Page 1

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

SEPTEMBER 2017

Precious Metal!

First Test of the Titanium by Latitude Motorhomes…

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Project Polly This and that

Feature

RVShare update

Bürstner Lyseo IT728G!

Travel

NZ Winter Wonderland


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

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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.


View All Units O nline 24/7

awrvworld.com.au Experience the Difference Brands: We are New Dealers for Sunliner, Crusader & Royal Flair. We

are confident in these brands and have been trialed & tested in our rental fleet with great feedback from our customers. We also offer a range of pre-owned campervans & motorhomes in a wide range of makes and models.

Expert Advice: Our team are experienced in the RV and Automotive

industry and can assist you with friendly, expert advice. We pride ourselves in that good old fashion country customer service. We are avid campers ourselves and passionate about what we do.

Peace of Mind: Completed Techician checks on all pre-owned units.

All pre-owned units are sold with a Roadworthy and Warranty* for your peace of mind. All New Campervans & Motorhomes come with Factory Warranty on the chassis, as well as the home.

Comprehensive handovers: We ensure you know the ins and

out of your new pride and joy before you take off on your adventures. Our team will complete a comprehensive personal handover with you when you take delivery. We can also equip you with a starter pack if required.

Your journey starts with us! *T&C’s apply

New & Used Sales | Rentals | Service Centre 1A Watson St, Wodonga VIC 3690 Ph: 02 6024 4222 E: info@awrvworld.com.au


4 | On my mind

Spring ’n That…

I

t’s spring – at last. This year we’ve had a genuine winter of discontent and I’m not just talking domestic and international politics. It seems almost everyone we know has been impacted by personal sickness at the very least, right up to the loss of loved ones. Flu, sudden illness, cancer and accidents have wreaked a terrible toll, with the dismay sharpened perhaps by the long, cold winter. Here’s looking to brighter times ahead, and our sincerest sympathies if you’ve also been impacted by similar circumstances. On a brighter note, this Sunday is Fathers’ Day. We only have fur children, but I’ve heard our horses have pooled their pocket money to get me something special. Can’t wait. To all you Fathers out there, a wish your children (whatever variety) will treat you as well!

Speaking of being treated well, I had intended bring you details of next year’s Route 66 adventure. April was the plan, but I’m putting it back to October because Mrs iM has expressed her desire for annual leave from her real job that doesn’t involve escorting motorhome tours. Unbelievable, I know, but being a soft touch, there you have it… Still, October means fall colours and a different look and feel to the post-summer landscape. It also means you have longer to save-up to join us. Pencil in 1-28 October and around $13,500 per person for our exclusive escorted tour with a maximum of only 6 couples. Next year our vehicles will be full rentals and the streamlined itinerary will provide more time having fun on Route 66 and fewer airports, flights and transfers. What won’t change are the excellent pre-and-post-rental hotels, private tours and first class experiences like the Grand Canyon Railway, plus the enjoyment of travelling in a small group of like-minded adventurers. This really is an iconic journey, so if you’re interested and want to go on the advanced notice list, drop me a line to richard@imotorhome. com.au.

Future Tense

I

shared a post on Facebook this week about German brand Hymer’s prototype selfdriving motorhome (see this issue’s News section). Using a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van conversion bedecked with sensors and enough computing power to design and launch its own Apollo missions, it’s a glimpse of things to come. It leads with the thought, “Imagine going to sleep in one place and waking up in another”.

When I think of a self-driving motorhome I think of daytime driving, so the overnight aspect was a real surprise. Personally, I can’t wait for the day I can choose whether or not to drive. And now I also can’t wait for the day I can jump into an approved bunk in my motorhome at home and wake up in Brisbane or Melbourne the next morning. Think of it as a road-going private jet – what a hoot! Perhaps it’s the Jetsons’ child in me that believes I was born a generation or two too early, but all this stuff about self-driving cars fills me with enthusiasm and hope; enthusiasm for the technology and hope it will also revolutionise the lives of disabled and elderly people. Yet I’m disappointed by the negativity many people seem to have to such technology in general. I’ve come to realise that as we age it’s easy to lose sight of the future. When we’re young anything seems possible. When older we seem to long for the past – the good old days – and the way things used to be. I guess it’s human nature and I’m not immune, but I think the secret is to keep an open mind. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw and Robert F. Kennedy: Some people see things and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask why not? Why not indeed…

Richard


6 | Street View

A Matter of where I would like to be

H

aera mai! Well the master plan for this editorial was to be sitting in my Wilderness motorhome in the carpark of Cardrona ski field, or perhaps on the shores of Lake Wanaka, hammering it together. Sadly a family medical issue meant that instead of looking out on the ski slopes, I’m looking at my office walls; the nearest thing to my proposed travels being my article in this issue of my ski trip last winter, unless there happens to be a very late ski season. I know most people prefer travel in warmer climes, and certainly in Australia the northern Grey Wave happens in autumn and the reverse in the spring months. However, I don’t mind a bit of cool weather touring. Indeed, twice in the last decade Mrs Malcolm and I have headed to London for the Christmas Season. Obviously we are not alone because the airlines seem to have an ‘off season’ rate for that time of year that is not very ‘off season’ at all. One of the reasons I head to Britain is that I like to see the Christmas lights, which you can do quite easily at 5:00 pm in the afternoon or 7:00 am the next morning – no need to wait until much later at night for the Carols by Candlelight. I have done much touring in wintertime NZ and have always enjoyed it, but it does come with the odd problem of course. Shorter daylight hours are something to keep in mind, but so too is an empty gas cylinder, like when I became snowbound in Tekapo last year. I do like a bit of warmth and the lack of the gas heater was a problem. For that reason I have always preferred diesel heaters! Driving of course has to be done with greater care, particularly on mountain roads when things like black ice are going to be a hazard. Another place I could be right now is at the Caravan Salon at Düsseldorf. Just in case you don’t know, the Caravan Salon is the RV event in Europe, where all the manufacturers bring out their latest and greatest to show the world. To say the least it’s a huge event, and a thorough look at everything takes the best part of a week. Quite a number of NZ manufacturers head to Dusseldorf, as do some of my RV journo

colleagues, and I get a number of Facebook feeds showing what’s on display and what I am missing out on. Like for instance an electric powered Dethleffs motorhome that’s almost entirely covered with solar panels. Although not quite so radical, both Hymer and Bürstner have released new models that are bound to make their way to the Antipodes. In addition to that, New Zealand will soon have a couple of new European manufacturers’ motorhomes on top of those already here. Just to get in early, Acacia Motorhomes proprietor Jonas Ng phoned me from the show to let me know that he will be the NZ agent for the superb Niesmann + Bischoff motorhomes. Just thought I’d drop in a few names there. From what I understand from those Kiwis attending the Caravan Salon, the numbers of European built motorhomes will continue to rise. Apart from anything else, the fact that they are built for the cooler temperatures of Europe works very well for travellers in NZ. See, it is possible to travel in comfort any old time, including winter. Keep on motorhoming! Haere ra,

Malcolm

P.S. A typo slipped through in my column last month: A Certificate of Fitness (COF) applies to motorhomes with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 3500 kg, not 3750 kg as printed.


8 | Contents

4

On my Mind

6

10

On Your Mind

34

Day Test: Latitude Motorhomes Titanium

46

Day Test: Bürstner Lyseo IT728G

60

Project Polly

66

Feature: e-Bikes

76

Feature: RV Share

84

Travel: Winter in NZ

96

My Town

103

Advertisers’ Index

Spring ’n That…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

16

Street View Where I’d like to be

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

Precious Metal – First model from a start-up with a long industry history…

Natural Selection – a development that shows the power of evolution…

This ’n That – upgrades and other interesting stuff!

Pedal Power – electric powered cycling is a world-wide revolution…

An update on shared ownership

Discover a winter wonderland

St Kilda, South Australia

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!

82

Feature: Op-Shops

92

Travel: 3 x RVFTs

Are these two Australia’s best?

Three more RV Friendly Towns

100

MobileTech

104

Next Issue

Trips by Lonely Planet

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


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.

Wool Squared

M

y husband and I have been on the road for many years now and I love to spend my evenings knitting as he spends most of his time on the computer. I often lament the fact that no one wants hand knitted jumpers any more. They are old fashioned and need hand washing and air drying and that’s way too difficult for busy people. In a country town earlier this year I was in an op-shop and a lady was collecting all the 8 ply wools and acrylics that were handed in. I asked her what she was making. She and a group of friends knit 10 inch x 10 inch squares and sew them together to make blankets for

underprivileged families in Africa. It’s called Rugs with Love. Now I knit for them and post off a couple of squares a month to her. I even hunt down the wool at op shops I find in our travels. People are so happy to help a good cause. Come on motorhomers let’s get knitting again! Kind regards, Alice. Thanks Alice that’s a terrific idea. I hope others take up the challenge, and for your efforts please accept this issue’s $50 prize. It will cover some postage costs if you don’t get distracted in the next op-shop!

Sensoring A Problem

L

ove getting your mag, thanks! I have also had a wheel sensor problem with my 2012 Merc Sprinter, last year. The vehicle had done just under 40,000 km but was out of warrant and the cost was $585. As a matter of interest, mine was the rear right side. Are there any stats as to which wheel this has occurred most on, just for curiosity? Cheers and keep up the good work, Neville

Thanks Neville and glad you enjoy the magazine! Interesting news about your wheel sensor problem, I’m still trying to find someone in Mercedes-Benz who can give me an answer – any answer – with some level of authority. No idea about the stats on which wheel is more troublesome, but it’s a good question, but if readers would like to let me know I’ll keep score.


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

What’s The Diff?

T

owards the end of June and after waiting for seven and a half months, we picked up our new Esperance, based on an Iveco Daily from a Bundaberg dealer. We drove back to the Sunshine Coast via Woodgate where we spent the first night to try it out. On the drive to Woodgate (about 50 km from Bundaberg), I was unhappy with the amount of noise from the diff. It didn’t improve the next day on the drive home, so I booked it in with the local Sunshine Coast Iveco agent to have it checked out. The dealer reported that they will order a new rear axle. On the one hand, that’s fine – things do go wrong from time to time and I guess that I was just the unlucky one. However, there are two points that concern me greatly. First, the rear axle has to come from Italy and that’s going to take six weeks. The cynic in me says that there is a problem with Daily diffs and warehouse spares have been depleted. Second, without going out of my way to speak to other Iveco Daily owners, I have heard of two other failed diffs in the short period since we collected our new motorhome. This, perhaps, may support the cynical comment I have just made. Furthermore, I know of another example of a failed steering rack in a friend’s vehicle that occurred in a remote part of Australia. This caused a delay of one month to get it fixed in Darwin because the part couldn’t be found in Australia. My reason for mentioning these failures to you is that it may be something for you and Malcolm

to keep in the backs of your minds when you test motorhomes based on these vehicles. They may appear to be a good motorhome base, but if their mechanical reliability is in question and spare parts are not readily available, who would want to take one of these to remote parts of the country? All in all, it has been a pretty disappointing experience to wait seven and a half months for the motorhome to be produced, paying out nearly $200,000 and then finding that I have a motorhome that I can’t use until parts arrive at Iveco’s convenience. Many thanks for the excellent mag. It’s well written in a format that ideally suits electronic media, is appropriately investigative and is well balanced between old and new vehicles. Please keep it coming. Best wishes, Jeff. Sorry to hear of your Iveco troubles Jeff. I know when the new Daily arrived there were issues with incorrectly angled drive shafts that caused vibration, but Iveco remediated those (as far as I know). I haven’t heard anything specific about the diff, but no doubt your letter will elicit some responses. Re parts availability, you’re probably right about there being a run on them. Fingers crossed you don’t have any troubles before the new axle arrives, and also that it’s a good one. Please keep me posted.


For those who love a classic HYMER has arrived. A legend in European motorhome luxury, HYMER is now available in New Zealand exclusively to SmartRV. Sixty years ago, HYMER transformed camping holidays with a new standard in comfort and sophistication. Today the legend continues with the same attention to detail, from cutting edge driving and safety technology – such as crosswind assist, giving the ML-T model unbelievable stability – to stylish design and superior quality throughout every interior. Discover the tradition of excellence and innovation that has made HYMER the choice of discerning explorers. Indulge your wanderlust.

222 528

2

$62,100

HYMER StarLine B680

698 2

$194,900

HYMER StarLine B690 235

HYMER ML-T 580 4x4

235

HYMER Triton 420 Caravan 200

Vehicle might vary from image.

797 4

$289,900

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

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

797 4

$289,900


14 | On your mind

Satsleeve?

H

i Richard and team, love the mag. I haven’t caught up with reading all of your back catalog yet, so not sure if you have already covered remote telephone coverage options. I just stumbled across the Optus Satsleeve and Hotspot which seems like a good idea to use with your existing phone rather than buying a specific satellite phone. I like the idea that it can work with different phones. Anyway, just thought I’d pass on the idea of an article that looks at remote telephone coverage.

Great to hear you love what we’re doing. Des. Thanks for the heads-up on the Satsleeve. We haven’t run anything on satellite phones, that I can recall, although last issue we did have a feature on better options for country and remote mobile phone reception. We’ll look into satellite phones and put something together before Christmas. One just might make an ideal present if you drop enough hints…

Regards, Des.

Swift & Stylish

H

ere’s a link to a short review of the new Swift motorhome range for 2018. Note the very sharp overhead locker design. At the end are links to reviews on the Adria & Auto-trail models for 2018. It will be interesting to see which models will come our way. Also, this link shows examples of the curved designs I think local manufacturers maybe should consider. The graphics also interact with the flow of the design. I will now hop off the soap box! Cheers, Gary. Thanks Gary, it will be interesting indeed to see which new Swift models come our way. Like you, both Malcolm and I are great fans of

European design style and space efficiency, and the attention to detail in every part of their vehicles. The Adria Twin 600 SP – a 6.0-metre Fiat Ducato van conversion that debuted at the Brisbane Show in June – is a case in point and we’ve been trying to get hold of one for a review, but it’s proving difficult. You could almost be forgiven for thinking the importers aren’t in a hurry to sell them. Keep up the information and links, and thanks for you suggestions!


Jabiru 4x4 Tried & Tested 2 Mile Camp, Finke River

trakka.com.au


PRO TOW PREDATOR!

I

f you’re looking to tow a car with your motorhome a new A-frame is about to hit the Australian market. Made for local conditions, the Pro Tow Predator is said to have been specifically designed to handle the rough and tumble of the Australian Outback. Jason Cerezo, part of the engineering and design team says that to his knowledge this is the first A-frame to be fully tested to ADR requirements. “Whilst other A-frames comply with ADR regulations, our A-frame has actually undertaken the testing programme that is part of the rigorous ADR certification requirements. This has been an exciting time for us; we built a testing platform and frame, and then over a period of approximately three months of continuous testing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the A-frame was subjected to more than two million operational cycles. It came through with flying colours,” he said. The Predator has a built-in override brake, 3.5-tonne capacity and is of heavier construction than other products. Finished in polished stainless steel, it is designed as a two-part frame so users have the option of separating the brake unit from the arms for lighter movement and easier storage. Add to this double the warranty of comparable frames and the Predator is primed to eat the competition.

BTY Trading, designer and manufacturer of the Predator A-frame, is giving the first 15 purchasers the chance to win the cost of their new A-frame back.* The Pro Tow Predator will be marketed in Australia through Northcoach RV Equipment, which has more than 15 years experience in the motorhome industry and is a leading specialist in A-frame towing systems. The Predator will be introduced to the market at the Bundaberg CMCA Rally in October. For further information click the link above, email enquiries@northcoach.com.au or call Northcoach on (07) 3209-6654.


News | 17

NZMCA SUPPORTS NATIONAL PARTY CRACK DOWN If re-elected, National says it will: • Restrict all non self-contained vehicles to areas that are within about 200 m of toilet facilities

I

The NZMCA says its responsible members in certified self-contained (CSC) motorhomers and caravans have nothing to fear from the National Party’s election promise that it’s going to ‘crack down’ on freedom campers. So says NZMCA Chief Executive Bruce Lochore, who is hailing the weekend’s announcement as ‘a very balanced approach to the main issues that have been concerning Councils and communities’. “I think this is a very good result for us. We have been advocating something similar to this for some time, so we’re pleased to see the National Party’s approach. We’re fully supportive of it.” Announced by Deputy-Prime Minister and Tourism Minister, Paula Bennett, the National’s new policy has been formulated after concern from some communities in popular tourism destinations about irresponsible freedom campers leaving rubbish and human waste behind. Ms Bennett said freedom campers stay longer and spend more on average than other tourists. However, numbers were growing and a minority don’t treat New Zealand’s roadsides and public spaces with respect.

• Extend the power to ban all freedom camping from certain areas to LINZ and the NZ Transport Agency to ensure Crownowned land can also be restricted • Allow Councils and DOC staff to issue instant fines for people breaking the rules. If the fine can’t be paid on the spot, it will be assigned to the vehicle owner or rental car company. “We think those three main points are a very measured approach without affecting responsible freedom campers in CSC vehicles,” says Mr Lochore. “It specifically addresses the small number of non-Self Contained freedom campers who are causing the majority of the problems - and that’s very much what we have been talking about; and it addresses the instant fines for the rental industry – and we see that as a really good deterrent for international visitors who are breaking the law and then leaving the country without paying their fines. “The new policy also enables Councils to prohibit freedom camping through a ‘town centre’ and we understand the reasons for that. The only thing we’ve got to be careful about here is that Councils don’t interpret this as permission to prohibit in an ‘urban area’ – the town centre is very different from an urban area.


18 | News

RFDS URGES PREPAREDNESS

I

he Royal Flying Doctor Service has appealed to Grey Nomads to be well prepared before venturing into rural and remote areas. “A quarter of the emergency medical evacuations we respond to each year involve city travellers on outback adventures,” senior flight nurse

Karen Barlow said. “Distances are greater and the temperatures much hotter, which can result in driver fatigue. The roads might be less busy, but surfaces can vary greatly and wildlife can be a hazard, especially during the hours of darkness.” She urged travellers to obtain a summary of their medical history and carry all medication and repeat scripts with them. The RFDS said some very remote areas had no mobile coverage and it urged Grey Nomads to carry satellite phones.

The Wirraway 260 SL

With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !

From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.

Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!

View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500

Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: info@wirraway.com.au & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer


News | 19

DETHLEFFS/IVECO ELECTRIC MOTORHOME CONCEPT

D

ethleffs is the first well-known motorhome manufacturer to present a concept study of a fully-electrically driven motorhome.

the coming years for our e.home concept.” The e.home is based on the Iveco Daily Electric chassis with a liquid-cooled three-phase AC motor with a power of 80kW, utilising modern FIAMM Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries with a capacity of 3 x 76 AH at 400 V. These can be recharged up to 1500 times equating to a mileage of circa 250,000 km. Of particular interest are the specially installed ‘Supercaps’. These high-power capacitors allow a faster recharge and delivery of the electrical energy in comparison to the usual batteries – and so increase the performance of the vehicle as well as the lifecycle of the batteries apparently. The Dethleffs e.home is equipped with 31 square metres of modern and optimised thin layer solar cells, giving around 3,000 Watts of peak power.

“Dethleffs know this means a lot more then just putting bodywork on an electrically driven chassis. By implementing a fully-electric powertrain there are many challenges and equally opportunities for the entire vehicle. One significant opportunity is to do without any additional type of energy sources for the vehicle. This means that a motorhome with electric drive will also supply all the onboard services with electricity for the living area instead of gas, for example – and that is why solar power production becomes very important. At the same time there are also a number of new technologies which will change To find out more and read about the special the comfort, quality of life, plus the safety of role Viltron Energy has played in the vehicle’s future generations of motorhomes. Through systems development, click here. this evolving process, systems will be further developed – and we expect rapid progress over


20 | News

HYMER UNVEILS SELF-DRIVING MOTORHOME

A

t the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, which is just winding up in Germany, the Erwin Hymer Group – Europe’s largest motorhome and caravan manufacturer – has unveiled its prototype self-driving motorhome. Based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van conversion from it’s recently acquired Roadtrek subsidiary, it’s a surprisingly normal looking motorhome. Details are scant, but to watch a short video explaining the concept and showing the vehicle in action, click here.

VW’S NEW CRAFTER CONCEPT

W

estfalia is undoubtedly the most famous name in Volkswagen camper van lore, but “California” has also claimed its place in the VW camper van lexicon. Launched as a Westfalia model in 1988, the California eventually became Volkswagen’s own in house-built camper when the California T5 went into production in 2004. Now the good ‘Volks’ from Wolfsburg are exploring an XXLsized California based on the new, secondgeneration Crafter van.

While the Crafter range in general doesn’t have the history or loyalty of the Transporter it does have one major advantage: size. Volkswagen has put that extra size to work with a bathroom with shower, fold-up sink and toilet. It has also built a kitchen with plenty of benchtop and cabinetry around the dual-burner cooker, fridge and sink. The California XXL floor plan also includes a double bed, roughly 2-metres in length and a central living area with a rear bench seat, plus swivel cab seats. The concept vehicle is based on the mediumwheelbase Crafter with an unusual looking super-high roof. Volkswagen has also left the powertrain box blank for now, leaving us to guess which of the 2.0-litre TDI options from 75 to 130 kW might power things. It’s also unclear if the California XXL is a front, rear or all-wheel drive, as the new Crafter will be available in all three configurations. The question is, will we see it Down Under?


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


22 | News

VW CONFIRMS ELECTRIC KOMBI He said VW was flooded with letters and emails from excited customers, imploring the company to, “Please build this car” – so that’s exactly what VW is going to do.

V

olkswagen is ready to join the electric car revolution — and it’s doing so with a buzzy refresh of one of its most classic vehicles. Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess acknowledged the concept’s popularity while outlining the plan to bring the Buzz to North American, European and Chinese markets, but as yet there’s no word on Australia or New Zealand.

The production model all-wheel drive Buzz will offer drivers more than just a blast from the past. The next-gen Microbus will boast 275 kW (369 hp) from electric motors on each of its axles for extra handling ability. Most importantly, the Buzz is slated for up to 480 km (300 miles) range per charge, with the capability to powerup to about 80 percent of its energy capacity in 30 minutes using VW’s fast-charging system. For a video and to read more visit the Mashable website here.

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

NEW 12 VOLT JUMP STARTERS • Safely jump-start a dead battery in seconds • For vehicles, up to 5L Petrol or 2.5L Diesel • 20x jump starts per charge • Dual USB port for up to 10x smartphone charges • Built in LED multi-function torch

C

ygnett says its new ChargeUp Auto 12-volt jump starter and power pack is suitable for vehicles up to 5-litres petrol or 2.5-litres diesel and can safely jump-start a dead battery in seconds. With a capacity of 20 jump starts (or 10 smartphone charges) per charge, the ChargeUp Auto is said to be extremely versatile and the perfect companion when on-the-go.

The Charge Up Auto 12V comes in a portable protective carry case and includes clamps with solid copper jaws and Ultra Safe Relay, a 12 V female socket, micro USB cable, plus wall and car chargers. The ChargeUp Auto also features Spark Proof Protection technology and a builtin LED multi-function torch. RRP: $199.95. For information and stockists click here.

ARE RVS THE FUTURE OF US HOUSING? having a mobile residence are more appealing now than ever, especially with Millennials starting their lives and looking to have a place of their own.

A

ccording to a report on the website BuilderOnline, in the USA a movement from traditional home dwelling to living in an RV is sweeping the nation. The perks of

Still, why would Millennials prefer to live in an RV over a traditional house? Aside from the financial break because of the lower cost of living, RVs provide an opportunity to experience adventure. Unlike previous generations, millennials prefer experiences over items. To read the full story click here.


26 | News

APOLLO LAUNCHES VIVID CAMPER

A

pollo Motorhome Holidays is taking the freedom of road trips to new heights! Bookings are now open for the new four-berth Vivid Camper which will be available from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch from 1 November 2017. The Vivid Camper is a trendy Mercedes Benz Vito offering powerful and comfortable travel. The compact size delivers plenty of light and ventilation, and a surprising amount of interior space and storage.

The secret to Vivid’s compact size is an easily operated rooftop tent which pops up in evenings once travellers have reached their destination for the night. Ideal for freedom camping where permitted and only requiring a small campervan site at holiday park locations, the Vivid’s compact size makes city driving a breeze, and allows for easy parking. Internal walk-through access, and dual sidedoor entry allows complete flexibility when back-seat passengers demand another roadside stop to snap a few extra photos.

Apollo Group Marketing Manager Tara Eller said the company had responded to guest requests for the freedom of the open road in a Each Vivid Camper is kitted out with kitchen equipment such as cooking utensils, crockery smaller vehicle. and cutlery as well as a sink, gas stove and “Our custom-designed Vivid Camper ticks fridge, so that you can stock up on fresh local all the boxes – practical, compact and ultraproduce and cook up a feast. All you need is comfortable. With seating and sleeping a sense of adventure to rejuvenate that love for four adults or two adults and up to two for outdoor camping in comfort. children – the 2.0 x 1.4m roof top ‘bunk bed’ makes every night a camping adventure,” she Click here to check the latest pricing and deals on the Apollo Vivid Camper. said.


The Original Search Engine Before the internet and the mobile phones, all you needed was a sense of adventure, a Camper and a map (optional). We started making our PopTop camper in 1974; since then generations of Australians have had adventures and made memories that are the stuff of family legends. Isn’t it time for you to pack up a Sunliner and just see where the road takes you?

www.sunliner.com.au VIDA

RIALTA

RANGER

SWITCH

PINTO

NAVIAN

MONTE CARLO


28 | News

US RV PRODUCTION SOARS

A

ccording to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association in America, July survey of manufacturers found RV wholesale shipments finished at 32,936, an increase of 16.2 percent over the 28,350 units shipped in July 2016. This represents the best July shipment total in 40 years. RV wholesale shipments have climbed to 289,336 units through the first seven months of 2017 and are up 13.6 percent over the 254,636 units shipped during the same time last year. All towable RVs, led by conventional travel trailers, totalled 28,996 units for the month,

an increase of 17 percent compared to the 24,784 units shipped in July 2016. Yearto-date totals for towable RVs are up 13.6 percent to 252,640 units. June motorhome shipments are up 10.5 percent to 3,940 units over last year; paced by strong gains in the Type B and C market. Yearto-date motorhome shipments have reached 36,726 units on 13.6 percent growth over the 32,337 units shipped during the same time last year.


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

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

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


iMotorhome Marketplace | 33

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

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!

www.skytracks.com.au

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  


34 | Day Test: Latitude Titanium

PRECIOUS METAL!

Start-up manufacturer Latitude Motorhomes’ first offering – the Titanium – is precious metal in more ways than one… by Richard Robertson


Day Test | 35

It’s no surprise Ben Maclean (pictured) and brother Michael chose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as the base for their launch vehicle. It’s familiar territory and still the most refined light commercial vehicle on the market, although VW’s soon-to-be-released Crafter will probably change that. The ‘boys’ have done an impressive job with the Titanium and it should find ready buyers in the booming van-conversion market.

T

he sudden demise, buyout and rebirth of Paradise Motor Homes earlier this year left many of us stunned. A sorry tale that had nothing to do with the viability of the business or the quality or popularity of its motorhomes, it has, however, lead to the creation of Latitude Motorhomes by Ben and Michael Maclean, sons of Paradise’s founder Colin Maclean. Latitude Motorhomes is entering the booming van conversion motorhome market segment, but with plans for a campervan and a fullsize coachbuilt model too, due to customer requests. It’s a gusty move yet entirely understandable, given their pedigree. Based in Burleigh Heads at the southern end of the Gold Coast, Latitude Motorhomes is off to an impressive start judging from it’s launch model – the Titanium – which is based on a long-

wheelbase (LWB) high-roof Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.

Opening Play

A

van conversion motorhome makes a lot of sense for Latitude’s first offering. Already a complete vehicle requiring just the fit-out, it avoids the need for expansive manufacturing facilities, extra staff and larger capital outlay. It also happens to be a fast growing industry segment, which is a happy coincidence given the established competition in Australia’s small motorhome manufacturing marketplace. Given the number of people dropping by the factory when I was there, plus the regular phone enquiries, it appears they’re in with a good chance.


36 | Day Test

In line with their experience at the premium end of the market, Ben and Michael have chosen to stick with the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, although the 6.96 m LWB version, not the 7.36 m XLWB. “We feel the long-wheelbase Sprinter gives the best combination of liveable interior space and compact exterior size,” Ben said. “What we’re able to provide is a high level of equipment, innovation and style at an affordable price – $139,000 drive-away in Queensland. From that starting point we can also easily make changes to suit customer’s specific needs”. The Sprinter model the Titanium uses is the 316 CDI where the “3” means it has a 3.55-tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) and the “16” means 160 hp, or 120 kW. CDI means it’s a common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel, which at this output level is a 2.2-litre 4-cylinder unit. Drive is to the rear wheels via Mercedes’ silken 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic gearbox. In the Titanium the GVM has been increased to 3880 kg, which given its impressive 3160 kg tare weight provides a maximum payload of 720 kg. Of course, having a sub-4500

On the road the Sprinter is easy to handle and drives pretty much like a car. The Titanium’s metallic paint and understated graphics are a nice touch too.


Day Test | 37

kg means you can drive the Titanium on a standard car licence. Adventurers can opt for the 519 CDI 4x4, with a 4.49-tonne GVM and booming 140 kW 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, but that’s another story‌ On the road the Sprinter impresses with its highly refined ride, engine and transmission, delivering a near car-like driving experience. Visibility is excellent and being not only rearwheel drive but a Mercedes, the turning circle is exemplary. While the dashboard is Teutonically grey it’s efficient if not always intuitive. Safety is also about as good as it gets, with airbags and a raft of electronic aids like Crosswind Assist and Adaptive Electronic Stability Program. Overall my brief drive in the Titanium was a valuable reminder why the Sprinter is still the prestige motorhome chassis choice.

Brass Tacks

A

s is usual with a van conversion there are no external storage lockers; rather, room for chairs, hoses, leads, etc, is provided

Design detail extends to this neat Titanium badging above the headlight.


38 | Day Test

in a rear boot under the bed, accessed via the rear doors. There, a combination of open storage and deep drawers (with room for a small generator on a slide-out) provide a high degree of storage versatility. Double-glazed, top-hinged acrylic windows are used all ‘round, except in the back doors, where the Sprinter’s fixed glass is retained. Other external features include a wind-out awning, electric entry step with auto-retract, illuminated grab handle, fold-down outdoor table, and a Winegard Sensar TV antenna. The test vehicle also came with three options that for now are part of a standard introductory special: A Dometic Fresh Jet rooftop reversecycle air-conditioner, an Eberspacher diesel room heater, and leather cab upholstery.

After the test this rear drawer system was added, which has room for a small generator as well as hoses and leads, etc. Note how the rear doors have been panelled inside, with blinds for the fixed glass rear windows.


Day Test | 39 As expected the body is fully insulated, while standard equipment also includes a 200 amphour AGM deep-cycle house battery and 150 watt Redarc solar panel, with a matching Redarc Manager30 power management system. Fresh and grey water capacities are 110-litres and 80-litres respectively, hot water is 14-litres using a Truma LPG/240-volt unit, LPG comes from a pair of 4-kg cylinders, and the 17-litre cassette toilet has an SOG ventilation system. One feature worth a mention on its own is what the brochures describes as ‘backlit billet switches’. To you and me they’re the little silver light and power buttons, backlit with colours according to their use and individually laser etched with symbols and names. They’re a breath of minimalist futurism in an world otherwise full of mundane black plastic switches…

Stepping Inside…

T

here are only so many ways you can arrange things in a rectangular box. So it should come as no surprise the floor plan has a front lounge/dinette using the cab seats; a split kitchen in the middle, a bathroom towards the back and a rear bedroom. Opening the side entry door triggers a courtesy lighting system of concealed blue LEDs, which is terrific when returning to the vehicle at night. Decor in the test vehicle was fairly neutral, with glossy white cupboards and drawers, glossy woodgrain panelling and light grey wood-effect vinyl flooring. In the kitchen, light grey marblelike bench tops and a brown acrylic splashback tied everything together, providing an overall upmarket feel. Of course, there’s a range of colours to choose from to tailor the interior to your tastes.

Top to bottom: Backlit, custom labelled ‘billet’ switches are neat and easy to use; The Redarc Manager30 power management system is a beauty (we have one in Project Polly); Rear boot has main power circuit breakers plus 240 V/12 V/USB charging outlets.


40 | Day Test

Cabinetry appears excellent and uses quality German Blum-brand drawer systems and cabinet door lifts, solid stainless steel cabinet locks, high pressure laminate bench tops with 2 mm ABS edging, plus interlocking, glue-andscrew cabinet construction for strength and durability. The Titanium is unashamedly built for two and nowhere is this more apparent than the dinette. Perhaps the biggest compromise in the design, it requires the cab seats to be swivelled until facing each other, whereupon a small table stored behind the driver’s seat is slipped into its mount on the passenger’s seat base. While fine for meals for two it’s not designed for entertaining (which of course you can do outside under the awning), nor is it really conducive to long nights watching TV, reading or just relaxing. However, for that there’s always the bed, which we’ll come to soon… Top: The dinette is small, cosy and strictly for two. Note the Remi cab blinds. Above: The small dining table uses a Lagan mount and stores neatly behind the driver’s seat.


Day Test | 41

Space Monster?

T

he kitchen is a comparative space monster, but sure to please those who love to cook when travelling. The main work area is between the driver’s seat and bathroom, and includes an all-in-one three burner gas cooker and sink unit, three deep drawers and a 136-litre Waeco 12/240-volt compressor fridge. The splashback cleverly frames the kitchen window, while above is a slimline rangehood built neatly into the base of a run of three cupboards. A smaller bench unit sits immediately to the right as you enter through the side door. It houses a microwave just under the bench top with more drawers below, while the bench space is handy when both cooking or passing things outside the vehicle.

Cabinet Decisions

T

he bathroom is between the main kitchen bench and bedroom, and in keeping with other vehicles in this class it’s an all-inone unit, albeit larger than most. One-piece moulded with a recessed toilet, the corner

Kitchen space is good and nicely finished. Note the acrylic splash-back with window cutout, neatly integrated range hood and generous, deep drawers.


42 | Day Test The bathroom was missing a shaving cabinet, which is still being chosen. Even so it’s well equipped and has a waterproof toilet roll holder built into the side of the corner hand basin.

handbasin has a mixer tap with an extension shower head that can be wall mounted, alongside the liquid soap/shampoo dispensers. There’s good lighting and ventilation, plus an opaque door, and while test Titanium’s bathroom might appear a bit spartan, it’s because Ben and Michael were still sourcing their ideal shaving cabinet.

Without Compromise?

V

an conversion motorhomes (like our Project Polly) often suffer from bedding compromises; be they having to make the bed up every night, choosing between singles or a double, or simple having a bed that’s too short. But not in the Titanium. A fixed north-south bed measuring 1.89 m x 1.35 m (6’ 2” x 4’ 5”) sits between the bathroom and rear doors, with one edge running along the side wall. The measurements are honest and the length doesn’t include the extra room the slight gap to the rear doors provides. For someone like me at 1.85 m (6’ 1”) that extra room is invaluable, while for those who prefer singles a twin-bed layout is also available. The bed leaves walk-though space on the kerb side (mind the wheel arch) to make access easier, plus it provides space for a single bedside table and drawer in the back corner, which also houses the water heater in a cupboard at bottom. There are overhead cupboards down both sides and across the rear, plus access to the under-bed storage via doors at the front. While there are large windows on both sides of the bedroom, the back door windows are fixed glass, but the


Day Test | 43 doors themselves have been soft panelled inside and the windows fitted with privacy screens – very civilised. On the kerb side, between the secondary kitchen unit and bedroom, is a three-quarter height wardrobe. The TV is positioned on top via an industrial grade swivel mount. Sturdy and secure it’s a far cry from the fiddly extending arms usually used. On the rear wall of the wardrobe is an AM/FM/USB/Bluetooth stereo connected to four speakers, two of which are over the bed head.

What I think

F

rom its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter base to its stylish interior, high-tech inclusions and quality fit out, the Titanium is impressive. Latitude Motorhomes might be an industry newcomer but the experience of its founders shows. The Titanium is an excellent vanconversion motorhome any manufacturer – or owner – would rightly be proud of. If you’re in the market for a quality motorhome be sure to arrange an inspection and test drive. Especially before you part with any of your own precious metal…

Secondary kitchen unit houses the microwave and has plenty of extra storage, while the TV sits atop the tall wardrobe on an excellent, sturdy swivel base. Below: The permanent north-south bed is basically queen sized, with access on the kerb side and a corner cupboard that also houses the hot water system.


44 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Make

Latitude Motorhomes

Model

Titanium 7.0M

Type

Van Conversion

Berths

2

Approved Seating

2

Licence

Car

VEHICLE Make/Model

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 CDI

Engine

2.2 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

120 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

360 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm

Gearbox

7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic

Safety

Front airbags, ABS, ESP, CA, TC.

Fuel

100 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3160 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3880 kg

Max Payload

720 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2000 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

6.96 m (22’ 10”)

Overall Width

1.99 m (6’ 6”)

Overall Height

2.90 m (9’ 6” )

Internal Height

1.92 m (6’ 3”)

Rear bed

1.85 m x 1.35 m (6’ 1” x 4’ 5”)


Day Test | 45

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Wind-out

Entry Steps

1 x Electric

Cooker

3 burner gas

Rangehood

Yes

Sink

Single bowl stainless steel

Fridge

136 L 2-door Compressor (12V/240V)

Microwave

Yes

Lighting

12 V LED

Air Conditioner

Rooftop Dometic Fresh Jet reverse-cycle

Diesel Space Heater

Optional

Hot Water System

Truma LPG/240 V

Toilet

Pedestal

Shower

Flexible hose

CAPACITIES Batteries

1 x 200 AH

Solar

Optional

LPG

2 x 4 kg

Fresh Water

110 L

Grey Water

80 L

Hot Water

14 L

Toilet

17 L (cassette)

Pros… • Mercedes Sprinter base vehicle • Build quality • Standard equipment • Style • Design options • Standard price • Special launch deal

CONs… • Small dinette • Extra fresh water would be good

PRICE ON-ROAD From – Drive-away QLD

$139,000

As Tested – Drive away QLD Special

$139,900 inc solar, diesel heater, leather upholstery

Warranty – Mercedes Daily

3 years/200,000 km

Warranty – Motorhome

3 years

Warranty - Appliances

As per manufacturer

Contact Click for Latitude Motorhomes Google Maps 5/14 Rothcote Court Burleigh Heads. Qld. 4220 T: (07) 5606-8000 W: latitudemotorhomes.com.au


46 | Day Test: Bürstner Lyseo IT728G

NATURAL SELECTION Bürstner’s evolutionary Lyseo IT728G shows the power of natural selection… by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 47

Out standing in its field? Though ‘only’ an upper mid-market make in Europe, Bürstner is a premium brand in NZ (and the UK) and rightly so. German engineering brings innovation and quality, and the new Lyseo range continues the tradition. Meanwhile, the latest Fiat Ducato gets a welcome 14 kW power and 60 Nm torque boost from its Euro 6-compliant 2.3-litre turbo-diesel, making a good thing even better.

A

nyone familiar with the Bürstner range will be aware the Ixeo Time range has proven very popular for the NZ distributor, SmartRV. That’s changing this year because Bürstner is rationalising its model lineup; there being far more models available in Europe than New Zealand. As part of that process the Lyseo range, first seen at the Covi Supershow earlier this year, will replace the Ixeo Time. Apart from anything else it means typing one word instead of two, and there are of course a number of new layouts available. We won’t get them all in New Zealand but you can bet on past form that SmartRV will be choosing the best of them. What’s interesting about Bürstner motorhomes is that it’s seen as a mainstream mass market model in Europe, whereas in Britain and NZ

it’s seen as a more mid-upper range marque. I suspect NZ gets the up-spec’d British models.

New Look

W

hat you get with the Lyseo IT 728G is a 7.49 m (24’ 7”) low profile motorhome with a large boot (garage), single beds at the rear and a drop down bed at the front. It seats and sleeps four, and in addition to those other essentials has a mid bathroom and kitchen as well as front lounge/dinette. A new feature of the Lyseo range is the double floor. It’s 135 mm (5”) thick and designed not only for good insulation but also to contain the water tanks and heated/insulated pipes. It also means two underfloor storage lockers are


48 | Day Test provided. These are great for items like the roof bed ladder and any items best left out of sight.

Not So New

S

ome things have not changed though, like the Fiat Ducato Multijet 150 underpinnings. The numero 150 bit tells you it comes with the now-standard Euro-6 compliant 2.3-litre, 110 kW (150 hp) turbo-diesel that also produces 380 Nm of torque. Familiar is the six-speed automated manual gearbox and the usual features like dual airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability program (ESP). With a tare weight of 3015 kg and a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3850 kg, this Lyseo

From any angle the new Lyseo IT728G is a good looking machine.


Day Test | 49

comes with a very generous payload at 835 kg. That’s certainly enough to accommodate the 120-litre fresh water tank and anything that might be fitted into the spacious boot/ garage in the rear – and it is spacious. I suspect most owners won’t be able to use the available space, however, don’t accept that as a challenge: I’m an advocate for lighter weight travel! In addition to the rear storage there are also a couple of smaller lockers along the passenger side; one being for the nine kilogram gas cylinders and the other a utilities bin with water tank access and mains power connection. It’s an arrangement I like, with everything easily accessible but still sealed off from the weather. Also not changed is the streamlined Bürstner shape; the low profile look of the Lyseo is just as good as its predecessors. Of all the gear on the roof, like hatches and solar panels, only the TV antenna is obvious from street level.

Decor is Euro-modern without being ultra modern or garish. In typical Euro fashion there’s a pleasing integration to the whole interior, although the TV can only be properly viewed from the swivelled cab seats.


50 | Day Test

Seating five the lounge/dinette even has dining room for everyone once you swivel out the table’s extension leaf.

Utilities

Lounging

ost of the major electrics, i.e. the two 90 AH deep cycle batteries and 1000 W inverter, are hidden under the driver’s-side lounge seat. Apart from anything else, this makes them easily accessible. Being a German built motorhome there is a space heater rather than an air conditioner as standard, which in this case happens to be a Truma Combi 6E that’s both LPG and 240V powered and comes with a 10-litre hot water tank.

eing a Fiat Ducato both cab seats fully swivel, while being a European motorhome the swivelled seats also mesh perfectly with the dining table, forwardfacing double dinette seat and sideways-facing single seat. All are upholstered in matching leather. Of note is the table, which is fixed to the wall but has an angled end to ensure easy access to the cab seats. That might appear to mean it’s a table only for the passenger-side seats, but there’s a swivelling extension leaf underneath that allows dining for five people if required.

M

B


Day Test | 51

While single beds might not be to everyone’s liking they do provide extra floorspace that’s handy when dressing. Note the steps up (bottom one retracted): Each has a hinged lid with storage below, while under-bed space conceals a set of slide-out shelves and a small hanging wardrobe. Below: The electrically operated roof bed is handy for guests and can be left madeup when retracted. It has its own skylight and is accessed via a short ladder that attaches to mounts on the edge.


52 | Day Test TV viewing options are a bit more limited than the table settings. The flat screen TV is mounted on the cabinetry panel by the entry door, under the main electrical control panel. It’s swivel mounted but can really only be seen from the swivelled cab seats.

Mid Kitchen

L

-shaped kitchens are the standard in many a Euro-built motorhome, but there are differences of scale. For instance this Lyseo has a three burner cooker and a round stainless steel sink, but also a bit more than the usual limited benchtop space. In addition to three good sized drawers in the under-bench area (and single-shelf slide-out, which is an interesting use of a narrow space) is where the oven/grill is to be found. Completing the

kitchen setup is the 145-litre Dometic 3-way fridge and freezer.

Look Up!

O

ne of the neat design features of this motorhome is the front drop down bed. It’s built into the roof area, obviously, but if you were something of a novice you might not even notice it’s presence. Certainly the tracks down the walls give clues, but the overhead lockers built into the base of the bed disguise things a bit. That said, the bed is electrically operated and all done at the touch of a button. Measuring 2.00 m x 1.35 m (6’ 7” x 4’ 5”) it’s fairly easy to make up and can of course be left that way even when raised.

Compact but with plenty of storage, the kitchen is of the usual L-shaped European design.


Day Test | 53

The single beds are set high because of the large garage/boot in the vehicle’s rear. With a window on each side and roof hatch above the bedroom has plenty of fresh air and ventilation. There is also a generous shared bedside table plus overhead cupboards, reading lights and the aforementioned storage in the access steps.

Single Beds

S

ingle beds aren’t always the first choice of most couples, but as is so often the case as the years, ahem, roll on, the comfort and intimacy of a double bed gets traded for the practical ease of single bed sleeping. Often a benefit of single beds, as in this case, is the length. A fixed double bed usually stops at 1.85 m (6’ 1”), but here the singles are 1.99 m (6’ 6”) and 2.03 m (6’ 8”), respectively. Both are 0.8 m (2’ 7”) wide. They are higher than usual because of the garage storage underneath, but good size steps provide easy access. Each bed has a large window, complete with Roman blind, as well as individual reading lights. In addition to hinged lids on the steps, there’s also under-bed storage – another benefit of single beds – the driver’s-side one


54 | Day Test

Although an all-in-one design the bathroom provides a separate shower cubicle, so you won’t get wet feet when brushing you teeth after a shower. It’s also nicely appointed and has plenty of storage. having a low height wardrobe and the other, a set of slide-out shelves. In addition there’s a full height cupboard with multiple shelves that butts up against the adjoining fridge. What there isn’t in this motorhome is a shortage of storage, both inside and out!

Cleaning up

S

omehow I expected a bit of trickery in the bathroom, which there sometimes is in Euro motorhomes, with swinging now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t walls. That’s not the case here, but what there is is quite a stylish looking bathroom with all the expected features, like a separate shower cubicle, cassette toilet and wash basin. It’s a classy looking bathroom with plenty of cupboard space and shelving, including in the shower cubicle.

What I think

I

f there is one thing to be said about Bürstner motorhomes it’s that they are very schmick looking and this Lyseo is no exception, both inside and out. Clearly the interior has had something of a makeover from the preceding Ixeo Time generation, but it’s not only appearances that make it a classy motorhome. The Bürstner Lyseo IT728G is packed with features – everything from huge storage and payload to the electric roof bed – and it all makes this a very attractive motorhome that’s a natural selection for the astute buyer.


Day Test | 55

Spied!

W

e couldn’t actually get our hands on a Lyseo T744 for review, but we looked over it at the Covi Show. Apart from anything else, it’s an interesting look at German engineering with a distinctive Kiwi flavour. There are two drop down beds, one in the front and one in the rear. It’s the latter I am going to be mention because underneath

is a lounge that runs along the left-hand side and rear wall, with windows fitted all ‘round. So what you get is a variation of what I call a New Zealand Back: a rear lounge by day and a bed by night (and one that does not have to be made up every night). A real winner in my opinion!


56 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Make

Bürstner

Model

Lyseo IT728G

Type

B-class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

WOF/COF

COF

VEHICLE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato Multijet 150

Engine

2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

110 kW @ 3600 rpm

Torque

380 Nm @ 1500 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT)

Safety

passenger airbags, ABS, ESP, TC

Fuel

90 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3015 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3850 kg

Max Payload

835 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2000 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.49 m (24' 7")

Overall Width

2.30 m (7' 6")

Overall Height

2.95 m (9' 8")

Internal Height

2.05 m (6' 7")

Internal Height (under bed)

1.83 m (6')

Single bed left

1.99 m x 0.80 m (6' 6" x 2’ 7")

Single bed right

2.03 m x 0.80 m (6' 8" x 2' 7")

Drop down bed

2.00 m x 1.35 m (6' 7" x 4' 5")


Day Test | 57

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Yes

Entry Steps

Electric

Cooker

Dometic 3 burner

Rangehood

Yes

Sink

Stainless steel round

Fridge

140 L Dometic RML 9435 3-way

Grill/oven

Dometic

Lighting

12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

Cab only

Air Conditioner

No

Space Heater

Truma Combi 6E LPG

Hot Water System

Truma Combi 6E LPG/Electric

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

CAPACITIES Batteries

2 x 90 AH

Solar

1 x 150 W

LPG

2 x 9.0 kg

Fresh Water

120 L

Grey Water

90 L

Hot Water

10 L

Toilet

17 L

PRICE ON-ROAD NZ From

$162,900

WARRANTY Warranty - Fiat

2 Years

Warranty - Motorhome

2 Years/5 Years water ingress

Warranty - Appliances

2 Years

Pros… • • • • • • •

Quality Standard equipment Stylish inside and out External and internal storage Rear bedroom features Bathroom layout Underfloor storage compartments

CONs… • Garage storage requires tie downs for smaller items • TV has limited viewing angles • No 12 V/USB charger outlets in rear • Rear bed height off floor (the price of compromise)

CONTACT:

Click for Google Maps

North Island SmartRV 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland. 2022. T: 0800 007 627 E: sales@smartrv.co.nz W: www.smartrv.co.nz Click for

Google Maps

South Island 3 Export Ave Harewood, Christchurch. 8051 T: 0800 007 628 E: ccsales@smartrv.co.nz W: www.smartrv.co.nz


58 | Day Test

“What you get with the Lyseo IT 728G is a 7.49 m low profile motorhome with a large boot (garage), single beds at the rear and a drop down bed at the front.�


Life in Motion

Automatic

Central heating

Drive on a car licence

Bürstner Ixeo IT728G

Enjoy the ride in distinctive style and unparalleled comfort that can only be experienced in a European crafted motorhome. Journey through the best years of your life in a motorhome of your dreams from our extensive fleet of luxury vehicles. Call us today and put yourself in the picture. View our full range at smartrv.co.nz or visit us in Auckland or Christchurch.

599

$139,900

Bürstner Nexxo T740

699

$151,900

2

1

Bürstner Lyseo T734

2

749

$153,900

Bürstner Elegance i840G

4

230

2

230

Bürstner Lyseo T690G

230

2

230

230

Bürstner Ixeo Time IT590

749

$162,900

861

$246,900

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

Nothing is too much trouble for the team at SmartRV. Their service is great and they always do the best they can. Their company and their friendly and professional staff stand out a mile. The SmartRV team are awesome! Anne Peppercorn, Whangarei

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


60 | Project Polly

This & That! We’ve added this and that to make travelling life more practical and comfortable‌


Project Polly | 61

The two rearmost overhead cupboards had their doors trimmed so they could open around the new Heki roof hatch surround. It’s a neat solution that also didn’t require the doors to be rehung.

W

hen Polly was at Southern Spirit Campervans earlier this year, having her roof hatch replaced while we were getting our kicks on Route 66, we had a few extra things done to make touring life more practical and enjoyable. However, before I get to them here’s an addendum to the roof hatch replacement. One of the advantages of the new Heki roof hatch is that it comes with sliding privacy and insect screens. These aren’t in the hatch itself, but rather in the plastic surround that sits against the ceiling. It’s quite a large piece and although it looks very neat it had an unforeseen consequence: it prevented the two rearmost overhead cupboard doors on each side from fully opening. The simple and neat solution Olli came up was to cut a small piece off the top of each door, thus reducing the height (depth) so they clear the hatch surround when opened.


62 | Project Polly The offcuts were then fixed back to the tops of each cupboard so that when the doors are closed they appear full height. The beauty of it is the doors didn’t need rehanging and at a casual glance you don’t really notice the difference. Neat…

Limitations and Solutions

P

olly came with two major limitations: a lack of ventilation and the absence of 12 volt power/USB charging outlets. These are common with ex-rentals and especially van-conversions, which are short on fresh air. The first problem stems from lots of windows but few that open (plus a single, small roof hatch). While we’re thankful of the Heron airconditioner, it has meant caravan park stays in hot weather. Last year we got Southern Spirit to add an insect screen inside the rear doors, so we could get a breeze when parked-up or sleeping. We also planned a matching one for the sliding side door, but somehow that didn’t happen at the same time. Now it has. Both have zippered doorways in them and while the rear one on its own was good, having both is brilliant. If you own a van conversion this is the biggest single thing you can do to make warm weather living significantly more comfortable. Of course ours haven’t had much use during winter, but now as the weather begins to warm they will come into their own. While opening doors are one thing, if there’s no breeze you’re still in bother. I bought a Coleman 12 V rechargeable camping fan, and while it worked quite well it’s bulky to store and in use, and needs recharging. And while it does run off mains or 12 volt power, not having a 12 V outlet was a problem, and in more ways than one.

The rear insect screen has proven invaluable and we’ve slept with the door either partially or fully open. On a warm night it’s also great to be able to look at the stars from bed!


Office Fix

Project Polly | 63

P

olly is a mobile office, but the lack of 12 V power has been a limitation. Last year at the CMCA Rally in Bathurst I came up with a fix: I bought a short 12 V lead with alligator clips at one end and a female Anderson-style connector at the other, plus a second lead with a male connector at one end and a cigarette lighter-style socket at the other. Attached to the house battery under the passenger seat it has provided 12 V power and USB charging via an adapter. But there was still a problem. In it’s wisdom, Apple designed its laptops to only work on mains power – no convenient 12 V adapters to make travelling life easy for Mac users! Fortunately, I already had a 150 W inverter to plug into the 12 V socket, and so by the magic of makeshift innovation I could charge my laptop, phone and even the Coleman camping fan. It was hardly convenient, however, and in use also presented a considerable trip hazard, so a permanent fix was required.

Double Fix

T

he solution to the ventilation and power problems was two-pronged: A proper 12 V fan and proper 12 V/USB combo outlet. Both were fitted by Southern Spirit Campervans and both work a treat. The fan – a multi-adjustable Sirocco by Caframo – is the gold standard for 12-volt RV fans. It’s mounted beneath the overhead cupboard next to the rangehood and takes its power from the rangehood’s power circuit. Complete with timer setting for three, six, nine and twelve hours, it has three speeds and draws less than point four of an amp on high

Top: The portable and rechargeable Coleman 12 V fan also has built-in LED lights and is handy, but bulky and takes up storage space. Above: My improvised 12 V power fix. While it worked well enough it was inconvenient and long leads in the aisle were a trip hazard. Still, I’m keeping it as a back-up just in case…


64 | Project Polly speed. From (distant) memory the Coleman camping fan was around $70 online, while the Sirocco was about $180, plus fitting. The 12 V/USB solution came by way of a Narva 81027BL heavy-duty flush-mount twin accessory socket. It’s mounted on the wall above and to the side of Polly’s TV and draws its power from the fridge’s circuit. It takes the inverter’s 12 V plug and simultaneously let me charge my iPhone and/or iPad; all with minimal lead intrusion as it’s right beside where I sit to work. Also bought on eBay, it was around $30 (plus installation).

Nearly Time!

W

ith those niggling things sorted, travelling in Polly is now that much more convenient and enjoyable. I’ve already put the power socket to good use and any day now it will be warm enough to need the fan. Until then the Webasto diesel heater has been working a treat and with the TV fixed (there was a cable kink problem – another thing Olli found and fixed), what limited winter travel we’ve done has been cosy and convenient. Roll on spring. There are some annoying insects I’m looking forward to excluding and some warm breezes to welcome in…

Top: The Sirocco 12 V fan mounts neatly beneath an overhead cupboard and is far less intrusive, even when swivelled as pictured here, than the portable fan. Above: The new 12 V power socket is positioned so I can use this bench space for the inverter and/or other chargers, while working. It keeps cable intrusion to a minimum and runs off the fridge power circuit, so it’s usually on when we’re in the vehicle.


Project Polly | 65

The new side door insect screen is a beauty, although there’s still a small gap at the bottom edge when the door is zippered shut. We’re thinking a small draft excluder might just do the trick to bridge the gap. Any other ideas?


66 | Feature

Pedal Power! Powered pedalling is bringing a revolution to bicycle the world over‌


Feature | 67

e-Bikes come in all shapes and sizes. In Europe models like this upright city-come-light-touring bike rule the roost. With lights, mudguards and a rack it’s a perfect commuter and an ideal bike style to supplement your motorhoming adventures.

C

ycling might be the new golf and while MAMILs – Middle Aged Men In Lycra – are everywhere (ditto MAWILs), you don’t have to be a health junkie or aspire to a podium position in the next Tour Down Under to get peddling. The fastest growing sector of day-to-day riding is e-biking, and contrary to what you might think it isn’t cheating! Ideal for motorhoming as an alternative to a toad or motorbike for limited local sightseeing and shopping trips, e-bikes also provide valuable exercise while taking the hard work out of cycling. Fold-up or full-size, there are e-bikes to suit every rider and riding style. But before you rush out and buy one it’s good to know what your choices are. It’s also good to know what you’re talking about, so here’s a guide… Firstly, what is an e-bike? Put simply, it’s a bicycle that provides the rider with additional power via a battery and electric motor. There are more than 50 brands in the Australian market now and the interest stems from significant improvements in the technology

of electric systems. Bikes with motors to assist them have been around for decades, initially with petrol-fuelled motors and then with basic electric motors powered by lead– acid batteries. Current e-bikes use lithium ion batteries, brushless electric motors, sensors and software, providing vastly superior performance and bikes that are lighter, easier to use and with a longer range for the life of the battery. The most sophisticated evolution of the e-bike, and now the benchmark, is the Pedelec style. These e-bikes only operate when the rider is pedalling – a sensor detects when the pedals are rotating and the motor comes in. The motor cuts out when the pedals stop going around, when the brakes are applied or when the speed exceeds 25 km/h. You can choose the level of assistance you want from the motor, generally in steps providing from 30 percent additional power up to 300 percent!


68 | Feature

This integrated Bosch pedal-assist (Pedelec) engine is one of the most popular. Built into a specially designed frame it’s compact and helps keeps the centre of gravity low.

National Standard

I

n 2012 the Australian Government adopted European standard (EN15194) for Pedelecs. It took a further three years for all Australian States and Territories to legalise them to ride on roads and paths, but once the legislation was complete a slew of European brands came into Australia, quickly expanding the range of models available and increasing the level of interest. Pedelecs are now a large proportion, if not the majority, of e-bikes sold and ridden in Australia. The other major variety of e-bike – a type that pre-dated the Pedelec and continues to evolve and offers unique characteristics – has a throttle instead of a pedal assistance system. Throttle e-bikes can be pedalled like a conventional bicycle or powered by the motor, which is governed by the throttle. One brand – eZee – offers both, with Pedelec pedal assistance and an over-riding throttle. Throttle e-bikes in Australia are limited to a 200 watt motor, as opposed to the Pedelec variety, which have a 250 watt motor. This makes throttle e-bikes somewhat equivalent

to Pedelecs in speed, though they do not have a particular cut-out speed like Pedelecs.

Makes, Models and Styles

D

utch brand Gazelle is still the most widely recognised e-bike brand due to having been the premium option for the longest time. Then there’s German brand Haibike, which specialises in electric mountain bikes, and has just signed a multiyear sponsorship of the Sea Otter Classic, a renowned mountain bike race in California. In a significant move, this famous race included an eMTB category for the first time in 2016. The motor Haibike uses and the dominant electrical system on the world stage – in terms of hype but also in performance – is Bosch. However, other systems such as Shimano Steps, Impulse and Brose are competing hard in the centre-drive market. All high-tech integrated centre-drive systems, they’re the top end of the e-biking technological spectrum and also the most expensive. At the budget end, however, there’s still a


Feature | 69 place for hub motor systems. In fact Earth Electric Bikes sells three times as many hub-motor e-bikes as centre-drive units, and argues hub motors have something unique to offer. In terms of styles, the rise of the upright, city bikes has waned and the popular choice – like it’s the 80s all over again – is the mountain bike. How many of these will be used off-road is arguable, but not that many head over the hills either. It seems the neutral riding position – not upright but not too far forward – suits the widest variety of people. In practice there are e-bike versions of most of the styles of conventional bike and riders are finding that a motor is a tremendous benefit, particularly with heavy units such as fat bikes or hardworking utility vehicles such as cargo bikes. The next big development anticipated for Australia is the arrival of e-bikes from the big bike brands like Giant, Trek and Merida. These brands have extensive reach into bike shops around Australia and the industry expects that they will be pushing their e-bikes into shops far and wide.

ahead, though perhaps not too far, we see another significant development in the world of e-bikes. An industry insider offered a prediction that within two years Chinese brands will be offering centre-drive e-bikes at significantly cheaper prices than the European brands. China is the world’s biggest manufacturer of e-bikes. Its domestic standard has been aligned with the European standard since 2012 and all e-bikes it makes meet EU standards. Chinese brands, such as Bafang, already dominate the market in economical hub-motor e-bike systems and their mid-drive systems offer excellent performance at compelling price points.

Nathan Reizer of Melbourne Electric Bicycles says the challenge for ordinary bike shops will be to train staff. “Sales staff need to know e-bikes to be able to sell them,” he contends. But there is another reason, he argues, e-bike speciality stores will continue to hold an advantage: “We offer a range of brands – the brands we find best fit the market segments. Most bike retailers can’t do that because they’re tied to one brand or distributor. They will have e-bikes from Trek because they’re a Trek store. That doesn’t mean a Trek e-bike is best for that customer.” As with all bikes the onus is clearly on you the customer to shop around for the best and most suitable e-bike. Looking further

Top: Women-specific e-bikes make getting on and off a cinch. Above: Hub motors are the cheapest and can be added to exisiting bikes.


70 | Feature E-Bike Buying Tips Pedelec or Hand Throttle? To recap, most e-bikes in Australia are Pedelecs, where the motor only operates when you pedal. These have a maximum output of 250 watts and are speed limited to 25km/h. The other style is where the motor is operated by a hand throttle, whether pedalling or not. Throttle e-bikes are limited to 200 watts output and have no speed cut out, but use the battery faster. Pedelecs are more power efficient, and both styles have sensors that cut the motor when the brakes are applied.

Why Get an E-bike? Health – Although it’s a criticism frequently levelled, e-bikes are not cheating. Every ride on an e-bike is valuable physical activity. Obviously you gain more health benefit the less you use a throttle or the less assistance you ask from the motor, but any ride is a health boost. Utility – The extra power a motor brings to your legs means you can carry more stuff more easily. That’s why so many cargo bikes come with electric motors now, though a basket or rack on an e-bike makes it useful for heading down to the shops too. Fun! Enjoyment comes from peace of mind and that’s what a motor can bring you: confidence that you’ll keep up with the others and get there and get back again. No one who rides an e-bike fails to feel the fun. And ultimately it’s this satisfaction that riding brings that will keep you saddling up.

Mid-Drive Motor or Hub Motor? Mid-drive motors sit between the pedals (or cranks, hence the motor’s other name, crankdrive). These are the motors the premium e-bike systems use, the likes of Bosch, Impulse, Brose and Shimano. These systems employ multiple sensors that quickly respond to your riding to intelligently support you. For instance, a torque sensor knows when you are pushing hard and tells the motor to push hard too. Similarly when you pedal softly, the motor backs off and pushes gently. For experienced riders this is like a conventional bike – the harder you push, the greater the power output – and is desirable. But not everyone wants their e-bike to ride like a conventional bike. If you have bad knees, for instance, you don’t want to have to push hard on the pedals to get a strong response. A hub motor with just a cadence sensor delivers consistent power whenever the pedals are spinning. Another solution for someone who can’t stomp on the pedals is a throttle e-bike. A hub motor can be on the front wheel or on the rear wheel. Some argue pros and cons of each placement and perhaps that the centre offers better balance, but except for mountain biking it makes little difference. Obviously you cannot have hub gears with a rear hub motor.


Feature | 71

Batteries are heavy and while older style bikes have them mounted in the rack, like this, newer ones have them on the frame, lower down for better weight distribution.

Batteries Any e-bike can be ridden purely as a bicycle with no assistance from the motor. However, the electrical system, particularly the motor and the battery, add about 5 kg, so you need at least a minimum level of assistance to compensate for the weight. In practice, most people do most or all of their riding with the highest level of assistance. Of course, the more assistance you use the faster the battery is run down and the shorter the distance you can cover. Also, the sooner you need to replace the battery. Using a throttle also uses up the battery faster. Batteries are becoming more powerful but not larger (although more dense and therefore heavier). The capacity of a battery is expressed as its voltage and amp hours, like 36 volts and 14.5 amp-hours, for example. A handy way to compare batteries is to multiply the volts and amp hours to make a figure in watt hours. So if a battery is 36 V and 11

AH it has 396 Wh capacity. Compare that to a battery that’s 24 V and 16 AH, which has 384 Wh, and you’ll see which has the better capacity. Replacement batteries don’t come cheap, costing $500 or more. Depending on usage you would probably need a new battery every three to five years. Be sure to buy from a reputable company so that your format of battery will be available by the time you need a new one. British e-bike company Wisper suggests longer e-bike battery life comes from three simple rules: 1. Never leave your battery fully discharged. 2. A  lways leave your battery at least 50% charged. 3. If your battery is left unused for longer than eight weeks recharge it for two hours.


72 | Feature

Things To Know

T

orque – the measure of how strong the motor is to keep the wheel rotating in spite of an opposing force such as gravity on a steep hill. The greater the torque the stronger the motor. For a motor compliant with the Australian standards torque output might range from about 60 to 90 Newton metres (Nm).

Mountain bike-style e-Bikes are becoming increasingly popular and come in all shapes and styles. The top one has the battery in the frame’s long front down-tube and the Pedelec ‘engine’ at the bottom, with the pedals. The bike above appears to have front and rear suspension and hub motors in both wheels. I can’t find any details but if so its 2WD drive system would make it the ultimate go-anywhere comfort e-bike!

Grand claims of mighty torque should be taken with a grain of salt. A test ride involving a steep hill is your best guide to how much torque the system has. You’ll also hear debate about the ability of different systems to maintain maximum torque output. Again, a test ride is your best guide to whether the motor is pulsing or consistently strong. Don’t forget to use a low gear for a steep uphill – the motor needs help from the gears just like your legs do. Also you should ask yourself how much weight you’re going to be carting up a long steep hill before worrying too much about maximum torque. Hack – e-bike motors are limited to meet the legal standard of power output. It is possible


Feature | 73 to de-limit them. This comes up in many conversations about e-bikes but it is not legal. By the way, ‘Street legal’ means legal for shared paths as well. More powerful motors for off-road use can only legally be used on private property.

as from disc brakes, hydraulic rim brakes or some form of good powerful brakes.

Expect – to spend $2000-plus: For an upto-date e-bike, something less than $2000 should be approached with caution. To be sure, buy the bike from a shop, rather than online. This should give you some recourse if the bike is unsatisfactory in some way and also ensure that the bike is built up by a professional.

Avoid – cheap show specials of no-name e-bikes might appear a bargain, but like pretty much everything in life you get what you pay for. Warranty and service/parts back-up are vital as this is a substantial investment, so do your homework and choose carefully.

Good brakes – e-bikes are heavy and have more momentum than a conventional bike, so they need superior braking power, such

Buy a decent lock – this is an expensive bike so you’ll need a high-security lock to secure it. Don’t scrimp!

Wish List

I

ntegrated lights – If you’re carrying a big battery around, why not have lights that are always there and always charged? Alternatively and to conserve battery power,

“Ideal for motorhoming as an alternative to a toad or motorbike, e-bikes provide valuable exercise while taking the hard work out of cycling.”


74 | Feature

The bright red aftermarket Copenhagen Wheel comes as a complete battery-and-engine-in-a-wheel solution and is said to be able to transform any bike. Not yet available in Australia due to our restrictive power output regulations, the manufacturers promise a suitable version will arrive. look for a dynamo front hub to power the lights.

Copenhagen Wheel

T

he Copenhagen Wheel isn’t in Australia yet, but it will make it Downunder. A replacement rear wheel designed to fit almost any bike and gearing combination (you specify when ordering), it comes with a large integrated battery and motor inside a bright red casing. It learns how you ride and adapts to suit your style, plus it comes with an app that connects via Bluetooth to let you personalise your riding experience. Automatic gears – the NuVinci Harmony NSync and Di2 with Shimano Steps systems provide an automatic transmission

that changes gear for you. Each system has different characteristics that some riders will love and some hate, but with such obvious benefits we can expect refinement that will make automatic transmission more common in the future. Regenerative braking – a feature that captures energy from the motion of the wheel while you’re braking and feeds it back into the battery. It also aids braking by creating drag in the motor. This is particularly useful on long descents. On some systems you can control the amount of drag by choosing the level of regenerative braking.


Feature | 75

Next Issue: Mrs iMotorhome Goes Electric! Mrs iM recently took delivery of a new Focus Adventura e-bike, a pedelec model made for light touring that seems to have a safe range of at least 75 km. Complete with dynamo-powered lights front and rear, mudguards, a rack, nine-gears and hydraulic disc brakes, it’s a cracker. Next issue we’ll bring you an in-depth review, while those joining us at our Captain Thunderbolt reader weekend in Uralla will get to see it first hand. If you ask nicely you might even get a ride…


76 | Feature

Sharing the Love! An update on our shared RV ownerships experience‌ by David Woodrow

I

n 2014 I wrote a featured article entitled Fare Share on our effort to set up a joint purchase motorhome scheme in Australia (see iMotorhome Issue 40, 18 Jan 2014). We originally considered buying our own motorhome but could not afford the capital outlay or ongoing expense. We realised that many Motorhomes are used for one long trip or a couple of times a year, but then sit in storage for most of the time. Fortunately, there

were others interested in a joint purchase and we shared the initial capital cost and running expenses. The syndicate purchased a Winnebago Leisure Seeker in 2011, with owners allowed two or three months each a year. Subsequently, after a very successful four years, we sold it and with over 200,000 kilometres on the clock. We had originally predicted that with a good resale it would cost us under $50 a day to operate (plus


Feature | 77

a $200 insurance excess) and we actually did better at $46 a day. Compare that to hiring at $240 a day and with a massive insurance excess.

How it Works

S

cheduling has worked out well, with some owners taking their time in separate months or choosing to have none in one year and extra months The New Motorhome the following year. The system is set up n 2016 we continued with the scheme with legally with one of the owners (me) acting as some new owners and purchased an Avida voluntary manager and with a Common Fund, Esperance – the 26 ft model – with a slidelike a body corporate, to cover registration, out and island bed on an Iveco Daily 3.0-litre insurance, maintenance, service, tyre turbo-diesel with automatic transmission. It replacement and cleaning. We have meetings is fully equipped and we have added many twice a year to discuss the scheduling and extras such as a BBQ, generator, solar improvements, and to set the Common Fund panels, roof fan, tables and chairs, security contribution. The timetable is on Google door, windscreen reflectors, CB radio, ground Calendar, accessible to all owners. Our matting, privacy screen, inflatable kayak, and a meetings are more social barbecues and we small 4WD towed on an A-frame. have all become close friends. Most were originally from near the Sunshine Coast but now we also have Kiwis who spend some time in Australia each year.

I


78 | Feature

We are flexible in scheduling and have had little trouble in satisfying requests. The last three days of any usage is reserved for servicing, maintenance, cleaning, etc. We do not have a requirement for storage as the motorhome is on the road most of the time. Also, diesels are best kept running. Four or five owners at any one time is ideal as any more becomes a little difficult to coordinate. The ownership has changed over the years, with shares being transferred with restrictions (like no smoking) set out in the legal agreement. Since the start we have had 16 couples participate. Because we all own the motorhome everyone looks after it and it

is always returned in immaculate condition. We also have a set of ‘hints’ or operating instructions that is added to after each trip.

On the Road

M

y travel companion and I personally love freedom camping and are impressed with the increasing number of CMCA sponsored dump sites. About one day in five we book into a caravan park to recondition: do the washing, refill the water tank, dump the dunny and buy our supplies. We certainly support the growing number of RV Friendly Towns, and also Leave No Trace.


Feature | 79

We added this little Suzuki Vitara 4WD as a tow car for local exploring when travelling. Towed on an A-frame it has proven popular, although not all owners choose to take it.

Previously, at any place we stayed for a week or more, we left the motorhome set up in a caravan park and hired a car to get around and explore the region. To give more flexibility we now have the small 4WD Vitara on an A-Frame, which some of us flat-tow. It is easy to tow and you don’t even know it is there (except when you want to reverse). We also try to organise remote changeovers to prevent having to bring the motorhome back to the Sunshine Coast, thus reducing kilometres on the road and time away. So far we have had changeovers in Cairns, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Our Travel

M

y travelling companion and I have done a three-month around-Australia trip; spent two months in Tasmania; two months up to the tropical Daintree and to the Tip of Cape York, and two months up the centre of Australia. Last year, in the Esperance, we explored southern WA – the area around Albany, Esperance and Margaret River – that we missed on our rather rushed aroundAustralia trip. Towards the end of 2016 one of the owners travelled from the Sunshine Coast and transported the unit across on the Spirit


80 | Feature of Tasmania and explored Tasmania. They then handed it over to us in Launceston. We spent our month in Tassie and passed it on to other owners who had their turn around the Island and then brought the motorhome back on the ferry. They then handed it over to the next owner in Melbourne, who travelled the Nullarbor and up the West Coast before returning home for a service and new tyres, after the vehicle had been away for nine months.

What of the Future

A

fter the three years are up at the end of this year we plan to sell the Esperance and Vitara. If there is not sufficient interest in continuing we will reluctantly close the scheme, unless someone wants to buy it. After seven years we have seen most of Australia and advancing years and medical issues have forced the decision, plus overseas travel beckons. The coloured tracks on the well-used map show that almost everywhere in Australia has been visited. The owners, both past and present, indicate they would probably not have had the wonderful motorhome experience without RVShare. Joint-purchase (or proportional ownership) is a great concept for those who cannot justify sole-purchase, but it does take a bit of time and effort to set up the scheme and manage it. It is amazing the number of articles and photos in magazines that trigger memories of our visits. I have included selected photos from some trips and no doubt many readers will be able to identify them without the need for captions.


Feature | 81

Readers interested in buying into or taking over the RVShare scheme can contact David by emailing richard@imotorhome.com.au and passing on their contact details.


82 | Feature

The best little Op Shop in Australia? by The Happy Wanderer

Grab a bargain next time you’re in SE Queensland…


Feature | 83

P

icture strolling along Adelaide Street in the centre of historic Maryborough, Queensland, at dusk during the Mary Poppins Festival street party. Music is in the air, people are everywhere and the most entrepreneurial op-shop I have ever seen is open for business on this balmy Friday night in July. Decorated in hot pink and black, the shop windows and displays ooze style, with more than a hint of Moulin Rouge tease! Lavelle’s Op-Shoppe certainly got into the swing of the festival, with free nibbles of big strawberries, cheese and biscuits, plus wonderful sing-along, swing-along music. This gorgeous shop offers recycled clothing and vintage wares at very low prices, but when I heard the manager call out, “Fill a bag for $4”, the rush was on! Up the coast another favourite – the Sister OpShoppe and Cafe in Hervey Bay, on Torquay Road – is decorated in the same hot pink style, with separate little rooms showcasing themes such as beachwear, animal prints, and Parisian glamour. On their second birthday I was greeted with a free sausage sizzle and drinks, plus stock at half price. Louise Lavelle is the energy and brains behind these amazing shops. A stylist/window-dresser by trade, she is all pink and black when I ask to meet and congratulate her on her work. A quote from Audrey Hepburn is written on the wall; something about happy girls being the prettiest. Louise glows with the enthusiasm of a passionate lady who has found her niche. If you would like to step back into a former era; one when ladies wore gloves and lovely dresses, or simply like to bag a bargain, these two shops are a must-visit on the travel path of motorhomers in RV Friendly Maryborough and Hervey Bay, in South East Queensland. You will feel great in a new outfit – and for supporting the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary and Australia Zoo Hospital! Don’t wait for the next Mary Poppins Festival.


84 | Travel: Winter in New Zealand

Winter Wonderland!

Taking time to slow down and smell the snow flakes‌ by Malcolm Street


Travel | 85

Look at that view: from the ski fields to snow covered plains and the distant ocean! New Zealand has some of the best skiing available and from Australia’s East Coast it’s a short flight to Christchurch and off you go. Renting a motorhome provides transport and accommodation, but be sure you know how to fit and drive with snow chains. Kiwi motorhome owners, what are you waiting for?

I

t’s a journey done many times on one of my winter skiing sojourns to New Zealand; that is, the trip from Christchurch to Wanaka. Until recently my MO has been to get a very early flight out of Sydney, pick up a motorhome at Christchurch Airport and head south, arriving Wanaka early evening. Names like Geraldine, Fairlie, Burkes Pass, Lake Tekapo and Omarama either just flashed by or were just a fuel/coffee stop. For this trip, however, changed flight times meant I had almost an entire day to meander down south, taking in some of the sights along the way. The conventional route south from Christchurch is across the very loooong Rakaia River bridge, through Ashburton and turn right at Rangitata, heading for Geraldine. However,

I normally do a deviation to Methven, a midCanterbury Plains regional town where a good friend lives and I get a cheap camping spot for the night!

Methven and beyond…

U

p until the mid 70s Methven was mostly a farming community (and it still is), but the opening up of the nearby Mt Hutt ski field changed the dynamic somewhat. Methven isn’t exactly a tourist town, but anyone who’s been an NZ skier during the last couple of decades will be familiar with the place. For the non-skiing tourist it does have some cheap off-season (i.e. not winter) accommodation and is a good base for exploring nearby Arthur’s Pass, Rakaia Gorge and the Acland Falls at


86 | Travel Peel Forest. Given the very flat nature of the Canterbury Plains there are also some stunning views to be had of the mountain backdrop, especially in winter time. Digressing slightly, not far from Methven is the locality of Barrhill. It was founded in 1870 by a Scot, Cathcart Wilson, who wanted to create a model estate village with a market square. The anticipated railway never came and Barrhill flourished for about 15 years before heading into decline. The only remains today are a few old buildings and neatly planted rows of oak, poplar, lime and sycamore along the former streets. Heading south from Methven the towns of Geraldine and Fairlie are to be found. A minor navigational mistake in Geraldine found me heading to Temuka rather than Fairlie, but in correcting the error I discovered the Car and Tractor Museum! I’m a bit of a fan of these because of the considerable number of older preserved vehicles that are all over NZ and enjoyed a quick visit. Also in Fairlie, a brief glance into the local caravan park revealed a very interesting looking Fiat Ducato motorhome conversion. It had a rear tag axle but a surprisingly low profile. Anyone happen to know the manufacturer? Passing the Farm Barn Cafe just before Fairlie prompted the thought of a late morning coffee and not only was the coffee and snack great, but the place had a wide variety of artefacts for all tastes on sale as well. In Fairlie itself I discovered the not-so-fixed attraction of several alpacas who obligingly posed in front of my motorhome, plus the more fixed Heritage Museum across the road.

Up The Pass You never know what sights you’ll see in wintery NZ!

B

etween Fairlie and Lake Tekapo is a small place called Burkes Pass. I was intent on passing straight through but one of the those little quirks that are a regular feature in New Zealand caught my attention. Parked outside the Three Creeks Arts and


Travel | 87

Mixed(up) farming???


88 | Travel

Winter touring on the South Island means uncrowded roads and stunning scenery, especially when the sun’s out…

Crafts store was a very short looking Airstream motorhome. Unfortunately I could not get a look inside but I suspect the layout would have been interesting. That little photographic halt also drew my attention to the museum-piece Three Creeks Service Station, complete with old trucks, and the nearby heritage listed St Patrick’s Church. Burkes Pass also rates a mention again but I will get to that shortly. Not far west of Burkes Pass, as any Kiwi will tell you, what catches the eye is the staggeringly beautiful deep aqua colour of Lake Tekapo. Like nearby Pukaki, Ohau and Benmore, the lake provides a considerable amount of water for hydro electric generation as well as a stunning landscape with plenty of differing vistas for the keen photographer.

Lake Tekapo – the township that is – does have a number of cafes, restaurants and hotels, which is surprising given it’s more a stopping place than a destination. Although the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog memorial draw the tourists, for the discerning there’s hiking, salmon fishing, astronomy tours and golf (not necessarily in that order - Ed).

Snowed Inn?

T

here’s also a caravan park adjacent to the lake shore, at which I spent an unintended night on my return trip to Christchurch because of heavy snow between Tekapo and Geraldine, mostly around the aforementioned Burke’s Pass. You’d think an old NZ hand, keen on skiing, would remember the snow chains, would you not? I was not


Travel | 89

European motorhomes are well suited to NZ’s cool climate, especially on the insulation and heating fronts. It also seems wherever you go in NZ there’s a postcard scene around every corner.

alone though, there were quite a few other motorhomers who had clearly opted for discretion over possibly spending a cold night by the side of the road. Omarama, at the junction of Highways 8 and 83 isn’t particularly memorable, although for me it is. Many years ago on a late evening run to Queenstown (you know like 7:00 pm), we had to extricate the service station owner out of the pub to fill two cars with petrol. These days of course, the town boasts two service stations and several good eateries, not to mention the local caravan park. Wanaka isn’t far away now but there’s one minor hurdle: Lindis Pass. Normally not much of a problem, it was actually snowing lightly when I drove through, which did make for some great photos at the scenic reservation, but fortunately snow chains were not a consideration.


90 | Travel

Breathtaking (especially if you fell in!) Lake Tekapo is good for boating and fishing as well as photography. The iconic Church of the Good Shepherd sits by the lakeshore on the edge of Lake Tekapo township and is well worth a visit and holiday snap or three… As a base for skiing activities, I have to say that Wanaka is definitely my preference over Queenstown. It has a quiet beauty overshadowed by the spectacular sights of its southern neighbour on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, but still has much to offer and I’m going to leave Wanaka for next time. As noted, I have done the above trip many times but on this occasion at a slightly slower pace. It meant that I had time to observe one of the quintessential characteristics of travel in New Zealand – the oft-changing, oft-quirky surprises that lie around every corner....


Travel | 91

This bronze Collie Dog Memorial was erected in 1968 as a tribute to the region’s hard working sheep dogs. It stands close to the Church of the Good Shepherd.


92 | 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 | 93

Collinsville, Queensland

J

ust inland of the Whitsunday Coast is the quaint country town of Collinsville, 1140 kilometres north-west of Brisbane. Collinsville was established in 1922, with a hospital opening in 1926 and electricity being connected in 1947. With a history built around mining, the town is renowned for being the last mine to use working horses underground and is aptly referred to as The Pit Pony Capital of Australia. The origins of Collinsville can be explored through its many museums and historical attractions, including the Coal Face Museum, the Pit Pony Experience and the Historic

Bowen River Pub. The Bowen River Rodeo is held each year on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June and offers a fun and exciting country experience. Collinsville Showground, on Railway Road, provides parking for RV travellers for up to 72 hours at no cost. The showground has a free dump point and potable water, and pets are permitted on leads. The popular Workers’ Club is located right across from the showground, kindly offering the use of toilet and shower facilities.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Collinsville Info Centre 81 Garrick St, Collinsville P: 07 4785 5795 www.collinsvilleconnect.com.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Collinsville Showground, Railway Rd

Short & Long Term Parking

Collinsville Showground, Railway Rd, (72hrs), nil charge, pets on lead, water

Dump Point

Collinsville Showground, Railway Rd (Lat Long: -20.5562, 147.8489

Potable Water

Collinsville Showground, Railway Rd


94 | Travel

Hopetoun, Western Australia

H

opetoun is a charming seaside village 591 kilometres south-east of Perth. It sits on the shores of Mary Ann Haven, which was once the port for the Phillips River Goldfield. The coastline boasts endless pristine beaches and scenic drives, especially the Southern Ocean Road, with its many lookouts and access points to beaches.

of spectacular wilderness, the park contains 15 percent of Western Australia’s plant species, 22 mammal species, 41 reptile and more than 200 species of birds.

For visitors the Esplanade Car Park offers parking for up to 24 hours at no cost. Bins are provided and pets on leads are also permitted. A dump point is located four kilometres north West of Hopetoun is the entrance to the of town on the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe Road, Fitzgerald River National Park, one of the largest and potable water is accessible on Veal Street. and most botanically significant National Parks Hopetoun village also offers a range of diverse in Australia. Spread across 330,000 hectares gift shops, local cuisine, and cafes.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking

Dump Point Potable Water

Hopetoun Community Resource Centre Veal St, Hopetoun WA P: 08 9838 3062 E: visit@fitzgeraldcoast.com.au www.fitzgeraldcoast.com.au Veal St near shops, Hopetoun Esplanade Car Park east of town centre, (24hrs), no generators within town boundary, bins, pets on lead, mobile coverage, nil charge Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe Rd, 4km N of town (Lat Long: -33.9192, 120.1371) Veal St near the playground, Hopetoun


Travel | 95

Cohuna, Victoria.

C

ohuna is in the Loddon Murray Region of Northern Victoria, some 280 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. It’s a picturesque town in a natural setting on the banks of Gunbower Creek, and only a 10 minute drive to the Murray River. A bridge that crosses the creek provides access to Gunbower Island, which is comprised of the Gunbower National Park and State Forest, home to more than 160 species of native water birds and numerous species of native animals. With an variety of water and nature-based activities on offer, visitors to Cohuna will find plenty to fill in several days. Canoeing, bird

watching, bush walking and picnics by the creek are just some of the pastimes enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Visitors have access to RV parking at Flora Park for up to 72 hours. There is no cost to stay and pets on leads are welcome. A free dump point can be found on Cohuna Island Road (opposite the entrance to the holiday park) and potable water is accessible on King George Street. The Cohuna Golf Course also offers long term stays with a negotiable time limit for just $10 per vehicle per night, including use of all club house facilities.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Gateway to Gannawarra Visitor Info Centre 90 King George St, Cohuna, VIC P: 03 5456 2047 www.gannawarra.vic.gov.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

90 King George St, Cohuna

Short Term Parking

Flora Park, Cohuna Island Rd, pets on lead, (72hrs), nil charge

Long Term Parking

Flora Park, Cohuna Island Rd, pets on lead, (72hrs), nil charge

Dump Point

Cohuna Island Rd, opposite entrance to the Cohuna Waterfront Holiday Park (Lat Long: -35.8048, 144.2258) 90 King George St, Cohuna

Potable Water


96 | My On my Town mind

St. Kilda, SA!

A small town with a lot to offer.... by Sharon Hollamby

O

riginally a simple seaside town, St. Kilda was named by the founder of nearby Salisbury, John Harvey, because the abundance of birdlife reminded him of St Kilda in Scotland. With over 100 species of birds around the mudflats, salt lagoons, seagrass beds and mangroves, St Kilda has become an internationally recognised bird watching area. By 1873 fishermen had established 13 huts and a boathouse in the area and people became attracted to the mangrove mud, which was believed to have curative properties. The beach became popular for swimming and crabbing. The islands were extensively modified in both 1948 and 1957 after floods cut off St Kilda from the rest of Adelaide. Salisbury Council built up the area by expanding the seawalls and reclaiming additional land by dumping earth spoil. The hotel was built in 1898 and remains the suburbs only hotel. A school was built in 1902, but closed permanently in 1949 with

students transported to nearby Salisbury North schools. St Kilda’s population has never been large and even today only has a around 100 people, along with their local council these people have a vision for their town. Recently I chatted with Michael Cook – or Cookie as he prefers to be known – who has lived in the area for 12 years. Cookie’s sister Robyn owns Tackle and Tucker and although injuries and illness makes it difficult, he likes to help her out where he can. The thing he loves to do the most is chat to visitors! What’s St. Kilda best known for? “St. Kilda would be best known for the adventure playground, fishing, the mangrove trail and is now also the Adelaide international bird sanctuary. It is amazing and birds fly here from all over the world, some from as far as


My Town | 97 Russia and Alaska. It is a real bird watchers paradise.”

Where’s the best place for coffee? “Tackle and Tucker of course!”

When’s the best time to visit? ‘Spring, autumn and early summer are the best for the playground as the metal parts on the play equipment can get hot in full summer so you need to be aware of that. Anytime is great for the bird watching as we have a good variety of migrating birds that come and go. Fishing between September and May for snapper, winter for squid and salmon, and any month that ends in an ‘r’ for crabbing, although they are still around in January and February.

What about the best places to eat? “Tackle and Tucker have old fashioned hamburgers with real quality meat, super crunchy chips and foot long hot dogs, to mention a few. We have an outdoor café area so you can enjoy the scenery while you have a great feed. The pub also has meals which I’ve heard are quite good and you can enjoy a beer at the same time.”

What are the top things to see and do? “The bird watching is popular, along with the fishing and of course the playground. We hire boats out here so you can go for a cruise if you have the required licence. There are some Port River dolphins here along with their babies and we even have some migratory dolphins frolicking here at the moment. We also have a tram museum that runs on Sundays and public holidays, apart from Christmas day, Good Friday and Easter Saturday. This October long weekend, they will be celebrating 60 years at St Kilda with many special events organised. Entry to the museum includes unlimited tram rides, which run from the museum to the playground.” What about major festivals and events? “Every second year we have St. Kilda Celebrates the Environment, which is on this October long weekend. I organise marine safety courses for those wanting to learn how to drive a boat, and money raised from that goes to the St. Kilda development committee. A couple of years ago the first two hundred kids here got a free fishing rod. Some of the money has also been used for a fish cleaning station, so we are always looking at ways to benefit the community. All event info is available at the shop and on our Facebook page at St. Kilda Tackle and Tucker.”

What’s good to see and do at night? “You can go night fishing, crabbing, check out the the night heron colony, foxes, rabbits and even the odd roo or two. The pub has karaoke on occasion, which can be entertaining. In the surrounding areas we have the Virginia raceway, Salisbury cinema and shops, Elizabeth Cinema and shops and Springbank shops.” How do the locals relax? “The locals love nothing more than fishing, boating and having a good yarn.”


98 | My Town

Recommended Picnic Spots “The playground here at St Kilda is an ideal picnic spot, with electric barbecues, picnic tables and plenty of room for the kids to run and play. There is also a playground at middle beach and a great spot at Pt Gawler, which has an off road 4WDbike track.” Where are the best camping spots? “St. Kilda is a great camping spot and is quite safe as we have security cameras all around the place. A dump point is available, just ask for the key at the shop. Council is working to improve the area constantly and is looking at special designated areas for camping, plus power and showers for in the future. It is also conveniently located close to areas such as Salisbury, Elizabeth, Springbank and only about 30 km from Adelaide CBD” What about shopping with easy parking? “We have the basics at Tackle and Tucker, but for your big shopping expeditions we are ten minutes from Springbank and only about half an hour from Gawler, Elizabeth, Munno Para and Salisbury, all of which have plenty of easy parking.” Do you have facilities for visitors wanting to keep fit? “If you are keen to keep fit then have a go on the activities at the playground. Some people even use the stairs to run up and down each

day. For easier activities the break wall is about 2 km out and back, so that is a great walk. Fishing and crabbing are also great ways to help you stay active and healthy.” Do you have any specialised disabled facilities? “We do have disabled toilets available There is also a special swing at the playground for those with disabilities, just ask for the key at the shop. We also have a pontoon at the back of the shop for people in wheelchairs who want to fish.” Finally, what do you think makes St. Kilda special? “Me! Ha ha.To be honest, it is a small town where all the locals are friendly. They are all quite willing to stop for a chat and share their local


My Town | 99

Fast Facts St. Kilda S.A – Salisbury Council, 12 James St. Salisbury. S.A 5108 Email: city@salisbury.sa.gov.au Ph: (08) 8406 8222 Casual Parking – Available at the St. Kilda Adventure Playground. Also at Springbank, Munno Parra, Elizabeth, and Gawler shopping centres Short Term Parking – At the St. Kilda Adventure Playground. Springbank, Munno Parra, Elizabeth, and Gawler shopping centres Long Term Parking – St Kilda Permit Parking Area Dump Point – St Kilda Permit Parking Area (Key available at Tackle and Tucker) Potable Water – St. Kilda Adventure Playground.

Hospital – Lyell McEwin Hospital, Haydown Road, Elizabeth Vale Ph (08) 8182 9000 Doctor – Springbank Medical Centre, 2/382-396 Waterloo Corner Rd. Burton Ph (08) 8280 3650 Dentist – Salisbury Dental Clinic, 12 John St. Salisbury, Ph (08) 8258 2680 Pharmacy – Chemist King Springbank, Shop 2 Springbank Plaza, 382-396 Waterloo Corner Rd, Burton, Ph (08) 8280 3063 Supermarket – Springbank Plaza Shopping Centre, 382-396 Waterloo Corner Rd. Burton, Woolworths Ph (08) 8259 3720


100 | Mobile Tech

Trips! By Emily Barker

Near or far, short to long – sharing yours beautifully is as simple as reaching for your smart device‌


Mobile Tech | 101 Trips Platform: iOS & Android Cost: Free Size: 90.4 MB

T

hose familiar with Lonely Planet guide books know them as neat, sophisticated and handy-yet-elegant travel companions. In order to remain relevant, these guides have made the natural progression to digital and are now available as apps across all platforms. But the company has taken its transformation from paper one step further, taking on the social media giants Instagram and Facebook in the process.

True to form, Trips is an elegant, understated and sophisticated app containing content from travel lovers for travel lovers. Similar to Instagram in its image sharing, liking and following capacity, Trips is an easy and enjoyable way to document and share your travels and gain inspiration from others for your next adventure. Like most social media applications you can choose to share your own content privately or publicly, while sharing a private trip is as easy as emailing a link directly from the app. The idea behind Trips is to offer travellers an easy way to share their experiences and discover new areas of the world — much like Lonely Planet’s website – but this time via smartphones or tablets. Like Instagram, you can ‘heart’, share and follow profiles on Trips, which makes keeping track of your favourite travellers easy, especially as there is no search feature as such. In addition to uploading images and videos, users can include detailed accounts and maps of their travels along with their photos. This differs from Instagram to the extent that the story is as important as the moments captured, plus there is more emphasis on the experience as a whole, rather than a single snapshot in time. This helps to generate more of a dialogue with the audience, resulting in more of a beautifully presented ‘coffee table book’ account of a trip. This is actually one of the best features of this app, it’s self-publishing. You simply upload some images, add in the locations, provide some text and it transforms everything into a professional looking piece. It’s very appealing, especially for those who are time-poor or seek perfection in presentation! You can also go back and edit a trip at any time, so fear not the dreaded typo or forgotten image! This app is still very young and its target audience is not the typical social media crowd, so the number of users isn’t blowing out into the millions yet. This is a good thing however


102 | Mobile Tech

as it’s more of a niche market app – by travel enthusiasts for travel enthusiasts. You can reach into various categories via the discover tab for more refined results, and these include adventure, wildlife and nature, cities, ruins, road trips, festivals and events, arts and culture and food and drink to name a few. In terms of functionality, this app is very professional. It has limited features but this does not detract from its appeal at all; in fact it increases it if anything. It’s uncluttered and easy to navigate with just five bottom-ofscreen tabs: home, discover, create, activity

and your own profile. The lack of any specific search feature is really the only thing missing, even if it only were to define trips by locality or even country. But perhaps this is only fitting of the global nature of Lonely Planet itself?


Advertisers' Index | 103

Advertisers' Index AirBag Man  Albury Wodonga RV World 

32 3

RV Specialists

32

Skytracks33

Amphibian32

Smart RV

13

Australian Motor Homes

Smart RV

59

5

Avida9 Ballina Campers

25

Battery Traders Super Store

Solarscreen33 31

32

Southern Highlands  Service Centre

Caravan & Motorhome Books

30

Southern Spirit Campervans

33

Caravan & Motorhome Covers

33

Sunliner27

Duvalay31 e-Twow Electric Scooters

33

Horizon Motorhomes

7

iMotorhome NZ Tour

23

iMotorhome Reader Weekend

11

iTech World

32

Motorhome Doctor

29

Nomadic Solutions

33

Northcoach Equipment

22

Outback Travel Australia

31

OzCampers31 Parkland RV Centre

32

Redarc33 Rise for Damien

21

Robert’s RV World

32

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

32

Trakka5 Wellington Shire

32

Winjana RV

33

Wirraway Motor Homes

18


Next Issue | 104

BY REQUEST!

it’s bright and breezy interior is perfect for lazy summer seaside escapes. We’ve also got an Auto Trail Delaware HiLine with island bed, which like the Coogee is available on either side of the Tasman. Unlike the Coogee it’s European in layout and design, and the pair make an interesting comparison, especially as they’re almost identical in size. Don’t miss them!

Next issue we kick off with a reader requested review of the Winnebago Coogee, a 7.9 m 4-seat/4-berth C-class with a slide-out eastwest bed. Built on the latest Iveco Daily its open plan design promises easy living while

September 15-17

SEP

15-17

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

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

AUG

25-27

JUNE

SEP

Issue 118 will be out on Saturday 7 October. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ? Facebook “f ” Logo

AUG

October 5-8 25-27 07-12 15-17

JUNE

07-12

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

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

SEP

NOV

November 24-26 15-17 24-26 Bendigo Caravan & Camping Leisurefest Bendigo Racecourse Racecourse Road, Ascot. VIC. 3551. • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (Sunday 4:00 pm) • Parking: Free • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U15 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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

J

07-

iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand Issue 117 - September 2017  

All about motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand!

iMotorhome Australia & New Zealand Issue 117 - September 2017  

All about motorhomes and campervans in Australia and New Zealand!