Issue 98: Jul 02 2016
$50 for the! best letter
Pt 1 of an epic tale by Collyn Rivers…
A ‘proper’ door for a new whiz-bang!
Project Polly… Winter of our discontent?
This sweet little Campino is a breath of fresh air…
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About iMotorhome | 3
iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Facebook “f ” Logo
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On my mind | 5
KEEPING CALM AND CARRYING ON… The plan was simple: Fly to Brisbane in the morning, spend the day reviewing the new Campino featured in this issue and fly home. What could possibly go wrong? With military precision everything was packed the night before. When the 04:45 am alarm sounded I was up, dressed and out the door a few minutes ahead of my 05:15 precision timing schedule. Traffic was the usual heading into Sydney that time of morning; I parked the car and made my way to the terminal, checking in online while sitting on the airpot bus, then grabbed a quick coffee, dispatched some email and in no time was winging my way northward in a brilliant blue winter morning sky. We landed on time and I picked up within a few minutes – it was nice to feel the warm sunshine after my chilly pre-dawn departure from the Southern Highlands. A quick vehicle swap and I was on my way in the Campino. Malcolm had suggested some spots north of Brisbane, towards Bribe Island, and with them set in TomTom I was cruising. Arriving, I set-up, got the camera out and discovered the freshly charged battery was dead. Bugger, but it’s about six years old so no real surprise. Thank goodness I carry a spare. And that’s where the day went pear shaped. The spare was still in the battery charger on my office floor… Miles from a camera shop I turned to my last line of defence – the iPhone. So this week’s road test was shot entirely on an iPhone 6 Plus, which explains the lack of flash and the lack of me in any pics despite lugging the tripod along. Malcolm had guided me towards some secluded spots, so there weren’t even any passers-by to coax into shot. By this stage – early afternoon – a strong south westerly had developed that precluded winding out the awning or even placing the chairs for fear they might take flight. The wind was cold too, but
at least it was still sunny. Making the most of a deteriorating day I did my best with the photos and headed back to Southern Spirit Campervans, then back to the airport. Along the way Mrs iM called to say it was snowing at home! A check of my weather app showed it to be 1.2ºC with a windchill of -5ºC on the Highlands at around 5:00 pm. No wonder she’d had the wood fire burning all day… The wind had picked up considerably and Sydney Airport was down to one runway, so Friday night flights in and out of Australia’s most populace city were delayed and getting ‘delayed-er’ (my word!). Finally touching down around an hour for so ate there was also trouble with the carpark bus, so another 45 minutes passed waiting for the next one. Finally into the car, out of Sydney and down to a very chilly Southern Highlands, I closed the gate behind me at 11:45 pm. Thankfully Mrs iMotorhome was still up, the fire was still burning and a glass of red eased me into the early hours of last Saturday morning. If the day proved one thing it was when all else fails, keep calm and carry on. Oh, and carry a back-up for your back-up…
Thanks! Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who offered support and encouragement following last issue’s editorial. It was unexpected but a very pleasant surprise. Also, thanks to those of you who’ve booked out almost all places at the next iMotorhome get-together. Again, totally unexpected but very encouraging! be quick if you want to join us!
6 | Contents
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
Find back issues and more on our website
On my Mind
On your Mind
Keeping Calm and Carrying On…
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Freedom of Choice
Day Test: Campino Campervan
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
The latest Marketplace offers
Updating what’s happening in the world of Freedom Camping
Sweet Treat – This sweet little campervan is a breath of fresh air…
Winter of our Discontent?
Collyn Rivers’ Trans-Africa - Pt 1
Three more RV Friendly Towns!
Why we Downsized
Mildura Country Music Festival!
What’s on around Australia over the next three months…
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
Next Issue What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
Crack the whip! iMotorhome Join the Vans from Snowy River! There’ll be movement on the driveways now the word is getting ‘round that the next big iM weekend’s underway. Come and join the celebrations – it won’t cost a thousand pounds, but long will you remember the great days. There’ll be tried and noted recipes from places near and far and we’ll muster round the campsite for three nights. We’ve booked restaurant and winery, historic tour and more, so the inclusions sure will fill you with delight!
This October 28-31 iMotorhome invites you to come and experience Dalgety. The only NSW town on the famous Snowy River, Dalgety was the original site chosen to become Australia’s National Capital. Now a sleepy riverside town on the granite-studded Monaro Plains, we’ve arranged a weekend of fun, food and festivities you’ll never forget. Home for your three nights is the cosy Snowy River Holiday Park, nestled on the banks of the Town’s famous river. Owners Sue and Colin get things going Friday night with a welcome barbecue hosted by the local cricket team – Colin’s own – in the nearby CWA Hall. It’s you chance to meet and get to know the iMotorhome team, your fellow travellers and some locals as you settle in for the weekend’s fun. Saturday morning you’ll wake to the smell of bacon and egg rolls and coffee. Then you’re off on a guided historic walk that will help bring Dalgety’s story to life. There’s also a video on the mighty Snowy River and its story. Saturday afternoon you’re free to explore – maybe try trout fishing or watch for platypus when the sun goes down – before dinner across the road at the historic Buckely’s Crossing Hotel. We’ve booked the old dining room where new owners Deb and Sharon promise to put on a three course dinner of country proportions, so come prepared! Sunday morning there’s time to sleep in – but not too long – because have we got a day for you: We’ve booked out the Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery! Buses take the worry out of driving and host Wayne will take you through an informed and adventurous tasting of more than a dozen craft beers, flavoured schnapps and excellent cold-climate wines. There’ll be nibbles along the way plus a brewery and winery tour, then a memorable buffet lunch prepared by their accomplished chef. But wait, there’s more: We’ve booked The Barstars – including Gunther Gorman (Daddy Cool and Sherbet) and Dave Twohill (Mental As Anything, Dragon and Men At Work – to rock your afternoon! Perched on a hilltop with Snowy River and Mountain views, you’ll enjoy fine food and boutique ‘refreshments’ to the sounds of some of Australia’s classic rock musicians on what will be an exclusive and genuinely unforgettable long afternoon! Monday it’s a farewell bacon-and-egg roll breakfast and the chance to swap contacts before heading home or where ever the road might lead you. You’ll never forget Dalgety – or the weekend you were one of the Vans from Snowy River!
The Vans from Snowy River!
When: 28-31 October 2016 Where: Dalgety, NSW What’s included: • 3 night’s un-powered camping at Snowy River Holiday Park • Friday night welcome barbecue dinner hosted by the cricket team • Saturday morning bacon & egg roll breakfast with juice/tea/coffee • Saturday morning guided historic Dalgety walking tour & video show • Saturday night three-course pub dinner • Sunday lunch at the Snowy Vineyard & Microbrewery including • Return bus transfers so you’re free to enjoy the day! • Craft beer, flavoured schnapps and cold-climate wine tasting, with nibbles • Exclusive brewery and winery tour • Leisurely buffet lunch • Live music by the Barstars • Monday morning farewell bacon & egg roll breakfast with juice/tea/coffee What’s it Cost? $229 per person What’s Extra?
$35 per site for power
Bookings: Numbers are strictly limited and it’s first-in best-dressed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking form. A nonrefundable $25 per-person deposit is required within 7 days of booking confirmation.
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Resources | 9 resources
Magazine Resources Just click any of the links below!
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90: Mar 05 2016 magazine
Time Traveller! Malcolm samples Bürstner’s stylish Ixeo Time IT 726G…
$50 for the best letter!
Webasto heater installation!
A quick dash to Melbourne and back
Keeping your gas cooker in top condition…
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 email@example.com 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.
Get With The Program In reference to the news article ‘Outback Healthcare Strain’ in last issue, there are many valid points made in this story that we can all take note off. One thing all Grey Nomads can do is to sign up for the My Health Record program (click here) to make your key health details available to health professionals around the country. The way we figure it, if we are involved in an accident the chances are we both might be affected and not particularly able to tell any treating Doctor or hospital staff anything about our 'meds' or history. We signed up thru our GP’s practice and now our
Have just read Garry's letter in last issue, regarding electronic safes in a gas compartment. I have not seen an electronic key safe as such but it is well worth stressing to people that batteries and gas are not a good idea. Secondly, I think many people are under a serious misapprehension in believing that because a motorhome is built in a certain way it must be legal: A gas plumber advised me that he was not sure if having a lock on a gas compartment is actually legal, but locking
important records are available nationwide. I would urge all travellers to do the same. The minutes or hours in question may be lifesaving! Regards, Garry An excellent idea Garry and one I’m sure many travellers – ourselves included – will take up for the peace of mind it provides. I know you won the $50 last issue, which you very generously had me donate to the Royal Flying Doctor, but here you go again!
a gas compartment is certainly not legal. I was advised, when I brought this to the notice of the Road Traffic Authority, that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle they are driving and/or towing complies with the relevant regulations/standards. Now as a driver it appears that to ensure I remain legal I will need to purchase a copy of the Australian Standards, which I believe cost around $5000, plus pay for an annual update to ensure continued...
12 | On your mind ...continued.
currency. The Standards, I believe, are regularly updated via public money (our taxes), but the printing and distribution is put out to a private company. Probably reasonable, except why is there a cost to getting an electronic version? I wonder how many manufacturers actually subscribe to current standards (or even read them) and why is it up to individual consumers to be wholly responsible, not manufacturers for being required to sell only compliant units? Number plates over 1300mm from ground is just another example of non compliance by manufacturers. Isn't self regulation such a wonderful thing? By the way, did you know it is only legally required to have a residual current device (RCD) installed in a caravan/ motor home, it is not required under law to be working correctly? Cheers, Neil.
Thanks Neil, the gas locker regulation topic certainly seems a can of worms and I’m still trying to find an expert to provide a definitive answer. You’re certainly correct, however, about gas and batteries – or any potential ignition source. As to the cost of the Standards and their availability, I too have wondered about the price of an electronic version. Regarding responsibility, I think you’ll find manufacturers do have to produce legally compliant vehicles, but drivers also have to ensure they remain that way. The numberplate height issue seems a bureaucratic fiasco, but I’m presuming a vehicle's electrics (including the RCD) would have to be tested and found operative for it to be sold. I think a major problem is we have National standards open to State interpretation. The day we do away with States and truly become one country can’t come soo enough, but don’t get me started on that!
Gas Safe Redux Re my article in iMotorhome 4th June about a key safe, I wish to clarify certain points after reading the winning letter by Garry: 1. It is not an electronic safe. The safe has a mechanically operated key pad i.e. there are no batteries in it. 2. The spare key is a "dumb" key with no batteries in it. Regards, John. Thanks for the clarification John. I think the issue of drilling in the gas locker with the
chance, however slim, of residual gas in the pipes igniting could still be an issue. Also, being mechanical there might be an equally remote chance of a spark from the mechanism’s components when operating. Playing the Devil’s Advocate, it still seems there are areas of grey that could lead to trouble, especially on the insurance front
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14 | On your mind
I was giving some thought to whether we should keep our Mercedes Horizon Grevillea motorhome or replace it in coming months. It’s only four years old, has done just 40,000 km and basically looks like a new vehicle. We love it, except my wife would like a bit more room, a bigger shower, etc, and then we could also enjoy our trips without towing a trailer full of all our toys!
• Availability of parts in more remote areas
This got me thinking about where one starts in actually buying a vehicle and I wondered if there’s an opportunity for an article or just to start a conversation with other IM devotees? Yes I know, I can read all those helpful reviews, go to the shows and be dazzled, draw up your list of features and consider my budget, blah blah! But maybe buying a second motorhome versus the first one provides a different perspective?
It is not an article I could write, but maybe just food for thought when you come to replace Miss Polly!
• Cost of servicing/intervals • Performance on wet grass – are Fiats as bad as some people make out • Single or dual rear wheels • Drivability/cabin features and so on.
Kind Regards, Alan.
Well there’s an ongoing magazine series – if not a whole magazine! Big questions and no quick or easy answers. One thing I’ve come to realise from reviewing motorhomes is just because something doesn’t suit me/isn’t to my liking, that doesn’t make it wrong or mean others However, regardless of the manufacturer won’t like or love it. So food for thought indeed, it seems to me the really big call is what but I’d love to hear from readers who’ve been underlying vehicle should I choose – Mercedes, through the hoops to find out how they made Fiat, Iveco, VW? And in making that decision, their decisions (and what was important). If we what are the elements I need to wrestle with? get sufficient responses I’ll happily dedicate an For example: article or series to them! Watch this space… • I probably don’t need 4WD but maybe the premium is worth it
Throwing Out the Towel I thought that you might be interested in my motorhomer's tip, which can save a lot of space and time. Because standard cotton bath towels are so hard to dry, the missus used to carry four with us. Now we only need to carry two of the microfibre type because
they dry in no time and take up less space. They work well and are a kind of velvet/felted material that can be a little ‘clingy', but they dry you okay and dry out very quickly. I've asked the missus to see if she can run me up a pair of underpants from the same stuff! ...continued.
On your mind | 15
in the bird sanctuary in Conway. When we awoke the next day we'd been surrounded by a 5 km race meeting complete with barriers, megaphones and a load of ladies all in lycra. It put me off my cornflakes! Regards, Ian.
By the way, we were camping in Anglesey (UK) last week, soaking up the good weather. The final night we camped in the beautiful carpark
On the Level!
The most accurate method to find out how much LPG you have is to weigh the bottle. But this means removing it, which can be a bit of a hassle, plus you also have to know what the bottle weighs full and empty. Pressure gauges only tell you when the bottle is empty, the magnetic temperature strips aren't very reliable and pouring hot water down the side of the bottle is messy and awkward. There are also ultrasonic testers like the Truma Level Check or Gaslock, but both are pretty expensive. The next convenient and not too expensive
Ian, there are people who would pay good money to wake up surrounded by ladies in lycra so I don’t know what you’re complaining about (if in fact you are)! Re the towels, what a good idea. We have some of those ‘clingy’ things as hand towels and I do find the feel a bit odd, but for the space saving they must be worth a go. Thanks!
method is to use a non-contact infrared thermometer. These are point-and-shoot, with a laser beam spot to show where the temperature is being measured. You are not looking for an absolutely accurate temperature reading, hence a cheap one should do the job. Just run the laser point slowly down the side of the bottle until you find the point where there is a sudden change in the temperature reading and this will be the liquid level. Of course, the bottle has to be in use for this to work. Infrared thermometers can be purchased for as little as $10 and can be used wherever you might want to know the surface temperature, like your fridge, ice box or even your vehicle’s radiator. Cheers, Rob. Thanks Rob, that’s an interesting solution, especially as the device has many other potential uses. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who uses this type of thermometer and learn what else you use it for. Do tell!
16 | On your mind
Troll Spray Just downloaded iMotorhome and read your editorial. I saved the attached image from a forum somewhere; thought it might put a smile back on your face after your recent experience. Cheers, Gary. Perfect Gary, thanks! Just can’t seem to find any down at the supermarket or hardware store. I’ll just check eBay…
Going for Gold! It was great to meet you and Mrs iMotorhome at the Bathurst rally. I have opened up your latest newsletter and have just read your editorial. Sorry to hear about your bad experience with trolls when you were trying to achieve a good outcome for the community. I am still laughing over the policeman miming "Shake it Off". Please don't stop writing editorials as they are "gold" too! Perhaps you just need to ride your bike longer for ongoing inspiration. Best wishes, Di.
Great to meet you too, Di. Mrs iM and I thoroughly enjoy meeting readers as it makes the business seem all the more ‘real’ and worthwhile. Thanks also for your kind words and support. I have to admit I was rattled for a couple of days, but I’ve also been heartened by the support of friends and neighbours, so all good. Pleased you like the video (I’ve watched it at least a dozen times and it still cracks me up) and no danger of stopping the editorials any time soon. Gotta dash though, time for a ride again…
18 | News
IMOTORHOME GET TOGETHER NEARLY FULL!
fter just a month of advertising there are only a couple of slots left for the iMotorhome ‘Vans From Snowy River’ get together in Dalgety at the end of October. If you want to join us you’ll need to be quick! See the ad on page 7 for full details.
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News | 19
RV FLOOR MATS
ancy a tough, hardwearing and fun door mat for your campervan or motorhome? Southern Spirit Campervans have this beauty, imported from Germany, and it can be yours for just $19.95 if you pick it up from their Brisbane showroom. Otherwise, add $9.95 for postage to anywhere in Australia. Visit their online shop HERE or call 0401 797 179 to order.
Join us for our 10th Festival! 1 & 2 October 2016 Featuring... • Camp oven cooking • Bush Poetry • Market stalls • Damper throwing
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Book your caravan site and tickets now!
• Live entertainment and demonstrations • Kids entertainment And much more! Headline Performer
Tickets available at the gate or online at acof.com.au
20 | News
HORIZON MOTORHOMES TURNS 21!
orizon Motorhomes is celebrating its 21st anniversary! The family owned and operated business, based in Ballina on the NSW Far North Coast, was founded in 1995 by present-day CEO Clayton Kearney, his mother Shirley and late stepfather Ron Hughes. Clayton said that in 1995, noticing a gap in the industry, they decided to develop Horizon’s first motorhome conversions – a Mazda bus and a Toyota Coaster. The company has successfully grown from there to become Australia’s sole exclusive producer of quality van-conversion motorhomes. “We started fitting out some second hand buses as motorhomes and they were selling so well that we saw the need for a brand,” Clayton added. The first ‘branded’ Horizon Motorhome was the ‘Wattle’. Horizon’s diverse range now consists of eight vehicles: the Melaleuca, Casuarina, Banksia, Banksia +2, Wattle, Acacia, Waratah and Grevillea. In 2015, Horizon Motorhomes was recognised by the NSW Caravan and Camping Industry Association as Manufacturer of the Year. “We were so grateful to be recognised for all the hard work and determination we’ve put in to our business over the past two decades. It has certainly paid off and led us to our success today,” Clayton said.
In 2015 the company also celebrated the sale of the 500th Horizon motorhome, a significant milestone. “That was also such a proud moment for our business. We take great pride in every aspect, from design and build to sales and after-sales service of every Horizon Motorhome. I still get a kick when I see a Horizon Motorhome travelling along the road,” Clayton enthused. All Horizon Motorhomes are designed and hand-built at its factory in Ballina, from the shell up, using Mercedes Benz Sprinters and Fiat Ducatos as base vehicles. “Our motorhomes are built by a team of 15 passionate craftsmen with specialised skills ranging from electricians to cabinet makers. We also offer a personalised ‘tailored to suit’ service. In every Horizon Motorhome model there is a huge number of add-on features and variations available to suit each customer’s personal taste. The Horizon Motorhomes range is constantly evolving and we are continually improving our product to suit lifestyle demands. This industry is a lot of fun for me: designing the vans and coming up with new ideas,” Clayton concluded. Horizon Motorhomes are sold exclusively by Ballina Campervan and Motorhome Centre (BCMC). For more information click here or phone (02) 6681 1555.
News | 21
BRISBANE SHOW SUCCESS Show Manager, Jason Plant, said at close of business on Sunday 12 June that with just one day to go the show had experienced strong crowds, up 9 per cent on last year’s attendance. “Even without the Queen’s Birthday public holiday that we’ve enjoyed in previous years, our exhibitors recorded bumper sales, some even experiencing record years,” he said.
Ving is proving a popular holiday pursuit for South East Queenslanders, with more than 50,000 attending the 48th annual Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow held from 8-13 June at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
Well over $50 million in sales were recorded over the course of the show, including an estimate of more than 900 caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes and other recreational vehicles sold.
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22 | News
BOAT-BIKE TOUR SPECIALS
or those contemplating or undertaking a European motorhoming holiday this year, niche operator Boat-Bike Tours in Holland is offering a range of last minute specials on its unique adventures. Operating across Europe and as far east as Turkey, the company combines daytime guided cycling tours with overnight accommodation, meals and transport on barges, boats or ships to produce a truly memorable holiday. Small groups and personal service are the key. To find out more about the late specials click here, or to view the full range of tours and find out more about Boat-Bike Tours’ offering, click here.
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Take Luxury with you
Paradise are passionate about producing Australiaâ€™s best motorhomes From the moment you step into our spacious interiors, open one of our smooth automatic locking drawers and take in the aroma of the genuine high quality leather seating it will become clear that touring in a Paradise will give you the unrivalled freedom and comfort you deserve. Look beneath the surface to find the unique engineering and safety features that will put your mind at ease while travelling. Features such as the rollover bar, high strength alloy frame, composite body, pull-tested cabinetry, appliances and locks will become your priority once you realise they are missing from other mainstream construction methods.
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24 | News
NZMCA JOINS THE CLUBS
he New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) has become an Associate Member of Clubs New Zealand. It means from 1 July members can access the organisation’s 300-plus clubs – which include chartered clubs, community clubs, cosmopolitan clubs, workingmen's clubs, sports clubs and RSAs – from Whangaroa to Bluff. Many of the locations already offer low-cost parking sites to members in CSC vehicles and hopefully this initiative will open up more opportunities for the two organisations to work together. To take advantage of this terrific new benefit all NZMCA members need to do is show your membership card on entry. Those members
already members of Clubs New Zealand in their own right, should continue using their Clubs New Zealand card. To find out which clubs belong to Clubs New Zealand, click here. Clubs New Zealand also has an app for Apple iOS and Android devices to help locate member clubs across the country. To download visit the App Store or GooglePlay store and look for Clubs NZ Locator.
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26 | News
BREXIT TURMOIL ESCAPE?
ccording to a report in Caravanning News, the peak body for Australia's caravan industry believes Britain's decision to quit the European Union will have little effect Down Under. "In the short term, we wouldn't expect any dramatic impacts to the sale prices of Europeanbuilt RVs here in Australia," Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont said. But the falling value of the pound in the wake of Brexit is already hitting many Aussie grey nomads who rely on pensions and other assets in the UK to boost their income. Caravanner Ben Shardlow told us he would be losing several hundred dollars a month and this would seriously reduce his travels and spending power. continued...
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News | 27 ...continued.
Around 30 per cent of RVs registered in Australia, including second-hand caravans, are primarily imported from the UK, Europe, China and the US. Analysts have warned that Australia will not be immune to the Brexit fallout, predicting periods of uncertainty and instability. But Mr Lamont said the Euro was remaining “relatively stable” with the Aussie dollar.
“Their imports and exports account for only a small percentage. At most, a very slight slowdown would be conceivable in terms of manufacturing. For any Australian RV manufacturers importing from the UK, the drop in value of the British pound to the Australian dollar may provide increased value,” Mr Lamont said.
“It is important to note that although the UK has voted to leave the EU, no changes in policy regarding trade or manufacturing have occurred, so it is business as usual for the RV sector in Europe.” German caravan industry association CIVD had stated that any UK exit from the EU would have a relatively low impact on the European markets.
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.
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28 | News
undaberg Sugar is continuing its battle against illegal campers. In the latest clampdown, a young camper has been fined $150 at Gladstone Magistrates Court for trespassing on the company's land at Yandaran, north of Bundaberg. The court heard that Bundaberg Sugar security officers gave him 15 minutes to leave after discovering him cooking sausages at his illegal campsite. He failed to comply and was eventually escorted from the land. The 20-year-old man had driven past two signs warning trespassers they would be prosecuted, the court was told. He had also driven around two large rocks placed on the track as obstacles. Dozens of illegal campers, including many Rvers, who ignored No Camping signs were evicted from the sugar company's land at nearby Norval Park beach in March after terrified turtle researchers were abused and attacked by drunken and drug-affected campers. One of the researchers suffered an
injured shoulder in the assault which happened in the early hours during the prime turtle nesting season. "They were just off their heads. We had been collecting important turtle data during the turtle laying and hatchling seasons for the past nine years but had never experienced anything like this. They just went berserk for no apparent reason. We were told later that drug dealing had become rife among the dunes.â€? From caravanningnews.com
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iMotorhome Marketplace | 31
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32 | iMotorhome Marketplace
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34 | Feature
FREEDOM OF CHOICE!
roundup for June, 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.
Broome Sweeping Clean? Over the years Broome has not enjoyed the best of reputations for RV Friendliness, but with the mining boom gone and the tourism boom still growing maybe they are seeing the light. Well at least we would hope so, as per this recent article.
“A newly opened 48-hour rest area in Central Queensland is benefiting a caravan park 100 km away. Mount Morgan's Silver Wattle Caravan Park has already welcomed dozens of travellers from Queensland Heritage Park in Biloela, which is offering caravans and other RVs powered pitches for $15 a night. It provides hot showers, toilets, dump point and water top-ups. The park has a large array of heritage displays celebrating Australia's rich heritage and pioneering spirit. A Silver Wattle spokesperson said the new camping facilities at Biloela had impressed everyone who stayed there. The two parks have now agreed to exchange each other's brochures, pointing out that “a little cross-promotion never hurts”.
Spreading the Love We have always maintained that if you attract more RVers into an area then everybody benefits, not just the fuel station, butcher or baker. If we don't visit an area then nobody benefits. We picked up this small story from Caravanning News June issue which dramatically demonstrates the benefits of RV tourism even when you are 100 km away:
To Be or Not To Be… Will they or won't they become RV Friendly? That is a question being asked across the country as the industry booms. This story is just one example.
Feature | 35
18 June – The great Aussie tradition from the time of first settlement of being able to camp is sometimes under threat from over-government and-over regulation. Here is just one example of what we mean.
With over 580,000 registered RVs on the roads of Australia and accommodation providers not growing at the same rate, this story is interesting. There need to be alternatives to traditional accommodation providers in this booming market, but we suspect this is going to be a long, long process to get Governments to change their minds.
Concerns Across the Ditch Australia and New Zealand are very similar, particularly with the boom in RV tourism. This story from New Zealand demonstrates the type of growth being experienced on both sides of the Tasman, but there is always a “but”. “Freedom camping remains an issue of concern to holiday parks, Mr Brown said,” which raises the question of when will the industry realise that freedom camping has and always will be an integral part of the mix in RV tourism?
Yeppoon Regroups? The Yeppoon and District show Society has always allowed camping, but is closing it doors, temporarily we hope, while “paperwork” is sorted out. You can read all about it on their Facebook page .
Friendly Newcastle? Newcastle Council is considering becoming RV Friendly. Read about it here!
36 | Day Test: Campino Camper
Campino is a famous German lolly, and makes a sweet name for this excellent all-new campervanâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Day Test | 37
Despite entry level pricing the Campino looks good and is well equipped. The roof is Southern Spirit Campervans’ own design and includes 25 mm insulation, while the Porta Potti and grey water tank provide selfcontainment at no extra cost.
espite the market potential there are really only a couple of major players in the Australian campervan market: Frontline, which sits around the entry level and has the lion’s share of the campervan business, plus Trakka at the premium end. Discoverer and Sunliner are in there too, while Winnebago is a recent arrival, but it’s safe to say that apart from Trakka’s upmarket (and appropriately priced) Trakkadu, there’s little innovation or that’s interesting in lower priced campervans. Until now… Southern Spirit Campervans is Brisbanebased and since inception has converted privately owned vans into custom campers and motorhomes. Run by German-Italian husband and wife team Olli and Pia (Pia writes our TechTalk column), the business has a loyal following and turns out quality conversions from its small workshop. Custom vehicles aside, Pia also runs a thriving online shop selling quality RV accessories, many from the well know German manufacturer Reimo.
The Campino is their first foray into a smallrun production vehicle; the result of a perceived market opening for an innovative, well thought-out and well built campervan that won’t break the bank. On the Campino’s new website it says Australian built, German engineered, Italian designed and Japanese reliability. I think they’re on to something…
o keep the price down and ensure ready acceptance, Toyota’s venerable HiAce has been chosen as the launch vehicle, although a VW T6 version is also under development. In the case of the test vehicle, which was the first production vehicle and effectively a ‘conforming prototype,’ a used HiAce was chosen. Production Campinos will obviously use a new HiAce – it’s the LWB model – and pricing starts at a highly competitive $61,990 drive-away for a 2.7 L petrol with a 5-speed manual gearbox. I say highly competitive because the Campino has a high level of standard equipment, including
38 | Day Test
Next to the external mains power inlet is this weatherproof box that accepts leads from an external TV aerial as well as satellite or cable. There’s a matching outlet inside, plus a TV power socket. You just need to add the television and aerial and you’re in business.
a grey water tank and Porta Potti, making it eligible for self-contained status straight out of the showroom. If you’re quick you can snap up the test Campino – a late 2012 HiAce petrol auto with 63,000 km – for $54,500. Before moving on to the conversion itself, a few words about Toyota’s HiAce. Produced by the millions it’s the quintessential box on wheels. A delivery van first and foremost that’s been adapted to a wide range of other uses, it’s priorities are to maximise load space and reliability. In those regards it excels for its size, and it’s generally accepted in the motoring world that like all Toyota’s, the HiAce is ‘bulletproof’. Maximising load space, however, has lead to compromises from an
occupant viewpoint: You sit over the front axle and engine, so ride quality and handling aren’t optimal, while the flat nose provides marginal frontal crash protection. Over the years Toyota has upgraded the cab and it’s quite well appointed now and surprisingly comfortable. But the HiAce is what it is – and as long as you realise that it’s fine.
he biggest surprise wasn’t how the HiAce drove, but rather, how quiet the camper conversion was. There wasn’t a squeak or rattle throughout the day, other than occasional harmonics between the engine and metho stove at idle. In all honesty I can’t remember the last time – if ever – I’ve driven a
Day Test | 39
The Campino is their first foray into a small-run production vehicle; the result of a perceived market opening for an innovative, well thought out and well built campervan that wonâ€™t break the bank. vehicle so quiet. It was truly impressive and, I think, an indication of just how well designed and built the Camino is. Underway the 2.7-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine is reasonably refined and mated well to the 4-speed automatic transmission, which on brand new models now has 6
speeds. For the new model Toyota quotes a combined fuel figure of 9.8 L/100 km (28.8 mpg) and a county usage rate of 8.3 L/100 km (34 mpg): impressive for a petrol-powered box on wheels! Standard equipment on new models includes dual front air bags, ABS, brake
assist and electronic stability control; an impressive radio/ CD system with voice recognition, Bluetooth phone connection and steeringwheel controls; cruise control, cab airconditioning, electric windows and side mirrors; power steering, remote central locking, and a reversing camera with its
40 | Day Test Below: The U-shaped lounge, with removable centre cushion and board, provides extra seating and gives the Campino’s interior a cosier feel. Bottom: The table is a good size and has a decent range of adjustment, though not vertically.
camera in the internal rear-view mirror. It’s also worth noting the cab can seat three, but the centre seat has a low-height back and lap-only seat belt. The good news is this seat’s back folds forward and becomes a useful centre console, complete with cup holders and a mini desk. What the HiAce lacks in charisma and finesse it makes up for in sheer practicality and reliability. You could buy one and do laps of Australia for years, being pretty confident it wouldn’t need anything more than scheduled servicing. When it comes to ultimate reliability, nobody beats the Japanese.
he HiAce’s drawback as a camper conversion is the lack of a walk-through cab. What it does allow, however, is considerable kitchen and living space when coupled with clever design. And clever design is what the Campino has in spades.
Day Test | 41
As there are only so many ways you can arrange things inside a rectangular box, the actual layout isnâ€™t really new.
42 | Day Test
Above: While the HiAce precludes a walk-through cab it does provide room for a large L-shaped kitchen. Note the light on a flexible arm over the cooker, which can also be bent to shine over the outdoor table. Right: While the cooker unit doesn’t hinge and swing outside like some, the cooker is removable and the drop-down table makes a handy place for it. Note the generous drawer space that’s also easily reached from inside or out. It’s fair to say entry-level campervan interior design has changed little over the last few decades. Even the materials used seem to be largely the same, but the Campino changes all that. Because of their European heritage and close Euro RV business connections, Olli and Pia have approached the Campino’s design from a fresh perspective – and it shows. As there are only so many ways you can arrange things inside a rectangular box, the actual layout isn’t really new. There’s an L-shaped kitchen that runs across the vehicle, behind the cabs seats, then returns towards the rear, down the driver’s side. There are also two single beds that can be made into a large double/queen and all that
Day Test | 43
sits beneath a traditional pop-top roof. Hardly cutting edge on face value you might think, but that’s where you’d be wrong. If the Devil is in the detail, this time he’s wearing a halo and is a fellow you really want to know.
tarting from the roof down, here are the things that set the Campino apart. The pop-top is their own deign and strong enough to walk on. It also has 25 mm of insulation and a 3 mm easy-clean ceiling. It’s gutters are designed to channel rain away from the side door while its skirt has zippered and screened side windows (a third window is optional). The roof is held down by simple webbing straps that loop through sprung buckles and hold the roof securely in place when travelling. If you like, a fixed hi-top roof is optionally available. While flush glass windows on both sides add a streamlined look, security insect screens have been added to the smallish sliding windows for increased ventilation. A three-metre Dometic awning is also standard and most thoughtfully, the winder handle has beed shortened just enough to remain easily useable, but store conveniently in the gap between the entry step and floor.
Top: The roof skirt has two screened windows standard and a third optionally available. Above: Headroom is excellent all the way through, while full roof insulation and touch operated LEDs that are also dimmable are excellent inclusions. The roof is nicely weighted for manual operation, but powered Airlifters are an option too.
44 | Day Test
The Campino is LPG-free and uses an Origo portable metho stove, so there’s no gas locker. However, a cold water shower at the rear is standard and an optional small electric hot water system for it and the kitchen sink can be ordered. Fresh water is 52 L and grey is 40 L, the latter complete with an Odour Stop S to prevent smells coming back up through the sink. The fresh tank also has a small drain valve so you can empty or flush your potable water if desired. Very thoughtful. A 120 W solar panel is optional, but as the Campino comes pre-wired, including the solar regulator, it’s a low-cost extra at $480. Speaking of power, a sizeable 120 amp hour AGM deep-cycle house battery is standard and all wiring is heavy duty 6 mm, while dual 100 amp-hour house batteries Top: The Origo portable metho-burning stove runs cooler than gas and so cooks slower, but keeps the Campino LPG free. I’d carry a portable canister-style gas cooker as well. Right: The drop-down external table has a height adjustable leg to compensate for uneven ground. Note the 12 V socket in the top corner so you can run accessories outdoors too.
Day Test | 45 can be ordered (and accommodated in the standard battery box). TV is optional, but again the van comes prewired and includes an weatherproof external connector for both TV and satellite/cable aerial leads, plus an internal power socket and aerial points. Still on power, an impressive integrated and flushfitting Votronic monitoring and operations panel is fitted. German (of course), it’s a simple, elegant and high tech device that provides accurate voltage readouts for the house and vehicle batteries, plus percentage readouts for the fresh and grey water tanks. Best of all it’s unaffected by incline, so water readings are always accurate. Imagine that! Lighting is 12 V LED, of course. In the ceiling are two touch-operated units and there’s an swivelling LED strip next to the double 240 V outlets above the kitchen bench, plus a pair of small reading lights by the bedheads. Cleverly, there are two small, swivellable spot lights in the tailgate. These act as outdoor lighting when its raised or internal lighting if you order the optional tailgate tent. There’s also an LED light on a flexible arm behind the passenger seat that can illuminate the cooker or be positioned to shine over the outdoor table (which I’ll come to shortly).
Above: In keeping with campervans of this size the single beds are a bit narrow on their own, so making up what is basically a queen sized bed at night would probably be the norm. Below: The Vortronic control panel is simple, unobtrusive and accurate. Note readouts for the house and vehicle batteries.
46 | Day Test
Clockwise from top left: The Porta Potti can be relocated to this front cupboard for inside use, night or day; The kitchen’s corner cupboard is cavernous and also home to the grey water tank and even a small garbage bin; The table has a hinged section underneath that folds out when removed from the pole to become the bed’s main centre board. It’s strong, sturdy and well made, like the rest of the Campino.
y now you should have the idea this is anything but a poverty pack campervan despite its entry-level price tag. In the same way a lot of thought went into the standard inclusions, a lot of time and effort also went into making the layout practical and liveable. Unlike traditional campers and their particleboard cabinetry, the Campino uses lightweight and high-strength Euro-sourced ply, plus quality German Haefele and Hettichbrand hardware and real laminate bench and tabletop surfaces. The L-shaped kitchen has a stack of four drawers of varying depths beneath the cooker and these are also easily
Day Test | 47
Above: There are motorhomes costing two and three times as much that have smaller kitchens. Right: Storage is abundant, with these drawers as well as bulk storage available under the kerb-side bed. reached from outside. The cooker is portable and so can be used outside if desired. To this end a fold-down table with height adjustable leg hinges off the kitchen end panel. It also makes a handy place for drinks and nibbles come Sundowners! In the corner of the kitchenâ€™s L is a double-hinged door that reveals quite cavernous storage, while next to it and beneath the round sink (with folding tap and glass lid) is the 80-litre Waeco 12 V compressor fridge. The kitchen bench doesnâ€™t just cut off where it joins the driverâ€™s side bed, it curves around to provide valuable over-bed-end work space, which is mimicked by a second shelf below. The latter makes an ideal place to put phones/iPads/etc for after-hours charging from the nearby 12 V sockets and 5 V USB outlets.
48 | Day Test At the rear a zippered insect screen is standard, while the Porta Potti has two ‘homes’: one in the driver's side rear corner (handy for outdoor or tailgate-tent use) and the other in a cupboard under the front end of the bed – also on the driver’s side – for in-vehicle use. This front potty cupboard can also be used for general storage, plus there’s another pair of drawers that open opposite it, across the aisle, from under the forward end of the kerb-side bed. That same bed has considerable lengthways storage underneath, in addition to which the end panel at the back, which also holds the shower hose and nozzle, can be removed for carrying extralong items. The lounge/bed is the final and perhaps most obvious innovation. In normal use it’s U-shaped across the rear, but the centre section is removable to provide a long aisle for loading a bike or whatever, or just easy
access via the tailgate. With the centre section (seat cushion and base board) removed you discover a hinged cupboard door at floor level that forms a front panel when it’s in place. It stops things in the boot from sliding into the aisle (and vice versa). With the aisle open it simply hinges around and closes off the Port Potti from internal view. Very clever! Dining is on a good-sized table with a basic chrome pole mount that provides a reasonable degree of positioning choices but no height option. A Lagun table is available and for $165 would be a good choice, especially as when the standard pole is removed to make up the bed it leaves a big fixture on the side of the bed that could do some damage if bumped in to. This is perhaps the most obvious design/price compromise and I think it does the Campino no favours.
The shower’s detachable hose has a high quality brass connector that should last years, plus there’s a water pump toggle switch alongside. The nozzle has a trigger too, and while cold water is standard a small hot water system is available.
Day Test | 49 As mentioned, you have the choice of single beds or a double/queen. To make up the latter you need to remove the table and fill the aisle with bed boards. Cleverly, this mostly comprises the dining table, which has a piano-hinged section that folds away underneath during normal use. Combined with the small centre board and cushion that make up the U-shaped dinette, it's all you need for the bed conversion (plus the lounge bolster cushions to fill it in, of course). The beds are slightly different lengths – 1.75 m and 1.85 m – with the longer one on the kerb side. I found even the long one too short for my 185 cm frame, but a flip-up extension is now optionally available that would do the trick.
What I Think
ou don’t need to have been reading between the lines to realise I think the Campino is an excellent campervan, entry level or not. The quality of workmanship and engineering appears first class, while the thoughtfulness that has gone into it is apparent. Olli and Pia travelled Australia in a campervan for quite some time before starting their business and the experience shows. If you’re looking for a vehicle that can be a daily driver as well as a holiday escape machine and want one that’s innovative, modern and very well made, take a long, close look at the Campino. It even comes with a choice of interior colour schemes, plus you can build and price your Campino on the website, then email yourself the quote. How sweet is that?
The rear insect screen is another excellent standard inclusion that adds to the Campino’s practicality. A tailgate tent is optional but will likely prove popular, providing invaluable living space but storing away in a compact bag under the bed.
50 | Day Test
Specs GENERAL Make
Southern Spirit Camerpvans
Toyota HiAce LWB
2.7 L VVT-i 4-cylinder petrol
118 kW @ 5200 rpm
243 Nm @ 4000 rpm
ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, Airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
2095 kg – Fresh/Grey/Fuel tanks full
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
1400 kg max
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
4.65 m (15’ 3”)
1.70 m (5’ 7”)
2.01 m (6’ 7”)
1.35 m/1.95 m (4’ 4”/6’ 4”) Roof down/up
Single Bed - driver’s side
1.78 m x 0.52 m (5’ 10” x 1’ 9”)
Single Bed - kerb side
1.85 m x 0.55 m (6’ 1” x 1’ 10”)
Converted to double
1.85 m (max) x 1.56 m (6’ 1” x 5’ 1”)
Day Test | 51
Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Out
Origo OH3000 portable spirit stove
Dometic round with fold-down flick mixer, glass lid
Waeco 80 L compressor
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
2 x 12 V, 2 x USB
Hot Water System
Porta Potti Qube 335
External – cold (hot optional)
1x 120 AH AGM
10 L carry tank
As Tested – on used HiAce
Warranty – Vehicle
3 yrs/100,000 km
Warranty – Conversion
3 yrs build/appliances as per manufacturer
Pros • • • • • • • •
Price Quality workmanship Standard inclusions Self-contained Layout Practicality Practical options Payload
• Bed length • Table support intrusion
Click for Southern Spirit Google Maps Campervans 103 Delta St, Gebung. Brisbane. Qld. 4034 T: 07 3865 8135 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: explorermotorhomes.com.au
52 | Project Polly
Winter of Discontent? Is this the winter of our discontent, made inglorious by faltering systems?
Project Polly | 53
The gas cylinder is leaking around the valve; something I suspect has been developing for some time. Unfortunately, the cylinder is an odd size and a standard 5 kg unit won’t fit Polly’s tight locker. In a late Stop Press-style development, Apollo is sending a replacement so we should be back in business soon.
t’s far from poetic that the combination of an especially hectic work schedule, an uncooperative work roster for Mrs iM, wild weather and some minor but annoying issues have kept Polly cooling her heels on the driveway for weeks. It’s even more frustrating now we have the Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater to keep us warm inside. But soon…
found the tap for $69.95 plus $19.95 postage – so $89.80 all-up. Being an occasionallycanny Scott I then searched eBay and found the same thing for around $82 delivered. One final general Google search revealed the same unit at caravanrvcamping.com.au for $49 plus $9 postage! My inner Robertson rejoiced and once again I bowed down to the power of the internet and the value of making an effort. The two main things keeping her home have If only they would come and install it for that been the leaking kitchen tap and a leaking gas price too… cylinder. Here’s what’s happening… The gas cylinder is a little more frustrating, The tap is a standard Camec mixer with primarily because the gas locker Apollo fitted 220 mm swivel spout. Replacing it should doesn’t appear to take a standard sized be straightforward, although it does involve cylinder. Polly has a 5 kg cylinder, but it’s a removing the fridge. Hopefully there will be tight fit that makes slight contact with the sufficient wiring length to let me move it out of locker sides when ‘persuading’ it into place. the way enough to access the tap from below, A standard replacement 5 kg is 15 mm bigger which from memory will be a gymnastic feat in in circumference and therefore a no-go. As I its own right. I went on Camec’s website and type I’m awaiting a response from Apollo as
54 | Project Polly
A princess deserves her beauty sleep! HRH Mrs iMotorhome recently used Polly on the driveway after an overnight flight, while a tradie did some work in the house. With the Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater set to low to keep the winter chill off she slept like royalty, aided in no small part by her Duvalay. I do recall the odd size being mentioned at purchase time. Hopefully they have a stock of them somewhere, and not just in Brisbane! Finally, Polly came into her own recently despite her current ‘driveway ornament’ status. Mrs iM returned overnight from Tokyo and we were due to have someone in later that day doing some work on the house. Rather than hop into bed at 11 am, only to be woken at 12 or so by the tradesperson, she hopped into Polly. But first I cranked up the Webasto diesel heater for 30 minutes to take the chill off while we had a late breakfast, then turned it down to 20ºC for the duration. Mrs iM tucked into her Duvalay and reported, “The best sleep I’ve had in years after on overnight flight like that”, surfacing close to 3:00 pm. She’d been oblivious to the tradie's arrival and departure, and undisturbed by the inevitable phone calls that came though the day. A win-
win situation all ‘round it appears, and a whole new use for Polly! Perhaps this winter isn’t so ‘discontenting’ after all?
Project Polly | 55
The two main things keeping her (Polly) home have been the leaking kitchen tap and a leaking gas cylinder.
56 | Travel: Trans Africa
Trans-Africa Expedition! A genuine once-in-a-lifetime adventure not for the faint hearted… by Collyn Rivers This article records the known last drive across Africa (via its centre) and back believed to have been possible. Throughout it, country after country politically exploded behind us. The full route across the Sahara was closed on the 28th April 1961. Our exit from it was that same night. It never re-opened.
How the trip began
y first experience off-road was neither planned nor auspicious. Whilst serving as a ground radar engineer in the Royal Air Force, returning from leave I overcooked a corner in my three-wheeler Morgan and revolved backward for some 100 yards through a previously placed Bedfordshire turnip field. Eight years later I felt my next offroader would be better planned – but going unintentionally backwards through anything proved the least of the problems.
It more or less started whilst working for de Havilland. I mainly designed power supplies, but also a unit that vibrated electronic components to simulate various forces encountered by guided missiles. I later joined Vauxhall/Bedford Research and used that background to attempt to replicate the effect of corrugations, etc, under controlled conditions. The concept proved workable but hindered by little being known about Africa’s roads and tracks (where Bedford sought to increase truck sales). It was 1958 and I suggested I head off and do it, arguing (only too correctly) that it was about the last time it would be politically feasible to do so. The only-too-astute department head spotted my less-than altruistic motives in a millisecond, but somehow liberated a totally unused and very rare Bedford QLR 4×4 truck for a nominal amount. He also assisted by backing a request that Mobil Oil helped
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Previous page: Anthony (L), Collyn and Rex. Above: Mobil supplied fuel for the journey right across Africa. The Bedford could carry 1000 litres, enough for a safe 3500 kms travel. politically and provide fuel and oil throughout. The British Army supplied (then) experimental dehydrated food. I persuaded my longterm friend Anthony Fleming to join me. Anthony was an ex-de Havilland engineering apprentice but, following a stint as a mica miner was and despite being only 24, a police inspector in Mombasa, Kenya. Also with us, initially, was Rex Yates, another ex-de Havilland trade apprentice. Little did we expect ours to be the very last vehicle to cross Africa via its centre. Now, 56 years later, it is still politically impossible to replicate the journey.
The QL Bedford
he QL Bedford was designed as a versatile off-road military vehicle able to carry three tonnes virtually anywhere. The chassis was ‘powered’ by a 3.5-litre Chevrolet petrol engine designed in the early 1930s. Whilst fully laden QLs made overladen oxdrawn timber wagons seem like turbo Porches, they had an extraordinarily low bottom gear ratio of 104:1. Even a minor gradient would
slow one to walking pace but, given enough time, a QL could virtually climb the side of a house. The rarely attained top speed was a governed 50 km/h. Mine was the rare QLR version. It was built in early 1940 as an emergency aircraft runway control centre, but never used. It had a massive centre-mounted winch and a 12 volt, 600 amp dynamo as big as a garbage bin. Both, plus a big air compressor and front and rear axles, were driven by various power shafts from a huge centre mounted transfer box. It had a superbly made heat-insulated metal coach body that we converted to crude working/ living quarters. The QLR originally had two 180 litre fuel tanks. We added 3 more the same size, plus 5 x 20 litre jerry cans. The resultant 1000 litres (about 700 kg) provided a safe 3500 km range – more than enough to cross Europe without refuelling. We also carried 700 litres of water, weighing another 700 kg. Cooking was via a couple of paraffin-fuelled Tilley pressure stoves. and internal lighting was 12 volt electric.
58 | Travel
Africa is immense: The Sahara Desert alone is bigger than mainland USA. Despite not reaching the goal of Cape Town in South Africa the journey was still epic. On the return trip the truck was the last vehicle to cross the Sahara and the route has been closed for political reasons ever since.
he planned route was through Europe to Gibraltar, across to Tangiers and along the North African coast to Algiers. From there it was south via the Atlas Mountains, across the Sahara to Kano (Nigeria) and then south east to Maiduguri. We then intended to travel through French Equatorial Africa, the Belgian Congo, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, and finally into South Africa. In the end we had to turn around at the South African border because of virtually impossible visa requirements. The return route was via Northern Rhodesia, across to Tanganyika’s Dar es Salaam and then north to Mombasa on Kenya’s East Coast. From there towards the Sudanese border, then backtrack to cross Africa east-towest just north of the equator, on to Kano and then back across the Sahara. Our biggest problems were political – not mechanical, geographic (or spinning backwards). There was an ongoing war in Algeria through which we had no choice but to travel. There were serious independence
struggles in the Belgian Congo and uprisings in Rhodesia. The Mau Mau were only too active in Kenya and there were minor skirmishes in the French and British Cameroons. But we were in our twenties back then – and thus still immortal. We worried mostly about whether the food could be made edible (it was). We also worried if Anthony’s reasonable and my less-so French would be as despised in the Frenchspeaking parts of Africa as mine was only too demonstrably in Paris (and in 2014 proved it still was!).
ur only route into the Sahara was through Algeria, a country the French had long occupied. The French Army and Foreign Legion were in ongoing conflict with the Fellagha (Algerian freedom fighters). Whilst fighting had escalated we had no choice but to cajole bureaucrats to let us drive through ‘their’ war. Hugely assisted by Mobil Oil’s political clout, we were eventually permitted conditional approval on our driving in Algeria, but only between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm (due
Travel | 59
While the Sahara is renowned for its vast sand dunes the majority is stony desert. In the days before GPS, navigation was basic and often perilous, with nothing more than occasional marker posts pointing in the general direction. to the curfew), and to stay within police or army compounds at all other times. Also conditional was travel in army convoys when ordered, but the authorities had less than considered a 1932-designed 3.5 litre petrol engine pulling 7 tonnes over the Atlas mountains – the only route south and vital to both sides. A short way up the first of innumerable mountain passes, with cries of “Merde alors – le camion anglais est un ^&%$*&% escargot!” (loosely translatable as: ‘Odure! the truck of England is a f&%$*&% snail’) the French Foreign Legion left us to our fate. They did however invite us to dine in their officers’ mess, in their forecast improbable event that we made it.
memorable dinners with French Foreign Legion officers. We needed to stay for a few days in a small semi-safe town to pull the cylinder head off to grind in the exhaust valves and their seatings, which turned out to become an ongoing chore. We eventually reached the Saharan oasis of Ghardaia without undue incident. There, we had the QLR inspected and permits for solo desert travel and Saharan driving permit – for designated vehicle and drivers – validated.
ith formalities cleared we entered the Sahara, the largest desert in the world. Few realise its size: it is larger than the whole of mainland USA! Most is stony A day and a half crossing 150 km of Fellagha- desert but has spectacular gorges and a high populated mountains at 3-5 km/h on the up mountain range – the Hoggar – near its centre. bits, with trigger-happy 18-year old French There are areas of massive dunes and a difficult conscripts in machine-gun concrete bunkers 700 kilometre stretch of soft sand on the every kilometre or so is not an experience we’d southern part. willingly repeat. We heard gunfire but were The first partial crossing of the Sahara – to never attacked by the Fellagha, who won and Tamanrasset, about 2500 km south of Algiers gained independence not long after. and 60 per cent across – was by caterpillarWe made it safely each night and had tracked Citroens in 1922. To quote the leader,
60 | Travel
Tyre pressures required regular adjustment to suit the varying conditions, while keeping hydrated for people and vehicle alike was always a challenge. Note the old oil can mounted below the windscreen. Connected by hose to the radiator cap it captured water otherwise lost when the coolant reached excessive temperatures. “Apre des difficultes sans nombre” – after difficulties without number.
like patches kilometres across that are barely passable except by a rubber caterpillar-tracked vehicle. The art, as we learned mostly on the Apart for rare explorers, complete crossings return trip, is to detour around these soft areas only began to take place after WW2. It – rather than attempting to go through them. later became bituminised all the way to As this may require deviating from the route by Tamanrasset, but the road was destroyed by 50 km or more to hopefully find firmer going, land mines in around 2010. Apart from its huge ultra-careful navigation is essential. size it is not unlike Australia’s Simpson desert, which my wife Maarit and I crossed in our With few oases a long way apart the Sahara is Australian-made OKA in 1998. The Simpson’s sparsely populated. We did however encounter hard going is some 200 km and 300 or so of two Arab traders, each travelling the 8000 plus relatively small dunes that need to be crossed. km return journey from Lake Chad almost into The Sahara, by compariosn, is about 2500 km Algiers, with a hundred or so camels. They and north-south has a vast number of hugely supplied the rare oases with spices and highly larger dunes. The route – at times there is no prized salt. One told us that each return trip track as such – mostly winds its way between took over two years. them. Camels aside there was little other traffic: The southern part has extensive expanses A few heavily armed French Foreign Legion of sand that are just passable early in the patrols and about a dozen convoys a month, morning, using very low tyre pressures, but each of three or four vehicles. Only armynot after noon. It also has very soft bulldustauthorised long-range 4WD trucks, such as
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Camels have been the ships, trains and taxis of the desert for millennia. Collyn’s group encountered them all across the Sahara, both individually and in trains, with some on round-trip trade journeys lasting years. ours, were allowed to travel alone. La Societe Algerienne des Transports Tropicaux ran a heavy passenger carrying truck between Ghardaia and Tamanrasset once every 14 days or so. Apart from that there were six to ten private vehicles each year attempting the overland crossing – mainly Land Rovers travelling in convoy. We had to shepherd two and curiously, an accompanying Peugeot 403 proved as competent as the Land Rovers in soft going. There was also the rare encounter with that little-known motoring oddity – the Citroen 2CV 4WD Sahara. With Gallic logic, it had an engine and a transmission system at each end with coupled controls! The Saharan crossing was only permitted between 16 October and 28 April. Rains across the whole of Central Africa made most tracks impassably flooded from July until December, but as we found out the hard way, they can occur at almost any time.
Finding the way
here was a clearly defined route, though not always a track as such, as far as Tamanrasset. Once past there, however, there were long stretches with no track as such. There was only a ‘preferred direction of travel’ delineated by thin black posts (or drums) about 10 km apart. We navigated by magnetic compass and sun compass, in what we hoped was the general direction. The post or drum markers could usually be spotted via binoculars from the QLR’s handy ex-gun turret when about half-way between them. This was a tricky part of the crossing as it was also frequently necessary to veer several kilometres to the left or right to skirt soft sand. It was thus vital to remember whether one had veered off to the left or right of the presumed line between the route markers.
62 | Travel
South of the desert the landscape changed and people began to appear. It was not unusual to pass groups of villagers smiling and singing as they trekked miles across the savannah.
ith the Sahara behind us our major problem was convincing border guards of our bona fides. Visas were required for all of the 50-plus jurisdictions we were travelling through, but could only be obtained by already having one for the area immediately ahead, to prove you had somewhere legally to go. A major problem was that no visa was valid for more than a few months. As each took weeks to obtain, having 50 sequentially-valid visas for a journey of unknown time and terrain was totally impossible. It was obvious that visas would inevitably became out of date. Prior to leaving London an enterprising Parisian ex-diplomat suggested the solution: We had official Mobil Oil signage plus letters from Mobil Oil verifying our purposes and papers legally guaranteeing the truck was eventually returning to the UK. We also had Africa-wide vehicle insurance cover, etc, and some impressive
‘Trans-Africa Survey Expedition’ letter heading. He suggested we arm ourselves with an impressive ‘Trans-African Survey Expedition’ rubber stamp, a bright red ink pad and a portable typewriter – and before each border crossing to type and stamp an impressive looking letter (usually in English and/or bad French) asking that “The bearers of great distinction be accorded le passage priorite.” These were signed Sir Washington Irving, Lord Alstair Clutterbuck or whoever seemed impressive at the time. Those, plus the huge red stamps and the Mobil insignia on the truck truly impressed border officials. Almost all ignored that the visas had expired months before. Where it didn’t, a packet or two of Gauloises – hideously strong French cigarettes – carried for this purpose only once failed to suffice. In that instance, in a spectacular frenzy of Gallic rage. This mildly relented following the third or so bottle of Beaujolais and the compromise
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After fixing an old Citroen truck its owners thought lost, Collyn and his friends were invited to a party in their honour in the village, “a few hundred kilometres away”. This photo was taken the morning after, with the still-happy truck owner standing proudly in the foreground. involved a 2000 km detour to obtain a stamp, but at least we were not stuck in central Africa.
lose to Bangui and still in the vast Afrique Equatoriale Francaise, we found the track blocked by a (then) 30 year old Citroen 10 truck that had broken its chassis totally in half. Its African owner/drivers had been stuck there for two days without food or water – and were reluctantly preparing to abandon the remains (their only possession). With time no great object, we made and shared a meal whilst working out what to do. We used a tree and the QLR’s powerful winch to align the truck’s two halves, using bits of tree to wedge them to the correct height. We then reunited them using about a metre of 12.5 mm steel plate on each side, which we were carrying in case we needed it for the previously underestimated QLR. This took the better part of two days, due mainly to the need for drilling sixteen big holes through that steel and the
truck’s chassis. This had to be done with one of those big hand drills back then aptly known as ‘gut busters’. We then bolted the Citroen together, repaired broken brake rods and more or less straightened out the bent drive shaft. The now delighted Citroen owners, whose only wealth now vaguely assured, invited us to stay in their village a few hundred kilometres south. There, the tribe put on a party with alcohol made from things I still prefer not to think about. An embarrassing invite associated with the (French-speaking) head man’s daughters was tactfully handled by Tony explaining that alas ‘we were too fatigued to do full justice to their beauty extraordinaire!
hen and in a few rare areas still now, central Africa was pleasantly primitive. A substantial population, as yet unbothered by missionaries, were still almost or completely unclothed. They lived substantially as they
64 | Travel
Bustling downtown Saharan Africa, circa 1960. Note the variety of desert-crossing vehicles and the amount of traffic, despite the remote location. probably had done for tens of thousands of years – in small self-supporting communities. In these areas we never once felt remotely in danger. Deep in central Africa (back then at least), almost every African we met was kindly and courteous to an extreme. We felt far less secure in the allegedly ‘civilised’ areas. I still clearly remember the beating of drums at night coming over the top of the curious noises and sometime alarming sounds in the jungle at night. We’d often wake up in the morning to find every move watched avidly by scores of tiny kids. It is sad in the extreme that so many were butchered only a year or two later.
we skirted the full length of the Ruwenzori mountains, often known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. This was full-on mission belt territory, of varying and conflicting persuasions. The often incongruously wealthy missions were sited every 10 or 20 km along the route. In some, native Africans were obliged to wear clothing more suited to Victorian London than the (then Belgian) Congo’s 38-40º C and over 95% humidity.
This area, and our return through part of it, was the most potentially dangerous part of the trip. Under the long and despotic rule of the Belgian Government, the white colonial Leaving French Equatorial Africa required that population had developed overbearing and 2000 km detour, but now armed with the often violent attitudes towards African people. essential visa signature we shipped the QLR One example was that Europeans had right of across the Congo river on an African-built way on the ultra-narrow single lane and steeply barge of tree-trunks kept more or less afloat by cambered muddy tracks. Their enforcement two oversize canoes. of this – even in the rainy season – resulted in bitter resentment. We had ongoing issues as it was assumed that the QLR would give way. The mission belt
e continued south-east down and across the then Belgian Congo. Then, via the only north-south route,
We descended from the mountains to the then-called Elisabethville. This, now known
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Top: The mission belt through the Belgian Congo was dotted with missions like this, on which local village life centred. Decades of arrogant white rule fostered deep resentments that were coming to a head as Collyn’s group made its way through. Rebellion and independence soon followed. Right: With infrastructure at a premium, here road and rail traffic shared a single lane bridge. as Lubumbashi, had since 1957 been a fullyautonomous city whose Nationalist Alliance de Bakongo had demanded immediate independence from Belgium. This resulted in the growing nationalist movement led by Patrice Lumumba, which shortly after resulted in the Congolese civil war. Most of the 100,000 or so white population had fled or were actively doing so. We were there just prior to the actual onset of serious fighting. We had intended to stay for a week or so, but anti-Belgian feeling was now so strong, in the city at least, that even with an obviously UK vehicle we felt it far too dangerous to stay.
Don’t miss the concluding instalment of Collyn’s Trans-African adventure next issue…
66 | Reader Report
Gwen and Arthur’s much-loved Winnebago Freewind (left) at the inaugural iMotorhome get-together at Joadja in September 2015.
Why We Downsized Longterm motorhomers Gwen and Arthur share their latest adventure….
e have been motor homing for 40 years, both here in Australia and New Zealand. We have had many types of vans and many Arthur (AJ) has built or he would buy a van he knew that he could alter to our liking. We toured New Zealand for 21 years and lived over there for over 30 years. But we returned to Australia 19 years ago and so we have toured around this beautiful country ever since. I must add, however, we have not done the trip ‘around the block’! In 2006 we purchased a Winnebago Freewind, a van we kept for 10 years, loved and kept undercover when not on the road. In 2014, we went to the CMCA rally at Robinvale and while
there I (Gwen) thought that I had hurt my arm. When x-rayed it showed to be broken, but not only that, I was diagnosed with bone cancer. To cut a long story short I had a rod inserted in the arm and was told not to take it (life) for granted. This is something I don’t talk about because it’s a part of life and we have to get on with it. I didn’t really want to sell our beloved van but it did have a corner double bed and when making it I had to crawl on the bed on hands and knees. In reality it was the best thing to do and so we did sell the van in February 2016. We decided the next van would be smaller and have single beds, as it would be easier for me to make them. Before we sold our Freewind we purchased a pair of Duvalays, a type of bedding and what a great (British)
Reader Report | 67 invention. We had seen them advertised in the iMotorhome electronic magazine and did use them on our double bed, but the bed was still difficult for me. So now it was a decision as to which van we should buy: a Mercedes Benz, Ford Transit or Fiat Ducato? We had seen a write up on the Fiat Ducato-based Vida, built by Sunliner, in iMotorhome. The Fiat van is four inches wider than the others so we decided on it. We soon found one for sale in Daylesford, Victoria, and so took a trip down and purchased it. As you know these vans, whether they be a Merc, Ford or Fiat, all have a sliding side door and are commonly known as ‘whiz-bangs’. The door on the Fiat is very heavy and very hard for us to close, so we decided to do something about it. We decided to change the door to a caravan-style door and so a lot of time was spent on the internet looking for someone to do the job. After many phone calls we finally decided on a firm – Sunshine Motorhome Conversions – on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. This business is one of two that changes these types of doors on the Fiat Ducato, and both on the Sunshine Coast. We had quotes from both and each company sent photos of their workmanship. We preferred the above business and will say we think we made the right choice. We are very happy with the new entry door, and there will be no more whizbanging! To do the job, Paul from Sunshine Motorhome Conversions makes a panel from fibreglass in the shape of the old door surround panel. He removes the old sliding door and panel, inserts the new panel with the caravan-style door in it and it’s all done. Paul usually finishes off the inside of the new panel, but we chose to leave it as AJ will finish it off how he wants. We are really thrilled with the new door, which is now so easy to open and close!
68 | Travel: CMCA RV Friendly Towns
CMCA RV Friendly Towns
he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country. An RV Friendly Townâ„˘ (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers. When RV tourists enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period. To find out more about RV Friendly Towns and Destinations visit the CMCAâ€™s website by clicking here. For an interactive map of all RV friendly Towns, click here.
Mount Barker, WA
ount Barker is located 360 km south of Perth and 50 km north of Albany. The town is ideally situated as a base for touring an area of amazing diversity,
stunning beauty and rugged grandeur. The nearby Stirling Range National Park and the Porongurup Range offer incredible nature walks, while just 53 km away, Denmark has a unique blend of stunning natural attractions, including the tranquil Denmark River. The area is also home to wineries, wildflower displays and much more, along with the beaches of the rugged southern coastline. There is a bitumen surfaced area to the west of the District Hall at Lot 250 Memorial Road that offers 24 hour parking at no cost. Access to a dump point and potable water can be found at the Mount Barker Visitor Information Centre on Albany Highway.
erriwa is in the far west of the Hunter Region in New South Wales, in the Upper Hunter Shire. It sits on the Golden Highway, some 273 km north west of Sydney and about half way between Newcastle and Dubbo.
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Mount Barker, WA Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Mount Barker Visitor Information Centre Albany Hwy, Mount Barker WA Ph: 08 9851 1163 Email: email@example.com
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Side of Shire Administration Building, off Lowood Rd
Short Term Parking
Bitumen surfaced area to the west of the District Hall at 1 Muir St, Mount Barker, (24hr), no cost
Long Term Parking
Wingham Riverside Reserve, Farquhar St, Wingham NSW, nil cost, (72hr), BBQ, tlts, benches, pets on lead
Mount Barker Visitor Information Centre, Albany Hwy (Lat Long: -35.067241, 138.858734)
Mount Barker Visitor Information Centre, Albany Hwy
70 | Travel: CMCA RV Friendly Towns
An old community boasting many colonial buildings and churches, Merriwa’s historic connections makes it a great place to explore. Within close proximity of town visitors will find mines, horse studs and wineries, as well as historical museums and national parks. While visiting the region don’t forget to take a trip to Goulburn River National Park, which boasts 70,000 hectares of mostly sandstone country along the Goulburn River. The Aboriginal rock
art site known as ‘Hands on the Rock’ in the park is another very popular tourist spot. Sollys Lane, behind the Visitor Information Centre provides 24 hour parking for selfcontained vehicles at no cost. Located outside the caravan park on Dutton Street is potable water and a dump point.
Merriwa NSW Tourist/Visitor Information Centre
Merriwa Visitor Information Centre 34-40 Vennacher St, Merriwa NSW Ph: 02 6521 7046
Casual Parking (near retail centre)
Sollys Lane; Vennacher St; Bow St
Short Term Parking
Sollys Lane behind VIC, (24hr), no facs, no cost
Dutton St, outside caravan park (Lat: -32.138117, Long: 150.350862)
Dutton St, outside caravan park
Travel | 71 Hamley Bridge, SA
amley Bridge is a community in South Australia located at the junction of the Gilbert and Light Rivers. Itâ€™s also the site of a former railway junction. The town is situated in a picturesque valley surrounded by some of the richest farming land on the Adelaide Plains. Hamley Bridge values and prides itself on its history and many of the buildings in town have been lovingly restored and repurposed. If you are visiting the Clare Valley or the little known Gilbert Valley, Hamley Bridge is well worth a stopover and a stroll along the main street. It is a wonderful place to stretch your legs and indulge in a little daydreaming of yesteryear. The Sports and Recreation Grounds on Stockport Road is the ideal base to camp while exploring the surrounding regions of Hamley Bridge. Parking is at no cost for 48 hours and a dump point and potable water are both available on site.
Hamley Bridge SA Tourist/Visitor Kapunda SA Information 51 - 53 Main St, Kapunda SA Centre Casual Both sides of Short St & Parking (near behind public conveniences retail centre) Short Term Parking
Sports & Recreation Grounds, Stockport Rd, (48hr), no cost
Sports & Recreation Grounds, Stockport Rd (Lat Long: -34.271927, 138.772364)
Sports & Recreation Grounds, Stockport Rd
72 | Events
Mildura Country Music Festival! One of the Big 3 country music events on the Australian calendar… by Sharon Hollamby
he Mildura Country Music Festival is said to rate alongside the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster as one of the big three country music events in Australia.
There will be a huge selection of quality performers on offer including Allan Caswell, who is best known for his song ‘On the inside’. The song was used as the theme for the television series Prisoner and reached number one in Australia and New Zealand. Allan has Set on the banks of the picturesque Murray been the recipient of six Golden Guitars at the River, Mildura is already a favourite holiday Country Music Awards of Australia, two gold destination for many. But from 23 September to single awards, an APRA and an ARIA! 2 October thousands of fans will come together to enjoy what organisers describe as ‘country Slim Newton of ‘The Redback on the Toilet music heaven’. This year marks the event’s Seat’ fame will also be appearing throughout 30th anniversary and there are more than 70 the festival. The inspiration for the song came artists and groups appearing in what promises when a friend visited Slim and had to use the to be an unforgettable festival. outhouse. The light had blown and his friend commented that he was lucky there were no This is also a festival artists enjoy as much redbacks on the toilet seat. Redback on the as the fans, because with no star billing and Toilet Seat remained in the top 100 for 28 no support acts it’s as much a celebration of weeks and in 1973 Newton was awarded a music, friendship and fun! The organisers say Golden Guitar Trophy at the Country Music they are proud to support Australia’s biggest Awards of Australia for Top Selling Record. In showcase of independent performers. 1977 he was inducted into the Australasian
Events | 73 Country Music Hands of Fame, and in 2009 into the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown. Other artists include: • Karin Page - Toyota Starmaker winner 2016 • Glen Jones • Owen Blundell • Bec Hance • Kiara Rodrigues • Johanna Hemara • The Rough Diamonds • Terry Gordon The Mildura City Mall will provide free daily entertainment, along with individual shows at other venues in Mildura and outlying locations. These Include: • Wentworth • Merbein • Red Cliffs • Coomealla • Irymple • Buronga • Gol Gol With a variety of country rock, Bluegrass, bush ballads, poets’ breakfasts, line dancing and daily walk-ups for anyone not on the program, there is surely something for everyone to enjoy. Best of all, for the most part this is a free event, which allows you to spend more in the towns. Wentworth will be hosting a Country Music Main Street Market on 25 September, which supports Rotary International and many local community projects. Ten artists will be performing at the market, so you can still enjoy their talents while exploring the wide variety of stalls and displays on offer. Also, Red Cliffs will host a market day on 2 October, featuring another five talented artists. Festival Radio 91.5 FM will broadcast a country music format throughout the event, focusing on the music of the artists who are performing at the festival.
The Festival highlight is the massive concert and radio presentation of the Southern Stars – The Australian Independent Country Music Awards. These acknowledge the achievements of independent recording artists during the past year. This is a gala event and bookings are essential.
74 | Events Fast Facts
What: Mildura Country Music Festival
Tickets This is a free event. However, The Independent Country Music Awards night is $33 pp.
When: 23 September to 2 October Where: Mildura and surrounding districts Why: Indulge your senses with ten days of country music, friendship and fun, at one of Australia’s unique musical events!
Getting There Mildura is situated in North West Victoria approximately 550 km from Melbourne and 400 km from Adelaide, on the National Highway A20. Are there facilities for the handicapped? This informative link will take you to: • Accessible accommodation guide • Mobility map of the city centre
Staying: Accommodation in the area is booking out fast and during the festival most places are only offering ten day packages. There are some free camping sites in the area but you will need to get in early. Further Information: Visit the website HERE or freecall 1800 039 043
Events | 75
76 | What’s On?
What's On? Our new, ongoing round-up of events across Australia for the next three months. From food and wine festivals to music of all types, arts, crafts and more, there’s something for you somewhere, so get planning and get out there!
hospitality. Plenty of food, entertainment, novelty events, opal displays, mine tours and activities for everyone.
23 – Winton: Winton Camel Races. Part of the Western Queensland Camel Festival, experience a truly unique outback event. Camel racing and family fun day.
01-03 – Cloncurry: Rockhana Gem and Mineral Festival. A unique festival showcasing locally sourced minerals and gems.
29-31 – Childers: Childers Festival, They’re closing down the Highway and throwing a party! Free entry to a great weekend of food, entertainment and festivities!
02 – Brisbane Show Grounds: Brisbane Barbecue Festival. Fire it up with the largest sanctioned barbecue competition in Australia, food stalls, cooking demonstrations and product demos. 15-17 – Rockhampton: Rockhampton River Festival. Celebrate the past, present and future in this colourful, cultural and sensational extravaganza. Free entry! 15-17 – Yowah via Cunnamulla: Yowah Opal Festival. Immerse yourself in outback history and
05-14 – Airlie Beach: Whitsunday Reef Festival. Discover the ‘Heart of the Great Barrier Reef’ in this delicious combination of family fun, community events, food, fashion and fireworks. 06 – Bargara: Bargara Strawberry Fair. Celebrate the mighty Strawberry in an iconic coast-side township. Full day of fun and festivities! 11-14 – Anakie: Gemfest – Festival of Gems.
What’s On? | 77 Set on the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere, something for everyone! Fossick for your own family heirloom or simply marvel at the rare and impressive collections on display.
08-11 – Nanango: Heritage Nanango Country Muster. If you build it, they will come. Experience the warm country hospitality of Nanango and the South Burnett with this celebration of the bush!
12-14 – Port Douglas: Taste Port Douglas Food and Wine Festival. Far North Queensland's annual premier food, beverage and restaurant event. Showcasing the regional culinary successes; local produce and producers, chefs, cooking demonstrations, food stalls and entertainment.
16-18 – Rockhampton: Capricorn Food and Wine Festival. Showcasing Central Queensland regional gourmet food and wine.
20-21 – Dalby: Dalby’s Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival. Two day free festival devoted to embracing and celebrating multiculturalism and inclusivity. 25-28 – Cairns: Cairns Ukulele Festival. Multiday festival dedicated to the humble yet versatile Ukulele! 26 – Cairns: Cairns Festival. In its 53rd year this 10 daylong celebration is a vibrant eruption of arts and culture!
18-25 – Monto: Monto Dairy Festival. A week long, event packed celebration of all things Dairy, it’s set to be Udderly divine! For more Queensland events click here!
NEW SOUTH WALES 01-03 – Ballina: Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival. Showcasing the best produce, products, restaurants, culinary expertise and entertainment the region has to offer.
26-28 – Camooweal: Drovers Camp Festival. Marking its 20th anniversary, celebrate the droving history and tradition of Outback Queensland. An atmospheric weekend filled with classic events!
03 – Ayr: Burdekin Water Festival. Part of a three month long celebration of produce and productivity, the Burdekin Water festival is the culmination of the festivities. 03 – Sarina: Sarina Beach Coconut Festival. A Free ‘nutty’ festival held in picturesque North Queensland, celebrate everything tropical and delicious!
02 – Sawtell: Sawtell Chilli Festival. Blast away the winter blues with this fiery culinary festival! 03-04 – Berry: Berry Spinners and Weavers Open Days. Celebrate 'The Year of the Sheep' with displays and demonstrations of working with fibre. Spinning, weaving, felting, braiding, knitting, crotchet, rug making, dyeing and much more. 03 – Norah Head: Whale Dreamers Festival. For those dedicated to the conservation and celebration of whales. 08-10 – Wentworth: 60th Great Flood Rally 1956-2016. A Tractor Rally is held every five years in Wentworth to commemorate the role tractors played in saving the township of Wentworth during the 1956 floods.
78 | What’s On? 16-26 – Singleton: Singleton Festival. The Singleton Festival is a dynamic biennial event that transforms the town into a visual, acoustic and delectable feast! 23 – Gloucester: Chill Out. Annual winter community event; market stalls, street entertainment, gourmet food, and local wine and cheese. 29-31 – Echuca Moama: Echuca Moama Winter Blues Festival. Beat the winter blues with an atmospheric and invigorating blues and roots event! 28-31 – Lightening Ridge: Lightning Ridge Opal and Gem Festival. An impressive Opal and Gem Expo with over 150 stalls with a huge range of products including gemstones, tools, lapidary supplies and lifestyle products.
30 Jul-07 Aug – Walgett: The Walgett Bulldust to Bitumen Festival. A diverse showcase of the region and its people; quilting, astronomy, farm tours, high tea, art exhibitions, cooking competitions and more! 13-14 – The Entrance: Central Coast Country Music Festival. Take a trip to The Entrance to enjoy a weekend of free country music by the seaside! 13-14 – Maitland: Maitland Aroma - Coffee and Chocolate Festival. What more can we say? It’s a Celebration of Coffee and Chocolate. Bliss!
28 – Griffith: Festa delle Salsicce (Festival of the Sausage). Enjoy traditional homemade Italian cuisine, local wines, entertainment and lots of salami.
11 – Corowa: Corowa District Car Club Show. Modern classics, hot rods and beautifully restored historic vehicles of all types. 10 – Gunning: Gunning Fireworks Festival. Combined community event and pyrotechnics trade show, it’ll be a blast! 19 – Gunnedah: Annual Porchetta Day. Celebrate Gunnedah’s identity as one of Australia’s premier food baskets – as well as its Italian lineage. 24 – Port Macquarie: Port Macquarie Beer and Cider Festival. Some things are rustically (and refreshingly) simple. 24 – Mudgee: Flavours of Mudgee. Free community street festival featuring local stallholders and their regional wine, food, and produce. 24-25 – Pambula Beach: Pambula Motorfest. So much more than a just a motor show! 25 Sep-2 Oct – Coffs Harbour: Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival. The International Buskers and Comedy Festival involves a huge number of shows in 11 different venues over 7 days, including Australia's largest gathering of professional buskers. 30 Sep-2 Oct – Coonabarabran: StarFest. Siding Spring Observatory opens its doors to the general public in a weekend of tech talk
19-24 – Nymboida: Clarence Valley Camp Oven Festival. Celebrate the outdoor lifestyle and family traditions of camping, campfire cooking and just sitting around the campfire with good food, good people and good yarns. For more New South Wales events click here!
What’s On? | 79 VICTORIA 15-24 – Fitzroy: The Gertrude Street Projection Festival. Unique free celebration of projected media transforms Gertrude Street into an illuminated outdoor gallery.
01-11 – Kyneton: Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival. Something for everyone in abundance; flowers, ferrets, food and festivities.
01 – Corryong: Corryong Historic Machinery Club Rally. Historic machinery is only the beginning of this unique and iconic event! 05-06 – Falls Creek: Falls Creek Sled Dog Classic. Watch as Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Alaskan huskies and various hounds compete head to head in this unique event. 01-28 – Walhalla: Walhalla Vinter Ljusfest. 08 Sep-4 Oct – Silvan: Tesselaar Tulip Festival. The tulips may be the stars of this show but there’s plenty more to see, do, taste and enjoy. 15 Sep-2 Oct – Melbourne: Melbourne Fringe Festival. Victoria's largest celebration of independent art, featuring local, national and international artists activating a variety of Melbourne spaces with works across every conceivable art form. For more Victorian events click here!
SOUTH AUSTRALIA Visitors to Walhalla during August get to experience Swedish tradition of celebrating the winter with an evening light and audio show. 20-21 – Mount Waverley: Camellia and Garden Show. In its 45th year this annual event showcases and celebrates the spectacular winter blooms! 28 – Hurstbridge: Hurstbridge Wattle Festival. Embrace true small-town spirt with a day filled with festivities including iconic steam trains and classic CWA vintage markets.
08-10 – Adelaide: Adelaide Beer and Barbecue Festival. A unique South Australian event held over three days showcasing local, national and international beers, ciders and produce.
09 – Cleve: A Taste Of Eyre Peninsula. A festival dedicated to supporting and promoting the production and sale of fresh local seasonal produce from the Eyre Peninsula. 11-14 – Adelaide: Adelaide Guitar Festival. Four day biennial festival dedicated to the world’s most popular instrument.
80 | What’s On? 15-19 – Marree-Coober Pedy: Queen of the Desert Festival. A tribute to the strong role SA plays in the Australian film industry and the importance of men’s health! Choose your favourite Aussie flick, dress up your four-wheel drive and join the longest street parade on the planet!
08-10 – Perth: The Good Food and Wine Show. Celebrate the best of the best! Be surrounded by iconic chefs and restaurateurs at the top of their game.
20-21 – Fleurieu Peninsula: Strathalbyn Collectors, Hobbies and Antiques Fair. Australia’s best antique and collectors fair, incorporating appraisals and entertainment.
19-21 – Collie Motorplex: 24 Hours of LeMons. Are you ready for the ‘Weirdest’ race of your life?
02-04 – Barossa Valley: Barossa Gourmet Weekend. Welcome spring with a culinary food and wine festival showcasing Barossa hospitality, premium wines, food and fantastic entertainment. 02-11 – Adelaide: Royal Adelaide Show. City meets Country in this nationally recognised extravaganza.
21 – Ballajura: Ballajura Community Fair. The Rotary Club of Ballajura-Malaga and Lions Club of Ballajura host a fun filled annual community fair! 24-28 – Busselton: CinefestOZ. Australia's premier destination film festival. 27 – Mullewa: Mullewa Agricultural Show. In its 82nd year, experience a true taste of the west. 28 – Chittering: A Taste of Chittering. Free entry, wine tasting, market stalls, live entertainment, local displays and information, links to walk trails, drive trails and picnic spots around the Shire.
For more South Australian events click here!
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 01 – Broome: A Taste of Broome. Experience what makes Broome such a unique and iconic place as its culture and soul is showcased through, food, music and art! 07 – Derby: Mowanjum Festival. Western Australia's largest Indigenous performance. Celebrating the rich heritage and culture of the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal peoples of the West Kimberley.
01-30 – Perth: Kings Park Festival, Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Western Australia’s premier wild flower event. 03 – Koorda: Koorda Agricultural Show. Promoting the State’s agricultural, pastoral,
What’s On? | 81
horticultural, viticultural, rural, technological, commercial and industrial resources! 08-10 – Mukinbudin: Act-Belong-Commit Mukinbudin Spring Festival. With a Bush to Beach theme it’s an extravaganza of activities and festivities. 11-18 – Broome: Shinju Matsuri Festival. Celebrate Broome’s unique multicultural heritage and history thanks to its pearling heydays. 16-18 – Bindoon: Chittering Wildflower Festival. Local arts, crafts, and wildflower displays. Embrace spring like never before. 17-18 – Kalbarri: Zest Festival. Uniting Indigenous and modern Australian culture and the multicultural community through performance, music, art, food, education, outdoor adventure, short film, puppetry, sculpture and community workshops.
TASMANIA 30 June-17 July – Hobart: Festival Of Voices. Australia's premier celebration of the voice, attracting thousands of singers, choristers and music lovers. 15-17 – Huon Valley: Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival. Rejoice in age old traditions of ‘applepickin' yesteryear with a mini midwinter festival to celebrate the region's history.
14 – Latrobe: Chocolate Winterfest. Latrobe's wickedly delicious festival celebrating all things chocolate.
18 – Bindoon: Bindoon Historic Vehicle Day. View the evolution of the automobile in the beautiful surroundings of one of Western Australia's most picturesque villages.
W08-11 – Hobart: Australian Antarctic Festival. Honouring the contribution made by the Antarctic community to the Tasmanian culture and economy. Aurora Australis and L’Astrolabe will be open for public inspection.
For more Western Australian events
For more Tasmanian events click here!
82 | What’s On?
NORTHERN TERRITORY 01 – Darwin: Territory Day. Mark the Northern Territory's anniversary of self-governance by lighting a banger or watching fireworks sparkle over the Timor Sea from Mindil Beach. 05 – Ali Curung: Ali Curung Traditional Dance Festival. Celebrate indigenous culture via music, dance, visual art and artefacts, with workshops plus thrilling spear throwing and fire making contests. 21-23 – Darwin: Royal Darwin Show. Showcasing the State’s agricultural industries, local arts crafts and multicultural heritage. 15-24 – Darwin: Darwin Fringe Festival. A 10 day open access, community driven arts festival supporting independent and diverse local artists.
17-21 – Alice Springs: Red Centre Bird Festival. The Red Centre Bird Festival is your chance to get to know the Northern Territory's abundant plumed inhabitants better. 20 – Alice Springs: Henley-On-Todd Regatta. A boat race with a unique difference: Its 1500 kilometres from the nearest large body of water! 25 August-04 Sep – Alice Springs: Alice Desert Festival. Celebrate the desert and its peoples as artists and performers from remote Central Australian communities perform alongside Australia’s hottest acts.
02-04 – Alice Springs: Red CentreNATS. The ultimate festival of wheels in the heart of Australia. 06 – Kakadu: Jabiru Mahbilil Festival. Immerse yourself in culture through a variety of mediums; the arts, music, workshops, demonstrations and celebrate local traditions.
24 – Beswick Falls: Walking With Spirits. Witness a traditional corroboree from several 09-18 – Alice Springs: Desert Song Festival. Arnhem Land languages in partnership with the Australian Shakespeare Company over an exclusive A cultural smorgasbord of local, national and international artists and performers. weekend.
29 July-01 August – Gulkula: Garma Festival. The largest and most vibrant annual celebration of Yolngu (Aboriginal people of north-east Arnhem Land) culture. 29 July-02 August – Tennant Creek: Desert Harmony Festival. See a different side to Tennant Creek when the Barkly Region lets its hair down for festival time, with music, stories, theatre, film, and parades.
18-19 – Borroloola: DanceSite. A celebration of the richness and diversity of traditional dance in the NT. For more Northern Territory events click here!
Advertisers' Index | 83
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84 | Next Issue
You’ll have to wait until next issue to see what we think. We’ll have the final instalment of Collyn River’s epic trans-African 4x4 truck camper adventure – and what an adventure it has been! There’ll be another app review plus our popular TechTalk column, and a look at how winter on the chilly Southern Highland’s is causing issues with Project Polly’s house battery management system.
he Burleigh heads up Winnebago’s venture into Iveco Daily-based motorhomes. Offering three floor plans and sleeping for up to six, it’s an important model because the Daily also offers class leading towing capacity; an important factor for those looking to tow a car, big boat or a trailer full of toys. Could it even turn out to be Winnebago’s most popular model? AUG
Jul 22-2412-14 26-28
Macarthur Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish & Boat Show TABCORP Park, Racecourse Avenue, Menangle. NSW. 2563 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: Accompanied U16 free
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
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Issue 99 is out on Saturday 16 July. Until then why not join our more than 32,000 Facebook Friends and followers on Twitter , and Instagram ? Pinterest RGB / .ai
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Aug 26-28 22-24
Border Caravan & Camping Expo
Rockhampton Home, Caravan & Camping Show
Wodonga Racecourse, Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga. VIC. 3690.
Rockhampton Showgrounds, Rockhampton, Qld. 4700.
• Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: TBA • Seniors: TBA • Kids: TBA
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: Free with adult
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
The latest news, reviews, travel and more for campervans and motorhomes in Australia... Get a FREE subscription from our website now!
Published on Jul 2, 2016
The latest news, reviews, travel and more for campervans and motorhomes in Australia... Get a FREE subscription from our website now!