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iMotorhome

magazine

Issue 71: May 02 2015

Nose for

because getting there is half the fun...

Adventure Apollo’s zippy Euro Tourer…

Welcome Long Termer!

Our first long term test motorhome arrives…

CMCA Rally Report

Malcolm checks in from Murray Bridge!

Don’t Crack Up!

A DIY windscreen repair that really works…

Win!

$50 for the! best letter


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About iMotorhome | 3

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

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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

Memories… With the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli still fresh in our minds I want to share two things I hope you’ll find interesting. On a subsequent visit to Turkey as a driver with Top Deck Travel our Bristol Lodekka bus needed urgent repairs. That was quite normal as they were old even back in 1982, and in this case it had blown the oil line to the oil pressure gauge on the dashboard. We were down on the Turkish/Syrian border (a story in itself) and while our passengers wandered the small town of Reyhanli I went in search of replacement oil line. Back then German was the second language – if anyone had one – and most negotiations involved charades. It was entertaining if nothing else and eventually I found a small mechanical workshop down a side road. There the middle-aged owner and I engaged in the usual comical routine which, in this case, produced exactly what I was looking for. I needed about two meters of oil line, allowing for future problems, but when I went to pay the owner refused. He took me into his ‘office’ and showed me a photo of a young man in uniform, which I presumed to be his son. He pointed to a parachute patch on his son’s shoulder and said “England!” very proudly. Turkey was a part of NATO by then and I realised his son was a paratrooper who had trained in the UK. Because of this – and perhaps because his son and I we're about the same age – I became an honoured guest, and after tea and much hand shaking and smiling I was on my way. It was a humbling experience of hospitality and generosity from a former ‘foe’ and one I’ve never forgotten.

The Silent Anzac The other story is of my Great-Great Uncle Alexander (Alec) Charles Nichols of Bli Bli, near Nambour in Queensland. I forget to mention him last issue because he’s only recently come to my family’s attention. In 1912 he joined the Royal Australian Navy, aged 19, and ended up as one of 34 crew members – and the only Queenslander – aboard the AE2, one of Australia’s first two submarines. Submarining (submarinating?) was a fledgling and perilous occupation and their sister ship, the AE1, was lost with all hands somewhere off the New Guinea coast in September 1914. The AE2, our sole remaining submarine, sailed for Turkey and in the early hours of April 25 1915 penetrated the heavy defences of the Dardanelles, while coming perilously close to destruction from mines. It eventually entered the Sea of Marmara, home to the Turkish naval fleet, and for five days ‘ran amok’ before a combination of mechanical troubles and bad luck forced the commander to order “Abandon ship” before scuttling her. The crew were captured and Alec spent three years as a prisoner of war before returning to Australia. Always a naval man, Alec enlisted again in WW2, defused mines in the Pacific and endured the bombing of Darwin. Later he helped found the Naval Association of Queensland and served as its president from ’47 to ’53. He then became president of the Australian Naval Association from ’53 to ’55. Alec remained patron of the Queensland Association until his death in 1971, aged 78. Like so many others, Alec’s is a remarkable story and you can find our more by clicking on his name and by clicking here. The ABC Catalyst program made a documentary called AE2 – The Silent Anzac, which you can also find on iView if you’re quick. What a story. Lest we forget…

Richard


6 | Content

3

About Us

9

Resources

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

5

On my Mind

11

On your Mind

22

Marketplace

Memories…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

14

News

24

Freedom Camping Roundup

26

Touring Test: Apollo Euro Tourer

38

Long Term Test: Horizon Casuarina

50

Technical

54

Feature: CMCA Rally Report

58

Roadside Eats: YOBS!

62

Next Issue

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Our regular feature on what’s happening in the free camping battle…

A few days on the road in Apollo Rentals’ versatile Sprinter van conversion

Bringing our first long-termer home was quite an adventure!

A cheap DIY windscreen repair that really works!

Malcolm reports back from the 29th Anniversary Rally in Murray Bridge

The Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe in Bundanoon…

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


AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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resources

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Resources | 9

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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 letters@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll share it with our readers. We’ll also reward

DIY Drain Cleaner

One problem we’ve found over the years is that the small drains in our motorhome clog over time. From hair and soap scum in the bathroom to oils and fats in the kitchen we’ve managed to block them all or at least slow them down at some stage! I don’t like using strong chemicals and have resorted to pulling the drain pipes off in the past,

the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.

but found this idea a while back and it works quite well. Mix a cup of salt and half a cup of baking soda with some hot water (not too much so it stays quite strong) and pour into the drain. Then pour down a kettle full of boiling water. Maybe two. I’ve also used baking soda and white wine vinegar, followed by boiling water. Remember, the colder the temperature the more boiling water you’ll need to help shift stuff further down the line. Repeat a few times if necessary. Thanks for the magazine and keep up the good work! Cheers, Shelly. Thanks for the tip Shelly, I’m sure readers will find it very handy – and eco friendly. Please accept this issue’s $50 for sharing it with us. Enjoy!

A Truck Driver’s Request Hey Guys, I am a road train driver (and 4WD enthusiast) and I travel around 11,000 km every fortnight in a triple road train transporting food and other essential supplies from Perth to towns and

mines in the north-west of WA. This means I get to witness the annual migration and sometimes the debris left on the side of the road by those unfortunate enough to come to grief along the way. Continued...


12 | On your mind ...continued

The problem I have been encountering lately, of which I hope this feedback will raise awareness, is the practice of caravan and campervans setting up for the night right in the middle of the parking bay. That is, equal distance from the entrance and exit and effectively rendering the parking bay useless to a vehicle the size of mine, especially if the parking bay was already on the small side as many in the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Murchison are. If you observe the parking habits of most long distance truck drivers you will find they will try to park as far forward as they can in the parking bay and as far to the left as possible. This leaves the maximum amount of room free for additional vehicles (be they road trains or caravans) to pull in behind and get some sleep. It also leaves an unobstructed exit free in the “right lane” so if any vehicle wishes to leave before the one(s) in front it is not blocked in. It is a simple system that has worked for many years. There is another issue related to a much smaller subsection of the transport industry, which is my specialty – refrigerated trailers. Refrigerated trailers run 24/7 while loaded with all the frozen peas, ice cream, milk, lettuce, apples, etc that people expect to be able to buy anywhere in Australia. If I park my noisy trailers next to you at night it’s not because I’m an inconsiderate and aggressive truck driver hell bent on ruining your nights sleep. Consider this: truck drivers hours are regulated by law – when our hours have run out for the day we must pull over or face prosecution (some think it’s closer to persecution but I won’t go into that). I’m sorry if it happens to be your parking bay that I take my mandated rest break in. Everyone will be a lot sorrier if I continued driving and fell asleep at the wheel. Also, triple road trains are bloody big! There are limited places we can safely pull off the road for our rest breaks. Parking bays just happen to be ideal for the task, especially after significant rainfall – no driver in their right mind would pull off the road into

anything less than a bitumen or heavily compacted gravel area (parking bay). To do otherwise usually results in immediately becoming bogged with, considering the size and weight involved, limited means of recovery. So please keep these points in mind next time you are looking to pull up for the night or even just stopping to make a sandwich. If you are the sole occupant of a parking bay the chances are somebody will pull in behind pretty soon. Are you positioned to give them easy access? I am happy to share parking bays with all road users, but everyone has to apply a bit of common sense and consideration. I will always try to minimise the impact running fridge motors may have on anyone I’m sharing a parking bay with. Parking nose to tail with other vehicles instead of side by side is an effective way of do this – park in front of me and you are a minimum of 20 ft from my lead fridge motor. Park behind me and you are at least 45 ft from my third fridge motor. Park beside me or force me to park beside you and you might be as little as 5 ft from it. I’ve gotten used to the noise, in fact, I find the constantly running fridge actually masks other irregular noises which would normally wake me (such as irate campers yelling at me to shut it off!) I know there are people out there who are just not right in the head and certain concepts never seem to take hold. On behalf of all the sensible truck drivers I apologise in advance for the actions of the, thankfully, few truly stupid individuals that may at some point in their life write “Truck Driver” on their tax return. This letter was originally published on the Exploroz website and has been reproduced in the interests of better relations between truckies and travellers.


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14 | News

iMotorhome Get Together?

W

e’re just putting the idea out there of an inaugural iMotorhome weekend get-together on the weekend of September 26-27. The venue would be the recently opened Joadja Whisky Distillery, part of the historic Joadja ‘ghost town’ heritage site, nestled in a deep valley about 25 km west of Mittagong, NSW. In its heyday – around 1880 – the town was home to some 1200 mostly Scottish immigrants who worked a mine and refinery operated by the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Oil Company. Today the ruins of what was a substantial industrial complex and town rest peacefully in an unlikely setting and are well worth exploring. The distillery is a newly commissioned operation that combines the valley’s pure spring water with the Scottish migrants’ heritage of ‘sly grog’ and the skills of Tasmania’s foremost whisky distiller. The plan would be for an overnight stay with the option of extending your stay before and/or after. There’d be a Saturday night dinner (of some sort!) and campfire get together, and numbers would be capped to about 20-ish vehicles. Facilities are basic – there are showers and toilets but no power or phone reception – so register your interest by emailing richard@imotorhome.com.au and let’s see what happens! Could be fun…

The Wirraway 260 SL

With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !

From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.

Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!

View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500

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


Visit trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA


16 | News

Duvalay Comp Winner!

C

ongratulations to Ewen Wayne Mitchell who won the iMotorhome 'Win a Duvalay and tote bag' competition, as announced on Facebook on Wed 22 April! Many thanks to all those who entered and to Duvalay for running the competition. The Duvalay with tote bag will be on its way to you shortly - as soon as you pick a colour! Duvalay – “Simply making staying away from home a whole lot more comfortable and a lot less hassle”.

Free Spirit Wanted!

W

e don’t usually do things like this, but iMotorhome reader Jeanette urgently needs to find a free spirit to buy her immaculate 2004 Winnebago Free Spirit. Priced at just $59,995 and with only 69,900 km on the clock, it’s built on an older Fiat Ducato that has a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel and 5-speed manual gearbox. Seatbelt equipped for four the layout features an over-cab main bed plus a convertible sofa and dinette. The Free Spirit was one of our favourite Winnebago (Avida) floor plans, with a genuinely spacious living area and the luxury of a full width bathroom. Compact and easy to drive, this excellent looking example also has extras like a polished alloy bull bar, security flyscreen door, reversing camera. This one owner vehicle is located in the Brisbane suburb of Carina, has full service records, a roadworthy certificate and registration until 14 September. It’s sure to make any free spirit very happy. Is that you? If so, call Jeannette on 0427 422 444.

AFP Traffic Infringement Scam

A

n email scam doing the rounds requires payment of an alleged fine to the Australian Federal Police. Under no circumstance pay any money, or click on any of the links, which will likely infect your computer with a virus. Please advise friends and family of this scam immediately.


News | 17

New Webasto Heaters

W

ith winter upon us, owners of larger motorhomes will welcome two new high-capacity diesel heaters from Webasto. The new Air Top Evo diesel heaters offer even greater comfort, safety and heating capacity, according to the company. Available in 2 models – Evo 40 (4 kW) or Evo 55 (5.5 kW) – they claim to ensure quick and efficient heating of the vehicles’ cabins. Energy consumption and noise are significantly reduced by a new control system and intelligent fuel pump operation. The optional multifunction controller provides a Boost function and ECO mode. “Manufactured in Germany, the Air Top Evo 40/55 combine flexibility, functionality and product quality through innovation, while maintaining the traditional Webasto air heater design,” a spokesperson said. “With comprehensive installation kits available, the Air Top Evo heater offers a cost effective solution.” “Currently available through Webasto’s fully trained and certified Australian network, all with extensive sales and service experience, you can be assured you are well looked after. Visit webasto.com.au to find out more about Webasto’s range of heating solutions and find a dealer nearest you.”

Webasto – your gas free solution for independent travelling

  

Quiet powerful operation Low power & fuel consumption Use whilst parked & on the move

Dual Top – Combination Heaters   

Heat & hot water from one unit Easy to use multifunction controller Low power & fuel consumption

Thermo Top – Water Heaters

  

Compact and efficient Fast heat up times Can be combined with fan radiators to provide cabin heat

Diesel Cook Top

  

High cooking power up to 1800 W No naked flame and no fumes Robust high quality Ceran® cooking surface

Webasto Thermo & Comfort Australia Pty Ltd 423-427 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee NSW 2232 Freecall 1800 244 494 info@webasto.com.au www.webasto.com.au

RV Compressor Fridges   

Extensive range of Uprights and Drawers Available as DC Only or AC/DC Robust high quality with Danfoss Compressors

AU13252

Air Top – Air Heaters


18 | News

Suncamper’s New Sovereign

L

iterally a late arrival at the Sydney Supershow, Suncamper’s all-new Sovereign looks good, although we don’t have any details regarding price and specifications at this stage. Built on the new look Iveco Daily – the first time Suncamper has built on an Iveco platform as far as we are aware – the restyled interior appears quite upmarket and well thought out. To find out more call 1300 416 854.

‘Winterize' Your RV

A

lthough an American ebook aimed at North American RVers, “How to prepare your RV for winter living” is an insightful book with lessons still relevant to those of us living in the colder climes Down Under. Priced at only US$4.91 it’s available for download from Amazon here to suit Kindle readers. The good news is even if you don’t have a Kindle you can still read it via the free Kindle app available for smartphones and tablet devices from the App Store or Google Play.

WA Caravan Park Closure Alert

T

he caravan park in Northampton, in Western Australia’s mid-west, has closed amid contamination fears following a toxic fire at a nearby hardware store. However, the closure isn’t expected to be long term. If planning to stop over in the area call 0439 979 489 for the latest information.


News | 19

Intelligent Gas Scale

A

project looking to get into production via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, the Gas Scale should find ready a niche in the RV market if it’s successful. According to their website, “This is not an ordinary scale. With the Gas Scale you receive a mobile application which is made for iOS and android. Scale and application are connected via Bluetooth.” “Gas Scale provides information about the current amount of gas (in %, kg and lb) in a cylinder. When the level of gas in your cylinder is low, you receive a notification. Ordering a new cylinder at your distributor can be done by clicking on a single button. You can also view your gas consumption history. Buying new batteries for the scale? Forget it! The scale can be quickly recharged via USB cable. The Gas Scale also has an in-built gas sensor. The sensor will automatically turn on an audio signal and alert you if there’s a leakage. Therefore you are able to prevent accidents.” “The Gas Scale is made of high quality plastics and is weather resistant. Its unique shape is designed in a way that it perfectly fits on the foot of commonly used types of gas cylinders and therefore it does not take any additional space.” To find out more visit the Gas Scale website

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!

ONS TINATI 12 DES $9.99 ONLY

For more information visit

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20 | News

Julia Creek Campdraft

I

f you're travelling through Outback Queensland in mid May (15-17), along the Overlanders Way, be sure to stop in Julia Creek. There you’ll see a unique Australian sport involving athletic horses and riders working cattle, Campdrafting, which is though to has started in the region. There’s free camping and free entry, while a bar, food and live entertainment will be available until late.


News | 21

Sydney Supershow Update

I

t appears that visitor numbers rebounded towards the end of the recent Sydney Supershow. In all some 75,000 people attended, a slight increase on 2014’s numbers. One interesting aspect this year was the decision to zone displays to reduce the need for visitors (and press!) to wander all over the place to find what they’re looking for. “We have worked hard over the past few years to make sure the Supershow is accessible and easy to navigate, helping visitors to find exactly what they are after,” Said CCIA NSW CEO Lyndel Gray. “Visitors to the Supershow are now able to find similar products all in the same ‘zone’. All the feedback we have had from both visitors and exhibitors has been really positive and we will look at ways to further improve this concept for next year’s Supershow, which is on from 9-17 April, 2016”.

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22 | iMotorhome Marketplace

Parkland RV Centre

Roberts RV World

RV Specialists

Parkland RV is the official dealer for Avida Motorhomes, Crossroads RV and Opal Caravans in WA. We stock quality used RVs and our modern service department can look after everything.

An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.

Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!

T: (08) 9493 7933 W: parklandrv.com.au

T: 1800 253 136 W: robertsrv.com.au

T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au

Airbag Man

Battery Traders Super Store

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.

Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.

Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!

T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au

T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au

T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au

iTech World

Wellington Shire

Australia’s leading solar power and satellite TV manufacturers! We stock the revolutionary In Flex and Mini Flex panels, Plus our Complete Traveler Satellite TV package is perfect for motorhomes.

In the heart of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Come and enjoy our natural beauty, famous lakes, High Country and expansive beaches. Find ‘Experience 40 Great Things to Do’ on our website too!

T: 1300 483 249 W: itechworld.com.au

T: (03) 5144 1108 W: tourismwellington.com.au

Bony Mountain Folk Festival This great Aussie festival in the bush is on again, featuring the legendary Murphy’s Pigs! Many other great artists, a Bush Poets breakfast, billy tea, damper, great tucker – don’t miss it!

bonymountainfolkfestival.com


iMotorhome Marketplace | 23

FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!

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24 | Feature

Freedom Camping O ur regular feature keeping you in touch with what’s happened and happening in the world of freedom camping in Australia. These stories and more can be found in detail at the Freedom of Choice website, indexed by state and town, while you can also find the latest news and updates on their Facebook page. 1 Apr – C  ompetition Review Report This report could have implication for the Caravan Park Lobby. "Probably the most controversial proposal will be the panel's recommendation that the competition law be amended to replace a "dominant purpose" test with an "effects" test when assessing abuse of market power and anti-competitive conduct. "Section 46 should instead prohibit conduct by firms with substantial market power that has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition, consistent with other prohibitions in the competition law," the report recommended." With regard to Freedom of Choice camping – BRING IT ON! 1 Apr – Ballarat Pioneer Park The lengths some people will go to: A report by a visitor to the park, its success and the opposition to it. 2 Apr – Breaking News Victoria Government backs down on National Park Camp Fees! 5 Apr – C  an of Worms – A Sydney Council debate This will be an interesting community debate. 6 Apr – W  arrnambool reeling under social media comments Free campers’ online comments a blight on Warrnambool's reputation. Public criticism of freecamping tourists has tarnished Warrnambool’s

reputation as a welcoming community. Internet and social media chat sites portray an insight into the feedback from vanpackers and grey nomads responding to criticism from some sectors of the community. “There’s a perception out there that we don’t welcome these tourists,” the City’s tourism services manager Peter Abbott said. “I’ve seen lots of online commentary where Warrnambool cops a bagging.” 8 Apr – Warnambool’s businesses react Two Warrnambool business operators have warned that a new wave of tourism opportunity could be lost unless the City Council and traders show more initiative in welcoming free campers. Their call comes in response to concerns about the ripple effect of criticism by vanpackers and grey nomads about negative attitudes in communities like Warrnambool. 10 Apr – Aussies embrace caravan holidays "Mr Lamont says the industry has a massive amount of growth ahead, predicting continued growth of families looking for the lifestyle and more retirees viewing caravanning as an attractive proposition. He says vans are being built with more mod cons to cater to grey nomads but also the family market, with more bunks and family vans. Buyers are also far more mobile compared to a time when caravans were bought to sit on site at parks along rivers, lakes and coastlines”. Maybe, just maybe, the industry is starting to listen to what we are saying? 11 Apr – Warrnambool trying to soften its image Warrnambool – Small south-west towns cash in on mobile campers. After recent adverse publicity could it be the city of Warrnambool is trying to soften its image on freedom camping?


Feature | 25 11 Apr – Roll out the RV red carpet "You don’t need a badge of approval to be an RV friendly town, just an attitude change”. Truer words were never spoken. Here is a man talking good sense. 14 Apr – Stay a Night, Spend a Dollar An informal campaign has begun via social media to encourage visitors to outback Queensland to help small town economies struggling with the region's crippling drought. Longreach photographer and gallery owner Debbie Scott created an Outback image with the slogan "stay a night, spend a dollar”. The image has been viewed tens of thousands of times and shared on social media. 14 Apr – Free Choice Camping does Newspaper interview The Warrnambool Standard contacted us and did a phone interview seeking our opinion on why Warrnambool and the Great Ocean Road are considered RV Unfriendly. This is the ensuing article. 17 Apr – And this is why smart towns are catering for the RV tourist Caravanning and camping are becoming big business as Australians sideline international trips in favour of holidaying at home thanks to the falling Australian dollar. Ibisworld senior industry analyst Ryan Lin says an increase in domestic tourism by Australians is driving camping grounds, caravan parks and caravan dealers alike. 17 Apr – Fines and evictions don’t deter freeloading campers We sometimes get a bit pissed off by the headlines on stories. This one, for instance, includes "freeloading campers” casting aspersions on all campers as free loaders, when the story is actually about a caravan park whose security is so slack that any sort of person can wander in. People have been having a barbecue or charge their phone, amongst over things, and this according to the story happens weekly. 17 April – An interesting statement by a caravan park owner "A Denmark caravan park operator in Western Australia's Great Southern says he is concerned a new overflow camping area will disadvantage existing businesses."

Should that comment actually read "will disadvantage HIS business”? How on earth would attracting and accommodating more people in town disadvantage "existing businesses”? 21 April – Caravan parks a necessary evil That is not our header but the title of an article publishing an interesting view presented on Caravancampingsles.com.au. We kind of agree, but where we differ is when an attempt is made to make them compulsory either by law, regulations or lobbying. It's all about FREEDOM OF CHOICE! 23 Apr – If this happens in NZ, Australia is sure to follow "We are proposing rental companies become liable (for the fines) and write it into their contracts so they can recoup the cost from their clients. "We are asking for the law or regulations to be changed.” 24 Apr – Free camping on the rise Back on the 11th April we published a story on Warrnambool which brought quite a response in various quarters. Here is a follow up story. 25 Apr – A town that knows how to capture the RV market 25 Apr – A good read Jan Hawkins is an author who has written a thoughtful piece on the situation in Western Australia. 27 Apr – Kempsey Shire Council grappling with freedom camping debate The Council meeting agenda for today’s council meeting states that, “The rapid growth in recreational vehicles presents a growing challenge in seeking a balance between maximising tourist visitation with the need to maintain parks and reserves for the benefit of residents and tourists". 29 Apr – BREAKING NEWS IN GERALDTON! As we go to press, great news is just breaking out of Geraldton! We have just heard that Council has approved the RV proposal that has been a discussion point on Free Choice Camps for some time. More news as details come to hand. Must say CONGRATULATIONS Geraldton!


26 | Touring Test: Apollo Euro Tourer

Euro Escape? Malcolm Street ‘escapes’ to the CMCA Rally, courtesy of Apollo Rentals…


Touring Test | 27

The long wheelbase Sprinter is identical size-wise to the VW Crafter-based Trakka Jabiru we tested last issue. Built for the rental market Apollo’s Euro Tourer is rugged, reliable and a bit basic, as you’d expect.

O

ne of the easiest ways to find out what’s going on in the motorhome world is to get along to either the Anniversary or National rallies of the Campervan and Motorhome Club (CMCA). Once there it mostly involves attending a few Happy Hours and getting all the gossip and scandal – I mean facts and developments. As these rallies are held all over the country, one of the challenges is getting there. In this case it was Murray Bridge in South Australia and I flew to Adelaide, where Apollo Rentals was kind enough to lend me one of its Star RV Euro Tourers for a few days. Thanks Apollo!

doesn't have to do a great deal of obvious work. The standard van windows have been retained and there's no awning, which leaves the gas cylinder bin, hot water heater, cassette toilet door and the utilities connections. Of course a look at roof level reveals a few more items, like an air conditioner, TV aerial and a ventilation hatch at the rear. The 313 CDI model comes with a 2.2-litre, 95 kW turbo diesel and a very smooth 7-speed fully automatic gearbox.

On the Road

I

have to say this is a very easy vehicle to drive. My little trip to Murray Bridge involved everything from the streets of Adelaide to the Princes Highway freeway. About the only place The Vehicle where easily achieving the speed limit was a uro Tourers are a Mercedes Benz Sprinter problem was the long haul uphill in the Mount conversion, in this case the 313 CDI Barker area. model. For the external conversion Apollo

E


28 | Touring Test With only one small opening window on each side and no fly screens or awning, your camping lifestyle options are limited. Most travellers probably stay in caravan parks, so the rooftop aircon would get a work out – especially considering all the windows. Apart from that it provided a very easy cruise. One of the benefits of the all-round windows is excellent vision. Even so, the Euro Tourer still came with a reversing camera; the screen of which was mounted to the right of the driver. Getting my iPod Bluetoothed to the Benz radio was done after a bit of a fiddle and after that it did not take any time at all to get to the rally site. I wasn't able to do a proper fuel economy check but my circa 160 km trip cost me less than $30 for diesel.

Living Inside

S

et up time is minimal with something like the Euro Tourer: In short, park and open the sliding door. Well there was getting level, but that was quickly sorted by the CMCA siting guru, Paul Flynn, who loaned me a couple of wooden blocks (they being difficult to carry when flying). There wasn't even the power cable to connect because I didn't have a powered site!


Touring Test | 29

With the all round windows, sitting in the Euro Tourer was a bit like being in a gold fish bowl. With the all round windows, sitting in the Euro Tourer was a bit like being in a gold fish bowl. I don't necessarily mind that because I like space, both real and perceived. A downside I thought was the lack of opening windows. There were two, one midoffside and one in the sliding door, but neither had insect screens. Certainly not a problem where I was with

overnight temperatures getting down to 5Âş C and sunny but very windy days. However, in hot and tropical conditions a very different matter! Sure the side and rear doors can be left open, but again with no insect screens. If plugged into mains power the air conditioner, incidentally a new Dometic Fresh Jet unit, can be used, but if free camping then it's open the doors or nothing (It

appears Apollo expects rental customers to always stay in caravan parks on powered sites - Ed). Still on windows, I'll mention the curtains. I've seen a few motorhomes where curtains almost seemed to be an afterthought, but these were good – easy to use and covering the entire window area, including the drivers' cab, without difficulty.


30 | Touring Test

The kitchen’s all-in-one 3-burner cooker and sink unit, plus rangehood and microwave, combine with plenty of bench space to provide a large and capable kitchen. There’s good storage space too.

There were no surprises with the layout, which follows the standard rental pattern in having two sideways facing lounges in the rear that can be used as either single beds or a large double. Behind the driver's seat is the shower/ toilet cubicle, which leaves the bit in the middle on both sides for a kitchen. Generally speaking there's plenty of internal storage space – there are no external bins – with lots of overhead lockers, kitchen drawers, cupboards and under-seat areas in the rear. The latter looks a bit odd because although there's a closed-off bin under the kerb-side bed, the rest is just open space. It's something that works quite well, though, because instead of wrestling to lift seat cushions to access under-bed lockers, it's just a matter of sliding gear under the seats. This is very useful for items like camp chairs and travel bags. Two little tips here: If ever doing a fly/drive motorhome holiday take soft-sided bags as they are so much easier to squeeze in

somewhere. Also, when travelling make sure that all the gear under the seats is firmly wedged in. In the event of an accident you don't want any loose missiles flying around! Between the shower cubicle and the driver’s side kitchen bench is a good sized wardrobe. Excellent for not only hanging clothes, but also storing one's camera bag – mine is larger than most, which is why I mention it. Above the wardrobe is a very good 12 V electrical panel with switches for every circuit: something I much appreciated given my very necessary power conservation efforts. In addition there was a battery voltmeter and water tank gauges. Not being on a powered site and standing still for several days did create an electrical problem. The fridge, being a 12 V compressor unit and there being no solar panels, I had to be very careful with battery use. Two things worked in my favour. One was that the temperature was quite cool, so the fridge was not working very hard. The second was that I


Touring Test | 31

One of the benefits of the allround windows is excellent vision. Even so, the Euro Tourer still came with a reversing camera.


32 | Touring Test Top: I kept the beds as singles and used one as my workstation. Note the curtains all round, which were easy to use, including the cab. Bottom: The LED lights are either all on or off, and inconveniently, the only switch is in a kitchen cupboard. Reading lights would a great idea, at least.

was able to use the CMCA office for charging my laptop, iPad and camera/flash batteries. Although the Euro Tourer was well lit with low energy LEDs, there was only the master switch for turning them on, so it was all-on or all-off. That also meant clambering into the van, and into bed, in the dark unless I remembered the torch (a triumph of design - Ed). I was able to survive for four days in this mode and I noted that the battery voltage was still above 12 V, but I reckon I did not have much longer and would have to have fired up the Sprinter’s engine for a while.

Time to Eat

I

n many ways the Euro Tourer has quite a simple and usable kitchen. Fitted in to the kerb-side bench top is a combo three-burner cooktop and stainless steel sink. Under the

bench is the 110 L Waeco fridge, whilst in the overhead locker area is a small microwave. I always think a grill would be a useful item with a rental motorhome, but it generally appears rental companies don’t. I tend to cook fairly simply when travelling and in this case I did not have the use of the microwave oven.


Touring Test | 33 Top: Under-bed storage is mostly open framed, which might seem odd but is convenient for big bags, outdoor chairs, etc. Bottom: There’s plenty of overhead cupboard space on both sides. Note rear curtain, which although basic, worked well. Bench space was excellent, with the cabinet opposite the kitchen bench offering a very generous extra area, which not only stood up to my catering needs but also a parking space for laptop, phone and iPad. That also happened to be where the 12 V socket for the TV was and so was convenient for 12 V charging. Under both kitchen benches was a generous amount of storage space, mostly cupboards but also with two drawers. One drawer was neatly compartmented to securely store the plates, cups and glasses and the other was for small items. Although there was plenty of storage space, I did think that at least one of the cupboards could have had a few shelves to make it more user friendly. Dinner time was easily handled by the Lagunmounted table. It could be swivelled around any which-way and pushed to one side if not needed. Additionally, if guests turned up there was a freestanding table stored behind the driver's seat

After hours

O

ne of the benefits of travelling by yourself in a motorhome like this is that unless you really want a large double bed, one of the lounges can be made up as a single bed and the other kept just for sitting on. Apart from anything else, it means not having to make the bed every day! It was a bit of a trick folding the sheets up for the single bed, but once achieved, it all stayed together. Being a rental motorhome, all the necessary sheets and doonas were supplied and I was fully appreciative of the second doona that was thrown in just before I left the Apollo depot!


34 | Touring Test Top: The secondary kitchen bench area is home to the TV and microwave, and a small, nonscreened opening window. Bottom: The wet bathroom is adequate if basic, lacking a basin, towel rack and toilet roll holder.

Back to lighting, there were no reading lights and neither was there a switch within easy reach for the main lights. I have to say, as someone who likes to read themselves to sleep at night I did find that annoying. I also had my Kindle book, which not only meant I could read in the dark, it lit my way from the master switch back to the bed!

Keeping Clean

N

o surprises in the bathroom – very compact to say the least, with just a cassette toilet and flexible hose shower. There was room to turn around but not too much, and the bathroom did come with a (switchable) LED light, but no ventilation fan.

What I think

R

ental motorhomes are built differently to those for the private market. Although sharing many of the essentials, they are finished in a more basic style. This was the case with the Euro Tourer, which although it had most of my essential desires for this working trip, also had some design ‘lapses’. One of the features I like about van conversions is they are excellent for single people or couples who travel light. They have just enough space for the "essentials" we have all come to expect, and on the road are very manoeuvrable and fuel efficient. An added bonus for the single traveller is that there is no need to go outside at night, while locking all the doors is just one push of the remote button.


Touring Test | 35

Specifications

Pros

Manufacturer

Apollo

Model

Euro Tourer

Base Vehicle

Mercedes Benz Sprinter CDI 313

Engine

2.2 litre turbo diesel

Power

95 kW @ 3800 rpm

Torque

305 Nm @1200-2400 rpm

Gearbox

7-speed auto

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3200 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3550 kg

Towing capacity

2000 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

2

External Length

7.01 m (23 ft)

External Width

2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)

External Height

3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

1.90 m (6 ft 4 in)

Bed Size

1.90 m x 1.70 m (6 ft 3 in x 5 ft 7 in)

Cooktop

Smev 3-burner

Fridge

Waeco 110 L

Microwave

LG

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

1 x 100 AH

Solar Panels

No

Air Conditioner

Dometic Fresh Jet

Space Heater

No

Hot Water

Truma 14 L

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Vari-height flex hose

Gas Cylinders

1 x 4.0 kg

Water Tank

86 L

Grey Water Tank

60 L

Price on Road

POA

• Great for fly/drive trip • Excellent for singles or couples who travel light • Generous kitchen area • Easy to access under-seat storage • Lagun swivel table • Room to move in a relatively small interior • Driving the Benz • All-round vision when driving • Good fuel economy

Cons

• Only one light switch • Minimal opening windows with no screens • No solar panels • Kitchen drawer/cupboard space usage • No lining on rear doors • No bathroom vent fan • Limited load capacity

Contact

Apollo Motorhome Holidays

698 Nudgee Road Northgate QLD 4013 T: 1800 777 779 E: info@apollocamper.com W: www.apollocamper.com

Click for Google Maps

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


36 | Touring Test

Fly-Drive Motorhome Travel I've learned a few things over the years when doing fly/drive trips, so here are a few tips: 1. Take soft travel bags for easy storage in the motorhome 2. We all have plenty of devices that require chargers. Try and ensure all have a common USB style connection at the charger end. That way multiple leads but only one charger needs to be carried. Well two actually, having both 240 V mains and 12 V chargers is very handy. 3.Items like washing up liquid are a pain. Frequently not sold in small quantities, consider taking a smaller quantity in a quality container from home 4. Ditto an item like toilet rolls. Ever tried to buy just one? Frequently that is all you need for a short holiday. Likewise, carry a few plastic sandwich bags – they are great for sealing loose items in the fridge 5. When returning the motorhome, check all drawers and cupboards and don't do what I did and leave a few precious items behind. Fortunately the Apollo team in Adelaide was on the ball and posted them all back to me!


Touring Test | 37

A bonus for single travellers is that there is no need to go outside at night, while locking all the doors is just one push of the remote button.


38 | Long Term Test: Horizon Motorhomes’ Casuarina

Baptism – by Water!

Our first long termer isn’t afraid of getting wet… by Richard Robertson


Long Term Test | 39

Looking good in metallic blue, ‘our’ Horizon Casuarina is compact and capable – and not afraid of water!

I

t’s funny how good can come from bad. In March 2014 a flash flood just before the opening of a caravan and camping show at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds on Queensland’s Gold Coast saw millions of dollars of exhibitors stock damaged or lost. Ballina Campervan & Motorhome Centre’s (BCMC) display was inundated and some vehicle were written off by insurers, but from what I understand it’s been a long process to have all claims approved. One vehicle still subject to an ongoing claim is the Horizon Casuarina that featured on the cover of Issue 57, on 4 October last year. Stranded in a couple of feet of muddy storm water for hours, its underbody mechanicals and much of the interior were inundated. It took hours of painstaking cleaning to rid the cream coloured interior of the red mud and debris, as well as check the mechanicals for immersion damage. We reviewed it post clean-up, when it was brought down for display at the Penrith

Show last September. We wouldn’t have known what it had been through unless told; only the closest inspection along some cabinetry joins revealed a minute ‘thin red line’ where the last vestiges of mud had proven impossible to remove. Importantly, there was no cabinetry swelling and to all intents and purposes it looked like a new vehicle. Mechanically, it hadn’t fared quite as well. Two sensor units under the cab floor – one for the airbags and one, I believe, that had something to do with the gearbox – needed replacement. Ditto the house-battery charger and, only just recently, the house water pump. Those issues aside I was assured the vehicle was running fine, and we certainly had no troubles during our brief test drive at the time Fast forward to February and while talking to BCMC owner Clayton Kearney – Horizon Motor Homes is his own brand – he mentioned the Casuarina we’d reviewed had been registered


40 | Long Term Test Left: The Fiat Ducato’s fancy headlights proved their worth on the wet run home, as did the big wipers that cleared the windscreen nicely. Below: Unlike most manufacturers, Horizon buys vans with no windows and fits all its own. That means the rear doors have openable windows, insect screens and privacy blinds, and that makes a lot of difference when camping.

as a demonstrator, pending an insurance claim resolution. I suggested the concept of a longterm test vehicle; one we could live with dayto-day, use as a mobile office and undertake shorter destination-specific journeys in. Clayton agreed and here we are – the first iMotorhome long-term test vehicle! How long is long-term? That depends on the insurance company and Clayton’s business needs, but the hope is at least one month and maybe as long as three. In the time since this saga began Fiat has released an upgraded Ducato. Importantly, the Casuarina layout remains unchanged. Given that the new model Fiat Ducato is

largely a cosmetic upgrade this will still be a valuable opportunity to assess daily life with the most popular motorhome base vehicle on the Australian market. And of course, it’s a terrific opportunity to live with one of Horizon’s conversions for more than just the usual day or two and really get to know it.

Bringing It Home!

I

t took longer than planned to organise mutually convenient times to get this project underway. It wasn’t helped by the proliferation of RV shows this time of the year and the need for BCMC to maintain some floor stock in the


Long Term Test | 41

It took hours of painstaking cleaning to rid the cream coloured interior of the red mud and debris.


42 | Long Term Test

Top: Sheltering under the awning at Ballina Campervan & Motorhome Centre, our Casuarina enjoyed some respite from the rain. Little did any of us realise what was waiting. Left: Our long day started with a bumpy flight from Sydney to Ballina, but at least both airports were open. A previous trip to Ballina had been cancelled due to fog in Sydney. showroom while the new vehicles are away on display. In the end a date was locked in and Mrs iMotorhome and I flew from Sydney to Ballina on the morning of Monday 20 April to bring the Casuarina home.

the 110 km to get to the airport in the morning. If you’re thinking that seemed overly ambitious you’re right, but as Blackadder noted, “Needs must when the Devil vomits on your eiderdown”.

In more ways than one we flew into a perfect storm. A combination of Mrs iM’s work roster and other work commitments for me opened a very short window of travel opportunity. Ideally, we needed to be home that night, which according to Google Maps entailed an 840-something kilometre drive, not including

I figured the drive home would be take 12 to 14 hours, allowing for traffic, plenty of coffee stops and a nap or two. It turned out to be 13.5, which when added to the 6 hours it took to get to Sydney and fly to Ballina in the first place made for a very long day.


Long Term Test | 43 Top: Lunch was frozen choc-coated bananas on a stick, a Big Banana signature and a favourite no matter the weather! Bottom: Single beds and plenty of kitchen storage are Casuarina hallmarks. Note magazine holder and charging outlets on fridge end-panel. A deepening low-pressure system off the New South Wales coast made for a wet trip to the airport and a bumpy flight to Ballina. The Casuarina was waiting for us at BCMC’s showroom – ironically, parked under an awning to keep it dry – and after a quick handover we were on our way. We only took hand luggage on the flight up and needed to stock up on a few basics before heading south. They included pillows for us and a big drink for Cassie (as we christened her), and we were on the road at about 10 AM.

Pacific Highway?

I

t’s about 10 years since we’ve driven between Ballina and the Southern Highlands. What a goat track the Pacific Highway is! Well, at least until you hit Port Macquarie – not including the small sections of freeway either side of Coffs Harbour and a


44 | Long Term Test Talk about giving motohomers a bad name: This bloke aggressively shoved his nose into traffic, to exit a petrol station in Grafton. Nothing courteous or patient about him.

few other lucky spots. Apparently, the freeway between Ballina and the Gold Coast will be complete by about September this year, but years of construction remain before the main highway between Brisbane and Sydney is all dual carriage way. At least construction appears to be well underway on the missing sections, although some of it is only in its very earliest stages. The seemingly endless roadworks, big trucks, slow caravans and the remnants of school holiday traffic combined with intermittent rain and gusty winds to provide a ‘memorable’ drive homeward. We found industrial strength coffee in Woodburn, choc-coated frozen bananas on a stick at Coffs Harbour’s iconic Big Banana and (eventually) a hot meal at an unremarkable truck-stop cafe called the Milestone, just off the freeway at South Moorland. From there was a short drive to Taree and the service centre by the freeway, south of town, when we arrived at 5:00 pm in serious need of a nap. According to the trip computer we had 5 hours and 41 minutes actual driving time under our belt and

had covered 439 km at an average speed of 77 km/h: not bad, all things considered. It also said we had averaged 9.6 l/100 km (29.4 mpg) a had a range of 568 km remaining. Apart from metallic paint the only option Cassie has is innerspring mattresses, and what a blessing they are. Fitted to both single beds they are comfortable and far superior to the foam mattresses usual in motorhomes. We grabbed a welcome hour’s shuteye despite the comings and goings of refuelling semis – thank goodness for ear plugs – and then were ready to hit the road again. Double-shotted coffee in hand we headed off just after six o’clock, by which time it had gone dark. The rain started in earnest almost immediately and it was then I realised two things: The Fiat Ducato has excellent headlights – and that I couldn't remember ever having driven one after dark. Well, not any distance on the highway, that is. Height adjustable from the dashboard, low beam is bright, broad and deep; while high beam is bright and quite


Long Term Test | 45

penetrating. Even at freeway speeds in the rain I was able to see comfortably and safely ahead on low beam; my view aided by the equally impressive windscreen wipers. We made good time despite the worsening conditions and my plan was to refuel on Sydney’s south-western outskirts at my ‘regular’ service station before continuing home. According to the trip computer we would make it with at least 200 km to spare. Given the Fiat’s 125 L fuel capacity that seemed entirely reasonable, especially considering the claimed economy so far.

Eye of the Storm

A

s we’d travelled south the low-pressure system just off the coast had intensified and we met its fury on leaving Newcastle. The next morning the weather bureau reported winds gusting to 135 km/h along our route and what it called category one cyclonic conditions. The M1 between Newcastle and Sydney is a largely unremarkable stretch of open freeway, especially north of the Hawkesbury River. On this night I was especially appreciative of that, having driven it many times over the years. As we headed into the darkness the wind and rain increased, and I reduced speed to as low as 70 km an hour in places to compensate. There was little traffic, which I was thankful for, as the amount of spray thrown up by either an overtaking truck or even a car seemed to reach carwash proportions. We also passed a number of vehicles along the way, including one young fellow in an immaculate EH Holden who was battling his way along, no doubt cursing the feeble lights, wipers and demisting system! Along with excellent lights and wipers I'd also come to appreciate the Fiat Ducato van’s

The Ducato’s trip computer is comprehensive, although the fuel consumption figure is a bit optimistic. As you can see it was 18:30 (6:30 pm), 17.5ºC, my mobile was connected to Vodafone, the headlights were in their 2nd lowest position and the gearbox was in 1st gear - automatic. There are many other screens you can browse though and getting to know its full capabilities will take some time.


46 | Long Term Test Filling up in Sydney and just an hour from home. The Fiat’s 125 L fuel tank provides excellent range, allowing you to fill up in major centres at the lowest prices.

rock-steady handling. Essentially a low, wide box with a wheel in each corner, it inspired confidence – aided in no small part by its frontwheel drive layout and lack of body roll. Despite considerable buffeting and torrential rain it didn’t slide or aquaplane. Approaching the truck weighing stations at Mt White things became really interesting. The northbound weighing station blacked out as we drove past, along with all the freeway’s sodium floodlights. A little further along a portable electronic sign said to merge right as the left lane was closed and it certainly was: blocked by a large fallen tree. That was the only warning we had of the six subsequent fallen trees, the largest of which must have fallen not long before we got there and was blocking part of the centre lane as well. Several semitrailers and a car had apparently not been so observant/lucky and had driven through its upper branches,

and they were pulled over in the rain assessing the damage. We continued on tenterhooks, across the wildly windswept Hawkesbury River bridge and on to the end of the freeway. On Joining Sydney’s Pennant Hills Road – a road I normally detest – I remarked how I’d never been so pleased to see it! Sydney’s suburbs provided welcome wind protection and its deserted, well lit roads, along with a marked decrease in rainfall, made circumnavigating the metropolis easy and safe. Filling up at my ‘regular’ – Woolworths at Prestons – the trip computer showed a range of 204 km remaining, the distance covered as 782.8 km over 9:23 hrs driving time, and an average of 83 km/h and 10.11 L/100 km (27.9 mpg). Actual consumption worked out at 10.79 L/100 km (26.2 mpg), but I’ve never met a trip computer that didn’t like to make its vehicle look good!


Long Term Test | 47 Home at last…

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he final 87 km home was a relative doddle, but fatigue was setting in and we were mighty glad to turn into our driveway around 11:30 pm. I’m sure some will say we should have overnighted along the way and resumed our travels refreshed and in daylight, but we weren’t really set up for it. Also, opportunities to pull over for the night were limited along the M1, which was the only truly bad section. As it transpired, conditions between Newcastle and Sydney went from bad to worse and remained that way for two days, being cited as a once-in-100-year storm.

Despite the atrocious weather the Casuarina came through with flying colours – and just a few water leaks. Some came in through the fridge vents and trickled down the aisle, while some came in thorough the rear roof hatch, which is vented in accordance with gas regulations and dampened the upholstered lids of the between-bed storage boxes. Other than that is was fine. It seems this is one motorhome that doesn’t mind a bit of water – inside or out – and by now it’s well and truly baptised. As Humphrey Bogart said at the end of Casablanca, “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship”.

Fast Facts Manufacturer

Horizon Motorhomes

Model

Casuarina

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato

Engine

3.0-litre turbo-diesel

Kms on pickup

3258

Kms travelled

869

Av fuel

10.3 L/100 km (27.4 mpg)


48 | Long Term Test

As Humphrey Bogart said at the end of Casablanca, 'This could be the start of a beautiful friendship'.


50 | Technical

Don’t Crack Up! This DIY windscreen repair kit really works… by Allan Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au


Technical | 51

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y better half and I bought a Ufixit kit at a Camping and Caravan Show, as an experiment. Our 4WD already had a couple of decent chips and a crack that wasn’t going to get it through the next roadworthy inspection, so what the hell: if it didn’t work we’d only kissed $35 bucks goodbye. The Ufixit kit came in a blister pack, with all the bits needed. No additional tools were necessary. We’ve since found it best to put all the kit-bits into a plastic lidded container, so we don’t lose anything. That’s also a safe way of storing the razor blade that’s included, for trimming off excess resin. The fact that the kit relied on ‘resin’ made us sceptical, because resins have a nasty habit of ‘going off’ and are useless when you need them. Or they come as a two-pack and

you always run out of hardener when you still have plenty of resin left. Fortunately, the Ufixit system uses a one-pack resin that lasts indefinitely (at least three years in our case) and requires no hardener, because it ‘goes off’ in the presence of UV light. The kit includes an applicator frame with four suction cup feet, a screw-action injector, thin plastic strips and the aforementioned razor blade. The manufacturer suggests the repair job should be done as soon as possible after the chip appears, because you don’t want water and dust inside the fracture. Our process when travelling is to cover any chip immediately with one of those little clear stickers O’Brien Glass hands out for nothing, to stop any contamination of the chip. We then use the Ufixit kit when we have a spare half an hour or so.


52 | Technical

Step One is to move the vehicle into a shaded position – away from UV light and-remove the O’Brien sticker. Then clean the area around the chip with waterless hand wash and dry off any excess with a towel. Step Two is to mount the suction cup frame over the chip, with the resin-outlet hole centred exactly over the stone’s impact point. This impact point is usually a tiny hole in the glass surface, with blister-like crazing underneath it, inside the glass. Step Three is to screw the injector housing into the frame, so that the hole in the rubber

tip is precisely over the impact point in the glass. It’s worth fiddling around with this alignment, before locking down the suction cups, because it’s vital that the resin flows directly into the hole. The injector housing is then tightened so that the rubber tip is in firm contact with the glass. Step Four is to put a few drops of resin into the injector housing chamber and then screw in the injector plunger, which forces the resin into the fissure. You can check from inside the vehicle that the flow has penetrated the chip. In cold weather it’s possible to blow hot air on the inside of the glass to encourage resin


Technical | 53

flow, if it hasn’t penetrated to the bottom of the chip.

the windscreen, making it easy to hand-drizzle a fine bead of resin into the gap.

Step Five is a repeat of Step Four until the When resin has displaced air from the crack chip has virtually disappeared and then the it’s time to place the thin plastic curing strips vehicle can be put in sunlight, to cure the resin. on top of the repair and move the vehicle into sunlight. Some cracks we’ve filled have Although it’s not intended to repair long cracks disappeared entirely, but the usual result is a in windscreens we’ve had success with the hairline effect, instead of a wide slash of silver Ufixit kit in reducing annoying refraction from refraction that’s annoying to look through. small cracks. Any surface resin is easily scraped off the glass The best results when filling cracks are with the razor blade and the resin bottle comes achieved by having an offsider use gentle hand with a press-on sealer, so there’s no waste. pressure from inside the vehicle to pressurise With patience it’s possible to do a professionalthe glass outwards – too much pressure looking repair to most small chips and cracks, makes the crack run, we found, so gently does prolonging windscreen life. it! Pressure opens the crack on the outside of


54 | Rally Report

A Bridge Quite Far… Highlights from the CMCA’s 29th Anniversary Rally at Murray Bridge! by Malcolm Street


Rally Report | 55

I

have to say that the site for the 29th CMCA Anniversary Rally was definitely an unusual one: the grounds of the Lutheran Unity College at Murray Bridge. Once accustomed to the school buildings, chapel, halls and associated facilities, it became clear there were benefits – like a grassy, relatively dust-free site and solid buildings instead of tents for all the rally activities. I mention the latter because it was windy most afternoons when I was there and the lack of flapping tents was a plus for the organisers! Another benefit for yours truly was that I was able to score a desk complete with power points in one of the administration buildings – really useful since I was parked on a non-powered site in a nonsolar equipped rental motorhome. Another benefit for the CMCA was that the college provided iPads for all those wishing to learn how to use them – and the classes were full! It was also the first rally I have been to in a while that was filled to capacity: good for the rally administrators generally but not so good for the stress levels of volunteers. People like Paul Flynn, who heads up the siting (parking) team, needed to consider every site – even iffy looking ones – to get everyone in!

Top: There were plenty of canine CMCA members in attendance! Right: At any rally there's a very large team of volunteers doing all sorts of jobs. Here’s the happy crew who look after the Trade displays!


56 | Rally Report

Top Left: Paul Flynn is always a good CMCA man to know, he heads up the motorhome siting (parking) arrangements. And yes, there are good sites and not so good sites. Top Right: At the official opening there was a great tribute to CMCA founder, Don Whitworth. Middle Left: The next CMCA National Rally is at Albany, WA, and these happy locals were on hand to recommend good reasons for attending. Middle Right: Toilet cleaning is one of the undersung jobs at any rally. The team is always colourfully dressed and does a great job! Bottom Left: There’s always a great mix of motorhomes at these rallies Bottom Right: Adrian and Carrol Capel are long time friends of iMotorhome and owners of this very unique Thornycroft conversion!


Rally Report | 57

Above: The rally site, being a Lutheran College, provided an interesting backdrop. Right: A colourful member of the Shipwreck Coasters chapter from Warrnambool, Vic. There was of course plenty to do both at the rally site and around the local area. My visit was only short, but it seemed like most attendees were intent on having a good time catching up with old friends and seeing the local attractions. The next major CMCA rally is the 30th National at Albany, Western Australia, from 26 October to the 1 November. Those from the eastern states definitely need to plan ahead! I'm told that for club members like moi, who have a time problem and are planning to fly/drive and leave their motorhome at home, Kea/Maui/Britz has a special deal available.


58 | Roadside Eats

YOBS? Ye Old Bicycle Shoppe!


Roadside Eats | 59

A

t the southern end of the NSW Southern Highlands is the sleepy village of Bundanoon, originally called Jordan’s Crossing and known as Bundy to the locals. It’s home to the annual Brigadoon at Bundanoon Highland Gathering every April, and the popular and well known YOBS, or Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe. Known locally as the Bicycle Cafe, YOBS is a Bundanoon landmark just a stone’s throw from the railway station. Historically, the town’s popularity as a holiday destination peaked in the first half of the 20th century, given its easy railway access from Sydney and more affordable accommodation than the hugely popular Blue Mountains. The town's name comes from a local aboriginal word meaning ‘place of deep gullies’, and the neighbouring

Morton National Park certainly lives up to it. Bundanoon’s popularity lives on, thanks to a mixture of nostalgia, the Highland’s distinct seasons and Sydneysider’s love of good coffee, antique shops and a day or weekend in the country. YOBS is a comfortable cafe that serves real coffee – not just slightly brown hot milk – and a delicious range of cakes, snacks and meals, including all-day breakfast (well, until 3 pm). Breakfast items range from Turkish toast with a selection of spreads for $5.50, through to Eggs Benedict for $14.90 or the Full English Breakfast with the lot for $17.00. Lunches cost between $10.90 for a Classic BLT and $14.90 for an open steak sandwich with egg, bacon, caramelised onions and salad on Turkish. Also popular is the truly-all-day High Tea, which at


60 | Roadside Eats

crowded with cyclists as bike rentals are it’s other forte). Coffee and cake aside, a major drawcard is the cafe’s uniquely muralled side wall in Anzac Parade. Depicting everything from the town’s earliest times to its bicycle focus and Highland celebrations, it’s a beautifully detailed chronology with a distinctly local sense of humour.

$35 for two includes the requisite canapés, cakes and tea or coffee; all beautifully presented. In the front of the cafe is a cosy lounge area and a couple of tables for four or six, while down the side is a more open and somewhat less inviting area, although there is one cosy lounge nook. Down the side is also where you’ll find the bicycles for hire, because as the name suggests this is very much a cyclingcentric cafe (don’t worry, I’ve not seen it

Every year YOBS plays a pivotal part of the Highland Fling, a competitive mountain bike marathon with categories for all ages and ability levels. Bundanoon becomes a big bicycling festival town on the Fling weekend – 7-8 November this year – and the population swells. Considering there’s $30,000 in prizes up for grabs, including $15,000 cash, it’s no surprise! Bundanoon’s other claim to fame is that in 2009 it became the first town in Australia to ban the sale of bottled water. Under the ‘Bundy On Tap’ banner, businesses sell reusable drink bottles and chilled filtered tap water, while free filtered water stations and drinking bubblers are also provided.


Roadside Eats | 61 Tourist Drives

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f you passing through the Southern Highlands on your way to or from Sydney, Bundanoon is on a lovely drive that parallels the Hume Highway. Heading south Tourist Drive 14 leaves the highway takes you via Mittagong and Bowral to Sutton Forest. There, Tourist Drive 16 leads you through Exeter to Bundanoon and points south, rejoining the Hume just before the heavy

vehicle weighing stations at Marulan. Be aware there is low bridge with 3.7 m clearance south of Tallong, but you can tun off at Wingello or Penrose to rejoin the highway. Whether you just need a quick coffee or have time to relax over high tea or a long lunch, Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe is a quirky cafe well worth visiting. It’s a bit like Bundanoon itself odd but interesting!

Fast Facts Who: Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe What: Quirky cafe with bicycle hire for local exploration.

Click for Google Maps

When: Open daily 8:30-4:00 Where: 1 Church St, Bundanoon. NSW. 2578. Why: Affordable with good coffee and food, plus unusual decor. There’s bike hire to work off that cake, it’s BYO and there’s free WI-FI to shoot off those Facebook pics too.


62 | Next Issue

ANOTHER Day in Rio!

passengers or whatever. A fully imported English motorhome built on a Fiat Ducato with the smallest engine and a manual gearbox, it will be interesting to see if it’s really up to the rigours of life Down Under.

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omeone bought the new Swift Rio we were planning to bring you this issue, but the good news is we’ll have it next issue – all being well! An interesting design that blurs the boundaries between coach built and van conversion, the Rio’s key feature is a huge lift-up tailgate. From the inside it literally brings the outdoors in, while from outside it provides unimpeded access for loading bicycles,

May 22-24

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03-09

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22-24

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29-31May

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We’ll also have the story from inside the ALKO factory in Melbourne, plus a look at the first non-A-Class motorhome in Australia with full air suspension – the new Trakkaway 860 – which rides on AL-KO’s impressive new chassis. Issue 72 will be out on 16 May and will, of course, include more. Until next issue why not join our more Friends and Twitter than 24,000 Facebook followers to share the laughs, fun and news. See you in two weeks! Facebook “f ” Logo

MAY

29-31 03-09 22-24

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29-31

Mackay Home Show & Caravan, Camping Expo

Hunter Valley Caravan & Camping Show

Mackay Showgrounds Mackay. Qld. 4740

Maitland Showgrounds Maitland. NSW. 2320

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Not specified • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: U16 free with adult

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Not specified • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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JUN

June 03-09

03-09

Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow Brisbane Showgrounds Bowen Hills. Qld. 4006 • Open 10:00-6:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: $12 (Take free train instead) • Adults: $18 • Seniors: $12 • Kids: School age free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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

MA

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 71 - 02 May 2015  

Get a FREE subscription from our website NOW!

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 71 - 02 May 2015  

Get a FREE subscription from our website NOW!