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iMotorhome

41 : February 01 2014

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

Esperance A second look at Avida’s top seller…

Reprised Quick Getaway?

A used van with plenty to offer

Win!

$50 Caltex Fuel Card!

Playing Leek Frog! A Xmas break in Wales and France

Rogues’ Gallery Bedford Days in New Zealand


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About iMotorhome | 3

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

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Contributor/s

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Jess Ciampa

Design Manager Agnes Nielsen E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth T: 0408 315 288 E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


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• Unrivalled Safety including

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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.

Enjoy the prestige of owning Australia’s best quality motorhome Paradise Motor Homes

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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


On my mind | 5

A LINE IN THE SAND In the RV world you have to have been living under a rock to have missed the vitriolic ‘debate’ raging between the proponents of free camping (I abhor the politically correct Freedom Camping tag) and those of the general tourism industry. Both sides have their zealots, but sooner or later the silent majority will have to take position on this. Why? Because of an increasingly profit-driven private sector backed by impotent Governments of all political persuasions. A line needs to be drawn in the sand to preserve some basic Australian freedoms. My wife and I free camp whenever possible and it’s not because we’re tight. For starters, most of our trips are rushed and involve late arrivals and early departures. Also, we live on acreage and have no desire to spend our evenings cheek by jowl with others in a caravan park (or any camping spot, for that matter). The caravan park lobby and Governments wrongly assume many things, starting with why people travel. Not all of us want a Butlin’s-style holiday camp experience. Nor do we, as older travellers, want or need kids’ playgrounds, jumping thingys and water slides – or kids – for that matter, unless travelling with grandchildren. We also don’t want lists of rules and regulations, curfews, boom gate pin codes, being told which way to park and over-priced ‘essentials’ in the shop, amongst other things. Contrary to what some caravan park owners seem to believe, they are not God’s gift to travellers. They’re also wrong in believing they have a right to make people stay with them. It’s like saying you can’t have a picnic in a park because there’s a cafe nearby and not only are you doing them out of business, you might leave a mess and/or be in a residents’ view.

To quote from a Facebook Friend in response to a recent post: “Australian travellers have been free camping in the bush since 1788. Caravan parks are a recent innovation probably since the 1930’s. CP's were a holiday destination and are usually full and charging a premium at holiday times, although they often have vacancies between holidays. These days, CP’s fill their sites with onsite vans and cabins offering low cost accommodation, to the detriment of motels and hotels. So along comes the modern self contained RV and all we hear is that CP's are missing out on $1000s weekly. Oh! please! What about the motels they shafted? Why do Councils bow to them?” The big problem – the one attracting the most media and Council attention – seems to be the low cost rental/backpacker market. Almost exclusively international tourists, they’re looking for a cheap, good time and seem to have little regard for anyone or anything else (sound familiar from younger days?). Education and commitment is required from rental operators and Governments alike to tackle this problem, but is it happening? Would someone from either camp like to comment? This is a topic too vast for an editorial. We will, however, continue to free camp responsibly – not in someone’s residential view, leaving rubbish or peeing in the gutters – and to campaign for the rights of all Australians to stop for a night or a few nights where they choose. There’s a fight brewing but don’t worry; things will be different after the revolution!

Richard


6 | Content

3

About us

5

On my Mind

9

On your Mind

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

A Line in the Sand

Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!

11 News

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

16

User Guide

18

Road Test: Avida Esperance

28

Used Test: Getaway Avoca

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine

Avida’s top-selling model, now with a top value offer for February!

An excellent van conversion motorhome with plenty to offer

Green with envy? Malcolm considers Avida’s Esperance…


Content | 7

42 46

Travel: Wales & France

52

Mobile Tech: WikiCamps

56

Mobile Tech: Inspector Gadget

59

Reader Reviews

A quick Christmas trip provides some interesting Euro insights

Rogues’ Gallery Bedford Days!

Probably the most useful RV travel app available…

Update and more must-haves!

Avida Eyre and Piable Beachfront Tourist Park

61 Reader Review Templates

Review your vehicle, a favourite place or whatever for a chance to win a mystery prize

62

Next Issue & Show Calendar What’s coming up and what shows are on soon

Rogue’s Gallery – Bedford Days! Missed an Issue? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.


THE BUILT-IN SPECIALISTS Whether you are buying a replacement or your first recreational vehicle you’ll want the confidence in knowing that you are dealing with a company that can offer you expert advice every time. That’s why Ballina Campervan & Motorhome Centre pride themselves on being the Built-In Specialists. With over 25 years experience selling Built-in Campervans & Motorhomes, BCMC are the exclusive retailer of Frontline Campervans* and Horizon Motorhomes - whose range of vehicles include the Toyota Hiace, VW Transporter, Fiat Ducato and Mercedes Sprinter. We don’t just sell Campervans and Motorhomes, but we service, repair, and accessorise them too. We also sell them ‘pre-loved’, accommodating everyone’s budget.

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On your mind | 9

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

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.

Winning Letter–Costco’s The Go! Hello iMotorhome, not sure if this qualifies as a proper tip but it sure as heck works for us and saves us money! We live outside of Melbourne and do a lot of travelling in our Winnebago Leisure Seeker and some friends introduced us to shopping at Costco in Ringwood a little while ago. It costs $60 to join and we went with them the first time, but now have our own membership. Now we take the Winnie so we can buy in bulk for a group of local friends, stacking the old girl full of things as varied as toilet rolls, cleaning products and wine. You don’t have to buy huge lots

of things, but many products come in packs of 2 or 3 which makes them ideal for sharing. We also load up the fridge, plus take our car fridge, and a couple of eskies with ice blocks and do a bulk run of meat, seafood, cheese, etc. The quality is excellent, the prices are sharp and we all benefit from our group buying adventures! Plus, we put it all on our credit card and get the frequent flyer points! Any readers that live within a couple of hours of a city where there’s a Costco should look at doing the same with their

friends. Not only is it great value, and everyone chips in for fuel, it’s also a fun day out and turns a lot of heads when we push trolley loads of stuff back to our motorhome. A guy recently asked me how long we were going away for! Regards, Cedric That sounds like a great plan, Cedric, and it certainly rates as a good tip to me. In fact please accept this issue’s $50 Caltex fuel card as reward – which almost pays for your membership card!

Famous Birthdays 1st February 1901 – Clark Gable, Cadiz Ohio, American actor (Gone With the Wind) 1931 – Boris Yeltsin, Ural Mts USSR, president of Russian SSR 1937 – Don Everly, Brownie Ky, vocalist (Everly Bros – Wake Up Little Susie) 1937 – Dr Hook, aka Ray Sawyer, Ala, vocalist (Dr Hook – When You're in Love)


10 | On your mind

Owners' Experience Wanted We are planning to buy a motor home later this year, possibly a late model second hand. After reading your mag for some time it occurred to me that you have the readership that could really help potential buyers, with the outcome of a "simple" owners survey of the cab/chassis used in the various makes and models on the market. It is interesting to see that some motorhome manufacturers seem to modify their needs and designs to suit the base, whilst others quite freely select the "best" for their differing design/needs.  I am aware of four primary bases used and am also aware that there are differing models within each brand - Fiat, VW, Mercedes, Iveco. The "simple" survey could be non-technical;  just covering reliability, ease of operation, handling and cornering, brakes, fuel consumption, etc.  

Whenever I have contact with owners, they always seem keen to impart this experience. I was thinking it could also be done in a way that also gives helpful feedback to the manufacturers of both the bases and the motorhomes. What do you think? Regards, Russell. Thanks Russell. It’s a good idea and as you’ll see in our new-look magazine we’re now including copy-and-paste templates for readers reviews of their vehicles (as well as their favourite destinations). In fact we’re running the first responses in this issue. So come on everyone, make the effort to share your ownership experiences with fellow readers and help Russell and many others make the best informed decisions.

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On your mind & News | 11

Gas Questions G’day Team iMotorhome, Wow! I like the new format. Congratulations to the whole team; especially Agnes. Richard, there is some controversy surrounding the refilling of gas bottles. Because of OH&S regulations, quite a lot of outlets are moving away from onsite refills of all gas bottles. And, because the price of gas is likely to triple in the next year or so, this is becoming a worry for us motorhomers who like to have our own bottles refilled. I don’t like using ‘swap-n-go’ gas bottles because I don’t know how safe they are, where they have been and if, in fact, they are full. I like to have mine refilled at a site where I can watch and see the gas come out the overflow valve when it is full. My bottles have special guards on the bottom and are of an exact size to fit my ‘gas boot’. Some Motorhomer's gas bottles are of a special shape and size to fit their particular motorhome; so you can see the problems here.

of refill mechanism, or filling with a hose from a larger tank. I hope that, one edition in the future, you might do some interviews to find out the future situation and do a full article on it. It might be that the motorhome manufacturers will move away from gas altogether. Hoping this is of interest to the readers and to you as well. Michael, Sylvia, Monnie and Terios (the toad).

Thanks for your kind words and glad you all like the new look (even Toadie). Agnes will be particularly chuffed! We’ll certainly see what we can find out about the gas ‘situation’, although neither Malcolm or I are aware of the impending tripling of gas prices. Presumably, companies like Swap-n-Go have to meet legal standards and any widespread short changing of refills would soon produce howls of consumer backlash. You could always weigh the cylinders, With your expertise, your ability to investigate, and your recent trips where you had experiences too, if you know what yours weigh when full. Anyway, thanks for the challenge – we’ll get refilling in different countries, you might be able back to you. Any reader input would also be to give us an indication as to what is likely to happen in this field. I personally would like to see welcome. refilling by weight or exact measurement of the volume supplied. Whether it is by a bowser type

SHOW TIME

T

he motorhome show season is about to kick off for 2014. Even if you're not in the market for a new vehicle it's a great excuse to go and have a look at what's on offer as well as pick up some must-have bargains from the innumerable traders. He's a quick rundown of the upcoming major shows:

Newcastle – Feb 7-9, The Entertainment Centre Adelaide – Feb 19-23, Adelaide Showground Melbourne – Mar 6-11, Caulfield Racecourse Perth – Mar 20-24, Claremont Showground Sydney – Apr 26-May 4, Rosehill Racecourse Brisbane – Jun 4-10, RNA Showground


12 | News

DUVALAY READER OFFER!

D

uvalay’s next container of its popular luxury memory-foam sleeping system is crossing the high seas right now and they want to clear the last remaining stock of 2.5 cm x 66 cm Duvalays. iMotorhome has used the slightly thicker version on several occasions and highly recommends them (see our review in Issue 34). Duvalay is offering iMotorhome readers a fantastic opportunity to order the 2.5 cm models for $148.00 + $19.95 P&P each, with a minimum order of 2. Usually priced at $239 each, plus postage, this is a terrific saving. Be quick! For orders or further information call Neil or Dee on (08) 9336 7714 or email info@ duvalay.net.

222 Governor Road Braeside VIC 3195 Ph: 03 9588 0077 info@trailblazersrv.com www.trailblazersrv.com

Slide On Campers New aerodynamic shape Improved fuel efficiency

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Trailblazers Slide On Campers are Australian designed and built for our conditions. With all the features of a luxury motorhome, a slide on can be easily removed to free up your vehicle. Touring holidays, fishing trips with the tinny behind and 4WD adventures in the outback are more fun with a versatile, manoeuvrable slide on, they even make great demountable site offices. With a range of models to choose from, all campers are built to order to enable you to choose from a range of features and options including appliances, interior finishes and fabrics. Buy Factory Direct and SAVE


News | 13

MARKETPLACE LINKS Bony Mt Music Festival – A terrific get together on Sep 19-21, near Warwick, Qld. Northcoach Equipment – A one-stop shop for all your motorhome needs. Ozcape Campers – Luxury slide-ons for most 1-tonne table-top utes.

T

he iMotorhome website now features a section called Marketplace Links. It’s an evolving section designed to link you with businesses that can help you no matter what you’re looking for. We’d like to welcome the following companies and hope you’ll consider them if and when you’re in need of their specialised services:

SOS Mail Solutions – Hi-tech mail forwarding across Australia or around the World. Clicking on the Bony Mt Music Festival link will also let you play a brand new track by Norma O’Hara Murphy – Australia’s Burning – dedicated to and inspired by, “Our magnificent Firies and Volunteers, who put their lives on the line.”

FRASER ISLAND FREE CAMPING OFFER Minister for National Parks Steve Dickson said the program had already been trialled at Daintree National Park last year.

K

een campers can put their hand up to spend the Easter school holidays on Fraser Island for free, while maintaining campgrounds and helping other tourists. The campground volunteer positions will be introduced for the first time at Central Station, Dundubara and Waddy Point. Duties include cleaning camping amenities, cleaning up rubbish, patrolling dingo fences for damage and reporting issues to rangers.

"The program offers volunteers the opportunity to camp for free in return for maintaining camping facilities and services and providing information to other visitors to the island. You should be self-sufficient and equipped to camp in all types of weather, including high rainfall,” he said. The positions can be either 14 or 28 days and the required work would take an estimated two hours a day, seven days a week. The only cost to applicants is the vehicle barge fare. Applications close February 12, email greatsandy.info@nprsr.qld.gov.au if interested.


14 | News

WHY THE CAMPING CLAMPDOWN? Older campers (especially Grey Nomads, a group particularly attached to free camping), remember that until the 1960s it was normal to camp by the side of the road. And a certain amount of free camping has always been allowed in Victoria's national parks — until next March, if the department has its way.”

I

n the Sydney Morning Herald recently, Bill Garner, author of Born in a Tent: how camping makes us Australian, wrote, “The Department of Environment and Primary Industry was mistaken if it thought it could sneak in a proposal to abolish free camping on the back of general fee rises for camping in national parks.” “Campers are alert to the free camping situation because it is dear to their hearts. Little saddens them more than its gradual disappearance – unless it is the disappearance of camp grounds altogether. The main reason campers value free camping is not because it is free but because it is customary.” It goes on to say, “Free camping on Crown land is a practice that dates back to first settlement.

“Campers accept that they should pay to use well-serviced camp grounds, but the free sites in national parks are only those the department classifies as "basic" and "very basic", meaning they depend on campers being largely self-sufficient. The regulatory impact statement recently released by the department acknowledges that basic camp grounds are highly popular with campers: it is there that "real" camping is possible. When campers are asked, they say they do not want more services or more ranger visits – they just want to be left alone: they value independence and self-reliance more than cosseting by Parks Victoria. You would think neo-liberal governments would want to encourage such values by providing more opportunities to exercise them.” To read the rest of this article, click HERE

On This Day - 1st February 1587 – Q  ueen Elizabeth I of England signs death warrant for Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots 1918 – Russia adopts Gregorian calendar (becomes Feb 14) 1967 – Severe bush fires in Tasmania destroy $11m of property and claim 60 lives. 2003 – S  pace Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.


News | 15

AFFORDABLE CAMPING

S

ituated 7.5 km off the Pacific Highway, midway between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, 3 Creeks says it is, “A campground for all those nature loving families who dare to go out and really enjoy the great outdoors. 3 Creeks is set up best for the self sufficient campers though there are basic toilet facilities available on site.”

• • • •

"As a family owned and run camping facility we truly know the importance of family time away from all of the normal, crazy routine. 3 Creeks is set on a glorious 70 acre property with just 25 sites available.”

Cost is $10 per night, iMotorhome understands, and highlights include: • Check out time 2pm • Small canteen with some essentials

• • •

Close to beaches and lovely small towns Dogs allowed Firewood & drinking water provided Abundance of wildlife e.g. kangaroos, bandicoots and birds Strong reception for TV, mobiles & WiFi (3G & 4G Area) Various bushwalking trails offer rock pools, rapids and cliffs Farm Animals Locally grown Fresh Produce Clear star filled night skies

3 Creeks is at 750 Kungala Rd, Kungala NSW. 2460. Call 0400 888 680 or email 3creekscamping@gmail.com.


16 | User Guide

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Note: This magazine is designed to deliver the best reading experience on an Apple iPad.

General This magazine is published in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that once downloaded it is a self-contained document that can be stored on your smartphone, tablet device, e-reader, laptop or desktop computer and read off-line at your convenience. PDFs are clever things and allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents page features links in their headings that will take you directly to the appropriate article in the magazine. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer you will see the mouse cursor change to a small hand with a pointing finger, which signifies you can click on the page below All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertiser’s website. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the relevant website automatically, if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to the Internet you will be asked if you want to connect, to complete the action. Text that is highlighted and/or underlined in blue is also a ‘live’ link that will either take you to the webpage of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).

iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free in iBooks app installed. It displays a full page at a time and allows you to read the magazine by swiping the pages sideways, just like turning the pages in a printed magazine. iBooks has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can also create Collections, so you could store each year’s issues separately, for example.

Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine you’ll briefly see a message at the very top of the front cover that says “Open in iBooks.” If you miss it, don’t worry. Just tap the space immediately above the iMotorhome title and it will reappear for a few seconds. When it does, tap it and your issue will be moved to iBooks and reopen. Once open in iBooks you’ll see a number of icons across the very top of the page and a strip of tiny page thumbnails across the very bottom. To get rid of them simply tap the page anywhere there isn't text (touching text will take you to the revenant article inside). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page. To read your copy of iMotorhome eMagazine, swipe the page from right to left. Reverse this to go back a page. To go to the font cover at any time just tap on the page your on and then touch the tiny page icon at the far left, along the very bottom. To leave the issue you’re reading and go back to your Library, tap the page and then touch Library in the top left hand corner.


User Guide | 17

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Laptop/Desktop Computer Users The software that allows you to view a PDF document – Acrobat Reader – has a number of controls at the top of the page. Chief amongst these are two square buttons in the centre; one showing a page with an arrow across it and the other showing a page with arrows across and top to bottom. Press these and you can view the page at the full width of your screen, or the whole page fitted to you screen, respectively. For further help or information email info@imotorhome.com.au.

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Esperance Reprised 18 | Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL

It’s what’s happening in the bedroom that sets this model apart… Review and images by Malcolm Street


Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL | 19

The Iveco is a strong tow vehicle and ideal for those looking to pull a car or big trailer. Striking green colour scheme looks good, too.

O

ne of the disadvantages of being a large RV manufacturer is that if you have a good range of motorhome designs and layouts, we reviewers can only look at so many. A case in point being Avida's Esperance range, in which there are five different layouts available in either C-class (over-cab bed) or B-class (no over-cab bed) designs. Additionally, two other layouts are offered, one with an electric roll-down bed and another that is wheel

chair friendly. With the exception of the wheel chair friendly model all the slide-out layouts have exactly the same arrangement for the kitchen and dining areas, but offering differing bathrooms and bedrooms. This is why this particular review will be somewhat shorter than usual and really only concentrating on the bedroom area. To read a full review see issue 27 of iMotorhome eMagazine, dated 22 June 2013.


20 | Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL The lounge and fridge both sit in the single slide-out, while the over-cab bed (bottom) lifts for easy cab access. Neutral colour scheme adds to a sense of space.

The Vehicle

L

ike all the Esperance range this one is based on an Iveco 50C17 Daily cab chassis, which comes with a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine and 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). It's a C-class unit and taking over half of the offside wall is the slide-out, while directly behind the cab on the passenger side is the motorhome entry door. One of the stand out features of this particular Esperance, at least on the outside, are the green shades, ranging from emerald to lime, of the external stripes – which certainly attracts attention.

Living Inside

S

tepping through the entry door reveals quite a simple layout. In the driver's cab both seats swivel and above the driver’s cab the bed can be lifted up out of the way if not required, which does make getting cab access so much easier. Opposite the entry door, the slide-out contains both


Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL | 21

Stepping through the entry door

reveals quite a simple layout. an L-shaped dinette and a 150-litre fridge with microwave above. Two forward-facing passenger seats with seat belts are integrated into the rear of the lounge. Something we didn’t make clear in our last review is that the seat base cushion in front of the window-side passenger can be removed so there's appropriate foot space.

Along the nearside the kitchen bench and mid-section bathroom take up most of the space. The only thing not in the bathroom is the wash basin, which is set into a vanity cabinet directly on the opposite side. Up to this point the motorhome layout is exactly the same as that featured in our previous review

With the slide-out extended there’s generous living room. Note the freestanding vanity just forward of the bed and the unusual shape of the dinette.

After Hours

W

hat is different here is that instead of two different length single beds, Avida fits an east-west bed that measures 1.92 m x 1.4 m (6 ft 4 in x 4 ft 7 in) that is butted up against the offside wall. Although it looks like an island bed, it’s not and there isn't much space between the


22 | Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL East-west main bed is almost queen size and almost an island arrangement, while bedside storage is welcome on both sides. Separate shower (below) is a decent size.

rear wall and the rear side of the bed. Most of the reason for this comes in the form of a narrow full-height wardrobe that sits between the bed and the adjacent vanity cabinet and offers both hanging and shelf space. It includes a compartment at pillow level which is a nice alternative to no bedside shelf space and is certainly wider that the cabinet on the other side of the bed. That's the price paid for a notquite island bed! In addition to the wardrobe there is more storage in the form of overhead lockers and the under-bed area: The latter being accessed by lifting the bed from the side. In addition, the under-bed area also has external access from the rear offside bin door.


Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL | 23

Avida fits an east-west bed that measures 1.92 m x 1.4 m (6 ft 4 in x 4 ft 7 in) that is butted up against the offside wall .


24 | Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL

Wall-mounted TV is ideal for viewing from bed but can also be swivelled out to watch from the dinette.

What I Think

I

n many ways this is a good alternative to another Esperance double bed layout that has a bathroom across the rear. In this case, both occupants of the bed get some form of bedside shelf space and the bathroom is less cramped because of the outside wash basin. However, it’s not quite an island bed. Of course it’s your choice but I quite like this arrangement.

I'll let you into a little secret here, too. On this particular Esperance layout Australian Motor Homes will include a bullbar, window tinting and two solar panels at no extra charge, but only for the month of February. Look busy!


Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL | 25

Clockwise from top left: Integrated electrical panel by the door is good, as is the freestanding vanity unit ahead of the rear bed. The forward facing lounge is seat belt equipped for two and some of the inwards facing lounge seat is removable to provide leg room. A barbecue slide-out is also provided.


26 | Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL

Specifications Manufacturer

Avida Motorhomes

Model

Esperance C 7994SL

Base Vehicle

Iveco 50C17

Engine

3.0-litre turbo-diesel

Power

130 kW @ 3200-3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1250-3000 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3862 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4495 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

7.94 m (26 ft)

External Width

2.49 m (8 ft 2 in)

External Height

3.18 m (10 ft 5 in)

Internal Height

2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.92 m x 1.40 m (6f t 4 in x 4 ft 7 in)

Luton Bed

1.90 m x 1.30 m (6 ft 3 in x 4 ft 3 in)

Cooktop

Dometic 4 burner, grill and oven

Fridge

Dometic AES 2555 150-litre

Microwave

LG

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 100 AH

Gas

2 x 4.0 kg

Heater

Webasto diesel

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

Truma Aventa

Hot Water Heater

Truma 14-litre 12 V/gas

Toilet

Dometic cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

100-litres

Grey Water Tank

100-litres

Price on road NSW

$173,000

Pros

• External colour scheme • Decent external storage • Interior lighting – improved over models of previous years • Split bathroom layout • Cab access from inside • Decent Iveco cab radio

• • • •

Cons

Iveco handbrake position Seat power points location Smallish kitchen Rear bed walk around space

Contact

Australian Motor Homes Click for Google Maps

31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290. Ph: 02 4948 0433 E: enquiries@australianmotorhomes.com.au W: australianmotorhomes.com.au

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


Day Test: Avida Esperance C7994 SL | 27

On this particular Esperance layout Australian Motor Homes will include a bull bar, window tinting and two solar panels at no extra charge, but only for the month of February.


28 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway

Avoca

Getaway

A great van for newcomers or seasoned motorhomers alike‌ Review and images by Malcolm Street


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 29

T

he manufacturer Getaway was a small business based on the Central Coast of NSW. They built a reasonably good motorhome, but were probably another casualty of the Global Financial Crisis. That said, there are a number of their motorhomes on the road, including this Avoca van conversion, which caught my eye while cruising the used motorhomes at Australian Motor Homes in late January.

The Vehicle

T

he Iveco Daily 35S14 is the base vehicle for the Avoca. Iveco, one of the largest truck manufacturers in Europe, is from Italy and related by marriage to Fiat (think Ducato). The main difference being that whilst Ducatos are front-wheel drive Ivecos are rearwheel drive. Powered by a 2.3-litre turbodiesel the Daily 35S14 came with a 6 speed automated manual transmission (AMT). Given that the Daily has a GVM of 3510 kg and this

Avoca weighed in with a tare weight of 3200kg, care would be needed when loading. Two driver's cab modifications are the centredash mounted rear-view camera and a nonstandard and better radio/CD player, which includes a 3.5 mm auxiliary input socket. Getaway's external conversion bits include the Seitz hopper windows, Fiamma awning, Winegard roof top aerial and gas cylinder bin. Interestingly, there isn’t that other usual feature, a Thetford toilet cassette door – it’s inside the motorhome! Generally speaking the external bodywork of this Avoca is in good condition, with just a few scratches and bumps. The external plastic mouldings showed a bit of sun damage but I suspect a coat of Armor All or similar would fix that. The Fiamma awning needed a bit of persuasion when starting the roll out, but other than that it opened and closed quite easily. A look at the tyres revealed them all to have a


30 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway Tyres are good and the full-size insect screens are a welcome, if slightly fiddly, addition. Entry step is electrically operated.

good tread life, which given the low kilometres wasn't a surprise.

On the Road

I

f there is one thing about a van conversion, compared to a wider motorhome, it’s that driving it is no drama. On the highway it cruises very nicely, but the asset around town is it fits into quite a few parking spaces without too much trouble. Controls are convenient, including the dash mounted gear shift, but the hand brake is on the driver’s left, making the driver swivel seat a slight problem. The Daily’s safety features include good external mirrors, ABS disc brakes, electronic stability programme (ESP) and a driver’s air bag. Like many commercial vehicles a passenger air bag was an option.

Living Inside

G

etaway retained the sliding door for its conversion. Some we know do not like “whirr clunkers,” especially in the middle of the night, but I don’t mind them, especially in hot weather. A switch by the door operates the slide-out electric step.


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 31 I don't know if this was an owner or a dealer addition, but both van doors have been fitted with insect screens – definitely a bonus. Both used magnetic strips to hold the screen "doors" closed and the side door screen used a sail track so the door could be left open if needed. It was a bit fiddly and I have seen better designs, but be in no doubt that it worked and was considerably better than nothing at all.

This Avoca came with a single-bed floor plan, i.e. two sideways facing lounges in the rear that could be converted to a double bed if required. However, the maximum length in both cases is 1.83 m (6 ft). The rest of the Avoca is filled with a kitchen bench along the nearside (partly into the doorway) and a bathroom behind the driver’s seat on the other side. The space between the bathroom and rear lounge is occupied by cupboard and fridge. All the cabinet work is Beech laminated joinery.In the driver's cab, the passenger seat swivels around, to add a bit more living area space. Although one of the advantages of a van conversion is its external size, inside is the opposite effect, with it naturally being narrower than a coachbuilt motorhome. In some

Kitchen is close to the side door for good ventilation, while the cab is modern and includes a CB radio and reversing camera.


32 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway

Over-cab storage limits through headroom but is a good compromise. Swivelling passenger seat is useful, but cab privacy curtain limits its after-hours use. motorhomes I have seen there is a distinct feeling of being closed in, but not so with this Avoca. Whilst the bathroom area does dominate the front section, the rest feels quite open. A slight minus in the cab area is that instead of having curtains around the inside of the driver's cab, there's one across the back, making it a bit awkward to use the swivelled passenger seat at night. Still in the cab, some manufacturers leave the top of the cab area empty for easy access to and from the front seats. To make the most of general storage, however, Getaway opted to put a small locker in, which just means stooping a bit when getting in and out of the cab. As a general comment on the condition of the interior, I'd have to say it's very good. There were a few scratches

and marks from general wear, but not many. One issue that would need attention was the plastic struts used on the overhead locker doors. I've always wondered about the longevity of these items, compared to metal ones and I'd have to say that if this example is any guide, it's not good. Don't be put off though by something like this.

Upgrading the struts would be an easy job for anyone with only basic handyman skills – just like retro fitting LED globes which has also been done in part in this motorhome.

Lounging Around

I

n the rear, the two side lounges measure 1.83 m x 0.64 m (6 ft x 2 ft 1 in) and are designed, of course, to be

On the condition of the interior, I'd have to say it's very good.


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 33

Long lounges convert from dinette to single beds or a double. TV mount has an owner modification, too.

quickly converted into single beds. Fitted to the offside lounge is a Lagun single-arm swivelling table, which can be swivelled every which-way or removed when not needed. Mounted on the side of the fridge cabinet is a flat screen

TV, 240 V power point and TV antenna connection. Lighting in the lounge/bed area is from ceiling downlights and two reading lights; one on either side under the overhead lockers. Although the original installation was for halogen

lamps most in the rear have been converted to LEDs. One of the downlight fittings showed a little bit of heat damage, presumably from the halogen globes. Above both seats is a row of lockers, although one section along the offside is occupied by the electrical control panel. It’s nice to see everything in the one area – 240 V circuit breakers, water tank


34 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway Under-bed storage accessed via rear doors is useful (left), while below, kitchen is compact but well equipped for the size of vehicle.

gauges, 12 V switches, hot water switches and battery voltmeter. Under-seat storage is also available, but much of the offside is taken by the water heater, batteries, battery charger and, surprisingly for this size motorhome, a 1000 W inverter. On the opposite side the gas cylinder bin takes up much of the under-seat space. There are access doors at the ends of the seat storage, but there isn’t a great deal of space for external items like power cords, hose reels or wheel chocks.

Time to Eat

C

ompact might be a good word to use for the galley, but it is equipped with most of the standard items – a Spinflo four-burner cooktop and grill; Dometic rangehood and a stainless steel sink with detachable drainer.


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 35

Getaway's external conversion bits include Seitz hopper windows, Fiamma awning, Winegard TV aerial and a gas cylinder bin.


36 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway

Bench extension support seems a bit flimsy, but pantry baskets are good, as is the plastic bowl that includes a drainer, chopping board and cutlery rack.

Drawer space is quite generous, with five of variable sizes, along with a cupboard and two overhead lockers. In the original layout the sink butted up against the bed, which was an issue. However, either the original design changed or an owner added a hinged bench extension. On the opposite side are those other two kitchen essentials: a 150-litre compressor fridge and LG microwave. Given the setup, the latter item is set quite high for shorter people.Next to the fridge is a large full-height cupboard, with shelves, wire baskets and clothing hangers, which could have a variety of uses.


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 37 The bathroom is a decent size and includes a corner basin with mixer control for the height-adjustable shower.

After Hours

A

lthough not everyone likes them, one of the advantages of single beds with a design like this is that the can be left made up. if a double bed is needed, it can be set up with a bit of a fiddle with the table and seat cushions. It measures 1.83 m x 1.73 m (6 ft x 5 ft 8 in) when everything is in position.

Keeping Clean

B

athrooms are tricky little items in van sized conversions and I sometimes marvel at the way manufacturers get them in. This Avoca has all the standard features, like a variable height shower, wash

basin with separate tap and the ubiquitous Thetford cassette toilet. I noted earlier that the toilet cassette is accessed from the inside, not outside. It might be an awkward arrangement in some motorhome designs, but given this one is opposite the sliding door it isn’t too bad.

What I Think

A

lthough the Getaway Avoca is not your typical B/C class motorhome, what drew my attention to it is its suitability for first time motorhomers who perhaps are not comfortable with, or just don’t want, a larger vehicle. Both its general condition and low distance travelled (41,286 km) suggests a rig not greatly used, given it was built around 2008.

I have to confess I am a bit of a fan of large van conversions.


38 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway Being a van conversion the Avoca is more at home in city traffic while its solid metal body is well suited to being kept outdoors without high maintenance requirements.

I have to confess I am a bit of a fan of large van conversions. Unlike many of our readers, who are wafting around the country, I still have to earn an income based in a big city. Therefore something the size of the Avoca is good for me – a comfortable size to live in and with all the essential features, yet not difficult to navigate around city streets. It’s also quite a well appointed motorhome in generally good condition and offers a couple of options in the sleeping department, which should keep most people happy.

Although the original manufacturer is out of business, most of the items fitted are commonly used and still readily available, including parts for the Iveco Daily van itself. An advantage of the van conversion is that no specially made motorhome body panel mouldings are used. Price wise, this particularly motorhome was more expensive than some of its contemporaries, but the low usage and very good condition are the reasons for that.


Used Test: Avoca Getaway | 39

Specifications Manufacturer

Getaway Motorhomes

Model

Avoca

Build Date

2008

Odometer reading

41,286 km

Base Vehicle

Iveco Daily Agile 35S14

Engine

2.3-litre turbo-diesel

Power

100 kW @ 3000-3900 rpm

Torque

320 Nm @ 1700-3000 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3200 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

2

External Length

7.0 m (23 ft)

External Width

2.0 m (6 ft 7 in)

External Height

2.74 m (9 ft)

Internal Height

1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)

Rear Bed (Singles)

1.83 m x 0.64 m (6 ft x 2 ft 1 in)

Rear Bed (Doubles)

1.83 m x 1.73 m (6 ft x 5 ft 8 in)

Cooktop

Spinflo Minigrill

Fridge

Vitrifrigo 150-litre 240/12 V

Microwave

LG

Lighting

12 V Halogen & LED

Batteries

185 AH

Gas

1 x 4.5 kg

Heater

Webasto diesel

Solar Panels

2 x 100W (est)

Air Conditioner

n/a

Hot Water Heater

Truma 14-litre

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Flexihose, variable height

Fresh Water Tank

100-litres

Grey Water Tank

55-litres

Price (windscreen DA)

$89,990

Pros

• Excellent condition for a used motorhome • Getaway’s general cabinetry work • Generous supply of kitchen drawers • Electrical controls located in one area • Good solar panel and battery capacities • Both side and rear doors insect screened

• • • •

Cons

Bed length for taller people Door struts need replacing No fans or air conditioner fitted No provision for second gas cylinder

Contact

Australian Motor Homes Click for Google Maps

31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290. Ph: 02 4948 0433 E: enquiries@australianmotorhomes.com.au W: australianmotorhomes.com.au

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


40 | Used Test: Avoca Getaway

About reviewing pre-loved motorhomes When reading through reviews on used motorhomes a few points need to be kept in mind. Although we will have a test drive of the vehicle, it should in no way be considered a thorough evaluation of the mechanical components. We will open and shut everything we can find, as well as turn on and off all the appliances (if there’s gas in the cylinders - Ed). Although we will try and list all the

specifications, some like solar panel capacity and house battery capacity might well have changed since original manufacture. There might also be items that a former owner has added. Finally – and this might sound bleedin' obvious – but the particular vehicle we review might well be sold between review and publication, so these reviews should be seen very much as a guide.

Warranty and other issues A particular concern with buying a used motorhome is that all the appliances function correctly. Bert van Leeuwarden, from Australian Motor Homes, told me that when a used motorhome is bought from them the AMH team spends half a day at pickup time not only showing the new owner how everything functions but also turning on items like the fridge (which take time to cool), Webasto

heaters (which take time to warm) and air conditioners, to demonstrate they function correctly. It's a good question to ask any dealer about, whether this sort of service is offered. Warranties vary from dealer to dealer so make sure you understand the finer details of any being offered.

Upgrading the (plastic door) struts would be an easy job for anyone with basic handyman skills.


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iMotorhome Rentals lets you browse or book campervan or motorhome holidays live online, almost anywhere in the World! • Campervans and Motorhomes • Worldwide coverage • Huge vehicle range • Highly competitive rates • Instant pricing • Regular special offers • Book with confidence!

Visit www.imotorhome.com.au today


42 | Travel Feature

Leek Frog

Playing

Mr and Mrs Malcolm find motorhomes of great interest in Wales and France‌

B

onjour mes amies (I'm not going to try that in Welsh!). In contrast to most of you, who probably spent Christmas and New Year either in air conditioned comfort or sitting by a lake or the sea somewhere, Mrs Malcolm and I opted for a winter holiday. Our choice? Britain and France, but mostly in London, Wales and Normandy. This might


Travel Feature | 43

sound like an odd thing to do but we'd done it before and knew exactly what to expect. Winter travel has some special benefits – crowds are down (except in places like Le Mont St Michel in Southern Normandy); it’s possible to avoid the Christmas stresses at home and you get to see Christmas lights at 5.00 pm. It’s also possible to get to a Carols by Candelight service at 6.00 pm and enjoy the full effect of the candles!

out and enjoying themselves. In Swansea, Wales, on Boxing Day we were surprised to see a large, warmly dressed crowd on the beach and even a few loony tunes surfing….

A-Class of their own

A

lthough I saw campervans and motorhomes of all shapes and sizes, an item of note was the considerable number of A-class motorhomes. Apart from a few obvious US rigs, most were built on cutI'd like to point out this was not a motorhome down Mercedes Sprinter, Fiat Ducato and Iveco holiday at all, but I did make a few observations Daily chassis. In the Ducato category I also along the way. I was really surprised at the include the Renault and Peugeot lookalikes. number of motorhomers on the move or parked In some ways this is not a surprise: given up somewhere; more so in France than Britain, the inclement weather I'd want to make use but still a considerable number given the time of every inch of interior motorhome space. of year. On that same note, there were many Another point of note was a considerable more motorhomers than caravanners or 5th number of motorhomes carried bike racks on wheelers, although I did see several of the latter the back. Perhaps the locals prefer to bike on the Poole-Cherbourg ferry. Clearly the winter around their destinations rather than tow a car weather is not a deterrent for the locals getting (makes sense to me - Ed)?


44 | Travel Feature

Compact is the buzz word in Europe and campervans are very popular. Many old delivery vans (left) end their days a cheap-but-cheerful campers.

Around the tourist areas in both Wales and France there were plenty of caravan parks (called Camping, en France) and I did notice a few motorhomers discretely doing some free camping. There were also plenty of well signposted dump points. In either French or Welsh, they were quite obvious. Curiously, in both Britain and France the local authorities tend to stick height barriers on car parks and similar places, even in well known tourist destinations. One in France was so narrow and short that I could barely get my Renault Megane hatchback through, let alone a VW campervan.

Past experiences

I

've motorhomed in Britain before – several times – and on one occasion for a period of eight months, so I know it's a great way to see the country. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, starting with avoiding the peak holiday season (August). Whilst there are plenty of good motorways in both Britain and France, there are also plenty of narrow (and I mean narrow) country lanes – not the place for lots of passing traffic. If considering renting, the biggest is not always the best. Narrow lanes aside there's also the parking issue. An extra item to keep in mind is

I did notice a few motorhomers discretely doing some free camping.


Travel Feature | 45 driving a left-hand drive vehicle in France. Whilst I found it mostly okay (having done it before), one little challenge was changing gears with my right hand: I had to re-coordinate myself There are considerably more manual vehicles in Britain and France than Australia or NZ, so chances are you'd get one. I'd think carefully too about taking a right hand drive vehicle from Britain to France; whilst it's certainly possible to drive along quite well it does require even more of a mind shift! One final thing to keep in mind if travelling off-season (i.e. November to March) and particularly in Britain is that some places (think restaurants and caravan parks) close for the “season." In Normandy we ran into that problem because a number of museums related to D-Day history closed in January. On that note, if planning on visiting Normandy this coming June, remember it's the 70 the Anniversary of D-Day and I suspect it might get rather crowded. Having said all that, it seemed to me the motorhome industry is certainly alive and kicking in Europe and, in my opinion, a great way to see the countryside, no matter what time of year!


46 | Rogues' Gallery

Bedford Days

An immaculate hybrid Bedford with a brand new house body plus a cool green caboose that literally unfolds‌ from The Flying Tortoise


Rogues' Gallery | 47

A modern take on a classic style. Over-cab bed has impressive window space while the substantial metal framing should keep it all together for years. Love the roofline!

N

ew Zealand is renowned for its beautiful housetrucks. Locals and overseas visitors alike delight in seeing the traditional Bohemian-styled Gypsy housetrucks and housebuses still gracing the country's roads and freedom camping areas. This first housetruck, belonging to NZ locals Kim and Dana, is a hybrid made from a 1978 J5 Bedford chassis and a1952 Bedford body. Kim, apparently, has had plenty of housetruck experience with his brother Rhys, having built more than 30 of New Zealand's most beautiful,

traditionally-styled homes-on-wheels between them. This stunning example of their work, which took two years to create, features a 74 kW (100 hp) diesel engine; steel framing, aluminium windows and doors; polystyrene insulation; 200-litre stainless steel fresh and grey water tanks; 160 square feet of living space including a chemical toilet and shower; solar panels feeding a 12 volt system and gas for water heating and cooking.


48 | Rogues' Gallery

A gas cooker and solar panels are modern concessions, but the old world charm of the Housetruck era has been faithfully retained.

Cool Caboose

O

ur second featured housetruck belongs to Mike and Kay and is a very interesting Caboose-styled Bedford vehicle.

When it arrived at a recent Bedford rally it immediately had an audience of admirers who gathered around to watch the scenario unfold. Literally. There were no smoke or mirrors, though,

only some well designed and engineered features including gas struts to raise and lower the large outdoor deck area of 10 sq m (110 sq ft). The interior of The Caboose, as the housetruck is called, is 14 sq m (157 sq ft) giving a combined covered living area of 24 sq m (267 sq ft).


Rogues' Gallery | 49

Locals and visitors delight in traditional Bohemianstyled Gypsy housetrucks


50 | Rogues' Gallery Mike's late father John, an engineer, started the build on this 1981 TK Bedford, which had its chassis lengthened in 1993, and 2 years later it was complete and on the road. These days it's often off the road, being used as the family bach (Kiwi slang for holiday home) at a beautiful place called Papa Aroha, meaning Land Of Love. Or, when Mike and Kay have the urge for an adventure, somewhere else…

This Bedford’s party trick – an unfolding deck – is always popular to watch and provides a huge increase in living area. Just don’t be in a hurry to pack up and go…


Rogues' Gallery | 51

These days it's often off the road, being used as the family bach (Kiwi slang for holiday home).


52 | Mobile Tech

WIKICAMPS Possibly the most useful RVing app on the market‌


Mobile Tech | 53 Every campsite or attraction includes a range of detailed information using easy-tounderstand icons, plus a userreported star rating out of five. The level of detail information provided, plus the ability to ad or update your own comments and photos, makes WikiCamps a powerful and invaluable resource.

W

e’ve been meaning to review WikiCamps for some time and the original plan was to do so after a touring trip. This hasn’t eventuated but we can’t delay sharing the good news about this terrific app. Many of you already use it, we know, but for those who don’t it will be the best $4.49 you’ve spent on your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. WikiCamps is a multi-featured app which, at its heart, is for finding somewhere to stay. It lists caravan parks and free-camping sites

as well as tourist information offices, sights, attractions and even free wifi spots. You can refine you search to include specifics like pet friendly or shady or even “nice scenery,” and most importantly you can now search offline. This latest development, accomplished by downloading a national map, lets you switch between ‘live’ data via Google Maps when connected to the Internet or using the stored map when out in the bush. Very handy. Using the View Map mode displays a detailed base map with different icons for caravan


54 | Mobile Tech parks, camp sites, attractions, etc. Touch one and it brings up the name and address, plus a separate dialogue box with an as-the-crow-flies distance from your location, a star rating and three options: Details, Navigate and Favourites. Details lists name, address and telephone number (you can call if viewing on a smartphone) and icons for features like facilities, wifi, etc. It also shows GPS coordinates, the crows-flies distance and user-rated star rating again, plus buttons allowing you to rate or report it as well as view the update history in case of errors. There are also headings for comments, prices and photos as uploaded by users, or for you to add yours. The Navigate button throws up a menu list of options depending on which, if any, GPS navigation apps you have installed, plus on an iPhone or iPad, Apple Maps or Safari. Favourites allows you to add that place to a favourites list for quick future reference. The WikiCamps app includes a chat forum, camping item check list, satellite finder, compass and time zone clock. It also lets you search by location, zoom in and out of the map, filter what you’re looking for and much, much more. The term Wiki, according to Wikipedia (how appropriate), means, “A website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.� WikiCamps almost fits the description perfectly, although it was developed privately. The ability for users to


Mobile Tech | 55 contribute and update information and photos is powerful and valuable, making it an absolute must-have app for anyone touring Australia. There are also WikiCamps apps for New Zealand and the UK, plus an Explore Bali app from the same developer. Each is just $0.99 in iTunes and are also available for Android devices at Google Play. This leaves us wondering if WikiCamps USA and Canada is far away? Hope not‌

At a Glance Name: WikiCamps Australia Price: $4.49 Value: Excellent Suits: Apple iOS and Android Opinion: A must-buy app!


56 | Mobile Tech

Inspector Gadget Tech goodies to make your life easier‌ by Richard Robertson


Mobile Tech | 57

When our dash mat lost its stickiness a quick rinse under a tap restored it to as-new condition. Just be careful where you leave it to dry as it can be difficult to remove.

DASH MAT UPDATE

J

ust a quick update on one of last issue’s featured tech gadgets, the Koganbranded dash mats. A few days after going to print our oldest ‘test mat’ slid off the dashboard, phone attached, and disappeared up under the driver’s seat. Bugger… In retrospect I had noticed its sticky black surface attracting dust and the odd hair in days leading up to the Great Failure. Retrieved from under the driver’s seat it was encrusted in the ‘stuff’ that lurks in such places and in the process had become about as sticky as an English cricketers’ hands. So not very. Suddenly I remembered what the website said, ran it under a tap – phone removed – washed off the gunk and left it to dry. The next morning I could scarcely peel it off the laundry sink edge and it’s now back in the car and good as gold. But I’m keeping an eye on it for dust and odd hairs, and if you’ve bought a pack I suggest you do the same. If you’re interested

in the dash mats click You can check out the current deal by clicking HERE.

POP GOES THE BASKET

O

kay, so it’s not really tech, but this ‘gadget’ comes recommended by long term iMotorhome reader Alan Zwitzkalsky (not his real last name). Alan writes:


58 | Mobile Tech

“I bought one of these folding washing baskets yesterday at the camping shop – yes I am a sucker for acquiring such things.” “Works a treat for $39 and takes up so much less room than a normal basket. Probably best not to leave it in a campground laundry whilst your washing is on as they look so good someone will pinch it!” To find this basket on eBay click HERE.

RECORD DEAL

D

o you have records (remember them?) stashed away in cupboards and no way to enjoy them or take their music with you when you travel? Kogan has just released a mini turntable that connects to your commuter via a USB cable, allowing you to save your precious music straight to the hard drive as MP3 files. Priced at just $49 including delivery this nifty looking unit is shipping on or after 11 Feb and is currently on pre sale. iMotorhome can't vouch for its sound quality, but judging from our other Kogan purchases it should be fine. It also comes with a 14-day money back guarantee, so you really don’t have anything to lose. To see the deal click HERE.

This USB mini record player could be just the thing to help convert your favourite vinyl music to digital.


Reader Report: My Motorhome | 59

My Motorhome

Avida Eyre by David Fulcher Make & Model: Avida Eyre (single bed model) Year: 2013 Bought: New from dealer, zero mileage. Mileage now: 6,500 km Length: 7.6 m Licence required: Car Base vehicle brand: Fiat Ducato 180 Multijet Engine size: 3.0-litres Transmission: Automated manual Average fuel economy: 8.8 L/100 km (32 mpg) No of berths: 4 No of seatbelt-equipped seats: 4 Why did I choose it? Ease of use, also owned a previous 2011 Eyre First vehicle or replacement: Replacement Options fitted: Tailor made sheepskin covers to both front seats, water filtration system, reverse camera, 2nd TV, DVD, air max vent covers.

Features Best features: Size, usability. Worst features: Front skylight rattle. Warranty issues: Minor – cupboard fitting,

shower seal, pre tensioner on drivers seat belt, general rattles. Dealer support: very good Manufacturer support: Very good Recommend to a friend: Yes 

Comments Being a hand made vehicle one has to accept that minor issues will occur, however the support from the dealer/manufacturer is the key to success. The other comment I would make is dealers need to explore with the customer their intent on towing. From our experience they do not mention this and it is important. As for example the Fiat Ducato (GCM 6000 kg), has very limited towing capacity (1500 kg) and needs an extended tow bar, which adds cost. Also the fact it is front-wheel drive and not really suitable. Although people are towing with these I would not be surprised if they are illegal.


60 | Reader Report: My Special Place

My Special Place

Pialba Bay Beachfront Tourist Park by David Fulcher

Location Address: The Esplanade, Pialba, Hervey Bay, 4165. State: Queensland. Phone: 07 4128 1399. Email: pialba@beachfronttouristparks.com.au Website: Click HERE

Details A large caravan park, suitable for big rigs, absolute water/beach front, not pet friendly, limited area for children. Visited: Four times to date over last couple of years.  How I found it: Travelling with the family. Why I visited: Our son and family moved to Hervey Bay with work. Was it RV Friendly: Yes, great for parking, dump point, power sites, clean facilities.

Price range: Cheap, Jan 2014 $28 for a powered site. What I liked: Close to town, sea front, peaceful most of the time. What I didn’t: Not much for kids in park, however plenty of other amenities in the local area. Would I go back: Yes 

Comments Friendly, helpful staff, park kept tidy. Kids are not allowed to ride bikes, skate boards, scooters, etc, in park, which for the peace and comfort of everyone is fair.


Reader Review Templates | 61 Share your experience for a chance to win a mystery prize!

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our fellow iMotorhome readers have told us they want to know all about the rig your drive and those special places you’ve discovered during your travels. To make it easy simply use the appropriate template below!

Copy and paste the template, fill in as much information as you think relevant under each category and email it, along with a maximum of 12 photos, to reviews@imotorhome.com.au. Not only might you see your name in print, you’ll be in the draw for a monthly mystery prize! Vehicle Report: My name My email address My location

Special Place Report: My name My email address My location

Vehicle: Type (e.g. camper/motorhome/bus conversion) Factory or Custom built Make & Model Year Bought new/used/dealer/private Mileage when bought Mileage now Length Licence required (car/LR/MR/HR) Base vehicle brand Engine size (litres) Transmission (man/auto) Average fuel economy No of berths No of seatbelt-equipped seats Why did I choose it First vehicle or replacement Options fitted Best features Worst features Warranty issues Dealer support Manufacturer support Recommend to a friend (Yes/No) General comments

Place Location: Name Address State Phone E-mail Website Details: Description Visited (month/year) How I found it Why I visited Was it RV Friendly (parking/dump point/etc) Price range (cheap/average/expensive) What I liked What I didn’t Would I go back General comments


62 | Next Issue

Entry Level

Based on Fiat’s popular Ducato and providing excellent on-paper value for money, can the baby Jayco live up to the hype? Come back next issue to find out. There will be more interesting and unusual vehicles in our new Rogues’ Gallery plus a report on a used Kea motorhome of a type proving extremely popular.

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ext issue we’ll be taking a look at Jayco’s entry level motorhome, the Conquest. According to Jayco the Conquest is, “A marvel of modern engineering,” but we’ll have to take their word for it until Malcolm sends in his report.

February 07-09

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Until February 15 be sure to follow us on and Twitter for news, Facebook comments and more than a laugh or two. Stay safe, cool (if you can) and enjoy this final month of summer!

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Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

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

Click for Google Maps

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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.

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Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 41 – 01 Feb 2014  

Subscribe FREE at www.imotorhome.com.au

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 41 – 01 Feb 2014  

Subscribe FREE at www.imotorhome.com.au

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