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iMotorhome

38 : December 07 2013

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

Win!

$50 Caltex Fuel Card!

Rally Ho! A week on the road in Trakka’s ‘illuminating’ Trakkaway 770…

Maintenance Tips Pt 2…

Malcolm gets you ready for the Holiday season!

NZ Rental Relocation! Travel diary, costs and more…


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On my mind

3

HAVE YOUR SAY…

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his issue we bring you our first reader engagement survey; a chance to tell us how you read the magazine, what you like and – most importantly – what we could be doing better. Don’t hold back but please do take the time to answer the dozen questions that will help shape the look and feel of the magazine in 2014 – and beyond. The survey was launched on the iMotorhome Facebook page (you do follow us there, don’t you?) just a few days ago and already the results make interesting reading. It seems iPads and laptops are the favoured ways to read

The coming year will be a vital one for us and there are many changes and improvements planned, both to the website and magazine. Next issue I also hope to announce the arrival of a new member of the iMotorhome team, which will signal a new approach to how the business is run. Stay tuned for that while I tie up final details. How much is enough? How much motorhome do you

really need? I’m regularly asked “what’s the best motorhome for me?” It’s a how-long-is-apiece-of-string question and, or course, has no definitive answer. Everything from budgets to driving preferences come into play, along with phases of the moon (probably). While many people equate bigger/more expensive with better, it patently isn't true. I know there’s a temptation to buy as much motorhome real estate as your budget will allow, but you’re far better off putting your money into quality over quantity. This question comes about because this morning I was talking with Malcolm about

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MOTORHOMES MOTORHOMES

Continued...

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MOTORHOMES

iMotorhome, while about half of all downloaded issues are read by two or more people. It will be interesting to see if those trends, and the others, continue with a broader range of respondents.


Onmy my mind... mind On

4

...Continued

two new caravans (what?) from established motorhome manufacturers; one costing $70,000 and the other $120,000. We agreed we’d rather the more expensive ‘van, based on the manufacturers’ reputations and our experiences with their motorhome products, but that extra $50,000 in the bank would also be very handy…

Anyone looking for a new motorhome has never had it so good. There are models of every size and shape out there, and in a tough market manufacturers and dealers are out to do deals. Narrow your choice to two or more vehicles and start bargaining. If you’re shopping for used there are even more choice, but don’t jump for the first vehicle you find.

The iMotorhome Team

Research is the key. Use the Internet. Ask lots of questions (including on forums like Aussie Motorhomers or NZ Motorhome & Caravan), but weigh responses carefully. Balancing desire with reality is the key, so choose carefully. Your bank account will thank you.

d r a h c Ri

Richard Robertson

Malcolm Street

Agnes Nielsen-Connolly

Publisher & Managing Editor

Consulting Editor

Design & Production Manager

A long-time freelance RV, motoring and travel writer, Richard is a dedicated, longterm motorhome enthusiast.

Unquestionably Australia and New Zealand’s best known RV journalist, Malcolm is a fixture at CMCA rallies and RV shows and is now in his second decade as a specialist RV writer.

Agnes is an experienced and talented graphic designer with extensive experience across a wide range of disciplines, including travel and advertising.

richard@imotorhome.com.au

He has held senior editorial positions with some of the best know recreational vehicle magazines in Australia. Richard also has a passion for lifestyleenhancing technology, which is why he is the driving force behind the new iMotorhome eMagazine.

malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

If it’s available on either side of the Tasman, Malcolm has probably driven it, slept in it, reported on it, knows how it’s made and can tell you just how good it really is.

agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Designing and producing iMotorhome issues since June 2012, Agnes does much of the behind-the scenes work to ensure every issue looks great and is easy to read.

©2013 iMotorhome. All rights reserved. Published by iMotorhome. ABN 34 142 547 719. PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW. 2576. Contact us on 0414 604 368 or Email: info@imotorhome.com.au


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INSIDE EDISNI

6

3 ON MY MIND 7 ON YOUR MIND 10 NEWS Be part of our first Reader Engagement Survey!

Have your say for a chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!

What’s happening in the RV world

14 TESTED

Rally Ho! – Malcolm spends quality time in the Trakkaway 770

26 TRAVEL DIARY A Wee Tiki Tour – Mrs iMotorhome’s NZ travel diary

40 RENTAL RELOCATION The nuts and bolts of an NZ rental relocation

46 MAINTENANCE Self Service Pt 2 – Packing the right tool kit

53 CLASSIFIEDS This issue’s featured classifieds

54 ROADSIDE EATS Seaside crayfish – who could ask for more?

58 SHOW CALENDAR What’s coming up, plus our show calendar


On your mind

7 It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome. com.au and we’ll share it with

Hi Richard, here’s a tip your readers might find useful. I was in the supermarket the other day but without my glasses, and I needed to check the small print on a package for nutritional information (why do they print it so small?). Cursing my ageing memory and contemplating a long walk

back to my car, I suddenly had a great idea. I took a photo with my iPhone and then enlarged it until the print was easily readable! It’s no long term substitute for remembering your glasses, but hopefully it will help others with such phones when they find themselves in the same boat. Kevin, via email

our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with a $50 Caltex fuel card to help you on your way.

Thanks Kevin, what a great idea – and an unexpectedly handy use for a smartphone. For that I’m awarding you this issue’s $50 Caltex fuel card (which you might be able to use to buy a second pair of glasses). Merry Christmas!

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On your mind Dear iMotorhome, I was most interested to read your helpful comments in the last issue, in the Self Service article. It has prompted me to highlight an expensive experience I had earlier this year. It may serve as a warning to others and I am sure comes as a bit of a surprise to a lot!

8 of my motorhome, suffice it say they are a major player in the industry with a notable reputation.

My dealer agreed with me that we should seek some compensation for the seal failure and contacted the RV manufacturer. The reply was NO and they were very much I live in the Tropical North of less than helpful; in fact surly at Australia and at the onset of "the times in communication I had Wet" early this year I noticed subsequently.  some water inundation in my They declared that as I had not motorhome. I immediately took it to my dealer, from whom I had had the vehicle serviced by a reputable dealer and agent of bought my RV, for assessment the company within six months, and repair. It was discovered all claims were "nil and void.” (surprisingly) that a seal had failed on a ceiling vent and water It appears that my RV has to be taken every six months to had seeped in. During the very heavy rain that we experience in a reputable dealer and agent the North this water had spread of the company for service to meet the requirements of its evil way into areas any the manufacturer! At this point motorhomer dreads. A quote I declare that I had not had the was forthcoming for repair: RV part of the vehicle serviced $6000!!! for just over 12 months, but I was not a happy camper – not the response and care from with my dealer, who has and the maker towards my very at all times been my supporter considerable investment was in this matter – but with the RV begrudging at best. manufacturer and I made a claim to them against the costs After many exchanges of letters and phone calls and for the failure of a part they installed when new. My RV was my threat of litigation (which falls beyond the small nearly five years old at the time claims tribunal because of and was still a young vehicle. the high cost of the RV and They are, of course, designed moves into an area only lawyers for the purpose of being can deal with, and was way “outside.” beyond my financial resources), It will be noted at this point that I realised there would be NO I have not named the maker compromise at all.

So $6000 later I now drive a well maintained and waterproof vehicle that sports obvious water staining on the external fibreglass in areas that invites constant comments from other owners of the same brand. I then tell them what I discovered to my cost and surprise and explain that they should be very careful when dealing with the said maker in these matters.  So to end, be aware and look closely at your warranty, and I mean closely. Mine was for a model that was quite different and had not been in production for years. When questioned about this it was explained that it covered my vehicle. I disagreed and said it had no relevance at all to my RV. They said this warranty and instruction booklet covered all their vehicles and was legal.  So after the initial 12 months you have to have your RV part serviced every 6 months to meet the maker’s requirements. Not only is this impractical and very costly, it appears in my case at least to allow the maker not to assist the owner. So check your warranty and be forever watchful.  As a mate said to me, "If you had bought a BMW or Audi at this price and you had a similar problem they would have sent some one round to your house!” John via email. Continued next page...


On your mind

9

Continued from previous page.

Sorry to read of your woes, John. While I can understand a 12 month inspection requirement (roof joints and hatch seals need regular checking), every 6 month’s

seems more a get-out-of-gaolfree card for the manufacturer than a realistic service requirement. Either that or it shows how little faith they have in their products. In any case,

G’day Malcolm, my wife and I have recently purchased a 2008 Mercedes Sprinter 315 CDI auto turbo diesel campervan, which we spied, forgotten and neglected, in a luxury motor cruiser sales yard here in Western Australia. It had been traded in against a very expensive luxury cruiser for $125,000 in 2010. The mileage on the clock was 19,333 km. My wife and instantly fell in love with her and although nothing actually was operational, she obviously had been fitted out in a manner of distinction and opulent luxury, which intrigued us no end.

closing; electric auto roof ventilators; 1800 watt Xantrex inverter system; two 120 AH AGM batteries (which I replaced ); LCD TV with DVD player; a navigation GPS and camera system; fridge freezer and an additional Waeco fitted freezer, etc, etc.

The van had been converted and framed, utilising lightweight aluminium sheeting with a soft elegant vinyl padded covering. There is no gas as everything is run from an auxiliary diesel tank at the rear: All cooking, floor heating, hot water system, etc, are diesel controlled. She has an automatic macerator system for the electric flush ceramic toilet, with an auto pump out facility; electric tinted auto windows throughout with auto underway

glad to hear your vehicle is sound again and hopefully your tale of woe will prevent others from experiencing the same fate.

Peter, I’ve heard of this problem before, with owners who build their own motorhomes. The insurers only give the valuation based on the appliances and fittings installed, not what might be the value of the motorhome. I realise this is slightly different in your case and I don’t know how most insurers do this sort of My purpose in writing is it is thing, but I do know Ken Tame seemingly very difficult to get an (being the CMCA’s insurer). insurance company to protect He is based in Melbourne your campervan/motorhome and I know that in Sydney, without a written valuation he usually gets people like I certifying an amount over and & D Industries or Adventure above the price you actually Motorhomes (both custom paid for it. They recommend builders) to do an valuation. I valuers from the other side of don’t know if Ken Tame has Australia to provide this valuation someone in WA, but if he (for a fee of course,) only relying doesn’t then he’d probably use on a few photographs and a the method you mentioned. short description. How can they Are you in the CMCA and have give you a fair and reasonably you tried Ken Tame? As far as accurate arm chair valuation I know, he is one of the better without actually seeing and insurance people to deal with inspecting your treasured and CMCA members usually possession? It is only fair to say get a reasonable deal on their that recently I have received premiums. Apart from that you notification that perhaps they will might be stuck with getting an consider written valuations from Eastern State valuation and recognised caravan/motorhome paying the price – that being the dealers here in the West. cost of living in WA. Sorry I can’t be more help. Malcolm. Peter via email.


News

10 Y Have your say Z

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Motorhome’s first reader engagement survey is now online and awaiting your input. The survey of 12 questions is designed to gain insights into how your access and read the magazine,

what you like and what we could be doing better. Results will help determine the direction of the magazine in 2014. Released on the iMotorhome

Facebook page earlier this week, initial results are very interesting and some valuable suggestions have already been received and will be acted upon in the New Year. Your input and ideas are greatly appreciated – as is your time – so please take a few minutes to complete the survey by the end of December and help us bring you an even better magazine.

Y very andy!Z

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ndrew Brown is the new face in the Albury Wodonga RV World parts and service department, arriving just in time to help get any last minute work done on your campervan or motorhome before the Christmas break. AWRV World is located two minutes off the Hume Freeway, just on the Victorian side of the NSW/ Victorian border, and is very handy

for anyone travelling between Australia’s southern Capitals. Andrew is a service and parts specialist and can handle solar panel installation, accessory fitment or any type of servicing or repairs, so for that last minute job call him on (02) 6024-4222. Oh yes, mention you’re a CMCA member for a special discount, too.

Y BAD NEWS AND GOODZ

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n 2012 the combined output of Australia’s recreational vehicle manufactures was 20,708 units. That was a decline of 1066 vehicles on 2011 figures, of which motorhomes accounted for 989. Attributed largely to a shake-up in the motorhome rental

business (inc the demise of KEA Australia), it will be interesting to see if 2013 fares any better. By contrast, US manufactures have reported more than 316,000 new RVs of all types produced for 2013, up nearly 11 per cent on

2012’s output. It’s the best result since the depths of the 2007/8 recession, when ‘just’ 165,000 unites were produced. Since then about one third of American RV manufactures have closed up, meaning companies that survived are doing better than ever.


News

11 Y CAMPER DEALS ONLINE Z buying website where you can save up to 70 per cent on RV and camping/ outdoor gear.

N

ick Gannon and Campbell Carter, a couple of country lads who love the great outdoors, set up Camper Deals a little over a year ago. It’s an online group-

By signing up for the weekly Camper Deals email you’ll be notified when the latest batch of deals is available. Unlike a conventional online store, just a few products are offered at a time, but at heavily discounted prices. “People buy all sorts of things, from

torches to tents to sleeping bags, readymade camping meals, security kits for camper vans, hitching accessories and solar panels. We encourage our members to tell us what they want to see promoted and we will do our best to go out and find it for them”, Nick and Campbell said. For more information visit their web site at www.camperdeals.com.au

Y COFFS $10 MOTORHOME-ONLY DEAL Z

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aravanners are outraged after learning they will be barred from heavily discounted sites at a counciloperated caravan park in NSW. Coffs Harbour City Council has revealed that the $10-a-night sites at the 4.5-star Park Beach Holiday Park, a member of the Top Tourist chain, will be offered to motorhomers only. Councillors approved the controversial 12-month trial in a bid to solve the problem of illegal camping by mainly motorhomers along the city's foreshores.

Self-contained motorhomes using the $10 discounted unpowered sites will be allowed a maximum of two nights and will have access to the park's security gate and dump point only. They will not be permitted to use other park facilities or services and the sites will not be available at the discounted price during the Easter and Christmas school holidays. The council now plans to address the issue of illegal camping on all reserves under its control, including the Jetty Foreshores. It will also lobby the State Government to introduce statewide rules on RV camping. "I know we are discriminating against caravans and that this is unfair," Mayor and former caravanner Denise Knight said. "It doesn't seem right and I

absolutely understand that. But we didn't want the motorhomes down at the foreshores and we had to come up with a compromise." Chairman of the 3000-member Australian Caravan Club Tom Smith commented: "This smacks of blatant discrimination. Many of our members regularly visit Coffs Harbour and spend money with Coffs traders. I’m sure they will think again if they believe the local council does not welcome them.” From caravanningnews.com


News

12

Y BYRON BAY’S $2 BED TAX Z

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yron Bay councillors have unanimously approved the controversial new levy, which will be trialled at the 86site First Sun and 50-site Suffolk Beachfront Park holiday parks for a year from next July. Money raised will go into a special fund to "upgrade and beautify" the seaside holiday destination, which attracts an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually. Furious travellers are threatening to give the area a wide berth and many said they would be striking Byron Bay from their travel plans in protest.

Waterfront powered sites for a couple at the four-star First Sun park range from $63 a night (off peak) to $98 (peak) while powered sites at Suffolk Beachfront cost from $38 (off peak) to $58 (peak). The idea of the voluntary bed tax came from Mayor Simon Richardson, who said it would give tourists the opportunity to "give a little back" to the town. "If they don't, it's okay ... there's no loss to us," he added. His background notes to the council pointed out that options for receiving money directly from visitors to Byron Bay had been discussed in length over the years.

"It is a common myth that council receives a sizable financial benefit from the millions of tourists that visit Byron Bay," Cr Richardson said. "In fact, aside from heightened business rates, it receives nothing." The underlying ideology behind the bed tax initiative, he explained, was that it supported a transition in society from 'travel to take' to 'travel to assist' so tourists could put something back while travelling. Cr Richardson claimed more than 90 percent of visitors would be supportive of contributing to the area they visited. From caravanningnews.com

The Wirraway 260 SL

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


News

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13 Y LOOMING CRISIS? Z

ustralians are seeking value holidays, evidenced by a resurgence in the number of caravans registered on Australian roads, according to a peak industry body.

Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said that growth within the market was continuing, with Australians searching for “better value” holidays.

The Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia has revealed that RV registrations increased by 14.7 per cent between 2008 and 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

However, some sources warn that as more RVs take to Australian roads, older-style caravan parks are simultaneously closing down at a startling rate, selling land to property developers in order to build apartments and hotels in these prime locations.

There are currently 474,000 caravans registered in Australia; comprising caravans, pop-tops, camper trailers and self-contained motorhomes.

“Where the bloody hell are all the caravanners going to go?” Southern

Cross University academic Rod Caldicott asked. “Both grey nomads and younger, adventure-seeking families are looking to use the services of caravan parks but there is less choice for them… without some serious management of that situation, we will have a crisis.” Short and long-term site capacity of parks has decreased by more than 10 percent between 2000 and 2009, while caravan registrations increased by 257 percent between 1995 and 2005. From ETB News

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Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

14

Rally Ho! Malcolm Street reports on his week in Trakka’s penultimate Trakkaway-series motorhome‌


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

15

The Trakkaway 770/Fiat Ducato combination is quite at home on dirt roads and well suited to a bit of back country exploring.

I

recently spent a week at the Campervan and Motorhome Club's (CMCA) National Rally at Narrabri and my transport and accommodation for most of that week was a Trakka Trakkaway 770 motorhome. Whilst not being a large RV manufacturer, Trakka builds a good range of motorhomes, especially in their coachbuilt Trakkaway range, with something for everyone, from a 7 m/23 ft rig to the very comfortable tandem-axle 8.6 m/28 ft unit. All are built on a Fiat Ducato cab that’s bolted to an Al-Ko chassis. The Trakkaway 770 (7.7 m/25 ft) undoubtedly has one very attractive feature: a fixed island bed at the rear. It's available in

two body forms, with a Luton peak over the cab (Aero 4) or without (Aero 2) and my review vehicle was the latter.

on an external air source, but one which uses vehicle motion to power an internal oil/gas system.

The Vehicle ike most local manufacturers, Trakka buy the Ducatos with the most powerful turbo-diesel available, that is the Multijet 180 model, which puts out a maximum of 132 kW of power and a very generous 400 Nm of torque. As noted above, it comes attached to an Al-Ko chassis; one that comes fitted with Al-Ko’s Level Controller (ALC). It is used instead of a conventional shock absorber and automatically sets the level of the motorhome. It’s not air bag suspension, which relies

Given it's a Trakka motorhome, the 770 body fits the Ducato very well. A close look at the fibreglass body reveals quite a number of what are known as complex curves – top and bottom. That means areas like the roof are curved both fore and aft and to the sides. This not only makes for a better looking motorhome but has practical value as well – rainwater runs off the roof and in the case of the mouldings on the rear wall, they act as a rainwater retrieval system. In addition those same rear mouldings are curved inwards,

L


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

16

thus not only improving the air flow but very much taking away the boxy look. For the entry door, Trakka has fitted its usual Dometic door with non-opening window and a moulded-in garbage bin, but not an insect screen. I have to say that I missed that particular item on warmer days. Windows are the usual Seitz double-glazed items with integrated screens and blinds. One of the assets of the low Al-Ko chassis is that good external bin space can be built in, in this case with a rear boot that also has access from the nearside. On the opposite side is where the gas cylinder bin, with two 4.0 kg gas cylinders, is located. Also to be found along the offside are the three water filler connections (main tank, mains pressure fitting and rain water tank) and the power cord holder. Instead of just coiling up a separately connected lead, this one is permanently connected, with a fixed holder. It's a fairly neat arrangement that I like, but slightly time consuming to wind up. It is, however, always good for someone like me who carries various lengths of power cord depending on where I’m camped – like a CMCA rally. Naturally, the 770 comes fully equipped electrically. Two 100 AH deep-cycle batteries are charged by both a 25 A battery charger and a 135

The sleek lines of the Aero 2 nose, plus the huge over-cab roof hatch, are apparent. Suffice to say the Ducatopowered 770 moved along very nicely. There's no doubt in my head that the 3.0 litre 132 On the Road kW turbo-diesel is the way to he drive from Sydney to go with this sized motorhome. Narrabri is an excellent Although the smaller and lower test of a motorhome, powered 2.3 litre 96 kW and especially if a diversion is taken 109 kW engines have started through the Hunter Valley to appear in a few imports, wineries. Although the trip is the 132 kW engine, bolted to mostly freeway/highway travel, the six speed AMT gearbox, the New England highway provides a relaxed and stress provides all kinds of road free drive. I'm not being a lead conditions, including multiple foot: My criteria is the ability numbers of road works sites. W solar panel on the roof. If needed, a 1200 W inverter is available as an option.

T


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

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The lounge is typically Trakka: functional and practical. will love this – unlike earlier models, the Fiat radio does have a USB connection – which means the ability to plug in one's iPod but some glitch means the only way to turn the iPod on/off or change tracks is by unplugging it. Fiat still apparently have not heard of a simple 3.5mm socket.

to maintain highway speeds without difficulty in most situations. In the driver and passenger comfort department my 770 came with the optional

leather upholstery on the cab seats, which along with the matching leather seats in the rear certainly adds a touch of class. The driver’s cab has all the usual items including GPS and Bluetooth. Mr Publisher

One feature I did particularly like is the SkyView hatch Immediately above the cab seats. It comes with the usual integrated blind (essential under the hot sun) and insect screen but does have the interesting bonus of being able to be left open when driving (being front hinged) – nothing like a bit of fresh crossflow air when driving I always think!


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770 Living Inside ith the 770, Trakka has nailed what for many is the ideal layout in a non-slide out motorhome. The front cab area, with swivelled cab seats and sideways facing lounges, forms up a practical lounge dining area. Mid station, the kitchen fills the offside area, with the bathroom cubicle being on the opposite side. All that leaves enough space in the rear for the island bed. All the decor is very much in the grey/beige, easy-to-keepclean Trakka style. Also very familiar are the roller shutters used on all the cupboards and overhead lockers. Apart from anything else, they are great for the ability to leave open without the door being in the way.

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There are LED lights all over the place, many on a dimmer circuit and if even more low level lights are needed, then there are mauve mood strip lights around the cab as well as above and below the kitchen. If nothing else, they provide a soft night light. During the day of course, the fore and aft ceiling hatches and the all round windows provide a good level of natural light. Pole mounts for the TVs are well placed and functional – they hold the TV securely when travelling – yet both are easy to move around for optimum viewing.

Kitchen has little bench space, but large table close by is handy.

Electrical, heater and hot water controls are concealed by a roller shutter door when not required.

Expansive SkyView hatch floods the front with light and can be left partially open when driving.


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

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A low roof height and good ground clearance makes for easy access to roadside rest spots.


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

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Lounging Around he Trakkaway 770 doesn’t have a particularly large lounge/ dining area but it will suit a couple very nicely and four can probably sit around the table without much trouble. This might sound a surprising comment, but the floor level around all the seats is at the same level and not all manufacturers manage to achieve this useful feature! Moving around the table is aided greatly by the Zwaardvis table mounting - it can swivel in several directions and I found it quite useful, using it as both dining and work table. On either side above the lounge seats are overhead lockers and I do like the halfround shaped ones above the cab seats. In my case they are extremely easy to park a tripod or two in and have quick access.

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Lounge is spacious, even without the cab seats swivelled.

Cupboard roller doors take up no space, are light and easy to operate.

Large wok burner is a useful feature.

Time to Eat everal Trakka motorhomes feature an L-shaped kitchen but the 770 has a straight bench that comes with a three burner cooktop with grill/oven below and a stainless steel sink without drainer alongside. Both sink and cooktop have smoked glass lids and the narrow shelf that runs along the wall behind is useful for not only kitchen items but battery chargers as well.

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Under the bench top four drawers and a slide-out pantry


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770 offers a copious amount of storage, as does the shelffitted locker above. I'm not a fan of electronics mounted directly above the potentially steamy atmosphere of a cooktop, but in this case the roller shutter door closes everything (electrics control panel, hot water switch and diesel heater control) off very nicely. Between the rear end of the kitchen bench and bedroom partition is where the 190-litre

Retractable loo is very space efficient.

fridge, with microwave above, are to be found. A byproduct of the step into the bedroom area is better height access to the microwave oven! Keeping Clean rakka normally does its bathrooms with a bit of class and this one is no exception. It does of course include the space saving Switch Mode Bathroom (SMB). That's Trakka speak for the Thetford cassette

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toilet which, at the touch of a remote button, slides out from under the wash basin when needed. Otherwise there's plenty of room for a shower or when using the well equipped vanity sink area. The bathroom floor is raised above the floor level to allow for drainage and that does require a little bit of dexterity when using the loo! Ventilation is well catered for by the relatively large window and roof hatch areas. After Hours s previously noted, there are a couple of steps into the bedroom. The 2.05 m x 1.49 m (6 ft 9 in x 4 ft 11 in) mattress and bed base have curved corners to allow for easy access. Lifting the bed base not only gives access to the under bed drawers but also the rear boot as well. Hiding under the drawers is

A


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

Island queen bed is comfortable and easily accessed from both sides.

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Bedside storage isn’t massive, but more than adequate.

Huge windows, plus a roof hatch, provide plenty of natural light and fresh air. the compressor unit for the Truma ducted air conditioner – a very good hiding place indeed. General storage in the bedroom is quite simple, with two bedside wardrobes and cabinets, along with two cabinets in foot of bed corners. In the latter case, the offside one having a pole

mounted mirror above and the nearside, a pole mounted TV. What we Think spent a week travelling and living in the Trakkaway 770 – more staying than travelling – mostly because I used it as an office and home at the CMCA rally. It was hard

I

not to come away impressed. In my opinion the Trakkaway 770 has a very functional layout, with a minimal number of annoying compromises. In fact I reckon the 770 is a very pleasurable touring motorhome.


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

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I reckon the Trakkaway 770 is a very pleasurable touring motorhome.


Touring Test: Trakka Trakkaway 770

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Specifications Manufacturer

Trakka

Model

Trakkaway 770

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180

Engine

3.0-litre turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3590 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Tow Capacity

1500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

2 (4 optional)

External Length

7.67 m (25 ft 2 in)

External Width

2.39 m (7 ft 10 in)

External Height

2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)

Rear Bed Size

2.05 m x 1.49 m (6 ft 9 in x 4 ft 11 in)

Cooktop

Thetford 3 burner, grill & oven

Fridge

Dometic RM8551 190-litre

Microwave

Sharp carousel

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 100 AH

Gas

2 x 9.0 kg

Heater

Webasto diesel

Solar Panels

1 x 135 W

Air Conditioner

Truma ducted

Hot Water Heater

Truma gas/electric 14-litre

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

165-litre

Grey Water Tank

135-litre

Price drive away, (including options)

$192,350

Pros • Ducato cab/Al-Ko chassis make for easy handling • Practical layout with room to move • Front lounge layout • Internal lighting • Generous external storage space • Kitchen layout • Central locking all doors

Cons

• No radio/CD player in the rear • No insect screen on entry door

Leather upholstery

$2950

Contact

Diesel heater

$2950

Trakka

135 W solar panel

$1950

Rain water retrieval system

$2500

Al-Ko Level Control Suspension

9 Beaumont Rd, Mt-Kuring-gai NSW. 2080.

$2500

Fitted options:

Ph: 1800 872 552 W: www.trakka.com E: trakka@trakka.com.au

Click for Google Maps


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money, competitively priced from $158,000.

• Unrivalled Safety including

rollover protection, auto-locking cabinetry and superior appliance mounting systems.

• Industry’s longest & most

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• Built for Australian conditions. • Models available with or without slide-outs. • Superior finish with stylish new contoured exterior. • Patented moulded bins for maximum storage capacity. • Outstanding road handling & ride comfort. • Genuine island queen beds and huge wardrobes. • Spacious rear ensuites with separate toilet & shower. • Market leading layouts & lifestyle features. • Full living area slide-outs providing superior living space. • Proven reliability of Paradise’s patented slide-outs.

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ph (07) 5597 4400 - email info@paradisemotorhomes.com.au Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013


Travel: NZ Travel Diary

A Wee Tiki Tour!

Mrs iMotorhome’s diary of a NZ rental relocation…

NZ is a motorhomer’s paradise and rental motorhomes are everywhere…

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Kaikoura’s mountains-by-the-sea backdrop is breathtaking.

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ince Mr iMotorhome discovered rental relocations we’ve put many people on to them, particularly first timers looking to try motorhoming without huge expense. In April just gone we ‘did’ Route 66 and with holidays at hand again (for me, anyway) we decided to try New Zealand. It wasn’t an epic journey like

our American adventure, but we were keen to sample the NZ motorhoming experience. Here’s how it went…

hours in a time change. So today wasn’t really day one, but a pre-day one day. Or something.

Prelude

Overnighted at the Academy Motor Lodge, just a 5 km/ NZ$35 cab ride from the airport for a convenient get away tomorrow. Gotta love after-midnight and airport surcharge cab fees. Not.

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e had a late start to our ‘holiday’ as the flight from Sydney to Christchurch didn’t go until the evening, arriving just on midnight thanks to losing two


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Day 1 Surprising how a two hour time change feels when you set the alarm for six in the morning, which is only really four. Did someone say this trip was going to be relaxing? Grabbed another taxi, this time to the KEA depot, which is a part of the Britz/ Maui conglomerate. Taxi driver filled us in on what's been happening in regard to rebuilding Christchurch, or not, since the earth quake. The vehicle pick up was a breeze, despite the busy office. Guess they could pick we had done this before. We 'shopped' at the freebie exchange inside the depot, which is a great idea: People drop off any unopened or unused food and products from their trip for fellow motorhomes to put to use. As we are only away four days it was great to pick up some cooking oil, salt, chilli sauce, rice, couscous and tin foil. At the other end I will be sure to reciprocate with our left overs. Nipped across the road to Maccas before departing the depot, for a quick breakfast and use of wifi. This was the first place we discovered that

On our way – almost. Kea/Maui/Britz/others share the same depots.

Pier Hotel, Kaikoura. Just gorgeous‌

First dinner on the road.


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Local seals aren't camera shy… free wifi in NZ isn’t that flash – although breakfast was fine! Back to our almost-new sixberth Kea (you can never have too much room) and headed out on the State Highway 1, or SH1 as our freshly purchased iPhone TomTom app called it. It’s the main highway along the coast line between Christchurch and Picton, where tomorrow we take the inter-island ferry to Wellington. A beautiful blue-sky day and gorgeous rolling hills covered in cows and sheep. They say there’s a six-to-one ratio of

sheep to people in NZ and it seems easily believable. Oh it would be easy to be a happy dairy cow on NZ’s beautiful South Island!

beach, but before that we discovered Polly’s ice-cream van, which had only been opened three weeks (featured in Issue 37). Met Polly and had to try her homemade Hokey Provisioned at a tiny Pokey ice cream, which is a supermarket in Cheviot. The Kiwi institution (apparently) main highway follows much that she makes using crushed of the coast and we were Crunchie chocolate bars. heading for lunch in popular Yum! And what a setting: Kaikoura, which literally means on the beach front and Kai 'food' Kora 'crayfish'. How straight across the water to bad could the home of the snow capped mountains. crayfish be for lunch/dinner/ Unbelievable! the rest of my life? The seals proved great for Big seal colonies along the entertaining tourists, but in


Travel: NZ Travel Diary

30 the holiday season I think this place would be absolutely heaving with people. A very picturesque spot, though.

There’s a postcard view at practically every turn.

NZ’s South Island is truly spectacular.

First night: Roadside free camping by a small lake.

Continuing north we stopped at a tiny seaside caravan called Nin’s Bin, which we’d seen on the map and read about – for crayfish! A local institution, each cray has its price written on its bum and ours said 56 Kiwi dollars (export prices, no less). Add 8 more Kiwi dollars for warming and garlic butter, but as it 4 pm and it was just closing this wasn’t an option. Still delicious, just cold and with a slice of lemon. Caught in the morning and boiled in the original copper pot used by Grandpa since 1977 when he set the place up, Nin’s Bin is an absolute must-visit. Be sure to eat your cray at the tables next to the hut to get the best out of it. Water and soap provided for post-yum clean up. Heading for Blenheim tonight, in the heart of the Marlborough wine region, as it is about one hour from Picton and the ferry tomorrow lunchtime. Overnighted in a freedom camp spot on the edge of a little lake. Extremely tired now. Think the past week of activity is catching up with us. Spag bog and wine for our first on-road dinner and in bed by nine. Good night!


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Day 2

Rolling hills draped with vineyards – the Marlborough wine region.

Just another bloody amazing photo opportunity‌ After 10 hours in bed the world is looking brighter this morning. Brekky and on the road by 9 am. Quick stop in Blenheim for wifi for Mr iM and supermarket for me. The road from Blenheim to Picton goes through more of the Marlborough wine region and is some of the prettiest

country we have (ever) seen. Rolling hills with vineyards in every nook and cranny and the back drop of the Robertson range on one side and the ocean on the other. Not surprised Mt Robertson is in the middle of Marlborough wine country and Cloudy Bay! Got to Picton for the ferry

a little early so had a quick look around the area, which boarders Queen Charlotte Sound: the passage the ship takes from the protection of Picton out into the open waters of the Cook Strait. The ferry was in late in, so late out. This gave us time while waiting in the queue to make


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sandwiches to eat onboard, from local smoked cod we bought in Kaikoura. Yummy. Went down very well with a local Pinot Gris sparkling, chilled nicely for us by the onboard bar.

Wellington. The journey through Queen Charlotte Sound was quite spectacular and the open water crossing rough (they had to close the bar!), but we couldn’t see a thing in Wellington thanks to the heavy rain and low Took the 13:05 ferry that left at clouds, so just hit the road 13:40. It was a three hour trip north to find another free in rapidly deteriorating weather camping area. Fuelled up and and we arrived to sleet in tried another Macca’s wifi

spot, with limited success, so just kept going and on the fourth attempt found a suitable roadside rest area for the night. Loved the ferry crossing, but with getting on and off it took half the day. Next time would do the night crossing and spend more time in the Marlborough vineyards.

Farewell South Island! It was a little choppy in the Cook Strait…

RVs were crammed haphazardly on the open rear deck.

About to drive abroad in Picton.


Travel: NZ Travel Diary

Day 3 After another great sleep full of Marlborough Sav Blanc and homemade pork curry we are on the road and heading to Taupo. Only 14 degrees, though, and rain. Coffee and wifi at Maccas in Levin and then we’re on the road proper. We have a long drive ahead of us today. It doesn't look far but the travel guide says five hours. We have learned that driving here can take longer than you think as the main road – SH1 – is only one lane each way in most places and very windy in spots. The country side continues to amaze and now we have snow capped mountains in the distance at the south end of Lake Taupo. The main one is Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings (Mt Ngauruhoe in reality) and the surrounding terrain looks fittingly impressive, despite the sporadic rain. Lots of little towns on the way catch our attention, like Taihape – the gum boot throwing festival town – and Mangaweka, where they have 'parked' an old DC3 airliner to get people's attention. Sure got Richard’s! They also serve 'world famous' toasties. Had

Mangaweka’s roadside DC3 is an unmissable lunch stop.

Cheese-soaked Toastie is rightly claimed to be world famous!

Giant tin gumboot – Taihape.

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Travel: NZ Travel Diary

Mt Ngauruhoe doubled as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. Summit is almost perpetually cloud covered.

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Travel: NZ Travel Diary to try, if not just for the sake of research. Had the Mushy Moo: chicken, red onion and cheese. OMG. If they are not 'world famous' they should be. Just ate a whole week’s cheese ration in one delicious toasted sandwich. We took about six gazillion photos of the snow capped mountains and the lake before we got to the city centre. We had been told by Facebook friends that we could freedom

camp right on the lake front in the middle of town, so went to the tourist info to confirm and it's true! A lake-front area right downtown to free camp in for up to two nights. How progressive? I’m sure it will never catch on. We reversed into our 'spot' – the last one – so we could make the most of our Kea’s New Zealand-back lounge layout. This is what it's about: A full view of Lake Taupo and the mountains!

35 Walked in to town for supplies and spent well over $50 on groceries and wine, including some more local foods. NZ lamb for dinner tonight and venison for tomorrow night, with smoked travelley for lunch. Seriously ticking some good food and wine boxes. Mr iM read me a Sherlock Holmes story as I cooked. Doesn't get much better than this!


Travel: NZ Travel Diary

Day 4 Didn't sleep as well last night as we felt a little cold, but not so cold that one of us got up to turn on the Webasto! Intermittent rain and sun shine today. Only got five mins out of town before the first photo op, a lookout over the town and lake and a very big bike sculpture. No a long run today, just up to Rotorua, about 80 km. Short by our standards but don't be fooled we expect it to take all day. Sure enough, 10 mins out of town we came across the Craters of the Moon park, entry fee NZ8 each. A walking track of 45 mins took us through an amazing area of bubbling mud pools and venting gas craters. Really quite moon-like – but with shrubbery. Planning to stop at a caravan park tonight so we can check out 'how it's done, NZ style.’ I have chosen the camp site for tonight as it has hot mineral pools. I even packed our swimmers just for this purpose. It's also near the Whakarewarewa thermal area and Maori cultural centre, which I

Rotarua, where everybody wants to be a comedian…

36


Travel: NZ Travel Diary visited about 18 years ago. Fortunately the van parked proved more successful than Whakarewarewa, which is now a multi million dollar tourist attraction and not in our budget at NZ$48 each for the Kiwi experience. Probable fantastic for a full day but not suitable for our 30 min lookarounds. The good news is it got us into camp earlier after a little more provisioning in town (more red wine). We were in by 3ish, which is early for us and gave us private time in one of the four rather old mineral pools that I'm sure got busier later in the day when others arrived. This park also had great wifi at NZ$5 for 24 hours, so Mr iM is happy, even though he had to go and sit about 30 metres from the vehicle to get reception. Oh well… Over the next 2 hours the arrival of our neighbours provided great entertainment. Drying washing seems to be a big priority if you have kids and the weather is as changeable as it has been. We saw some very interesting versions of ‘parking-up' and how assistance rendered by the non-driver (or not, as the case of the Maui motorhome couple, who manoeuvred for ages and still ran over a gutter and hit a tree! Clear instructions are vital for a happy marriage!).

Craters of the Moon thermal area is well worth a visit.

Mrs iM gets a free boardwalk steam facial.

Just another boiling mud pool…

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Travel: NZ Travel Diary Tomorrow looks as if it will be just a driving day to get back to the depot. We will empty tanks and fill gas first thing to avoid last minute stuff. Started packing bits away and have worked out what supplies I can leave at the 'freebies area' at the Auckland depot for some other motorhome renters. This really appeals to my sense of recycling and not wasting stuff.

Tucked into our only caravan park site, Rotarua.

Downtown lakeside Rotarua. Very pretty…

The Waka Taua, “A vessel for the conveyance of a war party.”

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Happy chappy tops up our gas bottle in Rotarua.

Day 5 Up and on the road by nine to get to the depot about one o’clock. Our flight isn’t until late afternoon, but we’re meeting an old friend at the airport for a long-overdue catchup over lunch. TomTom took us on the most direct route back to the depot and it was surprising how long we went for without passing through any towns. We were desperate for coffee and finally found the Black Beagle cafe, which seemed to be more about Clydesdales than

beagles! lots of old saddles and horse shoes and the toilet keys were attached to a huge bit and a horse shoe: Not easy to put in your pocket by mistake. The coffee was good but it was a bugger getting back onto the road due to endless Saturday morning traffic. Still, the scenery was very pretty and the dairy farms seem to go all the way to the edge of Auckland. The airport and Kea depot are south of the city so we don't need to navigate through. The vehicle drop-off was as easy as the pick-up had been, with the staff very keen to hear if we’d had a good holiday. Seems like a good place to work. Took the free shuttle

bus to the airport and met our friend for a lovely afternoon catch up. As we reflect we definitely could spend a lot of time in NZ in the future, especially the South Island, which seemed so very empty. They say the population of the whole of NZ is about the same as Sydney and about half of it lives in Auckland, so imagine then how quiet the rest of the country is. It’s perfect for relaxing motorhoming and we hope to take more than five days next time, but even short trips like this one will always be better than nothing, until we can retire. Thank you New Zealand, we truly loved our wee tiki tour!


Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown

RELOCATION, RELOCATION, RELOCATION!

In real estate, location is everything. So is rental relocation everything it promises to be?

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Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown

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Lakeside at Lake Taupo: A NZ rental relocation is a great way to catch a quick glimpse of this beautiful country.

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Mrs iM has documented our travels elsewhere in this issue, so here’s a look at the dollars and cents side of the journey.

The deal was tempting enough: $5/day and 5 days to drive the equivalent of about Sydney to Noosa Heads. Airfares aside it had the makings of a bargain holiday.

Paradise Found? ew Zealand is a travellers paradise because of its spectacular scenery and small population. It’s about the size of the UK, with a population about that of Sydney. It’s also a motorhomers’ paradise due to short travel distances, which keeps fuel costs down, and a road system more suited to manoeuvrable single

ast April, Mrs iMotorhome and I did our first rental relocation: 14 days across America following the iconic Route 66 (see our special issue). This time we tried our hand at New Zealand, to see what a basic A-to-B Christchurch to Auckland relocation would involve.

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vehicles than car/caravan combinations. During our travels drive it seemed that motorhomes outnumbered caravans by about 10:1, with about 9 of those 10 being rental vehicles full of happy visitors. This means the country is awash with rental vehicles needing relocation and providing constant opportunities to nick across the Tasman and grab a short-break holiday bargain. Our journey – Christchurch to Auckland – was just one of


Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown

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Hint: Choose the biggest motorhome, as relocations usually cost the same regardless of vehicle size. many relocations on offer via the imoova.com website, but one of the longer ones. If you don’t fancy the inter-island ferry crossing it’s usually easy to find intra-island relocations, like Wellington to Auckland or Queenstown to Christchurch. Although New Zealand is relatively wet and cold by Australian standards don’t let that put you off, even in the depths of winter. It seems most rental vehicles (apart from basic campervans) are equipped with a diesel-fired

central heating system, so as long as you avoid the higher alpine areas just crank up the heater (it can be left running while you’re driving) and enjoy the experience. We thoroughly enjoyed our first New Zealand motorhoming experience. Spectacular scenery, an abundance of superb food and wine, tourist attractions seemingly at every turn and a laid-back feel that encourages relaxation, it left us wondering why so many Kiwis leave

for Australia. Seriously. Now I understand why Malcolm Street is on a flight eastward at every opportunity. Mrs iM and I can’t wait until we have the chance to visit again. And again. And again. And… Tips

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ent a bigger vehicle than you need. With relocations the price is usually the same regardless of the vehicle’s size and you can never have too much living space. For two people a four-berth should be the


Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown

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minimum as it gives you two extra sets of crockery and cutlery so you don’t have to wash-up between courses, plus extra bedding and beds for alternate sleeping options. The small increase in fuel consumption is well worth it. If possible, buy extra days. We could have bought two extra days to add to our five day/four night relocation. Even at NZ$200 a day (roughly), they would have brought the total cost to NZ$425 for 7 days, for an average of NZ$60 a day – still a bargain. And for a relocation between the North and South Islands, you’re getting NZ$300+ worth of ferry crossing thrown in by the rental company. Plan ahead. There was a 1200 km ‘free’ allowance for our ChristchurchAuckland trip, after which a NZ$0.28c/km excess fee applied. Google Maps is a good way to plan your basic journey and see what sort of distances are involved. It also provides a handy travel time estimate. The direct route for our journey was just under 1000 km (we did 1053.1 km), providing about a 20% buffer for small side trips and running around before incurring extra charges. Speaking of inter-island ferries, the relocation usually includes just the vehicle. In our case the driver’s ticket was charged on vehicle pick-

The fresh scone trolly – just one highlight of an inter-island ferry crossing!

Some relocations include vehicle-and-driver ferry crossings, but most are vehicle only.


Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown up, at NZ$73, and we had no say in that. BUT, the Kea rental girl then told us the cheapest place is at the dock when you drive in with the vehicle. The person at the boom gates sells tickets and yes, they take credit cards. So we paid NZ$52 for Mrs iMotorhome before boarding. Go figure. Still on the ferry theme, you choose your sailing when you pick the vehicle up (although this can be changed, subject to space availability). Ferries sail day and night, so if you like a boat ride then the daytime sailing is a great extra adventure. If your daytime sightseeing time is more important, take a late night crossing.

Rental depots seem to have places where departing travellers leave unopened food and/or drinks for people stating out. Help yourself but be sure to leave any of your unused supplies at the other end. We even saw a newlooking pair of Ugg boots and a small tent! Free wifi is hit-and-miss, even in places like McDonald’s, where I was sometimes unable to send/receive email. If online connectivity isn’t an issue you’ll be fine, but if it is visit a Telecom NZ shop and buy a data simcard or portable wifi device. Our Kea rental came with a terrific NZ Touring atlas, but I bought the TomTom NZ GPS app for my iPhone before we

For two people this six-berth Kea, for $5 a day, was a great deal.

44

left Oz, for A$52 (on special at the time). I also took my own windscreen suction mount and a double USB charger for the cab’s 12 V socket and it all worked a treat. Diesel tax – a novel Kiwi invention levelled on all diesel powered vehicles. In a rental situation it’s paid at the end of your trip and is based on the size of the vehicle and the distance covered. In our case it amounted to NZ$51. Finally, if your calendar and budget allow, try and spend a few days in NZ at either end of the journey. Airfares are a largish part of the total holiday cost, so try and get the most time away for your money. Perhaps consider multiple relocations if time permits!


Travel: NZ Rental Relocation – The Lowdown

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Food Costs: NZ$410.42

Fact & FIGURES Rental Cost: A$200.33 The advertised cost of NZ$5/day was just the beginning! Other costs included: • An iMoova.com booking fee of NZ$25, plus a booking bond of NZ$75 (refunded on pick-up) • Driver’s ferry ticket, charged on pick-up – NZ$73 • VISA credit card surcharge on the NZ$800 insurance bond – NZ$16.46 • Diesel tax, charged upon vehicle return – NZ$51 • Additionally we lost more than A$42 in exchange rate fluctuations and VISA card fees/charges when the bond was re-credited. All-up our NZ$5/day rental actually cost A$200.33 – or A$40.07 a day. Bargain!

Fuel & LPG Costs – NZ$248.35 • Distance driven – 1053.1 km • Total cost – NZ$240.50 • Average fuel economy – 15.42 L/100 km (18.3 mpg) • LPG – 4.14 L used, NZ$7.85

Including crayfish, drinks on the ferry, ice creams, coffees, wine and plenty of other little indulgences, but most meals cooked in the motorhome, our food bill came to NZ$410.42

Other Expenses: NZ$347.40 • Christchurch taxis and pre-pick-up accommodation – NZ$189.90 • Souvenirs – NZ$39.50 • Entry fees – NZ$16 • Mrs iM’s ferry ticket – NZ$52 • Rotorua caravan park with wifi – NZ$50 Airfares: Depending on the time of year and your airline preference, return fares between Sydney and New Zealand’s major cities seem to start just below $400 per person and go north from there. Where to book: www.imoova.com Also look at individual rental company websites as some are stating to advertise their relocations directly.


Maintenance: Self Service – Part 2

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self service P What to put in your toolbox to help keep things going, whether at home or on the road‌ By Malcolm Street

ART 2


Maintenance: Self Service – Part 2

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Even if you don’t know how to work on it, having a comprehensive tool kit means you might get help from someone who does.

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ast issue we looked at simple things you can do to keep your campervan, motorhome or indeed any type of recreational vehicle in good shape. Now it’s time to look at what you should put in your garage or on-road tool box. There isn’t really a specific answer to this question because it depends to some extent on how mechanically minded you are, but there are some basic tools you should have and should also be included in the tool box you travel with, because even if you cannot use them, chances are someone else around will have the knowledge and ability. One of the reasons I mention

the latter is because 20 or 30 years ago, people who ventured off the beaten track generally had to have a reasonably good mechanical knowledge and the right tools to fix any problems. Over the years, much has changed with that scenario. Roads have become considerably better and modern vehicles have become considerably more reliable, but at the same time more complex – ironically something often preventing roadside repairs.

can be very frustrating. Even if you are not totally familiar with all the tools you are carrying it’s possible someone else will come along who does. There are a heap of tools that could be in your home and travelling toolboxes, but certainly mandatory is anything that is necessary and peculiar to your vehicle.

Something very simple, for instance, is being able to change a wheel. Especially in some of the larger motorhomes, this can be a However, there are still some test of strength, so carrying items that can easily be an easy-to-use nut loosening repaired. Being stuck by the device might not be just an side of the road for hours, option! If you are considering for the lack of a spanner to change a fan belt, for example, some serious Outback travel


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A basic tool roll like this can be kept in the cab for easy access and quick repairs. it’s not a bad idea to practise changing a wheel before you leave home, to ensure you have all the necessary equipment to hand (and know where your jack points are). Another item that is extremely useful with the rise of quite sophisticated electrical systems is an inexpensive digital multimeter. It can be used for all kinds of things, from locating simple faults to checking rechargeable battery voltages. Some years ago, in the middle of nowhere, I sorted a non-charging house battery problem by measuring a few voltages and tracking down a 12 V negative lead that had come adrift.

Essential Items Essential in any toolbox is electrical tape, duct tape and can of WD 40. The following is not a totally comprehensive list of everything, but rather a starting place to work from:

• Allen keys – metric and/or imperial

• Screwdrivers – assorted parallel tip and phillips head

If you have the skills: • Cordless drill

• Pliers

• Drill bits

• Long nose pliers

• Multimeter or test light

• Multigrips

• Soldering Iron

• Couple of shifting spanners • WD 40 (the toolbox in a can)

If you are really handy or venturing afar: • Hacksaw

• Small mirror for looking in tight spots

• Rivet gun (plus appropriate size rivets)

• Tyre pressure gauge • Stanley knife • Any specialist tools needed


Maintenance: Self Service – Part 2 • Assorted files (round and flat)

Miscellaneous: • Work gloves

• Hammer

• Torches (small and large)

• Clamps

• Electrical tape

• Vice clamps

• Plastic cable ties

• Bush saw (for firewood!)

• Fencing wire (for desperate situations)

49 • Teflon tape • Hand cleaner • Ear muffs and eye protectors (if you are doing anything noisy) • Selection of nuts, bolts and screws (depending on your rig) • Glues – Araldite, Super glue, etc • Sealants – silicon, liquid nails, for example • Locktite – to keep screws from coming undone

A multi-tool like this Leatherman is an essential travel companion.

• Selleys Knead It – putty-like stuff for repairing cracks and holes in metal (like leaking tanks, pipes, sumps, axle shafts and so on)

If you’re carrying oils and other fluids make sure you have a way of pouring them in without mess. A small selection of plastic funnels is very useful.


Maintenance: Self Service – Part 2 Ready Use Kit In my photo journalist role I am often in ‘strange’ vehicles, sans any tools. I was once caught out with a stuck ‘D’ shackle and no tools whatsoever. Since then I now carry what I call my Ready Use tool roll. It’s quite small and contains two screwdrivers, a few spanners, multigrips and allen keys – just enough for any minor work. I only mention this because if the vehicle you are travelling around in has your main toolbox buried deep under other gear, it’s a good idea to have a small tool roll handy for minor items. Even simpler of course, is something like a Leatherman tool.

Fuses These really aren’t tools, but check all vehicle fuse boxes – sometimes there is more than one, including the house (240/12V ) electrical control panel, if you have one. Make sure you have spares for all the various size fuses. Whilst it is desirable to have enough tools for most jobs, they are by their nature heavy so don’t overload your vehicle to much with things you might never use. Finally, ensure you have some means of communication, especially if you’re heading off the beaten track, so that if all else fails you can call for help rather than waiting for the

Batteries need regular cleaning to ensure good electrical contacts, plus level checks if of the traditional lead-acid type.

50 occasional passerby. A mobile phone on the Telstra network gives the best rural phone converge in Australia, but also consider a CB radio, HF radio, sat phone and/or emergency locator transmitter (ELT) – and know how to use it/them!


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Road-Side Eats: Nin’s Bin

Where you Bin?

Eating crayfish by the sea, of course…

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Road-Side Eats: Nin’s Bin

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ne of the joys of any road trip is happening upon those ‘special places’. Our first day on the road in New Zealand, making our way north from Christchurch, produced one such find: Nin’s Bin. Located 23 km north of Kaikoura

on State Highway 1, in the sleepy seaside settlement of Rakautara – town is too grandiose a description – Nin’s Bin is the original seaside crayfish cavern and has been serving fresh-caught local crays since 1977.

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Ronald Clark placed the diminutive blue-and-whitepainted caravan on its spot originally and although he passed away in 2004 the business continues in family hands – and to thrive. Grandson Ricky Clark runs the business these days, while


Road-Side Eats: Nin’s Bin

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Seaside picnic tables and a tap to clean up. What more could you ask?

his brother catches the crays daily just off the coast. The crays are part cooked in the original ‘copper’ that Ronald used and then finished off when ordered. This apparently seals in the flavour without compromising the freshness or quality of the little treasures.

Nin’s Bin setting is idyllic: absolute seaside, with a couple of outdoor tables and a small beach for swimming or snorkelling when the weather’s good. Inside, Ricky will prepare your chosen cray and serve it warm with garlic butter, or cold, with a slice or two of lemon. Price’s aren’t

as cheap as they used to be (now pegged to export prices) – we paid NZ$56 for an average cray – but the quality is unbeatable, as is the setting. If you’re passing by be sure to stop and treat yourself!


Road-Side Eats: Nin’s Bin

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Ricky Clarke prepares our latelunch treat…


Next Issue

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DISCOVERER CHRISTMAS little late, it will certainly have a festive feel. For starters, Malcolm will bring us a review of a Discoverer campervan based on a Toyota HiAce turbodiesel auto, which could be just the thing for a relaxing summer holiday break.

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ur last issue for 2013 (were has the year gone?) is out on December 21 and although we’ve left our Christmas run a

MAR

6-11

February 07-09

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7-9

Richard will be looking at lastminute must-have Xmas apps and maybe some last-minute RV gift ideas, before we take a bit of a break ourselves over the Festive Season. Please

FEB

19-23

MAR

FEB

6-1119-23 7-9 February

Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show

Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: Free U 16 with adult

Adelaide Showground. • Open 10:00-6:00 daily • Parking: Free • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: Free U 15 with adult

http://newcastle.supershow.com.au/Default. aspx

http://www.caravanandcampingsa.com.au/page. asp?parentid=257 Click for Google Maps

Until Dec 21 be sure to follow and us on Facebook Twitter for breaking news, comments and more than a laugh or two. See you in two weeks!

FEB

19-23

Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Click for Google Maps

don’t forget to get your Reader Surveys in and have your say about what we’re doing, too.

March 06-11

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6-11

Melbourne Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow Caulfield Racecourse, Station St, Caulfield. VIC. • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $17 • Seniors: $13 • Kids: Free U 15 with adult http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_ details.php?id=10988 Click for Google Maps

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

FEB

7-9

Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 38 – 07 December 2013  

Australia & New Zealand's only dedicated motorhome magazine – published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome...

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 38 – 07 December 2013  

Australia & New Zealand's only dedicated motorhome magazine – published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome...

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