! w Ne e of A tast me rho iMoto ine! z Maga
Trakka's latest Jabiru takes van conversions to a new level... Extra Thoughts Showverloaded?
Peugeot Expert & BÃ¼rstner Lyseo T700
100 Things To Do In The Kimberley
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
Happy Birthday – to Us!
n May 2012, iMotorhome’s first issue launched and seven years on we’re still here. As they say, “Who would have thought?”. Who indeed.
in North American. It was a big risk and in hindsight I should have launched iMotorhome in the USA, so now we’re back to square one and I’m considering all options.
To say its been a helluva ride is a serious understatement…
Where to from here? For now it’s business as usual and I’m looking to run some more reader weekends and tours, but need to wait until resolution of this latest proposal to determine its effect on our timeline. Once resolved either way we can get down to business.
In that time we’ve published something like 150 issues, including our New Zealand magazine experiment and some special features. And that’s not counting our venture into America with #RV Magazine. We’ve run several reader weekends, two escorted international motorhome tours, switched to a subscription model delivered via app and amassed more than 30,000 followers on social media. We’ve also negotiated several ultimately unsuccessful sale or merger proposals; some of our own initiation and some external, and have looked at producing magazines for other organisations. Even as I type, there is a long and convoluted proposal in the final stages of negotiation that could boost and change the course of this magazine (but I’m not holding my breath). As I said, it’s been – and continues to be – a helluva ride and this small business thing isn’t for the faint-hearted. That’s the good news. The bad/sad news is I finally had to pull the plug on #RV Magazine just a few days ago. Despite it being what I consider the best magazine I’ve worked on, never mind produced – yes, better than iMotorhome – we just couldn’t gain traction amongst Millennials
To you our readers, thank you for your encouragement and support. And to our advertisers – especially the loyal long-termers – we genuinely couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you. Between this month’s federal election, talk of an interest rate cut and the downturn in the housing market, these are uncertain times – for everybody. Here’s hoping this time next year we can look back with relief at how well things have worked out. Until then, thanks again for your encouragement and support. The iMotorhome Team wishes you safe and happy travels, and if you drop by soon there might still be some cake left (if Agnes’ cat Bubblegum hasn’t had its way)!
Extra Thoughts | 5
o you suffer show overload – what I call showverload? I do. It comes from endlessly wandering the aisles of our capital city RV shows looking for the newest this or latest that. I honestly don’t know how consumers do it, so if you’re a regular show goer, what’s you secret? Do you make plans or do you just wander in the hope something will grab your attention? I understand the attraction of seeing everything under one roof, especially when shopping for a new vehicle. However, it seems farcical that in NSW no vehicle can be displayed if it’s used – including demonstrators – or not available from a NSW dealer. That keeps out interstate factory-direct manufacturers and therefore limits buyer choice. The rule is made by Fair Trading NSW and enforced by its inspectors who I’ve seen wandering the show, yet as far as I’m aware its a situation peculiar to NSW. So much for national unity and consumer interest! Showverload is a bit of a worry as I’m planning to return to the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon at the end of August and it’s the Mother of all RV Shows: think more than 130 manufactures and 2100 vehicles across more than 21 ha (53 acres). It’s bigger than any Antipodean show by an order of magnitude, but the difference is almost everything is new, interesting and/or unusual from an Australian perspective (although less so from a Kiwi point of view). It also has great bratwurst and beer! The Dusseldorf show isn’t only a reminder of how small the Australian RV scene is, but also how sheltered. While it’s easy to jump up and down about the high levels of protectionism that restricts Australia’s RV market offerings, it’s far from the only reason. Firstly, were are inconsequential on a global
sales level and well off the radar of most Euro (and US) manufacturers. Secondly, all campervan and motorhome base vehicles have to be shipped halfway around the world before being sold here to manufacturers, who in turn buy relatively few and can attract little price incentivising. Contrast that to a European manufacturer I read about a year or so back that ordered 25,000 Fiat Ducatos in one go! Between our geographic, legislative and economic isolation and the fact Australia is predominantly a caravan market, there is no realistic prospect we’ll ever have a truly diverse and affordable campervan and motorhome market. Fortunately, Australia (and New Zealand) have some truly world class manufacturers turning out exceptional products and that causes everyone to lift their game. If you want to try things you’ll never be able to buy in Oz, hop across to NZ and take a motorhome rental holiday. Better still, fly to Europe and do the same, timing your trip to coincide with the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon: you’ll suffer showverload for sure, but at least it will make attending our capital city shows seem like a doddle. And then there’s the bratwurst and beer. See you there??
6 | Contents
On my Mind Happy Birthday!
Street View Haera Mai!
Extra Thoughts Showverloaded?
On Your Mind Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Taste: Peugeot Expert
Taste: Bürstner Lyseo T700
Sydney Show Report
New Release: Trakka Jabiru 2S
What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond
Peugeot re-eneters the small van market
A compact B-class just for two...
Highlights from the latest Sydney Supershow
Trakka raises the bar for van conversion motorhomes...
100 Things To Do In The Kimberley
What’s coming up!
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8 | Street View
s I write this the 2019 NSW Caravan, Camping Holiday Supershow, otherwise known as the Sydney caravan show, is in full swing. If you are from New Zealand you might well note that the rather longish title does not include the word “motorhome”. Yes, Australia does have a motorhome industry, but unlike NZ, it tends to get dominated by the caravan sector. Hence, a bit city show in NZ is quite different to that in Australia. In the latter case, apart from being considerably larger, there are rows and rows of white/silver boxes sans engine. I do wonder how newer buyers actually make a purchasing decision, because many of the caravans look the same. It’s easier to pick the differences between the various motorhomes I have seen at shows in NZ, while being smaller events, it is generally easier to remember what has been looked at. Also differently from NZ, there are far fewer imports from Europe and the US at Australian shows. Indeed, most come from China and are usually camper trailers and smaller caravans. Don’t tell anyone, but here’s a bit of NZ gossip I picked up at the Sydney Show: The Apollo Group, which sells its Winnebago brand through the Blenheim-based Deluxe
RV Group in NZ, is about to open an Auckland branch not far from the airport. Both Winnebago and the Slovenian-built Adria range, which Apollo imports into Australia, will soon be available. At the Sydney show I looked over a few larger van conversions, mostly on MercedesBenz Sprinters and Fiat Ducatos. It reminded me of an earlier thought that I reckon both NZ and Australian RV manufacturers do a better job with van conversion layouts than just about anyone else. Having looked over quite a few British and European models, and a lesser number of US-built conversions, the NZ/Aussie brigade do very well in space utilisation and not making the interior feel too squashed. The Europeans try to be a bit too clever with fitting everything in and the result is frequently a cramped feel to the interior. They also don’t seem to like windows in the rear bedroom area, which isn’t great for ventilation on warm Antipodean nights. Also, they put awningtype windows in behind the sliding door on shorter vans, which is bad news for the opened window if the sliding door is opened too quickly… US manufacturers tend to go the other way and build in space where it’s not really
Street View | 9
needed, thus ending up with fewer cupboards not needing a gas cylinder bin is a great space saver, not to mention giving better gas and other essential features. capacity. Still on large van conversions, recently in NZ I saw vans from Britain (Elddis Autoquest) and Keep travelling safely! Spain (Benimar Benivan) that had underslung 25-litre (14 kg) LPG tanks. Last I heard they Haere ra! were awaiting a compliance check from the NZ gas authorities who, as a point of interest, use the same gas standard AS/NZS 5601 used in Australia. Watch this space, because
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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.
Justin Time? Hey guys, found your awesome magazine a little while back and taken a 12 month sub. There’s so much rubbish opinion out there online, especially on ‘Farcebook’, that finding your honest reviews and stories is a real buzz. I’m a 34 year old single guy consulting in IT and think I can travel and work from a van, so I’m looking at what’s out there. I’ve been researching and found your Project Polly through your back issues. I’ve thought about doing the same to save some $ but I’m not really handy and need to find myself a Mrs iMotorhome of my own – does she have any sisters? Lol… but seriously, would you recommend buying an ex rental? The prices look good but there are obviously problems. What do you think? Cheers, Justin
Hey Justin, welcome to the wonderful world of motorhoming – almost. A van like Polly could be a great starting point, but be sure to have it thoroughly checked out before purchase and don’t under any circumstances buy an aftermarket extended warranty as they’re rubbish. Perhaps a better one would be an ex-rental someone’s owned for a year or two and (hopefully) ironed out the bugs. Personally, I’d recommend buying a Ford Transit as parts are relatively cheap and plentiful, and being manual you’ll avoid the chance of financial catastrophe if, for instance, the automated gearbox in a VW Crafter expires. As for the components inside, they are generic across the industry and not vehicle-brand related. Thanks also for mentioning Project Polly. We still have work to do, so watch future issues. Sadly, Mrs iM is one-of-a-kind and I was the one lucky enough to snare her. But, to help in your van and consort quest, please accept this issue’s $50 prize. Fingers crossed you find the perfect match in both!
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12 | On your mind
Tassieâ€™s Loss Regarding your recent editorials, these people are so negative it is hard to believe. Firstly, they arrange that all imported vans/motorhomes must be of a design approved by them and now we have this campaign to restrict non commercial overnighting. It is like cinema operators restricting access to televisions. The letter from Kel in the April edition, headed Tassie Insights, shows that the CIAA is not alone, with various Tasmanian van parks successfully arranging the restriction of noncommercial site operations.
Good to hear from you and thanks for your comments. Yes, youâ€™re exactly right. The important thing to remember is that it is caravan park operators collectively driving the push to limit our freedoms, because they form the largest single membership block within all the state and territory caravan and camping organisations, and therefore the CIAA.
Like you, we have little use for caravan parks and only stay in them when it suits. The caravan park industry is one of the last dinosaurs in the travel and tourism sector and needs to be pulled kicking and screaming We had been considering taking our Motorhome into the 21st century. Iâ€™m only a small voice across on the ferry in spite of the cost, the but will continue to do my bit. We can, lengthy lead time required and the need to be however, all vote with it our wallets and exert definite on our return date, but we now feel that some collective economic pressures while the lesser availability of low cost sites means discussing the merits of the industry reforming that South Australia will now get our otherwise and reshaping its products and expectations Tasmanian business. to meet what consumers actually want, not what suits it. Cheers for now and safe travels! In passing, we have little need for commercial parks as we do not use jumping castles or water slides and various other so called features. I am not the one to update the business plans for caravan parks in Australia, but the needs of the public changed with the introduction of self-contained vans. Many country pubs have struggled in recent times but some have adapted with meals and good service. The parks need to change too. They will not prosper through their clumsy attempts to restrict others. Regards, Ross.
14 | On your mind
CIAA Cracks Appearing? Just read your editorial, most interesting that a manufacturer would make those comments. We too have had a meeting with a rising star in the CIAA ranks who was expressing concern after resent events like Rocky and the Toolkit and wanting to know just the parks have to do from the consumer point of view to repair the damage. Interesting question. We get the impression that the CEO is not the golden haired boy in the rank and file. The cracks seem to be appearing…
Yes, interesting comments from a manufacturer. If you’d like to steer the rising star in my direction perhaps together we can help ‘build a bridge they can get over’, on the way to a fair and equitable solution.
Revelations! As longtime Aussie campers, caravaners and now motorhomers we had the good luck to be in Auckland when the Covi Show was on, and called in on the last day. It was our first time at a Kiwi show, being used to the Melbourne Show for many years. What a revelation! Instead of endless rows of look-alike caravans there we acres of the most wonderful motorhomes we have ever seen! We couldn’t believe the range and diversity of models on offer, and it made us realise why you seem to constantly be having a go at the Australian powers that be; because we’re being had! Yes, there are some great motorhomes and campers made here but why we can’t access many international brands is beyond us. It really is all about protectionism and riding behind trade barriers, and all in the name of protecting “us” from “inferior”
imports. What a joke! Looks like wifey and me will be buying something exciting in NZ and spending a lot of our time over there soon and I’d encourage others to see what the rest of the world has to offer and vote with their wallets. Cheers, Ted & Margaret
Congratulations folks on your travels and future plans. Yes, we live in an RV fortress here and there’s little sign of the defences being breached. Covi is a revelation for first time visitors and NZ is a wonderful place for motorhoming, and glad you’ve had your eyes opened. Safe travels and hope to see you on the road over there some time.
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16 | News
AVIDA KICKS GOAL
atrick Dangerfield, one of Australia’s most popular AFL sporting personalities, has hit the road with his family to explore the best of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria in a Avida Birdsville. The trip is part of a new television show developed by Dometic Australia and produced by Cameron Damon Media. Dometic, in conjunction with the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, said it wanted to create a show that would remind viewers of the benefits of the touring lifestyle. “This project is specifically intended to assist with growth of the industry by appealing to a broad audience and encourage them to get involved in the RV lifestyle. We believe that all members of the industry should be working together to support overall growth and ensure sustainability into the future,” said Head of Marketing at Dometic, Justine Schuller. “To be able to present a genuine superstar and his family, non-scripted, gave us an amazing
insight into his life, and it was an absolute privilege. This show has real soul, happiness, and positive outcomes in such a believable, casual story that organically unfolds over two episodes.” The air time for the first two episodes of Mobile Living with Patrick Dangerfield will be as follows: • 7Prime (Melbourne & Adelaide Metro. VIC & SA Regional): Ep 1 – Sat 4/05 at 17:30, Ep 2 – Sat 11/05 at 17:30 • 7main (Perth & WA Regional): Ep 1 – Sat 11/05 at 17:30, Ep 2 – Sat 18/05 at 17:30 • 7two (All Markets): Ep 1 – Sun 5/05 at 13:30, Ep 2 – Sun 12/05 at 13:30 • 7mate (All Markets): Ep 1 – Sat 18/05 at 09:30, Ep 2 – Sat 25/05 at 13:30 • Southern Cross (Tasmania): HD Ep 1 – Sat 4/05 at 17:30, Ep 2 – Sat 11/05 at 17:30 • 7Plus Digital (Web): On demand
18 | News
indings on the retirement intentions of older Australians has implications for the RV industry, given the increasing cost of vehicles and the declining wealth of retirees. The number of people intending to retire in the next 12 months is estimated at 439,000, a 6% increase on the 2018 level of 414,000 and 11% above the 2017 figure of 395,000. This increase is despite the savings levels of these intenders being well below the recommended level to be self-funded, so they are likely to be at least partly reliant on the age pension. Men currently represent 219,000 intending retirees and women 220,000. These are some of the latest findings from Roy Morganâ€™s Single Source survey which is based
on in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their homes, including 430 who intend to retire in the next 12 months. These latest results are based on interviews conducted in the 12 months to January 2019. The surveyâ€™s authors says it is important to understand how well equipped those intending to retire in the next 12 months are to fund their retirement. Currently, the average gross wealth (total assets excluding owner-occupied homes) of intending retirees is $299,000 up only 2% over the last 2 years, from 2017 when it was $293,000. Although the average debt level for this group is currently only $27,000. It does reduce their average net wealth to $272,000,
20 | News continued... which is generally considered to be inadequate for self-funded retirement.
(including super) are still falling well short of funding those currently intending to retire.
The overall conclusion from this is that currently, intending retirees will be relying on government benefits for some time yet, given the fact that the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) estimates that an individual would need $545,000 and a couple $640,000 for a ‘comfortable retirement’.
“A contributing factor to savings falling short of desirable levels has been a reduction in the average age of intending retirees, which has fallen from 62 years 12 months ago to 58 years currently. This obviously has the potential to reduce savings due to a shorter working life.
Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan, says, “A major problem facing the Australian government and individuals is how to fund the retirement of an ageing population. Superannuation, through its tax concessions and compulsory nature, has been the main vehicle for trying to achieve this and is having some success, but total savings
“Additional pressures on retirement decisions are the declining real estate market, share market volatility and superannuation conditions if there is a change of government. These factors have the potential to delay retirement decisions and encourage people to keep their jobs longer, particularly if the government tightens up the qualifications for the aged pension or other retirement benefits”.
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22 | News
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH INVESTMENT
ealth Minister Greg Hunt has announced the Federal Government will invest $1 million to subsidise the installation of defibrillators at more than 1000 caravan parks across the country. Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont welcomed the funding as an exciting and yet common-sense initiative that will save the lives of some Australians who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest while caravanning. “We also know that in rural and regional areas it can take longer for an ambulance to arrive, given the distances they sometimes have to travel. This program will ensure that if a person suffers a heart attack in a caravan park
that lifesaving help is close to hand,” Mr Hunt said. “Research shows that if a person is defibrillated within the first five minutes of collapse, their chance of survival is around 90 per cent. For every minute that this is delayed, the chances of survival decrease by up to 10 per cent. This initiative will save and protect lives,” Minister Hunt said. As part of this initiative, a further commitment of 1000 defibrillators has also been made to Men’s Sheds around the country in conjunction with St Johns.
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24 | News
APOLLO BEARISH ON RV OUTLOOK
pollo Tourism and Leisure, which manufacturers Coromal and Windsor caravans as well as Winnebago motorhomes and caravans, and imports Adria RV into Australia, has predicted a glum future. In a notice to shareholders, the global company said its expected retail results for the current financial year would not be achieved. It said this reflected consumer uncertainty created by “unfavourable economic conditions, the housing downturn and the upcoming Australian federal election”. But, it added, its acquisition of the Coromal and Windsor brands of caravans from WA-based Fleetwood still represented a “significant opportunity” for Apollo. “However, due to the subdued trading conditions for RV sales, the
benefits are taking longer to materialise than initially expected,” it added. Apollo forecast that its net profit after tax would be between $17.5 million and $19.5 million for the current financial year, compared to $19.2 million for the previous year. Chief executive officer Luke Trouchet commented, “While short-term results will be below our expectations, we are implementing plans across the business to address issues in RV sales and are well placed to execute our longterm global growth strategy.”
News | 25
CARAVAN PARKS AGAIN CRY FOUL
aravan parks are fuming over a Queensland Government decision to allocate $3 million into Australia Zoo’s planned caravan park and camping ground. The funds from the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund will go towards building the 108-site Camp Croc Hunter, which will offer everything from tent accommodation to powered sites. Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the $8 million facility at the world famous zoo in Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland would be a magnet for 39,000 additional visitors annually, injecting another $4.5 million into the local economy. However, news of the grant has left local caravan park operators dumbfounded, describing the multi-million dollar grant as a “slap in the face”. iMotorhome views this as an outburst of pure hypocrisy from an industry that has itself taken market share from local hotels and motels, as well as campaigned to limit or
eliminate low-cost or free competition, and soaked up millions in government subsides along the way. “They’re building a business at the ratepayers’ expense. This is absolutely disgusting and I intend contacting Kate Jones to express my discontent and displeasure and also ask for a $3 million grant,” said one disgruntled owner, who requested anonymity. “They’re building a business at the ratepayers’ expense. It just sucks,” he said. “Australia Zoo is a private enterprise company and there’s no reason for a taxpayer-provided subsidy.” Australia Zoo’s Dr Terri Irwin said the grant would be a great boost for the State’s tourism industry. “Our tourism partnership with the Queensland Government will enable Australia Zoo to employ more people in the Sunshine Coast region, encourage visitors to stay longer and increase spending within our community which is fantastic for our local economy,” she added.
26 | News
INAUGURAL RV CONSUMER REPORT they were more likely to purchase an RV if they camped as a child, with 67% of current RV owners camping in their childhood. The research also indicated the typical RV owner is more active and enjoys an outdoor lifestyle; 87% of current RV owners indicated a preference for outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.
id you know the average age of an RV owner in Australia is 33 and has an average income of $48,000-$72,000? The inaugural RV Consumer Report 2018 is claimed to be the most comprehensive consumer study of its kind in Australia. It’s aim is to examine RV purchasing and usage preferences among current vehicle owners, former owners, potential new market entrants and consumers who have limited preference for buying into the lifestyle. The research shows that more people than ever in Australia own a RV, with 1 in 13 households in Australia having an RV registered. The research highlights several key trends including the vital role that family structure and change has on RV ownership, the positive influence that childhood camping experiences have on future purchase intention, the increased preference of outdoor activities for RV owners, and the role that economic pressures has on buying into, or selling out, of RV ownership.
A core aspect of the research was identifying the elements of RVs that prospective buyers looked for, with a clear trend towards functionality over aesthetics. Nearly half (40%) of RV owners said that road handling was the most important aspect of a purchase, with only 1 in 7 willing to economise this feature for a lower purchase price (iMotorhome wonders how prospective caravan buyers could possibly rate this?). However, price was also rated a vital element of an RV purchase, with 80% of consumer stating this was the most influential factor. The modern RV consumer’s path to purchase appears to be significantly changing, with 47% of new market entrants indicating they consider hiring an RV in Australia to ‘try before the buy’, with this being driven by the under 40s. Most RV owners (80%) were also likely to travel to new places without planning in advance, resulting in more confidence in exploring regional destinations. This demonstrates the value the RV industry has to regional tourism bodies.
As this is the first year of the reporting series, this One of the most significant factors for consumers study says it sets the benchmarks to examine is the importance of children, with 42% of current the Australian population over the coming decades to understand shifts in consumer RV owners having children under 15 years living preferences, lifestyle choices, buying and selling at home. Many people also waited to start a trends, purchase intention, RV features and family or for their children to reach a certain age amenities preferences, rental and peer-to-peer before purchasing an RV, which is also linked usage, and travel and leisure patterns. with retirement. Consumers also indicated
News | 27
MANILLA WELCOMES TRAVELLERS stayed before continuing their journeys carrying supplies to outlying cattle stations.
he tiny town of Manilla, near Tamworth on the NSW Fossickers Way, says it is continuing its tradition of welcoming travellers. The town was originally a camping ground for teamsters and bullock wagons that
The good news for RVers is the time-honoured hospitality is now being made available to Grey Nomads and other adventurers, in the form of a permanent 72-hour freedom camping spot on a large flat and shady area near the main street. Maintained by the local Men’s Shed, the Stop and Shop facility offers drinking water and rubbish disposal, with a dump point nearby. iMotorhome encourages readers to take advantage of this and also spread the word, to help support the towns that recognise the benefits of welcoming us all.
DUBBO MEASLES ALERT
ubbo’s Midstate Caravan Park is on measles alert. People who stayed at the park on April 11 have been advised to contact their doctor if they suffer measles symptoms between now and into early to mid May.
The alert comes after a 22-year-old unvaccinated man was diagnosed with the highly-contagious disease after returning from 3 weeks in New Zealand. Western NSW Local Health District Public Health Manager, Priscilla Stanley, said attempts were being made to contact people who may have been in the same location as the man while he was infectious. “There is no public health risk at those locations now,” she assured. “However, people who were there at the time and who have not had two doses of measles vaccine should keep an eye for symptoms.” The alert also applies to anyone who visited the local medical centre and emergency department on April 11, 13, 16 and 17.
28 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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30 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 31
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32 | Driven: Peugeot Expert
Cat Amongst the Pigeons?
Can Peugeotâ€™s return to the Australian van market possibly shake things up? by Richard Robertson
Driven | 33
Peugeot’s all-new Expert is one of a new breed of vehicles that is finally bringing passenger car levels of safety, technology and performance to the light commercial vehicle segment. It is the polar opposite of Toyota’s ubiquitous HiAce; an appliance on wheels designed with scant regard for occupant safety or comfort.
n the Australian campervan base vehicle market you have Toyota’s HiAce, Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter and, um, not much else. There’s a new HiAce due soon and it looks like it might address the safety and comfort shortcomings of this venerable Japanese box-on-wheels. Now, however, there’s a new entrant worth considering, at least for a custom conversion for those who prioritise safety, technology and economy: Peugeot’s Expert. Despite a combined brand umbrella, Peugeot and Citroen have always been niche players in Australia, even though Citroen is celebrating its centenary here this year. From peak figures close to 13,000 vehicles all-up in 2007, combined sales dwindled to just over 4000 in 2016. Consequently, in 2017 long-time
agent Sime Darby passed the croissantshaped distribution baton to global auto giant, Inchcape. Amongst other things in Australia, Inchcape is the driving force behind Subaru’s local success and now the company has its sights on revitalising the fortunes of Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA). Rather than chasing sales volume at any cost, Inchcape is pursuing a more bespoke approach. Peugeot is being repositioned as an aspirational, premium brand, with Citroen aimed at younger, ‘funkier’ buyers. Of the two, only Peugeot will be offering light commercial vehicles (LCVs), via a three-model line-up comprising the small Partner, mid-size Expert and large Boxer vans (Boxer is basically a reengineered Fiat Ducato and we’ll be taking a closer look at one as soon as possible).
34 | Driven Expert Features
he Expert brings new levels of technology, safety and refinement to the LCV market. It’s a front-engined, frontwheel drive HiAce-sized van with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. In line with European regulations for delivery vans it comes with a steel cargo barrier between the cab and load area, plus three cab seats. That means there’s no walk-through cab unless the barrier is removed and new seating fitted. The barrier is bolted in and so should be a straight forward removal job, but the seating poses other challenges. It’s also only available with a low roof and so would need a pop-top conversion for practicality. Those ‘barriers’ aside it still has potential.
Before looking at models, specs and pricing, here is what’s industry leading – and standard equipment – across the new Expert range: • Autonomous Emergency Braking with Active City Brake • Adaptive Cruise Control • Speed limiter with speed sign recognition • Blind-spot monitoring and a reversing camera with 360º display • Front and curtain airbags • A five-star Euro NCAP safety rating • Dual sliding doors and 180º rear barn doors Additional standard features include ABS, traction and electric stability controls, front and
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The 7 inch infotainment touchscreen incorporates the reversing camera display, which also stitches together a bird’s-eye 360° view of the vehicle’s surrounds as you backup. Clever – and surprisingly useful. In normal driving it also displays Apple Carplay or Android Auto, so you can connect your smart phone and legally use its functions.
36 | Tested: Bürstner Lyseo T700
Space Race Malcolm Street blasts off in the new Bürstner Lyseo T700… By Malcolm Street
Tested | 37
The Lyeso T700 is a neat package that perfectly fits the mould as a typical European motorhome. Bürstner makes a quality product anybody would be happy to call their own, and even having the entry door on the drivers side proves no problem after a short period of acquaintance. However, a little more power as standard would be a good move.
mart RV, based in both Auckland and Christchurch, is the official importer of Bürstner motorhomes. Over the last year or so it has been steadily increasing the mid-range Bürstner Lyseo model offering, and one of the latest to appear in the showroom is the T700. It’s a B-class motorhome just a whisker under seven metres in length, making it a handy size for a layout without too many compromises. What you get in the Lyseo T700 is a rear island bed that doesn’t have to be made up every night, a split bathroom, a mid kitchen and a forward lounge/dining, which for a couple comes with multiple seats of choice. There’s no doubt Bürstner does interiors in style, including curved overhead locker doors, LED track-lights and Roman Blinds (in addition to the normal window blinds and insect screens). Four roof hatches deliver considerable ventilation and natural light, particularly the big Skyview hatch over the cab.
38 | Tested
Also worth a mention is Bürstner’s general fit and finish. This particular layout is tried and true, at least mid-to-front, so it’s really the finer details that count in making the Lyseo T700 special. It’s interesting here just to diverge into design philosophies. At the extremes there are US manufacturers, who consider space something to be achieved in a design, whereas Europeans tend to see space as something to be used, preferably in multiple ways. NZ and Australian manufacturers usually sit somewhere in between, but I reckon the Europeans are winning this particular space race.
The Lyseo T700 is right at home on country backroads. Once you find the perfect spot it’s quick and easy to set up, and there’s plenty of natural light and fresh air in the front lounge/dinette area.
In the Lyseo’s design it’s not only items that can be seen that matter. As with any motorhome there are any number of hidden features, for example the Lyseo’s freedom camping ability: It has a pair of 90 amp-hour deep-cycle batteries, 150 watts of solar and even a 1000 watt inverter. This latter item makes a real difference – I have a number
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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
40 | Show Report
Sunlinerâ€™s Renault Masterbased Sage is a new model designed specifically to solo travellers.
Supershow The 2019 NSW Caravan Camping Holiday Supershow rolls into townâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Show Report | 41
ydney’s annual ‘big show’ is still on as we publish, and on opening day I sneaked out to join Malcolm for a few hours catching up on what’s new. Specifically, we wanted to have a look at Trakka’s all-new Jabiru, plus nose around for anything else. While most new vehicles are released at the Melbourne Show in February, Sydney always manages a few surprises and this year was no exception. A notable mention goes to Avida for its Esperance with wheelchair lift – the only such-equipped production motorhome – and the revised Ceduna, with a refreshed interior and the option of diff-lock and ‘multi terrain’ capability. Both ride on differing versions of the increasingly popular Iveco Daily, which is also highly regarded due to its 3500 kg towing capacity. Two other manufacturers had new models
on display and here’s a quick look at both: Suncamper’s Santa Cruz and Sunliner’s Sage.
he Santa Cruz is a marked departure for Suncamper in terms of size and price. Measuring 8.6 m (28’ 3”) long and costing $295,000 plus on-road costs, it sets new records for the brand in both regards. It’s also the most luxurious Suncamper ever built and truly has all mod-cons – including a popup Nespresso coffee machine, dishwasher and an complete, slide-out outdoor kitchen! The Santa Cruz is built on an Iveco Daily with an eight-speed auto. It has a spacious front lounge with swivelling cab seats, a mid kitchen of near-domestic proportions, an east-west queen bed further aft and a full width bathroom across the back. It’s an easy living, open and spacious floorplan that the
Suncamper’s new flagship, the Santa Cruz, is 8.6 m of luxury on wheels.
42 | Show Report Suncamper Team has done an excellent job of decorating to reflect contemporary home design trends. Despite its size and specs, the Santa Cruz has a 4490 kg GVM, meaning it’s drivable on a car licence. At this stage there’s no word about the tare weight or payload capacity, as the displayed model is the production prototype. This big machine carries just 130 litres of fresh water, but given the extensive use of lightweight materials in its construction, keeping weights within legal and practical limits is certainly doable. I’d imagine a GVM upgrade to 5200 kg for those with a light rigid (LR) licence will be optionally available and probably a good idea – especially if extra water
The Santa Cruz is made for long-term travel with all the comforts of home. Standard features include a pop-up Nespresso coffee machine and even a small dishwasher! Fortunately, that huge awning is electrically operated. Phew…
was then available. As it stands, the Santa Cruz is still an impressive machine and we’re hopeful of taking it away for a few days to report on life, “As the other half live”. Can’t wait!
t the other end of the spectrum in terms of size and price is Sunliner’s new Sage, a compact B-class designed for solo travellers who might occasionally like to travel was a companion. Compact and self-contained, the Sage comes with standard solo-friendly features including a security screen door and 270° security lighting. Other features include extensive LED lighting,
Santa Cruzâ€™s bathroom features a unique glass splashback that looks like tiles. It also has a rainwater shower and a pair of sliding doors for total privacy.
Show Report | 43
44 | Show Report Sunliner’s new Sage is a compact and attractive motorhome designed for the solo traveller. Features include room to entertain, a drop-down bed and a full width bathroom across the rear.
air conditioning, 80 watts of solar for the the 100 amp-hour house battery, dual 4 kg LPG cylinders, 100 litres of fresh water, an electric step, 24 inch LCD TV and separate stereo, a fully equipped kitchen and more. Measuring just 6.7 m (22’) long, the Sage is available in two floorplans. There’s the SG402, which has a front kitchen and wet bathroom, and a rear club-lounge (think New Zealand Back) with a drop-down bed. Alternatively, there’s the SG403 – the model on display – with a front cafe-style dinette for four plus a sideways sofa and a drop-down bed above. The kitchen is towards the back, while the bathroom sits full-width across the back and has a separate shower cubicle.
Show Report | 45 Both ride on a Renault Master powered by a 110 kW/350 Nm turbo-diesel that drives the rear wheels via a 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). The Master is a proven vehicle that’s been round for years and is very much underrated in Australia. It’s also part of the value equation that helps Sunliner offer the displayed Sage SG403 for $129,990 drive-away. We’re looking to test drive the new Sage sooner than later as it has the potential to fill a niche for a compact, well equipped and reasonably priced coachbuilt motorhome. Watch this space…
Avida’s stand included the new Ceduna (below) and the wheelchair-lift equipped Esperance (bottom), the only such production motorhome in Australia.
“Now THAT’S an outdoor kitchen!”, said Mrs iM. Complete with a gas cooktop, plumbed-in sink with hot and cold water and a draw fridge, it’s the ultimate in alfresco entertaining.
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Sydney Show – Stand Number 49 Image courtest of Ardash Muradian. License # MD19015
Phone: 1300 416 854 for a free info pack or to book your factory tour today! www.suncampermotorhomes.com.au
48 | New Release: Trakka Jabiru 2S
Trakka’s Dave Berry has every right to smile.
Raising The Bar Trakka’s new Jabiru raises the bar – for all RV manufacturers… by Richard Robertson
New Release | 49
Mild mannered and unassuming on the outside, new Jabiru hides an impressive range of innovations inside.
ew motorhome base vehicles don’t come along very often; it’s something like eight or so years on average. When they do, I’m surprised so many manufacturers seem to just carry on with the same old same old, rather than embrace the opportunity to do something new and/or special. Trakka, however, saw the new Sprinter as an opportunity to give its range-topping van conversion – the Jabiru – a serious makeover. The result is the most refined, sophisticated and well thought out van
conversion motorhome in the market today. That’s a big claim I know, as there are some worthy challengers, but none deliver the sheer integrated liveability and practicality that has become the hallmark of Trakka design. Am I biased? Yes, but only to quality and thoughtful innovation.
ew Jabiru is built on the long wheelbase (LWB) Sprinter 419, which is 7-metres long and has a 4100 kg GVM. Power comes from a140 kW 3.0-litre
50 | New Release
Multi-adjustable bedheads are standard, as is a pulldown insect screen at the back that complements the sliding screen on the electrically-operated side door. V6 turbo-diesel driving the rear wheels via a 7-speed auto. The new Sprinter is loaded with industry leading safety tech and other features, but rather than go into detail here I’ll leave that until a full roadtest. Jabiru comes in two models – 2S and 4S – with the number referencing the seat count. Both, however, sleep just two. The launch model featured here is a 2S, which means it uses swivelling cab seats and a removable table as the dining area and has a pair of two-metre long single beds, which also convert to a double, running lengthways at the rear. The beds incorporate sun lounge-style tilting backs first seen in the Trakkaway 720, making them much more versatile for after-hours relaxing than conventional beds. Inside, there’s no bare metal or marine carpet to be seen; the big van’s interior being indistinguishable from Trakka’s coachbuilt motorhomes.
New Release | 51 Key features of the reinvented Jabiru are: efrigerotator – a patent-pending drawer •R fridge in a cupboard at the forward end of kitchen unit, which rotates so you can access drinks from inside or outside the vehicle •N ew slimline main fridge with a door that opens from left or right without you having to do/adjust/change anything •R emovable outdoor workbench on the electrically operated sliding side door, complete with a cut-out for a collapsible washing-up basin. It works in conjunction with the outdoor shower, which can provide hot and cold water thanks to a magnetic shower head holder that can be positioned just about anywhere. nerdrive 200 amp-hour lithium battery •E pack with optional 2000 watt inverter (standard if diesel cooker deleted in favour of induction cooker) • Solar upgraded to 300 watts ouchscreen Trakka Monitoring System •T including smartphone app for all onboard systems edesigned Switch Mode Bathroom, which •R in now longer to provide more space when the toilet is extended •S liding insect screens for the side and rear doors •N ew, thin bench and table tops made from a compact 3D laminate that’s environmentally friendly, food safe, scratch resistant and doesn’t need to be edged •N ew fibreglass reinforced thermoplastic composite flooring that’s light, nonabsorbing and very strong ew woven vinyl flooring that looks like •N matting
Top to bottom: Bedroom window Space Pods double as bedside shelves; Malcolm momentarily makes himself at home!; The new slimline fridge with a door that hinges from either side.
52 | New Release Thoughts
hile no van conversion can fully replicate the feeling of space you get with a coachbuilt, the new Jabiru seems to come close thanks to the non-intrusive design of its cabinetry and the revised lines of the bathroom. Next cab off the Jabiru rank will be the 4S: Space for its four-seat dinette is compensated for by turning the beds east-west, but still with good length thanks to the Space Pods that increase body width and house the bedroom windows. That will be followed by a much-anticipated 4x4 version that will – at last – have single rear wheels. Using the same LWB van as its 2WD siblings, Jabiru 4x4 could well prove to be the ultimate all-round exploration machine for those looking to get well and truly off the beaten track. We’re trying to get our hands on the 2S for a few nights away as soon as possible, but given the looming Brisbane Show and other commitments, it might not be as soon as we’d like. Until then, best you get down to Trakka to check out the new Jabiru for yourself. Price for the 2S starts at $180,000 on the road, which is premium to be sure, but you get what you pay for – especially at resale time. Yes, the bar has been raised again and that’s a very good thing for consumers…
Top to bottom: An Enerdrive 200 AH lithium battery system is standard, as is a 2000 W inverter if you ditch the diesel cooktop in favour of an induction unit; Large alfresco unit attaches to the side door and has a cutout for the included collapsible silicon washtub. Note how the external shower provides hot and cold water via a magnetic mount; The remarkable, patent-pending rotating cupboard that lets you access the draw fridge from inside or outside the vehicle.
The table, like the benchtop, is made from new, high-tech laminate thatâ€™s light, strong and durable. Note clever corner cut-outs that securely hold mugs and their handles.
Preview | 53
54 | Book Review
The Kimberley 100 things to see and do, by local guide Scotty Connellâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Book Review | 55
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow… and then we return home.” Indigenous proverb and the welcome note at Home Valley Station
imberley local Scotty Connell grew up next door to idol and eventual mentor, Malcolm Douglas, fascinated by stories of his adventures through their shared homeland in Australia’s remote north west.
book will change completely from season to season…. this is all part of the Kimberley’s mystery… and I travel this country with the utmost respect and admiration for its traditional custodians.”
“It was the beginning of a life-long love affair with travel in one of the world’s last untamed wilderness areas,” he declares in the book’s introduction. “The Kimberly is unlike other parts of Australia, and at times it can feel like we’re in a time warp, 20 years behind the rest of the nation. Here we don’t live by conventional time but by tides, seasons and sunshine hours. Many places listed in this
It goes on to explain that Scotty is now a passionate tour guide and the owner of Kimberly Spirit Tours, a bespoke smallgroup service, and also the man behind the highly successful Instagram profile @ thekimberleyaustralia. He also won the coveted 2018 FACET Golden Guide Award at the Western Australia Tourism Awards. As the introduction says, “There are few people more
56 | Book Review
qualified to show you the 100 best things to see in the Kimberley”.
waterfalls. Scotty not only loves the Kimberley, he’s part of it,” the Honey Badger explains.
Hype aside, what sets this book apart is that it’s not just another guide full of maps, distances and mileage charts. While it does contain basic maps, they are just for putting the Kimberley and all places mentioned into context. This book is all about what to do once you’ve used the other maps and guide book to get there, and as such it’s a great quick reference guide.
oes Australia really need another guide book?”, I asked myself when handed it to review. One hundred and seventy eight pages later I decided there’s certainly room for it in the iMotorhome Magazine book shelf. 100 Things To See In The Kimberley is forwarded by former rugby union player and media-someone Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins, who explored the region in Scott’s company and came away deeply impressed. “He showed me that the Kimberley is alive and that the magical place has surprises far beyond awesome scenery and secluded
100 Things To See In The Kimberley is broken into seven chapters: Broome and the Dampier Peninsula; Gibb River Road; Mitchell Plateau and Kalumburu; Kununurra and East Kimberley; Great Northern Highway; The Kimberley Coast, and Travel in the Kimberley.
Book Review | 57 Each chapter is then broken down into various destinations and what to see and do there, the best time to travel and some fun and interesting facts relating to them. It’s an easy reading format that whets the appetite and gives you enough information to know what to do and why, but without overloading you. The final chapter discusses travel in the Kimberley and it’s challenges and pitfalls. It also serves as a reminder that even in the 21st century, this is a wild place and that help can be hours or days away if things go boab-shaped. If you’re heading through Western Australia’s dramatic north-west, 100 Things To See In The Kimberley makes an excellent glovebox companion that will save you lots of time, as well as lots of questions at tourist offices, caravan parks and around campfires. It might even turn you into something of an expert, or at the least stop you making rookie mistakes…
Title: 100 Things To See In The Kimberley By: Scotty Connell Publisher: Exploring Eden Media Cost: $29.95 RRP Buy: www.thekimberleyaustralia.com/blog/book
58 | Travel
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 | 59
undaberg sits on Queenslandâ€™s glorious coastline, approximately 385 kilometres north of Brisbane. Centred on the picturesque Burnett River and at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, the city retains a natural charm and relaxed lifestyle. When visiting Bundaberg, experience an array of tourist attractions including a tour of the popular Bundaberg Rum distillery. Other popular sites include the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery and Hinkler Hall of Aviation. With an equable climate, relaxed lifestyle, modern Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
shopping and world-class eco-tourism experiences, Bundaberg is a wonderful place to visit. RV travellers will find short-term parking at Hinkler Lions Tourist Park, located along University Drive. Parking is available for up to 24 hours and only for self-contained vehicles. There is no cost involved to stay on site, while access to toilets and water is included. A dump point is also located at the park, as well as potable water.
Bundaberg Visitor Information Centre 271 Bourbong St, Bundaberg Ph: 1300 722 099 www.bundabergregion.org 3 & 27 Quay St, Bundaberg
Short & Long Term Parking
Hinkler Lions Tourist Park, University Dr Bundaberg 24 hrs, nil charge, self-contained vehicles only, pets on lead, mobile phone coverage, bins, toilets, water, covered seating
Hinkler Lions Tourist Park, University Dr Bundaberg Lat: -24.8968 Long: 152.3141
Hinkler Lions Tourist Park, University Dr Bundaberg
60 | Travel
Kambalda, Western Australia
ambalda is 616 kilometres east of Perth and on the edge of the giant Lake Lefroy, a 40 kilometre salt pan that is rarely filled with water. Kambalda was founded in 1897 during the gold boom, but was completely deserted by 1908. The town was revived in the 1960s, thanks to the construction of Australia’s first nickel mine. Visitors can experience panoramic views of Lake Lefroy or enjoy the local flora and fauna on the Red Hill Walking Trail to the lookout.
Both are well worth a visit for anyone stopping in to visit this small mining town. A popular time to visit is November and December, when Kambalda holds it Community Trash ‘n’ Treasure and Community Christmas Tree events. Free parking for RVs is available for up to 24 hours on Barnes Drive in Kambalda West. A dump point and potable water are provided at the site, and pets on leads are also permitted.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Tourist/Visitor Centre Kambalda Community Resource Centre Silver Gimlet & Salmon Gum Road Kambalda WA 6442 P: 08 9080 2111 www.coolgardie.wa.gov.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Salmon Gum Rd, Kambalda West
Short & Long Term Parking
Barnes Dr, Kambalda West, (24hr), bins, water, pets on lead, nil cost
Barnes Dr, Kambalda West
Barnes Dr, Kambalda West (near dump point)
Travel | 61
Port Lincoln, South Australia
ort Lincoln is on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, 280 kilometres west of Adelaide. The beautiful township overlooks Boston Bay and claims to be the Seafood Capital of Australia, with fisheries specialising in tuna, kingfish, abalone, mussels and oyster production.
in the surrounding Spencer Gulf and Great Australian Bite.
RV parking is available for up to 72 hours at Axel Point Boat Ramp and Billy Lights Point Boat Ramp. Both sites are available at a cost of $10 per vehicle per night and provide access to toilets, bins and water. Site fees are payable This is a fantastic base from which to explore to Port Lincoln VIC or Axel Stenross Maritime the nearby Coffin Bay National Park and Kellidie Museum. A dump point and potable water can Bay Conservation Park. Water sports such as be found on Windsor Avenue (during daylight yachting, diving and game fishing are popular hours only).
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Tourist/Visitor Centre Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre 3 Adelaide Place, Port Lincoln, SA, 5606 Ph 08 8683 3544 www.visitportlincoln.net
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking
Tasman Tce (on seaside opposite Makybe Diva Statue) & Washington St (between Adelaide Pl & Lewis St) Axel Stenross Boat Ramp, (3 nights), toilets, bins, water; or Billy Lights Point Boat Ramp, (3 nights), toilets, bins, water, BBQ. Both sites $10pvpn payable to Port Lincoln VIC or Axel Stenross Maritime Museum
Windsor Ave, Port Lincoln (locked at sunset & reopened at sunrise)
Windsor Ave, Port Lincoln
Next Issue | 63
MORE SURPRISES? Malcolm has promised his across-the-pond offering to be the Benimar Primero 331, due this issue. It’s 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 – which we promise will run. The June issue will be out on Saturday the 1st. Until then why not join our more than 30,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
ell, this issue didn’t exactly go to plan, so why should we expect the next to? Post the Sydney Show we’re chasing a couple of motorhomes for review, and so will leave it in the lap of the RV Gods as to which graces next issue’s cover.
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
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Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow Brisbane Showgrounds Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Qld. 4006. • • • •
Open 9:30-6:00 (4:00 Monday) Adults: $16 Concession: $12 Kids - U16 free with adult
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
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Mildura Great Outdoor Expo Mildura Racecourse Cowra Ave, Mildura,Vic. 3501 • • • •
pen 10:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) O Adults: $15 Concession: $12 Kids - U16 free
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
Inside the FREE issue: Editorials • Letters • News • Taste - Peugeot Expert • Taste - Bürstner Lyseo T700 • New Release - Trakka Jabiru 2S •...
Published on May 16, 2019
Inside the FREE issue: Editorials • Letters • News • Taste - Peugeot Expert • Taste - Bürstner Lyseo T700 • New Release - Trakka Jabiru 2S •...