AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Best of British!
Either side of the Tasman AutoTrail is one of the best…
$50 for the! best letter
Fuel cells explained
Relocation! Relocation! Relocation!
The Cruisinator by Bonetti Campers…
Focus Adventura eBike
2 | About iMotorhome
iMotorhome Magazine is published monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Facebook “f ” Logo
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4 | On my mind
Working the System The world is full of loyalty programs, some worthwhile and others of dubious value. It seems every company has a membership card to attract and retain your business and like you, I suspect, I tire of them. I have, however, nailed my colours to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and several of its associates, because I find them valuable. If you’re bewildered by loyalty programs and think them a waste of time, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Moreover, if you’re retired and not using them you’re not making the most of your limited spending power. Let me explain. Although many people prefer cash and debit cards, credit cards are an invaluable tool when used responsibly. Because of this business and the travel I do, I use several credit cards that give Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I do, however, make sure to pay the cards in-full by the due date to avoid interest. Many credit cards have sign-on bonuses – usually 50,000 - 100,000 points – that you can convert to frequent flyer points and these go a long way to getting you going. For example, with Qantas 50,000 points is good for 3 return economy fares between Sydney and Melbourne or Sydney and Brisbane. The real power of such programs comes from combining credit cards with special offers, and here’s a real world example. Qantas has an online business called Qantas EpiQure. Think of it as an upmarket bottle-shopcum-gourmet-deli. For the most part it’s cheaper to buy wine at Dan Murphy’s or the like, but each month Qantas EpiQure has specials that attract up to 10,000 bonus points (usually for a dozen bottles in the $25-40 per bottle range). However, just before then end of last financial year a special briefly appeared with 15,000 points per dozen and quickly doing ‘the math’ I ordered 12 dozen at $360 per dozen. That was 144 bottles of very nice wine for a total of $4320, on an American Express card that gave 1.5 points per dollar spent. We normally spend $300-$400 a month on wine, and I reasoned I was simply ‘forward purchasing’ the best part of a year’s supply. When the dust settled
I had 199,440 Qantas Frequent Flyer points; comprising 180,000 from the bonus offer, 12,960 from Qantas EpiQure (3 points per dollar) and 6480 from American Express (1.5 points per dollar). What could almost 200,000 points buy? A single Qantas return business class ticket from Sydney to Dallas, worth $7500-$11,000 depending on the time of year, or a pair of return Qantas business class tickets from Sydney to Hong Kong, worth at least $7500. Not bad for $4320, and that’s not counting the ‘bonus’ of 144 bottles of good red… And that’s how I came to take Mrs iM to Christchurch last week for her birthday, first class on an Emirates A380 on the way over and in business class on the way back! Although worth less than the examples above we’re still miles ahead (and have 20,000 of those points left over), plus when we got home we opened a good bottle of red to celebrate. They say to work smarter, not harder. Working the system is one way you can do it and while it might not always work out as spectacularly as this, there are plenty of smaller, special wins out there to be had. A good place to start for travel is subscribing to a free email newsletter called Points Hack, which you can find here. You’ll also find Qantas Frequent Flyer here and Qantas EpiQure here Enjoy!
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6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Tested: Auto-Trail Delaware Hi-Line
Tested: Bonetti Campers’ Cruisinator
Technical: Fuel Cells Explained
Working the system…
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Street View Times are a changin’
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
Best of British – Either side of the Tasman Auto-Trail is one of the best…
Super Trooper – An affordable LandCruiser Troop Carrier conversion
FreshTec Thinking – Duvalay’s cool new mattress
There’s room for fuel cells in a post-oil future
Relocation! Relocation! Relocation!
Sydney’s M7 bike track
Hunter Elvis Festival!
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
Pack you dancing shoes!
Three more RV Friendly Towns
HotDoc medical app
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
8 | Street View
Times are a changin’ and campervan conversions. Even today there are still a few lurking around and still on the road, carefully preserved by their owners. Another sight that’s common on NZ roads during the same time period and even up to a decade ago was the ubiquitous house truck. That is, a truck on which something like a small house, usually wooden, was built, often complete with steps, doors and windows all made in the same style. In this part of the world they are and were a somewhat unique feature of New Zealand, being considerably less common in Australia.
Haera mai! For people in Australia in the late 70s and 80s, New Zealand was something of a Mecca for those who liked British cars, circa 1950/1960. Indeed some, like the Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet, were never seen in Australia at all. Given the Kiwi penchant for keeping things running longer than most, it wasn’t until the arrival of second hand Japanese cars en masse that British cars really disappeared. A substantial number were then stored in old garages and the like, staying there until becoming the “barn finds” of today. I can tell you where in a certain Canterbury Plains township there are a couple of well preserved Ford Zephyrs if you are interested… The same applied to vans and trucks. So for someone like yours truly, with more than a passing interest in Bedford TK trucks and CF vans, as well as ERF lorries, NZ was a great place for touring, camera at the ready. Some of those TKs and CFs eventually became motorhomes and campervans. One of the best TK conversions I ever saw was at Waipu Cove, Northland, and started life as a 4WD bus – used on ski mountain roads and similar – before the owner did the amazing conversion. Similarly, Bedford CFs were often used as the basis for both motorhome
One of the best I ever saw was in a carpark somewhere in the Bay of Islands. It really wasn’t a motorhome at all but a fifth-wheeler, and quite a large one at that. The owner had built it for his family and had incorporated two separate bedrooms for his daughters, complete with their own Harry Potterlike stairways. Even now I don’t quite know how the builder imaginatively fitted everything in because in Dr Who parlance, it was very Tardis like! Like old British cars and Bedford TKs and CFs, house trucks are considerably rarer these days and seeing one on the road is much more unusual. When I started in the RV journo business nearly 20 years ago, owner built motorhomes (whatever the style) were not unusual. Indeed, walking around a club rally/muster, they were quite common and I would often feature them in the magazine I worked for at the time. These days, commercially built motorhomes have very much taken over for a variety of reasons including compliance and/or a lack of time or the necessary skills. I’m not sure if that shows my age but I think we are the poorer for it.ere ra, Keep on motorhoming! Haere ra,
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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Problem Licked! You might think this contribution just a tongue in cheek idea, but it is much more than that – it’s tongue on plate! Last year I attended the Bathurst CMCA rally, at which we all had to empty our grey water into big plastic communal tanks rather than let it out on the grass or down a drain. When I took the cap off the plastic tank to pour my grey water in, my head spun from the pong. I realised then that the food particles that gurgle down the kitchen drains in motorhomes must ferment and it occurred to me that anything I could do to prevent this from happening would be worthwhile.
I licked my plate clean after a delicious meal on the Safari that followed the CMCA rally last year, and was spotted by the waitress who thought it was a huge joke. Then she realised that it was a compliment to the chef and headed off to tell him. You can’t imagine the effort I have to apply to restrain myself in public after I finish a tasty juicy meal at a restaurant. At least I can indulge my plate clean-up routine after every meal in my own little Polly!
Linking that revelation to my aversion to waste and love of food (my own cooking in particular), and you have an inkling of what I am about to recommend to your readers: At the end of every meal, I now lick my plate. This leaves my breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates licked clean of all the delicious residues and makes washing up so much easier. It also leaves the dinner plate clean, ready for dessert, thus reducing the number of plates needed, and the amount of washing up to be done.
Well Di it certainly sounds like you’ve got that problem licked! Thanks for sharing; just remember not to bite the plate if the meal is particularly delicious. I’m awarding you this issue’s $50 prize for a simple solution to what is not just an odour issue, but a pollution problem. Anything that can reduce grey water contamination when its released is worthwhile, even if some people might find the solution – hard to swallow…
Best regards, Di.
12 | On your mind
Big Adventure Well, what a saga the last few months have been. Last time I was in contact our Winnebago was about to go up for sale. I put it on Caravan and Camping Sales and although cheaper and with more features than three others it failed to generate much interest. I parked it on the street around the corner, which generated a lot of enquiries but no cigar. We were about to head off to Japan and had arranged storage, as we cannot use until a big trip to Darwin/North West WA next June, when a newsletter from my insurer CIL came through with an article on renting out your motorhome. I think you had a similar article a few months back however I did not read as at that time Winnie up for sale. Well low and behold I have 10 firm bookings and 3 awaiting confirmation! All up it should generate around $10,000 of bookings for my unit that otherwise would have been sitting in a paddock. The organisation is called Camptoo and has been operating in Europe for the last few years, so the system has been fine tuned and runs like
clockwork. The MD is Swiss, which helps. They generate the enquiries, vet applicants, handle all the paperwork and all the money matters. I could not be happier. On another matter the Government has handballed the decision on import of motor vehicles from UK and Japan. I think we should call them the procrastinators rather than a government. Like many I considered Malcolm Turnbull the smartest kid on the block, however self interest and preservation seems to be the order of the day. Regards, Tim. Well, that sounds like quite an adventure Tim. Interesting about Camptoo, especially as your insurer let you know about it. Let me know how it actually works out as I have a vague unease about letting someone else drive ‘my baby’. Re importing a vehicle, yes, our Federal Government is very disappointing, but isn’t politics always about self-interest and preservation?
Mind the Gap… Thank you for an informative magazine. You mentioned a small gap at bottom edge of the new side-door insect screen on Project Polly and asked for ideas to seal it. Perhaps try some ‘fridge door seal magnet strip’ in the bottom hem of the screen. This magnet strip may grip to the metal doorstep of the vehicle. If not, add a strip of ferritic stainless steel or well painted steel on the doorstep. If door seal magnets are not strong enough in windy conditions, try some eBay “Super strong rare earth Neodymium magnets”. However, too many strong magnets make it
harder to push open the screen. I have used fridge magnet strips for years on my own minimotorhome – a Subaru Forester – to help retain screening around windows and hatch. Regards. Rob. Thanks for the suggestions Rob, very interesting. I’ll have a close look at the potential contact areas and decide which way to go from there. You must send me some photos of your Forester – I’m thinking it would indeed be a mini-motorhome!
14 | On my mind
Thuling Along… I enjoyed reading the ebike article in the September issue. We own two and having recently acquired a VW Trakkadu AT, have fitted a Thule Velospace 918 bike rack to the rear. It comes with a simple ramp which enables one to roll the ebikes up onto the rack, which lies in the same plane as a rear bumper bar. This helps, given the extra 8 kilos each of these bikes weigh typically. Various clamps lock the bikes securely on to the rack and there are locks to lock both the bikes and the rack itself using a common key. As a side note, the Velospace Rack mounts on the tow ball that in turn is mounted on a tow hitch that forms part of the tow bar. It is critical that the tow ball must be brand new and free of grease to avoid the rack pitching from side to side. The tow hitch also had to be 20 cm in length to enable us to lean the bikes away from the Trakkadu rear door when we wanted to open it (see attached photos) .We have bought a cover to keep the bikes clean as well.
We have just come back from the Central Coast where we enjoyed riding on the lovely cycleways there. The Thule Velospace Bike Rack worked perfectly. We are also looking forward to taking our ebikes down to Victoria to ride them on their extensive system of rail trails. Cheers, Chris. Glad you enjoyed the eBike article Chris. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Trakkadu and Thule rack – very interesting. I’ve looked at the Australian designed and made GripSport racks from Victoria for Polly as they have a Hi-Ride model, which also can tilt, that would hopefully overcome her long rear overhang problem. You’ll have a terrific time in Victoria and the rail trail that starts in Mansfield is a gem. We’ve ridden it several times and I’m can’t wait to return.
On my mind | 15
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16 | On your mind
Food for Thought? Greetings from the UK. Having just completed our circumnavigation of the beautiful Anglesey coastal footpath (130 miles/210 km), we spent the day and evening sampling the delights of Beaumaris, ending up in the one and only (excellent) curry shed. Back tucked up in the motorhome I had the first indications that we were going to be in for a windy night (why is it that only men seem to be affected by this?). Things gradually got worse and when dawn came I had to reluctantly shut the blind on the Heki hatch above the bed. Shortly after it must’ve reached critical mass inside the habitation area and the gas alarm – at the opposite end of the motorhome! – decided to go off, nearly waking up the whole of Beaumaris! I jumped up sharpish to reset the alarm but it was too late, the ruckus had woken up the missus. With my ears still ringing (from Mrs P not the alarm), it got me thinking about some of the more closely related issues of curries and camping: 1: I think I have proved that the ventilation rates from Heki hatches must be dramatically impaired when
the blind is across. 2: Should the alarms be sensitive to methane? 3: Why are bloke’s metabolisms different to women’s? 4: Should the eating of curry be outlawed in motorhomes camping in public spaces? 5: Can the bog standard (pun intended) SOG unit be adapted to connect directly to the bed? Great mag – keep up the good work! Ian. Thanks for a good laugh Ian and, by Heki, raising interesting questions. What is it with motorhomes and curry? In fact, what is it with travel and spicy food? Almost without fail, the night before we go away Mrs iM cooks up an outrageous curry, which we then spend the next day ‘sharing’. I’ve got to say we’ve never set off an alarm though! Excellent points, which I’ll share with our readers next issue and ask for suggestions, perhaps starting with an SOG-to-bedroom re-plumb. Oh, and commiserations to Mrs P…
What Appened? My wife and I owned a number of VW campervans in our younger days, traveling to surf spots ‘up the coast’. With our children now grown up we are hoping to rekindle those youthful activities with the purchase of a motorhome from Campervans Australia at Albion Park – a Mercedes ex-ambulance that will be fitted out later this month. In the meantime I have discovered your magazine, reading up on all things relating to our new motorhome investment (more than we paid for our house!). Are you aware that the iMotorhome app is currently not functioning? I thought I would catch up on some iMotorhome News while traveling this past month, but have had to go back to the website to download past copies, as the app
appears to be broken. Otherwise, great content and I enjoy all the articles. Hope that we may even be able to make a contribution in the future, once we get our show on the road. Regards, Warren. Warren, thanks for your email and glad you found us (and that you like what we’re doing). Also good to hear that you’re getting back on the road. I had a ’74 Kombi camper back in ‘the day’ and sorely wish I still had it! Sadly, the iMotorhome app was discontinued some time ago as it didn’t deliver content the way I’d hoped. Please send me some pics of your motorhome and a story if you like as I’d love to have a look at what the conversion entails. Safe travels!
Jabiru 4x4 Tried & Tested 2 Mile Camp, Finke River
18 | News
SUNLINER’S NEW NZ DEALER
Motorhome welcomes the newest member of the Sunliner network, Road Life RV, in Tauranga on the beautiful Bay of Plenty on New Zealand’s North Island. Rhys and Michele Hunter, born-and-bred locals, are the owneroperators and say they are looking forward to helping locals and visitors alike achieve their RV dreams. Rhys’ background in the marine and recreational vehicle industries began 15 years ago, selling and servicing outboard motors
from premises in Te Puna and later, Sulphur Point. He has also managed an RV dealership and knows the importance customers place on the freedom, safety and enjoyment a motorhome can provide. Meanwhile, Michele has been a journalist and chief reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times newspaper for the most of the last 10 years. Everyone is invited to pay a visit to their new showroom to inspect the Sunliner RV range.
News | 19
For those who love a classic HYMER has arrived. A legend in European motorhome luxury, HYMER is now available in New Zealand exclusively to SmartRV. Sixty years ago, HYMER transformed camping holidays with a new standard in comfort and sophistication. Today the legend continues with the same attention to detail, from cutting edge driving and safety technology â€“ such as crosswind assist, giving the ML-T model unbelievable stability â€“ to stylish design and superior quality throughout every interior. Discover the tradition of excellence and innovation that has made HYMER the choice of discerning explorers. Indulge your wanderlust.
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HYMER ML-T 580 4x4
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20 | News
JULIA CREEK VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
ueensland’s McKinlay Shire Council is looking for volunteers to help run its RVfriendly site next year. The Julia Creek free camping area is for self-contained vehicles only and is a popular stopover for visitors with its creek frontage and short walking trail into town. Successful applicants will help ensure vehicle compliance, fill out permits and provide basic local information to visitors. “Training is provided and there are numerous benefits,” a Council spokesperson said. For more information, contact Jo-anne Butler on (07) 47467690 or email@example.com
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22 | News
TRANS TASMAN VEHICLE SHIPPING
ranz Vanz, a company based in Queensland and with a sister company in New Zealand, says it is all about providing top class processes and services for shipping motorhomes and other recreational vehicles across the Tasman. The business is owned by Kiwis Peter and Mary-Anne Oâ€™Malley, who are now based on Bribie Island. Both are said to have long experience in the freight business, having held senior management roles in international freight forwarding companies since 1988.
a range of equipment, including motorhomes, both ways across the Tasman. Having sold this business and at the same time become motorhomers themselves, theyâ€™ve now turned their attention to establishing TRANZ VANZ. In the process they have developed a 44 step-by-step process to ensure trouble free vehicle relocation. To find out more visit their website here, email email@example.com or call Peter on 0061 403 199 555 or MaryAnne on 0061 403 199 799.
In 1992 they set up their own logistics company that grew over 19 years to become, they claim, the largest independent international cargo agent in Australia. In this business, they moved
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24 | News
SMARTRV’S OKTOBERFEST MOTORHOME EXPO
n New Zealand, SmartRV’s Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo is said to have grown to become a must-do on the calendar of any motor-caravanner keen to see the latest European vehicles on display in a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere. This year, three new models will provide an even more compelling reason to make this a red-letter day. First up is the innovative Bürstner Lyseo IT590. Lyseo was recently recognised at the prestigious 2017 European Innovation Awards, where the T744 model took top honours in the floor plan category. Next, visitors will be among the first to see the compact and “incredibly functional” Carado T348, which showcases uncompromising European comfort at an
affordable cost. Last, but certainly not least, is the highly-anticipated Bürstner Elegance i920G. SmartRV says owners can relax in the spacious and elegant interior and imagine themselves enjoying the epitome of style and class while travelling in this eye-catching fullyintegrated motorhome. Make a note of the date and enjoy traditional German hospitality, special promotions and hands-on demonstrations while viewing these exciting new motorhomes, plus many more. The SmartRV Oktoberfest Motorhome Expo is on Saturday, 14 October from 9 am to 2 pm at 11 Pavilion Drive near Auckland Airport. For more information click here or call 0800 005 312.
News | 25
LUNCHBOX COOKER WARNING
new warning has been issued about more potentially dangerous ‘lunchbox’ gas cookers. Queensland Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, has urged people to return or safely dispose of Active & Co and Jackeroo brand portable single burner butane stoves sold at Kmart between December 2015 and April this year. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recalled the stoves because of gas leaks. “People have been injured in two incidents in Western Australia and Victoria because of gas leaks from these devices,” Dr Lynham said. “The recalled products have a model number
PL-222 and a certification number GMK10262. If you have one you should stop using it immediately and return the product to any Kmart store for a full refund, or dispose of the appliance responsibly.”
26 | News
VICTORIAN DIRT ROAD SPEED LIMIT?
trial of a 70 km/h speed limit for unsealed country roads is being examined by the Andrews Government after the idea was floated by Victoria’s top traffic policeman. Speaking at the opening of a new state-of-theart road policing hub in Melbourne’s southeast, Police Minister Lisa Neville said it would examine the option after a plea for change last
week from Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer. “The ministerial council has certainly backed up looking at some of our unsealed country roads and we’ll be looking at doing a bit of a trial around that to see if it makes a difference,” she said. “This often elicits huge debate in our community but so did drink-driving rules, seat belts and speed limits in the first place. We’ve got to continue to focus on saving lives. We’re currently working with a particular region with councils who are supportive of the idea. This is not just about Melbournians dying on country roads; this is country people dying on country roads and we want them to come to the solutions with us”.
KINGSCLIFF BEACH HOLIDAY PARK UPDATE
he Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park, on the NSW/Queensland border, is set to reopen on 13 April, much earlier than the previously forecast mid-2018 opening. Its redevelopment is part of the $21.2 million Kingscliff Foreshore Revitalisation project to enhance and protect the foreshore, which includes the construction of a permanent sea wall, a major redevelopment of Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park and the creation of Kingscliff ‘Central Park’. “The redevelopment is coming along really well and we are currently ahead of schedule” says Andrew Illingworth, Tweed Coast Holiday Parks unit coordinator. “We have received so many
enquiries asking when the park will reopen so it’s really exciting to be able to finally announce a date, and a much earlier date than was initially forecast”. The redeveloped facility will provide holiday makers with modern accommodation and facilities in a beautiful beachfront setting in the heart of Kingscliff. Local businesses will benefit from visitors staying and spending in the area and the new Kingscliff ‘Central Park’ will provide a space for locals and holiday makers to come together.
News | 27
AUSTRALIA FAILING FREEDOM CAMPERS
ccording to a report by Dr Rod Caldicott from the Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Australia is failing to meet the needs of freedom campers. The former Richmond Valley Council tourism and promotions officer says research for his doctorate delved, “Headlong into the murky swamp of freedom camping”. Dr Caldicott warned that caravan parks were being sold off for redevelopment at a time when more and more recreational vehicles were being manufactured. He also said regulators weren’t keeping pace with the new breed of traveller who didn’t need powered sites or other facilities Despite freedom camping being practiced for hundreds of years, authorities began regulating
camping when caravan parks emerged in the 1930s and 40s, he said. “Freedom camping is a practice whereby domestic or international travellers occupy by deliberate choice a recreational vehicle as a mode of accommodation in an open space that is not bound by market-based commercial norms and camping and/or caravan parkbased regulations.” Dr Caldicott believes the development of caravanning in Australia is at an interesting crossroads in its evolutionary cycle. His thesis encourages freedom campers, commercial operators and communities to collectively lobby government representatives in the hope they would respond to, “Well thought out and united proposals”.
28 | News
NEW TASMANIAN CAMPERVAN RENTALS LAUNCH
ndustry veteran Ken Upchurch has launched a new company, Campervan Rental Company LeisureRent Pty Ltd, in Tasmania. He said continued growth in tourism has given him the confidence to establish this niche product offering. After 30 years working in the Tasmanian vehicle rental industry I felt the timing was right to
launch my own, specialised rental companyâ€?. Ken plans to invest $1m over the next few years in a fleet of current model automatic Toyota Hi-Ace Campervans. LeisureRent offers rentals from and to Hobart, Launceston and Devonport and bookings can be made from the launch date of 6 November via its website.
News | 29
pollo Tourism and Leisure will hold its annual general meeting on October 25, when shareholders will receive the company’s financial statements and reports for the financial year ended June 30. The meeting will be held at Morgans, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane at 11 am. Apollo returned an after-tax net profit of $8.6 million from $177 million in revenue during the last financial year – 39 per
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cent more than forecast. Statutory earnings were 16 per cent higher at $15.8 million. The company, founded in a humble backyard shed in Brisbane in 1985, now has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US and has the license to use the Winnebago brand name in Australia and New Zealand.
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30 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 31
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32 | Tested: Auto-Trail Delaware Hi-Line
BEST OF BRITISH!
Either side of the Tasman Auto-Trail is one of the bestâ€¦
by Malcolm Street
ritish manufacturer Auto-Trail has a well established reputation in the New Zealand market, with both the Auckland and Christchurch dealers offering a good range of models – everything from the van based V-Line to the tandem rear axle Comanche.
Tested | 33 Here in Australia we don’t fare quite as well in model selection, but there are still quite a number of Auto-Trail models available, which is why in this case I opted for a Hi-Line Delaware, common to both countries and in this case, supplied by Sydney RV in Western Sydney.
Although technically a C-class – meaning it has a bed over the cab – Auto-Trail designs the nose and roof to minimise the usual over-cab bulge associated with this class of motorhome. The result is a streamlined profile enhanced by the integration of the awing into the roofline.
34 | Tested
iat’s Ducato is the base vehicle for the Delaware and sensibly, in my opinion, it comes with the most powerful of the Ducato turbo-diesels, the 2.3-litre 130 kW/400 Nm, driving through Fiat’s ComfortMatic 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). Auto-Trail prides itself on durability and to that end its motorhomes come with a 5 year/300,000 km warranty on the Fiat Ducato, a 5 year habitation warranty and a 10 year body construction integrity warranty. Impressive stuff.
Top: Despite slab sides designers have managed to ‘streamline’ the rear through the use of angled mouldings. Right: The Euro-style entry door comes with a built-in umbrella. How British!
Tested | 35
ike any Auto-Trail motorhome, the Delaware is built mostly using laminated panel construction for the walls (40 mm), floor (45 mm) and part of the roof (40 mm). The polystyrene core is reinforced with extruded PVC and has an outer skin of fibreglass and an inner embossed wall covering. Except for the floor, which has a styrofoam core with PVC and a vinyl floor covering. All the moulded panels are also fibreglass, while purpose designed aluminium extrusions keep the entire structure together.
bins and and an umbrella holder (for those British summers!). It does have a sliding insect screen but it’s not a security item. The windows are the familiar European product – double glazed, acrylic top-hinged style, except for the one behind the habitation door, which is a slider.
Highly insulative and tested to NCC EN1646-1 standards, Auto-Trail says it’s good for between -15º C and 40º C, thus comfortably suiting both New Zealand and Australia. Awnings can look like something of an afterthought, but the one fitted to the Delaware is designed into the roof moulding and thus fully recessed when not being used. Similarly, although this Delware is a Hi-Line model (think C-class) and thus has a Luton peak with an over-cab bed, it’s a very streamlined design, with the Luton barely noticeable. The habitation door is a typical European product, with features like moulded-in garbage
LPG cylinders are easily removed from their storage locker, but curiously the door can only be released by a lever behind the passenger seat. You’d think that would contravene AS/ NZS 5601 but apparently it doesn’t.
36 | Tested
hilst through storage across the rear of the motorhome isn’t quite up to that of some European motorhomes I’ve seen, it’s still more than reasonable for snow skis, golf clubs, folding bikes or whatever. Two smaller external lockers are fitted along the driver’s-side wall; one mid-wall and one down low behind the driver’s door. Gas cylinder bins normally don’t rate much of a mention, except that this one is lockless. Just like many of its Euro contemporaries, the Delaware doesn’t have many keys to start with, but the LPG door is released by a lever inside behind the passenger seat. It’s an interesting interpretation of AS/NZS 5601 and certainly one that does not require a tool to open.
The rear boot runs full width and despite not being as capacious as some still has plenty of room for chairs and tables plus golf clubs, etc.
Tested | 37
aving the entry door midway along the motorhome means a layout not unlike that used in many a caravan: bedroom and bathroom to the rear, kitchen in the middle and the lounge/ dining area up front. To me it’s a layout that says, “Come in, sit down and relax”. The overall cabinetry finish is in typical darker Euro-hues, which I don’t particularly like (it’s often more difficult to photograph apart from anything else), but it doesn’t affect space perceptions too much. The windows are well sized and there’s a large hatch above the front area.
n the forward area is one of those versatile Brit/Euro designs that works well, fully utilising the swivelled cab seats. Both can be turned around to meet a sideways lounge on the kerb-side and an L-shaped lounge behind the driver’s seat. Above the seats on both sides are overhead lockers, with the expected reading lights underneath. Fitted into the locker behind the driver’s seat is the electrical control panel, which includes the 12 V system master switch: A useful location to remember. A handy item stuck to the door is a list of all the 12 V fuse circuits. I mention that because amongst many in the RV manufacturing fraternity this is something of a novelty.
Many Auto-Trail layouts have lounges down both sides, but the Delaware Hi-Line differs by offering the more usual European L-shaped lounge/dinette, which interfaces nicely with the swivelled cab seats. It also provides approved seating for two passengers.
38 | Tested
Auto-Trail seems to like mounting its flat screen TVs on the roof between the seats of the cab; a unit that hinges down. Itâ€™s a convenient location for all kinds of reasons but does limit viewing angles to the forward facing dinette seats. Table wise, there are two options: a small round one fixed to the kerb-side lounge that can swivel between the seats, plus a larger freestanding one stored in a small cupboard beside the fridge. The latter is quite a large table and almost too big, and is something of a fiddle to fit in. Indeed the seat cushions and seat base behind the driverâ€™s seat have to be removed to get it in. Two forward facing lap/sash seat belts are fitted to the rear dinette seat, but again the aforementioned seat cushions have to be removed for the passenger next to the window. In addition to the main bed at the rear and the one above the cab, the dinette seats can also be folded down to make up a third bed, but itâ€™s something of a fiddle and to my way of thinking, using the over-cab bed is the easier option.
Top: The small swivel table can be supplemented or replaced by a larger freestanding dining table. Above: The LPG locker door release lever, just inside the passenger door.
Tested | 39
n keeping with many of its Euro contemporaries, the Delaware has an L-shaped kitchen bench. Built into it is a four burner hob, grill & oven (along the wall) and a stainless steel sink/drainer in the return. The latter comes with both a half cover and a small drying rack. Under the bench is a best-use-of-space cupboard area, with shelves and a purpose fitted cutlery tray. The microwave is fitted into the overhead space above the cooktop rather than perhaps above the 190-litre 2-door fridge on the opposite side, which seems to be the trend. This keeps it more at eye level and makes it easier to use as well as safer. Across the aisle thereâ€™s a generous shelved cupboard above the fridge.
The L-shaped kitchen is typically Euro-compact. Note the single electric hotplate and full oven and grill. Also note the moulded tray under the sink â€“ an interesting take on the usual cutlery drawer.
40 | Tested
n this layout there is no doubt a split bathroom works well. Apart from anything, the curved cabinetry on both sides, as viewed from the bedroom, takes away the square look that so often gives the impression of sucking space. On the driver’s-side the shower cubicle, when compared to the toilet cubicle, is quite simply fitted out and features a rather swish looking flexible hose shower, soap container rack and a ceiling-fitted towel rail. The latter item does fold up when not being use, so as not to get in the way of taller people. Facing the shower, the toilet cubicle is quite elegant and includes the requisite cassette toilet, vanity and wall mirror. However, there are extra touches like the light-fitted mirror, shelves and cupboard space above and below. There isn’t room to swing a cat, but it’s more than adequate. A feature that turns the split bathroom into something more integrated is the toilet cubicle door, which can be swung fully open to close off the bedroom and bathroom from the living space. Nice.
Split bathrooms are a great idea, providing privacy for the ‘smallest room in the motorhome’ while allowing the shower to be used without ‘aroma’ penalty. Like the rest of the Delaware the bathroom is well thought out and nicely appointed.
Tested | 41
sland bed lovers are going to score this bedroom setup quite highly thanks to the 1.88 m x 1.42 m (6’ 2” x 4’ 8”) bed. Walkaround space is good and there’s the usual bed side wardrobes and overhead lockers. Slightly differently, the wardrobe doors are angled back to remove the boxy look. Bedroom lighting is discretely done, with side-fitted downlights plus more conventional reading lights. Although there is a double bed above the cab, accessed by a small ladder, the base slides back and the mattress folds over, so cab access to and from doesn’t require excessive contortions.
Island bed lovers will feel right at home. The angled bedside wardrobes are an interesting feature and there’s plenty of natural light and fresh air thanks to the side windows and roof hatch.
What I think
hilst Auto-Trail motorhomes don’t perhaps come with some of the panache associated with their German competitors, they do have one advantage on New Zealand roads: the entry door is on the kerb side. A slightly different comment for Australians is that the Delaware stacks up very well amongst the local manufacturers. In short, the Delaware is a classy motorhome that comes with a layout without major compromises. It’s easily liveable for two or four people and is well worth considering not matter what else might be on your shopping list. Best of British!
42 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Car (Australia & NZ)
2.3 L Multijet 2 4-cylinder turbo-diesel Euro 6 compliant
130 kW @ 3500rpm
400 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm
6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT)
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
8.04m ((26' 5")
2.35m (7' 9")
3.10 m (10' 2")
1.85 m to 1.99 m (6' 1â€? x 6' 6")
1.88 m x 1.42 m (6' 2" x 4' 8")
1.89 m x 1.21 m (6' 2" x 4')
2.08 m x 1.22 m (6' 10" x 4')
Tested | 43
Thetford Caprice 4 burner, grill & oven
190 L 2-door Dometic RM 8551 3-way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma Combi 6E (LPG)
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E (LPG/electric)
1 x 110 AH (second optional)
2 x 9 kg
PRICE ON-ROAD From As Tested - Australia
As Tested - New Zealand
Warranty - Fiat Ducato
5 years/300,000 km
Warranty - Body
Warranty – Body Construction Integrity
• • • • • • • •
Streamlined body Layout with few compromises External storage Table choices Rear island bed Split bathroom 130 kW engine performance Electrical control panel
CONs… • TV has limited viewing angles • Fiddly cushions for rear passenger seat • Non-security screen door • Shower cubicle headroom a possible issue for some • Freestanding table a bit tricky to fit in
Contact Australia Click for Thanks to Sydney RV Google Maps 9 – 20 Lemko Place Penrith, NSW. 2750. T: 02 4722 3444 E: email@example.com W: www.sydneyrvgroup.com.au
New Zealand Dealers Click for North Island Google Maps Auckland Motorhomes 61 Creek Street Drury, Auckland. 2133. T: 09 294 6500 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: aucklandmotorhomes.co.nz
South Island Freedom RV 449 Ferry Road Woolston, Christchurch. 8023. T: 0800 526 625 E: email@example.com W: www.freedomrv.co.nz
Click for Google Maps
44 | Tested: Bonetti Campers Cruisinator
SUPER TROOPER! Convert your LandCruiser Troop Carrier into something super with this innovative camper conversionâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Tested | 45
While any campervan or motorhome can venture down a dirt road, few can truly head off-road. Toyota’s LandCruiser Troop Carrier is one of the most capable 4WDs off the showroom floor and Bonetti Campers’ Cruisinator conversion adds to that ability by making it a truly go-anywhere campervan. The best thing is you can buy new or add the conversion to any 70 Series ‘Troopy’, providing plenty of options at many price points.
ampervans come in various shapes and sizes, but are mostly two-wheel drive (2WD). Volkswagen’s 4Motion system is okay for mild conditions but lacks low-range gearing, while the VW van itself lacks proper off-road suspension and ground clearance. Toyota’s HiAce is 2WD only and although you can buy ‘grey import’ 4WD HiAces from Japan, like the VW the vehicle itself really isn’t designed for the job. Toyota, however, does make a vehicle that’s right at home off the beaten track and it can be converted to a campervan – although it’s not actually a van. The model in question is the LandCruiser 70-Series Troop Carrier, better known as the Troopy, which can be found on just about every Australian farm and mining site. For a while the now-defunct Kea Campers (Australia) offered the Conquerer; a rugged,
go-anywhere 4WD Troopy conversion that is still popular in the used vehicle market. Following Kea’s demise its fleet manager, Stefano Bonetti, bought a swag of parts and set himself up as a one-stop Kea parts and service shop. Along the way he’s added a line of imported slide-ons, but recently released the Cruisinator – a LandCruiser 70 Series Troop Carrier conversion that he believes improves on the Conquerer. And Stefano should know, because apart from his Kea experience he’s an avid camper and knows first-hand what works and what doesn’t. The Cruisinator, to my knowledge, is now the only new Troopy camper conversion available in Australia and should find a ready niche with those wanting to truly get away from it all. it’s seen as a more mid-upper range marque. I suspect NZ gets the up-spec’d British models.
46 | Tested The Key
ey to the TroopCarrier’s success and appeal has always been its rugged simplicity. Until relatively recently a no-frills work vehicle with a simple, six cylinder diesel driving through a five-speed manual gearbox with low-range reduction, it just ‘works’. More recently the engine was upgraded to a larger V8 turbo diesel – an engine Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australia is non too enamoured with – but there are plenty of earlier Troopies out there that would make an excellent and affordable campervan base vehicle. And that’s the key to the Cruisinator: it’s a conversion not (only) a complete vehicle; so Stefano is just as happy to convert any 70 Series Troopy as he is to sell you a complete new vehicle. Key also to the Crusinator conversion is it really comes in two stages: roof only or total camper. That’s means a handy DIYer can have Stefano do the hard work up top and finish the camper fit out themselves.
The distinctive pop-top roof conversion seems to add relatively little weight and doesn’t adversely affect handling. However, the practicality it adds is enormous…
Given such versatility I’m not going to dwell on the actual vehicle in this review, other than to say it feels like every other Troopy I’ve driven, except for the grunt form the 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel. Producing 151 kW and 430 Nm it’s no stand-out in the power stakes for its capacity, but then Toyota diesels never have been. It does, however, hustle the Cruisinator along nicely and works well with the five-speed manual gearbox. If you’re after an auto you’re out of luck, because in Toyota’s eyes that would be akin to calling a Troop Carrier driver a quiche eater, if you catch my drift…
Tested | 47
t’s the body of the Cruisinator – or more precisely the pop-top roof conversion – that matters the most and adds the greatest utility to the vehicle. While it might look a bit top heavy, Stefano’s fibreglass pop-top has no apparent adverse effect on the Troopy’s drivability. While it does increase roof height and adds an angular nose that you’d want to careful about in tight bush driving, once behind the wheel it feels like any other Troop Carrier. The roof conversion appears well made and mates seamlessly to the body. The pop-top section is secured by three latches and while I’m tall and had no trouble reaching them, more vertically challenged folk would be advise to order the optional rear step to make life a bit easier. Included with the Cruisinator conversion is at the unique Foxwing Awning, which incidentally came about as a collaboration between the Oztent and Rhino Rack people. Far removed from a conventional wind-out awning, the aptly-named
The wrap-around Foxwing awning isn’t for quick roadside stops, but is enormously practical in the way it covers the rear doors, which is where you’d usually cook. When stowed it’s reasonably out of the way, but you’d want to watch it if heading into thick scrub.
48 | Tested
Foxwing (think flying fox, not airborne Basil Brush) ‘unfurls’ to cover the side and wrap around the rear of the vehicle. They say it’s a simple one-person operation but a second person is very handy, especially if it’s a bit blowy. Once erected the beauty of the Foxwing is it shades and protects the side of the vehicle and back, which means you can have the rear barn doors open for cooking and be quite weather protected. Like all campervans the Cruisinator is designed for outdoor living and is, in effect, just a big tent replacement. If you want to sit, cook, eat, ablute and sleep inside, in any weather at any time of the year and for extended periods, neither the Cruisinator nor any campervan is for you. Adjust your budget and buy a 4WD motorhome!
Top: The removable Origo spirit stove is designed for use on this fold-down shelf inside the back doors. The shelf also makes a handy spot for a thermos, cups and cake at morning tea time! Note the excellent coverage from the Foxwing awning. Above: The roof is a conventional pop-top and provides plenty of internal headroom.
Tested | 49
hile through-cab access is possible you’ll need to be supple, so the rear barn doors are the usual way to access the Cruisinator’s interior. Having unlatched the roof on your way around the back, once inside a simple ‘heave’ extends it on a traditional scissor lift, with gas strut assist, and hey presto you’re in business, and with ample headroom. There’s good light and ventilation thanks to a pair of screened zippered windows on each side and one in the rear, while zippered storage pockets have been built into part of the roof base and are very handy. The layout is quite straight forward, with seating and dining space on the left as you enter, cupboards and kitchen on the other side and the bed up in the roof. Stefano has gone to considerable lengths to equip the Cruisinator with excellent electrics, which includes a good supply of USB charging Seating is provided on the kerb-side wall and across, behind the cab seats. The recess up front provides legroom to make a dinette by adding the removable table. Note the zippered pockets in the roof moulding (and the LED strip lights), above the vehicle windows. Very clever…
outlets and plenty of LED strip lights, complete with dimmers. While a 100 AH AGM deepcycle house battery is standard, Stefano can optionally supply an 80 or 130 AH lithium battery system and all its associated, sophisticated monitoring and charging systems. Naturally, solar is optionally available and in this case it’s a 140 W system.
50 | Tested
When you need to eat indoors, the small dinette will come in very handy. Kitchen space is good and the drawers are just inside the back doors, making them easily accessible.
Cooking and Dining
As outdoor cooking is the way most campervan owners go, the Cruisinator comes with a portable two-burner Origo stove that burns methylated spirits. It stows in one of the four kitchen drawers by the back doors and can be used on a folddown shelf on the driver’s-side rear door, which conveniently places it about waist height. With the Foxwing awning extended this makes a cosy ‘al fresco’ kitchen area that’s all the more convenient because the two-compartment chest-style fridge/freezer is under the cushions of the rearmost bench seat, by the other back door. Above the stack of kitchen drawers is a section of bench top that extends inside, with a stainless steel sink at the far end and a cupboard below it. The kitchen unit abuts a slightly taller wardrobe unit at the front, behind the driver’s seat, whose height is restricted so the sliding bed can extend out above it.
nternal seating runs along the kerbside wall from the back doors to the back of the passenger seat, then turns right in an L-shape to butt up against the aforementioned small wardrobe. A removable dining table is included that attaches to a wall mount close
to the elbow of the ‘L’, providing a sort of cafe-style dinette for two, even with the bed extended. It’s worth noting the quality of the cabinetry, which Stefano says is machined to very close tolerances by computer-controlled equipment. This appears to be a conversion that will easily stand up to the rigours of offroad touring and the camping lifestyle.
Tested | 51
he Cruisinator’s bed is truly capacious, running lengthways and measuring 2.10 m x 1.45 m, or 6’ 11” x 4’ 9” in old speak. Comprising two sections, with the fixed head section in the over-cab nosecone and the other a sliding unit that sits securely in runners when set up, it’s a beauty many motorhome owners would eye-off in envy. I was also pleased to see a Porta Potti provided, meaning no need for midnight trekking… The huge bed is a two-piece design, with the rear section stowed on top of the front piece, above the cab, during the day and sliding back into place at night. Talk about roughing it in comfort…
52 | Tested
â€œThe Cruisinator is a well thought out, well engineered and well built conversion that lets you convert any 70 Series LandCruiser Troop Carrier into a capable and comfortable camper.â€?
Tested | 53 What I Think
s I said at the beginning, 4WD campervans are thin on the ground. The Cruisinator is a well thought out, well engineered and well built conversion that lets you convert any 70 Series LandCruiser Troop Carrier into a capable and comfortable camper that will take you way off the beaten track – and bring you back. It’s a Super Trooper in every sense and well worth investigating if you want to explore the real Australia….
While far from luxurious the Troopy is a surprisingly comfortable vehicle even for long distance travel. It’s also a proven design with parts and service everywhere.
54 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series Troop Carrier
4.5 L V8 turbo-diesel
151 kW @ 3400 rpm
430 Nm @ 1200 rpm
ABS, dual front airbags
2 x 90 L
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
5.22 m (17' 2")
1,79 m (5' 10")
2.30 m (7' 6")
2.40 m (7' 10â€?) max
2.10 m x 1.45m (6' 11" x 4' 9")
Tested | 55
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Portable Origo 2 burner methylated spirits
75 L compressor
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
1 x 12 V/2 x 2 USB
Hot Water System
Elgena engine-heat exchange
Optional - Porta Potti
Optional - External
Pros… • • • • •
Quality Conversion versatility Practicality Huge bed True 4WD capability
CONs… • Troopy is basic transport • Troopy expensive if new • Usual campervan limitations
1 x 100 AH Optional 80 or 130 W Lithium
Optional - 140 W
Optional - 45 L
PRICE ON-ROAD NZ From
Roof Conversion on customer vehicle - from
Camper Conversion on customer vehicle - from
Click for Google Maps
Stefano Bonetti Bonetti Campers 28 Valdora Road, Maroochy River, Qld. 4561. E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.bonetticampers.com.au
56 | Project Polly
e’ve been ‘hamstrung’ in recent months due to one of our rescue horses nearly severing a hoof in a barbed wire fence. It’s been an intense period of vet visits, confinement and feeding up to five times a day, plus regular dressing and, later, daily ointment applications. The good news is he’s fine now – remarkably and frankly, quite unbelievably – and has promised to repay the vet bills. The bad news is that between that and
Duvalay’s cool sleep concept…
Mrs iM’s job as an international flight attendant, there has been precious little opportunity for us to go away in Polly. Specifically, we wanted to test a new memory foam mattress topper from the Duvalay people, called FreshTec. Not only thicker (5 cm v 4 cm) than the mattresses in our current Duvalay luxury ‘sleeping bags’ (sleeping bags is such a poor description), it’s lighter and cooler. One of the few drawbacks to memory foam mattresses
Project Polly | 57 – indeed any foam mattress – is body heat retention in warmer weather. FreshTec, which is the first major change to the Duvalay memory foam product range since its introduction in 2013. According to director Liz Coleman and Duvalay headquarters in the UK, “Customers will still be able to buy our firstgeneration products, but FreshTec is a premium alternative to memory foam that not only offers pressure relief and first-class comfort, it actively fights heat retention. Thanks to its increased airflow properties, it delivers a fresher night’s sleep.”
Fortunately, we’ll have the chance to test it – well, Mrs iM will – at the iMotorhome Captain Thunderbolt Reader Weekend this month. Mrs iM has already been trialling it on our bed (which incidentally has a Tempur-brand memory foam mattress) and reports it feeling softer and adding comfort, plus it’s noticeably lighter than our regular Duvalay mattresses. Watch for an update next issue to see how it copes with Project Polly’s rock-hard bed base, both as an added mattress under Mrs iM’s Duvalay and on its own. In the mean time, if you’d like more details or want to find out about the rest of the Duvalay range, visits their Australian website here or call Neil and Denise Hobbs on (02) 6653-4640.
58 | Technical
Fuel Cells Explained
As an alternative power source for electric vehicles hydrogen fuel cells have much to offer, says Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australiaâ€Ś
Technical | 59
In conjunction with General Motors, the U.S. Army is experimenting with this hydrogen fuel-cell powered SUV as a potentially near-silent-but-capable patrol vehicle.
s vehicle makers enter a new era of propulsion based on electric motors it’s timely to look at the fuel cell. This cold (or warm) combustion power source is already in service in several areas, including portable electricity generation and vehicle power. The concept of a fuel cell was demonstrated in the early nineteenth century by a number of scientists, including Humphry Davy and Christian Friedrich Schönbein. However, William Grove, a chemist, physicist and lawyer, is generally credited with inventing the fuel cell in 1839.
invest $85 million to add a production line at a GM battery plant in Brownstown, Michigan, and create 100 jobs. The US military already uses fuel-cell electricity generators in large numbers and is evaluating a fuel cell pick-up. To read more about it click here
So, where does the fuel cell fit into the electric vehicle hierarchy? The most common partially-electrically powered vehicles are hybrids, which combine a battery pack, one or two electric motors and an internalcombustion engine. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are predominantly battery powered, but some have a small auxiliary power plant The fuel-cell generator is an (expensive) to charge the battery while the vehicle is alternative to a petrol or diesel portable moving, known as a ‘range extender’. Fuelgenerator, but recent developments in fuel cell Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are driven by technology are reducing pricing to the point electric motors, with power from a battery where major vehicle manufacturers, headed bank that’s charged by an on-board fuel cell, by Toyota, Hyundai and Honda, have released the fuel for which is hydrogen. fuel-cell-powered production vehicles. Because of range issues, hybrid and fuelIn early 2017 Honda and General Motors cell power systems are the ones most likely announced a plan to produce hydrogen fuel to be fitted to motor vehicles for some time cell power systems in the United States from to come. Hybrids are short-term solutions 2020. The companies said they will jointly
60 | Technical
Hyundai offers a mass-market fuel cell vehicle internationally, but not (yet) in Australia. because they use fossil fuels, whereas the fuel-cell emits nothing but water vapour and nitrogen, which enters the fuel cell with air. There is no hot combustion in a fuel cell, so no nitrogen oxides are formed and because there is no carbon in the fuel there are no hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide emissions either. Rather than relying on combustion to drive pistons that power an electric generator as in a hybrid, a fuel-cell vehicle uses electro-chemistry to generate electricity. Compressed hydrogen gas is stored in a vehicle tank and combined with oxygen from the air in the fuel cell. In addition, a fuel-cell electric vehicle is more than three times as efficient as todayâ€™s average hydrocarbon-fuel-powered vehicle, while its range and fuelling time are comparable. The FCEV electric drivetrain and battery pack is similar to that in a BEV and both use
regenerative braking, a key energy-saving feature of electric vehicles. Although the hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity, FCEVs need a battery pack to supply acceleration energy to the drive motors and to absorb electricity created by regenerative braking. In contrast to BEV batteries, however, FCEV batteries are only of modest size, like those in hybrid cars today. Where FCEVs and BEVs differ is in the source of electricity, the time required to recharge or refuel, the driving range and the ability to scale up the size of the vehicle. All BEVs are small vehicles and an RV-sized BEV is unlikely, unless thereâ€™s a breakthrough in battery size, weight and cost. The electric driving range of mid-priced BEVs falls between 60 and 320 kilometres. Tesla is a (higher priced) exception, with claimed range up to 480 km. FCEVs and conventional vehicles typically travel 500-800 km on a tank.
Technical | 61 FCEVs are the base of Toyota’s plan to rid 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from its vehicles by 2050. The company has long contended it’s more likely to convince consumers to use petrol-electric hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles rather than battery-electric autos that have less range and take longer to recharge. A BEV takes half an hour to more than four hours to charge when a highvoltage source is available and more than six hours using off-peak household power.
he obvious issue with a fuel-cell vehicle is: where do I fuel it? There are many initiatives overseas, but very little interest yet in Australia. That’s hardly surprising, given Australia’s governments that are chock-full of climate-change sceptics and their members are in coal-miners’ pockets. However, in January 2017 Australia and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding, allowing for liquid hydrogen to be shipped in bulk for the first time as part of a sustainable energy trade
project scheduled to commence as a pilot project in 2020. The Federal Government is happy to encourage pollution here, but canny enough to make money out of exporting clean fuel to Japan! Ironically, while coal power plants and fuel cells may seem like unlikely bedfellows, this is exactly what’s happening in a joint project being undertaken by the United States Department of Energy and FuelCell Energy Inc. Together they are developing carboncapture technology that will sequester CO2 and nitrogen dioxide from coal burning power plants and use it to power an attached two-megawatt fuel cell. The model they are currently working on is designed to capture about 60 tonnes of CO2 per day. Bloomberg reported that in early 2017 Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Kawasaki joined oil and gas companies Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Air Liquide, Linde, US miner Anglo American PLC, electric utility Engie and rail company Alstom SA in plans to
62 | Technical invest a combined â‚Ź10 billion (A$13.9 billion) in hydrogen-related products within 5 years. The California Energy Commission states that there were 27 hydrogen filling stations operating at the end of 2016, with 44 in build in 2017 and 74 forecast for 2020. The need for a hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure elsewhere in the USA is being addressed byH2USA, an initiative supported by the
US Department of Energy. In Europe there were around 50 hydrogen-fuelling stations at the end of 2016, plus a program called Hydrogen Mobility Europeis ensuring there will be many more. As of mid-2016 there were 80 hydrogen stations operating in Japan and the Government is keen to boost the number to 160 before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
For hydrogen fuel cells to become main stream they require serious infrastructure investment thatâ€™s likely to be restricted to capital cities initially.
Technical | 63 Hydrogen Stations
here has been much written about the dangers of hydrogen transport and storage, with memories of the pre-WWII Hindenburg airship disaster revived. However, any fuel handling and refuelling operations involve hazards. It’s quite likely that if we tried to implement vehicle refuelling as it’s now practised around the world in service stations – done by untrained, unskilled people – it wouldn’t pass OH&S regulations! In contrast to liquid fuels and LPG, hydrogen is much lighter than air and doesn’t ‘pool’ if spilt. It rapidly dissipates upwards.
At present, most hydrogen is produced in plants, then transported and stored, but eventually hydrogen filling stations will simply electrolyse mains water in real time. The technology isn’t far away and several streams are being pursued, including the use of sunlight to split water and ‘particle spin’ to eliminate the by-production of electrode-poisoning hydrogen peroxide during electrolysis. FCEVs are on the way and at the very least will mark an interesting phase of the World’s journey to 100 per cent electrically powered vehicles. Watch out for them!
This shipping container power plant is silent and only produce water as a byproduct. It uses removable hydrogen cylinders and could prove an ideal replacement for noisy and polluting diesel units, especially in built-up areas.
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RELOCATION ! RELOCATION ! RELOCATION ! Like the three rules of real estate we discovered the three rules of cheap motorhomingâ€Ś by Jon Thomson
iring a motorhome can be an expensive business, especially when you factor in relocation fees and all of the often onerous charges the major hire companies like to impose. However, there is a cheaper alternative for those who are flexible with dates and timing for the motorhome trip of a lifetime. For years my wife and I had chatted about crossing the Nullarbor in a motorhome; camping out in the wilderness and taking in the incredible sights of the Treeless Plain while crossing our amazing country. However, the cost and the desire to only do the trip one way for time reasons made the notion difficult to bring to reality A few years ago we came across a couple
of websites that act as brokers or clearing houses for the major motorhome hire companies, who need to get their vehicles relocated between various cities. For around $5 a day you can have access to various motorhomes and campers for a set amount of time to get the vehicle from the pick-up point to a required destination, with a pretty generous kilometre allowance included. The catch? Well the main thing is you might not get the trip you exactly want at the exact time you want, which is where the flexibility aspect has to come in. The available trips bob up usually about a week out from the required dates and so might not suit everyone. For my wife and I, we had earmarked a week or so at the end of her university semester
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Fue â€“ made it! Mundrabilla Roadhouse, just over the Western Australia border. and our desired trip was to drive across the country from Adelaide to Perth. I had to be in the SA capital for business, so it was a logical jumping-off point.
week later we were in Adelaide, ready to undertake our long desired trans-continental odyssey. We went to the excellent Central Markets to get Websites some goodies for the trip, topping up with he websites that broker these relocation other essential victuals from the adjoining details are www.imoova.com.au and supermarket. www.drivenow.com.au. You can Pick-up could be no earlier than 10 am register for alerts specifying your desired and by the time we completed shopping dates and trip, which might or might not and sat through an inane video supposedly yield fruit. We had registered on imoova. briefing us about the vehicle, it was close to com.au and just a week before we were due to be in Adelaide an alert came through noon. We were commanded to watch the 12-minute video when a thorough briefing on my mobile, telling me of a potential by a real person would have been better relocation of a two-berth Britz Venturer and more informative. motorhome with shower and toilet. The departing dates were around the right ones for us and allowed us a maximum of 6 days Britz has a nice little earner in hiring ancillary equipment, including fold up seats at $18 and a 3250 kilometre allowance for the each, a fold up table at $25 and a range journey at just $5 per day, plus included an of other things at equally exorbitant costs, $80 fuel rebate from Britz. The deal offered preying on the fact that most hirers are one us an additional day for $75 extra, with an way and people arenâ€™t going to be able or added 250 km allowance thrown in. Within think to bring their own. We decided to visit seconds I was dialling the number to book the nearest Bunnings and buy a couple of the relocation, which was secured with my $6 folding camp chairs. credit card.
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The Camper came with all cooking utensils, crockery, glassware and cutlery for two people along with a basic linen package including two double sheets, two pillows, two towels and a single doona. Too bad if the two occupants are not partners or don’t want to sleep in a double bed configuration. Fortunately I’d packed a sleeping bag, extra pillow and a swag, just in case my snoring got too much for wife Lisa.
On The Road
e hit the road later than hoped, but with seven clear days we figured we had plenty of time. After a brief visit to the Arid Botanic Gardens in Port Augusta we drove on to our first overnight stop in the small fishing and farming town of Cowell, on the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula. We enjoyed dinner at the pub and retired to the caravan park for an early night. Day two dawned clear but chilly and after
showering and a quick cuppa we were back on the road, heading to Port Lincoln. Then it was back up the other side of the peninsula. A side excursion to beautiful Coffin Bay and a feed of succulent local oysters, freshly shucked for just $14 a dozen from the ‘Shellar’ door, gave us a very inexpensive gourmet experience, savoured on the edge of the beautiful crystal clear waters of the bay. We pressed on knowing daylight was running out, enjoying a quick detour into Elliston to view the spectacular cliff top drive dotted with interesting sculptures. By sunset we were parked-up in Streaky Bay’s nicely located waterfront caravan park, enjoying a sunset sip and the other dozen oysters we’d purchased earlier, as the big yellow sun slipped below the horizon, painting the sky a vivid shade of pink in the process. The Streaky Bay pub offered a feed of local King George Whiting to top off a tremendous second day on the road.
Travel | 67 Crossing the Nullarbor
ast Ceduna the broad acre wheat farms go on for much longer than you could imagine. All of a sudden they give way to low, scrubby, arid country and then just as suddenly, the trees disappear and you’ve crossed Goyder’s Line of marginal rainfall. You are now on the Nullarbor. The signs to Head of Bight had a big chalk notation on a blackboard proclaiming six whales today. We wheeled the Britz VW Crafter onto the well-maintained dirt road for the 12 km trip to the edge of the Nullarbor cliffs and after parking and paying our $15 entry fee we strolled down the network of boardwalks to look out across the crystal blue waters for the Bight. It was remarkable not just because of the calm, almost windless day and virtually swell-free Southern Ocean, but because three southern rights were frolicking in the water with their newborn calves. The whales were spraying water skyward and were so close you could hear the noise of the
spouts. Then we had the hair-on-the-back-ofthe-neck moment as the whale noises could be heard as clear as the day above. The Head of Bight entry fee was worth every cent and more for that incredible experience. The facility is run by the local Indigenous Lands Council and is extremely well done. It’s the thing we would recommend most to anyone making a journey along the Eyre Highway. We’d decided we wanted to have our camp location bedded down by around 4 pm as the sun would be dipping below the horizon around 5 on this mid-winter day. We venturer west to the Nullarbor Road House and topped the tanks of the VW, which was delivering around 13 L/100 km – not bad for a heavy van with the aerodynamics of a block of flats! Another 10 km or so beyond Nullarbor Road House we poked the van up the road to the Trans Continental Railway village of Cook.
68 | Travel Cook is 107 km north of the Eyre but we only had to travel about 3 kilometres before weaving our way through the mulga bushes to find a quiet, out-of-the-way parking spot for the night. We gathered plenty of mallee root and built a campfire and settled back for a cool drink as we watched the sun set and the nearlyfull moon rise. A couple of steaks from the Adelaide Central Market, char grilled on the fire with an accompanying McLaren Vale red
in our million star restaurant, was another highlight of our trip across the paddock. The next morning, amidst a thick fog that had rolled in from the sea cliffs, we hit the road again, stopping several times at the lookouts on the cliff tops, glimpsing more whales and pushing on to the boarder check point at Border Village. Weâ€™d made sure to eat all our fruit and veg before getting to the WA checkpoint.
It didnâ€™t take long to find a place to freedom camp for the night.
Travel | 69 Checkpoint Charlies
towering off into the distance.
have to say the Border checkpoint is not exactly the most welcoming of places, with surly quarantine officers performing an almost ‘East Berlin’ like inspection of vehicles. Not even a cursory “Welcome to WA” was uttered and we wouldn’t have been surprised if our passports had been demanded. At the very least, perhaps an explanation for what diseases or bugs they are trying to prevent entering would be good. It is a throwback to colonial days when we were six different countries, not the Commonwealth of Australia.
At Madura the road climbs back up onto the plateau through the Madura Pass and presenting the perfect place for a late lunch, having picked up time on the clock with time zone change into Western Australia. The beauty of this motorhome is its big scenic windows at the back, around the dining table. The Madura Pass lookout gives a panoramic view of the cliffs and plains below, and shows just how vast this country is.
Eucla was another highlight of the trip. About 10 km west from the border, Eucla’s current hotel and roadhouse nestle on top of the plateau at the crown of the jump-up that is Eucla Pass. Venture down the old pass and four km out to the sand hills, and you can ramble around the old Telegraph station, which is slowly being engulfed by the encroaching sand hills. It is hard to imagine how difficult it must have been for those pioneers in the late 1800s to deliver communications across the continent through the barren, arid lands of the Nullarbor. An hour or so later we nudged into Mundrabilla Roadhouse, made famous by the Leyland Brothers in a Caltex TV ad in the ‘70s. The road follows the old seabed with the Nullarbor cliffs now on the right and
That evening, a few km past Caiguna, we drove up a station track to a fence line, again finding a quiet parking spot suitable for a fire and a good night’s sleep. We whipped up a delicious curry in the van’s galley, sat in front of the raging camp fire, enjoyed a couple of cold beers and adjourned to our bunks for an early night.
The Straight and Narrow
reezing weather the next morning had us awake before dawn, firing up the engine to heat the interior. We resolved to have our hot showers and get on the road at first light for a big day of driving. By 6.45 and with the sun creeping over the horizon we were on the road, sitting on a constant 105 km/h on the ’90 Mile Straight’, Australia’s longest straight piece of road. There’s not a corner to be seen for about 146 km…
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Watching southern right whales frolic with their young was certainly the highlight of the trip!
At around $1.70 a litre, Balladonia delivered the most expensive diesel of the trip. We pushed on to Norseman and then south to Esperance for a late lunch overlooking the bay of Islands, a truly magnificent seascape that again presented near perfect breezeless mid-winter conditions.
You could spend a week in Albany alone, but after a morning and part of the afternoon exploring the sights we hit the road for the WA capital at around 2pm. We headed west through the lovely town of Denmark and then the giant jarrah forests to Manjimup, Bridgetown and on into Perth.
We pressed on to Albany, in hindsight too big a drive for one day at just under 1000 km, making the beautiful town at around 7:15 that night. There, we checked into a nice little pub for a bit of luxury. Our trip was nearing its end and the harshest of conditions were behind us.
End of the Road
fter 6 days and close to 3500 km we had a spare day to clean the Venturer before dropping it back to Britz. We had consumed 449 litres of fuel, at a cost $650.25. The hire charges totalled $130,
Travel | 71 including a couple of sneaky surcharges plus a refundable bond of $1020. Britz refunded our bond in full thanks to the fact we cleaned the van inside and out, emptied the toilet cassette and grey water tanks and ensured the fuel tank was full (cleaning the vehicle is not a rental requirement, nor is refund of the full bond dependant on it â€“ Ed). On top of that Britz gave us an $80 rebate against fuel receipts, so all up we had paid just $50 for the hire, plus our fuel costs. That made it a very economical holiday on the Nullarbor.
We handed our $6 camp chairs to another couple heading to Broome in a Britz and were able to give our leftover food to some grateful, young English guys heading off in a smaller camper. It might not suit everyone, but we will be looking to relocations in the future to explore the wide brown land without having to pay big hire fees or the massive capital expenditure that a motorhome or caravan and tow vehicle command. Give it a try.
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Pack Your Dancing Shoes! Itâ€™s time to get your toes tapping as you travel around Australiaâ€Ś by The Happy Wanderer
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Country dance halls are alive and well, and always looking for people to join in, including travellers. Why not pack you dancing shoes next time you travel?
ave you ever driven along the open road in the middle of nowhere and spotted an old timber dance hall, with only a dirt car park next door? Do you wonder if anything happens within its walls anymore? Well, there is at least one such dance hall that comes to life on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and it’s worth a visit if you have your dancing shoes with you (if you left them at home check out a local op shop for replacements and perhaps an inexpensive evening outfit)! The cream-painted Tinana Dance Hall is located in Tinana, across the bridge over the Mary River, some three kilometres south west of the centre of Maryborough in Queensland. A sign indicates the hall was built in 1884 and not much has changed since then, but it
hasn’t needed to. There is easy parking in the adjacent carpark or on Gympie Road out front. The hall is one of several timber buildings on the edge of Tinana Memorial Park and Sports Grounds facing Gympie Road – number 84 to be exact. The entry ticket on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm is just $5, while its $10 on Saturday evenings because a band provides live dance music. It’s just like it was when we were teenagers at school socials and country dances – the same timber floor and the same Gypsy Tap, Pride of Erin, progressive dances and plentiful home-made supper included in the ticket price.
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They dance some New Vogue dances and some even-newer Partner Dances based on line-dance steps for couples. The movement on the dance floor looks like waves on the ocean as couples move in unison around the floor, dancing the Cowboy Cha Cha and the Rock and Roll Waltz. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t know the new dances; just sit them out and admire the energy and enthusiasm of the smiling local folk having fun or chat with someone sitting at the side on a wooden pew. Alternatively, you could get up and follow behind a couple until you master the steps. Everyone gets up to dance the boisterous Wanderer, even if they have two left feet! Yes, these dancers really enjoy themselves. A few weeks ago an unfamiliar couple was spotted moving expertly around the dance floor. He was built like Humpty Dumpty, but his feet hardly touched the floor. The locals chatted to the couple and discovered that they travel around Australia, and call in to the dance halls along the way to indulge their passion for old time dancing. They were told about the two-night free camp, right in the centre of
RV-friendly Maryborough, and the $10-a-night camp at the old Maryborough Airport, known as Doon Villa. The friendly locals who dance in the hall are very welcoming and would love to see their ranks increased – even on a transient basis. Several ladies who live in motorhomes full-time dance there while they house-sit in the area. Solo travellers always get a dance, as the regulars happily share themselves around. I wonder if this is the case in other localities, but I suspect it is and I will pack my dancing shoes for my future travels so I can find out. If you love to dance I suggest you pack your dancing shoes too and turn up at a dance hall on a Saturday night for some fun, exercise, and a chance to meet the locals.
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“Upon reflection I couldn’t see myself travelling any other way…”
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On The Right Track! D
espite the proven benefits to health, reduced pollution and road congestions, the NSW Government seems hell-bent on cementing Sydney’s reputation as the most cycling-unfriendly major city in the world. Draconian and punitive penalties, cycling lanes ripped up and a headin-sand refusal to embrace what the rest of the world acknowledges – that cycling is good for society as a whole – makes finding somewhere cycling-friendly in the NSW Capital all the more remarkable.
With its own bridges and lofty views from many spots, the M7 bike track is a terrific, traffic-free place to ride in largely cycle-unfriendly Sydney.
Westlink M7 – formerly known as the Western Sydney Orbital – is a toll road that opened in mid 2003. As the original name suggests it’s an ‘orbital’ road primarily designed to provide a fast through-road between the M5 in the south and the M2 and M1 in the north. The road has been a huge success, but like much NSW infrastructure it’s the victim of shortsightedness that saw it one lane too narrow from day one and two lanes too narrow now. What’s surprising, however, is that with all the penny pinching and lack of vision, someone
Travel | 77 somehow slipped in a simply brilliant bike track! Technically a shared pathway open to walkers, joggers and cyclists, it has become a cycling Mecca that is, arguably, the best of it’s type in Australia.
Arc de Triumph
he M7 traces a 40 km arc through Sydney’s Western Suburbs and for most of it, the M7 Shared Path follows faithfully alongside. It’s a four-metre wide carfree triumph of design which, rather than follow the gradual inclines of the motorway, rises and falls with the terrain as it twists and turns, crossing below and above the road more than half a dozen times. Indeed, it’s this rising and falling, twisting and turning, that makes it all the more challenging – and enjoyable. Along the way more than 50 access points connect the suburbs, providing easy access for residents to not only get some exercise, but use it for commuting, getting to and from school and for shopping. Because the path follows the terrain there are only a few places where you ride alongside the road. For the most part you are well above or below, and some of the views are impressive. Also impressive is that the path is illuminated over its full length, making summer nighttime rides fun.
Who and How
iders of all levels will find the M7 Shared Path fun, enjoyable and challenging. Those who love a long ride can do the 80 km ‘round trip, but otherwise how far you go is up to you. There’s about a 100 metre elevation difference between the path’s lowest and highest points and its main hills are around Cecil Hills, 10-14 km north of its southern starting point. A rider doing the full 80 km can expect around 750 metres of climbing in total, so although the Motorway might appear quite flat the bike path isn’t. It’s also worth noting the path is marked in one kilometre intervals from the southern end, so you’ll always know how far you’ve gone or got to go. Along the way there are other cycling opportunities, with gravel tracks and other cycling tracks/paths intersecting (see map for details). No matter your riding ability the M7 Bike Path is a great experience. It’s also an interesting and engaging ride that shows you Western Sydney as you’ve probably never seen it before. And it’s especially good if you want to be on the right track for safe cycling in Sydney. Enjoy!
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When and Where
n weekends – especially the mornings – the path comes alive with everyone from ‘serious cyclist’ looking to beat personal bests to young families with toddlers on training wheels. Despite the potential for conflict there’s a genuine sense of camaraderie amongst users, so riders of all ages, speeds and abilities are accommodated without issue. During the week it’s mainly mornings and late afternoons that are the busiest, while during the days it’s very quiet. While many riders live within easy riding distance, others travel across Sydney or from much further afield. The easiest parking and access point for motorhomes is at the southern end, right where the M7 and M5 meet at the Cutler VC Interchange
The Cutler VC Rest Area has a large parking area, but despite being signposted it’s a bit difficult to find and nothing flash (it also lacks any amenities). Easier to find is Ardennes Avenue, at the intersection of the Camden Valley Way and right alongside the Tree Valley Golf Course. Just park on the street and you’ll be fine. There’s a McDonald’s and Woolworths petrol station right across the road and the bike path actually begins at that intersection. Just cross the Camden Valley Way at the lights, turn right on the path and you’re away! Note: There are no facilities along the way, but signs at various exits indicate the direction and distance to shops and toilets. There’s a single water bubbler at exit 34, some19 km from the southern end and just near the M4 interchange, so be sure to carry plenty of water and at least some food. Don’t forget sunscreen and be aware that Western Sydney can become very hot in summer, so plan you riding time accordingly.
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â€œLife is a bike path, I want to ride it all life longâ€?
80 | Review: Focus Adventura eBike
Excellent Adventura! Mrs iMâ€™s Adventura e-bike is proving excellent in every respectâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
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cross Australia thousands of bicycles gather dust in sheds and garages, victims of failed fitness plans. The good news is E-bikes are revolutionising cycling – even those already riding, like Mrs iMotorhome – by providing a level of assistance that transforms the experience from chore to pleasure. Not that Mrs iM doesn’t enjoy a good bike ride, it’s just there are many times when fatigue, terrain and distance ‘tarnish’ what seemed like a good idea at the time! For me, cycling unexpectedly became a passion. Mrs iM embraced riding to share the passion, but has always struggled because we ride at different speeds. We’ve experimented with tandems with some success, but have yet to find one that suits
our different riding style preferences. When e-bikes came along I started watching, but battery technologies couldn’t meet our requirements for a comfortable 80 kilometre range. However, batteries and drive systems have rapidly developed and recently we took the plunge and bought a Focus Adventura ET e-bike. Focus is a premium German brand with a long history of building quality bicycles and has been at the forefront of e-bike development. What I didn’t want was some ‘show special’ no-name that promised the world but had no history and/or service back-up. The old adage about getting what you pay for certainly holds true with e-bikes and while we could have bought cheaper, we certainly couldn’t be happier.
With everything you need for commuting, sightseeing or light touring (we added the panniers), the Focus Adventura ET is a complete package right off the showroom floor. Note the highly reflective tyre sidewalls, caught in the camera’s flash, which add an extra margin of safety when riding after dark.
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Hydraulic disc brakes: Disc brakes are doing for bicycles what they did for cars – providing safe, progressive braking in any weather. Forget fade, forget grabbing and forget adjustment (unlike cable-operated disc brakes) Schwalbe tyres: These German-made tyres are the world’s best. Long wearing, grippy and particularly puncture resistant, they have a highly reflective ring around each sidewall that can be seen a long way off in car headlights
Adventura in Focus
rs iM’s Focus Adventura ET was a run-out 2016 model that at $2799 – reduced from $3499 – represented good value. Designed as a commuter-comelight-tourer, it has an aluminium frame and an impressive level of standard equipment apart from its e-bike bits. These comprise:
Mudguards: Perfect for all-weather riding Chain guard: Stops clothing getting caught and reduces chain wear by affording a level of weather protection Shimano gears: Nine gears at the back provide a wide range (11-32) for tackling hills, plus a handlebar indicator shows which gear you’re in
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Front suspension: Ideal for bike tracks and country riding, they reduce fatigue on arms and shoulders and improve comfort. Fortunately the added weight is easily offset by the power assistance! Rear rack: Let’s us attach panniers so Mrs iM can carry the picnic, drinks and changes of riding gear to cater for varying weather conditions. Also handy for grocery runs when motorhoming Front and rear LED lights: Hi-tech lights powered by a dynamo front hub so they don’t drain battery power. The headlight is a beauty, with a wide, bright beam that’s from another plant compared to bike headlights of old. The tail light is built into the rack for protection and is surprisingly visible even in daylight. Importantly, both lights remain on for several minutes so you aren’t plunged into total darkness when you stop pedalling Kick stand: A long, strong support to keep the bike upright. All up it’s an impressive package that provides true all-round riding capabilities in any weather and at any time of the day or night.
The drive system is compact and incorporates the pedals and front chain ring. The battery sits above and can be charged in-situ or removed. Tyres are excellent German Schwalbe-brand and typical of the high level of standard equipment.
84 | Review Riding on Impulse
eart of the Adventura’s e-bike capability is its modular Impulse 2.0 drive system. The frame has been specifically designed for it and essentially it becomes a structural member of the bike. It’s located where a bike’s bottom bracket, crank, pedals and front chain rings usually sit.
momentarily backs off the power for smooth shifting. It has three modes – Eco, Sport and Power – or you can ride with the power off, although at around 27 kg plus the picnic she’s a weighty little beast!
Electrical power is the other vital component. In this instance it’s supplied by a 36 V, 17 AH battery that sits atop the Impulse drive (sounds like Star Trek!), between the seat This is a Pedelec system, which means power tube and rear wheel. It can be charged in-situ is supplied as assistance when pedalling, or unlocked by key and charged elsewhere. rather than it being like an electric motorbike. The Impulse 2.0 system is a high-tech unit Up on the handlebars a small display shows with a 250 watt electric motor that delivers battery charge level, speed, distance covered up to 80 Nm of torque. It includes sensors and which power mode you’re in. Activating that detect how much pedal effort you put it – and therefore bike – is via a simple on/off in and compares it to the bike’s speed to button by the left hand grip, where you also decide how much power assistance to give, find the button for ‘cycling’ through the power plus it knows when you change gear and modes.
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Over the Moon!
iding this bike is a revelation and Mrs iM is over the moon. I have to say I think it’s bloody fantastic and it has become my ‘mode of preference’ to get to and from the front gate, some 250 metres down the driveway. Getting underway is as simple as pressing the power button and waiting a second for the Hello message on the display. The bike remains in whichever power mode you last rode it, so once the power is on you just ride away. In Power mode, the moment you apply pedal pressure the bike fairly leaps ahead. It’s a little surprising/disconcerting/ exhilarating the first time, after which it’s just plain fun. From there it settles down and the real fun begins. You still have gears to work with and these are controlled by a mountain bike-style thumb shifter on the right handlebar.
distance you want to go and the terrain. So far time, winter weather and some related health issues have prevented Mrs iM from venturing beyond our regular 27 km local country road loop, and in Power mode that appears to consume about 25 per cent of the battery’s power. In that mode Mrs iM sails majestically – okay, annoyingly – past me up the long inclines and short, sharp hills, but I catch her downhill and on the straights. That’s because power assistance cuts out at 25 km/h and the overall gearing is quite low, so top speed is a bit limited. Down hill you can’t pedal any faster when you reach about 35 km/h. Mrs iM has been experimenting using Sport mode on the flat and Power on the steepest hills. On the same 27 km ride the battery doesn’t register any usage, so range is impressive. According to several online reviews the 17 AH battery is good for a best-scenario range of 205 km in Eco mode, so 100-120 km of mixed-mode riding should be easily achievable.
How you ride depends on how you feel, the The best thing about a pedelec (pedal assisted) e-bike is you still have to pedal, therefore reaping an exercise benefit with every ride. Far from cheating, you can decide the amount of assistance and even ride with the power off. It’s the best of both worlds and highly recommended. Oh yes, it’s also great fun!
86 | Review What I think
t’s difficult not to be impressed by the Focus Adventura ET. It’s available in womens and mens styles and while Focus make other e-bikes, including mountain bikes, next year, apparently, it has a ‘proper’ mens racing-style road bike coming. We’re thoroughly impressed and have no hesitation in recommending this particular bike or the Impulse 2.0 drive system, which is also available on e-bikes from other manufacturers. Perhaps the best thing to know is that this style of e-bike isn’t ‘cheating’ and doesn’t rob you of exercise. You still have to work and Mrs iM gets a good workout on our rides, it’s just that now she can dictate the level
of workout. Think of it as the best of both worlds: assistance when you need it and none when you don’t. It’s the future of cycling, especially for older people and, along with electric cars, is already quietly revolutionising the way we travel. What’s next? Self-balancing e-bikes are already in the works and it won’t be too long until you can ride a bike that not only takes away the hard work, it won’t let you fall over either. Imagine that! Until then start with an e-bike and get yourself into shape. Life’s an adventure and this is one excellent Adventura. To find out more about Focus e-bikes click here
For RVers an e-bike like this Focus Adventura makes a lot of sense and can be used for everything from sightseeing and shopping to simply keeping fit. Just be sure to keep it under lock-and-key as others might find it tempting too…
Review | 87
88 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival
RV Friendly Towns T
he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country. An RV Friendly Town™ (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers. When RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain
services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. To find out more about RV Friendly Towns and Destinations visit the CMCA’s website by clicking here. For an interactive map of all RV friendly Towns, click here. This month’s featured RV Friendly Towns are:
Travel | 89
Norseman, Western Australia
orseman is a historic gold mining town located at the junction of the Eyre and Collgardie-Esperance Highways, approximately 726 kilometres east of Perth. The town was named by Lawrence Sinclair in 1894, who, according to legends, discovered part of a gold reef that his horse Norseman had pawed-up during the night.
news agency, chemist, and auto repairs. There is plenty to see in and around the town, such as the Dundas Rocks, which are approximately 22 kilometres away and ideal for bushwalking and picnics. Visitors can also try their hand at fossicking for gemstones in the nearby bushland, with permits and directions available from the visitor centre.
Sitting at the gateway to Western Australia and the Nullarbor, Norseman makes an ideal break in the journey when heading in either direction. The town centre has everything you need for a convenient stopover, including a supermarket,
The Norseman Recreation Reserve provides short term parking for up to 48 hours at no charge, with a dump point and potable water located nearby at the Norseman Visitor Centre on Robert Street.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Norseman Visitor Centre 68 Robert St, Norseman WA P: 08 9039 1071 E: email@example.com
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Roberts & Talbot St, Norseman
Short Term Parking
Norseman Recreation Reserve, Mildura St, 48hr, nil charge, bins, pets on lead
Norseman Visitor Centre, 68 Robert St, free to CMCA members only (Lat Long: -32.1960, 121.7804)
Norseman Visitor Centre, 68 Robert St
90 | Travel
Bulahdelah, New South Wales
he riverside town of Bulahdelah is found on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, approximately 235 kilometres north-east of Sydney. The town was named after an aboriginal word meaning ‘the meeting of waters’, due to its location on the Myall River near the Crawford River junction. Bulahdelah is the gateway to the Myall Lakes region and is a popular holiday destination thanks to its many national parks and waterways. A range of services are offered in town including a supermarket, butcher, bakery, hardware store, service stations, and mechanical repairs. Visitors will also find several Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking Dump Point Potable Water
dining options including cafes, a bowling club, pubs and take-away stores. Short and long-term parking is available at Lion’s Park, on the Pacific Highway, for up to 72 hours. Donations are requested via the honesty box on-site, with proceeds going to the Lion’s Club, whose volunteers maintain the site. The donations assist with ongoing improvements to facilities within the community. Pets are allowed on leads, while bins and potable water are available on site. A free dump point is located at the Bulahdelah Showground, on Prince Street.
Bulahdelah Visitor Information Centre Cnr Crawford St & Pacific Hwy, Bulahdelah NSW P: 02 4997 4981 www.greatlakes.org.au Crawford St btwn Pacific Hwy & Meade St & along Meade St Lion’s Park, Pacific Hwy, (72hrs), water, bins, pets on lead, donation box Bulahdelah Showground, Prince St (Lat Long: -32.4030, 152.2033) Lions Park, Pacific Hwy Bulahdelah
Travel | 91
Moonta, South Australia
oonta is on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, approximately 165 kilometres north-west of Adelaide. The town has a strong Cornish mining heritage, which is evident in the many restored buildings, museums, and cemeteries. Moontaâ€™s close proximity to Moonta Bay and Port Hughes makes it a popular holiday destination, providing jetties, safe swimming beaches and the clean waters of the Spencer Gulf, which draws visitors to the region during the warmer months. While visiting, be sure to stop in at the Moonta Mines Museum, where train rides on the award-winning Moonta Mines Tourist Railway
depart from. The train takes passengers on an entertaining 50 minute journey through historic landmarks of the former mining operations. RV travellers will find Moonta a convenient stopover point to explore the Copper Coast and pkearking is available for up to 48 hours at Kitto Park on Blyth Terrace. Water is provided and pets on leads are permitted. There are no fees to stay, however a donation box is available on-site for visitors to contribute towards the upkeep of the parks facilities. A dump point can be found nearby on the corner of Blyth Terrace and Frances Street.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Moonta Visitor Information Centre 2 Blanche St Moonta SA P: 08 8825 1891
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Kitto Park, Blyth Tce, Moonta
Short Term Parking Long Term Parking
Kitto Park, Blyth Tce & Clayton Rd, Moonta, (48hrs), pets on lead, water, donation box Cnr Blyth Tce & Frances St (Lat Long: -34.0621, 137.5874)
Kitto Park, Blyth Tce
90 King George St, Cohuna
92 | Event: On my Hunter mind Elvis Festival
Hunter Elvis Festival Slip on your Blue Suede Shoes, grab your Little Sister and be prepared to be all Shook Up this Novemberâ€Ś by Sharon Hollamby
Event | 93
lvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8th 1935. His twin brother Jessie Garon was still born and Elvis grew up as an only child. In 1948 the family moved to Memphis, where Elvis graduated from high school there in 1953. In 1954, after a number of rejections, his singing career began to take off. Two years later he appeared on the Milton Berle Show and his performance of Hound Dog was considered so provocative that it caused a national scandal. However, an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show singing more appropriate songs to over 60 million viewers endeared him to the nation. Elvis’ powerful voice, unique dance style and heart breakingly good looks soon made him an international sensation. He appeared in his first film – Love Me Tender – in 1956 and went on to make another 34 movies. Over the next few years Elvis dominated not only the music charts, but concerts, television appearances, Hollywood movies and merchandise sales, becoming the indisputable King of rock and roll. Sadly, Elvis died at home on August 16th 1977 aged just 42 years old, but the legend lives on. Elvis is the only artist to have achieved a number one hit in every one of the last five decades. His posthumous album Wonder of You hit number one in England in 2016, making it the largest gap between number one albums ever recorded. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’
death and while some still mourn, The Hunter Elvis Festival is revving up to celebrate his life. The award winning Spears Park on the shores of Lake Macquarie and the recently refurbished Charlestown Bowling Club are the two venues for this year’s festival. So turn those rigs around and head back to the 50s for a rocking good weekend!
The Line-up! Elvis tribute artists are: • Mark Andrew • John Collins • Wayne Cooper Mark Andrew was born in Melbourne but spent much of his childhood in Europe. When he returned to Australia in 1983 he appeared on the popular television show New Faces. By 1992 he formed a rock ’n’ roll band called The Blue Suede Dudesand the band supported Chubby Checker’s Australian tour. In 1998 he launched the Elvis Leaves His Mark tour and became known for one of the best Elvis tribute shows worldwide. In 2009 he was invited to perform a tribute show for Elvis’ road manager Joe Esposito, who said, “You did an absolutely fantastic tribute to Elvis and it brought back so many memories.”
94 | Event John ‘Elvis’ Collins has been portraying Elvis for more than 20 years and brings a fun, creative and interactive style to his shows. In 2014 he starred as the guest celebrant on the Channel 10 show Don’t Tell The Bride. Since then he has married dozens of couples – Elvis style – and is still available to perform that service. With the support of other variety entertainers, John has created shows such as Elvis and Friends and The Ultimates. Former Port Macquarie policeman, Wayne Cooper will make you feel like Elvis never left the building. You’ll be taken on a journey of Elvis that will have you reminiscing and begging for more. For more than five years Wayne has portrayed the King’s famous voice professionally to widespread acclaim. His show Sincerely Elvis has won the country’s best tribute act at the Australian Entertainment MO awards for the last two years. “My love of Elvis is purely based on the fact that, over and above being an entertainer, he’s probably got one of the greatest male vocals I’ve ever heard, ability-wise and range-wise,” Wayne said.
But Wait There’s More! The Charleston Bowling Club will be hosting a series of events over the festival and will be kicking off the weekend with the Elvis Tribute Concert on Friday night, 17 November. Saturday afternoon will feature Elvis Karaoke & Trivia, leading into Rock ‘N’ Roll Dancing from 4:00 pm – and it’s all free. Speers Point Park is the setting for Sunday’s free events. Spanning two hectares the park was recently awarded the best play space by Parks and Leisure Australia so make sure you take the kids along. Sunday’s events include a Show ‘n’ Shine Classic Car show and an Elvis Tribute Artist Competition. Organisers promise heaps of market stalls with plenty of rock and roll gear such as vintage clothing, retro collectibles and of course Elvis memorabilia. When you’ve finished shopping you can enjoy a great feed at one of the many excellent food and drink stalls, too. The highlight of the day is an Elvis Concert Featuring Wayne Cooper that will leave you begging for more. Thank you very much…
Event | 95
Fast Facts What: Hunter Elvis Festival. Where: Speers Point Park & Charlestown Bowling Club. Lake Macquarie, N.S.W When: Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November. Why: It’s time for A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action. Ticket Prices: Friday 17th Elvis Tribute Entertainment Charlestown Bowling Club 7.30pm – 10.30pm Free Saturday 18th Elvis Karaoke & Trivia Charlestown Bowling Club 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Free Rock n Roll Dancing Charlestown Bowling Club 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Free Elvis Concert featuring Mark Andrew Charlestown Bowling Club 8:00 pm $35 Bookings essential Sunday 19th: Show n Shine Classic Car Show
Market Stalls Elvis Tribute Artist Competition Elvis Concert featuring Wayne Cooper Speers Point Park 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Free Revolution – Elvis meets The Beatles Show Charlestown Bowling Club 3:30 pm $30 Bookings essential Getting There: Lake Macquarie is situated approximately two hours north of Sydney via the M1. Camping: Camping is not available on site but there are numerous caravan parks in the area. There are a few free range camping areas but you will need to get in early as the V8 Supercar race is on the weekend after the Elvis festival. Facilities for the Disabled: Charlestown bowling club and Speers Point Park are both disability friendly venues. Speers Point Park also has disability friendly play equipment. Further Information: Tickets sales and event organisers: www.hunterelvisfestival.com.au/events
96 | Mobile Tech
By Emily Barker
Taking a proactive approach to healthcare
Mobile Tech | 97 Hot Doc Platform: iOS & Android Cost: Free Size: 8.3 MB
ot Doc is a hot new Australian app set to revolutionise the way in which patients choose and communicate with their healthcare providers; specifically, how appointments are booked and managed. Developed by a Doctor who obviously understands that the waiting room struggle is
real, it’s an effort to streamline what is often an onerous process. HotDoc promises to increase practice efficiency, reduce waiting times and hands management of clinic appointments and doctor selection directly to patients themselves. In an era of technology where we can book accommodation, flights, movie tickets and even order coffee from our smart devices, it’s a relief to have such a practical and important application available. When it comes to managing our health we often ‘leave it to the professionals’ or worse, put it off until problems arise, but no-one knows our individual needs better than ourselves and this app makes taking control easy. Medical technology is a rapidly developing industry at present and Hotdoc itself was the recipient of a $2.2M start-up fund investment back in 2014. As a result the app is a finely tuned piece of work, is uncluttered and presents all required information concisely. Its interface is clear and easy to navigate and it appears to have a well-organised network of real-time support. Using the app is as simple as creating an account using only your name, contact details and date of birth, selecting a medical practice from the list generated from your GPS location (or from search results), selecting what type of consult you require, choosing a doctor and then selecting a time from the slots available. Each Doctor has a brief personal profile that usually includes a little background history and their specific areas of expertise or interest. This can be particularly helpful when selecting a new practitioner or when addressing a specific health concern. There are many reasons why this app resonates so well with users. For me, it’s the fact I can see what time slots are available without having to play 20 questions with a medical receptionist; a game neither of us
98 | Mobile Tech generally have time for. I can choose the doctor based on what and who in my family the visit is for and the appointment can be managed completely from the app should I need to cancel or reschedule. In some clinics you can even check-in via the app once you arrive; very handy for those feeling less than conversational. You’ll also receive convenient email and SMS ‘smart reminder’ notifications to alert you of an upcoming appointment. This type of technology can only be progressive; it’s
organised and efficient, and while it might remove the human element from part of the process, it creates more time for the interactions that genuinely matter. Available for both iOS and Android devices this free app is a clear winner for those seeking to play a proactive role in their own and their loved one’s healthcare.
Advertisers' Index | 99
Advertisers' Index AirBag Man Albury Wodonga RV World
Australian Motor Homes
Avida9 Ballina Campers
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Caravan & Motorhome Covers
Duvalay31 e-Twow Electric Scooters
iMotorhome NZ Tour
iMotorhome Reader Weekend
Outback Travel Australia
OzCampers31 Parkland RV Centre
Redarc33 Rise for Damien
Robertâ€™s RV World
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Trakka5 Wellington Shire
Wirraway Motor Homes
Next Issue | 100
COUNTING THE DAYS…
a slide-out bed and built on the latest Iveco Daily, its open plan design promises easy living while it’s bright and breezy interior is perfect for lazy summer seaside escapes.
Next issue comes out the day before we kick off our inaugural Taste of New Zealand escorted motorhome tour and we’re counting down the days. Featured will be the Winnebago Coogee review originally scheduled for this issue, but ‘inadvertently delayed’. A 7.9 m 4-seat/4-berth C-class with Oct
October27-29 5-8 25-27
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
We’ll also have an Avida Birdsville C7436, a 7.3 m C-class that also has a drop-down bed over the rear lounge/dinette. Riding on the latest Fiat Ducato it’s an interesting model, especially for those who don’t want a slideout. The two vehicles should make an great comparison so don’t miss them. Issue 119 will be out on Saturday 4 November. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
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24-26 15-17 24-26
Canberra Home & Leisure Show
Bendigo Caravan & Camping Leisurefest
Exhibition Parks Flemington Rd & Northbourne Ave, Mitchell. ACT. 2602
Bendigo Racecourse Racecourse Road, Ascot. VIC. 3551.
• Open 10:00-5:00 daily (Sunday 4:00 pm) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $12 • Kids: U16 free
• 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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