! w Ne e of A tast me rho iMoto ine! z Maga
SERIOUSLY single minded!
Previewing Trakka's singlebed Trakkaway 720... On My Mind Fortress Australia?
Horizon Waratah 4x4 & British Bailey
BÃ¼rstner Ixeo I 729 A-class!
2 | About iMotorhome
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4 | On My Mind
ack in ‘the day’, nations were largely independent, manufacturing wise, because each was its own ‘fortress’ against outsiders as international trade was more an addendum to the economy than critical. Over time that has changed and our world now has a truly global economy.
some of the world’s acknowledged leading engineering nations – like Germany – that what you make at home is fine, but here it’s dangerous because it’s ‘non-compliant’. Why? Because we have ‘unique conditions’. The real reason, of course, is to limit or eliminate competition.
The extent to which Australia has become a part of the global order can be seen in things like the significant reduction in our oil refining capabilities and the end of motor vehicle production. The forces behind these and many other developments are purely economic: Despite the appeal of local production and independence, it’s cheaper to import because locally produced products aren’t price competitive.
This example is just a small part of a much bigger and troubling problem. While our federal politicians tread the world stage espousing the importance of the mythical ‘level playing field’ and what a forward thinking and progressive nation we are, here at home, ‘forces’ appear determined to fully raise the drawbridge on Fortress Australia.
The fact we can’t economically massmanufacture cars here is even more remarkable given the enormous subsidies the State and Federal Governments handed out to the foreign companies who, for many years, kept the factory doors open. That’s on top of Australian Design Rules (ADRs); a system of Government mandated regulations designed to ensure motor vehicles complied with sometimes pointless and/or absurd requirements in the so-called interests of protecting Australian Consumers. The reality was that ADRs were a form of protectionism. There were perfectly acceptable international standards for automotive engineering already in place, but we had to do our own thing. In the RV world, a perfect example of that is the way we are effectively held hostage to Australia Standards (ASs) relating to LPG fittings and equipment. In effect, it says to
Australia is perhaps the only western nation that effectively prohibits the importation and sale of foreign-manufactured recreational vehicles in any volume, by using ADRs and ASs as de facto trade barriers. The argument is always about local jobs (they’ll all be lost) and local conditions (it never gets hot/rough/dusty anywhere else), but the truth is it’s about protecting local business and limiting competition, regardless of what the consumer wants. As I’ve previously said, the New Zealand experience kills that argument stone dead. Yes, in the transition from a ‘closed shop’ to an open market, jobs were lost and companies closed. But the industry was also tired, out of touch and far from world standard. These days the Kiwi RV industry has never been healthier, more vibrant, more profitable, and never employed so many. NZ accepts internally recognised motor continued...
On My Mind | 5
vehicle engineering standards and doesn’t discriminate between imported and locally manufactured RVs. Interestingly, the cleverest local manufacturers – think TrailLite for example – not only offer multiple ranges of imported RV, its own uniquely-Kiwi motorhomes have never been in higher demand and business is booming: Proof local products can exist alongside imports if companies make things customers want. Interestingly, TrailLite’s own products now are world class and a world away from what it was producing before the transition. So, back to Oz: The land, it seems, that time forgot. At present we have two things working against the interest of RVers: The recently announced but yet-to-beimplemented Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA) and the Non-Compliant Camping Toolkit For Caravan Park Operators. Interestingly, the former is championed by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) and latter produced by it. The RVSA is a piece of draconian legislation. It’s seemingly intent on ensuring that few if any imported recreational vehicles make it to our shores, and that smaller local manufacturers go out of business. That’s because its regulations appear onerous in the extreme and the only companies with the technical and financial capacities to comply will be the established players. Due to come into effect at the end of 2019, if/when it does it will be a sorry day for consumers and many businesses. The Non-Compliant Camping Toolkit For Caravan Park Operators is the second part of what feels like a pincer movement designed
to not only limit RV buyers’ choices, but restrict where RV owners can stay. So while it seems every other industry has never offered more choice or better prices – from airfares to electrical goods – it feels we’re being left far behind. All any of us want is a fair go, and that includes choice. While I’m all for Buy Australian, it’s not at any cost. Australians are notoriously bad at being dictated to by power-wielding authorities, and that’s what it feels like. But give us a fair go by offering value and choice – including the choice to buy something made overseas or responsibly stay overnight where it doesn’t inconvenience anyone – and that’s a different matter. The frustrating thing is there is huge potential for business development (and therefore profit) by opening markets and loosening camping rules. Only when – not if – the metaphorical drawbridge is lowered can this industry achieve its true potential. So instead of hiding behind legislation and distributing what amounts to fake news; news designed to create division and ill-will, let’s all work together to forge a new Golden Age for this industry. We can build it on the dreams and aspirations of the hundreds of thousands yet to discover the joy of RV travel and the freedom – true freedom – it can bring. What are we waiting for?
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Bailey Autograph 796
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Horizon Waratah 4x4
Preview: Trakka Trakkaway 720
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
Revisiting Horizon's 4x4 Sprinter conversion
Trakka expands the 700-series with a new singe bed model
Tested: Bürstner Ixeo I 729
An affordable and desirable A-class from Germany
Three more RV Friendly Towns
What’s coming up!
A 6-berth B-Class from Old Blighty
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8 | Extra Thoughts
t’s just a few hours before publishing and I’m giving this issue a final look over. I finished it
This year promises to be the most interesting in a while because Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have their new Sprinter and days ago so there's no pressure, just the Crafter base-vehicles, respectively. It must be satisfaction that comes from getting things making Fiat nervous; a thought recently done in good time instead of rushing to a confirmed when I learned the Ducato’s deadline. And then I realise I haven't written beautiful leather-wrapped steering wheel has anything for this page. Bugger. apparently been deleted as a cost cutting measure and isn't even available as an option. The reason I finished early was because of Word is, the way Fiat hopes to retain market Valentine's Day. I’d planned a little two night share with its ageing Ducato is by not surprise for Mrs iMotorhome and didn’t want any pressure afterwards. Damn. Mrs iM has put increasing prices and the way to do that is by up with a lot over the last couple of years; what down-speccing – a move that’s sad and rather short sighted, I believe. What it also shows is with taking up her holidays and long service the battle lines for RV market share are well leave running tours, plus some long times and truly drawn and 2019 promises to be an spent apart getting #RV Magazine up and running, and so she was well and truly overdue epic year. for a little spoiling. What did I do? That would There will be a full report from the Melbourne be telling, but suffice to say it was time out for Show in the March subscription issue of both of us; time just to relax and reconnect, iMotorhome Magazine. So, if you haven't and it was time well spent. I used to be bahalready subscribed now would be a good humbug about birthdays, Christmas and time: A year’s subscription for two dollars per Valentine's Day, but not any more. Life is too month is a bargain in anyone's language and short not to celebrate special events and put your financial support would be greatly some effort into our significant other/s (family and friends included). All relationships take work, appreciated. but the rewards always outweigh the effort. See you in Melbourne? I'll be there Wednesday, so keep an eye out for the greyIt's just as well we spent some time together because next week Mrs iM flies to China while I haired bloke in the red iMotorhome shirt and come and say g’day. I might even shout you a head to Melbourne for the 2019 Victorian Caravan Camping and Touring Supershow. It's coffee for putting up with my rambling... the first of the three big East Coast capital city shows for the year and the first chance for many of us to get a glimpse of the latest models from the major (and some not-somajor) manufacturers.
Street View | 9
realised as I was typing up this little missive that it’s actually the first day of February! Where did January go? It’s time for all the school holiday makers to head back to their educational establishments (in the case of the junior members) and for the parents, back to work to save up for their next holiday. Meantime of course, it is time for everyone else who has been waiting for the school holidays to end to head out into less crowded roads and cheaper holiday parks/campgrounds! Funny how that works ‘eh? I was also reminded of the time of year the other day when someone asked whether I was getting to the Covi Show at Greenlane (Auckland) in late March. “Yes” said I, thinking that it was ages away but then realised of course that it is just next month and all the NZ manufacturers, dealers and importers are busy getting their ducks in a row for another great RV show. Don’t tell anyone in Australia I said this (not a word – Ed), but I reckon the NZ RV shows are more interesting than their Aussie equivalents. For a start they are smaller, which means for the show goer it is actually easier to remember what’s been looked at, and secondly, the products on display are much more diverse, with a considerable number of exotics from Europe, something most Australians never get to see. I don’t know if many Kiwis are planning on heading to Australia this year, but if you are and happen to be in the vicinity of Barcaldine (central Queensland) this year, around May
25, then here’s an item of interest: There will be an attempt to break the Guinness Book of Records ‘Largest Parade of Camping Vehicles (RVs)’. The current record, which dates back to 2003, is held by the Italians and I’m not exactly sure how they did that because it has to be a rolling line. I was involved in an earlier attempt at Barcaldine in 2007 and believe me, you need a considerable amount of real estate – like a long, mostly flat, country road – to achieve it. Anyhow, the Australian Motorhoming Lions Club is organising this attempt and at the same time, the’ Longest connected image made of LED rope lights’, which currently is 655 metres. Not surprisingly, this second one will be done at night! Click HERE for details and come and join in the fun, whilst helping the Lions Club do some fund raising at the same time. iMotorhome will be there; one of our jobs is to count RVs or something!
10 | On your mind
WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. email@example.com and we’ll If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
Do Not Disturb I I have just heard a discussion on the radio regarding road safety. The expert being interviewed discussed various initiatives which have significantly lowered the road toll since the 1970s including compulsory seat belt use, random breath testing and wire barriers beside many highways. He pointed to mobile phone use as being the current challenge and predicted that in 10 years’ time vehicles would be equipped with technology to block mobile phone use while inside a moving vehicle. In the meantime they suggested putting your phone on silent and hiding it in the glove box whenever you get into the driving seat so you’re not tempted to read any incoming messages. I was very surprised that the expert, the interviewer and the various people who rang in did not mention a feature which already exists in most if not all mobile phones. On iPhones it’s called Do Not Disturb While Driving and can be accessed via Settings>Do Not Disturb>Activate and can be set to come on automatically whenever you are in a moving vehicle. It stops messages coming through and sends a message back to the sender to say you’re driving, but allows phone calls if your phone is connected to your hands-free system via Bluetooth.
For a full description hit the ‘Learn More’ button in the Activate section. If you are a passenger you simply hit the ‘I’m Not Driving’ message and normal service is resumed. A similar system in Android phones is simply called Android Auto. I am prompted to write in the hope that this information might help one or more readers as a very short survey among my friends and family revealed that those who knew about the feature tended to use it but quite a few didn’t know about the feature but said they would now use it in future. Kind regards, Colin. Thanks for the information Colin, I certainly wasn’t aware of that feature on my iPhone and have activated it – very clever. The only downside is on my iPhone at least, it also blocks phone calls when I’m on hands free. However, that’s a small price to pay for the safety, not to mention the savings it might bring in case of a fine. I’m sure many readers will find this invaluable and for bringing it to our attention please accept this issue’s $50 prize.
On your mind | 11
Double Standards In response to the new Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA), as detailed in the Dec/ Jan issue’s News section, I believe this act is a real beat up!
and forums spread the word as to who are the offenders. We, as consumers can live with this, again, without the Government coming to “help” with design rules.
The beneficiaries will be the larger local manufacturers. What a great way to kill off the opposition! Have a lobbyist suggest a change of rules to the government! Very easy!
My comments come from my background as a manufacturer and as a caravan and motorhome consumer.
The small manufacturers who are the ones that bring us new designs will be highly restricted – model approval by an inspector from the government (wow wee – hope they don’t use the mob who approved the new submarines) in a federal government approved facility (sounds impressive). These and the like are scary phrases. Low volume imports will effectively be priced out of the market. The larger local manufacturers provide little innovation but have volumes such as to better absorb the cost of the regulations. I note that Mr Lamont, CEO of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia comments that manufacturers are “burdened” through competing with cheap (his word – mine would be “more efficiently produced”) imported products. I wonder what model BMW the CIAA executives prefer? The losers are the public, the smaller manufacturers and the importers. The real industry complaints that I hear of generally relate to sloppy building st andards rather than poor designs. The various magazines
Thanks, Ross. Thanks Ross, I agree with you entirely. It will be interesting to see how this piece of oppressive legislation is implemented. I hope a change of federal government to one more amenable to the desires of the people might bring about change. Perhaps it’s time for some serious social media campaigning, petitioning and lobbying to counter the threat, we just need a high profile person to get the ball rolling. Suggestions please…
12 | On your mind
Get Togethers? Is there going to be another iMotorhome weekend, or any more tours? I’ve missed them all so far but finally want to make it to one (or more!), just as long as it doesn’t clash with the CMCA national Rally. Please let us know! Regards, Jen. Thanks Jen and good questions. There will certainly be another Reader Weekend, I’ve just got to get serious about finding a venue
and setting a time. Regarding tours, I’d like to do NZ again and maybe run a ‘lap of the South Island’ itinerary to really see the best of the best. I’m also wondering if anyone is interested in visiting Germany and the enormous Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, in late Aug/early Sep? I’d like to go again, so if you or anyone else is interested in tagging along please drop me a line. And of course, you could always stay on for Octoberfest…. !
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14 | News
CIAA UPS THE ANTE NON-COMPLIANT CAMPING Toolkit for Caravan Park Operators
the demand for RV Stopovers or free/low cost campsites. The increases in non-commercial camping is due to two main factors; a) Camping in National Parks; which is driven by increased consumer demand for experiential travel, especially regarding nature, and b) Camping on private property; this is driven by the increased propensity of people to camp; especially at music festivals and on private properties such as farm stays.
Association of Australia
Both trends are being driven by the younger demographic which is the primary group being lost by caravan parks. Ultimately, there is no evidence which indicates that pursuing a low cost/’free’ camping area in a town with a caravan park will increase visitation to an area and, instead, will cannibalise the market share of caravan parks which will have a detrimental effect to the local community from an economic and social perspective”.
he Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) has published a comprehensive 28 page document entitled Non-Compliant Camping Toolkit For Caravan Park Operators. “The goal of this document is to help caravan parks demonstrate they are a vital part of the tourism system in regional destinations”. It claims, “Current research demonstrates that whilst non-commercial camping is growing by market share – this is not due to increases in
The guide goes into detail on how to launch and maintain an effective campaign to try and ensure local councils limit or prohibit any form of camping other than that which directly financially benefits caravan park operators. Page nine singles out the CMCA and its RV Friendly Town program, which it specifically seeks to discredit. Download the document HERE to find out more.
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16 | News
FREEDOM CAMPING BENEFITS BUNBURY
he City Council in Bunbury, WA, is already feeling the benefits of throwing down the welcome mat for RVers. Within weeks of opening three new experimental overnight camping spots for RV travellers, the tills at local businesses have been ringing. According to reports, scores of nomads have already taken advantage of the rest areas at Wyalup Rocky Point car park, Ocean Drive car park near Scott Street and the Maidens Reserve car park, also on Ocean Drive. The council says the travellers have spent more than $15,000 in the port city south of Perth and local Mayor Gary Brennan is delighted with the results. “When we made the decision to do this trial I received emails from caravanners based on the east coast saying this is a wonderful thing ... and word gets around very rapidly,” he said. “Statistics have shown that 16 percent of RV owners will never stay in commercial overnight accommodation, which means we are missing out on this market who will then go elsewhere
to spend their money. It is hoped that when stopping for one or two nights the travellers will either decide to stay longer and move onto one of our fantastic caravan parks or they will make a note to come back to Bunbury for their next trip.” The trial at the new rest areas, located close to Bunbury’s iconic beaches and the CBD plus other shopping and dining options, will last for two years. Only travellers in self-contained RVs are allowed to stay at the sites, which are patrolled by city officers to ensure the rule is complied with. Unusually, overnight campers need a permit, which can be collected from the Bunbury Visitor Centre. They receive a welcome pack including information about Bunbury such as maps and tourist guides. After 12 months the council will consult with users and the community to assess any social impacts before doing a final review at the two-year mark.
News | 17
IRIDIUM ELECTRIC MOTORHOME LAUNCHED
n what appears to be a world first, German company WOF GmbH unveiled the Iridium electric conversion of a Bela P69 B-class motorhome, on a Citroen Jumper (think rebadged Fiat Ducato). The pre-production unit was unveiled at the recent CMT show in Stuttgart, with the production version expected to be on sale in early September at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon. Price for the converted Bela is listed at €169,000 (A$266,000), a staggering amount considering the standard diesel-powered Bela P69 lists at €43,990 (A$69,217).
that has experience electrifying a fleet of UPS delivery trucks. The EFA-S electric powertrain consists of a 140 kW motor driving the front wheels, while a 106 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery provides power for the advertised 300 km range. Regenerative braking provides some help in keeping the battery charged, but once charge nears zero it needs to be plugged into a 50-kW CCS fast-charger, a Type 2 charger. The cab includes a large digital display for monitoring the battery.
A second Iridium variant will launch in 2020 The Iridium build starts with a chassis from and will include a monocoque body built by the Sevel manufacturing cooperative that upmarket Swiss fiberglass-body specialist produces the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Maurer Fahrzeugbau, The Maurer-constructed Citroën Jumper. From there, WOF turns things Iridium e-camper will be more of a custom over to the electric powertrain specialists at build, with pricing and options available upon Elektrofahrzeuge Stuttgart (EFA-S), a company request.
18 | News
ON-THE-GO TYRE INFLATION German made, ti.systems’ products are strong and claim to be the best quality products available on the market. The following systems can be configured:
onetti Campers is the new distributor for German-made ti.systems tyre inflation system, which is now fully established within the Australian Army. The system is used on most of the Army’s new Mercedes-Benz 6x6 fleet, where simplicity, ease of use, reliablilty and toughness are paramount. These system suits off-road and beach tour operators, police and emergency services, offroad travellers and avid four-wheel drivers, where changing tyre pressures in a swift and controlled application is not only desirable, but often crucial.
• Semi-automatic Tyre Inflation System (STIS): Providing precise tyre pressure adjustment when a vehicle is stationary • Central Tyre Inflation System – Removable (CTISr): Providing precise tyre pressure adjustment on the go • Air Supply: Electrical - hydraulic driven air supply systems. Check the website www.bonetticampers. com for more information and contact Bonetti Campers for information regarding systems and configuration. Bonetti will also soon have a demonstration vehicle 6x6 available for testing.
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20 | News
JAYCO MOTORHOME GROUP GATHERING
n what’s claimed to be the biggest gathering of Jayco Optimum and Conquest motorhome owners, “Every in history,” about 125 of the Specific Jayco motorhomes will muster in Kenilworth, Qld, March 28 to
April 2. The event is being organised by Dave Curmi, president of the Jayco Optimum and Conquest Owners Group Facebook page and for further information you can contact him on 0416 242-424.
TUMBARUMBA TO ROSEWOOD PILOT RAIL TRAIL
upporters of rail trails will be pleased to know there has been progress on the first in NSW: The Tumbarumba to Rosewood pilot rail trail, which is expected to open in early 2020.
actions by numerous people, including Riverina Highlands Rail Trail committee members on the State Government-appointed pilot committee, plus representations to various local and state politicians.
Snowy Valleys Council, tasked with building the rail trail, has put some key tenders out for response, amongst other progress. Work had been going slower than expected but progress appears to be back on track thanks to
This project is a ‘keystone’ for rail trails in regional NSW as the current Minister for Regional Development has stated that no further regional rail trails will be considered until the pilots are completed, and thus far
News | 21
and health benefits and give city dwellers Tumbarumba to Rosewood is the only one of the three pilot rail trails to have been funded for new scenic places in regional NSW to visit, free of motor vehicles and road debris. They construction. are great for holidays and long-weekends, “Once the trail opens, please consider visiting for families, prams, the elderly, wheelchair the Tumbarumba to Rosewood pilot rail trail. users, for community events and for people By visiting this pilot in its first 12 months and who ride bicycles. A series of regional rail trails helping to make it a clear success, you will also will preserve these historic though currently be increasing the likelihood that other rail trail unviable train routes in public ownership and proposals in NSW will also succeed,” said Tim make use of the hard work and ingenuity our Cohen, deputy chairman of Rail Trails NSW. forebears put into their construction,” Cohen explained. He went on to explain that NSW has a great opportunity to convert a proportion of the 3100 “Several rail trail proposals originate from kms of long-disused regional rail routes into existing rail heads. By starting a rail trail from world class, vibrant and valuable community an operating rail line, new users will emerge and tourism assets. for passenger train services with roll on/roll off bicycle, wheelchair and pram capacity, as is “Rail trails use is booming in Australia and common now in Europe and the USA.” around the world, yet regional NSW is missing out. Our historic routes and the heavy To find out more and to explore the whole engineering that created them can be readily rail trail scene, visit Rail Trails For NSW or converted into safe, separated and scenic RailTrails Australia. shared pathways. These routes will revive small and boost larger rural communities, provide new tourism opportunities generating social
22 | News
MOST CARAVANS OVERWEIGHT?
ore than half the caravans weighed by a Queensland business were overweight, new figures have revealed. Weightcheck Mobile Caravan Weighing founder Dave Lewis says owners seemed to be, “Turning a blind eye to the problem”. During the last 14 months his Brisbane company has completed more than 350 weigh-ins, with 62 percent of caravans and 31 percent of tow vehicles being over their weight compliance limit. “Bear in mind we are only weighing caravans and vehicles of owners who are concerned enough to have their weights checked,” Mr Lewis pointed out. “There is probably twice that number turning a blind eye to the fact.” He stressed that the tow ball mass (TBM) of a caravan was a very serious issue and the measurement needed to be taken in the correct way.
“With many caravaners having their own towball scales these days, I have found that the readings the owners are doing themselves are not always correct when they are compared with the measurements we are taking during our caravan ATM reports. I recently put a post on our Facebook page about the correct way to do it, by taking the measurement with the tow hitch at the same height as that when the caravan is attached to the car. It is most important that the TBM is measured at this height, and I have a lot of data to reflect what the variations are when it is not done this way.” Mr Lewis concluded. Motorhomes are not exempt from overloading issues, especially those used for longterm travel where items and equipment are progressively added along the way. With police and State roads and traffic authorities more active in checking all types of recreational vehicles, an annual vehicle weight check – including individual axle weight as well as the overall total – is recommended.
24 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 25
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26 | Taste: Horizon Waratah 4x4
Clayton’s 4x4? Don’t be fooled, the Horizon Waratah 4x4 is the real deal… by Richard Robertson
Taste | 27
There’s no missing Clayton’s custom Waratah 4x4, thanks to its full body wrap. The LWB Sprinter is a big van, made more imposing by the raised suspension of the 4x4 option and off-road tyres. Note the ‘proper’ windows in the rear doors, rather than fixed factory glass.
emember Claytons – the drink you have when you’re not having a drink? The scotch-substitute found fame through television commercials in the 70s and 80s, and the name entered the vernacular as a synonym for anything pretending to be something else. However, not everything ‘Claytons’ is an imitation… Take the subject of this review: Horizon Motorhomes’ Waratah 4x4. It’s the personal rig of Horizon’s founder, Clayton Kearney, and is certainly the real deal. It’s the second Waratah 4x4 Clayton has had custom-built for personal adventures and he doesn’t spare any expense. Back in June 2013 the Kearney family (two adults and two teenagers) set off from home in Ballina, Northern New South Wales, bound
for the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Normally a two-berth motorhome, that Waratah 4x4 was specially modified and featured two bunks in place of the cupboards over the main bed, at the rear. It must have been cosy living, but as Clayton said at the time it was probably the last chance the family would have for such an adventure, given the age of the kids. He was right, because the Waratah in this review is purely a two-person machine. However, before we get onto it, a little more background on the original Waratah and it’s travels…
he Great Family Escape took the thenbrand-new Waratah 4x4 from Ballina across to South Australia and north into Central Australia before more-or-less turning left
28 | Taste at Alice Springs and taking the Tamamai Track across to the Kimberly. After a short break in Broome they headed north to Cape Leveque, then back along the infamous Gibb River Road before returning to Alice Springs via the black top. In just on a month the Waratah clocked up 9298 km, including at least 3000 km of severely corrugated dirt roads, and the only casualty was a broken mount on one of the non-standard bunkbeds. I recount all this because Mrs iMotorhome and I flew into Alice Springs and did a swap with them, collecting the Waratah 4x4 for its Journey back to Ballina, via the remote Plenty Highway. You can read all about it in Issue 30 of iMotorhome Magazine, which if you don’t have it in your library you can download by clicking HERE. It was an awesome trip and
one of the most memorable we’ve ever done. I have three standout memories of that journey: Firstly, the near-showroom condition Clayton & Co manage to get the Waratah into in just a couple of hours at the Alice Springs car wash! Secondly, the seemingly-as new condition of the Horizon fit-out (bunk-bed aside) despite thousands of kilometres of relentless shaking; and thirdly, the equally as-new driving experience of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4. As I reported at the time, I’ve always been sceptical of the durability of European vehicles – especially their high-tech electrics – in extreme Australian conditions. But the Sprinter 4x4 didn’t put a foot wrong and there wasn’t an errant warning light nor any other indication/ squeak/clunk/groan/wobble the vehicle hadn’t just driven out of the dealer’s yard. To say I To read the rest of this review subscribe to iMotorhome Magazine HERE
Interior space is good for a van, while the bed arrangement is primarily a pair of singles that can effectively become a huge double.
30 | Taste: Bailey Autograph 796
Best of- ? British ?
Checking out the British-built Bailey Autograph 769â€¦ By Malcolm Street
Taste | 31
The Bailey Autograph rides on a Peugeot Boxer – a Fiat Ducato clone – with an AL-KO chassis, hence the low ride height. Combined with the long overhang, you need to be careful on driveways and any off-bitumen adventures.
n amongst the large selection of mainland European-built motorhomes currently available in New Zealand, there is an interesting selection of British built units. The principle advantage of course from some users’ point of view is that the entry door is on the kerb side. In amongst the British range is Bailey motorhomes and I was able to borrow an Autograph 796 model from TrailLite’s Pukekohe premises for a test run.
ike a number of other European manufacturers, Bailey use a fibreglass composite structure which has a polystyrene core and fibreglass inner and outer skins. Extruded Alu-Tech rail is used to keep the walls and roof all together in one piece. The end result is quite a stylish looking B-class body structure, looking from the front, and a moulding at the rear that takes away the square look motorhomes often seem to have. The
decal scheme, including the graduated ones, add to the overall appearance. No surprises in the window department, this being a European style motorhome, so double glazed acrylic is used for all the windows, while the door is complete with a window and garbage bin. A mid-sized tunnel boot sits across the rear, with bin doors on both sides. It’s not quite the European ‘garage’ many motorhomes these days seem to have, but is certainly more than adequate for the usual camping essentials and maybe even a small folding bike or two. The bin for the gas cylinders sits just behind the entry door and is therefore quite convenient when arriving or departing a campsite. There are just two keys for the entire motorhome: one for the ignition and the other for everything. Also, I liked the fact both keys could be folded away in their respective fobs, so no sharp edges in the pockets or wallets.
32 | Taste
Under the Bonnet
ost European motorhomes have either Mercedes Benz or Fiat Ducato underpinnings but Bailey is a little different, using a Peugeot Boxer cab bolted to an AL-KO AMC chassis. The differences is mostly in name I should point out, because the Peugeot Boxer is actually a badge engineered Fiat Ducato. However the motive power is trés francophone, being a 2.0-litre Peugeot turbodiesel that puts out a maximum of 119 kW @ 3570 rpm and a healthy torque of 350 Nm @ 1750 rpm.
Top: The Boxer uses a Peugeot 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and 6-speed manual gearbox, which Malcolm found to provide an enjoyable driving experience. Above: The curved rear end panel is also highly stylised, thus managing to avoid the boxy look of so many motorhome rear ends.
I was a little amused by the TrailLite staff when they showed me over the Autograph and delivered something that sounded like a warning, about the Peugeot having a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a little surprising in this day and age but okay for us who like to drive a vehicle rather than just turn the wheel. It’s a smooth and slick change despite having to use To read the rest of this review subscribe to iMotorhome Magazine HERE
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34 | Preview: Trakka Trakkaway 720
Single Minded Trakka releases a single-bed version of its popular Trakkaway 720 and itâ€™s looking goodâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Preview | 35
The Trakkaway 720 rides on a Fiat Ducato with AL-KO chassis and suspension upgrades, and as such feels much more ‘sorted’ than a standard, Fiat factory cab-chassis. It’s easy to drive, comfortable and economical, which is what you want in a modern motorhome.
t has been interesting watching the evolution of Trakka’s range over the last 20 or so years. Always premium products, the company’s coachbuilt models in particular have undergone a transformation that combines Euro-style and design philosophy with proven Australian engineering.
I remember talking with Trakka founder Dave Berry and he related how he and some of the team had been to the giant U.S. trade-only RV show at Louisville to look at slideouts. There are companies that manufacture and supply them to RV manufacturers and Trakka was interested to see what was available.
The range grew for a while to encompass triaxle Fiat chassis and a variety of body lengths and floorplans, but it seems the sweet spot was hit upon with the release in 2012 of the Trakkaway 700. Compact enough at 7 m (23’) to go almost anywhere (it’s only about 0.6 m/2’ longer than our Ford Transit) it’s highly liveable and broke new ground by featuring a rear slide-out island bed of Trakka’s design and making.
“After checking them all out what we learned was how NOT to build them,” he quipped. “So we came home and designed and built our own”. Apart from its rigidity and smooth, quiet operation, the real advantage of Trakka’s rear slide-out is it doesn’t disable the vehicle in case of a major system failure: The Trakkaway 700 can still be driven with the bed extended.
36 | Preview The Trakkaway 700 was an instant hit and is now in its third series, each subtly building upon the success of its predecessor. In that time Trakka has quietly discontinued its other coachbuilt models, given buyer preference for the 700. However, the growing demand for single beds left them out in the proverbial cold, and so the new Trakkaway 720 was born.
eds aside, at first glance the 700 and 720 appear identical. However, as is often the case, appearances can be deceiving: The Trakkaway 720 is 20 cm (8”) longer than the 700 – hence the model name –
and lacks the rear slide-out, but gains a 24 cm (9.5”) deeper boot. For comparison purposes, the 700’s slide-out adds 50 cm (1’ 7”) to overall length when extended. Alex Berry from Trakka says that for her, the 720 feels more open at the back. “It has a ‘ginormous’ rear window and feels incredibly open and breezy, while the single beds make for an uninterrupted sleep. There’s also more flexible use of the rear area, which is great for lounging and you can take a friend away travelling,” she said. “There are adjustable headrest on both sides, so you can choose your angle to lounge at, plus a new bedding foundation with double memory foam and a
The huge rear window makes the Trakkaway 720 easy to distinguish from its 700 sibling. The rear slide-out is gone, but the body is 20 cm longer to compensate, while the boot is deeper too.
Preview | 37 layer of the DUNLOP Enduro foam for extra comfort”. Alex also noted the overhead locker storage down either side, plus a central bedside table with a large drawer underneath and a lift-up cupboard on top at the rear, complete with 12 V, USB & 240 V outlets inside. “The rear lounge has an additional mounting point, so the dining table can also be used down there, and like the 700 the leg is offset for easier access. There’s still just a single wardrobe – it sits between the bathroom and kerb-side bed – but it’s wider than the 700’s and has a shelf below that’s also fitted with a
range of power outlets. And, additional storage is provided courtesy of a pair of 59 cm-deep drawers under each bed,” Alex explained. The Trakkaway 720 is a B-class motorhome because it lacks an over-cab bed. This makes it a four-seat, two-berth unit, but Trakka offers an optional ‘Aero4’ Luton with overcab bed for a reasonable $3500, making it a full four-seat/four-berth proposition. Speaking of prices, the Trakkaway 700 and 720 are identical in this regard, with an on-road cost in NSW of $180,000, or $185,000 with the popular Alfresco outdoor fridge/sink/hot water unit by the entry door.
While the Trakkaway 720’s single beds are mainly about sleeping versatility, the bedroom can also double as an alternative dining/games/escape room. That’s especially good news if you order the optional Aero4 over-cab bed and make full use of the four seat/four-bed capability.
38 | Preview Both Trakkaways also get the patented Switch Mode Bathroom SMB; an all-in-one ‘wet’ bathroom, but one in which the toilet electrically retracts out of the way. Personally I still prefer a split bathroom or at least a separate shower cubicle, but the SMB works well and its bonus is an especially spacious showering space. Horses for courses…
oth Trakkaway models ride on the latest X295-series Fiat Ducato and are powered by the ‘full fat’ 180 Multijet2 version of Fiat’s new Euro 6-compliant 2.3-litre turbo-diesel. The 180 stands for horsepower,
Top: The retractable ‘loo’ is the centrepiece of Trakka’s patented Switch Mode Bathroom. Above: Rear seats are comfortable for distance travel and there’s a huge side window for excellent sightseeing. Optional tan leather upholstery is stylish and also easy to keep clean.
Preview | 39
Above: As a B-class motorhome the cab and body blend nicely to aid aerodynamics. Below: There’s still only one wardrobe, but now it’s wider.
which in metric-speak is 130 kW, while torque is a healthy 400 Nm – the same as the superseded 3.0-litre engine. Drive is though the front wheel via Fiat’s proprietary six-speed ‘Comfortmatic’ automated manual transmission (AMT), which you can drive as an auto or in manual mode. If you’re new to Fiat Ducatos it’s worth knowing a bit about them. Basically they come in two flavours: factory cab-chassis or factory cab/AL-KO chassis. The factory cab-chassis is the cheaper option and features on lowcost Ducato-based motorhomes (often with a less powerful version of the same engine). There’s nothing really wrong with it – factory cab-chassis are the usual offering from truck manufacturers – it’s just that the AL-KO chassis is so much better. Fiat provides a specially engineered cab that AL-KO attaches its lightweight aluminium chassis to, complete with custom rear torsion
40 | Preview
bar suspension in place of the standard chassis’ leaf-springs. The result is less weight and a lower chassis-rail height, which in turn means a lower motorhome floor/entry-step height and more internal headroom. AL-KO works with motorhome manufacturers to tailor the chassis to their specific needs, positioning crossmembers to allow for optimal water tank location and weight distribution, for example, plus providing a choice of chassis heights. The independent rear torsion bar suspension includes level control, which compensates for loading to keep the motorhome on an even keel. AL-KO also makes a replacement front suspension Macphersonstrut-and-spring combination for the Fiat Ducato, which addresses the model’s nose-
Top: The Trakkaway 720 is LPG-free, meaning cooking is done on a diesel-fired cooktop. The kitchen is nicely sized and has plenty of storage. Above: The rear boot is 24 cm (9.5”) deeper than the Trakkaway 700’s; something every owner will appreciate.
Preview | 41 down stance and dramatically improves ride quality and driving enjoyment. All these AL-KO ‘goodies’ are standard on both Trakkaway models and add considerably to their appeal.
ut wait there’s more – of course – although no steak knives. This is just a preview of the new Trakkaway 720 as I haven’t yet seen it in the flesh/metal. The good news is we’re going to take this demo model away for a few days to try it out and bring you a proper ‘living-in’ report. We’re still finalising dates, but it will be sooner than later and Mrs iM and I are really looking forward to it. Meanwhile, the current Trakkaway 700 – with its island bed – is one of our favourites. However, we’re fans of single beds where they add space and extra living area ‘utility’ and are keen to try the adjustable backs on the 720’s single beds for sitting up to read, watch TV and/or enjoy a cup of tea or glass of something sparkling (that’s not water). We like the way Trakka’s designers have kept the back wall uncluttered by cupboards and other ‘impediments’, which will make sitting-up that much easier. In the mean time, going on our many nights already spent in the 700, if you’re after a quality, compact motorhome for two (or four), put the Trakkaway 700/720 on your shopping list. It’s proof good things come through ‘single minded’ development…
Top to bottom: Simple but well thought out, the bedroom is open and spacious, and comes with single beds whose ends tilt up for added versatility. The between-bed storage unit has a lift-up lid that reveals 12 V socket, USB and 240 V power outlets, so all your device charging options are covered.
42 | Preview
Specs GENERAL Make
Fiat Ducato with AL-KO Chassis
2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
132 kW @ 4000 rpm
400 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm
6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT)
ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, Dual airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.2 m (23’ 8”)
2.40 m (7’ 10”)
2.90 m (9’ 6”)
2.20 m (7’ 3’)
1.97 m x 0.80 m (6’ 5” x 2’ 7”)
1.83 m x 0.80 m (6’ 0” x 2’ 7”)
Luton Bed - optional
2.15 m x 1.30 m (7’ x 4”)
Preview | 43
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
1 x Electric
Webasto diesel with glass ceramic top
Externally vented with LED lighting
Dometic round with fold-down flick mixer, glass lid
Waeco 136 L compressor (+ 50 L compressor with Alfresco pack)
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
12 V & USB
Truma Saphir reverse cycle
Truma Combi diesel-fired
Hot Water System
Truma Combi diesel-fired
Thetford cassette (retractable)
Pros… • Single bed flexibility • Living area flexibility • Extra boot space • Quality • Design integration • AL-KO chassis and suspension • Standard equipment
CONs… • Premium price • Looks like you still can’t put a bike rack on the back wall • Not much else
2 x 100 AH AGM
2 x 120 W (3 x 120 W with Alfresco pack)
19 L cassette
As shown with the following options:
Trakka Pty Ltd 9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai, NSW. 2080 E: email@example.com W: www.trakka.com.au
PRICE ON ROAD NSW
Alfresco pack ($5000), 1600 W inverter ($2350) Leather upholstery ($3500), LED light bar ($950) Tower & electrics ($1950)
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44 | Preview
Calling All Wilderness Explorers
46 | Tested: Bürstner Ixeo I 729
Integrated & Affordable
Meet Bürstner’s new, more affordable A-class Ixeo I 729… By Malcolm Street
Tested | 47
There’s something about an A-class, especially when finished in metallic champagne! Bürstner’s new Ixeo I 729 blends size, specs, quality and price into a desirable and more affordable package that is sure to find favour with buyers in NZ.
p until a few months ago, the only A-class (‘Integrated’ in their speak) Bürstners available in NZ were the Elegance and Grand Panorama, both well over the NZ$200K mark in some cases. However, when wandering through the Christchurch premises of Smart RV back in July, I happened to notice a very new addition to the Ixeo range. It was indeed an A-class unit – the Ixeo I 729 – and looked stunning in its champagne colour scheme. What Bürstner has done is use the best features of its mid range Lyseo models and combined them with the premium Ixeo range to create a series of A-class models under magic the $200K mark. At ‘just’ $189,990, the Ixeo I 729 comes in well under that figure, too…
designs, the front and rear body mouldings add a touch of class. And like all the Bürstner range, the I 729 has Fiat Ducato underpinnings, in this the case the Multijet 150.
ne of the benefits of buying this more upmarket motorhome is that you get the mid-range Fiat Ducato engine, the 2.3-litre 110 kW/350 Nm turbo-diesel. Designed for easy cruising, the I 729 does indeed roll down the road very smoothly. Well most of the time. It will be nice when Fiat does something about its automated manual gearbox, which is getting a little long in the tooth.
Motorhome with Style
ertainly, the Ixeo I 729 is a very stylish motorhome and in the early morning sunlight when I took it out for a run, it positively glowed. Like quite a few A-class
ith a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3850 kg and a tare mass of 3205 kg, the motorhome’s payload of 645 kg is certainly good. Garage-style rear storage
48 | Tested
areas are de rigueur in A-class motorhomes these days and although this one is slightly smaller than some I have seen in recent times, it still provides plenty of space for all the usual camping items. Along the passenger side are both a gas cylinder locker and a smaller one for access to the water tank fillers. As is usual on Euro A-class motorhomes, the I 729 has two doors: a conventional habitation door on the driverâ€™s side and the passenger seat cab door. Itâ€™s a handy feature and one I appreciate if on my own and getting in and out of the driverâ€™s seat quite often during photo sessions.
Apart from providing panoramic views an A-class blends the cab into the living area, making the most of available floorspace.
ndoubtedly the most obvious feature of the I 729 is that it is a single bed layout, with the two beds at the rear of the motorhome. The rest is fairly conventional, with a split bathroom butted-up against the bedroom and further forward, the kitchen, with
Tested | 49
the lounge-dining area up front. As is usual with an A-class, there’s a great panoramic feel to the entire front area. Extensive use of concealed and semi concealed lighting adds greatly to the general ambience of the entire interior.
here’s no doubt single beds in a motorhome are definitely more practical for both designer and user. With a minimal measurement of 2.04 m x 0.8 m (6’ 8” x 2’ 7”) they result in a good bed length and wider walkway in between. Both get a bedside shelf, reading light and a large window, whilst the kerbside bed gets a flat screen TV mounting as well. In addition, the central wardrobe has a good bedside shelf area, with power point and light switches, but disappointingly, no USB charging outlets. Both beds have decent storage underneath, with one a large drawer and the other cupboard space. Top: The cab affords huge views, but the high-mounted side mirrors take a bit of getting used to. Above: Single beds are increasingly popular, plus there’s a pull-down over-cab double for guests or as an alternative.
50 | Tested
ith the toilet/washbasin cubicle located on the driver’s side and the shower cubicle opposite, the bathroom is designed so it can be closed off from the bedroom or living area. It’s a workable idea that allows for bathroom space that can easily be used as a walkway through-access. Incidentally, the toilet cubicle is nicely appointed, with a Thetford cassette toilet, wash basin and both upper and lower cupboards with plenty of shelves.
ne thing Bürstner does is produce stylish looking kitchens that are practical, too.
Top: Rounded cabinets avoid sharp edges and help the interior ‘flow’. Above: The split bathroom provides privacy by allowing simultaneous use of the loo and shower without embarrassment.
Tested | 51
In this case it has the usuals space efficient L-shape kitchen bench that comes with a three burner hob, round stainless steel sink and a grill/oven below. There’s a good selection of drawers and overhead lockers, plus a rangehood above the hob, but only one single power point on the wall.
Lounging and Dining
nviting is the word I would use when stepping in through the habitation door and seeing the front lounge area. Typically Euro designed with swivelling cab seats, an L-shaped lounge and sideways facing sofa behind the driver’s seat, it all looks like a great place to sit, eat and relax. The table, of course, can be moved around to suit both walking past and
The kitchen is compact but has good storage. Once used to the L-shaped design it’s also surprisingly practical.
52 | Tested the relevant seating positions. Despite having a 1.96 m x 1.39 m (6’ 5” x 4’ 7”) drop-down bed overhead it isn’t intrusive, and in case you’re wondering about the ladder, it’s stored in its own compartment below floor level.
or remote camping the Ixeo I 729 is well appointed, with two 90 AH deep cycle batteries, a 150 W solar panel and even a 1000 W inverter. Also, the pair of nine kilogram gas cylinders gives good capacity for the Truma Combi water/space heater, hob and three way fridge. For controlling all of the electrical devices, touch panels and the hot water/space heater are located by the habitation door, above the flat screen TV. It’s not obvious, but in the lipped shelf below the TV there’s a USB charger outlet – handy for stashing phones/tablets whilst being charged. There are even a couple of LED pin lights there so you can see what you are doing.
Behind the Wheel
eing based on a Fiat Ducato chassis, the dashboard setup and driver controls are very familiar. Slightly different are the coach-style side mirrors, which require looking up at rather than sideways. Quite handy is the cabinet beside the driver, which has both a hinged-lid storage bin and a shelved compartment. I quite like these little storage places, which are handy for smaller items that need to be found in a hurry.
What I Think
an I have one? Although some may see the single bed layout as an issue, there are two other models available: One with an island double bed and another with two dropdown beds (the bed in the rear being above a lounge area). It’s hard not to be impressed by the A-class Bürstner Ixeo I 729 motorhome. It’s well appointed, has all the expected Bürstner features and as a bonus is quite reasonably priced.
There’s good storage in a myriad of shelves, cupboards and drawers, while decor is ‘on trend’ and includes highly effective, concealed LED strip lighting.
Tested | 53
54 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Ixeo I 729
Fiat Ducato Multijt 150
2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
110 kW @ 3600 rpm
350 Nm @ 1500 rpm
6 speed automated manual (AMT)
ABS, ESP, Hill Hold, Dual airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.49 m (24' 7")
2.30 m (7' 7")
2.98 m (9' 9")
1.98 m (6' 6")
Nearside single Bed
2.06 m x 0.80 m (6' 9" x 2' 7")
Offside single Bed
2.04 m x 0.80 m (6' 8" x 2' 7")
Drop Down Bed
1.96 m x 1.39 m (6' 5" x 4' 7" )
Tested | 55
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Round stainless steel
145-litre Dometic RML 9435 3-way (12V/240V/LPG)
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma 6E Electric/LPG
Hot Water System
Truma 6E Electric/LPG
Pros… • Style • Quality • Overall storage • Sub-$200K pricing • Internal lighting • Interior space • Central locking on all doors
CONs… • Single outlet power points • Limited TV viewing positions. • Small kitchen bench area • Not available in Australia
2 x 90 AH
Inverter 12V to 240V
2 x 9 kg
PRICE - ON ROAD NZ As Tested
Warranty - Vehicle
Warranty - Motorhome
Warranty - Water ingress
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North Island SmartRV Auckland 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland. 2022 T: 0800 007 627 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz Click for South Island Google Maps SmartRV Christchurch 3 Export Ave Harewood. ChCh. 8051. T: 0800 007 628 E: email@example.com W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz
56 | Tested
“Bürstner’s Ixeo I 729 (is) well appointed, has all the expected Bürstner features and as a bonus is quite reasonably priced.”
News | 15
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15-17 March, 2019
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58 | Wanda
Heading Home After months on the road itâ€™s time to head southâ€Ś
By Sharon Hollamby
Wanda | 59
really enjoyed Katherine and particularly the thermal pools, but it was time to start the journey south. Keen to get to Alice Springs we travelled 300 km in one day, which was fine for Wanda but it wore me out. I suffered with hives, heat exhaustion and an upset tummy, so we stayed for a while at the Stuart’s Tree camp just near Daly Waters. It was only a short walk to the Historic Daly Waters Hotel and although I found the history fascinating, I don’t think I could eat or drink there with all those underpants hanging over my head! Our next big stop was Tennant Creek, which I felt was a sad little town and the shopping was very expensive. I honestly can’t understand how people can afford to live in these places. It cost me $100 at the supermarket and that was without meat or vegetables. The produce
did not look fresh at all and the meat was very expensive. Thankfully, the butcher was reasonably priced and the meat was delicious.
fter a pleasant night at Bonney Well we continued on to Devil’s Marbles – at $3.30 a night a fantastic spot. It is a clean and tidy camp with some great walks, plus composting toilets so there was no smell! It had a serene, spiritual feel and I noticed that this seemed to have an effect on all those who camped there. Even kids were calm and quiet. I did three of the walks, but driving the long distances gave me a pain in my hip that radiated down my leg, so I was having some difficulty getting around. I did manage to go up to the lookout and view the sunset, which was
One place I would highly recommend is the Aileron Roadhouse park.
60 | Wanda spectacular, but out of respect I did not take any photos of this sacred area. One place I would highly recommend is the Aileron Roadhouse park. We pulled in to get fuel and look at the statues, but at $15 a night for a powered site and with a free washing machine, I decided to stay. It was very clean, had nice grassy areas and a swimming pool, and the owner was very friendly. So was the goanna that decided to play around my feet while I was hanging out my washing!
anda was still behaving beautifully but the pain in my hip was getting worse, so we stopped for the night at the Tropic of Capricorn before heading into Alice Springs. There was a poor little dog there that was so desperate for water he jumped up on to the sink outside the toilets. I put some water out for him but he kept his distance and eyed me warily with his tail between his legs the whole time. That night there was a feral cat that seemed to feel that under Wanda might be a good place to die. It was laying there with glazed eyes and appeared to have been run over. The up side of this was that it brought all the campers together. One lady brought over some milk and another couple brought over a tin of tuna. Eventually the cat got up and walked away, it hadn’t been run over it was just extremely skinny. The next day we went in to Alice Springs and I went to the Council offices to alert them to the animal problem. They referred me to Parks and Wildlife, who attended the area and found the cat which they euthanised. Sadly, they were unable to locate the dog or the other cats that were there, so if you are in the area and see the animals please let Parks and Wildlife know.
Wanda | 61 Running around after animals and crawling under Wanda did not help my poor hip, and my limp became a lumbering gait that gave me the appearance of a cross between a hunchback and zombie. However, Wanda needed fuel and I had to get gas, so I headed to the nearest servo, which just happened to be right across the road from the Alice Springs Hospital. It was always my intention to visit the hospital my dad built, but I got quite excited to have stumbled across it like that. There were new extensions being added so there was a lot of builder’s equipment around and it gave me the feeling Dad was still around. I snapped a few photos but the pain in my leg was intense and although I figured it would take hours, I decided to go in and get my problem sorted. Surprisingly, I was seen immediately and armed with pain killers and a diagnosis of sciatica and compressed discs, I was on my way all within the hour. If things were no better in a couple of days I was to go back, but Wanda had other ideas. The Gap View Hotel offers unpowered sites for $15 a night and although it was nothing fancy it was a good place to rest up. On the way there, Wanda started to play up. She stalled a couple of times and seemed to be imitating me with her lurching. There was no power at top speed and I thought we might have dirty fuel.
Dan and Marco
think every town park has a resident larrikin and at the Gap View Hotel, Dan was that man. He’d had a few problems and was desperately looking for work, but he still found the heart to chat to everyone and help anyone out that needed it. When he discovered Wanda was playing up he had a look, tightened a few things up and tried a few tricks to clear the carburettor jets. Unfortunately, it didn’t help – as I discovered when I took off a couple of days later and still had no power in top gear.
62 | Wanda The RAA were very helpful and their NT counterparts were out within the hour. Wanda had a leak in the carby and it needed a kit. All the recommended mechanics were booked out until the following week, so we limped back to the park and I asked Dan if he would like to earn a few dollars. He was happy to help and as he had an ABN the RAA were happy to pay for four nights accommodation for me. They even upgraded me to a powered site and I discovered that there was a pool! Meanwhile, a young German backpacker (Marco) and his girlfriend had pulled in with car problems of their own and although he was a mechanic in Germany, he did not have any tools with him. Dan offered the use of his tools and told him of my problem. The fact that Wanda has a Stromburg carburettor piqued Marco’s interest because although they are a German make, he had never seen one (Oh to be so young! – Ed). So as Wanda’s carby was stripped, cleaned and re-assembled, Marco
Wanda | 63
took lots of photos to show his fellow workers back home. The money helped Dan out as he had to go for job interviews over the next couple of days. Meanwhile, I was also able to repay his kindness by looking after his dog Bella, who decided my footstool was definitely the place to sit. Happily, Dan got one of those jobs and he can also take Bella with him.
ith Wanda back on track we left Alice Springs and headed for S.A. Uluru was on the agenda, but health and
finances have sadly meant putting that off until my next trip north. We finally made it to the SA border and although there is still a fair way to go, I am looking forward to catching up with my family and friends. Iâ€™ve seen a lot of wrecked cars on my way down, so if youâ€™re out this way please drive carefully.
Travel | 64
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:
Travel | 65
ngarie is a small farming village just 42 kilometres from West Wyalong, in the Bland Shire. The intriguingly named Humbug Creek runs through town and when full, provides lush surroundings. Take a step back in time with a visit to the Ungarie Museum, to learn more about the historic Wollongough Station. The museum reflects the ingenuity and thrift of the local country people and the volunteers there love to share community stories. Ungarie has a range of dining, pub and club facilities, along with a
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
swimming pool for the warmer months. While in the Bland Shire area, a visit to this quaint farming town is a must! You can find short and long term parking at Ungarie Showground. A donation is required to stay; however, visitors can negotiate their length of stay. Showers, toilets, bins, covered seating, power, BBQ, water and a dump point are all located at the showgrounds, while pets are permitted on the site. Mobile coverage is also available.
Bland Shire Council Visitor Information Centre Shire St, West Wyalong, NSW Ph: 02 6972 2266 email@example.com www.blandshire.nsw.gov.au Wollongough St, Ungarie
Short & Long Term Parking
Ungarie Showgrounds, 64 Crown Camp Rd, Ungarie Donations required, negotiable stay limit, pets on lead, mobile phone coverage, showers, toilets, bins covered seating, power, BBQ, water
Ungarie Showgrounds 64 Crown Camp Rd, Ungarie Lat: -33.636250 Long: 146.979302
Ungarie Showgrounds 64 Crown Camp Rd, Ungarie
66 | Travel
eduna, on the shores of Murat Bay (part of the Great Australian Bight), is a lovely little town with a population of approximately 2300. Home to a robust oyster industry, your taste buds are set to enjoy every moment spent visiting the area. Ceduna is set amidst a patchwork of grain farms, natural bushland and rugged rocky bays, secluded white sandy beaches and ever-changing seas. With a reputation of being an ideal tourist destination, the town offers an abundance of seafood, foot-print-free beaches and wilderness, spectacular sunsets and whale Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking
Dump Point Potable Water
watching, making it the perfect place to base yourself when exploring The Great Australian Bight. Those travelling to this quaint little town can find short and long term parking at Shelley Beach Caravan Park. Parking is available for up to 96 hours at a rate of $10 per vehicle per night. The dump point is located at the BP service station on the Eyre Highway, on the western side of town. Potable water is available across from the hospital, also located on the Eyre Highway.
Ceduna Visitor Information Centre 58 Poynton St, Ceduna Ph: 08 8625 3343 www.ceduna.sa.gov.au Oâ€™Loughlin Terrace on the foreshore and behind the Visitor Information Centre on Merghiny St, Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park, Decres Bay Rd Self-contained vehicles only, $10pvpn, 96hrs, pets on lead, mobile coverage Lot 260 NW Coastal Highway Lat: -20.79445 Long: 116.85928 BP, 1 Eyre Hwy, western side of Ceduna -32.11317, 133.67255
Travel | 67
Walgett , NSW
u Walgett is in Outback Northern New South Wales, some 691 kilometres northwest of Sydney. The town is known as the gateway to the opal fields, with Lightening Ridge just 78 kilometres to the north. The area was made famous in 1928 when the ‘Light of the World’ opal was found in fields nearby, weighing almost half a kilo. Walgett is the Gamilaroi word for “The meeting of two rivers”, named for its location at the junction of the Namoi and Barwon Rivers. The rich, fertile soil of Walgett Shire has made the region a successful producer of quality wheat,
chickpeas, cotton and beef. Along with fossicking for opals, another popular activity is fishing for Murray cod and yellowbelly in the rivers, so be sure to make Walgett a priority when visiting Outback Northern NSW. The Walgett Primitive Camping Ground, in Alex Trevallion Park, allows short term parking for up to 48 hours at no cost. A free dump point is located at the camping ground, along with potable water, toilets, bins, covered seating and barbecue facilities.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Walgett Visitor Information Centre 88 Fox St, Walgett P: 02 6828 6139 www.walgett.nsw.gov.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Walgett VIC, 88 Fox St
Short & Long Term Parking
48hr, Walgett Primitive Camping Ground, Alex Trevallion Park, Castlereagh Hwy, nil cost, toilets, bins, covered seating, water, barbecue, pets on lead
Walgett Primitive Camping Ground, Alex Trevallion Park, Castlereagh Hwy (Lat Long: -30.03443, 148.11542) Walgett Primitive Camping Ground, Alex Trevallion Park, Castlereagh Hwy
Next Issue | 68
TRAKK’N ON model and we’re certainly looking forward to it.
ext issue is March – where does the time go? – and finally we get to bring you a touring test of Trakka’s new twinbed Trakkaway 720. We’ve got a few nights to really try out the new layout, which also opens up the bedroom as a secondary living area. It’s an interesting variation of a proven and popular
Also on the agenda is a Carado T447 from NZ. Malcolm tells me the Kiwi weather was so dire the day he took it out he couldn’t do external photos – surely a first! – but did cover the interior, so watch out for his impressions. The March issue will be out on Saturday the 2nd. Until then why not join our more than Friends and followers on 32,000 Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ? Twitter
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Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo
Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show
Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Show
Newcastle Entertainment Centre & Showgrounds Brown Rd, Broadmeadow. NSW. 2292
Adelaide Showgrounds Good wood Rd. Wayville.
Melbourne Showgrounds Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale. Vic. 3032.
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Open 9:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) Adults: $17 Concession: $10 Kids - U16 Free with adult
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Open 10:00-5:00 Adults: $10 Concession: $8 Kids - School age free with adult
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pen 9:30-5:00 Wed-Sun, O 9:30-8:00 Fri-Sat, (4:00 Monday) Adults: $20 Concession: $16 Kids - U15 Free
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
The FREE lite edition of iMotorhome Magazine – the only magazine dedicated to motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand!
Published on Feb 15, 2019
The FREE lite edition of iMotorhome Magazine – the only magazine dedicated to motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand!