Caravanning News


Written by Ken Wilson  08.01.20 

It can be very frustrating for long distance truck drivers who must by law stop at regular intervals to rest when they are not able to find a place to park their large rigs or find them filled with other road users who often have far more alternative places to park.
The different levels of Government and many roadhouses have placed large rest / park bays to accommodate the large B-Doubles who have very limited turning ability and need long bays to accommodate their extra-long length.
A fully loaded semi-trailer can be up to 19 meters for an average single trailer or up to 26 meters for a B-Double semi-trailer. When you drive out west and in the Northern Territory, you will often come across larger road trains which can be up to 53 meters long which is over 4 times the length of the average car/caravan combo.
I think that we will all agree that there needs to be far more rest areas for all vehicle types and I have lobbied for better signage on existing truck stops and general rest areas to help avoid the confusion that currently exists between frustrated truck drivers and the Caravan and RV community.
While most signage is general in nature there are many that designate Truck Rest Area and should be respected as ONLY for trucks.
Caravanners often stop for the day at midday or in the afternoon and find a rest area that seems relatively empty and assume that they have the right to camp there for the night.
The problem, however, arises when the long-distance truck drivers leave their depot in the afternoon and are due for their legally required rest stop at 1 or 3 am in the morning. They plan their trips around stopping at the rest areas they know are there specifically for them only to find them filled with campers parked all over the place leaving no place for them to park a 26-meter B-Double. They leave no room for it to safety turn in or out of the area without taking out the caravan parked at the entrance or exit.
We have all gone past rest areas and seen several caravans, RV's or cars strung out along the whole length of the rest area with space in between but leaving no long areas for trucks to pull in safely. It is just inconsiderate.
I do not understand why caravanners and RV drivers want to take up truck stops and risk a very noisy B-Double with a refrigeration motor running 24/7 pulling up beside them at 2 am in the morning.
One truck driver reported that he was woken by an angry caravanner in a truck stop at 2 am with a banging on his truck door and asking for him to turn off his refrigeration motor on his load as it was keeping the caravanner awake. As you can expect the conversation went bad pretty quickly and the caravanner threatened to call the police to have the noise stopped. The truck driver begged him to call the police as it would have been the caravanner who would have been told to leave the truck stop.
Other truck stops have been cleared by police in the early hours when there was no room left for the trucks.
Legally the truck driver must stop and if he cannot pull off the road to rest because of illegally parked caravanners and RV drivers then the police will be on the side of the truck driver every time.
Such is the arrogance and lack of respect that some caravanners have for the law and other people.
I am very pleased to say that the vast majority of caravanners want to and do the right thing. The problem is educating the minority that give other caravanners and RV drivers a bad name. We, unfortunately all get tarred with the same brush.
Please lobby your politicians and others for more signage on rest stops and roadhouses to help avoid the confusion and frustration that currently exists. There are also few roadhouses that have signed caravan park bays and they leave little options for caravanners to park anywhere else but in the long bays which may or may not be signed for trucks.
If there are no other options than to use one of the longer bays then I ask that respect is shown and where practical park at the ends of the bay so another caravan can park behind you instead of taking up two long bays.
We need far more separated rest areas but where all road users can share common facilities like toilets, tables, seats and shelters so that all can have a quiet rest and maybe share a cup of coffee, cake and chat with a truck driver who is away from family and friends working.
Respect is earned, so if caravanners, RV drivers and truck drivers want to be shown respect then we all also need to start showing some respect for others.
It won't happen overnight and we won't educate all, but we can make a big difference to the safety, enjoyment and stress of our trip by showing respect for other road users.
Below is a link to the Truck Friendly web site page on truck stops which includes a video link on using truck stops by a truck driver, Rod Hannifey. Well worth a watch.
Stay safe everyone and stay truck friendly.
Ken Wilson
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Truck Friendly caravan road safety program


Located on the South-Eastern tip of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, Edithburgh’s Caravan Park is the perfect base to explore the beauty of the peninsula.

Overlooking one of the best boat ramps on the peninsula, it is located in close proximity to surf beaches, rugged coast as well as child safe beaches and a tidal swimming pool.

With accommodation options ranging from unpowered sites to luxury executive sea front spa cabins, Edithburgh Caravan Park has something to suit every taste and budget.

If travelling from the eastern states, a nice spot to rest awhile before heading North, so have a look at this great offer:

Members sign in to see the member special.

Contact details:   Phone 08 88526056

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Tasmania is still welcoming RVers

There has been considerable discussion over the last two weeks ever since the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance released their long awaited report National Competition Policy: Applying Competitive Neutrality Principles to public camping in Tasmania. Reaction to the report on some of the forums has been expressions of doom and gloom for the future of freedom camping in Tasmania.

However, many have missed the point so before anyone makes any rash decisions to cancel their sailing passage with the Spirit of Tasmania let’s have a look at the facts. Essentially little has changed in Tasmania since the Regulator some years ago mandated that competitive neutrality applied to council free camps.

The policy released last week simply codifies how it should be applied. Will there be any camp closures. The answer to that question is probably yes. There are a very small number of camps situated in close proximity to commercial caravan parks. Some of those few may be lost. However, the report provides some positive news. Should a council believe there is a net public benefit in not applying full cost attribution principles an application may be made for their continued operation. A net public benefit is demonstrated if the so called harm caused to a commercial operator through what they may view as unfair competition are outweighed by the benefits to the community as a whole arising from allowing the freedom camp to operate. Factors to be considered in any application include the economic goals of the community and consumer interests (as well as the interests of RVers). The costs of implementing and operating a pricing system will also be taken into consideration. As the Treasurer (Peter Gutwein) indicated in his press release dated 13th February, 2019 “ most circumstances there is likely to be no change at all”. As always the real test of the impact will be time. In other words, will RVers still have access to freedom camp sites in the years to come? In our view the answer is yes and in fact the number will probably grow because of the certainty the release of this report now provides.

So, book your passage and remember the ACC Tassie Travellers branch members look forward to meeting some of you as you enjoy the sights of their wonderful State.

Court rules against Kershaw Gardens Rockhampton as an overnight stop for RV travellers.

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.

RV Weight issues identified

During the past year, the Caravan Trades and Industries Association in conjunction with the Department of Transport have been weighting caravans and checking weights and measurements. Here are some staggering results ....

  • 51% of the vans weighed were over their ATM.
  • 24% of tow vehicles weighed were over their GVM.
  • 8% of tow vehicles weighed were over their GCM.
  • Highest reading over-weight single-axle caravan, 618kg.
  • Highest reading over-weight tandem-axle caravan, 485kg.
  • Highest reading over-weight tow vehicle, 215kg.
  • Highest reading tow ball mass 405kg on a caravan with an ATM of 3350kg.

These results are from 2000 caravans that were randomly inspected. With these results, can we expect to see Department of Transport inspectors beside the highway soon? It was not stated whether drivers were fined or cautioned.

(Copied  from another site)

RV's and large agricultural vehicle study outcomes

Yesterday the National Farmers Federation put out a media release about our finalised project exploring large agricultural vehicles on roads in Australia. The ACC assisted us in circulating the community survey to our club members and when completed the club requested an update on project outcomes. 

As part of the project a project report was published which provides an overview of the project and the key findings. This can be located on the ACC website as as follows-  Download Franklin Project Report.

The link to the media release is here:

In particular a key point that related to caravans on page 20 in the report - most large agriculture vehicle related incidents and near misses involve cars. the researchers  posited on page 21 that the reason that caravans and trucks might be perceived as posing high risk when interacting with LAV, and more generally, is due to the fact they are memorable. Likewise the quote from a focus group participant on the same page indicates some similarities between LAV and caravans. Such that caravan drivers/towers may also experience the brunt of other drivers frustrations, similar to that of LAV operators, due to the fact there can be a small speed differential with other road users and that the road may not always allow for pulling off to let others pass.