up almost can make you fitter. 29% of trips. The most popular activity was
26 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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28 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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30 | Tested: Sunliner Olantas 0425
Forget lost cities, Sunlinerâ€™s latest Olantas is worth discoveringâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Tested | 31
The Olantas 0452 is a compact motorhome built for two, but with plenty of internal entertaining space. Standard equipment levels are high and it’s pretty much complete, straight off the dealer’s lot. New Sprinter is a beauty and will keep Mercedes-Benz on top of the desirability list for new motorhome buyers for the forceable future.
unliner’s Olantas range is designed specifically for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and comprises two lengths – 7m (23’) and 7.8m (25’ 6”) – and five floorplans, including two with slide-outs. The subject of this review is the Olantas 0452, which is one of the shorter versions. It features a drop-down bed over an open plan living area, a full width rear bathroom and a rearward corner kitchen. It’s a very similar layout to the Sunliner Habitat 4, which we had planned to fill these pages, but at the last minute weren’t able to access.
he Sprinter has ruled the premium roost in the motorhome chassis market since its release back in 1995. Mercedes-Benz isn’t one to rush things and this new Sprinter is only its third generation (gen 2 ran from 2006 to 2018). The model range is staggering – 1700 variants apparently – and Australia is but a distant thought in MB’s corporate consciousness. That means new versions are being added in dribs and drabs, and the muchanticipated 4x4 option won’t be appearing until The Olantas 0452 is a 4-seat, 2-berth, B-class late 2019 at the earliest. Consequently, model coachbuilt motorhome and the test vehicle was and tech specs are a bit thin on the ground, but on the all-new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the first the supplying dealer – our friends at Australian one iMotorhome has had the opportunity to Motorhomes & Caravans – tell me the test drive in Australia. Olantas was built on the new Sprinter 519.
32 | Tested In MB-speak the 519 model designation works like this: The 5 means a 5000 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), which in this instance has been derated to 4490 kg so you can still drive it on a car licence (although the 5000 kg GVM is a no-cost paperwork option if you have an LR licence). The 19 means 190 hp (140 kW), which comes from a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel that needs Adblue to meet its emissions goal on the way to producing 440 NM of torque, whilst driving dual rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic. The test vehicle had a placarded 3720 kg tare mass, leaving a healthy 770 kg max payload, which increases to a whopping 1280 kg with the 5000 kg GVM option. A surprise is the relatively small 71-litre fuel tank, although Iâ€™d except economy to be somewhere around 12 L/100 km depending
on driving style, for an average range of between 500 and 600 km. New Sprinter is more evolutionary than revolutionary and its appearance continues to reflect Mercedes-Benz conservative commercial vehicle design language. However, looks can be deceiving. The new model is packed with technological and safety advances, including Crosswind Assist, Active Brake Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Of course multiple airbags are standard, as are anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and more. Inside, the dash has been completely redesigned and is much more in keeping with current Mercedes-Benz cars, although itâ€™s still all-over grey (yawn). Keyless push-button start
The new Sprinter bristles with technology and driver aids, but youâ€™ll need to spend a fair bit of time going though the handbook to get the best from it. The high definition screens are superbly clear, but the standard 7-inch unit looks a bit lost in the space made for the optional 10.25-incher.
Tested | 33 is a great addition, as is a more sporting multifunction steering wheel, which now carries cruise/speed limiter controls as well as audio and a myriad of other functions. Between the conventional speedo and tacho is a large high-definition (HD) screen that scrolls through a range of functions and is beautifully clear. Without instruction and with limited time I wasn’t remotely able to explore its capabilities, but suffice to say they’re impressive – right down to the graphic of the Sprinter flashing its headlights at you during the start-up sequence! However, the real star of the technology show is MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – accessed via the central, standard 7-inch or optional 10.25-inch HD infotainment screen. It’s where you find the radio, telephone, nav,
bluetooth and other displays, and it’s crystal clear. To quote from Mercedes-Benz, “MBUX is equipped with an HD resolution display and artificial intelligence enables it to learn. The system is controlled either via the elements on the steering wheel or the newly developed voice controls. The touch function on the steering wheel and display along with the innovative voice control system enables drivers to focus their attention on their most important task”. I found you can also scroll and select with your finger, iPad style, which makes life even easier. It’s a complex system that will require considerable familiarisation to get the best from, but being able to incorporate options like a 360º camera system (on vans a least) makes it well worth while.
There are lots of pages to scroll through on the dash screen. This one shows instant fuel economy. Note the green ‘Charging’ section below the zero, which lights up going down hill or braking and shows alternator charge into the starter battery. Apparently, to save fuel and reduce emissions the alternator only charges under those circumstances, or if the battery level is depleted. Technology…
34 | Tested
The awning is electric, as are the entry steps, while the entry door splits apart to reveal a security screen section. The reversing camera displays in the cab’s internal rear-view mirror, but didn’t come on automatically. Must have been a setting issue, I’m thinking.
n Dusseldorf last August I had a 20 minute drive of a left-hand drive Hymer van conversion of the new Sprinter and was thoroughly impressed. I’m not sure if anything has changed in the switch to right-hand drive, but this one had very light steering: something I’ve read about on other new Sprinters in various Australian motoring publications. Initially resulting in a degree of twitchiness and over-correction until we got used to each other, it’s just something to be aware of the first time you jump in. The upside, or course, is steering effort is low and anything but truck-like. When it’s time to get underway you discover
Tested | 35 there’s no conventional gear selector for the auto transmission. Instead, gears are selected via a stalk on the right side of the steering wheel that looks for all the world like it’s for the indicators. The good news is it’s quite intuitive – ‘turn right’ for Drive, ‘turn left’ for Reverse and press the end in for Park. There’s also a Neutral position halfway between ‘right’ and ‘left’, and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel so you can select individual gears for hill climbs, descents or just fun if desired. Like all European vehicles the real indicator stalk is on the left and at one stage I accidentally used the gear selector stalk and found neutral when intending to turn left. Fortunately, you can’t go from Drive to Reverse or vv without your foot on the brake, so selecting neutral is the worst that can happen and you’d soon get used to it. Issues of unfamiliarity aside, the New Sprinter is a pleasure to drive. The thick, sporty steering wheel is just the right size and I’m hoping there is or will be a leather-wrapped option. Acceleration is smooth and the engine responsive, if a bit noisey when pushed, while steering is precise and the turning circle impressive. Seating is comfortable and vision good, and overall it brings a new level of sophistication to the market that will keep it on top as the premium choice for motorhome buyers.
ew Sprinter excitement aside, what about the Olantas, I hear you ask? One of the Australian Motorhomes and Caravans guys said, “It’s like a Pinto on steroids”, and that’s not a bad description, or starting point. The Olantas is a premium product and its impressive standard equipment list includes the following: 140 watts of solar to charge the 100 AH house battery, a 1000 watt inverter, roof top airconditioning, diesel-fired space heater,
Top to bottom: Over-bed ceiling fan is reversible and thermostatically controlled; Electrical controls, the stereo and electric bed switch are conveniently grouped above the entry door; A 1000 W inverter is standard, but only operates via one dual-socket outlet.
36 | Tested 24-inch LCD TV with DVD player, stereo with internal and external speakers, external shower, electric roll-out awning and entry steps, an external barbecue gas point and a multitude of 12-volt LED lighting inside and out. Water capacities for fresh, grey and hot are 100, 55 and 20-litres, respectively, plus there’s a pair of 4 kg LPG cylinders. The body is frameless and made of smooth, interlocked ThermoTough wall panels with a DuraRoof up top and a one-piece floor, plus a steel sub-chassis underneath. Externally, the Olantas 0452 has the LPG locker, outdoor shower and a small locker that also provides hot water system access on the driver’s side, as well as the toilet cassette locker in the rear wall. On the passenger side is a pair of lower-skirt-mounted lockers (the front one with a drain for hose storage), plus two lockers higher up at the rear, with the rearmost featuring handy shelves. Doubleglazed acrylic widows with built-in privacy and insect screens are used all ‘round, and there’s a reversible and thermostatically adjustable fan hatch over the bed, plus a regular fan hatch in the bathroom.
What’s the Plan?
ayout wise, the door is mid-positioned and turning left on entry takes you into the living area after a short step down – necessary for headroom for taller folks beneath the retracted roof bed. Turning right on entry immediately puts you in the kitchen, while the bathroom is accessed through a door in the kitchen’s back wall. Decor is contemporary neutral, meaning there’s no old-fashioned woodgrain panelling and the interior feels like a modern apartment. There are LED lights everywhere plus plenty of natural light and fresh air, meaning even though this is a relatively compact motorhome it feels open and spacious.
Top: The touch screen for battery and tank levels, water pump, etc, had an unusual coloured display. Above: The multi-coloured light switch lets you select individual colours or blend them, simply by touching it. See the next page for the results!
Tested | 37
Sunliner has always had a passion for the unusual when it comes to internal furnishings and fittings, and this LED light surrounding the airconditioner continues the tradition. Not only can you choose colours, it also flashes, discostyle, to add a bit of fever to your Saturday nights away!
38 | Tested Eight is Enough
f you like entertaining and/or just the open plan life, the Olantas is for you. Mrs iM reckons it could comfortably seat eight people for drinks and nibbles should the weather turn inclement (or the mozzies too hungry) – no mean feat in a seven metre motorhome! That seating comprises the two swivelled cab seats, a sideways-facing three-seat sofa between the entry door and cab, a forwardfacing and seatbelt-equipped dinette seat amor two and a quirky seat/removable footstool for one, opposite the sofa and just aft of the drivers seat. Those drinks and nibbles would have to share space on the large, multi-adjustable dining table, but if people wanted to stay for a meal about half would have to balance plates on their laps. Just a note on the cab seats; each now incorporates a small, pull-out thigh bolster that extends just a few inches but is surprisingly supportive. Nice! The ability to entertain a small crowd is impressive and guests will likely be amazed by the variable, multi-coloured LED light display in the fitting that surrounds the ceiling-mounted air conditioner. However, not everything is perfect in this open plan nirvana. The fly in the happiness ointment is the positioning of the 240 V (mains and inverter), 12 V and USB power outlets: all grouped together in near floor level in the base of the forward-facing dinette seat, close to the driver’s side wall. That means you’ll need to run power cables for just about anything across the floor and/or through your legs or under the table, creating a trip hazard on top of the inconvenience. Additionally, because the sole power point wired to the inverter is down there it means if you want to run a toaster, coffee machine or
There’s room for eight in the open-plan living/dining area. Note the big table and unusual, removable foot stool (well, we think that’s what it is), which doubles as a seat in the corner, just aft of the driver’s seat. Interesting…
Tested | 39 whatever when free camping they will be on the floor or dining table unless you run an extension lead back into the kitchen, which is also a trip hazard as well as being highly inconvenient – something buyers certainly won’t appreciate.
ecause the kitchen adjoins the open plan living area, but is separated from the bathroom by a full wall, it actually feels like it’s in the back of the vehicle. The work area is L-shaped and nestled in the passenger-side rear corner, with the cooker by the entry door, the round sink by the bathroom door and the main bench space in between. A bonus of its location is that nobody is going to walk through the chef’s work area during meal preparation, not even to get to the refrigerator. The glass-lidded cooker itself has three gas burners, a grill and oven, while overhead is a slimline rangehood; all of which will be appreciated by those who like to do more than just reheat things or russell-up onepot wonders during their travels. The sink is similarly glass lidded and sits atop a stack of drawers, while between them is a small, slideout wire pantry unit. A nice touch is the underbench LED strip lighting, which shines down into the drawers when opened. Across the aisle, between the main dinette seat and bathroom wall, is a tall unit that incorporates a slimline fridge with microwave above and a full height pantry to the right. The two-door fridge is a 12/240V/LPG unit and great because it’s the new design that has a pull-out drinks drawer behind the bottom door. That means food isn’t warming up every time you reach for a cold one as food and the freezer are behind the top door. The tall pantry is split, with three shelves at the top and another pullout, wire unit at the bottom. While this is okay a better set-up would be a
Top: It’s good to see a full oven and grill in a motorhome, especially as people become more health conscious and want to eat properly as they travel. Above: The underbench strip lighting shines straight into drawers, which is great, and we like how even the space around the sink base is made available for storage.
40 | Tested
Clockwise from top left: We really liked the slimline fridge. It’s a two-door unit, but the bottom door is attached to a deep, pull-out bottle drawer that means the food section stays cold when you’re grabbing drinks; The corner kitchen is compact but well equipped and no one can get in your way when cooking; The bathroom vanity has the stylish freestanding bowl and tap, plus a big mirror to make taking photos of it difficult. full height pull-out unit because the upper shelves will be too high and deep for many people to fully access.
hile you don’t actually spend a lot of time in the bathroom in a motorhome, when you’re there it’s good to have room to move and that’s what the Olanats delivers, plus total privacy. Step inside and you’ll find the vanity to the left, complete with a freestanding porcelain bowl and tap, a cupboard and three open shelves below, an overhead cupboard and a large mirror on the back wall. The shower is an impressive, domestic-size
Tested | 41 unit complete with double doors that fits neatly in the driverâ€™s side rear corner. The cassette toilet is to the right of it, against the back wall and beneath a small window. Filling the passenger-side corner of the bathroom is a tall combination storage unit with three shelves behind a small door in the top left and a fulllength door to the right that opens to reveal a deep hanging wardrobe plus a couple of large shelves. Overall thereâ€™s plenty of storage in the bathroom, which is just as well because thereâ€™s not actually much in the living area. The only thing really missing from the bathroom is a rail or hooks for your bath towels!
he bed is electrically operated and lowers on seatbelt-style webbing straps. To fully lower it you need to remove the dining table and the sofa back-cushion, but in reality you can leave those in place and lower it sufficiently for easy access just by stepping on the main dinette seat. The bed runs across the Olantas and is of sufficient size for two standard 66 cm Duvalays.
42 | Tested
I also found it of more than adequate length for my 185 cm (6’1”) frame and it seemed very comfortable during our brief ‘test’. Above the bed is the aforementioned, reversible and thermostatically controlled fan hatch, but there are no reading lights and there is no practical bedside storage. The great thing about a roof bed is you can leave it made up when you tuck it away. However, I noticed the extra thickness of our Duvalays and small pillows added sufficient bed depth to require me to duck slightly when walking through the living area. In all honesty that’s no great problem and would be a very small price to pay for the convenience.
What I Think
his was really a two-part review and so I’ll start with the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. We only had a few hours and so there was little time to begin to unravel its secrets or learn its nuances. That it raises the bar in the RV market is indisputable and, along with the all-new VW Crafter, must have
Fiat worried – with good cause. In a nutshell, it’s a significant leap forward and I doubt will disappoint any buyers. Sunliner’s Olantas impressed us with its Tardis-like open plan living area, well equipped and practical kitchen, and spacious, private bathroom. We also found the drop-down bed practical and comfortable, but it’s a design compromise potential buyers need to fully consider. Beyond that there are a couple of minor design issues Sunliner could easily remedy and would significantly improve the ownership experience. The Sunliner Olantas 0452 has a lot going for it, especially if you’re in the market for a compact and well equipped motorhome riding on the latest, cutting-edge chassis. It’s certainly a motorhome worth discovering…
The electric roof bed operates quietly and smoothy, and runs on webbing straps. It’s also a good size and comfortable, but there are no reading lights or bedside storage. It’s a design compromise for sure, but adds great versatility to the interior of this small motorhome.
Tested | 43
â€œThe Olantas is a premium product with an impressive standard equipment list.â€?
44 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Car (LR opt)
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519
3-litre V6 turbo-diesel
140 kW @ 3800 rpm
440 Nm @ 1400-2400 rpm
ABS, ESP, Crosswind Assist, Lane Departure, air bags & more
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
4490 kg (5000 kg opt)
770 kg (1280 kg opt)
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.00 m (23')
2.45 m (8')
3.30 m (10’ 10”)
1.82 m (6')
Drop Down Bed
1.90 m x 1.4 m (6' 3" x 4' 7")
Tested | 45
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
2 x Electric
3-burner Thetford Triplex with grill & oven
Stainless steel round
138 L Thetford N3141-A 3-way (12 v/240 v/LPG) absorption
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Yes – roof mounted
Hot Water System
20 L LPG/electric
Pros… • New Sprinter base • Compact dimensions • High equipment level • Spacious interior • Versatile seating • Practical kitchen • Great bathroom
CONs… • Small fuel capacity • Some design foibles • Limited internal storage • Single house battery • Smallish water capacity
1 x 100 AH
12 V to 240 V 1000W
2 x 4.0 kg
PRICE ON ROAD NSW As Tested
Warranty – Vehicle
3 years/200,000 km
Warranty – House
Warranty – Appliances
As per manufacturer
Manufacturer: Sunliner RV T: (03) 8761 6411 W: www.sunliner.com.au
Click for Google Maps
Australian Motorhomes 31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290 T: (02) 4948 0433 W: australianmotorhomes.com.au
46 | Tested
“One of the Australian Motorhomes and Caravans guys said, “It’s like a Pinto on steroids”, and that’s not a bad description, or starting point.”
48 | Tested: Dethleffs Trend T6757
That’s Dethleffs Trend T6757… By Malcolm Street
Tested | 49
Dethleffs is a well regarded German manufacturer and the Trend series is one of its entry level offerings. Being available for hire through McRent means interested buyers can experience their potential purchase in the real world before making a decision. It also gives the option of buying a low-mileage near-new unit at a considerable saving.
part from having a great holiday, one of the reasons for hiring a motorhome if considering a purchase is the ability to do an extended test drive beforehand. That is certainly the case with a McRent motorhome hire: The motorhomes available for hire are also sold (both new and used) by Zion Motorhomes, based in Pokeno near Auckland. McRent was kind enough to lend me a Dethleffs Trend T6757 on a recent trip to Auckland. It was mostly a working trip I should point out, although I did get to enjoy Waitangi Day with a considerable number of other people at Orewa. I know most people use a motorhome for recreational purposes, but I find them equally good as a mobile office. Apart from anything else, I never have the problem of leaving something behind in a hotel room!
he Dethleffs Trend is German-built and like many a motorhome out of Europe, rides on a Fiat Ducato cab-chassis; a Multijet 130
50 | Tested
with a 2.3-litre, 96 kW/320 Nm turbo-diesel and the all-too-familiar 6-speed automated manual gearbox. With an external length of nearly 7m (23’), the Trend’s size makes it easy enough to drive, whilst still having generous internal space. It also does well in the weight department, with a tare mass of 2999 kg and a GVM of 3499 kg, leaving a max payload of 500 kg. As usual, the Europeans seem to score very well in this area.
Around the Outside
C The big boot – garage in Euro-speak – is typically European and provides heaps of storage, while having a separate bike rack adds versatility.
onstruction is the usual fibreglass sandwich panel with moulded panels back and front, giving the Trend a stylish, streamlined look. It’s interesting that there are very few motorhome built in Europe these days that have a frame. No surprises in the door and window department, with the former being a standard Hartal unit and the latter Poly Plastic double-glazed acrylics. For some reason, amongst European
Tested | 51
manufacturers the Germans are really the only ones who won’t make a mirrored body layout for right-hand drive vehicles, which results in the entry door being on the so-called ‘wrong’ side. That said, having used quite a few for various motorhome trips, I really haven’t found it a problem and there are even some places where it’s an advantage. Fitted mid way along the driver’s-side is the LPG locker, which is large enough for a pair of nine kilogram gas cylinders. For those who like to carry around a little more gear than I was, the large boot – ‘garage’ in Euro-speak – across the rear will carry most motorhomer’s travel needs. Push bikes might not fit, but that’s okay because there’s a Fiamma bike rack on the rear wall. I reckon that’s a good idea because a couple of mountain bikes give a great deal of flexibility when touring, not to mention exercise!
Inside and out, the Trend is thoroughly conventional and typical and current European motorhome design, decor and technology. It’s strange, however, that most German manufacturers steadfastly refuse to put the entry door on the kerb side for right-hand drive markets, while other European manufacturers do.
52 | Tested
y Trend was a four berth motorhome, with an island bed down the rear and a drop-down bed above the front lounge/dining area. The rest of the layout follows a fairly standard German pattern, with a mid kitchen on the kerb side and a split bathroom in front of the rear bedroom. A benefit of the almost 7m (23’) length is that there are few compromises in the overall layout and decent room to move around.
p front, the dining area is surprisingly roomy. Both cab seats swivel, of course, and there’s a forward-facing dinette/lounge seat aft of the passenger’s cab seat, with the table in between. There’s also a sideways-facing seat between the entry door and cab. On the opposite side there’s a smaller seat along the wall, which means both cab seat occupants can put their feet up when watching TV (it being located on the fridge cabinet by the door). There is but one 240V power point in the front area and it’s in the usual place in the seat base, and a
Cosy, comfortable and functional: The Trend’s front living area is a model of space efficiency, and the rest of the layout follows suit.
Tested | 53
bit awkward to get at. My solution is to use a multi-outlet power board that sits on the seat, you just have to be careful of trailing leads. Above the seating area is a 2.0 m x 1.4-1.1 m (6’ 7” x 4’ 7”-3’ 7”) drop-down bed that lowers to a level that requires a short ladder to access. There are overhead lockers fitted beneath the bed and the one nearest the kitchen bench is actually just a door that has to be opened when the bed is lowered, so as not to hit the kitchen bench. Interesting!
here was a time when L-shaped kitchens were a bit of a novelty, but not any more, as most Euro designers seem to use them and for good reason: They create valuable space, with storage below and work bench on top. Fitted into the benchtop are a three-burner hob and a round stainless steel sink, with a grill/oven down below. Under the benchtop is a cutlery drawer and a couple of cupboards. In a “d’oh” moment, I wondered where the power points were. Located immediately below the
Clockwise from top left: A secondary sleeping area often comes in very handy, and the Trend’s roof bed is easily accessed from the kitchen via this short ladder; with the bed retracted you hardly know it’s there, especially as the overhead cupboards are attached to its underside. Note the middle ‘cupboard’, which is really just a door that has to be opened when the bed is lowered to clear the kitchen bench; While the L-shaped kitchen is small we’ve proven over the years it’s quite liveable, so don’t be put off even if you like to cook.
54 | Tested overhanging benchtop, beside the cutlery drawer, they can’t actually be seen when standing at the bench, but are still in a handy position. On the opposite side of the aisle the 142-litre Thetford fridge sits above a floor locker.
hower cubicle doors are sometimes a bit of a fiddle when getting in and out, but these score well. When not in use a floor panel slots into place over the shower base, providing easier access to and from the bedroom. On the wall outside the bathroom is where the Truma INet controller for the hot water and air heater is to be found; a location that seems to have more to do with manufacturer than user convenience. Opposite the shower is a well set-up toilet cubicle, complete with cassette toilet, wash basin, decent sized wall mirror, towel rails and a multi-shelved cupboard – always a handy item for small bathroom essential items. Both the shower and the toilet cubicle have a ceiling ventilation hatch.
iven the size of the rear boot/garage storage, it’s no surprise the 1.9 m x 1.5 m (6’3” x 5’) sits a fair height off the floor. Fortunately, even without a step it’s not too difficult to get in and out. There are no bedside cabinets as such, but on both sides there is a decent sort of shelf area, plus the usual wardrobes and overhead lockers. At the base of the bed is a cupboard with two shelves, but the lower area is mostly taken by a water tank. Unlike most NZ and Australian-built RVs, the Europeans often put the water tanks inside to prevent freezing in winter. Also at the base of the bed is a discreet under-floor compartment.
There’s no substitute for the convenience and privacy of a split bathroom.
Tested | 55 What I Think
he Dethleffs Trend scores very well in a rental situation. It has easy handling and given itâ€™s built for the retail market, it is kitted out very well for potential buyers, both new and used. Judging by what I saw at the recent Covi Show, ex-rental Trends with around 20,000 km on the clock looked to be in very good condition and were priced well below a new model, making them a very attractive proposition. Another benefit of having the same vehicle for both retail and rental markets, is that trying before you buy is very easy. Try one some time soon!
Inside and out, the Dethleffs Trend T6757 is a practical and appealing motorhome and would suit a lot of buyers. The icing on the cake is being able to try before you buy!
56 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Fiat Ducato Multijet 130
96 kW @ 3600 rpm
320 Nm@1800 rpm
6 speed AMT
ABS, ESP, driver and passenger air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
6.94 m (22' 9")
2.33 m (7' 8")
2.94 m (9' 7")
2.13 m (7')
1.9 m x 1.5 m (6' 3" x 5')
2.0 m x 1.4 - 1.1 m (6' 7" x 4' 7" - 3' 7")
Tested | 57
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Round, stainless steel
142 L Thetford N3142 3-way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma Combi 6E LPG/Electric
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E LPG/Electric
Pros… • Well proportioned layout • External storage capacity • Sturdy table mounting • Drop-down bed • Spacious lounge/dining area • Split bathroom • Payload
CONs… • Under-seat dinette power point access • Truma heater panel location • Bed height might be an issue for some
1 x 100 AH
2 x 9 kg
Click for Google Maps
McRent Motorhomes (Also Zion Motorhomes) 50 Gateway Park Drive Pokeno, 2402, Auckland T: 09 267 6789 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.mcrent.co.nz/motorhome-rental-auckland/ Click for Google Maps
PRICE - ON ROAD NZ From As Tested
NZ$122,990 (used, 2018 model)
McRent Motorhomes 54 Greywacke Road Harewood, 8051 Christchurch. T: 09 267 6789 E: email@example.com W: www.mcrent.co.nz/motorhome-rental-christchurch/
58 | Tested
“The Dethleffs Trend scores very well in a rental situation… and given it’s built for the retail market is kitted out very well for potential buyers, both new and used.”
Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.
Arrowtown, South Island
No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealandâ€™s Autumn & Winter your way in a premium rental motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz
60 | Show Report
Covi 2019 NZ’s biggest RV show went ahead despite the shadow of the Christchurch tragedy… by Richard Robertson
Show Report | 61
ews from Christchurch came through late on the opening day of the 2019 Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor Show. However, the enormity of it didn’t hit home until that evening. By morning of the second day a sombre pall had descended across New Zealand and understandably, crowd numbers were down. Apparently there had been talk of cancelling the show, but in best traditions ‘it went on’, as must life after such senseless tragedies. For motorhome enthusiasts, especially those like us from Australia, the Covi show is an annual highlight. In case you’re not aware, the New Zealand recreational vehicle scene is the polar opposite of Australia’s; meaning motorhomes and campervans rule, and caravans are very much in the minority. The Nation’s progressive policies on imports and compliance mean the market is awash with brands and models Australians can only dream of – again, the complete opposite of Australia. In many ways the Covi show is like a mini-Düsseldorf due to the dominance of European imports and it really is an eyeopener. It’s also short by Australian big city show standards, spanning just three days and starting on a Friday. As always there was much to see, but if I had to pick the two most important highlights they would be these: The first commercially available, fully-electric motorhome (which is now on-fleet with Britz rentals) and a threemodel range of motorhomes factory-built by a motor vehicle manufacturer. What makes these things all-the-more important is they both come from the one Chinese manufacturer – LDV. Anyone who doubts Chinese ambition in relation to the global RV market is very much mistaken, and I’m sure these two ‘developments’ are just the tip of the iceberg…
The rest of the show was the usual mix of impressive new models and ‘must have accessory’ show specials, and I was particularly impressed by vintage motorcyclestyled electric pushbikes! Enjoy your pictorial walk through the show and if you’re at a loose end in March 2020 why not plan a visit to Auckland, once the next Covi Show dates are released? Here’s hoping it’s a happier time allround and that in the interim, New Zealand’s shattered soul can find real healing. Kia kaha…
62 | Show Report
SmartRV won Best Stand – again – courtesy of it’s ‘big top’ near the main entrance. There were lots of models on display across the Hymer, Burstner and carado brands, and plenty of people stopping by for a look…
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This pair of van conversions by Autohaus, on the new Transit and Crafter, had some interesting features. Most notably, the small cafe-style dinette in the Transit that converted to a second bed, and the brave choice to retain the bench seat in the Crafter, thus preventing walk-through access. Hmmâ€Ś
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One of many beautiful A-class motorhomes on display; this one the LV7.8CL from Le Voyageur â€“ a snip at NZ$249,990.
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By far the most innovative motorhome on display was the Evolve from THL/Britz: The first all-electric motorhome on the market. Small and pushing the friendship with just a 120 km range, itâ€™s a breakthrough none-the-less and it should come as no surprise that it rides on a factory-built electric chassis from China, made by LDV.
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Jayco had its own pavilion and a big model range on display, but I have to admit to being more taken by this stylish eBike made to look like a vintage motorcycle!
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Chinese brand LDV also had a whole pavilion and three factory built motorhomes: two van conversions and a neat C-class. They attracted huge interest and were very well priced, but some of the design features needed â€˜refiningâ€™ and it would be interesting to know how many were actually sold.
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Above: Kiwi brand ACM had this gorgeous red and white Crafter, but strangely it had a bland, dark interior. Below: Sunliner was well represented and the 4x4 Habitat 4 attracted a lot of attention.
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McRent sells off its year-old ex-rentals at great prices. With just 15-20,000 km on most of them and well discounted from new, they make an attractive buying proposition.
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At the top end of the luxury scale was this impressive Morelo 82LS A-class from Germany â€“ a show special at NZ$359,000. Built on an Iveco Daily 50C and with a 5800 kg GVM, in NZ it can still be driven on a standard car licence. Beautifully finished and equipped, itâ€™s also backed by a seven-year body warranty for buyer peace of mind. Phew.
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More Morello magic. Note the steering wheel is removable so you can swivel the driver’s seat! We weren’t sure about the V-shaped bed, but it must work – somehow…
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Action is a new brand in the THL stable, and this Overland R725 had two noteworthy features: The angled island bed, which just doesnâ€™t work, and a hinged extension flap so you can open the bathroom door six inches for extra room but retain total privacy, which is brilliant.
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As always, the display of vintage cars and caravans was a big hit and beautifully presented! Those were the daysâ€Ś
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NZ manufacturer TrailLite had a huge range on Spanishbuilt Benimars on display, with many on the new Transit.
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TrailLite’s own models – here on the new Sprinter and Crafter – were also well represented and popular. Premium priced but beautifully engineered and finished, they are still the pinnacle for many Kiwi buyers.
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Crafter 4x4 Allan Whiting’s take on VW’s latest Crafter and its 4x4 option… by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au
he latest Volkswagen Crafter is no longer a rebadged and repowered MercedesBenz Sprinter. The post-2018 Crafter is designed and made by VW and models with 4Motion – VW-speak for 4x4 – will soon be available. Crafter 4Motion variants are all-single-tyre models with 3.5-4.0-tonnes GVM ratings and
come with 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmissions. Interestingly, VW only charges $4500 extra for 4Motion, unlike Mercedes-Benz, which has asked a whopping 20K extra for its 4x4 Sprinters. However, part of that was due to the the system being supplied by an external company. We understand new 2019 Sprinter 4x4s will have reduced pricing,
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New Crafter’s dash and controls closely match those of Volkswagen’s passenger car range. Excellent options include the new eight-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel drive system VW calls 4Motion. Although it’s not true four-wheel-drive because it lacks a dual-range transfer case, it nonetheless adds great versatility that will probably get most buyers in and out of the places they want to explore. as MB has brought the new system in-house (and given the arrival of the 4x4 option on Iveco Daily vans and cab-chassis – in both single and dual wheel configurations and with the option of an eight-speed auto – new Sprinter’s offering will need to be much more price competitive – Ed). Despite the new Crafter’s optimised external dimensions, it has retained or increased the former load lengths. A further key effect of the new exterior design is a drag coefficient of 0.33, the best in its class, VW claims. Available driver assistance systems include sensor-controlled Side Protection, Park Assist, Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Assist with City Emergency
Braking system, Multi-Collision Brake System and Crosswind Assist, while a rear view camera is standard on all vans. For all vehicles with the 4Motion drive system, Hill Descent Assist is available as an option. On vehicles with tow-bars, electronic trailer stabilisation uses the ESP system and contributes significantly to safety while driving with a trailer attached. An interesting feature is that ventilation system plumbing is integrated into the floor, preventing damage by body builders when making motorhome conversions. Also, the vent integrated in the floor ensures an even distribution of air from the middle of the vehicle.
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VW’s new Crafter looks good and is a worthy challenger for Mercedes-Benz crown of most desirable motorhome base vehicle – especially with the option of affordable four-wheel drive. Central locking and wireless remote control are standard and the cargo doors can be locked by a dashboard button. The universal cargo floor is made of five-ply beech and hardwood composition and sealed with UV-resistant resinfilm coating. Mesh texturing makes this surface coating anti-slip.
converter with a downstream combination of diesel particulate filter (DPF) and SCR catalytic converter after-treat the exhaust gases. Due to being mounted tilted forward eight degrees the transversely mounted engine takes up less body volume, thus increasing the capacity of the cab and cargo area.
The 2.0-litre TDI diesel ‘EA 288 Commercial’ engine, which has been further developed for the new Crafter and is transversely mounted, is available with two different torque settings: 340Nm and 410Nm.
The 4Motion all-wheel drive system has variable distribution of torque between front and rear axles, via a Haldex coupling that is mounted on a rear axle specially developed for the purpose.
Volkswagen claims Euro 6 emissions compliance for the latest engines, thanks to a common-rail injection system with 2000 bar pressure; a high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and a watercooled charge air cooler. An oxidising catalytic
Volkswagen claims the newly developed AQ450 automatic gearbox has ratios selected for low fuel consumption and optimised driving performance. The ‘box features a heavy-duty casing and bearings, with a reinforced lockup clutch and large parking pawl, and it feeds torque to a four-pinion front differential.
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The previous model Crafter had 4x4, in Europe at least, and there were some great ‘big wheel’ and suspension mods to make the most of it. Fingers crossed the new Crafter gets the same treatment! New Crafter has McPherson strut-type front suspension and a live rear axle with parabolic leaf springs. It’s also equipped with stabilisers on both axles, which reduce body roll. Electromechanical steering is used for the first time, permitting fitment of safety functions for Driver Fatigue Detection, Lane Keep Assist and Park Assist. Double-piston floating-calliper disc brakes are fitted up front and single-piston, combination-calliper disc brakes with a parking brake function are to be found at the rear. Aside from accepting a house battery or two in the motorhome conversion process, new Crafter can be fitted with second, (AGM) deep cycle battery with a capacity of 92 Ah and second-battery monitoring, to provide emergency starting if the main battery’s charge is low.
There is a now a choice of two radios and navigation systems for the new Crafter. All have an 200 mm touch-screen with colour display, which can be controlled using swipe and zoom hand movements. Bluetooth handsfree functionality and voice control are included and customers can also add DAB+ digital radio reception. Unfortunately, early-2019 Crafter 4Motion deliveries to customers depleted all the available stock, but we have booked a test vehicle for May 2019 and will hopefully have a report on it in June.
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Das Bolt! Forgotten and ignored, U-bolts are vital, but misunderstood at your perilâ€Ś by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au
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ike many people, we have had the broken U-bolt experience. Our trailer U-bolt incident didnâ€™t result in an accident, just temporary axle misalignment, but other people have been less fortunate. For a start and what most people donâ€™t realise is U-bolts are not reusable. Correctly designed and made U-bolts are cold-formed, with rolled threads and fitted with cut-thread nuts. This combination of thread and nut is designed to bind tightly when torqued, but slight deformation of the threads occurs during the torquing process. This surface alteration means that if U-bolt nuts are slackened off and retightened they will not
reproduce the originally-designed clamping force, even if a tension wrench indicates correct torque level. Another complication with U-bolts is their vulnerability to corrosion and damage. All U-bolts suffer from surface corrosion because of their position close to the road in all weather and temperature conditions. Also, many 4WDs and trailers have U-bolts with nuts fitted below the axle, so the threads can be damaged on rocky trails. Removing nuts over corroded or damaged threads distorts the nut and the U-bolt threads, making re-use a very risky operation.
84 | Technical Once U-bolts and nuts have been tightened they should be re-tensioned after the spring and the U-bolts have ‘settled’. However, if there’s any sign of damage or cracking they should be discarded and replaced by new U-bolts and nuts, which aren’t expensive. And remember, if one U-bolt on an axle needs replacement all four should be replaced, because a loss of clamping force on one side of the axle will cause stress on the other side as well.
Corrosion and Cracking Issues
any people ask why U-bolts aren’t made of corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel. The answer is that exotic steel alloys and hardened steels are more prone to corrosion cracking and breaking than the milder steels used in most U-bolts. Also, U-bolts that have been heat-treated, heat-bent, welded, electro-plated or galvanised can be more susceptible to embrittlement than untreated U-bolts, unless they’re correctly manufactured. Unfortunately, there’s no Australian Standard for U-bolt production and testing, so be sure to buy replacements from a reputable outlet. Our mates at Couplemate Trailer Parts in Brisbane report testing some imported, zincplated U-bolts that could be broken by hand! U-bolts should be designed with sufficient strength to clamp a spring pack for a life of thousands of kilometres, but, like all suspension components, they’re not everlasting. Every time the spring flexes, the U-bolt’s clamping force restrains the axle’s natural tendency to depart from the spring. The resulting fatigue and weakening caused by corrosion eventually take their toll. When fitting a replacement U-bolt it’s essential the profile exactly matches the axle profile or the profile of the adaptor plate that it fits over. This is particularly important if a
generic U-bolt is fitted, rather than an original equipment bolt. A square-profile U-bolt must match the axle shape precisely, with minimal gap between the bolt’s three contact faces and the axle tube. Curved-profile U-bolts must also have a radius that mates evenly on the axle tube or the adaptor bracket, with no air gap between. A U-bolt that contacts the axle or adaptor at only a couple of high points will almost certainly suffer from cracking failure. Regular U-bolt checks – every time the vehicle is on a hoist for routine maintenance – should include inspection of condition and tightness. Loose U-bolts rapidly lead to failure of one or more bolts and spring cracking, with total suspension failure and an accident then a certainty. When it comes to U-bolts: if in doubt, chuck ‘em out!
86 | SheDrives
Survival Tips Seven pieces of advice for the seventh month of the year… by Marsha Hovey @someginger
Me and my furry copilot Stevie Nicks; both of us sporting looks that say, “Are we there yet?”
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As I slid down the ice-covered hill going all of 16 km/h I remained shockingly calm. I rode the wave of the snowy embankment, tipping slightly and then plopping back down, finally coming to a halt on a nice fluffy pile of rocks. My heart was racing, but I was ok. Physically, that is. I jumped out of the van and onto the pavement, and of course slipped and fell on my ass instantly. I crawled around to see that my front bumper was hanging off and some other plastic chunks were scattered in the snow. While prickly ice/rain fell on my face, I thought to myself, â€œYup, this is definitely more of a summer vehicle.â€? To and fro and fro and to. A very fitting antique find while searching for van trinkets somewhere in South Dakota.
88 | SheDrives #1 Stay organised: Every item has a home, and your whole world is at peace when all those items are exactly where they should be. Itâ€™s a feeling that few really understand until they live in a teeny tiny space. Clutter can be lived with for a long time in a normal human home, but when your house is as wide as your wingspan, the smallest mess seems suffocating. Stay on top of your organisation station. The alternative is smelly and cramped and has been known to cause restlessness.
A very simple pile of simple living items.
#2 Determine your essentials: It will quickly become apparent what you actually use on a daily basis, regardless of climate and season. Itâ€™s amazing how simply you can live. Less stuff = more space, and that is a goal worth achieving. My essentials include: An always-filled 64 oz Hydroflask, an always-battery-filled headlamp, baby wipes, a take-me-anywhere-sized notebook and pen, and rotating reading materials. Clean socks are nice too. Plans to transport just one friend turned into 4. You make it work.
Fellow wanderers in Portland, OR, gearing up for a summer of adventure
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Sunrise on the Crow Creek Reservation is a sunrise worth stopping for.
#3 Adapt: Your plans will go to crap. It’s a fact, so adapt! It can’t all be that perfectly choreographed Instagram photo you’ve seen over and over, and thank god for that. I’ll give you an example: I choose to travel with my cat, Stevie Nicks. Everyone goes, oh that’s amazing! Traveling with a cat? How cool! And yes, it is, most of the time. But, when you are trying to hit the road to get to your destination by a certain time and she’s still out exploring the sunny skatepark in Sonoma County that you brought her to and refuses to come back because of certain exciting prairie dog colonies, well, you get to spend some more time at that skatepark. Such is life. Roll with the punches, you’ll be better for it.
#4 Make friends with fellow road folks: Camaraderie on the road in a sea of trucks can be life changing. Finding another decked-out van at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere can be as exciting as finding that rest stop in the middle of nowhere. Introduce yourself and share your story. Travel in convoy to an unexpected destination. Be open to the journey. I have met some of those most amazing people in this community and I’m thankful for every chance encounter. #5 Pull over for the epic sunrise/ landscape/street sign/whatever: As bothersome as it might be, stop driving! I regret every time that the victor of my internal battle was the one that told me to
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An attempt at a to-do list for fixing and building, and real life too
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A dreamy landscape that makes it all worthwhile.
keep going. You will never be in that exact spot with the same circumstances again. Whether it’s a moment to stop and reflect, to take a photo or to eat at a tiny diner, you owe it to yourself to take the time to honour that instinct. Just pull over. #6 Be ok with absolutely everything getting messed up: Perhaps the most important idea to wrap your head around is this one. I get it. You worked super hard to make everything look wonderful. It’s your baby. You sweated and screamed to create this vision. The harsh reality is, it’s going to get destroyed. Maybe not in big ways, but things will in fact fall and break and get smushed and come loose and dent and break again. You can fix it. Deep breaths will
be required, but you can and will fix it, and it might even be better than the original. #7 Enjoy life outside the van: For many of us, the reason we choose to live a mobile life is because we want to experience our surroundings more fully. Being able to change those surroundings at a moment’s notice is a luxury like none other. If you are spending the majority of your time in your vehicle, chances are you’re doing it wrong! Be proud of what you built, but get the heck out of there! Walk, swim, bike, run, nap in a field, anything. The world is your new living room. Welcome home!
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Matters of the Hartley Hartley Historic Village matters, in the history of early New South Wales and the authorâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
St Bernardâ€™s Church and presbytery
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ext year marks the 30th anniversary of when I decided to stop working for a living and become a successful and wealthy freelance travel writer. Dreams of seeing the world while being sucked-up to by leading airlines, boutique hotels and luxury cruise lines filled my mind, but then I woke up! While I did write about travel for a few years, including for The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald, it was a tenuous existence at best. Then I discovered motoring magazines and recreational vehicles, and here we are. Who would have thought?
St Bernard’s Church. It read something like, “A nice photo of the tree in front. Try showing the church next time.” In the decades since I have revisited the village on numerous occasions as it holds a special place in my frustrated ambitions – and I’m always keen to make sure the tree is doing well. It is.
Recently, when Mrs iM and I headed west in the Trakkaway 720 I planned a stop back to where this career journey largely began. Hartley Historic Village has always been beautifully picturesque, but basically locked up. Now, My writing career began with a correspondence I’m pleased to report, it has an interesting little course in freelance travel writing and tea room and more besides. But first, some photography, and my tutor was none other history… than Simon Townsend of Wonder World fame (or perhaps his bloodhound Woodrow, judging Early Days by the state of some returned assignments). f the town’s rise, fall and rebirth, Speaking of assignments, my very first was Wikipedia has this to say: The Hartley to write about and photograph a small town, Valley was first crossed by Europeans for which I chose Hartley Historic Village. The during Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson’s only thing I remember about the assignment famous expedition of 1813. Settlement of was Simon’s comment on my artistic shot of
The Old Hartley Post Office Cafe is well worth a visit and does excellent Devonshire Teas, as well as good coffee and full meals. Grab a table in the garden if the weather’s good!
94 | Travel the region extended during the 1820s and in 1832 Major Mitchellâ€™s new line of western road down Victoria Pass took the Bathurst Road through the Hartley area. Soon a town was proposed and, with large numbers of convicts working in the area, the need for a government detention and judicial centre was recognised. Consequently, in 1837 a courthouse was erected at Hartley and the following year the town plan was gazetted. Hartley grew as both a government administrative centre and also as a wayside service centre, it being an important stopping point on the western road to Bathurst and further inland. The railway arrived in the region late in the 1860s and while it led to the growth of places like Lithgow, Hartley declined owing to the reduction in road traffic. Late in the nineteenth century Hartley began to be recognised as a place of historic attraction and the village began to prosper also as a result of the passing tourist traffic to Jenolan Caves. During the interwar period motor car tourism played a particularly significant part in Hartleyâ€™s history. After the World War II, however, improvements in vehicles and the highway saw a decline as increasing numbers of tourists travelled through town without stopping. During the 1960s and 1970s Blaxland Shire Council
Devonshire Tea dreaming..
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There’s easy parking for motorhomes in front of the courthouse, which is open most days for tours. acquired many Hartley buildings and 1972 the Hartley Historic Site was declared under the administration of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
he NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are now keepers of the Hartley Historic Village. Much work has been done and is being done to preserve and enhance the historic buildings and town precinct, and it’s a peaceful must-stop attraction. The township is just off the Great Western Highway, about 500 metres on the Sydney
side of the turnoff to Jenolan Caves Road. It’s well signposted and thankfully the turn-off has been significantly upgraded, meaning entry – and especially exit – are no longer the white knuckle affairs they used to be. The town is actually on a short section of the Old Great Western Highway and if you follow it through it merges with Jenolan Caves Road, a hundred or so metres in for the highway. The first place you can park outside on the left is the Old Hartley Post Office Cafe: a slightly ramshackle and idiosyncratic old-world establishment with tables inside, on the small verandah and a few scattered across the front lawn. Luckily, we spied a small, tree-shaded table just inside the picket fence on the warm summer day of our visit, as it was no weather
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That tree. for sitting indoors. There, we enjoyed an excellent Devonshire Tea as the work-a-day world went about its business and I pondered how full-circle my writing career has come.
and sells his unique range of metal art mirrors, clocks, candle holders, sculptures and more.
Sadly, there’s no camping in the Hartley Historic Village as we certainly would have stayed for the night, so after taking another Behind the cafe the ground rises steeply and while searching for the loo we found a walking photo of the church (for old time’s sake) we hit track to The Tor, a 310 million year-old granite the road to Bathurst and beyond. outcrop known as Kew-Y-Ahn to the local The good news is because the Village is so Aboriginal community, who regard it as a easily accessible you can drop in for anything place of spiritual significance. The track also from a loo break and leg stretch to a meal splits to include a Sculpture Walk and if you and proper exploration, whenever you’re have time it’s a good way to work off those passing. RV parking is easy and it’s a history scones and enjoy a great view. buff-and-photographer’s delight, so you’ve really no reason for passing it by. When you The Hartley Visitors Centre is the next visit, please take a photo of St Bernard’s and building along on the left and it’s open the tree, and send it to me. Not because it daily except Mondays. Alongside it is a dirt matters, but maybe I can find Simon and let driveway winding up a short rise to The Talisman Gallery (https://bit.ly/2IbJniy), which him know his advice all those years ago really did matter (even if he was WRONG about my is open Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays. It’s home to metalworking artist Ron fabulous photo)… Fitzpatrick and where he creates, displays
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Fast Facts Who: Old Hartley Post Office Cafe What: An atmospheric cafe in an 1846 residence that later became the village post office. When: 1 0:00 to 4:00 Wednesday to Sunday Where: G reat Western Highway, Hartley. NSW. 2790 Why: C ombines good food and great Devonshire Teas with a frozen snapshot of our colonial past. Take a thermos and make a cuppa if the cafeâ€™s closed, because the village is still well worth a look-see!
98 | 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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atton, in South East Queensland, sits in the lovely Lockyer Valley and is also the administrative centre of the Lockyer Valley Local Government area. The district has a rich agricultural history, with vegetables today making up most of the local crops. Up until the 1990s, fruit was grown extensively, however many of the orchards were removed due to changing economic conditions. During a visit to Gatton spend some time at the Lockyer Valley Culture Centre, which has only been open to since 2009. The Centre houses a library, art gallery, cafĂŠ, visitor information centre, the Lockyer Legends Hall of Fame and Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking
the Queensland Transport Museum. For those who enjoy birdwatching, take a walk along the circular walking track at Apex Park. There you can also check out the Dry Rainforest and the Lights on the Hill Trucking memorial. Those visiting Gatton can access short-term parking at Gatton RV Park. Parking is only available for those travelling with self-contained vehicles and a maximum stay of 48 hours applies. Pets are permitted to stay on site if they are on leads, while covered seating, barbecues and water are available. A dump point is also located at the park.
Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre 34 Lake Apex Dr, Gatton Ph: 07 5466 3426 www.lockyervalleyculturalcentre.com.au Lockyer Creek side of East St and Railway St, excluding between Spencer to Crescent Sts Gatton Gatton RV Park, East St Gatton 48hrs, s/c only, pets on lead, mobile phone coverage, bins, covered seating, BBQ & water.
Gatton RV Park, East St Gatton Lat: -27.555288 Long: 152.274589
Gatton RV Park, East St Gatton
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arkes is a modern town on the Newell Highway in Central New South Wales, approximately 360 kilometres north-west of Sydney. The town was formed following the discovery of gold in 1862 and was then known as Currajong due to the many Kurrajong trees in the area. It was later renamed Parkes in honour of Sir Henry Parkes, who visited in 1871. Parkes has made a significant contribution to space science and is home to the Parkes Observatory as well as the national icon â€˜The Dishâ€™, which featured in the 2000 film of the Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking
Dump Point Potable Water
same name. Visitors also head to the town to attend well known Parkes Elvis Festival, held annually in the second week of January. Spicer Caravan Park provides both short and long term parking options for those visiting the town. The park offers excellent facilities, and unpowered sites are available for just $10 per vehicle per night. This rate includes access to showers, bins, toilets, barbecues and water. A public dump point, as well as potable water, is available for use at Kelly Reserve.
Parkes VIC Henry Parkes Centre, Newell Hwy, Parkes NSW P: 02 6862 6000 www.visitparkes.com.au Bogan St, Caledonia St, Currajong St, Foster St, Bushman St Spicer C/P, corner Albert, Victoria & Bushman Streets, (time limit negotiable), pets on lead, showers, bins, toilets, covered seating, barbecue, water, $10 per vehicle per night no power (power available for additional cost Kelly Reserve, corner Newell Hwy & Thomas St Lat Long: -33.1244, 148.1731 Kelly Reserve, corner Newell Hwy & Thomas St
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atlands is a stunning historical village that dates back to the early 1800s and is approximately 84 kilometres north of Hobart. More than 150 convict-built sandstone buildings remain in the village, with many now operating as cafĂŠs, art galleries and antique stores. While in town, drop by the Casaveen Woollen Knitting Factory to view its range of high-quality merino wool products. The Oatlands District Historical Society is also worth visiting, thanks
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking
Dump Point Potable Water
to its interesting historical display on the local area. Lake Dulverton Stop Over is a tranquil location to park your vehicle for a few days, giving ample time to explore all this small village has to offer. Parking is permitted for up to 72 hours at no charge, while toilets, bins, barbecues and potable water are available on site. Visitors are encouraged to leave a donation and a dump point is located nearby on the corner of William and Wellington Street.
Heritage Highway VIC 1 Mill Lane Oatlands, TAS P: 03 6254 1212 Various locations within the CBD, (no designated zones for larger vehicles) Lake Dulverton Stop Over, Esplanade Oatlands (Barrack St), (72hrs), donations welcome, pets on lead, bins, toilets, BBQ, water 4 William St, corner of Wellington St, Oatlands Lat Long: -42.2979, 147.3663 Lake Dulverton Stop Over, Esplanade Oatlands (Barrack St)
102 | Mobile Tech
Who doesnâ€™t love WikiCamps??
By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 103
Wiki Camps Australia Price: $7.99 Size: 23.6 MB
With over 32,000 site listings, join the number #1 camping app in Australia and start planning your next adventure today!
oad tripping and camping means different things to different people. For some itâ€™s all about the escape into nature; to seek the wondrous and wild, discovering an inner quiet with simplicity. For others it might be about seeing new places and experiencing all the excitement and luxuries of the modern world. How, why
and where we travel are all what make our journeys unique, but sharing our knowledge is what makes us a community. When we look for an app, map or guide to help navigate our travels there are a few key elements we expect. At minimum, a resource needs to be reliable, up-to-date and easy to
104 | Mobile Tech
use. Apps are a great option simply because they are so convenient; you very rarely forget where you put them and they can be updated in real-time and usually at no expense. But it’s this very connectivity that makes apps like WikiCamps so useful: All the information is crowd-sourced, meaning all sites are added, edited and shared by users, making it the largest and most up-to-date database available. That being said, it’s not a free for all – the WikiCamps team appears quite active and responsive, so content is somewhat regulated. Content is always growing too, because with such a large and engaged community information is constantly being updated with the latest site details, reviews, prices and photos. The app is also quite versatile, identifying campgrounds, caravan parks,
backpacker hostels, rest spots, POI’s, public amenities, dump points and information centres. But connectivity isn’t always required and the app can work completely off-line. Once you’ve downloaded all the content, including the maps, you can go ‘off-grid’ as far as you like for as long as you like. WikiCamps makes locating your next site incredibly easy. If connected to a network you can use your GPS to list sites nearest to your current location. Alternatively, the map screen can be used manually by scrolling around. The app itself is very user-friendly and quite responsive, and tapping a site will bring up a details page that indicates using icons which features it has to offer – like toilets, showers, power, pet-friendly status and so many more! It also shows the name, address, contact details, a user rating, user reviews, prices,
Mobile Tech | 105
recent photos and even a handy seven-day weather forecast! Site filters are a great way to narrow down your search results; simply indicate what features are essential (toilets, pet friendly, etc.) and only sites matching these criteria will be displayed. Sites can also be added to a favourites list, a very useful feature when planning ahead. You can also create and plan multiple trips using the built-in trip planner. Sites can be searched and added to your trip, with progress recorded as you go. There’s even a feature to share your trip with friends and family via social media. WikiCamps are genuinely trying hard to be Australia’s number one camping and recreation app and has an incredible amount of additional useful features crammed in.
It currently sits at number two in the travel category (only topped by Uber) and it’s easy to see why. In addition to the seven-day weather forecast, features include a camping checklist, an augmented reality satellite-dish pointing tool and an exclusive camper’s chat forum. Throw in some camp recipes and a wine guide, and it could literally be a one stop app! ‘With over 32,000 site listings, join the number #1 camping app in Australia and start planning your next adventure today!’
Next Issue | 106
BIRTHDAY SURPRISE! Australia! Anyhow, watch out for a bit of fun as we celebrate and be prepared for anything…
ext issue, iMotorhome Magazine turn seven – yes seven – who would have though? And like a true seven year old, we have a very short span of attention and no idea what’s coming up next – at least, not in
Apr 12-14 17-19 30-05
Malcolm, of course, is far more organised with his across-the-pond offerings and is bringing you a Benimar Primero 331; a compact and affordable 6-metre C-class that seats and sleeps four, and comes with a corner bed and bathroom. It looks good, so watch for his review. The May issue will be out on Saturday the 4th. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
Apr 30-May 5
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Ballarat Great Outdoor & 4x4 Expo
NSW Caravan Camping Holiday Supershow
Ballarat Showgrounds, Cnr Creswich Rd and Howitt St, Ballarat. Vic. 3355
Rosehill Racecourse, James Ruse Dr, Rosehill, NSW. 2142
• Open 10:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) • Adults: $15 • Concession: $12 • Kids - U16 free with adult
• • • •
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
pen 9:30-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) O Adults: $25 Concession: $20 Kids - U16 free with adult
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
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Cairns Expo Cairns Showgrounds, Scott Street, Cairns. Qld. 4870 • Open 8:30-4:00 (5:00 Saturday) • Adults: $12 • Concession: $10 • Kids - U16 free
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
In this issue: My Say – This & That • Street View – Haera Mai! • Tested – Sunliner Olantas 0452 • Tested – Dethleffs Trend T6757 • Covi Sho...
Published on Apr 6, 2019
In this issue: My Say – This & That • Street View – Haera Mai! • Tested – Sunliner Olantas 0452 • Tested – Dethleffs Trend T6757 • Covi Sho...