Issue 68: Mar 21 2015
because getting there is half the fun...
Winnebago! First Australian Review… Win!
$50 for the! best letter
iMotorhome puts Winnebago’s Airlie through its paces…
Over the Hill?
Our Outback travels via Broken Hill…
Six of the Best
Part two of a fortunate reader’s report
Top 5 Photo Apps!
How to get the best from your mobile’s camera…
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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On my mind | 5
Seize the Carp… They say fishing is good for you. All that getting away from it all and the time spent in quiet contemplation must be good for the soul. They also say nobody on their death bed ever wished they’d spent more time in the office – but fishing, that’s another matter… I’ve been encouraged to write about the rather uncomfortable subject of our mortality by a friend for whom it’s in particularly sharp focus. Last Christmas her mother-in-law had a heart attack that required a triple bypass within days, and now her father’s cancer has taken an aggressive turn. It’s the sort of stuff most of us have to deal with at various times in our lives, particularly as we age. From a dispassionate viewpoint it’s all just part of living, but the trouble is we are rarely dispassionate. To top it off, society doesn’t prepare us for ‘the unexpected’, be it something that happens to us, family, friends or acquaintances.
Best Laid Plans My friend wrote saying, “Please encourage people not to put off actually doing things, especially if they’re just making plans a long way off. Sometimes life throws things at you and the window shuts. My mum-in-law almost got taken by that mentality and my Dad is now too. Last year when I was visiting they planned two years ahead to come over and stay, when they should have just gotten on a plane. The only thing that stopped them was their ‘plans’.” I’ve lost track of the number of stories I’ve heard from RV manufactures and dealers of vehicles ordered and paid for that are never delivered. At the Melbourne Show in February I watched one fellow doing the rounds and earnestly making notes and discussing vehicle options with his
similarly aged wife. He could barely make it up and down the motorhomes’ steps. How would he ever cope with a flat tyre or wrestling with an awning on a windy day? Regardless of the state of the economy, real estate markets or investments, we each have a window of opportunity in our retirement years in which to travel. No amount of waiting for things to improve will bring back lost time, so if you’re dithering about hitting the road, maybe lower your sights and just do it. You can always upgrade later. Hopefully…
Birthdays! Mrs iMotorhome’s grandmother – a dear soul – on approaching her 89th birthday many years ago was somewhat dismayed to find it was actually her 92nd. “But Granny,” I said, “It’s been scientifically proven birthdays are good for you!” “Has it?” she asked, brightening noticeably. Granny believed anything scientifically proven must be good. “Yes!” I replied. “The more you have the longer you live.” I know in her younger years Granny loved fishing, though I’m not sure if she ever caught a carp. Better grab your fishing gear today! After all, there’s not time like the present, and you don’t want someone else seizing your carp…
6 | Content
On my Mind
On your Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
Find back issues and more on our website
Seize the Carp!
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Day Test: Winnebago Airlie
Travel: Over The Hill?
Reader Report: Six of the Best!
Mobile Tech: Top 5 Photo Apps
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
The latest Marketplace offers
Life’s a Beach – Winnebago’s Airlie has much to offer, no matter where you like to holiday…
Adelaide to the Gold Coast via Broken Hill, that is!
Part 2 looks at the final 5 motorhomes…
Getting the most from your phone’s or tablet’s camera!
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
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8 | Resources
because getting there is half the fun...
Magazine Resources Ask a Question
because getting there is half the fun...
Esprit de Cor Blimey!
Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at… Review and images by Malcolm Street
Create your own path...
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>> With a mixture of supreme quality, innovation, functionality and outstanding value, the Jabiru 4x4 is unmatched. >> 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®.
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On your mind | 11
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share it with our readers. We’ll also reward
Seeing The Light?
Hi Richard. In your (great) Mega Touring Test of the Paradise Integrity SL in Issue 67 you raise the problem of outdoor lighting, especially the overdoor light attracting insects. Our motorhome has a yellow light which seems not to attract insects. I’ve seen this work very well in other outdoor situations such as entertaining areas, caravan park facilities, etc, with yellow fluorescent tubes, so maybe Paradise and others, readers included, could try yellow LED strips?
the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
Thanks Charlie, that sounds like a good tip as I know form experience that insects around campsite lights can be a big annoyance. Hopefully Paradise and others will try this out and who knows, you might start a whole new trend! For your troubles please accept this issue’s $50 reward, which will at least buy you a few more yellow bulbs!
Snap Happy Hi Richard, some feedback about the Snap Send Solve app. I’m a long term user of this App and have used it in Sydney, ACT and Brighton, Victoria. Perhaps you could publicise that it’s helpful for local government and infrastructure providers to reply, to encourage people to keep on reporting issues. To this end the app has a history function that lists the reports sent (see samples supplied). Finally, the name of this app in the app stores is simply Snap Solve, which could be confusing! Regards, Paul.
Thanks Paul, that’s very handy to know. I’m awarding you a special runner-up prize this issue of a hand-made leather-bound iMotorhome mininote book. Hope you enjoy it!
12 | On your mind
On page 38 of Issue 65 mention is made of the manufacturer of custom RV boxes in Bayswater, Victoria who made the storage box described and photographed. Is it possible to obtain contact details for this manufacturer? The box housing the generator described, and pictured, in this article is just what I need for my Sunliner Pinto 3. Many thanks, Mike.
No problem Mike, the company’s details are: M2O Toolbox ‘N’ Canopy Services (the M2O stands for Made to Order) 7 Scoresby Road, Bayswater. Vic. 3153. T: 03 9729 7568 M:0416 171 611 E: email@example.com W: www.m2otoolbox.com.au
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14 | On your mind
Big Questions… G’day Richard. Firstly let me congratulate you on the quality and content of iMotorhome. I know from personal experience the joys and pitfalls of publishing magazines, as I ran my own magazine publishing company for many years before I retired. To set the scene for my question I am a sixty-something male and a future single traveller as my wife is in residential care. Some years ago we did a trip around Australia staying in motels and serviced apartments as, ”She who should be obeyed" was not into camping!
G’day Graham, glad you like what we’re doing and can appreciate the work that goes into it. Re travelling solo, the first thing I would say is it’s still very worthwhile and if you like the company of others – even if just on a semi-regular basis – then the CMCA’s Solo’s Network for single travellers would be well worth joining.
Also, what are the various State restrictions on stopping overnight, at “beach" parking sites with an RV? There should be a national site available with this information. I do like the obvious freedom of an RV – ‘pack once and off you go’ philosophy – and the freedom to enjoy somewhere without being tied to bookings at motels, etc. Keep up the good work, love your great magazine!
by fears of where you might stay. This is a big country with lots of nooks and crannies, and very few people care about the odd vehicle tucked away here or there for a night or two. And of course many towns now encourage you to stay, so you’ll spend on local goods and services. The main thing is just get out there and enjoy this big, beautiful land.
Don’t be too concerned what you read/hear about the problems of free camping. Apart from staying in the centre of (some) towns or on their I calculated it was cheaper at that time compared beach fronts, Australia is still a remarkably free and open place to travel in and stay where you to the cost of a Winnebago (as they were at the like. Restrictions don’t just vary state-to-state, time) and the return trade-in value at the end of but local council area to local council area. One the trip. We were away four months and unlike my wife, I could have continued on for another six! of your best guides to what’s available is wordof-mouth. Also, use the Wikicamps app as it’s Now, as a future single traveller I am considering not only an amazing bargain, it’s live updated by a Motorhome, however I have questions re this, users and usually contains the latest information. apart from the cost of a motorhome. I hear from readers who only ever free camp and they don’t seem to have troubles and we free I am really concerned as to where I can stop, camp regularly when travelling. Common sense throughout Australia, without incurring the wrath, and responsibility are the keys, as is obeying any and resulting penalties of stopping somewhere signage. like the Byron Bay area, (as reported in your current magazine), without being charged with illegal overnight camping! The bottom line is don’t be put off motorhoming
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16 | On my mind
Thanks! Hi Richard, a little while ago I subscribed to the mag but haven't had a chance to read an issue until today. What a great read it is, and very interesting. I'll make sure I won't miss another issue, thank you for a great magazine!
Regards, John "FLAT" What can I say, “Flat”, apart from thanks – and how on earth did you get that nickname?
Heading for Paradise…
Good morning! Thanks so much for the latest issue, we really enjoyed it and loved the review of the Paradise RV. The 6 of the Best story and the article on camping hygiene were terrific too! We avidly follow all the news, and we are picking up our new Paradise later in the year. It was the Inspiration that was also at the Adelaide show – you can tell we are excited!
Anyway, keep up the good work! Bruce. Thanks Bruce and glad you enjoyed the latest issue! Congratulations also on your impending Inspiration delivery – I think you’ve made a good choice and would love to hear your thoughts as an owner once you’re on the road.
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18 | News
Vale: Don Whitworth OAM: 15 Feb 1930 â€“ 9 Mar 2015
mongst the motorhoming fraternity there are few who could claim to be "Legends in their own lifetime". However, I reckon a quiet unassuming man by the name of Don Whitworth, OAM, could lay claim to the title, even though he would never in his wildest dreams have done so. Don, along with his wife Erica, was the founder of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA). He took the CMCA, which at one stage early on he was running from the back of the family HiAce camper, to that which became the foundation of what the CMCA is today: A club with over 66,000 members and an organisation that not only acts as a club for its members, but also has enough clout to lobby governments over recreational vehicle issues.
Don was an amazing person. Well before others were doing so (think mid 70s) they had not only taken their family around eastern Australia in a VW Kombi campervan, but had also embarked on a 20,000 km motorhome trip around Britain/ Europe. They had also undertaken an east-west motorhome journey across North America. Don liked VWs, his first being a Beetle and his last a Golf. Having seen motorhome clubs in both the UK and the USA, those travels inspired Don to think about a similar organisation in Australia. It has to be said that after the inspiration there was a considerable amount of perspiration, grit and determination to get the fledgling CMCA up and running. Something to keep in mind was that all this happened well before email, the internet
and any form of social media. I know he took considerable advice from John Hunt, the editor of British magazine Motorhome Motorcaravan Monthly (MMM), when setting up the club. Since I wasn't involved in the rcreational vehicle industry then (1986) I certainly did not know Don and Erica in those early days. I think it I might have met them around about the time they took ownership of their last vehicle â€“ a Trakka-built Kingfisher campervan based on a Mercedes Benz MB 100 van. Just in case you cannot remember it, whilst there was nothing wrong with the Trakka conversion, the little van was the result of a less than successful joint venture between Benz and the Korean Ssangyong Group. On the first occasion, I'm very sure I met Don and Erica at a CMCA rally somewhere. They always took interest in my RV journalism work and I was later to learn that Don had done freelance journalism work for a number of years. He was very keen on promoting the campervan and motorhome industry, not just the CMCA, even in current times. I am pleased to say he was very interested in the progress of iMotorhome, there being no other dedicated motorhome publication quite like it. Don also used his journalism experience to write a book, aptly titled For the Love of Motorhoming! Undoubtedly Don, who had the membership number of 01, has left a fine legacy in the form of the CMCA. From those humble back-of-acampervan beginnings to what the club is today, Don lived long enough to see not only his dream become a reality, but to join with CMCA members to celebrate the Club's 25th Anniversary in 2011. He died on Monday the 9 th March, surrounded by his family. It was an honour to have known him. From all of us at iMotorhome we offer our sincerest condolences to Erica and their family. By Malcolm Street
News | 19
Paradise Integrity SL Update either position while they are selecting they final specs.” Colin said. “In regards to the background noise, you are correct that when the motorhome is
ollowing last issue’s mega touring test of the Paradise Integrity SL we were contacted by Paradise’s managing director Colin MacLean with an update on the points we’d raised. Pleased with the review, Colin said they normally fit double power points on both sides of the beds, but somehow when relocating the hot water service and 240 V wiring on this prototype it was overlooked. They have since been added to the test vehicle and will, of course, be standard on all production units. “In regards to the light above the entry door, we used to have it above the big princess window and only moved it because customers wanted more light above the entry door. It could be an age-related sight issue, but from now on we will give customers the option of
loaded the background noise is dramatically reduced. The problem is (partly) caused by the fact our motorhome bodies are extremely light and ridged, and when unloaded they tend to act a bit like the body of a guitar and actually amplify sounds. But when they have clothes in the wardrobes and the cupboards are full it dramatically dampens the amplification.” Colin went on to explain that regarding road noise, Paradise’s Independence and Liberation models don’t have that problem because they use a Dometic door that doesn't have a gas vent. To stop road noise they developed a baffled gas vent hidden behind the entry steps, which reportedly dramatically reduces road noise while making a very effective dust filter. He said they have already developed a new baffled gas vent for the Integrity and Inspiration series that should drop the sound by about 10 decibels, and iMotorhome will be advised of the results upon design finalisation.
Jobs at Trakka
rakka is on the lookout for good people, says proprietor Dave Berry. “We’re expanding again and there are fantastic opportunities becoming available
in our production and service areas at our Headquarters at Mt. Kuring-gai, Sydney. If you or someone you know are looking to advance with a career within the Recreational Vehicle industry, submit details to David Wallis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous trade skills within the motoring industry would be advantageous.”
20 | News
Board Nominations Sought
he Caravan Industry Association of Australia is seeking nominations for positions on its newly announced Board. They're seeking people with the skills and experience to help drive the industry forward.
“Individuals wishing to provide strategic direction for the industry are encouraged to put their hat in the ring for a position on the Board. The new Board will comprise of up to nine individuals from across the industry. All nominees must meet the required criteria and have their nomination seconded by a state caravanning association. For more information on how to nominate, please email board@ caravanindustry.com.au
The Wirraway 260 SL
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News | 21
Wickepin, WA, Now RV Friendly
he CMCA has announced that Wickepin in Western Australia is now an RV Friendly Town™. Located 214 km south-east of Perth, Wickepin is famous for
its sheep studs, but is also renowned for its natural beauty including lakes and wildflowers. The Wickepin Caravan Park on Fisher Street provides a free dump point and potable water, with parking available for up to 48 hours at $8 per vehicle per night. Facilities include toilets, showers, bins and barbecues. Longer term parking is available at the Wickepin Community Centre for up to 72 hours at the same rate of $8 per vehicle per night.
From the ocean to the outback and destinations in between. Fancy some scenic touring through the Flinders Ranges, or paddling a kayak on Cooper Creek? Perhaps a bit of camping solitude in the Gawler Ranges is more to your liking. Maybe a spot of fishing at Beachport or just lazing back at Melrose for a couple of days. Whatever your fancy, this ebook for iPad contains a selection of 12 of South Australia’s most accessible and beautiful destinations that offer travellers great touring and fantastic camping opportunities. Whether you’re travelling by motorhome, towing a caravan or just packing a tent, there are destinations for everyone!
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22 | News
Minister Assures Over Consultations "Community feedback has focused on recommendations relating to education for operators, insurance requirements and service availability charges, and will be carefully considered before the new laws start later this year.” Feedback was also received about voluntary sharing arrangements. "Under the new Act, an operator must clearly offer two options in the disclosure statement – a rent-only option or voluntary share arrangements. Details of any arrangement must be specified in the disclosure statement supplied at least 14 days before a site agreement can be signed,” the Minister said.
ore than 250 public submissions and comments were received on the NSW Government's soon-to-be introduced reforms to the residential parks industry. Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox said that since passing the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013, the Government had continued consulting residents and industry stakeholders to ensure the industry had a solid blueprint for the future. "More than 50 written submissions were received on the new draft Residential (Land Lease) Communities Regulation 2014, in addition to the 200 comments received by residents and park operators who attended community forums across the state," he said.
“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that consumers are properly protected. As such, NSW Fair Trading will consider amendments to the standard agreement to ensure there is clarity and certainty for residents in respect to this issue." The Minister said under the reforms, which passed in November 2013 and affect more than 33,000 residents living in 480 residential parks across the state, that site fee increases would be limited to once every 12 months, unless an alternate frequency had been previously agreed upon. "The new laws also strengthen residents' ability to negotiate site agreements, including payment increases, and there will be greater transparency of contract information," he added. from caravanningnews.com
Personalise your journey... Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary manufacturing Australiaâ€™s most beautiful recreational vehicles. This year we are looking forward. In 2015 we are excited to release 3 new models on new chassisâ€™, 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.
24 | News
Overhead Protection this sensor, you may have to guess if you will make it or not, if you don't this can lead to very expensive repairs and a lot of frustration.”
ound on the RVupgrades.com site in the USA this week is a US$164.65 overhead collision alert system they say, “Is perfect for helping you distinguish whether or not you will clear a certain overhang. Using a sensor, it can tell you how tall the passage is for unmarked or low objects, including bridges, trees and service station canopies. Without
“The GiraffeG4 RV Overhead Protection System is simple to install and use. First you mount the sensor to your vehicle, connect cable and program the heights. Once installed it is easy to use, just drive up to the overhead object. This system is not made for highway speeds, so in order to get an accurate reading you must approach at 30 mph (50 km/h) or less. If the passage is to low a buzzer will sound, letting you know that you will not clear the passage. The In-cab display will give you an exact clearance height of the overhang.”
News | 25
Outdoor Kitchen Idea
mericans love gadgets and taking the comforts of home with them. External entertainment systems are passé and have made their way into Australian motorhome designs, but dedicated external kitchens are a little different. We reviewed Avida’s Longreach in Issue 33 on 21 September 2013, which featured an
impressive dedicated outdoor kitchen at the rear. Now, an idea from America takes the concept to a whole new level. It comprises a slim, electrically operated slide-out at the rear that extends at waist height and has everything you need to cook up a storm – even in a storm! We wonder if the idea might catch on in Australia? Stay tuned…
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26 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 27
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28 | Day Test: Winnebago Airlie
Life’s a Beach! Winnebago’s Airlie has much to offer, no matter where you like to holiday… by Malcolm Street
Day Test | 29
The Airlie is available as a two-berth B-class or four-berth C-class, as tested. The Luton peak is streamlined, but trades aerodynamics for over-bed headroom. Like many things in motorhome design it’s a compromise that will suit some buyers and not others.
'm thinking I should start this review of the Winnebago Airlie with some clarification of the Winnebago name in Australia. In recent times there have been at least three different manufacturers/importers simultaneously selling motorhomes with the Winnebago name on them, but now there’s only one – and that’s the way it looks like remaining. Winnebago RV Pty Ltd is a wholly Australianowned subsidiary of Apollo Motorhome Holidays. It has exclusive rights to use “Certain Winnebago trademarks on motorhomes, campervans and caravans across Australia and New Zealand,” according to its press release. Apollo Motorhome Holidays also owns Talvor motorhomes, which these days are basically
just for its Apollo motorhome rental fleet. Winnebago RV Australia Pty Ltd now manufactures a range of motorhomes in Australia, as well as importing fully assembled Winnebago caravans from America. The Airlie is part of its ‘launch’ motorhome range and is manufactured at its Brisbane plant, alongside Talvor vehicles.
hen I first saw the new Winnebago motorhomes, I thought they looked very much like re-badged Talvors – badge engineering of course being nothing new in this world. However, I've been assured by the very helpful marketing people at Talvor/
30 | Day Test
Fibreglass mouldings add a touch of style to the body, while there’s certainly no mistaking the brand name from behind! Winnebago that all the Winnebago motorhomes have had at least a makeover and, in some cases, input from Winnebago USA. Underpinning the Airlie is the very familiar Fiat Ducato Multijet 180. Measuring 7.88 m (25 ft 10 in), the Airlie has an Al-KO chassis bolted to its Ducato cab and is available as a B or C-class unit. In this case it’s the latter, having an over-cab Luton peak for an additional two berths as it does. Body construction is all fibreglass: composite sandwich panels for the walls and mouldings for the front and rear. Dometic has supplied the windows (Seitz) and entry door, although the door isn’t a security seen unit. For a change, the awning is a Thule Omnistor. A surprise in the Airlie is the amount of external bin space – two along the kerb side, one on the driver’s side – and all of good size, along with tunnel storage accessed from the driver’s-side rear. Also using space along the kerb-side side wall is an entertainment unit, cassette toilet door, external shower and gas cylinder bin. Inside this last
Day Test | 31
A surprise in the Airlie is the amount of external bin space. one are two gas cylinders, one 4.5 kg and the other 2.0 kg. Longterm bush campers might have a problem with gas capacity, but for most travellers having the smaller cylinder as a back-up should be okay and is much better than just a single cylinder. Water tanks don't often get a mention but the Airlie has a 100 L fresh water tank and a
larger 150 L grey tank. That's interesting because most manufacturers have it the other way around, although in New Zealand legislation requires the grey tank to be larger. It might seem odd, but in environmentally sensitive areas fresh water taps are often more common that dump points.
The low riding AL-KO chassis allows a surprising amount of external storage. Not sure about the drop-down rear bin door, which could be damaged it it came open while travelling.
On the Road
o real surprises in the handling department I have to say. Certainly the 3.0 L 132 kW turbo-diesel delivers the goods, while the 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) works as expected. In my short travels in the Airlie I discovered one real advantage
32 | Day Test
The front lounge/dinette provides a secondary living area, while the over-cab bed ladder is wide and study. It’s a shame through-cab access is compromised by the fixed bed-base and bulkhead, while the bed curtains look a bit basic.
of Fiat's oft-maligned front-wheel drive. It had rained heavily the night before and the narrow track I headed down to get some photos was surrounded by wet, boggy grass – including where I was planning on turning around! However, I realised that by carefully keeping the front wheels on the firm track as I reversed around it didn't matter if the non-driving rear wheels were on the boggy grass.
itting back and relaxing isn't too difficult in the Airlie. Apart from the previously mentioned rear club lounge, there is a also a sideways facing lounge behind the driver's seat, while the cab seats themselves swivel around. Naturally, the lounge comes with a table but it can't quite be reached from the cab seats. One of the assets of using a Fiat Ducato is that the cab area can easily be integrated into the rest of the motorhome. However, the Airlie – like all the Winnebago/Talvor line-up – has a fixed shelf/bed above the driver's cab. Most manufacturer's either use the full Fiat cut-out or have a bed that can be lifted out of the way if not needed. For some reason Winnebago/ Talvor don't do that, making cab access a bit too much of a crouch over/head banger for me.
o what do we have inside the Airlie? Stepping through the front door reveals a dining/kitchen area up front, a split bathroom mid-motorhome and a lounge/ sleeping area in the rear. There are two beds, one above the cab and the other across the rear, with the latter being an electric rolldown bed above the lounge. With a little bit of compromise you get the best of both worlds: This is another reason the rear area looks so An NZ-style club rear lounge with windows all round and a bed that does not have to be made good: Even with the elevating bed there is plenty of head room and, more importantly, up every night!
Day Test | 33
Underpinning the Airlie is the very familiar Fiat Ducato Multijet 180.
34 | Day Test Top: The large U-shaped rear lounge is great for entertaining or just kicking back with your feet up and enjoying the view. Strangely, it doesn’t have a table, but you could easily add a free standing one. Insert: Under-lounge storage is limited to the one side. Bottom: The kitchen’s overhead cupboards include the electrical controls all conveniently grouped together.
there's either space to put the feet up or have guests over. With the elevating bed there aren't any overhead lockers, but the rear tunnel boot has a large floor hatch for access. Also, the driver’s side seat cushions can be removed to give access to the external bin space below. On the opposite side of the lounge most of the under-seat area is occupied. Between the driver’s-side lounge and shower cubicle is a small cabinet that can be used equally well as a cupboard or a bedside cabinet by night. Part of the space above also has a small locker.
Time to Eat
atering can be handled reasonably well in the mid-sized kitchen, which comes with a three burner cooktop and a grill/oven. Adjoining the cooktop is a stainless steel sink
with a flick mixer tap. Winnebago has dodged around the benchtop space problem by not having a sink drainer. Bench space is better here than some RV kitchens I have seen of late and using a removable plastic drainer is a good compromise. A couple of overhead lockers, four good-sized drawers, one cupboard and a wire basket slide-
Day Test | 35
The kitchen is well equipped and includes an oven and grill. There’s reasonable bench space (the long table is close too) and good cupboard space for all your cooking essentials. out pantry supply the storage. However, part of the cupboard is taken by the hot water heater, while part of one overhead locker is taken by the essential electrical panel. I should mention the 190 L, 2-door fridge of course, fitted in between the driver’s-side lounge and the shower cubicle. It's size means the microwave oven fitted above is set at a fairly user-friendly height, which is nice. Not really a kitchen item but still essential is the multi-media Fusion radio unit fitted above the microwave, which will connect to something like an iPod.
s noted, you get a choice of two beds in the Airlie: the elevating bed that measures 2.03 m x 1.52 m (6 ft 8 in x 5 ft) and the over-cab bed that measures 2.05 m x 1.4 m (6 ft 9in x 4 ft 7 in). Lowering the elevating bet is easy, requiring just the press of a button. Well almost. To get it down to user friendly height the lounge seat backs have to be removed. That’s not a difficult task I should point out – just lift them out and place on the floor. I mention that because although it might sound fiddly, I have seen others in which it was not an easy task at all. An additional feature is the fold out step in the nearside cabinet for easy bed access – a nice touch! Getting the bed down to lounge level also means the windows can be fully used for ventilation purposes. Something Winnebago has done well is the LED reading/room lights around the bed. Again, I've seen a few designs without any at all, but two on each wall seems a bit of overkill, not that I’m not going to complain!
36 | Day Test
Clockwise from top: The main bed lowers easily into position over the rear lounge, whose backrest cushions are equally easily removed to accommodate it. The bathroom is split across the aisle, with a separate shower on the driverâ€™s side and the toilet and vanity on the other.
aving the split bathroom with the shower cubicle on one side and the toilet cubicle on the other does seem to work quite well. Measuring 0.78 m x 0.76 m (2 ft 7 in x 2 ft 6 in) the shower is large enough to turn around in. Across the aisle the toilet cubicle contains not only a cassette toilet, but also a vanity cabinet with wash basin and a mirror-door shaving cabinet above. Ventilation is by both a largish roof hatch (similar to the showerâ€™s) and a small window. A concertina curtain can be used to close off the bathroom and bedroom areas from the rest of the motorhome, providing welcome privacy.
Day Test | 37
Fiat Ducato 180 Multijet
3.0 L turbo-diesel
132 kW @ 3500 rpm
400 Nm @ 1400 rpm
Gross Vehicle Mass
7.88 m (25 ft 10 in)
2.43 m (8 ft)
3.06 m (10 ft)
2.10 m (6 ft 11 in)
Rear Bed Size
2.03 m x 1.52 m (6 ft 8 in x 5 ft)
Luton Bed Size
2.05 m x 1.40 m (6 ft 9in x 4 ft 7 in)
Thetford 3 burner & grill/oven
Dometic 190 L AES 3-way
12 V LED
1 x 100 AH
1 x 150 W
Truma 14 litre gas/electric
1 x 4.5 kg, 1 x 2.0 kg
Grey Water Tank
Price on Road QLD
• Elevating rear bed • Rear club lounge with surround windows • Reasonable size kitchen • Good external storage • Easily moveable rear seat backs • Separate shower and toilet
• Fixed bed/shelf above driver's cab • Swivelled cab seats don't fit well with table/lounge • No security door • Luton ceiling quite low • Single house battery
Winnebago RV Pty Ltd
Click for Google Maps
698 Nudgee Road Northgate Qld 4013 T: (07) 3265 9243 E: email@example.com W: www.gowinnebago.com.au For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here
38 | Day Test
What I Think
n many ways the Airlie layout ticks quite a few boxes. It looks a bit like a rental motorhome layout in some ways, but one that has been highly tuned for the private market. Undoubtedly the winning feature for those who like an NZ style motorhome is the rear club lounge with wrap-around windows. Coming as it does with the elevating bed above, it means to some extent you can have your cake and eat it too! Additionally, as a C-class motorhome the Airlie can easily be used for a family. All-up, an interesting and well thought-out layout from the Winnebago team. If only they'd do something about that fixed shelf above the driver's cab.....
Day Test | 39
By carefully keeping the front wheels on the track as I turned around it didn't matter if the non-driving rear wheels were on boggy ground.
40 | Travel
Over The Hill?
Adelaide to the Gold Coast via Broken Hill, that isâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Travel | 41
ummer and the Outback go together like chips and chocolate sauce: doable but not very enjoyable. Our plan to spend some time in Paradise Motor Homes’ new Integrity SL, as reviewed last issue, entailed returning it to the company’s Gold Coast factory following its debut at the Adelaide Caravan and Camping Show in late February. The most direct route Google Maps showed me was through the Outback via Broken Hill – 2101 km in all, although it seems Google can change its mind. It’s now saying via Hay and Dubbo is shortest, at 2064 km! Technology…
The plan was straightforward: Fly in to Adelaide on the closing afternoon of the show, a Monday, rendezvous with the Paradise team at the gates at closing time, pick up the vehicle and head off. The aim was to deliver the vehicle back to the Gold Coast the following Friday afternoon and fly home that evening. What could possibly go wrong? In the end nothing did but we ended up taking an extra day, using the time to give us a little more breathing space along the way. Still way too short a time frame to do the journey justice, it gave us a flying glimpse of summer in the bush and ideas for a myriad follow-up adventures. Here’s how it panned out…
42 | Travel Historic Hart’s Mill in Port Adelaide ablaze in the morning sun. Efforts to convert it to up-market housing were defeated, but it’s future is still uncertain. Below: The mill is built on the remains of an earlier building, some of which you can see in the southern wall.
Day 1: Adelaide Pick-up
flour mill in a waterfront redevelopment area a stone’s throw away. We spent a chilly night he closing time of any RV show is getting to know the Integrity SL and wishing for always frantic as exhibitors pack up and a Webasto diesel heater, bothered only by the try to get out the gates for the start of swirling winds blowing in off the water. Note: their homeward journey. It's not always a pretty Having mentioned this location last issue I've sight but in this case things went smoothly. We since been advised by a reader who followed were on the road by 6 pm for the short 15 km our lead that they were moved on by security drive to my sister’s home in Port Adelaide and at around 10 pm. That’s despite there being no dinner at the nearby Birkenhead Tavern, which signs prohibiting overnight parking or camping is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. in the area. Very disappointing.
Overnight parking on her driveway wasn't an option but she recommended the car park outside the historic Hart’s Mill, a derelict
Travel | 43
Overnight parking on (my sister’s) driveway wasn’t an option, but she recommended the car park outside historic Hart’s Mill.
44 | Travel
Top: This over-water cafe has a stunning setting that makes it an ideal place for breakfast in the sunshine. Left: Many of the original 19th century buildings remain in Port Adelaide and most, but not all, have found a new lease of life. It’s a lovely area well worth exploring and is very quite during the week.
Day 2: Port Adelaide to Broken Hill – 513 km
and the South Australian Aviation Museum, you could easily spend days seeing everything here.
nly a shadow of its former self, Port Adelaide is undergoing an protracted transformation from grungy working dock to trendy urban precinct. I say protracted because although most of the infrastructure is in place it seems to be taking people a while to realise its potential. Full of historic buildings and interesting places like the National Railway Museum, South Australian Maritime Museum
Following breakfast at McDonald’s Mrs iMotorhome shopped and stocked the pantry while I took vehicle photos. There’s a delightful over-water cafe in front of Hart’s Mill and we coffeed there in the morning sunshine while regrouping and making our plans for the rest of the day – which were to drive just a couple of hours up the road and overnight in the historic mining town of Burra.
Travel | 45 Peacock’s Chimney is a landmark in Burra and a reminder of the town’s Cornish miners who built it. Many historic buildings remain because, thankfully, stone was the predominant building material. We departed ‘The Port’ around 10:30 am and were soon out of Adelaide and heading north on the Barrier Highway into the flat, dry country that so typifies rural South Australia. It didn’t take long before we began to come across the ruins of abandoned farm buildings randomly dotting the landscape: testament to an unforgiving climate and the broken dreams of many 19th century settlers. Burra is a charming and historic tourist town that built its fortune on the copper discovered in its hills in 1845. In its heyday Burra supplied 89% of South Australia's and 5% of the World’s copper. Primarily populated by migrants from Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Germany, today this tiny microcosm of multiculturalism is blessed with an abundance of historic buildings and a deep sense of civic pride. We lunched in the park off Bridge Terrace, by Burra Creek,
46 | Travel Broken Hill’s main street is alive and well, but the city’s population is dwindling and now largely relies on tourism as there are only two working mines remaining.
before deciding to go for ‘broke’ – Broken Hill – for the night. So much for a leisurely first day on the road! More dry, flat countryside greeted us as we continued north, but once past the turnoff to Peterborough the scenery seemed to change to low rolling hills that grew bigger and greener/ more vegetated as the road turned north-east towards Broken Hill. We were surprised by the number of feral goats, especially as we neared Broken Hill, later finding out they’re known locally as ‘Broken Hill sheep’! Settlements had become few and far between and most
probably sprang to life servicing the railway, which the road dutifully followed. Both Vodafone and Telstra phone coverage ceased quite early on and for much of this journey we were ‘running blind’. Fortunately the setting sun was behind us and we made Broken Hill at about 6:30 after an unexpectedly long day. The caravan park was disappointing but at least we had power for the air conditioning – it was still 35° C – and it was time for a drink, to unwind and settle into Paradise proper…
Broken Hill is Australia’s longest-lived mining city.
Travel | 47 Just outside Broken Hill is the Living Desert Sanctuary, home to the Sculpture Symposium, a hill top installation hewn from sandstone in 1993 by artists from around the world. A 2-3 hour visit is recommended, which also gives time to wander the marked walking trails.
Day 3: Broken Hill to Wilcannia – 196 km
ccording to Wikipedia, Broken Hill is Australia’s longest-lived mining city. In 1844 the explorer Charles Sturt saw and named the Barrier Range, and at the time referred to a “Broken Hill” in his diary. Silver ore was discovered on that “broken hill” in 1883, although the “broken hill” actually comprised a number of hills that appeared to have a break in them. Predictably they no longer exist, having been mined away. The World’s richest deposits of silver, lead and zinc were mined at fever pitch by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP), which was founded by a syndicate of seven men in 1885. By 1915 BHP realised the ore reserves were limited and diversified into steel, ceasing mining in the town in February
48 | Travel
The Miners Memorial sits on top of the Line of Lode and records the names of the more than 800 men who lost their lives since 1883. Sadly it’s now closed to the public, but still cuts a striking silhouette against the blue Outback sky. Below: Pro Hart’s unique hand-painted Roll Royce, one of three Rolls Royces and one Bentley on display at his gallery.
1939. From a peak population of 36,000 Broken Hill is now home to around 19,000, with numbers continuing to dwindle. There are still working mines in the area, owned by the Chinese and Japanese, but tourism and a growing art movement are seen as the City’s future. I was still planning a Friday night arrival on the Gold Coast, but some hasty recalculations showed that even with Adelaide to Broken Hill under our belt on the first full day, all we were going to have time to do was drive. So the decision was made to add a day, which at least meant we would have some limited sightseeing time along the way. Broken Hill (and neighbouring Silverton) is a destination in itself and one we will revisit and feature in depth in future. Stopping at the local tourist office I asked a very helpful ‘Man Behind the Counter’ what he would do if he only had two hours in town. He suggested a drive to the lookout at the top of the Line of Lode – site of the Miners Memorial and Broken Earth Cafe – then a visit to White’s Mineral Art & Living
Mining Museum. The former he suggested to get an overview of town and the latter to gain a good insight into the history and working practices of the early miners. In the end we spent half a day in Broken Hill, starting with the lookout as suggested before heading nine kilometres out of town to the Living Desert Sculptures and then returning to the Pro Hart Gallery (see separate notes). We decided to leave the mining museum for a return journey to have time to do it justice.
Travel | 49 Wilcannia, once a thriving commercial centre on the Darling River in the days of paddle steamers, has some impressive reminders of its glory days: like the centre-lift road bridge thatâ€™s due for restoration and the historic police station and neighbouring court house. Sightseeing completed it was time to hit the road for the leisurely 200 km run to Wilcannia. The Barrier Highway continued to impress with its changing scenery and a surprising amount of greenery, although unseasonal summer rains made it look better than I suspect it usually did at the end of February. There was also little traffic, but that wasnâ€™t surprising given the time of year. I'd imagine during the winter months the highway would be an endless procession of caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes heading west looking for adventure.
50 | Travel After less than two hours Wilcannia hove into view in the mid afternoon. Despite a reputation for “troubles with the locals” we held high hopes this historic port town on the Darling River would be undergoing some kind of Renaissance in keeping with its important position in our Colonial history. In the 1890s Wilcannia was Australia's third largest inland port town and known as the Queen City of the West. The town had 13 hotels, a diverse migrant population of 3000 and as many as 90 paddle steamers plied the river inland as far as Bourke. Unfortunately our hopes were dashed and Wilcannia seemed largely deserted, with many of the buildings in the centre of town derelict. A couple of intoxicated locals were arguing in the middle of the the main intersection, yet just 200 metres away stood some fine colonial sandstone buildings – including a very active police station and courthouse – along with the rambling remains of an imposing 19th-century riverfront merchants’ store. Today Wilcannia feels very much like a town whose spirit has left it, despite promising signs on the margins. The original cast-iron centre-lift road bridge across the Darling – an engineering marvel from 1884 – still stands alongside its modern concrete replacement. On it a faded and graffitied NSW Government sign proclaims the bridge to be historically important and says it will undergo restoration in 2011-2012. That seems to sum Wilcannia up: plans but no action, just apathy. But there was one very bright spot – the caravan park! Just 1.5 km east of town on the Barrier Highway is Warrawong on the Darling. It’s a near-new riverside oasis the Wikicamps app steered us to and proved a highlight of the trip (see separate notes). If you’re travelling out this way be sure to fit it into your itinerary, not only because it’s a great place to stay, but because it’s also a brave move in a town that sorely needs all the encouragement it can get.
Warrawong on the Darling, just outside Wilcannia, is a muststop oasis if you’re planning to travel the Barrier Highway.
Travel | 51
The original cast-iron centre-lift road bridge across the Darling â€“ an engineering marvel from 1884.
52 | Travel
Copper mining is the lifeblood of Cobar and its legacy is evident throughout the town.
Day 4: Wilcannia to Tooraweenah – 598 km
t was time to put some serious miles behind us otherwise we’d never get the Integrity SL to the Gold Coast even vaguely on time. From Wilcannia it was 260 km almost due east to Cobar, where we stopped for coffee, fuel and a stretch. Cobar was everything Wilcannia wasn’t: prosperous, clean, tidy and full of hope. Built on huge deposits of copper that are still actively mined, the town’s name itself is derived from the Aboriginal Ngiyampaa language word for copper – Kuparr. At its peak Cobar had a population of 10,000 and its own stock exchange! During the Depression the population dropped to a little over 1000 and today it sits around 4000, with gold, silver, lead and zinc having been discovered in the area in the 1980s. We stopped briefly at the visitors centre before continuing another 132 km east to the small town of Nyngan. This marked the end of
Travel | 53
the 1007 km Barrier Highway, which we had been on since leaving Gawler, some 50 km north of Adelaide. We lunched in the shade in Rotary Park, by the Bogan River – yes, Bogan – before finding a terrific little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop called the Cocky’s Wife on the main street. Speaking to the young Irish barista we discovered one of the reasons you find so many young foreign tourists working in cafes, pubs and on stations in the bush: To extend their work visa for an extra year they need to live and work a minimum of 88 days in regional Australia. Sounds like a good system to me!
Nyngan achieved national fame in April 1990 when the town was inundated by a massive flood. Despite their best efforts all residents had to be evacuated by helicopter from the railway station and today one of those helicopters – an ex-RAAF Iroquois – sits atop a pole as a tribute at the railway station, which is now a museum. Interestingly, that very helicopter was one of only two that kept Australian troops supplied with ammunition, and evacuated the wounded, during the infamous Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam, in August 1966.
54 | Travel We were headed for Gilgandra for the night, turning left onto the Oxley Highway at the charmingly named town of Nevertire, some 55 km down the Mitchell Highway from Nyngan. From there it was a little over 100 km to Gilgandra, via Warren, but on arrival we decided to press on a little further as the best rated caravan park in the district was in the tiny town of Tooraweenah, some 43 km further on. In Gilgandra the Oxley, Castlereagh and Newell Highways converge and Tooraweenah is about three kilometres off the Newell Highway, heading north east towards Coonabarabran. Nearing our destination we encountered the first rain of our travels – torrential downpours in fact – from late summer afternoon thunderstorms. We also had the rare delight of driving for several kilometres with a rainbow literally starting from the bonnet of the motorhome! Not far off the Newell Highway as you head into Tooraweenah is the newly built Warrumbungle Viewing Platform. There we sheltered from the last of the rain and enjoyed breathtaking views of the Warrumbungle Ranges set against the near-black of the late afternoon’s stormy sky. It was breathtaking. We were the only guests in the Tooraweenah Caravan Park that night and were welcomed upon arrival by caretakers who were ‘house sitting’ while the owners enjoyed a short holiday. It seems February and November are the park’s quietest times. Even so, our hosts still presented us with a complimentary plate of scones, jam and cream – a park signature! We spent a pleasant night in our private caravan park and Mrs iM cooked and served dinner outside; so balmy was the temperature and still the evening. Dinner was followed by a competition spitting watermelon seeds at each other (I blame the wine), which Mrs iM won convincingly. Not only can’t I bowl, I can’t spit either…
Day 5: Tooraweenah to Toowoomba – 626 km
he morning found us exploring the main street of this tiny time-bypassed town that’s so sleepily quiet I found myself speaking in whispers. Interestingly, in the backyard of one home is the fuselage of a 1950s era de Havilland Heron commuter airliner, painted in Butler Air Transport livery. We departed quietly so as not to disturb the town’s slumber and rejoined the Newell Highway and the bustle of the 21st century. Coonabarabran, some 58 km up the road, was a refuelling stop for us and the Integrity SL: coffee and diesel. We didn’t linger as there was still much distance to cover and the next 120 km through the Pilliga Nature Reserve to Narrabri was quite heavily timbered but otherwise unremarkable as it afforded little in the way of distant views. We’d noted the previous day that since Nyngan towns started to appear more regularly and the land use changed, favouring cropping as we entered more reliable rainfall areas.
Travel | 55
Time was against us and so after a second coffee break, in Narrabri, we continued almost directly north for another 100 km to Moree. Temperatures for most of the trip had been in the low to mid 30s and the day before we had seriously considered heading from Cobar to Bourke and across to Moree that way. But with the mercury forecast to hit 39-40Â° C we decided to save that adventure for another time too. Moree was another surprise town; absolutely bustling with traffic, commerce and an almost tangible sense of prosperity. We lunched at the manicured park beside the tourist information office and upon leaving had to wait minutes at the roundabout for a break in the traffic, such was the pace of the place! Cotton growing aside, Moree is famous for its hot springs and is another town we plan to revisit as a separate destination feature. The 250 km drive from Moree to Goondiwindi on the Queensland border was something of a blur and we paused just long enough for another coffee and comfort stop. Toowoomba
View from the Warrumbungleâ€™s Viewing Platform and below, sleepy Tooraweenah, frozen in time.
56 | Travel was still 225 km distant and once across the border I have to say the roads deteriorated markedly for quite a while. By this stage we were both pretty much running on autopilot; counting the miles, watching the time and looking forward to a night ‘on the town’ and away from the motorhome for a few hours. Actually, our Toowoomba stopover was carefully crafted by Mrs iM so she could have the night off from cooking and we could revisit one of our favourite institutions: The Spotted Cow. Toowoomba proved to be something of a culture shock after nearly 2000 km of the open road and small country towns. The Jolly Swagman Caravan Park proved a good choice (see notes) and once we were parked up and showered it was just a $10 taxi ride to our Big Night Out.
Day 6: Toowoomba to Biggera Waters – 172 km
e were only 172 km from the Paradise factory and didn’t need to be there until nearly 3 pm, so we treated ourselves to a sleep-in. I think we made 7 o’clock. Paradise had supplied most of our invehicle requirements for the trip, like cutlery and crockery, bedding, towels, etc, so there wasn’t a whole lot of personal packing up to do. After our final breakfast it was time to hit the road and take a leisurely drive to the Gold Coast. The descent off the escarpment from Toowoomba is a steep one and we hadn’t long reached the bottom before I saw an exit sign saying something about the Cobb & Co Trail. As we had plenty of time I wheeled off the freeway, pulled over and Googled it – then set off to follow it. Following the special brown signs with a wagon wheel logo, as instructed, I soon realised we were heading right back to Toowoomba! No matter, we had plenty of time (didn’t we?), so back we went along a back road that retraces the original stagecoach route up the escarpment. It was quite a little
Travel | 57
adventure and was how we discovered the Cobb & Co Museum. In a future issue there’ll be a small feature on the drive, which makes a pleasant and interesting diversion on the journey from Brisbane or the Gold Coast to Toowoomba – or vice versa. Final day unexpected adventures aside, we arrived at the Paradise Motor Homes’ factory in good time and regrettably handed back the keys before get a lift to Coolangatta airport for the flight home. It had been a big week – bigger than we realised until we got home and found we needed a rest that we didn’t have time for – but an immensely satisfying one. It had been my first journey along the length of the Barrier Highway and only my second visit to Broken Hill – the first was some 25 years ago. It had also been Mrs iMotorhome’s first time in Broken Hill and her first time in Outback New South Wales. If you didn’t need to replicate our cracking pace there could be much to like about summer – or at least the fringe of summer – touring in this part of Australia. Especially if you don’t mind the heat but don’t like crowds. Choose your travel times and camping sites carefully and you could see parts of Australia in a light most people miss. As always, travel is the great teacher and it’s far better to be in class than playing truant. Over the hill? You’re never too old to learn…
58 | Travel
Broken Hill Click for Broken Hill Visitor Google Maps Information Centre Cnr Bromide and Blende Sts Broken Hill. NSW. 2880. T: (08) 8080 3560 Thoughts: Shares space with the local coach terminal and a cafe. Best to park on-street in Blende St. Nothing flash but helpful staff and lots of information available.
Caravan Park: Click for Google Maps Broken Hill Tourist Park Top Tourist 142 Rakow Street Broken Hill. NSW. 2880. T: (08) 8087 3841 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 3.5 Fees: Powered site $35 Thoughts: Basic and uninviting. We stayed because it's the first caravan park coming in from Adelaide, and caravan parks are thin on the ground in Broken Hill. We asked for a powered site close to the camp kitchen and were wedged into the only vacant space along the back fence, despite there being plenty of other vacant powered sites nearby. I should have requested a move (I know!) but the office was at the other end and it had been a long day. Overall the place felt tired, looked barren and I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than an overnight if you must.
Click for Free Camping: Google Maps Round Hill Rest Area About 6 km east on Barrier Hwy Thoughts: Rated 1.5 stars from 5 on Wikicamps. The closest rated free camping area Wikicamps shows to town. Just a basic roadside stop, apparently the trick is to park at the rear of the truck parking area, accessed via short tracks at either end.
Things to See Click for Living Desert and Sculptures Google Maps Enter off Nine Mile Rd Broken Hill. NSW. 2880. Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 4.5 Fees: $5 per person. Pay and display. Thoughts: Well worth the short drive out of Broken Hill and the small entry fee to stand on a hill with 360° views of the Outback. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times, when the sun is low and the sandstone sculptures glow. The road is bitumen all the way but narrow in and out of the site, especially up to/down from the final hill. Would be tricky for vehicles longer than 8 m. Actively Ranger patrolled, don't forget to pay and display – or else!
Travel | 59 Pro Hart Gallery Click for Google Maps 108 Wyman St Broken Hill. NSW. 2880. T: (08) 8087 2441 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 4.5 Fees: $5 per person Thoughts: Kevin Charles “Pro” Hart was a Broken Hill local considered the father of the Australian Outback painting movement. He was nicknamed "Professor" (Pro) during his younger days, when he was known as an inventor. Pro passed on in 2006 but his workshop is preserved, and many of his works (including his hand painted Rolls Royce) are on display. There’s a continuous video of his story, and three levels of works demonstrating his remarkable range of styles. If you remember the carpet ad there’s even a small framed dragonfly reproduction – on carpet!
Miners Memorial & Click for Google Maps Broken Earth Cafe Federation Way Broken Hill. NSW. 2880. Fees: Free Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): N/A Thoughts: Sitting high above the town atop the Line of Lode, the Miners Memorial and Broken Earth Cafe are the City’s two most exciting and prominent landmarks – and both are closed! It’s a sad state of affairs that seems symptomatic of lack of vision and/or understanding/money on the part of local authorities. You can still drive up to take in the vista, but the best views are
locked away and both buildings are off limits. Very disappointing.
Wilcannia Information: Wilcannia Tourism Association T: 0429 915467
Caravan Park: Click for Google Maps Warrawaong on the Darling Barrier Hwy (1.5 km east of town) Wilcannia. NSW. 2836. T: 1300 688 225 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 5 Fees: Powered site $35 Thoughts: A little green oasis on the edge of town, it’s only new and the owners are working their backsides off to make it special – something they’ve already succeeded at! When the Darling River is running it’s river frontage, otherwise there’s a billabong or dry river bed,
60 | Travel but you can follow the tracks down to the river’s main channel. Green grass camping in the Outback (no shade at this stage though); immaculate amenities, a neat little camp kitchen and the friendliest, helpful hosts (Jenny and Joe) make this a must-stay place. It’s relatively small, so be sure to book ahead in peak times.
Free Camping: Round Hill Rest Area Barrier Hwy (8 km east of town) Wilcannia. NSW. 2836
Caravan Park: Tooraweenah Caravan Park 16-26 Bridge Street Tooraweenah. NSW. 2831. Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 5 Fees: Powered site $25
Click for Google Maps
Things to See Beautiful historic stone police station and court house (plus old merchant store and related buildings across the road) on the corner of Reid and Cleaton Sts. Tip: Fuel at the BP (cnr Martin & Reid Sts) is supposedly cheaper than the Liberty Roadhouse on the Barrier Highway.
Click for Google Maps
Information: Gilgandra Visitor Centre Coo-Ee March Memorial Park Newell Hwy. Gilgandra. NSW. 2827
Click for Google Maps
Click for Google Maps
Thoughts: A delightful little caravan park that deserves more business! Right in town, it’s compact, level and although the facilities are a bit basic – there’s no camp kitchen or barbecues for instance – there is a pool and the older style amenities block is spotless. Very well priced, you even get scones with jam and cream upon arrival! Highly recommended. Free Camping: Hickey’s Fall Newell Hwy, Gowang. NSW. 2813 (Avoid the rest area at Newell Hwy turn off)
Click for Google Maps
Travel | 61 Things to See and Know Tooraweenah is 3 km off the Newell Highway, at the southern end of the tourist drive through to the Warrumbungle National Park, which comes out at Coonabarabran. On the drive in stop at the Warrumbungle’s viewing platform. In town, take a walk from the caravan park to the old main street. The Mountain View pub is a real heritage hotel and the few shops – those working or just restored – are straight out of 1920s Australia. Tooraweenah was pivotal in the history of Butler Air Transport, which was absorbed into Ansett Airlines in 1958. It served as the hub for flights from surrounding towns, where passengers transferred to a DC3 flight to Sydney.
Toowoomba Information: Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre 86 James St (Warrego Hwy) Toowoomba. Qld. 4350. T: 1800 331 155
Click for Google Maps
Caravan Park: Click for Google Maps Jolly Swagman Caravan Park 47 Kitchener St Toowoomba. QLD. 4350. T: (07) 4632 8735 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 3 Fees: Powered site $35 Thoughts: A small park that’s by far the closest to the centre of Toowoomba (diagonally opposite the tourist info office). It’s reasonably priced for the location, neat, clean and tidy. The downside? Tight for larger vehicles (max 8 m I’d suggest), on a hill so level concrete pads only, the amenities block is closed for cleaning between 8 and 9 am (seriously?) and the manager is dour and disinterested. Still, the best place to base yourself for easy town access.
62 | Travel Free Camping Alternative: Toowoomba Showgrounds Click for 302 Glenvale Rd Google Maps Toowoomba. Qld. 4350. Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): N/A Fees: Powered site $25 Thoughts: Camping at the showgrounds rates 2 stars from 5 on Wikicamps. Basic facilities and about 8 km from the centre of town. No free camping sites shown on Wikicamps within miles of Toowoomba.
Things to See and Do Click for Google Maps Cobb & Co Museum 27 Lindsay St Toowoomba. Qld. 4350. T: (07) 4659 4900 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 4.5 Fees: $12.50 pp Thoughts: We only discovered it when leaving town following a quick overnight stay, but it's impressive from the outside and looks good when I briefly stuck my head in. Apart from anything there's an eclectic collection of old farm windmills outside and we'll be back to report in depth another time.
Picnic Point Park Click for Google Maps Tourist Rd Toowoomba. Qld. 4350. Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 4.5 Fees: Free Thoughts: Perched on the escarpment edge some 700 m above sea level and with views towards Brisbane and the ocean, Picnic Point Park is a Toowoomba icon. The park and gardens are beautifully maintained, as you'd expect in the Garden City, and there's a pleasant cafe to grab a coffee and cake, lunch or shelter from the quickly changeable weather. Parking is the issue for a motorhome and you might need to find a spot in a nearby street rather than the free car parking area. The Spotted Cow Click for Google Maps 296 Ruthven St Toowoomba. Qld. 4350. T: (07) 4639 3264 Tripadvisor Rating (5 max): 3.5 Fees: 1 kg pot of mussels $26.90 Thoughts: Our perennial and featured in Issue 32 on 7 Sep 2013, The Spotted Cow is another iconic Toowoomba institution. The front pub section is a beer lover’s delight, but for us the rear bistro is the place to be. I'm sure all the food is good but we never get past one of the signature dishes: a 1 kg pot of mussels from Tasmania’s Spring Bay! We dined on a Friday night and it was bustling, though a bit noisy as you’d expect. Considering this was our third visit over a ten year period the food quality has remained consistently excellent and we're sure to be back many more times.
Travel | 63 Part of the Cobb & Co Museumâ€™s historic windmill collection.
64 | Reader Report – Part 2
Six of the Best! Continuing from last issue we find out the pros and cons of one fortunate reader’s small fleet of motorhomes… by Keith Hemburrow
Winnebago Free Spirit – Fiat Ducato 2.8 L
hat a pleasure to drive after the Mazda. So much room, but I'm sure a design problem with all the weight being at the back for a front-wheel drive. I helped with that problem by placing another huge water tank in the cavernous space underneath. So much space we could get so much (too much) into that vehicle. It was a great choice at the time and the only trouble we ever had was from the initial delivery, when the rubber boot on the front drive shaft was damaged, I guess as part of the body build. We found it by a thorough check as part of our taking delivery and it was replaced pretty quickly, but I think with no grease in there for a time it must have
caused some damage. The drive shaft was subsequently replaced under warranty without even a blink of an eye. The vendor changed some of the interior to meet our needs of comfort and subsequently we saw some of our changes in later models. We have now seen this on a number of occasions, so our thinking must not be seen as extreme. We still had the Luton peak double bed but had moved to a separate shower and toilet. With so much room underneath I decided that I would fit a water filter for this big new tank. Not an ordinary cartridge filter, but a full blown 12 V reverse-osmosis unit. It was great until in the bush one day, when it was ever so quiet except for the birds, I could hear the noise of the pump on the filter working. It normally shut off after a period, but it seemed to go longer.
Reader Report | 65
I opened up the well built sealed locker door to have a look and was greeted by a wave of water as more than 150 litres flowed out! These systems work at high pressure and I had chosen a lesser quality cheaper hose to keep within my budget. Lesson learnt!
Aâ€™van Ovation M3 â€“ Fiat Ducato 3.0 L Manual
Australia at that time. I was chided by friends and others that it would not last the distance or places that we would be taking it; that we needed a solid frame well built and designed for Australian conditions. Well, that turned out to be very not true. At the end of ownership the vehicle was tight and had less rattles and noises that I had to worry about than the other previous units.
hat a fantastic vehicle to drive! The Winnebago dealer was not happy that we chose another brand, but the A'van had what we wanted. I was concerned about the construction of the A'van, being built of composite materials against all other motorhomes being sold in
It was one of the first motorhomes in Australia to use a lot of European products and was an absolute delight. It had good fittings, integrated entertainment units and comfortable seating. The company support was excellent and they have always attracted our attention as we look for our next. I like stories against myself
66 | Reader Report
and here is one for those that don't like a front wheel drive motorhome. Touring in Tasmania, I was meeting my brother at a location. It had not been raining ‘cept for the previous night as we pulled into the location. Looking down this very steep gravel incline with a few holes full of water, there he was down the bottom with a few others on this lovely grassy spot. “No worries” say I, and drop down joining him on the very green grass with a very hard base underneath. After a couple of days and a fair bit of rain, I carelessly and aggressively apply the accelerator without switching on the anti-slip control and the wheels slipped and thats where I was going to stay until either pushed out or until I placed my “Max Trax” (a great product for motorhomers) underneath.
There was no hurry from my brother to assist, he was too busy taking photos to show my predicament. A bit of a push from my wife, a guy nearby and at last we drove out and up without further hassle. Lesson learnt. Again!
Winnebago Esperance – Iveco Daily 3.0 L Auto
e chose this one to suit our changing needs. This model had the electric bed at the rear and a very neat area for entertaining. In retrospect, the front of the vehicle was wasted, as you could not turn the seats around or use the cab area for any other use, other than driving. Other than that it was a great and comfortable
Reader Report | 67
unit. It also had the bed in the Luton peak, which we used for storage, with all sorts of stuff up there including the wife’s portable piano. All of our vehicles have had to have a place for this instrument, which runs off 12 volt power. Compared to the Fiat for driving ease though, we felt that we had taken a backward step. Although the same motor as the Fiat, this Iveco was a better towing unit. We had a large trailer that we towed our Veteran cars and the Iveco was able to have a better ball weight than the Fiat. It was also able to have our small motorbike mounted on a frame at the rear which could not be done with the Fiat. It must be said though, at the risk of once more being embarrassed, that the Iveco with
its dual wheels at the rear does not like sand and I have been bogged equally often in mud and sand as I have been with the Fiat on grass. I have had the “Max Trax” recovery stuff out equally as often – maybe once every couple of years. They are all just heavy trucks when you are bogged by yourself, so appropriate care should be taken for justin (just in case).
Avida Eyre B7624 – Fiat Ducato 3.0 L Auto
y a long shot, the best vehicle we have had so far. It drives like a sports car and handles just so well, feeling at all times a safe unit to drive. Probably aided by its low profile AL-KO chassis and no Luton
68 | Reader Report
peak. There was so much space in the walk in wardrobe under the bed, too, to store all the important stuff, including the wife’s piano. There is a cavernous amount of storage in the rear locker that is big enough to place any item you can think of. You still carry a lot of useless stuff if you have the space, even if its not used. I thought the very low chassis profile might cause a problem for the locations we travel, but this proved not to be so. There is also a long overhang I originally worried about, but just being aware of the low rear seems to have alleviated what might at first pass appear to be a problem. Like the A'van Ovation, my wife, who is great in the kitchen, plans for those extravagant meals where she needs a lot of preparation space. The kitchen area is tight but it works. The worst thing about this vehicle and I understand that they are all the same is the top front hatch, which rattles or more correctly vibrates to the point of utter annoyance. But I s'pose its not bad if that’s the worst.
directions and the council lawn mower man about to drive through or up against the side, I had to hurry a bit. I forgot that the gutter was of a higher one than normal and when there was a break in traffic I quickly dropped the motorhome off the edge. Trouble was it seemed to bounce a little and the gutter caught the very edge of the spare wheel mount, releasing the wheel onto the road and dropping the spare wheel frame on the road, separately, as well. I had no choice but to stop, blocking all lanes of the road, to retrieve the wheel and to pick up the frame! Nobody appreciated my predicament or the fact I was wearing good clothes to lie on the road. All they could see was this “silly old bugger” in a motorhome blocking the traffic again.
Horizon Acacia – Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4X4
his is our current vehicle and the choice has been made on lifestyle. We like prospecting and going into I can't complete a statement about each truck locations that we used to go to with the other without reference to a self-inflicted problem. RV`s we have owned. We have made use of With the Eyre, it came about when I parked the the high clearance and 4X4 option this vehicle motorhome across the road from my house offers, without putting ourselves at risk of on a green grass area when our driveway damage or needing assistance to get out of was required. When it came time to get it our remote locations. back across the road, with traffic coming in all
Reader Report | 69
The Horizon build and support has been very good indeed. The hardest thing to become familiar with in buying such a vehicle has been getting used to the well planned but small ‘wet bathroom’ again. The general downsizing of the vehicle took only a short time to be found most comfortable, particularly after jettisoning gathered products we never used any way.
I read many magazines, testing motorhomes and I'm thinking that the testers are biassed towards Mercedes Benz (the Sprinter) and don’t or can’t see past the name. Either that or they don't have the vehicles long enough to be somewhat critical. The Sprinter in its various forms is after all primarily a ‘truck’ or a ‘delivery van’, where everything for safety and comfort is ordered extra. Compared to the The following comments I make are shared by Fiat, which is primarily purpose designed for others, although I initially thought I was on my a motorhome, with many comfort and safety own. Our Mercedes Benz Sprinter vehicle has items fitted as standard. For example, two arm had quite a few problems, requiring a lot of rests on the driver and passenger seats and continuing warranty work. Everything in dealing swivel seats that can turn without having to get with Mercedes Benz seems to require the out of the seat; little storage holders in the rear vehicle be in the service department for two doors and lower noise level in the Fiat. Having days or more, for even the simplest problem made this statement it must also be said that and this has entailed multiple attendances for no other vendor produces a 4X4 vehicle that the same problem. can be converted to a motorhome, taking us to places in comfort so easily.
70 | Reader Report As a general statement covering all the vehicles above and thinking of our lifestyle, we always ask for or add the following: • 150-200 L or more of drinking water (1 or more tanks) • 150-200 W solar panels at least (mono crystalline preferred) • 2 x 100 AH batteries if not fitted • Air conditioning • A heater/blower • A satellite TV system • Perhaps a towbar to keep others away from the plastic rear. Nothing is perfect, but we do have great vehicles to safely travel in comfort and to see the beauty of Australia, meeting many interesting people along the way. Life is short, enjoy the travelling and please remember to leave no rubbish! Editor’s note: We hear from disgruntled owners of all brands of motorhome base vehicles, but fewest relating to the Mercedes Benz Sprinter (unless owners are reluctant to admit an expensive mistake). In my opinion the Sprinter is safer and better engineered than the Fiat Ducato, which is also a commercial delivery van that has simply been more specifically adapted to suit motorhome conversion. The Fiat wins on standard equipment, design appeal and driving enjoyment, but I have no doubt which would be better to be involved in an accident in or which will last the longest – and it’s not Italian).
Reader Report | 71
The Winnebago Free Spirit on an early Fiat Ducato was a pleasure to drive after the Mazda.
72 | Mobile Tech
Snap You Appy!
The top five photography apps for all you mobile-device camera buffsâ€Ś. By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 73
igital photography has revolutionised the way we capture, produce, edit and share our precious photos. Digital technology places unprecedented capabilities directly and conveniently into your various mobile devices, be they smart phone or tablet. And while your humble iPhone might never replace a classic film or DSLR camera it can certainly produce surprisingly high quality images. This App List will hopefully help you get the best out of not only your iPhone's camera, but also any images you choose to upload. In addition, your device may be used as a tool in concert with a DSLR camera to take your photography to the next level and even share it with the world. When looking for a great photography app there are several features that distinguish a good app from a great one, although this also depends on your own level of post-production skill and confidence. Experienced photographers will appreciate apps that allow for in-depth technical and creative control, while more casual enthusiasts might simply enjoy one touch filter and effect features that work to elevate already great shots. There are a number of different types of photography apps available and they range from editing suites to apps that enhance your camera with various lens and film effects.
ost photo editing apps let you take photos with an in-app camera function and often with different lens styles, or they pull up an existing shot from your camera roll to edit. Usually, edited images are saved separately so you don’t have to worry about losing your original shot. Basic editing features include rotate, crop, brightness, contrast, flash-fill, and sharpen. Many also have a great collection of filters or effects. Filters are a great way to quickly and easily edit your photos and while some filters are available across different apps, others are specific to the app. Often a free app will give you a basic selection of filters with ‘premium’ effects as an optional package to purchases. Nearly all apps
74 | Mobile Tech Adobe Photoshop Express Free Size: 71.9 MB Adobe Systems is the industry leader when it comes to digital creative technologies. Renowned for its software, Adobe has many creative apps on the market ranging from high-end professional tools to basic entry-level apps for fun. Adobe Photo Express is one of these introductory apps that allow users to apply professional looking edits to images, quickly and easily. Auto-fix and one-touch filters produce quick edits, while slider controls provide more delicate control for contrast, exposure, shadows and more. Additional advanced filters, features and image tools can be purchased in-app, but the stock package provides all the essential tools required for basic editing and enhancement. too have an Auto Enhance or Auto Fix feature: A single-click function that generally gives your photo richer tone and colour. It also enhances the contrast, sharpness and gives the photo more depth. Some apps have more novelty features that allow you to add things like frames and text too. You might be aware of the social media phenomenon of sharing ‘Memes’ (pronounced me-mees) which are like visual one liners and it can be quite fun to make your own. Most Photo Editing apps also have an integrated social media sharing function allowing you to directly post your edited image on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There are literally hundreds of photo editing apps available for both Android and iOS devices. Finding one that suits your individual requirements should not be too hard or costly as there are plenty of great free apps available. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on promotional sites or apps such as ‘App of the Day,’ as often premium photography apps are featured for free.
Adobe Photoshop Mix (for iPad) Free Size: 93.3 MB Adobe Photoshop Mix is a slightly more creative editing app that is packed full of fun features and functional effects. This app offers a taste of Adobe’s well known Photoshop software, conveniently on your mobile device. Optimised for iPads this app has a remarkably simple interface that is easy to navigate and use. An
Mobile Tech | 75 initial tutorial is offered, which is recommended to help familiarise yourself with the tools. You can apply basic edits and filter enhancements to your images, but the real feature is the ability to cut out and combine images. You can add, remove, superimpose, move, resize or adjust objects to create a range of looks in true seamless Photoshop fashion. Technically this app reflects Adobes expertise and as a result has loads of creative potential. You do need an Adobe cloud account to use the app, however this requires nothing more than an email address. At 93.3 MB this app has serious storage issues but again the tools and content are quite incredible.
Instagram Free Size: 10.4 MB Instagram is perhaps the most well-known photo taking, editing and sharing app. Itâ€™s totally free with no purchasable upgrades and can be conveniently utilised for a number of purposes. Essentially, Instagram is a social media site, except the primary content is images not words. You can make your profile as public or as private as you like and you actually need not ever post an image to use the capture or editing features. In terms of editing tools, all the basics are there: crop, resize, sharpen, tilt shift, shadows, highlights, saturation, warmth, contrast, brightness, and all with touch-slide control. The range of filters is impressive and they too can be applied to varying degrees of your choice. In terms of sharing and security the possibilities are endless. You can record each image taken on a world map, link images across many social media platforms and you can individually control who can see your images. Instagram is a wonderful way to simply, efficiently and beautifully take, track, edit and share your photos. Available for both Android and iOS devices and only a tidy 10.4 MB itâ€™s certainly worth a try!
76 | Mobile Tech Photo Power $3.79 Size: 11.4 MB Anybody with a passion for photography will know that itâ€™s not the cheapest hobby! The same applies to editing software. Photo Power might not replace a professional editing suite, but in my amateur experience it does an incredible job and is certainly worth the few dollars it costs. This is not a one touch edit tool, you have complete control over all elements with this app, a feature that will have you tweaking and fiddling for hours. The difference in quality between this and many free apps is evident in the extremely powerful quality tools like those you would find in a professional editing bundle such as Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. It recognises a large range of storage formats too, including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG and RAW and can
support more than 25 million pixels. If you are looking for a high-end quality app with no technical limitations this is the one I would pick.
Mobile Tech | 77 Pho.to Lab - Filters & Art Effects App, Frames & Collage Maker! Free Size: 33.5 MB Have you ever fancied yourself on the cover of Time Magazine? What about the cover of The Rolling Stone? Well thanks to Pho.to.lab you can create your own and many other quirky, but quite entertaining photo effects. This app actually has more than 500 image effect options available. Not only does it have a basic, but quality, editing suite, it pretty much has every type of editing effect from novelty to creative that you could ever want. Boarders, frames, photo-to-painting, stylised effects, backgrounds, stickers, novelty disguises,
themed greeting cards, filters, collages, flags, you name it this app has the lot. The interface is incredibly easy to use and the results are quite professional. Once you have incorporated your image or images into the template you can then further manually customise your work by adding text, stickers or even draw freehand upon it. The sharing process is also fantastic, with not only full social media integration but also email or text (MMS). This app does all the heavy lifting for you and will even tag your image when shared via social media with the relevant hashtags for twitter and Instagram. Available for both Android and iOS devices it ticks all the right boxes, technologically. Its facial recognition and photorealistic effects are incredibly advanced and with over ten million downloads itâ€™s as solid as they come! Enjoy!
78 | Next Issue
Anyone for Tiffin?
We’re going to play with one for a day on the Gold Coast and bring you a full report in two weeks time. Can’t wait!
ew A-class motorhomes are thin on the ground in Australia. Tiffin Australia is hoping to change that with its new Allegro Breeze, sourced from one of America’s better manufactures, Tiffin Motorhomes. A ‘compact’ 10.1 m (33 ft 2 in) and powered by a rear-mounted Navistar MaxxForce 7 turbo-diesel driving through a 6-speed Allison automatic, it looks good and seems to have much to offer.
We’ve also got a look at a reader’s custom-made Fiat Ducato van conversion and a sneak peak at the Canowindra International Balloon Festival, which is coming up from 12 to 19 April. And that’s just for starters… Issue 69 will be out on Easter Saturday – April 4. Until then we hope you enjoy this issue and invite you to join our more than 22,000 Facebook Friends and Twitter followers to share the laughs, fun and news. See you in two weeks! Facebook “f ” Logo
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Perth Caravan & Camping Show
Sydney Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow
2015 South Queensland Caravan & Camping Expo
Claremont Showgrounds Claremont. WA. 6010 • Open 9:30-5:30 daily (2 pm last day) • Parking: $5 • Adults: $19.50 • Seniors: $13 • Kids: Free U 16 years
Rosehill Racecourse, James Ruse Dr, Rosehill. NSW. 2142 • Open 10:30-5:00 daily (4 pm last day) • Parking: $5 • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20 • Kids: Free U 16 free with adult
Nambour Showgrounds Coronation Ave, Nambour. Qld. 4560 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: School age free with adult
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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