Page 1

! n i W

the r o f 0 $5 ter! t e l t s be

MARCH 2019

MAGAZINE

Trakking About Living with the new Trakkaway 720… Melbourne Show

New Sprinter takes centre stage

Product Test Portable Water Filter

Carado T447

Travel

Kayaking the Vic coast


2 | About iMotorhome

iMotorhome Magazine is published monthly and available by subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome!

Editorial

Design & Production

Richard Robertson

Agnes Nielsen

Publisher/Managing Editor

Manager/Lead Designer

(+61) 0414 604 368

agnes@imotorhome.com.au

richard@imotorhome.com.au Christopher O’Hare Malcolm Street

Designer

Road Test Editor

chris@imotorhome.com.au

(+61) 0418 256 126 malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Contributors Emily Barker Sharon Hollamby Allan Whiting Ian Pedly Phillip McLeod

Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Follow us on Facebook and Twitter , Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

Legal ©2  019 iMotorhome Pty Ltd. All content of iMotorhome Magazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome Magazine or on the iMotorhome website.


An exciting & new, master-planned community, designed specifically for active travellers.

At RV Lifestyle Village Oceanside, you’ll discover the hidden gem of Qld’s Coral Coast

2 bed + study from

$486,000

With resort style facilities, plentiful gardens, open green space, and a friendly, community environment, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

✔ No entry or exit fees, ever ✔ No body corporate or strata fees ✔ Retain 100% capital gain ✔ No council rates to pay ✔ Owner-occupiers Close to shops, amenities & essential services | Walk to the beach | Access to the Southern Great Barrier Reef | Marina precinct on your doorstep

Visit the website for your free information pack. 0404 026 918 | info@rvlifestylevillage.com.au

www.rvlifestylevillage.com.au


4 | On My Mind

Autumn Leaves…

A

utumn leaves… me wondering where the year has gone. Every year. But I have to say, I’m not a summer person and so always look forward to the change of seasons. Despite a record hot summer it seems autumn has come early to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Leaves began to change colour some weeks ago and we’ve already had one unusually cold night – 5ºC – but many more around 10 to 12°C. It’s the sort of weather when an old cycling-man’s thoughts turn to long merino pants, mid-weight gloves and jackets. It’s also the sort of weather when many motorhomer’s thoughts turn to heading north. Are you one of them? By default, not being a summer person means I’m not a Queensland person. At least, not someone who could live there – lovely as it is to visit in the cooler months. But there’s the conundrum: Mid winter here means it’s dark at 5 o’clock, by which time there’s a wood fire roaring, an open bottle of red and we close the blinds on the outside world and hunker in for the evening. So why on earth would I want to be anywhere else? And despite the chill of midwinter in these parts, July is my favourite month of the year. That’s because an hour of Tour de France highlights coincide with the fire and bottle of red, with live streaming of the race starting around 10 pm. If I was sitting under the awning of a motorhome up in Kakadu, Broome or some part of Far North Queensland, swatting mozzie, it just wouldn’t be the same. Not only am I not a summer person, by nature I’m a contrarian. I’m not a herd person and I like to travel when other people aren’t, and visit places in the off-season. Fortunately, Mrs iMotorhome is the same, although don’t imagine

you’ll find us in Kununurra or somewhere similar in mid February, just because it’s the off-season. I mention all this because I was on a flight coming back from Singapore the other night and sat next to a 20-something architectural student rushing home at the end of Uni-break. She’d just spent eight weeks touring the UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway’s Lofoten Archipelago (look them up!), and parts of Eastern Europe – all in the depths of winter. And she’d had a ball. There were no crowds and flights and accommodation were cheap, while her photographs of snowsprinkled coastlines and Christmas card villages filled me with envy. However, I can’t say the same for the bargain airfare routing that was bringing her back to reality: Warsaw to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to London and London to Sydney – all in one go. No wonder she looked tired. Still, it got me thinking about winter’s pending Grey Nomads exodus to the north and where in the south we can take Project Polly in the coming months. My question to you is, are you a winter sun-seeking migrant and if so, why? Is it age-related (think aches and pains), because it’s too hot/wet to do it in summer, just because you like the sunshine or for some other reason I’ve missed? Do tell, it will make interesting reading. Please also tell me how long you go for and where you stay – meaning caravan parks, freedom camping, family and friends or a mixture. Finally, if you use caravan parks have you had to alter your travel plans over the years due to decreasing availability and increasing costs? There are no right or wrong answers to any of my questions, I’m just curious. That’s it for now, time to go sweep up some of those early autumn leaves…

Richard


6 | Contents

8

4

On my Mind

10

On Your Mind

28

Touring Test: Trakka’s Trakkaway 720

42

Tested: Carado T447

54

Show Report

62

Product Test

66

SheDrives: Van Building for Dummies!

72

Travel

82

Mobile Tech

Autumn Leaves…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

14

Street View Haera Mai!

News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

Twin beds make a singular difference…

Twin beds and more in this value German import

New Sprinter and a hybrid drive at the Melbourne Show

Portable drinking water filter

64

Product Review Portable safes!

Starting the build when you know nothing…

Kayaking on Vic’s ocean coast

Discovering Slow Travel

78

Travel

86

Next Issue

Three more RV Friendly Towns

What’s coming up!


8 | Street View

Haera Mai!

A

lthough it was not planned at all, I recently joined a whole bunch of Kiwis who were clearly intent on enjoying Waitangi Day in the apparent time honoured tradition; that is picnics, BBQs or just cheese and wine in a choice location. Preferably in my case, at a beach side location! It all happened because at the time of making a flight booking to Auckland to get a few motorhome photographic reviews in the bag, it didn’t quite register that in the middle of my trip was Waitangi Day. I learned that no motorhome dealer shows much interest in working on that day and so what was I going to do? It was quite simple really – join everyone else in having a day off! On the day in question my loaned McRent Dethleffs Trend motorhome was parked in the beachside caravan park at Orewa, north of Auckland. I decided to head north from there to Matakana and Leigh because I had not really visited those places before; Wenderholm Regional Park being my usual limit when I am working around Auckland. Unfortunately, everyone else seemed to have had the same idea. Not only was the traffic very slow, the parking – particularly in a motorhome – wasn’t easy. In the end I vetoed my little plan for the day, did the only business I needed to do (get a few photos of the Trend) and headed back to Orewa.

By this time of course, it seemed like half of Auckland had arrived in this very pleasant beachside town. I did notice some very creative(!) parking techniques, but fortunately, instead of my planned freebie camping spot for the night, I’d opted to pay for another night in the caravan park, so merely drove into my booked site and parked very easily. Although the caravan park had nicked me for paying for two people – “Peak period” apparently – although I was on my own, I reckoned it was money well spent. A parking spot under the trees, not far from the beach and near the coffee shop (which was doing a roaring trade) – what more could I want? Seemed a good way to spend Waitangi Day to me! I like to think I am reasonably familiar with the motorhome scene, being knowledgeable about motorhomes from New Zealand, Australia, Germany and to a lesser extent, the USA. Every now and again, though, I have a d’oh moment (but don’t we all?). On my first night in the Trend I was wondering about the apparent lack of power points in the kitchen. I usually carry a small multi-outlet power board, given that I carry assorted devices that require charging, and opted to plug it into the slightly awkward-to-get-at power point under the seat. It was only when I went to discuss my little problem with McRent proprietor Jonas Ng, that I realised that there

continued...


Street View | 9

were two perfectly good power points just under the lip of the kitchen bench: easily seen from outside the motorhome but somewhat less so when standing up in the confines of the inside! I’m not quite sure why but the Trend, like most European and British motorhomes, only has single outlet power points, whereas most Kiwi and Aussie motorhomes have doubles. Do those of us from the Antipodes use more power or something? Just a bit of trivia for you…

Power points aside, you can read all about the Dethleffs Trend in the next issue of iMotorhome Magazine. Also by then, Mr iM Publisher and I will have spent some time at the upcoming Covi Show in Auckland. We hear there will be plenty of new goodies on hand, so if you see us come up and say kia ora!

Haere ra!

Malcolm

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: info@wirraway.com.au & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer


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. letters@imotorhome.com.au 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.

Big Brother Blues I read with dismay in the last issue about the work of the CIAA and associated bodies doing their best to keep Australia free of the ‘pest’ of non-compliant imported motorhomes – all in the name of protecting us. Big Brother and Big Business seem to be doing the darnedest to stop some of us being what we want, and I hate it. Then I though about the upcoming NSW State and Federal elections and thought about all the waste that goes with politics and politicians, all in the name of protecting us. And then I remembered this story, which I saved from the internet a year or so back. Still makes me laugh and would make me laugh louder if it wasn’t so true. Hope you get a giggle out of it too.

Jack looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Apple® iPhone® and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Apple® iPad® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MSA stockman named Jack was overseeing his SQL® database through an ODBC connected herd in a remote mountainous pasture in the Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Galaxy Outback when suddenly a brand-new 2018 S8® and, after a few minutes, receives a BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of response. Finally, he prints out a full-colour, dust. The driver, a young man named Cliff in a 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised ® ® ® Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses HP® LaserJet® printer, turns to the stockman and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.” the stockman, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you “That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of give me a calf?” my calves,” says Jack.

continued...


On your mind | 11 He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then Jack says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

nothing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.” “Now give me back my dog.” Cheers, Peter.

The young man thinks about it for a second and Thanks for the laugh Peter, but I feel your then says, “Okay, why not?” frustration. What is the answer? I don’t know, “You’re an advisor to a member of Parliament”, but I do believe things will eventually change. Who would have though Uber could ever says Jack. disrupt and topple the taxi monopoly? So there is hope, just don’t hold your breath. “Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but In the mean time enjoy this month’s $50 how did you guess that?” prize for your efforts and maybe invest it in a “No guessing required.” answered the bottle of local red or white. Just make sure stockman. “You showed up here even though it’s approved and complies with the relevant nobody called you; you want to get paid for an standards that are designed to protect us answer I already knew, to a question I never from inferior imports. Cheers! asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know

Show Woes We were just at the Melbourne show and amazed to find motorhomes even more scattered about than usual. Jayco was in one hall, Avan, Knaus and Avida in another and everyone else was scattered around outside. Last year most motorhomes were under cover in a single tent but this year most were outside. What gives? Thanks, Don & Kate.

Funny you should mention that folks – read my comments in this issue’s Melbourne Show report. At least I’m not thinking you had to battle big crowds and I hope you managed to find everything/everyone you wanted. Maybe motorhomes will be back indoors next year? Fingers crossed.


12 | On your mind

Parking Problems Just wondering if any readers can help me. I’m thinking about buying a 25 to 30 foot used motorhome but live in Sydney’s suburbs. We’d be away about 6 months of the year, but what do we do with it at other times? It’s too big to go on our driveway so I’m wondering what other people do? Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks, Steve.

Do some online research Steve, you’ll find caravan/RV storage businesses at various location around Sydney. I’m thinking the rule of thumb is, the further out the cheaper. Just be sure to check your insurance to make sure it’s covered in such a situation, and also check out what their insurance covers. Access is another issue: Can you get it anytime or are there set hours? Any readers out there care to share their RV storage story, wherever you are?

Solo I’m a solo traveller and meet lots of people as I go, but would like to meet solo travellers of the opposite sex in advance with a view to travelling together. Have you though about running online classifieds for solo travellers to help bring them together, or do you know of any running? Regards, John.

Dear John (I’ve always wanted to write that), your iMotorhome Agony Aunt suggests you do some research – probably through Facebook – looking for solo travel groups. Also, the CMCA has a whole Solo’s chapter. Your stars are looking good for a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger, so you better get cracking. Any readers like to help out John as well?


H A B I TAT

GO FURTHER. STAY LONGER

EXPLORE ONE TODAY AT YOUR LOCAL SUNLINER DEALER.

www.sunliner.com.au RANGER

SWITCH

PINTO

OLANTAS

HABITAT

NAVIAN

MONTE CARLO


14 | News

RV LIFESTYLE VILLAGE GOES AHEAD

I

n October, Bundaberg Regional Council unanimously voted in favour of the construction of a $30 million RV residential village at Burnett Heads and on Friday, 18 Jan the first sod on the project was turned by Cr Jack Dempsey, Mayor of Bundaberg. The development, which will cater to the over 50s market, will cover a 40-hectare site on Burnett Heads Road. RV Lifestyle Village CEO, Phillip Stewart, said the development project will include 363 homes and 62 duplexes – all featuring RV-friendly garages, expansive parklands and 5-star recreational facilities including a lagoon pool, cinema, games room and a covered bowling green. The developer, RV Lifestyle Village Oceanside Pty Ltd, is a small, family owned business with long ties to the area. “We’re delighted that Bundaberg Regional Council has supported our vision and recognises the positive impact RV Lifestyle Village will have on the local Burnett Heads community,” Mr Stewart said. “With its ideal climate, coastal location and proximity to Bundaberg’s major services, Burnett Heads is the perfect choice for the project. We are committed to creating a residential community that will appeal to locals and attract new residents to Burnett Heads. We are working with a number of local businesses in Bundaberg in our planning and we foresee

that the development will create substantial construction and operational jobs, which would be a significant boost to local and regional businesses.” Mr Stewart stated that the Village will have a strong focus on sustainability and liveability, with each home offering substantial energy efficient features as standard. Being in close proximity to the coast, the developers claim they are committed to reducing potential light pollution from the development. “We consulted with the Sea Turtle Alliance in the early stages of our planning to ensure we have the appropriate measures in place such as motion-sensor lights and timers on street lighting, substantial plantings to create light barriers and low-wattage lighting, to make the village low glow,” Mr Stewart said. For more information on the project click here.


16 | News

CARADO PRICE DROP

S

martRV has dropped the price of its popular Carado motorhome models by NZ$12,000, taking both the T447 and T449 to $129,900 drive-away. “Carado offers German design and engineering with an outstanding quality to value ratio. These practical motorhomes open up a world of freedom and comfort. With Carado, what you see is what you get – and that’s a well designed,

reliable and functional German motorhome.”, said SmartRV’s Michelle Villamin. Check out the Carado T447 review on page XX of this issue and/or both models on the SmartRV stand at the Covi Motorhome, Caravan & Outdoor Supershow, from 15-17 March. You can also find them on the SmartRV website here.


Your perfect motorhome match Whether you’re buying your first motorhome or looking to upgrade, we

Visit us at the

15-17 March, 2019

have the perfect solution for you at SmartRV. You’ll find a large selection of motorhomes from popular Bürstner, value brand Carado and premium brand HYMER, which we distribute exclusively from world-renowned German manufacturer Erwin Hymer Group. With a wide range of pricing and features, let us help you find the motorhome of your dreams today. Don’t wait to start living the life you dream of.

Exclusively distributed in New Zealand by 11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland | 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch | 0800 005 312 (NZ) | imotorhome@smartrv.co.nz | smartrv.co.nz


18 | News

BÜRSTNER INTEGRATED IXEO AT COVI SUPERSHOW

T

he ground-breaking Bürstner Ixeo I motorhomes will be on display at the Covi SuperShow in March for the first time, as part of its range of premium motorhomes. “For the first time, SmartRV will show the Bürstner Ixeo I 729 and Ixeo I 736 models, which arrived in New Zealand last year,” the company says. “They have proved popular with Kiwi motorhomers, thanks to their seamless integrated design (where the cab and motorhome body are designed as one) and clever interior layouts. They also offer a range of top quality elements as standard, such as Thermo Floor double floor with no interior steps, a wood-free body with XPS insulation, aluminium windows, extra-large entrance door and 1.98m headroom”. SmartRV says the Ixeo I interior is also wellsuited to the Kiwi lifestyle as it features Bürstner’s innovative ‘Wohnfühlen’ design, which translates as ‘well-being’ or ‘comfortable living’. Features include use of softer natural hues in premium long-wearing fabrics, soft close drawers, fold down kitchen storage, scratch-resistant worktops, premium fittings, LED night lighting and additional USB ports.

includes value brand Carado, popular Bürstner, and premium HYMER motorhomes, imported directly from Germany. Along with the Bürstner Ixeo I motorhomes the company will have approximately 15 other RVs on display. There will also be special ‘Covi Show Only’ offers on selected SmartRV vehicles over the event’s three days. New Zealand’s largest annual motorhome expo, the Covi SuperShow, runs from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 March at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds and is a must for anyone who owns a motorhome, is looking to buy, or simply wants to see the latest RV innovations, vehicles and products. The SmartRV pavilion will be by the main Showgrounds entrance at Gate 2, on stands OS59 and OS51. SmartRV’s After Sales and Service team will have a dedicated counter within the pavilion to help with any enquiries.

The Covi SuperShow is a special time for owners too, and the annual SmartRV Owners’ Club Covi VIP Event will be held on Saturday 16 March (5.30 pm-7.30 pm). Invitations have already been sent out by email and RSVPs are due by Friday 1 March, get in touch with Estelle Verani at estelle.verani@smartrv.co.nz SmartRV will have the full range of motorhomes if you haven’t received yours. on display from its exclusive portfolio, which


News | 19

HORIZON 4X4 UPDATES

I

t seems gremlins put differing prices into some sections of our review of the Horizon Waratah 4x4 in the February issue, which we have since updated. Just for clarity, the 2019 list price of a standard Horizon Waratah on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 is $187,000 onroad in NSW. The driveaway price of the highly optioned test vehicle is $218,800.

NORTHCOACH STARFIN AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Quality ISO 9001

ISO: QMS42870

Australian Designed product, specifically with the harsh Australian conditions in mind. Being tested and approved by the ADR62 (Australian Design Ruling 62), the Pro-Tow Predator A Frame is the only choice with peace of mind of Australian Certification.

Together with our agents, we are Australia’s specialist in Aframe towing

Agents: Loganholme Custom Towbars & Trailers Phone: (07) 3209 7669

Ringwood Locsed Products Phone: (03) 9879 3545

Bundaberg A2Z 4x4 Phone: 1300 229 494

Wodonga Brooks Motor Cars Phone: (02) 6055 8555

Hatton Vale Lockyer RV Pty Ltd Phone: (07) 3333 1806

Victor Harbour Victor Steel & Engineering Phone: (08) 8552 1010

Newcastle Australian Motorhomes Phone: (02) 4948 0433

Salisbury SA Salisbury Towbar Service Phone: (08) 8258 2638

Sydney Sydney RV Phone: (02) 4722 3444

Perth Total RV Sales Phone: (08) 9453 1493

Terrey Hills RVGO Phone: (02) 9986 2952

Launceston Carswells Phone: (03) 6331 2511

www.northcoach.com.au

PO Box 5231, Daisy Hill QLD 4127 Phone: 0409 581 471 Email: enquiries@northcoach.com.au ABN: 30 615 270 678


20 | News

SUNCAMPER FACTORY DAY

I

n Suncamper is having an open day at its Thornleigh factory, in Sydney’s North, on Saturday 13 April.

“Learn all about the motorhome industry, how we build and why we choose to work with the companies and products we do. We have lined up some exciting speakers and representatives from a number of companies that make up the major components of the motorhome/ outdoor industry. They’re thrilled to educate and speak about their experience/tricks of the trade/products and services, how they operate and the important roles they play in the overall

journey,” a press release says. “There will be some incredible give aways and lucky door prizes. Plus we are excited to give you a factory tour, a free sausage sizzle, fun gift bags and so much more! Please RSVP by April 1st for catering and gift bag purposes! RSVP here”. Mr iMotorhome and Malcolm Street will also be on hand, as will Project Polly, and we’ll be giving away a number of free 12 month subscriptions to iMotorhome Magazine. Book in now and see you there!


News | 21

SPORTS CLUB’S RV TRIAL SUCCESS

A

NSW sports club’s trial of an overnight RV camping area has been a resounding success. The experiment, launched two years ago at Sporties Tuncurry, got off to a slow start but quickly gathered momentum with nearly a thousand self-contained caravans and motorhomes using the facility last year. The site is a small gravel area that comfortably takes 10 to 12 RVs. Bar and bistro takings at the club in the State’s Mid North Coast region have soared, proving that RV travellers are using club facilities. The club now has plans to double the area available to RVs and create a better layout for vehicles, with designated sites as part of the overall site plan. There will be a mix of 12-metre-long caravan sites and ‘Big-Rig’ sites 20 metres long. Water points and better lighting for pedestrians going to and from the club premises will also be included. “Anecdotal responses from visitors list many

reason for the success,” said Phil Jones, who runs the RV site. “From the usual club activities to swimming, fishing, boating, walking the beach, photography of the area and cycling across the Forster-Tuncurry cycle paths, plus we’re also open to dogs with well-behaved owners!” It was decided to open the RV site after many requests over the years from travellers wanting to stay in the carpark after a night at the club. “In mid 2017, Sporties decided to run a 12-month trial including the stipulation that it was for self-contained RVs only,” Mr Jones explained. “Non-compliant vehicles were referred to local caravan parks and a voucher system was introduced, set at $5 per person per night.” Guests are offered access to fresh water and a free-to-use dump point, plus are able to use all the club’s usual facilities. To find out more, visits the website here.


22 | News

CMCA OPENS UP RV PARKS

T

he CMCA has relaxed its rules and will now allow non-members to use its low-cost RV parks. Up to 15 percent of sites may be available during busy periods, but each park will be assessed individually to determine the mix.

same for both members and non-members..

“Only once in the last two years has our RV park in Ingham been at full capacity, and that was only the result of a major tourism event held at the time. There are times throughout the year where our parks are under-utilised, The club has parks in Ingham, Bundaberg, and this gives us an opportunity to make them Chinchilla (Qld) and Railton (Tas), while available to non-members for a slightly higher its facility in Euston (NSW) is undergoing fee, which can be reassessed at any time. redevelopment and a sixth, in Penola (SA), is We hope members will use this opportunity to in its early stages of development. welcome non-members to our parks so they can develop a feel for the community they Club parks were initially designed for members could become a part of. This concept opens only, but after consultation with membership up a larger market, and local government has and other strategic partners, the Board been more accommodating already,” Garry decided now is the time to further develop Lee continued. the budget camping option. Members are charged $3 a night to stay at the RV parks, “We have gained interest from 40 councils but non-members will pay $15 nightly. across Australia who will consider allowing CMCA to lease or purchase suitable blocks of CMCA chairman Garry Lee described it was land for park development.” an exciting step for increasing the club’s membership. The number of commercial parks available around Australia is reportedly declining, with “Enhancing participation is one way we can only 1300-1400 currently operating. However, continue to grow and prosper as a club,” he the demand for a low-cost alternative is said. increasing and CMCA says it is now meeting this need across the country. Park rules and regulations will remain the


24 | iMotorhome Marketplace

POWER CHOICE

TM

Connect at home! Connect anywhere!

15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection

www.ampfibian.com.au

iTech World

Wellington Shire

Australia’s leading solar power and satellite TV manufacturers! We stock the revolutionary In Flex and Mini Flex panels, Plus our Complete Traveller Satellite TV package is perfect for motorhomes.

In the heart of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Come and enjoy our natural beauty, famous lakes, High Country and expansive beaches. Find ‘Experience 40 Great Things to Do’ on our website too!

T: 1300 483 249 W: itechworld.com.au

T: (03) 5144 1108 W: tourismwellington.com.au


Hitting the great outdoors this year? Book a check-up appointment at motorhomedoctor.com.au All makes all models


26 | iMotorhome Marketplace

The Duvalay Memory Foam Sleeping System – No lifting, no tucking, no fighting over the doona and bedding that stays put. Find out why it’s Europe’s bedding of choice for caravans & motorhomes. The premium grade memory foam ensures total comfort and the award winning design cover means your bed is made in seconds.

Roberts RV World

RV Specialists

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

B ri s ban e works h op 0 40 1 79 71 79 www. s s cam pervan s . com

Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!

www.skytracks.com.au

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: mwauto@hinet.net.au

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   info@caravancovers.com.au  


iMotorhome Marketplace | 27

Airbag Man

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

Nomadic Solutions

Tiffin Motorhomes

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 mje240@adam.com.au www.e-twow.com 1


28 | Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 720

Super Singles? Single beds makes the Trakkaway 720 spacious, versatile and, well, super‌ by Richard Robertson


Tested | 29

Smile for the camera: Fiat’s Ducato still looks good and there’s no mistaking the name. Note the very neat LED light bar installation just above the number plate. Also, the streamlined nose moulding acts as a sun shade.

I

t’s a funny thing about single beds; be they in a motorhome, hotel room or at home. They seem to make people ‘looking in’ think intimacy has passed, yet more often than not result from the realising that a good night’s sleep is worth it’s weight in gold (and for everything else there’s improvisation!).

In a motorhome, single beds provide the opportunity for couples to sleep well, with minimal disturbance to their partners, plus the option of travelling with a friend. It’s a great compromise and one that seems to be gaining increasing acceptance in the wider RV world. Enter the Trakkaway 720….

For example, Project Polly has single beds that do double duty as our daytime seating and dining area, but at night can also be made up into a giant kingsize bed. While we don’t spend anywhere near as much time in Polly as we would like/should, the reality is we’ve made up the big bed once in nearly four years of ownership. Between my insomnia and Mrs iM’s badly disrupted sleep patterns due to her international flying career, we’re a nighttime match made a very long way from heaven. At home, we have a kingsize bed but sleep European-style, with separate doonas.

Not too long ago Trakka offered a range of coachbuilt motorhomes under the Trakkaway name. However, the increasing popularity of its van conversions, plus the near-runaway success of its compact Trakkaway 700 (with its clever rear slide-out bed) saw the range rationalised to just the one model. While demand is still strong, it’s interesting that a single-bed variant of the 700 is the machine that once again expands the Trakkaway range. In the November 2018 issue I wrote a detailed preview of the Trakkaway 720; its features and


30 | Tested the Fiat Ducato beneath it. This issue I want to talk about what the new model is actually like to live with and whether the move to single – or more correctly ‘twin’ – beds is a positive one.

Living Thing

Trakka is one of the few manufacturers to have registered demonstrators, so when the very first Trakkaway 720 came ‘on fleet’, Mrs iM and I jumped at the chance to spend a couple of nights away in it. We’ve travelled quite a bit in the Trakkaway 700 and so decided to take the 720 to one of our favourite camp spots: Carcoar Freecamp overlooking Carcoar Lake in Central Western NSW. It’s were we first stayed in the 700 and so it seemed only fitting to take its younger sibling there. Once on-site we set up the 720 and began to take stock of its features and differences.

Trakka’s interiors have long leaned towards Europe and used to reflect Scandinavian-esque decor. In recent years the move has been away from the all-over light wood decor and towards solid colours with contrasting bright finishes, keeping the company at the forefront of contemporary RV interior design. The signature matt silver-grey roller shutter doors for cupboards, wardrobe and bathroom remain, and are a model of form and function: Not only do they look good and are simple to operate, they can’t swing open or get in the way. Not essential, but a great option none-the-less, is the light brown leather upholstery that adds a

“The interior feels quite minimalist, in a positive way,” Mrs iM said, “and very spacious”.

Cheers! Four of us dined comfortably, with Mrs iMotorhome using the small side table to the right as a dining table extension.


Tested | 31 real touch of class, while the hide quality and workmanship appear exceptional. The 720’s floorplan is straightforward and comprises a front lounge, mid kitchen and bathroom, and a rear bedroom. What that simple description doesn’t convey is the smooth integration of each area into a truly liveable ‘whole’, plus the versatility it offers – versatility very much enhanced by the twin-bed layout. If you’re familiar with the Trakkaway 700, basically nothing has changed forward of the bedroom. The front lounge/dining area still seats four in comfort and features swivelling cab seats and an easily removable dining table (stored in the wardrobe) for maximum space efficiency. The small, wall-mounted, flip-up

corner table between the dinette seat and driver’s seat is retained and perfect for coffee, lunch or drinks. The L-shaped kitchen, which sits between the dinette and bedroom, has good if not excessive bench space and plenty of drawers for pots, pans and other large items, rather than spacewasting cupboards. “I’d sacrifice some drawer space for a small slide-out pantry if it were possible as there’s not really anywhere easily accessible to find jars, bottles, spices and all those other pantry items,” Mrs iM noted. “And while I’m not a fan of the diesel cooker, the optional inverter makes using the (supplied) portable induction cooker easy when freedom camping, especially on the outdoor table. In fact the inverter is a must, I

The huge dinette side window is a beauty, while the cab blinds block sun as well as providing privacy and snap into place in seconds. Mrs iM also loved the colour and finish of the optional leather upholstery.


32 | Tested

Above: The kitchen has decent bench space, enhanced by the almost-flush fitting Webasto diesel-fired cooktop. There is plenty of drawer space, but a small slide-out pantry would be a good inclusion. Below: The optional outdoor Alfresco Pack includes a fridge and slide-out sink, and Mrs iM decided it’s a must-have. think, because it also means I can use the microwave if required and the Nespresso machine – absolutely required! – making freedom camping totally civilised”. “The other thing I love about the kitchen is it isn’t intrusive. There’s plenty of space between it and the bathroom (across the aisle) for the two of us to pass by without squeezing or feeling like we’re getting in each other’s way,” she continued. “I wasn’t a fan of the optional ‘Al Fresco’ outdoor entertaining unit the first time I saw it. But now I’ve used it I’d have to have it. That second fridge makes a lot of sense as it’s more than just a beer fridge. I would use it when cooking outside and as extra


Tested | 33 storage – cold or not – depending on food type when stocking up for longer travels. I love having hot and cold running water outside and the simplicity of the removable plastic bowl for washing up, while the drawer is perfect for barbecuing utensils and other bits and bobs. Yep, tick that option box!”. Trakka’s patented Switch Mode Bathroom (SMB) is still a great compromise between minimising floorspace and maximising showering space and toilet ‘convenience’. The cassette toilet electrically retracts beneath the vanity unit when not required and the resulting space makes for spacious showering. At least it does when the wrap-around shower curtain, which keeps toilet paper, towels and the doorway dry, is installed! It’s absence was an oversight that prevented us from using the shower this time, but the SMB is still one of the best bathrooms available.

Bedroom Business

O

n the surface the change to twin beds doesn’t seem that radical. However, it totally changes the feel and versatility of the floorplan. More than just replacing the island double with two singles, the change has necessitated a re-engineering of the Trakkaway’s rear end: Not only is the slide-out gone, it’s 20 cm longer and has a bigger boot, plus a larger window. “I’m afraid this is the motorhome I want,” Mrs iM remarked, knowing full well our bank manager would laugh in our face. “It feels spacious like a slide-out motorhome but without the complexity and fiddling. It feels open and uncluttered, yet it has everything I want. I love the way all the features work together unobtrusively. It’s all very simple and easy”. A big part of Mrs iM’s impression of spaciousness relates to the bedroom. Whereas

Each bed has an adjustable tilt-up end, making then ideal for reading or watching TV. There’s a mass of storage beneath the beds and a deep drawer under the shared bedside table. Note how easily our Duvalays roll up out of the way during the day.


34 | Tested in the Trakkaway 700 the bed becomes something of a ‘wall’ when the slide-out is retracted, in the 720 the bedroom just feels like an open continuation of the living area. That impression is aided by the big square ‘picture window’ in the back wall, plus large side windows and a roof hatch. Between them they flood the bedroom with light and can do the same with fresh air if required or desired. There’s a mounting socket in the floor between the beds for the main dining table and it means you can set up the space as a secondary dining or work area. Or, you can just have a feast while relaxing in/on the chaise-lounge-style beds, which really are the 720’s party piece. Cleverly, their rear ends tilt up sun-lounge style to several positions, making them ideal for kicking back to watch TV, read or whatever. However, you don’t have to raise the ends to sit up in bed: that’s because there’s wall space either side of the big rear window if you just want to prop yourself up with pillows or cushions. Between the bed heads is a large, fixed unit that does double duty as a shared bedside table. It has a deep, slide-out drawer at the front, plus a lift-up lidded section at the back that opens to reveal 12 V and twin USB charging outlets and plenty of room for phones and other devices needing charging. Back to the beds: Not only are they are of differing lengths, they’re also different shapes. The driver’s-side bed is slightly shorter at 1.83 m (6’) and tapers at the foot to (almost) smoothly blend in with the line of the kitchen unit. It’s worth noting Mrs iM commented the tapered bed wasn’t a problem for her 165 cm frame and so it’s really nothing more than a curiosity; not least because the taper leads to an asymmetric shape for the bedroom floor that feels slightly odd (but also adds to the 720s character).

Top: The huge back window really opens up the bedroom. Above: The dining table stores easily in the wardrobe, while the pole-mount system for the detachable TV is a beauty. There’s a second pole in the dining area and moving the TV takes about a minute.


Tested | 35

The twin bed arrangement transforms the rear of the Trakkaway 720. Not only does it open it up, it provides a secondary living/entertaining/ working space thanks to the removable dining table. Note the uncluttered back wall, allowing space to fully sit-up in bed if you don’t want to use the bed’s sun-lounge-style ends.


36 | Tested The other bed is marginally longer at 1.97 m (6’ 5”) and straight, although its foot goes slightly under a shelf that’s part of the reasonably-sized wardrobe. Both beds are a comfortable 0.8 m (2’ 7”) wide and easily accessible – not too high or low – and we had a good night’s sleep in our Duvalays, which are perfect for such a bed arrangement.

What I Think

T

here is much I’ve brushed over or not mentioned in this review because of space; things like the central locking that includes the side entry door, the ducted air-conditioning, the diesel-fired central heating, hot water and cooking (thus eliminating the LPG system), to the almost bewildering array of dimmable LED lights. Then there’s the simplicity of the pole-mount system that lets you move the TV between the bedroom and dinette in a minute (as well as swivelling it to watch from outside). It’s this sheer level of thoughtful, evolutionary innovation and integration that reinforces Trakka’s position at the top. The 720 is a worthy addition to the Trakkaway range and works on so many levels, making for relaxed travelling and therefore happy owners; especially those single minded enough to understand the whole-of-experience benefits this new bed arrangement offers.

Top to bottom: Switch Mode Bathroom’s toilet retracts beneath the vanity unit, providing a large shower cubicle; Shared bedside table has this clever, deep ‘nook’ at the rear for charging your iDevices and general storage; Rear boot can also be accessed via the small hatch behind the kerbside back wheel.


Tested | 37 Second Opinion

W

ondering about the practicality of the Fiat Ducato for all-road use? Here’s an excerpt from Allan Whiting’s comprehensive test of the mechanicallyidentical Trakkaway 700: The cab and powertrain module is connected to an AL-KO, hot-dip galvanised chassis that mounts an Al-KO rubber-bushed torsion bar, independent rear suspension. The front suspension struts are also AL-KO components that increase ride height and suspension travel by 40mm over the standard Ducato front end. Ground clearance is 190mm – around the same as many 4WD utes and wagons – but those who want to venture onto rocky terrain should fit an underbody guard, because there’s plenty of expensive aluminium underneath the front end! Also, the intercooler bottom hose hangs down inside the approach angle.

It may seem odd to start off a (2WD) motorhome evaluation discussing its off-road ability, but we were keen to find out how it compared with 4WD models. Were the Trakkaway 700 a narrow-and-low-profile camper van we’d rate it behind the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and well behind the Iveco Daily 4x4, but if compared with wider and taller 4WD motorhomes the Trakkaway 700 scores very well.

It won’t go seriously off road and tackle steep trails or soft sand, but it can manage the lumpy, loose ground you might find when looking for a secluded campsite. If stuck, the Trakkaway’s high ground clearance means that dropping front tyre pressures way down, for increased traction, won’t see it scraping its bumper. Our off-roading was confined to some rutted tracks with sandy and stony surfaces and the Trakkaway handled that ground with some intervention of the traction control system. Thanks to its independent suspension all around it kept good surface contact and we reckon it had better grip than a rear-wheel-drive motorhome with live rear axle. Very steep, loose uphill climbs might be its nemesis, but it should be easy enough to reverse up those if you had to. To watch Allan’s full video review of the Trakkaway 700 click here (or skip to 2:42 to just see the hill holder and traction control in action).


38 | Tested

Specs GENERAL Make

Trakka

Model

Trakkaway 720

Type

B-class

Berths

2

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

VEHICLE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato with AL-KO Chassis

Engine

2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 4000 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT)

Safety

ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, Dual airbags

Fuel

120 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3590 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Max Payload

900 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

1500 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.2 m (23’ 8”)

Overall Width

2.40 m (7’ 10”)

Overall Height

2.90 m (9’ 6”)

Internal Height

2.20 m (7’ 3’)

Kerb-side Bed

1.97 m x 0.80 m (6’ 5” x 2’ 7”)

Drivers-side Bed

1.83 m x 0.80 m (6’ 0” x 2’ 7”)

Luton Bed - optional

2.15 m x 1.30 m (7’ x 4”)


Tested | 39

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Dometic Electric

Entry Steps

1 x Electric

Cooker

Webasto diesel with glass ceramic top

Rangehood

Externally vented with LED lighting

Sink

Dometic round with fold-down flick mixer, glass lid

Fridge

Waeco 136 L compressor (+ 50 L compressor with Alfresco pack)

Microwave

Sharp

Lighting

12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

12 V & USB

Air Conditioner

Truma Saphir reverse cycle

Space Heater

Truma Combi diesel-fired

Hot Water System

Truma Combi diesel-fired

Toilet

Thetford cassette (retractable)

Shower

Flexible hose

Pros… • Flexibility • Quality • Innovation • Equipment • Liveability

CONs… • Still a ‘wet’ bathroom • Price

CAPACITIES Batteries

2 x 100 AH AGM

Solar

2 x 120 W (3 x 120 W with Alfresco pack)

LPG

N/A

Fresh Water

165 L

Grey Water

135 L

Hot Water

10 L

Toilet

19 L cassette

PRICE ON ROAD NSW From

$180,000

As shown with the following options:

$193,750

Alfresco pack ($5000), 1600 W inverter ($2350) Leather upholstery ($3500), LED light bar ($950) Tower & electrics ($1950)

Contact

Click for Google Maps

Trakka Pty Ltd 9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai, NSW. 2080. T: 1800 TRAKKA (1800 872 552) E: trakka@trakka.com.au W: www.trakka.com.au


40 | Tested

“The optional inverter makes using the (supplied) portable induction cooker easy when freedom camping, especially on the outdoor table.�


Calling All Wilderness Explorers

trakka.com.au


42 | Tested: Carado T447

Two Four The Road!

Two, three or four can hit the road in the versatile Carado T447‌ By Malcolm Street


Tested | 43

Carado might be the Hymer Group’s entry-level brand, but there’s nothing cheap and cheerless about the T447. The B-class body blends nicely with the Fiat Ducato cab, aided by subtle striping and colouring. At the rear a rounded roofline and side body mouldings prevent the dreaded box-on-wheels appearance, but without overdoing things.

S

ingle bed motorhomes aren’t always popular but they do have a bit of a fan base. In particular, it’s amongst those who are less able, those who just prefer the convenience of single beds, and those who like to travel with a friend with whom they do not wish to share a bed! This is why Smart RV has in its range, motorhomes like the Carado T447. Actually it has a bit more than just a single bed layout; indeed it’s very multifunctional, but I’ll delve into that later. Carado is part of the German-based Erwin Hymer Group, which also includes names like Bürstner, plus Hymer as a brand itself. However, when compared to those two, Carado comes in at the budget end. There are some common factors, though, like the Fiat Ducato base vehicle, which is used in about 75 percent of motorhomes sold in Europe. In the Carado T447 it’s a Ducato Multijet 130 wide track cab-chassis, with a GVM of 3495


44 | Tested

kg and tare mass of 2815 kg, giving a good payload of 680 kg. The 130 figure refers to 130 hp which all Euro manufacturers seem to use (and very strange in a metric orientated Europe I have to say). Anyway, in metric terms the 2.3-litre turbo-diesel puts out a maximum of 96 kW and 320 Nm of torque. An option on this model is for the more powerful 109 kW / 350 Nm Multijet 150, which for someone who likes a bit more grunt – like me! – would definitely be a consideration.

Body Building

T

Euro motorhomes are big on garages – boots to you and me – and the T447’s is capacious without being over the top. And despite opinions to the contrary, the entry door on the driver’s side is no big deal in practice and very quickly adapted to.

he Carado T447 is a B-class motorhome with fibreglass walls and roof, aluminium composite walls, a very large (2.15 m x 1.1 m x 1.18 m) rear storage bin and an entry door on the driver’s side. It comes with double glazed acrylic windows, skyview hatch up front, a typical Euro door that includes an internal concertina-style insect screen, the gas bin behind the rear


Tested | 45

driver’s-side wheel and a Thule Omnistor awning. It might be a base model but it still has a reasonably streamlined look about it.

Stepping Aboard

T

he 7.38m (24’ 3”) external length provides generous interior space for this four-seat/four-berth motorhome. Layout is typically European, with a front lounge/ dining area, a mid kitchen, split bathroom and a rear bedroom. Above the lounge/dinette is a drop-down bed, while at the rear is a series of steps to get to the bathroom and bedroom because of the big rear garage underneath. Up front, the seating is also on a slightly raised platform; one result of which is an underfloor storage compartment. Both cab seats swivel to mesh with the table, while the forward-facing two-person dinette is seat belt equipped. Just to keep it friendly, there is also a sideways-facing lounge between the driver’s seat and entry door. Above the cab the large hatch allows in plenty of light, as do the side windows.

Top: The front half of the T447 is a model of space efficiency and integrates the cab seats well into everyday life. Note the overhead bed with lights underneath and cupboards attached – you hardly realise it’s there when not in use. Above: Easily manually operated, when lowered the overhead bed reveals its own roof hatch and has privacy curtaining. Access is via a short ladder from the kitchen side.


46 | Tested

When the drop-down bed is needed you just move a few seat cushions around and lower the bed by hand. It’s a cantilever system that is easy and smooth to operate. Drop down beds are an amazing innovation that appeared less than a decade ago, but have really changed motorhome interior design. There are power operated versions available, but for most people – like those without shoulder/arm issues – the hand operated variety work just as well and are less complex, expensive and heavy.

Kitchen

E

uropean motorhome kitchens tend to give the impression that the designer is presented with the challenge of something like, “Just how much kitchen can we jam into as limited area as possible?”. There’s no exception to that line of thinking here, in the carado’s L-shaped layout. It does contain a three-burner hob with grill/oven below plus a round stainless steel sink, all of which leaves an itty-bitty amount of bench space. Strangely, though, from experience we know it actually works…

Top: Despite being cosy the lounge/dinette is also bright and airy, thanks in no small part to the big over-cab ‘skyview’ hatch. Above: Although small the typically-Euro L-shaped kitchen is functional and includes a full oven, but not a microwave.


Tested | 47

There is also a cutlery drawer, cupboard, floor locker and overhead cabinet space. A feature of this kitchen layout though is that the 167-litre fridge across the aisle has a set-back roller shutter cupboard above and even a bit of shelf space. A power point in this locality would be good, given it makes an excellent electronic device charging area.

Split Bathroom

T

here’s a step up to the aisle space between the kerbside shower and the toilet cubicle opposite, which in keeping with the front area has another under-floor storage compartment – good for shoes and the like. It’s here that the rear section can be closed off from the front simply by swinging the toilet-cubicle door open. It’s also handy if you have guests along or someone simply wants a bit of peace and quiet. Having a split bathroom does away with any ‘wet’ bathroom issues and in this case the shower cubicle has hinged clear screens that close off the shower but stow away when not being used.

The split bathroom can be closed off from the living area using the toilet cubicle door. Practical and well equipped, the bathroom arrangement works well and has everything you need, including good storage.


48 | Tested While it looks a bit tight, there is room to move in the toilet cubicle. It includes the expected cassette toilet, vanity wash basin and a good sized wall mirror, but I like the multi shelved cupboard in the corner – excellent for all those small bathroom essentials.

Flexible Beds

I

n the bedroom the standard setup is two single beds. Both are 0.8 m (2’ 7” in) wide, but one – at 2.1 m (6’ 11”) – is slightly longer than the other, at 2.05 m (6’ 9”). Not that it really matters; both are more than long enough except maybe for basketballers! However, if a large double bed is required, then by fiddling around with bases and cushions, a giant king bed can be created. It’s your choice! Overhead lockers are fitted across the rear wall and there are shelves above both windows, while with the single bed arrangement there’s a good sized bedside shelf between the beds. Cupboard doors at the base of both beds give access to a generous amount of storage space; the driver’s-side one being fitted with a clothes hanger rail. It might look a bit oddly located, but I reckon the Truma hot water/space heater switch is in a good position at the base of the bed. It’s easily reached from the front of the motorhome, while on a cold and frosty morning it’s not far to clamber out of bed.

Power Department

E

lectrically speaking the T447 is well equipped, with two 80 AH house batteries, a 150 W solar panel and a 1000 W 12/240 V inverter. Those considering extended remote stays might consider a bit more solar panel capacity, while with 122-litres of fresh water and 92-litres of grey, the T447 is Freedom Camping certified.

Twin beds make a lot of sense and the T447’s can also be converted to a huge ‘king’ if desired. Note the big side windows and roof hatch, and the central storage unit that doubles as a shared bedside table.


Tested | 49 What I think

W

hen I first stepped into the Carado T447my impression was of a slightly cramped layout. It wasn’t helped by the fact that it was a very rainy day and I had everything closed up. However, after the obligatory time sitting in the front seats and relaxing, I decided it was a layout I could easily live with. Particularly, I like the flexibility of the bedding arrangement: just singles, a double and singles or two doubles – indeed, something for everyone, however many there are!

Through-cab access is good and the Fiat Ducato provides comfortable and economical cruising. Whichever way you look at it, the Carado T447 is an affordably good thing!

Price Crash!

S

martRV has advised that since Malcolm reviewed the Carado T447 the price has dropped from $141,900 to $129,900 – a saving of $12,000! The same reduced price now also applies to Carado T449, which is basically identical apart from an island rear bed, making both models even better value.


50 | Tested

Specs GENERAL Make

Carado

Model

T 447

Type

B-class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

LICENCE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato Multijet 130

Engine

2.3-litre turbo-diesel

Power

96 kW @ 3600 rpm

Torque

320 Nm @ 1800 rpm

Gearbox

6 speed AMT

Safety

ABS, ESP, Traction Plus, Driver/passenger air bags

Fuel

90 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

2815 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3495 kg

Max Payload

680 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2000 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.38 M (23' 3")

Overall Width

2.33 m (7' 8")

Overall Height

2.91 m (9' 7")

Internal Height

2.10 m (6' 10")

Single beds

2.05 m/2.1 m x 0.8 m (6' 9"/6' 11" x 2' 7")

Drop Down Bed

1.95 m x 1.4 m /1.1 m (6' 5" x 4' 7"/3' 7")


Tested | 51

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Thule Omnistor

Entry Steps

Electric

Hob

3-burner Thetford & Thetford grill/oven

Rangehood

Dometic

Sink

Stainless steel round

Fridge

167 L Thetford N3170 3-way (12 v/240 v/ LPG)

Microwave

No

Lighting

12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

2 x USB

Air Conditioner

No

Space Heater

Truma Combi 6E (LPG/electric)

Hot Water System

Truma Combi 6E (LPG/electric)

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Pros… • Reduced price! • Good sized single beds • Multi bed setup possible • Very well sized external storage • Split bathroom

CONs… • Small kitchen bench space • Limited kitchen storage • Lower powered Fiat engine

CAPACITIES Batteries

2 x 80 AH

Solar

150 W

Inverter

12 V – 240 V 1000W

LPG

2 x 9.0 kg

Fresh Water

122 L

Grey Water

92 L

Hot Water

10 L

Toilet

17 L

PRICE - ON ROAD NZ As Tested

$129,900

Warranty – Vehicle

2 years

Warranty – House

2 years

CONTACT:

Click for Google Maps

North Island Wilderness Motorhomes 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland. 2022. T: 0800 007 627 E: sales@smartrv.co.nz W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz Click for South Island Google Maps Wilderness Motorhomes 3 Export Ave Harewood. ChCh. 8051. T: 0800 007 628 E: ccsales@smartrv.co.nz W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz


52 | Tested

“Carado is part of the German-based Erwin Hymer Group, which also includes names like Bürstner, plus Hymer as a brand itself.”


Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.

Arrowtown, South Island

No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealand’s Autumn & Winter your way in a premium rental motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz


54 | Show Report

Sprintering Into 2019 Hybrid drives and new Sprinter were hot tickets at this year’s Victorian Caravan & Camping Supershow‌ by Richard Robertson


Show Report | 55

M

ercedes-Benz’s new Sprinter was the standout attraction at this year’s Melbourne Supershow. From my quick visit I noted Horizon, Wirraway and Paradise all had new Sprinter-based motorhomes on display – each very different and presenting a real diversity of choice. Horizon’s Wattle continues the company’s proven vanconversion formula while Wirraway’s luxury coachbuilt, replete with hand-made tassie maple cabinetry, sits at the top of the luxury category. In between was Paradise’s Oasis, a van-conversion with bedroom slide-out and a host of upmarket features. Overall it appears supply from Mercedes-Benz is a problem at this stage, so expect to see more models from more manufacturers appearing as the year progresses. Sunliner had an impressive display and was, by my reckoning, the only Victorian manufacturer consigned to the outdoor display area, along with the interstate manufacturers. All used to be under cover in a dedicated motorhome pavilion, but this year it was taken over by tourism booths plus the new AL-KO Innovation Hub, an area showcasing the latest in RV technologies. From a motorhoming perspective the most interesting thing announced at the Hub was the RV-specific Hybrid Power Chassis from German company Huber Automotive, which is being marketed by AL-KO. The system is designed to work with AL-KO-chassised motorhomes: think front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato and also the new front-wheel drive version of the new Sprinter, which comes with a nine-speed automatic. The modular Hybrid Power Chassis comprises multiple battery packs between the chassis rails and a high-tech drive system for the rear wheels – complete with regenerative braking. It can supposedly provide around 100 km of pure electric driving as well as working in tandem with the cab’s diesel engine for extra

‘oomph’, or when additional traction is required, effectively making the motorhome a four-wheel drive. Fully integrated into the host vehicle’s drive system, the Hybrid Power Chassis should provide a seamless driving experience and is the first glimpse of an exciting and practical real-world electric RVing future. Will it be affordable? No idea. Nor is there any word on availability or even timing in the market, but at lest AL-KO had a brochure! Let’s hope it’s at least relatively affordable and practical, and not just more ‘electric dreams’…

Numbers

N

ew vehicles and technologies aside, the overriding impression from the opening day of the show was the lack of visitors. From experience, opening days of this show are always busy and it’s not unusual to have people queued up at the entrances well after opening time. However, 30 minutes after opening I strolled in through a deserted, major entrance into equally deserted display areas. Numbers did increase during the day but never reached anything like the fever pitch of past opening days, despite unusually cooperative weather. Having said that, all manufacturers I spoke to reported strong inquiries and/or some sales despite the seemingly low visitor turnout. The Melbourne show is the first of the big three east coast capital city shows and it will be interesting to see how the Sydney and Brisbane shows pan out, both with new models and visitor attendance. Hopefully this was a numerical aberration and not an indication of a declining Australia economy. In mid March I’ll be at the Covi Show in Auckland, which is New Zealand’s biggest, and it will be interesting to report in the next issue how they compare. Watch this space!


56 | Show Report

Horizon Motorhomes’ Wattle looked low-key in grey but is the company’s first model on the new Sprinter. It’s 2WD for now, but hopefully a 4WD will be available towards the end of the year.

Like almost all non-Victorian manufacturers, Horizon was outside in the weather, where its brilliant orange Waratah 4x4 attracted plenty of interest.


Show Report | 57

Sydney-based Avida was inside because its display was done by Melbourne’s Robert’s RV World. The Esperance continues to be a strong seller and with this spacious interior it’s easy to see why. Likewise, the massive Longreach is undisputed king of the Avida range and is almost an apartment on wheels.


58 | Show Report

Top: Paradise had its new Sprinter-based Oasis van conversion on display, complete with bedroom slide-out and motorhome side door. Below: Suncamper had three Toyota HiLux-based Sherwoods and an Iveco-based Saxby on its stand. New models are due to be revealed at its Sydney factory open day – see the News section for details.


Show Report | 59

Top & middle: Sunliner showed off its new Switch’s contemporary decor, as well as its spacious floorplan. Bottom left: The compact Ranger is now the Trex and continues to be a strong seller. Bottom Right: The rugged Habitat 4, on a Mercedes 4x4 Sprinter, looks impressive and will be tested next issue. Watch out for it!


60 | Show Report

Wirraway had a strong showing and there was plenty of interest in its new Sprinter-based model, featuring a beautiful, handcrafted Tassie myrtle interior. Nice‌


Show Report | 61

The Trakka stand seemed to stretch for miles, but star of the show was the wild ‘camouflaged’ Trakkadu 450 S, complete with bright orange upholstery. I’m thinking Martin and the crew had sore feet after days spent patrolling their territory!


62 | Product Test

Portable Potable This portable filter for our drinking water is a beauty… by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au

T

he filter thing started when we picked up a load of ‘crook’ water. No matter how much bi-carb soda and purifying tablets we dumped into the tank we were stuck with a nasty taste. So we looked around for a way to get rid of the taint. We talked to camping specialist Paddy Pallin and were told that top-shelf Katadyn units would not only eradicate most or all of the taste, but would ensure our drinking water was

free of bacteria, protozoa and chemicals. Katadyn also makes a larger filter guaranteed to eradicate all taste, but fitting it would require a marine-style pressure system and we don’t want to go to that extent. We tried out a Katadyn Combi Microfilter and it’s now standard equipment in our camping kit. It cleaned up the smelly stuff we had in the tank to the point where we could drink it without holding our noses. The Katadyn Combi


Product Test | 63

Microfilter is a compact, 580-gram unit that packs into a bag that measures only 30 cm in length. The primary filter is a silver-impregnated ceramic element that has an effective 0.2 micron rating (meaning it won’t allow through a particle that’s one five millionth of a metre in size). The ceramic cylinder is complemented by a granular carbon filter. The ceramic element is designed to take out miniscule objects, while the carbon granules reduce or eliminate tastes. The Combi is a pump-action type that comes with a suction hose fitted with a screen and a float. That means it can be set to skim the surface water out of a pond, for example, rather than the gunky bottom stuff. In operation, the hose is dropped into the water source and the filter body sits on top of a water bottle – it screws onto PET, Nalgene and Siggi bottles. If filtering from a tank outlet the suction hose can be fitted with an adapter. The ceramic element comes with a cleaning pad that can be used to scrape off build-up on its surface and the element is said to have a life of up to 50,000 litres. However, the activated carbon needs to be replaced every 200 litres, but sachets of carbon granules are readily available. The Combi comes with easily-read instructions, spare carbon sachets, an element cleaning pad, spare O-rings and a tube of silicone lubricant for the pump piston. Being hand portable means you can use it away from your vehicle, so if you’re into hiking, cycling or kayaking, for example, clean, safe water topups are always possible. At around $300-$350 the Katadyn Combi Microfilter isn’t a cheap addition to a camp bag, what price do you put on your health, especially when travelling?


64 | Product Review

Safe Bet Hide-Away portable safes are a safe bet for keeping your valuables secure‌

by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au


Product Review | 65

H

ide-Away portable safes are manufactured in Melbourne using lightweight and super-strong GE Lexan impact-modified polycarbonate. If you doubt that a ‘plastic’ safe can be strong enough to resist tampering, note the products carry appropriate endorsement: The Australian designed, owned and made Hide Away Safe System was granted ‘SCEC Endorsed’ status for use in the highest, most stringent security applications in Australian Commonwealth departments and agencies for the secure storage, transfer and carriage of National Security Classified Material.

unusual keys in barrels that are said to defy lock-picking.

Hide Away Safes are portable, easy to carry and install, and simply relocate in ‘docking stations’ that can be installed in vehicles, offices or homes.

The smaller Mark 2 unit has a RRP of $695 plus freight and the larger Mark 3 one, $995, plus freight. Orders placed through Outback Travel Australia attract a $100 discount on each unit.

We checked out two units: one a compact drawer model that could easily install under a vehicle seat and the other, a larger unit that could fit inside cupboards or storage units. Both models slide into locking positions under covers that would be bolted to secure foundations, thus leaving only the low-profile front plates exposed. Both units locked with

For travellers, we’d envisage each safe being supplied with two docking stations: one for fitment at home and the other, inside the vehicle. That way, contents could be easily and safely transferred from home to vehicle and back again. The larger unit can be supplied with a bulletproof front plate and can also be hand-gun and ammunition-rated for legal transport. It also has a carry handle, allowing it to be used as a secure brief case.


66 | SheDrives

Van Building. For Dummies. Spoiler alert: I’m the dummy and it was really hard‌ by Marsha Hovey @someginger


SheDrives | 67 The screw fell from the tip of my borrowed power tool, bouncing off my knee and out the sliding door. I listened as it rolled all the way down the driveway. Again. I was doing my best to stay positive and tap into some deep level of patience, but it wasn’t quite working out as planned. The internal pep talks were losing their lustre. Doubt was starting to set in. When it came to carpentry, no, I had no idea what I was doing. When it came to building a moving vehicle into a moving house, no, I had absolutely no feckin’ idea what I was doing, but you bet your ass I was pretending I did. There are so many things to consider when buying and building a van from scratch: supply cost, functionality, kitchen and bathroom amenities, overall weight, safety, how many pairs of pants I actually need – the list goes on and on. To simplify the never-ending novel that is my building story, I’ve picked three main puzzle pieces that involved the most consideration for me. And by consideration I mean, “How the hell am I going to do this?!”

Trusted helper overseeing battery installation and wiring work


68 | SheDrives Insulation

E

veryone has an opinion on this topic and I’m not sure there is one right answer. I’ve seen all sorts of combinations of materials to insulate micro-van homes around the world. One thing is for certain though: if you skip this step, you will be sorry on both hot and cold days (and nights - Ed). After a lot of reading and visiting local retailers to get a better idea of my options, I landed on a combination of denim/foil insulation by UltraTouch, topped with RMax rigid foam insulation board on the ceiling and walls. The floor insulation grid was topped with a formaldehyde-free sub-floor and a very realistic wood-panel laminate for added soundproofing and insulation. Heavier insulated curtains rounded out my insulation plan to trap and block heat as much as possible. To piece the walls and ceiling together, with the foil-side facing the metal interior, pieces were cut to size and adhered with small strips of carpet tape. The second layer of foam board was cut to size and placed on top of the denim and held together with Reflectix foil tape. Due to the various curves and differences in depth of all the interior surfaces, air gaps between the layers naturally occur. Expert tip: air gaps are key to insulation! Stacking layers of insulation one on top of the other will be less effective than two layers of insulation with a gap in between. Look at me, I retained some information! As one of the first pieces of the project I was very happy to find out that minor errors in cutting are okay. I didn’t have to be spot on. It was the perfect entry point to gain some confidence and watch the van transform.

Painting involves necessary sun breaks between coats. The little black van coming together


SheDrives | 69

Helping hands will never be turned down when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Power

I

was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time while contemplating my electricity needs. I had purchased a deepcycle marine battery and a power inverter that I planned to mount and use for charging my computer and phone, etc. Basically, the inverter was my way of staying slightly connected to the outside world when I had to be. The battery would run the vent fan, lighting system and anything else I thought up in the future. I had also bought a battery charger, but long story short, I returned that thing immediately when a newer, much better plan came my way (a good reminder to save your receipts!). During an adventure in Montana I met the owner of a small auto stereo shop. He offered to help me install a circuit between my van

battery and my deep-cycle battery. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, and the next day I was in the workshop with him, drilling holes in my firewall and feeding wires from front to back. After a relatively painless few hours I had a switch under my hood that solved all my troubles. When switched on (closing the circuit) I am a lean, mean, power-generating machine! All I have to do to stay juiced-up is drive, something that always tends to be on my schedule. Then, I simply open the circuit (turn it off) so I don’t drain the van battery while parked. I was good to go – and it was as simple as can be! With the help of my little battery monitor to keep me aware of my charging needs, I never have to plug in, and I never have to deal with extra appliances. Thanks to a chance encounter while exploring America, my electricity prayers were answered in some


70 | SheDrives

Dads/Master Builders are always nice to have on your van support team.

Phase 2 of the furniture building process with some shiny headliner to boot.


SheDrives | 71 sort of karmic van dream. Plus, I managed to escape with only a few small shocks…

Furniture

I

project. And there I was, an average-Joe idiot and self-proclaimed graduate from the college of DIY YouTube Van Building, trying to figure out if I could just use a hot glue gun and some duct tape on the rest of it and call it a day…

f ever there is a time to revisit the drawing board, it’s with your furniture and storage. I cannot stress this enough: Live in your space with temporary fixtures before committing to a full build! After the bones of the project were completed, I set up some basic staples in the configuration I had mapped out. After a few months on the road things weren’t going according to plan. Guests were banging their heads on shelving behind their seats, shoes were falling all over the place anytime I turned left, and my foolproof magnet system had some major holes. I also had plans for a bigger Back to the drawing board to build a better closet dedicated kitchen space, which I never found a need for. I had set up a wide bed that didn’t need to be so wide. The flaws in my perfect plan were plentiful, and I’m so glad I found them out before spending tons of money and drilling all sorts of holes in the walls I had worked tirelessly to put up. It took me a solid year and two phases of building to get my furniture to where it is today. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect by any means, but I’m happy with it and it functions! I think one of the biggest pearls of wisdom to take with you is to never fall in love with your dream plan. You’ll be too afraid to change it when the time comes, and it will. There will be bumps in the road. There will be days where nothing seems to work and that’s all part of the process. Create a space that can evolve with you and take it one day at a time.

One year of building and tinkering and changing ideas, and it all comes together as it’s supposed to

Finally, after 300 failed attempts and 700 verbal explosions, the poorly labelled self-drilling screw started to drill and a piece of my wooden wall was secured to my empty metal van. The small curvatures of the interior would lead to the most violently frustrating aspects of the Phase 1 of the furniture build in it’s testing phase. A highly build. A skilled craftsman would probably be recommended step to see how things actually function basking in the enjoyment of such a challenging according to plan


72 | Travel

Up The Creek Kayaking Victoria’s beautiful Anderson Inlet… by Colin Oberin

It’s good to be back in our home state…

The ‘Who’d a Thought It’ lookout above Quirindi is a favourite for a quick overnight stop.


Travel | 73

T

his adventure begins at Cape Paterson on a warm calm morning at the end of January. Cape Paterson is a small coastal village about 130 kms or a two hour drive south east of Melbourne and comes complete with one general store, one pub, one café and two real estate agents. You can pick up any supplies you might need at the regional hub of Wonthaggi, which you drive through on a trip down from Melbourne, and from there it is only a ten minute drive to Cape Paterson, but it seems more like a world away. There is plenty to see and do in and around Cape Paterson, including a bay beach with a lifesaving club and a children’s pool cut into the rocks in less environmentally sensitive times; two surf beaches (one with a surf lifesaving club) about 5 minute’s walk apart and which

have differing aspects as they are located one on either side of the actual cape; rock pools to be explored at low tide, rock fishing and also cliff top walks. Further afield is the State Coal Mine Heritage Area at Wonthaggi, while about 30 minute drive back towards Melbourne is Philip Island with its penguin parade, race track, Vietnam Veterans museum, chocolate factory and other delights. However, I headed further away from Melbourne on this morning, along the14 km of the Bunurong Coastal Drive that links Cape Paterson with Inverloch, on a road that skirts the cliff tops and delivers many wonderful vistas. There are also several places just off the road to stop and check out the unique inlets, off shore rock stack and other sights. Impressively, you can even find a dinosaur


74 | Travel fossil site at the Inverloch end of the road, which is accessible from the Flat Rocks or The Caves parking areas. This spectacular piece of road is sometimes referred to as a Mini Great Ocean Road, which I think is an apt description. Certainly it is a spectacular piece of road worth driving in both directions for the different views that appear. I always enjoy driving this piece of road, but today is not the day to stop and see the sights. I’m not even stopping in the seaside village of Inverloch, which has plenty of shops, cafes and eating places. Instead, I’m going kayaking!

Launched!

A

nderson Inlet is a large, almostenclosed body of shallow water fed at one end by the Tarwin River and opening at the other into Bass Strait. I could have launched my kayak at Inverloch, at the Bass Strait end of the inlet, but instead I head a little further down the Tarwin Lower road as far as Mahers Landing, which is about one third of the way along Anderson Inlet. There is no breeze and the water is smooth as I unloaded the kayak from my trusty Toyota HiAce camper van. While a small, free boat launching ramp is available, I prefer to launch

Most of all I enjoy the tranquillity of paddling a bit then floating along quietly listening to the sounds of nature..


Travel | 75

Eagles Nest from Shack Bay – just a beautiful part of the coast and not at all far from Melbourne. from the little beach adjacent the ramp. I look like I have suddenly put on an extra 30 kg as I like to wear a big Hi Viz shirt over the top of my life jacket, which is a bulky old-style black one and hence not so easy for boaties to see. I place my phone and car keys in the small waterproof bag I always carry and then stow that in the waterproof storage bin set into the floor of my kayak, then set off. As usual I head straight out into the deep channel, which is close to shore near the boat ramp, to assess the wind and current – both of which can be quite strong. The tide has just turned so there is a gentle current flowing westwards towards the mouth of the inlet and almost no wind, so I head east paddling against the current.

Anderson Inlet is a favourite of fishermen. It has deep channels winding their way past the many sand bars that are under water at high tide and which extend from the mouth, towards where the Tarwin River empties into the inlet. One deep channel heads toward Maher’s Landing and then across the inlet, through various mangrove-covered islands to the Venus Bay boat ramp and jetty. It’s usual to see quite a few fishermen in a wide variety of boats and kayaks fishing on the edge of the deep channel. Some of the tinnies have clearly been hired from Inverloch and have inexperienced crews, while others are manned by regular fishermen who know the ropes, so to speak.


76 | Travel

However, I’m no fisherman so as usual I head for the shallows and the mangroves that line the inlet and shield the view of the farms beyond. The shore line is mostly mangroves or mudflats, with an occasional small sandy beach ideal for beaching the kayak and getting out to stretch the legs after an hour or so paddling. Unlike in the channel where the water is a deep greenish colour and you can’t see much from the kayak, in the shallows the water is clear. On this morning it is very easy to observe the many jelly fish gliding past plus a few sting rays that flap off as I approach. I even spot a baby seal being attacked by an eagle. I also see lots of waterbirds of all shapes and sizes, a few crabs and even a couple of wallabies on shore when I pull up for a rest. Most of all I enjoy the tranquillity of paddling a bit then floating along quietly listening to the sounds of nature, which range from a splash as a fish or stingray speed off on my approach to the various bird calls, plus the flapping of the feet of the black swans as they run across the water in order to take off.

Heading Home

A

ll too soon it is time to head back and now I’m moving with the current, so I can quietly drift along. Only once do I have to take a detour from the direct route to the boat ramp in order to avoid being beached on one of the sand bars, which are rapidly rising on the ebb tide. Fortunately I don’t have to get out and walk, pulling the kayak along behind me, until I get to deeper water as I have had to do once or twice before when I misjudged my route across the shallows! For anyone planning a trip to this magical part of the world, there are caravan parks in Cape Paterson, Inverloch, Venus Bay and Wonthaggi, but I am not aware of any free or low-cost camp sites in the vicinity. Here are links to more information on Cape Paterson, Inverloch and the Bunurong Coastal Drive. Enjoy!


Travel | 77 Eagles Nest closeup, from a roadside parking area.


78 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival

CMCA

RV Friendly Towns

T

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 Town™ (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 month’s featured RV Friendly Towns are:


Travel | 79

Rosewood, Queensland

S

itting 20 kilometres west of Ipswich, Rosewood is a unique and vibrant township infused with country hospitality, heritage beauty and village charm. With a small population of 2834, the town’s border is marked by the Bremer River to the south and the decommissioned Marburg Branch railway line to the north.

Rosewood is a beautiful town, offering visitors plenty to see and do during a leisurely stroll down its streets.

Parking is available at Rosewood Showgrounds, where unpowered sites are offered at a rate of $12 per vehicle per night. To have access to power, a rate of $15 per vehicle per night applies. A maximum stay Explore this quaint little town with visits to the of seven days applies and the rates include popular Cobb & Co display, Rosewood heritage access to showers, toilets and water. A dump trail and St Brigid’s Church, and discover the point is conveniently located on site at the intricate arts and crafts that line the main street. showgrounds, as is potable water.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Ipswich Visitor Information Centre Queens Park, 14 Queen Victoria Parade, Ipswich Ph: 07 3281 0555 www.discoveripswich.com.au Railway St, Albert St and Matthew St

Short & Long Term Parking

Rosewood Showgrounds, corner Railway St & Showground Ln, Rosewood. Maximum 7 consecutive nights, $12pvpn unpowered, $15pvpn powered, mobile coverage, showers, bins, toilets, water.

Dump Point

Rosewood Showgrounds, corner Railway St & Showground Ln, Rosewood Lat: -27.640203, 152.599264

Potable Water

Rosewood Showgrounds, corner Railway St & Showground Ln, Rosewood


80 | Travel

Bigga, NSW

B

igga is a lovely little village in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales that’s also the gateway to Lake Wyangala and the Grabine Lakeside Inland Waters Holiday Park. Being the closest town to the lake, Bigga makes for an excellent base to explore the surrounding waterways and Keverstone National Park. The town sits at 672 m on the Great Dividing Range, near the junction of the Lachlan and Abercrombie Rivers and its elevation provides magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, so don’t forget to keep your Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking

Dump Point Potable Water

camera handy. The Grabine Lakeside Development draws thousands of visitors to the area annually, where they enjoy boating, water skiing, fishing, hiking and four-wheel driving. Short-term parking is available at Bigga Recreation Ground on Mulgowrie Street, but parking is only available to those travelling in self-contained vehicles. For no charge you can stay for up to 72 hours and access bins, showers, toilets and water. Both a dump point and potable water are located at the grounds.

Crookwell Visitor Information Centre 36 Goulburn St, Crookwell Ph: 02 4832 1988 www.visitupperlachlan.com.au Bigga Recreation Ground, Mulgowrie St Bigga Bigga Recreation Ground, Mulgowrie St Bigga Nil charge, self-contained vehicles only, 72 hours, pets on lead, no mobile coverage, showers, bins, toilets, water Bigga Recreation Ground, Mulgowrie St Bigga Lat: -34.082748 Long: 149.153057 Bigga Recreation Ground, Mulgowrie St Bigga Near the shower block


Travel | 81

Macarthur, VIC

M

acarthur is a small rural township 311 kilometres west of Melbourne that in 1857 was named in honour of General Edward Macarthur. Prior to this it was known as Eumeralla, an Aboriginal term thought to mean ‘Valley of Plenty’. The town offers a small service centre including a pub, post office, chemist, rural supply store and milk bar. The town serves as a gateway to Mount Eccles National Park, popular for its long-dormant volcano Mount Eccles, also known as Budj

Bim. Within its crater lies the tranquil Lake Surprise, as well as a variety of walking trails including the Natural Bridge and Lava Canal. Macarthur Recreation Reserve, on Port FairyHamilton Road, allows parking for up to 72 hours. Donations are requested for unpowered sites, while for those requiring power a fee of $10 per vehicle per night applies. A dump point is located at the site, along with toilets and barbecues, and a limited water supply is also available. Pets on leads are also permitted.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Mooney’s General Store High St, Macarthur VIC

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

High St, Macarthur

Short & Long Term Parking

Macarthur Recreation Reserve, 5158 Port Fairy-Hamilton Rd, 72 hours, $10 pvpn power, donation for unpowered, pets on lead, toilets, limited water, BBQ

Dump Point

Macarthur Recreation Reserve, 5158 Port Fairy-Hamilton Rd (Lat Long -38.0387, 142.0061) Macarthur Recreation Reserve, 5158 Port Fairy-Hamilton Rd

Potable Water


82 | Mobile Tech

The ‘Appiness’ of Slow Travel By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 83

We’ve seen countless advancements in technology that have changed how people see the world. While technology shouldn’t replace the hands-on experiences of developing or planning new journeys, it certainly can help enhance it.

T

he art of slow travel is not a new concept, and certainly not one foreign to road travellers, but it’s recently become a popular topic. The Slow Travel movement is about creating a deeper, more aware and more meaningful connection with the people, environment and experiences local to the areas you visit. It’s about immersing yourself in the local culture and exploring your immediate surroundings in greater depth.

Modern travel is more than just planes, fasttrains and automobiles; it can be a hurried experience of ticking off major attractions and often simply following the footsteps of the last visitor. There are a number of ways, however, that we can step off the beaten tourist track and experience life ‘like a local’. As with many things ‘on trend’, the fundamentals of slow travel are simply


84 | Mobile Tech

Australian Markets and Fairs Cost: Free Size: 29.1 MB

Established in 1993 as a simple newsletter, Markets & Fairs has run continuously since then, promoting markets and events across Australia. In this time it has grown into a 100-plus page monthly magazine available both online and in print, becoming a valuable resource for the general public, event organisers and stallholders alike. It’s also available now as a simple but functional app, letting you filter, search and plan efficiently!

Attending local festivals, markets and community events is a great way to experience and indulge in the unique flavours and traditions of an area. While nothing beats the thrill of stumbling upon an epic market in full swing – bursting with local people, produce, arts and crafts – it’s definitely more reliable to plan ahead. Fortunately, the Australian Markets and Fairs allows you to do just this!

Designed to provide easy access to the details of events happening near you, the app is easy to navigate and has a great selection of optional filters. You can search by location or event type, plus follow your favourite events for news and updates. Community markets, fairs, agricultural shows, sporting events, open gardens, motor shows, races and rodeos; these events are all great opportunities to

drawn from the way things used to be. Most motorhome enthusiasts will have their own tips and tricks to discover the ‘grassroot’ elements of a place and few rarely belong in the category of ‘tourist’. Hopefully, the following apps will enhance the integration experience!


Mobile Tech | 85 support, engage with and appreciate the natural social fabric of communities and immerse gently into the local culture and atmosphere. GoVolunteer Size: 36.4 MB Cost: Free

notifications when a new opportunity matches your chosen criteria. GoVolunteer now! Local Food Loop: real food by real people Size: 8.8 MB Cost: Free

When you buy local food you’re directly GoVolunteer is an initiative of Volunteering engaging with a local community, one that Australia, it’s a simple and convenient app that’s genuinely values your support. Slow Travels’ spun off from the official Volunteering Australia cousin, ‘Slow Food’, began as a recognised website. No matter what skills, experience, movement in Italy in the 1980s, in protest to the expertise or interests you have, there is without opening of a ‘golden arched’ fast-food chain in a doubt a volunteering opportunity to suit, in Rome. Slow Food values regional cuisine, local every location across Australia. From gardening farming, traditional meal preparation methods to grant writing, history-recording to handy-man and communal dining rather than eating on the duties, driving, drawing, planting trees or simply go. It also encourages us to consider our daily supporting others. meal choices, promoting sustainability and the supporting of local industries. Australians are a generous lot; as a nation we put our hands up and out, more than any other, Local Food Loop is a simple app, not yet assisting socially, culturally & environmentally. optimised for iPad, that helps to uncover the In fact, Australians spend a staggering 700 best fresh food that grown, prepared and million hours volunteering each year! We available in your local area. With a wide range band together when times are tough and we of producers including growers, farm-gate celebrate our strengths. But there’s more to sales, markets, cafes, breweries, eateries and volunteering than simply getting a job done, speciality produce retailers, it lets you discover its proven to actually make us happier and what’s local, fresh and in season. You can add healthier. your own local discoveries too; the creators of the app are quick to respond and uploading In addition to improving our own well-being, your suggestions is made simple with the involunteering is a great way to meet people, app tools. understand a new environment and create a direct positive social impact. GoVolunteer connects you to thousands of volunteer opportunities all over the country. Browse Australia’s largest volunteering database by location, cause or type. Simply create a profile and search, express interest and shortlist opportunities. Find short term, on-going and one-off opportunities supporting a wide range of causes. You can also select to receive


Next Issue | 86

SHOW ’N TELL From across the ditch, Malcolm reports on the Dethleffs Trend 6757 he lived in for a few days, courtesy of the folks at McRent. I’m not sure it came with fries, but the little German B-class apparently did impress him, so watch out for it.

N

ext issue we review the Sunliner Habitat 4, a 4x4 version of the Habitat ‘multi-terrain’ motorhome built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Sunliner says the Habitat range has been selling up a storm and we’re keen to get our hands on this more offroadish one.

MAR

Mar 1-3

1-3

MAR

14-17

APR

Mar 12-1414-17

Speaking of New Zealand, we’re off to the Covi Show this month and will bring you a report on what’s happening in the Kiwi RV scene. Covi is a global melting pot and we’re looking forward to a couple of days exploring what’s available. Watch out for us! The April issue will be out on Saturday the 6th. Until then why not join our Friends and more than 32,000 Facebook , Pinterest and followers on Twitter ? Instagram Facebook “f ” Logo

MAR

1-3

MAR

14-17

APR

12-14

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

MAR

Apr 12-14 1-3

MAR

14-17

Gold Coast Caravan & Outdoor Expo

Mornington Great Outdoor Expo

Ballarat Great Outdoor & 4x4 Expo

Metricon Stadium Carrara, Qld. 4211.

320 Racecourse Rd,

Ballarat Showgrounds, Cnr Creswich Rd and Howitt St, Ballarat. Vic. 3355

• Open 9:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) • Adults: $12 • Concession: $10 • Kids - School age free with adult

• Open 10:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) • Adults: $15 • Concession: $12 • Kids - U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Mornington, VIC. 3931

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

APR

12-14

• Open 10:00-5:00 (4:00 Sunday) • Adults: $15 • Concession: $12 • Kids - U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome Magazine - March 2019  

In this issue: My Say • Autumn Leaves • Street View – Waitangi Day • Tested – Trakka Trakkaway 720 • Tested – Carado T447 • Show Report –...

iMotorhome Magazine - March 2019  

In this issue: My Say • Autumn Leaves • Street View – Waitangi Day • Tested – Trakka Trakkaway 720 • Tested – Carado T447 • Show Report –...

Advertisement