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Issue 91: Mar 19 2016


Adventurer! Win!

$50 for the! best letter

NZ Show Report!

Photos from Auckland’s Covi Show

Melbourne Show Report Postcards from Victoria!

Project Polly

Much ado about somethings…

Frontline’s new VW T6 hits the road…


Meet Your Perfect Travelling Partner The Sunliner Navian series offers the ultimate in mid-sized Recreational Vehicles available in the Australian and New Zealand market. The Navian is fully equipped with a vast array of equipment and accessories; all as standard. Crafted to highest quality, the Navaian series of motorhomes are tailored to the unique needs of their owners. We invite you to explore the Navain series and meet your perfect travelling partner.

www.sunliner.com.au VIDA







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 Emily Barker, Sharon Hollamby 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 This could be you! Interested? Contact us on richard@imotorhome.com.au

Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368


E: richard@imotorhome.com.au

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.

Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au



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On my mind | 5

TRAVELS AND MORE… Well that was a busy fortnight between issues! Drive to Brisbane, side-trip to Auckland, back to Brisbane for our co-hosted Motorhome 101 Day and then drive home. The six-day trip worked on a lot of levels, not the least being Polly as mobile office, accommodation and comfortable transport. She proved economical too, averaging 10.24 L/100 km (27.6 mpg) for the 2213 km round trip. On the way north I left home in the late morning and free camped overnight at Thunderbolt’s Rock on the New England Highway, just south of Uralla. Heading home I made it to Tenterfield late on the evening of our Motorhome 101 Day and again fee camped, this time at Apex Park on the southern edge of town. Both nights were comfortable and I appreciated being able to call it a day at a time and place that suited my fatigue level, not the location of a caravan park. Australia still has a million free camping sites out there and I was very happy to see campervans, motorhomes and caravans tucked into all sorts of interesting places just off the highway as I travelled.

NZ Awakening


ttending the show in Auckland was a real eye opener. It was like being in another world, but for all the right reasons. As Malcolm put it, attending an NZ motorhome show is like visiting a mini Dusseldorf Caravan Salon – Europe’s preeminent RV show. European and British imports rule the roost and I believe it’s a glimpse of Australia’s future. However, while the New Zealand motorhome market seemed to quickly succumb to a tidal wave of imports, Australia’s has a few more defences. It seems highly likely, however, that in the next decade our motorhome market will become import-dominated. That won’t be good

for Australian manufacturers but as they say, you can’t stop progress. Malcolm has been a fixture at New Zealand motorhome shows for years and iMotorhome was warmly welcomed. Interestingly, the overriding question we were asked was, “Is it legal for a motorhome in Australia to have it’s door on the ‘wrong’ side?”. It appears a recent article in the RV press over there said it isn’t, and as the majority of Euro imports are thusly equipped this seemed to close the ‘door’ on expansion plans into Australia. When informed it’s not the case there were audible sighs of relief. This left Malcolm and me wondering if expansion plans ‘across the ditch’ are well advanced or if they’re just forming at this stage. Time will tell. At the show we had a good chat with Michael Becker, director/CEO of Smart RV, one of the local industry’s movers and shakers. Smart RV is the Bürstner and Carado agent, amongst other things, and they’ve set up service and support centres in Auckland and Christchurch. Michael recognises the importance of support to the ownership experience – especially imports – and has wisely decided to open his doors to owners of other brands as well. Factory technicians from Germany spend a week at a time teaching Smart RV’s staff the intricacies of their products and it’s a win-win for all concerned. It’s a model I wonder if we’ll see repeated in Australia one day? That would be a ‘smart’ move indeed…


6 | Contents


About Us




On my Mind


On your Mind



Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

Travels and More…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!




Day Test: Frontline VW T6 Adventurer

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Malcolm reviews the latest generation VW campervan from Frontline…


Melbourne Show Report


Auckland Show Report


Project Polly


Motorhome 101


Advertisers' Index

A look inside the 2016 Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow

A roundup of iMotorhome’s visit to the 2016 Covi Motorhome, Caravan & Outdoor Supershow

Much Ado About Somethings – lots have happened since last issue!

School was ‘in’ for our Newbies

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!


Mobile Tech


Next Issue

The ultimate Grey Nomad app?

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



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

2015 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR Motorhomes, Campervans & 5th Wheelers


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.

Custom Bike Rack Hi Richard. If you remember, we bought a Swift Rio here in the UK after reading your roadtest and subsequently I wrote a reader review, which you published in Issue 85 on 5 December last year. I’ve just done a slightly unusual project – putting a bike rack on the Rio. The one-piece lift-up tailgate wouldn’t take the weight so it has to be supported independently. I bought a Thule rack that swings to the side and is mounted on the towbar. Do you have them Down Under? I've had a lot of trouble ordering it as apparently we don't need them in Europe! They are only sold in North America and I had to order one specially. After having to pay £100 ($190) duty on top of the £370 ($700) purchase price I still had to make a special adaptor as it’s made for a 50 mm (2”) square receiver, not our European fixing with 2 x 17 mm bolts. Still, it’s only money! After a lot of mucking around I eventually got the job done and here’s the finished item. You’ll note I eventually mounted it slightly offset to clear the door, but fortunately the bikes only protrude slightly from the side when driving. We are off to the Alps skiing so I have also adapted it to carry skis too! Regards, Ian

Hi Ian. Yes of course I remember and good to hear from you again. Well done on the bike rack. We certainly do have that Thule unit in Australia, it’s called the Vertex and carries four bikes, and retails for $699. In fact I’ve looked at it for Project Polly. My concern is it might not swing out far enough to clear the barn doors and I need to take Polly to the dealer to check it out properly. At least we use the 50 mm mounting system here in Australia, so that part is easy. Congratulations on the successful mounting and ski adaptation, and please accept this issue’s $50 for showing such ingenuity. It should convert to just enough to buy a couple of coffees up in the ski fields

12 | On your mind

Closed Doors? In regards to the story on the Bürstner Ixeo Motorhome in last issue, I noticed that it appears to be right-hand drive and that the door is also on the right. I thought that under the Australian Design Rules (ADR) the door had to be on the left – kerb side – and any door on the drive’s side had to be permanently sealed so it could not be used? Regards, Neil. Hi Neil, There’s no law against a door on the driver’s side. ADR 44.8.1. says “Every motor vehicle (motorhome) or trailer (‘Caravan’)

equipped with fuel burning (cooking) facilities or living or sleeping accommodation shall have only outward-opening or sliding doors. At least one such door shall be located on the left-hand side or at the rear.” I believe there is some interpretation around what exactly constitutes a left-hand door and have recently read somewhere that in Queensland (I think) an inspector was saying the door has to be unobstructed. Whether a cab seat constitutes a partial obstruction I can’t say, but certainly the ADR makes no such distinction.

Bürstner Pricing Interesting read on the Bürstner motorhome in last issue. I had a look at their UK website, which is a sight to behold: layouts, prices and options allow you to arrive at final or alternative price. No wonder local manufacturers do not want parallel imports, the unit in NZ is approximately 50% dearer than its UK price of £56,000 (about A$112,000). Cost ex-VAT is £45,000 (A$90,000), plus with shipping of about $7000, GST and duty it comes to $110,000. Compare that to the NZ$153,000 on-road figure quoted in the review. And that is buying retail in UK as against a NZ dealer paying wholesale price. I looked at a private import into Australia but was not able to get an import license. I had thought Bürstner were almost at the point of certification and selling in Aus a couple of years ago but obviously it came to nothing. Very disappointing. Regards, Eagle Eye.

Well spotted ‘Eagle Eye’ and thanks for the price comparison. Price disparity is never as simple as basic maths suggests and there are compliance, support and service issues for a local importer to absorb, plus of course they have to make a profit. Comparing the price of locally produced motorhomes with those from Europe or America is also an apple-and-oranges argument. Local manufacturers produce comparatively tiny volumes and face high base-vehicle supply costs, plus high component and labour costs. For example the Hymer Group in Germany, which owns the Bürstner brand, buys something like 25,000 Fiat Ducatos annually. Imagine their buying power! In comparison I’d say maybe 600-ish new Ducato-based motorhomes hit Australian roads each year – from all manufactures combined. No doubt Bürstners will make it to Australia eventually and one day you’ll also be able to source a personal import. The only question is when.


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14 | On your mind

Dodgy Leads

Hi Richard. In my travels staying in caravan parks and free camping I have noticed quite a few van and motorhome power leads looking a little bit worse for wear. I was thinking in some cases they could be quite dangerous and it might be best to replace them or get them repaired by a licensed electrician. I have my leads tagged every 12 months. It’s a peace of mind thing with me. Best Regards, Greg That’s a great idea Greg, especially for use with generators where there is likely no protective residual current device (RCD) to cut the power in the event of earth leakage. Power lead tagging is an often misinformed issue. The expert Collyn Rivers says of tagging on his website “That it is needed was shown by an Australian Caravan Club meet (in 2014) where, of 212 supply cables for caravans tested, 84 (40%) failed to pass. Five had broken earth wires within the plug or socket, and

24 had cross polarity conductors. (The standard re testing is AS/NZS 3760).” He also goes on to say, “In respect to caravan parks and rally organisers, the owner or manager is responsible for the safety of employees who work there, and as a ‘controller of premises’ of other employees who may use the facilities. There is also a general duty of care to those staying in or visiting – in respect of the electrical installation and plug-in equipment owned or controlled by the park. None of the above requires users’ cables to be tagged, but some caravan park owners enforce a site rule, based on Public Liability requirements, requiring extension leads (and power boards) to be tested and tagged at 12 monthly intervals. There is no legal requirement for them to do so but may well be a condition of their obtaining insurance cover. They do, in any case, have the right to enforce this as a condition of entry.”

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16 | News



Issue 90: Mar 05 2016

Time Traveller! Malcolm samples Bürstner’s stylish Ixeo Time IT 726G…


ast issue’s Project Polly article on the Webasto heater instillation contained an error in relation to which way the in-line fuel pump faces. The unit has an arrow that must point to the heater, not the fuel tank as stated. A number of other minor corrections have been included in an updated version of the article, which is available by downloading a new version of Issue 90.


$50 for the best letter!

Project Polly

Webasto heater installation!


A quick dash to Melbourne and back


Keeping your gas cooker in top condition…


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18 | News

EXTRA BED VERSATILITY a unit with special support mountings that sits across the cab seats and provides an apparently comfortable bed. In a Fiat Ducato the bed measures 160 cm x 48 to 74 cm – it’s narrowest behind the steering wheel – and folds away during the day. For further information and local pricing contact Southern Spirit Campervans on 0401 797 179.


wners of VW Transporters, Fiat Ducatos and Mercedes’ Sprinter motorhomes who need an occasional extra bed for a grandchild or small adult have a new option from Germany RV accessory specialist, Reimo. The specialised CampSleep Bed is

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.

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News | 19



unliner Recreational Vehicles has launched a new RV community website, www.sunlinercommunity.com.au. The website has been designed as an online space for RV enthusiasts to share experiences, plan adventures and seek and offer advice with like-minded travellers. There is no cost to join and anyone with an interest in RVs is invited to become a member.

The website includes an array of useful functions including online journey mapping and travel journey tools, tips and hints relating to the RV lifestyle and the latest news and updates from Sunliner. There are opportunities for community members to chat with each other and to ask and seek advice from likeminded travellers. Sunliner RV specialists are also on hand to ask any of those “Why do they do that?” questions. “We are responding to a void that we felt existed for our Sunliner community. We wanted to create a space for all of our Sunliner owners; driving new, second hand RVs or even dreaming about a RV lifestyle in the future. It has been a work in progress for over six months with our developers and we are proud and excited with the end result,” said Melissa Hunter, Sunliner’s general manager.

20 | News



he latest stats from Tourism Research Australia have just been released, for the year ending March 2015. In short, Australia remains a highly desirable country to visit. Young travellers are looking for Aussie culture, a wonderful climate, cuddly animals, our great lifestyle and beaches, plus new work opportunities. The youth market is growing and the low dollar is making Australia even more desirable and affordable. The main ‘backpacker’ findings of the report are: • Backpackers account for 13% of the total tourism spend in Australia, $3.2 billion • Backpacker numbers are up 4% from the same time last year • Backpacker total numbers are 606,000, with an average spend of $5295 per person • Sydney continues to lead as the most visited destination, accounting for 72.8% of backpackers and 24.2% of all visitor nights

• Melbourne takes silver, visited by 48.4% of backpackers, with 15.4% of all visitor nights • Brisbane takes bronze, visited by 34.5% of backpackers with 9.9% of all visitor nights • Tropical North Queensland (Cairns) is doing well, visited by 33.1% of backpackers, with 6.4% of all visitor nights • North Coast NSW (Byron) hosts 23.8% of backpackers, with 3.3% of all visitor nights • Gold Coast hosts 21.8% of all backpackers, with 3.1% of visitor nights • The Whitsundays hosts 20.3% of all backpackers, with 1.9% of visitor nights. Young travellers are still post-arrival decision makers when it comes to travel and looking at the stats, Sydney and Melbourne top the charts commanding 40% of all visitor nights. Based on these numbers it appears young people ‘van-packing’ around Australia will only become an increasingly familiar sight.

News | 21

AUTO-TRAIL SWEEPS UK AWARDS The winning vehicles were: • Van conversions up to $80,000 – Tribute 670 • Van conversions $80,000 to $100,000 – V Line 540 SE


uto-Trail received an impressive 13 trophies at the recent 2016 Design Awards by the UK-based Caravan Club, with 6 for winning their respective categories. “There were a massive 123 entries over the 15 categories in this year’s event and to have been placed in 8 categories and win 6 is a real testament to the drive for perfection exhibited by everyone at Auto-Trail,” said Russell Hensman, Auto-Trail’s marketing manager.

• Coachbuilts $100,000 to $120,000 – Imala 615 • Coachbuilts $130,000 to $150,000 – Imala 730 • Coachbuilts $130,000 to $150,000 – Tracker EKS • Coachbuilts over $150,000 – Frontier Delaware

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

22 | News



he German Hymer Group has bought Canadian-based Roadtrek Motorhomes from Industrial Opportunity Partners, Illinois. The deal includes subsidiary Roadtrek Motorhomes USA, Inc. Roadtrek is North America’s leading van conversion motorhome manufacturer and sells about 1000 vehicles annually. Its product line features 10 models, starting around US$84,000. The vehicles are built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ram ProMaster (Fiat Ducato) and Chevrolet Express chassis, and customisation is also offered.

Founded in 1974 under the name Home & Park Vehicles, Roadtrek now employs 300 people in Kitchener, Ontario. Hymer has said that there will be no changes in the employment. The company was purchased in 1975 by one of its earliest customers and motorhome enthusiast, Jac Hanemaayer. His son, Jeff, ran the business until it was acquired in 2011 by Industrial Opportunity Partners.

News | 23

CAIRNS SHOWGROUNDS HOSTEL PROPOSAL of backpackers illegally camping across the city. Providing van parking isn’t the end of Mr Brooks’ plan to revitalise the showgrounds, and he said the facility could become a hub for his team’s proposed electric loop bus, providing parking for people working in the city.


he Cairns Showgrounds would be turned into an open-air backpacker hostel under a Cairns Council proposal by one mayoral candidate. Jim Brooks announced his plan to use the facility for overnight van parking as a way to raise revenue and address the problem

“This will free up parking in the CBD for shoppers, as well as making it easier to get around our city,” he said. “When backpackers come they spend money, but quite often they will camp or squat on the roadside or beaches or along the Esplanade,” he said. The elections are on Saturday 19 March and are forecast to be a close-run contest.

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24 | News/ iMotorhome Marketplace

Are you living that dream? Tax returns need lodging? Do you have income from working or investments? Use a tax agent who understands. We do, because our office has 4 wheels and a Luton peak. Whether you’re in FNQ, WA or Tas., email for info Grey Nomad Tax Advisers ABN 76 114 458 058 Eric Taylor, FIPA, CTA, Reg. Tax Agent Email: eric@greynomadtax.com.au www.greynomadtax.com.au

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iMotorhome Marketplace | 25 MOBILE



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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!


The Duvalay Memory Foam Sleeping System – No lifting, no tucking, no fighting over the doona and bedding that stays put. Find out why it’s Europes bedding of choice for caravans & motorhomes. The premium grade memory foam ensures total comfort and the award winning design cover means your bed is made in seconds.

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26 | iMotorhome Marketplace

Battery Traders Super Store

Airbag Man

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

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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!

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iMotorhome Marketplace | 27

Tiffin Motorhomes

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

5th wheeler specialist

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!

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

T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.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!




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!

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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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28 | Day Test: Frontline VW T6 Adventurer

T6 on the Frontline A literally brilliant campervan based on the new T6 Volkswagen‌ by Malcolm Street

Day Test | 29

There’s no denying the Luminous Orange of VW’s new T6 will turn heads wherever you go, but you certainly won’t be able to hide. Black alloys, awning and roof set the body colour off perfectly.


ven three decades or so ago the Volkswagen Kombi was an icon in the world of campervans and for many was the vehicle of choice when it came to travelling. That has changed somewhat and to some extent Volkswagen campervans – and campervans generally – are looked down upon by those travelling in larger and more luxurious vehicles. However, there’s much to be said for the lightweight travel capability and manoeuvrability of VW vans, especially for those who are still working and desire both an around town vehicle and weekend escape machine. There are also those who desire to recapture their younger years and something like a VW campervan is a great way of doing that. One of the legends of the VW was that it was a go-anywhere vehicle. Many an offroad enthusiast has been chagrined after

negotiating a rough bush track to their favourite campsite, only to find a Kombi already there. Adding to the capability of the Transporter has been VW’s 4Motion (AWD) feature, which is great for negotiating anything from wet and muddy suburban sports fields to snow covered alpine roads. In case you haven’t noticed many a campervan and motorhome is painted white and for good reasons; mostly to do with practicalities. However, every now and again a company produces something that really catches your eye. In this case it’s Frontline and their Adventurer campervan based on a Luminous Orange VW T6. This is actually just one of the bright colours available in the Transporter range. Others include Cherry Red, Grape Yellow and Acapulco Blue. Frontline decided to create a bit of eye catching attention to announce the arrival of the latest generation VW and I have to say it works well.

30 | Day Test Like all VW designs the new T6 is a thoughtful evolution of its predecessor. There’s a new steering wheel and dash, plus colour touchscreen audio unit. Occupant safety is even more car-like now, with side air bags and a raft of technological aids as standard to help keep you out of trouble.

The New T6


hanges in the new and highly anticipated Volkswagen T6 aren’t exactly obvious. The new Transporter’s features are mostly more than skin deep and there’s something of an emphasis on safety and driver comfort. Included in the new T6 is a driver alert system, multi-collision braking system, rear park distance control, driver and front passenger side-curtain airbags, driver’s seat height adjustment and driver’s seat lumbar support. In fact here’s a list of the vehicle’s suitably initialed systems: Driver Alert (DA), Multi Collision Braking (MCB), Electronic

Stability Program (ESP), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Diff Lock (EDL) and Hill Hold (HH). In many RV base vehicles the sound system has a very basic unit but now standard in the T6 is a “Composition Colour” radio with colour touch screen, Aux/USB/SD input, CD player and four speakers. On the engine front the T6 is available with two power ratings from its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine: 103 kW/340 Nm and 132 kW/400 Nm. The test vehicle included

Day Test | 31

Luminous Orange is just one of the bright colours available in the Transporter range. Others include Cherry Red, Grape Yellow and Acapulco Blue.

VW’s 4Motion AWD and it only comes with the more powerful engine. This isn’t a bad idea for gravel and off-road travel, when plenty of oomph under the right foot is a very handy feature. There’s nothing quite like a responsive engine when

you need it, especially when it drive’s through the very smooth seven speed auto gearbox. Apart from anything else it allows concentration on other things, like where you are going, not what the wheels are or aren’t doing.



rontline’s Adventurer layout is what’s known as a rear bed-seat layout. It’s based on a two person seat in the rear of the van and provides a four person carrying capacity.

32 | Day Test Top to bottom: The rear passenger seat folds flat to make up a decent sized bed. Pop the roof, wind out the awning and you’re quickly set up. The swing-out cooker keeps odours outside and is handy when standing beside the vehicle. The metho stove is a bit slow, but keeps the Adventurer LPG-free.

Given the rear seat folds down to make a bed, there’s only sleeping for two unless others camp under the awning. An advantage of the rear bed-seat is it’s very quick to set up. With this layout almost all the plywood cabinetry is along the driver’s side of the van. It includes two wardrobes, several drawers and a basic kitchen fit out that includes and under-bench 80-litre 12volt compressor fridge and an under-bench microwave oven. There aren’t many alternatives with the overall layout, but one is to either have the two burner methylated spirit cooktop set in the main bench or in this case in a swing-out cabinet behind the passenger seat. There are pros and cons about each arrangement, but the extra cabinet not only means a bit more storage space, it also means the cooker can be used inside or outside the camper. Having a methylated spirits cooktop does mean no LP gas system is needed, but ‘metho' does

Day Test | 33

The test Adventurer had VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system and more powerful engine, making it capable and fast, and equally at home as a daily driver or weekend escape machine.

34 |Day Test

Above: The table has a fixed position while the swing-out cooker limits use of the swivelling passenger seat. Note the microwave neatly tucked away. Right: The electrical control panel is compact and handy, while the small pantry unit is also within easy reach. have a lower calorific value and therefore takes noticeably longer to cook food or boil a kettle. The passenger seat swivels but the cooker cabinet behind it does impede that slightly. Although the VW-powered Adventurer is definitely pitched at light weight travel there is a reasonable amount of storage space in the cupboard areas, as well as under the bed base in the rear. The latter is a fairly open area but it will take a couple of plastic storage containers and if you take up the option, a Porta Potti (which fits under the rear seat). Still on ablutions, an external shower is fitted at the rear and the optional tailgate tent will provide the necessary privacy. Hot water is courtesy of an engine heat exchanger.

Day Test | 35

For 12 volt power a 100 AH battery is to be found under the rear seat, charged by the vehicle alternator and a mains charger. An option that can be fitted to the pop-top roof is a solar panel or two. Low energy LEDs, including bed reading lights, are provided and there is a 12 V socket and 5 V USB charging outlets fitted to the electrical switch panel located under the kitchen bench. For the keen campervan user there are plenty of options and some like insect screens for the sliding and rear doors are almost essential, but there are other useful options like a second battery, roof racks, outside-use table base and a bike rack that add to travelling pleasure.

Top: Frontline reckons the traditional pop-top roof provides better ventilation than the Euro-style that hinges at the rear. It can also take roof racks for added versatility. Above: There’s good under-bed storage at the rear, while a shower with optional hot water via an engine heat exchanger is a welcome inclusion.

36 |Day Test

What I think


’m obviously one of those people who should have owned a Kombi in an earlier life. It wasn’t that I didn’t own a campervan, I just had something different. Consequently the opportunity to have a bit of fun in the modern day equivalent of the original humble Kombi is not to be missed. Certainly the Frontline Adventurer conversion is well set up for that and VW’s latest T6 makes it even better.

Top: Whichever way you look at it the Frontline Adventurer based on the new Volkswagen T6 Transporter is a good looking, practical and comfortable campervan well worth investigating.

Day Test | 37

The optional AWD system adds a degree of capability to the Frontline Adventurer that makes it well worth considering.

38 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Make





Pop-top campervan



Approved Seating




VEHICLE Make/Model

Volkswagen T6 4Motion


2.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel


132 kw @ 4000 rpm


400 Nm @ 1580-2000 rom


7 speed DSG auto


ABS, ESP, MCB, BA, TCS, Hill Hold


80 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

2200 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

3000 kg

Max Payload

800 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

2000 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

5.29 m (17’ 4”)

Overall Width

1.90 m (6’ 3”)

Overall Height

2.13 m (7’)

Internal Height

2.05 m (6’ 9”)

Main Bed

1.85 m x 1.3 to 1.17 m (6’ 1” x 4’ 3” to 3’ 10”)

Luton Bed


Dinette Bed


Day DayTest Test | 39

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out



Fiamma F65

Entry Steps



Origo 2 burner Methylated Spirits




Stainless steel


Engel ST90 F 85 L 12/240 V compressor




12 V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

2 x 12 V, 2 x 5V

Air Conditioner


Space Heater


Hot Water System

Heat Exchange (opt)


Porta Potti (opt)




1 x 100AH





Fresh Water

1 x 55 litre

Grey Water


Hot Water

10 L


Porta Potti (opt)


$69,300 on road NSW

As tested

$88,900 on road NSW


• Latest T6 VW • Versatile conversion • Lightweight traveller but still practical • Campsite set-up doesn’t take long • Extensive options list • 132 kW turbo-diesel makes driving a pleasure • Great around town vehicle • No LPG system


• Metho stove cook times • Slower heat exchange water heater


Frontline Campervans

Click for Google Maps

36 Cross Street Brookvale, NSW. 2100 T: (02) 9939 0600 E: peter@frontlinecamper.com.au W: www.frontlinecamper.com.au

40 | Melbourne Show Report

Full Steam Ahead! The Melbourne Show goes from strength to strength…

Winnebago’s entry-level Lennox HiAce campervan made its debut


n the second year in its new venue – the Melbourne Showgrounds – the 2016 Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow continued its seemingly unabated growth. The first of the three east coast capital city shows, the venue is undoubtedly the best, but we do have serious reservations about February as a viable time of year. On set-up day the mercury reached 40ºC and on opening day climbed into the low 30s, accompanied by high humidity. Perhaps the desire to be first outweighs all other considerations? This year there were more caravans than ever and whole new areas were opened up

to accommodate them. A reliable insider told iMotorhome there are now more than 200 caravan brands in Australia and we wonder how long such a relatively small population can support so many players. From a motorhome perspective it was good to hear all manufacturers reporting a strong sales start to 2016 and there seemed to be a genuine sense of optimism about the state of the industry. Most manufacturers had something new and on the following pages you’ll find highlights of their wares. It will be interesting to see what other new things appear by the time the Sydney show rolls around on April 9th.

Show Report | 41 A'VAN Avan had its usual big display mix of motorhomes (and caravans), including this rear slide-out Ovation M8.

Knaus motorhomes seem to be doing well for A’van and have a range of design innovations not seen on locally built products.

AVIDA Avida had its own outdoor display area where popular models like this Esperance on a new Iveco Daily proved popular.

42 | Show Report This Fiat Ducato chassis with full air suspension attracted a lot of interest on AL-KO’s stand.


FRONTLINE This issue’s road test subject took centre stage for Frontline.

FIFTH WHEELERS This massive 30-plus foot custom Truelux toy hauler rig was a star, as it should be for the best part of half a million dollars all-up (inc the costs of the tow vehicle)!

Show Report | 43 This Fiat Ducato-based Conquest apparently outsells all other Jayco motorhome models combined.


Trakka’s new T6 Trakkadu (above) and the optional Alfresco outdoor unit on the new Trakkaway 700.

TRAKKA The T6 Trakkadu campervan now gets motorhome-style interior blinds and screens, and concealed strip LED lighting. Nice!

44 | Show Report

TRAILBLAZERS An all-new Iveco Daily 4X4 with slide-on camper was the star of Trailblazers’ stand. Spacious inside, the green upholstery is ‘out there’!


Winnebago’s range is a year old now and had a swag of detail improvements, including interior decor upgrades. The pull-out washer is a hit in the latest Whitehaven.

Show Report | 45 In addition to its usual high-quality coachbuilts, Wirraway had this Mercedes Sprinter van conversion on display. It’s for sale on behalf of the owner who is now too sick to take delivery.


A new Ford Ranger-based Sherwood and an all-new Sovereign Deluxe starred on Suncamper’s small stand. The latter is built on the new Iveco Daily and has a spacious and stylish interior.


46 | Show Report SUNLINER

Priced at $59,990 drive away this Uni Campa campervan by Sunliner is the first Australian RV to use the Chinese LDV van.

Sunliner’s new Navian has a rear slide-out bed and a wall-mounted washing machine in the bathroom. We’re trying to organise a test so keep an eye out!

Show Report | 47

These iKamp air frame tents use heavy duty inflatable tubes for support rather than traditional poles and are extremely sturdy. The company also makes a range of motorhome and caravan annex models that fold up into relatively compact travel bags.

The Northern Territory had an innovative display including The Waterhole and a pair of camels using a Britz motorhome as a backdrop.

48 | Auckland Show Report

Another World!

A very different motorhome world exists just a few short flying hours away‌

Show Report | 49

Previous page: Malcolm with a Discovery 7, a near-new 4-berth UK import sold through the RV Super Centre. Above: The impressive NZ-built Allisee Supremacy. Built on a Mercedes Sprinter along luxury motor boat lines (and quality), it has a full length slideout and top quality fit-out finish. Priced above NZ$300,000 it’s only for the lucky few.


ince starting iMotorhome our road test editor Malcolm Street has been keen for us to more actively embrace New Zealand and it’s highly active and unique motorhome scene. This year we finally managed to schedule time to take in the opening day of the 2016 Covi Motorhome, Caravan and Outdoor Supershow at

Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds on Friday, 11 March – and what an experience it was! The NZ motorhome scene is not only alive and well, it’s absolutely bursting out of its skin with growth and product diversity. Impressively, despite the Nation’s small size and population, new motorhome sales run at about half those of Australia’s. One clue lies in the name of the

50 | Show Report

Clockwise from top left: $NZ199,000 will buy this beautiful German Dethleffs A-class built on a Fiat Ducato. Another German A-class, a Frankia on a Merc Sprinter, had an unusual main over-cab bed complete with pullout steps. The design allowed for a massive U-shaped rear lounge. It also had monogrammed wine glasses! The Dethleffs A-class also had a pull-down over-cab bed, but it was secondary to the main bed at the rear. show: note how Motorhome comes first (when was the last time Motorhome even made it into an Australian RV show name?). Motorhomes and campervans account for about 75-80% of Kiwi recreational vehicles and they are very much the dominant force. Driven by a highly active rental market that needs to dispose of it’s retiring fleet and blessed with short travel distances and a road system not well suited to towing, it’s no wonder. Despite being so physically close to Australia the big difference with the New Zealand market

is the total dominance of European imports. What started as a trickle some five-plus years ago has turned into a tidal wave, aided by relaxed compliance regulations and a more open market mentality. While it has certainly come at a cost to local jobs – there only seems to be a handful of local manufacturers left – the overall industry has grown significantly and probably created more jobs than it has lost. Most interestingly, the major local manufacturers all seem to have added one or more brands of European imports to their business model and all appear to be thriving.

Show Report | 51 Clockwise from top: Pull-down beds are a hit in European motorhomes and this one above the lounge in a Bürstner C-class made into a very comfortable looking place to spend the night. This beautiful Bürstner Elegance i848G A-class, on a tandem rear axle Fiat Ducato, was a snip at NZ$246,900. Rear tailgate access to this Bürstner Brevio attracted a lot of interest. Small enough for a standard car spot, this 5.99 m Bürstner Ixeo Time IT590 cost NZ$138,900 drive away. Mr iMotorhome making a Bürstner a comfortable Show office…

52 | Show Report

Clockwise from top left: The shower in the NZ$124,990 Pilote Foxy Van, a 6.3 m Fiat Ducato van conversion, occupied the whole aisle in the middle of the vehicle. It had a pull-around door and removable floor panel that revealed the shower pan. It’s front lounge/dinette was well appointed and could seat four. Australian-built Winnebagos were on the same stand, while this tapered island bed belonged to a Pilote Essentiel C-class, also on a Fiat Ducato. Brands from Germany, England, Spain, France and Italy were on display and interest was high. Some Australian manufacturers – Avida, Sunliner, Winnebago and Explorer – were also represented, but comparatively ‘our’ market presence is small. What was interesting and most rewarding was being recognised and approached by two different iMotorhome readers, Irene and Ron! Additionally, an iMotorhome Facebook Friend sent a message asking to meet up, although we didn’t see it until after the show.

All-in-all the diversity and quality of both imported and locally produced motorhomes was impressive. The Covi show – Covi is an insurance company that’s the major show sponsor – impressed on its just-right size, the quality of the vehicles on display and the enthusiasm of the exhibitors. In many ways the NZ motorhome scene is more diverse and interesting than Australia’s and iMotorhome will certainly be back next year. Enjoy this pictorial account of some of the fascinating and highly desirable models we spotted this year.

Show Report | 53 Clockwise from top: Malcolm was smitten with this stylish 5.99 m Spanish-made Benimar Melio 200, priced at NZ$136,000. It’s lounge was comfortable and had generous seating for 4 to 6. Traillite’s flagship 8.9 m Oakura 968XX LM on an Isuzu NQR500L looked almost out of place amongst the Euro chic. Priced at NZ$338,594 it’s a series machine for longterm living. The 8 m Sprinter-based Traillite Oakura 554RX LM had a rear bedroom slide-out and cost NZ$252,934. Mr iMotorhome, again making himself comfortable but this time in a Benimar.

54 | Show Report

Clockwise from top left: This Italian made CIbrand Magis 82p was one of an impressive range of B-class motorhomes on offer. The 85p had a huge rear boot with height-adjustable bed above it. Coastal Motorhomes is a small volume custom builder that was displaying a customer-ordered B-class on a new Iveco Daily, plus a prototype van conversion also on a new Iveco Daily. Euro Mobil was another German brand on display, and its models even include heated floors!

Show Report | 55

Clockwise from top left: This Explorer Compass on a Ford Ranger 4X4 appears at first glance to be an Australian import, but is in fact New Zealand made. It even has a different body and floor plan to the Australian Explorer models, although the brand carries the same logo. Sunliner had several models on display through dealers, including this Pinto and fifth wheeler, the latter being the only one we saw at the show. Tribute is an entry-level subsidiary of UK manufacturer Auto-Trail. There were quite a few models on offer, starting from NZ$119,900 drive away for 4-seat, 4-berth T620 Hi Line.

56 | Project Polly

Much Ado About Some Things!

There’s been plenty to do on Project Polly since last issue… by Richard Robertson

Project Polly | 57


fter returning from Melbourne prior to last issue and on a day Mrs iM and I popped down to the coast for fish and chips, Polly had her first ‘incident’. While waiting for traffic to clear at an intersection she ran slightly rough and then cut out. She started immediately but as soon as the engine settled down to idle it cut out again. Not good. Once again she started immediately and I kept the revs up a little as the traffic had cleared and we moved off. Underway Polly ran fine, although on a couple of occasions over the next 10 minutes the engine spluttered momentarily. It felt like a fuel blockage and with some trepidation we approached the particularly steep climb up Jamberoo Pass, west of Kiama, with about a quarter of a tank of fuel remaining. If it was a fuel supply issue the combination of low fuel level and a steep climb could cause trouble. Thankfully the climb was made without incident and we fuelled up at Robertson, once on top of the escarpment. There was no repetition of any issues after that and as it happened Polly was

Previous page: The brake and power steering fluids were replaced as part of a major service. Left: The diesel fuel filter was also replaced, as is required at 30,000 km intervals. With no idea as to when it was last done this major service sets a benchmark for future service intervals. already booked in for a service a few days later. On the morning I took her down – the first time she’d run since the ‘problems' – I noticed the orange spanner warning light illuminated on the dash, which indicated a service was required. Great minds!

Major Service


oPolly was approaching 273,000 km on the odometer, about 10,000 km since we bought her. After a fast run to Melbourne and back in searing heat two weeks ago, and with another hot weather run to Brisbane looming I wanted to ensure all was well. The patchy service history supplied by Apollo meant I had no real idea of what was due, so I decided to do it all. If Transits have an Achilles heel it’s the gearbox, apparently. With a capacity of just 2.2 litres the oil has to be top quality and kept full, otherwise overheating and bearing damage result. So along with the engine oil, diesel and air filters, the gearbox and diff oils were replaced (both synthetic), as were the power steering

58 | Project Polly

and brake fluids. A 62 point safety inspection was also done – it’s good to know the cooling system, suspension, drive train and brakes are in good nick – and a wheel rotation and balance was carried out. All up the cost came to around $880, which considering the diesel filter was $103.64 didn’t seem too bad. I’m pleased to report that since the service Polly has run perfectly and I’m inclined to think her brief troubles were cased by ‘gunk’ in the fuel filter or similar. Oil changes are recommended at 15,000 km or 12 month intervals, while the diesel filter is scheduled for replacement every 30,000 km. I have since noticed a no-name diesel fuel filter on eBay for $33.95, but would like to believe a Repco unit is better (wishful thinking perhaps?). At least now I have a service reference point to start from as Polly moves into her mechanical middle age.



oFor kitchen illumination nothing beats the rangehood lights, but the standard halogen units seemed a bit power hungry. A couple of weeks ago I decided to replace them with LEDs, but like most things it was a far-fromsmooth changeover.

Top to bottom: Inside the rangehood. Removing the panel made it much easier to replace the halogen downlights, but also revealed years of accumulated grease and grime. The exhaust fan needed a serious clean but was still spinning freely. Dropping the panel was a balancing act but made it easy to disconnect (and reconnect) the lights.

The halogen lights were each rated at 10 watts, which equates to 0.83 amps per hour (10 W / 12 V). Replacement LEDs were rated at 5 watts, which equals just 0.43 amps each, or both LEDs using the same power as a single halogen unit. On paper it’s a small but important gain, but

Project Polly | 59

Above: Removing the lights involves rotating the slotted rings, but they didn’t want to budge! Below: The new LED (left) uses half the power of the old halogen unit, but at $10.50 each you need to weigh-up cost versus battery capacity to see if it’s really worthwhile. Polly only has a single 100AH house battery and needs all the help she can get. steel surrounds would unscrew. I began to wonder if I was doing something wrong, which was quite likely. So I removed the whole bottom panel of the rangehood (four screws) and then disconnected the lights, which made them much easier to access. I had been on the right track originally, but a little more ‘persuasion’ was needed.

even using low cost Bunnings replacements the bill came to $21. If we had a second house battery I wouldn’t have worried about it, but with just a single 100 AH battery to provide all our off-mains power needs I decided it was justified (with the emphasis on ‘just’). The replacement procedure should have been straight forward – unscrew the light surrounds, drop the old lights out and replace them – but it wasn’t that easy. Working upside down didn’t help and there was no way the old stainless

Removing the panel turned out to be a good move as it also revealed just how many people had cooked bacon and eggs during Polly’s five year rental career! The greasy evidence was inside the panel and all over the exhaust fan. Yuk. A good wash of the panel and thorough clean of the fan had things looking much better, and with the lights in place and reconnected it was time to test them. Perfect! The LEDs seem brighter than the halogens and I chose a ‘warm’ light colour that gives an excellent result.

Screens and Screens


nInsect screens for the sliding side and rear barn doors have been high on the Project Polly wish list, especially since discovering how inadequate the standard ventilation is. When I visited Auckland for the Covi show, Polly sat in the Southern Spirit Campervans’

60 | Project Polly told. Our extra zip added $50. I can’t wait for the side-door screen now, which looks like we might install ourselves. What could possibly go wrong? Another product I picked up from Pia was a set of German-made cab-window air vents. Polly has no ventilation forward of the rear roof hatch unless you have the side door or cab windows open, and so when Pia showed me I was keen to try them. Basically they are powder coated metal plates with pressed louvers backed by fine mesh. Vehicle specific – I was lucky a Transit set was in stock – they sit in the cab window tracks and you push them up to the top, then carefully raise the window to hold them in place. The result is a set of theft and insect-proof ventilation louvers that will also keep out the rain. Priced at $165 a set they are a bit expensive, but at this stage anything to

Southern Spirit made this custom insect screen and it’s a beauty. Right: I had an extra flap put in to access the space under the end of the bed. yard in Brisbane in preparation for our Motorhome 101 Day. While sitting there I had a custom rear-door insect screen fitted. Pia, who along with husband Oli runs the business, makes screens to fit a wide range of vehicles. The screen has two floor-to-ceiling zips that make a roll-up doorway to provide access to the aisle. It’s also wide enough to allow our tandem bicycle’s handlebars through! I had Pia install a shorter secondary zip on the left hand side so we can access the space under the kerbside bed from the rear of the vehicle. On my return run from Brisbane I free camped on the outskirts of Glen Innes and opened the rear doors wide for about and hour to make the most of the late evening breeze. It was delightful – and insect free! Price for a standard screen is $329 plus $88 for fitting, although apparently it’s a straightforward DIY job I’m

Project Polly | 61

There’s room to get the handlebars of our tandem bike through when the centre ‘door’ is rolled up.

62 | Project Polly

The cab vents sit in the window tracks and are held securely in place by the window itself. They’re screened to keep insects out and angled to stop rain entering. Leaving the top of the Solarscreen ‘hanging lose’ retains most sun/heat insulation but now allows airflow. provide a degree of flow-throw ventilation when parked is worth trying. I’m experimenting with the cab window Solarscreens at the moment by leaving the top two suction cups unattached and the screen tops ‘hanging lose’. Combined with leaving the roof hatch slightly up there does seem to be a degree of air movement in Polly when she’s sitting on the driveway now.

Budget Blowout and Plans


ur arbitrary $6500 accessories budget was exceeded last issue with the addition of the Webasto Air Top dieselfired heater and installation. This issue we move well and truly into the red and there’s still quite a bit to do.

A major project is due to start on the Monday after publishing and will be reported next issue, all being well. There’s a secondary project that’s been underway for weeks and which I also hope will be completed for next issue. The problem has been that every time it progresses a step we discover we need one more thing, and that’s another week or two from eBay. Intrigued? Find out more in two weeks time!

Project Polly Costings to Date

Project Polly | 63

Previous Accessories/Modifications Plastic storage containers



Doormat, cutting boards, non-slip matting



10 Amp fuses & electrical tape



Bamboo cutlery drawer



LPG safety switch



Fuses and tape



Curtain fabric, hooks, thread & magnets



Carpet-backed foam mats



Melamine sheet for shelf (half price)



Shelf brackets & screws



3 x 200 mm wire pantry baskets



Pantry unit with 3 baskets



Genuine Ford floor mats



Solarscreens – cab ($350) and barn doors ($96) plus freight



Solarscreens – custom side windows x 5



Webasto EL CR 85-litre Compressor

$ 1,483.00

303 Spot Cleaner






Narva Oval LED light P/N 87516



2 x Century heavy duty batteries, test and fit (approx)



Set of 4 genuine Ford Transit hubcaps



Lagun table replacement splines and handle



240 Double adaptor with 2 x USB outlets



Webasto Air Top 2000 STC diesel heater

$ 1,883.00

Heater fitting



Levelling blocks




$ 6,636.62

Purchases This Issue Custom insect screen for rear doors inc fitting



Cab window air vents






Total Accessory/Modification Spend to Date

$ 7,218.62

Vehicle On-Road and Insurance costs in NSW

$ 43,428.31

Total Spend to Date

$ 50,646.93


$ 50,000.00




64 | Motorhome 101 Day

Motorhome 101!

The first class of motorhome newbies was ‘in’ for our inaugural beginners day with Southern Spirit Campervans… by Richard Robertson


hen you’ve been motorhoming for years it’s easy to forget we all started from scratch. Some people get a head start through family camping or caravanning holidays, but for many the first time they get behind the wheel of their new campervan or motorhome is also their first RVing experience – and it can be daunting. While there’s no rocket science to any aspect of the recreational vehicle operation, the basics

can be confusing to a novice. So when Pia from Southern Spirit Campervans approached iMotorhome about the possibility of holding a free day for beginners to come and learn the basics, it seemed like a great idea. Southern Spirit Campervans specialise in custom conversions of owners’ vans into either campervans or motorhomes. No two vehicles that drive out the gate are identical as

Motorhome 101 Day | 65

Above and right: Lots to look at, watch and learn as we walked our ‘students’ around the vehicles and showed them everything. Bottom: Inside, an array of useful and interesting items were on display for closer examination. each incorporates the wants and needs of the owners, tempered and occasionally tamed by the advice and experience of Pia and Oli, the company’s proprietors. Being German they are sticklers for detail and it shows in the quality of their work. They also source an interesting and eclectic range of quality RV accessories from Germany and sell then through the business and via an eBay shop.

The Day


y the time a few late cancellations came through and despite a couple of noshows, about 15 people arrived by the appointed time on Saturday 12 March. The concept was simple: to walk them around a vehicle – Project Polly and a customer’s HiAce campervan – and point out the various systems; discuss what they do and show how they work. In typically Teutonic style Pia had drawn up a running order for the day and made up a folder with notes for each participant that also included handy reference material

66 | Motorhome 101 Day and even a number of checklists. Working together, Pia and I spent the morning and early afternoon pointing things out, discussing and (where possible) demonstrating them to our occasionally overwhelmed fledglings. Brisbane put on a sunny-but-humid 31ºC day and the proceedings were interspersed with questions, drink breaks and eventually a greatly appreciated sausage sizzle lunch. From my perspective it was interesting to meet people just starting out, including a couple who had no idea what iMotorhome was. Pia had allotted quite a bit of time at the end for questions, but there were only a few as it seemed most were answered through the course of the day. It was also interesting that most attendees already had a campervan or motorhome and had done a trip or two, but were still struggling with basic aspects of its operation. The day ran from its scheduled 10:30 am start until around 3:30, with a few people staying to have work done by Oli to their vehicles.

The overall consensus was that the day had been a real help and people seemed genuinely surprised a business or businesses would put on such an event for free. Indeed, Pia tells me that in Germany such events have an entry cost and are in big demand.

Next Time?


’m in no doubt Southern Spirit Campervans added a couple of dozen new and loyal customers from the day. Pia is also running a second event for a group of ladies from the Chicks Camping Crew on the day this magazine is published as a direct result of last weekend’s inaugural event, which is terrific news. From iMotorhome’s perspective, we picked up a couple of new subscribers and had the satisfaction of meeting and hopefully positively influencing some keen-but-green new RVers. We’re looking at running another event in early September, so if you’re interested give Pia a call on 0401 797 179 or drop me a line at richard@imotorhome.com.au. See you there?

While James manned the barbecue, Oli did his best to avoid the camera and ‘student’ Pamela approached for a sausage sandwich. Or was is seconds?

Motorhome 101 Day | 67 Proud customer Mark brought his medium wheelbase Sprinter van along for the day. Oli says it’s the best conversion he’s done.

68 | Mobile Tech

Grey Nomad Revolution! They always said things would be different after the revolution‌ By Emily Barker

Mobile Tech | 69


he ‘Grey Nomad Revolution’ is a phenomenon with no indication of slowing. Data released in December 2015 by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia indicates that caravans, campervans and motorhomes are the fastest-growing vehicle types in Australia for the sixth consecutive year. This momentum has not gone unnoticed by industry leaders, who recognise a valuable growth market when they see one. Six years ago it was noted that older Australians were fast becoming the most attractive sector of Australia’s domestic tourism market. Many significant academic reports have been published on the topic and the data collected methodically and quantitatively presents some interesting information. Not only are older travellers a resilient bunch, they are often happier than their fixed-abode counterparts. This might not be news for many already on the road, but it is interesting. One study

Size: 136 MB Cost: $1.99 + Subscription fees Platform: iPad (iOS) only

70 | Mobile Tech

focused on social relations found that physical distance did not necessarily mean travellers were disengaged or isolated from family and friends. Rather, the study results suggested these ties were important connections that were maintained and often enhanced and enriched throughout their travels. This is why it’s perhaps surprising it has taken quite so long for an app like Grey Nomads to eventuate. Today’s mobile technology is almost limitless in its connective nature, providing essential links. Outback Touring Pty Ltd has recognised the need for such an application and rolled journaling, planning, communicating and navigating into one convenient iPad app. Birthed as twins, the Grey Nomad and Caravan Australia iPad Apps are identical in design and functionality, but are expected to evolve into independent apps as they mature due to the variance in user uploaded content. Caravan Australia is expected to steer towards family travel while Grey Nomads’ demographic is

self-explanatory. Packed full of features these apps know their audience and aim to make themselves invaluable. The initial purchase price of $1.99 allows you to explore all parts of the app and get full use of the offline turn-by-turn voice navigation. This feature reduces data charges and enables GPS navigation when out of range of internet connectivity. Australia-wide maps are included, so no additional downloads are required, but as a result it does weigh in at a hefty 136 MB. Registration is required to activate the complementary one-month subscription and this opens up the majority of the app’s features, including route mapping and the trip journal. After this trial period you can select to purchase further subscriptions of three or twelve months or ten years (nothing like optimism!). You track you journey by dropping location pins with dates on a detailed map of Australia. This, together with a daily journal, photos and your

Mobile Tech | 71

current location can then be shared publicly or privately via social media with family and friends. You always have choice over who you share your journeys with, so privacy is a non issue. In addition to social media, chosen friends and family can also view the routes, journals and current locations of selected ‘friends’ on their own app. New acquaintances can be added along the way and the aim is to facilitate an active community among fellow travellers, sharing real-time information about campgrounds, parks, routes and facilities. Subscribers can also post reviews and photos of caravan parks and camp sites. These reviews are moderated before being published, ensuring legitimacy. Regular blogs, articles and suggested routes are also often posted by Outback Touring staff. Once a subscription ends, however, so does access to your journal and trip details. These

are preserved, however, and can be accessed again once a new subscription is activated. Subscriptions are non-automatic and need to be manually purchased, ensuring you are not automatically charged renewal fees. There is no denying this app is an effective way to track and share your journey, and with reasonable subscription prices of $4.99 for 3 months, $12.99 for 12 months and $22.99 for 10 years, the convenience might well be worth it! As with any app reliant on crowdsourced information, the more users it has the better it gets, but this is certainly one to watch!

72 | Advertisers' Index

Advertisers' Index AirBag Man  Albury Wodonga RV World 

26 4

Parkland RV Centre




Robert’s RV World


Australian Motor Homes

RV Specialists





Battery Traders Super Store



Bony Mountain Folk Festival


Southern Highlands  Service Centre

Caravan & Motorhome Covers


Southern Spirit Campervans


Duvalay27 eBook Traveller


e-Twow Electric Scooters


Grey Nomad Tax Advisers


Horizon Motorhomes


iMotorhome App


iTech World


Nomadic Solutions


Northcoach Equipment


Outback Travel Australia


OzCampers24 Paradise Motor Homes


Skytracks27 Sunliner2 Taronga Western Plains Zoo


Tiffin Motorhomes


Trakka8 Trailblazers RV


Webasto14 Wellington Shire


Winnebago7 Winjana RV


Wirraway Motor Homes


73 | Next Issue


evolutionary than revolutionary, the changes make it even more desirable. We also have a terrific account of a reader’s three week Canadian and Alaskan motorhome convoy holiday, just in time for you to decide if you want to replicate it yourself in 2016! TechTalk returns, plus there’s a look at some big work that will hopefully have taken place on Project Polly in the intervening fortnight. If all goes to plan she’ll be close to having all the planned major upgrades complete.


ext issue is out on April 2nd so don’t expect any practical jokes. What you can expect is a review of Trakka’s third generation Trakkaway 700, arguably the best 7 metre coachbuilt motorhome available. We had a look at it at the Melbourne Show and while more

Apr 08-10





South Queensland Caravan & Camping Expo Nambour Showgrounds Bli Bli Rd, Nambour, Qld. 4560 • Open 9:00-6:00 daily (5:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: Free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps


Apr 04-06

Issue 92 will be out on Saturday 2 April, so until then why not join our more than 31,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ? Facebook “f ” Logo



09-1708-10 13-15



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May 13-15





Sydney Caravan Camping & Holiday Supershow

Cairns Home Show, Caravan, Camping & Boating Expo

Rosehill Racecourse James Ruse Drive, Rosehill, NSW. 2142.

Cairns Showgrounds Cnr Mulgrave Rd & Severin St, Cairns, Qld. 487

• Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm last Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20 • Kids: Under 16 free with adult

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Limited free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: Free with adult

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

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


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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 91 - 19 March 2016  

Get a FREE subscription from our website now!

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 91 - 19 March 2016  

Get a FREE subscription from our website now!