With fuel quickly heading towards $2 or more a litre and our large cars needing upgrades to tow the ever-increasing weight of vans when is the consumer about to say enough. The construction materials, chassis design, aerodynamics of vans can be looked at by our manufactures. A lighter van means not as heavy and expensive tow vehicle as well as the daily saving on fuel. Lightweight materials do not mean a compromise in strength and in fact some are stronger than those currently used.
Those who have been caravanning long enough will remember their old Viscount or Millard that weighed no more than 1000 – 1200 kg. We see them today still travelling down to the seaside parks where they have been going for 50 years.
As we get older a light van with a smaller tow vehicle all coming with cost savings may be desirable but will our Australian manufactures change? Only if there is a need, a change of buying habit by the consumers.
Traditional Aussie caravans are all much the same.
You need the big fridge, spacious ensuite, washing machine, enough lead-acid batteries to stay off the grid for two years and water to fill a swimming pool, you’ve got a heavy van. These days, you’ve got the other ‘basic’ necessities like a slide-out and a tough off-road chassis and suspension, add a longer A- frame to carry a nice big tool box stuffed with heavy "come in handy one day" stuff, space to carry your firewood, a bracket to carry your outboard motor, a fuel tank for your diesel heater etc, and your luxury van will hit the scales at 3500kg-plus.
Why must the typical Aussie caravan be so heavy? The love affair with a strong chassis and relatively weak timber frame and thin plywood floor might have something to do with it or maybe those who build lightweight, composite interlocking frames are too nervous about market perception if they don’t whack 6in-deep rails of BHP’s finest under it.
So there you have it: with a few exceptions, is there a need for a heavy caravan for Australian conditions or have we just talked ourselves into it?
A lightweight caravan is a wise money saving decision (i.e. under 2000 kg ATM, which includes most imported European caravans and some shorter Australian ones including pop tops) towed by a suitable environmentally responsible low fuel use tow vehicle. In fact, Lionel Mussell was wondering when and who will be our first member with an electric tow vehicle.
Learn more in our forum area.
Ben Somerville has taken a keen interest in Lightweight Caravanning for the past 6 years and wants to share his experience and research with members. Ben will be writing articles for the Nomad as well as submitting information on our Lightweight Caravanning Forum which is open to all members. Please take up the opportunity to read about this subject and if you have any questions or information to add, please post on the forum as Ben will be only too happy to respond
The Australian Caravan Club (ACC) has been vocal on the issue of the flow on effects of the court ruling against the use of Kershaw Gardens as an overnight stop.
The Caravan Parks Association of Queensland has won its legal battle to ban free overnight camping at Rockhampton's Kershaw Gardens. The Environment and Planning Court today decided that camping is illegal and ruled that overnight stays must cease on February 15 next year and all signs removed.
“Interstate tourists avoiding the southern winter, traditionally travel throughout regional and rural Queensland which could be the regions most affected directly by restrictive camping issues. Many southern grey nomads may wipe Queensland off their winter destinations and will stop at the border or head to SA and up the Centre. Qld communities will lose the economic benefits their tourism brings as they head north each winter” said ACC Chairman Craig Humphrey.
“The ACC absolutely respects the decision of the Court but our call is to ensure that RV travellers have a freedom of choice in options available to stay in Queensland destinations” said Mr Humphrey.
It is estimated that, at any one time, 120 000 of the 600 000 registered RVs in Australia are on the road. RV Travellers spend up to $100 per day (ACC survey) covering fuel, groceries and other necessities. This injects approximately $ 12 million daily into local communities.
“The Australian Caravan Club in February this year wrote to 7 Queensland Ministers expressing our concern regarding the possible ramifications of the Kershaw Gardens decision. I also met with the Queensland Assistant Tourism Minister in March to outline the ACC concerns regarding the implications of the court case and possible ways through the issue.” said Mr Humphrey
“As I explained to the Assistant Minister the ACC concerns included the following-
- Reputational Risk – the issue relates to the perception by RV travellers that Queensland is RV unfriendly through their formal and social networks,
- Regional/Rural Queensland routes will be affected as the perception may grow especially with grey nomads. This is particularly a concern for ACC members,
- possible major effect of a decision will be on such providers as show grounds, pub camping, You camp etc. – all a part of the RV traveller freedom of choice decisions,
- In some areas of Queensland where local show grounds offer the only option for RV travellers the financing of possible the need to upgrade infrastructure will be difficult.
- The inability of many caravan parks to cater for bigger rigs and 5th wheelers leaving nowhere for these RV travellers to go, and not all parks allow pets and
- Issues with fatigue management if there's nowhere for RV travellers to pull up and accessing Caravan Parks at certain times of the year can be difficult” said Mr Humphrey.
“At the meeting with the Assistant Minister I suggested that the Queensland Government should consider the Primitive Camp Ground regime implemented with in New South Wales” said Mr Humphrey
Primitive Camping Grounds are lower key than conventional camping grounds and are not required to have, for example, sealed roads, hot water or laundries. These are often in scenic locations such as in bushland, near rivers or on the coast. The New South Wales Government has such legislation operating effectively throughout their state.
“The Australian Caravan Club calls on the Queensland Government to convene a round table of stakeholders including the relevant RV consumer organisations to work collaboratively to ensure appropriate strategies are developed for regional and rural areas continue to attract RV travellers who may now bypass these areas as a result of the Kershaw Gardens decision” said Mr Humphrey.
The Australian Caravan Club (ACC) today announced that John Snell from New South Wales has been appointed as a Director until the next Annual General meeting in 2019.
“I am pleased that John has accepted the invitation to join the Board as he brings a wealth of professional experience and RV knowledge to the table. John Retired in 2011 after 44 years in the financial services industry spending the last 30 years in a legal support role for retail and business bankers. Together with his wife Kathy they immediately took up caravanning and joined the ACC. “said ACC Chairman Craig Humphrey.
“We have had a vacancy for a number of months with current Board members carrying additional duties and this appointment brings the Board to 6 as per the constitution. John will relinquish his ACC Golden Westerners Branch Secretary role from today and immediately fill the Board position” said Mr Humphrey.
“I’m delighted to join the Board and continue to work within the Club. It is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and I’m looking forward to working at a different level for our members. I’ve spent quite a number of years within the club in a variety of positions and this will provide great background for the Board role” said Mr Snell
“I have held roles as Vice President and Secretary for many years in the ACC Golden Westerners branch. Also In 2013 I joined the ACC policy team undertaking research for a number of ACC initiatives” noted Mr Snell.
John has spent his life living in Sydney and besides caravanning enjoys spending time with their two married children and five grandchildren.
“John’s appointment, along with fellow director Deb Bott’s election at this year’s AGM adds a great depth of experience to the Board as they both have spent many years working in and around the Club. As I constantly say the strength in our Club is the members and thank both members for joining board” said Mr Humphrey.
Located between Guyra/Armidale/Uralla and Inverell in the Northern Tablelands, the pet friendly and peaceful Tingha Gems Caravan Park is like a breath of fresh air to the traveller, boasting 26 powered sites and many more unpowered sites, with room for big rigs, satisfactory amenities (and already funded extension plans), with work about to start on a BIG new Camp Kitchen and meeting area.
The Managers, Craig and Rebel Bright, are not just friendly and on the ball, they are great cooks and by arrangement for groups they can turn on a magnificent spit roast or BBQ, and a trifle to die for (with plenty of seconds usually available, and you will want to line up for them), at a very reasonable price. It is great when the Park operators treat you like a favourite cousin! Call them to book on 0267 233 234.
More about what to see and do in a little place like Tingha in a moment. Just how much to stay in this little Nirvana in the bush? Well, for touring ACC members looking to overnight, there is a 10% discount off the (current) normal fee of $20 for a powered site … that is only $18 a night. A group of six or more vans arriving by arrangement for a Branch muster scores a 20% discount. How good is that? If you plan for a day or two, and love it so you decide to stay another week, there is a special weekly rate of $90 for singles, which is now discounted by 10% to just $81 for ACC Members, and just $108 for couples ($120 - 10%). Yes, that is for seven days. Of course, unpowered sites are cheaper, but if it is mid- winter or mid- summer you might appreciate the aircon.
OK, but what could you do to amuse yourself at Tingha? Well, for a starter, if you like fishing you can drop a line right next to the Park, or at any number of fishing holes close by. The Wing Hing Long Museum and Old Store has a lot to look at, for just a small admission fee, and the volunteer ladies turn on a beaut homemade scones, jam and real cream Devonshire Tea. If you like a bit of fun the Green Valley Farm is just out of town, a particularly good spot for kids. You enjoy a drop of wine? Toppers Valley winery and vineyard is only minutes away, and for a real treat head to Gilgai to the New England Woodturning and Didgeridoo factory. Proprietor Rob puts on a really entertaining (for groups) demo of didge playing, shows and demonstrates a big range of didges, including some you are unlikely to ever see elsewhere for small cost. Then, after a cuppa and bickies (maybe a fresh homemade cake, if you are lucky) you can have a look at some magnificent wooden pieces, including a fully operational wooden clock. The ladies at Tingha’s Red Rose Café make a mouth-watering steak-burger with the works, and have a range of essential items in their small grocery section. A great evening meal is available on Friday nights only, from the Tingha Bowls (Sport and Recreation Club), run by volunteers, and they all do know how to cook.
There is a pub, Post Office, fuel station, and a couple of other places in Tingha, but the real attraction is the Tingha Gems Caravan Park and the Managers, Craig and Rebel. Don’t just drive through Tingha, because while you might not have guessed it, it is well worth planning a stop over and enjoying more of the attractions of the area, in fact Tingha is a great place to plan a week-long stay, enjoying a relaxed and economical visit to an historic location. I will be back, for sure. Ralph Jordan, ACC Member
Just a note about Tingha. The people here are very supportive of travellers, and are proactive about maintaining the facilities available. Much effort is directed towards keeping the place looking inviting too, and as a matter of fact, volunteers manage and maintain the Caravan Park, volunteers operate the Bowling Club Friday night dinners, volunteers operate the Wing Hing Long Museum, and volunteers organise and manage the various special events such as the Tingha Tin Festival, which for 2018 is on 16th and 17th of November. I will be there, especially for the magnificent Chinese Dinner! This is one little town which needs and truly deserves support from ACC members.
Over $247,000 was injected into the economy of the Western Australian township of Denmark and its surrounds over 7 days of an Australian Caravan Club annual national muster earlier this month.
“In fact, some of our members explored the region for a couple of weeks and this expenditure is not included in the above tally,” said ACC Chairman, Craig Humphrey.
ACC Chairman Craig Humphrey noted that an interesting and fun filled programme had seen over 380 Club members travel to Denmark to attend the 7 day muster at the BIG 4 Ocean Beach Holiday Park.
The Muster was officially opened by the local State member Mr Terry Redmond MLA.
“The National Muster provided an atmosphere for Club members to chat informally with me and other board directors about Club matters,” Mr Humphrey said. “At least five happy hours, a first timer’s happy hour, a catered dinner, and morning teas throughout the muster provided ample opportunity for this.”
“One of my personal highlights was the Dragon Boating one morning – a first for a national muster and for many of the 36 participants”, said Mr Humphrey
“Our Club is most appreciative of the sponsorship and support that we received for the event from the local businesses in Denmark,” Mr Humphrey said.
Over the course of the muster, there were a number of organised activities. “For our members who like to experience a region and its history, there were visits to the National Anzac Centre, Whaling Station, the Gap and the Natural Bridge in Albany, and many wine and food outings around Denmark.
Members who like ‘tech talk’ were not disappointed. A very comprehensive presentation regarding vehicle and weight issues by Dragan Vasic, National Sales Manager, Lovell’s Springs drew a large audience.
Members also supported a fundraising charity afternoon tea for local Black Dog Ride with $500 provided to the charity and an additional donation of $425 was made to Angel Flight following a presentation by CEO Marjorie Pagani,” said Mr Humphrey.
At the Annual General Meeting Deb Bott was elected as a Director and Craig Humphrey returned as Chairman. The Secretary’s and Chairman annual reports are available to members on the ACC website.
ACC members are now turning their focus onto the Club’s 2019 Chairman’s Muster to be staged in Murray Bridge in South Australia from 14/3/19.
Australian Caravan Club members dig deep to assist drought affected communities, the local Denmark community and Angel Flight at the 12th Annual National Muster
Australian Caravan Club members have contributed significantly to the call for donations to assist communities affected by the drought.
“Following the close of the donation period, I’m pleased to report that members have contributed nearly $2200 towards the nominated total of $5000. This was from both individual members and ACC branches. I am also aware that some ACC branches made donations directly to charities supporting the drought relief efforts. To all I say a collective thank you”, said Craig Humphrey, ACC National Chairman.
“Whilst the ACC Board had previously committed to match the donations dollar for dollar, the Club will, on the back of the strong member response, now increase its commitment to $2800. This will mean that the Club will over the coming weeks announce the distribution process of the funds totalling $5000”, said Mr Humphrey.
“The Club also announced that as a result of the annual fund raiser at the recent National Muster that $500 would be donated to the Black Dog ride. “This is an amazing initiative seeking to raise awareness and discussion of mental health issues across the country. We are very pleased to support the local Denmark Black Dog Ride group”, noted Mr Humphrey.
“The Club is also proud to support Angel Flight following a keynote presentation by CEO Marjorie Pagani at the National Muster. Club members have resoundingly sought to support the great work of Angel Flight and will donate over $300”, stated Mr Humphrey.
“I am incredibly proud of the members for the gereousity they have shown through these 3 initiatives that will assist each of the groups achieve their goals in the coming year”, concluded Mr Humphrey.
The ACC was founded in September 2006 and is now the second largest multi brand RV club in Australia.
The Australian Caravan Club is delighted to welcome Waterspot Australia to its member benefits programme.
One cleaner does everything.
Waterspot is a versatile product which: Removes: waterspot, soap scum, mineral deposits, lime scale, oxidized paint, salt, rust, light scratches and more. Restores: All glass, marble, porcelain, ceramic, perspex, tiles, acrylic shower bays and more. Polishes: All metals, chrome, alloy, stainless steel, copper and more. Environmentally friendly. No chemicals, acids phosphates, bleach, solvents or detergents. Safe for septic & grey water tanks.
ACC members will receive free postage & handling anywhere is Australia – just head to the ACC Website to for the promocode you need to enter on-line.