Former Channel 9 weatherman Monte Dwyer climbed into the driver's seat of his first motorhome at the NSW Caravan Camping 4WD and Holiday Supershow.
Monte's brief from his old mate, former 60 Minutes man, Charles Wooley for the weekday talkback program Across Australia is to hit the road and find and file good yarns.
As it happens Monte's Hymer Tramp motorhome is a good yarn for GoSeeAustralia site visitors too.
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The Hymer Group is Europes biggest motorhome and caravan maker and they will bring their version of value for money Recreational Vehicles to Australia.
First time motorhomer Monte Dwyer gets his brief from Charles Wooley
The T-Class Tramp GT is a Hymer flagship based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 and aimed at Australia with a $149,990 price tag, Hymer Australia's Marketing Manager Richard Towson says.
Monte Dwyer is motorhoming, fair weather or foul, for about three months after the NSW Caravan and Camping 4WD and Holiday Show ends
on April 22.
Motorhomes are a growing market in Australia, particularly with cashed up retirees. The Trakka Motorhome and Campervan award winner display at the Supershow at Rosehill Racecourse is a pointer to the effort top builders put into their presentations.
Icon brand Winnebago got a commendation from the Supershow Awards judges. Recreational Vehicles are a tough market to crack and just as tough to hold.
One dealer told GoSeeAustralia that a top display cost $100,000 plus at the Supershow. Multiply that commitment by Supershows in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane (June 6 to 12) and competing in the Australian caravan, camping, 4WD and holiday touring world is serious business.
RV-Asia Pacific (RVAP) Pty Ltd Principal Greg Scott told us at Rosehill Racecourse, after Monte and Charles had delivered their motorhome message, that the Carado range of caravans and motorhomes will be on sale in the first quarter of 2008.
Light towing Hymer draws comment
RVAP is the Australian distributor. There is a growing demand for stronger, lighter, more spacious Recreational Vehicles with toilet and shower as a standard feature.
Hymer started out in the 1950's and is now Europe's biggest and most successful Recreational Vehicle manufacturer.
The buying power of the Hymer Group allows it to bulk purchase construction materials for use across their brands, including Hymer, LMC, Buerstner, Dethleffs, Eriba and now Carado, Greg Scott said.
Hymer launched the Carado brand in Germany in 2006.
Carado uses sandwich construction based on a wooden frame with 30mm thick plystyrene inlays with high insulation benefits.
Hymer Nova. Fridge, stove and sink
Interior walls are covered with patterned foil and the exterior is gloss hot-enamalled alumium. The Carado range will be specifically adapted to Australian conditions and safety standard. Carado expects to be selling in Australia through Hymer dealers by January 2008.
CCIA CEO Barry Baillie says the industry has held growth at an annual rate of 15 percent for the past six years. The figure includes caravan park occupancies and Recreational Vehicle registrations.
There are now about 330,000 Recreational Vehicles registered in Australia, he said.
The CCIA runs the annual Caravan, Camping, 4WD and Holiday Show Supershow at Rosehill Racecourse and attracts about 80,000 over the nine days of the show.
The Supershow ranges from the entry levels of Tent City to the Swagman motorhomes which command nearly $700,000 price tags for touring with everything, he said.
CCIA CEO Barry Baillie
The average caravan is in the $35,000 to $40,000 bracket, Barry Baillie said.
More and more people are looking for amenities like showers and toilets. We have 4WDs and the fishing show brings people back to the show, he said.
Geist's Wayne Moller told us that the Supershow provides Geist with significant client contacts who come back.
Sometimes they might be two or three years out from buying, he said.
We have also seen a shift in the last 12 to 18 months away from retirees to more family orientated people. Especially in the Sydney, NSW area, Wayne Moller said.
To start we did not have one family van in our range four years ago, now four out of our nine products we have on display are family orientated caravans. So for us that makes up about 30 per cent of our market this year, they will be family oriented caravans.
So now we are seeing those younger people who experienced caravanning in their childhood coming through and wanting to experience it with their children, Wayne Moller said.
Geist's Wayne Moller sees more family market growth
They start off with a camper trailer and now they are looking at going to a full size caravan, he said.
Although retirees still make up three-quarters of our market I think over the next five years we should see more and younger people coming into the caravanning market.
We have started to shift our focus towards those people, Wayne Moller said.
Kevin Sullivan from Holiday Haven caravan parks in South Coast NSW said 65 per cent of their business came from Sydney and south of the harbour.
The people who now came to caravan parks were more discerning now than they had been in the past, he said. It used to be that they were happy with a bit of rough space and a bit of bush.
People now want ensuited sites, they want good level grassed sites, good location, they want activities. They want pools, jumping pillows. They want movies at night.
Kevin Sullivan from Holiday Haven South Coast wants to lift caravan park services
They want a full entertainment package. We are the Big Backyard.
Kids can roam in the Big Backyard, said Kevin who is also a CCIA board member. It is just like home, they know there are things there to play with.
It is not just the industry is increasing, but our clients grow within the industry.
We get people now who are travelling in cabins.
We get people who have only ever stayed in hotels now come to our cabins and are surprised that we have granite benchtops and airconditioning.
From the point of view of our industry we will always have to have an accommodation range. We have to provided better services for the motorhome industry.
We have to make sure that our dump points are accessible. I think we have provided the sort of security and community activities that motorhome owners want.
From the point of view of someone parking in a carpark or on the seafront we are providing woolshed areas and camp kitchens and we will put on entertainment and encourage people to come in (to caravan parks).
Swagman slides out more space
With the Internet we encourage people to bring their laptops.
There is massive take-up, he said.
The NSW Caravan, Camping, 4WD and Holiday Supershow at Rosehill Racecourse makes annual awards for for outstanding displays and commitment to the environment and Occupational Health and Safety Standards.
Ten Supershow awards and 12 Gumnut Awards have been made.
Award recipients for 2007 include:
Best caravan Display Geist Caravans. Commendation Jayco.
Best Motorhome/Caravan Display Trakka. Commendation Winnebago.
Best Camper Trailer Display Ulitimate Camp Trailers.
Best 4WD Vehicle Display Toyota.
Best Camping Display Kangaroo Tent City.
Best Caravan Park Display White Albatross Holiday Centre.
Best Tourism Display Northern Territory Tourism.
Best Accessories Display ARB.
Eco Friendly Excellence Award Camden Caravans.
OHS Excellence Award Sydney Turf Club (Venue for the NSW Supershow).
Gumnut Awards: The Gumnut Awards are an initiative of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA)
The program recognises demonstrated commitment to sustainable evironmental and socially responsible management.
Gold: Lane Cove River Tourist Park, North Ryde.
Silver: Emerald Beach Holiday Park, Emerald Beach. Two Shores Caravan Park, North Entrance. Windang Beach Tourist Park, Windang. A'Vina Van Village, Vineyard. Swan Lake Tourist Village, Cudmirrah. Lake Conjola Entrance Tourist Park, Lake Conjola. Lanis on the Beach, Old Bar. Lake Burrill Tourist Park, Burrill Lake. Tweed Billabong Holiday Park, Tweed Heads South. BIG4 Lake Macquarie Monterey Caravan Park, Mannering Park.
Charles Wooley and Monte Dwyer
work on a good yarn
Charles Wooley is into on
the road talk back
Campervans come in many styles
Big Wheels Swagman
Golf front lounge folds to full inner spring single bed
Coromal does it with a song
Golf Bushman with customised sleeping and eating layout
Golf separate shower and toilet.
Dressing space opposite
Hymer Nova. Toilet and shower
Golf single bed in place with table down
Golf Outback single-beds shower toilet
Golf open look without tall
cupboards at the bed head
Hymer Nova sink
Hymer Tramp motorhome
dinette and cockpit
Jan Fallshaw Lorikeet Tourist Park with Graham Wallace of GoSeeAustralia
Jayco's competive Conquest motorhome
Sierra pops out interior space
Slide-on from North Star
Small vehicle towing solution