AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Drop Down Gorgeous!
A drop-down bed is a great attraction in Avida’s newest Birdsville…
$50 for the! best letter
Doing the Polly two step…
The Coogee from Winnebago…
UK NEC Show report
2 | About iMotorhome
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4 | On my mind
Bigger Fuel Theory… Next Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day and it’s downhill to Christmas from there. While everyone at home is celebrating the great race, 12 of us will have just picked up our Wilderness rental motorhomes in Auckland and be heading for Rotorua on the first driving day of the inaugural iMotorhome New Zealand tour. It’s exciting stuff and Mrs iM and I can’t wait. Watch for updates on our Facebook page as we travel, and for a report in December’s magazine.
Glenn Innes was still dear – Woolies was down to 132.9 and United still at 131.9 – and so we continued on. Polly’s only trip computer function is ‘range to empty’. Years ago a different Ford Transit showed 140 km to empty when we were 60 km from the next town, but ran out of fuel 10 km short. Since then I’ve become ‘rather cautious’ of any trip computer’s range estimations, but Polly’s has appeared to be pretty accurate, not that I’ve pushed it. Well, until now…
Our Captain Thunderbolt reader weekend went well and you can read all about it on page 62. Uralla, the venue, is about halfway between home and Brisbane, so we continued on to the Queensland Capital after the event to drop Polly off for the second half of her roof refurbishment, after which we flew home. Six days later we flew back, picked her up and drove home, with both trips taking the New England Highway.
Although it wasn’t my intention, we kept going, making it all the way back to Costco with 32 km range showing on the trip computer. The 80 litre tank took 78.64 litres for the 756 km journey! Me thinks the tank holds a tad more than 80 litres; either that or the fuel pick-up is extremely well located. I won’t be pushing that hard again and don’t recommend you try it, but it’s good to know Polly’s range in a worst case scenario. I’m not fuel price obsessed, I just hate being obviously ripped off. Once again, this trip proved the worth of ‘shopping around’.
I mention all this because as ever I was intrigued/ amazed/appalled by the variations in fuel prices. Having become something of an expert on this journey in the last year or two, I know which towns consistently have the lowest diesel prices, and Polly’s comfortable range. Local diesel prices on the Southern Highlands are always expensive and so whenever possible I fill at Costco at Casula, in Sydney’s South West. This time it was 114.7 cents per litre. Leaving Sydney on the way north, diesel prices ranged between 123.9 and 132.9 cpl. From Costco, Polly comfortably gets to Glenn Innes, another (usually) cheap fuel haven – except this time. On the run north, Woolies was 139.9 and the United up the road was 131.9. Highway robbery! I added $20 worth and continued to the United servo at Jennings, the last town in NSW and which basically straddles the Queensland border; it being ‘twinned’ with Wallangarra across the imaginary dotted line. There, 116.9 was the order of the day. That took us to Brisbane and back, six days later, when I filled up for the run home.
Before I go, a couple more things: I’ve had interesting ‘feedback’ on the winning plate licking letter last issue. Yes, it’s a bit gross and no, I’m not advocating it (really!), but reducing or eliminating food scraps from your grey water tank is what matters. Also, I had a brief email from a reader saying the gearbox in their 6-7 year old Iveco Daily is up for replacement after just 71,000 km and they’ve been quoted $22,000! The person hasn’t replied to my request for more details, but sounded quite distressed and I’d like to steer them in the right direction if possible. Any Iveco owners/dealer/ parts people out there like to verify the cost and/or likelihood of needing a replacement so soon? Over to you.
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Tested: Avida Birdsville C7436
Tested: Winnebago Coogee
Bigger Fuel Theory…
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Street View Haera Mai!
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
Drop Down Gorgeous – the new Birdsville gets a handy drop-down bed
Life’s a Beach – The Coogee is ideal for long seaside holidays…
Doing the Polly Two Step!
Thunderbolt and Lightning – but not very very frightening!
Postcards from the UK
Wandering with Wanda
Three more RV Friendly Towns
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
Groovy Booby Bus!
Disappearing caravan parks…
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
8 | Street View
Haera Mai! As I write this, I’m sitting in a Bürstner Nexxo motorhome. It’s one of a selection of motorhomes that I have looked over in recent days – Traillite, Auto Sleeper and Dethleffs – and so I have been kinda busy. But, like quite a few other motorhome layouts, the front lounge dining area is great for sitting back, watching the world go by or even working (like I am supposed to be doing). It’s spring time and I’m seeing a side of Christchurch that I don’t normally see, mostly because my visits are more likely to be in winter. Apart from anything else, the blue sky weather means it’s a really great time to get around some of the regional parks, which are really pleasant this time of year. Midweek the parks are fairly quiet, but I’ve seen all manner of groups – mostly those from aged care facilities and similar institutions that look after disabled folk – out enjoying the sunshine, which is great to see. Then there’s the Summit Road area above Governors Bay, which gives not only a great view of the bay but also the other way, across the Canterbury Plains to the still snow covered mountains. On a previous rainy visit I selected a great spot for a photo location, but unfortunately some long decided it was a great place to burn out a stolen car. So much for the great vista with my motorhome in the foreground, but the views further along the road are magnificent. On the way up to the Summit Road I passed a number of cyclists pedalling frantically uphill, clearly getting some serious exercise as I breezed leisurely past. Going down a few hours later, I was somewhat amused to be overtaken by those same cyclists clearly able to get down the hill faster than I could in a safe manner. Speaking of cyclists, it’s clear that Christchurch is a cycle-friendly city. Well, much more than many major Australian cities, that’s for sure. I saw a number of pedlars commuting to or from work whilst I was there and I thought what a great sight that was, not to mention those just out cycling for fun.
I quite like the many quirks that it’s possible to find in NZ, but there is the odd one that drives me slightly crazy – a technology one in this case. Because I am something of a regular visitor to Un Zud, I have both an el-cheapo phone and a portable WiFi, which work well. However, the ‘top up’ method on the pre-paid, particularly the data, defeats me regularly. I even tried the online method this time and although I could see credit on my account it required a phone call to the service provider to activate it. No idea why and very frustrating! Some years ago a RV journo colleague, one Bill Savidan, suggested the only consistent way was to get ‘them’ (the service provider) to do it. It’s normally what I do at the airport when arriving – stop at the mobile phone counter and hand over my devices for top-up. It is indeed the most reliable method I have found, but I just don’t quite understand the need. It’s a bit like passports really (I mean for between Australia & NZ). I can remember a time when you didn’t need them for cross-Tasman travel and I keep wondering why we do now. Along those lines, in very recent times Australia seems to have discovered politicians who thought they were Australian but turned out to be New Zealanders. Funny old world we live in! Back to motorhomes, you’ll see the aforementioned motorhomes in all their glory, plus the Christchurch sunshine, in upcoming issues, meantime it’s a great time to get out and enjoy the countryside wherever you might be. Haere ra!
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10 | On your mind
WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. 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.
Dancing On! Thanks again for your great magazine, which I always enjoy reading and look forward to each month. I refer to the article on page 74 in the travel section of the October issue, regarding dancing in local halls. My husband and I travel in our caravan many months of the year and always have our dance shoes with us. During one of those trips recently, we stopped at a great free camp in the town of Texas in Queensland. One of the picnic shelters had a community board and on it was a notice about line dancing on a Tuesday night and as we were there at the time I decided to go along. I am an avid line dancer, going to classes and socials 3 to 4 times a week. As I entered the Memorial Hall in Main Street, the whole class turned and looked at me, I was a bit taken aback as there were only eight ladies in the class! I went to pay my ten dollar fee but was told that I would not have to pay as I was passing through. What a lovely bunch of ladies they were, all asking what dances I knew and comparing dances they did. I felt very much at home with them and had a very enjoyable full-on two hours of exercise. The teacher is so dedicated she drives from Inverell
(over 120 km each way) to teach the class each week. I might also mention she was Irish and a delight to have as a teacher. My husband and I also do new vogue dancing and often go to the local clubs in towns we stay at, so we both get our ‘dancing fix’ on our travels. Keep up the great work with your magazine Warm regards, Herma. Thanks for your email Herma, sounds like you two have a great time as you travel (which is what it’s all about). I’m continually fascinated and amazed by what people in country communities do, and how far they travel to do it. In a world dominated by bad/sad news, such stories are a balm for the soul. If you ever feeling like sending in some photos of your dancing adventures and details of where and when, please do. I’m certain it’s something that interests a lot of readers. To encourage you, please accept this month’s $50 prize, which should help fund a few more dancing lessons!
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12 | On your mind
Food For Thought Have to say the wife and I were a bit yucked out by the winning letter last month! But, the more we talked about it the more we came round to Di’s way of thinking. Specifically, not letting all those food scraps ferment in the grey water tank because of the pollution potential when mixed with detergents, etc, and let out on caravan park lawns, at home or wherever. So now we’re taking
extra care and rising or wiping clean our plates, pots, etc, and can already notice less smell in the vehicle (not that we’d really noticed anything before). It just seems a bit fresher now, and we feel better when letting out our less smelly grey water. Regards, Peter.
More Food for Thought… I did like the comment in the last magazine about the women who licks her plate. We don’t do that, but we do wipe all plates and utensils, etc, with paper towels before washing up. I can’t imagine how much gunk people get in their grey
water tanks if they behave like they do at home on sewerage. Also, you can’t fit strainers on motorhome sinks! Cheers, Alan.
Thanks you two for seeing the value in the concept behind ‘the controversial’ plate licker. Mrs iM and I are certainly taking more care and we encourage others to do the same. Individually, the main result is a fresher smelling motorhome; collectively, it’s a less polluted environment. I think that qualifies as a real win-win…
Agony Uncle? Dear Richard, I need your advice. Where can a tall, slim, healthy, financially independent motorhoming lady with all her marbles find her Perfect Match? I do not drink or yabber much, so Happy Hours are not appealing, especially as I like to talk oneon-one to locals, or keep my own company. I don’t want to join a solo motorhome group because I prefer to be spontaneous regarding when and where I travel and explore, and I like to free camp alone. I prefer to wander alone, or as a romantically-linked couple.
I don’t need a man to tell me how to drive, park and reverse my motorhome, or one who expects me to do all the catering for two all the time. Just a happy, tall, non-drinker who is adventurous, with a sense of humour and who can dance. Definitely a non-smoker! No dogs, no drugs. A fellow motorhomer or similar might be suitable. I thought I had discovered a suitable meeting opportunity at an outdoors music festival, when I unwittingly stood between the bar and the men’s toilet during the evening, watching the entertainment (on the stage, not the toilet).
14 | On your mind continued...
This pathway was definitely male territory. The problem was that I attracted attention from the wrong kind of man, i.e. those who needed to go to the toilet regularly due to their patronage of the bar. One of these men offered me a meaningful 30 minute relationship in my own warm motorhome, after he told his wife he was going for a long walk. What a rat! Must have been the booze talking.
position, would you kindly forward them to me. Otherwise, if my luck continues like this, I will be taking myself out for a candle-lit dinner in each new town I come to.
I put an ad on the Internet for a dance partner, but only got this reply: “Drink, dance, fun, sex”. I had to write back and say I don’t drink. I have thought of free camping near cemeteries to meet a fresh widower, but they seem to be beyond my 65 year old-ish upper limit, and are already claimed by the eagle-eyed single females in their own street.
Name withheld on request!
Most men look a bit too well fed, too. Fussy aren’t I! Obviously I have the means to travel for a blind date, preferably excluding WA and Tassie. Any sensible suggestions or introductions would be warmly welcomed. In the unlikely event that you receive any applications for this vacant
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.
Dear Withheld, what a dilemma. You could take up drinking (my answer to most dilemmas) and there’s certainly nothing wrong with solo candle-lit dinners (okay, there is). I suggest you just keep on looking, because lowering your standards is unacceptable and you just never know. In the mean time prepare to be inundated with suitable suitors via iMotorhome (applications from whom I shall personally vet). I’ve also thought about running free online personals ads for travellers. What do you think???
Endless Suncamper What a nice surprise while reading your October issue. On page 27 I noticed a picture of our motorhome, Endless Summer, and looking closer I could see the good wife at the door! I took the photo when we were on Kangaroo Island a few years ago, free camping where we could. We did a lot of kayaking, but these days I’m into stand paddle boarding and love it.We still have the motorhome – we’ve had it since new in 2004 – and travelled 200.000 km, but I’m thinking of trying to sell it soon. Thanks again, Rhys
Thanks for your email Rhys and the background information. Great to hear the Suncamper is still going strong and has stood the test of time. My 2010 Transit has almost 300,000 km on it, so 200,000 is barely run in! Will you buy something else should you choose to sell it?
The Original Search Engine Before the internet and the mobile phones, all you needed was a sense of adventure, a Camper and a map (optional). We started making our PopTop camper in 1974; since then generations of Australians have had adventures and made memories that are the stuff of family legends. Isnâ€™t it time for you to pack up a Sunliner and just see where the road takes you?
16 | On your mind / News
Nicely Rewarding I enjoyed your editorial about how you work loyalty and reward points programs. I have my motorhome insurance with CIL. One of the side benefits is being able to purchase Coles and Woolworths e-gift cards online, which provide a 5% discount. For example, if I buy a $200 gift card, it costs me $190. When my purchase is confirmed by email, I take a screenshot of the e-card, and just present it on my device at the checkout. The operator scans it, or I enter the code manually and I receive a receipt that shows the remaining credit.
The e-card can also be used at BigW, BWS and Dan Murphy’s. All of this is done online, without need of any hard copy or a plastic card. While the entries on the website indicate particular towns for the cards, they seem to be generic, which is great for being on the move. I pay the $190 by Visa card, which accumulates points too, under a different system through my bank.
The Woolworths e-card is especially useful because I can also use it at Caltex Woolworths service stations when I fill up with diesel. On top of the 5% saving, I get 4 cents off per litre when I have accumulated sufficient points through a $30 or more supermarket bill, which is easy to do when buying groceries. Being on the road and needing fuel regularly, these savings are worthwhile.
Yours in canny frugalness, Di.
Working theses schemes helps to make my money go further, so I can go further.
Thanks Di, it’s good to know others are taking advantage of such rewards programs. While some might view a few percent here and there to be too little to bother with, it’s amazing how it all adds up. Good on you and happy travels!
DECEMBER ISSUE DELAY
he December issue of iMotorhome Magazine will be published on Saturday the 9th, one week later than usual. The delay allows us first time attendance at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s industry-only National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, from November 27-30.
News | 17
eâ€™re pleased to announce Mitch Crowle has just joined iMotorhome as manager of all things digital, primarily covering our social media content and delivery strategy. Mitch is new to the RV Industry but a former work colleague of both Richard and Agnes, and brings enthusiasm and digital-specific experience to the team. Together with Richard heâ€™s attending the National RV Trade Show in Kentucky and over coming months will help reshape and refocus the way iMotorhome delivers content via social media, the website and the magazine.
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18 | News
HORIZON MOTORHOMES ENTERS HALL OF FAME
orizon Motorhomes has made history, winning Manufacturer of the Year for three consecutive years and Best of the Best for their second year, at the NSW Caravan & Camping Industry Association (CCIA) NSW Awards of Excellence. This victory reflects three years of consecutive achievement in the industry awards, cementing the company’s reputation for high quality workmanship and giving it entry to the CCIA’s Hall of Fame.
highest qualitybuilt-in motorhomes. Our range is constantly evolving and we’re continually improving our product to suit changing lifestyle demands,” Clayton said. Established in 1995, Horizon Motorhomes is based in Ballina, NSW, and specialises in the design and manufacture of ‘builtin’ motorhomes, otherwise known as van conversions.
“I would like to thank my team, our suppliers, our customers and the industry association Clayton Kearney, managing director at Horizon for the success, as well as congratulate all Motorhomes said he is proud and honoured the contenders and winners of the Awards to win a hat-trick of awards at this prestigious of Excellence. These awards recognise the industry event. outstanding achievements made by the businesses that contribute to the success of “It is a huge victory, achievement and testament the growing Australian caravan and camping to all the hard work, loyalty and commitment of industry”. our team. We are dedicated to delivering the
News | 19
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20 | News
vida dealers compete strongly each year for awards and this year was no different for the honour and prestige of the Iveco Motorised Dealer of the Year award and the Dometic Towable Dealer of the Year award. Avida said it is pleased to announce the 2017 Avida Motorised Dealer of the Year is Avida Bundaberg, while the 2017 Avida Towable Dealer of the Year is Avida Gold Coast. The criteria to be awarded Dealer of the Year include many factors, such as outstanding sales achievement, a good mix of Avida products, high customer satisfaction and the dealer’s overall representation of the Avida brand. Ben Searle from Avida Bundaberg was presented with the Motorised Dealer of the Year award and the Towable Dealer of the Year award was presented to Chris Pippen from Avida Gold Coast. Avida congratulates both dealers and their entire team for a fantastic effort. Searle’s RV Centre – Avida Bundaberg has been involved in the RV industry since 1972. Now located in Bundaberg, the business is located at Queensland’s first purpose-built RV dealership. Since opening in Bundaberg in 2008 Avida Bundaberg has achieved milestones that they put down to having a stable team and great products. They offer sales and service across the entire range of Avida products, including motorhomes, campervans, caravans and now the new electric pop tops. Many other awards were also presented at the annual Avida dealer awards night, recognising individual dealer performances in various areas of the business. The awards for this year were:
• Motorised Dealer of the Year – Avida Bundaberg • Towable Dealer of the Year – Avida Gold Coast • Motorised Customer Satisfaction Dealer of the Year – Avida Hamilton • Towable Customer Satisfaction Dealer of the Year – Avida South Perth • Motorised Sales Dealer of the Year – Avida Newcastle • Towable Sales Dealer of the Year – Avida Newcastle • Avida RV Club Distinguished Service Award – Avida Gold Coast • Dealer Staff Member of the Year – Lavinia Kereopa, Avida South Perth • Aftersales Dealer of the Year – Avida Gold Coast • Parts and Accessories Dealer of the Year – Avida Newcastle • 10 years Loyalty Award – Avida Christchurch • Sales Achievement Award, Motorised – Avida Bundaberg • Sales Achievement Award, Motorised – Avida Hamilton • Sales Achievement Award, Motorised – Avida Adelaide • Sales Achievement Award, Towable – Avida Newcastle •Sales Achievement Award, Towable – Avida Gold Coast
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22 | News
ouncillors in Glen Innes have given the approval for Caravan Industry Association of Australia ‘Welcome’ signs to be placed at the four entrances to the NSW town. However, a report to Council suggested it should delay any application to the CMCA for RV status until the views of ‘stakeholders’ had been sought and considered. The report said tourism in Glen Innes Highlands was the area’s second largest contributor to its economy, valued at $50 million annually. Ten percent of this came from the caravan and camping sector. Council should be supporting every opportunity to attract and retain visitors to our LGA (local government area), the report added.
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News | 23
SA TOURIST DRIVES
outh Australia is making exploration of the State’s six key touring routes easier for selfdrive travellers. New signs are being erected at the start and finish of each, with 700 smaller signs spaced at 10 to 20 km intervals. All are expected to have been installed within the next few weeks. The six touring routes are Mighty Murray Way, Explorers Way, Coastal Way, Seafood Frontier, Epicurean Way and Southern Ocean Drive.
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24 | News
BIGGEST CARAVAN PARK BIG4 park, which offers 6 eco-tents and 300 RV and camping sites. They will be located at the southern end of the park and are expected to be ready for the Christmas holidays. The development will also include a covered barbecue area, laundry, access road and landscaping.
A’s Adelaide Shores Resort is spending millions to turn it into the biggest caravan park in Australia. Chief executive Kate Williams told media the $4.2 million development is inline with the current trend towards more cabins. More than 20 luxury cabins will be added to the 100 already at the
Holidaymakers will have to pay between $300 and $400 a night to stay in the new ‘beach houses’, which will boast lounge areas, kitchens and outdoor areas. Adelaide Shores says they will be, “Perfect for family holidays.” iMotorhome wonders if families, especially those in struggling South Australia, will pay nearly $3000 a week for what is still a family caravan park holiday…
CLARENCE FREE CAMPING CLAMPDOWN the Christmas and January period, and Easter. A report to a recent Council meeting said the phenomena of freedom camping in North Coast beach locations was not new nor unique to Yamba.
n a controversial move, Clarence Valley Council in the Northern Rivers region of NSW is clamping down on freedom camping and using fines from illegal campers to help enforce the program. Council says it plans to implement a trial enforcement program in Yamba to rid the area of illegal overnight campers during
“The intent of the enforcement program is to send a message to this group of travellers that Yamba is not the place to come for a free camping beachside experience, before the trend continues to grow to unsustainable levels,” the report said. The trial enforcement program would be enforced through regular and targeted policing by Council Rangers, with offenders being issued infringement notices as required. The fines will go towards financing the clampdown, the report added.
News | 25
TASSIE ICON REOPENS
ne of Tasmaniaâ€™s most iconic tourism experiences and one that attracts thousands of Grey Nomads each year has reopened after a $500,000 upgrade. The Wineglass Bay Track from the lookout to the beach now has greatly improved step levels to make the walk easier and safer. The welcome upgrade was initiated through the Sate Governmentâ€™s Tourism Infrastructure in Parks Fund.
26 | News
PREPAY CARAVAN PARKS
n Western Australia, RAC Parks and Resorts is the latest organisation to launch a prepayment scheme, making it easier to budget for a holiday via instalments. Executive general manager (Brand & Tourism) Tony Pickworth said the scheme was a first for Western Australia and was now available at its parks in Exmouth, Monkey Mia, Busselton, Coral Bay and Cervantes. “At no extra charge, guests will now have the option of making pre-payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly for bookings starting at $200. We are committed to making holidays more affordable to our members and the WA community, regardless of whether they choose to camp at an unpowered site, stay in their caravan or book a stay in a self-contained villa,” he said.
“This new lay-by system allows us to offer affordable and accessible holiday accommodation with an easy way to pay in instalments ahead of schedule so the cost of family holidays can be budgeted more easily.” RAC’s holiday parks include Exmouth Cape Holiday Park, Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, Busselton Holiday Park, Ningaloo Reef Resort and Cervantes Holiday Park. NRMA pioneered the idea in Australia when it recently offered a pre-payment scheme for 20 of its holiday parks.
News/ iMotorhome Marketplace | 27
OUTBACK QLD VISITOR BOOST in Outback Queensland over the past year, and cements them as the third-most visited information centres in the State. Outback Queensland Tourism Association general manager Peter Homan said, “These volunteer-run facilities are an asset to Outback Queensland and provide out-of-towners with an opportunity to gain insider knowledge about the place they’re visiting.”
ew research shows Grey Nomads have made a major contribution to the success of Outback Queensland visitor information centres. According to the 2016/17 Queensland Information Centres Association data, 306,650 travellers called into an Outback centre during the year. The data shows a 10 per cent increase in the number of patrons
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Find back issues and more handy resources on our web page.
28 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 29
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30 | Tested: Avida Birdsville C7436
DROP DOWN GORGEOUS!
A drop-down bed make this Avida Birdsville gorgeous for those not wanting a slide-outâ€Ś by Malcolm Street
Tested | 31
The Birdsville has always been one of Avida’s best looking motorhomes. Distinctly European and riding on the popular Fiat Ducato, it sits bang in the middle of the Goldilocks zone for motorhome length of between seven and eight metres: Not too short, not too long, but just right…
vida’s Birdsville has been around for a while. An opportunity recently came my way to have a play with the C7436 model, which translated means it’s a C-class (i.e. with over-cab bed) that’s 7.4 m (24’ 3”) long and does not have a slide-out. This Birdsville is actually registered on the Avida fleet and so whilst the latest model, it does have a few kilometres on the clock, especially since it had very recently been on an extended visit to Qld. Actually that’s something of an advantage for the likes of yours truly, because I got to see a motorhome that’s done a bit of travel and experienced its fair share of wear and tear.
eing around for a few years in the RV scene, I can remember when the Fiat Ducato, either the van or cab-chassis was something of a novelty. Nowadays it’s a very common motorhome base vehicle so it’s no surprise to find the Birdsville built on a Ducato Multijet 180, which has a 130 kW/ 400 Nm 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine and 6-speed automated manual transmission. Mentioning a few more facts and figures, the Birdsville has a tare rating of 3470 kg and a GVM of 4400kg, giving it a good potential payload of 930 kg. The external length of 7.4 m (24’ 3”) not only makes it good for driving, it
32 | Tested
gives the layout designer plenty of room to play with. Construction wise, the Birdsville has a fully welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof. That frame has a foam sheet filler that Avida reckons both acts as an insulator and road noise reducer. Fully moulded fibreglass is used for the front Luton peak/cab surround as well as the rear wall. The end result is quite a stylish looking motorhome with more than a passing resemblance to some European designs. Fibreglass composite sandwich panels are used for the walls, but a little differently, the one-piece floor panel has a ply timber sheet on top and aluminium sheeting below, for protection. The Birdsville manages to avoid looking slab sided, like so many other motorhomes these days. Its distinctive over-cab window is a Birdsville signature, even though the shape of the Luton peak (nose cone) has become more streamlined in this latest incarnation.
Tested | 33
With this particular body style, external locker space is going to be a bit of a challenge, along with a compromise or two. There are five lockers in all, three in the lower panels and two shallower ones in the upper bodywork. There is undoubtedly space for just about everything most people would wish to carry (even with the batteries and charger taking up real estate), but the lower storage does require a bit of bending over.
ndoubtedly the centre piece of this Birdsville layout is the electric dropdown bed in the mid rear area. It sits above two sideways facing lounges, while at the very back is a full width bathroom. That leaves the front area behind the driverâ€™s cab for a kitchen area and, being a C-class motorhome, the Luton peak for the second bed. The overall colour scheme is done in the Avida style, i.e. a pseudo timber look in a beige hue.
Top: External lockers are neatly concealed in the lower body moulding, but the lockers themselves lack storage height and require bending down to access. The exception is the waist-height door that accesses the under-lounge area. Above: Toilet cassette access is conveniently located in the kerb-side rear corner.
34 | Tested
If there’s a downside to this layout it’s that the swivelled cab seats form their own little separate seating area up the front, away from the main lounges and dining area. The upside, however, is these seats are fully usable if the bed in the rear is lowered. A little issue with the bed down is that bathroom access for the person on the cab side is a bit awkward.
n the lounge/dining area both the sideways facing lounge seats are generously sized. With the bed fully raised there is plenty of room for two people to stretch out without a problem. That is good because of the TV location on the driver’s side bathroom wall, which requires both parties to more or less face the rear to watch the somewhat small TV. With the bed roughly half way down the seats can be used, but I reckon the front seats are a more relaxing proposition. Swivelled cab seats make a comfortable seating area ideal for when the bed is lowered, although the passenger seat is ‘crowded’ somewhat by the fridge unit. Decor is light and neutral, while cupboard space is good.
Tested | 35
Between the seats, the Zwaardvis-mounted table is slightly in the way for a through passage, but it’s a very stable and easily moveable from side to side. That’s always a plus, but I can see why some might choose to move it when not being used.
he kitchen up the front is split, with the fridge and microwave oven behind the passenger and the rest of the bench area behind the driver’s seat. It’s not oversize, but large enough to contain a four burner cooker and grill plus a stainless steel sink with drainer. Three drawers, two cupboards and four overhead lockers – two with shelves – make up the essential kitchen storage. Bench space isn’t particularly generous but there’s more above the waist-high cupboard on the passenger side, along with a hinged shelf in the door area. The trick here, of course, is to keep the ingress/egress to a minimum when the shelf is in use or it might be slightly catastrophic.
Although not huge the kitchen has adequate bench space when you take into account the small unit by the entry door (about where this pic was taken). Storage is good and the grill is a welcome inclusion.
36 | Tested
benefit of the sleeping arrangement in this Birdsville is that both beds can be left made up during the day and both (the Luton bed being hinged), can be lifted up out of the way during the day. Similarly, both beds have windows on either side, although the Luton’s are somewhat smaller of course. Oddly enough there is one area that the Luton bed scores better than the drop-down bed: it has roof-mounted reading lights. This isn’t my favourite mounting position because the light shines directly into your eyes, but it’s better than the drop-down bed, which doesn’t have any (but whose major benefit is that when fully down it’s easy to get in and out of).
The main bed lowers electrically from the ceiling and can be left made-up when stored for travel. You sleep eastwest and can choose the bed elevation height, meaning the lounges and table below can still be used if required.
Tested | 37
he full-width rear bathroom is laid out very much in the standard fashion: cassette toilet on the driver’s side, shower cubicle opposite and vanity cabinet in the middle. Both the shower cubicle and toilet have vent hatches above them. Cupboard space isn’t excessive, partly due to pipework. However, just outside the bathroom there are full height cupboards on both sides, improving the internal storage no end.
With the bed raised the long dining table occupies centre stage between the long, inwards-facing lounges. The full-width rear bathroom, complete with separate shower cubicle, is a real attraction. Spacious and well equipped, it’s difficult to fault.
38 | Tested Self Containment
lectrically speaking, the Birdsville is quite simply set up. It has a single 100AH house battery that is charged from either a mains charger or the vehicle alternator. Anyone considering going off the grid would certainly be considering the optional solar panel and maybe even the diesel-fired heater, if planning cooler climate travel. Both the water and grey tanks have the same capacity of 124 litre, which is okay for a few days ‘off grid’.
A single 100 AH house battery and no solar power means in standard trim you won’t freedom camp too long in a Birdsville. Fortunately, both situations can easily be rectified. There’s good under-sink access in the bathroom to plumbing and the hot water system, which is always handy…
Tested | 39
What I think
rop-down beds have made a real difference to the interior design of motorhomes and the goal is to use the same space twice. It’s a very effective technique in smaller motorhomes, but here it has been used to create living space without needing a slide-out. Quite a few drop-down designs have the bed above a lounge across the rear, but this one has it towards the middle. There are pluses and minuses for both, but if a full width rear bathroom is high on the desirability list this layout is going to tick quite a few boxes. You could say it’s drop-down gorgeous…
Flexible sleeping arrangements and good living space without a slide-out make the Birdsville C7436 well worth investigating. You might want to fit a bigger TV though…
40 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Fiat Ducato X295 Multijet 180
2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
130 kW @ 3500 rpm
400 Nm @ 1500 rpm
6 speed automated manual (AMT)
ABS Brakes, air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.39 m (24' 3")
2.32 m (7' 7"
3.12 m (10' 3")
1.97 m (6' 6")
Main (drop down) Bed
1.91 m x 1.37 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 6”)
1.91 m x 1.37 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 6”)
1.91 m x 0.67 m (6’ 3” x 2’ 3”)
Tested | 41
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Electric - yes
Dometic 4 burner & grill
190 L 2-door Dometic 3-way
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Hot Water System
Pros… • Different sort of layout • Relatively good external storage • Wardrobe hanging space • Front kitchen setup • Spacious bathroom
CONs… • Very low external lockers • No main-bed reading lights • Bathroom difficult to get to with bed fully lowered • Small TV
1 x 100 AH
2 x 4.0 kg
PRICE ON-ROAD NSW From
Warranty - Vehicle
3 years/1 million km
Warranty - Motorhome
5 years structural
Warranty - Appliances
As per manufacturers
Avida 1300 428 432 32 David Rd Emu Plains NSW 2750 (02) 4735 8116 www.avida.com.au
Click for Google Maps
42 | Tested
“Able to seat and sleep six, this Birdsville is ideal for taking friends or the grandkids away…”
44 | Tested: Winnebago Coogee
LIFE’S A BEACH!
Like its seaside suburban namesake, the Coogee by Winnebago promises easy, stylish living… By Richard Robertson
Tested | 45
From a driver’s perspective the latest Iveco Daily is a capable and comfortable machine, thanks in no small part to its industry-leading eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Daily also helps make the Coogee an imposing motorhome, while providing an outstanding towing capacity of up to 3500 kg – ideal for a boat to complement your seaside holiday aspirations!
motorhome makes a great alternative to a seaside home or beachfront holiday house. For a fraction of the price of traditional real estate you can buy into the Australian seaside dream, and as a bonus change the view as often as you wish.
Winnebago’s Coogee is a modern mid-priced motorhome well suited to long lazy seaside days and warm summer nights. Seating and sleeping four, it’s classified as a C-class due to its over-cab bed and runs on an Iveco Daily 50C170 cab-chassis. The Coogee’s forte is easy driving and open plan living. It also comes with most of the mod cons you need for everything from perfect overnighting or extended holiday travel.
Power comes from 125 kW/430 Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, driving through an industry-first 8-speed ZF auto with eco and power modes. In standard form it comes with a 4495 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), which means you only need a car licence, or an optional 5200 kg GVM, for which you need a light rigid (LR) licence. The difference between the two equates to a 600 or 1305 kg maximum payload and for most people the former is sufficient. If you’re planning to tow a car/boat/ trailer, the Daily has an industry-leading 3500 kg braked towing capacity.
veco’s latest Daily has carved an enviable niche in the motorhome market due to its combination of power, refinement and towing capacity.
46 | Tested
The cab features automatic climate control, electric windows, electric heated mirrors, remote central locking and a sound system with Bluetooth and CD player. Safety is well covered with the inclusion of driver, passenger and curtain air bags, electronic stability program (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control (TC), a hill holder and more â€“ including trailer sway mitigation (TMC), which is an important consideration if youâ€™re towing.
Despite the Coogeeâ€™s substantial size external storage is minimal, and this is a great failing in a motorhome of this size, price and capability.
On the road the Daily is an easy and pleasant vehicle to drive (albeit a bit noisy under acceleration), with good visibility and a tight turning circle, plus more than enough power and performance. The seats are firm and a bit shapeless,
Tested | 47
but comfortable nonetheless, while the standard audio system is rather basic and disappointing for the price of the vehicle, but easily upgradable. The eight speed auto shifts seamlessly and while the Daily is not as refined overall as a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, it does a perfectly acceptable job and is undoubtedly tougher than its German rival.
el-coated composite panels are used for the walls, floor and roof, with fibreglass mouldings for the nosecone and back wall. It’s a modern, proven system that’s highly insulative and uses the panels to form a rigid, durable box. Although a bit slabsided and no standout in the styling stakes, the Coogee’s design is functional and proven. Despite the American moniker the design is rooted in the local rental motorhome business, where things that are pretty but flimsy don’t go the distance. If there’s one word that sums up the Coogee it’s ‘solid’, and for an investment like this I think that’s a good thing.
Okay, it is a big white box with a red stripe, but you live inside and look out, not the other way around. It’s also solid and feels like it should handle anything Australia throws at it without bother. And white not only helps keep you cool, it stays cleaner looking, longer.
48 | Tested
Before moving on, let’s take a look at the Coogee’s vitals: Length is 7.91 m, width 2.45 m and height 3.15 m. Fresh and grey water capacities are 100-litres each, which is a bit light-on; 12-volt power comes from a single 100 amp-hour deep-cycle battery (again, a bit light-on), while a pair of 4.5 kg cylinders provide your LPG needs. Standard equipment is quite good and includes big things like a roof mounted 2.4 kW reverse cycle airconditioner, small things like an external gas bayonet fitting and in between things like a quality Fusion Am/FM/USB/MP3 Bluetooth stereo in the living area, complete with internal and external speakers. Lighting throughout is LED; there’s a set of electric entry steps and the latest Dometic CaraD security entry door is fitted – all good stuff. The latest Iveco Daily has quite an ergonomic cab that provides a comfortable ‘office’ and a commanding view. Side mirrors are generous, which sadly is more than can be said for Iveco’s standard audio system…
Tested | 49
tepping inside, the Coogee has a front dinette and split kitchen, mid slide-out bedroom and full-width rear bathroom. The entry door is right behind the passenger’s cab door and this has allowed the designers to make the most of interior space without further interruption. Let’s start up front… The test Coogee came with an inwards-facing dinette/sofa immediately aft of the driver’s seats. Featuring a small, fixed table only just big enough for two (not good in a four berth!) and providing a view of the kitchen while dining, it’s less than ideal. It also doesn’t mesh well with the cab seats when swivelled. Fortunately an alternate layout is available, with a forwardfacing dinette and larger table. Not only would it work better with the swivelled cab seat and provide views out the windscreen and side window, it would have more chance of seating four at meal times. It would also provide a forward facing seat for passengers, which is an important comfort (and I believe safety) consideration.
While providing maximin walk-through space up front, the small sideways lounge and equally small, fixed table are less than ideal. Order the optional forward-facing cafe style dinette and it will transform the living area.
50 | Tested
Swivelled cab seats donâ€™t reach the dining table, but at least the kitchen has plenty of storage and a full cooker with oven. The kitchen window is huge, providing excellent viewing and fresh air.
The split kitchen has the main work area on the kerb-side, immediately aft of the entry door. Bench space is limited due to the inclusion of a domestic-sized stainless steel sink with drainer, but the dinette table is immediately behind you and the cooker has a handy glass lid. Speaking of the cooker, travelling chefs will appreciate the provision of an oven and grill. While there are just two gas burners on top, an electric hotplate is also provided for when youâ€™re plugged into mains power, helping to conserve gas supplies.
Tested | 51
A slimline rangehood is included, storage is abundant and a large window provides ample natural light, fresh air and (hopefully) a good view for the designated meal preparer. Across the aisle a generous 190-litre 2-door fridge, which runs on LPG/12 or 240-volts, sits at floor level in a tall unit, with the microwave above it. The Fusion sound system above that and at the very top there’s a cupboard containing the electrical switches, monitors and gauges. It’s nice to see a microwave at an appropriate height for a change, but I do wonder how shorter people will manage Ease of through-cab access is reduced because of the fixed bulkhead. It’s a design issue that goes back years and despite repeated suggestions the manufacturer apparently doesn’t see the value of a lift-up over-cab bed. At least the fridge is a good size, the microwave is at a human-friendly height and the standard Fusion sound system excellent!
52 | Tested with all the electrical switches being mounted so high…
he Coogee’s queen-size main bed sits east-west across the vehicle, with its head in a compact slide-out on the driver’s side. When extended there’s good walk around space at the foot and the designers have incorporated an impressive set of cupboards and drawers that run along the kerbside wall, between the kitchen end panel and bathroom. Not full height, they sit level with the kitchen benchtop and provide valuable extra space. There’s a large window above plus one above the bed head, while the TV sits on a swivel mount at the top of the kitchen end panel and can be comfortably viewed from bed or the dinette. While there are no bedside tables there are high-set shelves on both sides, complete with 5 V USB charging outlets, plus fixed reading lights. When the slid-out’s retracted the foot of the bed nestles snugly into the long line of cupboards. Unfortunately and for reasons I can’t fathom, although the bed lifts slightly for storage it can’t be lifted enough to provide walk-through access to the bathroom. That means if you want to use the loo during the day you either have to extend the slide-out or scoot across the bed, hardly convenient – or acceptable – in a $160,000-plus motorhome. Any guests get the secondary, over-cab bed that is accessed via the requisite aluminium ladder. This area is also good for bulky storage at other times. It’s a shame this bed also doesn’t lift (I see a theme here), as the fixed bulkhead between cab and living area is a head-bumper and inhibits easy through-cab access. The full-width rear bathroom, however, is worth making any required effort to reach. It has a full
The full-width rear bathroom has a ton of room, including a huge corner shower and space for an optional washing machine. Nice.
Tested | 53
size domestic shower cubicle in the kerbside corner, a cassette toilet on the opposite wall and a modern vanity unit with large hand basin in between, along the back wall. There’s even room for a optional washing machine, plus plenty of storage and mirrors. Nice!
he Winnebago Coogee is a spacious, comfortable and easy driving motorhome that would be at home in any sea/lake/ hillside setting. It’s solidly built, well finished and has a good level of standard equipment. The Iveco Daily it rides on is also a good choice, making this a motorhome you will quickly feel at home in. There are some design niggles that need addressing – bathroom access being the priority – and while the interior is contemporary glossy white the white-box exterior needs “jazzing up” (to quote one interested passer by) to make it more appealing. After all, being named after one of Sydney’s most desirable seaside suburbs carries prestige, plus a burden of expectation…
Top: The main bed fits snugly in the compact slide-out, and although there are no bedside tables there are shelves above. Right: The bed lifts slightly, but oddly, not enough to let you access the bathroom when travelling.
54 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Iveco Daily 50C170
3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
125 kW @ 2900-3500 rpm
430 Nm @ 1500-2600 rpm
8-speed ZF automatic with Eco & Power modes
Front and curtain airbags, ABS, ESP, TSM & More
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
4495 kg (5200 kg optional)
600 kg (1305 kg optional)
Braked Towing Capacity
3500 kg (Towbar $1700 option)
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.91 m (25’ 11”)
2.45 m (8’)
3.15 m (10’ 4” )
2.04 m (6’ 8”)
1.85 m x 1.53 m (6’ 1” x 5’)
2.25 x 1.35 m (7’ x 4’ 6”)
Tested | 55
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
2 x Electric
2 x gas 1 x Elect plus grill and oven
Single bowl stainless steel with drainer
190 L Two-door 3-way (LPG/12V/240V)
12 V LED
2.4 kW Rooftop reverse cycle
Diesel Space Heater
Hot Water System
Truma LPG/240 V
Optional - External
Pros… • • • • •
Open plan living Large bathroom Easy driving Towing capacity Standard equipment
CONs… • • • •
Bathroom access Dinette layout Through-cab access Limited water capacities
1 x 100 AH
2 x 4.5 kg
19 L (cassette)
PRICE ON-ROAD From – Drive-away NSW
As Tested – Drive away NSW
Warranty – Iveco Daily
3 years/200,000 km
Warranty – Motorhome
Warranty - Appliances
Thank you to: Click for Sydney RV Group Google Maps 31 Bay Rd, Taren Point, NSW. 2229. T: (02) 9531 7505 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: sydneyrvgroup.com.au
Click for Sydney RV Group Google Maps 9-20 Lemko Place, Penrith, NSW. 2750. T: (02) 4722 3444 E: email@example.com W: sydneyrvgroup.com.au
56 | Project Polly
Doing The Polly Two Step
It’s one step forward and one or two steps back with Polly at the moment…
Project Polly | 57
Side and rear-door insect screens are proving to be worth their weight in gold and it’s good to have the TV working again, but reliable hot water would be nice – as would reliable battery charging.
t isn’t easy being green. Nor, it seems, an ex-rental (of any colour). After months of inactivity Polly has been busy since last issue; what with our reader weekend in Uralla followed a trip to Brisbane to finish off the roof restoration, and then the long drive home.
it wasn’t just some dodgy caravan park power connection. Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australia (http://www.outbacktravelaustralia. com.au/) – our good mate, technical editor and fellow Redarc Manager30 user – was on hand at Uralla and has given me his ‘special’ contact at Redarc to get the problem sorted. I’ve long The good news is Polly continues to perform suspected the installation by my local Redarc flawlessly, mechanically. She still fairly flies along authorised installer wasn’t up to scratch and it the open road and effortlessly climbs hills, all seems Allan also had installation issues early the while riding comfortably and returning good on. fuel economy (10.3 L/100 km or 27.4 mpg on the whole ‘round trip). “Installation isn’t straight forward, as part of it is exactly the opposite to what the average The not-so-good news is parts of the sparky would intuitively think,” he told me. Allan motorhome conversion have started to, or had to send photos of the battery connection are continuing, to play up. What’s started? to his ‘Man on the Inside’, who diagnosed the The Redarc Manager30 Battery Management problem in a moment. It’s a pity Redarc’s ‘Men System (BMS). What’s continuing? The on the Outside’ – it’s installers – don’t seem as Suburban hot water system (HWS). cluely. It’s another job on the never ending To Do list, but will now have to wait until after our On the electrical front, I noticed the BMS NZ tour and, most likely, Christmas. At least wasn’t recognising mains power (and charging Polly’s 200 watts of Redarc solar are working the house battery) when we plugged in at a treat and we’ve never come close to running the Uralla Caravan Park, even though the down our relatively meagre 100 AH house microwave and coffee machine ran on 240 battery. volts. It’s still not working now we’re home, so
58 | Project Polly
Polly’s looking good as new up top, which is great because she lives out in the elements.
Hot Water Blues
I’m also looking at a new water pump at the same time and maybe even a new fresh water hile in Uralla, Polly’s tired Suburban tank. For some time the water pump has been hot water system appeared to die growing noisier and taking longer to pressurise. after the first use. When I pressed It now sounds like a sink garbage disposal unit the on switch the next time there was no life. with nothing in it and I’m certain can be heard It wasn’t a gas issue, there was simply no on Mars. A new water tank appeals because ignition sequence. I tried is about a dozen times after years of renters filling up who-knowsover the ensuing two days but to no avail. where it must be full of slime and, well, more Remarkably, it came back to life on the way slime. The problem is it doesn’t have a drain home from Brisbane. Bloody technology! tap, so emptying it requires running the noisy A new HWS has been on the agenda for some water pump (and waking up Martians). time, given this unit’s tank is rusted and it only Roof Matters heats to about 40ºC on a good day. I’ve found a drop-in replacement for the Suburban that’s he rear section of Polly’s roof has an instant, on-demand system, is said to weigh been restored by Southern Spirit some 20 kg less (no storage tank) and uses Campervans and just in time; it seems significantly less LPG. It’s around the same the smaller 50-watt solar panel was hanging on price and will be investigated at the same time by a few silicon threads. It’s all looking sparkly as the electrical system, which again means new up-top, save for a little bit of bubbling rust early next year. Anyway, who needs hot water around the reversing camera mount. in summer?
Project Polly | 59 On the way home from Brisbane, and since returning, we’ve been through some heavy and prolonged rain, and I’m pleased – no, very pleased – no, ecstatic – to report absolutely no water leaks through the new Heki roof hatch. On top of that I’m pleased to report the hatch itself works nicely and provides excellent rain protection when open on the lower of its two settings, due to overhang, and decent protection on the highest. Our new 12-volt fan got a few workouts on this trip when we set the 3 hour timer at bed time to provide a bit of air movement. Polly’s new side-door insect screen also got a workout and proved it’s worth, although I’m yet to resolve how to properly/easily seal the bottom. The problem relates to the contours of the floor line and the mixture of steel and plastic at that level. More thought required…
View to the Future
ou might remember the rust patches found along the top of the windscreen, two of which are quite deep and allow some water through. They were discovered by Olli from Southern Spirit Campervans during the restoration of the front half of the roof; likely the result of multiple windscreen replacements during Polly’s rental days due to the nonetoo-gentle ways of various installers (ex-rental buyers beware!). Since then a windscreen crack has developed and I’m awaiting a quote to have a new one fitted, the windscreen surround properly restored and the top of the cab repainted. It won’t be cheap – surprise, surprise – but it’s necessary for longevity. I also have a pair of after-market headlight units to replace the heavily crazed and shabby looking originals. The repair fellow said that
60 | Project Polly being aftermarket, “They will fit like s***”, but conceded the casual observer wouldn’t notice and they will be bright and clear. Late December is the earliest they can fit Polly in, so watch this space…
Both solar panels are now securely attached to the roof and all wiring is neatly routed and sealed where it enters the body. You wouldn’t think that’s rocket science, but apparently it is. If you have an ageing van conversion pay close, regular attention to the condition of everything on the roof.
Project Polly | 61 Duvalay Update
rs iM finally had the chance to spend a few nights – five in total – sleeping on Duvalay’s new FreshTec memory foam mattress topper. It measures 190 cm long x 66 cm wide x 5 cm thick and she used it in addition to the 4 cm thick standard Duvalay. “I felt like the Princess and the Pea, sleeping on double mattresses”, she said at the time, but there was no doubting the extra comfort the new mattress afforded. FreshTec is a new premium foam that appears lighter and less dense than Duvalay’s original. It’s also a different colour to the standard yellow, making identification easy when swapping covers. FreshTec is also said to increase sleeping comfort in warmer weather by reducing body heat retention. We didn’t really have warm enough conditions to put that
to the test, but we’ll carry on using it through summer and report back. What neither of us need is further convincing on the advantages and comfort of the Duvalay sleeping system. Billed as a luxury sleeping bag it’s so much more than that and does away with bed making, fitted sheets and the usual RV bedding nightmare. Duvalays can also double as guest bedding at home, so do yourself a favour and check them out. You’ll probably become a convert like us…
62 | Reader Weekend
Thunderbolt and Lightning! Despite bushranging tales and passing storms there wasnâ€™t too much frightening about the third iMotorhome Reader Weekendâ€Ś by Mr & Mrs iMotorhome
Reader Weekend | 63
Arrival day weather was perfect, but it went downhill from there…
’m not sure what the folks in Uralla’s Top Pub thought on a quiet Sunday night when more than 20 bushranger-themed Desperados burst through the doors. It was the culmination of an action packed weekend that combined history, food, fun, and some interesting excursions that mostly involved more food. And drink. Numbers were down on last year’s Vans from Snowy River gathering in Dalgety due to late cancellations and a big motorhome club holding its annual rally at the same time (something terribly inconsiderate seeing we announced our dates first!). However, it turned
64 | Reader Weekend
out to be a blessing in disguise as the smaller group was more personal and, I think, the likely target number for future events. Also, parts of the caravan park were off limits to bigger vehicles due to the first heavy rains in months and so the smaller group was a perfect fit. Around two thirds of attendees were ‘repeat offenders’ and it was great to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen since last year. It was also good to meet our newcomers, who at first must have thought they’d arrived in the middle of an old club meeting!
ralla is a small town of 2400 on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Straddling the New England Highway, it’s just 20 km south of the charming university city of Armidale. We gathered there from 13 to 16 October to explore the life, times and final day of Frederick
Reader Weekend | 65 Wordsworth Ward – better known as the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. We were also there to explore some local attractions and to indulge in some of the best regional produce. If nothing else, I think we excelled in that final pursuit… Uralla is a thriving small town that has become Australia’s Thunderbolt capital. An impressive bronze stature of him on horseback stands at the main intersection, while a granite boulder once used as a hide out – Split Rock but now known as Thunderbolt’s Rock – is now a roadside picnic spot about seven kilometres to the south. In town the bushranger’s grave occupies pride of place in the local cemetery; ironically in the shadow of the headstones of those he robbed on his last day and who later probably witnessed his burial, in June 1870.
espite drought-breaking heavy rains in the preceding week we had great luck with the weather on the day of arrival – Friday the 13th, no less. Meteorologically,
66 | Reader Weekend however, things went downhill from there. Fortunately, the Lions Club were able to put on a terrific welcome barbecue in Alma park, which adjoined our base at the Uralla Caravan Park, that first evening. They also managed to sell a brace of fresh Lions Christmas Cakes, plus raffle a hamper of local produce (complete with obligatory crocheted coat hangers!). Star of the weekend, however, was almost-86 year old local historian and still-active sheep
farmer, Arnold Goode. Fit and sprightly, on Saturday morning Arnold gave us a detailed account of Thunderbolt’s life and demise, at the McCrossin’s Mill Museum (home to nine large Tom Roberts’-style paintings depicting that fateful last day). After lunch he walked us up the road to Australia’s oldest working brass and ironlace foundry, forge and museum, dating back to 1872, for a different glimpse of the town’s past. All the while storms skirted the
Local historian, sheep farmer and legend, Arnold Goode, recounting Captain Thunderbolt’s final day in front of one of nine paintings in a unique series called Death of Thunderbolt, by Phillip Pomroy.
Reader Weekend | 67 town and threatened to rain on our parade, but passed without incident. Phew… Saturday evening was pizza and beer night at the New England Brewing Company. Gourmet pizzas, craft beers and ciders, plus the owner’s Mum’s home made ice-cream were on the menu and appeared to go down a treat. The pizzas kept coming until the cry of “No More” went out, after which (and maybe another beer) we waddled contentedly back to our motorhomes. A chartered coach picked us up at 10 am sharp on Sunday morning and Arnold joined us for the drive to Thunderbolt’s Rock. Along the way he recounted events of the Bushranger’s last day and pointed out significant landmarks, including the distant spot where Thunderbolt was fatally shot. The most unusual discovery of the weekend was that Senior Constable John Mulhall, the policemen in charge of pursuing Thunderbolt (but who fired a warning shot on approach and claimed his horse bolted and headed for home!) was the several-times-Great Grandfather of one of our party! After a quick group photo by the Rock we continued by coach a few hundred metres down the highway to a property on the other side of the road. In research I’d identified it as the site of Blanch’s Royal Oak Inn, site of Thunderbolt’s last holdups and from where young Constable Walker gave chase, culminating in the fatal shooting. The present day owners had graciously agreed to mow a strip along the fence line so we could view the little that remains of the inn’s foundations. It was on this site that Thunderbolt’s body was returned and a coronial inquest held. Interestingly/macabrely, to preserve his body for the inquest his organs were removed and buried in the grounds; Arnold believes beside a pair of small rocks some Arnold explaining the workings of the original blacksmith’s distance behind the building. shop and iron foundry.
68 | Reader Weekend Our Thunderbolt pursuit finished back in town at the cemetery and his grave, which over the years has evolved from a simple plot with a makeshift wooden cross to one nicely kept and complete with a marble headstone and white picket fence. RIP Fred Ward…
Sunday Best! Arnold stayed aboard for the short drive out to the iconic Gostwyck Chapel and nearby, historic Deeargee Woolshed; both photo opportunities well worth a detour if you’re in the area. After that we dropped him back in Uralla and continued on to Sunhill Dairy Goats, a working goat farm and dairy where we got up close and personal with the ‘working girls’ before enjoying morning tea and some superb handmade goats cheese. From there it was down the road to the village of Kentucky, the unlikely home of a world-class distillery – Dobsons. There we were welcomed with yet more food, ahead of a theatrical explanation of the range of spirits produced by
Top to bottom: Group photo at Thunderbolt’s Rock; Corrine and some of her young girls at Sunhill Dairy Goats; A motley crew if ever you’ve seen one…
Reader Weekend | 69 owner and master distiller Stephen Dobson. That was followed by a number of tastings and a distillery tour. What an afternoon… Some time later is was back on the bus and back to the caravan park, but for the second afternoon in a row there was no time for Sundowners due to strong winds and occasional drizzle. Brrr. The weather, however, couldn’t dampen our spirits ahead of the final night’s dinner at the Top Pub: A bushranger-themed fancy dress affair that most people embraced. There were some fabulous costumes and great laughs – both at the caravan park as we gathered for the walk to the pub and when we walked in – and I think it really was the highlight of the weekend. Over a long, private dinner in the Black Room more laughs were had, more photos taken and, most importantly, awards given for the best male, female and couple costumes. To be honest there weren’t enough awards to go around and I thank everyone for the fantastic effort they went to. What a hoot!
Until Next Year? All too soon it was Monday morning, which meant time to pack-up and head off. However, an icy easterly that had persisted through the night meant the Lions Club relocated our farewell breakfast from Alma Park to Uralla’s Memorial Hall. Although arranged as a simple bacon-and-egg-roll and coffee to get us all going, once again they put on a mighty spread (and sold more Christmas cakes!). As farewells were made everyone wanted to know where and when next year’s Reader Weekend will be held. I’m leaning towards something on the upper reaches of the Murray, perhaps retracing some paddle steamer history. We’ll see. The one thing I can promise is it will be fun, involving and well catered, but what else would you expect? Hope to see you there!
Top to bottom: Best Couple award went to Julianne & Phill McLeod; Mr & Mrs iM in the spirit of things; the fabulous Uralla Lions Club team!
70 | Show Report
The Motorhome & Caravan Show 2017 A peek at what’s new in the UK, from the NEC Centre in Birmingham… by Ian Pedley
Show Report | 71
his year’s Motorhome and Caravan Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham was an impressive collection of recreational vehicles and associated paraphernalia. Filling more than 11 halls there was so much to see it was impossible to do it justice in the one day we had available. To give you an idea of the Show’s scale, my phone exercise app clocked nearly six kilometres just walking around the different stands! Thankfully, new carpeting in the halls was much easier on the feet… With more than 50 motorhome manufacturers exhibiting there was a vast number of models on display, ranging from the micro to the massive. I think the only thing missing was the new VW California. For the first year there seemed to be as many van conversions as coachbuilt units (a trend
Top: The superb Smove 7.4 E from luxury builder Niesmann & Bischoff. Above: A very bright red compact B-class from Hymer.
72 | Show Report
sweeping world markets - Ed). Downsizing appears to be definitely gaining in popularity. Drop-down bed technology features extensively in many of the latest motorhome designs and is transforming bedroom space into usable daytime living space, which is very clever. I also noted a number of well engineered slideout conversions at the IH and Adria stands, which transformed internal spaces at the press of a button making fantastic use of available space.
Big â€˜garagesâ€™ (boots to us) are all the range in Europe, with elevated rear beds the norm to accommodate them. Understandably, Fiatâ€™s Ducato 4x4 Expedition attracted plenty of interest, too.
Show Report | 73
Above: Another look at the Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition. The 4x4 system is slated for production, but thereâ€™s no word on when it will reach Australia & NZ. Below: Adriaâ€™s Coral with a rear slide-out; basically the same vehicle Malcolm will review in the next issue.
74 | Show Report More than 100,000 people attended the show, from October 17th to 22nd, which is a sign of just how strong the UKâ€™s domestic RV industry is. Hereâ€™s hoping that strength continues in the light of Brexit and its related uncertainties.
Compact motorhomes are the Euro-norm and space efficiency is everything. However, this Fiat Ducato van with rear slide-out is something else again and very impressive.
Show Report | 75
Swiftâ€™s Rio has a fully opening tailgate that acts like an awning and provides excellent rear access. You can carry bikes or whatever in the aisle as the main bed lowers from the roof, above the twin rear lounges. Very clever.
76 | Feature
Austin Powers has nothing on Donna Falconer and her Groovy Booby Busâ€¦ by Agnes Nielsen
Feature | 77
Donna’s light hearted livery attracts plenty of attention but delivers a sombre message…
onna seems to like pink. A lot. I met Donna in one of the ‘unpinkest’ places you can probably imagine, when my hubs and I went on a short little getaway to the Red Centre. As we were just about to pull out of the car park at Standley Chasm, I noticed a rather interesting looking motorhome. It was decked out in pink bra decals and had actual bras dangling off it! On the side of the rig, however, it very prominently displayed some cancer statics that go straight to the heart: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by age eighty five. Also, 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
78 | Feature Those numbers probably resonate strongly with most people as cancer is a predator that comes after loved ones. But what if it comes after you? Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it’s an equal opportunity disease… According to Breast Cancer Australia, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer diagnosed this year. “In 2017, it is estimated that 17,730 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (144 males and 17,586 females). In 2013, the age–standardised incidence rate was 64 cases per 100,000 persons (1.1 for males and 123 for females).” Donna is a breast cancer survivor who now dedicates her time to breast cancer awareness. In her Groovy Booby Bus she travels around Australia with the aim of making people aware of the risk. Donna was diagnosed at age 44 but has no family history. She had just gotten herself into a good spot and was ready for some ‘me time’ – “A year of Donna” – when a casual conversation about breast screening turned her life upside down: After a screen she was diagnosed with Grade 2 – Stage 3 breast cancer. She had surgery – a lumpectomy and full ancillary clearance – followed by six months of chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation therapy. After this Donna decided to give something back and founded The Pink Angels, a charity that supports breast cancer patients in her local area of Dubbo. Now 51, Donna decided to take a gap year. She quit her job and sold her house to fund the purchase of the pink van. On her website Donna says, “I’ll be taking to the roads in search not only of time for my own
Feature | 79 reflections on the journey so far, but to continue to raise awareness and support for breast screening and those on the breast cancer road. It’s my time – but I’m using that time to help make sure others know that at any time, it could be ‘their time’.” You can follow Donna’s journey on Facebook and on her website. If you want to help you can donate; the details are on the website. You can also help yourself by booking a breast screen (or if you are a dude tell your missus, daughter, sister, mother to book one). BreastScreen NSW has a booking website or you can check out Breast Cancer Network Australia for a whole range of valuable information. After meeting Donna at Standley Chasm I was really inspired by her drive to help other people and I commend her choice of colour. Pink is awesome!
80 | Feature
Wandering With Wanda Life on the road isnâ€™t for the feint heartedâ€Ś by Sharon Hollamby
Feature | 81
The beauty and tranquility of nature are free, no matter the cost of your motorhome…
’m sitting on the banks of the Campaspe River listening to the sound of rain pattering down on my makeshift annexe, which is a tarp and six poles. There’s a slight breeze but it’s not cold and the birds fly from tree to tree squawking as if laughing at us all. The river is flowing, the fields are green and my bones feel the promise of spring weather. My blood pressure has dropped and I’m feeling relaxed, and it’s all thanks to Wanda.
couldn’t be bothered fixing the rust (which is abundant!). What he didn’t tell me was the solar was wired wrong, the batteries flat, the three-way fridge only ran on 240 volt because the gas line was broken and the hot water service pilot light worked but wouldn’t ignite (caveat emptor indeed – Ed).
After the fiasco of a bus I bought in Melbourne ‘disappearing’ when I was due to pick it up, I was desperate to get going on my adventures. Wanda is my 1973 Toyota Coaster. When I first At that stage I would probably have bought a read the ad for this old girl it said, “Has 202 horse and carriage if it was the right price! The motor and manual 4 speed on the tree, toilet, trip from home in Adelaide to Melbourne had shower, 80 watt roof mounted solar with two eaten up some of my funding, so it was either house batteries, a 1000 watt inverter and a stay at my sister’s place and keep saving, or large back tool box”. get what I could and get going. I figured most towns have mechanics and repair places, so I The asking price was $5000 but when I rang would spread the wealth. he said I could have it for $3000 because he
82 | Feature Before I headed off, I took Wanda to my mechanic in Adelaide who said the motor and brakes were good. They adjusted the clutch for me and gave her a service, but warned me that I needed a new radiator. I still do! The stop leak is still working for now, but the radiator is high on my list of priorities.
Time to Fly!
hen I bought her, the wheel cover had a picture of a broom-flying witch on it and as she didn’t have a name (see how unloved she was!), so I decided to call her Wanda. The name has proven to be completely suitable as I often ‘Wanda’ if we are going to make it. After changing four flat tyres the wheel cover has crumbled to dust but the name has definitely stuck. In seven months we have travelled over 4000 km together and in that time she has saved me at least a thousand in accommodation. It hasn’t always been easy, particularly travelling without power, but I’m slowly sorting that out. I bought a 250 watt solar panel second hand in Canberra and the guy fitted it for me, along with a new Anderson plug, for $250. He told me that it was all wired with household wiring, so I will need to sort that out. I keep trying to get new batteries but every time I get close to saving enough, Wanda decides she needs something else. When the clutch gave out in Grong Grong I was stuck for a while, but I got to meet some wonderful people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. Unfortunately, not everyone is nice. One lady travelling in a flash motorhome berated me for not having road side assistance and travelling in a bus that obviously needed repairs. She told me that I should have stayed home until I got everything perfect, but if I had done that I would still be in Adelaide now and had none of the adventures I have experienced over the last few months. I do have road side assistance now though, thank goodness.
Feature | 83
ot having a working fridge means a lot of dried or tinned food unless I camp close enough to a town so that I can walk in to the shops. These walks have resulted in me losing 13 kg in 7 months and I’m feeling a lot healthier for it. Wanda did have an awning but that broke early in our travels, so I have a tarp and tent poles if I’m staying anywhere long enough to set it up. The wiper blades were hard and brittle, so I bought new ones when I was in Canberra. It was a simple fix and I felt more confident driving in the rain with a clear windscreen, until one of the wiper arms flew off! So, in a massive downpour I walked back along the road to pick up the pieces of my passenger side wiper. Thankfully there was little vegetation on the side of the road and it was an easy find. I put it back together and put it back on but I didn’t notice that the clip was actually broken and it soon flew off again. I walked up and down the road for about 20 minutes getting absolutely soaked, but this time I couldn’t find it. It was only a few km to my destination so, I went to flip the wiper arm up to allow me to use my driver’s side Three thousand dollars doesn’t buy a lot of motorhome, but after much cleaning and despite ongoing tribulations, Wanda is providing a comfortable and liveable home on the road…
84 | Feature wiper without scratching up the passenger side window. There stuck in the bull bar was my elusive wiper! It wasn’t funny at the time but it gives me a giggle now. Overcoming these obstacles gives me a sense of achievement. Yes it is annoying and inconvenient at times, but breakdowns often result in me meeting the nicest people.
But Wait There’s More!
esterday I had a new alternator fitted as the old one was making dreadful noises. The mechanic told me that the one I had that looked like it was the original, so it shows how well things were made in the 70s! I had arranged to pick up a stove for $50 and an 8 ton jack for $20, once the alternator was done. The jack that came with the bus was only a one tonner and totally useless. Halfway to my destination Wanda started getting hot and so I pulled over to let her cool down. When I tried to refill the radiator the water just poured out on to the ground. It wasn’t coming from the radiator and I had no idea how to fix it. I rang road side assistance and was towed into Benalla for repairs. Steering the bus onto the
tow truck was as scary as any show ride, but we got through it. The people at Adrenalin Automotive were fantastic and fitted me in straight away. The mechanic got the bus off the tow truck, (which I was grateful for) and I was offered a much needed coffee. A bung that had been inserted where the heater hose used to be had blown out and the mechanic didn’t have one to fit, so he made one up on the lathe for me. They even told me of a free camp right behind their workshop and advised me to stay there the night as it was getting late. I see people travelling in some very nice motorhomes and I must admit I do get a little envious, but then I see homeless people living in their cars or a tent and I am so grateful for what I have. Wanda does get me to where I want to go – most of the time! She is cosy to sleep in and I’m looking forward to many more adventures with her, wherever we might ‘Wanda’…
Feature | 85
86 | Opinion
Case of the Disappearing Caravan Parks
With caravan parks disappearing Phil McLeod asks what’s next?
uch has been written about the demise of favourite caravan parks around the country, particularly on the East Coast. It’s a common topic of conversation whenever groups of travellers get together.
Sell the Caravan Park!
In a time when RV use is booming, caravan parks are disappearing. Is the answer whole-of-RV-industry cooperation to ensure the industry itself doesn’t suffer, or eventually disappear?
The scenario is well understood – caravan parks get sold to developers because that is more lucrative for the owner than running the caravan park. So the number of available sites falls at exactly the time when demand is rising due to increasing numbers of retirees hitting the road – as evidenced by published figures on caravan and motorhome production in Australia. Add to this the actions of some authorities in clamping down on free camping, thereby reducing availability of the only alternative, and something’s got to give.
Opinion | 87 Unfortunately, this is the free market at work (putting aside manipulation of the market if you accept that some in the industry put pressure on authorities to limit free camping). It’s the law of supply and demand. The result, which we have all started to see and that can only get worse, is the increased cost of the diminishing supply of caravan park sites in the face of rising demand.
ncredibly, it is sometimes the local councilowned caravan park that gets sold in this insatiable race for development. Governments exist to provide services individuals can’t provide for themselves. It’s Local Government that should and has, historically, provided some caravan parks. But councils get caught up in the, ‘How can we extract more revenue from that land?’ quest just as much as private owners. Yet they readily provide community halls, playgrounds, skate parks, sporting fields, art galleries and museums, most of which don’t pay their way in financial terms (and which they don’t sell off - Ed).
88 | Opinion
Would you pay $200-plus a night for a seaside powered site? Peak season prices in some caravan parks already exceed $100 a night and as demand grows and prime supply diminishes, expect to pay more for the ‘privilege’. Most of what I’ve read on this topic stops there; bemoaning the loss of a facility and the increased cost for people like us. But, I believe we are not the only ones potentially affected.
The Domino Effect
think this is only the start of what might prove, in time, to be a domino process. My hypothesis is that as the cost of caravan sites increases more and more, people will begin to vacate the motorhoming/caravanning lifestyle. They’ll put their motorhome/caravan on the market. Think about it: How much would you be prepared to allow the average cost of an overnight stay in a caravan park to go up before you considered exiting the lifestyle? What if it doubled? If this trend really accelerated, the market would be flooded with second-hand motorhomes and caravans – the supply/demand equation kicks in again and prices tumble. In this shrinking participation environment, what else changes?
hat about the effect on caravan and motorhome manufacturers and related service industries, as their market shrinks and participation evaporates? Here’s one manufacturing industry that defies the national trend and not only survives, but has been growing. There’s a whole industry out there that has been enjoying a growth phase for some years – is it about to go into recession? What is the industry doing about this?
What To Do?
herein lies, in my opinion, the seed of a solution. Individual motorhomers and caravanners can’t create replacement cheap sites for those being lost. On the other hand, big groups have the potential to have more traction. This might include the big clubs like CMCA, which is already starting to move down this track with its RV Friendly Towns, Dollar Wise Caravan Park initiatives, etc. But what about the manufacturers and their
Opinion | 89 industry partners – dealers, service centres, as well as parts and accessories suppliers? There are a lot of them and there is a lot of money churning in their industry that might well be under threat. So I think the industry, along with the clubs, needs to get stuck in and start to lobby or, better still, partner-up with others to start creating opportunities for new caravan sites. If they’re to be economical sites they may not be prime coastal spots, but they might be able to play a role in keeping the supply of sites at a reasonably stable price. In doing so, the industry that depends on us would be helping preserve our holiday lifestyle but also they’d be protecting their own futures. It’s not surprising such prime realestate attracts developers. Our cashed-up society has a seemingly insatiable appetite for seaside living that shows no sign of abating.
90 | 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 Townâ„˘ (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.
Travel | 91
emora is located in the Riverina and South West Slopes region of NSW, 423 kilometres south-west of Sydney. In the late 1800s the town was a bustling gold rush community with more than 15,000 prospectors working the fields. Today, it has a thriving agricultural industry, focused mainly on wheat and wool farming.
Museum, which displays a variety of working examples of rural technology dating back to the Townâ€™s settlement.
Parking is permitted for up to 48 hours at the railway station on Parks Street, where toilets, bins, and water are provided. Thereâ€™s no charge to stay, however a donation box is located on-site (the grounds are maintained by Visitors will notice the beautifully maintained the Temora Youth Team). An additional supply streetscapes and numerous parks and gardens of potable water, as well as a dump point, is around town. The world-class Aviation Museum located on Airport Street. is a must-see, along with the Temora Rural
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Temora Visitor Information Centre 29 Junee Rd, Temora NSW P: 02 6977 1086 www.temora.com.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Victoria St & Brittania St
Short Term Parking
Railway Station, Parkes St, (48hrs), toilets, bins, water, no pets, no glass permitted on site, no tents or generators, picnic & BBQ facilities available, donation box on site. Airport St (Lat Long: -34.4233, 147.5183)
92 | Travel
asterton sits on the Glenelg River in Victoria, about 357 kilometres west of Melbourne and not too far from the South Australian border. The surrounding area is picturesque, with rolling hills, sheep, cattle and dairy farms spread across the landscape. Casterton is famous for being the birthplace of the Kelpie, a working dog breed that originated in the early 1870s at the Warrock Homestead. The town celebrates its connection with the Kelpie by holding the Casterton Kelpie Muster each year.
the area, including Bilstons Tree, a larger river red gum standing 40 metres high, plus the ancient granite boulders called Baileys Rocks. Travellers are encouraged to make the most of their stay limit at Ess Lagoon, allowing plenty of time to explore all the region has to offer. RV travellers can enjoy a leisurely stay at the Ess Lagoon on McPherson Street. The site allows travellers to stay for up to one month for no charge. A dump point and potable water are found nearby at Island Park Caravan Park. Pets on leads are permitted at this site.
Visitors will discover many natural attractions in
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Casterton Visitor Information Centre 3 Racecourse Rd, Casterton VIC P: 03 5581 2070 www.glenelg.vic.gov.au Murray St East, Casterton
Short Term & Long Term Parking
Ess Lagoon, McPherson St, (max 1 month stay), nil charge, pets on lead
Island Park Caravan Park, Casterton, adjacent to the caravan park toilet block (Lat Long: -37.5813, 141.4052) Island Park Caravan Park, Casterton
Travel | 93
BERRI, South Australia
erri is a stunning riverside town 238 kilometres north-east of Adelaide. The town was proclaimed in 1911 and took its name from the Aboriginal tribe Bery Bery, meaning ‘bend in the river’. Berri is now renowned for quality wine production and is surrounded by 3000 hectares of vineyards and orchards. The Riverland Farmer’s Market held every Saturday is a must for food lovers. The markets feature fresh produce from the region and also a range of cuisine from different countries, highlighting the multiculturalism of the area.
Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch with beautiful river views, and perhaps take the two kilometre riverfront walk from Berri to the camping area at Martin’s Bend. The camping area on Martin’s Bend Road offers RV parking at $5 per vehicle per night, payable to a deposit box on site. The length of stay is negotiable; pets are allowed and bins, toilets, barbecues and covered seating are available. A dump point is also located at Martin’s Bend, while potable water is accessible at the visitor information centre on Riverview Drive.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Berri Visitor Information Centre Riverview Dr, Berri SA P: 08 8582 5511 www.berribarmera.sa.gov.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Vaughan Terrace, Berri
Short & Long Term Parking
Martin’s Bend Rd, Martin’s Bend, $5pvpn into deposit box, (stay neg), pets on lead, bins, toilets, c/seating, BBQ, water Martin’s Bend Rd, Martin’s Bend, (Lat Long: -34.2891, 140.6308
Dump Point Potable Water
Riverview Dr, Berri VIC
94 | Mobile Tech
ABC Listen changing the way you hear the worldâ€Ś By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 95 Name: ABC Listen Platform: iOS & Android Cost: Free Size: Varies with device
of new features, including the simplified integration of ABC podcasts. In fact, anyone fond of a good Netflix-style series binge will appreciate the volume, scope, and quality of the content.
Also notable are the enhanced navigation options, extensive content search functions ave you heard? Are you listening? The and the range of options designed to elevate ABC is well known for the quality of its and personalise your listening experience. I had apps and the recently launched ABC heard about this app re-launch; indeed, anyone Listen is no exception. It’s a re-mastering of their original ABC Radio App, and in addition to who listens to any form of radio will have heard a catchier title it appears to be better presented the furious advertising for it, but I’ll admit it took and more responsive. It also contains a number me a while to actually complete the update. If it’s not broken….
Well, turns out it was broken (or at least injured) and certainly no match for its faster, smarter and prettier successor. This app genuinely takes radio into the future; it’s another example of a traditional industry modifying itself and evolving across platforms to remain relevant. ABC Listen provides access to 45 ABC radio stations and audio networks, including the ABC’s 4 national networks, it’s 8 capital city local radio stations, 10 digital stations and 23 regional radio stations. It also provides a platform for more than 130 programs and podcasts. The app offers both live-streaming and on-demand content, and it’s all completely customisable. The front page can be tailored to display stations relevant to your location and or interests, catch the latest hourly news bulletin at any time and keep abreast of what’s new, trending and popular. This app also contains a large number of adjustable settings and it’s important to address these promptly; particularity if mobile data is limited. In its default state, live radio streams play automatically once the app is opened – and remain playing in the background even when the app is closed, playlists self-terminate after 24 hours, offline storage is capped at 1GB (approximately 20 hours) and selected content is downloaded automatically when a Wi-Fi
96 | Mobile Tech connection is detected. When live streaming, the app uses about 29 MB/hour at 64 kbps. You’ll also find information regarding any current nationwide emergency coverage, station service status (including planned outages) and how to opt in or out of Nielsen tracking. With a convenient upgrade to a bottom of screen tool bar, the various feature components of this app are easily located. The result is an uncluttered interface that’s easy to navigate yet enticing.
or those unfamiliar with podcasts, this app is a great introduction to the spoken audio world. From the insightful to the delightful, there is a vast range of content, all beautifully and professionally delivered. You can create playlists of favourite presenters and programs to be streamed directly or saved and listened to later, wherever and whenever you like. Simply tap the Add Playlist icon or select a program to create a list of favourites. You can also choose to download entire programs or simply select episodes of interest. The more you explore within this app the more you discover. Conveniently divided into categories, content is easy to locate. You can also search by category, topic, station or presenter and receive recommendations based upon your listening history. There are some apps that have the potential to impact upon the way you interact with and ultimately hear the world. ABC Listen claims to be this significant, and personally, I’m inclined to agree. Its free, it’s fast, it’s convenient and it’s relevant to my world. The diversity of the content is huge, yet you won’t get lost – distracted perhaps – but it should ultimately be a rewarding journey.
Advertisers' Index | 97
Advertisers' Index AirBag Man Albury Wodonga RV World
Amphibian28 Australian Motor Homes
Solarscreen29 Southern Highlands Service Centre
Southern Spirit Campervans
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Battery Traders Super Store
Caravan & Motorhome Covers
Wirraway Motor Homes
Duvalay27 e-Twow Electric Scooters Horizon Motorhomes
Outback Travel Australia
OzCampers27 Parkland RV Centre
Redarc29 Robertâ€™s RV World
Skytracks29 Smart RV
Next Issue | 98
WORTH THE WAIT!
rear bed. Priced at A$138,774 drive away it’s a lot of Euro motorhome for the money.
As reported in News, December’s issue will be delayed a week, but well worth the wait. We have an interesting pair of reviews planned, starting with the imported Adria Coral XL 660 SCS. In plain speak it’s a six-seat six-berth C-class, but it’s special feature is a slide-out
Then, from across the Tasman, Malcolm brings us a report on a sleek UK-built AutoSleeper B-class, also on a Fiat Ducato (but a cab-chassis). Combining Euro-chic with British practicality – and with an entry door on ‘our’ side – it’s an upmarket motorhome Kiwi readers should be very interested in. Issue 120 will be out on Saturday 9 December. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?
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March 03-06 16-18 24-26 16-18
Sydney Caravan Camping Lifestyle Expo
Bendigo Caravan & Camping Leisurefest
Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor Supershow
Sydney Showground Sydney Olympic Park. NSW. 2127.
Bendigo Racecourse Racecourse Road, Ascot. VIC. 3551.
ASB Showground 217 Green Lane. Auckland.1051.
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (Sunday 4:00 pm) • Parking: $10 • Adults: $22.50 • Seniors: $18.00 • Kids: U16 free
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• Open 9:30-5:00 daily (Sunday 4:00 pm) • Parking: Free • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U15 free with adult
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• • • • •
Open 9:00-5:00 daily Parking: $10 Day Pass: $16 Multi-Day Pass: $25.00 Kids: U16 free
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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