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Launched Hard Lid Camper
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2 | About iMotorhome
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4 | On My Mind
y the time you read this I’m either packing, on a flight or in a rental Minnie Winnie heading to Wyoming. While trying hard to build momentum and market penetration for our new #RV Magazine – something proving more of a challenge than planned/hoped for – I’m also focused on moving this magazine forward to a paid subscription from July as planned. There are still technical issues to overcome with regards to reading the subscription version on a laptop or desktop computer, but they should be resolved in the next week or so. Despite earlier advice, at this stage it’s looking likely that the only way to achieve this is for such subscribers to be online; meaning connected to the Internet while reading. While the new iMotorhome apps for Apple and Android tablets (and smartphones) allow the magazine to be downloaded and read off-line, that now doesn’t seem likely for laptop/desktop subscribers. Apologies if we have to launch that way, but I will keep looking for a solution. In the brave new world of digital publishing the technology is very much focused on delivering to mobile devices… Polly remains very much a driveway ornament these days, although after this trip I’m not planning to head off until late August. That trip, which will spill over into September, is up to Dusseldorf in Germany for the 2018 Caravan Salon: The world’s largest RV show. Covering 75 acres and featuring some 2500 recreational vehicles of all shapes and sizes from about 600 manufacturers, it’s been on my must-do list for the last six years. It’s an annual pilgrimage for many in the Antipodean RV industry and I expect to see some familiar faces while I wander the halls. The venue even has its own RV park and initially I’d planned on renting some exotic little European motorhome and camping right in the middle of the thing for the full 10 days. What a hoot! That thought was tempered, however, by accounts of it reaching 37°C last year or the year before, and given the absence of air
conditioning in both the exhibition halls and any rental motorhome, I chickened out. Instead, I’ve booked an airy but still un-airconditioned loft apartment though Airbnb in a nearby residential area, not far from the Rhine. Ever optimistic, I’m hoping for afternoon/evening ‘sea breezes’ and a bit more insulation, space and comfort than a tiny RV crammed in an airless parking area surrounded by tall exhibition buildings. What’s the bet Europe has an early autumn and I get cold and wet riding my bike to and from the show each day? What was that about optimism? Mrs iMotorhome has almost completed convalesce following her ‘tragic dismount’ from her bicycle on April Fools’ Day (no foolin’). She’s been off work for a full two months because of a wrist fracture and it’s made us realise two things: The first – there’s life after full-time work and she really could retire now (although it took about a month of kicking and screaming before the serenity arrived). The second is that if I broke my right wrist, I/the business would be stuffed. I still love cycling, but I’ve only ridden twice since her accident and I’m very circumspect now. It’s a dilemma I haven’t resolved, and short of encasing myself in bubblewrap or consigning myself to the tedium of the indoor exercise bike, I’m still searching for answers. Any suggestions will be gratefully received and seriously considered! Finally, there’s a small chance the move to a paid subscription could be delayed a month or two due to other technical issues. If not and we lose you after this issue because $2 a month is too big an ask, safe travels and thanks for sharing the journey. If you’re still here then thank you! Small business isn’t easy and your support is sincerely appreciated. See you next month, Brave New World or not!
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6 | Contents
On my Mind
On Your Mind
Tested: Unicampa M4
Tested: Carado IT348
Tested: Benimar Tessoro 486
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Street View Haera Mai!
News What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
A new budget range from Sunliner RV
A compact corner bed model worth investigating
Stylish Spaniard with Ford’s new automatic Transit
Carry Me Camper’s new Hard Lid Camper
New carbon battery technology
More troubles as Wanda heads west
Musi streaming apps!
Three specialist funnels
Three more RV Friendly Towns
What’s coming up!
8 | Street View
wo not-so-funny things happened to me with my around-town transport and another vehicle recently. I’d been away for an extended period and when I returned home, the starter battery in my SUV was flat. I can’t actually remember the last time that happened. Consequently I dug out the jump start cables and phoned a buddy to get him to drive around for a brief visit. It turned out to be longer than expected because we had difficulty with starting my vehicle. My jump start cables did not have a good enough current rating to handle the starting current and were getting very warm. The problem was solved by attaching a second set of cables in parallel with the original set, thus doubling the cable diameter. Not two days later Mrs Malcolm’s Mother was on the phone, also with a flat car battery. It was only after considerable persuasion and re-clamping onto battery terminals that the car was started. A further complication was that the car was parked facing away from the street, therefore making it difficult to get to the battery under the bonnet. You know the moral of that story. My point is that I had taken my little-used jump start cables for granted and when required for serious action, they weren’t up to the job. I’m now attending to that little problem. I mention this little matter because NZ winter time is not good for starter batteries. Any that
are already in decline might fail sooner than usual because of cold temperatures. Just as a side issue for Fiat owners, if trying to jump start a Ducato there are connection points both positive and earth under the bonnet. It’s not recommended to make connections on the actual battery at all (same as my Ford Transit - Ed). Still on electricity, but moving up to mains 240-volt power supply, I have been doing a little reading up on U.S. electrics recently because of Mr iM Publisher’s move into U.S. RV publishing with #RV Magazine. U.S. electrics are very different to NZ’s – and Australia’s for that matter. The most obvious one being that Americans and Canadians use 110-volts AC, which means apart from anything else that both electrical current and therefore cable diameters roughly double. Sold in RV accessory shops in the U.S. is a very impressive range of electrical accessories – anyone for a 50 amp power lead? It’s very heavy lifting… Also different is the suggestion by one clearly well-versed U.S. technical expert that before plugging into a campground power outlet pedestal, an RVer should test it to make sure it’s safe. It’s a thought I must confess would not really have crossed my mind in either NZ or Australia, unless there was an obvious problem (in which case I usually have a digital multimeter in my camera bag). It seems U.S. campground maintenance might be a bit shoddy and so it’s a case of RVer beware.
Street View | 9 A bit of total American trivia here, did you know that the U.S. Department of Defence operates its own campgrounds and RV parks, which anyone can use? Some are on/near military bases and some aren’t. Can you imagine the fireworks from local caravan parks if the NZ or Aussie Armies decided to open their own campgrounds? In the ‘why is it so’ category are the sockets and plugs used on power leads for RVs on either side of the Tasman. In NZ there are specific ones that have to be fitted that are solid, well-built and weatherproof. In Australia, domestic-style plugs and sockets are normally used, with the only difference being that 15 amp fittings are required (the clue being the larger earth pin) instead of the domestic 10 amp. The odd thing about all that is that both
countries use the same electrical standard, AS/ NZ S3000. LPG systems have similar oddities. Further up the scale is the rather interesting question, given our multiple similar and shared standards, of why there are German/Italian/ Spanish/British/French built motorhomes in NZ that you cannot purchase legally in Australia, at least not without difficulty? One wonders… Stay safe in your winter time travels, hopefully I’ll be joining you down Wanaka/Queenstown way soon!
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10 | On your mind
WIN $50 FOR THE BEST LETTER!
It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
Finscan Foibles I discovered a very generous annual program I thought readers and perhaps some manufacturers might like to consider the implications of the installation of touchscreen systems to control some or all of the 12-volt DC circuits in motorhomes. By way of background, in March 2017 I took delivery of a new motorhome, the fourth we have owned over the past 12 years. The van is fitted with a Finscan touchscreen system which has been configured to control most of the 12-volt DC circuits in the van, plus display the 12-volt battery levels, including the Iveco’s truck battery, and the level of the fresh and grey water tanks. I was initially annoyed with this system, as the Finscan system must have power at all times. It cannot be turned off. When in storage this system is drawing on the house batteries at all times – not great if you are storing the van where 240-volt AC is not available and/or undercover so the solar panels do not get any sun.
with all the circuits switched ‘on’ except for the water pump. This meant that the van was liveable except for use of the water pump. Finscan told me, over the phone, how to get the water pump working. This involved moving a fuse to another position on the main circuit board which is located in the battery compartment. This was not a user friendly solution. I must point out that our situation could have been much worse and potentially dangerous if the screen had failed with most of the circuits ‘off’ and had the slideout extended; the electric awning out and no fresh water anywhere in the van, and perhaps with no mobile phone reception.
It would seem at the very least the system should have a master switch which will turn all the 12-volt DC circuits ‘on’ or ‘off’. In my view the van should also have a separate 12-volt DC battery level display and probably water tank level display. I understand that manufacturers like this type of touch screen system as it The main purpose of this letter is to note how reduces the amount of electrical cabling potentially dangerous such a system design can required. Light switches just have to be glued to be if the touchscreen fails. The screen in our van the wall. failed when we were in Tasmania. We live in far northern NSW. The screen failed, fortunately, continued...
On your mind | 11 The failed screen was express posted to Finscan in Sydney on the day it failed. It took just on two weeks for a replacement screen to be express posted to a small town in Northern Tasmania, two days before our ferry booking back to Melbourne. This only finally happened after vigorous complaints by the dealer who sold us the van in Brisbane. In some brief conversations with Finscan I got the impression they really had very little idea of how you could survive in a van with a touch screen failure. I am sorry if this is a bit lengthy but I understand this manufacturer is not the only one introducing this touch screen technology, primarily I suspect to reduce costs, weight and time in the production of the van. In most other respects this is a comfortable motorhome, and sitting on the Iveco chassis it’s easy to drive with the eight speed auto transmission. Little real thought seems to have been given to the consequences of a touch screen failure fitted in RVs. Although such failures might be rare it is wise to remember all things made by man will fail at some point.
Thanks for your email Geoff and the detailed account of your situation. You’re correct, of course, in that such a system as Finscan’s has a benefit to the manufacturer, but it also benefits the user – when it all goes well. Like all technology it’s not perfect and can clearly leave an owner in a dire situation, which is no consolation at the time even if it is a rare occurrence. The constant power drain is a concern and it seems a good idea to have a master switch, although that would likely affect the Finscan’s settings when off. I’m not sure there is an easy answer as the moment you start setting up seperate switches for things you’re effectively doing away with the intended benefit of a single touch screen for all controls. For alerting us to the potential issue of such a system please accept this issue’s $50 prize. Note: Geoff stated the brand of motorhome in his letter but I’ve withheld it as his concern is predominantly with the Finscan system.
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12 | On your mind
Food For Thought Well done on the last issue of iM and congratulations on the six year milestone. You have almost chalked up a long service entitlement! I read your “Warning Reduce Speed” article with interest and was alarmed to think that I was ignorant of such laws. Looking into it further, I find that as a Queenslander we are spared from such over zealous legislating, for the time being. Well, until we venture interstate. It was an article that rang alarm bells with a driver who has not had to study a road rules book for some time and left me wondering how many other rule changes, additions and interstate variances there are that may prove costly one day. I think your Opinion was well stated and would like to think that judicial common sense would prevail but alas it would appear, not this time. Maybe there were other circumstances at play? In Queensland we usually seem to be playing catch up with road improvements. As a regular user of the Brisbane Sunshine Coast Highway that is very evident every time a driver should pull over for a sneeze, as the traffic will slow to a crawl with almost immediate flow on effects for kilometres. Whilst I am supportive of almost all efforts to improve road safety I can’t help but wonder if a 25 & 40 km/h expectancy is not just a little too protective. Thanks for your editorials, they are often one of
the magazine highlights. And no that doesn’t make the rest of it a dull publication ! Cheers, Michael. Thanks for your email and good wishes, and good idea about long service – I’ll have a word with my boss (but I’m not holding my breath). I think most of us would fall into the same category as you, with regard to not having kept up to date with local road rules, let alone interstate. What a lunacy our multi-state licensing system is, and why, in this electronic age, aren’t drivers automatically advised of road rule change. For that matter, why isn’t there an app with every State’s road rules in it, including sections for towing, heavy vehicles and so on? Now there’s food for thought… Thanks also for your comments on the plight of that poor women in SA. Just ridiculous. Yes, I completely agree 25 and 40 seem too protective, but then we really have become a nanny state. In the US, roadwork speed limits are much higher and the only requirement when passing emergency vehicles is to change lanes on a dual carriageway. Glad you enjoy my editorials too. Funny, they have become as popular as any other part of the magazine, which is certainly something I never saw coming!
S.A. Legal Loophole? Another top magazine, thanks. With regard to the article about the speeding fine for passing emergency vehicles, I thought this article from the The Advertiser might be of interest.
Lawmakers have moved to fix a drafting bungle that created a loophole allowing drivers to speed past emergency vehicles at more than 45km/h over the limit, without losing their licence. Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has continued...
Calling All Wilderness Explorers
14 | On your mind continued... told her department to investigate the issue to head off a Supreme Court legal challenge based on an argument that the law, which is designed to immediately take such dangerous drivers off the road, left a loophole for the worst drivers. Blowing the whistle on the bungle is traffic law expert Karen Stanley, who has challenged fines and licence disqualifications. Ms Stanley said authorities had so far avoided addressing the problem, which had existed since 2014 when SA became the only state to reduce the speed for driving past emergency vehicles to 25km/h, down from 40km/h. She says that SAPOL has always withdrawn the matters before they get to trial because prosecutors know that the law is invalid. “I have defended people who were given an expiation notice and an immediate licence disqualification for this offence. Not one of them has ever ended up with the six-month licence disqualification,” Ms Stanley said. “The law doesn’t allow a licence disqualification for this offence. The legislated penalty is a fine only.” When made aware of the problem, a State Government spokesman for Ms Chapman said the Attorney-General’s Department had been ‘alerted’ and was investigating. Ms Stanley said under general speeding laws, motorists lose their licence when they speed at 45km/h over the “speed limit”. “Authorities were wrongly applying this law to anyone caught doing more than 70 km/h past an emergency vehicle,” she said. Because the 25 km/h rule past emergency vehicles is not a signposted “speed limit” as required in the Act, she said, motorists were not technically travelling at 45 km/h “over the speed limit” and could not lose their licence. Ms Stanley said she would now take to court the case of an interstate driver who lost her
licence after an incident in country SA. “This lady paid the fine because she lives in NSW but it would have been withdrawn if she disputed the loss of licence because it is the wrong law for this offence,” she said. “She suffered anxiety from this incident and her family thought it would be too much for her to dispute the fine. I have written to the police expiation branch asking for the expiation notice to be withdrawn and instead be prosecuted.” SAPOL has refused to say how many people had lost their licences and referred questions about the application of the law to the State Government. In the year after the cut from 40 km/h to 25 km/h, The Advertiser revealed there were 270 caught breaking the “limit” and 33 were more than 30 km/h over the limit. Regards, Eric. G’day Eric, glad you’re still enjoying the issues and thanks for The Advertiser article – very interesting. It raises many questions, including one about the opportunity for those wrongfully disqualified to seek compensation, and another about the ineptitude of those drafting, reviewing and passing the legislation. Fingers crossed that at the very least the CMCA lady gets some justice...Thanks also for your comments on the plight of that poor women in SA. Just ridiculous. Yes, I completely agree 25 and 40 seem too protective, but then we really have become a nanny state. In the US, roadwork speed limits are much higher and the only requirement when passing emergency vehicles is to change lanes on a dual carriageway. Glad you enjoy my editorials too. Funny, they have become as popular as any other part of the magazine, which is certainly something I never saw coming!
16 | News
o see the future of iMotorhome Magazine download the free #RV Magazine app from either the App Store or Google Play. Then, download the free preview version of issue one, which is stored in the app and can be read offline. When launched, the iMotorhome Magazine app will deliver issues in the same style and format, which is made for iPads, Android tablets (excluding Kindle Fire at this stage) and most smartphones. A separate subscription system is being developed to allow users of laptop and desktop computers to subscribe.
CAMP OVEN FESTIVAL CORRECTION
here was a misprint in last issueâ€™s News section rearing the date for this yearâ€™s popular Camp Oven Festival in Millmerran, Queensland. The correct dates at 6-7 October. To find out more about the festival click here.
18 | News
REDVISION WINS GOOD DESIGN AWARD
edarc Electronics’s new RedVision total vehicle management system has been announced as a Good Design Award Winner by Good Design Australia in the Product Design Sport and Lifestyle category. These awards are in recognition of outstanding design and innovation, representing the highest honour for design innovation in Australia. “This is a significant achievement for REDARC and RedVision, considering the high standard of submissions received this year”, said Managing Director, Anthony Kittel. Of the RedVision system, the Good Design Awards Jury commented, “Great overall product. Industrial design and interface design spot on. This is a clean integrated solution that is reliable and robust. Clever interface that is super simple to use and operate. The fuse box can be accessed easily for replacing when needed and a faulty fuse is lit and identified, making it really easy to replace - big plus for that.”
cammers have found a new way of tricking people selling Rvs. Police in Victoria have now issued a fake-money alert after buyers of a woman’s caravan paid her with a “significant number” of counterfeit $50 notes. She only discovered the scam when she went to bank the cash. “We don’t believe they were locals who purchased it,” a police spokesperson said, adding that all sellers of RVs should be wary.
RedVision is a total vehicle management system that sets a new level of automation in the recreational vehicle industry by bringing information and control to users’ fingertips. RedVision allows users to control multiple on-board devices, such as turning the lights, inverter, water pump and other loads like televisions, electric steps and fridges, on or off through the in-vehicle display or via a smartphone through the RedVision app. It also provides the user with the ability to monitor water levels, temperature, and battery power, consumption and storage, with the battery information available when used with a REDARC Manager-range battery management system. Redarc says RedVision is already available as factory fit on caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes. To find out more click here.
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20 | News
BRISBANE SUPERSHOW 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
aravanning Queensland’s annual Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow will this year mark 50 shows, while leading Australian camper trailer manufacturers, Cub Campers, also celebrates half a century of operations. In March last year, a total of 49.78 million domestic caravan and camping nights were recorded in Australia from the previous year and Caravanning Queensland CEO, Ron Chapman, believes this number will continue to increase in the coming decade. Mr Chapman began his career in the industry in 1966 as Public Relations Officer of the Chesney Caravan Group and said Australia’s love for caravanning and camping grew from the first Queensland Supershow held in 1968. “The first two shows were very basic and were held on the lower carpark of Toombul Shopping Town, now known as Toombul Shopping Centre, with an estimated attendance of 2000 to 3000 show-goers over 3 days,” said Mr Chapman. “Over the past 50 years the Supershow has grown in popularity with more exhibitors getting involved and more consumers choosing to invest in caravan and camping holidays.” Tourism Research Australia data shows Australia’s international caravan and camping visitor economy is also on the rise, with results indicating that more than 377,000 international visitors chose to take a caravan and camping holiday within the 12 months prior to June 2017 financial year.
Cub Camper’s Founder, Roger Fagan, says the needs of consumers has had a major impact upon the manufacturing standards for recreational vehicles over the past five decades. “In 1968, the first Cub comprised of a box trailer and tarp, and took around nine hours to manufacture, whereas today it can take up to 150 hours to manufacture an intricate camper. While many factors have changed over the past 50 years, consumers can still count on good quality products, good re-sale value and great customer service from Australian manufacturers,” said Mr Fagan. Ron Chapman agrees and believes the industry will continue to thrive as consumers take caravanning and camping to the next level. Caravanning Queensland and Cub Campers are celebrating their milestone birthdays together by giving away the largest show prize Australia has seen from an industry expo at the 2018 Supershow; a one-of-a-kind, 50th anniversary Cub Camper Trailer and a Volkswagen V6 Turbo Diesel Amarok with a total value of more than $100,000 rrp. Caravanning Queensland’s 50th annual Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow is on from June 6-11 at the Brisbane Showgrounds. It will feature with more than 900 caravans, camper trailers and motorhome models as well as accessories, providing the most comprehensive recreational display for travellers. To find more about the Supershow click here.
22 | News
outh Australian Rodney Elson came across a First World War medal when he began dismantling a vintage 12ft Rowvan for spare parts. An inscription names Corporal Robert John Bowshire of the 28th Australian Infantry Battalion (Service Number 5124). Records show that Corporal Bowshire enlisted in March 1916 and returned to
Australia in July 1919. His battalion fought its first major battle at Pozieres between 28 July and 6 August 1916 and played a supporting role in many others. It was disbanded in 1919. Mr Elson, of Arno Bay, is now attempting to track down the soldier’s family so the medal can be returned to its rightful place. If you can help, give him a call on 0478 132 142.
AUSTRALIAN GPS ACCURACY IMPROVEMENTS infrastructure to remove external errors in a GPS signal. The technology has already been implemented in the U.S., Europe, China, Russia, India and Japan, but an 18-month test began in Australia last June.
n case you haven’t noticed, the little blue marker showing where you are in Google or Apple Maps, isn’t as accurate as it could be. That’s why Australia is spending over $260 million on satellite infrastructure and technology to improve GPS accuracy, as part of the Federal Government’s recent budget. As it stands, we get uncorrected GPS signals that are accurate to five metres. To improve that, the majority of the funds will be invested in a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), which aims to correct GPS accuracy to around a metre, across Australia and our maritime zone. SBAS, which originates in the aviation industry, uses space-based and ground-based
“It’s like a first level autocorrect,” explained Philip Collier, research director at Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information. “It’s relatively easy to achieve that level of accuracy with an appropriate correction signal, but to move to [an accuracy level] that’s better than 10 cm, it’s a much more difficult problem”. That’s where $64 million of the allocated funds will go. It’ll be invested into the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC), to improve accuracy to the sub-decimetre – that’s less than 10 cm – by improving on-ground infrastructure and data processing models. “We’re very excited by it,” Collier spoke of the overall announcement. “We’ve been advocating for this sort of investment to improve positioning for Australia for many years. To see continued..
A New Kind of Playground
24 | News it come to fruition is a really great outcome for an applied research centre like ours.” Matt Canavan, Australia’s minister for resources, explained in an online statement the practical benefits of the investment include better navigation for both regional aviation and farmers who have livestock over long distances. Yanming Feng, a professor at the Queensland University of Technology who specialises in global navigation satellite systems, also said the announcement was good news.
“It will improve the accuracy from several metres to 1-2 metres for mass-market users, such as mobile phone and road navigation,” he explained. As for the rest of the allocation, $36.9 million will be used to fund Digital Earth Australia (DEA), which uses satellite data to track changes across Australia like soil and coastal erosion, crop growth, water quality, and changes to cities and regions.
NOMAD ADVENTURER GUIDE Kym and Lyn, whose No Boundaries website has a popular following, describe themselves as a working class couple who started their nomadic lifestyle in their mid 50s after their children had fled the nest.
aravanners Kym Leech and Lyn Hutton, who have been full-time working travellers for six years, have published a book to help others wanting to follow in their tracks. Titled “Be an Australian Nomad Adventurer – Confidently rove and fund your lifestyle while on the road” is written with humour and in an easy-to-read style, with over 130 illustrated pages. Cost is $12.50, with a dollar from every sale being donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Topics range from having a multi-employability mindset and ideas on how and where to look for work, to accommodation and communications.
“We have been part of this ongoing migration of working nomads for over six years and have experienced Australia and so much more with the advantage of younger energy than we ever could had we delayed our caravan travels to post-retirement.” With what they say was, “A money pot with a shallow bottom”, working and travelling their way around was the answer. “Our adventures on the road have largely been financed by finding work in an ever-extending trail of places and work situations,” they said. And they stress that their time on the road has been far from all about hard work - it can be paradise, as one of their photos show. For further information email kymnlyn@noboundaries. com.au
News | 25
CHINESE RV BOOM
ue to the growing interest in RVing in China, the 7th All in CARAVANING (AiC) trade fair will be held at a bigger exhibition center in Beijing at the Etrong International Exhibition & Convention Center from June 22-24.
is also very much favored by the dynamic expansion of campsites and caravan tourism offerings.”
More than 700 national and international exhibitors will showcase their products on 377,000 square feet of exhibition space to “With this year’s event we will take it to the next an expected 30,000 visitors. At the first event level of quality. In addition to growth in terms of in 2012, 53 exhibitors took part on 54,000 exhibition space and exhibitor numbers we also square feet. Organized by Messe Düsseldorf expect a record number of visitors,” said Stefan Shanghai (MDS), AiC benefits from Messe Koschke, global head of caravaning & outdoor Düsseldorf’s wide-ranging industry knowledge at Messe Düsseldorf, in a press release. “These and experience with CARAVAN SALON impressive developments at AiC confirm DÜSSELDORF, the leading international trade that RVing as a form for vacationing is very fair for RVs and motorhomes held annually popular in Chinese society. The fast-growing in Düsseldorf, Germany. Last year, the event middle class, with great purchasing power is attracted a record 232,000 visitors over 10 increasingly discovering this type of mobile days. For further information click here. holiday. The development of the RV industry
26 | News
ROAD TRAIN EDUCATION
ne of Australia’s largest freight and logistics companies has launched a new campaign to educate RVers about road trains. The move comes as thousands of southerners hitch up their caravans for their annual sojourn to the northern states in search of winter sunshine.
Step Two: Be patient. Passing a road train can take as long as 60 seconds. Make sure you have maximum visibility and nothing is coming in the other direction. Step Three: Position your vehicle so you can see any oncoming traffic and so the road train driver can see you.
WA-based Centurion said a recent company survey revealed that more than 80 percent of Step Four: If you want to pass, keep your drivers had witnessed or experienced a close right hand blinker on to let the call between a road train and caravan in the truckie know. past two years, while 20 percent said they had experienced more than 2. The company is now Step Five: Use your UHF radio to call through distributing 2500 free guides to regional service on Channel 40. Identify the truck stations and caravan parks to help educate and the direction and ask if it is about safe driving near heavy vehicles. clear to pass. Here are Centurion’s top tips to help motorists and RVers when passing a road train.
When overtaking a road train: Step One: Keep your lights on so you can be clearly seen, especially in dusty or overcast conditions.
Step Six: When it’s clear accelerate at a safe and consistent speed and pass. Step Seven: Be aware of your speed when you’ve completed your overtaking manoeuvre. Road trains need plenty of room to come to a stop.
News | 27 Step Eight: B e aware of everyone around you and remember it’s always good to acknowledge when people do the right things with a wave and a smile.
Step Four: It’s about everyone doing the right thing on our roads. By understanding what to do, being patient and being courteous we’ll all arrive at our destination safely.
When being overtaken: Step One: If you’re travelling close together with other RVers leave at least 100 metres between you and the vehicle in front. Truck drivers need room to pull in after their overtaking manoeuvre. Step Two: If you are about to be overtaken by a road train maintain a consistent speed, don’t brake or slow down, and definitely don’t speed up. Step Three: R oad trains can be over 50 metres so let the driver know when he can pull in after his overtaking manoeuvre, with a flash of your headlights.
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28 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 29
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30 | Tested: UniCampa M4
Renaultâ€™s Master heads up the new budget Unicampa rangeâ€Ś by Malcolm Street
Tested | 31
Unicampa is a new budget brand from Sunliner RV. The Renault Master is an interesting choice and seems to work well as a motorhome cab-chassis. Renault has played around the edges of the local motorhome scene for years but never really made inroads. Also used by Jayco, it will be interesting to see if the brand manages to break into the mainstream here. The Unicampa body is finished in all-over white with bright graphics and you’d never mistake it for anything else!
n Australia, as in many other countries, the most popular motorhome cab-chassis is the Fiat Ducato, followed by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The third, which is priced between the two but with more rated carrying ability than either, is the Iveco Daily. Waiting in the wings with newer models are both VW with the all-new Crafter and Ford, with a soonto-be-auto Transit. The odd man out in the pack is the Renault Master, which appears from time to time with various motorhome manufacturers. Our test vehicle is a Renaultpowered Unicampa M4, and just in case you don’t recognise the name, Unicamper is a new budget range by Sunliner RV.
ntil recently Renault’s Master was a rear-wheel drive vehicle, but now it has joined the Fiat Ducato in being frontwheel drive. It has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3800 kg and a maximum payload of 700 kg, given the tare mass is 3100 kg. Underneath the Master’s bonnet is a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel with a maximum power rating of 110 kW and torque of 350 Nm, while drive is through a six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) During my travels, the Renault Master performed willingly enough despite the relatively modest power figures, and it seemed to me
32 | Tested the gearbox showed a little less hesitation than most AMTs. I should point out the motorhome was lightly loaded, but overall it is quite an easy driving motorhome.
t might be because the Unicampa M4 is aimed that the budget market, but the fibreglass composite and moulded body does have a somewhat square look about it, from both back and front. All the windows are the standard double-glazed acrylic items with integrated blinds and insect screens, whilst the entry door (sans any sort of screening) is the familiar Dometic item. Given it is hinged on the forward side it does clash with the adjacent window unless care is taken. Often in budget orientated motorhomes
external bin space is minimal, however the M4 scores quite well in this department with a through-boot across the rear of the motorhome. It’s not quite in the category of a Euro motorhome style ‘garage’ – mostly because the gas cylinder bin sits in the way – but should still hold all the camping essentials.
ince the Unicampa has approved seating for four it’s handy for a family. However, given the size of the over-cab bed the ‘upstairs’ occupants would have to be fairly small in stature. That aside, I have to say the interior has a somewhat square, rental motorhome look and feel about it. That’s not to say it isn’t practical because it is certainly is, and unlike most rental
Decor is simple and no-nonsense, but the standard equipment list ticks all the expected boxes for the class. Note the over-cab bed that hinges up for easy cab access.
Tested | 33 motorhomes the M4 has an island bed at the rear. Because the entry door is mid way along the side, the kitchen bench is to the left as you step inside and it faces a café-style dinette across the aisle. That leaves the area in front of the island bed for a combo bathroom on the driver’s side and a fridge cabinet to the right of the entry door. Above the cab is a bed that can be tilted out of the way if not needed, but because it measures just 1.85 m x 1.0 m (6’ 3” x 3’ 3”) it is really only a single.
table is really going to be come the default food preparation area. Drawers are definitely the storage theme, with four of various sizes provided and, of course, a couple of overhead lockers.
he kitchen bench looks somewhat Euro sized because the three burner cooker and grill butts up right against the stainless steel sink/drainer. The cooker does have a hinged lid, of course, but the dinette
tilising the swivelled cab seats in this design is definitely a good idea. The swivelled driver’s seat can be used with the table and forward-facing dinette seat behind it, but because of the rather square shape of the dinette’s cushions the cab seats
Fridge space isn’t neglected thanks to a good sized Dometic 190-litre 2-door unit. It’s floor mounted, so the Sharp Carousel microwave above is at a reasonably user friendly height and there is still space for a cupboard above it.
There’s no kitchen bench space, so the table becomes the default work area. It’s good to have a full oven and grill, though.
34 | Tested might well be the better choice for relaxing in. A nice touch is the non-rectangular shape of the table, which makes it easy to move around but also isn’t a stretch from either of the seats to be reasonably comfortable for dining.
iven the M4’s external length of just over 7 m (23’) and having an island bed, it’s not surprising that the bathroom is a ‘wet’ one, with flexible hose shower, cassette toilet and vanity wash basin all sharing the same space. In fact both the toilet and sink are part of the same moulding, which provides an extra bit of space
The Master’s cab is simple but functional, although looking a bit dated these days. An automated manual transmission is standard and surprisingly smooth by class standards.
Tested | 35
An island bed will please many buyers, as will the decent storage, big windows and roof hatch. Overall internal storage is good, plus there’s a through-boot outside for your camping essentials.
saving. A decent sized wall mirror is fitted to the door and this means it can easily be used from inside or outside the bathroom.
t the rear the 1.88 m x 1.42 m (6’ 2” x 4’ 8”) island bed takes up most of the space. Good ventilation is assured thanks to large windows on both sides and a decent sized roof hatch. At the bedhead, wardrobes are fitted on both sides, while three lockers run across the top of the wall, above. There are also bedside shelves on both sides and a handy shelf on the wall above. Walk-around space at the base of the bed, particularly the driver’s side isn’t great, so doing something like making up the bed is a bit of a fiddle.
36 | Tested
Having a ‘wet’ bathroom won’t please everyone, but like the rest of the vehicle it’s simple and straightforward.
Power and Water Matters
aturally, the M4 comes with both 240 and 12-volt electrical systems and although mains power points aren’t prolific, there are enough of them. A single 12 V 100 AH battery is located under the rear seat, along with mains charger and 12 V fuse panel. A little surprisingly the 12V fuses were well labelled – not always a common occurrence in the RV industry. Also under the rear seat is the Girard instantaneous hot water heater, but the downside is there’s no space for anything else. Given the 100-litre water tank and lack of a solar panel, the M4 really couldn’t be used for more than a couple of days in a remote location.
What I Think
he Unicampa M4 might be something of a basic motorhome with a plain interior, but it does have all the essentials the current generation of motorhomers have come to expect, including a decent amount of storage space both inside and out.
Tested | 37
38 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
110 kW @ 3500 rpm
350 rpm @1500 rpm
6 speed AMT
ABS, EBD, ESC, dual air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.20 m (23' 7.5")
2.31m (7' 7â€?)
3.07 m (10')
2.1 m (6' 11")
1.88 m x 1.42 m (6' 2" x 4' 8")
1.85 m x 1.0 m (6' x 3' 3")
Tested | 39
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Thetford Triplex & grill
Finch Belair 2400
Stainless steel & drainer
190 L Dometic RMDX21 3-way
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Finch Belair 2400
Hot Water System
Combo, wet cubicle
Pros… • Budget price • Easy driving • Island bed • Seats four • External storage • Big fridge
CONs… • Renault dealer network? • Basic looking interior • Bed walk around space • Wet bathroom • Narrow over-cab bed
1 x 100AH
2 x 4.5 kg
PRICE ON ROAD NSW As Tested
Warranty - Motorhome
Warranty - Renault
3 yrs/200,000 km
Manufacturer: Unicampa PO Box 554 Bayswater. Vic. 3153. E: email@example.com W: www.unicampa.com.au
Supplied thanks to: Australian Motorhomes Click for Google Maps 31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green, NSW 2290 T: (02) 4948 0433 W: australianmotorhomes.com.au
40 | Tested
NEW RVâ€™S AT
VALUE FUNCTION DESIGN
MOTORHOMES & CAMPERVANS
42 | Tested: Carado T348
Eyes Wide Open It’s worth keeping your eyes wide open for a Carado T348 … By Malcolm Street
Tested | 43
Carado has done an excellent job of seamlessly blending the body and cab. Although the entry door is on the driver’s side, in practice you quickly adapt and it soon becomes a non-issue.
decade or so ago there was generally a separation between motorhomes built for the rental market and those for the retail market. One obvious difference in the generally-larger rental motorhomes was that most were six berth and usually without a fixed bed, unless you counted the over-cab Luton. That often made them difficult to on sell in the retail market, post rental service. In NZ, Wilderness Motorhomes changed that modus operandi some years back by introducing Bürstner (and later Carado) motorhomes to its rental fleet. These were motorhomes built for the retail market and the move brought a double benefit: Rental customers got a better class of motorhome while Wilderness found them easier to sell via its retail arm, Smart RV. I mention all that because my review motorhome – a brand new Carado T348 – was in stock when I took the review photos, but as I write the last one is rolling out the door.
However, all is not lost! There are a number of T348s in the Wilderness rental fleet, where they go under the name of Ranger 4. So you can actually try a fully equipped one out for a few days or a few weeks and in a year or two’s time grab one at a great price when it becomes available from the rental fleet! Like Bürstner, Carado is part of the giant Erwin Hymer Group from Germany. Carado a more budget priced range, but there are various similarities between the products from both manufacturers. Like for instance the base vehicle – a Fiat Ducato Multijet 130 widetrack cab-chassis with a GVM of 3495 kg (thus sneaking under the magic 3500 kg WOF limit). Not that weight is a problem, given the impressive payload of 765 kg.
erminology is always interesting to me, at least the terms used by overseas manufacturers. For instance, the Carado
44 | Tested
T348 uses what they call a SemiIntegrated body design, with the roof and rear wall being made of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) and aluminium sheet metal. It has a French bed and a rear garage, but it doesnâ€™t have a UK-side entry door (as a UK-based RV journo colleague put it to me earlier this week). Translated, we have here a B-class motorhome with fibreglass walls and roof, aluminium composite walls, a rear corner bed, rear storage boot and an entry door on the driverâ€™s side. In addition to all that, it comes with a drop down bed (which seems to be a universal term), thus making it a four berth motorhome and a dining/seating area to match. External storage is good, as is the heavy-duty green bag with compartments for fresh and grey water hoses, plus the power lead.
Around the Outside
o surprises around the outside really. It comes with double glazed acrylic
Tested | 45
windows, Skyview hatch above the cab, a typical Euro door that includes an internal concertina style insect screen, gas locker behind the driver’s door and a Thule Omnistor awning. The rear garage didn’t quite fit my understanding of that definition, i.e. a large full-width storage area, but it still offers enough space for all your camping essentials. I do like the three-compartment PVC bag Smart RV provides for the fresh and grey water hoses, plus the power lead. It’s all neatly in one package and easily cleaned/dried out if necessary.
aving a bed in one rear corner allows for a bathroom in the opposite corner. With the somewhat familiar swivelled cab seat/lounge arrangement up front, that leaves the mid area for the kitchen Done very much in the Euro style of a faux timber look in a darker hue, the interior might be on the dull side but a large window and roof hatch, in tandem with ceiling lights and LED
The drop-down bed is manual and easily operated. It even has its own roof hatch for extra nighttime ventilation.
46 | Tested
strip lights, brightens things up no end. Overall, internal storage space scores reasonably well – there are the usual under seat and bed areas – and in addition, a good sized wardrobe sits between the fridge and rear bathroom.
ith this layout, a couple has a choice of beds or can even take one each! The rear bed has a length of 2.0 m (6’ 7”) and a width that varies from 1.37 m (4’ 6”) to 1.1 m (3’ 7”). By comparison, the transverse roof bed is the same length, but has a constant width at 1.35 m (4’ 5”). Corner beds do have the disadvantage of the one sleeper having to clamber over the other, but that’s better than a fixed bed right across the motorhome. For storage, overhead lockers are all around the walls above the bed.
Top: Decor is contemporary European. Above: Single mains power outlets need to be upgraded to match our growing love affair with all-things electronic and rechargeable.
Tested | 47
Further forward, the drop down bed is hand operated and operates quite easily. It only drops to about two thirds of the wall height, which does means clipping on the ladder for access, but it also means not having to move any cushions or seat backs around. A roof hatch directly above the bed supplies ventilation on warm nights.
here has been a little bit of economy in the kitchen area, mostly in the storage department. Instead of multiple drawers there is just one, with the rest of the space either being cupboard or overhead lockers. In the latter case itâ€™s a bit shorter than the kitchen bench because of the drop down bed, but it does have shelves fitted. All the essential kitchen items are included of course : three burner hob, under bench grill/ oven and a 167-litre two-door fridge on the opposite side. Kitchen ventilation is quite good â€“ in addition to the rangehood, there is both the adjacent window and a large roof hatch.
Top: The drop-down bed makes a handy sleeping option for couples as well as singles travelling together. Above: The small L-shaped kitchen has good storage and is surprisingly practical.
48 | Tested
Above: The Europeans do compact lounges/dinettes so well. Below: A separate shower cubicle keeps the floor of the corner bathroom nice and dry.
Eating and Dining
ive or six people could probably sit around the dining/lounge area, but the table is a bit more of a limiter; it really only being for four at the most. Even with the bed above, there is still a fair bit of head room and it is fairly easy to get in and out of all the seating. As with the rest of the motorhome, there is plenty of light and ventilation. In the cab the privacy curtain runs between the swivelled seats and dashboard, so there are no difficulties using the swivelled front seats at night.
lthough it’s a combo bathroom in size, it’s a ‘dry’ one. That is, the shower cubicle at the very rear can be closed off from the rest of the bathroom area. It’s not oversize but there is room to turn around for most people. Located mid-station in the bathroom is the cassette toilet, and if you turn around a bit whilst seated, you can indeed look out of the window without too much trouble (Loo with a view! - Ed). Butted up against the front wall, by the door, is a small wash basin with mirror above and cupboard below.
Tested | 49
pair of 80 AH deep cycle batteries and a 150 W solar panel mean this motorhome is reasonably well set up for freedom camping, especially if the three way fridge is run on gas. Both water and space heating are supplied by the Truma Combi 6E LP gas fired heater. Like many a motorhome, the mains power points are all NZ/Aust fittings, but only singles, which is problematic for someone like moi who carries a considerable number of battery chargers, apart from anything else. A useful device I carry is a small power board with multiple outlets. This is not just a comment on Carado, but I do wonder sometimes if RV manufacturers in general think about power point locations, numbers and where power cords might run. There are no 12 V outlets in the rear but the power point behind the driverâ€™s seat is inverter supplied. Control wise, the touch panel is above the entry door and the mains circuit There are a decent number of power points throughout the vehicle, but only the one with the red button is connected to the 1000-watt inverter.
50 | Tested
breakers are in the base of the wardrobe, meaning not too much fiddling around to get to them.
itted with Fiatâ€™s ubiquitous 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine the Carado has the lower powered 96 kW/ 320 Nm versions, which in tandem with the 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) is okay around town and along the highway, but struggles a bit on steeper hills. It does come with a 2000 kg tow rating, but my concept of owning motorhome means not having to tow anything, and that fits right in here I reckon.
The streamlined nose fairing not only looks good, it helps reduce fuel consumption and keeps wind noise down.
Tested | 51
What I think
t’s easy to see where a bit of budget saving has been applied to the Carado T348 compared to, say, a Bürstner. However, that doesn’t make it any less functional as a road going motorhome. Indeed, if it means the difference between getting on the road or not, then I know what I would be doing. Having four beds and seats makes this good for a small family and gives a couple a bit of flexibility with sleeping arrangements. As a young and relatively low mileage ex-rental, a Carado T348 is well worth keeping an eye open for…
52 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
Fiat Ducato Multijet 130
2.3 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
96 kW @ 3600 rpm
320 Nm @ 1800 rpm
6 speed AMT
ABS, ESP, Traction Plus, Driver/passenger air bags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
6.83 m (22' 5")
2.30 m (7' 7")
2.91 m (9' 7")
2.10 m (6' 10")
2.00 m x 1.37 m - 1.1 m (6' 7" x 4' 6" - 3' 7")
Drop Down Bed
2.00 m x 1.35 m (6' 7" x 4' 5")
Tested | 53
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Thetford 3 burner & Thetford grill/oven
Stainless steel round
167 L Thetford N3170 3-way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Driver's cab only
Truma Combi 6E
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E
Pros… • Two bed layout • Suits four people quite well • Kitchen benchtop space • Dry bathroom • Fridge capacity • Good natural light level
CONs… • Some power points in odd locations • Lowest powered of the Ducato engines • One drawer in kitchen • Small garage
2 x 80 AH
12 V - 240 V 1000W
2 x 9.0 kg
Click for Google Maps
North Island Wilderness Motorhomes 11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland. 2022. T: 0800 007 627 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz
PRICE ON-ROAD NEW ZEALAND New - for reference
Check for availability and pricing
South Island Wilderness Motorhomes 3 Export Ave Harewood. ChCh. 8051. T: 0800 007 628 E: email@example.com W: smartmotorhomes.co.nz
Click for Google Maps
54 | Tested
Go wherever the road takes you. Literally.
Lake Pukaki, South Island
No road restrictions, modern self-contained motorhomes and outstanding customer service. Experience New Zealand your way in a premium rental motorhome from Wilderness. Find out more at wilderness.co.nz
56 | Tested: Benimar Tessoro 486
Benimar In Transit! Spanish manufacturer Benimar embraces the new Ford Transit autoâ€Ś by Malcolm Street
Tested | 57
ola! That’s just to create a little bit of Spanish atmosphere, because I reckon Spain isn’t the first country that comes to mind when thinking about motorhome manufacturers. However, it happens to be where the highly successful Benimar range of motorhomes comes from. Imported into New Zealand by TrailLite, the Fiat Ducato-powered Mileo range has become a familiar sight on Kiwi roads.
efore I get to that, I should mention the Ford Transit. Although once a favoured cab-chassis for any number of motorhome manufacturers, Transits disappeared for a while but are now making a slow return. Like many competitors, the Transit’s cabin is much like a sedan vehicle in terms of features and comfort – it just sits a little higher, giving a good view of the road ahead. Grab handles for both passenger and In the middle of last year, TrailLite introduced driver would be useful, but all the controls and the Tessoro range and at the time there were instrumentation are where you might expect a couple of major differences: Firstly, a Ford them to be. However, I presume that being Transit cab-chassis, and secondly, the entry designed for the British market, the miles-perdoor was on the driver’s side. Since then Benimar has mirrored the Tessoro’s layout, thus hour speedo readings are much easier to see than kilometres-per-hour and I found myself moving the entry door to the kerb side. reverting back to the days of remembering the Benimar’s focus, well at least those I have seen imperial equivalents to the posted limits! in NZ, seems to be on smaller motorhomes, On the road, the 2.0-litre 125 kW turbo-diesel although there are a couple more than seven delivers the goods confidently when the right metres long. That means using all the little foot is pressed. In a previous Tessoro test tricks the Europeans seem to employ for getting the most out of available space. So how drive the Transit came with a six-speed manual gearbox, which I didn’t mind, but many I know does the trickery work on the Tessoro range, prefer an auto shift, making for more relaxing and in particular my review model, the T486? driving. Having now had a test drive, there’s no Read on! doubt that the new six-speed Select Shift auto
Ford’s Transit puts on a fresh face and returns as a viable alternative to Fiat’s Ducato and Mercedes’ Sprinter.
58 | Tested
Swivelled cab seats and long front lounges are a popular layout in the UK. Combined with a free-standing table it provides generous living and entertaining space. – being a torque converter rather than the more jerky automated manual system – is a very smooth performer.
t 6.99 m (22’ 11”) in length, the 486 has quite a presence. A combination of fibreglass composite walls and mouldings give the motorhome a fairly streamlined shape. Insulation is quite well handled with 25 mm XPS (styrofoam) insulation for the walls and a much thicker 53 mm for the roof. Dometic windows are used all around and I particularly like the Skyline window above the driver’s cab. I’m not sure why, but the concept of having an adjacent door and window and both being able to be open at the same time seems to defeat a number of RV manufacturers, but not here: Both the entry door and forward window can simultaneously be opened!
Tested | 59
Above: The Tessoro’s B-class body melds nicely with the Transit, aided by the clever use of graphics. Below: The rear through-garage/boot is big enough for the usual camping accessories, and then some. Europeans seem to love their ‘garages’, and with good reason it seems to me. Many a motorhome storage locker I have seen requires considerable bending over to access, but not this one. Even with the spare wheel inside and a large toolbox there is plenty of room for a portable BBQ, fishing gear, folding bicycles, winter skiing gear, scuba diving tanks, golf clubs or whatever takes your fancy. Well within reason, given the 398 kg payload…
enimar, at least in the layouts I have seen, seems to come up with variations not commonly seen, but still practical in their own way. The 486 design is certainly in that category; for starters having a mid-wall entry door. Inside, towards the front, is a slightly extended form of the lounge/dining area quite common in motorhomes out of Europe. It incorporates
60 | Tested the swivelled cab seats, two sideways-facing lounges and a two person forward facing seat on the driver’s side. Much of the mid area is taken up by the kitchen facilities on both sides, leaving the rear for a split bathroom. Well it’s not quite the rear, because right at the back – above the garage – is a very large storage compartment that’s split in two, with hanging space and shelves on both sides. Both cabinets sit quite high, but there is a fold down step to make access easier. One thing this motorhome is not short of is storage, both internal and external.
t’s not immediately obvious, but the Tessoro 486 does sleep four. The front lounges fold down into a 1.9 m x 1.39 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 7”) bed plus there is that great space saver, a drop-down bed 2.1 m x 1.4 m (6’ 11” x 4’ 7”) that is electrically operated. The handy aluminium ladder can be stored in the garage when not in use, and apart from anything else The kitchen sits between entry door and rear wall, with the bathroom opposite.
Tested | 61 the bed can be raised out of the way when not needed but left made up.
ll the lounges, including the cab seats, have been finished in matching, quite swish looking upholstery. Many a seat setup like this has a fixed table mount between the seats, but in this case (and given the seat lengths) a freestanding table is used. It works quite well and of course can be stored when not being used. For the rear passengers the forward facing seat has seat belts fitted, but thereâ€™s a bit of fiddling around to remove a seat cushion and base so the passenger nearest the wall has foot space. There is some underseat storage room, but some of it is taken by the water tank and Truma Combi space heater. A clever little touch is fitted to the under-seat area nearest the door â€“ a false floor, so small valuables can be stored there and not be immediately obvious.
The free-standing table is big enough to provide proper dining space for four, and stows out of the way when not needed.
62 | Tested
A slim but full-height slide-out pantry is a welcome inclusion, while the slimline fridge is one of the new style that seems to be taking over in Europe.
n the main kitchen bench area you get a three burner hob and grill, stainless steel sink with detachable drainer and an under-bench microwave. Also fitted in is a decent amount of bench space plus two drawers, two cupboards, a floor locker, three overhead lockers and a two-tier wire basket slide-out pantry, butted up against the bathroom wall. Opposite the main bench, a slimline 141-litre Thetford fridge/freezer is fitted. Itâ€™s interesting that slimmer fridges seem to be quite common in Euro-originated motorhomes, but less so in NZ or Aussie built RVs.
lthough it is quite compact, the bathroom comes with a separate shower cubicle that means no wet feet when using the Thetford cassette toilet. The shower isnâ€™t oversize, but there is room to turn around. Also fitted into the bathroom is a small wash basin, shaving cabinet and towel rail. Ventilation is supplied by both a window and a ceiling roof hatch. One of the two rear storage cupboards is
Tested | 63 The bathroom has a separate shower cubicle and storage in a cupboard in the rear wall, over the boot.
accessible from the bathroom, but the position of the cassette toilet does make it a tad awkward to get into. The Benimar’s electrics are fairly simple (a relative term these days), with a single 100 AH deep-cycle battery and a 150 W solar panel. Like many a motorhome, the control panel is located above the habitation door, along with the water and space heater controls. Located under the front rear passenger seat, the 12 V fuses are a bit fiddly to get at because of the adjacent heater ducting. Although 240 V power points are fitted, they are single outlets and a bit frugal in number.
What I think
n a 7m/22’ 11” motorhome, taking out a fixed bed does create a considerable amount of space for other features. In times gone by that would have meant a Luton bed over the cab, but the advent of the drop-down bed has solved a number of issues relating to that. The end result in this case is three fold really: A decent sized lounge area, practical kitchen and generous storage capacity, both inside and out! The lack of a fixed bed isn’t going to please everyone, but for those who like a slightly different motorhome setup it’s a case of Olé – Benimar’s Euro design trickery works very well in the new Tessoro 486.
64 | Tested
Specs GENERAL Make
2.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
125 kW @ 3500 rpm
405 Nm @ 17500 - 2500 rpm
6-speed full automatic
ABS, ESC, Hill Hold, Traction Control, Dual Airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Unbraked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.00 m (23')
2.31 m (7' 7")
2.89 m (9' 6")
2.12 m (6' 11") - 1.88 m 6' 2")
1.90 m x 1.39 m (6' 3" x 4' 7")
2.10 m x 1.40 m (6' 11" x 4' 7")
Tested | 65
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Thetford Triplex 3 burner
Round stainless steel
141 L Dometic N3141 3-way
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma Combi 6E
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E
2 x 9.0 kg
PRICE ON-ROAD NEW ZEALAND As Tested
Warranty - Vehicle
Warranty - Body
Warranty - Appliances
• Ford Transit cab-chassis • Strong engine • Smooth, full auto • Passenger side entry door • Kitchen layout • Very relaxing front lounge/ dining area • Amazing amount of storage
CONs… • Not a Con but a caution: Much of the storage is at the rear, so careful with weight distribution • Payload limitation • 240 V power points – number and location • Lack of fixed bed might be a problem for some • Awkward location for 240 V and 12V fuses.
Click for Google Maps
North Island TrailLite Auckland 77 Paerata Road Pukekohe. 2120 T: 0800 872 455 W: www.TrailLite.co.nz Click for Google Maps
South Island TrailLite Christchurch 61 Hayton Road, Wigram, Christchurch 8042 T: 0800 872 455 W: www.TrailLite.co.nz
66 | Launched
Hard Lid Story Carry Me Camper’s new flagship slide-on launches… by Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia…
Launched | 67
Compact when travelling, the new Hard Lid Camper sets up in minutes and has excellent internal space and headroom.
A two-stage bi-fold roof offers better internal headroom than conventional hinged-roof slideons and excellent ventilation is provided by large, midge-mesh windows on all sides.
The flagship Carry Me Camper Hard Lid model has launched with very high equipment levels and offers generous interior space. A virtual Tardis, this camper packs down to only 1.08 m above tray height when closed and provides quick set-up and pack-away.
The camper sides are tapered from the base width of 1.85 m, giving good mirror vision to the rear, but with 1.59 width at the bed base. The tailgate drops only to tray height, enabling the camper to be mounted forward on a ute tray that’s longer than the camper’s 2.12 m footprint. The tailgate also has a retractable ladder with steps that remain horizontal,
arry Me Camper has just launched the Hard Lid slide-on camper. This new model was designed for fitment to single-cab and extra-cab tray-back utes, complementing the soft-roof model that can fit all ute sizes – even crew-cabs.
68 | Launched
Space utilisation is impressive, as is the quality of components and construction.
regardless of ladder angle. It has a handrail for added security and the legs are independently adjustable for uneven ground, while when stowed the ladder is enclosed, keeping the treads clean.
the camper if required. Water storage is in two 60-litre stainless steel tanks that are plumbed separately and gravity fed through easy-trigger taps.
Standard kitchen equipment includes 6 x Side bins with gas-strut-assisted lifting doors 15-litre heavy-duty Willow boxes, 4 Oates give access to the twin fridge slides, two-burner drawers, a mesh plastic basket and pop-up LPG stove, unobstructed storage area and silicone wash bowl. Behind the driverâ€™s-side fold-out, 1.19 m x 0.35 m stainless steel kitchen bin lid is open space, while under-shelf storage bench. There were white and yellow LED includes 4 x heavy-duty 45-litre storage tubs dimmable lights on both doors, while the stove with lids and a 15-litre Willow storage box. A is not plumbed in and can be moved away from permanently attached awning opens above the
Launched | 69
Bed space is massive and thereâ€™s no shortage of fresh air or light.
kitchen and entry area, and comes with walls, poles, pegs and ropes. Inside is a 100 mm innerspring mattress; two carpet-lined clothes drawers; two LED overhead reading lamps, and 12 V and USB charging sockets plus yellow LED strip lighting in the bed area, with two-way switching. Power is supplied by a 120 Ah lithium battery fed by 3 x 120-watt solar panels on the hard roof, while mains power, 12 V and/or solar are all controlled by a Redarc Manager30 charger.
The Hard Lid slide-on is designed with the heaviest equipment located forward, to keep weight inside the vehicleâ€™s wheelbase. At launch, the Hard Lid unit tipped the scales at around 570 kg, including the weight of all included equipment and the 4 jacking legs. Available optional extras include diesel heating and hot water, LPG hot water, various fridges, inverters and a bike carrier. To watch a three minute walk-around video click here.
70 | Technical
It might not be long until others are copying the new carbon battery technologyâ€Ś by Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australiaâ€Ś
Technical | 71
e try not to get excited about battery breakthroughs, but this simple design seems to hold more promise than complex technologies. Let’s hope! Although we’re all anxious to have a lightweight, quickly-rechargeable power source when camping off-grid, demand isn’t anywhere near enough to justify the millions in R&D dollars ‘currently’ being poured into battery innovation and development, globally. That’s being driven by the need for renewable energy on a massive scale, and enlightened
governments have already set targets for energy producers. The global goal is to increase access to renewable energy, which currently accounts for 21 percent of all electricity generated worldwide, although only around 11 percent of consumption. California has taken that goal literally, requiring power companies install 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020. The need for improved batteries is essential to meet renewable energy targets and it’s
72 | Technical
also vital in improving the up-take of electric vehicles. Whatever turns out to be the best solution will most likely be downsized to replace existing battery types, from car and RV batteries to those in mobile phones and smaller. Our present short-sighted Federal Government might not see any benefit from renewable energy R&D, but that just means weâ€™ll fall further behind other countries in the race for renewables. It also means weâ€™ll rely totally on imported batteries in the future.
The Story So Far
.S. battery maker Axion Power is already producing activated carbon batteries in commercial quantities. Its PowerCube is a truck-sized energy storage unit that can send power to or receive power from the electricity
grid. Itâ€™s capable of delivering 100 kilowatts of power for 10 hours or 1 megawatt for 30 minutes. Whichever way you look at them those are impressive numbers. AdvEn Solutions, another US technology development company, is working on a smaller carbon battery. The company says the advantages of using carbon are that it is cost-effective and safe to use, and the energy output is five to eight times higher than lithiumion batteries currently on the market. The new battery is also said to perform better than prototype lithium-sulphur batteries and lithiumair batteries.
Dual Carbon Technology
he Ryden dual-carbon battery, developed by Power Japan Plus, has both the anode and the cathode made of carbon.
Technical | 73
Positively charged lithium ions flow to the anode charging. It also claims total discharge does the and the negatively charged ions flow to the battery no harm, and promises an impressive cathode. 3000 charging-cycle life span. A dual-carbon battery design was developed in the 1970s in Japan, but the available technology didnâ€™t exploit the concept. Tatsumi Ishihara, an applied chemistry professor at Kyushu University, began working on the dual-carbon battery design in the early 2000s, employing â€˜carbon complexâ€™, an organic carbon derived from cotton. Professor Ishihara recenty joined Dr Kaname Takeya and Power Japan Plus to bring the dual-carbon battery into production. Power Japan Plus claims the dual-carbon battery can be recharged at 20 times the rate of current lithium ion batteries and there is no temperature change during operation or
The Ryden battery offers the same energy density of current lithium-ion batteries, so would require recharging after the same amount of energy depletion, but recharging is said to be much quicker. To watch a video on the dual carbon battery and why it holds significant promise for the automotive industry, click here.
74 | Products
Three excellent funnels worth your time to pour overâ€Ś by Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au
Products | 75
ubemate has released three different funnel models to suit various requirements. If you’ve had to strain crook fuel going into your tank or juggle an oil bottle over an engine or gearbox filler hole you’ll appreciate their innovations. Lubemate’s Big Orange Funnel solves the problem of overflow accidents, especially when dispensing high-viscosity oils or filling fuel tanks from fast-flow hoses. Smallcapacity funnels just aren’t up to the job, lacking reserve capacity to handle the depth of sticky or swirling fluids. The Big Orange Funnel has a capacity of four litres, a depth of 170 mm and a mouth opening of 260 mm x 170 mm. Construction is rugged polyethylene, making it suitable for outdoor
use in varying temperatures, while a hole in the upper corner allows the funnel to be hung for drying and storage. Alternatively, it can stow upside-down on top of most five-litre oil bottles. Lubemate’s new Fuel Filter Funnel is made of lightweight polypropylene and is a must-have for anyone dispensing diesel, petrol, heating oil or kerosene from tanks or containers that might contain grit, algae or water condensate. Fuel stored in jerry cans, drums and above-ground fuel tanks is particularly vulnerable to contamination. Water vapour above the fuel level in such containers condenses as the nighttime temperature drops and the resulting water droplets sink below the fuel level to the bottom of the
76 | Products
container, where they can propagate rust or algal formation. Every time the container is opened, fresh water vapour enters, so the water level progressively builds up, unless it’s drained. Also, bungs in upright 200-litre drums have been known to allow rainwater that has pooled on the lid of the drum to seep into the drum, sucked in via the bung threads by a pressure drop in the drum as it cools at night. Grit entry into vehicle or machinery fuel tanks as they’re being filled is an ever-present risk. Water and grit are fatal to all engines and, often, the standard filtration system isn’t up to the job of eradicating them from the fuel injection system. The funnel blocks the passage of these contaminants before they can enter the fuel tank, without the use of an external filter. In the centre of the Funnel mouth is a fixed, Teflon-coated stainless steel screen that readily passes hydrocarbon fuels, but blocks the passage of water and solids, down to
100 microns in size. The Funnel neck is sized to fit snugly into the restricted tank opening on unleaded-petrol vehicles and the polypropylene Funnel material is infused with carbon, making it anti-static (if an extension hose is required for hard-to-reach tank necks it should also be anti-static – preferably metal). The filter assembly is fixed and maintenancefree. In fact, even wiping the filter surface isn’t recommended. Operation of the filter is easily checked periodically, by filling the bottom third of the Funnel with water. If the filter medium is intact the water will not pass through. Any combustion system additives should be squirted directly into the engine fuel tank. The Lubemate Fuel Filter Funnel is an ideal safety tool for anyone filling engine tanks from containers or in dusty conditions. Lubemate’s new Universal Clamping Funnel ‘clamps’ to all typical sizes of fluid transfer openings on the top of a vehicle, tractor,
Products | 77 earthmoving machinery or genset. The clamping range is from 25 mm (one inch) up to 80 mm (3 1/8 inch) and all diameters in between. The clamping action is done by spring-loaded, glass-reinforced-nylon ‘pliers’ that expand like circlip pliers and positively locate the funnel in the opening. An adjustable clamping ring on the base is threaded, so that the funnel can be screwed lightly in place, making the clamping pliers and the funnel a tight assembly. With the funnel locked in place it’s much easier to pour fluid accurately and without risk of destabilising it. Pouring control is two-handed. A clear, see-through lower section allows easy monitoring of fluid flow, helping avoid over-filling when pouring viscous liquids. Inside the neck is a strainer
to stop bits of bottle lid, fag ends and chewie getting where they shouldn’t. The ‘handle’ that lets you remove the strainer is pointed, so it acts as a foil punch to slit container security seals. The polypropylene and polycarbonate components in the funnel material make it highly durable, easily cleaned and suitable for all viscosities of oil, as well as coolant, detergents, diesel and petrol. The Lubemate Universal Clamping Funnel (L-UCFL) and the other two funnels carry the normal Lubemate 12-month warranty and are available from a variety of retail and online outlets.
78 | Wanda
Wanda Wonâ€™t Go It has certainly been an interesting monthâ€Ś
By Sharon Hollamby
Wanda | 79
anda was running well and after our big rest at Ceduna I was more than ready to put some miles behind us. We got all the way to The Whale Centre at the Head of the Bight and I decided to stop and have a look. Even though there were no whales there at that time of year, it was worth stopping for the spectacular views. I also got chatting to a nice man named Robbo, who has been travelling on his own since his wife died. We decided we would catch up at Bunda Cliffs, which is where I was going to camp for the night. Wanda started straight away but when I went to take off, she refused to budge. The gear
stick was loose and I was unable to select any gears, so I crawled underneath and saw that the gear lever was not attached. Robbo had already gone, but we werenâ€™t going anywhere! Phone coverage was not great there even with Telstra, but I managed to get through to the RAA who organised the mechanic from Nundroo to come out.
he staff at the Whale Centre were so helpful and even towed me out to the campsite at the gate. The mechanic had another breakdown at the Nullarbor roadhouse, so he went there and picked that vehicle up on
I asked what an UPA was? They laughed and said, â€˜An unplanned adventure!
80 | Wanda
the trailer, then came and put Wanda on the truck. We had to be towed 140 km back east to Nundroo, so he could fix her. I was worried and upset, but the ladies who had also broken down (with much bigger problems,) put things into perspective for me when they said, “It’s just a UPA.” Puzzled, I asked what an UPA was? They laughed and said, “An unplanned adventure!’. Wanda was a relatively easy fix as the lock pin had just fallen out. Fortunately, it had hung in there, because the mechanic didn’t have another one. He machined the pin, put it back in and we were on our way. The gear shift feels like it should now and it only cost $40. A great mechanic and a nice guy, but he said he is so busy with people breaking down, he doesn’t need any more work. The cabins at his
park are beautiful though and the showers are wonderful. We never did catch up with Robbo and I feel terrible that he might think I just ditched him, but we hadn’t exchanged details so sadly there was no way of contacting him. However, Bunda Cliffs was a stunning place and I was thrilled to see a pod of about 30 dolphins swimming close, beneath the cliffs. It was very windy and so I parked way back from the cliffs, behind the sand dunes. The campers closer to the edge had magnificent views, but about midnight they were forced to move back and even further than us as the wind tried its hardest to topple us all over. Wanda was solid and immovable, and so we were able to resist the onslaught. However, it was a sleepless night and the next morning we moved on.
Wanda | 81 Welcome to W.A.
anda was still behaving well and we finally hit the W.A. border, where we were subjected to a friendlybut-thorough search for any fresh fruit or vegetables. It was then that I discovered that W.A was two and a half hours behind S.A. It was so hard to adjust because I wanted to eat earlier, sleep earlier and wake up earlier and it took a few days to get used to it. We stopped at Kathala Pass for a couple of days, which was a rather busy rest stop with a lot of travellers stopping for water. I had literally just mentioned to a man that I thought I had enough water to get me through, when I looked over at Wanda and saw water pouring out onto the ground. A quick look underneath told me that the plastic tap had failed and I didnâ€™t have a spare. I was trying to work out what to do and frantically hunting through all my spare parts boxes when a lovely man brought over exactly what I needed and even fitted it for me. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers! A spare is definitely on the shopping list nowâ€Ś The price of fuel was getting more expensive as we drove across, of course. It was $1.78 per litre at Mundrabilla and cost me $100 to fill the tank. Thank goodness I had stocked up with plenty of food as most of my money had to go on fuel. I topped up again at Madura Pass at $1.89 per litre and again at Cocklebiddy at $1.91 per litre. At Balladonia it was $1.92 per litre, so I carefully calculated how much I would need to get to Norseman, but it still cost $75.
orseman has a wonderful little free rest area, which is just a five minute walk to the main street. By this time I was craving fresh vegetables, so before I even unpacked Wanda I went to the shop
The SA-WA border and the errant locking pinâ€Ś
82 | Wanda
How many people ever knew that Norseman is named after a gold-finding horse?
and loaded up with cauliflower, sweet potato, onions, potatoes, and broccoli. It was the best feed I’d had in ages! How Norseman got its’ name is an interesting story. In 1894 Laurie Sinclair’s horse, ‘Norseman’, kicked up a gold nugget. This led to the discovery of a rich gold reef and a gold rush on the area. The township developed and Sinclair named the new goldfield Norseman. A statue has been erected in the main street to honour the horse that started it all. Sinclair had a brooch made for his wife out of the original nugget and it is on display at the museum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. It would have been interesting to see but I was not headed that way.
It had been a long trip with lots of overnight stops, so my plan was to stop at Bromus Dam for a few days. Wanda needed sorting out and tidying up, and I needed to relax for a few days. When I stayed there in 2010 it was already a lovely spot, but this time I hardly recognised the place. The council had put in picnic tables, fire pits and rubbish bins and even expanded the camping areas. It was so nice we stayed for over a week. I spent a day cooking scones, biscuits and a cake in my little oven, which I shared with other campers. My next planned stop was Salmon Gums Caravan Park, which is a lovely little community-run park. For $15 a night you get power, water, showers, a toilet you don’t have
Wanda | 83
Sorry I missed you Robbo. Hopefully we’ll catch up eventually… to empty and a friendly, helpful caretaker. I was glad I planned to stop there because the service station was closed and wouldn’t open again for a couple of days, so I couldn’t get fuel anyway and we wouldn’t have made it to Esperance. Guess that’s life in the bush! A man I met just out of Ceduna, who is riding his pushbike around Australia, also camped here. You know you are going slow when you get beaten by someone on a pushbike! Oh well, at least I am enjoying the journey. Travel safe everyone!
84 | Travel Events: 32nd Illawarra Folk Festival
RV Friendly Towns T
he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country. An RV Friendly Townâ„˘ (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers. When
RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. This monthâ€™s featured RV Friendly Towns are:
Travel | 85
unee is located in the Riverina region of New South Wales. Pastoralists first took up holdings in the area in 1845, but it was not until the railway arrived later in the century that the town truly developed. By the end of 1886 Junee was booming, boasting 12 stores and 6 hotels along with an assortment of businesses. The town is full of life and thereâ€™s much to see and do during a visit. Be sure to check out Railway Square, Monte Cristo, Junee Liquorice Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short Term Parking
Dump Point Potable Water
and Chocolate Factory, Broadway Museum and Junee Roundhouse. Junee Golf Club offers self-contained vehicles a 5 day maximum stay for just $5 per vehicle per night. Pets on leads are permitted on-site and access to bins, toilets and covered seating is included. A dump point is available at Laurie Daley Oval, while access to potable water can be found at Burns Park carpark.
Junee Visitor Information Centre 86 Broadway Museum, Junee Ph: 02 6924 3246 www.youmeandjunee.com.au Broadway, Junee Junee Golf Club, Golf Avenue, Junee Self-contained vehicles only, 5 day maximum stay, $5 pvpn, pets on lead, mobile coverage, bins, toilets, covered seating Laurie Daley Oval, Lot 1 Park Lane (Lat: -34.85944, Long: 147.57361) Burns Park carpark, Park Lane, Junee
86 | Travel
he small village of Camargo can be found in the south-east of New South Wales, in the Bega Valley Shire. Cobargo combines the skills and craft of a working village with a genuinely historic past, and its streetscape features many beautiful old buildings. Itâ€™s also an ideal base to explore the wonders of the Bega Valley Shire. The Sapphire Coast, within the Bega Valley, is a nearby destination waiting to be discovered.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Casual Parking (near retail centre) Short & Long Term Parking Dump Point Potable Water
With so much on offer, visitors can uncover untouched wilderness areas, explore the pristine beaches and surf or participate in activities including diving, deep sea fishing, whale watching or bushwalking. Short term parking is at Cobargo Hotel for up to 96 hours free of charge. Water is available and showers are accessible for a fee of $5 per person. A dump point is also located on-site for your convenience.
Cobargo Tourist Information Centre 58 Princes Hwy, Cobargo, Ph: 02 6493 6110, www.visitcobargo.com, www.sapphirecoast.com.au Council carpark behind shopping complex, Princess Hwy Cobargo Cobargo Hotel, cnr Princess Hwy & Bega St, 96hrs, water, showers $5pp, mobile coverage, pets on lead, nil charge Cobargo Hotel, cnr Princess Hwy & Bega St (Lat: -36.3892 Long: 149.8859) Cobargo Hotel, cnr Princess Hwy & Bega St
Travel | 87
ega is surrounded by rich dairy farming pastures and rainforests, in the southeast of New South Wales. The visitor information centre can be found at the Bega Heritage Centre and is the source of everything you need to know about this charming town. This beautiful town offers a wide range of activities and events, including a number of markets that showcase produce from around the region. The annual Bega Valley Show is held in February at the showground, while
the Bega Valley Regional Gallery is not to be missed. Bega Showground offers both short and long-term parking for a maximum of 14 days. Parking is available at a discounted rate of $17 per vehicle per night for a powered site or $10 per vehicle per night for an unpowered site, for CMCA members. Access to toilets, showers, bins, and water is available, while pets on leads are allowed within the showground.
Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Bega Heritage Centre 11-13 Lagoon St, North Bega Ph: 02 6491 7762 www.sapphirecoast.com.au
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
150 Carp St and Gipps St opposite club
Short & Long Term Parking
Bega Showground, Upper St $17pvpn power $10 pvpn no power. Standard rates apply for non CMCA members.14 day max stay, toilets, showers, bins, water, mobile coverage, pets on lead. Bega Showground, Upper St
Bega Showground, Upper St
88 | Mobile Tech
Beat the Sounds of Silence â€“ Offline Tunes to accompany your travels wherever you goâ€Ś By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 89
f you like the flexibility of streaming music but find the constraints of having to be connected to the internet frustrating, choosing a service that offers an offline mode is the perfect solution.
Spotify Cost: Premium subscription $14.99 per month Size: 159.4 MB For: iOS & Android
Online streaming services have become a popular way to access music libraries on demand. They are often free and practically unlimited. Sure, it’s essential to have your favourite albums downloaded from home on your device, but options are a marvellous thing – especially after the first 500 km on a big trip. The only downside to enjoying streaming music is that you need to be connected to some sort of network. And, just like radio reception, the 3G network tends to disappear the further afield adventure takes you. Hours of online streaming also takes a significant toll on data usage. Thankfully many providers now offer offline streaming, giving you the freedom and flexibility to listen on the move and on multiple computers and mobile devices.
Leading the online music pack is Swedish born Spotify. Available across all platforms with optimised apps, Spotify operates as a freemium service; where all basic features are free, with advertisements, while additional features and add-free listing are offered via a paid subscription. In addition to an almost unlimited licensed music library, Spotify offers a diverse collection of non-music extras including audio-books, radio-dramas and
When it comes to finding your favourite audio app there is an abundance to choose from – music streaming is a hotly contested platform. It’s also one historically fraught with legal, ethical and personal industry battles as the ghosts of once industry leaders Guvera and Pandora Australia still echo. The following are but a few popular music-on-demand apps available in Australia and vary slightly in content, connectivity options and affordability. Unfortunately, offline listening (legally) is usually a premium feature. While many of these apps might be free and offer free online access, if you want to listen without an internet connection you’re probably going to need a subscription. There is one slight exception to this rule: The ABC’s Listen app does provide users the ability to download unlimited programs for offline listening, but while it might not be music on demand it’s certainly entertaining!
90 | Mobile Tech
podcasts. When streaming online free access is unlimited, you can play any artist, album or playlist in shuffle mode, with audio and banner ads dispersed throughout. A premium subscription starts at $14.99 per month and this is when their offline feature becomes available. With a Spotify Premium subscription, you can download up to 3333 songs per device, on a maximum of 3 different devices. Online, Spotify delivers quality free features – delve deep into their extensive indie catalogue to discover new artists, make and share playlists and build unlimited music collections. In an effort to keep ahead of the pack Spotify has recently revamped its mobile apps, introducing 15 new on-demand playlists tailored to suit users’ personal tastes based on their listening history and preferences. For those athletically minded, Spotify Running can even detect your running tempo and provide curated playlists to match your personal cadence!
Apple Music Cost: $9.99 per month Size: 41MB For: iOS & Android Hot on Spotify’s heels is Apple Music, available now as an app for Android devices too. Apple music provides everything you would expect from such a large player. It can be a little confusing, distinguishing it from iTunes, but anyone operating an iOS system will have already encountered this ‘where has my music gone’ dilemma. Offering a free three-month trial, Apple music is another on-demand subscription service, with plans starting at $9.99 per month for a single membership and $14.99 for a family membership for up to 6 people via iCloud Family Sharing. This provides ad-free music and video streaming, and content downloads for offline listening. In addition to customisable and curated playlists, Apple music offers a range of online genre and artist radio stations, including
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Beats 1 radio, a remnant from the Apple acquired and discontinued Beats Music subscription service. Without a subscription or a trial, the Apple music app is still active as it integrates all purchased or uploaded music stored on your device, but offers little other than radio streaming of freely accessible stations. With all features activated apple music is an engaging and social subscription service that integrates many of Apple’s other features, such as Siri. There is also no limit to the songs or albums you are able to download and make available when offline and this also applies during the free trial period. However, once a subscription is cancelled so is the DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected content.
But Wait There’s More… The list of subscription music streaming apps is extensive and each has value in its own right, depending on the age and interests of the listener. TIDAL is expertly crafted by music journalists and offers high fidelity sound quality. Just like Deezer and Slacker Radio it might be perfect for Millennials and Gen Z listeners
seeking up-to-the-minute curated material, but might lack the content required for a more mature auditory palate. Soundcloud brings unique elements for artists who wish to upload, while Musi is perfect for those looking to share their musical finds. YouTube Red brings a balance of all these elements, and yes, has an offline option available with the premium subscription. From genre radio to automatically curated playlists based on your listening history, YouTube Music offers an incredibly broad selection of music videos for all ages and musical tastes; from the latest trending hits to one of a kind liverecordings. YouTube Red is a $14.99 a month subscription that allows subscribers to view and listen to all content ad-free and offline when downloaded. As with all apps, your devices’ storage will ultimately determine how much content you can download for offline use. Search while you listen, search by lyrics (or part of) and continuous background play are all part of what makes this app worthy of mention as an offline contender.
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REVOLUTION & MORE!
ext issue we got the all-new Revolution HiAce, a mini-motorhome with a slideout bed, bathroom and – for the first time in a HiAce – swivelling cab seats! It can even have a real motorhome door to do away with the whizz-bang. We’ve also got another pair of Kiwis – the Bürstner Lyseo IT744 with an innovative and unusual floorplan, and a KEA Odyssey van conversion of Renault Master. Don’t miss any of them!
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Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow
Coffs Harbour 4WDm Caravan & Camping Show
Brisbane Showgrounds 600 Gregory Tce, Bowen Hills. Qld. 4006
Coffs Harbour Racing Club Howard St, Coffs Harbour. NSW. 2540
• 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
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• • • •
Open 10:00-4:00 daily Adults: $12 Concession: $10 Kids 5-16: $5
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June 29 - July 16-11
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
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
The only magazine dedicated to campervans and motorhomes in Australia & New Zealand