AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
$50 for the! best letter
Triple Treat! Project Polly Hatching a plan…
Do three slideouts make Avida’s flagship the ultimate longterm traveller?
Adding an inflatable annexe!
Send your motorhome out to work…
Benimar’s baby Tessoro T481 reviewed!
2 | About iMotorhome
iMotorhome Magazine is published monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Facebook “f ” Logo
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4 | On my mind
A New Beginning
elcome to iMotorhome - Australia & New Zealand! Thanks to everyone who sent in name suggestions; in the end I settled on this straightforward title because it says it all without fuss or ambiguity. In a way we’re returning to our roots, because it was always intended iMotorhome would cover both markets. For a while we included reviews and travel features from NZ, but those sort of fell by the wayside as the Australian issue grew. Hopefully now we’ll better balance content from both sides of the Tasman, but space and design time will be an issue, so please bear with us in this transition period. Prior to going to a single Australian issue last December I’d long suspected two issues per month were too many for some people. Not you of course, but I had an inkling some people thought it didn’t matter if they missed an issue (heaven forbid!) because there’d be another in two weeks. It was only a hunch and our December download numbers dropped, but only to around 70 per cent of our best month’s result from the preceding year. Since then download numbers for our single monthly issue have continued to climb and last month were 94.5 per cent of that previous 12 month high. Even better, the trend is still upward and that’s not taking into account online reads through issuu.com, which also continue to increase. Given motorhomes and campervans account for only around 10 per cent of all RVs in Australia and only about 5 per cent of new RVs, our growing following is all the more remarkable. Thank you!
Thunderbolt Weekend Are you coming to Uralla in October for our third iMotorhome Reader Weekend? It runs from Friday the 13th – lucky for some – to Monday the 16th and is themed on the life and times of the gentleman bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. We’ve put together a terrific program of fun, food and frivolity, and I’m
sure you’ll have a great time. Bookings are now open, so see page 11 for details.
Taste of New Zealand Still on travel, bookings are also now open for our inaugural Taste of New Zealand tour, from 6-19 November. Traversing both islands in upmarket European motorhomes from Wilderness rentals, it’s packed with things to see, do, eat and drink – because New Zealand is a feast for all the senses. Led by me and Mrs iM, places are strictly limited as we’ll only take 12 lucky readers. See page 23 for details and we hope you can join us!
Route 66 Rounding out news on the travel front, keep in mind our Route 66 tour will be on again next April. Using experience from this year I’m looking at switching to full rental motorhomes to streamline the early part of the tour. I’m also looking at adding a couple of days to the driving itinerary to make it even more relaxing. However it works out it will, once again, be one heck of a tour. Again, places will be strictly limited, so watch for details later in the year. If you’d like to be put on the advanced notice list just drop me a line to email@example.com.
Polly! Finally, Project Polly is back – again – and what an interesting tale she has to tell. You can read all about her recent adventures on page 64. Now I have a bit more time I’m looking forward to getting out there and finally making good use of her Webasto diesel heater as winter unfolds. If you see us please wave, toot or stop and say G’day!
6 | Contents
4 16 34 50
On my Mind A New Beginning
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
On Your Mind
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
The latest Marketplace offers
Day Test: Avida Fremantle C8614SL Triple Treat – Do three slide-outs make this the ultimate touring motorhome?
Day Test: Benimar Tessoro T481 Little Bebe – Good things come in small packages!
Project Polly: Hatching a Plan!
A replacement roof hatch didn’t quite go according to plan…
Send your RV out to work!
Generational change is happening
Three more RV Friendly Towns
Catch up on TV almost anywhere!
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
On finding what you love…
Grong Grong Gong!
Australia-wide events over the next three months!
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
For those who love a classic HYMER has arrived. A legend in European motorhome luxury, HYMER is now available in New Zealand exclusively to SmartRV. Sixty years ago, HYMER transformed camping holidays with a new standard in comfort and sophistication. Today the legend continues with the same attention to detail, from cutting edge driving and safety technology â€“ such as crosswind assist, giving the ML-T model unbelievable stability â€“ to stylish design and superior quality throughout every interior. Discover the tradition of excellence and innovation that has made HYMER the choice of discerning explorers. Indulge your wanderlust.
HYMER StarLine B680
HYMER StarLine B690 235
HYMER ML-T 580 4x4
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First class all the way
Resources | 9 resources
Magazine Resources Just click any of the links below!
$50 for the best letter!
Dalgety Report! Project Polly
A little bit of spit ’n polish!
Three more RV Friendly Towns to consider…
106: NOV 05 2016
Deluxe Offering! Our reader weekend in Dalgety was a great success
Ask a Question
Suncamper’s Sovereign Deluxe offers comfort and some interesting features…
10 | On your mind
WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. email@example.com and we’ll If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
have a 2007 Fiat Ducato and noticed the paint started peeling off the cab. Since it began I’ve spotted over 20 like this, driving up and down the coast, just this year. I was going to pay and get my one resprayed, but a Fiat worker told me what to do as Fiat is keeping it quite as they used the wrong primer. So I went to my Fiat dealer and he arranged to have it resprayed for free, under the Good Will Act. I have now spoken to 6 people with 2008/2016 Ducato motorhomes and we all received full resprays. See the before and after photos. It seems the problem is very widespread but not many people know that Fiat has to cover the cost of the respray. Please tell people with Ducatos that if they have this problem to contact their Fiat dealer, and don’t accept anything less than a full, free respray – I heard from one lady who said the dealer offered to pay half the cost as a goodwill gesture. Thanks, Mark. Since receiving your call and email, Mark, I’ve posted the question about peeling Fiat paint on the iMotorhome Facebook page and found
more owners with the problem, and with a free respray. It’s ironic Fiat seems to be having undercoat problems – read this issue’s Project Polly instalment – but good on you for bringing it to our attention. For that please accept this issue’s $50 prize, which you now won’t need to spend on touch-up paint!
d n e k e e W r e d a e R er 13-16
Thunderbolt’s Way! This October 13-16 join us in Uralla for a fascinating weekend exploring the life and times of the gentleman bushranger Captain Thunderbolt.
What’s Included: • 3 nights powered or un-powered site for 1 vehicle/2 people
Uralla, on the New England Highway some 20 km south of Armidale, is home to the iconic Thunderbolt’s Rock and also the final resting place of the famous bushranger himself. It’s also a bustling rural town surrounded by beautiful countryside and the perfect place for our next reader getaway.
Friday • Welcome sausage sizzle by the Uralla Lions Club, including a special hamper raffle that could make your stay even more memorable!
Our feature-packed long weekend will immerse you in the life, lore and downfall of Fredrick Wordsworth Ward – Captain Thunderbolt – plus take you on a series of special dining, tasting and sightseeing experiences you’ll never forget. Based in the heart of Uralla for three nights, on Saturday you’ll be guided through the history of Thunderbolt’s life on a fascinating walking tour led by arguably the foremost expert in Australia. There will also be time to explore the town at your leisure on a self-guided historical tour, plus investigate the shops, cafes and pubs that make it unique. Saturday night we take over the New England Brewing Company’s funky ‘Big Shed’ for a private night of artisan pizza, ice cream and craft beer! Come Sunday, we’ve arranged a day out by luxury touring coach to round out the Thunderbolt experience and then continue on to two unique local experiences. Firstly we visit Sunhill Dairy Goats for a guided tour, cheese tasting and hopefully the chance to bottle-feed newborn kids! A light lunch is included and that’s a good thing, because you’ll need something in your tummy for our next stop: Dobson’s Distillery! Home to serious award winning gin, whisky, vodka and liqueurs, we include three tastings plus a personal tour by the owner. Sunday night we’ll make our own fun with a bushranger-themed fancy dress threecourse dinner at the Top Pub, with prizes for the best outfit and best couple (so get planning!). Of course no iMotorhome Reader Weekend would be complete without a welcome-night barbecue and a farewell-morning bacon and egg roll breakfast! So circle the dates on your calendar and drop us a line to events@ imotorhome.com.au to request a booking form. Spaces are limited and it’s first come first served!
Saturday • Guided walking tour by perhaps Australia’s foremost expert on Captain Thunderbolt • Admission to McCrossin’s Mill Museum • Free time for self-guided historical tour and/or town exploration • Private, casual dinner at the New England Brewing Company Sunday • Travel by luxury air-conditioned touring coach • Gostwyck Chapel & Deeargee Woolshed photo opportunities • History tour conclusion including Thunderbolt’s Rock, Royal Oak Inn site and Thunderbolt’s grave • Sunhill Dairy Goats – dairy tour, cheese tasting and light lunch • Dobson’s Distillery – 3 x tastings and finger food • Bushranger-themed fancy dress 3-course dinner at the Top Pub, with prizes! Monday • Farewell breakfast with bacon and egg rolls, again by the Uralla Lion Club Cost • Powered site: $269 per person twin-share ($308 solo). • Unpowered site: $260 per person twin-share ($290 solo). • Deposit: $50 per person Bookings Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking form and full terms and conditions.
12 | On your mind
Sensing a Merc Failure
don’t know if you are interested in this kind of thing, but there appears to be an issue with Mercedes Sprinters, particularly with 2013/14 models having multiple failures of the rear wheel sensor. From our owners group alone I know of 13 units replaced on vehicles having only done 50-60,000km. Most have been out of warranty due to time (3 years), but have reached anywhere near the 100,000 km part of the warranty. Replacement cost is $500 to $700 depending on the dealership. Mine failed recently at 59, 000 km and the Merc dealer replaced it at no cost. Many others haven’t been so lucky. When the sensor fails it lights the dash up like a Christmas tree, dropping out stability control, ABS and
SRS, as well as causing the auto transmission to skip gears. So it’s not something you can ignore and is a significant safety issue. I’m interested to know if motorhome manufacturers are aware of the issue or if you’ve heard anything about it from readers or Mercedes? Cheers, David. Thanks David and yes, I’m interested – as I’m certain our readers will be – but no, I haven’t heard anything about the problem. Thanks for sharing your story, if any readers have experienced this problem please let me know. Meanwhile, I’ll contact MB Australia for comment.
Whizz Bang Gone…
i all, what’s been your most memorable don’t get mad, get even moment? Mine was in the Territory, courtesy of a caravan. I was camped up, enjoying the solitude and in it comes, and pulls up so close they nearly ran over my toes as I sat there. They wound the window down about half and inch and asked, “Are you camping here?”. I was so tempted to say something smart, but somehow resisted and just said, “Yes”. Next it was, “Are you staying the night?”. Again, “Yes”. Next comment, “Oh good, that means we can stay too, we never camp alone, it’s not safe.” I just chuckled to myself, inwardly shaking my head at the stupidity of it all. They drove off – all of about 10 feet past the end of my van – and stopped, then proceeded to set up. Over a period of nearly two and a half hours a satellite dish appeared, a TV outside, a generator to disturb the peace, an awning, 3 folding tables, one with an actual oven on it and
a whole heap of other crap they dragged out of who-knows-where. By now it was about an hour from dark. I walked up to them as they were getting all comfy with a drink in their hands and simply said, “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t like the view here anymore,” and walked away. Their confused look turned to utter terror when they realised you can pack up a whizz-bang and be driving out of camp in about 90 seconds… David, The Wizzbangers You’re a cruel man, David, but I like you. I just hope the hapless caravaners survived the night! Thanks for sharing….
Choose your own adventure.
Whether itâ€™s off the beaten track or across to the next town, the TrailLite fleet features a range of motorhomes and caravans designed to cater for every taste of adventure and every budget. Weâ€™ve thought of everything. Auckland 77 Paerata Road, Pukekohe
Christchurch 280 Main South Road, Hornby
14 | On your mind
id you ever get to Adelaide and get a camber kit fitted to Project Polly? Here’s an update on the camber kit installation in my Transit LWB HR, which I told you about and you ran in Issue 106 on November 5th last year.
Good to hear from you Reg but no, I haven’t gotten to Adelaide yet, although it’s still on the with list. Thanks for the update, it certainly sounds like the kit has done the trick. Very impressive, but your rear tyre wear rate sounds high. Polly came with near-new Firestone I had four new Maxxis UE-168N Truckmaxx light CV4000 light truck tyres in the same size as your truck tyres (215/75R16C 113/111S 8PR) fitted Maxxis’. That was two years and 32,000 km ago the day before I had kit installed. I have now and they appear half worn. When I picked her done 32,720 kilometres since then and both up the Apollo guy reckoned they got 70-80,000 front tyres still show no sign of any scrubbing at km per tyre, although how true that is I can’t all. In fact I reckon I will get 55-60 km out of the 2 say. Re tyre pressures, I run Polly’s at Ford’s of them. I run them at 50.1 psi as recommended recommended max front and rear as she also by Ford. I have not carried out any tyre rotations, runs close to her 3550 kg GVM all the time. That tyre swaps, etc, and have the same tyre and rim probably accounts for some of the difference, in the same position since new. and if you’re driving at speed in South Australia in summer the heat wouldn’t be doing you any I had to replace the rear tyres after 32,239 km favours. Anyway, if you’re looking for a Maxxis due to a heavy rear axle when loaded up for trips. replacement I’ve got nothing but praise for the The rear tyres are running at 1050 kg each, just a Firestones, so they might be worth a look. few kilos under their maximum load of 1150 kg. I run the rear tyres at 65 psi (Maxxis’ max pressure is 69 psi), although Ford recommends 71.1 psi. I’m pretty happy with all that considering the flogging they get. Regards, Reg.
have just read the article in News last issue re Queensland’s RACQ and the disappointing cover they provide for motorhomes, compared with the NRMA. The RAA of South Australia sound similar to the RACQ, with very limited cover. I recently investigated and can confirm that Victoria’s RACV offer cover that sounds similar to the NRMA. It’s certainly sufficient for our Fiat/Jayco and I moved my cover to the RACV, even though we live in SA. Like the NRMA, I have been assured of national cover. I can also confirm that my many years of membership with
the RAA transferred to the RACV, for length of membership discounts. Kind regards, Eric. Thanks for reminding me about the RACV’s motorhome cover Eric. I just switched Polly’s roadside assistance from NRMA Business (she’s business registered) to Ken Tame. The saving was $300 and as Polly isn’t likely to venture into remote areas the slightly lower towing allowance shouldn’t be an issue. It certainly pays to shop around…
On your mind | 15
rom a future Grey(?) Nomad: I was wondering where would you take your Trakka Jabiru or Horizon Waratah (both Mercedes 4x4) when you find yourself down at Mildura or over at Broken Hill and it is time to get it serviced, a rego check or various warranty work? What does one do, as it would be too far to get back to Mt Kuringai or Ballina?
dealer in this case. Rego inspections can be done at any suitable mechanical workshop, as annual registration is about the vehicle’s mechanical condition and not related to the motorhome conversion. If you had issues with the conversion itself, Trakka or Horizon would probably direct you to a local RV repairer who would carry out warranty work. Any issues with appliances would be with the appliance Cheers, Mark. manufacturer (you’d get a list of warranty contact numbers at purchase time). They That’s a good question from a new would direct you to an appropriate repairer motorhome owner’s perspective. Where you dependant upon your location. The bottom line take the vehicle for mechanical servicing (i.e. oil is don’t worry, you don’t have to run back to changes, etc) and any related warranty work Sydney or Ballina every service time you need depends on the brand of base vehicle, so it something done! would be any Mercedes commercial vehicle
NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD
16 | News
TRAILLITE CLARIFICATION To clarify the situation; the company has opened a dedicated service centre in Auckland that includes a customer lounge, a hoist for full motorhome servicing and can also undertake insurance work and repairs. The address is 77 Paerata Road, Pukekohe, Auckland. The contact number is 09 2370187 or email email@example.com
n the last New Zealand issue it seems wires were crossed when reporting on TrailLite’s new Auckland and Christchurch facilities.
In Christchurch, a new sales centre has opened that allows an expanded range of motorhomes and caravans to be displayed. Its address is 247 Main South Road, Hornby, ChCh and the contact number is 0800 872 455.
Super Centre Live The Dream
The RV Super Centre is your one-stop shop for motorhomes, caravans, accessories and servicing
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RETAIL SHOP • Huge range of RV accessories • NZ’s best brands • We can source products • Shop 24/7 with Nationwide delivery • Shop instore, online or by phone • Member discounts
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Go Further. Stay Longer We listened, and built a long range, multi-terrain, touring motorhome. The Habitat is loaded with freedom finding features including a long range fuel tank, an extensive power system, increased water capacity, massive storage, higher ground clearance and a thoughtful security system.
The Habitat has arrived
18 | News
FIAT DUCATO VIDEO
wners and potential buyers of Fiat Ducatos will benefit from an instructional video release by Fiat Professional. At just under 12 minutes the video explains and demonstrates the Ducato’s advanced engine and gearbox systems, something likely not done by dealers at handover time. It’s also worthwhile viewing for those who believe front-wheel drive isn’t a suitable motorhome application. To watch it click HERE
COUNCIL RECOGNISES BENEFITS
ictoria’s Surf Coast Council has agreed to allow self-contained RVs to stay up to two days along a section of the Barwon River Reserve. It comes after a 12-month RV Friendly trial, which Council says had encouraging results. Around 185 self-contained RVs used the site over 7 months, generating an economic return of nearly $18,000. The original plan was to have the site open for a year, however it had to close for five months because of flooding. Council is also quoted as saying that setting up and operating an RV area in Winchelsea will cost more than $19,400 for year-round use in the upcoming financial year. However it believes the annual economic benefit for the local community will be nearly $25,000.
News | 19
NZMCA GUIDANCE SUCCESS This project is the latest in a series of solutions the NZMCA has proposed to confront the issues it has identified in working with communities and comes hard on the heels of a recent announcement of the upgraded Standard for vehicles to qualify as Certified Self-Contained (CSC).
he New Zealand Motor Caravan Association’s (NZMCA) Guidance to Councils is claimed to be another success as the solutions-based approach to freedom camping issues has taken another significant step forward. This NZMCA’s partnership with Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) recently resulted in the release of robust guidance for local authorities seeking to accommodate increased tourism numbers while relieving pressure on public infrastructure. The guidance focuses on clarifying how local authorities can use their exemption powers, under the Camping Grounds Regulations, to allow basic low cost campgrounds to be established. “It’s often easy to see problems, but generally it’s a lot harder to come up with solutions,” explained NZMCA CEO Bruce Lochore. “However, we believe that taking the time to understand the issues communities face and to seek and, where necessary, fund workable solutions is a much more useful approach. “In this case we have worked closely with LGNZ to provide councils with another practical tool to ensure that at a time when NZ’s tourism industry is thriving like never before and communities nationwide are able to share in the benefits.”
Twelve months ago we clearly laid out three points that we believed needed to be addressed to head off the abuse of freedom camping by a minority of visitors that was threatening to undermine the economic benefits of motorhome tourism nationwide,” said Mr Lochore. Back then the NZMCA proposed: • Working with the Standards Authority to raise the bar on the criteria for a vehicle to be certified as self-contained • The motorhome rental industry supporting councils in collecting unpaid infringement fines from international travellers • For councils throughout the country to adopt a simple, consistent, nationwide approach welcoming responsible motorhome tourism. The default position would be that freedom camping on council-controlled land is permitted in a CSC vehicle only, unless a council chooses to specifically allocate suitable parking sites for non-CSC vehicles “The first two aspects of the plan are now in place and this latest project with LGNZ is another step forward in helping councils make the most of the benefits that motorhome tourism offers,” Mr Lochore concluded.
20 | News
CUMMINS GOING ELECTRIC Cummins has experience in electric technology – it already produces diesel/electric hybrid products – but it doesn’t yet have an all-electric powertrain. The company emphasised it will continue to produce diesel products and that diesel technology is still important – but electric power systems are emerging as an important new technology.
n a move with likely flow-on effects for larger vehicles in the RV market, American engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. says it will launch its first all-electric powertrains in 2019 in response to industry trends. “We will be in the market with electrified products in 2019,” Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger said Wednesday. “That is a really exciting new area for the company.” The manufacturer expects to have a fully electrified powertrain available for customers by the end of 2019. By 2020, the company plans to roll out all-electric products with an extended operating range, making them more suitable for longer-haul vehicles. Cummins said it expects that metro buses, delivery fleets and material-handling customers will be among the earliest adopters of its electric powertrains. Trucks, off-highway machines, forklifts and products for mining companies likely will come along later, the company said. “We understand the world’s changing,” Linebarger said. “We think that means opportunity.”
“We see a trend away from diesel, and we will continue to evolve,” Cummins Chief Technical Officer Jennifer Rumsey said. “It’s not the only answer when you consider the diversity of our markets and customer needs.” Cummins expects that diesel technology will be around for at least several decades, but Rumsey said it’s impossible to predict when it will no longer be viable. A variety of factors including fuel prices, future technological advancement and environmental issues, likely will influence diesel’s longevity. Executives cited various reasons that electric vehicles are growing in popularity. Among them, technological advances are making electric technology cheaper and thus more financially viable for customers. At the same time, environmental regulations and social pressures are driving interest in electric vehicles. In particular, China, Mexico, India and Brazil all are moving toward stricter environmental controls. Cummins last year spent US$616 million on R&D, which represented 3.5 percent of its US$17.5 billion in sales. While “still maintaining significant investment in diesel,” Linebarger said, the company is increasing spending in other areas, including electrification, digital products and telematics.
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22 | News
RV THEFT HOTSPOTS
his report on The Grey Nomads website, of a motorhome break-in at Launceston’s popular Cataract Gorge, makes disturbing and sad reading. It highlights an underreported aspect of RV travel, although not just in Australia. It also highlights a secondary issue: the lack of security doors on RVs as standard equipment.
One Facebook comment in response to the story was there should be a list or register of known trouble spots. In response, iMotorhome is considering creating a reader-sourced website listing and downloadable PDF of such places, on both sides of the Tasman. Your thoughts to email@example.com are invited.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
Taste of New Zealand Escorted motorhome tour – 6-19 November 2017
This November join Mr & Mrs iMotorhome on the inaugural and exclusive iMotorhome Taste of New Zealand 14-day escorted motorhome tour. Designed for just 12 lucky travellers, it’s an experience not to be missed! New Zealand is motorhoming Nirvana. Distances are small, the scenery spectacular and motorhomes rule the roads. It’s also less than three hours flight from Sydney and they drive on the ‘right’ side of the road. To top it off, NZ has some of the best rental motorhomes in the world! Our adventure starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch, spending about a week on each island and including a ferry crossing of Cook Strait. It’s a true ‘taste’ of New Zealand, designed to show you capital city highlights, must-see attractions and hidden-gems. It also includes some very special dining, tasting and overnighting experiences! On top of all that, we’ll travel in state-of-the-art European motorhomes complete with unlimited in-vehicle WiFi, from New Zealand’s best rental company – Wilderness! Check out the details.
Overnight stops • Auckland • Rotorua • Taupo • Napier • Masterton • Wellington • Picton • Blenheim • Westpost • Greymouth • Arthur’s Pass National Park • Christchurch
Sightseeing highlights include • Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch city tours • Rotorua Maori and geothermal experiences • Lake Taupo cruise • Napier historical Art Deco walk • Middleton model railway • Pukaha overnight Kiwi experience • Cook Strait ferry crossing • Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre • Coaltown Museum • Pancake Rocks and Blowhole walk
• Jade working demonstration • ShantyTown Heritage Park with gold panning and steam train ride
Dining highlights include • Welcome dinner - Auckland • Maori Hangi and show – Rotorua • Wine tasting and lunch – Napier • Cheese tasting – Masterton • Dinner ‘with a difference’ - Masterton • Chocolate factory – Blenheim • Morning tea – Blenheim • Wine tasting and lunch – Blenheim • Brewery tour and dinner – Greymouth • Unique farewell dinner - Christchurch
Travel highlights Include • Economy airfare Sydney - Auckland with Qantas • Economy airfare Christchurch - Sydney with Emirates • All transfers • Two nights quality hotel accommodation • 12-days late model European motorhome rental • Unlimited in-vehicle WiFi!
• Motorhome Insurance ($450 excess) • Road user (diesel tax) charges • Outdoor chairs, table and barbecue • RV-specific GPS preloaded with attractions • Campsite fees
Price (ex-Sydney only due to flight and tour timings) • Twin share: $6995 per person • Single supplement: $3250 • Deposit: $1500 per person (balance due 7 August) To secure your place email email@example.com to receive a booking form and our full terms and conditions. Hurry, places are strictly limited!
Not Included • Travel connection and accommodation costs to/from Sydney • Rental vehicle fuel and toll costs • Meals and entrance fees not listed in the itinerary • Items of a personal nature
24 | News
COEXIST CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES
he Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) has welcomed national Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) support for an education and awareness campaign to help road and rest stop users “Coexist” as part of a wider initiative to deliver safer roads.
for all road users, and specifically to better enable heavy vehicle drivers to meet Fatigue Management Standards,” Mr Lamont said. The Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said, “The Coexist campaign will cover the importance of all drivers abiding by signage to ensure trucks can access designated rest stops to allow for breaks and managing fatigue.”
The Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative called for implementable, value-for-money initiatives that deliver significant heavy vehicle safety benefits. Stuart Lamont, CEO of CIAA, said the “Coexist” NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto welcomed the initiative was one of 12 programs approved partnership with the CCIA. for a share of the $3.9 million funding by the NHVR, supported by the Federal Government. “We don’t pretend to have all the answers, which is why we asked groups to harness “The Coexist initiative will be a partnership education program with the NHVR and others, their existing knowledge and deliver heavy designed to address growing conflicts between vehicle safety outcomes. We sought proposals RV users and heavy vehicle drivers at rest stops for programs that can be delivered nationally to enhance safety across the heavy vehicle and on the road. The campaign will inform RV travellers about the appropriate use of rest stop industry and therefore the safety of all road users.” sites and the risks associated with disruptive behaviour, to help foster a safer environment
CONSUMER DEMAND REPORT
he 2017 Caravanning and Camping Consumer Demand Report is the first in an annual series of research measuring consumer preferences, behaviour and intentions in a domestic setting. This report helps to identify opportunities within the Australian caravanning and camping market and inform the industry of the customer decision-making process, consumer behaviour and likelihood of future engagement with the industry. Key findings in this report include: • 70% of Australians indicated they had
visited a camping ground, caravan holiday park or national park at least once in their lifetime • In the last 2 years, 7.1 million Australians stayed in a caravan holiday park, camping ground or national park • Of those who stayed in a caravan holiday park within the last 2 years, 58% utilised a caravan and 29% used a cabin • 79% of the Australian population have a positive purchase intention towards caravan and camping holidays
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26 | News
STATE OF INDUSTRY REPORT
eleased by the CCIA, the Caravan and Camping State of Industry 2017 is said to be a comprehensive review of all caravanning and camping tourism figures, recreational vehicle manufacturing and caravan and campervan registration statistics for 2016. It is discussed in context with the national economy, along with historical industry trends, to help inform industry of the current situation and the trajectory of the future of the caravanning and camping.
Key findings for 2016 from this report include: • There were 21,841 Recreational Vehicles manufactured in Australia, the second largest year for manufacturing in the last 37 years • There were 51.6 million nights and 11.7 million overnight trips by domestic caravan and campers • There were 4.9 million nights and 335,167 visitors from International markets who caravanned or camped • An estimated $1.8 billion of revenue was generated by Cabins, Powered sites and Unpowered sites
28 | News
REAL RICHNESS REPORT
he Real Richness Australia is said to explore the social benefits of camping in Australia. It is based on a similar report conducted in the United Kingdom in 2011. It draws a comparison between Australians who camp and those who do not, and asks campers what they love so much about camping experiences that they have had. Some of the report highlights include: • 85% of campers felt closer to their spouse/ partner compared to 65% of non-campers • 96% of campers believe that camping can make you happier • 95% of campers believe that camping reduces stress • Campers are competitively happier, more satisfied, optimistic and energised then non-campers • Campers are less stressed, bored, frustrated and lonely then non-campers
US RV PRODUCTION UP
he American RV Industry Association has published the 2016 Industry Profile, which provides a detailed look at RV production and shipment statistics, including historical comparisons of shipment figures and dollar volume as well as production breakdowns by product type and shipment destination.
• The total retail value of those shipments exceeded $17.7 billion, a 7% increase over the $16.5 billion in 2015
Key findings from the 2016 Industry Profile include:
• Texas remains the top destination for RV shipments, receiving 8.03% of total RV wholesale shipments followed by California (7.26%), Florida (4.75%), Michigan (4.14%) and Ohio (3.92%).
• Wholesale RV shipments reached their highest annual level in 10 years of 430,691 units, a 15% increase over 2015
• Indiana overwhelmingly continues to lead the country in RV production, manufacturing 81% of all RVs in the U.S
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32 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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34 | Day Test: Avida Fremantle C8614SL
TRIPLE TREAT? Do three slide-outs make Avidaâ€™s new flagship the ultimate for long term travel? by Malcolm Street
Day Test | 35
Although not quite as long as the appropriately named Longreach, the new Fremantle non-the-less pips it on price to sit at the top of Avida’s extensive model line-up. You’ll need a light rigid (LR) driver’s licence because of its 7200 kg GVM, but you’ll be rewarded with more than 1800 kg of payload and a 3500 kg towing capacity.
ntil very recently, if a large motorhome in the Avida range was desired the choice was limited to the Longreach, built on an Isuzu NQR truck chassis. If a Euro cabchassis (think flat-floor/walk-through cab) was desired it just wasn’t available. That is until the very new Fremantle appeared on the scene. It’s based on the increasingly popular Iveco Daily 70C cab-chassis and comes with three slide-outs (unlike the Longreach’s two). Indeed, there’s a very good reason for the third slide-out, which happens to be in the rear wall: With an external length of 8.61 m (28’ 3”), the Fremantle is nearly a metre (3’ 3”) shorter than the Longreach. Consequently the slide-out makes up much of the difference.
On the Road
y Fremantle was model numero uno, that is the prototype and there were a few squeaks and rattles when driving. Most I suspect came from the three slide-outs. Anything like that is probably going to have a few items that require adjustment. Other than that, the Iveco Daily delivered the goods in terms of power and smooth gear shifting. Although a relatively long motorhome, it was not difficult to manoeuvre.
o some finer details, the Daily comes with Iveco’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, which drives through an 8-speed fully automatic gearbox. The chassis is rated at
36 | Day Test 7200 kg GVM, so a Light Rigid (LR) licence is required. No surprises in the construction technique; the Fremantle is built using a fully welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof. That frame has a foam sheet filler which Avida reckons acts as both an insulant and road noise reducer. Fibreglass composite sandwich panels are used for the walls, but a little differently, the one-piece floor panel has a ply timber sheet above and aluminium sheeting below, for underfloor protection. Fully moulded fibreglass is used for the Luton peak/cab surround, rear wall and roof. Having a slide-out behind the passenger door means a mid-wall position for the entry door. For windows and doors, Avida The rear slide-out extends the bedroom to accommodate the island bed, which folds up for travel. The big driverâ€™sside slide-out houses the kitchen, while a smaller one on the opposite side contains a sofa.
Day Test | 37
has opted for its favourite – Hehr-brand products. I quite like the windows being glass and multi louvred, which give a good air flow and security, but I wish they’d improve the knuckle scraping knob winding mechanism. And in a motorhome this price I’d be expecting a security door instead of the basic Hehr insect screen. There is no shortage of external storage, even with the dedicated lockers for items like the gas cylinders and 2.3 kVa generator. Most lockers are quite low down, except for those fitted into the slide-outs on either side, and do require crouching to get at. Also, the bins are not really designed for carrying large objects like golf clubs or bikes. On the subject of slide-outs, they all have right-hand angles on the lower external edges, as you might expect. However, the
Top: This small slide-out sits ahead of the entry door. Note the Hehr-brand louvered windows that look a little old fashioned but are good in the rain and for security. Above: The Onan 2.3 kVa generator is standard, but runs on petrol and has a separate tank.
38 | Day Test
rear one sits quite high and is about the right height for children to run under or into. Maybe an aircraft style orange warning ribbon on each corner or similar might be a good idea.
n some ways the layout of the Fremantle is quite conventional. It comes with a front lounge/dining area and mid-station kitchen, while towards the rear is the split bathroom. At the very back is the bedroom that doubles as a sort of den area, for want of a better term. There is a considerable amount of electrics in the Fremantle, but most of the switches, including the all important slide-outs are in reasonably logical places, like by the entry door. Additionally the main control panel is above the entry door The slide-outs play a major role of course; the two up-front giving a great deal of space to the lounge/dining area and even part of the kitchen. Down the back the rear slide has to be extended to use the bed. Decor wise there’s a mixture of light and darker colours throughout, but with the upper areas being mostly white, the overall light level is good. There’s no doubt that slide-outs add considerably to the living space. However,
Above: The Iveco’s cab seats swivel to form an integral part of the dinette, but as you can see the handbrake limits the driver’s seat swivel. Below: This slide-out wine rack and glass holder is sure to be appreciated!
Day Test | 39 An innovative feature in the bedroom/bathroom area is the slide-out ironing board above the built-in washing machine. Proof a, um, ‘house-person’s’ work is never done?
40 | Day Test one slightly odd result of having an extensive length of them is that the overhead lockers either within or above have a low height, but are quite deep, making them somewhat awkward to use effectively.
have to say the Fremantle’s kitchen bench must be the largest one I’ve seen in a motorhome in quite a while. It’s designed in an L-shape, but most, including the cooker/ grill and oven, is built into the drivers’-side slide-out. However, not all of it is built into the slide-out. The right angled section of the ‘L’ , which houses the sink/drainer, is fixed to the main floor and much of it ‘disappears’ under
the main long bench when the slide-out is closed. That means the sink area and underbench cupboards really can’t be used with the slide-out retracted. I do wonder if a hinged/ removable shelf could have been incorporated to facilitate better access. In the under-bench area is a generous amount of drawer capacity and also a Vitrifrigo 85 litre fridge. Just in case you are wondering about a small fridge, don’t panic: this one’s just the drinks fridge (complete with adjacent wine rack and glass holder). The main 190-litre 3-way fridge is on the opposite side, by the door. There is of course a microwave oven fitted above the main fridge and full height, threesection wire basket pantry alongside.
With the slide-out extended the kitchen is expansive. Note the under-bench drinks fridge beside the wine/glasses rack and below the TV! Unusually, when retracted the slide-out covers the sink/drainer. Also, the overhead cupboard doors are shallow but the cupboards are deep, which isn’t ideal.
Day Test | 41
Above: The dining table is a bit odd as the best seats – passenger cab and forward sofa – mean you’re sitting around the corner from each other. Still, after-hours the mobile footstools from the bedroom are a real bonus for relaxing in front of the giant 49-inch TV! Below: Another sitting area, complete with TV, is in the bedroom, when the bed’s folded up for travel. Interesting…
Lounging and Dining
ne consequence of the large kitchen is that, relatively speaking, the lounge/ dining area is reduced. Fitted into the slide-out opposite the kitchen is a two, maybe three-person seat, but that’s it apart from the two swivelled cab seats (complete with matching upholstery). This being an Iveco the driver’s seat doesn’t quite swivel properly, but that probably doesn’t matter for TV viewing because it’s the only seat from which the giant 49-inch flat screen TV, mounted above the kitchen bench, cannot easily be seen. How the multi-adjustable table is viewed might well depend on how you live, but to my eyes it’s a bit on the small side and sort of tucked into the front corner. This means the front end of the side-facing lounge and the swivelled passenger seat are the best
42 | Day Test
The bedroom with the bed folded up for travel. Note the footstools, on rollers on either side. It’s an interesting concept that provides a secondary sitting area, but with a very upright back one wonders how relaxing it would be. for dining. Extra seating can be supplied by a couple of wheeled foot stools that form part of the bedroom area, but can be used anywhere else without difficulty. However, best to make sure they are secured when driving along!
his is a four berth motorhome, so any visitors (like the grandchildren) get the over-cab Luton bed. It comes with a ladder for easy access and the bed base is fitted with gas struts so it can be lifted out of the way when not needed. Windows are fitted on either end, but like some other Avida models, lights are fitted to the ceiling rather than the walls, and shine directly into your eyes if reading in bed.
ith the bedroom in the rear a split bathroom is positioned between it and the kitchen. In this case the bathroom also includes a small laundry complete with a washing machine and fold-out ironing board. On the driver’s side the shower cubicle has an angled shape but should accommodate most people. Across the aisle the toilet cubicle, which contains the obligatory cassette toilet, wash basin, shelves, towel rails and assorted cupboards, also has a door that can be swung right open and used to close off the bathroom (and therefore bedroom) from the rest of the motorhome. Oh, and one other interesting feature: there’s a hinged shelf that can be dropped down over the cassette toilet. As there’s isn’t much shelf space around the wash basin it’s actually a useful addition.
Day Test | 43
Above: Unfolded, the island bed is thoroughly conventional. LED strip lighting is nice, but the bedhead mirror is unusual. Again, the overhead cupboards have shallow doors but deep openings. Below: View from inside the loo: The door closes off the aisle and provides bathroom/bedroom privacy. Having a split bathroom really is the only way to go.
have to say the rear bedroom is unusual and not one I have seen before. Well, I have seen a bed fitted into a rear slide-out and a bed where the pillow area can be raised (electrically) to form a back rest, but not a bed that also lifts at right angles to form a seating area, using seat cushions underneath! I say seating because itâ€™s not really a lounging space, while the hard angle of the bed base could do with a bit more padding on the back rest. On either side of the fitted seats is where the roller-equipped foot rests/mobile seats are stored. Facing forward, to the left is a cabinet with flat screen TV above, which can of course be seen from the bed, and to the right is a cabinet with wardrobe above and washing machine below. The ironing board slides out from between the wardrobe and
44 | Day Test washing machine but (I did have to think about this for a bit not being an ironing person), left handers might find it a bit awkward. The bed end has to be raised for closing the slide-out and is secured in place by two seat belt-type clips: a tad Heath Robinson, but it seems to work. When in position the bed looks fairly conventional, with side wardrobes and (narrow) overhead lockers, but no side cabinets. Instead, a couple of angled shelves are fitted in the top corners above the pillows. A slight problem with this entire arrangement is that the bed head area does have a slightly closed in feeling and there’s absolutely no way of getting air flow on a hot night. Sirocco 12V fans anyone?
truck chassis and just how much space is desired around the bedroom. All that said, the Fremantle is something of a bold move in the design department. It’s also a welcome one in having Iveco Daily underpinnings, with its super smooth eight speed auto gearbox and Euro sophistication.
mentioned electrics earlier and you do get the full kit with the Fremantle. Avida’s 240V AC/12 V DC set up is usually quite good and there are 2 x 100 AH deep cycle batteries, 2 x 80 W solar panels, a 2000 W inverter and the aforementioned 2.3KVA (petrol) generator. Both the Truma 6E hot water/space heater and the Truma Aventa reverse-cycle airconditioner can be controlled from the iNet panel, which in turn can be operated from your smart phone!
What I think
ith a price tag around the $300 K mark, the Fremantle is certainly the most expensive in the Avida fleet and moving towards the top end of the motorhome market generally. There’s no doubt that the three slide-outs combine to give a very large interior living space but they also introduce a considerable electro/mechanical complexity, particularly the multi functional rear bed slide. It’s also hard to resist the temptation not to make comparisons with the slightly cheaper Longreach and it might in the end come down to a preference for a European or Japanese
The Fremantle’s rear slide-out. Note the tracks top and bottom for operational rigidity, and how it sits flush under an overhead weather-protecting lip when retracted. Very neat.
Day Test | 45
“The Iveco Daily delivered the goods in terms of power and smooth gear shifting.”
46 | Day Test
Specs GENERAL Model
Light Rigid (LR)
Iveco Daily 70-210
3.0-litre 4-cylinder twin-turbo diesel
150 kw @ 3500 rpm
470 Nm @ 3000 rpm
8 speed auto
ABS, ESP, Hill holder, Dual front air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
8.61m (28' 3")
2.49m (8' 2")
3.39m (11' 1")
2.02m (6' 8")
1.88 m x 1.37 m (6" 2" x 4' 6")
1.85 m x 1.35 m (6' 1" x 4' 5")
Day Test | 47
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Outs
Dometic 4 burner, grill & oven
Stainless steel sink & drainer
190 L Dometic 8555 3-way
90 L Vitrifrigo c85i
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma iNet Aventa reverse cycle
Truma Combi 6E
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E LPG/240 V
Internal and external with hot and cold water
2 x 100 AH
2 x 80 W
3 x 4.0 kg
Pros… • Iveco Daily cab-chassis • Spacious interior • Generously sized kitchen bench • Moveable foot rests/seats • External storage capacity • Well set up electrical system
CONs… • Low external storage bins • Bed area somewhat confined • Overhead locker access • Sink unable to be used with slide-out closed • Table location
PRICE ON-ROAD From
3 years/1 million km plus 2 years roadside assistance
5 years structural
As per manufacturers’ warranties
Contact Avida 32 David Road Emu Plains NSW 2750 T: 1800 428 432 W: www.avidarv.com.au
48 | Day Test
“The Fremantle is something of a bold move in the design department. It’s also a welcome one in having Iveco Daily underpinnings.”
50 | Day Test: Benimar Tessoro T481
Benimar’s ‘baby’ Tessoro is a good thing in a small package… by Malcolm Street
Day Test | 51
Ford’s Transit has been largely absent from the RV scene in recent years, hampered by the lack of an automatic gearbox. The latest Transit is a beauty, and although the test vehicle was manual, a six-speed full automatic is due by Spring. It will give the opposition a run for their money and also provide buyers with an affordable and modern cab-chassis alternative.
t motorhome shows it seems larger motorhomes tend to get the most attention, particularly from the casual onlooker. I must admit small motorhomes grab my attention, particularly those that hail from Europe. That’s mostly because I get a bit fascinated by the way space is effectively used in the overall layout design and how practical (or sometimes not) the layout is. All of that was one of the reasons I noticed the sub-6 meter (20’) Benimar Tessoro T481 tucked away in a corner on the TrailLite stand at a recent show. The other reason was it had Ford Transit underpinnings; motive power that has been absent for quite a few years from both the New Zealand and Australian markets. The importers of the Spanish built Benimars, TrailLite, have had the Fiat Ducato-based Mileo models in NZ for several years now, but the
Ford-based Tessoro adds a new dimension to the range. There is, however, one odd difference: The Mileos have a kerbside entry door but the Tessoro’s is on the drivers’ side!
Underpinnings and More
omething interesting for Ford Transit owners in New Zealand is that they are mostly available with a 2.2-litre 114 kW/385 Nm TDCi turbo diesel. However, the Transit you get with the Tessoro is smaller in capacity – being the 2.0-litre EcoBlue variant – but you get more grunt: 125 kW and 405 Nm. In addition, a six speed auto gearbox is available – something long absent from the Transit range. I should point out that the first of the Tessoro models in NZ (i.e. the one I checked out) had a manual gearbox, but I quite like manuals and so it was a bit of fun.
52 | Day Test
Although the Tessoro looks to be a bit of a pocket sized motorhome, it has a stylish appearance; indeed having a slightly sporty look. Like most Euro-origin motorhomes it’s built using fibreglass composite walls and mouldings to give the front and rear a streamlined shape. Twenty five millimetre XPS (styrofoam) insulation is used for the walls, but that doubles to 53 mm for the roof. What works well in Northern Hemisphere winters is also going to work well in NZ ones as well, not to mention hot summers. External locker storage is an item of interest. A small lower waist locker sits between the motorhome entry door and the driver’s door. It accesses an under-seat area inside and should accommodate all the essential hoses and power cords. Located against this locker’s front wall are the 230 V mains circuit breakers and 12V fuses (the latter being a bit awkward to get at from outside). On the opposite side of the motorhome is a three quarter height locker that offers good lower half space, but the upper space is taken by an internal cupboard. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing
Top: Coming in at 5.99 m the diminutive Benimar Tessoro T481 packs a big list of features in a small, affordable package. Above: There’s decent external storage considering the compact size
Day Test | 53
as it’s probably a better use of the otherwise awkward to use ‘air space’. Top-hinged Dometic windows are used all ‘round, except for the Skyview hatch above the cab and the sliding window behind the entry door, which avoids the all too frequent open window/open door conflict. All windows have the usual blinds and screens, but the entry door simply has a non-opening window. An awning isn’t standard but a little surprisingly, a 60 cm satellite dish is! Must be something to do with more living inside than out in colder European climes.
On the Road
ot having driven a new Ford Transit for quite a while, getting behind the wheel of the Tessoro was something I was keen to do – and I wasn’t disappointed. It certainly went very well and the manual gearbox was fine, although I’m also keen to try the auto when it arrives. In any motorhome there are often a few rattles and squeaks, some identifiable, some not. I’m pleased to
Top: In profile the Tessoro T481 looks a bit stumpy, but is otherwise well proportioned. Note the unusual, drooping over-cab nose. Above: There’s plenty of room at the back for a multi-bike rack if desired.
54 | Day Test
say there were few annoying ones on my drive, apart from the odd one or two from the drop down bed. One thing is for sure, given the short length of the Tessoro, it is very easy to park.
etting four berths and seats into a 6-m/20â€™ motorhome is a bit of a trick, but has been achieved here by having a front lounge/dinette area behind the cab and a drop-down double bed above. That leaves space in the rear driverâ€™s-side corner for an L-shaped kitchen, plus a small bathroom in the opposite corner.
Top: Cab seats easily swivel and become an integral part of the dinette. Right: The two-seater sofa becomes part of the dinette bed when required.
Day Test | 55 Despite the relatively short length it still feels relatively spacious inside: A feeling aided by very generous 2.12 m (6’11”) headroom in the rear, but with less of course under the bed – 1.87 m (6’2”). Additionally, the light hues of the internal colours, including the faux timber look of the cabinetry add to the perception of spaciousness.
little surprisingly, the kitchen bench area is bigger than might be expected. That is mostly due to the shallow L-shape, which fits around the corner. All the usual appliances are provided: three-burner hob, stainless steel sink with plastic drainer and a Thetford grill/oven under the bench. General storage comes mostly in twos: drawers, floor lockers, open corner shelves and overhead lockers. However, there is but a single wire basket slide-out, plus a cupboard above the fridge. On that subject, there’s a trend towards narrower but taller fridges and this is one of them: the unusual 141-litre Thetford N3141. It’s a three-way (12 V/240 V/LPG) model with a door at the top and a drawer below. The door swings open to reveal a traditional freezer section inside (up top) while the drawer pulls open and has room for half a dozen two-litre bottles or other tall/bulky items. It’s a great way to keep food cold in summer when all people really want is a drink. As usual with many Euro motorhomes there isn’t a range hood, but there is a large window behind the kitchen bench.
athrooms like this are always difficult to get a decent photo of, but it’s quite functional and comes with a separate
Top to bottom: The kitchen is surprisingly roomy, but aisle space means it’s really only suitable for one person at a time (and watch for someone coming out of the bathroom!); Looking aft from the cab – the interior is modern, bright and nicely styled; How’s that for bench space in a compact motorhome?
56 | Day Test
shower cubicle, Thetford cassette toilet and small wash basin. Other features are a good sized wall mirror, under-basin cupboard and towel rail. Although compact it’s good to have a seperate shower and toilet in a vehicle this small, and it’s a feature owners are certain to appreciate.
Lounging and Dining
mongst European manufacturers there seems to be one or two standard designs for the motorhome front area, all of which incorporate swivelled driver’s cab seats. No surprises here then, with an L-shaped seat on the kerb side, a sideways facing lounge seat opposite and an everywhich-way table between them. Both forwardfacing dinette seats have seat belts, too. The seating arrangement will seat four without too much trouble, but with the flat screen TV mounted on the wall of the wardrobe (between the bathroom and rear seat), there’s no doubt the swivelled cab seats are best for viewing.
The dining table is a good size and has a multiadjustable mount for optimal positioning. It also lowers to become part of the dinette bed.
Day Test | 57
Natural lighting in this area is very good because of the front Skyview hatch, but nighttime illumination is equally good, with plenty of recessed ceiling (actually the base of the drop-down bed) fittings. Instead of the usual gooseneck or similar reading lights, a row of pinhead LEDs are fitted into the shelf area above the cab seats: very effective and neat looking. Also fitted into the same area above the passenger seat are two USB charging outlets. This isnâ€™t a bad position, given the items being charged can be place on the adjoining shelf.
or two people, setting up the main bed (unless one each is desired) is a matter of inserting the key into the bed switch and pushing the adjacent button to lower the bed. A ladder provides fairly easy access. Since the bed can be left made up in the raised position, it is all quite easy. There isnâ€™t a curtain across the front of the bed but that is not really necessary, especially since the roof hatch has a blind. That same hatch can of course be left open on warm nights, thus ensuring a bit of cross ventilation. Below the drop-down bed, the dining/lounge seats can be converted into a second bed by lowering the table and rearranging the seat
Top to bottom: The roof bed is a good size and can be left made-up when stowed; Thereâ€™s handy storage on both sides of the cab ceiling; A large Skyview hatch provides natural light, fresh air and an added sense of spaciousness.
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cushions, in addition to using one stored in the external locker.
What I think
eing big isn’t everything and that is certainly the case with the Benimar Tessoro T481. Inside and out there’s a place for everything and everything is in it’s place. What there isn’t is copious amounts of empty space, but that’s not the design intent here at all. Summing up, this Spanish-built ‘baby’ motorhome is very practical and compact, while the Ford Transit seems like a good thing too.
Clockwise from top left: Although compact the Tessoro T481’s bathroom manages to squeeze in a handbasin, vanity, overhead cupboard and window beside the toilet; A seperate shower cubicle is a terrific inclusion; Mind the bathroom step, but note the central heating outlet. Nice!
Day Test | 59 The key-operated roof bed is the main bed, and easily accessed via a short ladder. It leaves space below to convert the dinette to a second bed if desired.
60 | Day Test
Specs GENERAL Make
2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
125 kW @ 3500 rpm
405 Nm @ 1750 - 2500 rpm
ESC, ABS, ESP, Airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
5.99 m (19’ 8”)
2.32 m (7’ 7”)
2.80 m (9’ 2”)
2.12 m (6’ 11”)
Internal Height under bed
1.87 m (6’ 2”)
1.90 m x 1.39 m (6’ 4” x 4’ 6”)
2.10 m x 1.40 m (6’11” x 4’ 7”)
Day Test | 61
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Thetford 3 burner & Thetford grill/oven
Round stainless steel
141 L Thetford N3141 3-way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
2 x USB
Hot Water System
Truma 230 V/LPG
1 x 100 AH
1 x 150 W
2 x 9.0 kg
PRICE ON-ROAD NZ From
Warranty - Vehicle
Warranty - Body
Warranty - Appliances
Pros… • • • • • • • •
Well set up lounge/dining area 12 V lighting Easy handling Drop-down bed operation External locker capacity Good sized kitchen Sliding window by entry door Seperate shower
CONs… • Four occupants will have to be friendly! • No microwave • Bathroom is compact • Kitchen is a one person place
Contact North Island TrailLite Auckland 77 Paerata Road Pukekohe. 2120. T: 0800 872 455 W: www.TrailLite.co.nz South Island TrailLite Christchurch 247 Main South Road Hornby. ChCh. 8042. T: 0800 872 455 W: www.TrailLite.co.nz
Click for Google Maps
Click for Google Maps
62 | Day Test
“This Spanish-built ‘baby’ motorhome is practical and compact, while the Ford Transit seems like a good thing too.”
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Auckland 77 Paerata Rd, Pukekohe Christchurch 280 Main South Rd, Hornby
64 | Project Polly
Hatching a Plan
Polly’s new hatch hasn’t quite gone to plan…
Project Polly | 65
Polly’s original Fiamma roof hatch after seven years. Hard to believe it kept any water out…
oon after our project motorhome Polly came to live with us two years ago (doesn’t time fly?) it became apparent her roof hatch wasn’t watertight. Even in light rain there was a steady drip from the driver’sside rear corner, when parked on our driveway. This didn’t come as a complete surprise, given she’d just come off the Apollo Rental fleet after five years service, and was fixed by them under warranty. However, after a year or so the leak returned. A look at Polly’s roof revealed daubs, dollops and blobs of old white sealant in many locations – even around the roof hatch! It actually surprised me we weren’t getting more water inside. From the TV aerial base and cable entry point to seemingly random spots for no apparent reason, Polly’s roof was littered with untidy mounds of seemingly hastily-applied white stuff. Still, considering her rental career it really didn’t come as a surprise.
nderstandably, Apollo’s rental conversion used a basic, wind-up opaque Fiamma roof hatch with a built-in hard plastic insect screen. Stained with red dirt and with a cracked screen that let in a few too many bugs; water leak aside it was ready for retirement. Over the years I’ve established an excellent working relationship with Pia and Olli from Southern Spirit Campervans in Brisbane. Specialists in van conversions and now manufacturing their own HiAce-based Campino – easily the best entry-level campervan in Australia – this unusual couple are sticklers for doing things right. So despite the distance from home (a lazy 1100 km) they seemed the logical choice for a roof hatch renovation rescue, amongst other things, while we were in the USA. Fast forward to our return; we picked up Polly, paid the bill, drove her home and were very
66 | Project Polly happy with the brand new Mini Heki hatch. Complete with a clear, double-glazed dome, sliding insect and shade screens, and with a locking mechanism on its highest opening position to stop the dreaded “Heki Thump” of it suddenly slamming shut when windy, it transformed Polly’s bed/dining/living area.
Singing in the Rain
olly’s return home brought with it some rain, but I was now able to laugh at it. That was until the night before the Brisbane Show, when Mrs iM and I were ‘overnighting’ near Sydney Airport in preparation for early departures the next day. It had been raining steadily all night and at times quite hard, but what did I care? We were watertight. How good was that at last?! Around 01:45 Mrs iM awoke to find her bedding wet and a steady drip coming from the front passenger-side corner of the roof hatch. NOOOOOOO!!!!! What to do? We couldn’t stay as it was still raining, so the only thing was to head home. We both missed our early flights and quite coincidentally, Pia rang around 10:00 am regarding another matter. When I told her the news she was mortified (putting it mildly). Ten minutes later she was back on the phone, advising Olli would fly down the next morning, collect Polly and take her back to Brisbane to find out what went wrong. By that time the rain had stopped and I’d been up the ladder for a look and to take some photos. There’s a wide plastic valance around the hatch and instantly I saw the problem: the rear passenger side corner had lifted, allowing water to run straight in. Not good. To cut a long story short, I returned Polly to Brisbane a few days later and left her there for a week. Southern Spirit Campervans picked up the tab for fuel and airfares and were prepared to remove and replace Polly’s entire ceiling
Top to bottom: It’s surprising how much of the original sealant was still in place; Hatch removed and there was the rust, but not too bad; Inside the hatch, red dirt was ingrained from years of rental travel. Interestingly, Polly’s had a second ceiling skin added at some point, probably due to water damage. Hmm…
Project Polly | 67
New hatch old problem: The sealant had lifted, primarily at this corner, and water had no trouble finding its way in.
and even the overhead cupboards, if the water damage warranted it. Fortunately it didn’t. All-up I estimate about a litre of water made it through over several days, including the run back to Brisbane despite my best efforts to seal the gap with roofing tape.
or me, this situation presented a huge dilemma. There are few people in this industry whose work standards and ethics are as high as Pia’s and Olli’s. If I report this would I damage their reputation? After all, I’ve never met a Southern Spirit Campervans’ customer with a bad word about the pair or their work. And yet, for editorial integrity I needed to tell this story… Mrs iM has worked in airline customer service for more than 28 years; 21 at the coalface as a manager. Years ago she explained how she deals with customer complaints. Firstly, it’s a
given that even with the best companies and/ or products, things can and do go wrong. On that premise, when confronted by an angry or disappointed passenger, Mrs iM explains that although she can’t undo what’s happened, she wants to know what she can do to make them as comfortable/happy as possible from that point on. It’s called Service Recovery and it’s the yardstick I’ve learned to judge all businesses by. In this instance Southern Spirit’s service recovery has been exemplary, and I don’t believe it’s just because of me. When you know people who take enormous pride in what they do it comes as no surprise they are prepared to move mountains if something goes wrong. And they did.
hat went wrong? The only difference with Polly’s roof hatch installation compared to Southern Spirit’s usual
68 | Project Polly process was the use of Krylov-brand rust protector paint around the hatch, where the roof had been taken back to bare metal for rust removal. That was then covered with automotive paint to match Polly’s roof. For reasons still unknown, in several places the primer ‘delaminated’, so that the Sikaflex sealant pulled the top paint and part of the rust protector off, while the remainder of the rust protector stayed on the roof. It’s a situation Pia and Olli have never heard of or seen – ditto the paint supplier. The good news at least it wasn’t the installation!
o remedy it, Olli removed the hatch and checked for further water damage using a high-tech moisture meter that’s non-invasive. The good news was there was no large scale damage; the problem being contained to the immediate hatch area. After special heaters were brought in all moisture levels quickly returned to normal and the repair job commenced. All the Krylon-affected roof surface was taken back to bare metal again and this time, twopack automotive paint was applied. The hatch valance was replaced with a new one, with copious amounts of Sikaflex to bond it to the roof. Then, extra sealant was used to effectively blend the hatch valance into the roof. When dry, hundreds of litres of water were poured over everything to ensure watertightness.
The Bottom Line
hey say every cloud is made of silver lino (or something) and this situation is no different. Firstly, it exposed a possible paint/sealant incompatibility that could have affected future jobs, but with customers much further afield before discovering a problem. Secondly, it now means Polly’s roof hatch is certified to 165 metres and I can readily drive across the bottom of Sydney Harbour. Thirdly, Olli discovered a number of other leak spots
Top to bottom: Taped-up for the run back to Brisbane. Despite this, water still got through the night I camped on the way north; The troublesome rust-proofing primer; New hatch removed and you can see the problem: lot’s of lifting/ delaminating of the paint layers.
Project Polly | 69
Olli took the roof hatch area back to perfect bare metal, resprayed it in two-pack auto paint and installed a new valance, packed with Sikaflex. This time, water has no chance (for sure!)…
and ‘issues’ that he rectified at considerable time and effort cost while doing this repair (to explain, Olli didn’t do the original hatch installation. It was done by a new employee). Fourthly, I’ve learned much from Olli about Ford Transit van roofs and will be sharing it in next issue’s Project Polly update. If you own a Transit van or know someone who does, don’t miss it. Fifthly, Olli uncovered rust problems around the windscreen that need attention soon; probably a result of multiple windscreen replacements during her rental career. Sixthly, I’ve decided to have Olli restore the rear half of Polly’s roof, seeing he’s done such a good job up front. Besides, I’m a great fan of the New England Highway and love a good drive… Finally, my temporarily-shaken faith in Southern Spirit Campervans’ workmanship has been restored, and with newfound respect for Pia
and Olli’s commitment to quality and service recovery. I’m sure there are others out there would have just resealed the hatch and perhaps gotten away with it, for a time at least. I hear terrible stories from owners – one I know personally had water literally cascading through the light fittings in his two-week old near$200,000 motorhome in the first heavy rain. It was fixed under warranty, but I can’t believe the situation could have arisen in the first place. The bottom line for me is I still have no hesitation in recommending Pia and Olli and the team at Southern Spirit Campervans for quality work. And I stake my professional reputation on that. Enough said, I think…
70 | Feature
Camptoo: Let your motorhome go to work for you… Louis, the co-founder of Camptoo Australia said, “The positive vibe is amazing, the owner is part of the traveller’s journey and helps to experience a unique and personal adventure that the renter probably will never forget!”
amptoo was founded in the Netherlands three years ago. It all started with three friends planning a short weekend getaway in a nice motorhome, but it didn’t work. Rental companies didn’t allow them to hire a motorhome for a weekend and they couldn’t find private owners willing to rent out their vehicle. And so, the idea of Camptoo was born: An online platform, much like Airbnb, to rent out motorhomes and caravans and earn extra income. In those three years Camptoo has listed more than 1000 vehicles across Europe. Locally, two enterprising young men – Louis and Pascal – followed the Camptoo story, contacted the founders and together decided to launch Camptoo Australia.
But what exactly is it Camptoo does? It offers a user-friendly platform to advertise your motorhome (or caravan) free of charge. Putting up an ad is said to be simple. You describe everything your vehicle offers, set the price and availability, plus your own house rules. If you wish, Camptoo will create the advertisement for you. The company then promotes your vehicle and helps find the traveller best suited to your vehicle. As an owner, Camptoo says, “You’ll always stay in the driver’s seat”. You decide to whom, when and for what price you rent out. Camptoo takes care of all the paperwork, manages the safe payment and security deposit process and performs comprehensive identity checks. All these services come at no cost to you. Camptoo’s service charge is paid by the renter and is on top of your price. The platform is also said to constantly improve through user feedback.
The Big Question
robably the biggest hurdle for motorhome owners to start renting is trusting strangers with their vehicles.
Feature | 71
Camptoo says its strength lies in the fact every traveller is checked and needs to “apply” for the vehicle they want to hire. In their application travellers talk about themselves as well as their planned journey. As an owner, you can engage in the conversation and sort out any doubts you might have. If you feel comfortable, accept the rental request, meet the travellers for pick-up and help them set off on their journey. You also meet them on return, which gives you the chance to inspect the vehicle before they depart. Of course, building a mutual level of trust does not prevent incidents and accidents, and every vehicle needs appropriate insurance. Camptoo will help find the best insurance option that also covers renting your vehicle out and says it usually works with CIL Insurance. One early convert is Colin, from Melbourne, who has built a small business around Camptoo. He started renting one campervan and now has six!. If you’d like to know more about Colin’s story or want to get in touch with Camptoo, visit their website here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 9988 6111.
Renters find you and do the paperwork, then head off and have a great time!
72 | Reader Report
HOW TO SAVE $50,000!
Upgrade or innovate? Reader Alan Price’s account of a familiar dilemma…
Reader Report | 73
How it looks in the brochure (above) and on the side of my Horizon Grevillea. No apparent difference and it does a great job.
ell, I hope we might have saved $50,000 by delaying the replacement of our five year old Horizon Grevillea Motorhome, which we absolutely love. The thing is, it would be nice to have a bigger shower and larger internal living area, and probably most importantly – be able to sit outside in cooler or windy weather. This was recently brought home to us on a trip to Girraween National Park (near the Qld/NSW
border), down to Armidale and across the Waterfall Way, then home to Brisbane via the NSW North Coast. So, we decided to spend $1800 and purchase an iKamp inflatable awning, after seeing a fellow motorhomer with one at Scott’s Head, NSW. Inflatable awnings are the biggest selling awnings in Europe and require no poles. In our case it’s attached by sliding the beading
74 | Reader Report
of the awning into the sail track of our existing Fiamma awning. The awning is not rolled out and remains in the closed position on the motorhome roof. Our Motor Rally Pro model features: • One-point inflation using the supplied hand pump, which only takes a few minutes to pump up (or us a 12 volt pump). We prefer to use the hand pump on ours • Crystal clear windows for a great view • Skylights and mesh ventilation panels Sturdy, secure and providing excellent visibility, our new inflatable awning seems to be a good investment.
• Quick pitch guying system. Erection is quick and easy, as you can see in a Youtube video by clicking here. Whilst we would not put it up for less than three nights, for extended stays it provides a terrific outdoor lounge area that is very much
Reader Report | 75 different to traditional canvas annexes where you feel so closed in. It hasn’t solved the bigger shower issue, but we can live with that! Some considerations for us are: • The awning is reasonably bulky, but comes in a sturdy bag and all up weighs approximately 20 kgs. This is not a problem for us as we tow a lightweight alloy trailer for our folding mountain bikes, kayaks, second fridge etc • We have only put it up twice so far, but think we can get the erection time down to less than 10 minutes with two people
• Will it be too hot in summer in Queensland? With two doors and the opening of the windows, we should be able to get good ventilation. Still, traditional motorhome/ caravan awnings all get hot in the middle of summer and we have not purchased it for summer use anyway. There are a number of models and accessories available and the Australian agents are More Products in Melbourne, who also carry a wide range of RV parts and accessories.
“Inflatable awnings are the biggest selling awnings in Europe and require no poles.”
76 | Feature
The Future of RV Rallies
Is there a lesson in the way American RV rallies are heading? By Jeannine PatanĂŠ
Feature | 77
illennial, Millennial, Millennial! Hitch up and hold on to your seat, it’s going to be an activity-filled ride. With Millennials in the vista of camping, wheels are rolling to the reinvented rally. This is not rocket science — only event planning — but in America,the Millennial is now dictating the atmosphere and quality experience in RV recreation.
All too often, rallies have been organised by committees, chapters and too many chefs in the kitchen trying to make another potluck happen. If you change your RV brand, don’t return to the rally. It’s the same ‘ole dance. However, there is a tectonic shift happening underneath this complacency, and it already shook up some of the larger, established events.
Addressing some of the distinguishing camper demographics of the 2016 Topline North American Camping Report, ethnicity is now almost a non-issue compared to older age groups, and campgrounds are chosen more based on atmosphere than location. In reference to the younger generations, it was recorded that they heavily rely on social activity and spending time with others when they recreate. It sounds like a perfect group to rally.
One event that has fallen off the map is called, “The Rally,” sponsored by Camping World/ Good Sam Club. They self-proclaimed it the “Greatest RV Rally in the World!”, but like an antiquated circus show, “The Rally” folded up its tents and left town with no explanation. Why didn’t the “Greatest RV Rally in the World!” draw the massive numbers of these record breaking RV sales? At first guess, it was designed too large, complicated, and overly commercial for a camper convergence. The newest RV owner demographic in their smaller travel trailers weren’t even considered.
Baby Boomers have been rallying for decades, but over time, their events have often become more political than fun. As Aristotle pointed out, man is by nature a political animal. Gatherings are not exempt from this.
The future of RVing will continue to thrive and the younger demographics are taking the lead to make the viability continue for the industry. This shift is probably lastly reflected at the
78 | Feature
beginning of the manufacturing line, with the reinvention movement first displayed in the owner periphery through RV lifestyle support like clubs and rallies. It’s a grassroots effort trickling up to the manufacturing design.
We rally to be with like-minded people, and that can happen annually or be a one-time anomaly. We’re making the rendezvous relatable to our interests now, and the brand of camper one owns is not an issue.
Take the Escapees RV Club for example. The GenXers have already embraced what the generation before them have achieved. Building upon that, the Xscapers came into fruition as a subsidiary to the parent Escapees RV Club. Xscapers is a support network geared toward a new generation of RVers who have not yet retired and who have already, or are aspiring to, hit the road pursuing a full-time or part-time nomadic lifestyle. It’s not just the demographics of age; technology clearly plays a large role in the RV lifestyle now.
Independent rally organisers have recognised the value of the event to both the RV industry and owners, and they’re moulding these events to suit all. Rallies offer not only a social setting, but also fertile ground for sharing knowledge. Each time a rally occurs our RV community should strengthen.
Niche rallies have already hit cult-like fever. The vintage trailer community has developed an almost mainstream course around taking their rescued and restored trailers to rallies. Sisters on the Fly are thousands of members strong and women-only campouts are ever growing in popularity.
There is no formula or committee structure to have fun with your RV community. The younger generations have learned how to rally, and tossing the Crockpot potluck off the schedule isn’t breaking the rules. Or it might be, but we don’t care. In fact, any activity that we’d enjoy engaging in with others can be
Millennials are a very social group, so it would be natural that they’ll get hooked on rallies. The earlier someone becomes engaged in an activity, the better chance they will continue the activity throughout their life.
Feature | 79 planned. If we can modify and customise our RV, we can write our own rally. The RV industry recognises the demographic shift in RV purchasing and the changed attitude in lifestyle use. It not only affects manufacturing, marketing and sales, but how the RVs are being used afterwards and the end-user communication. Campgrounds can attest to this. Toby O’Rourke, chief franchise operations officer for KOA said, “The Millennials are going to be very focused on quality. As an industry we have to continue to modernise our parks. We have to have recreation in our parks, we have to have quality sites. Millennials are demanding excellence and they want quality.” Although Millennials expect excellence and quality from the campground atmosphere, campground management doesn’t need to reinvent their facility for this new demographic group. Simple adjustments can make campgrounds group friendly. There is no need to install a rock-climbing wall over a pool. Mind you, a campground is not a cruise ship, nor do we want to pay cruise ship prices for nightly camping. It comes down to providing basic amenities, and doing it with excellence. That will attract large, social groups. Work with rally coordinators, as they are the outside sales representatives for your campground. Accommodate the group size, and maximise opportunity for social interaction. Give groups a gratis, large sheltered gathering point with a community fire pit, clean, hot showers and robust Wi-Fi to share the awesome experience. The rest is happy camping.
80 | Perspective
Find What You Love
and let it kill youâ€Ś by Mark Manson
“We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorised and flattened by trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.” Yes, we’re all going to die. You and me and everyone else. One day and eventually, that fateful moment will come calling and take us all away. When we die isn’t even really the interesting question, as once you’re dead you won’t be around to care about what you did or didn’t do. No, the interesting question is how we die. Will it be cancer? Cardiac arrest? Anthrax attack? Choking on a pretzel? Me? I’m holding out for parachute failure. Or maybe a plane crash. Okay, not really, but sometimes when I’m on a plane, and we’re landing and there’s terrible weather I start daydreaming about what a crash would be like. Maybe I’d reach across the aisle and hold a total stranger’s hand in a final dramatic gesture as we wait for the inevitable together. The earth would sweep upon us and together we’d be slammed into eternity. Luckily that hasn’t happened yet. When we think about our own deaths we typically think about the final moments. The hospital beds. The crying family. The ambulances. We don’t think about the long string of choices and habits which lead to those final moments. You could say that our death is a work-inprogress over the course of our lives – each breath, each bite, each swallow, each late night and missed traffic light, each laugh and scream and cry and crashing fist and lonely sigh – they each bring us one step closer to our own dramatic denouement from this world. So the better question isn’t when you’re going to die. It’s what are you choosing as your vehicle to get there? If everything you do each day brings you closer to death in its own unique and subtle way, then what are you choosing to let kill you?
Perspective | 81
82 | Perspective
With Passion Comes Pain
he title of this article is a quote from the author and poet Charles Bukowski. This entire article kind of doubles as an ode to him. Bukowski was a shameless drinker, womaniser and all-around stuff up. He would get drunk on stage at his poetry readings and verbally abuse his audience. He gambled a lot of his money away and had an unfortunate habit of exposing himself in public. But underneath Bukowski’s disgusting exterior was a deep and introspective man with more character than most.
with it. He understood that you don’t get one side without the other. You don’t get love without pain. You don’t get meaning and profundity without sacrifice. The concept of life purpose has exploded in popularity in recent decades. We don’t just want to make money or build a secure career. We want to do something important. We want to be noticed. We want to be looked up to. Meaning is the new luxury. But like any other luxury, we idealise meaning.
People believe that all you have to do is find the thing – that one bloody thing! – that you Bukowski spent most of his life broke, drunk and getting fired from various jobs. Eventually, are “meant” to do, and suddenly, everything will click into place. You’ll do it until the day he ended up working in a post office filing you die and always feel fulfilled and happy letters. All his life he wrote fruitlessly, a total unknown and a loser. He wrote for almost 30 and prance with unicorns and rainbows while years before finally getting his first book deal. making a million dollars in your pajamas. We just need that one thing – if only we knew It was a meager deal. When accepting it, he wrote, “I have one of two choices – stay in the what we were meant to do, then everything post office and go crazy, or stay out here and would fit into place! play at writer and starve. I have decided to And while it’s possible to brainstorm some starve.” ideas to help one get started, finding meaning and purpose is not a five-day spa retreat. It’s In my opinion, the honesty in his writing – a friggin’ hike through mud and shit with golfhis fears, failures, regrets, self-destruction, ball-sized hail pelting you in the face. And you emotional dysfunction – is unparalleled. He have to love it. You really have to love it. As will tell you the best and worst of himself Bukowski said, “What matters most is how without flinching, without shifting his eyes well you walk through the fire.” or even muttering a “sorry about that” as an afterthought. He wrote about both shame and Finding the passion and purpose in your life pride without qualification. His writing was is a trial-by-fire process. You don’t simply equanimous – a silent embrace of the horrible wake up one day and become happy doing and beautiful man that he was. one thing forever and ever. Like death, it’s And what Bukowski understood, which most a constant work-in-progress. You must try something, pay attention to how it feels, people don’t, is that the best things in life adjust and then try again. Nobody gets it can sometimes be ugly. Life is messy, and we’re all a little screwed up in our own special right on the first try, or the tenth or sometimes even the two-hundredth. And then, when you snowflake kind of way. He never understood do get it right, it’s liable to one day change. the baby boomer obsession with peace and Because you change. happiness or the idealism that came along
Perspective | 83
“Writing is easy; all you have to do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler And what Bukowski understood more than most was that doing what you love is not always loving what you do. There’s an inherent sacrifice to it. Just like choosing a spouse, it’s not choosing someone who makes you happy all the time, it’s choosing somebody who you want to be with even when they’re pissing you off. It’s something that feels like an inevitability; like you have no choice because this is simply who you are, dysfunction and all. It’s your chosen vehicle towards death. And you’re happy to let it take you there. But you’re under no illusions that it won’t be a bumpy ride or without surprises along the way. For example: • Your study of speech therapy may lead you to voice acting which may turn into a career in children’s cartoons and then you may decide at age 55 that children’s cartoons are corrupted by corporate interests and you spend the rest of your days sketching comics you love but never publish. • Your interest in fitness may lead you to a deeper interest in posture and form which then gets you into coaching people on body language and sub-communication. This leads you into a consulting business, but after dealing with the surface level issues for years, you discover that the body moulds itself to match repressed emotions. So you take your big consulting pension, say f… it and open an acupuncture and massage clinic where you dedicate the last of your days to promoting mind-body awareness. Just like few of us experience love at first sight, few will experience passion
and meaning at first experience. Like a relationship, we must build it from scratch, piece-by-piece, until after years of brick and sweat, it can stand on its own. And once we’re there, like a plane in full nosedive, we let it take us to our grave, holding hands, blanketed upon the earth in a laughing roar of wind and fire and love. “We’re here to laugh at the odds,” Bukowski said, “and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” And when Death does come, how will he take you?
84 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival
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. To find out more about RV Friendly Towns and Destinations visit the CMCA’s website by clicking here. For an interactive map of all RV friendly Towns, click here. This month’s featured RV Friendly Towns are:
Travel | 85
Katanning, Western Australia
atanning is on the Great Western Highway, in the heart of the Great Southern region, some 277 kilometres south-east of Perth. The development of the Great Western Railway in 1889, from Perth to Albany, played an integral part in the development of the town. Western Australia Land Company, the company that built the railway, also formed the township. It was eventually gazetted in 1898, after the State purchased the railway line and town. Katanning’s historical points of interest include the Katanning Roller Flour Mill Museum and
the Kobeelya homestead. For the young at heart, be sure to pay a visit to the ‘All Ages Playground’, a rare and unusual playground with adult sized play equipment! Short-term parking is available for RV travellers at Lions Park on Albion and Clive Streets. Parking is only permitted for up to 24 hours. No charges apply for the stay, however donations are encouraged. The dump point and potable water are accessible nearby at the corner of Clive Street and the Great Southern Highway. Pets on leads are also permitted.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Katanning Visitor Centre 14 Austral Tce, Katanning WA P: 08 9821 2634 E: email@example.com
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
2 carparks on Austral Tce
Short Term Parking
Lions Park, Albion & Clive St, (24 hrs), donations welcome, pets on lead
Cnr Clive St & Great Southern Hwy (Lat Long: -33.6963, 117.5487). Turning for larger rigs may be slightly limited
Cnr Clive St & Great Southern Hwy
86 | Travel
onto is a small rural township of approximately 1300 residents, 497 kilometres north-west of Brisbane. The town was a fully planned soldier and pioneer settlement, proclaimed in 1924 as part of the Land Development Scheme. Today, many impressive heritage buildings remain, including the Shire Hall with its classic art deco design. Visitors to Monto will find the natural surrounding beauty the main attraction. Twelve kilometres north is Cania Gorge National Park, which showcases dramatic caves, gullies and
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking Dump Point
sandstone cliffs, and offers walking trails that range from 300 m to 6 kilometres. Lake Cania is an ideal spot for recreational fishing and well stocked with Australian bass, yellow belly and silver perch. The Monto Community Rest Area, on Newton Street, provides parking for up to 72 hours, for a fee of $5 per vehicle per night. Bins, toilets, covered seating and BBQ facilities are all provided on-site. A dump point and potable water are both located nearby for the convenience of those staying at the rest area.
Pioneer Cottage Information Centre Lister St, Monto QLD P: 07 4166 1245 www.montomagic.weebly.com Top of Newton St & bottom of Newton St in Lister St; Parkland, Monto Monto Community Rest Area, bottom of Newton St, $5pvpn, (72hrs), bins, tlts, c/seating, BBQ, water Bottom of Newton St, (Lat Long: -24.8633, 151.1206); or, Flinders / Kennedy St boundaries in showgrounds (Lat Long: -24.8652, 151.1143) Parkland & RV Dump Point, Bottom of Newton St, Monto
Travel | 87
Blanchetown, South Australia
of pioneer architecture. The hotel also hosts famous Yabby Races every Australia Day long weekend, a fun event and great opportunity to mingle with the locals.
The townshipâ€™s many charming heritage buildings can be explored on the Blanchetown Historical Walk, including the Blanchetown Hotel, which has been trading on its present site for 117 years and is a perfect example
Parking is permitted at the Old Ferry Landing on The Parade for up to 24 hours at no cost. Toilets, potable water and bins are provided at this location and pets are permitted on leads. A dump point is available at Blanchetown Oval on South Terrace, and an additional source of potable water can also be found near the public toilets at Lock No.1 Reserve.
lanchetown is home to Lock No.1 on the Murray River and is 135 kilometres north-east of Adelaide. The town was one of the first river settlements in South Australia and operated the Customs House where goods were cleared from passing paddle steamers.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Blanchetown Internet & Information CafĂŠ 3 Shaw St, Blanchetown SA P: 08 8540 5453
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Blanchetown PO, 28-30 Egerton St & Lock 1 Reserve, The Parade Old Ferry Landing, The Parade, (24hrs), nil cost, tlts, water, bins, pets on lead
Short Term Parking Dump Point
Blanchetown Oval, South Tce (Lat Long: -34.3554, 139.6168)
Public toilets, Lock 1 Reserve & Old Ferry Landing, The Parade
88 | My On my Town mind : Grong Grong
Grong Grong A town that defies its name... by Sharon Hollamby
his friendly little town on the Newell Highway, 23 kilometres east of Narrandera in NSW, is situated midway between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The name Grong Grong (Garrongoorung) is Aboriginal and means “bad camping ground” or “very bad camping ground,” but that wasn’t my experience at all… The moment I arrived in town the clutch in my bus burnt out and I was unable to move any further. Fortunately I had parked in a great spot right next to the park, which had a barbecue and a new toilet/shower block. Enquiries at the local mechanic confirmed my suspicions but he was unable to help me. He was a lovely man who has been the trusted local mechanic for many years, but age had
crept up on him and the job was just too big for him. It was then the local shopkeepers Fran and Mal came to my rescue and introduced me to local resident Royce, who said if I could get the part he could put it in for me. The part was arranged and work began, but I was concerned as I had overstayed the 72 hour limit. I was assured that it was fine and I even began to feel like one of the locals, with people waving and asking me how it was all going. I even got invited to the pub for a drink by one friendly local! This once thriving town may only be small now but it still has a big heart.
My Town | 89 Background
n 1829 Charles Sturt came down the Murrumbidgee from Gundagai and camped at a small lagoon. With him he brought smallpox, which wiped out over half of the local Wiradjuri population. By 1832 squatters had started settling the area. One man, John Lupton, took up over 30 km of river frontage and named the station Berrembed. In 1866 John Lupton Junior sold the station to the Melbourne Bank Company, who restored the name of the run to its original “Garrongoorung.” When the railway line reached Grong Grong in 1881 the store was moved from the river road and a post office established. Not surprisingly, both were located next to the railway line. With the population growing a school was opened under canvas and after many requests a police station (also under canvas) came to town. Prisoners were chained to a log outside the dwelling!
What’s Grong Grong best known for? “Ha ha, bad camping ground. Seriously though, this is a friendly, generous town and there are plenty of great places to camp, especially along the river.” When’s the best time to visit? “Anytime really, I like the school holidays because there are more people about.” What are the top things to see and do? “That would have to be the river, fishing, the rodeo when it is on and the sports club star gazing nights. Spend some time in our earth garden and pick some fresh vegetables for your tea, (feel free to do some gardening while you are there,) go for a pushbike ride on one of our free hire bikes, or grab a book from our free book stall and just chill out for a while.
What about major festivals and events? “The rodeo and the bike ride. The bike ride in March raises money for the heart foundation in memory of our old school teacher Ian Lucas, who taught at “Grongy” in the 70s. He was my By 1897 two hotels, three stores, two bakeries, teacher and the fittest man in town. Sadly, he a butter factory and a butcher had all opened in died of a heart attack while riding his bike. He Grong Grong. They are mostly gone now and rode his bike everywhere and often took part in the school has recently closed, but the heart charity events. When the school closed he went of this town still beats strongly. I talked to one on to become the principal at Matong. Anyone of the former school students and now local can take part in the ride, it’s 25 km to Matong shopkeeper, Mal, about the town he has lived and back, but if you’re not that energetic you most of his life in…
90 | My On my Town mind
can ride to the river and back, or you can do the hike.”
also makes it a nice quiet place to camp. If you really want to go out, there is the pub, or you are close enough to surrounding towns Where’s the best place for coffee? like Narrandera or Leeton which has a movie “Would have to be the “Grongy store” as it’s the theatre” only place, unless you know someone in town. How do the locals relax? We do make a good coffee though!” “Lots of events at the sports club, the pub, What about the best places to eat? markets in the local area and church.” “The motel is a good place for a nice dine-in Recommended Picnic Spots meal, if you want something classy. The pub does great pizzas and meals and we do hot “For me it would have to be the river, but the food and sandwiches here.” park is popular as well. The earth garden is a great place to have a picnic, that’s where Mal is being a bit modest here, as I had the we have our Christmas lunch. They are in the good fortune of trying his burgers and steak process of putting a pizza oven in the earth sandwiches and they are seriously good garden.” value for money. Great tasting, old fashioned, real hamburgers and they take more than Where are the best camping spots? two hands to hold. If you’re hungry I highly “Almost anywhere you like. We are the ultimate recommend them. RV friendly town! There is some lawn area across the road, or right next to the park and What’s good to see and do at night? barbecues, behind the pub, the river or the “Not much happens here at night but that
My Town | 91 canal. The only place I don’t recommend is right next to the dump point across the road.” What about shopping with easy parking? “The streets here are wide so there is no trouble with turning or parking. We stock most of people’s basic needs at our shop, but if you need something we are happy to try and get it in for you. We have a post office in the store as well which my partner Fran runs. Other than that Narrandera is only 15 minutes away and there is a Coles there plus specialty shops.” “Do you have facilities for visitors wanting to keep fit? “You can use one of our push bikes and go for a ride, or try swimming in the river, go canoeing, or have a round of golf at the sports club.
Do you have any specialised disabled facilities? “The facilities at the park are disabled friendly and we have a ramp that leads into the shop. The pub does have a step but there is a great beer garden out the back and I think you can get into the pub through that way as well” Finally, what do you think makes Grong Grong special? “It was a great place to grow up. We don’t have the crime here that bigger towns have and the townspeople have a generous spirit.”
Fast Facts Grong Grong Narrandera Shire Council, 141 East Street, Narrandera, NSW Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Casual Parking: There is plenty of parking throughout the town. Short Term Parking: Junee St. or Balaro St. Both next to the park and facilities. Long Term Parking: Royal hotel Narrandera St, Free camping, small fee for the shower. Ph (02) 6956 2117 Dump Point: Opposite the shop Junee St. Potable Water: Available at the park Cnr. Junee & Bolero St.
Hospital: Narrandera hospital 54-64 Adams St, Narrandera Ph (02) 69592877 Doctor: Narrandera Medical Centre, Victoria Square Ph (02) 6958 1000 Dentist: Narrandera Dental Centre, 46-48 East St. Ph (02) 6959 3055 Pharmacy: Narrendera Chemmart Pharmacy, 58 East St. Ph (02) 6959 1099) Mulhall & Close Narrandera Pharmacy, 125 East St. Ph (02) 6959 2091 Supermarket: Grong Grong General Store and Post office, Junee St Ph (02) 6956 2101 Coles Supermarket, 101-103 East st. Narrandera, Ph (02) 6959 2388
92 | Mobile Tech
TV On The Go
On both sides of the Tasman, catching up with your favourite TV shows is just an app or two awayâ€¦ By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 93
ccess to online entertainment has never been more convenient or available in such abundance. Broadcasters are finding themselves in an entirely new marketplace dominated by heavy hitting, smooth talking modern rivals pay TV and on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Lightbox, Neon, Quickflix and Amazon Prime. As mobile device use becomes more accessible so too does the use of streaming apps to search and view programs. Our changing viewing habits have also increased our demand for custom content when and where we want it. In a case of keep-up or move over, free to air networks are releasing their own live TV and catch-up streaming apps.
Freeview FV Size: 19.2MB Cost: Free iOS & Android Australia’s new Freeview FV app has been described as a world-first, with all free-toair networks collaborating to deliver and promote content. Available for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices the app is well presented with a clean and easy to navigate interface. In addition to live streaming from 16 free-to-air channels, you have access to all catch-up TV programs and the ability to browse and search programs across channels.
Channels 7, 9, 10 ABC and SBS each have their own catch-up TV apps and in some cases, you will be redirected to these In Australia, all major networks have set applications in order to access content, but aside traditional rivalries and joined together it’s the ease of use that makes Freeview so to release a joint app called Freeview FV appealing. There is also an inbuilt seven-day in addition to their own individual catch-up TV guide and a recommendations system apps. It’s a word first, free, online, crossplatform, multi-network service, presenting and similar to Netflix that makes locating and promoting all national free-to-air channels and viewing programs across channels a seamless exercise. Other features include reminders content. and favourites, ensuring you never miss a New Zealand is not quite there yet, but the thing and can access all your favourite shows good news is there are several individual at the press of a button, it’s actually far more apps available exclusively for New Zealand convenient than traditional TV! All of this is viewers from the two main networks TVNZ and provided completely free, excluding data Mediaworks. Not to miss out on the action, usage, which can vary depending on the Sky TV NZ also has an app available for its streaming options you select. subscribers.
94 | Mobile Tech
Live-streaming channels available include ABC, SBS, Seven, Channel 9, TEN, ONE, ABC2/ABC KIDS, ABC ME, ABC News 24, 7TWO, 7Mate, 7Flix, Racing.com, 9Gem, 9Go! and 9Life. With the promise of more live channels to be added as they air. There are two streaming options: low and medium, with the default setting at 1200 kbps, which translates to roughly 540 megabytes per hour. The low setting uses 700 kbps and around 315 MB per hour. Unless you’re on an unlimited or very generous mobile plan, it’s a good idea to monitor your data usage or use Wi-Fi where possible. Available wherever a mobile signal can be found this app is great news for regional and remote users, enabling access to live and importantly local television that may have been previously impossible due to signal or reception limitations or difficulties.
It also rules out the need for speciality antennas, dishes, receivers and television units and their associated mounting brackets, setup mechanisms and orientation dramas. The app itself is self-explanatory and has taken TV viewing well into the next era. It’s another excellent example of the sometimes dramatic effects of disruptive technologies! TVNZ Cost: Free Size: 62MB Platform: iOS and Android devices TVNZ offers live content from its three channels TVNZ1, 2 and DUKE, in addition to entire ‘box sets’ or full seasons of your favourite TV shows, TVNZ original content and
Mobile Tech | 95 hit movies. As with all streaming services you either need a wireless internet connection or a very generous and affordable mobile data plan. You’ll also need to create an account with a valid email address. This is nothing more than keeping the advertisers happy. You won’t be spammed if you select the correct options and it is all part of the new ‘tailored for you’ content suggestions and promotions. TVNZ also offers a second app exclusively for news, sport and weather. 1NewsNow is a comprehensive platform for all the latest news and events, with live updates. With several customisable options, a constantly updated news feed and live weather including regional forecasts, this app is not only convenient but practical. Both apps present quite well, although the reviews are not outstanding due to apparent glitchy bug issues. They are trying to cram a lot of content into a relatively small space, so hopefully, these issues will be resolved soon. Some apps remain a work in progress for a while, so be sure to check for regular updates. ThreeNow Cost: Free Size: 15.4MB Platform: iOS and Android devices ThreeNow is Mediaworks’s catch up app offering free-to-air shows live or on-demand from its range of broadcast stations across New Zealand. Offering Apple Air Play you can even catch up on your biggest screen via Apple TV. The layouts used by these apps are all quite similar; they generally display shows using a banner-style by category or genre, with the usual search function available too. There are ‘featured’ programs and previews of upcoming shows, usually with a brief synopsis. There is also a handy seven-day TV guide that is region specific, with easy to set reminder and favourite functions. You can tailor your notification settings and choose
to either watch shows live as they air or later on demand. Again, this app has some pretty awful reviews, but one can’t help but wonder if some of these are due to connectivity issues. As always watch your data usage when not connected to Wi-Fi. The streaming specifics are not available for these apps but any direct online viewing is usually quite a data hungry activity.
96 | What’s On?
What's On? What’s On returns next month in a new format as a seperate, downloadable guide to what’s happening across Australia and New Zealand for the next three months. Watch out for it!
Advertisers' Index | 97
Advertisers' Index AirBag Man
RV Super Centre
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Smart RV Hymer
Australian Motor Homes
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Battery Traders Super Store
Southern Highlands Service Centre
Caravan & Motorhome Books
Southern Spirit Campervans
Caravan & Motorhome Covers
Duvalay31 e-Twow Electric Scooters
iMotorhome NZ Tour
iMotorhome Reader Weekend
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OzCampers31 Parkland RV Centre
Redarc33 Robertâ€™s RV World
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
TrailLite13 TrailLite Benimar
Trakka5 Wellington Shire
Wirraway Motor Homes
Next Issue | 98
Europe’s premier motorhome and chassis manufacturers. Then, from Australia we have the Jayco Freedom, an entry-level C-class with rental roots that rides on a Renault Master. Both are targeted at very different markets and fill totally opposite rolls. Although not a comparison, they provide a fascinating look at the diversity of models on offer and the very different design approaches manufacturers take to the same basic task: accommodating people as they travel.
Next issue we have another pair of motorhomes from both sides of the Tasman and they couldn’t be more different.
Issue 116 will be out on Saturday 5 August. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
From NZ we have the Hymer Starline, a rangetopping Mercedes-Benz-based A-class with all the style and substance you’d expect from
Gold Coast Midyear Caravan & Camping Show Gold Coast Turf Club Racecourse Drive, Bundall, Qld. 4217
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August 28-30 25-27 07-12 25-27
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October 28-30 5-8 25-27
Border Caravan Show
Wodonga Racecourse Hamilton Smith Dr, Wodonga, Vic. 3690.
Sundown Racecourse Springvale. Vic. 3171
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 free with adult
• Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $14/16 (online/at gate) • Seniors: $11/13 (online/at gate) • Kids: Check website
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• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: U16 free with adult
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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