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iMotorhome

magazine

Issue 74: Jun 20 2015

because getting there is half the fun...

CleverRuse?

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Adria’s Coral C-class seems too good to be true… Roadside Eats!

Eling Forest is a Hume Highway must-visit…

Longtermer Update

How ‘our’ Horizon Casuarina is faring!

Motorhome 101

Revisiting the basics for our new readers!


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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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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design & Production Manager

ABN: 34 142 547 719

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

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

Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


On my mind | 5

Project Polly good start towards mitigating service issues. Another is the wide availability of non-genuine parts, as well as spares from wreckers. Being a late model Transit means it has a manual gearbox – six speeds – which again is a plus in a high mileage vehicle. The thought of buying an auto-equipped VW Crafter or Sprinter with similar milage didn’t appeal, and it’s interesting to note demand is highest for Apollo’s ex-rental Transits.

Reverse Alert We’ve taken the plunge! iMotorhome has bought a five year old ex-Apollo Rentals’ Euro Tourer – a Ford Transit van conversion we’ve christened Polly. The idea has been brewing for some time and the plan is we’ll use it to attend major CMCA rallies (where practical), as well as for travel stories when we don’t have test vehicles. It will also become a mobile office and we’ll progressively update/modify/personalise ‘her’ and serialise the improvements in these pages. For many of you for whom, like us, a new motorhome is out of reach, Project Polly will hopefully bring inspiration and encouragement. The planed modifications – things like LED lights, solar, diesel heater, decor ‘refresh’ and so on – are applicable to many vehicles and we’ll keep a running total of costs to keep you in the loop. It’s an exciting development even though ‘Polly’ is rather basic, having been built for the rental market. Although far from our ‘dream motorhome’, I chose this model specifically as it has one required and one desired feature. The requirement was for clear space up the aisle so we can load our tandem bicycle inside. In due course a custom rack to take the bike, which is wider than the motorhome, will be added. The desired feature is the Ford Transit base vehicle. For a relatively young vehicle Polly has done a lot of work and has some 258,000 km on the clock. Buying with such high mileage will surely have its drawbacks, but the spread of Ford dealers across the land is a

That’s the good news. The bad news – only because I want to get started – is Polly has another job to do before joining us full time. I’ve done a deal with Reverse Alert Australia to have their revolutionary braking system fitted, which automatically stops the vehicle when it detects an obstacle while reversing. They will use her as a demonstrator at a number of RV shows, stating in Lismore on 3-5 July, as well as to RV manufacturers and dealers between Brisbane and Melbourne. The Reverse Alert system is a relatively simple aftermarket concept that uses sensors (like existing reversing sensors) to trigger a solenoid that applies the brake pedal. Sensors are placed along the rear bumper, but importantly in the top rear corners, so things like tree branches and building awnings should be detected too. There’s also a portable version for trailers that works via the host vehicle’s system, and its potential for saving damage – but especially lives – cannot be overstated. I’m off to Brisbane the day after publishing to bring Polly home for registration transfer and, initially, some basic sign writing. I actually picked her up last Friday but she's been in Brisbane having the system fitted this week. So begins another adventure: Watch out for us!

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

24

Marketplace

Project Polly!

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

14

News

26

Day Test: Adria Coral A 660DU

40

Longtermer: Horizon Casuarina

46

Technical: Heaters

48

Motorhome 101

56

Feature

58

Roadside Eats

67

Advertisers' Index

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

See Class – Malcolm samples Adria’s first Australian motorhome

A report card on our longterm Horizon Casuarina

Keeping Toasty – A look at your winter heating options

Demystifying vehicle classifications for our newer readers!

Chords of Happiness – Learn the ukulele!

Eling Forest Winery – A great Hume Highway stopover…

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!

62

Mobile Tech

68

Next Issue

Book Lovers' Apps

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


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resources

iMotorhome

Resources | 9

because getting there is half the fun...

Magazine Resources Ask a Question

Back Issues

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iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Road Tests

User Guide

Marketplace

Subscription

Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at… Review and images by Malcolm Street

Reader Survey

Reader Review


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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

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

More Cup Holders!

Hi Richard. This cup-holder/tray for our Ducato sits on top of the centre glove box lid; it's held in place when the lid is closed. I made it from mostly scrap at home, apart from the two drink holder inserts with the drain spigots cut off and sealed (available from here). The tray and lock strip are aluminium sheet cut and shaped (pop riveted and glued together then covered with Gaffer tape to look tidier), while the gussets are particle board. This is the first try/prototype but it probably won't be changed as it seems a suitable size, leaving easy access in and out of the cabin/seats and is easy to remove for cleaning, etc. Regards, Russ.

Thanks Russ, what a cracker! You could, and probably should, go into business as I’m sure there are many less handy readers out there who’d happily pay a fair price for your professional looking creation. Please accept this issue’s $50 towards the establishment of your new business – and good luck!

Myth Buster I was reading the Battery Myths Busted article on your website. Myth 9 provided me with the answer I've been trying to get from all sorts of people, including my auto-electrician brother. I have a dual battery set up, using a VSR, yet everyone was telling me I couldn't run a mix of batteries. The vehicle is a 2003 Ford Transit set up

as a camper. Thank you for this informative and easy to understand article. Cheers, Colin. Glad we could help Colin. Please keep revisiting our website as we’re adding more articles to expand the knowledge base.


12 | On your mind

Electric Scooter Blues Thanks for putting out a great free e-mag. Keep up the good work! Just a note about the scooters (advertised/promoted) on page 14 of Issue 73. While the kick along scooter version is just fine, any form of electrical foot scooter is illegal in NSW. I personally wish they weren’t but that's NSW for you! The following is copied from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) website: “The following motorised recreational devices do not meet minimum Australian design standards for safety and cannot be registered: • All petrol-powered bicycles, including bicycles that: • Have had a petrol-powered engine attached after purchase • Were purchased with a petrol-powered engine attached • Are powered by any other type of internal combustion engine • Motorised foot scooters (with or without a seat) – electric/petrol engine • Mini bikes or monkey bikes • Motorised human transporters such as the WheelMan or SEGWAY • Motorised skateboards – electric/petrol engine. These types of devices must not be used on roads or in any public areas such as footpaths, car parks and parks. Some retailers sell these vehicles and fail to warn customers that they cannot be used on roads or in public areas. There are heavy penalties for using unregistered and uninsured vehicles. Police can also seize unregistered vehicles.” Regards, Trevor.

Thanks for the heads-up Trevor. I contacted Mark Johns who is the Adelaide-based agent for e-twow scooters and he was sure that as they complied with Australian design standards they were legal in all States and Territories. Pointing out the very specific wording regarding scooters I suggested he contact the RMS in NSW to seek clarification. His reply was received just before going to press: Hi Richard. After some chasing around it appears that NSW roads rules do not allow for scooters to be used on public roads! It’s unfortunate, but they are the only State to have this policy! In time and with awareness of the need to promote green use of transport and getting people out of cars, I’m sure this will change. I think my biggest problem is being an early adopter of this new technology and getting law makers to come "up to speed" so to speak. The scooters sold locally are being ridden and LOVED by their owners and it’s pretty obvious why!! Regards, Mark The bottom line is, no motorised scooter of any sort is legal on any road or in any public place in NSW. If you buy one or bring one in from interstate as you travel and use it here you’ll be breaking the law. Hopefully the rules will be harmonised nationally at some stage, but until then please obey the law.


14 | News

Facebook Record!

i

Motorhome’s Facebook page continues to attract followers – more than 25,000 Likes now – and this week set a new record for the number of people reached. In the seven days to 19 June we reached

1,533,180 people! If you don’t already follow us, or haven’t even explored Facebook, just click on the link at the start of this story to see what we’re all about.

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magazine

iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

We’ve Booked Out The Valley! Date: 11-13 September 2015 Location: Joadja Creek Heritage Site, NSW.

Click for Google Maps

Cost: $59 per person

What’s Included? • Entry fee • 2-nights non-powered camping (Fri/Sat) with basic facilities available The inaugural iMotorhome get-together is being held at of one of Australia’s most interesting historical sites – Joadja Creek. Set deep in a valley on the western fringe of the Southern Highlands of NSW, this tranquil and picturesque location was once a thriving industrial centre and township, complete with its own railway.

• Guided historic site tour by the owner • Tour of Joadja Whisky Distillery • Spanish tapas dinner on Saturday night

Extras Extra night (Sun): $6 per person

Come and meet the iMotorhome team, enjoy a guided site tour, a tour of the recently completed Joadja Whisky Distillery and delight in an authentic Spanish tapas dinner, followed by a few drinks by the camp fire!

Beer with dinner: $5 each

We’ve booked out the valley for the weekend, but space limited to about 20 motorhomes, so book early and secure your spot!

Email info@imotorhome.com.au with your name and contact details and we’ll put you on the list. Payment via EFT required to confirm booking. Space is limited so contact us today!

Wine with dinner: $6 glass

Bookings

Fine Print (please read): 1: Due to licensing restrictions BYO is not available with the Saturday night dinner, but okay at other times (like around the camp fire!). 2: A  ccess is via several kilometres of dirt road. The final 2 km can be tricky after heavy rain and we reserve the right to reschedule or cancel the event due to weather conditions. In either case a full refund would be offered. 3: Access isn’t recommended for coach-sized motorhomes, but anything up to about 9 m will be fine.


16 | News

Winter Warmers!

L

overs of all-things Kombi will drool over a range of handmade outdoor heaters from the UK. Creation Fabrications is a new business born of interest created on Facebook by a couple of ‘likely lads’ – Shaun and Pete. Their most recent Facebook post reads: “Firstly we would like to thank you all for the fantastic comments all your support and patience. Most of you know we started doing these in our spare time for fun and to have something different at home; two normal working lads on the workshop floor we never dreamed it would come to this. Next week is a new start for us our own little

business working for ourselves in our own little workshop. We have put our notice in at work and are going full time with our little company – Creation Fabrication Ltd – and we are sorting a proper web page and will post a phone number so you can speak to us. So exciting and nervous time's ahead.The lead time is pretty high at the moment but it will come down now we are full time. Once again thanks for this, we love making these and have some cracking idea's of other designs to make.” Currently listed price for the 4-wheel Kombi heater is £300, plus about £180 for freight to Australia/New Zealand (check for precise costings), so with exchange rates, figure on around A$1000. Other designs include Star Wars’ R2D2 droid and Darth Vader, plus 2-wheel VWs, and you can choose natural metal or painted. iMotorhome wished Shaun and Pete all the best and looks forward to the first reader photos of Australian delivered heaters!

Gerry Ryan Joins Board

J

ayco founder and managing director, Gerry Ryan, whose company quit the former national caravanning industry body, the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA), has been elected to the Caravan Industry Asnsociation of Australia's new board. Mr Ryan shocked the industry when he pulled out of the RVMAA in 2011 after previously holding its presidency. No reasons were ever revealed for his action. Mr Ryan now joins eight other members selected from a strong ballot of 30 contenders who will take over the reins of the Association, formed last year following the merger of the Caravan, RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia and the RVMAA.


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18 | News

Drone Idea Takes Flight

G

ary Duncan can be forgiven for droning on after all, he is helping fellow travellers choose the best rest areas. The former policeman, who is on his fourth round-Australia sojourn, is using a $1550 drone to capture remarkable aerial vision of free-camps used along the way. His videos, complete with commentary, are now attracting increasing interest on his personal website and YouTube channel. Gary is travelling in a 21 ft Supreme caravan with wife Steph and their twin two-year-old girls, Keira and Zoe. He said his Phantom Vision drone had a range of 1 km and provided high definition footage.

he explained. "Other regulations make it illegal to use for monetary gain, fly over people at such things as sporting events and within 8 km of an airport, plus some others which are mainly common sense. You can get a licence from CASA to do all these things, but I believe it would not be worth the money." Asked what enticed him into buying the drone, Mr Duncan said he loved “toys”. "My wife calls me Gadget Man," he laughed. "I get some very interested people coming to check it out once I am flying it. All seem interested in videos of free camps and some have subscribed to my uploads."

"I have it set for a maximum 400 ft in height. That is the default due to CASA regulations,"

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20 | News

Cash for Referrals

R

Vers are being urged to spread the word and earn cash at the same time. Australia's newest chain of holiday parks is searching for ambassadors to help swell its already growing membership. Kui Parks founder Bert van Spronsen said word-of-mouth was a powerful marketing tool in "nomad land". He has promised to pay a commission every time an ambassador recruits a nomad into his nationwide network of caravan parks. "Just by chatting around a camp fire you can earn extra dollars," Mr van Spronsen said. For more information email Bert here.

Inaugural Gosford RV Show

G

osford’s first caravan and camping show seems set to be a hit, according to the organisers. "After crunching the numbers we are confident of a big crowd," BossMan Event's Scott Reinemann said.

"Gosford is not that far from Newcastle, Sydney is only 88 km down the road and the region is known for its beautiful beaches and tourism”. The three-day Caravan Camping & Outdoor Living Show will roll into Gosford Racecourse on August 28.

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News | 21

Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre Razed

A

n early morning blaze has gutted the Waltzing Matilda Centre at Winton in Western Queensland. Inspector Bob Stooke from the Fire and Emergency Service said most of the building had been destroyed by fire, smoke or heat damage, although some artefacts and adjoining buildings were saved. "It was just contained to the Matilda Centre," he said. "The roofs in some of the area have completely collapsed. I think it is devastating to the whole community of Winton, with the history of part of Australia.” The centre was built in 1998 after the centenary celebrations for the AB "Banjo" Paterson's 1895 song and houses memorabilia and interactive displays. Other Australian

memorabilia was also held at the museum. Winton Mayor Butch Lenton said the firefighters fought to save what they could, including a World War I exhibition. "With the Banjo Room with the war stuff in it, if that there has gone, well, that history will be gone that's for sure," he said. "Unfortunately it is a bit of a kick in the guts but we will tough it out and keep going with it. Winton Shire Council's John Elliott said the community is devastated, it was an added blow that the fire happened a week out from the town's second outback film festival. He said the centre was unlikely to reopen this year.

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22 | News

Showground Stouch

A

n application to develop camping facilities at the Naracoorte Showgrounds has prompted criticism from both the current and former owners of the Naracoorte Holiday Park. The development application, submitted by the Naracoorte Pastoral & Agricultural Society, seeks approval for a campground comprising 28 sites and "associated infrastructure". The application will be considered by Council's development assessment panel.

Peter and Susan Kukola, who bought the caravan park business last year, are strongly opposed to camping at the showgrounds. They say their park already caters to all camping needs, including dog owners and those travelling in motorhomes or “RVs". While the caravan park previously had a pet-free policy, the Kukolas have allowed dogs since they took over in September. You can read the rest of the story on the Naracoorte Herald website, and also vote for or against the development application (support is currently around 90%). It’s interesting to note the Showground has apparently hosted camping since before the caravan park was built. It’s also interesting to read the new owners believe their caravan park “Caters to all camping needs”, presumably because they now allow dogs.


News | 23

Board Stiff!

C

layton Kearney of Horizon Motorhomes and Wayne Davenport of Davenport Surfboards recently presented a brand new surfboard to Max Daniels, which he won at the Queensland Caravan and Camping show.

screws is an everyday part of his job. “I thought how hard can this be?” he said.

Max, from Victoria Point, Brisbane, visited the Horizon stand at the Caravanning Queensland 2015 Caravan, Camping & Touring Holiday Supershow. The competition asked entrants to guess the number of screws displayed in a jar (like jellybeans) it takes to build the Horizon Banksia’ model. The person with the closest guess would win the ‘one of a kind’ handmade surfboard. Max works as a groundsman at a special school in Southport (Gold Coast) and fixing things with

There are more than 1000 screws in Horizon Banksia and Max’s guess was within 10! Clayton said, “We thought it would be a fun and challenging competition to see who could guess the correct number of screws and since we are known for being ‘built-in’ specialists, it seemed fitting. When we spoke to Max we realised it couldn’t have gone to a more grateful person – a keen surfer, hard worker and someone interested in motorhomes. Not only that, Max had his last two longboards stolen, so this was the perfect prize in every way!” Wayne of Davenport Surfboards has been handcrafting surfboards for over a decade in his hometown of Lennox Head. It shouldn’t be hard to notice the big orange board in the surf, and if you do Horizon Motorhomes would love you to snap a photo and post to their Facebook page.

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

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24 | iMotorhome Marketplace

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!

bonymountainfolkfestival.com

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

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

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

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!

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


iMotorhome Marketplace | 25

Nomadic Solutions hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available

5th wheeler specialist

Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.

T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au

Southern Spirit Campervans FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Full & part fitouts Hitop, Poptop and Reimo roofs True custom­made conversions Repairs & improvements BYO van from Hiace to Sprinter

Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!

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The Duvalay memory foam sleeping system - for those who enjoy a comfortable nights sleep but hate making the bed. All the comforts of home while you explore the extraordinary! To order simply call (08) 9336 7714 or email info@duvalay.com.au www.duvalay.com.au

Tiffin Motorhomes

America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!

T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au

Over 11  years  cover   manufacturing   experience  Australia   wide.Free  Measure  &  Quote  Call  in   Factory  1:354  Mons  Road    Forest  Glen  :   Sunshine  Coast  Queensland     PH-­‐1300  304  332/0754564818   www.caravancovers.com.au   info@caravancovers.com.au   Qld  Stockist  of  Duvalay.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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To find out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email mje240@adam.com.au www.e-twow.com 1


26 | Day Test: Adria Coral A 660DU

See Class!

Adria’s ‘budget’ Coral C-class brings a touch of Euro chic… by Malcolm Street.


Day Test | 27

The Adria Coral is a toe-in-the-water test by the Apollo Group, who also control Winnebago, Apollo Rentals and Talvor, and we think it has real potential. It packs a lot of features for the price, including some design innovation firsts.

A

dria caravans have been available in Australia for some years, but up until now no motorhomes from the Slovenian manufacturer have made it to our shores. That’s changed, now importer Apollo Motorhomes has decided to test the waters with a Coral A 660DU model. The motorhome has actually been in the country for some months and your eagle eyed reporter spotted it hiding behind a couple of other vehicles in the Apollo yard at Northgate. However, the Apollo team requested we keep quiet about it whilst they evaluated its potential. What’s interesting about this motorhome is it’s apparently a base model in the Adria range, but more about that later.

The Vehicle

W

ell there’s nothing unusual about the base vehicle: a new series Fiat Ducato Multijet 180. Unlike several other Brit/Euro manufacturers, Adria has opted for the largest engine, the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel (at least for its Australian range) complete with Fiat’s 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). The 660 has a 7.4 m (24 ft 6 in) C-class motorhome body. Its structure is a bit hard to fathom but it appears to be a polyurethane external/polyester insulation timber frame sandwich construction with fibreglass mouldings. It also appears to be unique to the Australian market as there are no C-class Corals on Adria’s website. Even the entry door


28 | Day Test Right: The Euro-style door isn’t unusual, but the fact it’s part of the central locking system is. Bottom: There’s only one external storage locker, but it’s a good size one and runs across the width of the vehicle at the rear. is on the correct side for us, whereas UK-spec Adria motorhomes have their entry doors on the European side. Its Luton Peak (the bit over the cab with the bed in it) extends rearward a bit more than usual, giving the motorhome a more streamlined look as well as increasing the ceiling height inside. For external bin storage, apart from the gas cylinder bin behind the driver’s door there is but one bin – but it’s a biggie! It’s a tunnel boot across the rear with doors on both sides, and set at a reasonable height so there’s minimal bending over to lift gear in and out. Of course there are the usual tinted acrylic windows and Euro-style door, complete with plastic garbage bin, but there are a couple of other interesting and impressive external features. Like central locking that includes the motorhome entry door. And not only an external mains power outlet on the kerb side, but also a 12 V socket and 5 V USB charging outlet. In addition there’s a gas bayonet for an outdoor barbecue.


Day Test | 29

Although this is the latest model Fiat Ducato it lacks a radio touch screen and cup holders, meaning it’s either part of Adria’s ‘budget’ package or an early model in Fiat’s production run.

There’s no GPS, but there is an upgraded radio/CD player – not a touch screen – but still an upgrade. Impressive and innovate – and did I mention this is a base model?

On The Road

I

could say this Fiat Ducato motorhome gets along like any other Ducato-powered motorhome, which it does, except for one thing: The rear suspension is fitted with air bags! Did I mention this is a base model? Air bags improve

the ride quality no end, and the valves and gauges for both sides of the axle are on the base frame of the passenger seat – very handy when you wish to check or adjust the pressure. In the cab all the usual Fiat controls are where they should be. There’s no GPS, but there is an upgraded radio/CD player – not a touch screen variant – but still an upgrade.

One of the little mysteries of the universe is that the latest model Fiat Ducatos come with cup holders, in place of the centre storage compartment below the dash, but not all do. For some reason earlier examples of the newly updated Fiat don’t have this useful feature, and this particular vehicle must be one of them.


30 | Day Test The dinette is seatbelt equipped for four and also converts to a bed. The decor is light and modern, with a typically European feel.

Living Inside

W

side, behind the dinette, is the shower/toilet cubicle. That leaves the rear of the motorhome for a club-style lounge. This has windows all round, and although built on the other side of the world, definitely comes under my classification of an “New Zealand back”.

hen I first looked over this motorhome with the Apollo team they told me they were not quite sure whether it would be used in their rental fleet or as a vehicle for private sale. I quite understood their dilemma because although this particular layout The décor certainly has a Euro look, with faux says ‘rental’, the general fit-out and finish is timber laminate on the cabinets for example, quite classy looking and says something else. that escapes being bland through the use of contrasting colours and curved shapes. All the Stepping in through the entry door reveals a windows, except for the bathroom and kitchen, six berth layout, hence the rental comment. have net curtains and pseudo curtains on either Between the entry door and driver’s cab is a side of the windows. I have to say I really don’t two door fridge, with microwave oven above. like the latter – to me they are just tizzy items. Of course there is a bed above the cab, while opposite the entry door is a four person caféWhile not immediately obvious there are style dinette; each position having a seat belt. some handy little compartments built into the Unfortunately, the position of both the fridge walls in places, like the end of the kitchen and dinette effectively blocks the cab area from cabinet (handy to the entry door) and the making effective use of the swivelled seats. internal partitions of the over-cab bed. None are particularly large but all are very useful for Along the kerb side wall is where the kitchen stashing smaller items. bench is to be found, while on the opposite


Part of the design compromise to seat and sleep six is the location of the generous 190 L fridge, and microwave. Not only does it stop the cab seat from swivelling, the left-hand opening microwave door makes using it that extra bit awkward.

Day Test | 31


32 | Day Test Top: The U-shaped rear lounge provides sweeping views and commodious seating, but is also the main bed and needs to be made up each night. Bottom: The interior is bright and attractive, thanks to two-tone decor and plenty of design curves.

LED lighting is used throughout, with ceiling lights and reading lights being in all the right places. A ceiling mounted Truma Aventa airconditioner keeps things cool when the going gets hot, too.

Lounging Around

T

here’s no shortage of space for lounging around – something very useful if there are four or six people on board. Undoubtedly the rear club lounge is the area of choice for sitting back and watching the world go by, especially if there are only two of you as there’s room to put the feet up. A point of note is there are only overhead lockers across the rear wall, not down the sides. That certainly makes it easier for getting in and out, especially as the rear area is on a slightly raised platform. The second choice of seating is obviously the dinette; not quite as comfortable as the rear

lounge, but if you really want to get away from everyone there are always the non-swivelled cab seats!


Day Test | 33

Time To Eat

L

ike many a Euro motorhome the Coral has a relatively small kitchen, especially for a six berth model. One of the reasons is that at the rear is a small wardrobe that provides some welcome hanging space. What the kitchen does offer is a stainless steel sink and a three-burner cooktop with a grill/ oven below. The sink/cooktop is a combo unit and designed in an L shape, with the three burners to the rear. The shape does provide a nominal amount of bench space at the front, and although compact is quite a neat design, taking up much less space than a conventional four-burner unit might. Under the bench are three good sized drawers, whilst overhead are two lockers: all very compact and certainly usable. Across the doorway, the fridge is handy to both the kitchen and dinette, while the microwave is above the fridge.

Top: A full oven is unusual in a European motorhome, while recessed shelves by the entry door would certainly prove handy. Bottom: The unusually shaped combination sink and cooker is clever and maximises bench space. There’s also good drawer space despite the kitchen being quite compact.


34 | Day Test Top: The rear lounge makes into a spacious bed for two, but we’re not fond of the curtains! Bottom: It’s quite a climb to the over-cab bed that’s perhaps best left to younger travellers.

After Hours

W

ith this layout it’s multiple choice on which bed you choose! There isn’t a fixed bed, of course, so only the Luton (over-cab) bed can be left made up. The Luton bed requires a ladder for climbing in and out, but it can be pushed up, if desired, to improve cab access. All the beds are of reasonable size, but the rear bed is certainly the largest and has a larger width on the kerb side. It can be easily made up by lowering the table and adding the centre cushion. Of course the sheets and blanket/doona have to be added, but as Mr iM Publisher will tell you there is always something like a Duvalay to make life easier (a LOT easier – Mr iM Publisher). Similarly, the forward dinette can be made up in the same way, by lowering the table and shifting the cushions. In many ways I quite like the Luton bed in this sort of layout, mostly

because it can be left made up, although it’s also the hardest to make up in the first place. See previous Duvalay comment!


Day Test | 35

Its Luton Peak (the bit over the cab with the bed in it) extends rearward more than usual, giving the motorhome a more streamlined look .


36 | Day Test

The bathroom isn’t huge but manages to include a separate shower cubicle, corner vanity and good storage space. It even has a window (with a blind!) for extra light and ventilation.

What I Think

I

have to say that although I have seen quite a few Adria caravans, this was my first look at one of their motorhomes – and it’s quite impressive! Although this particular motorhome has a six berth layout without fixed beds it certainly has plenty of potential and augers well for other Adria layouts. Despite being described to me as coming from the base model range it certainly has plenty of features, like air bag suspension and external power outlets, which makes it a cut above its contemporaries.

Keeping Clean

T

he bathroom is a decent size and offers all the required facilities – like a separate shower cubicle, cassette toilet, and vanity cabinet with wash basin. Under the wash basin is a roller shutter style cabinet, while there are cupboards overhead. Not everybody likes them, but I don’t mind a window in the bathroom for both natural light and air circulation reasons.

Although not everyone is going to like or want a six berth layout, it certainly does offer itself up as a rental motorhome, while also retaining flexibility for the private buyer. Certainly it’s going to be good for a family, but there’s potential for a couple that likes separate sleeping arrangements, or at least the option. In my opinion the Adria Coral A 660 DDU is a very good first toe in the water, despite being a bit of a mouthful. It also bodes well for an Australian range of Adria motorhomes, which must be music to Apollo’s ears…


Day Test | 37

Specifications

Pros

Manufacturer

Adria

Model

Coral A 660 DU

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180

Engine

3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Gearbox

6 speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3500 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4400 kg

Towing capacity

2000 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

6

External Length

7.38 m (24 ft 6 in)

External Width

2.38 m (7 ft 10 in)

External Height

3.13 m (10 ft 3 in)

Internal Height

2.09 m (6 ft 10 in) min

Rear Bed Size

2.1 m x 1.57/1.37 m (6 ft 11 in x 5 ft 2 in/4 ft 6 in)

Luton Bed Size

2.1 m x 1.4 m (6 ft 11 in x 4 ft 7 in)

Dinette Bed Size

1.95 m x 1.35 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft 5 in)

Cooktop

Dometic 3 burner & Thetford grill/oven

Fridge

Dometic 3 way 190 L

Microwave

Camec 25 L

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

1 x 100 AH

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

Truma Aventa reverse cycle

Space Heater

Optional

Hot Water

Truma 14 L

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Flex-hose, variable height

Gas Cylinders

2 x 4.5 kg

Water Tank

150 L

Grey Water Tank

80 L

Price

$133,990 (on road in QLD)

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Good sized motorhome Plenty of little extras Air bag suspension Central locking inc entry door Several seating and sleeping options Spacious interior Large fridge 3.0 L Engine standard Auto gearbox standard Good water capacity Oven and grill Air-conditioner standard

Cons • • • • • •

Smallish kitchen Decorative curtains No fixed beds Beds a bit fiddly to make up Small capacity house battery No heater

Supplied by Thanks to Apollo Group 698 Nudgee Road, Northgate, Qld. 4013. T: 1800 825 867

E: sales@apollorvsales.com.au W: www.apollorvsales.com.au

Click for Google Maps


38 | Day Test

This was my first look at one of (Adria’s) motorhomes – and it’s quite impressive!


AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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40 | Longtermer Update: Horizon Motorhomes Casuarina

Mobile Me!

The home office is where you park it‌


Longtermer Update | 41

O

ne concept I’ve been keen to explore with a long-term test vehicle is how easily it fits into our daily life. For much of its time ‘our’ Horizon Motorhomes’ Casuarina has been sitting on the driveway, which is also the reality for many motorhomes in the real world. Utilisation is one of those double-edged swords RV owners struggle with: Too little and it’s an expensive indulgence difficult to financially justify; too much and it runs up the mileage, lowers resale and increases costs. For us, time more than anything has been the limiting factor. A van like the Casuarina is probably easier to integrate into daily life than a coachbuilt motorhome, especially if you live where parking is an issue. Long distance trips aside, we’ve discovered this size motorhome also makes a great day-trip vehicle. For example, its compact dimensions allowed us to visit crowded Wollongong Harbour on a gloriously sunny winter Saturday and easily find a prime parking spot. Having an ocean view and enjoying a home-prepared meal in privacy and

Top: Mrs iMotorhome is very happy behind the wheel of the Casuarina. Above: The fridge and kitchen lets us bring healthy food from home and quickly reheat it, instead of buying takeaway.


42 | Longtermer Update

comfort simply added to the experience. In addition, operating costs rivalling a family car make such outings all the more enjoyable.

Office Duties

T

he thing I’ve been most keen to try, however, has been a van conversion motorhome as a mobile office. Why a van conversion specifically? I’ve published iMotorhome issues from a Trakka Trakkaway 700 and a huge American Winnebago C-class; both machines with enough room to set up a decent office when camped. But a van is another question.

Top: Bath time! Thirty minutes effort and $14 in change brought the Casuarina back to new. Above: The rear table makes a comfortable mobile office. It can also be swung out of the way for easy access.

The Casuarina’s layout provides two seating options: the cab with swivelling seats and a small, pole mounted table; and the bed area with a larger table on a multi-adjustable Lagun mount. The former is most comfortable but the table is small, the driver’s seat only swivels just over 90 degrees due to the bathroom’s proximity and there are no power outlets, save a 12 V socket running off the vehicle battery. The latter is most practical and includes mains, 12 V and USB power outlets if you sit on the


Longtermer Update | 43

Above: The small cab table is still big enough for lunch – in this case homemade Thai-style pumpkin soup with chicken, homemade labneh cheese and drizzled with basil-infused olive oil – and is quick and easy to set up and store away. Bottom: When I’m in the ‘main office’ Mrs iM has her own ‘entertainment centre’ up front! driver’s side. It’s also quite comfortable, but does require a couple of pillows behind you, because you’re sitting on one of the beds and the Casuarina’s design has no backrest cushions (you normally only have them on a layout where the single beds also convert to a double, and they make up the missing centre section). In application the rear ‘office’ position has proved most practical. Most of this issue has been produced from it and I found the table big enough for my laptop, mouse, notebook, coffee and even lunch – simultaneously. The table can also be swung out of the way without disturbing everything, providing easy access. Meanwhile, Mrs iM makes herself at home in the cab’s passenger seat and reads,


44 | Longtermer Update

Not a bad view from the lunchtime dining table: Wollongong Beach, with Port Kembla steelworks in the distance. Note the custom 4X4 motorhome with rear-mounted marine toilet! knits and/or watches catch-up TV on her iPad via ABC iView. It’s a thoroughly workable arrangement, and with good vision all round and a light and bright interior it hasn’t left us suffering cabin fever!

Quirks

I

’ve replaced the remote battery – finally – after all this time using the key to unlock the doors. It seems the keys were in a door pocket when the vehicle was flooded and the remote unit suffered. I’m told it chews batteries now and will be interested to see if it lasts for our remaining test time. Fortunately the replacement process is simple and the battery is a flat, circular CR2032; the industry standard for such units. An interesting thing I’ve discovered is how the heated side mirrors operate. Some early

morning drives this week started in fog and rain, and pressing the mirror heat button saw the passenger mirror clear quickly, while the drive’s mirror took its own sweat time. Initially I thought it wasn’t working. Mrs iM – ever the slueth – immediately deduced the passenger mirror is in fact the driver’s mirror in Europe, and hence is given priority. Is it true or is it just a flaw in this vehicle’s electrics? I don’t know, but would be interested in feedback if you’re a Ducato owner. From a conversion design perspective, it would be good to have a light switch on the kitchen end panel for when you open the sliding side door in the dark. At present you have to climb inside and find the main light switch, on the wall above the cooker.


Longtermer Update | 45

How’s that for clean? The Casuarina is quite easy to wash, and certainly easier than a bigger coachbuilt motorhome.

Costs

I

t’s almost a calendar month since our last fill-up, which we did in Albury on the way back from Mansfield. The 120-litre fuel tank certainly makes a difference, but even so it only took 86.58 litres for the 816.2 kilometres covered. That equates to 10. 61 L/100 km (26.62 mpg), compared to the 10.1 L/100 km (27.97 mpg) on the trip computer. Considering we’d driven home from Albury, run around the Southern Highlands, visited the beach via the escarpment and finally travelled up to Sydney, I think that’s pretty impressive. As ever it’s also been easy driving: The Fiat Ducato hasn’t

missed a beat and is a smooth, quiet and comfortable machine to travel in. Publication day for this issue is two calendar months exactly since ‘Cassie’ came to stay. They say you should never name things you can’t keep, and we’ll certainly be sorry to see her go (whenever that might be). Comfortable, practical, reliable and economical, this Horizon Motorhomes’ Casuarina is proving the perfect house guest. If you’re in the market for a van conversion motorhome you have to put it – or any Horizon model – on your list.


46 | Technical: Heaters

Keeping Toasty!

Thoughts on motorhome heating now winter is upon us…

T

o a great extent motorhoming in Australia and New Zealand follows similar lines. There are a few differences, one being the time honoured "NZ back”: A rear club lounge surrounded by windows that’s much more common in Kiwiland. Another key difference for many years was that in Australia, air conditioners were standard and heaters optional, whilst in NZ it was the other way around. These days in Australia, heaters are becoming much more common. Reverse cycle airconditioners handle heating up (down?) down to a point; that being around 4ºC to 5ºC deg, but below that forget it. However, travellers are discovering new technology heaters are not only more efficient, they add to the range of places that can be explored without leaving too many home comforts behind. I for one can testify to the benefits of a heater, having spent winter time in both the Australian Alps and New Zealand alpine country, and sat back during the evening in cosy comfort. It's not only mountain country though where heaters are good to have. In Australia’s desert regions, as well as places from Tasmania to Toowoomba and many points in between it can get mighty cool at night. Apart from, say, a simple electric fan heater that requires mains power (or a generator) and

chews through the kilowatts, for the motorhome traveller there are two types of RV-specific space heaters available: LPG or diesel fired. In the case of LPG it can simply be run off the vehicle’s gas cylinders, whereas a diesel heater usually taps into the base vehicle’s fuel tank (assuming it is diesel powered of course!). With a petrol vehicle or in the case of a slide-on, caravan or fifthwheel, a separate diesel tank has to be fitted. It’s interesting to note that US motorhomes generally use LPG heating, but have suitably large LPG tanks. In Antipodean motorhomes our relatively limited LPG capacity is a major consideration, especially given it usually provides hot water as well as heat for the cooktop.

Warning!

W

ith heaters in the confined space of a motorhome, indeed any RV, there are a few considerations. In particular, a naked flame (or even something like a bar heater) should not be used. A gas fired cooktop looks like a nice cheap option, but over an extended period may well produce the undesired effect of asphyxiation for all occupants! This is why proper RV heaters, which suckin fresh air from the outside and vent exhaust fumes to the outside, are mandatory. The burner is totally sealed from the air you breathe inside the vehicle. The warm air you feel is fan driven


Technical | 47 across a heat exchanger – however the heater is fuelled – then ducted through one or more outlets inside the motorhome. That air circulation does, however, require a 12 V supply.

Cutaway of a Webasto diesel heater

Choices!

I

n both the Australian and NZ markets there are a number of gas and diesel fired space heaters available. Like most RV accessories all are imported and to date there are three major manufacturers who supply them: Webasto (perhaps the best known brand and probably the diesel heater pioneers), Eberspacher (marketed under the Dometic label) and Truma. All make simple space heaters, but some models double as water heaters. In that case, the burner unit heats glycol that moves through a heat exchange unit to heat the water.

Apart from the water heater versions, which have a storage tank, space heaters take up relatively little space. Although a new RV is definitely the easiest place to install one, their relative small size makes them good for many retro installations. Floor level cupboards or under-bed locations are a good locations. Being designed for ducted

heating, locations like bathrooms can easily be heated without being dangerous in any way. LPG heaters are a fair bit cheaper than their diesel equivalents, but the big question for many is whether to use LPG or diesel as the fuel supply. In most cases this will be determined by what is most convenient. Those keen on having only one energy source will have their decision made for them, but for everyone else it ’s decision time. I have to say that in a turbo-diesel powered motorhome, my preference is for diesel. I have not done any exhaustive tests on fuel consumption, but after nearly running out of gas in an NZ alpine town during winter I think diesel might have the edge. True, diesel-fired heaters do take slightly longer than LPG ones to heat up, but once going can be left on low idle overnight, just taking the frosty edge off the temperature. They can also be left on while driving, which is a real bonus in cold climates, while some can be programmed to come on while you’re sleeping or before you return to your vehicle. Nice! Whatever you choose, I reckon a space heater definitely broadens the geographical areas and times of year you can travel without worrying about how cold it is outside. And doesn’t that give you a warm, cosy feeling inside?

Truma’s Combi is a diesel-fired unit that heats air and water, yet is compact enough to live in a cupboard


48 | Motorhome 101

Simple as A B C!

Revisiting our guide to Motorhome Classifications and Choices‌


Motorhome 101 | 49

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hose new to the RV scene can find the jargon confusing. Even something as basic as the different classifications of vehicles can confound. Here’s a rundown of the ABCs of vehicle classification (pardon the pun) so you’ll know what everyone’s talking about. It should be mentioned that the classes A, B and C have nothing to do with one class of vehicle being better than another. In fact, there are many vehicle classifications and they are roughly as follows:

A-Class

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hinking A-class? Think ‘Meet The Fockers'. An A-Class motorhome is built on a purpose-built motorhome or truck chassis and is a totally integrated design that looks like a tourist coach. Some have the engine up front (petrol, petrol/LPG or diesel), but the best/most expensive have a rear-mounted diesel engine and are known as ‘diesel pushers’. Certainly the most flexible in terms of design layout, most A-class motorhomes have a flat floor with swivelling driver and passenger seats forming an integral part of the front lounge area. Some have one, two or more ‘slide-outs’ (side-opening room extensions), making them even more spacious. Luxury is the key word in an A-class and the most common layout is a front lounge, mid kitchen and bathroom, and a rear bedroom. Minimum length is generally around 26 ft (8 m), but some European companies build them as small as 20 ft (6 m). Because of cost the A-class market in Australia and New Zealand is small. The GFC took a heavy toll on local A-class manufacturers and today only Avida offers an Australian-built A-class – a smaller and slightly unusual conversion of an Iveco light truck cabchassis – called the Esperance Premium. The

Below: An A-class epitomises motorhome travel for many people and is highly prized. Featuring a fully integrated body and chassis, it has the most commanding driving position and road presence of any motorhome, plus generous living space. The downside is cost, fuel consumption and road weight/bridge-height limits, plus finding a camp site large enough.


50 | Motorhome 101 Trakka’s Trakkaway 860 is a B-class motorhome built on a Fiat Ducato cab-chassis with tandem rear axles. Easy cab access for driver and passenger, plus a streamlined nose to reduce fuel consumption are a B-class’ main advantage, while the absence of an over-cab is the only real drawback.

only new imported A-class is the Tiffin Allegro Breeze 32 from America. It’s worth noting that while Avida’s Esperance Premium can be driven on a standard car licence, all other A-classes (to our knowledge) require either a light rigid (LR) or heavy rigid (HR) driver’s licence.

B and C-classes

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hese classes of motorhomes are the most common on Antipodean roads and are sometimes referred to as ‘coachbuilts’. That’s because they comprise a motorhome body built separately to the light truck cab-chassis they ride on. The only real difference between B and C-class is the over-cab bed: A B-class doesn’t have one while a C-class does. To that end a B-class has a streamlined nose and a C-class is more bulbous. B-class motorhomes tend just to be for two people, while C-classes usually sleep

four and sometimes as many as six. It’s worth noting that a motorhome cannot legally have more beds than it has approved (seat-belted) seats for passengers. B and C-class motorhomes are usually built on cab-chassis like the Fiat Ducato (Australia’s most popular), Mercedes Benz Sprinter, VW Crafter, Ford Transit or Iveco Daily, while just one or two ride on an Isuzu. Older motorhomes often ride on Isuzu, Mazda and Mitsubishi cab-chassis, but in the last decade or so European brands have swept the Japanese aside. This is due to superior ride comfort, driving enjoyment, refinement, power, economy and so on. There are also a few specialists – usually 4WD motorhomes – built on either Isuzu or Mitsubishi 4X4 cab-chassis, but Iveco’s allconquering new 4X4 looks set to change that too.


Motorhome 101 | 51 Top to bottom: Two very different C-class motorhomes: The top is an A’van Ovation on a Fiat Ducato cab-chassis, while the bottom is a Suncamper Sherwood on a Mitsubishi Triton 4X4. The over-cab bad is the common feature, making maximum use of available space, but the big nose invokes a fuel consumption penalty – especially if you like to travel quickly.

Other jargon you might hear, in relation to a C-class, is the Luton Peak – or simply – the Luton. This is an old British term first applied to furniture truck bodies manufactured in the English city of Luton. An over-cab section was added to a conventional rectangular truck body, as furniture is usually bulkier than weighty, giving removalists greater carrying capacity. In a C-class it refers to the over-cab body section used as a bedroom. A small number of C-class motorhomes are based on a Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger cabchassis, in either two or four-wheel drive. These provide a compact motorhome with reasonable living space, but payload capacity is the usual limiting factor (along with difficult internal cab/body access). B and C-class motorhomes generally provide the best balance of living space, sleeping capacity and payload for the price, hence their popularity. Importantly, the majority are under 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle max (GVM) and can be driven on a standard car licence.


52 | Motorhome 101 This Horizon Motorhomes’ Melaleuca is a motorhome conversion inside a Fat Ducato van. Compact and durable thanks to its allmetal body, it still has a bathroom and is a fully equipped, self-contained vehicle.

Van Conversions and Campervans

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hese categories often confuse, but in a nutshell a van-conversion motorhome has a bathroom and a campervan doesn’t. Both are built inside a light commercial van body, with van-conversion motorhomes usually bigger and campervans smaller. Philosophically, campervans are for those moving up from a tent or camper trailer; who still want to spend most time outdoors and are happy to use campground amenities blocks. A van conversion has a bit (or a lot) more internal room; a bathroom, and is a selfcontained vehicle capable of extended allweather touring. Mention a campervan and many people imagine the much loved VW Kombi. Many people also imagine something quite cramped - hence the crampervan nickname! Following the demise of the early T1 & T2 Kombis, Toyota’s HiAce largely became the campervan vehicle of choice. The arrival of

the Volkswagen T5 Transporter in 2003 was a game changer, combining car-like standards of driving pleasure and safety with VW’s famous walk-through cab, and a flat floor. It was also available in two or all-wheel drive. Again the campervan of choice, the only thing it gives away to Toyota’s HiAce is price. Campervans usually have a high-top or poptop roof: the latter in a couple of configurations – full-lift or hinged at one end. Campervans are certainly the easiest to drive in terms of external size and parking space, but provide the smallest amount of living space. Usually, the bed has to be set up each night, too. However, here there are varying degrees of difficulty. Some manufacturers have a seat that simply folds down with the flick of a lever; in others it’s a case of removing tables, fitting the base and lifting-and-fitting cushions together. For someone who still has a full time job and needs daily transport, however, these are excellent as a weekend escape machine. Van conversions are built on the likes of a Fiat


Motorhome 101 | 53

Campervans are compact and make great day vehicles as well as short break machines. They can also double as a people mover. The lack of a bathroom means you still need campsite facilities or to carry a porta-potti, while sleeping space for two can be tight. Ducato, Ford Transit, Mercedes Benz Sprinter, VW Crafter and Iveco Daily. These larger, mostly high roof vans can sometimes be the same size as a small B or C-class motorhome, but usually retain the large, sliding side door. Because of the noise this door makes in caravan parks and campgrounds, campervans and van conversion motorhomes are often collectively (and derogatorily) referred to as ‘whiz-bangs’! Whatever they’re called, many people choose van conversions because they are large enough to be comfortable, small enough to drive easily and economical to run. Certainly, they are very popular with solo travellers due to the security offered at night by being selfcontained. Some designs allow the bed/s to be left made-up and some have two seating/ dining areas. Also, their tough steel bodies are right at home being left outside and more durable compared to the fibreglass/composite panels of B and C-class motorhomes.

Bus and Coach Conversions

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retty much in a class of their own are bus and coach conversions. Generally, in the small bus category, fit-outs are done on well used Toyota Coasters or Nissan Civilians. An advantage over a van-conversion motorhome is they have more space and are virtually a small A-class in looks and layout. On the minus side they are rather ‘old tech’ and lack the driving refinement, ride comfort, safety features and fuel economy of a modern van conversion. Some conversions are professionally done while others are converted by handymen of varying skill levels. Generally speaking, if you want a “new” one they aren’t available off the floor and need to be ordered from a specialist conversion company. In New Zealand these were very popular until a few years ago, when the Government changed emission rules for older imported vehicles


54 | Motorhome 101

Toyota Coasters (above) and Nissan Civilians (below) are the most popular small bus conversions. Relatively cheap, they provide a budget A-class experience of sorts and being Japanese are quite reliable. Spares are also readily available. Crash safety and driving comfort/refinement, plus slightly thirsty engines, are their main operational drawbacks. All that glass has thermal implications in extreme weather, including condensation issues. Buses and coaches are often used for motorhome conversions and – like a purposebuilt A-class – provide maximum living room, making them ideal for long-term living in. Touring coaches are favoured because they have comfortable air bag suspension and are better suited, mechanically and storage-space wise, to long distance travel. The penalties are registration fees, fuel costs, road weight limits, bridge clearance heights and campsite access – especially if towing a trailer laden with essential man toys. Resale is often difficult, or a least a drawn-out process, given they are not regular production models and establishing a fair value isn’t always easy.


Motorhome 101 | 55 Slide-Ons

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ot quite a campervan or motorhome but still fitted to the back of a truck, slide-ons are similar in size to smaller campervans. They’re designed to fit utes and tray-top trucks and are slightly misnamed because they don’t slide at all; instead the host vehicle is reversed underneath. They do have the advantage of being able to be lifted off, should you want to set up camp and use the vehicle for local exploration, or need it for daily use between trips away. Also, a slide-on incurs no registration costs or mechanical maintenance costs. Just be aware weight and weight distribution are king and the latter needs to be as low and far forward (over or ahead of the rear axle) as possible. Unlike towing a small caravan, a slide-on allows a ute owner to also tow a boat or trailer, making it an ideal set-up for a range of pursuits.

Choose Carefully!

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hat broadly covers just about every vehicle type available in Australia and New Zealand. Still, some defy exact labelling and at any rate, the preceding category classifications are more ‘accepted convention’ than ‘iron-clad law’. The main thing is to carefully consider your needs and intended use. Then, take your time and look at lots of different styles, designs and layouts. There is certainly something available out there for every budget and taste, and choosing is half the fun! You could say it’s a simple as ABC…

Slide-ons come in all shapes and sizes and have no registration or mechanical maintenance costs when sitting at home between trips. They allow you to tow and can also be demounted at your destination. Interior space and weight limits are drawbacks, while access when vehicle mounted is usually more difficult than a motorhome.


56 | Feature

Chords For Happiness!

Taking up the Ukulele might just be music to your ears… by Alan Price

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re you looking for a new interest; • Is small, lightweight and takes up much less something to do whilst on the road – well room than a guitar in your motorhome except when you are behind the wheel? • Comes in four sizes, with the smallest being Have your always thought you would like to the Soprano, then Concert, Tenor and play a musical instrument, but like me not have Baritone (for more serious players) a musical bone in your body? Well, the Ukulele – or ‘Uke' – just might be the answer! The typical ukulele: • Has only four strings. By comparison a guitar has six or eight

• Is fun to play and you do not really need lessons to get started. There are plenty of YouTube videos on the internet that will show you the basics! My wife Val has both Soprano and Concert ukes, while I have a Tenor, which I think is a better size for men.


Feature | 57 We bought ours from the online stores of some of the major music shops. That way we know what we were getting rather than buying from a small time importer. The prices are much the same and you can expect to pay less than $100 for a Soprano (with decent strings) that will generally be made in China. Don’t be tempted to buy a $40 kids uke as you will be disappointed after a few months. There are uke groups all over the country and they will always make you welcome at their monthly jam sessions, usually held at a local pub/club or coffee shop. We recently attended a jam session at Tea Gardens in NSW with some locals and had a great night. In Brisbane we are members of BUMS (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society) and they hold jam sessions for both beginners and more advanced players at a number of venues each month. Songs are projected onto a screen to enable you to see both the words and chords. At the Murray Bridge CMCA Rally there were some 40 uke players, both beginners and more advanced, who met daily to jam. Some of the more experienced players also entertained the drinkers at happy hour. You can find hundreds of songs on the Internet that can be played by knowing just four chords – that’s me – I’m not a singer, so I just enjoy strumming along with the group. A good source of songs is www.scorpexuke. com, which has hundreds of songs that can be downloaded or printed off for free. We have loaded some 400 songs on our iPad using an app called “On Song”. After a while accumulating songbooks in paper form the iPad makes it much more convenient. The bottom line? Keep strummin’ – and don’t fret! Learning the ukulele is a lot of fun and a great way to meet new friends. See you at a jam session I hope!

Ukuleles, loud shirts and holidays are made for each other! Why not get strumming? Even the musically challenged can pick up ukulele basics easily…


58 | Roadside Eats: Eling Forest Winery

Hooked On An Eling!

Eling Forest Winery has plenty to keep you coming back‌ Story by Richard Robertson


Roadside Eats | 59

Friendly staff, great coffee and food, and reasonable prices make the cafe at Eling Forest Winery a happy an enjoyable place. It’s open daily, from breakfast to afternoon tea.

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hrough a narrow gate and up a long tree-lined drive is one of the best roadside stops on the Hume Highway: Eling Forest Winery. Set back from Australia’s busiest highway, it’s a cafe, winery, cellar door and function centre with a long history and an excellent product range. Situated some five or six kilometres north of the huge Shell service station and McDonald’s restaurant complex at Sally’s Corner, about 90 minutes south of Sydney, Eling Forest is a world away in terms of enjoyment, service and quality. The good news is it’s not particularly expensive! Named after the town of Eling on the edge of England’s New Forest, the property traces its origins to 1834. The homestead, which dates to 1840, and a convict-built stone cottage that preceded it, are both fully restored and

an integral part of the working property today. They are in addition to the purpose-built cafe, cellar door and winery, and a conference centre capable of hosting 200 delegates. Eling Forest Winery is also a popular wedding venue, with accommodation offered in the homestead and cottage.

Vintage Traditions

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he location puts it at the southern edge of the NSW Southern Highlands, which apart from fine gardens, boutique accommodation and excellent food is rapidly gaining recognition for its cool climate wines. Eling Forest traces its winery ‘roots’ to 1987, when 80 year old Hungarian immigrant Lesley Fritz saw the region’s potential and planted mainly Hungarian varieties. He was nearly 90 when the first vintage was bottled, and his son


60 | Roadside Eats

Above: The cafe has country charm and on this day was set up for lunch for a classic car club. Left: All cakes, like the meals, are made in-house. The coffee is roasted in-house too. took over in the early 2000s before selling the business to its current owners. According to the website, “The region’s long cool growing conditions accentuates the complex and intense varietal characters. A combination of new and old world techniques provides the balance suitable to the grapes produced in the region. The winemaking focus is on allowing the wines to symbolise the unique terroir of each vineyard block and variety. Techniques such as cold soaking, saignee, lees stirring and oak ageing all play an integral part in highlighting the cool climate characters that are the trademark of the Southern Highlands. Each vintage a broad range of wines including, Traditional Method Sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Merlot and Pinot Noir are handcrafted in our award winning style”.


Roadside Eats | 61

Coffee and More!

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ine aside – and in case you need any more encouragement to visit – Eling Forest Winery also has an excellent cafe which, like the cellar door, is open daily.

Fast Facts

Who: Eling Forest Winery What: Historic property now a winery, cafe and function centre

We stopped by for morning coffee and also sampled the sour cherry fruit toast ($6.50), which was simply delicious. The coffee is roasted in-house and there’s a long and tempting blackboard of Sweet Temptations – like Russian cheesecake, sour cream poached pear cake and scones with Eling Forest jam and Chantilly cream. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon teas are served daily, which pretty much covers any time of the day you’re likely to be passing. A sign says “All cakes, meals and wines lovingly made on the premises” and that seems to sum-up the Eling Forest Winery philosophy.

When: Cafe: Open daily 8:00-4:30 (8:00-4:00 Sun)

We’re still trying to get back to sample the Pinot, but that could well be another story. Ditto “The Eling” breakfast – crispy bacon, two eggs any style, two chipolata sausages, and oven roasted tomatoes, served on toasted sour dough – which seems quite reasonable at $15. Whether you’re just after coffee, a long lingering lunch or a full cellar door experience, be sure to put Eling Forest Winery on your itinerary next time you’re heading along the Hume.

Why: A beautiful and historic rural property with excellent coffee, food and wine. It’s also a tranquil oasis with stunning spring and autumn colours.

Cellar Door: Open daily 10:30-4:30

Where: 12587 Hume Highway, Sutton Forest, NSW. 2577.

Click for Google Maps

Note: Eling Forest Winery is located on the east of the Hume Freeway 12 km south of Berrima, and 2 km north of the Illawarra Highway Junction. Access available to both north and southbound traffic.

The cellar door is just behind the cafe and also open daily. But that’s another story…


62 | Mobile Tech

Apps for Book “Oh the Places you’ll go in the pages of a Book” – Dr Seuss By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 63

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hen it comes to reading there appear to be two distinct camps amongst fellow bibliophiles I’ve spoken with: those who embrace new technology and set straight out to fill their Kindles and iPads with the latest and greatest, and those who cannot relinquish the scents, textures and weight of a great book in their hands, no matter the convenience. I will shamelessly admit that I’m a book lover comfortable in the second camp; a good book to me is so much more than just words! I do, however, appreciate there are a multitude of amazing apps available for every shape, size and description of personal device, and that many can enhance your literary experience. The world of audiobooks is almost an entire branch of technology in its own right and there are a multitude of platforms available for Apple and Android devices. Publishers have realised that in order to keep up with the times they must move with technology. Apps are simply one way of conveniently utilising the many features at your fingertips to access these untold stories.

Audible and Audiobooks.com are without doubt the two most recognised of these; both have great apps and work with a monthly subscription fee of $14.95. Often read by well know actors with much theatrical flair, these Big Boys really know how to bring a story to life. They’re great if you really love your books, but still a costly experience. One ‘premium book’ is included in your subscription each month, plus unlimited access to their free titles. Individual titles can range from $15 to $60, much like ordinary takehome-and-place-on-the-shelf books. You also have to check your storage capabilities, Wi-Fi streaming capacity and Cloud storage options before committing to any of these subscriptions, although both offer a free 30 day trial. But like most things these days there are options – including free ones – so long as you can do without the professional narration and exclusive price tags!


64 | Mobile Tech

BorrowBox Library Cost: Free Size: 18.9 MB iOS & Android This app is genius! It’s instant online access to your local library’s collection of audiobooks and eBooks, wherever you are, whenever you like, all conveniently upon your chosen device! All you need is an Australian library membership with a participating library and you can browse and borrow bestselling eBooks and Audiobooks for limited periods through digital loans (usually 14 days). It’s no wonder this app has won a multitude of awards. The interface is a dream to use and navigate and did I mention it’s free? You can reserve soon-to-be-released books, manage your current loans, download books in their entirety or section by section if space

is at a premium, and search by many different categories including new releasees and most downloaded, and importantly there are no overdue fees ever! The audio player itself has all the features you expect to see in a quality service, such as playback speed control and an automatic sleep timer. The eBook reader too contains all the features you could wish for, including in-text search and the ability to customise your view by altering the font and background. Quite simply, this app gives you access to hundreds of new release, premium classic and contemporary titles completely free of charge; albeit for a limited time. The only slight glitch I can find is the initial sign in; your user name is your member code with a capital ‘X’ in front. That’s simple enough, but your password is your birthdate – in one of these formats ‘ddmmyyyy, ddmmyy, dd/mm/ yyyy, dd/mm/yy, dd-mm-yyyy, dd-mm-yy.’ Best of luck, but it’s worth it!


Mobile Tech | 65 Goodreads Cost: Free Size: 19.9 MB iOS & Android The name of this app is pretty self-explanatory: Goodreads is basically a social media platform dedicated to books! The idea is to remove any hidden (or not so hidden) commercial motives by allowing users to honestly rate, review and share titles directly with one another, either publicly or with smaller groups of friends or peers. It has a timeline much like twitter and the more information you input about your personal reading preferences the more relevant the ‘news’ feed becomes. Goodreads is neither a publisher nor retailer, so theoretically promotional bias is removed, leaving only genuine reader reviews. Many independent authors, however, use the site to gain exposure and it’s certainly not ad-free. It is, however, quite informative and definitely a leader in its field. The app itself is filled with many handy features, most notable of these is the ability to scan a book’s barcode to locate reviews, average star rating and relevant publishing information. Goodreads is an international leader in what has become a market flooded with new authors and new books. If you are always in search of the next great read then I can highly recommend this app – it’s like the quietest, most informative book club you’ll ever attend! Pocket Cost: Free Size: 31.4 MB iOS & Android This little app is a perfect example of using technology to problem solve. Pocket allows you to save a variety of web content such as articles, blogs or entire pages for offline consumption at a later date. Supported on a variety of platforms including tablets, smartphones and desktops, the app version is ideal for people on the move –


66 | Mobile Tech particularly those who wish to conserve data and time. To reduce data usage simply set up Pocket to download content only when connected to Wi-Fi. Content can be saved from a variety of sources and links can even be emailed directly to your “pocket” for later retrieval. Once you've installed Pocket and created an account, you can start adding Web content. There are three sources from which you can save material: from within your apps and mobile browsers; from your desktop browsers, or through email. Sounds easy, right? Thankfully the Pocket app walks you through the process of saving content very gently. In terms of usability this app definitely has a clean, uncluttered interface that allows for easy retrieval and sorting of documents. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys reading at their own leisure.

Shakespeare Cost: Free Size: 165 MB iOS & Android Now this app has a bit of weight behind it – 165 Mb – but it is after all the complete works of Shakespeare: All 41 plays, 154 sonnets and 6 poems! Features include detailed scene breakdowns, including a comprehensive overview of each scene within each play, their locations, and the characters present in each. It also boasts a ‘relaxed’ in-text search feature meaning you can search for a particular quote or phrase without adhering to the exact word formatting. This app is full of hours of entertainment for those inclined. Its interface is easy to use and navigate, and the text is fully customisable for greater convenience. Possibly irrelevant to all but those whose literary passion extends to the greatest Bard of all time, it’s a lovely app obviously created with great care. If you are going to indulge any classical literature then this is the app for it – there is no darkness but ignorance after all!


Advertisers' Index | 67

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68 | Next Issue

Wirraway Too Long…

the beaten track without the remotest chance of roughing it! Sounds like our sort of machine… On the travel front we’ve got another great story from Elizabeth Mueller, this time on the NSW town of Balranald. Accompanied by husband Helmut’s beautiful images, she takes us on a what-to-do tour of this town that many simply drive-on through.

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t’s too long since we last visited Wirraway Motor Homes in the sunny Sunraysia ‘capital’ of Mildura. A boutique manufacturer with a strong and loyal following, owner Rob Tonkin makes quality motorhomes buyers often queue up to wait for.

We’ll update our long term Horizon Casuarina, look at some more apps and bring you part one of a reader’s rental relocation adventure from Hobart back to Sydney. Sounds like quite an experience…

Next issue Malcolm takes a look at the Wirraway 260 SL 4X4, a luxury B-class motorhome on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter that lets you venture off

Issue 75 will be out on Saturday the 4th of July! Until then why not join our more than 25,000 Facebook Friends and Twitter followers and share laughs, fun and more? See you soon!

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4WD Caravan, Camping & Marine Show

Mid North Coast Caravan & Camping Show

Lismore Showgrounds, Alexandra Parade, Lismore. NSW

Wauchope Showgrounds, Beechwood Rd Wauchope. NSW. 2446.

• Open 9:00-4:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: U14 free with adult

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 last day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 free

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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Border RV & Camping Expo Wodonga Racecourse, Thomas Mitchell Drive. Wodonga, Vic. 3690 • 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

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

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 74 – 20 Jun 2015  

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 74 – 20 Jun 2015  

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