Page 1



On The Soft Win! Road Trak $50 for the! best letter

Project Polly Vision Splendid!

Trakka’s Trakkaway 700 is more capable than you think…

Tooo Easy?

A new communication option…

Dethleffs Magic 13 DBM

Louisville Lowdown The USA’s biggest RV trade show

2 | About iMotorhome

iMotorhome Magazine is published monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome!


Design & Production

Richard Robertson

Agnes Nielsen

Publisher/Managing Editor

Manager/Lead Designer

(+61) 0414 604 368


richard@imotorhome.com.au Christopher O’Hare Malcolm Street


Road Test Editor


(+61) 0418 256 126 malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia.


ABN: 34 142 547 719

Emily Barker

T: +614 14 604 368

Sharon Hollamby Allan Whiting

E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au

Ian Pedly

Follow us on Facebook

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai

and Twitter


Phillip McLeod Legal


© 2017 iMotorhome Pty Ltd.

Mitch Crowle

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

Manager - Digital (+61) 0400 378 593 mitch@imotorhome.com.au

Hurr y! New website live TRAKK A .COM.AU

4 | On My Mind

Steady As She Goes… Welcome to 2018! I hope your Festive Season was enjoyable and you’re all set for the year ahead. There’s something about a new year and the promise it holds of a fresh start. It’s also a good time to look back and see how the preceding 12 months worked out. Reviewing this column from January 2017 made me realise what an busy year it was. We didn’t achieve everything planned, but we did run an extra overseas tour and, most importantly, learn from all the experiences. So, what does 2018 hold in store? Good question… The plan, for the moment at least, is ‘steady as she goes’. We literally wore ourselves out organising tours and the reader weekend, almost ‘commuting’ to Brisbane for Polly’s ongoing repairs and so on. It’s time to slow down a bit and breathe. A Route 66 tour is still in the pipeline for October; so too another reader weekend, and I’m working on a new app: one that will allow you to download and read the magazine offline while containing your whole iMotorhome library. That’s enough to be getting on with for now…

On The Nose The new year also signals the start of the RV show season, with the major East Coast shows kicking off in Newcastle next month and culminating in Brisbane in June. I’ve never understood the need to host such shows in the heat of summer, but I guess it’s a ‘commercial imperative’ – alongside a game of oneupmanship about being first. It’s no secret there’s no love lost between iMotorhome – okay, me – and some of the State caravanning and camping bodies. That’s because I’m ideologically opposed to their ambition to drive every RV holiday maker

into one of their members’ caravan parks, while simultaneously campaigning to restrict/ prevent freedom camping opportunities for those not interested in a cheek-by-jowl holiday ‘experience’. I’m not against caravan parks, of course, they play an important role economically at a local level and collectively on a national infrastructure level. I’m just against having to use them when I travel in a self-contained vehicle if I don’t want to. It’s like saying I can’t have a picnic in a town park because there’s a cafe across the road. It’s stupid and greedy. You therefore won’t be surprised to learn I’m opposed to the fat cash cow Australian RV shows have become. Not only is the cost of exhibiting at many bordering on outrageous, I know of manufacturers who aren’t allowed to exhibit because they’re not part of ‘the State club’, or because an organiser invokes State consumer laws to prevent interstate businesses exhibiting, then denies any involvement in alerting relevant authorities. On top of all that, the people manufacturers and dealers need to come and see and buy their products are slugged at the gate for the privilege, and again when they want refreshments. All-in-all it stinks and it’s about to begin for another year. Can’t wait!


Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Soon you will see us roaming the countryside as we have finally 'handed in the key' for our rented premises in the Yarra Valley and become a "real" mobile travel agency. We are now here to provide a travel experience to Grey Nomads, and others, around this great country, while being a grey nomad with you. After 27 years in a shop, it is exciting to be able to continue what we have enjoyed providing but doing so "on the road" from our motorhome. If you see us, stop by for a chat and ask any travel questions you have. Lyn will help you tailor make your itinerary to suit your travel needs. Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise is an approved AFTA and ATAS agency. In the past, our specialty has been sending travellers to Africa, South America, Canada, USA, South East Asia, Europe, and Scandinavia - anyhow, anywhere, anywhen. Having visited over 60 countries, Lyn knows how to provide 1st class service. So when you want assistance in organising that "holiday when you're not on the road", give Lyn a call to plan that exciting time in your life. Who doesn't love cruising? We have put together a cruise for September 2018 on board the brand new Princess ship the "Majestic Princess". She carries 3,500 passengers and over 1300 crew that are specially trained to care just for you. The "Majestic Princess" is making her maiden voyage to the South Pacific in September 2018 and the first cruise is out of Sydney to Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. It's just a short 12 nights but you will come back NEW. See you soon. 12 nights from: Inside Cabins $2940 per person Balcony Cabins $3179 per person Deluxe Balcony Cabin $3820 per person Mini Suites $4098 per person




Sat, Sep 15 Sydney, Australia

Majestic Princess

Depart 06:45pm

Sun, Sep 16 At Sea Mon, Sep 17 At Sea Tue, Sep 18 Noumea, New Caledonia



Wed, Sep 19 Mystery Island, Vanuatu



(Tender Required), (Wheelchair Access Limited) Thu, Sep 20 At Sea Fri, Sep 21

Suva, Fiji

Sat, Sep 22 Lautoka, Fiji







Sun, Sep 23 At Sea Mon, Sep 24 Lifou, New Caledonia

(Tender Required), (Wheelchair Access Limited) Tue, Sep 25 At Sea Wed, Sep 26

At Sea

Thu, Sep 27

Sydney, Australia



Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise gntc.com.au lyn@gntc.com.au 0418 1858 50 03 5967 1858

6 | Contents


On my Mind


On Your Mind


Tested: Trakkaway 700


Tested: Dethleffs Magic


Project Polly




Show Report




Mobile Tech

Steady As She Goes…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

8 16

Street View Haera Mai!

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

Trakka’s popular Trakkaway 700 is more capable than you might think…

This Dethleffs’ A-class is magic - by name and nature…

In The Frame

A new communication option…

A look inside North America’s industry-only RV show…

Wandering With Wanda

Returns next issue!






Next Issue

Wandering with Wanda

Three more RV Friendly Towns


Trakkadu 400

A New Kind of Playground

8 | Street View

Haera Mai! Well it would probably be most appropriate to wish all our readers a Happy New Year, wherever you might be. I trust your Christmas/New Year time was restful. For me it’s a time to catch up on all the things I ignored in December and make a few plans for this year, whilst it’s still a bit quiet One of the things that happened mid December was an email received from the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA), which stated quite baldly that the NZMCA was going to limit its membership to Kiwis only. What it said to me was, “Sorry anyone who lives overseas, you are no longer welcome”. As a communication piece it lacked a little something – like information – and I’d suggest caused affront to some who could have been affected but actually are not, as it turns out. Further into the email it noted that the Club was having issues with overseas visitors and the Certified SelfContainment Standard. Rightly so the club has concerns about its efforts to protect the fragile NZ environment and the way its image was being tarnished. I thought about that for a bit, but did wonder just what the root of the problem was. I mean just how many motorhome travellers from Aussie, Britain or maybe North America brought their motorhomes with them that it was such an issue. I must admit that whilst thinking about this, the word ‘backpackers’ lurked in my brain, but that was about it. I found myself somewhat offended by the email (ditto Ed). I’ve been travelling to New Zealand since 1976 and during the last couple of decades have been two or three times a year for both work and pleasure. Would I not understand the NZ environment and how it needs to be protected? I’ve always admired the fact that most NZ RVs have grey tanks fitted, something that does not happen in Australia in the predominant caravan side of the RV world. However, with Christmas rapidly approaching, there were other fish to fry and I did not pursue the matter.

Obviously I wasn’t the only one who had a problem because about a week later, in its Merry Christmas email, the NZMCA clarified a few vital points. Like for instance, existing overseas members were not about to be turfed out and secondly, members of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) and similar UK motorhome and caravan clubs would be able to gain membership without a problem. Curiously the email still did not explain what the base issue was, but from the included image, one presumes overseas backpackers are buying el-cheapo campervans and trying to get self certification from the NZMCA whilst not really caring for the environment when travelling around. It’s a problem I’m not unfamiliar with, having sat through several CMCA-initiated meetings with campervan and motorhome rental operators a few years ago trying to resolve the issue of irresponsible campervan hirers (usually young backpackers) creating a bad image and worse, problems for responsible travellers. A little more information first-up in the original NZMCA news release might have been helpful. Still on the environment, in Aussie something irresponsibly weird happened not far north of Sydney in the Christmas break. Apparently there was a three or four day music festival on a private property. After it was finished, the participants left everything behind – tents, gazebos, camp chairs, sleeping bags, eskies (all in good condition), rubbish (in not such good condition) and just walked out. Others have to do the clean up, but about the only plus is that does include local charities who apparently do find some very rich pickings for their clients. Is that bizarre or what? I know I am mostly speaking to the sensible here, but do look after our environment wherever. It’s the only one we have.

Haere ra!


10 | On Your Mind


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

The Right Connection We travel with a couple of iPhones and an iPads and for convenience find ourselves using the phones as cameras more and more. Apart from distant shots they’re brilliant, and the photo editing software built-in is also great. The problem is backing up the photos to our iPads because we don’t carry a laptop and are often out of wifi range to go to the dreaded ‘Cloud’. A solution I found is to buy a Lightning-to-USB Camera Adapter from Apple You just plug it into your usual iPhone or iPad USB charging cable – the one with the little Lightning connector at the other end – and you’re in business. Here’s what their website says about it: “With the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, it’s easy to download photos and videos from your digital camera to your iPad or iPhone with Lightning support so you can view them on the gorgeous Retina display and share them with family and friends. After you connect the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, your iPad or iPhone automatically opens the Photos app, which lets you choose which photos and videos to import, then organises them into albums. When you sync iPad or iPhone to your PC or Mac, the photos and videos on your iPad or iPhone are added to your computer’s photo library. The Lightning to USB Camera Adapter supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG-4. Requires iOS 9.2 or later.”

The adapter costs A$45 from the Apple Store, plus delivery of course if you have it posted. It MOSTLY works as advertised but there are a couple of tricks. Join the cables and plug in the Lightning end from the new adapter to your iPad (not iPhone) and the iPad will automatically open Photos at the Import page. It will ask you to unlock your iPhone before it can import anything, but sometimes you have to do this a couple of times to ‘get it going’. Also, it can be a slow process to load all the photos for transfer and import them if you have heaps on your phone. Best to do it at the end of the day when you’re not heading out again! Apart from that it works, and is a good back-up for AirDrop, which is the easiest and fastest way, when you’re not on wifi. Hope this helps someone – and thanks for a great magazine! Regards, Maggie. Thanks Maggie, I use AirDrop a lot but will grab an adapter as a back-up and give it a go. Please accept this issue’s $50 prize, which nicely covers the cost of your adapter (unless you had it posted, I guess)!

View All Units O nline 24/7




Fiat Ducato, Auto, ABS, Electric bed, Separate shower & toilet, 140w solar panel, fresh and grey water tanks, 1000w inverter, Bluetooth lighting.

Mazda T4000, 173,500kms, Turbo diesel engine, Bull bar, Tow bar, Combo shower & toilet, Diesel heater, GVM 6385kg, Sleeps 4

Price: $143,160 + ORC SAVE $6,830 PLUS $500 Fuel Voucher

Price: $56,620 + ORC Well looked after with low kms



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

12 | On your mind

Fiat Foibles?

Just a quick note to congratulate you on the iMag and everything it encompasses and opens up for us. It’s a real cracker, great combination of professionalism and yet authenticity. I wonder if somehow you can approach the topic of FIAT reliability in 2018? As a Baby Boomer naturally I was brought up on the old joke, FIAT = Fix It Again Tony, but so many modern campervans and motorhomes – all costing well north of $100,000 – are built on a Fiat Ducato and yet some product reviews are so discouraging. What is readership opinion from fair minded people on the Fiat’s these days I’m so nervous about committing to one for my retirement. Best Wishes for all your ventures in 2018. Cheers, Peter.

Thanks for your kind words Peter, glad you enjoy what we do. Re the Fiat, I’ll put your question to readers in the next issue and see what they say. Personally, I’d have no hesitation buying one. I’ve driven dozens over the last 15-plus years and only ever had one breakdown – the inlet hose for the intercooler popped off, but that was back in about 2007/8 and was fixed by roadside assistance. The Ducato is the top selling motorhome chassis (and van conversion) in Europe and has been for years. Although price plays a part, it wouldn’t be that popular if reliability, rust, etc were still issues. There’s a lot of misinformation in forums, usually by people who’ve never owned or driven one, or have an anti-frontwheel drive axe to grind. If you search online you can find horror stories about every brand, so the best indicator is to look at market share and resale values: the Ducato is also the top selling chassis in Aust & NZ and seems to hold its value well. It will be interesting to hear what our readers have to say…

14 | On your mind

4WDreaming… Just wondering if you have ever done any tests on midsize 4WD motorhomes. It strikes me as odd that in a country like Australia there is very little to choose from. Overseas, MWB style vans such as 4WD Sprinter and Ford C150 vans are everywhere. I can’t understand why there are not more of these style of vans here. Surely they are more practical than wobbling around the place towing a monstrosity in your $100k 4WD? Sure, they may not be as capable off road as some 4WDs, but I think that for most access to most places a well set up and not too big 4WD van would be ideal. Would love to hear people thoughts on this. Kind regards, Guy Sadly Guy, Australia is hostage to the whims of distant chassis makers and we’re a tiny, unimportant market in the scheme of things. Mercedes won’t bring in the single-wheel MWB 4x4 Sprinter (idiots, I know) and in all honesty, who in Australia would want a Ford with its big

petrol engine? Fiat MIGHT bring its new 4x4 Ducato here in 2018, although there’s no word from them, which is situation normal. That’s the bad news. The good news is manufacturers like Horizon and Trakka make excellent van conversions on the bigger 4WD Mercedes vans, and of course there’s the relatively new Iveco Daily 4X4, which is hugely capable but only available in a cab-chassis, (for the moment, at least). An interesting alternative is the Fiat Ducato – van or cab-chassis – which is surprisingly capable when fitted with AL-KO’s aftermarket front and rear suspension. Coupled with a set of good tyres and a proper understanding of Fiat’s latest-generation traction control I think you’d be surprised where you could venture. Coincidentally, read 4WD guru Allan Whiting’s thoughts on the Ducato’s off-road abilities in his review of the Trakkaway 700 in this very issue. Food for thought, I think…

Keep It Local Firstly let me say how much I enjoy iMotorhome, Season’s Greetings to yourself and Mrs both for its content, which is relevant to the iMotorhome, sort of travel my wife and I do, and the ease of Tim accessing information from past issues on line. Thanks Tim, much appreciated. Don’t worry, the I note in recent issues that the focus for overseas tours we did in 2017 and are planning readers get-togethers has shifted to overseas are different from our local reader get togethers adventures, and sincerely hope that this will not and won’t replace them. I’m planning to run be at the expense of the local events that you another reader get together later in the year and have organised in the past. Our main motivation think it will be along the Murray River, in search is buying a motorhome was a wish to explore of our paddle steamer history. No schedule Australia in more depth, having satisfied our yet so just watch the magazine and all will be appetite for overseas travel. Please let us know revealed. Hope to meet you there! your plans for the next local get together.

16 | News



n December the Australian Federal Government announced the Road Vehicle Standards Bill 2017, to replace the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA). It has implications for the commercial and personal importation of new and used motorhomes.

be debated and passed by both Houses of Parliament before it becomes law, which is expected to happen early in 2018.

An information sheet explains there have been significant changes in global and domestic automobile markets and improvements in The Bill will implement the Government’s vehicle technologies since previous reviews announced reforms to the regulatory framework of MVSA over 17 years ago. The focus of the for the safety, environmental and anti-theft change to the MVSA is to align it with local and performance of all road vehicles being provided international market needs and to strengthen to the Australian market for the first time – both and modernise the legislation. In addition, new and used. the reforms are expected to save industry up to $70 million a year in lower regulatory The reforms will deliver modernised legislation compliance costs. to increase community safety and remove unnecessary processes for businesses. The new legislation will further harmonise The Australian Government has released an Australia’s vehicle standards with global Exposure Draft of the Road Vehicle Standards standards. In addition, it will bring about Bill for public information. The Bill will need to continued..

News | 17

Life in Motion


Central heating

Drive on a car licence

Bürstner Ixeo IT728G

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




Bürstner Ixeo IT680G 230






Bürstner Ixeo IT728G




Bürstner Ixeo IT734



Bürstner Nexxo T740





Bürstner Ixeo Time IT590





Prices include GST and on roads costs. Prices and specifications are current as at January 2018 but are subject to change.

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

Exclusively distributed in New Zealand by

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

18 | News continued.. changes to the regulation of road motor vehicles and the associated administrative processes, including: • Improving consumer access to imported specialist and enthusiast vehicles • Simplifying the process for importing vehicles through the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS) while improving the quality assurance of those vehicles • Simplifying the pathways for importing vehicles granted concessions against national vehicle standards • Streamlining the supply of mainstream (full volume) new vehicles • Strengthening the compliance and enforcement powers of the Department • Enhancing and replacing IT systems utilised

to support administration under MVSA • Clarifying suppliers’ recall responsibilities for all vehicles. The Australian Government has also amended the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to remove the $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles, from 2018. The Road Vehicle Standards Bill is expected to be debated and passed by Parliament in March 2018 and the reforms will commence 12 months after the passage of legislation as the Road Vehicle Standards Act (RVSA). In the legislation package, there is also a Consequential and Transitional Provisions Bill which will provide for a 12 month transitional period after commencement to allow businesses to adapt to the new arrangements. During this transitional period some aspects of the MVSA will continue, particularly for Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) and continued..


News | 19

20 | News continued.. Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles (SEVs). Of interest to motorhomers are changes to the specialist and enthusiast vehicles (SEV) register and criteria, which lists vehicles that are of specialist or enthusiast interest, not available in the Australian market and/or require some concessions against the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). The RVSA will change the eligibility criteria to more objectively reflect specialist and enthusiast needs when determining whether a vehicle is suitable to go onto the SEV Register. Under the Registered Automotive Workshops scheme, vehicles on the SEV Register can be approved for importation if they have not been provided to the Australian market under a type approval and meet one of six criteria: 1. Performance – high-performance vehicles with specifications (e.g. power to weight ratio) significantly superior to mainstream vehicles in Australia

2. Environmental – vehicles that offer environmental performance (e.g. emissions of carbon dioxide per km) significantly superior to mainstream vehicles in Australia 3. Mobility – vehicles manufactured with special features to assist people with a disability 4. Rarity – vehicles of which only small quantities have been produced 5. Left-hand drive – vehicles originally manufactured as left-hand-drive, of which righthand drive versions are not available in any other country; 6. Motorhomes and campervans – a vehicle must have been originally manufactured as a campervan or motorhome. iMotorhome notes that in relation to Point 6, no other criteria appears to apply other than the vehicle was originally manufactured as a campervan or motorhome. This should open the doors to considerable importing freedom, although it remains to be seen if the legislation passes Parliament in its current form.



ustralia’s international RV and camping markets continues to perform strongly, according to the latest figures. Tourism Research Australia revealed that 373,000 international visitors took RV and camping holidays in the 12 months ending September 2017, an increase 7.5 per cent on the previous year. They generated more than 5.19 million nights around the country, a 5.5 per cent rise from 2016.

Core markets continued to show growth with visitors from the UK (61,723), Germany (55,042 ) and USA (38,694) increasing by 0.5%, 4%and 18% respectively, compared to the previous year. The significant growth in visitors from China by 112%, to a total of 103,000, continues to highlight the future importance of this market to the RV and camping industry as the segment becomes more confident travelling independently around Australia.

Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.

Bennetts Bluff, Queenstown, South Island

No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealand your way in a premium motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz

22 | News



ew Zealand’s premium motorhome rental company, Wilderness Motorhomes, has just launched a range of new itineraries designed to take the guesswork out of exploring the country and to ensure travellers see as much of New Zealand as possible in the time they have. The Wilderness itineraries cover New Zealand’s North and South Islands individually, as well as together, with durations ranging from 1-7 days, 8-14 days and 15+ days. Wilderness’ marketing director, Mary Hamilton, says they are seeing growing numbers of bookings from Australians who, “Love the motorhome lifestyle and are keen to explore New Zealand, or visit friends and family”. She says the itineraries are the ideal way for those motorhome enthusiasts to know they will see the ‘best bits’ in the time they have. “We are a New Zealand owned and operated company, and our team has wonderful knowledge of local attractions and activities. Creating these itineraries for our guests is a way of making

their holiday planning that little bit easier.” From a five-day ‘Coromandel Escape’ with sun and sand, to the 14-day ‘Hot Water Explorer’ around the North Island’s geothermal spots, or the 28-day or more ‘Epic New Zealand’ that takes in both islands, the ten itineraries offer something for everyone. The Wilderness motorhome rental fleet also operates under a ‘no road restrictions’ policy, meaning the vehicles can be taken on any road around New Zealand. Mary says Wilderness prides itself on offering a hassle-free rental experience. “Our range of Bürstner vehicles are modern and comfortable with an exceptional maintenance regime that far exceeds industry norms. They offer our Australian guests all the great benefits of motorhoming, but on the other side of the Tasman.” To find out more visits the Wilderness website HERE



he National Australian Touring Caravan, Motorhome and Camping Club has had a name change – to the Australian Touring RV Club. Secretary Ric Bennetts said the complexity of the original name was difficult for members, sponsors and business partners alike and was very difficult to locate on electronic media. The Club’s primary objective is to give its 500 members the opportunity to

meet up with others wherever they go. “This might be for a state-recognised rally, a social encounter or for assistance and advice,” Ric said. “We also have a friendship list if you are in trouble.” New members are welcome and details can be found on the Club’s website HERE.

News | 23



ust as we were going to ‘press’ word reached us from Trakka that the company has an all-new website. Check it out at www.trakka.com.au.

24 | News



n late December The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association decided to limit its membership to New Zealand residents only. Applicable immediately, the new criteria has been implemented by the NZMCA Board, it says, “To protect the organisation’s reputation and the integrity of the Certified SelfContainment Standard”. “In todays’ environment, reputation is everything,” says NZMCA CEO Bruce Lochore. “Our members’ good name has been hard won over many years and we can’t afford to have it undermined by short-stay overseas

visitors who might not share the same commitment to protecting our country’s natural environment.” Mr Lochore says the membership restriction follows a recent Board decision to no longer offer Certified Self-Containment checks to non-members and comes on the back of this year’s NZMCA-financed review of the SelfContainment Standard. “We’ve put our money where our mouth is to raise the bar on the Standard and it’s vital in our view that we reinforce our stand by ensuring that all our members understand and

News | 25 respect our role in protecting New Zealand’s precious environment. Our local members live and work in communities just like the ones they holiday in; so we’re confident they have that understanding. But we’re not prepared to risk our reputation on overseas visitors who don’t have the same long-term commitment to our country.” “What we’ve seen since we stopped providing self-containment checks to non-members is more overseas visitors looking to join the Association to get around the ban. So we’re going to nip that trend in the bud.” In implementing the membership restriction, Mr Lochore says the Board also recognised that the Association’s primary focus was to meet the needs of local people. “This is who we are, we are here to represent New Zealanders – we’re not here to be used by short-stay overseas visitors. We’re all

about the domestic market; for the past four years, we have been actively encouraging our members to get off the beaten track to ensure the provincial and rural centres outside the traditional ‘hotspots’ receive a fairer share of the economic benefits of tourism. It’s often under-valued, but the fact is the domestic market provides close on 60 percent of this country’s tourism industry revenue and we’re proud to be part of that.” In a followup the NZMCA says it has had a very positive member response to the announcement. However, it wants to make it clear that this restriction does not apply to existing members who are non-NZ residents. Also, the restriction will not apply to genuine members of sister organisations like the CMCA and UK motorhome and caravan clubs, “Who we know will join with us in enhancing the club’s good name”.



ocals are supporting a Tasmanian Council that was forced to ban free overnight camping for caravans and other RVs. They are backing the West Coast Council, which has erected No Camping signs at Queenstown Recreation Ground. The authority revealed its action was in response to the Tasmanian Economic Regulator’s ruling that it was providing free camping services in contravention of the Island’s competitive neutrality principles. Writing in the local newspaper, Christine Espitalier of Wynyard commented: “It’s high time all Tasmanian Councils took immediate action and ban free camping in our State once and for all.” She reminded travellers that there

was a caravan park in Queenstown that could cater for their needs. “Campers who expect the local ratepayers to subsidise their holiday for nothing are the ones you don’t want. They are not in your town to spend money – just freeloaders. Tourism is about bringing income into the town and they do have somewhere to stay.” iMotorhome is dismayed by the ignorance of the Ms Espitalier’s comments and the hypocrisy of the Regulator’s ruling, which is anti-competitive in its own right by removing competition.

26 | News/ iMotorhome Marketplace



he growth in the motorhoming lifestyle has the industry in New Zealand pretty excited, according to organisers of the Country’s largest annual motorhome, caravan and outdoor expo, the Covi SuperShow. “Holidaying in motorhomes and caravans is making a serious comeback in New Zealand,” Covi SuperShow managing director, David Culpan said. Shaun Newman, general manager of TrailLite, said they were seeing a rise in interest and sales of both motorhomes and caravans. “With a TrailLite motorhome you can go off the grid


for up to 14 days. We like to describe our motorhomes as small apartments with all the comforts of home.” Shaun said they were also seeing an increasing number of families purchasing. “They are trying to find ways to give their kids some of the experiences they had when they were growing up.” The Covi SuperShow had a record 19,000 people through the gates in 2017 and it’s believed this year’s event, from 16-18 March, will also be a record breaker. For more show information click HERE


Connect at home! Connect anywhere!

15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection


iTech World

Wellington Shire

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

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

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

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

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


28 | iMotorhome Marketplace

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

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

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


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

duvalay.com.au | (02) 6653 4640

Roberts RV World

RV Specialists

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

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

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

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

Southern Highlands Service Centre • • • • • •

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

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

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

iMotorhome Marketplace | 29

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

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

Find power anywhere with a REDARC Inverter

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

The alternative to a bike!!

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

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

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

Airbag Man

Battery Traders Super Store

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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

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

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

T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au

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

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

Nomadic Solutions

Tiffin Motorhomes

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

5th wheeler specialist

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

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

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

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

30 | Tested: Trakkaway 700

Trakka’s popular Trakkaway 700 is more capable than you might think‌ by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au

Tested | 31


rakka’s latest FWD Trakkaway 700 may well be the motorhome for people who want some modest rough-terrain ability, without the complication, increased floor height and additional cost of a 4WD motorhome.

At Outback Travel Australia we usually evaluate only 4WD machinery, but we make exceptions where we feel they’re warranted. For example, we checked out the Peugeot 2008 (model, not year!) 2WD SUV, because of its off-road traction control program. The 2WD Trakkaway 700 also has enhanced tractive ability.

The latest model Fiat Ducato is a good looking vehicle and Trakka has done an excellent job of seamlessly integrating the body and cab. In many ways it’s better than an A-class as it retains the convenience of both cab doors but loses little in terms of view or living space.

32 | Tested Underneath

hangs down inside the approach angle.

he Trakkaway 700 is based on the front-wheel drive Fiat Ducato platform that is now powered by a four-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-litre Euro 6 engine. Outputs of 130 kW (180 hp) and 400 Nm are the same as those of the previous 3.0-litre engine, but weight is some 40 kg less.

It might seem odd to start off a motorhome evaluation discussing its off-road ability, but we were keen to find out how it compared with 4WD models. Were the Fiat Ducato a narrow, low-profile camper van we’d rate it behind the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 and well behind


The cab and powertrain module is connected to an AL-KO, hot-dip galvanised chassis that mounts an Al-KO rubber-bushed torsion bar, independent rear suspension. The front suspension struts are also AL-KO components that increase ride height and suspension travel by 40mm over the standard Ducato front end.

the Iveco Daily 4x4 campers, but if compared with wider and taller 4WD motorhomes the Trakkaway 700 scores very well. It won’t go seriously off road and tackle steep trails or soft sand, but it can manage the lumpy, loose ground you might find when looking for a secluded campsite. If stuck, the Trakkaway’s high ground clearance means that dropping front tyre pressures way down, for increased traction, won’t see it scraping its bumper.

Ground clearance is 190 mm – around the same as many 4WD utes and wagons – but those who want to venture onto rocky terrain should fit an underbody guard, because there’s We asked Trakka’s founder and managing plenty of expensive aluminium underneath the director, Dave Berry, why he never built a front end! Also, the intercooler bottom hose

Cab seats easily swivel and are ideal for after-hours reading or TV viewing. Note handy flip-up table; ideal for coffee, drinks and snacks.

Tested | 33 motorhome on the extremely off-road-capable Iveco Daily 4x4 and he told us that he didn’t think many people would risk damaging expensive, wide and high motorhome bodywork on steep, rocky trails. Also, he pointed out that many Australian tracks are narrow and have overhanging branches that preclude high, wide vehicles. For Trakka customers who want off-road agility the company produces the more compact Sprinter-based Jabiru and VW Transporterbased Trakkadu models.

Average fuel consumption was 13 L/100km (21.7 mpg) – way less than a typical 4WD tow vehicle and caravan combination. Performance was quite good, although 4.5 tonnes with 400 Nm of torque isn’t ever going to set a hill-climbing record. Over flat and slightly undulating country the Ducato was happy to cruise at 110 km/h, with less than 2000rpm on the tacho.

Driving the Trakkaway 700


e spent five days in the new motorhome and didn’t really want to give it back! We drove it on mainly freeways from Sydney to Old Bar in NSW; then up the steep and rough bitumen climb to Uralla; stayed there in wildly-variable weather – from a sunny 30ºC to a wet and windy 8ºC – and then returned to Sydney via the New England Highway.

Top: Forward facing dinette seat is belt-equipped for two and has a massive picture window alongside for excellent viewing. Above: The Ducato has the most modern and car-like cab of any motorhome-suitable cab-chassis. Nice touches include the leather steering wheel and stubby gear lever.

34 | Tested The Ducato comes with a six-speed ‘Comfortmatic’ automated manual transmission (AMT), so it’s a two-pedal machine. The rationale is ease of driving, but with manual-box fuel economy, and it worked well. Early-generation automated manuals were a pain to drive, with delayed shifting and frequent ‘neutralising’, but we were impressed with Fiat’s 2017 effort. Shifting wasn’t as seamless as with a torque-converter automatic box, but the computer picked the right ratio for every occasion. The stubby gear lever was easily reached when the driver wanted to flick manually up

or down for a ratio change, or when holding the box in manual mode while manoeuvring. The downshifting programming was excellent, with the box automatically picking lower ratios for engine braking when the Trakkaway was descending grades, while engine braking was much better than we expected from a 2.3-litre engine. Ride and handling were excellent, thanks to great matching of the AL-KO front and rear spring and damper rates. The Trakkaway 700 felt like a big car, not a top-heavy motorhome. Big disc brakes with ABS and electronic distribution washed speed off very effectively.

The pole-mounted dining table has an any-which-way mount that provides a wide range of adjustment when dining for two, three or four. Note Trakka’s trademark roller-shutter cupboard doors and contemporary styling.

Tested | 35

The island bed is accessible when the rear slide-out is retracted, although not all the way around. A rear slide is excellent because if anything goes wrong the vehicle is still drivable. It’s also Trakka designed and engineered, and very solid. Our off-roading was confined to some rutted tracks with sandy and stony surfaces and the Trakkaway handled that ground with some intervention of the traction control system. Thanks to its independent suspension all around it kept good surface contact and we reckon it had better grip than a rear-wheeldrive motorhome with live rear axle. Very steep, loose uphill climbs might be its nemesis, but it should be easy enough to reverse up those if you had to.

motorhome. Two of us could have the front seats spun around on their swivel bases; the dinette table in place on its simple push-in pedestal; the powered entry step and power awning fully deployed; camp chairs in place; the powered bed slide-out extended and the screened hatches and windows opened in around five minutes. On a powered site it took little effort to couple grey water and mains water hoses, and to connect the captive electrical lead to a power box.

Living in the Trakkaway 700

Standard travel seating is ADR-approved for four, while an additional seat-belted space is optional. We sat four around the dinette and its auxiliary second table, in good comfort.

Having spent many years travelling this wide brown land we’re passionate about ease of use. Anything that’s difficult to operate becomes a major irritation after a few days on the road. Okay, what was our major irritation with the Trakkaway 700? The door-mounted, flip-top garbage bin had sharp upper edges that cut the sides of the plastic bag liners we used. That meant we had to put the torn bag into a second bag to carry rubbish to a bin. That was our only complaint! Setup was the easiest we’ve ever had in a

The Trakkaway came with ducted air conditioning – the Truma unit tucked neatly under the bed, out of harm’s way – and ducted diesel heating. Hot water was diesel and 240volt powered, while the hotplate was also a diesel unit. We’ve never been all that keen on diesel stoves, but Trakka’s Alex Berry had given us the heads-up: “Turn it on before you start your food prep and

36 | Tested

Above: Looking forward from bed. The bedroom has its own TV and a concertina divider that makes it nicely private. Left: The bathroom is all-in-one, but the loo slides away beneath the vanity when not required, leaving a surprisingly spacious shower space. it’ll be nicely hot when you’re ready to cook”. That’s what we did; got it going while we cut the bacon to pan-size and cracked the eggs into a bowl. One end of the ceramic surface had the bacon sizzling and the other end was warm enough to keep the cooked bacon hot while we fried the eggs. The combined toilet/bathroom looked a little squeezy, but with the toilet module powered away under the vanity the shower area was quite roomy. External access to the toilet cassette was simple. Initially, we thought there wasn’t a great deal of storage space, but there were cupboards of varying sizes all around the interior, accessed via Trakka’s trademark roller doors, and a roomy ‘boot’ at the back. Those who want even more storage or bed space can opt for a Luton peak over the cab.

Our test vehicle was fitted with an optional Alfresco Pack that includes a 51-litre exterior fridge, a drawer and a pull-out sink with tap and basin. It comes with an additional solar panel, taking the rooftop power from 240 W to 360 W.

Tested | 37

The panels and a 25 A charger fed an optional pair of 100 Ah lithium batteries (AGMs are standard). Fluid capacities were quite generous: 120 litres of diesel; 165 litres of fresh water and 135 litres of grey; 10 litres of hot water and a 19 litre toilet cassette. An additional 55 litre fresh water tank is optional. The Trakkaway 700 has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4495 kg, so all you need is a car licence to drive it. In standard trim Trakka claims a tare weight of 3590 kg, leaving an impressive payload of around 900 kg for people, fluids and freight. Summing up, if you don’t need full-on bush driving capability the Trakkaway 700 could be just the ticket. It’s easy to drive and live with, and backed by Trakka’s highly regarded reputation for build quality and service.

Top: The large electric step is a beauty: Middle: The toilet unit, extended. Below: A glass-topped diesel-fired cooker takes pride of place in the quite spacious kitchen.

38 | Tested

Specs GENERAL Make



Trakkaway 700 Remote





Approved Seating




VEHICLE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato with AL-KO Chassis


2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel


132 kW @ 4000 rpm


400 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm


6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT)


ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, Dual airbags


120 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3590 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Max Payload

900 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

1500 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

6.99 m (22’ 11”)

Overall Width

2.40 m (7’ 10”)

Overall Height

2.90 m (9’ 6”)

Internal Height

2.20 m (7’ 3’)

Main Bed

1.95 m x 1.35 m (6’ 5” x 4’ 5”)

Luton Bed - optional

2.15 m x 1.30 m (7’ x 4”)

Dinette Bed


Tested | 39




To watch Allan’s video review of the Trakkaway 700 click HERE


Rear – Bedroom


Dometic Electric

Entry Steps

1 x Electric


Webasto diesel with glass ceramic top


Externally vented with LED lighting


Dometic round with fold-down flick mixer, glass lid


Waeco 136 L compressor




12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

3 x 12 V, 6 x USB

Air Conditioner

Truma Saphir reverse cycle

Space Heater

Truma Combi diesel-fired

Hot Water System

Truma Combi diesel-fired


Thetford cassette - retractable


Flexible hose



2 x 100 AH AGM

• Not 4WD • Not much else


2 x 120 W (3 x 120 W with Alfresco pack)



Fresh Water

165 L

Grey Water

135 L

Hot Water

10 L


19 L cassette




As Tested


Pros… • • • • • • •

Quality 2WD ability Innovation Comfort Quick set-up No LPG Driving experience


Click for Google Maps

Trakka Pty Ltd 9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai, NSW. 2080. T: 1800 TRAKKA (1800 872552) E: trakka@trakka.com.au W: www.trakka.com.au

40 | Tested: Dethleffs Magic 13 DBM

This Dethleffs’ A-class is magic by name and nature… By Malcolm Street

Tested | 41

Lurking under the skin of Dethleffs’ Magic A-class is the latest Fiat Ducato. Given the size and equipment level of the motorhome it’s surprising – and a credit to the engineers – that it has just a 3850 kg gross vehicle mass, yet still manages a respectable 600 kg payload.


ne of the more fascinating things I find about New Zealand is despite the fact that it’s a relatively small country, there’s always something new to be found. I was out doing a little driving in a Dethleffs Magic 13 DBM A-class motorhome that I’d borrowed from the Dethleffs South Island dealer, UCC motorhomes. To the south of Christchurch, between Burnham and Dunsandel, is the Selwyn River/Waikirikiri and I was looking for a suitable photo location, as I frequently do. Getting off the main highway, I followed the road and river for a bit until I discovered what looked like an old river crossing. I didn’t test the Dethleffs motorhome across the ford, but did park it up to take in the scenery. It was a beautiful spot – one I had all to myself – and it’s well worth a little detour to investigate if you’re heading down that way. But I’ve digressed!



eing familiar with the Dethleffs product I was not surprised to find the Fiat Ducato chassis lurking underneath; the Multijet 180 variety, with a 2.3-litre 130 kW/400 Nm turbo diesel and 6-speed AMT gearbox. I think the Europeans get the lower powered Fiat engines but I reckon for this class of motorhome, Kiwis get the best end of the deal. Certainly on my cruising along the Main South Road and along some of the secondary river roads, the Fiat engine delivered the goods. One of the benefits of the A-class body is the all round vision when driving, as well as when parked up. The high-mounted side mirrors on the corners take a little bit of getting used to, i.e. looking up rather than sideways, but give a good view of what’s happening behind.

42 | Tested

Being a German-built motorhome the habitation door is on the driver’s side. When used to it, however, it’s not really an issue. Although, and I do understand most people don’t do this, when climbing in and out a few times to get photos, the lack of a driver’s door can be an issue.


G Top: On the road, visibility is excellent but it takes a little getting used to sitting a ways back from the windscreen, and looking up to the top-corner-mounted mirrors. Above: In typical Euro style the door is on the driver’s side, which in use is a non-issue.

lass reinforced plastic (GRP) – that’s fibreglass to you and me – is the main material for the 13 DBM bodywork, with the floor at 49 mm claiming the biggest thickness over the roof (35 mm) and walls (34 mm). A little point to note here is that a few A-class motorhomes I have been in have a rattle around the window area from various sources. Not in this case; the loudest noise being

Tested | 43

the wind from the open window. Like any good Euro motorhome this one has a large garage (boot) at the rear; one with a variable height, depending on what you’d you like to carry and/ or how high you’d like the bed inside. It’s not a major point but the Magic 13 DBM is quite a stylish looking motorhome; both the general body shape and external colour scheme. Some manufacturers produce an A-class motorhome that looks like a rectangular box, but Dethleffs has avoided that – and added a stylish paint scheme.

Four Berth Layout


nother benefit of the A-class body is that it’s fairly easy to create a four berth layout without too much compromise. In the rear is the main island bed, aft of a split bathroom. That neatly separates the main afterhours areas from the kitchen and lounge/dining area up front. The cab incorporates swivelling front seats, while the secondary bed is tucked neatly into the cab roof.

Dethleffs’ designers have managed to avoid the big white box look through careful design tweaks including multifaceted paintwork and discreet body mouldings.

44 | Tested

There seems to have been a shift in décor in recent times in the Dethleffs ranges, from darker to lighter hues. There is still the faux timber look but it’s very pleasing to the eye and you don’t get the enclosed feel that sometimes happens with European built motorhomes. I’m not much on fashion style notes but the backlit plinth around the large front skylight looks quite classy as does the ‘Tizio’ finish on the soft furnishings. Something that the less nimble will appreciate is the motorhome has a flat floor from the cab area to the split bathroom.

By Night


n the rear, the bedroom comes complete with 1.9 m x 1.5 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 11”) island bed and full bedhead cabinetry that looks very stylish. A little bonus, caused mostly by the garage storage underneath, is the long bed side cabinets that give plenty of room for

The view up front is commanding, but the A-pillars are quite thick and the frame of the passenger’s door (the driver’s door in Europe) adds a second, thick pillar and detracts somewhat from the ‘pure’ A-class appeal. Note the driver’s side storage box, which is useful, plus the sliding window.

Tested | 45

all those essential nighttime items like books and reading glasses. Only the right hand occupant gets a power point and main light switch, but both get reading lights. There’s a step up to the bed on both sides, but as with other Dethleffs A-class units, I always have the feeling the windows are set too low. The foot of the bed can be lifted to get to the storage compartments underneath, too. An alternative to the island bed layout is a pair of single beds. It doesn’t change the overall layout much, except for a slight re-arrangement of the bathroom. Up front, the drop down bed, which lowers very easily once the clips are undone, measures 1.96 m x 1.5 m (6’ 5” x 4’ 11”). The front curtains drop down with the bed but the slight disadvantage of this is that air flow is restricted on warm nights – obviously more of a problem in summer time NZ than the same season in Europe. To set up this bed properly, the cab seat backs have to be folded over and there’s a small ladder for easy access.

The tunnel boot (garage) is generously proportioned, while adjustable main bed base lets you vary the height to suit storage needs or bed access ease.

46 | Tested

The split bathroom separates the bedroom from the kitchen and living areas. The kitchen itself is typical Euro-compact, while the shower cubicle is larger than it at first appears.

Cleaning Up


ne of the benefits of a split bathroom is that it actually takes up less space than a full width equivalent. In this case, with the shower cubicle on the kerb side and the toilet cubicle opposite, the door for the latter can be fully opened to close off the bed/bathroom area from the front. In the toilet cubicle there is of course a Thetford cassette toilet, plus a corner vanity cabinet and mirrors on both walls. They do make photography tricky but are otherwise handy for general bathroom use. With split doors the shower cubicle appears to be on the small side, but the average sized occupant should be able to turn around without banging their elbows too much.



ne of the results of the arrival of European motorhomes in NZ (and Australia to a lesser extent) is the subtly different appliances like hobs (cookers) and fridges. In this case, the kitchen bench is fitted with a three burner hob that sits at the back of the bench against the wall. It’s narrow enough to allow for a bit of bench space in front, as well

Tested | 47

has having a smoked glass lid when not in use or when washing up in the round stainless steel bowl. General storage is relatively minimal and includes a couple of overhead lockers, cutlery drawer and cupboard, but the angled bench improves the space aspect a bit.

Watching the View


p front, the upholstered cab seats mesh in well with the L-shaped lounge behind the passenger seat and a single seat opposite. In the latter case, it can be adapted to take a fifth seat belt, but it will be rear facing. The moveable table is well sized – large enough to be practical but not so large that it gets in the way when moving to and from the cab.

Top: There’s useful extra under-seat storage by the entry door. Right: Despite its compact dimensions, storage in the kitchen is surprisingly good.

48 | Tested Entrance Way


here’s many an RV where the door entryway is just that, but being a Euro motorhome this one is multi-functional. Above the doorway are the usual gauges and control switches for items like the 12-volt system and hot water/space heater. The white faced gauges, including a clock, I quite like. Made to look analogue they are very much digital in function. Meanwhile, down the side of the fridge cabinet is a flat screen TV that can be angled out, a couple of shelves, drawer and light switches. On the opposite side, a floor hatch gives access to the under-seat area. As I said – multi-functional.

Remote Travel


or those who prefer to spend time away from the grid, then the Magic 13 DBM is well appointed. Two 95 AH house batteries can be kept up to charge by the 200 W solar panels. The pair of 9 kg gas cylinders won’t run out in hurry while depending on how you shower, the (smallish) 107-litre fresh water and 90-litre grey water tanks, should last a couple of days without replenishment or draining.

What I Think


t’s not hard to be impressed by this Magic 13 DBM layout. Sure it’s a tried and trusted design, but the overall look of the Dethleffs motorhome, particularly the interior, is very eye catching. If you are after an A-class motorhome then this should be on your short list as a worthy contender. If your preference is for a low profile B-class cab-chassis unit, much the same layout is also available, with just a few minor differences up front. An advantage of the A-class is that whilst it’s designed for two to travel in comfort, it can easily accommodate four. It’s your choice, but either way you’re unlikely to be disappointed. It’s magic, indeed!

Top: Thoughtful storage options are common throughout, including these by the entry door. Above: Over-door mounted gauges are retro styled but digitally modern. Very nice…

Tested | 49

“One of the benefits of the A-class body is the all ‘round vision when driving, as well as when parked up.”

50 | Tested

Specs GENERAL Make



Magic 13 DBM





Approved Seating




VEHICLE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180


2.3 L turbo-diesel


130 kW @ 3500 rpm


400 Nm @ 1400 rpm


6 speed AMT


ABS, ESP, Air Bags

Fuel Tank

90 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3250 Kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3850 kg

Max Payload

600 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2000 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.39 m (24' 3")

Overall Width

2.33 m (7' 7")

Overall Height

2.94 m (9' 8")

Internal Height

1.98 m (6'6")

Main Bed

1.90 m x 1.5 m (6' 3" x 4' 11")

Luton Bed

1.96 m x 1.5 m (6' 5" x 4' 11")

Tested | 51

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out



Thule Omnistor

Entry Steps



Dethleffs/Dometic 3 burner




Round stainless steel


Dometic RMD 8555 190 L 3-way


Thetford duplex


12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets


Air Conditioner


Space Heater

Truma Combi 6E

Hot Water System

Truma Combi 6E


Thetford cassette


Separate cubicle


2 x 95 AH


1 x 200 W


2 x 9 kg

Fresh Water

107 L

Grey Water

90 L

Hot Water

10 L


19 L




2 Year for engine & 5 years water ingress

Pros… • Panoramic view from cab • Two or four berth layout • Good sized bedroom and bathroom • Décor and interior design • External storage capacity and general payload

CONs… • Small kitchen • Small water capacities • Front bed curtain restricts ventilation • Small windows in main bedroom


Click for Google Maps

North Island Acacia Motorhomes 74 Spartan Way Takanini, Auckland. 2015. E: sales@buycampervan.co.nz W: acaciamotorhomes.co.nz

Click for South Island Google Maps UCC Motorhomes and Caravans 7 Foremans Road Islington, Christchurch. 8042. T: 0800 222 108 E: info@uccmotorhomes.co.nz W: uccmotorhomes.co.nz/

52 | Project Polly

In The Frame

Rust was the suspect and cause of Polly’s windscreen rainwater leaks…

Project Polly | 53


onsidering Polly’s relatively young age – she turns eight this month – I was surprised when Pia from Southern Spirit Campervans said we had a serious rust issue along the top of the windscreen. I’ve never had a windscreen-surround rust problems with any car, including some much older that spent their lives outside. However, the increasing incidence of small water droplet tracks down the inside of the windscreen, which developed into full-blown leaks even in light rain, convinced me she was right. To top it all off an elongating crack developed from the top driver’s side corner, so in financial trepidation I approached a local and well regarded body shop – Power Smash Repairs in Mittagong, NSW – for a quote. I’d been advised to ensure whoever did the repair didn’t just bogup any rust patches and so asked if they would take photographs during the repair process for this article. I’d also bought an aftermarket set of replacement headlights, as the originals were crazed and yellowed with age, and asked they be installed at the same time. Not looking good. Windscreen frame rust was surprisingly advanced…

54 | Project Polly Crunch Time


was expecting a quote in the region of $2500. They came back with one for $1668.70, including the physical replacement of the windscreen (but the cost under a seperate claim via Ken Tame Insurance), excluding headlight installation. I was told aftermarket headlights fit badly and they would,

“Look like rubbish”, so they’d have a look at the time and let me know. I didn’t shop around because Power Smash Repairs is widely regarded as the best local body shop and they’re closest to home. Also, time was tight and I considered the price fair, so I booked Polly in for the second week of December. In the mean time I emailed Ken Tame regarding the replacement windscreen and they told me just to give the repair shop my policy number and have them contact them directly, plus pay them the $100 excess on completion. Polly’s allotted admission day arrived and we dropped her off and crossed our fingers, in case the problem was worse than expected. Nothing further was heard and the scheduled collection day, which was the day before Mrs iM and I headed away for a short pre-Xmas break, arrived. That morning I dropped in and saw Polly in the workshop, windscreen missing and lots of masking tape and paper over her nose. Obviously, she wasn’t coming home that day! The receptionist seems relaxed about the whole thing and we rescheduled for noon of the day after our return, just a few days before Xmas. This time Polly was ready and I was pleased to see the new headlights installed and nothing ‘rubbishy’ looking about them; just clear, clean lenses and, I swear, a hint of a smile on Polly’s face… Remarkably, the price remained as quoted – plus the $100 windscreen excess – and there was no charge for the headlight installation.

Plus and Minus Replacement after-market headlights cost $278 for the pair, look good and work well, although the driver’s side unit needs adjusting to lift its beam.


n the plus side, the repair appears to have been done well, especially when you consider the rust in the photos. The headlights work normally, including internal

Project Polly | 55

electric adjustment while driving, and the difference in light quality is marked – now there’s an understatement! On the minus side, there was quite a lot of dust throughout Polly; the cab headlining has many dirty hand prints and there’s overspray on the rubber trim in the top forward corner of the driver’s door opening, plus paint drip marks above it. These last two items will be rectified at no cost later this month. The question to ask is, why did Polly’s windscreen surround rust so quickly? It’s likely she’d had quite a few replacement windscreens in her five years as a rental, and equally likely those were installed with haste and little care. Combine that with a considerable amount of time spent by the sea and if there was any weakness in the top rubber seal, salty water could/would quickly pool and do its worst. Now she’s home and gone through a couple of heavy summer thunderstorm downpours I’m pleased to report no sign of leaks. Buying an older vehicle, or even a relatively young ex-rental, isn’t for the faint hearted. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch and so if you buy a ‘bargain’ be prepared to pay more in the long run. Still, even at the full ex-rental price and with all the extras added, Polly has cost less than half a new equivalent. That makes her a bargain! Well, sort of… With the rust removed and the affected areas repaired a new windscreen was installed before a trip to the paint shop to respray to nose.

56 | Technical

Tooo Easy? ToooAir’s push-to-talk radio system looks like a winner…

Technical | 57


oooAir is claimed to be Australia’s first two-way radio style transceiver using a cellular network, providing push-to-talk communication across Australia, using the Telstra network. In addition to nationwide push-to-talk communications the ToooAir system incorporates tunnel, basement and in-building coverage; GPS tracking; dispatching software and voice and text messaging. Although aimed at the commercial market the ToooAir system has great potential for the RV market. The ToooAir Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PTToC) system consists of a three-product range: A compact unit, a mobile mounted unit and a handheld device. Unlike traditional radio networks, ToooAir’s PTToC product provides Australia-wide communication through a simple one-to-one or one-to-many, two-way radio style system, by utilising the cellular mobile phone network. The system uses the data network, so coverage is better than via the voice network, especially in weak-signal areas. General manager of ToooAir, Peter Langbart, said traditional LMR and PMR radio systems simply aren’t meeting modern demands. “Australia’s workforce is becoming more geographically diverse and this causes issues for dated communications systems which rely on the close proximity of users. ToooAir’s Push-to-Talk over Cellular technology solves this issue and has added capabilities such as dispatch software and GPS tracking that aren’t provided by other products,” he said.

ToooAir products rage comprises…


he TA-308 compact unit weighing 225 grams with an LCD display indicating calling party, group, signal strength and GPS acquisition. The product also has two quick-call buttons for individual and group calls The TA-300 mountable mobile device with a reversible LCD display, auto power-on sensing and internal antennas powering strong reception in difficult areas. The TA-388 handheld device with a claimed two days’ battery life has programmable function keys, colour display, an easy menu, SOS emergency calling and USB charging. Pricing of each unit is in the $430 to $600 range and unlimited ‘talk’ time is about $30 per month for Australia-wide Telstra coverage. To find out more visit the ToooAir website HERE.

58 | Show Report

Louisville Lowdown A look inside North America’s industry-only RV show… by Richard Robertson

Show Report | 59


y our standards the North American RV Industry isn’t simply big, it’s enormous. In Australia in 2017 it’s likely the industry will sell around 21,000 new units, of which only about 1100 or 1200 will be motorhomes and campervans. By comparison, North American production in 2017 will, for the first time, exceed 500,000 units, of which some 65,000 will be ‘motorised’. There are perhaps hundreds of consumer RV shows across North America every year, but late in November the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) hosts the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s an industry-only event that, “Hosts the largest concentration of RV manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and campground managers in the world,” so they claim. Over the years many Australian RV manufacturers have made the pilgrimage to see what’s hot and what’s not in the North American RV scene, and for 2017 iMotorhome attended as an accredited media organisation. Held at the sprawling Kentucky Exposition Centre, the show featured 27 acres of undercover displays. The show itself is primarily aimed at dealerships looking for new product lines and RV manufacturers looking for new dealers. It’s a symbiotic relationship created by the huge number of dealers needed to service the widely dispersed North American population.

Eye Opener!


y Antipodean RV shows standards it was also a real eye-opener, especially at an organisational level. There was a dedicated media room with complimentary Wi-Fi, meals and drinks, while the RVIA created an impressive app just for the show that listed exhibitors, floorplan maps, products, events and more, and included a sharable calendar into which you could add any scheduled event or private meeting.

The show started with an afternoon media preview during which select companies had the opportunity to present their products to the press, followed by a happy hour networking session. The show proper kicked off the following day with a packed ‘welcome breakfast’ featuring an interesting keynote speaker, after which the display area was opened to attendees for two and a half days. New this year was an eclectic series of talks by industry and external specialists that included “George Jetson and the RV of the Future”, “Move over Boomers, the new mainstream hits the road! Multicultural and Millennial insights”, “Where will they camp?”, “The top 10 things you want from your RV when you’re 40 or younger” and more. These were held in an area called the Power Talk Patio in the middle of the main hall; an astroturfed area intended to recreate a campsite and complete with picnic

60 | Show Report benches, a mock fire place and camp chairs. While never cram packed, as you’d expect for an industry-only event, the pavilions were very busy for the first two days, with the final half-day something of a fizzer for those displaying, but which allowed us a great opportunity for last minute catch-ups. Apart from seeking new business opportunities, the show was an opportunity for manufactures and their farflung dealers to chew the cud and relax a little, as witnessed by the number of stands hosting all-day “alcoholic beverages of your choice”… Along with Mitch, iMotorhome’s new manager and guru of all-things digital, I attended to just get a feel for the North American RV market from an industry perspective. It was an eye opener for me, but even more so for Mitch, who has no prior RV experience. In his early 30s, I think Mitch felt a little out of place amongst the sea of grey haired men in company shirts, but was heartened by the new emphasis on RVing for the under 40s.



rom a motorhome perspective I found the show fascinating. Aside from the acres of traditional beige boxes there is a change creeping into North America. It’s a change spearheaded by the likes of Euro-giant Hymer, who recently bought Canadian-based van conversion specialist Roadtrek and is now selling it’s own compact vans alongside Roadtrek’s range. There are increasing numbers of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based motorhomes, while Fiat’s Ducato is making solid gains under the Dodge Ram ProMaster badge, alongside the latest Ford Transit. While none of these chassis can compete with Ford’s venerable and still hugely popular E450

on price, the gap is narrowing as buyers are starting to realise they don’t need/want an archaic 6.8-litre V10 petrol engine, nor the behemoth size of ‘traditional’ motorhomes. While big is still beautiful in many people’s eyes, those eyes are starting to dim with age and younger buyers aren’t, well, buying into it. We had intended to ‘hit the stands’ for the full two and a half days, but basically spent the first two listening to the talks. They were diverse and insightful, and bode well for an industry already on fire, sales wise. Lest you think the show was all about younger people, consider these figures and their implications: Between now and the end of 2029 more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age in the USA every day. EVERY DAY! That’s a lot of potential RVers still to tap into, never mind Gen X and the Millennials following along behind. The Louisville lowdown? Trump or no Trump, America is still an economic powerhouse due to its enormous population, while its historically introspective perspective can only be a good thing for its RV industry. The RVIA’s 2017 National RV Trade Show was an eye opener in every sense and we’ll be back next year, all being well. Before then, however, the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon in August is calling, for a European perspective on the future of RVing. Decisions, decisions. Ciao!

Furrion’s promotional A-class has a helicopter on the roof. It’s lowered and stored inside when travelling. Of course...

Show Report | 61

A-Class Inside, the Furrion has a staircase to the rooftop verandah and helipad!

This Newmar A-class is gas (petrol) powered and features a fold-down rear entertaining deck, complete with outdoor kitchen.

62 | Show Report

Touch screens for system controls will soon become the expectation

Twin sinks are the new A-class bathroom must have!

Winnebago’s Horizon diesel pusher in show-stopping custom paint. The Horizon’s inviting office...

The Intent is Winnebago’s new entry level A-class range.

Show Report | 63 Roadtrek ‘210 Popular’ Chevy van is AWD, seats 5, sleeps 3, and has a bathroom, external lockers and even a black water tank.

Americans call van conversions B-class. This Hymer on a Dodge Ram ProMaster (aka petrol-powered Fiat Ducato) has an unusual pop-top roof with internal ladder to an secondary, upstairs bed.


The 210 Popular is a bit cramped but has a rear bench/bed seat as well as 3 seats up front.

64 | Show On myReport mind

The new Winnebago Revel is a funky offroader on a MWB 4X4 Sprinter. The east-west main bed is height adjustable to accommodate adventure equipment and has a bubble extension at the head for extra length. The bathroom is multi purpose with removable shelves for additional storage. Neat!

Super C apparently means a dieselpowered C-class, like these two beauties from Dynamax. The top one is on a Dodge Ram with a Cummins engine, while the one below is on a Freightliner chassis. Impressive!

Show On myReport mind | 65


Tiffin has entered the C-class market, using Mercedes-Benz Sprinters as its cab-chassis of choice. Should prove popular...

66 | Feature

Wandering With Wanda

The makeover to (hopefully) end all makeovers‌ By Sharon Hollamby

Feature | 67


appy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed some precious, quality time with family and friends over the Christmas break. It took Wanda and me a while but we finally made it back to Adelaide. Our overheating problem was resolved with a new radiator, kindly fitted (with some alterations and ingenuity) by my mate Kymbo, with me taking on the role of apprentice. Kymbo also noticed that my boot box was hanging low and discovered the welds had broken. Further investigation revealed that the whole tow bar and box set up was only held on by two small bolts. If I had tried to tow anything the whole rear end would have fallen off! Thankfully Kymbo was able to repair it and I was on my way again. First stop along the way was Murray Bridge, to pick up a fridge that I had bought for $100. It is an old Electrolux gas electric and I soon discovered that it was a little larger than my old one.

Under Pressure!


inally it was off to Adelaide where the pressure was on to get a bed installed so that my grandson could come and stay. My list of things that needed to be done seemed to grow longer by the day and I began to despair we would get it all done.

My brother-in-law, Trev, bolted in the new fridge by making some adjustments, only to discover that it wasn’t getting very cold. I Googled the problem and found an article on turning the fridge upside down. Apparently this dislodges any crystals that have settled and helps to remove any debris. It was worth a try, so out it came and upside down it went. Trev had his doubts, but I’m pleased to report that this simple fix does work and the fridge was reinstalled the next day. Working out where to have the bed was not easy but I felt the best way was to put a bunk

68 | Feature

bed over mine at the back of the bus. This leaves a little seating area next to the beds on each side and forms a lounge by utilising the bottom bed. While Trev hammered, sawed and drilled, and my sister Jan kept insisting on feeding me, I tried to get all the other jobs done. Wanda looked like she should be featured on an episode of Hoarders, and accessing the stove was difficult, so I was grateful for the home cooked food. In the meantime I had sourced two new thick foam mattresses for $50 each and we took Trev’s 4WD to pick them up. Just as we got the mattresses in Trev let go of the tailgate and it slammed down on my head. I didn’t see stars but it was pretty close. There was no time for concussion though; we had to get to Bunnings! Trev was so apologetic, but as he kept hitting his head while working on the bed, I figured we were even. Our next problem was,with the 10 cm mattress on, the top bed was too close to the ceiling. It would need to be lowered a little, but not too much as it would compromise the lounge area. Poor Trev had to undo all his work to drop the bunk a mere 5 cm, but it worked and I now have a fully functional lounge area and a nice bed for my grandson.

To save money Trev used recycled material and with sheets and a blanket hanging between the slats the whole thing looked rather messy from underneath. I needed something light and easy to work with, so I got a sheet of black corflute, attached it with screws and edged it with woven tape. There was even enough corflute left over to place in the runners and cover the wiring.

The Right Connections


ext on the agenda was connecting the fridge and stove to gas. Of course, none of the fittings were right and it took three trips to the gas fitters before I got all the right connections. As usual, nothing is easy with Wanda and we had to find and fix all the gas leaks she had as well. Everything has been such a rush and as we all know, haste can lead to accidents. Jan and Trev go all out with decorating their front yard at Christmas and Trev has a tall arch over the driveway that is covered in lights. He did make it taller this year as Wanda barely made it under there last year. However, in a rush to get out one day, I forgot the hatch was open and I broke the right arm of the arch. Worse still, a few days later I did the same thing and broke the left side and my hatch. I felt so bad but Trev was able to fix it all. They do love their

Feature | 69 decorations and insisted I decorate my bus, so I threw a few things on, but I don’t think it’s quite what they had in mind! When Kymbo came to Adelaide it was back to work as he sorted out the 12-volt wiring for me. I still need new house batteries but at least with the solar charging my auxiliary battery I can use that one with a bit more confidence. Of course being in Adelaide, garage sales are mandatory and I picked up a few good bargains. I got a brand new aerial for the grand sum of three dollars and an old-stylebut excellent-condition lounger for two dollars. When we got home I tried out the lounger but I hadn’t put the leg down properly and I ended up looking like an upside down turtle with legs and arms flailing everywhere. Jan could not stop laughing but my hips and bottom didn’t find it so humorous.

Serenity Now…


am covered in bruises, scratches and a dent or two, but Wanda feels much roomier and homelier now. It is so good to have a working fridge, stove and power. I was also happy to discover that one of my bills had been paid off and was planning on enjoying the extra few dollars it would give me. Then I saw a cute little 12-volt television for six dollars a week, and I got a swivel bracket as well so that it could be out of the way on the wall. Trev helped me put it up which was great as I was about to install it upside down…

who makes dogs’ beds. Trev will make use of all the bits of wood, wire and corflute left over and after turning my old fridge over and getting it working properly again it has also gone to a new home. So Wanda and I are sitting at St. Kilda testing out all the new gadgets. It’s a beautiful sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing through the windows. I feel like I can breathe again and I am so happy and grateful for all that has been achieved.

Wanda has been thriving on all the attention and has been starting and running really well. Plus with the new sheets, blankets and a lick of paint here and there I’m loving her new blue look interior. The European pillows Jan gave me We will be wandering west in the new year, so if have finished her off nicely. you see us on the road give us a wave or come Very little has gone to waste either. Wanda’s old and say hi. We’d love to meet you. cushions go beautifully in my sisters van and all the other foam off cuts were given to a lady

May 2018 bring you all many miles of safe, happy travels!

70 | Tips

Paradise Scratched Paradise in Australia and New Zealand is often ruined by tiny little intruders that leave you scratching‌


ummer time at the beach, by a river or in some other idyllic camp setting is a time to be savoured – especially if you’re a sandfly. Hordes of humans descend and provide a smorgasbord in what can best be described as the Feastive Season…

Tips | 71

No matter which side of the Tasman you’re on and whether you call them midges, sandflies or little biting b******s, genus annoy-us can make outdoor life miserable. These creatures – let’s call them midges – are mainly active at dawn and dusk, in calm weather and usually not far from water. Interestingly (or not!) the number of midges hatching from pupae and then moving to feed is related to the lunar cycle. The female midge is the ‘biter’. She chooses exposed skin and injects saliva into the hole to thin the blood, which is then sucked out to fertilise her eggs. It is the saliva that causes the allergic reaction and itching. Biting midges have the greatest impact on visitors to an area: Locals seem to build-up some immunity to the biting. In some sensitive people, midges can produce persistent reactions that blister and weep serum from the site of each bite and these reactions may last for several days to weeks.

Midge defence


here are no known, proved methods of permanently controlling biting midges, although there are literally hundreds of theories on the topic. Avoidance of biting midge areas is obviously the best method, but personal protection will help in reducing exposure. Long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks should be worn, with a repellent on all exposed skin and hair. Midges are attracted to bright lights and dark, rather than light-coloured clothing. The search for the perfect biting midge repellent is ongoing, but scientific studies done by various testing authorities indicate the most effective repellents are those containing Deet

“Camping by the beach can scratch the right sort of itch. Covering up at dawn and dusk can help avoid scratching the wrong type…”

72 | Tips

(di-ethyl toluamide) or Picaridin. Australia’s Defence Forces use Permethrin or Bifenthrin impregnated clothes combined with repellent on the skin. Research in Canada and the USA indicates that the Deet content of a repellent lotion increases the protection level, up to concentrations of around 40 per cent.

Vitamin B ‘dosing’ before entering biting midge areas is another repellent theory that hasn’t worked in scientific testing. You may need to experiment with different repellents, because what works for one person may not work for the next. Whatever you use, apply it before you get bitten.

A new product being evaluated as a repellent is a chemical known as MR-08 (menthol propyleneglycol carbonate). MR-08 is a GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) chemical modified from naturally occurring menthol and used in the food and cosmetic industry today as a ‘cooling’ agent, typically producing the menthol taste in toothpaste.

Bite Repair

US-based Poseidon Sciences tested MR08 against a repellent containing 20 per cent Deet. On human volunteers the Deet lotion provided less than 10 minutes protection from bites. When MR-08 was used in the same lotion, the protection time – the time between application and the first confirmed bite – exceeded more than 200 minutes. In Australia and NZ there are plenty of recipes for midge repellent. Most are a cocktail of vegetable or mineral oil, mixed with other substances, including Dettol, vinegar and alcohol/s. The proponents of these cocktails swear by their effectiveness, but scientific testing has shown them to be of little value. It’s possible the repellent effect comes down to an oil-coated midge being more concerned about escaping than biting!


he average reaction to a midge bite is a small red spot that develops into a domed blister with a hole at the top. More sensitive people can develop a red swelling over a few centimetres. Reactions usually last three or four days before slowly subsiding. Soothing lotions such as Eurax and Stingose give some relief from bites and help prevent secondary infection. Tea tree, eucalyptus oil and Aloe Vera gel can be useful too. More severe reactions require anti-histamine treatment, such as Telfast. The main danger, especially in tropical areas, is scratching the bites and thereby allowing secondary infection to take hold. If you can’t avoid know midge areas be sure to dress appropriately and carry a supply of repellents, plus soothing lotions for the postbite recovery. While you probably can’t beat them 100 per cent there’s no point letting midges scratch Paradise off your destination list.

Mobile Tech | 73

Mobile Tech will return When ? Next Issue

74 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival


RV Friendly Towns T

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

RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. This month’s featured RV Friendly Towns are:

Travel | 75

WANDOAN, QLD Wandoan is just off the Leichhardt Highway in Queensland, approximately 340 kilometres north-west of Brisbane. It’s a small community about halfway between Taroom and Miles, in the Western Downs region. Visitors are able to explore the social history and culture through a self-guided Heritage Trail, which includes the Juandah Heritage Site, public art features and the Waterloo Plain Environmental Park. The park is home to a large variety of birdlife, plus local and native

flora. RV travellers are welcome to overnight at the park, enjoying the serene environment of the wetlands. For a longer stay, the Wandoan Showgrounds on Roche Creek Road is a free campsite for stays as long as seven days. A dump point and potable water can be found on Jerrard Street. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Wandoan Visitors Information Centre to access local knowledge of the region.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Wandoan Visitor Information Centre & Craft Shop Zupp Rd, Wandoan QLD Ph: 07 4627 5227

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Wandoan Visitor Information Centre & Craft Shop Zupp Rd, Wandoan QLD Ph: 07 4627 5227 Waterloo Plain Environmental Park, West St, Wandoan QLD, (48hr), pets on lead, nil cost

Short Term Parking Long Term Parking Dump Point

Wandoan Showgrounds, Roche Creek Rd, Wandoan QLD, (max 7 nights), nil cost, (3km), pets on lead Jerrard St, Wandoan QLD

Potable Water

Jerrard St, Wandoan QLD

76 | Travel

CANOWINDRA, NSW Canowindra is in the central west of New South Wales, 317 kilometres from Sydney. The town’s curved main street is a resemblance of yesteryear, with its 19th century architecture and heritage listed buildings. What was once a township serving the local farming community, Canowindra is now popular for its thriving art scene and galleries, boutique shops, wineries and fine food. The crisp, still air of Canowindra offers ideal conditions for hot air ballooning, earning it the title of the Hot Air Ballooning Capital of Australia, and is the home of the annual Canowindra Balloon Challenge.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

The town received worldwide attention in 1955 when a 360 million year old fossil was discovered by a road worker. Visitors can view this and other fish fossils at the Age of Fishes Museum, which also contains the Visitor Information Centre. Canowindra Showground offers parking for up to 72 hours at no cost. Amenities are available for an additional charge if required and pets are permitted on leads. A dump point and potable water are accessible a short drive away, at the Canowindra Caravan Park.

Dump Point

VIC, Age of Fishes Museum Cnr Gaskill & Ferguson Sts, Canowindra NSW P: 02 6344 1008 www.ageoffishesmuseum.org.au Behind shops in Gaskill St & beside the Age of Fishes Museum, cnr of Gaskill & Ferguson Sts. Canowindra Showground, Rodd St, unpwr nil charge, pets on lead, (72hrs), bins, fee for tlts/shwrs/water, $20pvpn pwr (for pwr call site manager Bill 02 6344 1886) Canowindra C/P, Tilga St (Lat Long: -33.5690, 148.6638)

Potable Water

Canowindra C/P, Tilga St

Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking & Long Term Parking

Travel | 77

COONAMBLE, NSW Coonamble, in the central west slopes of New South Wales, is 418 kilometres northwest of Sydney. The shire has produced a successful agricultural industry including broad acre farming and cattle grazing. With the Warrumbungle National Park, Macquarie Marshes and Pilliga State Forest nearby, it’s the perfect base to explore the surrounding natural beauty of the region. The town’s main street offers a glimpse into the art deco era, with some buildings retaining this style. Coonamble’s history can also be

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking

Dump Point

Potable Water

observed at the Museum Under the Bridge, originally built as the police station in 1886. The ‘trooper’ brick horse stables have been preserved in their original form and are one of only two remaining in New South Wales. Coonamble offers up to 96 hours free parking at a choice of 3 locations – Coonamble Showground, the Back Combara Road campsite, and the Warrena Wier campsite. Potable water can be obtained at the showground, while a dump point is accessible on Castlereagh Street.

Coonamble Visitor Information Centre 84 Castlereagh St, Coonamble NSW P: 02 6827 1981 www.visitcoonamble.com.au E & W of Namoi St, E of Castlereagh St opp VIC, N & S of Aberford St adj to McDonalds Park Coonamble Showground, Castlereagh Hwy, (96hrs), nil charge, water & some facs; Back Combara Rd adj to sheep yard, (96hrs), nil charge; Warrena Wier, Baradine Rd, (96hrs), nil charge Coonamble Showground, Castlereagh Hwy, (96hrs), nil charge, water & some facs; Back Combara Rd adj to sheep yard, (96hrs), nil charge; Warrena Wier, Baradine Rd, (96hrs), nil charge 138 Castlereagh St (Lat Long: -30.9635, 148.3895)

Next Issue | 78


what we have for you next issue will be a real surprise – for all of us! Fortunately, Malcolm is still working his way through a small stockpile of New Zealand motorhome reviews and will bring you the compact and desirable Matakana 545 by Traillite. Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and designed for long, off-grid escapes it’s an impressive motorhome in true Traillite tradition. Don’t miss it! We’re into the doldrums of the motorhome testing period, with many manufacturers taking a well earned break until later in January. And so, with our Australian road test sails becalmed when this issue went to press, February 8-11



Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo Newcastle Entertainment Centre & Showground Brown Rd, Broadmeadow. NSW. 2292 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Concession: $10 • Kids: U16 free • Visit Website

Visit Website Click for Google Maps




February’s issue will be out on Saturday the 3rd. Until then why not join our more than Friends and followers on 32,000 Facebook Twitter , Pinterest and Instagram ? Facebook “f ” Logo


21-2616-18 16-18February 21-26 8-11



Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow Melbourne Showgrounds Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale. VIC. 3032 • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (8:00 Friday night, 4:00 Sunday) • Parking: $15 • Adults: $20 • Concession: $16 • Kids: U15 free

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

RGB / .ai



March 16-18 24-26 16-18

Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor Supershow ASB Showground 217 Green Lane. Auckland.1051. • • • • •

Open 9:00-5:00 daily Parking: $10 Day Pass: $16 Multi-Day Pass: $25.00 Kids: U16 free

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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



Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome Magazine - Australia & New Zealand Issue 121 - January 2018  

The only magazine dedicated to campervans and motorhomes in Australia and New Zealand!

iMotorhome Magazine - Australia & New Zealand Issue 121 - January 2018  

The only magazine dedicated to campervans and motorhomes in Australia and New Zealand!