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Feature: The benefits of escorted motorhome holidays... On My Mind Splendid Isolation?
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2 | About iMotorhome
iMotorhome Magazine Lite is published monthly by www.imotorhome.com.au and your letters and contributions are always welcome.
Design & Production
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email@example.com Christopher O’Hare Malcolm Street
Road Test Editor
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4 | Extra Thoughts
elcome to iMotorhome Magazine Lite! When we kicked off iMotorhome Magazine back in May 2012 the idea always was we would eventually have two versions: Free and Premium (Freemium in publishing speak).
However, it’s an ongoing process converting people from old mindsets and so, harking back to our original idea, the plan re-emerged to bring out iMotorhome Magazine Lite.
With Facebook, Google and a legion of big publishers jumping into the digital publishing (and advertising revenue) space, life – okay, survival – has become ‘challenging’ for tiny niche publishers like us. As a canny businessman I’m a great magazine editor, and so the eventual move to a paid Premium version became a necessity. Fortunately technology has moved apace since those early days and thankfully now there are multiple and reasonably affordable digital delivery methods available
Of course we want every reader to become a subscriber, but until then – and even then, to encourage new readers – I hope you’ll read and enjoy iMotorhome Magazine Lite. We’ll mix and match content each issue, so be sure to come back next moth to see what’s included.
Each issue will feature the editorial, letters and news from our current Premium issue, plus a An economical/practical platform to deliver the selection of other articles – some as teasers to encourage you across and some from earlier Premium version didn’t exist at that stage and issues – including occasionally unique stories over time we just got used to doing what we did, year in year out, and everyone enjoyed the to make it all the more interesting. Release is timed for our mid-month email, giving Premium status quo. That was, until the harsh winds of economic reality began to blow hard across our buyers a head start on what’s going on, but not so far out of date it’s not worth reading. bank account…
While information on the Internet has almost always been free, there is a growing movement towards paying for specialist and trustworthy knowledge.
While it won’t satisfy those who want everything for free, dare I say, better Lite than never?
On My Mind | 5
hile isolation can indeed be splendid and a tonic for the soul on a personal level, in business the problem with it is the lack of vision, understanding and diversity it leads to, amongst other things. And that’s not to mention suspicion and fear it can create.
I’m just back from my first visit to Düsseldorf, Germany, for the annual Caravan Salon – the world’s biggest RV show. Actually that’s not quite true: I began writing this on my last night there, finished it in the UK several days later while stopping off on the way home, and then polished it up a bit at 41,000 ft over South East Asia. While the world might be touted as a small place after all it’s still a long way from one side to the other. At least that provides opportunities to the Tech Nomad to do a bit more work in this globally connected age. It’s also my first experience with in-flight Wi-Fi, something I’ve always avoided because it’s good to be ‘disconnected’ at some point these days. However, I have to grudgingly admit it is handy to have the connectivity option. Being able to clear the email backlog before landing/getting home is a real novelty, but I’ve digressed… On the last day of the Caravan Salon I met up with Alan Heath, who runs the Motorhome Full Time website and YouTube channel. We’ve emailed over the years and it was good to finally meet in person. It was also great to be shown around the show by someone who has been there many times before and literally speaks the lingo. Despite being an international event, Düsseldorf is very much a German
consumer show. There’s little information in English and a surprising number of exhibitors speak little or no English. In the time I wandered the halls with Alan he fluently spoke German, Italian and French, apart from conversing with me in his native English. Alan is a Pom and a full-time RVer who has lived in Poland for the past 30 years. I felt embarrassed by my linguistic ineptitude, which is largely the result of our not-so-splendid isolation. As many of you will well remember, growing up in Australia in the 50s, 60s and 70s was like living in a huge rowboat in the middle of the ocean, for all the relevance other languages had on our daily lives. And while English has become an international language – much to the annoyance of the French – and many ‘foreigners’ are more than happy and even keen to speak/practice it, I always feel inadequate when travelling outside Australia, the US or UK. This feeling of linguistic isolation is also paralleled by the state of the local RV industry, especially compared to New Zealand. At the Düsseldorf show I counted 80 to 90 motorhome and campervan manufacturers, and I know I didn’t find them all. The product diversity is bewildering and the competition and innovation it spawns is intense and eye opening. Sure there is a lot of sameness – there are only so many ways to arrange things in a rectangle box – but it’s amazing how people seem to keep coming up with new ideas. New Zealand opened its doors to RV imports some years back and it apparently continued...
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On My Mind | 7 continued...
decimated the local manufacturing industry. That’s an interesting outcome in itself because it shows the local offering really wasn’t what people wanted, it was all they were offered. However, the industry adjusted, recovered and now has never been busier, more vibrant or successful, and probably never employed as many people. It has also never sold so many motorhomes. That’s because buyers have unprecedented choice and are voting with their wallets. Interestingly and by way of example, longtime manufacturer TrailLite now imports and sells AutoTrails and Benimars, yet it’s greatly revamped local manufacturing arm can’t keep up with demand for it’s high-end distinctly Kiwi motorhomes: Proof that if you offer a world class product you can not just survive, but thrive.
of Australia, yet it won’t be long before it sells more new motorhomes each year. How can that be? Yes, traditionally we are a caravan market, but we were a horse-and-cart market when the motor lorry came along! New campervan/ motorhomes registrations in Australia are closer to five percent of total RV production than the ten percent it used to be. While the industry booms, we’re effectively dying. Embrace change, move with the times and everyone benefits. No man is an island, and neither is an island these days (if you catch my drift). It’s a global world out there and we should be embracing it, to everyone’s benefit. What are we waiting for?
P.S. Forgot to mention I snavelled a drive of the all-new Sprinter at the Düsseldorf Show! It was a Hymer van conversion and I was allowed 15 I wonder how long the Australian RV market minutes to go around the block. Literally. What’s can exist in Splendid Isolation? I truly believe it like? Very nice. The cockpit is much more car we make some of the best motorhomes and like and takes its styling cues from Mercedes’ campervans in the world and I have no desire passenger vehicles. The new steering wheel to see any company close. But why don’t we is a joy to – literally – behold: Sporty and learn from NZ, embrace the world and offer tactile it’s a winner, while the new dash is a big complementary product lines that give buyers improvement. Can’t wait to try it in Australia, but a wider choice? It’s true we do have some UK it looks like the Sprinter will remain on top of the and European brands in Australia. However, desirability heap. I didn’t get to drive VW’s new marketing efforts have been half-hearted (I’m Crafter, but by comparison its dash is current being kind) where those brands are sold by local generation VW car-inspired, so pretty dull. manufacturers with their own vehicles to sell. However, I think it looks better externally and so Why? What’s the point? Who benefits? it will be interesting to compare the two when we get the chance. Instead of bickering over gas regulations, electrical connections and the nonsense only Australian-built can handle Australian conditions, let’s ‘go global’ – and go forward. NZ has about 20 percent of the population
8 | Street View
’ve not long spent a few very pleasant days skiing the slopes of Cardrona and Treble Cone, whilst enjoying the charms and delights of Wanaka. Our transport on this occasion was a Jucy Cabana camping car (rather than a campervan). Those who know me well might be a little surprised that Mrs Malcolm and I took the Jucy camper rather than something a little more upmarket; you know, with shower/toilet, heater and all those other little comforts (you got me! – Ed). However, all we needed was a day vehicle with hob, fridge and a few basic facilities, because we were staying in a house whilst in Wanaka, and the Cabana served us very well. It did have one other facility that we needed: room to fit the snow skis without having to resort to racks. For the winter season I prefer Wanaka to Queenstown. It’s a little quieter, while to get to the aforementioned resorts it means avoiding the steep, winding sections of the southern part of Crown Range Road (something really exciting when it’s snowing or there is ice on the road). I know that the road is often subject to bad weather and I’ve been there on one memorable occasion that meant having to turn around, but I hadn’t realised it is one of the highest roads in New Zealand, yet reaching an altitude of just 1,121 m (3,677 ft) above sea level. It is a great drive and there is the very historical Cardrona pub to be visited, plus some magnificent views along the way, so it isn’t all bad… Getting back to Wanaka, I know it’s really offseason time for motorhome touring in August,
but I was greatly surprised by the number of rental motorhomes of all sizes parked around the town during the day, and particularly late afternoon along the lakefront. Some owners were clearly there for the skiing but an equal number were just touring around and the rental motorhome business seems to be doing well indeed. Jucy campervans are quite distinctive in colour and a cheery wave when seeing one along the road seems to be de rigueur for both driver and passenger. On a day away from the slopes we visited a winery (or two). At one we were a little surprised by the $15 per person charge for tasting, an offer we declined (been awhile since your last tasting? – Ed). At another, the Rippon Winery, which has a stunning view of Lake Wanaka, the tasting was free but a donation was requested for a charity. A much better idea we thought, especially as the wines were great too. Did I like my Jucy camper winter travels? You bet. For our purposes it suited very nicely. The Toyota Estima (Tarago for Aussies)-based Jucy ran very well, was cheaper than an equivalent hire car and best of all, the snow chains (it being a front wheel drive) were very easy to fit! I’ll have more about the Jucy camper in an upcoming issue and seeing all the motorhomes around Wanaka confirmed my theory that motorhome travel can be done any time of the year!
SWITCH A great place to start
making the motorhome lifestyle easy
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.
What If? We bought our first motorhome last year and by and large have enjoyed our first travels, mistakes and all, and the whole lifestyle of getting out and about, and meeting lots of terrific new people. But. I’ve been following iMotorhome for a couple of years and you helped us decided on what we want, but you also showed us what’s available overseas and I can’t help looking enviously abroad and wondering what if. What if we could buy something European or even American over there and bring it back? Or better still, what if we could buy them here especially second hand? When we were looking around dealer’s yards in NSW and Vic and asking about imports, we kept hearing how only Australian made could handle our conditions and how imports are rubbish and fall apart. Not being an idiot or believing their stories, and also not liking the attitudes of many we spoke to, we went on our way and bought privately. It seems to me the RV industry here is parochial and highly self interested, and it’s a real turn off. Our little motorhome is locally made and has been well cared for. It’s a beauty and will do us for a few years more while we decide what we want to do. If we decide to update I’ll be looking to find a good, used imported model
because we both love the space efficiency and style of European motorhomes. If not, we might just sell up here and buy one and use it in Europe for a few years because at least we might find what we really want. Sorry for the rant, but I hate being the victim of self interest. Regards, Steve An interesting and timely yarn Steve. I feel your frustration, in which case you’ll probably agree with my post-Dusseldorf editorial this issue! There’s no easy answer or silver bullet solution and I’m sorry to hear about your dealer experience. And yet, if dealer staff are indoctrinated into that belief it’s hardly surprising. There’s also no doubt some aspects of motorhome design need to specifically take into account our extreme heat and longs distances, but those are things that really aren’t rocket science. For raising the subject and sharing your experiences, please accept this issue’s $50 prize. It won’t buy you a new motorhome of any sort (except a model), but it’s a start!
On your mind | 11
Congratulations! Congratulations on the move to paid, I’m sure it’s been a great success, and headache. Just wanted to let you know that while I loved it being free, for the small asking price I can’t believe you won’t get everyone subscribing. Good luck and keep up the great work!
Regards, Chandra Appreciate your good wishes Chandra and fingers crossed your attitude spreads amongst the Luddites out there… !
Subscription Issues I’ve had a few problems with Issuu.com when trying to subscribe and wonder if there is an easier way for you to deliver the magazine to those of us who only want to read it on a computer. The Issuu website isn’t very clear and it took a bit of hunting to find where to pay and I’d hate to think you lost readers because off it. Good luck, John We’ve certainly had some ‘issues’ with issuu. com and I’ve been in touch with them with suggestions on how to make their website and the buying process easier and more intuitive.
It’s funny when tech nerds design things – what seems obvious to them can leave the rest of us bewildered. You’re certainly not alone in your frustrations so thanks for sticking with it. What I have been offering as an alternative to the technically challenged/annoyed is to pay us directly and I just email a PDF of the magazine out when it’s done. It’s not something we could do on a big scale, but I’m happy to offer the service on an individual basis. Anyway, hope you enjoy the reading experience via Issuu now it’s sorted, and thanks for subscribing.
Insurance Have you ever thought about doing a round up of insurance companies who specialise in motorhome insurance? It would be very handy, especially as hubby and I are looking to buy our first motorhome later this year. It’s very exciting but also a bit daunting, so any help would be great. Thanks, Steve & Muriel
That’s an interesting thought, you two. For the most part it seems like Ken Tame has the market sewn up, and also has an excellent reputation. Our Project Polly is insured with them and getting a cracked windscreen replaced when we were having Polly’s windscreen frame rust treated was painlessly easy. You need to be a CMCA member to insure with them, but it’s a good starting point.
12 | On your mind
Memories My wife and I have been reading iMotorhome for years and last year went to Düsseldorf when on holidays in Europe. It was a lucky coincidence and we stayed 2 days but wish we’d been there for the week. What a show, made all the more relevant by our search at the time for a new campervan. Our old HiAce was on its last legs and we were looking for inspiration. We found it in spades, but I was surprised to find that nobody converts HiAces over there, everything’s VW, Mercedes, Renault or whatever. Come to think of it I can’t remember seeing a HiAce in Europe at all. Do you know if they’re sold over there? Anyway, when I read last issue that you were heading over there for the first time it brought
back a lot of memories and I think you’ll probably be amazed. Hope the trip went well and we look forward to some photos to reminisce over. Cheers, Tom. Thanks Tom, I was amazed and no, I didn’t see any HiAces over there either. A quick Google search show’s they’re there, so maybe concerns over frontal impact safety or the, um, ‘average’ driving experience puts converters and buyers off. Or maybe it’s just having so many other choices? Whatever the reason the show certainly was amazing and I hope you enjoy the pics in this issue. More to come in October!
14 | News
aunching at the Sydney Camping Lifestyle Expo on Thursday 20 September, the Trakkadu 450 S is the first of a new style of Trakkadu campervans. With its release Trakkadus now come in three flavours: On-Road, Off-Road and Sport, and there’s no prizes for working out the italicised ’S’ in the model name stands for Sport. Trakka’s website says, “Introducing the future of premium campervans, the beginning of our Trakkadu Sport range. Brimming with next generation features, our new on road variant, Trakkadu 450 S, is unlike anything else on the market. Replete with a new look and host of new features, once you get behind the wheel of this powerful and unique conversion, it’s going to be hard to drive anything else.” Trakkadu 450 S is built around the latest Volkswagen T6 and powered by a 150 kW/450 Nm, bi-turbo, 2.0-litre diesel driving a 7-speed DSG automatic and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. It rides on 17-inch alloys, features LED headlights and running lights, and sports a wild looking metallic Turmeric Yellow paint job not available on
other Trakkadu models (ditto Pearl White, a more discreet option). The 450 S abounds with safety kit including adaptive cruise control, fog lights with cornering function and all the expected airbags, stability, braking and traction aides, and a whole lot more. Outside you’ll find colour-coded bumpers, mirrors and door handles, a power sliding side-door and a power awning, while up top is a flush-mount 120 watt solar panel charging a 125 AH lithium iron phosphate house battery (which is app monitored). All electrics are 12volt, including the compressor fridge, while cooking, hot water and heating are all dieselfired. The best way to think about the Trakkadu 450 S is really as a cross-over. It blurs the line between car, campervan and SUV, and can transport four people plus gear in outstanding comfort and safety. It can be a daily driver, school bus and holiday escape machine, all the while turning heads with its stunning looks and Euro-sophistication. The Trakkadu 450 S starts at $135,000 and you can find more information here.
Calling All Wilderness Explorers
16 | News
SMARTRV’S OKTOBERFEST EXPO EXTENDS
martRV’s popular Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo has been extended to two days for 2018 and is a unique opportunity to see New Zealand’s biggest range of motorhomes from HYMER, Bürstner and Carado.
“There will be very special Oktoberfest Only deals for visitors to the event and, while along with SmartRV’s own team, motorhome owners who have bought from SmartRV will also be on hand to answer any questions,” a spokesperson said.
As New Zealand’s largest importer of German motorhomes, this annual flagship event for SmartRV is said to be a celebration of all things German. Returning for its fifth year, it will be held from Saturday 13 October to Sunday 14 October at its Auckland centre.
SmartRV’s Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo will be held rain or shine from 9 am to 3pm on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October at 11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks in Auckland. Registration for tickets is free and can be made here (smartrv.co.nz/of).
The two-day motorhome showcase offers a chance to browse SmartRV’s full range of new and used motorhomes while enjoying complimentary tea, coffee and nibbles – and even the sounds of an authentic Oompah band.
A VIP Happy Hour for SmartRV HYMER, Bürstner and Carado owners will also be held following the Expo on Saturday 13 October from 3-5pm. For more information call SmartRV on 0800 891 305 or visit smartrv.co.nz
Your dream is within reach Great brands? Definitely. Exceptional service? You bet. Prices to suit? Absolutely. At SmartRV we have an extensive range of used German motorhomes for sale, meaning the best of European safety and design can be yours. We are the exclusive New Zealand distributor of popular Bürstner, value brand Carado and premium HYMER motorhomes. Don’t wait to start living the life you dream of.
Suggested models 2
Drive on a car licence
Bürstner Nexxo T690G
Bürstner Nexxo T685
Come and see us at our sales centres in Auckland or Christchurch. Or visit smartrv.co.nz for details.
Exclusively distributed in New Zealand by 11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland | 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch | 0800 005 312 (NZ) | firstname.lastname@example.org | smartrv.co.nz
18 | News
GUINNESS WORLD RV RECORD ATTEMPT
n May 2019 the Australian Motorhoming Lions Club (AMLC), in partnership with the Barcaldine Regional Council (BRC), will lead efforts to break two world records, with proceeds from the five-day event going to regional charities. “RVers from all over Australia and beyond are invited to take part. We welcome Motorhomes, Caravans, Campervans and Fifth Wheelers, as per the guidelines set by Guinness World Records. There is no requirement for membership in any club and this a child and pet friendly event. All we ask is that you keep your fur babies under control at all times during the event,” said the AMLC.
The main record attempt will be for, “The largest parade of camping vehicles (RVs)”. The current World Record was set on 22nd June 2003 when 672 camping vehicles (RVs) took part in a parade in Canelli, Italy. “In May 2019, the AMLC plan to smash this record. Our goal is to achieve a parade of at least 1000 RVs. Won’t that be a sight to behold? The parade of moving RVs will occur along the Aramac-Barcaldine Road, which is a long and almost straight country road.” Registration cost is $20 per vehicle and camping in Barcaldine is available from $10 per night. To find out the full details and also sign up click here.
News | 19
APOLLO RENTALS IN EUROPE along with one of its rentals vehicles – a Fiat Ducato van conversion from German manufacturer Weinsberg.
pollo Rentals is opening its doors in Europe in April 2019, in the Northern German city of Hamburg. The company had a small display announcing its intentions at last week’s Dusseldorf Caravan Salon,
Hamburg is the first city in an ambitious plan that will eventually see offices open across Europe. It was chosen for its popularity as a motorhome rental location for people heading north into Scandinavia, according to Apollo’s on-stand representative. Apparently, motorhome rental in Scandinavian countries is considerably more expensive, due to its short summer touring season and generally higher costs. Expect pricing and availability details to be announced closer to launch time.
The Wirraway 260 SL
With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !
From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.
Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!
View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500 Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: email@example.com & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
20 | News
NSW ROAD RELATED DEVELOPMENTS trial drivers will still need to carry their physical driver licence card. The new digital licence will sit within the Service NSW mobile app and will be optional once it is available statewide in 2019 (drivers can keep using their physical card). To take part in the trial sign up to a MyServiceNSW Account. Click here for further information. In other developments, the NSW Government is reviewing parking rules to make sure fines are fair and reasonable, and improve estrial of the NSW digital driver licence otherwise confusing parking signs. Have your has just been announced for November say on this important issue by answering in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. The a short six question survey or by sharing digital driver licence is free for all licence pictures of confusing parking signs in your holders (including Ls and Ps) who live in the community. Click here. Failure to comply can trial area. Participants will be able to test the result in a $448 fine and the loss of 3 demerit new licence and give feedback. During the points.
AL-KO’S OWN HONOURED
ne of AL-KO International’s key staff has been honoured with a top award. Technical and manufacturing manager Rob Funder has been inducted into the Caravan Trade & Industries Association of Victoria’s Hall of Fame. It recognises his 44 years of service to AL-KO and his contribution towards advancing the Australian RV industry. Mr Funder was a member of an AL-KO team that designed the first electric braking system for caravans in Australia, which is now fitted to many caravans rolling off production lines.
NEW RVâ€™S AT
VALUE FUNCTION DESIGN
Hitting the great outdoors this year? Book a check-up appointment at motorhomedoctor.com.au All makes all models
iMotorhome Marketplace | 23
The Duvalay Memory Foam Sleeping System – No lifting, no tucking, no fighting over the doona and bedding that stays put. Find out why it’s Europe’s bedding of choice for caravans & motorhomes. The premium grade memory foam ensures total comfort and the award winning design cover means your bed is made in seconds.
Roberts RV World
An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.
Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!
T: 1800 273 136 W: robertsrv.com.au
T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au
Southern Highlands Service Centre • • • • • •
More Versatile Than Any Other RV Camp Anywhere - It’s Self Contained Large Bathroom With Shower & Toilet Easy To Operate With Electric Jacks Models For Single, Extra & Dual Cabs Plus! Famous Ozcape Quality & Support
duvalay.com.au | (02) 6653 4640
Southern Spirit Campervans FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Full & part fitouts Hitop, Poptop and Reimo roofs True custommade conversions Repairs & improvements BYO van from Hiace to Sprinter
Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!
An Authorised Repco Service Centre just off the Hume Highway at Mittagong. Auto electrical and mechanical service specialists happy to look after your motorhome or campervan! Call Mark or Sharon and tell them iMotorhome sent you!
T: (02) 4872 2822 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 11 years cover manufacturing experience Australia wide.Free Measure & Quote Call in Factory 1:354 Mons Road Forest Glen : Sunshine Coast Queensland PH-‐1300 304 332/0754564818 www.caravancovers.com.au email@example.com
24 | iMotorhome Marketplace
Battery Traders Super Store
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.
Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.
Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!
T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au
T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au
T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au
hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available
5th wheeler specialist
Our vehicle-specific insulation screens are Australian made from specially designed and tested material to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. As featured in iMotorhome’s Project Polly!
T: (07) 3398 5500 W: solarscreen.com.au
Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.
T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au
Find power anywhere with a REDARC Inverter
America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!
T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au
The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults LATEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RV OWNERS
The alternative to a bike!!
25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg
Folds away quite compact for small storage
Plug in and get 240 volt power on the go. Click here.
To ﬁnd out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.e-twow.com 1
26 | Tested: Avida Birdsville C7444SL
Australians have been trekking to Avida dealers for years to buy this popular mid-size motorhome Story by Richard Robertson | Images by Malcolm Street
Tested | 27
This second generation C-class Birdsville has a more rounded Luton peak for its over-cab bed. Size-wise the model sits in the sweet spot of being big enough for long term living but small enough to remain economical and easily manoeuvrable.
t’s not difficult to see why the Birdsville is one of the most popular models Avida makes. It sits in that sweet spot where size, price, features and style combine to deliver what is for many the perfect motorhome.
everything!) and SL means slide-out. It’s also strictly a four-seat, four-berth motorhome and for most people that’s fine. Got all that? Good…
Not only does the Birdsville sit in a sweet The Birdsville range comprises four models, but spot, I think it’s a sweet looking motorhome. in reality there are just two floorplans – each Earlier C-class Birdsvilles had a kind of angular, offered with the option of an over-cab bed. So faceted Luton Peak (the bulbous bit above in motorhomes speak this means there are two the cab where the extra bed goes). However, C-class Birdsvilles (with an over-cab bed) and when the model was face lifted the Luton was two B-class (sans over-cab bed). All models restyled and is now much more rounded. Trivia seat and sleep a minimum of four, with one of time: The Luton Peak takes its name from the each type seating and sleeping six. town of Luton in the UK, where in the 1920s or 30s the Bedford factory first produced The subject of this review is the Birdsville trucks with an over-cab section added to their C7444 SL. This C in the name indicates it’s originally square cargo bodies. a C class; 74 means it’s (almost) 7.4 m long; 44 means something I’m sure (I can’t know
28 | Tested The Birdsville features Avida’s traditional body construction that comprises a steel floor with an aluminium body frame on top, which in turn is packed with foam installation between an outer fibreglass skin and inner lining panel. The nosecone and rear wall are fibreglass mouldings and there’s a one-piece roof (literally) capping it all off. While not as cutting edge as some manufacturers’ systems it’s proven and durable. The C7444SL’s party piece is its almost full length slide-out on the driver’s side, which starts behind the cab and runs to within a metre or so of the back wall. Inside, it holds the cafe-style dinette, wardrobe and main bed, and
the only reason it stops short of the rear wall is that in all Birdsvilles the bathroom runs full width across the back. The slide-out also has small hatches that provide external access to the storage beneath each of the dinette seats. That’s in addition to the other lockers around the lower part of the body, which provide numerous if not large/bulky storage options. One note on the exterior is the use of louvered glass windows rather than the more modern, double glazed acrylic units that are largely the norm these days. While they might look a bit old-fashioned the louvers are good because they provide a lot of fresh air without sticking out too far, are structurally unaffected by gusty To read the rest of this review subscribe to iMotorhome Magazine here
The big slide-out opens up the interior and houses the dinette up front and bed at the rear. Hatches access underdinette storage, while louvered windows are practical, especially in wet weather.
30 | Tested: Bürstner Argos Time A650
That’s Bürstner’s Argos Time A650… By Malcolm Street
Tested | 31
Despite 155,000 km of rental use the Bürstner was in good condition and ready for a long and useful life in ‘comfortable retirement’. Having the bike was a real bonus, especially for all the times I forgot the bread and milk (as we motorhomers are apparently want to do!).
ot so long ago I had a rather last minute job and needed a motorhome for a few days and fortunately, Smart RV was kind enough to lend me one of its ex-rentals. Most of the time in this fine magazine we get to play with new motorhomes, but in this case it’s an older model having served time in the Wilderness rental fleet. With about 155,000 km on the odometer, apart from anything else, I was keen to see how the Bürstner stood up the rigours of rental service. In many ways the Argos Time A650 is well suited to rental service because it is a six berth motorhome. The clue for that is the rather distinctive Luton peak; one curved in a rather appealing way that makes it stand out less than it might otherwise do. It also makes this a C-class motorhome. With an external length of 6.5 m (21’ 4”), the A650 isn’t a long motorhome, which does mean a bit of a challenge in the layout department.
Like just about all the Bürstner fleet, the motive power for the Argos Time is the ubiquitous Fiat Ducato. In this case it’s the Multijet 130, which comes with a 2.3-litre turbo-diesel that has maximum power/torque figures of 96 kW/320 Nm. With a tare mass of 3010 kg this is a relatively lightweight motorhome and has a good load capacity of 990 kg, which I suspect won’t really be used. There is but one external storage locker and it gives access to the rear under-bed area. It’s quite deep and accommodates the spare wheel standing upright. At the kerb-side rear are both the gas cylinder (1 x 9 kg and 1 x 4 kg) and cassette toilet lockers. A feature I quite liked was the Fiamma bike rack – complete with a push bike in this case! In the late afternoons it was handy for pedalling around the local area for some exercise and sightseeing.
32 | Tested
t’s definitely interesting what can be achieved in a motorhome by compressing a few features. Like for instance, fitting a French bed in one rear corner allows enough space for a combo bathroom in the other. Having a Luton peak over the cab means an extra double bed can be fitted in, while the café-style dinette allows for a bed as well. About the only feature that isn’t particularly useful in this design are the swivelling cab seats; the passenger one having a dinette seat behind it, while the driver’s has the kitchen bench partly behind it. Large windows are essential in a motorhome like this as are good sized/well placed roof hatches. All windows are double-glazed acrylic awning style, including the kitchen, which did require care in positioning because of the entry door opening.
Top: The older Fiat Ducato was still going strong. Above: Interior space is efficiently used to provide seating and sleeping for six.
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Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.
Lake Pukaki, South Island
No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealand your way in a premium rental motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz
34 | Travel
Motorhome Touring The Easy Way
Malcolm explores the benefits and advantages of escorted motorhome toursâ€Ś
Travel | 35
have to confess to be being something of a fly-drive motorhome traveller and there are some good reasons for that. Both Mrs Malcolm and I are still working, therefore our holiday time is limited. Also, we like to travel by motorhome and I don’t have to tell you the benefits of that. However, because of vast distances in Australia we have mastered the limited-time method of flying in to a chosen location and picking up a rental motorhome. That of course works equally well for overseas travel and it’s something we have done quite regularly in both America and Canada. On quite a few of our overseas trips we have chosen our destinations and done our planning accordingly. However, we have also done it another way and whilst choosing our starting and finishing point, have left someone else to do the minutiae planning, in the form of an escorted motorhome tour. There are considerable advantages to this, and apart from anything else, if you are a bit nervous about overseas motorhome travel it’s great
knowing there is a bit of local knowledge and advice close to hand.
Travel Agent or Not?
hen considering an overseas motorhome trip a trip to your local travel agent might not always be informative. Whilst travel agents might be good at luxury travel destinations, budget flights and great hotels, asking about motorhome tours sometimes results in a slight glazing of the eyes. In one memorable example of our own some years ago, the travel agent thought we were moving “downmarket” in our motorhome travel plans and told us so. We moved all right, out of the door of said agency… However, there are experienced motorhome people around who know their stuff: One being Graeme Smyth, formerly of the Harvey World Travel franchise at Menai, NSW, who now runs America and Canada Motorhome Tours (ACMT). Way back in 2003 Graeme started to organise motorhome tours through Canada
36 | Travel
and Alaska. To say the least, they were and still are hugely successful and I know quite a few people who have enjoyed them.
he MO of ACMT is quite simple: Organise a group of motorhomes to cover a designated route, pre-book the RVs and RV parks, hotels and additional trips along the way, and if necessary give assistance to those who are not familiar with motorhome travel, especially in the early days of the tour. Finally let all the RV travellers move along at their own pace during the day, just meeting up at the booked RV park in the afternoon.
Destination – the ALCAN
CMT offer a number of tours and about the only problem I can see is choosing which one. I have travelled some of the available routes, but the one that Graeme
Smyth first started with and by coincidence, the one at the top of my bucket list is Alaska – specifically, Seattle to Anchorage via British Columbia in Canada – or the reverse. The tour travels up the Alaska Canada Highway (ALCAN) and included is a cruise along the fabled Inside Passage. For those who have a bit more time, there’s the Chicago to Anchorage tour, which includes all of the above plus the northern states of the USA.
Destination – Country, Rhythm & Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Jazz
hose musically inclined might prefer the Nashville to the Caribbean tour, which takes-in Miami, Disney World, Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and more, plus a Caribbean cruise. It’s not only music of course but certainly a very upbeat tour on a number of levels.
Travel | 37 Destination â€“ Anne of Green Gables
jest of course, but this Eastern Canadian tour does indeed take in Prince Edward Island, home of the legendary Anne of Green gables, but much more also. Starting and finishing in New York, the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec are all on the itinerary, as are cities like Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa. Not to be missed is the 1000 Islands cruise nor the magnificent Niagara Falls, best seen from the Canadian side of course!
Destination â€“ Route 66
nyone wishing to see a side of American life away from many of the major tourist areas just has to travel along
the fabled Route 66. Not only are there some great sights to be seen but travelling the various sections of the old road gives some fascinating insights into not only American history, but contemporary life as well. Naturally, destinations like Sante Fe, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas are all included.
What I think
s noted above, a motorhome tour is a great way to go. It is not convoy travel, which I personally find tiring, but travelling at your own pace, enjoying diversions along the way. Some might find the prospect of driving on the other side of the road a bit daunting, but itâ€™s not really. And while the motorhomes might be bigger, so are the highways and roadside facilities. A little tip if not
38 | Travel experienced in left hand driving: If possible, have a few day’s car hire prior to moving on to a larger vehicle. Even for the not so nervous, a motorhome tour can save a considerable amount of time both prior to the trip and once on the ground. On a trip to Canada a few years ago we had been unable to get a good travel plan together prior to flying and more or less did it from day to day. It worked, but possibly not as efficiently nor stress-free as it might have been. One other good reason for a motorhome tour is the fun and camaraderie of traveling loosely with a group of like-minded people. A little surprise for us on our Route 66 tour last year was that our group of Australians became a subject of fascination in more than one RV park. That’s because we met each afternoon for happy hour, something of a fixed event for many an Aussie RV traveller, but not so apparent in the US. Indeed, in one park the owner joined us because he was so pleased to see us enjoying his excellent facilities. That’s just one of the many little surprises waiting to be discovered on a North American motorhome tour, so what are you waiting for?
Contact: Graeme Smyth America & Canada Motorhomes Tours T: 0412 692 101 W: www.motorhometours.com.au
AUD per person twin share
AUD per person twin share
AUD per person twin share
41 | Next Issue
TAIL CHASING… to the upcoming Sydney Lifestyle Expo. Don’t worry, however, we’ll work something out! From across the Pond, Malcolm reviews a stylish Bürstner Ixeo 1729 A-class that’s sure to impress. We’ll also have more coverage from the Düsseldorf Show plus a look at a smaller luxury Euro A-class just delivered to its proud owners in Australia.
etween Richard’s adventures in Germany and Malcolm’s skiing in NZ we’re chasing our tails when it comes to an Australian review for October. We are talking with a couple of manufacturers, but at this stage don’t have any firm arrangements due
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The first issue of our new, free mid-month magazines, with highlights from the current and recent subscription issues of iMotorhome Magazine...
Published on Sep 18, 2018
The first issue of our new, free mid-month magazines, with highlights from the current and recent subscription issues of iMotorhome Magazine...