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Issue 81: Oct 03 2015

An Esperance to Aspire to!

because getting there is half the fun...


$50 for the! best letter

50th Anniversary Esperance gets a load of extra goodies…

NEW: Tech Talk!

Tips to get the most from your RV…


Canada by rental relocation!

Project Polly… Reflecting in insulation


– SU4066 – $159,990 Drive Away

Slide Out, Loads of Extras, Fantastic Value!

Ovation M6 – AV2090 –

$141,499 Drive Away

Island Bed, Diesel Heater, Tow Bar.

Talvor Keppel – TA5008 –

$114,940 Drive Away Only 31,000kms, Bull Bar, Separate Shower/Toilet.

Winnebago Birdsville – U1191 –

$108,394 Drive Away

Only 24,000kms, Island bed, Suit New Buyer!

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! Facebook “f ” Logo

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Contributors Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker and Allan Whiting

Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design and Production

ABN: 34 142 547 719

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Design & Production Manager

E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor

Advertising Sales & Marketing Business Development Manager Clarinda Hoiberg E: clarinda@imotorhome.com.au

Richard Robertson 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.

Enjoy the ultimate go-anywhere off road adventure with the Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. From Alice Springs to Halls Creek and via Tamani Track, reach isolated camp spots which require solid ground clearance and traction with this high performance luxury vehicle.

Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. Redefine your camping adventure.

Visit trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA

On my mind | 5

Octobeer I’ve never been a big drinker of beer, but as I start this at 5.52 pm on the Friday before publishing – and the October long weekend – the beer by my laptop is tasting mighty good. It’s been one of the warmest days in months; daylight saving is oneand-a-bit sleeps away and there’s a feeling in the air that winter has finally passed and salad days have arrived. Bring them on! I’m much more a wine drinker, but struggle with alcohol-free days (well, nights). It’s not that I’m alcoholic – really – it’s because I haven’t found an ‘adult’ drink to enjoy in the evenings. Mrs iM has regular wine-free nights when she’s away working, but for me the setting sun and rising glass are intrinsically linked. I don’t drink full-sugar soft drinks and these days mostly steer clear of diet drinks due to the additives; preferring soda or sparkling mineral water in their place, but neither are particularly satisfying. The few alcohol-free wines I’ve tried were awful. The problem is alcohol plays a pivotal role in transforming plain grape juice into enjoyable wine, especially enjoyable red wine. I’m told alcoholfree whites are better although I haven’t tried any yet. Then the other day I was in Woolies and noticed Coopers Ultra Light Birell opposite the mineral water shelves. It’s less than 0.5% alcohol (the same percentage as alcohol-free wine) and although skeptical I’m now a convert. It looks and tastes like light beer but you’d need around 10 of the 375 ml stubbies to make up just 1 standard drink. Best of all a 6-pack costs $7.99, so my liver isn’t the only happy part of me! If you’re trying to balance the drink/health scales and also finding it a struggle, give it a go. Coopers also imports Holsten from Germany and it’s next on my tasting list. It claims to be 100% alcohol free. I’m just hoping it isn’t brewed by Volkswagen…

Third Time Lucky?

For two issues I’ve been going to bring you a review of the Australian Bus and Coach Driver’s Guide by John Duffy. The book should contain useful information for those venturing out in a large vehicle for the first time. Last issue I ran out of time and this issue I’ve run out of book; it’s sitting in Project Polly (I hope) at the Apollo Rentals’ depot in Sydney while she undergoes some repairs. Here’s hoping next issue will be a case of third time lucky! Fans of Rocky and Bullwinkle will remember the flying squirrel’s immortal words, “But that trick never works,” in response to the moose’s invitation to watch him pull a rabbit out of his hat. “This time for sure!” the ever-optimistic oversized elk would say, producing everything but a rabbit on his numerous attempts. Harnessing his same antlered-enthusiasm I’m pleased to say the iMotorhome app will soon be a reality. I have ‘My People’ working on it and that’s all I’m saying at this stage. This time for sure… Finally but not leastly (my word), we kick off a new column called TechTalk. Suggested and hosted by Pia from Southern Spirit Campervans, due to her interest in and regular emails to me about Project Polly, TechTalk brings practical tips for basic motorhome maintenance and invites you to ask questions she’ll do her best to answer. Enjoy the weekend and might the best teams win!


6 | Content


About Us




On my Mind


On your Mind



Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website


Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!




Freedom Camping


Day Test: Avida Esperance B7943 50th Anniversary


Project Polly


Travel: Canada




Mobile Tech


Advertisers' Index

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Our monthly round-up of happenings in the free-camping world

Avida turns 50 and has new models celebrate!

Reflecting on Insulation – Solarscreens and more…

Canada the Fraserway – Pt 1


Travel: Postcards Postcards from Joadja…

Keeping Your Cool – Fridge service tips for maximum efficiency

Journaling apps for the travel writer in all of us…

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!


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

A Home for...

Find us at... Brisbane Showgrounds Thurs 29 Oct to Sun 1 Nov 2015 Stand 584


Designed and built with travelling and the great outdoors in mind. The storage space you’ll find in each Horizon motorhome is surprising. Our innovative design team have used 20 years of experience to utilise every inch of available space, allowing you to take almost everything you could possibly want on your travels. With a mass of drawers, overhead

cupboards, shelving, wardrobes and large boot space, you have room for everything, including the kitchen sink. That’s why satisfaction really is built into each and every Horizon Motorhome.





299 C A M O L D R PE EX 02 iver RVA CLU 66 Str N S I V 81 ee & M E L 1 55 t , B O Y B 5 | a l l TO Y bcm ina R H c.c NSW OME om 2 C E . a u 478 N T R


To find out more about our range of ‘built to perfection’ motorhomes visit horizonmotorhomes.com.au or call our exclusive dealer BCMC on 02 6681 1555

SGG Pty Ltd. Lic No. MD11739, MVRL23910


Accept no imitations.

The Most Recognised Name in Motorhomes

2015 motorhome range now available nationwide. Proudly Australian designed and built in our Brisbane factory.

Spring deals out now! Find a Winnebago dealership near you. Visit: www.gowinnebago.com.au Licensee and authorised distributor of Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City Iowa USA



Resources | 9

because getting there is half the fun...

Magazine Resources Ask a Question

Back Issues



because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Road Tests

User Guide



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

Reader Survey

Reader Review

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.

Motorhomes Australia I wonder what the chances are of you giving our Motorhomes Australia facebook group a mention in your magazine news section next edition? Our group has over 1600 members so far but has only been going a few months and is still growing strong, with new members joining every day. We have guided many of our members to subscribe to your magazine and still do.

G’day Robert, here you go as requested (apart from being in the News section)! I’ve had a look at your Group and it seems to be very active and interesting, so have joined myself, although Facebook only allows people, not businesses to like/join Groups. I’m hoping you get a few more requests after this. Keep up the good work!

Regards Robert James Motorhomes Australia Group

No News

Just following on from my letter last issue re Fiat service in the Northern Territory. As of today there has been no reply to my letter, so now I will fill in their survey for what ever that will be worth. Thanks for your great mag. Regards, Bob.

Can’t say I’m honestly surprised Bob, but please keep me posted if you hear anything after the survey. Good luck!

12 | On your mind

Information Underload Thank you for an interesting read every fortnight, I look forward to seeing it in my inbox. Your comments on the lack of information on new models struck a cord with me. Last year I went through the process of selecting and then buying a new coachbuilt motorhome. When I started looking for information online I was amazed how out of date some of the data was. Two brands were a standout: the Elite site covering Auto-Trail and the Swift were so lacking it almost turned me off both brands. I resorted to the UK sites and UK motorhome forums for information and user feedback. However the UK specs are often different to the AU specs. After narrowing down to a short list of three I finally chose an Autotrail Tracker FB. I am very comfortable with the decision. I did write to Elite and suggest they updated their website as it could have a negative affect on attracting a buyer when I sell the motorhome.

This is my first experience with the RV industry and I must say as an industry I am surprised by the lack of professionalism shown across the range of businesses I have experienced. Just because the companies are often small in size is no excuse for a lack of product information online – your comments are very valid. Thank you for raising the issue.

Cheers, Gary Thanks Gary, good to know I’m not the only one who finds the lack of new and up-to-date information ‘bothersome’ at times. Let me know how the Auto-Trail goes and please send a photo when you get it.

Doesn’t Add Up! It would appear the costings in the table in last issue’s Project Polly do not add up, as the solarscreens come to more than the sub total. Don't think for one minute that this is a criticism as your magazine gets better month by month and is now an awaited essential read. Keep up the good work! Cheers Paul

Well spotted Paul! Yep, the spreadsheet didn’t pick-up the custom side window solarscreens and I didn’t pick up the error. Bugger… I’ve changed the PDF and re-uploaded it, so if you want to have it correctly on file just download again. Gotta love electronic publishing! Glad you’re enjoying the magazine – and Project Polly – and thanks for your feedback!

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ph (07) 5597 4400 - email info@paradisemotorhomes.com.au Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013

14 | News

Going, Going, Gone


allina Campervan & Motorhome Centre have just three Frontline VW Transporter campervans left that include more than $1200 of accessories at no extra cost. The offer comprises side and rear flyscreens plus an external shower and is designed to make outdoor living even more enjoyable. All vehicles have a long list of camper inclusions, a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty and a high level of active and passive safety features. Call (02) 66811555 for pricing and full details.

Jabiru Updated


rakka says it’s proud to announce the arrival of the 2016 Jabiru. “While you may already be familiar with our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter LWB based motorhome, we’ve made a few updates to streamline your next road trip. These changes, coupled with an extraordinary list of customised and patented Trakka features ensure that we’re presenting the market with a unique, top of the line adventure based vehicle.”

Euro Pop Tops


outhern Spirit Campervans of Brisbane has just announced European style lift-up roofs are now available for the 2015 Mercedes Vito LWB and Renault Trafic SWB and LWB models. Prices range between $8000 and $8,590 to supply and fit. Both vehicle types would make interesting camper conversions and in the case of the Vito it would simply add extra versatility when used as a people mover.

News | 15

Avida Awards Celebrate 50 Years Other awards recognise individual dealer performances in various areas of the business. The awards for this year were: • Motorhome Dealer of the Year – Avida Gold Coast • Caravan Dealer of the Year – Avida Gold Coast • Motorhome Customer Satisfaction Dealer of the Year – Avida Bundaberg


vida says it recognises outstanding achievements within its dealer network every year at the Annual Dealer of the Year awards night. This year’s event was held in the Barossa Valley at Yalumba Estate, with a host of guests from the RV industry joining dealers from Australia and New Zealand. Dealers compete strongly for the coveted Dealer of the Year award and this year was always going to be extra special with Avida also celebrating 50 years of manufacturing in Australia. The awards go to the dealer that demonstrates high achievements in sales, customer satisfaction, sales training and overall representation of the Avida brand. Billy Falconer, Dealer Development, Sales & Marketing Manager of Avida congratulated Chris Pippen and the entire team at Avida Gold Coast for not only taking out the top award for Avida Dealer of the Year, but also Show of the Year, Caravan Sales Dealer of the Year and Motorhome Sales Dealer of the Year. Mr Pippen, in accepting the award acknowledged Avida for its 50th anniversary and thanked the Binns family and Avida staff for their support in assisting them to grow into a successful Avida dealership in just their third year of business.

• Caravan Customer Satisfaction Dealer of the Year – Avida Newcastle • Motorhome Sales Dealer of the Year Award – Avida Gold Coast • Caravan Sales Dealer of the Year Award – Avida Gold Coast • Aftersales Dealer of the Year – Avida Newcastle • Parts and Accessories Dealer of the Year – Avida Townsville • Avida RV Club Distinguished Service Award – Avida Melbourne • Dealer Staff Member of the Year – Simon Tanner, Avida Perth • Dealer Staff Member of the Year – Jodie Beatie, Avida Newcastle • Show of the Year – Avida Gold Coast, Avida Bundaberg & Avida Townsville

16 | News

Car Hotspot


elstra has released the 4GX Car Wi-Fi dongle to turn your car or motorhome into a mobile wifi hotspot that will support up to 5 devices. The unit looks like a regular Telstra dongle but is designed to plug directly into a 12 V socket. However, it also comes with an AC wall charger and USB extension cable so you can use it at home in as they say, “In hard to reach spots”. The 4GX Car Wi-Fi dongle is available online from Telstra, costs $79 and comes with 3 GB of data for use in Australia within 30 days. Recharge packs range from 1 GB for $25 to 15 GB for $105 on a monthly basis and again you have 30 days to use them. Excess usage is charged at $10 per gigabyte.

Expedition Vehicles



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News | 17

European Disunion?


little birdie recently told iMotorhome of the situation in European regarding many of the main RV manufacturers:

“There have been a lot of changes here in Europe with Hymer now being bought from the German stock market by the original family. This has lead to the formation of the Hymer Group with Hymer, Burstner, Knaus, Niesman, etc now all falling under single ownership.This has caused turmoil as each manufacturer jostles for position within the Group. There is also a huge state of flux with ranges being cut and discontinued, and coalitions formed with synergies between models from different manufacturers. It has therefore been a difficult time in Europe so there has been a halt on many export plans until companies know where the future lies for all the brands following this unforeseen event�.


18 | News



e’ve been advised the popular Free Camping Victoria Facebook page has been hacked and “Three years worth of work is down the gurgler”. They're asking anyone

who’s Liked the page to un-like it and Like their new page – Victoria Camping And Tourism – to follow their adventures. iMotorhome wishes them well!

International Industry Discussions


he Caravan Industry Association of Australia recently met with representatives from Germany, the United States and China as part of the annual Dusseldorf Trade Fair, to discuss matters of common interest. The emergence of China remains of concern to industry leaders as

its domestic market grows out of infancy and its export market struggles with differing compliance obligations in international markets. The identification of any industry ruling body representing the industry in China is also a challenge to the international RV community.

Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure? Find all the inspiration and information you need for an awesome journey with our ebooks for iPad. Touring Victoria’s Kelly Country: Learn about Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly, on a wonderful tour through northeast Victoria. The Old Ghan Heritage Trail: Follow the legend of the Old Ghan railway from Quorn in South Australia, up the Oodnadatta Track and on to Alice Springs. The Googs Track: This remote 4WD adventure explores the southeastern extremity of the amazing Great Victoria Desert, SA. To The Inland Sea: Inspired by explorer Charles Sturt’s 1844-46 Central Expedition, To The Inland Sea takes travellers from Adelaide to the edge of the Simpson Desert at Birdsville.

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

News | 19

WA Campsite Upgrades


he Western Australian State Government says more people will be able to experience the State’s stunning outdoors once upgrades to camp sites across the southeast coast are completed. A total of $1 million from Royalties for Regions has been allocated to improve a number of campgrounds in Albany, Ravensthorpe, Denmark and Esperance as part of the Caravan and Camping Action Plan. Coastal camping grounds at Parry's Beach, Cape Riche, Betty's Beach and Torbay Inlet at Cosy Corner are some of the 15 sites that will receive upgraded toilets and waste facilities. The shires of Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe and Plantagenet will have signage, access tracks and landscaping at camp sites improved, with works due to be completed by mid next year.

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


Air Top – Air Heaters

20 | News

Suncamper Cross Country Country. A special-order build, the Cross Country’s body was mounted on an Iveco Daily 4X4 cab-chassis, which would give it true cross-country abilities. The body looks like a Sherwood but without the over-cab Luton peak, meaning the bed must be a convertible unit that probably doubles as the lounge/dinette during the day. Use of chequer plate on the panel edges, as well as nosecone, hints this owner might have some serious off-roading planned.


ur roadtest editor Malcolm dropped into Suncamper Motorhomes in Sydney’s North recently and spied a very interesting vehicle: a Suncamper Cross

There’s no word on plans to make this a standard production vehicle, but iMotorhome would be surprised if this Cross Country isn't a taste of things to come.

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

News | 21

Tassie Winery Takes Chinese Gold


Tasmanian winery has taken on some of the most famous wine brands in the world at China’s biggest wine competition and come away with gold. Bream Creek Vineyard’s 2011 pinot noir was awarded a gold medal at the most prestigious wine and spirits competition in China, the 2015 China Wine and Spirits Awards (CWSA), in Hong Kong.

“The most renowned brands in the world compete in these awards and it is an honour to see that our wines are up there with the best on the planet,” Mr Peacock said. “To see a Tasmanian wine awarded a gold medal is a terrific thrill. We’ve always been committed to quality, but this further bolsters our desire to continue crafting some of Tasmania’s best wines and taking them to the world.

After becoming the largest and fastest growing wine market in the world, the Chinese market is receiving a further boost thanks to the rising popularity of wines among younger consumers. With 37 million adults poised to attain drinking age within the next five years, experts say sales in this segment alone could skyrocket by as much as 200 per cent.

About 100 CWSA judges travelled from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to attend the blind tasting, selected from the most prominent sommeliers, hoteliers, retailers, importers, and distributors from throughout the region. CWSA judge Fiona Luo said the standard of wines and spirits was the highest seen. “CWSA is the international award recognised in China. Winners are the highest quality and it is useful for consumers and buyers to see CWSA Medals,” she said.

Bream Creek Vineyard owner Fred Peacock said he was proud to have taken out the award.

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!


iMotorhome Marketplace | 23 The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults Our vehicle-specific insulation screens are Australian made from specially designed and tested material to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. As featured in iMotorhome’s Project Polly!

T: (07) 3398 5500 W: solarscreen.com.au


The alternative to a bike!!

25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg

• • • • • •

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

Folds away quite compact for small storage

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

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

sliding & rear door FLY SCREEN

­ easy to self install ­ Australian & world wide delivery for Sprinter, Hiace, VW T4/T5, Ducato, Transit from

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!



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.                                                                                                                                                                                                      


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 Sept – The industry needs to remember this is not possible without the customer Australian Recreational Vehicle production statistics for June 2015 released this week show an increase in production of 13 per cent compared with June 2014, and Year-to-Date production is 8 percent higher compared to 2014’s figures. These production figures for 2015 are on the back of the second highest yearly production in two decades last year. The summary data is available via Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s industry research portal caravanstats.com. au. Year-to-date production is the highest it has been in over five years as the RV industry continues to defy Australia’s trend of manufacturing decline in traditional and automotive industries. 1 Sept – Sometimes you can’t believe what you read Awhile back we carried various stories of a new initiative of the CMCA that will introduce to Australia what our overseas counterparts have enjoyed for years: Club owned and operated RV Parks. We have just become aware of a response to this letter (see link above) to councils written on behalf of Caravanning Qld, the Qld Caravan Parks Association. We are gobsmacked at the tactics

and misrepresentation in this document. Read it for yourselves and form your own opinion. 5 Sept – The freedom camping debate

Sometime we feel that various sites like Free Choice Camping, iMotorhome and a few others are the only ones espousing the value and encouraging the growth of freedom camping in Australia. However if you search the internet you will find commentary and articles everywhere, mostly in favour of this growing trend in Australian tourism. This is just one of them. 8 Sept – Ballarat Council looks set to cancel freedom camping Fortunately, although the paper headlines screamed bad news the Council thought otherwise and agreed to continue the trial. 8 Sept – RV Friendly status attracts visitors A two-page report on Dongara and Port Denison noting favourable results from their RV Friendly status. 9 Sept – It has finally happened An interesting article that brought a sizeable response. 10 Sept – Caravanning enthusiasts get in on the act The West Australian Government calls for input on the second draft of proposed legislation. 15 Sept – Golden season for Grey Nomads Some of our longer term followers will remember various stories we have published with regard to the Sunshine Coast, their campaign against freedom camping and that notorious piece when Caravanning Qld attacked club members for camping in school

Feature | 25 grounds for their events. Here is an article which gives a fair indication of the state of the caravan park industry on the Sunshine Coast and they don't appear to be on struggle street if these figures are right. 17 Sept – No more free camping The headline sounded worse than the article. The Tweed Shire looking at its options. 17 Sept – Goondiwindi Argus asks for help A call on social media for information on freedom camping to write an article brings large response. 17 Sept – S  urf Coast Shire Council proposes to become RV Friendly 22 Sept – Missing out on millions as Maryborough bypassed by RVs Maryborough in Queensland is missing out on the RV market and it's potentially costing the city tens of millions of dollars a year, according to the City's State Member, Bruce Saunders. Mr Saunders said he was keen to push to make Maryborough RV Friendly because at the moment it was being bypassed on the Bruce Hwy in favour of Gympie and Bundaberg – and it's time for that to change. Mr Saunders said he wanted to join with Council and push to build an RV park somewhere in Kent St. 23 Sept – Fury as Council plans to close Australia's best caravan park Fury has erupted over plans to close the Sunshine Coast's busiest caravan park, which does not have a weekend beachfront site vacancy until April next year. A petition opposing the move has collected 1000 signatures in just 36 hours. 26 Sept – Does Goondiwindi need to rethink RV-Friendly ban? "GRC Deputy Mayor, Cr Rick Kearney, said there were enough free-camping sites close to Goondiwindi so that ‘Grey nomads’ could still use Goondiwindi as a base." Sorry Mr Deputy Mayor, you don't have a clue when it comes to being RV Friendly. Making a statement like that is akin to saying you don't need a pool in town as there is a creek 20km away or the supermarket doesn't need a car park as there is parking 10 blocks away.

27 Sept – Campers have near miss at Inskip Point 27 Sept – Ballarat – an interesting summary of the situation There is one glaringly obvious point we wish to make which for some reason does not seem to be publicised anywhere. We all know that caravan parks often claim their business is affected by freedom camping and they assume that if the campsite was not there, the campers would go into their parks. Well the opposite is also a valid argument: If your opposition closed down their customers should in theory rush to your establishment. Of the five caravan parks in Ballarat one major park has since closed to become a retirement village or some such thing so the remaining four parks, using the theory applied to freedom campsites, should immediately experience a 20 per cent increase in business between them. Now I wonder if the figures they present to Council at the end of this trial will show that increase, and if not how they will explain it. 29 Sept – Inskip Point troubles are hurting business Rainbow Beach business operator and progress association executive Sandy Brosnan has called for State Government action to open up new camping areas in less fragile locations, after Saturday night's sinkhole drama at Inskip Point. She said the event had interrupted what was shaping up to be the town's "Best school holiday period ever”. 30 Sept – The debate rages in Cairns We have lost count of the number of years this debate has raged in Cairns. The City is heavily reliant on tourism and there is a very strong caravan park lobby there. The parks are expensive and usually booked out. Surely somebody can find a solution or are we going to listen to this debate forever? 30 Sept – The future of farm stays is under threat There is legislation before the WA Government with the potential to stamp out low-cost camping in our Western-most state altogether. 30 Sept – Have your say – Fraser Coast Regional Council Council is seeking feedback on one additional site for Hervey Bay, with the following site options identified for public comment/feedback. Feedback closes on the Wednesday, 7 October 2015.

26 | Day Test: Avida Esperance B7943 50th Anniversary

Happy Anniversary! Avida celebrates 50 years with a special anniversary Esperance‌ by Malcolm Street

Day Test | 27

Anniversary models are always popular as they include a range of extras at no (or little) extra cost. The Binns family has certainly come a long way in the half century since they started making Freeway-brand slide-ons, with patriarch Bruce very much the founding father of the modern Australian motorhome industry.


ell there is certainly a lot of excitement out Emu Plains way, in Sydney’s far west, as Avida RV celebrates 50 years in business. Although the Avida name is relatively new the company started life under the Freeway name building slide-ons, became the familiar Winnebago for many years and now builds under the Avida brand name. As part of the celebrations Avida is producing a small series of 50th Anniversary vehicles, one being the Esperance B7943 which was launched at a special 50th Anniversary dinner in the Barossa Valley. It's not actually a new model, but one that comes with extra goodies to celebrate.

Daily Driver


ne of the more exciting features of this particular motorhome, for me at least, was to finally get my hands on a

new model Iveco Daily 50-170 with the fully automatic 8-speed gearbox. It's been a while coming and one of the first things I did was find a decent hill to try it out. That’s not easy in the Barossa Valley, but eventually I did and I have to say the new gearbox is a vast improvement over the old automated manual transmission (AMT) that often couldn’t decide which gear it should be using! As best I could I gave the new gearbox a good workout and although the motorhome was not fully laden Iveco Australia tells me load doesn’t really change things. Certainly the 50th Anniversary Esperance looks striking. Avida has been a bit bold here by incorporating part of its original logo into the new decals and it looks good. This is a rear entry-door motorhome and there are no surprises in the door and window department, Avida having opted for its favourite items: Hehr doors and windows. I particularly like the latter being glass with narrow louvers (hoppers), as

28 | Day Test

Right: In addition to the toilet cassette the Esperance’s body is well equipped with external storage lockers: Below: The new Iveco Daily’s cab is much more car-like and well equipped.

they can be opened for good air flow without protruding too far and even left open in light rain. It would be nice though if a security door instead of the usual screen door was a standard item.

metal sheeting below for underfloor protection. Additionally, the front Luton peak/cab surround, rear wall and roof are fully moulded fibreglass.

External storage space rates quite highly thanks to three bins on the driver’s side and two on the Body Image kerb side. Some are dedicated, like the LPG uild wise the Esperance is traditional Avida cylinder and battery storage bins, but the rest style, using a fully welded metal frame for offer generous space, particularly the taller one the walls, floor and roof. That frame has under the driver’s-side lounge window, which a foam sheet filler which Avida reckons acts as is good for all manner of items. Whilst I'm a fan both an insulant and road-noise reducer. The of having all things electrical in the one place – walls are laminated with backing panels and the bin adjacent to the batteries contains the an outer fibreglass skin. Slightly differently, the charger, inverter and fuse panel – there's just one-piece floor has a ply timber sheet above and one slight problem: the fuse panel is difficult


Day Test | 29

The 50th Anniversary Esperance looks striking. Avida has been bold by incorporating part of its original logo and it looks good. to look at easily, especially if you happen to wear multifocal lenses. To be fair, Avida isn’t the only manufacturer with items in odd places that are difficult to adjust or even look at, but the position could certainly be improved. Like many a good motorhome,this one comes with an entertainment unit, complete with 240 V/12 V sockets and

Slide Free…

has done is fit an elevating bed right behind the driver's cab. That leaves space for a lounge area underneath, a kitchen/ dinette in the middle and a full width bathroom across the rear.

uite a few Esperance layouts have slideouts but this one doesn't and I don't see it as a disadvantage. What Avida

It's in the decor that Avida has included more 50th Anniversary items, like Ultra Leather seats with a special embroidered logo, the slate

external speakers. In addition, the 50th Anniversary special includes a flat screen TV for outside use – the one inside being fixed in position.


30 | Day Test Below: Despite lacking a slide-out this model Esperance has a spacious feel thanks to a drop-down bed and separate lounge and dinette areas. Bottom: The Iveco’s new eight-speed ‘proper’ automatic is a beauty…

metallic glossy finish on all doors and the silver finish on the walls. Even if you’re not really into anniversary items the interior does have a nice bright and airy feel about it. All windows, except the venetian-fitted kitchen unit, have day/night shades. Quite handily, all major controls and light switches are by the entry door. Some are lower down for easy access from outside and some, like the main control panel, are on the end of the overhead lockers. With the bed up out of the way there almost seems to be an excess of space in the lounge area. This consists of an driver’s-side inwardsfacing lounge opposite a TV cabinet, with both cab seats swivelling around to complete the layout. It would be remiss of me not to mention the Daily’s raised handbrake: a design problem that has existed for some while. I'd have thought

Day Test | 31

The electric awning is a great inclusion, while the rear entry door is less intrusive on interior living space.

32 | Day Test

Above: With the bed raised almost the whole body becomes usable living space. Right: The kitchen is neat, well sized and even includes a wine cooler! Anniversary decor is a nice touch too.

that with the new design Iveco might have fixed it. Indeed both Avida and Iveco Australia think so too. Whilst the passenger seat swings around quite easily, the driver's seat is a bit of a wrestling match with the seat/seat back and handbrake position. Given Iveco is owned by Fiat and the Ducato having the easiest seats to swivel around, you'd sort of think this problem was quite easy to sort. Apparently not. (Ed’s note: Paradise Motor Homes has engineered an electric handbrake for the new Daily that does away with the lever and provides unimpeded seat rotation. I believe the fix has been offered to Iveco Australia as an aftermarket solution).

Day Test | 33 Inside Story…


andbrake aside, the lounge area offers plenty of room to stretch out and relax, to socialise or watch TV. The TV itself is well sized and hidden in a cabinet until the push of a button raises it into position. It's been designed to be easily seen from the bed too, which can be raised and lowered without moving the TV. Items that do have to be moved for bed operation are the four lounge seat cushions if it's desired to have the bed at an easy ‘get-into’ level. One of the advantages of this set-up is the bed can be left made up, with the pillows stored in the lockers above the cab. Additionally, when the bed does need to be made up it's easy to stand on either side of it; the cab door providing access for the front side. The only downside to having the bed in the fully lowered position is the ceiling mounted reading lights are a bit hard to reach. Of course a disadvantage of the elevating bed is it's not possible to use the lounge and bed at the same time. But for those who go to bed at different times the cafestyle dinette is still available, especially as the tri-fold table can be pushed back. A item of note is the small shelf that runs along under the side window: It has been designed with a compartment at the end of each seat, the rear one having both 12 V and 5 V USB outlets. Opposite the dinette the kitchen bench is quite well appointed, with a four-burner cooktop/grill/oven plus a stainless steel sink/ drainer. Butting up against the rear bathroom wall is a 190-litre Dometic fridge with microwave oven above. Actually it doesn't quite butt up against the bathroom – there’s a full-height, two-door slide-out wire basket pantry in between.

Top to bottom: Raised, the bed is well out of the way. Lowered, it has easy access and plenty of ventilation.

34 | Day Test

The almost-full-width rear bathroom is spacious and well equipped. Note the stylish hand basin and separate shower cubicle. Looks like there’s room for a washing machine in the corner cupboard if desired.

Included in the kitchen fit-out are good sized drawers, overhead lockers with shelves and a Waeco wine bottle cooler. Yet another wire basket pantry at the forward end of the kitchen bench has a solid top that can be used as a bench extension. Both the Webasto diesel heater and Truma water heater controls, along with several light switches, are located just under the sink unit. Across the rear the bathroom isn't quite a fullwidth item, mostly because of a handy narrow wardrobe beside the entry door. The bathroom

does come with all the currently expected features and includes kerb-side shower cubicle, driver’s-side Dometic cassette toilet and a vanity cabinet complete with a 50th Anniversary ceramic bowl wash basin! Not that it's a particular concern of mine, but there isn't a washing machine. Still, the driver’s-side corner cabinet looks like it could easily be converted to hold one. Apart from the cabinet there's a cupboard under the sink and overhead lockers along the driver’s-side side wall for storage. Both the shower and toilet area are vented by ceiling fan-hatches.

Day Test | 35

A high level of finish and standard equipment makes the 50th Anniversary Esperance even more appealing than usual.

36 | Day Test

Above: During the day the bedroom is bright and airy and the fixed bed can, of course, be left made up. Left: Bed access is via the aisle, which curves to the right aft of the kitchen. Note the deep bedside table, which has charging outlets above, and a half-height wardrobe below.

The TV pops up from an under-window cabinet and can be watched from the lounge opposite or while in bed. It can also be left in place while operating the bed.

What I Think


he addition of the new eight-speed Iveco gearbox certainly makes driving a smoother and more pleasurable experience. Undoubtedly the main feature of this Esperance design is the elevating bed, which although not a fixed island bed still offers considerable flexibility in the use of the layout. This also results in more space in the rear, particularly the kitchen. Not a bad compromise I reckon and a big step forward in driving pleasure. Happy anniversary indeed!

Day Test | 37

Specifications Manufacturer

Avida RV


Esperance B7943 50th Anniversary





Approved Seating




Base Vehicle

Iveco Daily 50-170


3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel


125 kW @ 2900-3500 rpm


430 Nm @ 1500-2600 rpm


8 speed full automatic


ABS disc ventilated (front)

Tare Weight

3880 kg (est)

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Gross Combined Mass

8000 kg

Towing Capacity

3500 kg

External Length

7.93 m (26’)

External Width

2.50 m (8’ 2”)

External Height

3.15 m (10’ 4”)

Internal Height

2.02 m (6’ 7”)

Main Bed Size


Dinette Bed Size



Dometic 4 burner, grill & oven


Dometic RM8555 190 L 3-way




12 V LED


2 x 100 AH

Solar Panels

2 x 80 W

Air Conditioner

Truma Aventa

Space Heater

Webasto diesel

Hot Water

Truma 14 litre


Dometic cassette


Separate cubicle

Gas Cylinders

2 x 4.0 kg

Water Tank

100 L

Grey Water Tank

100 L

Price on road NSW - estimate only



• Good looking motorhome • Eye catching external decals • New auto gearbox works very well • External bin capacity • Spacious layout inside • Kitchen drawer space


• Bed reading lights hard to reach • Security door not standard • 12 V fuses hard to access • Handbrake makes swivelling the driver's seat awkward

Supplied by Avida RV

32 David Rd Emu Plains. NSW. 2750. T: (02) 4735 8116

W: www.avidarv.com.au

Click for Google Maps

38 | Day Test

Quite a few Esperance layouts have slideouts, but this one doesn't and I don't see it as a disadvantage.

40 | Project Polly

Reflecting on Insulation

Hot weather or cold, keeping your motorhome comfortable is a priority… by Richard Robertson


ince a couple of days after last issue our ex-Apollo Rentals project vehicle – Polly – has been in Sydney at their depot awaiting repair of the temperamental hot water system and broken water tank bracket, plus a few other minor things. This means we haven’t had the time to work on further upgrades, but this issue I thought I’d talk about vehicle insulation and how our solarscreens performed on their first outing.



ehicle heating, ventilation and airconditioning (HVAC) systems have come a long way, as have systems for when

your motorhome is parked up and you’re ‘living the dream’. Whether you’re plugged into mains power, running off the house batteries or even the fuel tank, there are a surprising number of interesting and innovative ways to keep cool or warm your vehicle as the need arises. Insulation, on the other hand, is something we rarely give much thought to; probably because you know (or assume) it’s there and its results are difficult to quantify. Increased thermal efficiency is a hallmark of new motorhomes. Technological advances in materials are making a real difference and one major area is wall-panel construction. Traditional metal frames

Project Polly | 41

Above: Solarscreens come with their own carry bag and thankfully they’re generous, which means you don’t need to roll the screens up to within an inch of their lives to fit them in. We have two bags because of the extra side-window screens and they stow above the cab when we’re driving. Below Right: Fresh from the factory and about to unpack. This roll contains the five side window screens. with inner-plywood and outer-fibreglass walls, stuffed full of Pink Batts, are disappearing. In their place, frameless walls comprising layers of special materials vacuum-bonded into solid panels are reducing weight, increasing rigidity and improving ‘liveability’. Carefully bonded together into stiff and lightweight ‘boxes’ they do away with condensation lines inside where a traditional metal frame contacts the interior lining, and are essentially impervious to water ingress. Similarly, double-glazed acrylic windows with built-in blinds in place of single-pane glass units with curtains save weight, also eliminate condensation and help reduce interior temperature fluctuations. It’s worth noting that the better your vehicle’s thermal efficiency the less energy you’ll need to cool or heat it. That means your cooling or heating system will use less power and be more efficient in extreme conditions, whether plugged into mains power or running off on-board reserves. And then there’s Project Polly: a metal box with the insulative properties of a drink can. Modern van conversions feature significant insulation between the interior lining and exterior metal walls, while the afore-mentioned double glazed windows are also the norm. I’d like to think Polly has some insulation above the ceiling liner and under the floor, but the side walls are bare metal

42 | Project Polly and the expansive side windows are single pane glass – although tinted at least! This means anything we can do to improve things is certainly worthwhile.

Blind Faith?


ab blinds like the Remis system are increasingly popular and with good reason. You can cover the windscreen and side windows in a few seconds, and when not required they’re neatly concealed in unobtrusive frames. However, their construction is fairly light weight and they don’t provide ‘substantial’ insulation. If you’re going to be parked in direct sun for any length of time – like at rally or just when at home between trips – it’s worth looking for extra protection. Ditto for winter when you want to keep the heat in. Solarscreens are a familiar sight on parked motorhomes across Australia. Go to any CMCA rally and you’ll see hundreds of vehicles parked-up with the shiny quilted foil screens suction-cupped to the indices of windscreens and windows. The company behind them – Solarscreen – is Brisbane based and has been operating since 1998. Motorhomes and caravan aside, it makes screens for everything from cars and 4WDs to boats and aircraft. Solarscreens most obvious use is to keep heat out and for this they are ideally constructed. Made up of 7 layers comprising a 90 micron aluminium foil on the outside (itself 3 layers thick), then 2 mm expanded black polyethylene, 38 micron aluminium foil, another polyethylene layer and more 38 micron aluminium; they’re finished with an anti-allergenic insulating padding and a covering of anti-condensation PVC film on the inside. The concept is that during the day a solarscreen’s layers block all types of light waves. These range from visible light through to invisible-butdestructive ultra violet, as well as infra-red, which is where most of the heating effect comes from.

Our rear windows have internal flyscreens so there’s no place for suction cups to meet the glass on the rearmost section. Supplied velcro does the trick instead.

Project Polly | 43 At night they keep heat in and largely eliminate condensation by keeping warm, moisture-laden air away from cold glass. This is especially important in the cab, where precious heat can easily escape through thin blinds. Many times when we’ve been camping in cab blind-equipped motorhomes I’ve had to either wipe down the inside of the windscreen and/or run the demister with the aircon on the following morning before we could depart. In case you didn’t realise, air-conditioning removes moisture from the air, which is why in rainy conditions you should run it (in conjunction with the heater when it’s cold) to keep the windscreen and side windows fog free.

Guinea Pigs


olarscreen proprietor Jamie Curran is using us a Guinea pigs for a new ninelayer material. As it is a new material he doesn’t have sufficient quantities at this stage for mass production, so please don’t rush out after reading this and ask for a set “Just like Project Polly’s” and expect delivery the next day! We’re also testing new suction cups, which apparently are made of material with a higher degree of UV resistance to better withstand longterm sunlight exposure.

The Transit’s barn door screens are a standard item you can order without the need to make up templates.

When Polly was an Apollo rental vehicle she lacked any kind of cab screening apart from a heavy curtain that pulled across behind the seats. Having full cab screening now makes her feel much larger inside at night and also means we can use the cab for storage, knowing things are safe from prying eyes. Although we’ve replaced Polly’s original curtains and always planned cab blinds or screens of some sort, we also replaced the curtain behind the cab seats for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if we need quick privacy to get changed, for example, we can slide it across in a moment. Secondly, at night it adds an extra level of insulation from the cab area if desired. Finally, in very hot or cold weather we can slide it across while driving to reduce the volume of air the HVAC system has to cope with.

44 | Project Polly

Despite the flyscreens the rear window screens still fit nicely. Our recent Joadja get-together has been our only outing since the solarscreens arrived. To quote from last issue, “On arrival we parked facing into the afternoon sun, providing an excellent opportunity to put the solarscreens to the test. I was genuinely impressed by how cool the windshield screen remained on the inside all afternoon despite the direct sunlight. All screens warmed up on the inside when parked in the sun for the day on Saturday, but there was still a substantial difference between what was hitting the glass and what was making it through. They also kept us noticeably warmer inside when the mercury dropped to around 2-3ºC on Saturday morning!” We also travelled with a set of the current ‘seven layer’ solarscreens earlier this year, when we drove Paradise Motorhomes’ Integrity SL from Adelaide to the Gold Coast via Broken Hill. It was 35ºC or hotter each day and I remember

thinking at the time how effective they were, especially when setting up camp in the late afternoon.

Testing Times…


ack home I’ve kept the screens up when Polly’s sitting on the driveway and the difference in interior temperature fluctuations compared with pre-solarscreen days is marked.

To quantify just how effective they are Jamie is supplying a thermometer with a pair of remote sensors; one of which will be in the cab and the other ‘down the back’. I’ll be taking measurements at 30 minute intervals over several days, with and without the screens in place and recording the findings. We’ve decided to wait until December or January, when the weather really heats up, plus I’ve suggested doing the same

Project Polly | 45 next winter to measure heat retention properties. Both tests should make for interesting reading so watch our for them. If there are any downsides to the solarscreens they’re limited to their size (bulk) when travelling and suction cup marks on the glass. The screens come in a zip-up nylon carry case and roll-up reasonably compactly. They’re also light, but in a small van like Polly, storage space is at a premium and I was wondering just where to put them. The good news is they – we have two bags because of the extra screens for the side windows – store neatly on the shelf above the cab while still leaving room for a camera bag, tripod, jackets, etc. The sucker-marks are something you quickly get used to and only require a wipe-over, with the added bonus of keeping your windows clean on the inside on a regular basis! Speaking of cleaning, in general usage the only required cleaning of the screens is by wiping

Smiles all round now we have proper sun protection!

46 | Project Polly

them down with a damp cloth (but don’t wash as they’re not waterproof). At least once a year it’s recommended to remove all suction cups and place them in a bucket; wash with hot water and a teaspoon of washing-up liquid, then rinse in cold water and wipe dry. Washing all in one go means they will be replaced randomly on the screens, which helps spread any location-based fatigue. With summer approaching I’m sure our solarscreens will get a good workout. Temperatures here often approach and occasionally exceed 40ºC, plus we’ll be on the road quite regularly and putting them to the test. The screens themselves are very well made and are an investment not only in comfort, but also the longevity of a motorhome’s fabrics, appliances, electrics – in fact anything affected by ultraviolet light and extremes of heat or cold. Even if you have cab blinds I’d recommend them for longer stopovers and/or when overnighting in more extreme conditions.

Top: The cab set comprises windscreen and side-window screens and is another ‘stock’ item you can order without making up templates. They not only insulate, they provide security against prying eyes so the cab can become a storage area at night. Above: Happy to promote this quality product!

Project Polly | 47

Fast Facts Solarscreen Prices for Ford Transit Cab – standard set


Rear barn doors – standard set

$ 96.00

Side windows – customer made x 5



$ 25.00



Solarscreen T: (07) 3398 5500 E: sales@solarscreen.com.au W: www.solarscreen.com.au

48 | Travel – Canada Part 1

Canada the Fraserway

Part one of Malcolm Street’s Halifax to Toronto rental relocation adventure…

Travel | 49

Pier 21, Halifax is now home to the Museum of Immigration, a fascinating and sometimes moving record of Canadian immigration.


s we drove out of the Fraserway RV Halifax depot and hit the road, I realised our recent travels on Prince Edward Island (PEI) had been quite helpful. We'd hired a largish car for a few days and on the quiet roads of PEI. I'd had a fair bit of practice driving on the ‘wrong side’ without too much stress. When we moved into the motorhome I was already attuned to left-hand drive vehicles and so could concentrate more on just handling the larger, slightly unfamiliar vehicle. A little clause in the motorhome contract required the motorhome not be taken into Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City or New York. New York certainly wasn’t on our agenda, neither was Ottawa, and we’d already spent a few days in Montreal, which only left the Quebec City problem to resolve, but more about that later.

We’d planned to spend a day or two around Halifax; in particular the very scenic Peggy's Cove. But the prospect of a very rainy day and time constraints saw us head north to join the Trans Canada Highway, so named because it crosses Canada from east to west (and back again! – Ed). Our first stop for the trip was in the oddly named Loch Lomond campground at Amherst, on the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick provincial line. No sign of either Loch or Lomond, but although chosen by the pin on the map method, it was one of the better campgrounds we stayed in and also one of the cheapest! To get from Halifax to Toronto – the start and finish points of this adventure – the quickest and most comfortable route is the Trans Canada Highway. It's also the most boring. A lunch stop the next day at a little place called

50 | Travel

Top to bottom: Hugging the scenic St John River is a great way to see the real Canada – covered bridges and all! Young's Cove also happened to be near a local information centre. To say the least it was a fruitful visit and one of the suggestions offered was instead of using the highway, we take the slightly slower Route 105 that more or less followed the scenic St John River: something we did mostly right up through New Brunswick Province. The Trans Canada was never far away and if time got short a quick cut-and-run strategy was readily to hand. Although the weather was good for most of the day, at one point thunderstorms threatened. We knew this on two counts: One was the dark clouds we could see and the other came via the radio, from which we had been listening to a talking book. The radio gave a sudden klaxon-like sound that had us jumping out of our seats, then it cut to a local radio station that gave out a storm warning. An interesting use of technology!

Anyone For Bridge?


long the St John River is the Hartland covered bridge. Up until this

Travel | 51

The (covered bridge) at Hartland lays claim to being the longest in the world! trip my knowledge of North American covered bridges was limited to the Bridges of Madison County. However, I have since learned there are plenty more in both the USA and Canada, and the one at Hartland lays claim to being the longest in the world! It's quite an impressive sight and there are several shorter bridges further along the river. At Hartland there

wasn’t a campground but the local golf club had a nice little alternative. Once we had tracked down the club secretary there were some pleasant campsites to be found. Many of the semi permanent residents are keen golfers, so a little knowledge of the game is helpful! Next day, a little further up the 105 we found another (partly) covered bridge at

Florenceville-Bristol (towns on either side of the river). Not quite sure why you only partly cover a bridge but the rest of it was a standard steel truss structure. Like Britain and Australia, Canada must have had a much more extensive railway system than it does now. In a number of places like Bristol, old railway stations and accompanying railway carriages are to be

52 | Travel Below: Provincial Park campground in Edmundston was nicely leafy but had no wi-fi. Bottom: Malabeam’s Grand Falls are aptly named and well worth a visit.

found. There wasn’t a covered bridge at PerthAndover but there was an extremely slow coffee shop. It did give us a good rest stop in the picturesque little towns. At the interestingly named Malabeam the Grand Falls are a spectacular sight as the water crashes over the precipice. It was also a pleasant place for lunch. Entertaining was the Zipline ride across the falls: At one point a young boy didn’t quite make it across as he was too light, but clearly the staff were used to that and it didn’t take long to retrieve him! We arrived late afternoon in Edmundston, last town in New Brunswick before entering Quebec Province, and stopped at the everhelpful tourist information centre at yet another former railway station to get local info. A slight oddity was that the quickest way to get to and from each end of this large town was to jump on the Trans Canada!

For something to do we decided on a ‘quick’ look at the local railway museum. It turned out to be a somewhat modified private house in which the (German) owner had built a very

Travel | 53

large HO model railway in the basement and a somewhat larger gauge railway in his garden, which carried a small load of passengers. In addition he had quite an interesting museum of old railway artefacts, all of which you get a personal tour through. Slightly eccentric in some ways it was also surprisingly informative on Canadian railway history, but took longer that we thought it might. A the North Western end of Edmundston the Provincial Park campground was quite rustic (think no WiFi), but with well separated tree-surrounded camp sites. Like quite a few campgrounds, having a wood fire on each site was clearly de rigueur. Another slight oddity we discovered elsewhere too was that the amenities blocks were cleaned about 8:30 in the morning. You know, about the time everyone is cleaning their teeth before heading off. Also of note and despite the forest all round,was the all-night dull roar of the nearby Trans Canada Highway! Fortunately it really didn’t keep us awake.

Below: Edmundston’s railway museum is run by an enthusiastic German who has constructed a passengercarrying railway in his back yard! Bottom: The limited growing season means Canadians make the most of their parks and gardens when they can.

54 | Travel

This old railway line now makes a perfect cycling and walking track!

On Ya Bike!


he next day we took time off from driving to hire a couple of bikes from the Information Centre and pedal along the former railway track, taking in some of the sights of Edmundston. This included passing the local golf course, one hole of which crosses the still working railway line! What was the penalty for hitting a ball into the rail tracks I wondered? Interestingly, in this part of Northern New Brunswick all the locals speak French, à la nearby Quebec Province. After the morning off there was time to make up, so we hit the trusty Trans Canada to get to our destination of a KOA campground near Quebec City. We were somewhat lucky to get in, having failed to pre-book, and it did cost a surprising C$56.00. However, it was raining – there’d been an afternoon thunderstorm earlier along with the klaxon warning from the radio – I was tired and so I bit the bullet. What that bought us was a drive-through site with 30 A

power, water and a sewerage connection. Also, WiFi allegedly throughout the campground, but that convenience was only at the expense of a long walk back to the main office. The campground was huge – there were rows A to Z – and about six RVs in each row, plus campers in other places too. It was also a full house! Most of the campgrounds we had been in had a fairly leisurely get-up time. Indeed getting up at 7:00 am meant we were some of the first up. Not here – we were late by comparison and by 8.30 am (amenities block cleaning time) a fair number of RV’ers had gone on their way: Definitely more of a stay-over not stay-in campground.

Ah Quebec…


y now we’d figured a way to get to Quebec City easily, sans motorhome. Leste is on the opposite bank of the St Lawrence River from the city and there’s

Quebec city and harbour front is dominated by the stunning railway’s-built Chateau Frontenac.

Travel | 55

56 | Travel

a regular ferry. Had we been staying longer in the area we could have made use of the campground shuttle service. By 9:00 am we were on our way to Leste to get the ferry. This more or less worked, but a minor issue was parking. Here was a major ferry terminal for cars, tourists and commuters but only a car park for car-sized vehicles: not an uncommon problem we discovered on our travels, but odd given the size of many RVs in Canada. A tip here is to get there early as the car park was full when we returned. Old Quebec City proved to be a interesting walk around to say the least. There are plenty of historic/period buildings to be seen but the city and harbour front is dominated by the stunning railway’s-built Chateau Frontenac. As a bit of a railway buff I’m fascinated by the visions of grandeur early railway builders had worldwide, with railway stations and accompanying hotels – think Chateau Lake Louise (British Columbia); St. Pancras and the former Euston stations in London and Grand Central Station in New York as examples.

Travel | 57 A surprise was the large Anglican cathedral in the middle of town, given this is French (Catholic) dominated Quebec. One interesting item was a memorial to a soldier who died at Gallipoli. I hadn’t realised there were any Canadians there but suspect he might have been in a British regiment. If time is limited a day walking around Old Quebec certainly reveals the main sights and by late afternoon we had enough walking, so it was time to board the ferry and retrieve our motorhome. Down the road heading towards Montreal we found a campground at TroisRivières, oddly called H2O! That was mostly because it was attached to a water park complete with a ‘beach’ and tidal pool. Next morning it was clear we were once again in a ‘sleeping-in’ campground. But we had to rise early as it was time to leave Quebec and enter Ontario. Just to digress slightly, having been to France I suspect the Quebecois – residents of Quebec Province – try to be more French than the French and it’s not only the language that is different to the rest of Canada. For example, many of the delicatessens had exotic delights not readily available in the rest of Canada and I spent some time drooling in front of the food counters. There was also the somewhat odd and potentially dangerous practice that whilst the rest of Canada has road signs in both English and French, as required by Canadian national law, in Quebec they are only in French. Next issue we’re into Ontario for the final instalment – don’t miss it!

I suspect the Quebecois try to be more French than the French.

58 | Travel: Joadja Postcards

Postcards from Joadja!

Snapshots from the iMotorhome get-together‌

Travel Travel | 59 Our vehicles were dispersed around the distillery and kiosk/cafe. It’s a beautiful spot and we had perfect weather.

All that’s left of the original Manager’s house, which had the best location well away from the works We had to cross the Joadja creek causeway by foot during the tour as recent floodwaters had severely damaged it.

Original houses on Carrington Row are being restored with a view to providing basic wilderness accommodation.

60 | Travel

extracted. Part of an old Retort, where shale oil was

Our host Valero explaining local history. Mrs iM tempts Arthur to try his luck at fire eating!

per pot still. Valero with Joadja Distillery’s beautiful cop

Travel | 61 Malcolm borrowed this Apollo HiAce Camper for the weekend. Watch for a review soon!

Some of us explored up-creek after Saturday’s tour. It was a bit of a hike but worthwhile and picturesque The cemetery, a few km away on private land, is a reminder life was hard and often short in Joadja’s heyday.

There’s a surreal quality to industrial ruins in the bush, as this shot near the refinery shows.

62 | TechTalk

Keep Your Cool! Pia, our new resident Techspert from Southern Spirit Campervans shares tips and invites your questions…


he fridge is your RV’s most important appliance. It’s also your biggest 12 V consumer and often you’ll use it without wondering if it’s running under ideal conditions. I could write pages about how important ventilation – and for absorber fridges, insulation – is. It’s likely your fridge would benefit from another external vent and also a 12 V fan. It’s also likely the 12 V wiring to your fridge is under-dimensioned and doesn’t have 6 mm wire, but to make changes there we would require more serious modifications.

TechTalk | 63

Fridge 101

under full load the fridge is using 4 amps (48 Watts) and your battery is rated at 100 amp ompressor fridges like Waeco, Engel, hours (AH), after 24 hours the fridge would Vitrifrigo, etc, draw heavily from your 12 have used 96 AH and your battery would be V system when under load. In normal almost dead empty. Bear in mind a deep-cycle operation the fridge compressor will ‘cycle’ by battery should not be run down to less then 70 kicking in and out, which is how it maintains per cent capacity before recharging, to ensue a set temperature. You will hear when your optimal life. In our 100 AH battery example this fridge compressor is running as there is a little means you only have 30 AH of usable power, humming noise. which equates to 7.5 hours fridge time. And that’s not taking into account lights, the water Absorber (LPG) fridges like Dometic or Thetford, by comparison, work on a design that pump or any other 12 V systems! essentially exchanges heat for cold: to make These figures assume the fridge engine a fridge cold it produces heat. Under normal compressor/absorber unit runs all the time. conditions they operate around 40º-70ºC, Let’s see what can be easily achieved to measured on the fridge back, and you can feel improve fridge performance. Remember: Fridge this on the outside of the cupboard around the performance impacts directly on how long you fridge or the external vents. can stop without mains power when you go


Usually your fridge runs 24 hours a day and that’s why you need to ensure it uses as little power as possible. A fridge, depending on size, draws between two and eight amps per hour, under load. Tip: You can find specific information on the inside label of your fridge or in your user manual. Once known you can roughly calculate how much power your fridge will use in a 24 hour period. For example, if


Fridge Seals


he seal of your fridge is very important because is makes sure the cold cannot escape, therefore requiring less power to maintain a set temperature. You can check the fridge rubber when the door is attached, but it’s best done if you take the door off. Usually,

64 | TechTalk

The back of a fridge can be a complex place, especially in a three-way unit like this. Clean carefully to maximise airflow and inspect wiring and any gas fittings to ensure all are in good condition.

the door is attached on a hinge that can be unscrewed, although sometimes the screw is hidden under a cover. It’s important to check the rubber all around, especially along the bottom. Your fridge seal should be soft and when pressed it must compress. Likewise, when released it should become ‘thicker’ again. Also, the fridge seal should be nice and clean, so check for mould, mildew, cracks and splits, and for food remains or rust particles (often found on the bottom part of the seal). If the seal still looks and feels reasonable give the rubber a good clean. Best results will be achieved if you carefully pull the rubber seal out – most are only pressed into the fridge door, not screwed in. You can clean it with a soft sponge using specific cleaner or just a white distilled vinegar diluted in warm water. You can also place the dismantled seal in a bucket with vinegar/warm water solution for 30 minutes to make the job easier. When fitting the seal back to the fridge door make sure you’re not using sharp tools that might cause damage. For long life and to keep the seal soft you can treat the rubber with

some glycerine or talcum powder, which you can apply simply by wiping on. Check and maintain your seal once or twice a year. Keep it clean on a regular base just with some soapy water and a soft sponge, but don’t forget the bottom even if it’s harder to reach. If the seal is damaged you should change it right away or as soon as possible. Either contact the manufacture to buy a new one or for some models you can by the seal aftermarket for a much better price. One online supplier of after-market fridge seals in Australia is fridge-seal.com.au. Choose your brand from a drop-down menu and enter the model for a price check. They deliver Australia-wide and as an example a seal for a Dometic RM 2553 is $60.00.

Clean Your Behind!


his is one for the slightly more advanced or adventurous fridge owner. Making sure the area behind your fridge is free of builtup dust, dirt, insect nests or whatever ensures maximum airflow and cooling. This in turn reduces battery load and preserves precious amp hours.

TechTalk | 65 frames off to reach the area behind. Do not forget to seal the vent frames when putting them back on. Once you’ve reached the back you’ll be surprised what you find! The idea again is simply to clean, which can significantly improve the performance of your fridge. Only use a vacuum cleaner, tooth brush and a damp microfibre cloth for best results. Most important here is to clean the upper fins (silver or black) as dust and dirt can sit perfectly in between them and stop the fridge from working properly.

For a compressor fridge you’ll need to do this from inside the vehicle. These fridges are usually set in a cupboard and in some cases have a frame that’s screwed on. Alternatively, inside you’ll find four to six plugs on the left and right sides, located on the internal fridge body towards the door, which covers the screws. Remove them and carefully pull the fridge out, making sure you disconnect the 12 and/or 240 V as you do so.

While cleaning you should also check the fridge’s overall condition for things like rust or poor condition gas pipe fittings. Also check how thick the 12 V wiring is and if the crimps and connections are neat and tight. If everything is okay reinstall the fridge into its cupboard or replace the external covers, deepening on fridge type, and if any screws are involved I suggest replacing them with new stainless steel ones. This check and clean-up should be done once a year, but if you’ve discovered something suspicious, like large rust spots or loose wiring I suggest taking some pictures and contacting your trusted RV repairer.

For absorber fridges you’ll need to work from the outside and take the ventilation covers/

Ask The Techspert! If you have any maintenance questions or problems email us at techtalk@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll see what we can sort out. Please include photos as well as a description of any problems and we’ll share them and the answers with all our readers.

66 | Mobile Tech

Appy Travels! Travel Journals for the aspiring writer in all of us… By Emily Barker


hey say our life's journey is the best book ever written, and for many dedicated travellers a statement has never been truer. The memories you make today are an investment for the future and making sure you don’t forget anything is pretty much the key! Keeping a travel diary – or journaling – has long been a popular way to retain memories and record experiences, and may take many forms

including photos, videos, postcards or even the traditional notebook. The world of apps, however, has now swooped in and bundled-up these various media types; rolling them into one very accessible and convenient platform that can even spit them out at the end as a beautifully published coffee table book, should you wish! Selecting the right

Mobile Tech | 67 app to accompany your adventures depends entirely upon your personal preferences and there are many to choose from. Whether you want to share your experiences or keep them to yourself; spend hours documenting each day or simply list key points, distances and expenses there is an application to suit.

There are a range of customisable options such as font size and style too, making it a great little app overall. Just don’t forget your passcode if applying one as it’s irretrievable!

It’s important to mention there are two versions of this app available: The first is a free ‘lite’ version limited to 10 new entries per month, whereas the full version costs $3.80 and obviously gives you unlimited feature use and entry space. The key to this app is its ease of entry. The interface is very simplistic and obviously aimed at a young audience, but it works, even if emoticons are not your thing! It utilises Cloud syncing and so can be used on both iPads and iPhones, but this can be turned off to save data. It can also be password protected to preserve your privacy. Reviewing really is easy with the handy calendar function, which I believe would also be useful for future planning. It has the ability to include photos, receive periodic prompts to encourage use and, importantly, export all data via email or PDF.

This app is strongly directed towards the sharing

Trip Journal iPad, iPhone Cost: Free The following is a list of apps recognised for their Size: 16.5 MB convenience, efficiency and proficiency. Many Trip Journal is billed as one of the most popular have similar key features, such as the ability to free travelogue apps to date. The difference export to PDF or the freedom to intersperse between traditional journaling apps and those images randomly throughout text that most dedicated to travel is generally the ability to users agree are key abilities. It might be hard share entries online either via social media or to imagine you’ll ever forget such incredible a dedicated website and to record your trip experiences, but every moment recorded will via GPS route tracking. Trip journal has both help relive a trip for years to come! features, and integrates with Google Earth My Wonderful Days – Lite so you can easily track your travel route and stopping points while adding photos, videos, iPad, iPhone & Android devices comments and even blog entries. It’s important Cost: Free to point out that these location features, Size: 39.5 MB including the geotagging of images, videos This app has literally been ‘road tested’ as it was and maps, are only available when connected recommended to me by a woman currently on to data and that the continued use of the GPS her second lap of Australia. She called it a “No running in the background can dramatically frills note taker that’s easily reviewed”, which I decrease battery life. The good news is there’s guess is the point of a good notebook. an option to manually record your locations!

68 | Mobile Tech of your journey and while this might not be everyone’s cup of tea it’s certainly a good way to keep in touch with friends and family. The app can appear minimalistic, but you gradually create a timeline of places with images and notes attached. Once populated, the app is easier to navigate. However, its interface is not flashy or complicated and it can take a moment to adjust to this ‘sparsity’. Nonetheless, by supporting many export options, including email, this app could prove very handy indeed! journi – Offline travel journal / diary iPad, iPhone & Android devices Cost: Free Size: 18.5 MB This app is more than just an experiencerecording platform and is worth a mention simply to illustrate the bells and whistles side of travel journal apps. Journi is a self-sustaining online social community and its format is more of a blogsite, where people can follow different users as they track and record their own journeys. However, like Facebook or Instagram where people also choose to record their adventures, journi can be set to various privacy levels. All this means is should you wish to keep your data private or share it exclusively with only a select audience, you may. This app has very ‘glossy’ features; it’s beautifully presented with a very professional interface and it appears no function has been overlooked. There is a great deal of emphasis on the offline component of this app, which is fantastic although it can consume storage space rather than data. GPS route tracking, social sharing, offline data, automatic updates and full privacy controls are supported. This app is elegant, vibrant and if you spend the time refining your settings could easily prove to be a sophisticated and essential travel companion.

Advertisers' Index | 69

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Caravan & Motorhome Covers


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Wellington Shire

Nomadic Solutions



Northcoach Equipment


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Wirraway Motor Homes


Ozcape Campers


Paradise Motor Homes


Parkland RV Centre



70 | Next Issue

Switcheroo… O

ur quest to source a Renault-based Sunliner continues, hindered by a Sunliner model change into the bargain, but the good news is one is (hopefully) just a few weeks away. In the mean time we’ve lined up a Sunliner Switch, based on a new Iveco Daily, to grace the cover of next issue, all being well.



Oct 08-11 23-25 06-08



2015 Melbourne Leisurefest Sandown Racecourse, Princess Hwy, Springvale. Vic. 3171 • Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4 pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $16 or $14 online • Seniors: $12 or $10 online • Kids: Not listed

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

We’ve also got an interesting reader report on a compact 4X4 Sprinter van conversion, plus more in our new column TechTalk, with DIY tips and the chance to have your own questions expertly answered. The twice-promised review of the Australian Bus and Coach Drivers’ Guide by John Duffy will materialise (for sure!) and we’ll conclude Malcolm’s Canadian rental relocation adventures. And that’s just for starters…

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Issue 82 will be out on Saturday 17 October. Until then why not join our more than 29,000 Facebook Friends and Twitter followers to share laughs, fun and keep an eye on what we’re up to? RGB / .ai

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Oct 23-25





Nov 06-08 08-11





SA Boat, Fishing & 4WD Adventure Show

South Coast Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Adelaide Showground Goodwood Rd, Adelaide. SA. 5034

Mackay Park Batemans Bay. NSW. 2536

• Open 9:00-6:00 daily (5:00 pm Sunday) • Parking: Paid available • Adults: $16 • Seniors: $13 • Kids: Free with Adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

• • • • •

Open 9:00-4:00 daily Parking: TBA Adults: TBA Seniors: TBA Kids: TBA

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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 81 - 03 October 2015  

Get a free subscription from our website today!

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 81 - 03 October 2015  

Get a free subscription from our website today!