Page 1

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

APRIL 2018

4x4 With More

EarthCruiser’s awesome Unimog 4x4…

Product Review Ride On tyre sealant tested

Reader Writes Battling bureaucracy!

Niesmann Bischoff Arto 88F

Real Life

Solo woman’s Big Lap!


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!

Editorial

Design & Production

Richard Robertson

Agnes Nielsen

Publisher/Managing Editor

Manager/Lead Designer

(+61) 0414 604 368

agnes@imotorhome.com.au

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

Designer

Road Test Editor

chris@imotorhome.com.au

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

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

Contributors

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

Digital

© 2018 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


4 | On My Mind

Tenterhooks

I

t’s late Friday afternoon – the day before publishing – and I’m on tenterhooks. The iPad/iPhone app to launch #RV Magazine has just gone live in the App Store, but I’m still waiting on the Android version to appear in Google’s Play Store. It’s an anxious time as the app approval process hit some snags along the way, but finally we’ve cleared everything and it should ‘appear’ any time now. In addition, I’ve got this issue of iMotorhome to finish by tomorrow, plus Mrs iM is at home convalescing with a broken wrist after a ‘tragic dismount’ from her bicycle on April Fools Day – no joking (and no pressure)… The good news is Mrs iM is in good spirits and just this morning was fitted with an impressive blue fibreglass cast that’s totally waterproof, so at least she can shower now and not have to wrap her arm in plastic bags! The 135-page launch issue of #RV Magazine, although aimed at North America, is available world wide. It’s priced at US$2.99 per issue or US$23.99 for a year and each issue downloads into the app for offline viewing – something I wasn’t able to achieve with the old iMotorhome app. Fittingly, I’ve signed up as my first paying customer and taken a year’s subscription! Well, if I don’t have faith in it who will? Also, I wanted to make sure it would work… The target release date was 1 April – it seemed appropriate – and we only missed it by six days. It was an ambitious target but we got caught up in the Easter holiday break with the app developer, plus teething troubles with the Apple and Google. Apple just wanted to know a bit more about the magazine, but Google’s objection was the humdinger: nudity, simulated sex, ‘disproportionately large’ breasts, genitalia

and graphic violence, etc, were all on the list! We cleared that one up, but it cost another 24 hours and did nothing for my blood pressure… The whole process has also been a testbed for transferring iMotorhome Magazine to a paid subscription model sometime later this year, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. #RV Magazine is a big gamble and one that needs to pay off, but for now it’s fingers crossed and down to the business of getting the news out there via social media and other US-based media sources. If you can let people know that would be greatly appreciated, just send them to hashtagrv.com and/or facebook.com/ hashtagrvmag The app-delivered magazine model makes an interesting comparison against the traditional print-magazine-via-the-newsagent one. With the app we give away 30 percent of sales revenue to Apple or Google, plus there’s another few percent for finance processing costs, so it works out at about 33 percent. In return, Apple and Google provide worldwide exposure through their respective Stores. Payment from both comes five to six weeks after the end of the month, so I won’t see anything for April’s sales until early-to-mid June. In the print world – at least the last time I was involved in it – 25 percent of the cover price goes to the newsagent and 25 percent to the distributor (the company that delivers it to the newsagents). So that’s half gone, and if you get paid within five to six weeks you’re doing really well. Two to three months can be the reality. So, not only is the app-model better financially for the publisher (even if 30-odd percent still feels like a gouge) it’s better for the continued...


On My Mind | 5 environment, because we’re not cutting down trees and covering them with ink, shipping tons of paper across the country and/or around the world, or leaving a pile of paper waste from unsold and later, unwanted copies. While I still love print magazines, the model is now wrong on so many levels. Of course I would love you to all rush out and buy a #RV Magazine subscription, but you can at least search for the app and download it, and have a look at the first five pages of the magazine.

Where To Now?

Y

ou’d be right in wondering if iMotorhome has a future if #RV goes well. iMotorhome is a lot of work for little return (at the moment) and needs an injection of effort, time and money to make it fly. The good news is that even if the US

goes well I can’t really imagine giving it up – so many of you have become part of our extended family. Mrs iM and I really value your input and, in many cases, friendships. Our lives are richer for this funny little magazine and it’s difficult to imagine life without it. Plans for tours this year are on hold, although I still want to organise another Reader Weekend and I’m thinking 9 -11 November looks good. I have a couple of places in mind, so if you trust me and want to be part of whatever gets organised, drop a line to richard@imotorhome. com.au and I’ll put you on the interested list. No pressure (I don’t think my blood pressure could take it)…

Richard

NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD


6 | Contents

4

On my Mind

10

On Your Mind

30

Tested: EarthCruiser Unimog U430

40

Tested: Niesmann and Bischoff Arto 88F

54

Reader Writes

60

Product Test

64

Product

72

Real Life

80

Travel

86

MobileTech

Tenterhooks

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

High & Behold – this towering Unimog is a sight to behold…

The Who? – big quality from a little known manufacturer

Grey Nomad v The Bureaucracy

Ride On tyre sealant

Dust beater!

Solo Big Lap!

Three more RV Friendly Towns

Gas Buddy

68

Wanda

76

Feature

84

Meals

90

Next Issue

Wandering with Wanda

Little Libraries

Baked Fish on Rice

What’s coming up!


ISSUE 1 T! NOW OdU the

Downloa free app from the App Store or Play Store today!


8 | Street View

Haera Mai!

A

s I write this the Covi Super Show has just ended and a super show is what it was. Certainly from a products displayed point of view there was plenty to see, with any number of manufacturers, importers, dealers and indeed countries represented. I know that some people might not see it this way, but I reckon it’s good to have available excellent products from a world market and not just the local scene. In this respect, New Zealand is streets ahead of Australia. On that very subject, in addition to the variety of imported motorhomes and caravans from Germany, Italy, Britain, France and Spain, there were some familiar names from Australia: Avida, Sunliner, Winnebago, Jayco, Jurgens, New Age, Bailey and a newcomer, Millard. Not all are motorhomes, I know, but a sizeable presence none-the-less. Apparently it’s okay to export to New Zealand but not the other way around (sarcasm noted and approved – Ed)! Whilst at the show I had the opportunity to meet Andreas Wolfer-Hermann, Sales Manager International of the German-based Morelo Group – Morelo being the latest addition to the motorhome range from Zion Motorhomes and by default, UCC motorhomes. Morelo has done something unusual for a German manufacturer: fitted the habitation door on the left and designed a mirror internal layout – something Teutonic motorhome builders won’t usually do. It is surprising it has been done for such a small market like NZ, although Morelo can certainly use the same layouts in Britain (and Australia for that matter). Another manufacturer – Adria – does that too and a British journo colleague

was surprised to learn that the left hand door versions were available in Australia, but not in Britain! Wolfer-Hermann was quite interesting to listen to and he became more interested in what I had to say when he realised where I was from and what I understood about Australian compliance rules; always something to get any potential importer wound up over…. Back to the New Zealand RV industry; it was clear to me from my time at the Covi show that things are still looking very positive, particularly with motorhomes. There was considerable interest being shown on even the most expensive A-classes (‘integrated’ in German speak). It’s always enlightening to take a seat in a motorhome at a show, particularly if there is a sales representative present, and listen to the questions being asked. Sometimes those and the answers are quite revealing….. For those of us in the very small world of RV journalism, something like the Covi show is always an opportunity to catch up with old friends in the industry. In my time, I have worked for both the NZ paper magazines directly and indirectly via Australian mags, and whilst wandering around, it’s a fairly quick way to not only catch up on the industry gossip and scandal but also find out where/what is the latest and greatest. Right about now there are any number of latests and greatests in NZ.

Haere ra!

Malcolm


Trakkadu 400

A New Kind of Playground


10 | On your mind

WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER!

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

Puzzling Roll! We love motorhoming and are planning to sell up and go full time for a while, but one thing has really bothered me: What to do about my jigsaw obsession? At home I have a table that’s always a jigsaw in progress, but on the road that’s unlikely to please Him! Anyway, a Google search uncovered things called jigsaw rolls, which are special mats you do your jigsaw on and then roll up to keep it safe while travelling. Brilliant! With that problem solved there’s nothing stopping us now. Love the magazine BTW and think it’s worth an easy $5 an issue. Regards, Maggie. What a crackingly good find Maggie, well done. I just hope your motorhome table is big enough or that you stick to smaller jigsaws. Either way I think you’re on a roll, so please accept this issue’s $50 prize. It’s a small piece in the financial puzzle that awaits your travels, but I think it will help you both get the picture. Sorry…


On your mind | 11

Don’t Do It… I have just downloaded your latest magazine and it was with dismay that I read that you are considering only making it available to smartphones and tablets. We do not own smartphones or tablets but only have laptop computers. Whilst I don’t have any objections to a subscription, I would not be able to read your great magazine. I have been enjoying (and contributing to) your magazine since about issue 20 and enjoy them so much as we travel almost full time on the road. Please don’t go down this path.

Good to hear from you again Ronald and thanks for the comments on the magazine and app. The good news is there’s a solution for laptop and desktop computers that allows readers to download and read offline (as the new apps do). The bad news is it adds expense and an extra degree of technical difficulty at this end, but I’m up for the challenge as I don’t want to lose you! Stay tuned.

Regards, Ronald.

More Thoughts Thanks for the March issue of iMotorhome, it looks like another bumper issue. So far I have read the editor’s comments in On My Mind and I wanted to pen a quick reply to the comments about paying for the magazine. I subscribe to several travel, electronics and RV magazines plus the Australian newspaper and in each case I get the online versions to save the hassles and delays involved in print issues. These magazines cost me around $5 per issue with the Australian costing about $1 per day. On that basis, I would be happy to continue my subscription to iMotorhome in that range. Re the format, I use Windows tablets and a Windows phone so the dedicated apps do nothing for me, but the PDF file format is the most suitable. This also gives me the bonus of reading the magazine offline. My existing magazine subscriptions have all taken the PDF download format except for the Australian newspaper, which I read online through their

web site. On this basis, I would urge you to save the money on developing apps and just continue the PDF download format. Regards, Ray. The problem with a PDF, Ray, is that I can’t make it secure, even with a password or other encryption method. People can still share it and the password, and while I’m sure the majority of readers would do the right thing, the temptation would always be there. The magazine will still be a PDF within the apps (to begin with at least) and will be able to be downloaded for offline reading, which is the primary goal. However, they will be ‘secure’ and not able to be shared. As per my reply to Ronald, I will also implement a method that allows PDF downloading to a laptop or desktop for offline reading, but which keeps it secure. Hopefully that’s the best of both worlds and everyone should be happy. Hopefully…


12 | On your mind

Canada Dreaming? Given the effort you all put into the magazine, I am more then happy to pay $20 to $40 per annum in order to ensure iMotorhome keeps coming. Now for a different view on North American RVs. We are going to Canada (British Columbia - BC) and Alaska this year. We valiantly tried to take on Canadian motor home rentals but were stunned at the really high cost of the rental RVs after taking into account the miserly daily mileage allowances available. So, we are hiring cars and staying in hotels, etc. Fellow Aussies complain about how difficult it is to pass the huge RVs on BC roads given the space they take up on the road. Plus, the huge BC National Park network seems to encourage

visitors to use tents rather than RVs, which seem to face a limited choice as to where one can stay in them according to the extensive maps of BC we have. Maybe the US is the better place to drive North American RVs? Cheers, Chris. Thanks for your support, Chris, it’s greatly appreciated. Re Canadian RVing, I know it’s expensive from a tour I looked at organising and you might be on the right track with a car and hotel, although it’s a shame to lose the freedom a motorhome allows. I guess it’s a brief summer season and long, snowy winter, so they have to make their money when the sun shines. Literally. Safe travels and all the best, no matter how you go. It’s a spectacular country.

RV Friendly Thanks Just passing on thanks for your updates on RV Friendly towns. We are always looking for a place to go for a few days to a week, not too far from home. Your story on Clifton caught my eye and so over Easter we made the trip and stayed at the Clifton Showgrounds, which are good value. Plus, only seven kilometres down the road is plenty of history and a bloody great feed in the Rudd Hotel at Nobby. For me, who grew up on Dad and Dave, seeing a lot of Steele Rudd’s works in this pub was fascinating. It’s well worth the trip to see, plus across the road free RV parking and a small charge for power. Thanks again iMotorhome Team, Terry.

Thanks Terry, it’s always terrific to hear from readers making good use of the information we supply! Glad you find RVFTs useful and that you had a great time away, especially discovering a place so dear to your childhood. What a bonus!


14 | On your mind

AdBlues I’m hoping my experience outlined below will help others who may get caught out when filling their tanks. As far as I can see it can only happen at the large trucking service centres. Keep up the good work and I look forward to each monthly edition of iMotorhome. In the early days of iMotorhome I was your first $50 winner, for my suggestion to modify the Fiat Ducato radio to stay “on” when the vehicle was stationary. We are now up to our 3rd Fiat Ducato, this time powering a 2015 Horizon Casuarina. Last May, returning from a week in Bendigo, we pulled into the Shell Service Centre on the Hume Highway North of Gundagai to top up fuel returning to Canberra. I pulled alongside a bowser in the Diesel section of the centre and proceeded to fill the tank, but the nozzle stopped the flow almost immediately. I had inadvertently used the wrong bowser and added AdBlue to the diesel fuel. Not realising the implications I started the motor and moved to another bowser. Bad decision! By starting the motor I had wrecked it. Seven months later (because Fiat do not keep spares in stock but import them from Italy) I picked up our motorhome from Cooma Diesel at Fyshwick, complete with a brand new motor thanks to our CMCA insurance through Ken Tame. The fuel tank, hoses and turbo were also affected and were replaced. I have since heard stories of people almost falling for the same predicament. Without taking away the blame from myself, I do think that the distributors of AdBlue should have a nozzle different from

a standard fuel nozzle. I understand the cost of replacing a Fiat motor is in the vicinity of $40,000 – a very expensive mistake – particularly if you’ re not insured. The engine, by the way was supplied unassembled on two pallets, one containing the engine block, the other, the components needed to assemble the engine. I have been a regular reader ever since my first contribution and fully support your move to a subscription magazine. Regards, Alan. Sorry to hear your tale of woe, Alan, it certainly is a warning for owners of diesel motorhomes. I’m incredulous it took seven months and could cost around $40,000 for a replacement engine – especially one that arrived in pieces on two pallets! However, little in the automotive world surprises me much these days. Interestingly, I looked on eBay and found a remanufactured 3.0-litre in Germany for around $5250 plus shipping. Anyway, good to hear Ken Tame got it sorted and you’re back on the road. I’m thinking you’re a bit more cautious around fuel pumps these days, though…


16 | News

NEW AFTER SALES LEAD AT SMARTRV Sales and Service is becoming really popular and we will work on offering efficient customer solutions, without losing the friendly service we are known for. I am extremely fortunate to have a team of talented individuals working with me and I am really looking forward to realising the potential of our After Sales care.” When a customer buys a Carado, Bürstner or HYMER motorhome from SmartRV, they are introduced to one of the After Sales team members, who becomes their point of contact for whatever they might need for as long as they own their motorhome. That includes guidance on using motorhome features or advice on accessories, plus maintenance or servicing at SmartRV’s specialist service centres. Andrew Philip joined SmartRV in mid-2016 after running his own travel agency in Cape Town. Caravanning was a big part of his childhood and he had two of his own in South Africa. His martRV has appointed Andrew Philip to parents are onto their third motorhome, so it’s a the role of After Sales Manager, where he lifestyle close to his heart. will lead the company’s unique teams in Auckland and Christchurch that are dedicated Andrew says he enjoys the satisfaction he to After Sales customer care. gets from making customers genuinely happy and believes it is the service levels at SmartRV Andrew replaces Nandor Koekeny, who that set it apart in the industry. “We are able to continues to work with the team. The After maintain a very high standard of service and Sales team is a major point of difference at can arrange assistance almost anywhere.” SmartRV and one that Andrew is looking forward to further developing. Find out more here or call SmartRV on 0800 005 312. “My focus will be to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Nandor. SmartRV’s After

S


Your perfect motorhome match Whether you’re buying your first motorhome or looking to upgrade, we have the perfect solution for you at SmartRV. You’ll find a large selection of motorhomes from popular Bürstner, value brand Carado and premium brand HYMER, which we distribute exclusively from world-renowned German manufacturer Erwin Hymer Group. With a wide range of pricing and features, let us help you find the motorhome of your dreams today. Don’t wait to start living the life you dream of.

Exclusively distributed in New Zealand by 11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland | 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch | 0800 005 312 (NZ) | imotorhome@smartrv.co.nz | smartrv.co.nz


18 | News

QUEENSLAND’S FREE SAFETY CHECKS

C

aravanning Queensland together with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Gas & Petroleum Inspectorate have renewed their unique free caravan Safety Check Days for a fourth year. Caravanning Queensland CEO Ron Chapman said many thousands of Australia’s nearly 65,000 registered caravans and other recreational vehicles take to Queensland’s roads every year and safety should be of the utmost importance for all drivers. “The 15 scheduled Safety Check Day’s allow caravan and recreational vehicle owners to have their vehicles inspected, weighed and ensure that they meet Australian Design Rules and Road Safety regulations,” Mr Chapman said.

“As caravanning grows in popularity, so too does the need to ensure caravans are operating safely and simple things like adding a tool box to the back, popping a kayak on the roof or even travelling with extra water tanks can cause the van or vehicle to become overweight and overweight loads are dangerous loads. We also check to make sure that things like 12 volt lights and number plates are not obscured; and we make sure the tow ball and vehicle and caravan weight is distributed legally and safely.” Mr Chapman said the initiative is unique to Queensland and aims to educate and equip owners with the information they need to travel safely, rather than issue fines. For more information about Caravanning Queensland’s Safety Check Days or to register at a location near you, click here.


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


20 | News

VICTORIAN TWEED RIDE

S

tep out in vintage style on 5 May on a gentle, 20-km cycling adventure through glorious wine country, interspersed with 3 incredible food and wine experiences. Now in its eighth year, the Tweed Ride is an exclusive and upmarket event that features bubbles and brunch inspired by wild food flavours at Rutherglen Estates’ new Cellar Door; a picnic of local and foraged produce by The Pickled Sisters Cafe, with handcrafted wines at Valhalla Wines, and a sweet and

savoury afternoon tea with Correll and Muscat spritzers at Jones Winery. All chaps, dandies and bon vivants are invited to join in a weekend of cycling revelry, divine food and vintage fashion. Tweed jackets, plaid skirts, bowler hats and retro bikes are all welcome! To find out more about this exclusive and upmarket event, and buy tickets, click here

BUNDABERG RV FRIENDLY SITE CLOSER

B

undaberg Regional Council has moved a step further in having an RV Friendly site in the Rum City. The news comes after the “Outstanding success” of the CMCA’s National Rally in Bundaberg last October. Council has announced it has now completed all formalities in granting the CMCA a fiveyear lease on the City’s disused showgrounds precinct. However, only CMCA members will be able to use the park, prompting complaints from caravanners and other travellers.

“Council has supplied the site to CMCA at an annual cost of $16,500,” Cr Dempsey said. “CMCA will be responsible for costs associated with developing the site. This includes development approvals, dump point, water and power access, construction of an onsite shed, signage inclusive of park rules, fencing, security gate and landscaping.” Cr Dempsey explained that the showgrounds would be turned into a self-contained RV park and initially allow a maximum of 50 RVs on site.

“This land belongs to the people and it seems so unfair that only a select few will be able to overnight there,” Queensland Grey Nomad Fred Taylor commented. “It should be available for all travellers, CMCA members or not.”

“This facility is good news for CMCA members and represents a great economic outcome for the Bundaberg region. The site is close to a major shopping centre, cafes and businesses that supply RV owners.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the RV club had been the only group to register an expression of interest to establish an RV Friendly site when when it was advertised early last year. Council advised the club in May that it had been selected as the preferred operator.

The Mayor said the CMCA has also been offered an option for an additional five years.


22 | News

SYDNEY SUPERSHOW TURNS 50

S

ydney’s longest running caravan and camping show will celebrate 50 years when the 2018 Caravan Camping Holiday Supershow kicks off next month at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. “Caravan and camping has been a favourite way for Aussies to holiday for decades and Australian businesses have been continually developing and innovating to meet the needs and desires of a growing market,” CCIA CEO, Lyndel Gray said. “Last year we had more than 145,000 recreational vehicles registered in NSW and that figure continues to grow. The Supershow attracts over 55,000 people who recognise it as the best place to see a full range of caravan and camping products (well, only those available in NSW - Ed) in the convenience of one venue. As part of our celebrations, this year we will also be featuring a vintage caravan and motorhome display – taking people on a trip down memory lane and back to the early days of caravan and camping in Australia.”

The first Sydney Caravan Show was held at Concord’s Cintra Park and as the event grew it relocated to the Royal Agricultural Showground at Moore Park and then the Yennora Woolsheds, before making its permanent home at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. The Supershow runs from Tuesday 24th to Sunday 29th April. This year’s Passport Competition offers the chance to win more than $89,000 in prizes,with the major prize winner taking home a Rangefinder Nebula Caravan valued at $73,990, proudly provided by Bailey Caravans. “The Supershow is a great place to see a full range of caravans, motorhomes, campervans, slide-ons, camper trailers, tents, caravan and camping equipment, 4WD and touring accessories, tourism destinations and caravan and holiday parks and much more.” You can buy your tickets online and save 10 percent, plus find further information, by clicking here.


News | 23

APOLLO ENTERS UK MARKET

A

pollo Tourism and Leisure, which claims to be the world’s biggest RV rental company, has bought the UK and Ireland RV business Camperco for approximately $8 million in cash and shares.

Apollo, which has over 4000 rental RVs in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada, said its latest acquisition would allow it to capitalise on the forecast growth in the UK and European tourism market.

The Camperco Group owns and operates Bunk Campers, which has offices in outlets in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Leeds, claims to be the largest independently owned rental company in the UK. Established in 2007, Bunk Campers had revenue of around $5.5 million during the 2017 calendar year and planned a 2018 rental fleet of more than 200 RVs.

Since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange with $1 shares in late 2016, Apollo has bought the Sydney RV Group, grabbed a two percent stake in Camplify, bought Queensland’s Kratzmann Caravans and Clint’s Caravan Warehouse, taken over CanaDream in Canada and bought WA’s George Day Caravans. Its shares are now worth around $1.68 and it has a market capitalisation of some $300 million.

“This acquisition will further strengthen our position as a global operator of RVs and allow further expansion into Europe,” Apollo managing director and chief executive Luke Trouchet said. Camperco founders Keith Charlton and Louise Corken will stay on to lead the business through its next stage of development and expansion.


24 | News

FRASER COAST FREE INTERNET

Y

ou’ll now have free access to computers and the internet at public libraries on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. The local council has decided to axe charges to bring the area into line with neighbouring local authorities. Acting Mayor George Seymour said libraries also offered free WiFi for people to link their own computers and portable devices to the internet. Council has five library branches with public internet access at Tiaro, Burrum Heads, Howard, Hervey Bay and Maryborough. Cr Seymour said free public access to internet services boosted the region’s tourism appeal. “I think Grey Nomads, backpackers and tourists looking for accommodation especially will like the service. Because it is available at branches

across the region there is an incentive for them to explore and stay in the outer regions and not just in Maryborough or Hervey Bay,” he explained.

The Wirraway 260 SL

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

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

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

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

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


News | 25

KILCOY REST AREA REDUCTION

S

omerset Regional Council in Queensland has cut the number of hours travellers can stay at its popular free Kilcoy rest area. A report presented to a recent council meeting revealed complaints of overcrowding at the small site on the edge of town. It also mentioned people staying too long and “Conduct/behaviour that is detrimental to the amenity of the area or the experience of other campers”. Backpackers in campervans have often been blamed for the problems.

Councillors decided the overnight rest stop at Kilcoy’s Anzac Park would be restricted to a maximum of 20 hours in any 7-day period. Travellers were previously allowed 72-hour stays. Council points out that additional roadside rest areas are located at Linville, Moore, Toogoolawah, Harlin, Ferndale and Dundas. Meanwhile, seven-night stays are available a Kilcoy Showgrounds for sixteen dollars nightly.


26 | News

THETFORD FRIDGE RECALL

T

hetford three-way absorption fridges fitted to some RVs might pose a fire risk. It is believed the gas control valve pressure test point nut on some Thetford fridges might not be correctly tightened. “If the test point nut is not correctly tightened, it could cause a gas leak, potentially leading to a fire,” an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recall notice says.

Potentially affected serial numbers on models N304M.3R, N304M.3L, N504M.3FR and N504M.3FL are between 27381864 and 28220540. Click here to find out if your fridge is included in the recall.

WINE CASK INSPIRES WATER TANK

T

he wine cask is said to be behind a new product that simplifies the storage of water in RVs. The innovative combined freshwater and grey water Safetank uses a double bladder housed in a marine grade aluminium tank and weighs just 15 kilograms. It has similar sizing to a regular 85-litre tank but can carry up to 90-litres of fresh water. As fresh water is used and becomes grey, it is rehoused within the tank but external to the bladder. This keeps the weight where it is supposed to be rather than diverting it to a separate tank. Safetank director and Inventor John Harrison said, “You can blame cask wine for the inspiration behind the product. I saw how the bladder was collapsing and leaving space in the cask, and the idea for a combination tank was born.” Suncoast Caravan Service has become the sole Queensland and New South Wales distributors for the revolutionary Safetank. General manager John Harrison said his company, which has been servicing the RV

industry for over 40 years, was excited to be working with the dynamic and experienced team. One of the key factors for anyone is the safety of the fresh water within the bladders, especially as it is housed within the same structure as the grey water. This was achieved by enclosing the food-grade freshwater bladder within a heavier PVC bladder. Between the two bladders is a red indicator dye that will immediately warn of possible contamination. Endurance testing was done on a vibrating bed which imitated millions of harsh corrugations and on thousands of kilometres of road travel. To find out more about Safetank click here and to visit the Suncoast website click here.


News | 27

NT MOSQUITO MENACE

P

eople heading to the Top End have been warned to cover up. Travellers are being urged to take precautions to protect themselves against disease-carrying mosquitoes following the recent detection of the Murray Valley encephalitis virus in Katherine and the Kunjin virus in Darwin. Darwin’s Director of Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz said the high risk period would last until the end of June.

mosquito bites are likely. They should avoid outdoor exposure around dusk and at night near areas of dense vegetation and other areas of high mosquito activity, and use mosquitoproof accommodation and camping facilities after dark.

“To avoid mosquito-borne disease use personal mosquito protection and avoid being outdoors in or close to wetland areas or places where mosquitoes are active, especially after sunset,” she said. People are advised to wear light-coloured clothing with long sleeves, long trousers and socks between dusk and dawn in areas where

POWER CHOICE

TM

Connect at home! Connect anywhere!

15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection

www.ampfibian.com.au

iTech World

Wellington Shire

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

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

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

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

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  

www.skytracks.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 find 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: Earthcruiser Unimog U430

High & Behold!

This towering Unimog makes an ideal go-anywhere motorhome that’s a sight to behold‌ by Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com


Tested | 31

The Unimog is probably the most famous off-road truck and it has achieved cult status in the world of expedition vehicles. The U430 variant has a totally different cab and features an enormously deep windscreen that provides unmatched visibility for a totally commanding driving position. It’s as close to being the ultimate 4x4 as you’ll get, but comes with a price tag as mind boggling as its abilities.

E

arthcruiser’s latest development is the company’s familiar motorhome body mounted on a Mercedes-Benz Unimog

U430.

The U430 is not the familiar Unimog shape, because the cab, with its vast windscreen, was designed primarily for use with implements such as snow ploughs, fertiliser spreaders, mowers and many other systems. However, the underpinnings – flexible ladderframe chassis, ‘drop-box’ portal hubs for unmatched ground clearance, three diff locks, coil springs and multi-ratio transmissions – are familiar to Unimog aficionados.

The principal differences between the familiar U4000/U5000 Unimogs and the U430 are, obviously, the cab and the overall ground clearance and chassis flexibility. The U430 doesn’t have the traditional ‘Mog torque-tube propshafts, nor does it have the same degree of wheel travel. However, for the travel aims of nearly all motorhome buyers, the U430’s configuration is more than adequate.

Safety First

T

he stubby cab provides an outstanding forward and side view, due to the short front-end assembly and panoramic glass. However this forward positioning hasn’t


32 | Tested compromised safety, Mercedes-Benz claims. The new Unimog complies with the highest safety standards, including ECE-R29/02, the internationally recognised standard for survival space of all the occupants in commercial vehicles; fire resistance inflammability test according to hazard regulation FMVSS 571.302 and roll-over-protection to OECD Standard Code 6.

the cab for right-hand-drive applications. This feature makes the U430 ideal for people who want a motorhome they can use to tour around the world. Another option is CTI (Central Tyre Inflation), operated from a dashboard switch.

Nuts & Bolts

T

he Unimog U430 is powered by ‘Benz’s Euro 6, OM 936 7.7-litre engine that puts out 220 kW and 1200 Nm. That Other safety initiatives include daytime running considerable power is delivered via a fully lights, ABS, and seats with integrated threesynchronised electro-pneumatic transmission point safety belts and headrests. that is different to those fitted to larger Adding to its flexibility is an option called Unimogs. This new development combines a VarioPilot. The steering box is mounted at the fuel-saving manual transmission with optional, front of the left side chassis rail, but the steering infinitely variable hydrostatic traction drive and wheel and instrument cluster can be unlocked allows a swift change between the two types of from its natural LHD position and slid across drive.

A total package: Earthcruiser’s conversion fits seamlessly on the Unimog chassis.


Tested | 33 The hydrostatic traction drive itself has two driving programs: the work mode for jobs needing a constant engine speed and the drive mode for infinitely variable acceleration with a variable engine speed. The main ‘box has eight forward and six reverse gears, engageable in three working and crawler gear groups. The choice between changing gears manually and automatically can be made simply by pressing a button. A useful feature is Electronic Quick Reverse, which makes it easier to change direction quickly when getting out of a wheelrut bogging. Despite its diversity the transmission is operated by an EasyDrive control stalk, located behind the steering wheel, so the driver can control the direction of travel, gear and cruise

control. There’s also a multifunction joystick, in addition to the normal accelerator pedal and brake.

Extras…

T

he Earthcruiser Unimog U430 is built on the longest available wheelbase: a dimension that was developed primarily to suit the Earthcruiser motorhome module. Earthcruiser added a rear chassis extension to lengthen the available load space, before mounting a modified version of its successful motorhome bodywork. Options added to the basic spec’ included VarioPilot and tyre inflation/deflation on the fly, but the hydrostatic transmission wasn’t considered necessary for what is a recreational

The ultimate Home Amongst the Gumtrees. Spare wheel and bike rack are winch operated, in case you’re wondering…


34 | Tested vehicle. The main box ratios are more than adequate for most owners’ needs. The ‘Benz transmission can be driven as an automated manual, where shifts are done with computer control of clutch and selectors, or as a manual box, using a clutch pedal that drops down for the purpose. However, even in automated manual mode the box can be operated as a manual, without need for the clutch, by selecting ‘M’ rather than ‘A’ mode. That’s ideal for low-speed off-road situations such as deep sand and rock hopping, where gear shifting isn’t desirable.

For most driving conditions the transmission can be operated as an automated manual, letting the computer work out the correct gear. Shifts aren’t inherently smooth, partly because of the large ratio spread in the box, but with a little practice shift-shock can be modulated by accelerator pressure before and after each shift. The U430’s cab is well insulated, preventing nearly all mechanical and road noise from intruding. Ride quality in the Earthcruiser U430 was superb, with no suspension or tyre harshness.

Through-cab access is good for this type of vehicle. Not exactly an intimate dining set-up, the table is mainly for use when you can’t eat outdoors. Two seat-belt equipped dinette seats make this a true four seat expedition wagon.


Tested | 35

The main bed is east-west across the rear, while the extra beds are bunks for kids. There’s plenty of kitchen space plus a diesel-fired cooktop to keep the vehicle LPG-free. There’s even an air-conditioner in the rear wall that runs off the lithium battery bank to cool things down on those sticky tropical nights. Impressive! The big coils soaked up bumps and undulations without complaint, while handling was flat and predictable. The tested weight was around nine tonnes and the U430 is rated at twelve tonnes GVM. Given the weight of the U430 Earthcruiser it’s not surprising that Mark Fawcett, Earthcruiser’s principal, opted for four, vertically-operating hydraulic rams fore and aft, to lift the vehicle in the event of a tyre change, or a bogging. The huge rams operate independently, so they double as vehicle levellers when camping.

Inside

T

he proven Earthcruiser motorhome module sits neatly behind the U430 cab and access to its elevated position is eased by a concertina-style stair arrangement that has broad treads and a gradual slope. The interior layout in the evaluation machine


36 | Tested Cleverly, the bathroom doubles as a mudroom because you walk through it to get in and out of the living area. Just don’t forget to close the door when seated…

had a transverse double bed and three optional pipe-cot bunks for kids. The shower/ toilet module is cleverly positioned in the entry footwell, doubling as a ‘wet room’ at the top of the stairs. There’s a 220-litre fridge/freezer under the kitchen bench, while the dinette chairs double as passenger seats and are fitted with seat belts to ADR requirements. Equipments levels are high, as we’ve come to expect from Earthcruiser, and included full air-conditioning, backed up by a massive lithium battery bank and ample water and fuel storage. An electric barbecue backed up the interior cooker and, naturally, there was a washing machine. A nice touch was integrated step ladders on both sides of the aft storage compartment. The U430’s cab wall allowed a large walkthrough opening from the front seats to the motorhome body and the various controls that used to grace the engine tunnel between the front seats had been moved elsewhere to allow easy people movement between cab and body. Anything built on a Unimog chassis isn’t going to be cheap, so the haggling starts around 600 grand. That’s a lot of money, but this is a highly specialised and capable motorhome that’s truly in the Expedition class. It’s not the prettiest thing on the road but then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And behold, it’s one remarkable go-anywhere motorhome…


Tested | 37

Pros… • All terrain capability • Drivability • Liveability • Range • Mercedes-Benz quality • Earthcruiser quality • Off-grid credentials

CONs… • Highly specialised • Size • Price

CONTACT:

Click for Google Maps

EarthCruiser Australia 53 Montague St Wollongong. NSW. 2500. T: 0412 642 437 E: sales@earthcruiser.com.au W: earthcruiser.net.au


38 | Tested

“This is a highly specialised and capable motorhome that’s truly in the Expedition class.”


View All Units O nline 24/7

awrvworld.com.au

NEW SUNLINER PINTO

1997 WINNEBAGO ALPINE FREEWAY

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

SU4107

U1488

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


40 | Tested: Niesmann and Bischoff Arto 88F

The Who?

Big quality from a little known manufacturer‌ By Malcolm Street


Tested | 41

Niesmann & Bischoff is a premium, motorhome-only manufacturer from Germany. Its products are considered amongst the best available and it’s part of the Erwin Hymer Group. That last fact is interesting because SmartRV is Hymer’s face in New Zealand, yet Niesmann & Bishoff motorhomes are being sold through Zion Motorhomes and UCC. Curious…

I

t’s a reasonable bet that most people in both New Zealand and Australia will not have heard of Niesmann & Bischoff motorhomes. Unless of course, you’re something of a ‘Euromotorhomephile’ and keep-up with the comings and goings in that market. For anyone not in that category, Niesmann & Bischoff is a premium marque German manufacturer that’s also part of the Hymer group. If your desire is for a high-end motorhome that’s not necessarily oversize, Niesmann & Bischoff is one of the best places to call. In New Zealand, Jonas Ng, proprietor of Zion Motorhomes and who has the Dethleffs and Frankia motorhome ranges successfully under his belt, has also taken on the Niesmann & Bischoff range. The places to call to view the

line-up are either as Zion’s Pokeno (Auckland) depot or UCC’s Islington (Christchurch) depot. I opted for Pokeno, where the new Zion Motorhomes’ premises are taking shape, just up the road from the temporary yard, and where they happened to have a beautiful Arto 88F ready to roll. To say the least this A-class motorhome has a stunning appearance, with both a striking colour scheme and a very streamlined look about it. Like many a motorhome out of Europe, it’s based on a Fiat Ducato cab and bolted to an AL-KO tandem axle chassis, giving it an external length of 8.76 m (28’ 9”), which is a more than reasonable length by anyone’s standards. A motorhome of this class really should have the most powerful of the Ducato engines – new the Euro 6-compliant 2.3 litre 130 kW/400


42 | Tested

Nm variant – and it does. You also get Fiat’s six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), which seems to be smoother with larger motorhomes. Given this model has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 5500 kg that’s a good thing. Its quoted tare weight is 4300 kg, so you’d expect the payload to be 1200 kg, although it’s listed at just 950 kg. Curious…

Body Structure

A

benefit of the AL-KO chassis is that it lowers the body structure, thus giving a better handlin,g motorhome. In addition to that, the water tank sits between the rear wheels, again assisting stability and the centre of gravity. Subtle curves stop the rear of the Arto 88F from looking like a bus. The huge garage is a bonus too, with a low sill height thanks to the AL-KO chassis.

For the sidewall and floor structure, double-sided aluminium composite panelling is used. Given the Arto is used in colder countries, there is


Tested | 43

considerable emphasis on insulation. Purposeshaped aluminium is used for the lower side skirts and that includes any locker doors and also, giving a very neat look, the cover for the retracted step. Differently from the side walls, the front and rear panels are made from moulded fibreglass. What isn’t obvious is that the mouldings aren’t one piece but built in such a way that damaged panels can be removed easily without taking out the entire moulding. Like most motorhomes out of Germany the habitation door is on the driver’s side, but the passenger seat gets a user-friendly door (complete with a flashily embossed Niessman & Bischoff logo) which is easy to use when needed. It would even satisfy the Australian Federal design requirements on habitation door locations, but not necessarily every State government…. A large rear garage that’s accessible from both sides supplies all the storage that might be needed. Other service lockers provide the gas cylinder and toilet cassette necessities. Of note is the drainage control locker, which not

The habitation door is on the driver’s side, but in practice that causes no real problems. Note the entry steps, which retract electrically and are concealed by a panel that matches the body’s lower skirt.


44 | Tested

only has valves for draining the fresh water, grey water and hot water tanks, but they are also in a position at a user friendly height and one that doesn’t get covered in road dirt and grime. Other manufacturers take note!

Thoughts

A

prime benefit of an A-class motorhome is the panoramic vision from the cab. There is nothing quite like those allround windows and it’s something I get used to very quickly each time I settle in behind the wheel. Stepping inside the Arto gives the distinct impression of a touch of class. Whilst there is the overall effect, it’s little things like the curve of the cabinetry, the upholstery, the door handles and the general fit and finish that makes the difference.

Top: The draining control locker is a beauty and one other manufacturers should note. Above: Positioned above the tandem rear wheels, the toilet cassette is at a good height for accessing.


Tested | 45

Layout wise, the 88F has a familiar look to it, at least for us folk getting used to the European way of doing things. Up front, both the cab seats swivel around and there’s a L-shaped lounge behind the passenger seat, plus a sideways lounge behind the driver’s seat. Given the length of the motorhome there is nothing squishy about the lounge/ dining area at all. Likewise, the kitchen (directly behind the lounge) has room to swing a fry pan on the hob and chop veggies at the same time. Completing the picture in the rear is the bedroom/bathroom area, complete with an island bed and split bathroom. LED lighting developments have changed the way RV manufacturers design their lighting systems. Long gone are the days of peering into dark cupboards at night, with many a manufacturer like Niesmann & Bischoff fitting LED strip lights into many a convenient place. That is not of course restricted to cupboards and lockers, there are light fittings (and switches) everywhere. Conveniently, the main control panel for

Top: There’s no shortage of living space up front, nor view to go with it. Above: Looking aft. The bedroom is quite a way back and can be closed-off for privacy or peace and quiet.


46 | Tested

Above: The dining table is a great size, plus you’re spoiled for choice with where to sit at meal times or when relaxing. Below: By European standards the kitchen is quite generous. everything is located in a small locker by the main entry door. A handy feature is the number of floor hatches. Usually either providing easy access to utilities like water tanks (for checking and cleaning), they also provide discrete little out-of-sight storage areas for small valuables.

Lounging and Dining

T

he Zwaardvis-mounted table is almost the centre piece of the lounge/dining area, mostly because all the seats surround it very neatly. Often, table mountings are a bit wobbly or get in the way for cab access, but this one fits the bill quite well on all counts. Located on the panel by the habitation door, the flat screen TV looks a bit like a piece of high-gloss laminate, meaning it doesn’t look like a TV when not in use. However, that location means TV watching is going to depend on seat location and is better from the rear facing seats. Overhead lockers are fitted on both sides, above the seats, but the cab area comes fitted with a drop down bed. Hand operated, it can be lowered quite easily but does need the cab seat backs to be folded over to be lowered properly.


Tested | 47

Catering

P

art of the kitchen fit-out includes a full moulded bench top that includes a round sink and a betterthan-average drainer arrangement. Naturally you also get a three burner hob and a larger-than-usual amount of bench space. Storage isn’t skimpy either, with a full height slide-out wire basket pantry plus an under-bench one, and three good sized drawers. There are also overhead lockers – all fitted with extra shelves.

Extra Storage

J

ust like the rear garage locker on this motorhome, internal storage is quite extensive too. There are two full height wardrobes that butt up against the shower and toilet cubicles, respectively; three good sized drawers under the bed and quite generous compartments under the steps to the bed – all with hinged lids for easy access. Top: It’s difficult not to be impressed by the moulded bench top with its integrated sink and drainer. Right: Under-floor compartments are ideal for valuables, while some hatches provide access to service items like the water tanks (for cleaning).


48 | Tested

En suite Facilities

O

pening the toilet door not only gives access to the necessary facilities, but it also neatly closes off the bedroom and bathroom from the rest of the motorhome. There is turn around space in both the semi circular shower cubicle and the squarer ‘bathroom’; the latter having the expected cassette toilet, wash basin, towel rails (yes, plural) and wall mirrors (also plural).

Rear Sleeping

B

ecause of the rear garage the island bed does sit a fair way off the floor, but getting to either side of the bed isn’t difficult, thanks to the relatively wide steps. Both bedsides get a wardrobe, but the bed is offset to the left hand side slightly, so the occupant on the other side gets more hanging space.

Electrics

B

attery capacity in the Arto 88F is quite good for those desiring self-contained travel. Twelve volt capacity is supplied by a pair of 95 AH deep cycle batteries, which in addition to the vehicle and mains charger are kept topped up by 400 watts of solar capacity.

The island queen bed is a beauty and although high-set due to storage beneath, it has stairs for easy access. Note how the bathroom door can be used to close off the whole bedroom.


Tested | 49

A little item of note is that I had a poke around one of the external lockers with the electricals in it and found all circuits neatly labelled, making fault finding or doing any additions to the circuitry very easy. Aiding the remote stay capacity are the 200 litre fresh and 120 litre grey water tanks.

What I think

A

part from anything else the 8.8 m length of the Niesmann and Bischoff Arto 88F means all living areas are all well proportioned and not compromised in terms of space. Having looked through a variety of Euro-built motorhomes it’s easy to see why the Niesmann and Bischoff range is a cut above some rivals. While the finer details impress and are the most obvious, there are many out-of-sight features that are equally impressive – and important. Certainly, at the best part of NZ$300,000 the Niesmann and Bischoff Arto 88F is a pricey motorhome. But if the people keen to have a looksee at the recent Covi Show was any guide there is plenty of interest – even if they didn’t know the name…

Overhead and under-seat storage is good, while the table’s stout Zwaardvis-brand mount is sturdy and multidirectionally adjustable.


50 | Tested

Specs GENERAL Make

Niessmann & Bischoff

Model

Arto 88F

Type

A-class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

VEHICLE Make/Model

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180

Engine

2.3 litre turbo diesel

Power

130 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Gearbox

6 speed AMT

Safety

ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, airbags

Fuel

90 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

4300 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

5500 kg

Max Payload

1200 kg (950 kg quoted)

Braked Towing Capacity

1300 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

8.76 m (28' 9")

Overall Width

2.32 m (7' 7")

Overall Height

2.95 m (9' 8")

Internal Height

1.88 m (6’ 6”)

Main Bed

1.9 m (6’ 3”) x 1.42 m (4’ 8”)

Front Bed

1.9 m (6’ 3”) x 1.3 m (4’ 3”)


Tested | 51

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

No

Awning

Thule Omnistor

Entry Steps

Electric

Cooker

Thetford 3 burner

Rangehood

No

Sink

Stainless steel with plastic drainer

Fridge

190 L Dometic RMDT 8555 3-way

Grill

Dometic (separate)

Lighting

12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

Yes

Air Conditioner

No

Space Heater

Alde 3020 hydronic

Hot Water System

Alde 3020

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Pros… • Payload capacity • Overall layout • Fit and finish • Easy front bed operation • Sizeable kitchen • Table/lounge arrangement • Electrical setup

CONs… • I couldn’t keep the keys • Limited TV viewing angles • Pricey • Only available in New Zealand

CAPACITIES Batteries

2 x 95 AH

Solar

400 W

LPG

2 x 9 kg

Fresh Water

200 L

Grey Water

150 L

Hot Water

8.2 L

Toilet

17 L

PRICE ON-ROAD NEW ZEALAND As Tested

NZ$289,000

CONTACT:

Click for Google Maps

North Island Zion Motorhomes Lot 21, Gateway Park Drive (Turn in to McDonald Road) Waikato, Pokeno 2471, NZ. T: 0800 112 828 E: info@zionmotorhomes.co.nz W: www.zionmotorhomes.co.nz Click for Google Maps

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


52 | Tested

“If your desire is for a high-end motorhome, Niesmann & Bischoff is one of the best places to call.�


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


54 | Reader Writes

GREY NOMAD vs THE BUREAUCRACY Or, how many power-hungry zealots does it take to spoil your day? By Phil McLeod


Reader Writes | 55

I

have owned vehicles of various types for over 50 years, and one thing I’ve learned about them is they always have the capacity to surprise you. A motorhome of course, is a specialised kind of vehicle, so it has a better than average talent in this regard.

so I decided it was worth doing. And it would only take two hours, so with the help of a good book I could cope. I saw no signs of life for half an hour after booking the vehicle in, but eventually it was taken into the workshop and progress began. After sitting in their stiflingly hot waiting room (two plastic chairs opposite their counter) for two more hours, I went for a prowl to see what was happening. Ah – the bonnet’s raised! That’s got to be good news. And the oil filler cap is off. It must be nearly finished!

Taking our motorhome along for its annual registration roadworthy check – the NSW ‘Pink Slip’ – is normally expected to be a trouble-free experience. Our vehicle is 16 years old and so has undergone this assessment many times, including one occasion after we purchased it from interstate and was therefore Job Done! required to undergo the more rigorous ‘Blue fter a further hour, I was offered the keys Slip’ inspection. Now there are many, many to my motorhome and a bill to pay. I more complex and creative ways in which was assured the inspection report had a motorhome can surprise its owner, but it gone through to the RMS electronically. Great. turned out that visiting a different inspection station this year was a bad move. It turned this “Here’s a hard copy for your records,” the said. usually routine affair into quite a saga – and it all “Even better,” I thought, until I saw the word concerned the towing hitch! Failed at the bottom!

A

Salutary Warning

M

y experience provides a salutary warning for other motorhome owners. Doubtless we can all agree that towing equipment on any vehicle is a potential area for danger and even a possibly life-threatening calamity. This is reflected in an obvious tightening of Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for tow bars and hitches, and these apply to all vehicles, but more about them later. My tale is offered as food for thought for all motorhomers whose vehicles are fitted with a towbar. But back to my story. Bright and early I turned up to my newly found inspection station, which had been recommended by a friend (sorry, ex-friend!), on the appointed day. Stuck in the middle of an industrial estate they were – not conveniently located within walking distance to a cool shopping centre or café strip. Nevertheless, I wanted a routine service of the vehicle as well as the inspection, and they had been enthusiastically recommended as I said,

They had failed the vehicle because the, “Towbar is not fitted with a permanently affixed compliance plate”. Naturally I was aghast – not only at that outcome, but at the lack of any discussion with me as I sat killing time five metres away! I went through all the obvious points – 16 successful annual inspections including a Blue slip inspection, never queried before, etc, etc. But of course, in NSW, once the inspection report has gone through to the RMS, it’s cast in stone. The issue must be rectified and the vehicle re-presented to the same inspection station, for another report if it’s to proceed to re-registration!

Background

N

ow, my motorhome is a Sunliner, built on a Ford Transit cab-chassis. It appears that when it was built, the substantial chassis rails were extended to accept the longer motorhome body, allowing them to take advantage of the maximum allowable overhang for that wheelbase. Welded


56 | Reader Writes

and bolted to these lengthened chassis rails is a heavy cross member and substantial longitudinal channels forming an H frame. This is a very substantial structure stretching two point four metres from the rear axle to the back end of the motorhome. A towbar gooseneck and ball can be fitted to this frame, although to my knowledge the only thing that has ever been fitted to mine is a bicycle rack. Removing the towing structure would be a sizeable task, requiring amongst other things an oxy-cutter – not just undoing a few bolts like on a family sedan!

Google it

H

aving resolved my issue and successfully obtaining my pink slip (that’s another story), my frustration led me to research Australian Design Rules (ADRs) applying to towbars. Google fortunately knows where to look. I would have looked in the

Federal Transport Department. Maybe Industry, Innovation and Science. Or the Transport Safety Bureau? Silly me – it’s in the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Of course, it is! On the Department’s website I found a quite useful download called ADR Resource Jan 2018 (https://infrastructure.gov.au/roads/ motor/design/download_adr_resource. aspx). This is a massive reference source, and amazingly it’s free. It has a goldmine of information on the ADRs themselves, but for the uninitiated it is very, very complex, hence the need even more to seek clarification. The Department has a toll-free phone number for contacting them in Canberra. On my first try and to my great surprise, the nice lady on the switchboard, knew exactly where to direct my call about ADRs. But of course, my call wasn’t answered and went back to the switch. She


Reader Writes | 57

said she’d try another – same result. The same result awaited each of the five extensions she attempted to connect me with. She gave up and asked me to call back later, saying they all must be at a meeting. Call me a grumpy old man if you like, but I thought that was pretty ordinary. I tried again two days later and got the same result with five extensions! A different operator but same explanation: they must all be at a meeting! Does this team really exist? If so, do they do anything or just have meetings? At least this time the switchboard operator was apologetic and undertook to have someone from that section call me back. That was an improvement, except that they never did.

about towing setups, she went to check with a superior. After a nervous pause, she told me that I would have to put my queries in writing by email to their media section, because well, I’d foolishly told her I was writing an article and wanted to check that I was correctly interpreting the ADRs. Silly bugger! But I’m not media, I said. Sorry, send an email to the media section.

Progress?

I

t is interesting to observe the progressive tightening of the requirements for towing equipment over the years, as reflected in the relevant ADR 62, or more fully the Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 62 – Mechanical Connections Between Vehicles)”. Three versions are provided:

On the third day – yes, I needed divine intervention – I got through to a delightful young • 2006 – ADR 62/00, compiled 3 September lady who seemed keen to help. She hadn’t 2006 worked there very long, I suspect. When I started to get technical and specific

• 2007 – ADR 62/01, compiled 17 July 2007


58 | Reader Writes

• 2007 – ADR 62/02, compiled 05/02/2010 (and no, I don’t understand these dates either)

qualified with this exception, “Except where the towbar is an integral part of the vehicle”.

They reflect an increasing level over the years, of mathematical formulae, equations and mechanical engineering in specifying how towing equipment is to be designed, built and of course, assessed for compliance. I have not been able to establish what prevailed before 2006. The complexity of the current design rule demonstrates that there are serious safety issues at stake. When a trailer/ caravan, attached to the rear of a tow vehicle which often weighs no more or even less than the trailer/caravan, hurtles down the road at highway speed and over undulations, around curves and/or under braking, significant forces are generated.

B

One thing is clear though: All towbars require a metal compliance plate stamped with specific information about the vehicle make and model it is designed for; its maximum load capacity, etc, to be permanently affixed to the towbar. However, in all cases this requirement is

Department Responds! ut back to my story with the Department. I have to take back all I said. Within a week of sending off my email enquiry, along came a succinct response from an Engineer (no PR spin doctor here!): 1. “Once a vehicle is approved under the MVSA and supplied to the Australia market, regulation passes to the relevant State or Territory Government that is responsible for in-service requirements such as registration, road-worthiness and vehicle modifications. They require that a vehicle must continue to comply with the relevant ADRs at its date of manufacture or later, with some exceptions to account for special use vehicles and vehicle wear and tear. 2. A towbar that can be removed using basic hand tools is categorised as a non-integral setup. In your particular setup, I would


Reader Writes | 59 categorise the towbar as an integral part of the motorhome if it was installed by the manufacturer.” The first answer was a little difficult to interpret, but on discussion with the very obliging and courteous writer, simply means that the applicable ADRs are those in force at the time of manufacture, but in the case of later modifications, are those in force at the time the modifications are carried out.

by the manufacturer and would require more than hand tools to remove. 2. Towbars are a serious piece of mechanical/ structural engineering with very significant safety implications. 3. If the towbar was fitted by the motorhome manufacturer when the motorhome was built, no separate compliance plate is required.

The second answer is very clear. The first sentence referencing the use of hand tools gives a neat, easy way to interpret what might otherwise be a subjective judgement: When is a towbar “An integral part of the vehicle?”. But more explicitly, the second sentence,“If it was installed by the manufacturer,” puts it beyond doubt, assuming that can be demonstrated. A point of caution here is that I understand some motorhome manufacturers currently do not supply the vehicle with the towbar installed, in which case the dealer will arrange retro-fitting. This distinction may be crucial, in terms of whether a compliance plate is required.

4. If the towbar was not fitted as part of the motorhome build, it would require a separate compliance plate to illustrate compliance with ADRs in force at the time.

So?

8. As always, forewarned is forearmed!

So, after all that what have I learned?

9. The answer to my question – point one!

1. My towbar would undoubtedly qualify as integral to my motorhome – it was installed

5. Even where bureaucracies are concerned, first impressions can be misleading. 6. Not all local inspection stations know the requirements well enough, but for $38 per inspection, should we be surprised? 7. Nevertheless, they have the authority to potentially make the life of a motorhome owner very difficult, so choose wisely.


60 | Product Test

Sealing The Deal! Flat tyres are a big deal, but here’s a proven way to help reduce them… by Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au


Product Test | 61

L

et’s face it, flat tyres are a pain in the you-know-what. They can have many causes but the most frequent is a puncture through the tyre’s tread. The good news is there are products out there that claim to help puncture-proof tyre treads and so we put one to the test: LSM Technologies’ Ride On tyre sealant. In fact we put it to the test in the most practical way possible, by trying to deliberately flatten a 4WD tyre. The procedure was dead simple: We injected the recommended amount of Ride On tyre sealant into a test tyre and inflated it to 33 psi. We then hammered three long nails into a fence paling and laid it out in front of the vehicle, then drove over the nails at 20 km/h!

Pudding Proof

T

he nails clearly penetrated the tyre tread and came out again as the tyre kept rolling. We expected a rush of escaping air from at least one of the three separate holes, but there was nothing. Our Doran tyre pressure monitoring system showed that the tyre had dropped no pressure at all, so we drove around on it until we were sure there was not going to be a leak, and then went to a tyre shop for an inspection of the test tyre.

The tyre came off easily enough and an inspection of the inside showed faint depressions in an otherwise even layer of Ride On sealant. Clearly, the sealant had flowed into the nail holes and blocked them, just as it’s supposed to do. Importantly, the correct amount of sealant coats only the tread area inside the tyre. It’s not intended to coat the critical shoulder and sidewall areas that cannot tolerate puncture damage. Any puncture in those areas will leak air and cause the tyre to go flat, necessitating professional examination. Most shoulder and sidewall damage cannot be repaired and the tyre must be recycled. However, most punctures occur in the tread area. Although many sidewall failures occur


62 | Product Test on bush roads, the primary damage is usually in the tread area and the blow-out of the sidewall happens after air has leaked out and caused the tyre to overheat. A tyre pressure monitoring system is essential for indicating sudden pressure drop in a tyre, so that it can be plugged or replaced before major damage or an accident happens.

that a Ride On equipped car can escape police tyre-flattening mats that are often deployed to stop getaway vehicles, we have to tell you it won’t work. The police mats are rubber and have tubular, hollow steel puncture studs inserted in them. When a tyre rolls over one of these mats the tubular inserts puncture the tyre and stay in it, pulling out of the mat in the process. The hollow studs penetrate beyond the depth of tyre sealant and quickly deflate the tyre!

Sticky Situations

M

any tyre fitters hate tyre sealants, especially the ‘goo’ that’s pumped through the valve from a pressure can and which is supposed to seal a puncture that’s already occurred. This sticky stuff is difficult to clean out of a tyre in order that a professional repair can be made. Ride On is different. We cleaned it out of the test tyre using a nearby tap. Once it was flushed out and with the tyre dried off, a mushroom patch could have been inserted without any additional preparation. Because the test tyre had three close-coupled nail holes we didn’t repair it, but consigned it to the recycle pile. We doubt that there are criminally-inclined readers out there, but in case someone thinks

We use Ride On sealant in our 4WDs and motorcycles and so should you, we reckon. A bonus in the case of the bikes is that the weight of the sealant acts as a balancing liquid, improving ride quality. To watch a video of our test click here, or to visit the website click here.


Product Test | 63


64 | Products

Dust Be Gone! Keep the dust out of your RV the Respa CF Vortex pressuriser…

by Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au


Products | 65

W

e’ve all done it: opened the camper and discovered a fine coating of dust throughout the interior. No matter how tightly you close doors, vents and windows, some dust always seems to get inside. We know some people who go so far as to apply masking tape to doors and windows in an effort to keep this invasive grit at bay. The best solution is positive air pressure inside the vehicle to prevent dust from sucking inside. However, doing that with an open, forwardfacing vent is just as likely to ingest dust every time you drive through an oncoming traffic dust cloud. Other unwelcome visitors can also hop onboard.

A better method is using a purpose-designed air pressuriser and the Respa CF Vortex unit comes straight from the mining and construction area, where operators in cabins work in perpetual dust clouds. Having a freshair, dust-free environment is essential in this environment, so this unit is the real deal. Respa’s HyperFlow technology has proved its worth in these harsh working conditions and is now available for recreational vehicle applications, according to the national distributor, LSM Technologies. The company says the Respa PFP (Precleaner + Filtration + Pressuriser) System goes beyond the abilities of conventional cabin pressurisers and filtration units.


66 | Products

Respa is said to be the only Pressuriser and Filtration product that has been field tested and certified to be compliant with Occupational Exposure to Airborne Particulate and Fibre (Enclosed Cabins) legislation by an Australian OH&S Regulator: Queensland Mines Inspectorate’s Health Surveillance Unit.

RV Applications

L

SM Technologies has been ‘seeding’ units into the marketplace for many months and is now selling Respa units to RV owners. Several caravan makers have added optional Respa units to their specifications. The units can be mounted externally, ideally in the airstream and in a position that allows pressurised, cleaned air to be pumped inside the vehicle via a short pipe that exits at a small interior grille. Each Respa unit is a stand-alone assembly that delivers 50-60 litres of cleaned air at up to 150 Pascals pressure every second.


Products | 67

An integrated pre-cleaner ensures that up to 98 percent of ingested dust is expelled, thus preventing early filter clogging. Filter life is up to 1000 operating hours. Power requirement for the fan is 12 A/12V DC or 6A/24V DC. The unit needs to operate only while the camper or van is moving and so can be switched off at rest. LSM has worked with its early customers to ensure the Respa units do exactly what they’re designed to do. Because constant, positive internal pressure is needed to keep dust at bay, the instructions include recommendations for sealing pressurised air escape routes. Obvious ‘leak’ points are vents, doors and windows, so seals need to be sound and catches adjusted properly, but that procedure is usually already understood by owners who regularly drive on dusty roads.

Experienced dirt road drivers also know that any holes for through-floor fittings and wires need to be sealed with grommets or silicone sealant. Unsuspected air-leak points that need to be sealed so the Respa unit can operate optimally include shower and sink drains, which should be plugged to prevent air pressuring down the drain pipes and out grey-water tank breathers. Roof-mounted aircon units may have fresh air vents that need to be shut. The Respa CF Vortex unit is a well designed and engineered, professional-grade unit that comes at a premium price – around $1200 plus delivery for DIY installation. That’s a lot of money to spend on keeping the dust out, but if you’re a serious dirt road driver you’ll realise it’s actually a small price to pay over the life of the vehicle to keep the interior clean. To find out more about the about the Respa CF Vortex system click here.


68 | Wanda

Wandering With Wanda When The Wheels Won’t Go Round

By Sharon Hollamby


Wanda | 69

T

ravelling on your own can be tough if you become ill or injure yourself. Of course these days you can use your mobile phone to ring for help, but it is nice to know that other campers keep their eye out for you as well. Such was the case in Kimba, when my back went out on me again and I spent a couple of days resting. Some campers grew concerned as they hadn’t seen me around and they alerted the Council worker when she came to clean the toilets. She came over to check on me and suggested a doctor in town, but I felt that I would be fine with a bit of rest. Sadly, it meant that I didn’t get to see as much of Kimba as I would have liked.

a wonderful little bush camp at the back of the rest area. Figuring a few more days rest wouldn’t hurt, I set up and prepared to just relax and read for a few days. There was noone else there and I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude. I even got a little more painting done!

The park in Kimba has a seven day limit, but if you are having problems you can arrange an extension with Council. I thought about availing myself of this offer, but as my back was feeling The only thing that marred the setting was the abundance of toilet paper left lying around. I better I decided to continue on. cleaned some of it up, as did another couple who came in for a night, but the next day there Secret Camp was more there. Maybe signs could be erected e didn’t get very far down the road in rest areas instructing people how to dispose when the twinges started again, so of their waste properly. It’s such a shame to we pulled in for a rest at Koongawa see beautiful settings destroyed like that. East. A gentle walk will sometimes ease the A few days later, fully rested, we continued on pain, so I went for a ‘wander’ and discovered

W


70 | Wanda

to Kyancutta where we stopped for the night. I wanted to get some fuel, because at 129.9 per litre it was the cheapest I had seen since leaving Adelaide, but the shop was shut. Little did I know, the shop is permanently closed, but you can get fuel at anytime with your card. Oh well, it was a nice stop anyway and once I fuelled up in the morning we were on our way once again.

rear passenger tyre was now shredded I began to unpack the tools to change the tyre. Then I thought of my back and decided that this time, I would call the RAA.

Problems Begin

I

noticed that my solar panel was looking crooked on the passenger side. As I don’t have a ladder I squeezed carefully out of my passenger window to get up and have a look. The bracket holding the panel up had broken but I couldn’t reach it and had no way of fixing it anyway, so it was going to be a slow drive to the next town, where hopefully I could get a handyman to fix it for me. We got about 20 kilometres out of Wudinna when suddenly a loud bang nearly made me jump out of my seat. My first thought was that the motor had blown, but Wanda was still purring like a kitten. I’ve never had a tyre peel on me before and the flapping of the rubber was fearsome. The steering was fine though and I was able to creep along until I found a safe place to stop. Discovering that the inside

Helping Hands

N

ot long after I made the call a very nice couple travelling on their bike with a trailer and a roof top tent stopped to see if they could help. I explained that the RAA were on their way but the guy said he would make a start on it anyway. By the time the RAA arrived the man had both wheels off, which made the mechanic very happy as he didn’t have much left to do. He said he often gets a call out, only to arrive and find that someone has already stopped to help. ‘It’s the Australian way,’ he said.


Wanda | 71 There was still 90 kilometres to go before I reached Ceduna and I was concerned about driving that far without a spare but I didn’t have much choice. We were just on the outskirts of Ceduna when there was another bang. Thankfully we were near the A1 caravan park and I gratefully pulled in. Sure enough the driver’s side outer rear tyre had peeled but just like the other one, it was still inflated. This is a very old run down caravan park and there are none of the niceties like swimming pools, jumping castles or even lawn, but at $22 a night, it is cheap and the owners are nice. Best of all, it is only a couple of minutes away from Bridgestone tyres. Of course the tyres had to be ordered in and at $210 a tyre it has certainly blown a big hole in the budget. However, there was still the problem of my solar panel brackets, but a young man at the park has offered to fix them for me. I’m very appreciative of the kindness that strangers have offered and I’m always looking at ways to pay that forward.

Card Concerns

A

pparently there was a riot here just before I arrived, which I thankfully missed, but I wondered how much that had to do with the imposition of the welfare card. There are mixed emotions about the card here and some people have even moved out of the area because of it. I do wonder how people on pensions will manage to travel if this card is rolled out nationwide. Making donations at free camps will be difficult and when it comes to getting work done cheaply – like my solar panel – it will not be an option. Fresh produce from local growers will be out of the question and we will be forced to shop at supermarkets. Alcohol will be forbidden on these cards, so happy hour could be a very dry affair!

It is nice to be near the ocean again and I had my tea down by the beach last night. Having electricity is a real novelty and I finally managed to get some washing done, so it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. Apart from the tyres and solar panel Wanda has been behaving amazingly well mechanically, so I’m quietly confident in that way.

At this point I take things one day at a time and keep my fingers crossed for all the travellers out there that this card does not get passed. From here I will head for the Nullarbor and I’m hoping Wanda will spare me any further dramas as we journey across. Yes, there have been a few calamities along the way but I still love this lifestyle and wouldn’t have it any other way. Safe travels everyone!


72 | Real Life

Solo Big Lap! Kari Rawlings and her dog took the long way around Australia‌


Real Life | 73

D

reaming about driving off into the sunset and doing the Big Lap of Australia? Gold Coast-based Kari Rawlings did just that. At 69 she jumped in her white Fiat Ducato, nicknamed Snowfall, and set off with dog Bella on their big adventure.

Motorhomes in 2012 and has lived her life on the road with her beloved 9-year old Bella ever since. They’ve been on many solo adventures around the country, although it is her latest trip – circumnavigating Australia and completing the ‘big lap’ – that was the most ambitious.

Doing the Big Lap is something many of us put on our list of retirement things to do – although usually with a life partner. However, the increase in solo women hitting the road for this big trip is changing perceptions about travelling alone.

“I have to pinch myself that I actually just did that, but I did! Every single day was a highlight. Australia is just a wonderful country”.

Kari, who turns 70 this year, said she thrives on the empowerment and freedom that road tripping alone gives you. She bought her Fiat Ducato Melaleuca from Horizon

When the big day came it began like any other – popping in for lunch at the local RSL with family and friends. After preparing and packing, she and Bella hit the road south. “I was surprised at just how many independent women there are on the road.

I have to pinch myself that I actually just did that, but I did! Every single day was a highlight. Australia is just a wonderful country.


74 | Real Life

So many women are there to support you if you need it and I’ve made lots of new friendships”. Kari spent most of her journey free camping and only stayed at a caravan park if it was necessary and pet friendly.

“Because I have solar power and good-sized water tanks I am able to be independent for a fortnight at a time if needs be. I love the freedom and it’s the best option when you travel with a dog. It can run around and get the exercise needed after being on the road for quite a while.”


Real Life | 75

Kari says she has almost always felt safe and welcomed, even in the most isolated of places.

because, “Stuff happens and that is all a part of the adventure,” she continued.

“Even if you are travelling alone, you are never really all alone,” she said.

“If you’re travelling with a pet you need to prepare and pack for them and make sure you know of pet friendly parks to stop at along the way, as most National Parks don’t allow animals.”

Kari’s first solo trip was through the Victorian High Country, where she stopped at the Dinner Plain and it was snowing. “I used the traction control to drive in the snow while the diesel heater, fitted as an extra, was worth every cent. It was this experience that earned her Melaleuca the nickname Snowfall. Kari recommends planning where you’re travelling to and making sure you’re fully equipped – well as much as possible

“But, most of all, don’t settle for a life you’re not thrilled about – hit the open road. Prepare as much as you can, but most of all ask questions of fellow travellers. Most ‘solos’ are friendly and outgoing, and most travellers will respond in the same way. The last few years have been life-changing, and I wouldn’t change anything,” Kari concluded.


76 | Feature

Saving Grace Little Libraries are saving Grace, Jeff and others, one book at a time‌ by Richard Robertson


Feature | 77

Y

ou see them everywhere. Or maybe you don’t. Little Libraries – Street Libraries where I come from – are a communitybased phenomenon sweeping the country and rekindling a love of reading, learning and community. What is a Little Library? Just that, except Tiny Library is more appropriate. Call them what you like, these mini book repositories are free lending and swapping libraries – sometimes with just a handful of dogeared titles – for anyone to enjoy. Nailed to fences, sitting on garden walls or tucked into nooks someplace where people walk by, Little Libraries are spreading world wide and that can only be a good thing. Tens of thousands now enrich local communities and the number increases daily.

Such free book access is especially important for low income families, because in America, for example, the U.S. Department of Education reports that up to 61 per cent do not have ANY books at home for their kids. Frightening. But Little Libraries aren’t just for kids, they’re for the whole community.

Spreading The Word

T

he first Little Free Library (their official title) was built by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009. It was shaped like a school house to honour his book-loving schoolteacher mother. Word spread – literally – and Little Free Libraries was incorporated on 16 May 2012 as a non-profit, with a target of 2150 Little Libraries to surpass Andrew Carnegie’s

These mini book repositories are free lending and swapping libraries.


78 | Feature

record for libraries founded. Today the number has passed 60,000. They’re in all 50 States and 80 countries around the world, with the movement showing no signs of slowing down. From an RV perspective, Little Libraries can provide a nation-wide network for travellers looking to read and swap books as they go. If you’re downsizing and have books to give away, what better way to put then to good use? Also, by sharing them out as you go and by borrowing from one place and returning to another, you’re adding diversity that can enrich local communities.

like. However, if you need inspiration you can buy plans here or even kits and complete Little Libraries here. There’s also a host of useful information on the Little Free Libraries website, including how to become involved as a Steward and/or in their various targeted programs.

Local Connection

J

While there’s no app, yet, to locate Little Libraries, there is an online map. Just put in a location and off you go. Of course, if you’re not a full-time RVer or have friends and family living the non-nomad life, why not set up your own?

ust up the road, a neighbour and good friend with a couple of young kids recently set up a Street Library by their front gate. It’s been a surprising success, especially since they put up serious signage, and when I stopped to snap a few pics I was amazed to see someone had even left some spare change as a thank you. It also struck me you could leave board games, jigsaw puzzles, comics, etc to broaden the appeal.

If you’re handy you can just get cracking and build a Little Library in any shape or size you

Little Libraries, Street Libraries – call them what you will – have the potential to change


Feature | 79

lives. Not only do they provide people of any age or social standing a wide range of reading material, they enrich communities by spreading knowledge and also encouraging people to stop and chat while browsing. It’s a true win-win scenario and one worth spreading the word – and words – about. And the best thing? No late fees!


80 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival

CMCA

RV Friendly Towns T

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

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


Travel | 81

Lucindale, South Australia

L

ucindale is a small town 345 kilometres south-west of Adelaide that is proud of its huge community spirit. An abundance of underground water makes Lucindale a prosperous farming region for sheep, cattle and fodder crops. As part of the famous Limestone Coast in South Australia, Lucindale makes the perfect place to stop when travelling between Naracoote and Kingston SE. The town comes alive each March for the annual South East Field Days event, with exhibitors from around the district showcasing their agriculture.

Casual parking is available in Main Street and short-term parking is located at Lucindale Park (Football Club) for just $10 per vehicle per night. Potable water is also located at the park. For those looking to spend more time in the area, long-term parking can be found at 4 Mile (5.8 km from town). Vehicles must be self-contained; however, they can camp for an unlimited time at no cost. The dump point is located at West Terrace.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Lucindale CafĂŠ & Deli 1 Musgave Ave, ph 08 8766 2221

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Reedy Creek-Lucindale Rd (Main Street)

Short Term Parking

Dump Point

Lucindale Park (Football Club) Oak Ave, s/c vehicle only, 72hrs, pets on lead, m/coverage, bins, toilets, water $10 pvpn 4 Mile 5.8km from Lucindale, cnr Naracoorte & Lucindale Rd. s/c vehicle only, pets on lead, toilets, unlimited stay, nil charge West Terrace Lat: -36.9712 Long: 140.3643

Potable Water

Lucindale Park (Football Club) Oak Ave

Long Term Parking


82 | Travel

Mirani, Queensland

M

irani is predominately a sugar cane farming town, some 980 kilometres north of Brisbane and just 38 kilometres west of Mackay. The surrounding areas are a wonderland of waterfalls, volcanic boulder formations and lush flora. The town was first named Hamilton in 1885 when the railway line arrived, yet was later changed to Mirani to avoid confusion with the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton. Mirani is the gateway to the Eungella National Park, where you can picnic, go for a walk and/

or drop a line for a spot of fishing. For the less adventurous, Mirani also boasts a museum, library, post office and an operational sugar mill to explore. Casual parking is available on Victoria and Alexandra Streets, while short-term parking is available at the Mirani Caravan Park on Caroline Street, for a low rate of $10 per vehicle per night. A dump point is located on Victoria Street and potable water is available in the park nearby.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Mackay Tourist Information Centre 320 Nebo Rd, Mackay 4740, ph 1300 130 001 www.mackayregion.com

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Victoria St & Alexandra St

Short Term Parking

Dump Point

Mirani Caravan Park, Caroline St, 48hrs, no pets, m/ coverage, bins, BBQ, c/seating, $10 pvpn. Add facilities at extra cost. 5 Victoria St Lat: -21.15951 Long: 148.86354

Potable Water

In the park in Victoria St


Travel | 83

Armidale, New South Wales

A

rmidale is 514 km north west of Sydney, via the New England Highway. It’s also just over halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and is part of the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales. This historic, university town also features cathedrals and stately buildings from the 1860s, and the best way to experience it is on the 2 ½ hour sightseeing tour on the Armidale Heritage Tour Bus. While in the area take a scenic drive along the picturesque Waterfall Way and through World Heritage-listed National Parks. The town boasts galleries, museums and many shops to explore, along with fine food and wine and craft beer. Armidale is known as the ‘centre of

education’ thanks to its University and TAFE, plus many prestigious schools being located in the area. Casual parking is available at the Visitor Information Centre on Marsh Street, with more parking options available on Dumaresq and Taylor Streets. Short and long-term parking are available at Armidale Showground for $15 per vehicle per night (unpowered) and $25 per vehicle per night (powered). The showground has showers, bins and potable water and pets are allowed on leads. The dump point is located at Armidale Arboretum in Galloway Street.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Armidale Visitor Information Centre 82 Marsh St, 02 6770 3888 www.armidaletourism.com.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Armidale Visitor Information Centre, 82 Marsh St; Dumaresq St and Taylor St Armidale Showground Kennedy St, $15 pvpn non power, $25 pvpn power site, 2 week stay limit, pets on lead, m/coverage, shwrs, bins, water, power Armidale Arboretum, Galloway St Lat: -30.5209 Long: 151.6463 Armidale Showground Kennedy St

Short & Long Term Parking

Dump Point Potable Water


84 | Meals

Baked Fish on Rice


Meals | 85

I

t’s still warm enough to dangle a line and catch your dinner (or wear shorts to the fish shop!). With that in mind, why not do something special with your ‘catch’ and serve up this delicious dish that’s also really healthy?

You’ll Need…

Then…

2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1. Combine garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, pepper, oregano, and combined juice in a large bowl.

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2. Add fish and turn to coat, then cover.

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

4. Preheat oven or hooded BBQ to 200°C. Place all the vegetables (except tomatoes) and chilli in the base of a large baking dish and cook for 10-15 minutes stirring constantly.

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 80 ml (1/3 cup) lime juice 60 ml (1/4 cup) orange juice 4 firm white fish fillets (about 220g each) ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives 1 green capsicum, cut into 1 cm strips 1 red capsicum, cut into 1 cm strips 1 large red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges 1 fresh deseeded chilli, sliced (optional) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tomato, cut into thick wedges 1 Cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves Steamed rice, to serve

5. Top with the fish and pour over the marinade, and season with salt. Top with chopped tomato. 6. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. 7. Uncover and bake for further 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through and flakes easily when tested with a fork. 8. Sprinkle with flat leaf parsley and serve on rice. NOTE: If cooking on the BBQ you must use indirect heat.

! e t i t e p p a n o B


86 | Mobile Tech

Gas Buddy Here’s a buddy to help find the best value fuel… By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 87 Name: Gas Buddy Cost: Free Size: 189MB Platforms: iOS & Android

I

n December 2014 the Australian Government directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) to monitor the prices, costs and profits of the petroleum industry. This was in response to increasing concerns that movements in retail petrol prices were not reflecting movements in international refined petrol prices. Indeed, seven years since the last ACCC investigation, prices were rising at the bowsers and falling at the barrel and profit margins were soaring. With no actual powers since 1998 to regulate this industry directly, the ACCC handed down a series of recommendations after a three-year inquiry. Focus was heavily directed upon the use of consumer technology; specifically, urging drivers to fight back against high fuel prices themselves by simply being informed and shopping around. “Motorists can fight back against these high prices by using fuel price websites and apps to shop around. Consumers can save significantly by timing their purchases during the price cycle, which encourages retailers to be more competitive. We encourage people to use fuel price apps to locate petrol stations in their area with relatively lower prices” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. Are we really paying too much at the pump due to our own laziness? Is the answer then as simple as buying where petrol is cheapest, and rewarding retailers offering the lowest prices? Enter Gas Buddy, an American-born website and application with 17 years experience that uses a game-based incentive program to encourage and reward individuals who contribute valuable real-time pricing data. Launched in Australia in 2016, our version lacks the actual ‘reward’ part – the daily $100

prize draw only ran for the first year – but it appears to have successfully recruited enough users to make the system viable. You still accumulate points for submissions and gain ‘badges’ as you rise up the contributor levels; it’s a little quirky, but in addition to a salute to your high scoring competence you also gain credibility for submissions and reviews. The other incentive is the direct savings to be made as prices can vary by 10 cents per litre within a 10 kilometre radius: a savings some may consider worth the drive. This app is certainly not alone though; there are many fuel pricing apps available that work on the same premise of user-supplied data. What stands Gas Buddy out from the rest is its clearly evident experience, technical support and expertise. Gas buddy does far more than collect data, it boasts a team of specialist


88 | Mobile Tech

petroleum, economic and social analysts who supply a regular range of informative articles and reports, from current trends and holiday tips to in-depth analysis of economic futures and business predictions.

restrooms. You can also choose to ‘star’ rate a station and leave an optional informative review.

In terms of user-friendliness, the app is quite responsive and easy to navigate. Filing your ‘reports’ on prices and various service station details is simply a series of taps; you can even verify existing prices if still accurate. There are a number of categories to remark upon, including facilities, amenities and a range of service features. You can also search for a service station depending on the facilities you’re looking for; from the best coffee, onsite mechanic or carwash, to the cleanest

he app does get very personal very quickly; asking for your vehicle details including VIN number and an image, but it’s all optional (why would you? – Ed). What is also optional is whether you choose to give the app access to your inbuilt GPS always or only when the app is in use. Given it is a free app that obviously generates a significant revenue, the value for the creators lies in advertising and the sale of data – your data. You are asked to sign in with an email address or Google or

Getting Personal

T


Mobile Tech | 89

social media account, while agreeing to the terms and conditions is mandatory to use the app, and it might pay to glance over these details. In addition to locating service stations and quickly viewing their fuel prices amenities and consumer rating in real time, Gas Buddy offers some handy secondary features. The trip meter utilises your devices internal motion detection to analyse your driving habits, identifying any areas that may be costing you – such as speeding, hard braking or rapid acceleration. You can choose to monitor each journey or turn this feature on or off at your discretion.

You know it’s a tough situation when the ACCC steps in to assist customers navigate this complex market. Seasonal factors and global oil supply concerns aside, it’s essential to have an underlying understanding that competition is driven by the willingness of motorists to shop around for the best price. The ACCC’s hands may be tied, but ours have a good Buddy who knows a thing or two.


Next Issue | 90

CHANGE OF PLANS…

van-conversions: Torino and Torino Xtra Remote. We’ve reviewed both in the past, but there have been detail improvements and upgrades since and they make an interesting comparison. From across the Pond, Malcolm reviews the stylish Bürstner Lyseo T690G that he recently travelled in for a few nights. An upmarket twoberth motorhome measuring a whisker under seven metres, it has twin beds and an open and bright lounge/dinette sure to appeal.

W

e had a change of plans this issue, swapping the EarthCruiser Unimog for the promised Coachman C-class, which will appear next issue. Along with it will be a look at a pair of Trakka’s Fiat Ducato

MAR

MAR

April 24-29 21-25 16-18

APR

24-29

NSW Caravan Camping RV & Holiday Supershow Rosehill Racecourse James Ruse Drive, Rosehill. NSW. 2142. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (Last day 4:00 pm) • Parking: Free via Griffiths Rd • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20.00 • Kids: U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

The May issue will be out on Saturday the 5th. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ?

June 6-11

Facebook “f ” Logo

JUN

6-11

Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow Brisbane Showgrounds 600 Gregory Tce, Bowen Hills. Qld. 4006 • Open 9:30-6:00 daily (4:00 Monday 11th) • Parking: Limited paid (take train) • Adults: $10 • Concession: $7.50 • Kids: U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

RGB / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

JUN/JUL

29-1

RGB / .ai

APR

JUN

June 29 - July 16-11 24-29

JUN/JUL

29-1

Mildura Great Outdoor Expo Mildura Racecourse Cowra Ave, Mildura. VIC. 3501 • Open 9:30-6:00 daily (4:00 Monday 11th) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Concession: $12.00 • Kids: U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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

AP

24-

iMotorhome Magazine - Aust & NZ Issue 124 - Apr 2018  

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

iMotorhome Magazine - Aust & NZ Issue 124 - Apr 2018  

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