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iMotorhome

64 : Jan 24 2015

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

No Causeway

for Concern!

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Trakka’s 2WD Trakkadu is a surprisingly capable tourer…

Horizon Waratah

A great motorhome that’s truly versatile…

NZ in Winter!

Tips for winter touring on NZ’s South Island

Product Review Projecta folding solar panels!


Personalise your journey... Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary manufacturing Australia’s most beautiful recreational vehicles. This year we are looking forward. In 2015 we are excited to release 3 new models on new chassis’, including the grandest motorhome to leave our production facility. We are investing in our customer support with new team members and resources to ensure our Sunliner customers, new and old, feel the same care and attention that we invest in our motorhomes. We have several new projects including our new website release and the introductinon of a new Sunliner Online Community. We look forward to meeting and sharing with you our beautiful motorhomes and campervans throughout the year at the Camping and Caravan Shows, at our dealerships and online.

2015 www.sunliner.com.au


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! Contributors Facebook “f ” Logo

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Facebook “f ” Logo

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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design & Production Manager

ABN: 34 142 547 719

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial

Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@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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On my mind | 5

Januaryitis? The Festive Season has passed, school holidays are drawing to a close and peak hour traffic is getting busier as the world slowly winds up to full speed again. It’s a familiar pattern that signals the ‘real’ start to the new year, and for many it’s a daunting prospect indeed. For those unhappy in their jobs, the prospect of another work year stretching out ahead can almost be debilitating. I know, I’ve been there. iMotorhome kicked off in April 2012 and our first issue hit the ‘electronic newsstands’ a month later. Although we’re not quite three years old, this is our fourth calendar year of publishing. Some days it only seems like five minutes since we started, while on others it feels like we’ve been doing this forever. The one thing I’ve never faced in this time is Januaryitis; there’s always much to do/plan/think about, and most of it’s interesting. Well, apart from accounts. I’ve heard it said that “If you work at something you love you’ll never work a day in your life.” This of course is rubbish – just ask any business owner, no matter how enthusiastic they are about what they do – but for the most part the spirit behind it is true.

days kicked up a fuss because he hadn’t sold any new motorhomes. I gave him his money back – unrequested – and told him to go away. He was suffering from the misconception of immediacy: Just because a product suddenly appears on the Internet doesn’t mean A: people want it, or B: it’s good value. The good news is we seem to be doing most things right. In 2014 well over 100,000 magazine copies were downloaded and we had more than 300,000 website visitors. Considering that three years ago we kicked with a literal handful of subscribers, 300 downloads of our first issue and almost no website traffic, I think we’re doing okay. Oh, and our Facebook Page cracked 20,000 Likes a few days ago (and our best-ever Facebook week reached more than 319,000 people!).

For me iMotorhome has been a steep learning curve, largely because unlike traditional publishing there’s no real model to work to. ePublishing is a brave new world and I’m pleased, or should I say ‘encouraged,’ to see multi-national media empires grappling with the same question: “How do we make money from this?”

Last issue we started a work-in-progress magazine makeover and the changes will continue to roll out over the next few issues. Let me know what you think. The new website will kick off any day now, although I’m told our existing site will need to be off the air “For a day or two” as our Web Guru migrates all the content across. Grrr… I’ll then get stuck into updating and adding fresh content, as it’s been in hibernation for way too long now. Our app should appear shortly, depending on approval times from Apple and Google, too. All of which explains why I don’t have Januaryitis and why the year ahead doesn’t seem so daunting. How’s your 2015 looking?

Being entirely advertising funded, one of the hurdles we face is potential advertisers’ perceptions. Because we’re online a surprising number seem to think anything more than a few dollars for an ad is a rip-off. We even had one fellow who took a small website ad and within

Richard


6 | Content

3

About Us

7

Resources

5

On my Mind

9

On your Mind

21

Marketplace

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

Happy New Year!

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

10

News

22

Touring Test: Trakkadu 340 TDI

36

Day Test: Horizon Waratah

48

Product Review: Projecta’s Folding Solar Panels

50

Travel: NZ Winter Wanderings

60

Mobile Tech: Appy New Year!

66

Next Issue

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Trakka’s entry level camper is surprisingly capable!

A Sprinter-based van conversion motorhome with plenty to offer…

How do they stand up in the real world?

Insights and tips if you’re planning an NZ winter getaway this year…

An app selection to help get your 2015 off to a flying start!

What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!


Resources | 7 resources

iMotorhome

because getting them is half the fun...

Missed an Issue? We've got them all saved in one spot for you. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.

Missed a road test? No problem! Click HERE to find them all listed by manufacturer. because getting there is half the fun...

Taste of Freedom!

because getting there is half the fun...

Grand Design -

because getting there is half the fun...

Revisited

English Holiday

iMotorhome

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iMotorhome

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iMotorhome

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iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Malcolm Street spends time roaming New Zealand in this compact ex-rental Kea…

Two years on how has the Trakkaway 700 evolved?

Auto-Sleeper’s Malvern is an English motorhome that’s a fine holiday destination in its own right…

Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at…

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Richard Robertson

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Malcolm Street


January Deals On Now!


On your mind | 9

Win $50 for the best letter! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. 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 $50 to help you on your way.

Extend Yourself! and the tube is run to the actual tyre valve (secured with a couple of cable ties). The kit costs $12 from RLM Distributing in Brisbane and can be found at this web address: www. rlmdistributing.com.au/promotions/70. Cheers, George.

Hi Richard, I thought this was a useful idea. It’s a ‘spare tyre inflation kit’ that saves crawling under many motorhomes to check the pressure in your spare tyre, if it is mounted under the rear of the vehicle. The bracket can be fixed in place say near your numberplate or below the rear bumper

That’s a terrific tip thanks George and one I reckon is something of a bargain. Please accept this issue’s $50 reward, which would buy four (with change) and make great presents for your motorhoming friends. Or you could just buy a good bottle of red. Cheers!

Recently on facebook.... Mission Impossumble! ccording to a post on Facebook, “A possum in Australia broke into a bakery and ate so many pastries that it couldn't move. This is how they found him in the morning.”

A


10 | On your mind / News

WA Insights

I was extremely interested in the an article under Freedom of Choice in Issue 63 (3 Dec) – an opinion piece which focussed on WA. I was tickled pink to read the reference to the Pilbara Regional Council (PRC) and their positive contribution to camping and parking areas. In my past life (prior to my grey nomad life) I sat on the PRC representing the Shire of Ashburton (past President). I and a Councillor from the Shire of Karratha were given a charter to seek funding from the WA Government to develop ideas to increase tourism numbers with an emphasis on the grey nomad market. What we knew at that time was this market, on an annual basis, amounted to $800 m. We also commissioned a consultant (the report is being held by the Shire of Ashburton and makes for a good read) to assist us. One recommendation which emerged was to improve and increase the camping and parking sites, which was classified as a high priority. The PRC and the Shire of Ashburton were successful with their

funding bid and now the rest is history. So you can see why I was happy to read the reference to PRC. I passed the article onto the Councillor from Karratha (who still sits) and the Mayor of Port Hedland, who both still have a strong focus of tourism and grey nomads. Tourism competing against the fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) mine workers market was a huge challenge for us as all – yes I mean all – of the park owners converted the parks generally to cater for this lucrative market. Cheers, Greg. Thanks for the insights Greg – and great work too. WA has so much to offer, it’s s shame much of the state seems to have priced itself out of the Grey Nomad market and/or turned its back on it. It will be interesting to see what happens as the FIFOs taper off, in line with a decrease in mining labour requirements. Please keep us posted if you hear anything more!

Living the Dream

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Queensland reader is looking to “Live the dream” – an 11 m (36 ft) Swagman Australian Dream, that is. Because we don’t (yet) run Wanted ads on our website, Neil contacted us to ask if we could spread the word. He said the motorhome, "Needs to have been maintained complete

with logbooks. I’m situated in Brisbane South, but distance is not a factor.” If you have an Australian Dream for sale, or know someone who does, please email richard@ imotorhome.com.au for Neil’s contact details.


12 | News

Cool Camper!

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rove your motorhome so much you can’t bear to leave it outside? Now you can bring it into the kitchen thanks to the clever people at Forty Horse in Melbourne. Classic car enthusiasts with a passion for VWs in particular, Forty Horse will take a photo of your motorhome (car, bike or whatever) and turn it into a full-size custom graphic to cover the front of your refrigerator. The only extra thing they need is you fridge’s dimensions. Alternatively you can choose one of their standard and beautifully done split-screen VW T1s in a range of colours. Custom designs cost $120 and standard prints are $90, plus postage (of $10-20 approx). They also make T-shirts. to order or find out more visit their website www.fortyhorse.com.au


Great things come in small packages The TOYOTA Commuter With BUS 4x4’s High Lift Trooper conversion, This electronically controlled part-time 4WD system makes this Commuter a very serious off-road beast. Our fit-outs are professionally Built and we are able to configure your motorhome to whatever your desire may be. Contact us today to discuss the possibilities.

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14 | News

A Glass in the Hand…

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olding camp chairs have had drink can/bottle holders for years, but for those who prefer to relax with a wine or champagne glass in hand, a convenient holder has been sadly lacking - but not any longer. Winerest is an Australian invention that involves a small pad with a “stem capture and glass cradle system” that attaches to existing chairs via a patented “Lollipop Lock”. Available in red, blue or green, Winerests cost $15 each or $27.50 a pair (inc postage Australiawide) and can be ordered online from www. winerest.com.

Just in Case upcycle vintage speakers and suitcases to make unique pieces with a focus on sound quality and functionality.”

A

ccording to its website, “Son Valise is a Melbourne, Australia-based design company that make JukeCases vintage suitcase speakers reinvented. We

The products are impressive but the prices rather steep, although understandable for one-off creations, but now the JukeCase Mini is entering production thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Pozzible that was oversubscribed. The JukeCase Mini is a portable Bluetooth speaker system with retro styling for those who want to share their sound but don’t want to look like techno geeks. Featuring a 20-hour battery life and claimed superior sound quality, the JukeCase Mini is small enough to be carried on a pushbike but big enough to host a party. Find out more at their website www.jukecase.com.


16 | News

NZ Highway Vigilante

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n Australian family was left stranded on a desolate strip of road in New Zealand after a local man pulled them over and confiscated their hire car keys because he says they almost caused a head-on collision. The Queenstown man pursued the family of seven's rental car after he allegedly saw them try to overtake someone and nearly cause a collision. The man, who asked not to be named, performed a U-turn and sped off after the tourists. He then flashed his lights and beeped his horn but said the Australian tourist had "no intention of stopping".

"I like to think I know what I'm talking about," the New Zealander told the Otago Daily Times. "It's just hard to put it into words just how close it was." Deciding to take things into his own hands, he forced the car to stop. After snatching the car keys from the ignition, the New Zealander told the driver he would call police when he had mobile phone reception. To read more of this story from the Sydney Morning Herald click HERE.

Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure?

Find all the inspiration and information you need for an awesome journey with our ebooks for iPad.

Get your FREE eBOOK for iPad* www.ebooktraveller.com.au * Applies to Touring Victoria’s Kelly Country eBook for iPad


News | 17

History for Sale

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1947 AEC double decker bus has found its way onto eBay and is looking for a new home. It doesn’t appear to be registered, but was recently driven from Sydney to Narrabri – at the stately cruising speed of 42 km/h – and supposedly with no problems. With sleeping for 13 and a host of features like air conditioning, shower and a fridge/freezer it would certainly be an interesting vehicle to own. Power comes from a 9.6 L diesel engine driving though a 4-speed pre-select gearbox and it has air brakes. Bids start at $27,000 and there’s no reserve, but the auction ends at 11:41 am on 28 Jan. Click HERE to visit the eBay ad.

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18 | News

Story Update

I

n Issue 40 of iMotorhome eMagazine (18 Jan 2014) we ran a feature called Fare Share, about a privately run motorhome shared-ownership scheme. We had a call this week from the organiser, David Woodrow, to say they’d had a good response to the

article, but that the featured vehicle is coming up for sale. It’s a 7-metre 2010 Winnebago Leisure Seeker C2334SL on an Iveco cabchassis that has been fully maintained and will be able for purchase from 1 May this year. David’s concern is that the odometer reading – 180,000 km – will seem high for a 5 year old vehicle and people will think it’s been a rental, whereas in fact it’s been very carefully looked after and is in top condition all ‘round. The syndicate is planning a replacement and has started the investigation process, so if you’re interested in this well equipped and comfortable vehicle – with a single slide-out – for $96,000, visit the ad on our website HERE and/or contact David via email at dwoodrow@ bigpond.net.au.

The Wirraway 260 SL

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News | 19

Over the Hill? is a proud moment for our community,” Mayor Wincen Cuy said. “Blood, sweat, tears and very good times have been part and parcel of our history. And while today’s announcement looks at our past – our National Heritage Listing is now very much about our future. Our past is our future. We do have a great story to tell”.

B

roken Hill says it can “Rejoice as Australia’s First Nationally Heritage Listed City”. According to the Local Council, “Broken Hill’s outstanding significance to the nation for its role in creating enormous wealth, its enduring and continuing mining, importance to industrial relations and unionism, community resilience and ingenuity as well as our mining and outback landscape have been recognised with this prestigious citation.” Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt bestowed the honour on the City at a presentation in front of the Town Hall Facade – one of the City’s significant heritage-listed buildings. “The announcement brings together more than a decade of work and advocacy to have the city named as Australia’s first Heritage City. It

“This recognition positions Broken Hill as the only entire Australian City to be awarded National Heritage Listing and therefore recognition as the most significant heritage tourism city within Australia. This prestigious citation will raise the international profile of Broken Hill, upgrade our visitor economy and provide our resilient community with momentum to endure in our efforts towards economic diversification.” Mayor Cuy said there were many to thank for the award, but the announcement was a community celebration. “We have had many great supporters of this application. Their efforts have been realised today. This is another significant milestone in our colourful and unique history and one that should be shared and celebrated by the whole of our community”.

Avida’s Garage Sale!

O

n Saturday 31 January, Avida is having a huge clearance sale at its Western Sydney factory. The plan is to clear out as many things as possible that have accumulated over the years and are now surplus to requirements; things like RV

hardware, accessories, bedding, doors and windows, and much more. The address is 32 David Rd, Emu Plains and EFTPOS and credit card facilities will be available.


Relax in Paradise

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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


iMotorhome Marketplace | 21

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

Truck Campers Slide Ons Fifth Wheelers 03 9588 0077 www.trailblazersrv.com info@trailblazersrv.com

Snipe... The new way of receiving TV anywhere!

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LED Replacement Lamps For Motorhomes & Caravans

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NEW! Infrared sensor; Convert your existing lights to security lights!

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No Black spots - No poor reception • Fully automatic tv reception • Extra Accessories - 240/12 Power and Thru wall Easy Eye Fitting.

Absolutely Jaw Dropping Sydney Camping Show Specials SNIPE / VAST bundle : $1495 (rrp $2545) SNIPE without VAST : $1295 (rrp $2195) SNIPE TWIN, no VAST : $1895 (rrp $2345) Special pricing subject to availability. Get in Early - Closes Sunday 4 May 2014 Order at show or on line

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22 | Touring Test: Trakka Trakkadu TDI 340

MR

Versatile!

Trakka’s entry-level Trakkadu can do a lot more than just take you camping‌ by Richard Robertson


Touring Test | 23

Modestly unassuming, the Trakkadu TDI 340 lets you get around and explore in almost total anonymity. Even with ‘just’ 2WD, however, there’s enough ability to let you venture off-highway and find those hidden gems.

T

he concept of a smaller multi-purpose vehicle that can take you away on short breaks, carry family or friends, lug a decent load home from the hardware store and still be your daily driver is appealing. It’s possible to spend a lot of money on a luxury 7-8 seat people mover, but if you don’t need to carry that many people and are looking for extra versatility, Trakka’s entry-level 2WD Trakkadu is worth a long hard look. We borrowed one for a few days but rather than head bush, loaded up the in-laws and headed to the beach for fish and chips. Having a comfortable people mover with a fridge, cooker, crockery and cutlery, a dining table for

four, stand-up headroom if required, an awning for shade or weather protection and storage room galore is very appealing. Throw in a bed for an afternoon snooze and the option of independent heating for winter adventures and you have what is, perhaps, the ultimate day touring vehicle.

Strong Foundation

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uilt on Volkswagen’s popular Transporter T5, you could be forgiven for thinking the combination of the smallest engine and two-wheel drive (front) would make for a dull and lacklustre package. But you’d be wrong.


24 | Touring Test Top to bottom: It only takes a couple of minutes to get the awning up, table out and coffee on, making any day trip so much more enjoyable. Trakka’s “40 years of Excellence” shows in the design, while big side windows provide excellent visibility for anyone travelling in the rear seat.

All T5 VWs come with a 2.0 L turbo-diesel engine in one of two states of tune. In this instance it’s a single turbo unit that produces 103 kW @ 4000 rpm and 340 Nm @ 1750 rpm (the other is a twinturbo with 132 kW/400 Nm). Drive, as stated, is through the front wheels and in this model Trakkadu is via a 7-speed DSG gearbox. The DSG, which stands for Direct Shift Gearbox, is marketed as an automatic and that’s how it drives. But as Wikipedia says, “In simple terms a DSG is two separate manual gearboxes (and clutches), contained within one housing, and working as one unit. It was designed by Borg Warner and was initially licensed to the Volkswagen Group. By using two independent clutches a DSG can achieve faster shift times and eliminates the torque converter of a conventional epicyclic automatic transmission”. In practice the DSG shifts in just a few hundredths of a second and delivers the fastest, crispest gear changes imaginable. The only down side is that on a light throttle


Touring Test | 25

On the road the Trakkadu drives like a car. at slow speeds it’s possible to catch it napping if/when you suddenly put your foot down to ‘go’. Like so many things it takes a short while to adapt to, but soon becomes second nature with regular use. Standard equipment is good, with dual front airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), brake assist (BA) electronic stability control

(ESC), anti-slip regulation (ASR) – think traction control – and hill holder looking after you on the safety front. Power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, cab airconditioning, and cruise control with speed limiter are all included too. The test vehicle came with a Plus Pack, which Trakka says most buyers choose

Volkswagen’s cab is a comfortable place to watch the world pass by from. Instruments are clear and crisp, while the optional Plus Pack includes the multi-function leather steering wheel and trip computer. and adds $5000 to the driveaway price. To the vehicle it adds rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, an upgraded RCD310 radio/CD with streaming Bluetooth and hands-free ‘phone, leatherwrapped multi-function steering wheel, trip computer, front side and thorax airbags, sun visor vanity mirrors, A-pillar grab handles, extra cab


26 | Touring Test Left: The optional rear shower with hot water is a must-have, especially after a beach walk. Note the underbed storage and tall wardrobe roller-shutter doors. Below: Forget windy picnic tables and hard wooden benches, the Trakkadu provides an instant dining room for four regardless of the weather.

soundproofing, a dimmable dash panel and a two-tone horn. To the camper conversion it adds rear speakers, a 38 L grey water tank, roof storage shelf and LED reading lights.

Conversion Factors

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ake a look around the mainstream campervan market and you’ll quickly realise that while Trakka makes the most expensive vehicles, it also makes the best. From the flush-fitting rear-hinged elevating roof to


Touring Test | 27 The rear sill makes a handy seat, while the tailgate provides added weather protection. The bed cushion can be removed in a moment, opening up a cavernous rear cargo compartment.


28 | Touring Test

Above: The dining table doubles as an outdoor table, while the step makes a handy seat. Left: Plastic roller shutters for the wardrobe and kitchen cupboards save weight and eliminate the interior space intrusion of traditional doors. Rear storage space, with the seat fully forward like this, is enormous, even with the bed cushion still in place. the standard Webasto diesel-fired cooker and sliding bed-seat with integrated seat belts (and child-seat anchor points), it’s simply clever and impressive. All furniture and amenities run down the driver’s side in one long unit, from behind the drivers seat to the tailgate. There’s the flush-fitting Webasto ceramic cooktop and a round sink at the forward end of the long bench top, with the 80 L Waeco 12 V fridge/freezer below. A sideways-sliding roller shutter aft of the fridge conceals two good-sized drawers, while aft of that is an under-bench drawer and another roller shutter, this one opening to reveal a deep

shelf. At the end of the benchtop is a panel that forms the front side of a full-height wardrobe, with roller shutters again employed to keep weight down and take up as little space when open as possible. An optional rear shower takes hot water from the Webasto unit, as does the sink, keeping the Trakkadu LPG-free. There’s also an optional tailgate tent/annexe available that mounts quickly and easily to provide privacy and a surprising amount of extra living room, plus space to shower and use a porta-potty, if carried. The removable dining table mounts to a track on the kitchen facia that allows it to be moved


Touring Test | 29 Top to bottom: Although compact the dining table can still accommodate four with surprising ease. Cab seats swivel, although the driver’s doesn’t swivel 180º. Rear seat has plenty or fore-aft travel adjustment, and integrated seatbelt. Table for four with water views? Certainly – and no reservation required! fore-and-aft in concert with the rear seat; from well forward so four people can dine in comfort when the cab seats are swivelled, to well aft so as not to interrupt the cook too much. A matching track on the exterior of the sliding side-door allows the table to easily be used outside, while LED awning lights provide excellent outdoor illumination. The optional shower is fitted in the driver’s-side rear corner and is ideal for hosing off beach sand or cleaning muddy shoes, while the lift-up tailgate provides a surprising degree of weather protection. Technically, Trakka fits a single 100 amp-hour AGM house battery with a 15-amp automatic charging system, a mains power connector, a touch-operated control panel for battery and water tank levels, temp, time, 12 V, lights, etc, and a 55 L fresh water tank. The Trakkadu TDI 340 is 5.29 m long, 1.90 m wide and 2.06 m tall, while its gross and tare weights of 3000 kg and 2360 kg (approx), respectively, provide more than 600 kg of load capacity. It rides on 215/65 R16 tyres on 6.5J x 16 rims, uses independent torsion bar front suspension and independent coil springs at the rear, and has 180 mm of ground clearance. It can also tow a braked load of 2000 kg.

Plans of Attract!

T

he traditional Trakkadu floorplan incorporates swivelling cab seats and a sliding rear seat that folds flat and mates up to a fixed rear cushion to make up the bed. The only down side is the sleeping area isn’t overly wide and Trakka refers to it as a 3/4 bed (it measures 1.95 m x 1.25 m). A 1.8 m x 1.2 m


30 | Touring Test

The seat-back folds flat to make up the bed, which at 1248 mm wide Trakka calls a 3/4. New floorplan options comprise two fixed lengthways singles or a full-width double; both of which sacrifice the rear passenger seat and wardrobe unit, but provide more spacious sleeping accommodation. roof bed is optionally available, which would make for two reasonable sized beds for those who like a bit of sleeping space, provided the person ‘up top’ isn’t too long. Interestingly, Trakka now offers two alternative floor plans that seem to have slipped in almost unnoticed. One is the Twin Bed, with two permanent single beds at the rear, while the other is the Full Width Bed, with a permanent full-width rear bed. Both would suit owners with no need/desire to carry more than two people, but the downside is the rear wardrobe is sacrificed, as is some kitchen bench space. The base Trakkadu gets grey plastic bumpers that don’t look as sexy as colour coded items but are far more practical. It also has basic steel

wheels; again not as appealing as stylish alloy units, but simple and durable. There’s a simple honesty to this vehicle that belies its high-tech design, features and construction: It’s robust and invites daily use in the battlegrounds of shopping centre carparks and the commuter crush, while still always being available for excellent adventures when opportunities arise.

Driving

O

n the road the Trakkadu TDI 340 drives like a car, but has a high driving position that provides a more commanding view. Volkswagen has refined the Transporter to the point where it looks, feels and drives like an upmarket European car, and it’s certainly a very enjoyable drive. That is, apart from restricted

The Trakkadu TDI 340 can be your only car, a compact people mover, grand touring vehicle, help you move house and more.


Touring Test | 31 legroom for taller drivers. The dining table stores between the driver’s seat and kitchen end panel, but I had to remove it and store it loosely down the back to have a chance to drive comfortably. The good news is that from next month (Feb ’15) new-build Trakkadus will have the option of a modified kitchen unit to provide good legroom for drivers up to 2 m (6 ft 6 in) tall. The ‘baby’ turbo diesel does a stirling job of moving the Trakkadu along, while the sevenspeed DSG allows the engine to turn at very lazy revs – something like 1700 rpm at 110 km/h from (possibly flawed) memory – proving excellent fuel economy. Engine and wind noise are negligible, while seat comfort is good, aided by fold-down armrests on both front seats. Visibility is good and the side windows are a big aid when manoeuvring in tight situations, but rear parking sensors and/or a reversing camera would be a worthwhile investment.

Day Tripping

I

’d long suspected the Trakkadu would make an excellent touring vehicle for those not necessarily interested in overnight camping. For two to four people it’s an excellent travelling machine capable of comfortably eating up the miles, but with the added bonus of all the facilities for a quick roadside cuppa or a full sitdown meal. It also provides comfortable shelter should the weather turn bad and makes a great base from which to explore walking or biking trails. We popped down to the coast for a day, bought fish and chips and enjoyed them by the water – or as close as we could get, discovering the Local Council installed a car park at our favourite ‘unspoiled’ spot – later stopping for a cuppa on the way home at a local lookout. The Trakkadu performed as expected – perfectly – proving my touring vehicle theory. My In Laws are getting on and my father-in-law has mobility issues, especially with steps. Even

The large sliding side door affords easy access to the rear seat, even for those with some mobility issues. The step proved handy and was easily stored under the bed cushion at the rear.


32 | Touring Test

Reasonable ground clearance and electronic traction control let you tackle dirt roads and shallow causeways like this with ease. Just because it’s two-wheel drive doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! so he was quite readily able to climb in and out of the Trakkadu, with the aid of a portable step. I found that with the rear seat moved even fullyforward there was still ample legroom for them – they said they felt they we're flying first class – while conversations were easily held at normal levels. The rear seat backrest is adjustable and with it set more upright they found it most comfortable, while the seat width proved more than sufficient for them.

Verdict

D

espite its entry level status there’s nothing bargain basement about Trakka’s Trakkadu TDI 340. It’s still expensive by industry standards, but like many things in life you get what you pay for.

The Trakkadu TDI 340 can be your only car, a compact people mover, grand touring vehicle, help you move house, provide shelter at Despite the weight of four adults and a full kit of sporting events, host picnics and also double as camping equipment (sans bedding), the ‘Littlest’ extra guest accommodation. You can even use it as a campervan – who would have thought? Trakkadu managed to negotiate the serious inclines of Kangaroo Valley and surrounds on the way from/to the Southern Highlands without complaint or feeling like it was struggling. Overall fuel consumption was around 8.2 L/100 km (34 mpg) for the whole test period, which was nothing short of excellent.


Touring Test | 33

Specifications Manufacturer

Trakka

Model

Trakkadu TDI 340

Base Vehicle

Volkswagen Transporter T5

Engine Power

2.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel 103 kW @ 4000 rpm

Torque

340 Nm @ 1750 rpm

Gearbox

7-speed DSG auto

Brakes

ABS Ventilated Disc

Tare Weight

2360 kg (approx)

Gross Vehicle Mass

3000 kg

Towing Capacity

2000 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

5.29 m (17 ft 4 in)

External Width

1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)

External Height with A/C

2.06 m (6 ft 9 in)

Internal Height

2.0 m (6 ft 7 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.95 m x 1.25 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft)

Roof Bed Size (option)

1.8 m x 1.2 m (5 ft 11 in x 3 ft 8 in)

Cooktop

Webasto diesel

Fridge

Waeco 80 L

Microwave

n/a

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 100 Ah

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

n/a

Heater

Optional (diesel)

Hot Water

Truma 14 L

Toilet

n/a

Shower

Optional (External at rear)

Gas Cylinders

n/a

Water Tank

55 L

Grey Water Tank

38 L

Base Price

$89,500 drive away NSW

Price as tested

$95,390 drive away NSW

Pros

• • • • • • • •

VW quality Standard equipment Comfort Versatility Safety Economy Trakka design and quality Easy set-up

Cons

• Not cheap but you get what you pay for!

Contact Trakka

Click for Google Maps

9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai NSW Ph: 1800 872552 E: trakka@trakka.com.au W: www.trakka.com.au For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


34 | Touring Test

Crossing Wallagunda Creek on the Belmore Falls Rd, in the Morton National Park near Robertson, NSW.


Where’s your next destination?

Trakkadu All-Terrain - No Boundaries >> Turn your dreams into a reality and take the journey of a lifetime with a TRAKKA Motorhome. >> The TRAKKA team have a proven track record designing and building thousands of exceptional motorcampers especially for Australian conditions for over 40 years.

>> The respected TRAKKA name is synonymous with supreme quality, innovation, functionality and outstanding value, endorsed by the numerous industry awards won year after year. >> Visit www.trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA to find out why Trakka have been voted “Best of the Best” and before you know it, you’ll be seeing Australia in your own TRAKKA®.

Visit trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA (1800 872 552)


36 | Day Test: Horizon Waratah

On The Right Track! Horizon’s Waratah is a great compact motorhome no matter where you’re headed… by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 37

The Waratah’s compact dimensions allow you to explore some out-of-the-way places – like this abandoned railway line near Ballina.

H

ere's a bit of trivia for you rail buffs. Did you know there was once a branch rail line from Booyong (between Lismore and Byron Bay on the old North Coast rail line) to Ballina? I didn't either, but when I was cruising around the back streets of Ballina in a very new Horizon Waratah motorhome I discovered some old concrete piers across the North Creek canal. They are about the only remains of the line which opened in 1930, took 5 years to build and closed just 29 short years later. That might sound a slightly odd way to open a motorhome review, but it's an example of the multitude of interesting discoveries to be found by simply cruising around in a motorhome – even if you are familiar with a particular area. I was actually there to pick up the aforementioned Waratah motorhome from Horizon Motor Homes and take it for a spin.

The Vehicle

T

he Waratah is built on the familiar Mercedes Benz Sprinter; it being the new 416 CDI model. There are a couple of items of note about the 416CDI, the first being that it has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4490 kg, which given the tare weight of 3250 kg gives it an amazing load capacity. The second is the excellent seven speed fully automatic 7G-TRONIC gearbox. Like just about all the Horizon van conversions, this one comes with all the expected external features: Seitz wind-out windows, Fiamma F65 awning and an external shower and gas cylinder bin. The one exception to the wind-out windows is the one behind the van sliding door. It too is a slider, thus removing the possibility of a broken wind-out window caused by a hastily opened side door. A recommended option is the zippered insect screens that are fitted to


38 | Day Test

Above: Optional colour-coded upholstery looks good, while the dining table extends for added dining versatility. Left: From any angle the Waratah looks good!

both the side and rear doors: an excellent idea for warmer climates. Like many a van conversion, the Waratah has no external bin storage apart from that for the gas cylinders. What it does have, though, is a reasonable amount of internal storage space under the bed area in the rear that’s easily accessible by opening the back doors.

On the Road

U

nlike the steam trains that ran along the aforementioned railway line, the Sprinter-powered Waratah is a much

smoother – and faster – runner! Certainly the 120 kW turbo-diesel and 7-speed gearbox are very smooth performers, while the motorhome itself is very easy to manoeuvre. Like most van conversions the all round vision is quite good, although a rear-view camera wouldn't go astray when backing up. All the driver’s controls and instrumentation seem to be where they should be, including a number of button functions on the steering wheel. The standard radio is quite good, with bluetooth, USB, Aux-input and iPod interface, and it can be expanded to include both a Sat Nav system and the wished-for reversing camera.


Day Test | 39

The Waratah is built on the familiar Mercedes Benz Sprinter; it being the new 416 CDI model.


40 | Day Test

No matter which way you look at it the Waratah’s interior is bright and surprisingly spacious. The kitchen bench is particularly long, while the dual passenger/dinette seats add extra practicality.

Living Inside

F

eatured in the Waratah is a layout with single beds in the rear, although it's not a walk-through set up. All of the kerb-side wall is taken up by the kitchen bench, leaving space on the opposite side for bathroom and storage compartments. Up front the cab seats swivel around and there’s a forward-facing passenger seat for two on the driver’s side, with

a removable dining table between them and the driver’s seat. Note: there are several floor plans available for the Waratah, including singledining/extra passenger seat and double bed models. Although a van interior is more confined than a coach-built motorhome, the general layout of the Waratah, combined with a light decor and windows all round, still gives a spacious feel.


Day Test | 41 Both cab seats swivel easily and completely, while the dinette’s Euro-style swing-out extension leaf is a welcome new touch to the Horizon range. Lighting is 12 V LED all round, including for the bed and dinette reading lights, so after hours illumination is good, too.

Lounging Around One of the great features about the front dining/ lounge arrangement is that it's quick to set up: just swivel the front seats and extend the table if needed – an extension piece swivels out from under the main table – so there's room for four, at a pinch. Two options were fitted in this area: matching cloth inserts for all the seats and the two forward-facing passenger seats, complete with seat belts. Underneath the seats the area there is efficiently used by having small drawers fitted. Although the front area isn't exactly set up for lounging around, the single beds in the rear can certainly be used for that purpose.


42 | Day Test The kitchen puts many bigger, more expensive motorhomes to shame. Plenty of bench space makes meal time prep a breeze, while generous storage is good for longer trips.

Time to Eat

A

characteristic of many van conversion kitchens is that they are surprisingly large when compared to much longer motorhomes. This Horizon one is no exception and is well kitted out with a combo three-burner cooktop and sink, Waeco 110 L fridge and a Panasonic under-bench microwave oven. There isn't a grill, and if one is desired it won't be able to be fitted under the cooktop given that's where the fridge is. In that case some of the generous drawer and cupboard space might

have to be sacrificed. Given that the kerb-side bed butts-up almost against the cooktop, then some form of splash/fat protection for the bed wouldn't go astray. Above the window behind the kitchen bench, the wall area comes fitted with all the 12 V switches, Truma hot water switch, voltmeter and water tank gauge. Also supplied is a 12 V outlet although there isn't a handy shelf nearby for parking devices being charged. This area is the entertainment centre with both a Fusion radio (optional) and a flat screen TV that when

The Waratah offers plenty of versatility and potential.


Day Test | 43 Top to bottom: Twin beds still provide good storage at the rear. Overhead cupboards all around the bedroom maximise storage space. The between-bed boxes have hinged lids and provide welcome storage for books, glasses, phones and the like, overnight. swivelled can be seen from either end of the vehicle. A 5 V USB outlet is hidden in one of the rear overhead lockers, although access might be an issue if the locker is full.

After Hours

B

etween the single beds, the floor has been raised slightly. That reduces the ceiling height to 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in) but not only allows an under-floor drawer, it also improves the under-bed storage space. Both single beds measure 1.93 m x 0.66 m (6 ft 4 in x 2 ft 2 in), have overhead lockers and a cabinet in between. With opening windows on either side of the van and a roof hatch, there's plenty of cross-flow ventilation. Plus, the rear doors can be opened if desired.


44 | Day Test

Left: The shower is compact but nicely equipped. Below: A fan hatch over the cooker is a new feature. Bottom: What more do you need in a bathroom?

Keeping Clean

A

lthough a relatively small bathroom is fitted it's one of the biggest in its class and offers all the desired features: cassette toilet, flexible hose shower and a small corner wash basin. The bathroom cubicle is of course fan vented and the toilet has an SOG vent system installed.

What I Think

I

t seems to me that although something the size of this Waratah might seem a bit small in some eyes, it's a motorhome that offers

plenty of versatility with potential to suit a variety of travelling styles. Although it only sleeps two it will seat four legally and can easily be used as around-town transport. It won't fit in multistorey car park, but will manage larger car parking spaces. As well as that, the Waratah will certainly cope very well with wide open spaces and long distance travel. Coupled with Horizon’s great design and build quality it certainly has much to offer.


Day Test | 45

Specifications Manufacturer

Horizon Motor Homes

Model

Waratah

Base Vehicle

Mercedes Benz 416 CDI

Engine

2.2 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

120 kW @ 3800 rpm

Torque

360 Nm @ 1400-2400 rpm

Gearbox

7-speed automatic

Brakes

ABS disc

Tare Weight

3250 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Towing Capacity

2000 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

6.96 m (22 ft 10 in)

External Width

1.99 m (6 ft 6 in)

External Height

2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)

Internal Height

1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.93 m x 1.74 m (6 ft 4 in x 2 ft 2 in)

Cooktop

Dometic 3-burner

Fridge

Waeco 1140 – 136 L

Microwave

Panasonic

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

1 x 200 Ah

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

Optional

Heater

Optional

Hot Water

Truma 14 L

Toilet

Dometic cassette with SOG

Shower

Flexible hose, variable height

Gas Cylinders

2 x 4 kg

Water Tank

100 L

Grey Water Tank

95 L

Price as tested

$132,400 drive away NSW

Pros

• Single bed layout quite practical • Given size of van, good internal storage • Optional Insect screens on external doors • Extra passenger seats • Plenty of kitchen drawers

Cons

• Charger sockets awkward locations

Contact

Ballina Campervan and Motorhome Centre Click for Google Maps

299 River Street Ballina NSW 2478 Ph: 1800 872552 E: info@horizonmotorhomes.com.au W: horizonmotorhomes.com.au For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


46 | Day Test

The Waratah will certainly cope very well with wide open spaces and long distance travel.


48 | Product Review: Projecta Folding Solar Panels

Portable Power!

Projecta’s folding solar panel kit’s a great piece of‌ kit! by Outback Travel Australia

P

rojecta has two folding solar panel kits that come complete with canvas carry bags, five-metre cables with battery clamps, inbuilt charge regulators and securing steel pegs. The folding solar panel kits use multiples of 20-watt mono-crystalline panels, mounted on fibreglass backing sheets and

sewn into a long canvas bag that allows the panels to be folded on top of each other when not being used. The canvas bag also contains a pocket to house the charging lead and clamps, the ground pegs and solar charging regulator. There are 80-watt and 120-watt models available, and we chose the larger SPM120K


Product Review | 49

model for evaluation. The test unit measured 500 mm x 370 mm x 70 mm when we unpacked it and after several repacks it measured the same, provided some care was taken when coiling the charging lead. It weighed just under 7 kg.

We handled it roughly and squeezed it into a tight packing space, but caused no damage. Unpacking and setting up took around three minutes and repacking took about the same time. The kit included three, L-shaped plated steel pegs that fitted into sewn pockets at the back of the unfolded bag and were easy to push into the ground, to locate the six linked panels at the desired angle to the sun. The supplied battery clamps were large enough to connect to typical heavy duty battery posts. Projecta rates the panel suitable to charge batteries up to 200 A/H and 1200 cold-cranking amp capacity.

We checked the regulator output in amperes, using a clamp multimeter and recoded the current flow in direct sunlight, full shade and dappled light. The SPM120K has a peak current rating of 6.86 amps and we measured current flow at 6.44 amps in full sunlight and with the panels tilted at right angles to the sun's rays. Lying flat on the ground in the mid-morning autumn sun the flow measured 3.75 amps. In dappled light, with about 50 per cent of the panel area covered by cloud, the measured current was 2.6 amps. In full shade the current was only 0.74 amps. While we were checking out the solar kit in mixed sunlight conditions it put 0.2 volts into a donor battery that had fallen to 12.2 V overnight, running a fridge. Projecta claims a minimum seven-hour charge time for a dead flat battery. Our conclusion is that the Projecta SPM120K Folding Solar Panel kit is an excellent full-topart-sun charging unit, packaged in a compact bag that should fit easily into any vehicle. We've bought the test unit and it will go with us everywhere!


50 | Travel

Winter Wilderness Wanderings

Some insights and tips for planning a winter-cum-ski NZ motorhome getaway‌ by Malcolm Street


Travel | 51

Provided you’re well equipped (chains/heating/patience) winter touring in New Zealand can be a thoroughly rewarding experience. Last winter I had the good fortune to be able to escape to New Zealand’s South Island for a week’s skiing. Things certainly kicked off well; my plane landed on time in Christchurch and Flavia from the Wilderness team picked me up for the short drive out to their depot. I thought it looked familiar but was puzzled since I had not been there before, at least not with Wilderness. Both proved to be correct because it used to be the Kea’s Christchurch depot! Part of any rental motorhome collection process is a run through of the motorhome and all its functions and it’s a good idea to pay attention here. I'm reasonably familiar with motorhomes but not so with the Bürstner Nexxo t 687 which was what Wilderness was using as their Escape 2 motorhome at the time.

Tips

I

n the motorhome rental tips department it’s always a good idea to understand what you are getting as part of your rental package. Some rentals look cheaper than others but the rate might well be determined by the age of the vehicle and what's included, what the extra insurance costs are and whether the diesel road tax has to be paid (an NZ peculiarity) and items

like the gas cylinder have to be refilled on return. Along with those and making sure the diesel tank is full, it's always a good idea to check where the nearest service station/filling points are for when it’s time to return. It's my sad experience that if running late when returning the vehicle, searching around for somewhere to fill the vehicle fuel tank always raises the stress levels considerably (agreed - ED!).


52 | Travel Still on understanding what you are getting prior to booking, some companies actually have two vehicle fleets; one older than the other and priced accordingly. Also, there are some roads in NZ where vehicles are banned from being taken by the rental companies. Most, like Ninety Mile Beach in the Northland and Skippers Canyon down Queenstown way are quite familiar, but sometimes rental operators have an extra winter list. Some years ago when collecting a motorhome I was presented with such a list, which was mostly ski-resort roads and unfortunately looked much like my proposed itinerary.....

Drive Time!

I

t was time to hit the road. Normally, when skiing down Queenstown/Wanaka way, I head south. Given the flight landing times the drive results in a late evening arrival, so if staying in a caravan park it's a good idea to pre-book. In this instance I had a job to do in Christchurch – take out another Wilderness motorhome for a photo session – and so I headed first for the local supermarket and then for the Top 10 caravan park at Papanui. A practical novelty here was the drive-through check-in facility. No need to get out of the vehicle at all, especially as the office service window was actually at driver's window height! Next day I spent a few hours completing my assignment before heading south. Many of you will remember the earthquake that struck Christchurch so savagely in Feb 2011. Although much reconstruction work has been done there is still much to do. A curious reminder in some otherwise intact looking suburbs are the churches and similarly constructed buildings still in states of disrepair. Apparently the stone and mortar construction really is not earthquake proof at all.

Ninety Mile Beach Š 2015 Destination Northland


Travel | 53

Mt Cook Š 2015 Hermitage Hotel

If you have never done the Christchurch to Queenstown/Wanaka run before, make sure you allocate a day or two to do it. There are some stunning sights along the way and a diversion to Mt Cook can take much of a day, even more if you decide to lash out and have a night at the famous Hermitage hotel. If the weather is good then some of the beautiful turquoise lakes of the southern region of the South Island are to be seen in all their glory. Lake Tekapo for instance always seems to be a stopping point for many people and there are plenty of restaurants and motels. I'm not exactly sure why people stay there or what they do, but it's a stunning place just to look around for a few hours and get the obligatory photograph of the Church of the Good Shepherd. A little photographic tip here is to not only get the close up shot but also to head to the other side of the waterway on the hill behind the shop and get some of the mountains behind the lake.

Ski Tips‌

F

or the snow skier it's my opinion that the two best ski resorts are Cardrona and Treble Cone. It's also my opinion that Wanaka is


54 | Travel

the best place to stay for this purpose. It is possible to get to Cardrona relatively easily from Queenstown, but the winding curves of the Crown Range Road are slow and not much fun in bad weather or if it's snowing. However, if you have never been to this part of NZ before I'd recommend spending a few days in Queenstown. There is much to see and do, and it's also host to both the Remarkables and the lower altitude Coronet Peak. Consequently I headed for the Top 10 caravan park at Wanaka. It’s located just out of town on the Mt Aspiring road and is definitely recommended. There is a caravan park in town which has a good lake view and is convenient to the shops, but its facilities are rather basic. Freedom Campers need to note that there's a zone around the town where free camping is banned – there are signs on all the main roads indicating where that starts and stops. A point of note with Top 10 caravan parks is that they have an affiliation with Big4 in Australia and I was able to negotiate a very good deal on rates.

Wanaka and Beyond

W

anaka is quite a pleasant place to stay and certainly a bit quieter than Queenstown. Something to note with the shops in Wanaka is that apart from the food shops and ski-related ones, most of the rest close about 5.00pm – about the time everyone gets down from skiing. I noticed that a few years ago when I'd forgotten to pack any apres ski pants and needed to buy something, well anything really… If the weather turns nasty (as it did one day) there is always the nearby National Transport and Toy Museum or the adjoining Wanaka Warbirds & Wheels, which are mostly undercover and well worth a visit. Warbird’s &


Travel | 55

Wanaka Warbirds and Wheels is a must-visit destination for car and warplane buffs. Isn’t that just about every bloke? Wheels is home to a world renowned collection of ex-military fighter aircraft, plus a classic car collection from 1916-69, and is a must-visit for all aircraft and car enthusiasts. Next day it was time to head up the mountain. I won't bore you with the finer details of my skiing exploits, but one of the benefits of skiing from a motorhome is that you can drive up the mountain and have somewhere to rest-up, thaw out or make lunch. It also negates the possibility of leaving anything behind! If doing this it's a good idea to head up the mountain early. The most important reason is getting a prime parking spot, but the other in my case being that on my first morning I was able to get a spectacular sunrise photo. If you are the type who dislikes getting up too early, shower the night before and have breakfast after you arrive at the ski resort. You can then watch everyone else arrive whilst munching on your cornflakes!

Winter Driving Tips

A

little warning about early morning drives on NZ mountain roads in the winter. It's not so bad on gravel roads, but black ice is occasionally an issue when it has snowed/rained overnight and the melted snow has frozen and cannot be easily seen.


56 | Travel In my case, the ski resort roads were snow covered and most days I was fitting snow chains. Anyone familiar with this little chore will know it’s something to be avoided. I'd also like to point out that in NZ, chain fitting isn't always just on ski resort roads. They can be needed on any of the road passes, like Arthurs, Lewis, and Lindis just to point out a few. Indeed, when returning from Wanaka to Christchurch I'd opted to head along the Crown Range Road for the great mountain views, then return via Queenstown. Some heavy snow about that time was definitely looking like a chain fit was going to happen so I did a quick U-turn instead. Apart from anything else I figured the views weren't going to be visible anyway! Chain fitting isn't the major trauma it used to be. Except for large commercial vehicles, the all-chain snow chains are long gone. Later generations had a large hoop for the outside of the tyre, and more recent styles have the hoop on the inside. Once the inside hoop is connected up, then it's matter of joggling the chain around to get the links hooked up. A hot tip here is once the chains are fitted, drive a few metres to

Some instruction and practice on installing and driving with snow chains can make a world of difference – especially the first time you need them for real – which in NZ in winter can be surprisingly often.


Travel | 57

make sure the chains are still tight, or tighten as necessary. Another tip is to have an elcheapo spray jacket and a pair of leather gloves you don't mind getting dirty (gardening gloves are excellent).

More Sights

A

lthough there are sights to be seen along much of the Crown Range Road, a little stopping-off point is the former gold mining village of Cardrona. There's not much there, apart from things like the old cemetery, but the old Cardrona Hotel is well worth a tourist photo, not to mention a place to get a drink and a meal. On the day I called in the ski resort had been closed because of bad weather and the pub received an unexpected influx of people looking for coffee and lunch. It was that bad weather that prompted an early return to Christchurch; well most of the way anyway. I'd figured I could drive back via the Canterbury Plains’ town of Methven and have a day's skiing at Mt Hutt, which did indeed happen. Undoubtedly the saddest part of the trip was handing back the Wilderness motorhome – it had certainly grown on me – but I’m sure I’ll be back to ‘wander in the Wilderness’ again.


58 | Travel

For the snow skier it's my opinion that the two best ski resorts are Cardrona and Treble Cone.


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60 | Mobile Tech

Healthier, Wealthier, Wiser? Apps to help you achieve a happier and healthier new year‌

By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 61

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ew year, new start, new you? Sometimes just the idea of making a new year’s resolution can be exhausting, but it is a great time for reflection and even perhaps some reaffirmations! At risk of sounding like an overzealous yoga-panted, perky personal trainer I particularly like the idea of selecting the best moments of the previous year and committing to ‘doing more of the good stuff and less of the bad’. Take with you only the positive moments and leave behind all that was negative. The following apps are a series that focus on making life a little easier by tracking, motivating or simply organising your world. So whether you wish to enact some serious change or simply step up your current routines, hopefully these apps can help. 1: Coach.me

I

n terms of a lifestyle improvement app you can’t really go past Coach.me. Previously called ‘Lift’ this app has had a facelift for the new year (naturally) and is basically a crowd sourcing

motivational tool with the option of connecting to real life professional coaches or motivators should you wish. Traditionally this app was more of a habit tracker but this recent change has revolutionised things a little, making it more of a coaching marketplace rather than just tracking and encouragement. Set up somewhat like social media, the scope of this app is pretty much its finest point. And with over 200,000 personal goals to select from you can still add as many as you wish. Due to its versatility it essentially covers any form of resolution you could possibly think of. Whether it’s the traditional resolve to quit smoking, lose weight or save money, or a more offbeat resolution like learning to Salsa or speak French, you’ll be amongst a great deal of likeminded company. Your commitments are made only to yourself but each success is a group celebration. You can choose the level of ‘motivation’ you’ll receive too, including regular prompts and notifications or simple daily reminders. This app is free and need not ever cost you a cent. It’s a


62 | Mobile Tech positive place where the community members exchange information, tips and encouragement freely and without judgment. Available for both iOS and Android devices, at 13 MB it’s not too large, although it would pay to keep an eye on your data usage. 2: Elevate

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he science is in, use it or lose it! Our brain is an incredible organ and just like our muscles responds well to regular vigorous exercise. The brain’s ability to regenerate is only one of its amazing features and while it’s a myth we are only using a certain percentage of our mental capacity it’s certainly true that regular stimulation can have positive effects. There are many brain training apps available due to recent surge in interest and in terms of a new year’s health and fitness resolution I think taking care of our minds is just as important as our bodies.

Elevate is free with an optional upgrade to ‘Pro’ features, but that’s certainly not necessary for engaging and stimulating play. Like all brain training apps it’s designed to improve concentration, focus, language, speaking skills, processing speed, memory, math skills and much more. What I find particularity refreshing about this app is not only is it actually challenging, it’s also predominately relevant; the math challenges are problems you would encounter on a daily basis, such as unit conversion and percentage calculation, while the grammar task encompass many important aspects including syntax, morphology, phonology and semantics. This app is not one designed to be played for hours at a time (although you can choose to). Each day a new series of challenges are presented, which when completed contribute to a total score that determines your level and subsequent challenge difficulty. Available for both iOS and Android devices this app is a little on the large size at 77.9 MB, but certainly worth making space for.


Mobile Tech | 63 3: Sustainable Seafood Guide Commercial fishing is placing a lot of pressure on our oceans, as well as many associated businesses. The Sustainable Seafood Guide’s role is to help us find a responsible balance between the two. If part of your new year’s resolution is to live a little more sustainably and environmentally responsibly then this app is one for you. Developed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) it is a clear and concise overview of over 90 different types of seafood commonly consumed in Australia, including those from wild-caught fisheries, fish farms and imported species. Set-up with a ‘traffic light’ green, amber and red sustainability ranking system it’s easy to distinguish what we should and shouldn’t be purchasing. Furthermore the information given regarding the habitats and fishing practices used for each species provide a clear understanding as to why this is so. The information provided in this app is up-to-date and specific enough to differentiate between different States and Territories. For example a wild-caught Queensland barramundi differs in its sustainability rating compared to one caught in the Northern

Territory. The reason is based upon the individual management plans specific to those locations. Also included is Greenpeace’s Canned Tuna Guide, making this app a handy companion in many situations. Available for both iOS and Android devices and moderate in size at 27.7 MB this app is well worth a look.


64 | Mobile Tech groceries, entertainment, medical, vehicle, etc, and also further separate these purchases into needs and wants. You can also set a spend limit, If you’ve ever reached the or enable a tracking bar to monitor spending end of a day and thought to yourself, “Where on earth against a set budget. All data can be exported to an excel file for further accounting purposes did all my money go?” should you wish and can even be synced to you’re certainly not alone. use on multiple devices. Unlike many popular Small purchases have a way of adding up and can often sneak below our radar, especially when budgeting apps TrackMySPEND does not need access to your banking details and only relies on the move. upon the information you enter, making it a more TrackMySPEND is an app designed to help secure option. Available for both Android and identify these areas of spending and present iOS devices it’s just 6.7 MB and certainly has the a clearer picture of our daily, weekly and potential to be a handy budgeting tool! monthly expenses, and importantly identify areas were savings can be made. Developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission this is a free app perfect for the new year. Intended to be used on the go, the idea is to enter purchases as you make them and ultimately be more aware of your spending habits. 4: TrackMySPEND

The features this app provides includes the ability to categorise expenses into key areas such as


Mobile Tech | 65

You’ll be jumping for joy too when living healthier, wealthier and wiser with the help of these apps!


66 | Next Issue

Crystal Ball Gazing… T

What’s ‘in the bag’ is a stylish Pearson Lowline from UCC in New Zealand; a B-class coach-built motorhome on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter, and it’s bound to impress. We’re chasing a couple of options for a second review, but at this stage it’s anyone’s guess what you’ll find in two weeks time!

he manufacturers’ Festive Season slowdown means we’re running a bit thin on motorhomes to review. They’re gearing up for February’s start to the hectic capital city show season, which isn’t helping matters either.

FEB

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February 06-08 22-26 11-16

FEB

06-08

Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showgrounds Broadmeadow NSW 2292 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20 • Kids: Free U 16 years with adult

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We’re back in the swing of the two-week publishing schedule again, so until February 7 why not join our more than 20,000 Facebook Friends and Twitter followers for news, laughs and a glimpse at the wider RV world? RGB / .ai

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February 11-16 22-26 11-16 Melbourne Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow Melbourne Showgrounds Cnr Epsom and Langs Roads, Ascot Vale. Vic 3032. • Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $20 • Seniors: $16 • Kids: Free U 15 years with adult

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06-08February

19-23

Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show Adelaide Showground, Goodwood Rd, Wayville SA 5034 • Open 10:00-6:00 daily • Parking: $7 • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: Free U 15 years with adult

Visit Website

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

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 64 - 24 Jan 2015  

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 64 - 24 Jan 2015  

Get a FREE subscription from our website now!

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