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AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

AUGUST 2017

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Star Quality! Hymer’s Starline B690 shines…

Project Polly Up on the roof…

Technical

Mobile phone boosters!

Feature

Why we drive on the left…

Day Test – Jayco’s budget Freedom RM.23-4!


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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Contributors

Published by iMotorhome Pty Ltd

Emily Barker, Sharon Hollamby, Collyn Rivers and Allan Whiting

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia. ACN: 618 197 694

Design and Production Design & Production Manager

T: +614 14 604 368

Agnes Nielsen

E: info@imotorhome.com.au

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street T: 0418 256 126 E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

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


4 | On my mind

Judge Dread

M

rs iM and I often laugh at medals on wine bottles. Gold medals reading things like ‘Best Shiraz at the 2013 Warburton Ladies Auxiliary Hall Amenities Block Redecorating Working Bee and Refreshment Day’ might look impressive, but in reality diminish the value of awards and the products they promote. It’s the same with Car of the Year Awards. Remember when there was only one and it held credibility and prestige? Now there’s a plethora of publications and each with many categories, and it seems everyone’s a winner. It’s a bit like giving every kid in a sports team a medal just for turning up. In the end all these things do is devalue the very things they seek to value, albeit while giving a few companies/people a fleeting feel good moment. None of this, however, means I’m against awards. For example, I’m certain iMotorhome would easy win Best Traditional Format Motorhome Magazine Delivered Digitally From A Home Office On The Wombeyan Caves Rd (and actually deserve it)! For an award to mean something it has to have authenticity and authority: authenticity because it really is the best in class and authority because the awarding institution is recognised and the judging process transparent. For a long while I’ve thought about annual iMotorhome awards. Best Motorhome is tempting, but the problem is there’s no way to compare every motorhome in the same year (let alone at the same time) to ensure fairness. Editor’s Choice Awards are an alternative, but I’d be accused of bias because iMotorhome is advertising funded. The final category is a Peoples’ Choice Award and on the surface it might seem fairest. However, most people only have experience with one or two vehicles (if any) and are inherently/inadvertently biased. Add to that hearsay and rumour enhanced

by social media and sadly, popular opinion is no reliable or even accurate indicator of reality. All this means you won’t see awards in iMotorhome. When you see them elsewhere, closely examine the field they represent, the organisation behind them and the judging panel. Only if everything stacks up should you let them influence your buying intentions. The good thing is the internet provides a world of research opportunities and if you have the time to do your research properly you’re unlikely to go wrong.

Join us! Our Captain Thunderbolt weekend on 13-16 October is more than half full. Apart from an excuse to get together and enjoy great company, fun and dining, it has a genuine historical focus as we retrace the life, times and demise of Fredrick Wordsworth Ward – aka Captain Thunderbolt. I think you’ll really enjoy it, so if you’d like to join us click here for full details and quickly get your booking form in. Likewise, our inaugural Taste of New Zealand escorted motorhome tour (6-19 November) is well booked an has just two vehicles left. Covering both islands and including return airfares, ferry crossing, some fabulous long lunches and lots of tours and inclusions, it’s also the chance to experience a quality German motorhome from Wilderness, NZ’s best rental company. Click here for details, but don’t dilly dally as I’d hate you to miss out. Finally, next issue I’m planning to announce details of our 2018 Route 66 tour. Running from 26 March to 22 April the tour has been streamlined and will include a couple of extra days on the road. Watch out for it!

Richard


6 | Malcolm’s Say

A Matter of Compliance

H

aera mai! You’ll see in this current issue that we have reviewed two quite different motorhomes – a Jayco Freedom RM.23-4 and a Hymer Starline B690. I sourced the Jayco in Australia and the Hymer in New Zealand, but both are readily available in New Zealand. That’s not a choice our Australian readers get; they can only get the Jayco, unless prepared to jump through a number of compliance hoops. Which sort of had me thinking about compliance matters – Australian and New Zealand. The compliance issue is a difficult one to get around and has left Aussie buyers with almost no options in the less expensive A-class range, for instance. In NZ, in addition to the Hymer Starline there’s also the Detheffs Globebus GT, Bürstner Elegance and Carthago c-compactline A-class roaming the countryside, but in Australia it’s sorry folks, nothing to see here. More than a few RV manufacturers on both sides of the Tasman have made the mistake of assuming the respective RV markets are similar. Although they are in some ways (and more so than elsewhere), in some major areas there are significant differences. Take customer preferences for instance. A little running joke is that in NZ, heaters are standard and air conditioners optional, but it’s the other way around in Australia. In NZ it is quite legal to drive a motorhome that weighs up to 6000 kg on a Class 1 (car) licence. In Australia the maximum gross vehicle masse (GVM) is 4500 kg, after which you need a Light Rigid (LR) truck licence. It might not seem that important, but the motorhome manufacturers often introduce compromises because the perception is that getting an LR licence is all too difficult. NZ does of course have its own version of that: the Warrant of Fitness (WOF) or the more detailed Certificate of Fitness (COF), which applies to motorhomes over 3750 kg. This means there’s an

enthusiasm for getting motorhome GVM below that magic number. There are some murky waters too. Both Australia and New Zealand share common standards. Three that are relevant for the RV industry are AS/NZS 5601 (gas installations) and AS/NZS 3000 & 3001 (electrical installations). You might think that would make RV manufacturing matters easy, but that is not always the case. Some years ago I was talking to a representative from the government department that handled such matters and he told me that one of the biggest problems they had was getting NZ and the various Australian States to all agree on how the standards can be interpreted. Will any of this change and become easier? Who knows, but change can happen. I reckon one man and one unconnected event did alter the NZ RV industry considerably some years ago. The man was the late David Hold, proprietor of the Barrons dealership at Taupo. He had considerable impact by setting up his dealership as it lead to the wide range of imports we see in NZ today. The trigger was the 2007 Global Financial Crisis. It certainly affected the motorhome rental business and lead to the merger of the three major players. Although the RV industry recovered from the GFC, it’s effects are still to be seen today. One final thing that Kiwis can get excited about is the state of the RV market. The NZ economy is certainly doing very well and that’s reflected in the RV industry, which is moving along at a great pace. In Australia, the economy is certainly much fickler and I reckon that’s also reflected in the RV industry, where one month’s sales figures can be very different to the next. Anyway, until next issue all the best and keep on motorhoming! Haere ra,

Malcolm


8 | Contents

4

On my Mind

10

On Your Mind

34

Day Test: Hymer Starline B690

48

Day Test: Jayco Freedom RM.23-4

62

Project Polly

68

Technical

76

Feature

88

RVFT

96

MobileTech

101

Advertisers’ Index

Judge Dread

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

6 18

Malcolm’s Say A Matter of Compliance

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

Star Quality – this range-topping A-class certainly shines…

Taste of Freedom – Our first look at Jayco’s new Freedom C-class

Up On The Roof!

Mobile Phone Boosters

Why we drive on the left

Three more RV Friendly Towns

Apps for safe drone flying

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!

72

Technical

80

Travel

92

Event

Air Suspension

Malcolm’s view of Route 66

Mitchell Creek Rock’n’Blues Fest

100

What’s On?

102

Next Issue

Australia-wide events over the next three months!

What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!


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10 | On your mind

WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. letters@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.

Decor Choice

A

fter years of trying various plastic containers for use while travelling I think I have found the perfect one. It is the Decor Tellfresh range of rectangular plastic containers, with clear lids. They are compact without any overhanging snap-on lid bits and a convenient shape, so that the same or different sizes can be stacked on top of each other. They make ideal stackable storage containers for pullout pantry cupboards, especially the 1 litre size. The small lip around the top of the lid keeps them in place when pulling out the cupboard and the lids are interchangeable. It is handy to be able to see the contents from the side or top of the container and they are very useful in the fridge too as they are stackable. I use them in my home pantry as well, so it is a simple task to transfer pantry items like muesli, pasta, nuts, flour, etc, into the motorhome and ready for a trip. I prefer to keep my ingredients in plastic containers, to avoid spills and to keep food fresh, but also to avoid attracting vermin. I bought mine at Big W and Woolworths. Sometimes sets of the containers are on sale, which makes the price more attractive. Being able to used in the

fridge, freezer and microwave oven, I think they are just right for road trips, while a bonus that they are Australian-made! Cheers, Di. Hi Di, thanks for the tip, I’m sure many readers will find this useful. As it happens we’ve been using the same containers at home for many years and also in Polly’s pantry, and they are great. I especially like the fact they’re Australia made, too. Please accept this issue’s $50, which perhaps can buy you another set to help make life simpler still!


d n e k e e W r e d a e R er 13-16

Octob

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 events@imotorhome.com.au for a booking form and full terms and conditions.


12 | On your mind

Ducato Secrets

i

Motorhome readers might find this video interesting. I have been driving a Fiat Ducatobased Jayco motorhome for over five years but still learned from it.

Thanks for that Ray, it’s very informative and I’d also recommend it for potential Ducato buyers and nay-sayers. It certainly sheds a lot of light.

Regards, Ray.

At My Service!

I

have just read the letters in the July issue, with one item catching my attention – roadside service. On a recent Friday night I arrived at Bellingen Showgrounds after a drive from Glenlyn Dam near Texas (Qld), via the Waterfall Way. It was just on dark and while looking for a suitable spot to park in the showground you guessed it, I bogged the motorhome in very sodden grass. All attempts to extract our AllTerrainTracker failed and the only solution was to settle in for the night with a glass or two and sort it out in the morning. At 7.00 am I rang the Ken Tame roadside number and was assured by an extremely courteous operator that I would have a towing operator to assist me within the hour. Ten minutes later Chris the towing contractor called

to ask if I need a tow truck or a 4WD with winch. Fifteen minutes later Chris arrives with a Nissan Patrol with electric winch and ten minutes after that I am out of the bog and on the gravel road! From start to finish I received faultless service from the Ken Tame roadside service. Based on my experience you have probably made a good decision to move to KT Cheers, Gary. Thanks Gary, it’s great to hear your problem was so quickly and courteously solved. That’s what I certainly call service. And you’re right, I’m thinking moving to Ken Tame Roadside Assistance has been a good move. I’ll let you know when I find out!

Straight Talkin’

I

have read your latest Project Polly article with interest and have to add or clarify some of it. Basically I can agree with your article, regarding the previous life as a rental, I believe that is not the issue, generally speaking, from my life with KEA! Their rental vehicles were sometimes in better shape then privately owned, manly because they got used and cleaned regularly, and at KEA we took utmost pride in

maintenance and cleaning. While I was with them I can guarantee the services were done within the schedule and additional maintenance was done. I know with Apollo and THL that does not happen all the time. I have also experienced many privately owned vehicles that are in bad shape, purely because they are not used and become stained with mould as many vehicles simply lack TLC. When they are parked outside, continued...


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14 | On your mind continued...

fibreglass, plastics and rubber, as well sealants, break down, get brittle and deteriorate; all of which only worsens the situation. Now back to your roof hatch. The basic issue is manufacturing using cheap labour and materials: These are the two basics to create issues. I have experienced during my work life so many badly executed jobs that it’s not funny. There are two main issues with roof hatches and firstly the adhesive/sealant is wrong. To get the job done properly a good quality adhesive sealant with UV inhibitor that also somehow stable against mould has to be used (some use slightly cheaper silicone or other pu adhesives, which don’t last in the UV rays and discolour). The second issue is an issue I see everywhere. It’s a very simple and basic one, but will be hard to get out of Australian minds and souls (when you agree with me you will see it everywhere in awnings, bullbar fittings, antennas, roof hatches, roof racks, lights and so forth). The problem is stainless steel screws, bolts, brackets, etc. The Fiamma roof hatch is delivered with beautiful stainless steel screws that perfectly fit the application, so these are fitted without hesitation. But what happens next? Stainless steel and steel are not good friends and electrolysis does the rest. When oxygen is around everything can easily rust away as you see on your own pictures, with the rust manly affecting the screw holes. It’s not water that did that, although any water just finishes the job. Unfortunately at KEA they did the same thing and I have since fixed a few of them. I am not good in metallurgy and I am sure there are better explanations on Google, but my experience tells me that it is true.

Stainless steel screws are used everywhere, just in the sheer belief that because the marine industry uses them, they are superior. That’s true to a point in a marine environment, which is manly fibreglass, wood or stainless steel. Stainless steel screws are sometimes too hard and break easily and as vehicles are made with steel bodies, well you know what I mean. With motorhomes and caravans there is more of an issue than with campervans as they mostly have fibreglass roofs. With them the sealant is the main issue, along with workmanship and pride of the builder and repairer. We also need to agree that there are too many owners with a wealth of experience and knowledge that fix and modify vehicles in a way that sometimes scares me! On an other note, I have launched my own conversion and successfully presented it at the Brisbane Show: The Cruisinator – a pop top conversion for the Toyota Series 70 Troopy. The design and functionality have gone completely new ways and I am very happy with the outcome and believe there is nothing more you can ask in a Troopy conversion. Kind Regards, Stefano. Bonetti Campers

Thanks Stefano, that’s all very interesting. Not being an engineer I can’t really comment on the stainless steel screw situation, however I respect your experience, both from when you were service manager at KEA and now, running your own business. I can certainly agree about the frightening repairs and modifications, though! Congratulations on the Cruisinator, I’ve You can see the same effect on every SMEV had a look on your website and will be in touch cooktop. Try to remove the two little screws of the black burner top and you can actually see the to arrange a test drive and review. It certainly whole screw deteriorated – again a stainless steel looks the business and I’m sure will interest our readers. base and a steel screw. It’s a thing that I have seen too many times and it’s mind boggling.


On your mind | 15

Common Sensor?

I

n response to David’s letter in the June edition, I also had a rear wheel sensor failure in my 2013 Sprinter. This occurred at 42,000 kms and just short of the 3 year warranty expiry. Fortunately the dealer renewed the sensor at no cost to me.

Thanks for the information Jeff and good to hear you weren’t out of pocket with the repairs. I’m still trying to get an answer from Mercedes-Benz on the whole wheel sensor issue and will let everybody know when I get a definitive response.

Regards, Jeff.

Security Odyssey

T

hanks for your article on the security risks in the July issue – the story reported on the Grey Nomad website was quite disturbing. As you mentioned, it highlights that other issue: the lack of security doors as standard equipment on RVs. We have been considering this for a while and decided to see what we could do. Like many motorhomes our Jayco only has the un-lockable flyscreen inner door. In our case, we were also looking at the outer door, as we have found some slight damage, caused in her former life in the rental market, so the door does not seal perfectly. Consequently we decided to replace the complete door setup. What we discovered was somewhat disappointing. After some online research we decided the Camec Odyssey would be our preferred option, both on security and price. We just needed to get the correct door to fit the opening. Easy stuff? Wrong. We have spoken to two RV service businesses in Adelaide – one being the local Jayco dealer – and what we discovered is that the Jayco motorhome has different sized doors to caravans (about 3 cm wider). That means Camec doors do not fit and they no longer custom make doors. We were also advised Dometic appears to be leaving the door market and they certainly don’t make any to fit. In fact, between the two businesses they were only able to find one company that

produced a compatible security door: Roamsafe in Queensland. The downside is that in buying the separate external door and security door, the cost is between $700 and $1,000 more than the Camec double-door system would have been if they made a suitable size. Talk about the proverbial rock and the hard place. P.S. Thanks also for the letter from Mark about the Fiat paintwork. I have noted that happening on Wanda and had assumed she must have been in an accident and repaired during her rental life. It’s not too bad at this stage and I’ve covered it with a bit of touch-up paint. Something else to talk to our Fiat service centre staff about when we next meet! Regards, Eric. Thanks for the heads-up on the different door sizes Eric, you do indeed seem to be stuck youknow-where. I guess it depends whether you think the extra outlay is worthwhile, or if you can live with what you have. On the one hand most RV owners never suffer break-ins (I don’t think), but if you want/have to replace the door because of other issues it’s going to cost a considerable sum anyway and perhaps the extra isn’t such a big ask after all. Let us know how you go with the Fiat service centre next time you meet. I’ll be interested to know what they have to say about the paint issue!


16 | On your mind

More Security Woes…

O

ur motorhome was broken in to and most of everything stolen, including meat out of the freezer and my husbands socks! It was fitted with security doors, etc, but all they had to do was break the front passenger door window and presto, full entry. This was in Auckland CBD on a Saturday morning while we were at the Auckland Tower!

Very sorry to hear folks and what a bugger. Hard to believe it happened in such a busy place – and they took the meat and socks too! I guess security can only go so far, but a security door on the motorhome body is still a worthwhile investment, I believe. Hope your insurance took care of things and you’re happily, if warily, motorhoming again.

Thanks, Gary & Sherry.

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18 | News

WIN A $152,000 AVIDA BIRDSVILLE!

I

n a remarkable act of generosity, Newcastlebased Australian Motor Homes & Caravans is running an art union raffle with the first prize of a A$152,000 Avida Birdsville, to raise funds for injured local footballer Damian Jobson. In May last year Damian was injured in a rugby league game, resulting in fractures to the C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck. Leaving him a quadriplegic, Damian and his family now face a future with ongoing rehabilitation and unfortunately, the costs associated with it. Second prize is a A$15,000 shopping spree from Harvey Norman, while third prize is a

A$4000 voucher from the Cruise Travel Centre; both generous local businesses moved by Damian’s plight. Tickets can be purchased here and cost A$50 each, with proceeds going to Rise for Damian, a registered not-for-profit charity. The prize draw is on 21 September 2017 during Channel 9’s Footy Show and winners will also be announced on the Australian Motor Homes & Caravans’ website. Your support by buying tickets and sharing news of the art union with family and friends would be greatly appreciated.

LATITUDE MOTORHOMES OPENS

B

en and Michael Maclean – sons of Libby and Colin Maclean, the founders of Paradise Motorhomes – have opened for business as Latitude Motorhomes. Based in Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Latitude is kicking off with the Titanium, an upmarket van conversion based on a longwheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Featuring swivel cab seats that double as a dinette, a generous mid kitchen and decent bathroom, plus a north-south (genuine) queen bed at the rear, the Titanium reflects the years of design and construction experience the brothers gained at Paradise. Decor is modern, with gloss cabinetry and subtle LED lighting, while storage is good and standard equipment levels are high – like a diesel room heater, rooftop reverse-cycle air-conditioning and a rear boot drawer system complete with a generator slide. Priced at $139,900 on the road in Queensland, the Latitude Titanium is a quality addition to the fast growing vanconversion motorhome market. Watch for a full road test next issue, but in the mean time call Ben on (07) 5606-8000 or visit the website here for more details or to arrange an inspection or test drive.


News | 19

AVIDA’S NEW BIRDSVILLES

A

vida’s new 2017 Birdsville range offer sleeping for two to six and is available in B-class (with storage over cab) or C-class (with an over-cab bed) models. Both include a new aerodynamic front nose cone and stylish rear mouldings, providing an all-new fresh look.

operated, plus a large bed over the cab in the C-class version. There is also a new range of interior colours that allows you to personalise the Birdsville with a choice of flooring, splash backs, bench tops, fabric collections and a huge range of external colour matched exclusive decal collections.

Built on the Fiat Ducato cab-chassis, the Birdsville has an exterior length of 7.39 metres and can be driven on a standard car licence. The Birdsville includes a long list of standard features like a full rear ensuite, fully equipped gourmet kitchen, large two-door AES fridge and roof mounted air conditioning. The B7434 and C7436 models are said to offer a comfortable night’s sleep and the choice of single lounges or single beds, an optional electric roll-down bed that’s push button

Avida’s sales and marketing manager, Billy Falconer, said, “The 2017 Avida Birdsville models added to the already popular range and the fact it caters to a huge range of customers with the different sleeping options for 2 to 6 people make it a winner”. To find out more visit Avida’s website here.


20 | News

4X4 FIAT DUCATO ANNOUNCED between the front and rear wheels and is said to optimise traction on mud, snow and sand. The driveline layout is to one side so that it takes up less room underneath the chassis and does not restrict the ease of outfitting, one of the Ducato key motorhome conversion plus factors. While there’s no word yet on a timeline or even eventual supply Down Under, the 4x4 Ducato would find a ready market with those looking for extra traction in snow, mud and as n Europe, Fiat has announced a 4x4 version an antidote to the more-imagined-than-real of its popular Ducato. The four-wheel drive traction issues of the standard front-wheel drive system is permanent, with two transfer-boxes model. and an automatic central viscous coupling. The coupling ensures the correct torque distribution

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• 100% satisfaction warranty Cost is $94.95 plus shipping (or free local Brisbane pick-up) and you can buy it online at Southern Spirit Campervan’s eBay store by clicking here.


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SWITCH 441

Renault Master, Cruise control, Electric Drop down bed over large dinette, Shower toilet, Diesel heater, 140w solar, Tow bar, Gas bayonet

Auto, Seats & Sleeps 4, GVM 3550kg, Reverse cycle air con, Combo shower & toilet, Fresh and grey water tanks, Mechanial check completed

Price: $126,990 + ORC SU4100

Call Today!

U1455

Price: $45,124 + ORC Inspection will not disappoint

Visit us at SITE 58 25 -27 August

NEW & USED SALES | RENTALS | SERVICE CENTRE 1A Watson St, Wodonga VIC 3690 Ph: 02 6024 4222 E: info@awrvworld.com.au


22 | News

VW ROOF SPECIALS

W

anderlust Campers is extending its special August offer to owners of T5 and T6 Volkswagens on its unique sideways-opening elevating roof system. Priced at A$6500 or A$7500 for short or long wheelbase vans, the offer saves around A$1500. Colour matching is optionally available for A$1250. Wanderlust also has a special offer on its nearnew demonstrator T6 VW campervan, as reviewed in the May issue of iMotorhome, for just $62,000. For further information call Phil on 0406 636 632.

NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD


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 tours@imotorhome.com.au 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

OUTBACK ANTENNA SPECIAL Phone applications. The rugged spring-loaded base is ground-independent, allowing it to be roof or bull-bar mounted, while the high-gain omni-directional design supports all Australian networks.

T

he Adelaide-based RFShop has a special on the RFS0727-OutbackOM6/8 Offroad Antenna, which it says is tailored for Remote Australia Mobile

It’s claimed that if there’s a 3G or 4G network from your service provider in the vicinity, this antenna (together with your mobile phone or cellular modem or repeater) will provide remote phone and/or internet access where you’d otherwise fail to connect. For more details click the link above, email enquiries@rvshop.com. au or call the RF Shop on 1800 737 467.

FLEXIBLE SOLAR PANELS panels range from 50 to 320 watts and weight between 1.5 and 7.4 kg, respectively. The release follows the successful launch of its IEC and CEC-approved semi-flexible and lightweight panels for the grid-connected market, which allows them to be incorporated into many more building locations than traditional rigid panels.

S

ydney-based Energus has released a range of lightweight and flexible solar panels ideal for RV use. Marketed under the eArche brand the 12 or 24-volt

To find out more visit the Energus website here, call sales consultant Charlie Wilson on 1300 090 187 or email charlie.wilson@ energus.com.


Charity Raffle

UNBELIEVABLE ODDS RISE FOR DAMIAN AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT Damian was tragically injured in a rugby league game on Saturday 21st May 2016 suffering several fractures in his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. HE NEEDS YOUR HELP!

1st Prize: New Avida Birdsville Motorhome valued at $152,000* 2nd Prize: Harvey Norman Gift Voucher valued at $15,000* 3rd Prize: Hello World CruiseVoucher valued at 4,000* TO PURCHASE A TICKET PLEASE VISIT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE

www.risefordamian.com.au PROUDLY SPONSORED BY


26 | News

SMARTRV’S OKTOBERFEST APPROACHING

S

martRV says New Zealand motorhome enthusiasts (and wouldbe enthusiasts) will want to save the date now for one of the year’s hotly anticipated highlights: the annual SmartRV Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo, to be held on Saturday, 14 October, from 9 am - 2 pm, at 11 Pavilion Drive, near Auckland Airport. SmartRV is New Zealand’s largest importer of premium German-made motorhomes. The full range will be on display at this year’s Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo including a selection of exciting models that have never been showcased before. “Our Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo has become a real celebration for us,” says SmartRV Chairman Michael Becker. “We catch up with old friends and make new ones as people come along to check out our impressive line-up. It’s perfect timing for anyone thinking about purchasing a

motorhome because they’ll be ready to start living their dream before summer arrives.” In addition to showcasing the latest Germanmade motorhomes available in New Zealand, SmartRV’s Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo has grown to include a range of their partners and suppliers, displaying and demonstrating accessories and services to complement the motorhome lifestyle. Another tantalising feature of the expo is the special offers that are only available for those who attend. With its traditional Oktoberfest trimmings, the celebration is fast becoming a popular annual staple in the SmartRV calendar and a date not to be missed by the motorhome community. For more information call SmartRV on 0800 005 312.


28 | News

GRIFFITH SPRING FEST

G

riffith, NSW, holds what it says is a fabulous annual festival called Griffith Spring Fest from 8-21 October, with open gardens, fabulous regional food, citrus sculptures and cultural festivities. The event attracts thousands of people every year and this year’s event is loaded with fresh ideas and activity. Explore eight open gardens; marvel at the 70 Real Juice Company Citrus Sculptures, and meet gardening guru Phil Dudman at the various garden talks and workshops. You can also enjoy cooking classes and demonstrations with fab foodie Julie Ray and enjoy feasts and festivities at the Long Italian Table Dinner, Paella by the Sculptures and Multicultural Festival. For information click here or call 1800 681 141.


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


Collyn Rivers’ books The all-new Caravan & Motorhome Book covers every aspect of buying, building, modifying and enjoying camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, slide-ons, motor homes, coach conversions and off-road vehicles.

The

Caravan & Motorhome Book the complete guide

Collyn Rivers

The Camper Trailer Book

The

Camper Trailer Book

Collyn Rivers

Collyn Rivers

Caravan & Motorhome Electrics covers every aspect of all RV electrical systems. It combines exceptional technical accuracy with plain English writing. The Camper Trailer Book covers buying, building and using camper trailers of every kind. Solar That Really Works shows how to build systems that work first time and every time, and how to fix those that don’t. Whether installing solar for the first time, or trying to make an existing RV solar system work as you had hoped - this is the book for you.

Individual books are $42.50 each.

Postage per book Australia $5.50, New Zealand A$7.50, all other countries A$12.50

Special Discount Offer = 10% of all books for two or more! To order (and full details) see: caravanandmotorhomebooks.com Caravan & Motorhome Books, PO Box 356, Church Point NSW 2015


iMotorhome Marketplace | 31

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

duvalay.com.au | (02) 6653 4640

Southern Highlands Service Centre • • • • • •

More Versatile Than Any Other RV Camp Anywhere - It’s Self Contained Large Bathroom With Shower & Toilet Easy To Operate With Electric Jacks Models For Single, Extra & Dual Cabs Plus! Famous Ozcape Quality & Support

An Authorised Repco Service Centre just off the Hume Highway at Mittagong. Auto electrical and mechanical service specialists happy to look after your motorhome or campervan! Call Mark or Sharon and tell them iMotorhome sent you!

T: (02) 4872 2822 E: mwauto@hinet.net.au

Find back issues and more handy resources on our web page.


32 | iMotorhome Marketplace

Battery Traders Super Store

Airbag Man

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.

Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.

Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!

T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au

T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au

T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au

iTech World

Wellington Shire

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

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

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

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

POWER CHOICE

TM

Connect at home! Connect anywhere!

15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection

www.ampfibian.com.au

Roberts RV World

RV Specialists

An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.

Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!

T: 1800 273 136 W: robertsrv.com.au

T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au


iMotorhome Marketplace | 33

Nomadic Solutions hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available

5th wheeler specialist

Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.

T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au

Southern Spirit Campervans FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Full & part fitouts Hitop, Poptop and Reimo roofs True custom­made conversions Repairs & improvements BYO van from Hiace to Sprinter

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

Tiffin Motorhomes

America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!

T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au

Over 11  years  cover   manufacturing   experience  Australia   wide.Free  Measure  &  Quote  Call  in   Factory  1:354  Mons  Road    Forest  Glen  :   Sunshine  Coast  Queensland     PH-­‐1300  304  332/0754564818   www.caravancovers.com.au   info@caravancovers.com.au  

www.skytracks.com.au

Our vehicle-specific insulation screens are Australian made from specially designed and tested material to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. As featured in iMotorhome’s Project Polly!

T: (07) 3398 5500 W: solarscreen.com.au

Find power anywhere with a REDARC Inverter

The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults LATEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RV OWNERS

The alternative to a bike!!

25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg Folds away quite compact for small storage

Plug in and get 240 volt power on the go. Click here.

To find out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email mje240@adam.com.au www.e-twow.com 1


34 | Day Test: Hymer Starline B690

STAR QUALITY!

Hymer’s Starline A-class has the right qualities for those seeking the ultimate motorhome experience… by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 35

The Starline B690 is typical of European A-class design: more compact than an American or Australian equivalent and lacking slide-outs. The latter is important in space-limited European campsites, plus it reduces weight, cost and complexity. Given Europeans are accustomed to living in smaller spaces they are masters of space-efficient design and it shows in the Starline’s interior. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter mechanicals lie underneath the Hymer body and ensure a high level of refinement and driving pleasure.

E

arlier this year a surprise awaited me at the Auckland Covi Supershow. In the SmartRV display area was an A-class Hymer Starline B690, one of the first in New Zealand. If that wasn’t good news enough, soon after I was able to get my hands on this premier German motorhome and take it for a spin – a tough job I know, but someone has to do it…

weight of 4080 kg, it provides a very healthy payload of 1220 kg, which comes in handy given the 170-litre fresh water capacity. Being in New Zealand, the Starline can be drive on a normal car licence but its firmly in the Certificate of Fitness (COF) come inspection time.

Motive Power

f course the Starline is right-hand drive, but the habitation door is, as with most German motorhomes, on the driver’s side. The passenger seat has a full entry door alongside (this would be the driver’s door in Europe) and it can be used for kerb access as desired. Like many of its contemporaries, the Starline has a fibreglass composite wall and roof structure. That includes a double floor that comes with heating built in: the idea being that since the Starline is built for year-round travel

T

o date just about all European A-class motorhomes seen in New Zealand have Fiat Ducato underpinnings. However, the Hymer rides on a Mercedes Sprinter cabchassis, in this case a 519 CDI sans the cab. What that means is the Starline comes with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, 7- speed auto gearbox driving the rear wheels and a 5300 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) rating. Given the tare

Body Building

O


36 | Day Test

in Europe it should do equally well in slightly warmer New Zealand. One of the more noticeable features of the Starline B690 is the huge garage storage area at the rear. It’s easily accessible from both sides and will take bikes, golf clubs, camping chairs and just about whatever else you can think of. Although there are tie down points, there’s a bit of a problem storing smaller items, although large plastic containers might be one answer. There’s a smaller locker behind the passenger door, which while not particularly large does give access to the under-seat area in the motorhome (and by default the motorhome interior). A pair of nine kilogram gas cylinders are stored in a locker just below the driver’s window.

Driving Up (the road)

N

ot having a driver’s door might be seen as a disadvantage, but there’s no doubt about the panoramic view from the cab: it really is something. The slightly rear set driving position does take a little getting used to, although the Mercedes dashboard remains

The large boot or ‘garage’ in Euro-speak is common in European motorhomes and can even accommodate a small motorbike. The driver’s side habitation door isn’t the problem you might think and is something you quickly adapt to.


Day Test | 37

unchanged. One of the benefits of the A-class setup is the extra little compartments on either side of the cab seats. However, opening windows are a slight issue and only the driver gets a slider. It’s certainly good that Hymer has opted for the most powerful Sprinter engine – the 3.0-litre 140 kW V6 turbo-diesel – because it along with the smoothly changing 7-speed gearbox makes Starline cruising a real breeze. There’s definitely something about motoring along watching the world go by from an easy driving motorhome!

Powering Up

I

f you are expecting the Starline to be properly kitted out electrically you won’t be disappointed. There are 3 x 95 AH deep cycle batteries to deliver the 12-volt load, plus of course a mains charger and a 100 W solar panel. Also included is a 1000 W inverter and I’m thinking for those planning an extended stay sans mains power, a second solar panel would not go amiss. Just as a bye-the-bye, the

Top: There’s plenty of dinette seating up front. Note the cab door by the passenger seat, too. Above: The false floor hides house batteries and other storage nooks.


38 | Day Test

batteries are not stashed in an external locker but fitted under floor hatches in the lounge/ dining area. A benefit is that in cooler climes the batteries will stay a bit warmer, which is good news as batteries are adversely affected by the cold. The main electrical control panel, along with the flat screen TV, is fitted on the cabinet by the habitation door. In keeping with current trends, LED lights are fitted everywhere and that includes contemporary but discrete mood lighting.

Setting Up

S

etting up is often an area where motorhomers get to look down their noses at others and the Starline is no different. Once parked it’s simply a matter of swivelling the cab seats and moving the table, Top: Cab seats easily integrate into the dinette and there’s easy seating for six when the table’s adjusted. Right: Curved, reflective fridge looks great but is a bugger to photograph!


Day Test | 39 and you’re all ready to sit down and relax. There is a second bed above the cab seats, which can be lowered when needed. It’s just a matter of pushing a button, although the cab seat backs have to be manually reclined. In the Australian caravan world there’s a default layout which consists of front island bed, full width rear bathroom and the living area in between. That’s not possible in a motorhome, but the Starline does seem to have the equivalent layout common to European motorhomes: The swivelled cab seats mesh nicely with the dinette seats behind; in the forward mid section is the kitchen and behind it a split bathroom, which leaves the rear for a raised island bed. It’s tried and trusted, however, and does seem to work well.

Resting Up (1)

F

irst impressions are everything and when stepping inside the leather lounges and seats are certainly very welcoming. There’s a large table which fits nicely between all the seats, but given the size it cannot be pushed totally out of the way when walking past. It’s a bit of a trade-off for a decent sized table, but a fair one. As previously noted the flat screen TV is located on the cabinet beside the entry door, along with various light switches and other control features. It’s fairly easily seen from the swivelled cab seats and the sideways facing lounge, but not so the forward facing seats.

Resting Up (2)

I

n addition to the drop-down 1.95 m x 1.5 m (6’ 5” x 4’ 11”) bed up front, the main bed at the rear measures 2.04 m x 1.4 m (6’8” x 4’ 7”) and is elevated because of the garage underneath. A little luxury feature is that the pillow area of the bed can be lifted to provide a comfortable back rest. To aid access, steps

Top to bottom: Over-cab bed provides snug and comfortable sleeping but does require cab seat backs to be reclined. It also retracts well out of the way during the day. Under-floor storage is everywhere and while not lockable, out of sight is out of mind…


40 | Day Test

are built-in on either side, while the bedside cabinets are nicely contoured to provide space. Both lower steps have hinged lids, offering something like shoe storage, and the eagle eyed will notice heater outlets and anticondensation ducts. General bedroom storage features score quite well. In addition to the usual bedside wardrobes and overhead lockers, there are two drawers in the bed base and an unobtrusive multi-shelf cupboard fitted into the toilet cubicle corner.

Cooking Up

T

he L-shaped kitchen bench really isn’t a surprise, and given the Hymer prestige it does have a touch of class about it. Instead of a stainless steel sink, the basin and drainage area is part of a fully moulded unit that incorporates the three burner cooker. It’s actually a little larger than usual and has a smoked glass split top, so using only one burner means having a bit more bench top

Top: The island bed has access steps on both sides and a padded headboard, for sitting up. Above: The split bathroom separates the bedroom from the kitchen and living area


Day Test | 41

space. Single power points are provided, one on the wall and one below the bench top. In an interesting bit of styling, six drawers are fitted under the bench, with almost no unusable space. Also hidden behind the right hand drawer facade are the LP gas valves. In case that is not enough storage there are three overhead cabinets, one with a smoked acrylic door, plus a double-tier slide-out pantry adjacent to the shower cubicle. Facing the kitchen bench is the cabinet where the 160-litre 3-way fridge is located, with a grill/oven above. In the dÊcor department, not something I normally associate with fridges, it’s finished in a highly reflective surface which is something of a trick to photograph because there is a three quarter height mirror alongside it!

Flooring Down

I

n addition to the batteries stored in under floor compartments up front, there are more under-floor stashes in the mid area. Items like the main circuit breakers, power lead and third battery are to be found there, but there is also

Top: While traditionally Euro-compact the kitchen is superbly finished and has plenty of storage. Above: Individual slide-out pantries are a real bonus.


42 | Day Test

an empty space for storing smaller items. A double floor might be seen as an unnecessary extra, but the Hymer designers certainly make full use of it.

Cleaning Up

B

y its very nature the seperate shower cubicle takes up space, but the semi circular design means that when not being used the sliding doors can be left open, meaning it’s much easier to walk past. The toilet cubicle, which comes with both a cassette loo and wash basin, isn’t quite so flexible, but being a curved shape does make things easier. It’s fully equipped with a shaving cabinet, wall mirror and little extras like a twinmount toothbrush and glass holder. Given the ducted heating setup, the bathroom area can also be used as a handy drying room.

What I think

I

t seems to me the Starline B690 has a certainly quality of understatement about. At first glance it looks like quite a few European motorhomes I’ve looked at, and certainly the layout is very familiar. However, the price tag demands a second look and that’s when many of the subtle but oh-so-nice goodies can be seen, all of which add a touch of class. It’s hard not to be impressed and even harder not to imagine cruising along State Highway 8 for a week in, say, the Lake Wanaka area. Kiwis, the good news is the Starline B690 is all yours for less than NZ$300,000. Aussies, the best you can do is fly to Auckland or Christchurch (SmartRV has depots close to both airports), take a test drive and drool. And maybe think of moving across the Tasman!

The split bathroom has a nicely appointed toilet cubicle and a curved shower unit that opens during the day to increase walk-through space. The loo door also closes the whole area off, creating a private bedroom with ensuite.


Day Test | 43

Rounded edges soften the interior’s look and feel. Thoughtful design is everywhere and no space is wasted.


44 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Model

Starline B690

Type

A-class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

WOF/COF

COF

VEHICLE Make/Model

Mercedes Sprinter 519 CDI

Engine

3.0 L V6 turbo-diesel

Power

140 kW @ 3800 rpm

Torque

440 Nm @ 1400-2400 rpm

Gearbox

7 speed automatic

Safety

ABS, ESP, Driver and Passenger air bags

Fuel

75 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

4080 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

5300 kg

Max Payload

1220 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

1700 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall length

7.97 m (26 ' 2�)

Overall Width

2.35 m (7' 9")

Overall Height

3.00 m (9' 10")

Internal Height

1.98 m (6' 6")

Main Bed

2.04 m x 1.40 m (6'8" x 4' 7")

Drop down Bed

1.95 m x 1.50 m (6' 5" x 4' 11")


Day Test | 45

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Thule Omnistor - electric

Entry Steps

Electric

Hob

Dometic 3 burner, oven/grill

Ventilation fan

Yes

Sink

Moulded

Fridge

160 L Dometic RMD 8565 12v/240v/LPG

Microwave

No

Lighting

12 V LED

USB Outlets

3

Air Conditioner

Optional

Space Heater

Alde combo

Hot Water System

Alde combo

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

CAPACITIES Batteries

3 x 95 AH

Solar

1 x 100 W

LPG

2 x 9.0 kg

Fresh Water

170 L

Grey Water

140 L

Hot Water

8L

Toilet

17 L

PRICE ON-ROAD NZ From

NZ$289,900

As Tested

NZ$289,900

Warranty

3 years

Pros… • • • • • •

Mercedes Benz chassis Relaxing lounge/dining area Large windows Garage storage and payload Kitchen layout Main bed access

CONs… • Small hot water capacity • Secure storage for small items in garage • Depending on your preference, the driver’s-side habitation door

Contact North Island - SmartRV 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks. Auckland. 2022 T: 0800 007 627 E: info@smartrv.co.nz W: smartrv.co.nz South Island 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch. 8051 T: 0800 007 628 E: info@smartrv.co.nz W: smartrv.co.nz

Click for Google Maps

Click for Google Maps


46 | Day Test

“The panoramic view from the cab is really something.�


Life’s a journey

Automatic

Bürstner Elegance i840G

Central heating

Drive on a car licence

Take yours in a motorhome that sets the standard for the ultimate in freedom and luxury. Turn heads on the open road with uncompromising style and elegance. There’s never been a better time to release your inner explorer. Choose from our outstanding selection of award-winning European motorhomes and find the passport to your dreams. Our motorhomes will move you. View our full range at smartrv.co.nz or visit us in Auckland or Christchurch.

$134,900

Bürstner Lyseo IT728G

4

Bürstner Lyseo T734 230

232

683

2

2

Bürstner Lyseo IT734

4

230

Bürstner Lyseo T690G 230

4

230

Carado T348

699

749

749

$151,900

$162,900

$162,900

749

$164,900

Prices include GST and on roads costs. Prices and specifications are current as at August 2017 but are subject to change.

It’s been a dream of ours for 30 years to explore every nook and cranny that New Zealand has. We would like to say thank you to the team at SmartRV for enabling us to live that dream. Grant & Wilma McGregor

Exclusively distributed in New Zealand by

11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland | 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch | 0800 005 312 | imotorhome@smartrv.co.nz | smartrv.co.nz For opening hours see smartrv.co.nz


48 | Day Test: Jayco Freedom RM.23-4

TASTE OF FREEDOM! A first taste of Jayco’s new Freedom range… by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 49

The Freedom RM.23-4 rides on the latest rear-wheel drive Renault Master cab-chassis, which is an interesting choice given Renault’s limited market presence. With its origins in Jayco’s Let’s Go rental business this model is surprisingly well equipped given its entry level status.

I

t’s a fact the Renault Master has been around for a while, albeit in a limited form, as motive power for selected motorhomes. It’s also a fact that for various reasons the iMotorhome team hasn’t had an opportunity to try one out. Fortunately, opportunity knocked when Jayco released its Freedom range of motorhomes, with the coachbuilts being Renault Master powered.

French Connection

L

ike the Fiat Ducato, the Renault Master comes with a 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine. Having said that you don’t get quite as much grunt and torque from the Renault –110 kW/350 Nm – as you can from the uprated Fiat engine of the same capacity (130 kW/400 Nm) if you tick the upgrade box.

Unlike the Fiat, however, drive is to the rear wheels – dual ones at that – via a six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). In the weights and measures department the Freedom has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4495 kg, keeping it in car licence territory. With a tare weight of 3585 kg this particular model has a generous maximum payload of 910 kg, plus a 2300 kg braked towing capacity.

Freedom Explained…

W

ith an external length of 7.3 m (23’ 11”) the Freedom RM.23-4 fits into the mid-size category. Actually, the 23-4 isn’t a new design, it’s previously been available in Jayco’s Conquest range with the same model number. What Jayco has


50 | Day Test done is create a budget range of models under the Freedom banner; there being four models, two coachbuilts on Renault Master cab-chassis and two campervans in Toyota HiAces. In other words – something for everyone. Just like every other Jayco motorhome, this one is built using an aluminium frame and fibreglass composite wall structure that consists of fibreglass, Azdel board, polystyrene foam insulation and Azdel board (again) for the interior. Azdel is a 3 mm composite board that is lighter than plywood, in case you were wondering! Fibreglass mouldings are used for the Luton nose cone, cab surround and rear wall, while windows are Seitz double-glazed acrylics with integrated blinds and insect screens.

A four-seat/four-berth C-class, the Freedom RM.23-4 is backed by Australia’s largest RV dealer network for added peace of mind when far from home.


Day Test | 51

Storage

A

part from the toilet cassette and gas cylinder lockers, the latter with both a nine and four kilogram cylinder, there is a small locker beside the side entry door and one larger locker at the driver’s side rear. It’s designed with a slide-out for a Honda generator but is not really big enough for camping chairs and a table.

Driving

M

y testing ground for motorhomes in the west of Sydney is the Blue Mountains. It’s excellent for a range of roads, with everything from steep bush tracks to freeway driving. Okay, so the Freedom really is not suitable for bush tracks, but there are enough hill roads to give the Renault Master something of a Cab seats swivels but are a long way from the main dinette, which is at the rear. A removable table would certainly increase their usefulness. Over-cab bed access is via the usual ladder, which stores on the bed during the day.


52 | Day Test

Light wood colours help avoid a dark tunnel effect. The kitchen is a good size and at the rear the roof bed can be lowered quite a way, but still requires a short ladder for access.

workout. Certainly the 110 kW turbo-diesel delivers the goods and even the 6-speed AMT gearbox, often hesitant in the lower ranges, worked its way up and down the gears without too much trouble. Overall is was a pleasant experience and not much different from its main rival, the Fiat Ducato.

Stepping Inside

A

n item that has made considerable difference to the interior space of any motorhome is an elevating bed. European RV manufacturers are the masters of this design, but Australian manufacturers aren’t far behind. It’s a nice half-way compromise between a bed above the cab and either a floor level French or island bed. Having said that,

this four-seat four-berth C-class motorhome has both! The main bed is a drop-down electric unit above the rear u-shaped lounge, while a fixed bed resides in the Luton above the cab. The rear lounge is surrounded by windows in the classic New Zealand back design, which provides excellent viewing and spacious seating when the bed’s retracted. Having beds at both ends allows space in the middle for the kitchen, on the kerb side, and the bathroom, behind the driver’s seat. Given the slightly cramped feel of the middle, however, it’s good Jayco opted for the lighter coloured faux timber Euro decor look. All the cabinetry is aluminium framed, which keeps the


Day Test | 53

The 185-litre 3-way fridge is a good size and there’s plenty of storage nearby, but reaching higher shelves will be a challenge for some.


54 | Day Test weight factor down and the strength factor up. Lighting is a mixture of reading lights, ceiling downlights and semi-concealed strip lighting. Jayco’s touch switches are fitted beside the side entry door and at the end of the kitchen bench, both in relatively convenient places

Ups and Downs

M

oving the bed up and down is quite easy: just push the button in the overhead cupboard beside the bed. Well mostly. There was bit of a problem with the review motorhome, which turned out to be that the upper and lower bed-lift limits have to be set properly before moving the bed, otherwise it won’t move! So, make sure you are happy with the bed operation at delivery time.

When raised, seat-belt-style clips hold the bed in position. The front ones are easy to get at, but the rear one less so. Jayco isn’t the only motorhome manufacturer to use this arrangement, but I cannot help wondering if there’s something a bit more sophisticated available? One of the benefits of a drop down bed, as opposed to say a lounge/dinette that has to be made up, is the bed can be left made up when stowed. However, when the sheets need to be changed it’s a bit of a fiddle, so either fitted sheets or something like a Duvalay is looking good. When fully lowered (by removing the lounge seat backs), the bed sits at window level, ensuring good ventilation. Open shelves and three overhead lockers across the rear

When lowered there are windows at both ends and the rear of the roof bed, for good ventilation. You can also leave it made up when retraced, which is a welcome touch.


Day Test | 55

Above: Dining and relaxing space in the u-shaped rear lounge is impressive. Also known as a ‘New Zealand Back’, this style of rear design is great for sightseeing too. However, the roof bed does away with overhead storage on both sides. Below: There’s good bench space in the longish kitchen and it’s well equipped as standard. Storage space is good too, but the high mounted microwave isn’t a good idea and could be a safety issue.

wall supply plenty of space for night time items.

Rear Lounge

W

ith the bed raised the ceiling in the rear lounge is about 300 mm (12”) lower than the main area, but it is still fairly easy to get in and out. There’s certainly plenty of room for two people to stretch out and the any-which-way mounted table will accommodate four people without too much trouble. TV viewing (it being mounted at the end of the kitchen bench) might be more problematic for four, but is easily accomplished by two. Two power points are located under the seats towards the rear, which are nice easy installations for the manufacturer but can result in trailing leads in the foot area. Again, Jayco isn’t the only company who don’t


56 | Day Test

The cooker has one electric element for mains power use and three gas burners, plus a griller below that can prove surprisingly handy. The sink drainer is a welcome inclusion too. seem to worry about this, but wall-mounted power points would be so much more practical.

the entire motorhome. Above the cooker, the microwave and rangehood occupy their usual places.

Catering

Below the bench are three drawers and a double cupboard that provide generous storage, but part of the cupboard space is taken by the water heater.

J

ayco’s brochure describes the kitchen as “large”. I probably wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly better than some I’ve seen. Even with a four burner cooker/ grill and stainless steel sink there’s still a bit of bench space at either end, which is very handy. For the overhead lockers, side hinged doors are fitted, rather than the more usual top-hinged variety. That results in a slightly deeper cupboard, but doesn’t gain much in the end cupboard where the bed switch and other electrics are located. Below that are more electrics, with the TV connections and the touch pad control/tank gauge system for

On the opposite side of the Freedom, the 185-litre two-door three-way Thetford fridge is surrounded by a generous amount of cupboard and wardrobe space. The two forward cupboards, though are a little deceptive, are more like alcoves built into the bathroom wall, but do provide a handy space to stash the main-bed ladder (the Luton ladder being in the usual place, on the bed when not being used).


Day Test | 57

The compact bathroom manages to include a separate shower cubicle, a feature many will appreciate. To achieve this an all-in-one toilet and fold-down handbasin is provided, which enhances space efficiency.

Staying Clean

I

n the bathroom there’s just enough space for a separate shower cubicle and a Thetford cassette toilet opposite, which faces it. To fit things in the toilet is part of a fibreglass moulding that includes a hinged wash basin and vanity cabinet above. There’s also a full height wall mirror, just to make sure everything is good for going out!

Peak Practice

U

p the Luton things look a bit bare, but the 2.1m x 0.5 m (6’ 11” x 4’ 2”) bed has windows on either side and ceiling reading lights. However, the bathroom cubicle behind the driver’s seat and the small cupboard behind the passenger seat do enclose the front area somewhat. Of course


58 | Day Test the bed can be lifted up out of the way when not needed and in the cab, both seats swivel around.

What I think

A

lthough Jayco call the Freedom a budget motorhome range the Freedom RM.23-4 comes with all the usual items plus some extras – like 120 watts of solar and air conditioning – so you’re hardly slumming it. Island bed lovers might not like the east-west bed layout of both the Luton and elevating beds, but it seems to me that with the club lounge in the rear it’s a great compromise setup and gives the best of two layout designs.

Right: The TV swivels and so can be watched from the cab seats or dinette. The main electrical control panel is the box beneath the TV. Above: The Freedom RM.23-4 is sure to prove popular, given Jayco’s significant market presence.


Day Test | 59

“The Renault Master is rear-wheel drive and has dual rear wheels, something that will please many potential buyers.�


60 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Make

Jayco

Model

Freedom RM.23-4

Type

C-Class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

Licence

Car

VEHICLE Make/Model

Renault Master

Engine

2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

110 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

350 NM @ 1500 rpm

Transmission

6 speed automated manual (AMT). Rear-wheel drive

Safety

ABS, Stability control, Driver and Passenger Air Bags

Fuel

100 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3585 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4495 kg

Max Payload

910 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2300 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.30 m (23' 11")

Overall Width

2.59 m (7" 10")

Overall Height

3.28 m (10' 9")

Internal Height

2.10 m (6"11")

Main Bed

2.03 m x 01.43 m (6’ 8” x 4’ 8”)

Luton Bed

2.10 m x 0.47 m (6’ 11” x 4’ 2”)


Day Test | 61

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Carefree wind-out

Entry Steps

Fold out

Cooker

Dometic 4 burner & grill

Rangehood

Sphere

Sink

Stainless steel

Fridge

185 L Thetford N3185 12v/240v/LPG

Microwave

Sphere

Lighting

12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

12 V Outlets

Air Conditioner

Air Command Ibis

Space Heater

No

Hot Water System

Suburban gas/elc

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

SHOWER

Internal and external with hot and cold water

Batteries

1 x 100 AH

Solar

1 x 120 W

LPG

1 x 9 kg & 1 x 4 kg

Fresh Water

80 L

Grey Water

75 L

Hot Water

22 L

Toilet

19 L cassette

PRICE ON-ROAD From - Australia/ New Zealand

A$124,950/NZ$150,000

As Tested

A$126,811

WARRANTY Warranty – vehicle

3 years/200,000 km

Warranty – motorhome

12 months

Warranty – appliances

As per manufacturers

Pros… • • • • • • • •

Standard equipment Electric roof bed Rear lounge setup Seperate shower Good sized kitchen Driving the Renault Master General lighting Radio/DVD sound system

CONs… • Limited external storage • Power points under rear seats • 80 L water tank • Only 12 months warranty

Supplied thanks to: Click for Jayco Sydney Google Maps 63-67 Glossop Street, St Marys. NSW. 276 T: (02) 9623 1971 W: www.jaycosydney.com.au

New Zealand contact:

Click for Google Maps

South Auckland Caravans and Motorhomes 53 Springs Road, East Tamaki, Auckland. 2013 T: (09) 271 3434 W: www.caravancentre.co.nz


62 | Project Polly

James Taylor found peace and serenity on his roof. Lucky man…


Project Polly | 63

Polly is a big van. At 6.5 m long and 2.7 m tall it’s what makes her perfect for a motorhome conversion. However, the roof is made of many panels and the seams can be the start of age-related water and rust problems…

T

he VM-series Ford Transit, of which our project vehicle Polly is an example built in 2010, ran from 2006 to 2012/13. It was a facelift of the third generation Transit released in 2000 and which confusingly is also known as a Mk 6 (Polly’s is a Mk 7). Got that? The reason for the laboured introduction is to set in your mind the fact Polly and her ilk were developed in the 90s and as such are relatively old in engineering terms. Polly’s particular model is a VM-series Jumbo van, an apt description for her 6.5 m long, 2.7 m tall bulk. It’s also what makes her an ideal motorhome conversion, affording plenty of fit-out space and headroom. The Jumbo van is easily distinguished by its tall roof, but like many benefits it comes at a cost; one now becoming more apparent as older-tech design and manufacturing combine with the ageing process.


64 | Project Polly At the risk of sounding like a broken record, one of the attractions of a van conversion motorhome (for me at least) is its body strength and structural integrity. Coachbuilt motorhomes, with their seperate walls, roof and end pieces, require annual inspections from new of seams/joints to ensure watertightness. It’s usually a warranty requirement and failing to comply can prove very expensive, both in the short and long term. By comparison, all a van conversion needs is a regular look at the sealing around roof hatches and any attachments like the TV aerial, solar panel mounts, etc. Or so I thought… I’ve since discovered Transits – at least older ones – are known for roof troubles, largely due to the seams that join metal panels. Water ingress and joint rusting are issues, along with surface rust due to years of ultraviolet light degradation and questionable initial paint quality. But that’s not all. The guttering sits at the junction of the roof and side walls and while this is sealed, over time the sealant becomes brittle and comes away, also allowing water ingress – and more rusting! Regular cleaning, inspection and resealing as required is a must. Finally, the windscreen surround is prone to rusting, especially if the van has had a few replacement ‘screens (and they’ve been hastily done with little care because it’s a rental).

Polly’s Problems

L

ast issue I related the problems we’ve had with the original roof hatch leaking, plus the subsequent replacement. However, the trouble with the replacement proved to be a blessing in disguise. Olli from Southern Spirit Campervans became so paranoid about the possibility of water entering elsewhere that he essentially reconditioned the front section of Polly’s roof while remediating the replacement hatch. Hatch surround aside, Polly’s roof was speckled with surface rust and had some rust

You can see rust forming beside this roof seam, where water often sits. Note the haphazard sealant application on the TV aerial base, too.


Project Polly | 65

patches, plus was dotted with what looked like little daubs of cake icing. Olli also noticed that where my local authorised Redarc installer had routed the solar power cables though the roof, sealing was nominal at best. The cable entry point was, at least, covered by the large 150 W solar panel, but Olli thought it best to remove the panel and seal it properly. The solar panels are screwed to Redarc corner pieces, which in turn are bonded to the roof. Imagine Olli’s surprise, however, when after unscrewing the panel the bonded corners literally came away in hands! It seems the installer used ordinary silicone sealant rather than a job specific sealant like the Sikaflex, and then only covered about half the surface area. I’m told it was a wonder the front panel hadn’t come off in the wind while driving! The TV aerial was also removed, the base area cleaned and de-rusted, and then reinstalled and resealed. The entry point for the aerial coax

Top to bottom: Sealant daubs from Polly’s earlier life as an Apollo Rental are all class – not. Note generally poor state of the roof paint at 7 years old; You can make out the outline of the L-shaped solar panel corner mount, and see how little sealant was holding it on (blob outline on right side); Rust around the TV aerial mounting hole.


66 | Project Polly cable was also resealed. Those many “daubs of icing sugar” were removed, revealing a series of holes that must have perviously mounted who-knows-what. Each was cleaned, drilled slightly larger, rust treated and filled with a rivet. Finally, the front roof area was stripped back and repainted in two-pack automotive paint, and the rivets further sealed with Sikaflex. The result is half a roof that looks brand new! I’d mentioned to Olli that in the rain on the drive to Brisbane I’d noticed a couple of drips from the top right corner of the windscreen (as viewed from the driver’s seat). He investigated and discovered one serious rust issue and at least one other developing, both of which need attention sooner than later. That will entail removing the windscreen and Olli was at pains to point out the necessity of finding an honest body shop to effect the repairs. He said the job needs more than just the surface rust being removed and the hole bogged; it needs proper back-to-bare-metal treatment, otherwise the problem will quickly return.

Next?

P

olly now has a terrific front-roof restoration, but a rear roof in need of some TLC. Therefore I’ve decided that in late August or early September, Polly and I will again head north and have Olli complete the rest of the job. The gutters were also done and I’m now keeping an eye on them, and I’ve very pleased to report the new roof hatch is totally water tight… So, if you own a Transit van of any age the sooner you start taking care of what’s up top, the better. It’s good advice regardless of the vehicle you own and will pay longterm dividends. And in case you’re wondering how Olli knows so much about old Transits and their dodgy roofs – he owns two of them! That either makes him a glutton for punishment or a hero, but Polly’s thinking the latter…

Top to bottom: A semi before-and-after shot; The resealed TV aerial base after the rust around the mounting hole was treated; Rust trouble in the windscreen surround, where the driver’s side A-pillar and roof intersect.


Project Polly | 67

Next job is to complete the restoration of the rear half of the roof.


68 | Technical

On the Road a Gain! Staying in touch means antenna gain and much more are considerations before hitting the road again‌


Technical | 69

This diagram shows how the Cel-Fi Go mobile system integrates into a motor vehicle. Effectively converting the vehicle into a mobile telephone repeater station, it requires no cables or adapters for users to access the significantly boosted signal.

G

etting ready to hit the road and explore the wide open spaces is always exciting, but leaving family and friends is one of the downsides. Staying in touch by phone, video calls, email and social media is ‘de rigueur’, but maintaining mobile coverage to do so seems to be a mixture of science and the black art. It’s a given that anyone traversing Australia’s vast distances will be using Telstra’s network. The giant teleco has a monopoly on rural service and love ‘em or loath ‘em your choices are few, satellite phones aside (but that’s another and expensive story). The most obvious way to boost reception seems to be to connect your mobile phone to an external aerial, but that’s easier said than done. According to David de Haaij from the RFShop in Adelaide, there are many things to consider and before even starting it’s worth asking a few questions: • Do you want to use the phone only in a cradle or a single fixed location or is mobility around my vehicles still important?

• What is your budget? • Do you want a single device solution or are there other devices (such as a second phone, tablet WiFi hotspot or laptop) you may want to connect as well? • Should we assume you’re on Telstra, or do you wish to use another network operator? • Are you planning to use voice or only data/WiFi? As you can see the options and considerations quickly become a minefield and you need to eliminate most of the unknowns to get going faster. The most talked about solution needs to be mentioned first: the dashboard smartphone cradle with external antenna port. These units are reasonably low-cost and easy to install. However, the down-side of using cradles and their simplicity is that they are probably the least likely to work. Here are a few reasons why:


70 | Technical

• The antenna coupling mechanism between the phone and the cradle is somewhat ad-hoc. The interface between the passive cradle antenna and the smartphone antenna will be quite ineffective, resulting in high level of signal loss. As an engineer David says his expectation is that the cradle’s internal antennas needs to be perfectly aligned with the phone’s antenna (as far as pin-point locations) to make the best use of it. He says there are success stories of antenna cradles, so it’s benefits are likely but not guaranteed to work in every situation. His recommendation is that the dashboard cradle needs to be phone-model specific, so avoid the generic models where possible • Users with so-called ‘rugged phones’ (or WiFi hotspots) will have the option to directly connect an external antenna to the device. However, this is a single device solution as only that unit gets the benefit of the external antenna. Without adding too much additional hardware or complexity, this should be considered the cleanest and most effective solution. The downside is the option is not available to most smartphone

users because an external antenna port is not a supported feature • Users only wanting to gain internet access and who aren’t too concerned about voice or the specific use of their mobile phones might find a huge range of solutions that will act as a WiFi hotspot, either using cellular modems or camping-specific solutions. These systems can solve many travellers’ internet and connectivity needs, but will require a data-specific interface. Voice is not supported although video is via apps such as FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, etc • The final but most interesting and effective option is an actual repeater system. Online options through eBay or overseas sources are not recommended for both legal and customer experience reasons and yes, David says he often hears the comment that it’s in the Outback so no one will know. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, and he urges potential end-users to refrain from cellphone amplifiers not approved by the ACMA. He recommends the new Cel-Fi Go system as an ideal solution.


Technical | 71 Cel-Fi Go?

C

el-Fi GO is a mobile or fixed (stationary) repeater that can be installed in a campervan, motorhome or caravan. At this stage, however, it only works in Australia on the Telstra mobile network. It’s an inline bi-directional amplifier, meaning it improves the signal from the cellular tower to you, and also amplifies your phone’s signal back to the cellular network. As far as questioning how different this could be to using a cradle or direction connection, below are some very rough calculations: • Antennas typically offer around a 5-8 dBi gain. So in the earlier examples you could expect 5-8 dB improvement. In a workable network coverage area that will certainly help

• Cel-Fi GO is a truly hands-free solution and needs no cables to a fixed point or the external antenna

• The Cel-Fi GO Mobile has up to 70 dB system gain. Comparing this to the standalone antenna offering Cel-Fi offers an absolutely astonishing improvement. It will allow users who might have had no options to suddenly get coverage, hence effectively increasing the possible range of network coverage by more than a factor of two.

Finally, the above calculations comparing the performance of antennas versus CelFi GO are conservative and don’t take into consideration the fact the system also uses an antenna, which contributes its own decibel gain. Therefore, with a decent antenna selection Cel-Fi GO would further excel in comparison to cradle or direct-connection solutions.

David says he’s had great feedback from customers and end-users of the Cel-Fi GO system and although initial expense is higher than other solutions, the result is remarkable. Some further points in favour of the Cel-Fi GO system that need to be highlighted are: • The unit is repeating and improving the nearest Telstra signal. It’s not converting or communicating to a single device. This means that all Telstra users can benefit of the Cel-Fi GO simultaneously, even if there are multiple SIM-cards or subscriptions involved.

• Cel-Fi GO supports data and voice, allowing normal cellphone use.

To find out more about mobile communication solutions in general and the Cel-Fi Go system in particular call David on 1800 737 467 or email enquiries@rfshop.com.au. You can also find information on his website here.


72 | Technical

SMOOTH OPERATORS

If you’re thinking air suspension, Melbourne-based Capital Special Vehicles is worth talking to…


Technical | 73

CSV has been modifying vehicles for people with disabilities for years and also incorporating air suspension modifications in a wide range of vehicles. It’s now the official importer of VB Airsuspension from Holland, which is widely recognised as a leader in its field.

L

ong the domain of touring coaches and the most expensive A-class motorhomes, air suspension is slowly making its way into the mainstream RV market. Iveco now offers factory air suspension on the rear axle of its Daily cab-chassis and vans. There are also hints Volkswagen will have an air suspension option with its all-new Crafter, due for Australian release some time in 2018.

VB Airsuspension along with many other specialised products used in the mobility industry. VB Airsuspension is a Dutch company that’s a world leader in its field. From semi to full air suspension systems, it claims to have a solution for virtually every make and model of light commercial vehicle.

Airbag ‘helper’ spring systems have long been available and are popular, but are supplementary to the main rear suspension and have their limitations. Intended to help improve stability and, to a degree, ride comfort in heavy laden vehicles, they are a compromise at best and certainly not a proper air suspension system.

A visit to CSV’s Melbourne factory is being planned for a first-hand look at its operation and to sample the ride in its own Iveco Daily 70C car transporters, equipped with the VB system. We’ll also be talking with a customer who has had a full four-corner air suspension system fitted to his Fiat Ducato and bring you a report on it. In the mean time, here’s what CSV has to say about itself and the systems it provides.

Recently, iMotorhome was contacted by Melbourne-based Capital Special Vehicles (CSV), which specialises in building vehicles for people with disabilities and has also been using air suspension for years. In doing so it has become the Australian distributor for

Air-suspension is becoming an increasingly important option for motorhomes and tow vehicles. Whether this is for improved comfort, increased stability constant ride height (regardless of weight changes), enabling a vehicle to increase or decrease vehicle height,


74 | Technical

for self-levelling, easy access and extra ground clearance when needed, VB Airsuspension has a solution for every application. The company have been developing and building vehicle-specific suspension and various air suspension systems for light commercial vehicles, ambulances, car transporters, motorhomes, 4X4 vehicles and off-road vehicles for over 25 years.

VB Airsuspension offers a wide range of vehiclespecific air suspension systems that includes everything from the underbody components to remote hand-held controllers.

VB Airsuspension makes a range of suspensions from replacement coil springs and helper-style systems to their FullAir suspension systems. VB-FullAir is a fully automatic adjustable solution for suspension problems. The existing leaf or coil spring is replaced by a complete air suspension system, which includes air springs, shock absorbers, a compressor and electronic control unit. The system offers increased comfort, better drivability and more safety. With motorhome’s being used on their weight limit, VB Airsuspension can keep a constant ride height set during installation, which helps the vehicle handle in a predictable and stable


Technical | 75 manner. The stability of the vehicle is also increased in high cross winds, cornering and during unexpected incidents such as evasive manoeuvres. To quote a customer’s experience

and in 2009 started using VB Airsuspension as the premium air suspension product. With over 200 vehicle systems already installed by our team we are well equipped to service and distribute VB Airsuspension throughout Australia and New Zealand via a network of authorised resellers and service agents.

“Since installing the VB Airsuspension in my motorhome the ride has improved so much the We will have VB Airsuspension on display at plates have stopped rattling in the cupboards” the 2017 Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse in October, so make sure you call VB-Full Air is available as 2-corner and past for a demonstration. Alternatively, feel free 4-corner systems, and it is a true bolt-on kit to call Craig at Capital Special Vehicles on with no drilling, grinding or welding needed (+61) 03 9794 8888, or email csv@csv.com. to install. VB Airsuspension products have au been developed together with various vehicle manufactures and meet their high quality requirements. Approvals from several vehicle manufactures are available to view on request. At Capital Special Vehicles we have been using air suspension in our vehicles since 1998,

“We will have VB Airsuspension on display at the 2017 Melbourne Leisurefest at the Sandown Racecourse in October.”


76 | Feature

Taking Sides

How the world came to drive on different sides of the road‌ by Worldstandards


Feature | 77 About a 35% of the world population drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies. This strange quirk perplexes the rest of the world, but there is a perfectly good reason. In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. Since most people are righthanded, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him. Moreover, it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) hitting other people. Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road. In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road. The French Revolution of 1789 gave a huge impetus to right-hand travel in Europe. Before the Revolution, the aristocracy travelled on


78 | Feature

the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right. An official keep-right rule was introduced in Paris in 1794, more or less parallel to Denmark, where driving on the right had been made compulsory in 1793. Later, Napoleon’s conquests spread the new rightism to the Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Switzerland, Germany, Poland and many parts of Spain and Italy. The states that had resisted Napoleon kept left – Britain, the AustroHungarian Empire and Portugal. This European division, between the left- and right-hand nations would remain fixed for more than 100 years, until after the First World War.The trend among nations over the years has been toward driving on the right, but Britain has done its best to stave off

global homogenisation. With the expansion of travel and road building in the 1800s, traffic regulations were made in every country. Lefthand driving was made mandatory in Britain in 1835. Countries which were part of the British Empire followed suit. This is why to this very day, India, Australasia and the former British colonies in Africa go left. An exception to the rule, however, is Egypt, which had been conquered by Napoleon before becoming a British dependency. Japan was never part of the British Empire, but its traffic also goes to the left. Although the origin of this habit goes back to the Edo period (1603-1868), it wasn’t until 1872 that this unwritten rule became more or less official. That was the year when Japan’s first railway was introduced, built with technical aid from the British. Gradually, a massive network of railways and tram tracks was built, and of course all trains and trams drove on the left-hand side.


Feature | 79 Not surprisingly, the dividing line was precisely the area affected by Napoleon’s conquests in 1805.

In the early years of English colonisation of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from England, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving. Incidentally, the influence of other European immigrants, especially the French, should not be underestimated. The first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813. Despite the developments in the US, some parts of Canada continued to drive on the left until shortly after the Second World War. The territory controlled by the French (from Quebec to Louisiana) drove on the right, but the territory occupied by the English (British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland) kept left. British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces switched to the right in the 1920s in order to conform with the rest of Canada and the USA. Newfoundland drove on the left until 1947, and joined Canada in 1949. When the Nazis marched into Austria on 12 March 1938, Hitler ordered all of Austria to switch to driving on the right.The break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire caused no change: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary continued to drive on the left. Austria itself was something of a curiosity. Half the country drove on the left and half on the right.

Meanwhile, the power of the right kept growing steadily. American cars were designed to be driven on the right by locating the drivers’ controls on the vehicle’s left side. With the mass production of reliable and economical cars in the United States, initial exports used the same design, and out of necessity many countries changed their rule of the road.

In the 1960s, Great Britain also considered changing, but the country’s conservative powers did everything they could to nip the proposal in the bud. Furthermore, the fact that it would cost billions of pounds to change everything round was not much of an incentive. Eventually, Britain dropped the idea. Today, only four European countries still drive on the left: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.


80 | Travel: Route 66

View from the driver’ seat… by Malcolm Street


Travel | 81

“It winds from Chicago to LA. More than 2000 miles all the way…” Route 66 is certainly the place to get your American kicks!

A

sk anyone who is vaguely interested in travel if they have heard of America’s Route 66 and the answer is usually positive. Some will respond with, “I’d like to do that one day” while there a few that have “Been there done that” or who have fully researched it and are well on their way to crossing it off their bucket list. Route 66, for anyone not familiar with the road system, didn’t actually connect the east and west coasts. Instead, it made its way across most of the USA, from Chicago in Illinois to Los Angeles, California. From Illinois it passed through Missouri, Kansas (briefly), Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, before arriving in California. There’s an official starting place in Chicago and an official ending point on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.

What’s most interesting about Route 66 is that technically it doesn’t exist, at least as an officially recognised road system (the last section being decommissioned in 1984). However, it’s very much alive in the minds of motoring enthusiasts, modern historians, tourism associations across the USA, persons who might like to “Make America great again” and just about any keen traveller, especially motorhomers, who have been around the block a few times. Of course, the former Route 66 does exist in reality, in a considerably large number of places across the USA. It’s just that it’s not all joined together in one single line as it once was. It’s known as Historic Route 66 or the Mother Road.


82 | Travel A bit of History

I

n the current political climate, and particularly the USA, there seems to be a desire in some quarters to return to the ‘good old days’, whenever they might have been. That’s slightly ironic as far as Route 66 goes because much of it was swept away when President Eisenhower started the Interstate Freeway System program, which was designed to improve road going transport efficiencies. What it did was connect all major US cities with today’s massive freeway system, but made redundant roads like Route 66 (which in effect was a series on State Highways under a single Federal designation). The effect of the ‘Interstates’ was to destroy much of the business that Route 66 travellers generated. So many of those former businesses, be they gas stations, motels, diners, any number of auto services and in some cases entire towns, simply closed.

Contemporary Route 66

T

oday Historic Route 66 is a little treasure trove of US history just waiting to be discovered. Some of the aforementioned places have been restored to their former glory, some have been preserved as they are, some are museums and some are just falling apart. Don’t neglect the falling apart places, because many people (oaky, me) have a bit of a fascination with old industrial ruins and they can be fascinating. There are often bits of old machinery and buildings covered up by Mother Nature just waiting to be discovered. That also applies to the literally thousands of old cars seen along the way. In so many ways, Historic Route 66 is a testimony to the American love of the automobile in all its forms and there are certainly many of those!


Travel | 83

The characters you meet and the places you find in out-of-the-way towns are a major part of the appeal of this iconic journey.

Life Along the Route

I

n addition to infrastructure and transport features, there’s an interesting assortment of characters along the way who have made Route 66 their life and livelihood in some way. Many are too young to have remembered Route 66 in its glory days, but have still taken up the cause. In addition and as we discovered, there are many a local resident who wish for nothing more than you to visit their town and spend a few tourism dollars. Away from the historical aspects, one of the benefits of a Route 66 trip is that you get to see a considerably varied slice of American life; most of it being away from the major tourist centres and/or cities and something you might not normally get to see. For the political types and even those who aren’t, it also gives a little insight into the weird machinations of

contemporary US politics. You all know who I am talking about….. Something I found fascinating was how the geographic landscape changed, in some cases almost abruptly. The flat plains of states like Missouri and Illinois provided an interesting contrast to the mountain country of New Mexico and the desert in Arizona. Then there’s the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, a slight railway-orientated detour off Route 66, which is breathtaking to say the least.

Motorhome Travel

O

f course there is but one way to see Route 66 and that is by motorhome (preferably in the company of a few newly made friends, of course!). Our little trip along Route 66 was ably lead by Mr and Mrs iMotorhome and I mention that because some


84 | Travel

We had a mix of motorhome sizes, but all were Minnie Winnies and brand-new from the Winnebago factory. Here’s our group travelling convoy-fashion along a unique original brick section of Old Route 66 in Illinois.

of the complexities of tracing out Historic Route 66 mean it is very handy if you are travelling with someone who has done it before. Each night we had a destination to reach and sometimes there were meeting points during the day. Sometimes we travelled in convoy and sometimes on our own, travelling at our own speed. For me, driving, I found it less tiring not to be travelling in convoy. Mrs Malcolm is an able navigator and having the Sat Nav and the ‘EZ66 Guide for Travellers by Jerry McClanahan meant we could get along under our own steam quite easily.

The

Australia. It weighed in with a tare (not GVM) of around 5300 kg and was built on a Ford E350 cab-chassis. That came with a 6.8 litre V10 petrol engine and a five speed automatic gearbox, plus a 55 US gallon (208 litre) fuel tank. Just in case you were wondering, we achieved an average fuel consumption of around 26 L/100km (9 miles per US gallon or 10.9 miles per imperial gallon).

The Minnie Winnie came with a right hand rear corner French bed and a bathroom in the opposite corner. The kitchen area was midmotorhome, leaving the front for sideways lounge on the left and a café dinette opposite. The Ford E350 does not have the facility Motorhome for swivel seats and there was a Luton bed ur motorhome was an 8 m (26’ 2”) above the cab. It was a fairly spacious design Winnebago Minnie Winnie. Minnie being but a common feature particularly in the a relative word, at least those of us from cupboard areas was space that was difficult

O


Travel | 85 to use effectively. The appointment level was quite high and had all the expected features including a remote-start generator. An oddity for us Australians was the two-way fridge that needed the LP gas on when driving along or stationary and only used mains power (110 v) in RV parks or when the generator was running. On the road the Ford E350 didn’t quite have the driving characteristics of the European cab-chassis we have become used to in Australia and the floaty steering was something of a challenge. Particularly on the days when there were strong cross winds. Even though the motorhome was more or less travelling in a straight line, the constant turning of the steering wheel suggested something different.

Filling Up

A

slight odd experience in the US is filling up with petrol. It is surprisingly time consuming on several counts. In some instances, depending on your credit card, there is the rather annoying issue of having to prepay before filling the fuel tank and then making a second visit to the cashier to get an invoice. I’m not sure what the diesel bowsers were like but the petrol ones were slow pumpers and when you have a 200 litre tank, there’s plenty of time to wash the windscreen, go to the loo and make a cup of tea (at least the pumps run without the need to hold them on – Ed)

A Few Tips

I

’ve driven in the USA, Canada and Europe before, so driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road wasn’t a new experience and I soon settled in to it. However, if that is something new to you and you have the time, then hiring a car for a few days prior to your big trip will get you acclimatised and more confident with a larger vehicle – and it will be larger. Personally, I found it helpful when I was driving to have my passenger ‘driving’ with me as


86 | Travel well, for the first few days. That is, making sure I stayed on the correct side of the road, watching for road signs, tourist attractions and photo opportunities. Pre-trip research is almost mandatory, especially if travelling on your own. Route 66 is not really a trip where it’s possible to start your day with, “Well, what are we going to do today?”. You’ll miss out on so much and waste too much time. Don’t rush it and as a minimal time for ‘doing Route 66’, consider the best part of three weeks. Finally, do it sometime soon – like next year with iMotorhome (and not just because I’m biased). The tour takes out all the hard work and gives you time to concentrate on enjoying this complex but remarkable journey. Highly recommended!


Travel | 87


88 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival

CMCA

RV Friendly Towns T

he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country. An RV Friendly Town™ (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers. When RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT

sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. To find out more about RV Friendly Towns and Destinations and explore an interactive map visit the CMCA’s website by clicking here.


Travel | 89

Jarrahdale, Western Australia

J

arrahdale is situated in the Darling Ranges of Western Australia, 45 kilometres southeast of Perth. The town is one of the State’s oldest pioneer settlements and that is reflected in the many heritage buildings that still remain. Jarrahdale was formed in the late 1800s, when timber mills were established to process and export jarrah. Today, visitors can gain a glimpse of the past at the Old Post Office Museum. There are many picturesque parks and dams in and around Jarrahdale, while Langford Park Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

on Nettleton Road is an ideal picnic spot, with walking trails through a peaceful bushland setting. The park was once a bauxite mine site but was rehabilitated into a recreation ground in 1975. Parking and facilities are available at the RV Short Stay Area between Millars Road and Kingsbury Drive. Stays of up to 72 hours are permitted at no charge. A dump point and potable water are provided at the site, and pets are permitted on leads.

Jarrahdale Information Centre C/- General Store & P/O Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale WA P: 08 9525 9999 www.serpentinevalley.com.au General Store & P/O, Jarrahdale Rd

Short Term Parking

RV Short Stay Area, between Millars Road & Kingsbury Drive, (72hr), pets on lead, bins, water, nil charge

Dump Point

RV Short Stay Area, between Millars Road & Kingsbury Drive, Jarrahdale (Lat Long: -32.3346, 116.0693)

Potable Water

RV Short Stay Area, between Millars Road & Kingsbury Drive, Jarrahdale


90 | Travel

Dorrigo, NSW

D

orrigo is a picturesque country town at the gateway of the World Heritage listed Dorrigo National Park, 580 kilometres north of Sydney. Surrounded by lush green forests and charming countryside, it’s the perfect base to explore the beautiful Northern Tablelands, with its spectacular waterfalls and walking trails. The village was originally developed as a timber town following settlement in the early 1900s. However, dairying soon became the focus and Dorrigo now thrives on agriculture and tourism.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking Dump Point Potable Water

Visitors will find a welcoming, vibrant community with an artistic flair and an eclectic mix of shopping and activities. The Bielsdown River, flowing through town, offers excellent fishing and an abundance of trout. Dorrigo Showground, on Waterfall Way, has RV parking for self-contained vehicles for up to 96 hours. Sites are $10 per night and pets on leads are permitted. Potable water is available adjacent to the showground and a free dump point is 300 metres west on the corner of Waterfall Way and Oak Street.

Dorrigo VIC 36 Hickory Street, Dorrigo NSW P: 02 6657 2486 E: dorrigotourism@bigpond.com www.dorrigo.com Hickory Street, adjacent to tennis courts & opposite Bowling Club Dorrigo Showground, 4180 Waterfall Way, (96hrs), s/c only $10pvpn, pets on lead, mobile coverage Corner Waterfall Way & Oak Street, 300m W of showground (Lat Long: -30.3413, 152.7006) Waterfall Way adjacent to showground, opposite high school


Travel | 91

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia

R

avensthorpe is a small historic town in Western Australia’s Golden Outback region, 541 kilometres south-east of Perth. The town is encircled by the Ravensthorpe Range, with its unspoiled bush and diverse range of plants. Mining has played a significant role in the history of the town and since the 1890s more than 90 gold and copper mines have operated within the range. The town’s focus is now agricultural, however a small number of mines still operate extracting nickel, lithium and other products.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Ravensthorpe has many historical sites and buildings worth visiting. The Dance Cottage, circa 1901, is the oldest original house and is part of the Ravensthorpe Museum, containing a range of artefacts and memorabilia. RV travellers are welcome to park free of charge for 24 hours at the south-east corner of Morgans and Queen Streets. Bins are provided and pets are permitted on leads. A dump point is located nearby on Dunn Street, and potable water is available at the Information Bay on the South Coast Highway.

Ravensthorpe Museum Cnr Andre Street & South Coast Highway, Ravensthorpe WA P: 0400 490 267 E: visit@fitzgeraldcoast.com.au www.fitzgeraldcoast.com.au Morgans Street near shops

Short Term Parking

SE corner of Morgans & Queen Streets, (24hr), bins, mobile coverage, pets on lead, nil charge

Dump Point

Dunn Street (Lat Long: -33.5809, 120.0463)

Potable Water

Information Bay, South Coast Highway, Ravensthorpe


92 | Event: On my Mitchell mind Creek Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest

Up the Creek!

Dig out your old 60s clothes and dress up for the Mitchell Creek Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest… by Sharon Hollamby

M

itchell Creek Rock ‘N’ Blues Festival returns in September for three days and nights of timeless music, fabulous food, and cool vibes. Situated in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, two hours north of Brisbane or forty five minutes west of Noosa, this beautiful bush setting is the perfect natural amphitheatre for any music event.

Free on-site camping by a babbling brook beneath bunya pines, cedars and a big starry sky means you can just kick back and enjoy a long weekend of rock blues and roots music. Organisers have brought the following artists together to celebrate 50 years of Aussie music legends and they guarantee it is one event you won’t want to miss!


Event | 93 The Line-up! • Chain • Stevie Page • The Radiators • The Southern River Band • Tapestry • Foreday Riders • 19 Twenty • Smoke Stack Rhino • Minnie Marks and many more Headline act Chain has been one of the most influential blues/rock bands in Australia since the late 60s. They interpreted blues in a way no band had done before, so their chart success in 1971 was generated by their followers, not a record company push. Known for their original music and songs that represented the antiVietnam War sentiment, they became an icon for the working class and were more suited to the alternative lifestyle of the era than the mainstream pop world. When Matt Taylor joined the band in the early 70s the band took on a tougher, bluesier edge. Their song “Black’ n Blue” smashed the charts, becoming one of the classic songs in Australian rock music history. Taylor continues to front Chain and along with Phil Manning, Barry Harvey, and Dirk Dubois present a relaxed unity that can only come from a lifetime of dedication to their music. The Radiators debuted in Sydney in 1978 and went on to perform over 320 gigs in their first 12 months. With thousands of fans inspired by their unique sound they became the first Australian band to have advance pre-sales on their debut album. The album “Feel the Heat” achieved platinum status and gained a top

ten position in the charts. The band continued its’ success but was troubled with poor management, so in early 2000 they decided to manage their own affairs and released the album “Smoke and Mirrors”, which was the best album the band had produced so far. Ocean Blue, a track from the album, was included in a surf music compilation in South America. The Radiators carved a niche for themselves in the annals of Australian rock history, sharing the stage with bands such as AC/DC, INXS, and Rose Tattoo, but in 2012 Fes Parker decided it was time to retire. His replacement, Brent Dehn, was a talented guitarist in Sydney and became a welcome addition to the band. The spark and energy of the band continues today and it is evident that in their dedication to the high quality of their shows, they truly have become masters of their craft. So get ready to rock the night away with all the catchy songs and classic hits that made this band a household name in Australia.


94 | Event

PLUS REGULAR FEATURES

International Blues Music Day p. 19 BASEQ Jam Pics p. 21 Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Charts p. 23 The Gig Guide p. 24

The Groove – BASEQ Journal No. 233 – July 2017

But Wait, There’s More…

C

hildren under 12 are free of charge, so bring the kids along and let them enjoy the new “Rides & Slides” Kids Corner. Face painting, along with hula hoop and fire twirling workshops, are just a few of the other fun activities on offer. The Kids Corner is fully supervised and located in a special demarcated area. Dogs are not allowed within the main festival arena/food court area, but there will be a dog camping area to cater for your furry friends.

Organisers promise a multicultural food fest with fresh locally grown produce and distinct regional flavours. Tasty meals will be available from between $10 - $15, so you won’t even need to cook. Dig deep into your cupboard to find your best 1969 inspired clothes because prizes are awarded for best dressed at the festival. You can BYO but licensed bars are available for your convenience, so you don’t have to worry about running out!

1


Event | 95

Fast Facts What: Mitchell Creek Rock ‘N” Blues Fest. Where: L  ot 3 Mitchell Creek Rd, Upper Kandanga, Mary Valley, Noosa Hinterland, Queensland. When: F  riday 15th to Sunday 17th September. Why: A  premier event with a line-up you won’t want to miss. Ticket Prices: Mates rates tickets on sale now! Adults • Big weekender pass - $230 • Big weekender buddy pass - $440 • Friday - $95 • Saturday - $120 • Sunday - $120 Under 18 years • Big weekender pass - $140 • Friday - $50 • Saturday - $65 • Sunday - $65 Other Options VIP, 2 day passes and early rope off tickets are also available. Motown tent camping can be booked once you have selected your festival tickets.

Getting There: Take exit 253 on the Bruce highway and turn into Kandanga. Continue for 9 km on the Kandanga Creek road and cross over Doyles Bridge. Turn left onto Mitchell Creek Road and enter the festival valley. Camping: Camping is included in your ticket price if you have your own tent, caravan or motor home. Cabin style tents complete with lights, carpet, linen, beds, and windows are also available. Prices are available once you have selected your tickets. Facilities for the Disabled: This is a disability friendly event, with a designated area, facilities and access to performance venues. There is also a reserved camping area with disabled toilets and showers situated near the main entry to the event arena. Further Information Tickets sales and event organisers: Jimmy Budgen 0434 998 567 mitchellcreekrocknbluesfest.com.au


96 | Mobile Tech

Recreational drone operation. Can you fly there? By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 97

D

rones can be used for a multitude of reasons; their increase in popularity and availability and decrease in price means many are taking to the skies purely for the fun of it. Many drones are equipped with high definition wireless cameras that can produce some spectacular aerial photography, opening up a whole new perspective for hobbyists. Now we get to pack the fishing rod, camera, metal detector, bike, boat – and the drone! While there have been no reported collisions between remotely piloted drones and aircraft within Australia or New Zealand, there have been more than a few near misses and the numbers are increasing, proportionate to popularity. It’s expected the number of drones in private use will double by the end of 2017, while commercial drone operation is also set for exponential growth. While the use of these remotely piloted devices has exploded, authorities are eager, naturally, to maintain and impact free record. Anyone can recreationally fly a drone or model aircraft under 2 kg without a licence,

training or registration. If used for commercial purposes though, including photography, further rules, restrictions and conditions apply. The consequences of a drone-versusaircraft impact are still relatively unknown, but believed to be similar to that of a birdstrike and expected to cause catastrophic engine shutdown in around 20 per cent of occurrences. It’s also said drones. “Have the potential to damage a general aviation aircraft’s flight surfaces (wings and tail), which could result in a loss of control”. A frontal impact would also have the potential to penetrate a light aircraft’s windscreen. Either scenario, it’s not good news and something remote pilots need to be acutely aware of. Can I fly there? Cost: Free Size: 39.6MB Platform: iOS, Android & Windows In Australia there are large fines in place, ranging from $900 to $9000, should anyone be caught flying such a craft in a restricted ‘no


98 | Mobile Tech

drone’ space. These include airport take-off and landing areas, helicopter landing areas, danger zones, restricted military areas and incident sites that become areas of emergency response. However, it’s also recognised that these areas may not be clearly defined. Drones can also easily escape control and quickly disappear from sight, and there have been reports of sightings as high as 2,000 or 3,000 feet. As one spokesperson eloquently put it, “Once out of control range, drone pilots might not be aware they have a jumbo jet up their clacker!”. So in an effort to help drone enthusiasts keep their aircraft out of harm’s way Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has taken the initiative and released a free app, available across all platforms, to inform people of exactly where they can and cannot fly.

their devices’ location services or via a direct location search (postcode or name). The results are quite interesting and it’s clear to see why such an app is necessary as there are far more restricted areas than one would expect to encounter. In addition to flat out no-fly zones, the app indicates what specific altitude restrictions apply to different areas and often why this is the case. Most areas come with location specific information including the nature of the enterprise causing the restrictions, although some remain intriguingly mysterious. In addition to direct flight paths or landing areas, zones may be restricted for various reasons and activities including firing ranges, sensitive equipment locations, emissions from mines or power plants, highintensity electromagnetic emissions or national security.

Simply titled Can I fly there?, the app provides users with a comprehensive overview of no fly zones and restricted areas by either using

The app itself is easy to use, responsive, easy to understand and navigate and has a well laid out interface. It also contains a host


Mobile Tech | 99

of additional features that would assist any recreational or commercial remote pilot. These include live weather details, wind speed and direction, a seven-day forecast and a flight log. You can select from various map views, including normal or satellite, and keep or do away with street names. In addition to in-app features, there is a series of links to CASA’s website to assist with further information and flight form submissions for commercial drone operators.

form the obvious foundation and direction of this app. The result is a smart and efficient application presenting a range of relevant information that allows recreational UAV pilots to fly safely in accordance with Civil Aviation Rules.

The only other similar service is Airshare, an online map, flight log and safety regulation website designed as a one-stop-shop for commercial and private drone operators. With safe2Fly you can view restricted areas and nofly zones, check the wind and other weather conditions and note any regional restrictions Safe2Fly based on your current location or plan to fly at Cost: Free any location. You can also log-in with Facebook Size: 40.6MB to share your preferred spots to fly and report Platform: iOS & Android any trouble with ‘bad or forbidden’ spots. Containing the Civil Aviation Rules parts 101 For an ‘NZ-as’ app created by drone operators for drone operators you cannot go past Safe2fly. and 102, top tips and pre-flight checks, this app is not only convenient but responsible too – the This non-profit project was created by drone enthusiasts with a special passion for eliminating perfect flight companion! ‘drone phobia’. Their views on educating people of their rights and obligations as a drone pilot


100 | What’s On?

What's On? To find out what events are happening over the next three months click on Australia or New Zealand to download the individual guides‌


Advertisers' Index | 101

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Next Issue | 102

SPRING AT LAST!

owners, it’s an impressive first offering and just a taste of things to come. From NZ we’ve have Bürstner’s Lyseo IT728G, a four-berth B-class coachbuilt with single beds at the rear and a pull-down roof bed for two. Packed with excellent inclusions and features it’s another example of innovative German design and engineering. September means spring and we’ve got a couple of great reviews, starting with the all-new Latitude Platinum mentioned in this issue’s News section. An upmarket two-berth Mercedes Sprinter van conversion from the sons of the original Paradise Motor Homes

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The Camper Care New Zealand Motorhome, Caravan & Leisure Show 125 Mystery Creek Rd Hamilton. 3240 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (Sunday 4:00 pm) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $15 • Kids: U16 Free with adult

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Melbourne Leisurefest Sundown Racecourse Springvale. Vic. 3171 • 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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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

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iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand Issue 116 - August 2017  

All about motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand...

iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand Issue 116 - August 2017  

All about motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand...

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