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iMotorhome + caravan May 2020




JABIRU AWD Off the Beaten Track



Cleansing Ail


hoever would have thought a catastrophic global ailment could lead to so much cleansing? A solid month into enforced isolation and social distancing, how is it going? Have you sorted and cleaned everything to within an inch of its life or have you simply taken it in your stride and sat back, feeling rather chilled about it? We’ve experienced a bit of both: The office has never been so clean, neat and tidy, and after eight years the filing cabinet is finally sorted and indexed. Who would have thought? Mrs iM+C has settled into her new role as a Fresh Food Person and already achieved supervisor status (those of you who know her won’t be surprised by this). Yet apart from not being able to travel or see anybody, there’s a familiar rhythm to life: I continue to work from home, Mrs continues to potter around the property during her time off and we continue to drink far too much in the evenings. I’m beginning to believe we’re single-handedly responsible for the 70% increase in bottle shop sales...

You can read all about it on page 10, but what sets it apart is it’s one of a new breed called a Shareable App. Literally designed to be shared by users (that’s you!) via email, text message or social media, it completely bypasses the app stores and has terrific potential for organic growth. In fact you can’t even find it in the App Store or on Google Play and it doesn’t require an account with either of them – or us – to install and use. Compatible with iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows smart phones and tablets, it also works in portrait and landscape modes. Please try it out and remember to share it with as many of your RVing friends as possible!

While Governments tentatively begin to ease restrictions and businesses across the country await initial Job Keeper reimbursements, the first cautious glimmers of optimism are beginning to return. Or am I being too optimistic? Of course the big danger if things are relaxed too quickly is a second wave of infections, but at some point our leaders need to balance the health of our economy with that of our citizens. Fingers crossed wisdom prevails and we chart a balanced and bleach-free path.

Happy 8th Birthday!

The other great feature is it allows us to incorporate more information and links, and in time it will become a one-stop portal to a whole range of RV-related services. This in turn will provide income opportunities via advertising and commissions, helping us to keep bringing you the magazine free of charge (and keeping Dan Murphy’s in the profitability to which it has become accustomed).

In May 2012, Issue 1 of iMotorhome hit the digital newsstands. Some said it wouldn’t last and it has been far from smooth sailing, but we’re still here – unlike some print magazines that have passed into history. Again I ask, “Who would have thought?”. You’ll notice two things about this Birthday issue: firstly, it’s a bit smaller than usual and secondly, there are a couple of pages inside devoted to the new iMotorhome+Caravan app. The first point is to be expected – it has been difficult to get out under the justification of Essential Travel – but I’ve also been using the time to work on the new app and have it ready for a soft launch alongside this issue.

If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 experience it’s having the time to sit back, reassess and reinvent. Here’s hoping this global tragedy passes you by and that you find your own silver lining (possibly while cleaning out the cupboards). Until next month! 3


Love what we do? Then help keep the love coming!

Support iMotorhome+Caravan today. Every amount is welcome – and appreciated.

or Direct Deposit to iMotorhome Pty Ltd BSB: 012276 Account: 305822822 Thanks! 4


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ON MY MIND Cleansing Ail


LETTERS What’s on your mind?


NEWS A glimpse at what’s happening in the wide world of RVing


TASTED Adventure Seeker – Jacana’s new VW Crafter van conversion


TASTED Crossed Purposes – Jayco’s affordable off-road hybrid pop-top


PREVIEW Extreme Machine – EarthCruiser’s new Toyota-based explorer

FEATURE Wonder Wagon – The NZMCA’s founding motorhome restored


TECH Better By Design? – Pt 1 looking at caravan design fundamentals

FEATURE My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open – How to cope with the overwhelm

DIY Changes on the Horizon – next in a series of simple DIY stories

TRAVEL Memory Lane – A lifetime of RVing memories shared

POSTCARDS Postcards From Japan – A glimpse at the Japanese RV scene

RV FRIENDLY Three more country towns supporting our great way of life!

iMotorhome+Caravan iMotorhome+Caravan is an independant magazine that's free and published monthly. Download issues HERE or read online HERE Publisher/Editor

Richard Robertson (+61) 0414 604 368 richard@imotorhome.com.au

Published by iMotorhome Pty Ltd 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


© 2020 iMotorhome Pty Ltd.

Allan Whiting (+61) 0410 677 966 allan@imotorhome.com.au

All content of iMotorhome+Caravan magazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the Publisher. While 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+Caravan magazine or on the website.


Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson Colin Oberin Warren McCullough



Sorry State My wife and I decided to downsize so as to release some of the equity in our larger home. This would then give us more time and income for travelling. We found a one-off small park community; one where you bought the land and built your own cabin, while 80 percent of the residents had to agree before a sale could happen.

to anything, however if you are in a position to help, please go to this GoFundMe site – Stop Them Taking Our Homes! – and help us if you can.

Most of us are in our 70s and some are in their 80s. This arrangement worked well for the first two years, then things changed as the usual money issues arose. It turns out the two Directors were looking after themselves at out expense.

That’s a sorry state of affairs Rich and not what anyone deserves, especially in retirement. Readers, please click on the name of GoFundMe site above and you’ll be taken directly to Rich & Sue’s page and generously support their legal fight. We’ll keep you posted on progress and hope that justice prevails in this very unjust situation.

Many thanks. Rich & Sue

We asked to see the books, but it turns out there were none for the company we had bought-in to. This took two years and thousands of dollars to discover. The directors then put the company into administration, claimed all their legal expenses back and through a Deed of Company arrangement, used that money to purchase the park from under us.

Hop Cuisine? Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “Frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

They then gave us a New Site Agreement to sign: It tripled the rent, said we no longer owned the land, and the few facilities we had were withdrawn. Oh, and we were given seven days to get financial and legal advice or move out, all this to happen just before last Christmas. To us it looked like a phoenix scheme, so back to court. We managed to get an urgent hearing to take place in May. In January we received an email to say not only had they purchased the land, but they also were getting our homes as part of the sale. An interim hearing was held and we were given time to find out that the conditions of sale didn’t include buildings, but they ignored that and gave us another week or be evicted. They went ahead with that and served us with the eviction notice right in the middle of the COVID-19 directive to stay at home. Again we went back to court for another interim hearing, which took place mid April. We are waiting for the decision at the moment.

A month ago when I realised I was about to have a lot of time on my hands I wrote a long list of all the jobs that needed doing in and around our home. I was excited. I was going to make this time at home work for me. Today I worked out something. I am not actually time poor like I thought, the list just contains everything I don’t want to do! My husband told me many years ago about the frog story and so yesterday I looked it up. Perhaps it can help you. This morning we shared a frog, first thing: We chipped out and burned the thistles around our dam and just in time as they were all headed and ready to blow away. After that we felt very righteous! I wonder what tomorrow’s frog will be. Just remember, a frog shared is a much smaller mouthful.

How did your Christmas and New Year go? As we had exhausted all our funds during the two year court case regarding access to the books, I set up aGoFundMe site just before the devastating bushfires. It started with support from a few, then all the fund raising for the fires Regard, Kay. started and our cause got lost: People didn’t seem to care about old people losing their homes if it wasn’t Thanks Kay, what can I say, except I think Mark Twain through fire. was right on the money? Just looking around our place I can see so many frogs that still need swallowing I Now the COVID-19 crisis has stopped everything think I’d better take up French cooking. Burp… in its tracks. Most people now can’t afford to donate 7


Danish Delights Love to catch up with your April news. Take care to you & Mrs iM+C. On Saturday nights we get dressed up, cook a special dinner and have a Theme. Last night it was our Danish Aussie night to celebrate our friendship with our Danish friends, keeps us sane! Regards, Diane & Eddie Great to hear from you two again and to see your smiling faces! Sounds like you’ve got the self-isolation thing licked, hopefully it won’t be too long before we can actually meet up again in person. Until then, congratulations on your ingenuity and effort. As they say to Mrs iM+C when she’s done something well in her new role at Woolies, “Good job!”.

Global Ambitions Hi Richard, a great edition, particularly as times are tough! The Haaks Camper certainly shows great innovation. Sure, some may say it is just another slide on but to me, they have lifted the bar! You have quietly slipped in videos to the magazine too—good stuff! I enjoyed the “Best Western” article – good subject and well done!

The mention of the rest area at Benalla resonated with me. We free camped there whilst on the way to the CMCA rally at Elmore. We bought a host of groceries, alcohol (for hand wipes), went out to dinner, used their taxis, visited the Agricultural Show and filled up with gas and diesel. All in all, Benalla did well from our visit. Cheers, Ross.

The Cub Camper has gone a long way from a budget buy but there you have the Aussie problem. Colin is certainly busy and the ideas are flowing. Pity that Blaze Aid is missing out with Corona on track.

G’day Ross, glad you enjoyed the April issue and apologies for the brevity of this one, which you can read about in my editorial. I don't know about you, but for me it feels like a very long time since I went anywhere and reading travel articles stirs up mixed emotions. I'm sure I'm not alone in seriously looking forward to being able to hit the road again, which will also let you advance your ambitions towards Benevolent Global Dictatorship. Good luck with it – I think you'll do very well – but I'm not sure about your chances of overcoming Apple and Google: it seems to me they'll be unlikely to relinquish what you so deservingly aspire to. If only they could grasp the benevolent bit…

The article about Apple CarPlay resonated with me. The idea of on screen entertainment visible to a driver is not good to put it mildly. I fell off my motorbike a couple of years ago whilst heading home from Wiseman’s Ferry and “Just wondering” how far the GPS would say it was to Perth, W.A. When I become the benevolent dictator of the world I will ban Apple CarPlay and the rest of them (if the Mrs lets me). I might say that the likelihood of my becoming the benevolent or any other type of dictator of the world is quite low as I am told that I must self-isolate.



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Appy Days! Our eighth birthday seems like the perfect time to launch our new app… Name: iMotorhome+Caravan Cost: Free Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone Size: 5MB Dowload: HERE


enry Ford famously said that if he'd asked his customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse. Likewise, nobody knew they needed a smartphone until Steve Jobs came along. Apps are a similar story: who knew what they were before we all got mobile devices, but now, how could we live without them? The problem with apps is we are inundated by them. Think of all the apps on your smart phone or tablet and now think about all the ones you actually use, at least on a semi-regular basis. It seems the key to making a successful app is designing one users will regularly come back to; one that enhances or adds value to the user in their situation. Our new app, therefore, is not just the gateway to all iMotorhome+Caravan magazine issues. It’s designed to enhance your RVing experience and add value by providing one-stop access to a growing range of

information, services and products. However, there’s even more to it than that…

Revolutionary Concept The new iMotorhome+Caravan app is different because it bypasses the app stores. That’s because it’s one of the new breed of Shareable Apps. As the name implies, it’s designed to be shared – by anyone, via email, text message or social media post. Importantly, it works on smartphones and tablets of all sizes and in portrait and landscape modes. Best of all, it means you don’t need an account with Apple, Google – or even us. Simply follow the instructions, install the app on your mobile device and you’re good to go. Once installed, you can easily share it with your RVing friends anywhere in the world. 10


How It Works


A-Frame Towing: The most frequent questions answered by the experts at NorthcoachRV, including suitable vehicle types.

e're starting with a soft launch this month to help you get used to the features and functions, which are primarily built around the magazine. We'll be adding more on an ongoing basis, but the good news is you never need to consciously update the app – it does that when launched and can even update when in use. Just remember, when you see the Update App message, touch the button and it will quickly do the rest.

Caravan Council: Opens the Caravan Council of Australia (CCA) website. The CCA assists RV manufacturers, importers, dealers, owners and potential buyers by providing access to professional, independent and confidential technical services. Outback Travel: Opens Allan Whiting’s excellent Outback Travel Australia website. Access a wealth of bush travel, vehicle, camping and technical information and reviews, from one of Australia’s most respected motoring journalists.

When opened, the new iMotorhome+Caravan app always takes you to the Welcome page. From there you can find all features through the Menu icon (three bars) in the top left corner. Here's what the main menu items do…

Festivals: A calendar of festivals and events from September onwards for RVers in Australia – and soon New Zealand!. Want to add one? Send details to events@imotorhome.com.au Our Sponsors: The companies whose support makes iMotorhome+Caravan possible. If you’re after a new or used RV, service, parts, accessories or whatever, please visit them first, and say iMotorhome+Caravan sent you!

Magazine – Read In-App: Downloads the latest issue of iMotorhome+Caravan magazine into the app for reading by vertical scrolling. Download time depends on your Internet connection speed – the average issue size is around 15 MB – and once downloaded the issue remains in the app as long as you are online. However, depending on your device it can't always be downloaded for off-line viewing from here

Support Us!: Every publishing business is under increasing financial stress due to the onslaught of social media and other online advertising, plus the double whammy of the coronavirus pandemic. Your support via a one-off (or now monthly) donation of any amount is more than just “appreciated” and goes directly to helping us keep the lights on. Thank you…

Magazine – Download: This downloads the latest issue of iMotorhome+Caravan magazine as a complete PDF document, ready for saving to and opening in Books (iPhone/iPad) or the proprietary e-reader on your device.

Where to Next? Please take the time to explore the new iMotorhome+Caravan app and its launch features – you can download it directly from HERE. Then share it with all your RVing friends and ask them to do the same. The more RVers we reach the more advertisers we can attract and the longer you’ll be able to enjoy iMotorhome+Caravan magazine.

Magazine – Back Issues: Opens the iMotorhome website Back Issues page, allowing you to scroll down and download any or all previous issues.

What Else is on the Menu?

New app features are planned, but if you have a suggestion for a topic/link you’d like to see included please let us know at feedback@imotorhome.com.au.

Coronavirus Updates: Takes you straight to the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus health alert website. There you will find the very latest updates and advice to help navigate these difficult times. 11


AKUNA Get away from it all in style



MAN SLRV Expedition Wagon Opportunity

SLRV, based in Molendinar, Queensland. As expected, the equipment list is impressive and extensive, and highlights include: • Composite panel construction on specially A company liquidation is providing a rare opportunity engineered three-point torsion-free chassis to purchase an equally rare 2017 MAN TGM 16.290 • Two battery systems – 1 x 450 Ah AGM/1 x 360 Ah 4x4 expedition vehicle and enclosed, dual-axle Lithium trailer. Slattery Auctions of Stafford, Qld, has been appointed by the liquidator and is seeking expressions • Solar panels – 6 x 150 W • Generator of interest for the purchase of both or either units by • LED lighting 16:00 hrs AEST on Thursday, 11 June 2020. • Sine wave inverters “With its world renowned MAN four wheel drive off road • Diesel-fired cooking, hot water and heating • Reverse cycle air conditioning ability and a comprehensive list of features, this is the • Fusion marine-grade entertainment system ultimate 4x4 Expedition Vehicle. • Water capacity of 500-plus litres • King-size bed “The SLRV Commander 4×4 Expedition Vehicle is a true home away from home. Its spacious interior and a long list of features make this one of the most luxurious The enclosed tandem trailer is suitable for a car or cargo and was manufactured in 2019 by Hamen and well appointed off-road motorhomes available. Industries. It measures 8.5 m long, has a tare of 1500 Perfect for those who require a larger living space. kg and an ATM of 4500 kg, and features a hydraulic “Completely self-contained, the SLRV Commander has loading ramp. an impressive list of included and optional features that Both units are to be sold as-is, untested and give it its long range and long-term travel capability,” unregistered. Contact Aaron Smith or James Slattery says. Rouse on 07 3149 8210 or by email at asmith@ slatteryauctions.com.au, jrouse@slatteryauctions. The MAN 16.290 (16 tonne GVM/290 hp) has a com.au if you have any queries, require further compliance date of 10/2017 and is showing 66,227 information, photos or information regarding the km on the clock. A true go-anywhere 4x4 expedition completion of this EOI Application. vehicle, it's mated to body by specialist manufacturer



4pm AEST Thursday 11 June 2020 ENQUIRIES -

James Rouse 0484 555 665 The SLRV Commander 4x4 Expedition Vehicle 2017 MAN TGM 16.290 VIN:WMAN38ZZ4FY328113 COLOUR:GREY KMS SHOWING:66227 MANUFACTURE DATE:2017 COMPLIANCE DATE:10/2017 GVM:16000 GCM:17500 LOGBOOK:NO SOLD AS IS, UNTESTED AND UNREGISTERED SC609179.

2019 Enclosed Tandem Car/Cargo Trailer MAKE:PRAJBISZ, HAMEN INDUSTRIES YEAR:2019 BUILD DATE:10/2019 VIN:6T9T20ACJKAAAB128 COLOUR:WHITE LENGTH:8.5M ATM:4500KG TARE:1500KG EXTRAS:HYDRAULIC LOADING RAMP SOLD AS IS, UNTESTED AND UNREGISTERED SC705059 ***EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST / OFFERS INVITED FOR BOTH ASSETS TOGETHER OR SEPARATELY*** Please contact Aaron Smith or James Rouse on 07 3149 8210 or by email at asmith@slatteryauctions.com.au, jrouse@ slatteryauctions.com.au if you have any queries, require further information, photos or information regarding the completion of this EOI Application.

Visit our website for full listings on all auctions.




Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival 18-26 Sept

Film Festival is the largest film festival dedicated to Australian cinema and looks to highlight the inspiring works of the local film industry. Closer to its core, the festival celebrates the Winton community, with many locals heavily involved in the production of the event.

The stage is set for another spectacular display of Australian cinematic talent as the 7th annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival returns to Winton, Australia’s Hollywood of the Outback this September 18-26 – Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

Festival Director Mark Melrose says the festival’s unique offering attracts adventurers and movie buffs alike, while also playing a key role in promoting Outback Australia and the Australian film industry.

Spread across an unmissable nine-day program, festival goers will immerse in the unique outback experience, with screenings under the stars in Winton’s 102-year-old Royal Open Cinema, along with masterclasses, workshops and live entertainment.

“Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival looks to encourage and inspire people across the whole breadth of the industry from cinematography and production to sound and lighting,” Mr Melrose said.

Centred around the 2020 theme of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the program celebrates Australia’s love affair with travel, adventure and blue skies, showcasing the nation’s pioneering spirit in films. Drawing on the legacy of independent festivals like Sundance Film Festival, Vision Splendid Outback

“The program supports homegrown talent and feature films made in Australia, often providing the first run for some films that have struggled with commercial distributors.

“The rugged, red surrounds of Winton make it the perfect location to host the largest film festival 15

NEWS dedicated to Australian film – it’s home to international actor Jason Clarke and iconic films including Goldstone, Mystery Road and The Proposition,” he says. Renowned actor Steve Le Marquand who was honoured with a star at Winton’s Walk of Fame in 2019, says the festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Australia on and off screen. “There is no better time to support local and plan an adventure in our own backyard. The festival not only showcases the amazing Australian spirit on screen, you also get to experience the beauty of the outback landscape and hospitality,” he said. “My daughter Charlie and I had a great time in Winton last year – Charlie even helped direct one of the short films a part of the student program.” To find out more information or secure tickets for this unique experience, visit www.visionsplendidfilmfest. com Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is funded under the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program during the Year of Outback Tourism 2020.


Predator A Frame



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Big announcement for Northcoach RV… Our Base Plates and A Frames are ADR certified After an intensive eighteen month programme, Northcoach RV is pleased to announce the ADR 62/02 certification of its Predator and Ready Brute A Frames plus the full range of Base Plates. Call us on 0409 581 471 to discuss all your towing needs.

Northcoach RV CRN50112 Range of Base Plates

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www.northcoach.com.au 16 | Phone: 0409 581 471


Tassie Ferries Relocating TT-Line, which operates the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, has announced that in 2022 its Victorian port operations will switch from Station Pier at Port Melbourne to Corio Quay, north of Geelong. The new 12-hectare dedicated site will include a purpose designed passenger terminal building, passenger vehicle marshalling area for 600 cars, more efficient passenger vehicle check-in, security facilities, public amenities, food and beverage outlet, children's play area and a pet exercise area. This move will not only help to ease the congestion in streets of inner-city Melbourne, it also provides a new gateway, connecting those departing Tasmania to visit the Great Ocean Road or to quickly hit the road to other destinations.

It also coincides with the introduction of new ships coming online with much greater access and space for caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes.

NT and WA Lifting Restrictions Camping will be back on the agenda after Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced the lifting of some restrictions as the number of coronavirus cases ease. The move applies to Litchfield National Park, Howard Springs Nature Park, Manton Dam, Shady Camp, Berry Springs (picnic area) and Territory Wildlife Park. Meanwhile, WA Premier Mack McGowan has announced that up to 10 people will be allowed to gather for non-contact recreational activities such as camping, private picnics in the park, fishing, boating and hiking ‒ all in compliance with travel restrictions. However, he warned people to remember that WA remained in a state of emergency.

down on social distancing and good personal hygiene. The limitations on seeing family and friends over the past month have been difficult for many of us and particularly isolating for some. People will now have more choice if they want to interact with their family and friends.”

“I strongly encourage that everyone must continue to practice appropriate social distancing,” he said. “We need to be patient and careful. We can't let our guard



TRACK acquires Trackmaster and Pioneer Gerard Waldron (director TRACK) and Wayne Gason (MD Gason industries) jointly announced that Track has acquired the long-standing Australian brands Trackmaster and Pioneer. The deal, which will see these brands stay on Australian shores, has been in negotiation since early December 2019 and the agreement transfers all the intellectual property for both the design/manufacture and marketing of both brands to TRACK. Under the agreement, TRACK’s ‘OUTBACK HQ’ showroom and service centre will provide ongoing service and parts for both brands and warranty services on behalf of Gason for all Gasonmanufactured products.

“The Australian RV industry was already on notice 12 months ago that the federal RVSA legislation would bring light trailers into a similar compliance scheme to that existing for cars and trucks. The challenges of this and the slow economy were already drivers of industry consolidation,” Mr Waldron said. “TRACK recognised this and was already seeking opportunities to expand its offering. The opportunity to acquire these two highly regarded brands with compatible design and production systems seemed ideal. New Trakmaster and Pioneer models will be released in 2021, but in the meantime OUTBACK HQ has stock of 2020 models available for immediate sale. Clearly Covid-19 was not part of our plan, but in common with everybody else we are dealing with it as best we can

“At present both our showroom and production facilities are open and operating, with additional hygiene and social distancing. We may be required “As a board we have assessed it over the past year and to close in future and we will be hibernating as many being a family owned business of 75 years in October – other businesses. TRACK and OUTBACK HQ are still we felt we wanted to come back to our core business in at work, but like most in business they are hoping for Ararat,” Mr Gason said. “We just felt Track was that right sales to continue throughout the crisis, even if at a diminished level for now”. business; they are family owned, building high quality products like Trakmaster and Pioneer, and we just see this as the best fit in Australia to take these products forward and develop them into the future.” 18


Aladdin’s Cave


Police have allegedly uncovered an Aladdin's cave of stolen property at a caravan park on the Gold Coast.

Just as we were going to press, the following update was received regarding the legal battle as outlined in Sorry State in our Letters section:

It happened after officers from Mudgeeraba identified a vehicle of interest that was thought to have been involved in recent property offences in Robina and Broadbeach. That led to a search warrant being executed at the Mudgeeraba caravan park, where numerous tools and construction site equipment were found. Police also allegedly located two syringes and a plastic water pipe.

“Good morning to all our friends and supporters. Your donations are being well spent. “Excellent news: Following further hearings, provisional orders have been handed down until such time as a full hearing is held, which could be some time, due to the current circumstances. “The Orders: Everybody gets their land and buildings back and all are to be given quiet enjoyment of their sites, no more threats or bullying or blocking friends from visiting. To keep good faith, we will be paying appropriate fees, which will be determined by an independent expert. I will keep you posted when we get details.

A 45-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, both from Mudgeeraba, were charged with two counts of entering with intent, one count of stealing, one count of possessing tainted property, one count of receiving tainted property, one count of wilful damage and three counts of drug possession.

Bye for now, Rich”.





adventure SEEKER Jacana’s new Seeker brings a fresh face to the van-conversion motorhome market, says Allan Whiting...


vailable in medium and long-wheelbase variants, Volkswagen’s latest Crafter 4Motion is the ideal base for a medium-mobility campervan. While it won’t go where a fully-kitted, hard-core 4WD ute will go, it suits those who want a compact RV that can get off the beaten track. Jacana Motorhomes is best known for its large 4WD truck-based motorhomes, but has recently moved into the van market, with conversions for HiAce, Crafter and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.

The Jacana Seeker medium-wheelbase (MWB) model suits a travelling couple, while the long-wheelbase (LWB) model has more interior room and seatbelted places for four people). The LWB’s secondary passenger seat doubles as a dinette and both front seats swivel to make four-facing seats around a removable table. In the MWB model the driver and passenger seats swivel to form a two-seat dinette. The standard gross mass rating of the MWB model is 3.5 tonnes, but that can be increased to 3.88 tonnes 21


in conjunction with the 4Motion 4WD option. The LWB 2WD and AWD models both have a 4.0-tonne GVM. Both models have an east-west double bed that can be fixed, with storage space underneath, or be a liftable type so that a dinette or ‘toy’ space is available under it. Bed length can be increased by the fitment of optional ‘spoiler’ window extensions on both sides of the van body. Standard equipment in the MWB Seeker includes: double-glazed windows with screens and blinds; a Fiamma 3-metre awning; insulated roof; lightweight plywood cabinetry; waterproof flooring with vinyl overlay; under-bed storage with inside and outside access; dinette table; stainless steel sink with mixer tap; 150-litre 12V/240V fridge/freezer; diesel cooktop;

800W microwave; exterior fold-down table; 70-litre water tank; diesel water heater; water pressure pump; mains water inlet; fibreglass shower module; Thetford cassette toilet; 15-amp electrical socket; lithium house battery; 200W solar panels with regulator; 240V/12V charger; flush-mount LED lighting and USB outlets. Options include 4Motion with GVM upgrade; loft bed; TV; 240V aircon roof-mounted unit; diesel room heater, rear dinette under loft bed; door flyscreens, powered entry step and an outside shower kit. Standard equipment in the LWB model is as for the MWB model, plus a passenger seat with seat belts; wardrobe and 95-litre water tank in lieu of 70-litres capacity. Options are the same.




utside the standard layout and popular options, Jacana is happy to incorporate additional owner requirements and we inspected a Seeker MWB model that was quite different from the standard layout. In their vehicle the very experienced remote-areatouring owners opted for a forward position of the toilet and shower module, along with a liftable bed over a rear four-seat dinette. They also stipulated upgraded electrics, with a 2000-watt inverter. The forward shower/toilet location allowed the plumbing, toilet dump and electrical system components to be arranged in a single location, behind the RHS sliding door. Pricing for Jacana Seeker models starts at $139,600. For further information visit the website HERE.



CROSSED PURPOSES Jayco’s pop-top hybrid that won’t break the bank or the weighbridge scales, reports Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au...


ayco’s 2020 CrossTrak hybrid camper range is aimed at off-roading couples, with low ball and tare weights, yet generous payload. Hybrid, pop-top campers have increased in popularity in Australia, because of their ease of setup and low weight, allowing them to be towed by a wide variety of vehicles, from mid-sized SUVs to large 4WDs. At the CrossTrak launch last year, Neil McGowan, Jayco’s research and development manager, said the strength of the Jayco CrossTrak ensures it’s fit for Australian conditions.“Jayco chassis have been specifically engineered in Australia, tailored for Australian conditions and we’re proud to lead the market in caravan trailer suspension.” The 2020 range comprises four models ranging from 13 to 16 feet. Both lengths are available with double or double-plus-bunk bed layouts, while the 16 foot Double features an ensuite in place of the bunk bed.




ey design features of the CrossTrak are lightweight design, with tare weights ranging from1349 kg to 1534 kg and ball weights between 131 kg and 159 kg. Travel lengths range from 5.4 to 6.14 m, while all models feature a travel height of 2.4 m and width of 2.2 m. Wheel track is similar to that of popular 4WDs, allowing for easy off-road towing. Pricing is keen and starts at $37,990. The CrossTrak design features an outdoor kitchen and the rear door opens to make a spacious outdoor shower area, with a drop-down privacy tent and flexible solar panel. It also features Jayco’s Endurance 2.0 steel chassis that’s hot-dip galvanised for corrosion protection. The chassis mounts J-Tech 2.0 trailing-arm independent suspension.




ayco’s vacuum-bonded, quad-layer wall construction uses a lightweight aluminium frame clad with hailand-dent-resistant fibreglass. Interior furniture uses screwed aluminium frame construction and a 720-litre tunnel boot provides enough space for a portable fridge and storage. The pop-top tent sides are cut from grey waterproof Boltiflex vinyl, with high wear resistance and a PreFix finish coating, making it easier to clean. The outdoor kitchen comes with a two-burner gas hob, stainless-steel sink and overhead storage. Inside, there’s a high-flow Sirocco fan, innerspring mattress, 100Ah battery and commercial-grade, UVresistant interior fabrics. Jayco’s exclusive battery management technology, JHub, comes as a phone app, enabling owners to monitor battery and water levels on phones within Bluetooth range. We’ve asked for an evaluation vehicle, but we did that with the Jayco JTrak camper trailer last year and we’re still waiting. We’re not holding our breath! For further information visit a Jayco dealer or the Jayco Crosstrak website HERE.



by Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson


ere in the locked-down U.S. we watch with interest developments Down Under. Your off-road campers, motorhomes and trailers – sorry, ‘caravans’ – are awesome and amongst the best made anywhere in the world. You’re also home to EarthCruiser, maker of extreme expedition-grade RVs and a company with an affiliated but independent factory over here that just can’t seem to keep up with demand.

motorhome cabin, it will have everything two people need to brave the elements.

Soon, EarthCruiser’s Australian HQ will be putting a wedge-top camper atop a Toyota chassis for the first time and understandably calling it the Extreme (XTR). Combining the ’79-Series LandCruiser ‘Troopy's’ legendary capability with added cab comfort, an off-grid solar power system and a cozy two-sleeper

Before EarthCruiser gets to work securing its module to the Land Cruiser's bones, it'll add a 5-cm suspension lift, larger leaf springs, differential and axle upgrades, and entry steps. It'll also throw on an 80-litre water tank, with a 200-litre tank optional. It will also offer the option of supplementing the 79's own

Still in the works at this stage, the XTR will have a 4.2-tonne gross vehicle weight rating, become the most compact chassis-mounted motorhome in EarthCruiser's current lineup, slotting in just under the 4.5-tonne G-Pro Escape.



130-litre fuel tank with an extra 110-litres. A snorkel will sit comfortably along the A-pillar, helping the 148 kW 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 breathe, and the seats will come neatly trimmed in leather.

particularly dirty adventurers can get clean without traipsing through the entire motorhome. A slide-out toilet will be included. According to the preliminary spec-sheet, the XTR will also include a 400-Ah lithium battery, touchscreen command centre, 540-watt solar charging, a 3,000-W inverter, plus diesel air and water heating. A front passthrough will allow occupants to move between cab and motorhome without ever stepping outside.

The camper box itself will feature EarthCruiser's fully moulded composite construction, with a pop-up roof adding ample headroom above. To squeeze everything inside the limited cubic footage, EarthCruiser plans to push the main 155 cm x 215 cm bed up into the pop-top. Downstairs, the floor plan calls for a rear corner kitchen with diesel cooktop, a sink and a fridge/freezer. Just forward from there, the two-seat dining area will have an indoor/outdoor table and convert over into an extra single bed. Like larger EarthCruisers, the XTR will have an entryway wet bathroom, a solution that ensures

The XTR is still under development, but EarthCruiser tells us pricing will start at AU$240,000 for the complete RV. Plans call for the first model to be finished by July and we'll take a closer look once the finalised details and photos are released. In the mean time, stay up to date on the EarthCruiser website by clicking HERE.



Wonder Wagon 29

The bus that got the NZMCA off the ground has been retsored and is now a national treasure...



ithout doubt, one of the stars of the 2020 COVI show was Bus Number One: A beautifully restored 1928 REO Speed Wagon motorhome that helped launch the NZ Motor-Caravan Association (NZMCA) – the Kiwi counterpart to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA). Below is the story in the NZMCA's own words from its Show stand… The vintage 1928 REO Speed Wagon motorhome was originally owned by the Association's founder, Andy and Gladys Anderson. It had begun its life as a bus in the Gisborne district and was understood to have covered something like 750,000 miles before Andy Anderson bought it and converted it into a motorhome. In the years since the Anderson’s built the motorhome in the 1950s, time has taken a toll on the vehicle. Somewhere along the way the motorhome body was dismantled and what remained of the vehicle – the original chassis, motor and running gear – ended up with the Tauranga Historic Village Trust, before being donated to the local museum in 1992. It was the enthusiasm of a group of Gisborne members that was key in having the NZMCA purchase the vehicle from Gisborne's East Coast Museum of Technology. But once this was done and the vehicle towed to local plumber Brian Hall's workshop, it dawned on the group that a much more challenging task lay ahead – that of actually rebuilding the REO to the standard it would have been in the days when the Anderson family travelled in it. Eastland Area Chairman Fergus McKenzie said, “We were excited about it – with a little bit of trepidation too, I think. The day we got it we sort of sat back and thought ‘My goodness what have we done?’. But the end result speaks for itself – the group has gone beyond their own and everyone's expectations. The gloriously restored vehicle is a strong testament to the can-do attitude and the spirit of volunteerism that is at the core of the NZMCA.



Online research indicates the engine is the socalled Improved T6; a 6-cylinder unit that bridged the gap in 1927-28 between the earlier T6 and Gold Crown of 1929 onwards. Capacity is possibly 208 cu-in (3.4-litres) as indicated on the side of the block, with power likely to have been in the 35-45 hp (26-33 kW) range, with a top speed around 35 mph (56 km/h).

The name REO Speed Wagon might be familiar to you through rock music, it being the name of an American band formed in 1967 that’s still going strong. The band, however, took its name from the light trucks that were hugely popular in the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century. The REO Motor Car Company was the brainchild of Mr Ransom Eli Olds, who lent his initials to the business when it was formed in 1905. Previously, he has founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, makers of Oldsmobiles that later became a part of General Motors, but was barred from using his surname in any subsequent business. The Speed Wagon series of light trucks were the fastest in their day and especially popular with bootleggers during Prohibition, thanks to the powerful Gold Crown engine introduced in 1929. Speed Wagons served as everything from delivery trucks to fire engines, ambulances, buses and even early motorhomes, and the name has entered automotive folk lore. Old passed away in 1950, aged 86, and the REO brand followed suit in 1967 after being bought by Diamond T Trucks, which gave birth to Diamond-REO Trucks.



The don’t make cabs like this anymore – especially ones with a toilet beneath the driver’s seat! Note the ergonomic-free driving environment. On the plus-side, walk-through access to the living area is excellent and visibility not too bad.


FEATURE Perhaps a forerunner of the New Zealand House Truck movement, the Wonder Wagon’s beautifully restored interior is more home-like than any modern day RV. There’s also a surprising amount of room to move. Note the authentic appliances, including a wood stove – ideal on those chilly NZ evenings...



The bedroom has an interesting double bunk arrangement in the kerbside rear corner. The ‘bathroom’ is in the other corner, but only accessible from outside!



Only accessible from outside, the bathroom is really just a toilet cubicle, but at least it would keep odous at bay. Apparently, the toilet was a ‘Sanutrene Electrosan’, which was connected to a sixvolt battery and, “Worked silently and thoroughly, killing all odour and germs without mess or stain”.



Hats off to the dedicated crew who effectively re-built the Wonder Bus from scratch. To find out more about this remarkable motorhome visit the NZMCA website HERE.




by Colin Young, Caravan Council of Australia

by Design?


ow much genuine professional engineering design went into your caravan? Was it developed using professional Computer Assistant Design (CAD) software and a high level Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) program? Or was it just simply copied from a competitor's van, which was possibly merely copied from another van that was made many years before and was possibly sketched on the back of an envelope? Was it purely concocted by the oft-used ‘she'll be right method and did a professional engineer actually calculate the stresses involved in the various components – especially the critical running-gear

elements? And did they then incorporate reasonable safety factors in order to provide acceptable safety, reliability and durability? While a potential buyer of a caravan does not need to be a walking encyclopaedia on caravan design engineering, it is still a good idea to be reasonably informed regarding the whys and wherefores of the fundamental technical issues. And if a salesperson cannot credibly explain why a particular caravan has, or does not have, certain features, you might want to question their understanding of what they are actually selling.



Q: What is by far the most important design consideration for any caravan? A: The caravan must be safe and stable on the road when towed legally behind a suitable tow-vehicle, so that its handling and stability remain steady and predictable regardless of whether the van is empty, partially loaded or fully loaded (up to its ATM ratIng). In addition, the caravan must be designed to have a high 'critical speed’, so that it is unlikely to jackknife and roll over in the event of the driver of the tow vehicle having to make a sudden emergency/ avoidance manoeuvre.



Q: What is the next equally-most important design consideration for any caravan? A: Handling smoothly and predictably on the road, as per the evenness (or roughness) of the roadway surface on which it was designed to be responsibly towed. Suspension system design for caravans is an extremely complex subject, where poor (generic or offthe-shelf) configurations can quickly and dangerously impair the dynamics and road holding of the caravan. There are definite reasons why caravans can and do quickly and uncontrollably jackknife and roll over. Unlike a semi trailer or fifth-wheeler, which have their coupling, or articulation point, virtually directly over the rear axle, conventional tow vehicle/caravan

combinations are at a considerable disadvantage. That's because their coupling is a considerable distance behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle. This greatly increases the possibility of caravan sway developing if something, such as a harsh bump in the road or a powerful wind gust, is encountered. This potentially lethal condition is exacerbated if the mass of the tow vehicle is not appreciably heavier than the mass of the caravan. For example, when the driver turns the steering wheel in one direction, the front of the caravan moves on the opposite direction, which is hardly the most desirable reaction in terms of maintaining stability on a curve.



Q: Following on, what is the next equally-most important design consideration? A: Ensuring the mass distribution – in a side view – for both empty and loaded conditions stays within the acceptable range. This ensures that the extremely critical 'ball loading' stays safely within the required narrow range. This can only be determined by conducting real world professional on-road testing. An important design requirement is to ensure that the magnitude of the ‘polar moment of inertia’ is acceptable. Basically, this means all heavy items need to be loaded as close as possible to the axle/s and not at the extreme ends of the van, especially the rear. All storage compartments not located close to the centre of the van need warning labels stating the maximum mass of contents that can be stored there. Instructions should be provided to state exactly where after-market accessories can be located, along with the maximum permitted masses.



Doing the Maths

Caravans should be designed so that there is the least possible change in the ball loading when each tank is full or empty. Multiple water tanks should be positioned as close as possible to and each side (front/rear) of the axle/s.

Change in Ball Loading: ((G x LG) + (W2 x LW2) - (W1 x LW1)) / LC Example: G = 18 kg; W1 = 45 kg; W2 = 90 kg; LG = 3.0 m; LW1 = 1.5 m; LW2 = 1.5 m; LC = 3.5 m.

A simple ‘moments’ formula – mass x distance – can be used to determine the change in ball-loading if mass changes (like water/LPG empty or full) or if components/appliances/accessories are added or removed.

Change in Ball-Loading: ((18 x 3) + (90 x 1.5) - (45 x 1.5)) / 3.5.

Note: Dimensions from the centre of the axle group to the left are positive, dimensions to the right are negative. Water/LPG tanks forward of the axle/s increase the ball loading; tanks aft of the axle/s decrease the ball loading.

Change in Ball-Loading: ((54) + (135) - (67)) / 3.5 . Change in Ball-Loading: ( 22) / 3.5.

The actual mass of the van will increase by: G+W1+W-2 when the empty tanks are filled. Remember that one litre of water weighs one kilogram. If a third tank is fitted, add it to the drawing and measure the (+ or -) distance from the centre of the tank to the centre of the axle(s). Calculate the ‘moments’ – mass x distance – around the centre of the axle (or midway between tandem axles).

Actual change in Ball-Loading: +35 kg Worst Case 1: W1 empty; G & W2 full. Change in Ball-Loading: +54 kg Worst Case 2: W1 full; G & W2 empty. Change in Ball-Loading: -19 kg



Q: Finally, what’s the next equally-most important design consideration in a caravan? A: Ensuring the ball loading stays as constant as possible, regardless of whether water/LPG tanks are empty or full. It is imperative that water tanks are located as close as possible to the axle/s and evenly distributed.

Next month we’ll look at running gear issues and the various suspension types, plus axle groups, GTM ratings, effective spring rates, tyres and their combined importance on the safe and smooth operation of a caravan.

The photo shows an unbelievably dangerous setup where all three – yes, three – water tanks were located ahead of the axles! The empty ball loading with all tanks empty was 360 kg! One dreads to think of how many similar vans were, or still are, on our roads. So much for self-certification and grossly inadequate regulatory manufacture audits and vehicle inspections...







h, the overwhelm – the feeling of drowning under too many tasks and too many thoughts! When it takes hold, it’s hard to complete any task, let alone 10. You feel frantic, distracted, fuzzy, stressed; you feel like your heart is heavy and your head is full. So full, in fact, it’s hard to retain any new information. If an important thought pops into your head, it bursts quickly against the pointy edges of mountainous mental clutter.




TWO QUESTIONS. ONE GOAL Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed (or even just have a few worrisome thoughts), I walk away, sit down with a pen and paper, and draw two columns. At the top of each column, I write a question. In the first column, I write, ‘What’s wrong?’ In the second, I write, ‘What’s the fix? They’re two simple and straightforward questions, but the process of writing them down and then answering them, immediately improves the situation.

HOW IT WORKS The first column: When filling this out just have a brain dump. Don’t think about the solutions for now, just write every worry, no matter how big or small. A worry is a worry, and we want to write them all down. Don’t judge. Just write.

THE SECOND COLUMN Start listing fixes to the problems. Actually, despite the title of “What’s the fix?” there might not be an exact solution to each problem. Instead, there might be a small step or strategy that will manage or improve the situation rather than fix it entirely. That’s okay. At least knowing what the problem is and doing something will help to reduce overwhelm. Also, you don’t have to start from the top of the column and work your way down. Just tackle the problems in any order that works.

A HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE The following example includes both business and personal worries for Tom, a fictitious soloist graphic designer. That’s because the nature of micro business is that the two collide, especially when working from home – be that bricks and sticks or mobile. Note: In the “What’s the fix?” column I’ve written more detail than is required. I did this to share Tom’s thought processes. However, you can just write something like, “Reply to emails tomorrow morning”.




What’s the problem?

What’s the fix?

Inbox flooded with emails

Tomorrow morning, set aside 45 minutes to action or delete every email in my inbox. Don’t overthink the response. Don’t move on to any other task until my inbox is clear.

Two projects due at the same time, tight deadlines

Email John and request an extension on his logo. He took a bit longer returning feedback for the first round, so will understand. Focus all energy on Sarah’s brochures.

Tired and stressed!

Tonight go to bed by 8.30pm. Shut down all devices by 8. Wake up at 6am and go for a walk to clear my head.

Friends coming over for dinner tomorrow, have to clean the house and cook! No time!

Text to suggest we go to a restaurant.

FeeFee looking listless. Not sure if she’s sick. Bit worried.

Call vet today to make an appointment.

Home office is a MESS!!

Clean it NOW. If my environment is cluttered, so is my mind!

Putting off a difficult conversation with Rachael about how she spoke to me.

Sit down with Rachael tonight. Ask if she’s okay. Tell her how I felt about the way she spoke to me.



Doing this clears the clutter. Writing and answering these two, simple questions gets things off your mind and onto paper. It gives you clarity and helps you make better decisions.

Once you’ve filled out the first column you’ll immediately feel more in control because you can see, in black and white, exactly what you’re dealing with. You’re no longer floundering in a sea of nameless worries.

Prior to writing down your worries, your thoughts can blur into one, big, unmanageable clump, affecting your ability to make clear decisions. By writing them down you can see that even the biggest clump of worry is made up of singular strands, each of which can be combed through for a solution.

FROM OVERWHELMED TO UNDER CONTROL Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, regain your control by writing down your problems, along with steps to help fix or manage them. You’ll feel empowered again, which is good for you and great for your business – mobile or not!

46 65


changes on the

HORIZON The third in a series of DIY project ideas for any RVer… 47


Water Works 1


expect I am not the only grey nomad who considers water works to be an important, ongoing and sometimes urgent issue. Here are some of the things I have done to de-stress some of the various water works issues which I have found over the years are likely to crop up when I am on the road. All RV owners need a length of hose for refilling the water tank, complete with a clip-on connection to a screw connector for attaching the hose to the tap. This item came with my van but I soon purchased a second screw connector as I have, on occasions, left the screw connector attached to a tap as I snapped off the hose, coiled it up and stashed it away. Of course I only found out I was without a tap connector when I tried to connect the water hose to the mains at the next stop and no screw connector meant no water. I now know that if there is no spare connector stored with the hose when I arrive at a new destination I need to purchase one at the first opportunity and preferably before reaching the following destination, just in case. 48


Water Works 2


nother useful watery purchase is a clip-on connector with a stop cock. The value of this item is that when the water is turned on at the tap, it doesn’t rush out of the free end of the hose, providing of course the stop cock is turned off. I have a short length of smaller diameter hose for filling the on-board tank. By attaching this filler hose to the main length of hose via the stop cock valve connector, it becomes a simple process to turn the water on at the mains then insert the short filler hose into the water tank inlet. When ready, the stop cock can be opened without the fear of water splashing everywhere, which always seems to happen when there is no stop cock on the outlet end of the hose. This can be especially annoying when the tap at the mains is some distance from the tank to be filled so you can find yourself rushing back and forth to the tap to avoid wasting lots of precious water and/or getting wet. 49


Water Works 3


have also purchased a water filtration unit, which I have not yet used as so far I have been able to only fill up with Melbourne water and so not needed a filter. The instructions say to fit the filter as close to the water source as possible, so again the stop cock connector will be useful when the filter is being used. It will be a simple matter to link everything up, make sure the stop cock is closed, turn on the water at the mains then open the stop cock at the outlet end to regulate the flow of water through the filter and into the on board tank.



Water Works 4


t is usually possible to park fairly close to a dump point. However, the grey water hose which came with my vehicle was quite long. This was very useful when I wanted to disperse the grey water away from the van, which some places like you to do to water their grass and/or garden. However, when it came time to empty the grey water tank into a dump point the long hose became very inconvenient. The solution was to cut the waste water hose with a hacksaw so the shorter length is the one which has the connector to the van’s grey water outlet. This shorter length should preferably be around 2.5 metres long. That is usually more than enough length to empty the grey water into the dump point. A joiner piece of PVC tubing, available at most hardware stores in a size which fits snugly inside the standard grey water hose, allows the grey water hose to be re-joined when the longer length is required. This joining method would not be suitable for a hose under any sort of pressure, but if you get the right size of joiner tube, the join is a snug fit and doesn’t leak when grey water flows though the hose under the force of gravity. While I have used this joiner method in the past, this time instead of buying a new joiner I actually used an old doorstop for which I had no further use. I simply cut the dome end off the door stop leaving a tube just the right size to fit over the grey water hose in order to join the two pieces together when needed. I leave the joining piece attached to the longer section of grey water hose so as not to lose it. 51


52 60


Memory Lane

Diverting down this laneway doesn’t require driving… by Warren McCullough 53



hile our household has so far avoided any symptoms of the coronavirus sweeping the world, we do appear to have been infected by the home isolation bug – the most obvious symptoms being a penchant for cleaning, tidying, organising and renovating. Inside the house, windows have been cleaned, lounge covers laundered and furniture repainted. Out in the yard, trees and shrubs have been pruned and shaped, and garden beds weeded – twice! The old cubby house has received a complete makeover, along with the addition of a brand new sandpit, ready for the grandchildren – whenever they are able to visit again. Out in the driveway the motorhome is now spotless. The fibreglass roof has been polished; the roof-top solar panel is sparkling. All hinges and other moving parts on the annexe and doors have been thoroughly lubricated. Inside the van, the fridge is immaculately fresh. Storage tanks have been flushed and rinsed. Running low on potential rejuvenation projects, we turn our attention to the collection of photo albums on the bookshelf – definitely ripe for an overhaul. We are talking about real albums here, with solid bound covers containing pages of printed photos arranged neatly behind cellophane sheets. Remember them? Such projects always consume more time than originally planned, as the tidying and organising inevitably leads to browsing, which in turn leads to meandering through memories of earlier days. Buried among the birthday photos of children blowing out candles are bursts of holiday snaps, providing a timely reminder of how far we have come with our modern glamping environments. 54




n the days before mobile phones, we have only the occasional photographic record of our recreational exploits. I can’t even find a photo of my first car – a Mini – purchased circa 1974. For a modest outlay of $500 the Mini included a 'camping body’ – the seats all folding completely flat to form a bed. This feature obviously sparked an interest that has lasted a lifetime. My second car, which saw me through the first year of university, was a Datsun 120Y hatchback, which very quickly had curtains, a mattress and other essential camping options fitted. In the era of the Sandman panel van, this was the low cost 'stealth' camping option, with all the mod cons of Japanese cars of the day: a wrap-around dash, tachometer, heater and a built-in cassette stereo. No air con in those days, though… How cozy it was sleeping in the back of the hatchback with the rain pelting down on the large hatch window during the night, then opening the hatch to a glorious sunny morning overlooking the beach. The next step up the hatchback camping ladder would have been a Torana hatchback, with a fitted HatchHutch tent supplied by Holden itself. But this migration path was side-tracked when a friend of a friend, looking to fund an overseas trip, offered to sell me their powder-blue Kombi camper, fitted out with basic camping furnishings and a pop-top roof.



The Big Time


f course, I happily helped out with their fundraising efforts and snapped up the Kombi. Even though it was very much a DIY fit-out, it was like a palace compared to camping trips in the hatchback. Fitted below the small bench-top sink was a 20-litre water bottle, which may (or may not) have been made from drinking-water grade plastic – though I do recall that the water developed a taste of its own if left sitting for a couple of weeks! The water was piped up to the sink with a pump-action tap. There was no chance of water wastage from leaving the tap running with this arrangement! Any waste water from the sink drained to a bucket under the van – if we remembered to put it out – and if the wind didn’t blow it over! Hot water? Only if we boiled it on the portable stove! There was no thought of a vented LPG bottle compartment. The two-litre LPG bottle lived under the cupboard behind the passenger seat and supplied

the three-way fridge and portable stove. A spare LPG bottle lived on the roof rack above the cabin. We really cut our campervan teeth in the blue Kombi. The van was our daily drive during the week, doubling up as the regular weekend getaway vehicle. We travelled up and down the coast whenever we had longer holidays. It was two dollars for an unpowered site at the old First Sun Caravan Park at Byron Bay, right on the beach and a short walk to town and the original pub. Though 'ownership' of the site was only temporary: with no site numbers, if we drove out for the day our spot was gone when we returned. I recall being aghast at the outrageous cost of a more secure powered site – five dollars per night! Tell ‘em they’re dreaming! An extended Christmas visit to the Gold Coast in the late 1970s introduced us to regular free-camping, after we discovered that all caravan parks in that part 56

TRAVEL of the world were booked out for the duration of the school holidays. Beach car parks, roadside rest areas and parks in residential areas became our overnight homes. Surf club showers were a welcome luxury adjacent to the beach car parks. A major mechanical malfunction helped solve the accommodation problem, at least for a few nights. After a severe loss of power and some rather worrying clunking noises, we had the Kombi’s motor removed by a VW specialist located in a service station in a southern suburb of the Gold Coast. It was right near the beach. With the motor on the bench in the workshop, we pushed the van to a quiet parking area at the back of the servo, where we lived for four days while the erstwhile mechanic replaced the damaged valve seats and reconditioned the heads of the motor. Although the repairs cost a couple of hundred dollars, we had 'free' accommodation right near the beach, an easy walk to the local shops, and an onsite bathroom at the servo!



Not long after returning home we took the opportunity to upgrade the blue van to a slightly newer Kombi. The new van was orange, was equipped with a semiprofessional fit-out, and boasted sporty stripes on the sides! It even had a dedicated house battery, though the battery powered nothing more than a small fluorescent light above the sink and kept the fridge cold while driving. We switched the fridge to LPG when stopped for the night. This worked extremely well, so long as the van was perfectly level. Again, there was no gas bottle compartment, although there was a floor vent in the cupboard containing the LPG bottle. It also had a 20-litre water container under the sink, a pump tap, no hot water and no recharging facilities for the house battery, other than the vehicle alternator through a basic isolator.



Going Japanese


The Hiace adapted as the family grew and the poptop space 'upstairs' transformed from a luggage compartment to a bed for two children. Very cozy. When the family grew to five, the holiday camping trips became even more challenging: two children sleeping upstairs in the pop top, Mum, Dad and baby in the downstairs bed.

he album photo memories then briefly digress to home ownership and associated renovations. The orange Kombi was sold to fund the house deposit. But it wasn’t long before our first child came along, the initial house renovations were completed, and we found ourselves back in the world of campervans – this time in a HiAce with three seats up front – and mag When the youngest grew too big to share the main wheels! bed, they moved upstairs and the eldest migrated to their own tent, adjacent to the van (Dad often found In hindsight, I wonder how these vans complied with himself out there too!). However, despite all the fun, the GVM? It wasn’t something I recall thinking about at the writing was on the wall for the Hiace. Terrific vehicle for time. The whole interior was made from 19 mm particle two, not so fantastic for five! Also, being powered by an board, laminated with a plastic woodgrain finish. older petrol engine and reliable though it was, it’s days We must have been close to the maximum GVM, were numbered once unleaded petrol was introduced. especially when the family grew to five! The Hiace moved on to be replaced by a Tarago This was our first van with a compressor fridge, and a large tent. Our camping accommodation soon operating from 12 V or 240 V, with one house expanded from one family tent to a small village of battery and no recharging options other than the tents for the kids, especially when we were travelling vehicle alternator. With the growing family onboard, with other families. It was such a fantastic holiday renewable 12 V power wasn’t a huge issue, as most environment for the kids, out exploring the bushland accommodation was in caravan parks, with power or beach with their friends in the fine weather, and connected and (most importantly) easy family access scrambling to dig trenches and secure their tents to the amenities building! before snuggling in as storms approached.



Moving On Times move on. Fifteen years down the track and the children are now adults, some raising their own families. With only two seats now required for holiday travels, in 2016 our superannuation funds provided entry back into the world of campervans and motorhomes. There is a relaxing comfort when we are in that world and I am certain it is in our blood. While the entry fee for a used campervan in the 1980s was around $6000, we very soon discovered that the 2016 market had added another zero to the ticket price, with our fitted-out Mercedes Sprinter van costing more than our house cost us in 1985! Even with our previous camping and campervan experience, getting our heads around the modern campervan and motorhome world has been a steep learning curve. Our family tent camping trips had involved very little renewable 12 V energy and no

associated glamping appliances. The highest tech camping item in the back of the Tarago was a large icebox (although we did master the art of rotating frozen water bottles through the camp kitchen freezers, rather than chasing bags of ice each morning!). By comparison, our current getaway vehicle is equipped with a compressor fridge/freezer running from twin batteries that have their charge maintained by a roof top solar panel. If the temperature drops into single figures at night we can start up the ducted diesel heater to keep us warm. How did we survive camping with children in the HiAce van in the Snowy Mountains with no heater? The Sprinter is equipped with LED lights throughout the living area, reading lights over the bed and still more lights under the awning. We can lay back in bed and watch TV, DVD or Netflix. And there’s no need for 60


manual pumping of the tap to bring water to the sink, with an electric pump delivering a pressurised water flow from the underfloor water tank. And not just cold water – hot water is always available at the kitchen sink and through the onboard shower. If we connect up to a powered site we can prepare meals with the microwave oven and when nature calls during the night it is just a couple of steps into the ensuite bathroom! A Weber oven provides for gourmet meals when cooking outside the van. I sometimes feel like Jed Clampett moving from them faraway hills into the big city mansion! Three years down the track since we purchased our “big Kombi” and we have added nearly 40,000 kms to the odometer, travelling throughout Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. The big trip across the continent is on hold until post coronavirus, when State borders hopefully open again. Of course, the biggest fans of the new motorhome are our children. I suspect that they have clocked up more kilometres in the van than we have – we almost need a booking sheet. Obviously, it’s in their blood too.Now, back to sorting those photos! 61


Never complain about your garage again!




Car length RVs rule in Japan, and most are motorized.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN… Japan is king of tiny cars, houses and electronics, so it should come as no surprise its RVs are the same. In part it’s to do with taxation on larger vehicles, but mostly it’s about limited parking and camping spaces. iMotorhome Magazine road test editor Malcolm Street spent three weeks vacationing in Japan last month and sent back the following images as a matter of interest. Highlights include a Chevy Class-B, an old Bürstner Class-C from Germany and a 4x4 Toyota minibus conversion with a domestic airconditioner hanging down in harms way behind the rear wheels! We thought you might get a kick seeing how different the RV scene in Japan is, so enjoy the shots – and don’t ever complain your RV doesn’t have enough space again!

63 101


This baby Class-C is big by Japanese standards. Cab-over light truck chassis keeps length short, too.




Top to bottom: Most Japanese motorhomes are Class-C and resemble small boxes, while bunk beds across the rear wall are common. A Class-B Chevy make a novel sight, while the low-slung domestic air-conditioner on this Toyota Coaster 4x4 mini-bus conversion is a worry!

103 65


Imported from Germany, this Class-C Bßrstner on an old, second generation Fiat Ducato is an unusual sight. It’s also big by local standards. Note the side hatch with window, which provides external access to storage beneath the lower bunk bed. Very clever!

66 104



RV Friendly Towns image: Joey Csunyo

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.


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.

An RV Friendly Town (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers.

On the following pages are this issue’s featured RV Friendly towns. If possible please include them in your travels and support the communities going out of their way to welcome those of us fortunate enough to be travelling. Enjoy!

When RV travellers enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services

67 76


Windorah, QLD


indorah in Central West Queensland is 35 kilometres downstream from where the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers join. The town was established in the 1880s by the Whitman brothers and has a population of just 115. Windorah’s main industry is sheep and cattle grazing, which is due largely to the abundance of Mitchell Grass and other available herbage. Those visiting the region are encouraged to explore the red sand hills of Windorah,

a sight that will truly welcome you to the great Australian Outback. The perfect time to visit the sand hills is at sunset, with a glass of wine in hand, then taking in the panorama of the starlit sky. Windorah Caravan Park offers unpowered sites at a rate of $10 per-vehicle per-night and powered sites at $16 per-vehicle per-night. Visitors can negotiate their length of stay with management, and access to toilets and showers is included. Both a dump point and potable water can be found at Quilpie Windorah Rd, Windorah.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Windorah Visitor Information Centre 7 Maryborough St, Windorah. Qld. Ph: 07 4656 3063 windorahinfo@barcoo.qld.gov.au www.barcoo.qld.gov.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Albert St & Maryborough St

Short Term Parking

Windorah Caravan Park, Albert St Ph: 07 4656 3063 $10 pvpn unpowered, $16 pvpn powered. Negotiable stay limit, pets on lead, Telstra phone coverage, showers, bins, toilets, covered seating, BBQ, water.

Dump Point

Quilpie Windorah Rd, Windorah Lat: -25.417679 Long: 142.659655

Potable Water

Windorah Caravan Park, Albert St and at dump point site



Jundah, QLD


For those passing through and looking for a convenient place to stop for a night or two, parking can be found at Jundah Caravan Park. This friendly caravan park offers non-powered sites for a rate of $10.25 per-vehicle per-night, and lengths of stays can be negotiated. Powered sites are also available Visitors can take a stroll down to the scenic for $15.35 per-vehicle per-night. Sites are small in Thompson River, where many enjoy an afternoon size and only suited for vehicles less than 11 metres. of fishing and recreational activities. A must do for anyone passing through is a visit to Welford National However, showers, bins, toilets and barbecues are all Park, 124,000 hectares of nature’s diverse landscape. accessible on site. The park is approximately 45 kilometres south-east of town; however, the drive is one you won’t forget. undah is a small outback town in Central West Queensland, situated above the floodplains of the Thomson River but close enough to view the local fauna or to try your hand at fishing.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Jundah Information Centre11 Dickson St, Jundah. Qld. Ph: 07 4658 6930 www.barcoo.qld.gov.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Dickson St, Jundah

Short Term Parking

Jundah Caravan Park, 4-6 Dickson St Jundah. Negotiable stay limit, pets on lead, Telstra phone coverage, showers, bins, toilets, covered seating, BBQ, water. $10.25 pvpn non-powered. $15.35 pvpn powered site. Vehicles <11m

Dump Point

Thomson Development Rd, 3 km from Jundah.

Potable Water

War Memorial Park, Dickson St Jundah.

Lat: -24.822109. Long: 143.063077



Collarenebri NSW


is said to be the best inland fishing location in Australia, with many fantastic fishing spots located along the Barwon River.

There are still many historical buildings in town, with many dating back to 1910. Cutler’s Store was originally opened in 1937 and now operates as a café and takeaway food store, with locals claiming it to be the best fresh cooked food in town. Collarenebri

There are plenty of parking options in town, with short term stays available at the Collarenebri Primitive Camping Ground, located within the Collarenebri Sportsground. Parking is available free of charge, while a dump point and potable water are also available at the grounds. For longer stays, the spacious Collarenebri Showground allows parking for up to seven days for a small fee of $11 per-vehicle per-night.

ollarenebri is a quiet country town with a population of approximately 650 in Northern New South Wales. Some 707 kilometers north-west of Sydney, the town came into being in 1860 when William Earl established a pub called The Squatter’s Arms on the Barwon River.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Tourist/Visitor Centre Collarenebri Agency, 37 Wilson St, Collarenebri. NSW. Ph: 02 6756 2104

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Collarenebri Lions Park, Wilson St, Collarenebri

Short Term Parking

Collarenebri Primitive Camping Ground, Collarenebri Sportsground, (48hr), nil cost, toilets, showers, bins, water, pets ok

Dump Point

Collarenebri Primitive Camping Ground,

Potable Water

Collarenebri Primitive Camping Ground,

Collarenebri Sportsground

Collarenebri Sportsground



Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome+Caravan – May 2020  


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