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Bendigo Leisurefest near record as enthusiastic crowds spend on camping

October 16, 2013
Bendigo Leisurefest near record as enthusiastic crowds spend on camping

Final figure are in and Bendigo RV and Camping Leisurefest was 250 off the 2010 all-time best attendance record of14,313 for the most popular Victorian country caravan and camping showcase, CEO CIA Vic Rob Lucas said.

The final 14,063 attendance isahead of 2011 at13,337 and 2012 attendance of 13,671.
Over its 12 year history the Bendigo out-there session has kept on through everything the weather gods can dish up , but over the three days ( Nov 22-24) of its 12th innings the weather, apart from a few showers on the Saturday which cleared in the afternoon was perfect for the crowds as it ranged in the 20's.

Leisurefest really strikes the perfect balance of big-city variety in a beautiful regional setting, and 14,000 has become its natural attendance level, he said.
RobLucas said Leisurefest shared its success with CIA Vics three other shows: the Caravan Camping Touring Supershow at Caulfield, the Border RV Camping Expo at Wodonga, and Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown.
Our Go make some memories campaign is really spreading the word about the joys of the caravan and camping lifestyle, and it is reflected in the show attendances, he said.

CEO CIA Vic Rob Lucas said there was strong sales interest in every sector with consumers happy to buy, accessories really went off, he said. The Leisurefest reflects a preference for smaller caravans, but there is also strong interest in motorhomes and 5th-wheelers, he said.
GoSeeAustralia once again took part in presenting free seminars at Bendigo to enthusiastic audiences. There was the strongest level of interest we have had in recent years in the free seminars, Rob Lucas said.
This is a good sign that our topics and presenters are just what people want, he said.

The caravan industry supports children's literacy and this year the recurring CIAVic donation of $5000 went to St Lukes Anglicare Communities for Children Bendigo literacy program.
CIA Vic President Peter May presented the $5,000 giant cheque to Communities for Children program manager Sue King-Smith at Bendigo Leisurefest.

CIA Vic President Peter May presented the $5,000 giant cheque to Communities for Children program manager Sue King-Smith. The development of strong literacy skills in the early years of a childs life is crucial for future educational attainment and employment opportunities, Sue King-Smith said.
This donation will help us to ensure that children in Bendigo, particularly children who have vulnerabilities around language development, will have more opportunities to grow and learn, she said.

All the Bendigo Leisurefest exhibitors chipped in too. In a fine example of the family feeling that our industry enjoys, all the Leisurefest exhibitors have made individual donations of childrens books in addition to the cash donation, Peter May said.
Communities for Children aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children up to 12 years of age by helping them and their families to become part of strong, healthy and vibrant communities.

St Luke's runs the Bendigo program in partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services, Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative, local schools and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Ms King-Smith said the CIA donation would buy much-needed books for the program.
Previous beneficiaries of CIA Vics annual Leisurefest charity donation include the SES, Bendigo Health Palliative Care, Camp Quality, the Maureen Considine Fund and the Salvation Armys Hillskills Workshop.

The Jayco Work N Play is the smaller of two Recreational Vehicle (RV) products from the leading leisure vehicle builder which work around a hybrid caravan which includes a garage. This is a bed up front - garage in the back versatile RV.

Over 12 years it is this kind of lateral thought from industry which features at shows like Bendigo's RV and Camping Leisurefest.

The Caravan Industry Association (CIA) of Victoria has signed a new three-year deal with the race club, which has made extensive improvements to the venue. CIA Chief Executive Officer Rob Lucas said the RV and camping industry is taking full advantage of the extra space to show its latest and best products.

Industry leader Jayco's bigger Base Station aims at people who enjoy difference, mixed with their big boys toys so the Base Station will handle a Harley Davidson motorcycle, restrained on built-in heavy duty tie-down points, Jayco says.

In the Base Station a fold-out double bed is complimented by a optional converter and the dinette becomes two extra berths. With the optional addition of four double bunks in the garage space, eight can have sleeping accommodation.

Dirt and Mountain Bikes, surfboards, go karts and jet skis join the fun in one compact unit which also provides sleeping, kitchen and dining area. The compact 14ft Work N Play GoSee evaluated to get practical experience with the concept also provided aircon.

GoSee's time on the road is always about road touring and the caravanning industry so your correspondent is attracted to Jayco's Toy Hauler concept as a potential GoSeeAustralia mobile office. In this area the clever Work N Play and Base Station layout options are an impressive fit.

The differences between the Work N Play and the Base Station come down to the Base Station being bigger and the options that are actually chosen.

Access to the 'garage space' is the obvious practical use variation. The Base Station models have a ramp which lowers to load toys and the Work N' Play has a lift up rear lid which can lend itself to the addition of an annexe. In the Work N Play access by 'Toys' requires removable ramps. In the Base Station the ramp is also a deck space when hooked to support cables.

The Work N Play has two different internal layouts which can provide sleeping space for up to six.

But in the face of this design flexibility your correspondent is confounded by the clunky bunch of keys which are required to cope with the Work N Play's individual locks.

Your correspondent is impressed with the fold-away bunk options in the Toy Haulers in the 'garage' which allows space to set-up for the business of working with computers and related equipment. In the 'office' context Jayco's option list for the Toy Hauler includes solar panels, solar pack, 100 Amp auxiliary battery, second set of fold down bunks in garage area, AL-KO drop jacks and an external fold-out table.

Jayco at  Bendigo Leisurefest
Jayco at Bendigo Leisurefest

In the work anywhere context the hybrid's standard fit-out includes a Coleman air conditioner, a built-in trickle charger and LED 12v lighting system 240v external powerpoint, 82 litre water tank and 9kg gas bottle (non-shower model).

GoSee would fit two 9kg gas bottles and opt for the shower model which includes two water tanks. Your correspondents experiences with RV's, yachts and powerboats leads to a 'more is better' approach for long-term independent office operation.

The caveat is that weight is the enemy and must always be controlled. For example the amount of water carried in the water tanks should depended on actual needs.

There is a big potential save on limiting water weight when road touring is via caravan parks each night. Across the Work N Play and Base Station range there are four different layouts plus an Outback Pack option. Jayco says the 22ft Base Station can sleep up to eight.

On tow the 14ft Work N' Play is no toy. This RV is engineered to carry a total payload of 600kg.

There are always compromises when strength and caravan load capacity are part of an RV's design equation. The 1500kg (Tare) Work N' Play is a single-axle 14 footer which unladen is heavy enough to be a noticeable addition to our Hayman Reese heavy duty towbars.

To put that into towing context one of GoSeeAustralia's travelling offices was a single-axle Jayco Discovery pop-top 16.52 caravan. The GoSee Jayco Discovery 16.52 poptop caravan has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 1497kg, Jayco says. Know to GSA staff as the 'Disco', laden it came in at an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) 1500kg on a reliable weighbridge. This easy-going single-axle

Jayco Work N Play has  practical office space
Jayco Work N Play has practical 'office' space

GoSee travelling office spent most of its effortless towing time happily behind one of our previous smaller Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) tow vehicles a Holden diesel automatic Captiva.

It also had the invaluable advantage of being the biggest caravan we could fit into the limited parking space available at GoSeeAustralia's Bonbeach Victoria southern office.

GoSee spent time measuring the limited parking space and checking demanding driveway access angles of about 60 degs, plus driveway clearances, kerb height and street camber plus potential obstructions before we made our Jayco Discovery 16.52 model buying decision.

Your correspondent thinks this kind of pre-purchase planning is essential for all caravan buyers.

The Jayco Work N Play is best used behind tow vehicles with plenty of tow rating in reserve.

This is after all a Toy Hauler for big boys and when fully loaded Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) will be above 2000kg. A typical dirt bike weighs about 95kg so two in the 'garage' adds 190kg right off the bat.

GoSee put the Work N Play behind two of our current GoSee tow tugs, GSA1, our Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 3 litre 5-speed diesel and our 3 litre diesel Holden Colorado LT-R VCDI 4x4 crew cab pick-up.

The Work N Play's four square shape allows strong cross winds leverage which was accentuated through the single-axle on the 14ft unit we used as an introduction to the Jayco Toy Hauler range.

In expressway towing at speeds to 100kmh the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) on GSA1, our Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 5-speed auto diesel, helped control the affect of heavy 40kmh gusts from a puffy northwesterly gale blowing across our Mornington Peninsula Expressway course.

Rob Lucas (left) and  David Duncan work on  RVMAP audit
Rob Lucas (left) and David Duncan work on RVMAP audit

Later we swapped to the GSA Holden Colorado diesel 4WD towing the Work N Play into the gale with similar results.

GoSee thinks that the greatest dangers in handling strong winds when towing are inexperience and over-reaction compounded by poorly prepared towing combinations.

Over-reaction particularly applies to the suck and blow affect on caravans as big trucks pass pushing a wall of air ahead of them.

Properly set-up towing combinations and towing training from Registered Training Organisations (RTO's) like Tow-Ed will prepare drivers to cope. GoSee uses and recommends Hayman Reese towing safety aid products like Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) and Anti-sway friction control.

In addition tow vehicles and caravans with enhancements like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and onboard computer aided anti-sway control deserve first place in a tow vehicle or caravan buying decision. These aids cut towing stress and can save lives.

The Toy Hauler range allows a personal approach to the caravan experience.

A spokesman for Page Brothers, in Wells Rd; Seaford, Victoria said that the Base Station 17.51 through to the 17.52 model attract caravanning families who need comfort, space and the ability to take their toys with them. This is available in the Base Station range options with an ensuite version and a useful variety of bunks, bed and shower options.

While Jayco is not a custom builder the Base Station range allows a creative approach for thoughtful buyers to apply personal needs to Work N Play and Base Station caravanning. One popular area is through the ability to add a substantial annexe to the Work N Play 17.51. The base weightnumbers for this style of rig mean that the tow vehicle cannot be a towing pretender. This is no job for lightweight shopping cart Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV's).

Nor will Jayco dealers like Page Brothers allow that to happen. Jayco says Tare is 1800kg. Tare tow ball weight is 170 and the total carrying load Jayco says is 600kg. This means a towing load of ATM 2400kg, but the Page Brothers spokesman said that caravanners attracted to the Toy Haulers are often experienced, well informed and choose and use tow vehicles which can handle the task.

Ultimate Campers Xplor
Ultimate Campers Xplor

On the Base Station the fold down back door doubles as a ramp or with two easily released cables attached it becomes a deck. The garage space is separated from the living, sleeping dining, toilet and shower area in the front of the Base Station by a door.

Jayco says the Base Station 21.66 has a Tare weight of 2200kg, tow ball of 210kg and a carrying load of 650kg. An airconditioner is not included in the Tare weight, Jayco says. (Add about 140kg for a Coleman Low Profile.)

The towball weight is only a guide and will change depending on the accessories which are fitted to the caravan, Jayco says.

Jayco allows an amount of additional weight (Carrying Load) for each individual unit manufactured above the initial manufactured Tare weight of the unit. The Carrying Load is for the customers individual weight requirements and can be made up of any additional weight that they load into the unit.

This Carrying Load equation in caravans is a factor in the current drive for industry compliance as an entry level requirement for exhibitors at shows like Bendigo.

The recent Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing Accreditation Program RVMAP Compliance pilot which was run at Melbourne Leisurefest is good news for RV buyers. Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing Association of Australia (RVMA) assessed the Melbourne Leisurefest RV's on behalf of the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria.

RVM Australia CEO David Duncan said RVMAP was a crucial step in making RVM Australia a true peak body, and would raise the bar substantially for compliance of Australian RVs. RVMAP is a mandatory member accreditation program that is robust and comprehensive, and it captures a greater share of manufactured product than ever before, he said.

Its systems and processes will provide greater support to manufacturer members in complying with the law and maintaining comprehensive documentation to verify their compliance, David Duncan said.

Jayco Work N Play bed and kitchen Hastings Sept 2013 016
Jayco Work N Play bed and kitchen Hastings Sept 2013 016

Our exhibitors brought a host of new products even whole new brands that have never been seen before at Bendigo, CIA chief executive officer Rob Lucas said.

This year we had well over 250 new caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, off-road vehicles, campervans, pop-tops, tent trailers, fifth-wheelers, slide-ons and four-wheel-drives.

Highlights included the brand new range of strong and lightweight caravans from Avida/Winnebago, plus the luxurious Belmont 1000 Series limited edition from Concept Caravans.

New Age Caravans showed its latest models, and the camper trailer stars include a whole new look and spec from Ultimate Campers in the new XPLOR off-road camper.

Therewas information on destinations, plus a huge range of tents, annexes, clothing, towing gear, telecommunications, alternative power and off-road accessories, even boats, he said.

Leisurefest donated $5,000 to a local charity, bringing the total to $60,000 so far to 12 local charities.

(Melway Ref 509 E3. GPS Coordinates: S36.72665 E144.31522).

Bendigo Leisurefest isGoSee's favourite country caravan and camping event as it gives us a chance to spend time with old friends and make new ones. Here are some of them whowere among exhibitors:

Fair Dinkum Challenge Aussie proud
Challenge campers are a completely Australian product proud to display the Australian Made logo. Trailers and tents are built in Edwardstown South Australia with local materials. They do not outsource any stage of the building process. Challenge specialise in custom builds and offers a wide range of campers to suit buyer needs and budgets.

This includes the flexibility to produce campers which can handle anything from trail bikes to quad bikes and canoes and mountain bikes. A boat rack can be added to handle a tinny.
Challenge now own and build Cavalier Camper Trailers and they are agents in South Australia for Trak Shak and Campomatic Hard Floor Campers and the Northstar range of Slide-on Campers.

Over more than 12 years Challenge has designed and made off-road and road touring campers for sale and hire and they have sales and hire agents in NT, WA, Vic. NSW and Qld.

Easyklip is a tarp-saver
GoSee has lost count of the number of tarps we have dumped because the eyelets have torn out in high winds.. But at Bendigo Easyklip has a solution, the Easyklip Midi. The Midi provides instant fixing points wherever and whenever they are needed without any need for tools.
As an instant clip-on eyelet replacement, the Midi is highly effective and efficient when securing textiles, fabrics, polythene, tarps, shadecloth, hessian and other sheet products.

DreamPot delivers easy-cook meals anywhere
The thermal DreamPot cooker delivers easy-cook nutritious food when it is wanted, where it is wanted.
Nothing does more for happy, healthy touring and camping than good nutritious food when it is wanted, where it is wanted.
A GoSee extended evaluation, over years, on the road and at home of thermal cooking and DreamPot shows it delivers on time every time. It saves big time on fuel, gas or electricity and does not demand that someone watches the pot.
Completely portable the DreamPot keeps cooking indoors or out once the recipe start-up has been followed. So please read the instructions.
GoSee uses the 6 litre DreamPot which comes with a 2 litre inner pot. This allows cooking variety with recipes which run from soup to cake and most things in between.

Ozpig cooking makes Chloe's mouth water
GoSee has tested Ozpig cooking and its capabilities thoroughly on GoSee adventure trips. In August 2009 GoSee took our Rodeo RA 2006 3 litre diesel twin-cab truck down the Canning Stock Route, Western Australias most remote and challenging 4WD adventure using Oztent and Ozpig. Ozpig cooking has a great GoSee fan in our Maltese Shitsu camp guard dog Chloe. When the Ozpig is at work Chloe is right there. The Ozpig is based on a professionally converted 9 kg lpg gas bottle modified with legs, chimney, spark arrestor, cooking plates and internal fire box.
A well seasoned GoSee camp oven on top and Ozpig cooks a wonderful Number 10 roast chicken and vegetables.

Camper-caravan opens outdoor Vista
Vista RV of Bayswater set out in 2006 to produce an off-road camper capable of going anywhere a 4WD could go. As the design evolved it was determined that a camper-caravan would give everyone the opportunity to enjoy what the Australian Outback and other hard to access destinations have to offer. But without roughing it under canvas, as well as provide a suitable portable camp site that was as comfortable as it was practical.
With the addition of accessories like a solar panel, full annexe and an ensuite, campers are fully independent and can go to any chosen destination.
Layout includes Queen size bed rear half converts to dining configuration. Kitchen across rear wall with big bench area, sink.
An MP3-CD-radio is standard. The Crossover features a suspension system which is the heart of its off-road capabilities. Tare is 1100kg with a payload of 350kg.

Armadillo builds in bells and whistles

Armadillo Campers build a reliable, tough camper which is engineeered to meet Australian Manufactured Camper Trailer Guild standards. This is an Aussie owned operation so the camper comes with Australian steel and Australian canvas.

That extends to chassis and suspension. A Compliance Audit shows that the Armadillo complies to Australian Design Rules 62 VSB1 and canvas standard AS3567-1988. There is one model with all the bells and whistles.
Some of the Armadillo standard features: All Australian Made. Powder coated. Dual battery system.
Dual 85lt watertanks. Hot water system. Hot water shower kitchen tap. Stainless sink in kitchen.
Smev stove with glass lid. Stainless extension bench. Quick connect gas. Stereo system. 120w Folding Solar Panel kit. 1500w Pure Sine wave inverter. Redarc Battery Management System.
16 Alloys new AT Tyres. Latest off road couplings. Off road suspension. Shock absorbers.
Electric brakes handbrake. Huge toolbox. 10ft Dynaproofed tent. Annex walls floor. Inner spring mattress.

The Complete Campsite makes better best
2013 Off-road Camper of the Year award winners Grant and Jodie Joyce of The Complete Campsite are continually improving and evolving their campers based on their own personal camping experiences. Their campers are also continually tried and tested in their hire fleet.

The Caravan and Camping Industry Assocation recognises their dedication and has awarded them as Best Manufacturer - caravans, camper trailers and tents.

Award recognition of their products and services includes: Five Manufacturer of the Year awards from the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW. They have also won seven Off-road Camper of the Year awards with their Kakadu, hybrid Exodus Kingston, hybrid Exodus 14, Jabiru and Exodus 11. These awards are part of a string of successes which run from 2006 to 2013.

DesignerVans custom build exactly as you want
DesignerVans are built in country Wangaratta for exploring the country. The end result is custom built caravans to meet personal needs. That covers full height caravans, on road vans, dirt road caravans, off road vans and 5th wheelers.

DesignerVans also specialise in wheelchair access caravans. It all started in 2007. Scott and Barb of DesignerVans could not find the caravan they wanted for their family needs so Scott, a qualified builder, built a caravan to suit his family.

Now DesignerVans is based in a 900 sq.m. factory and they build up to six caravans at a time. Our difference is that we offer people exactly what they want, Scott said.
We offer a three year guarantee on our vans and are accredited by the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia (RVMAA), proudly displaying their badges on all our vans, he said.
Manufacture currently takes between six to eight weeks and we encourage customers to visit our factory whilst their van is in production and see how it is progressing, Scott said.
We are a relatively small family business and do not wish to grow too big, as this takes away from the personal service we offer in giving people what they want. We feel that our idea is unique, and we find it very rewarding seeing the finished product being collected by our customers, he said.

The Hose Bag tames coils

The Hose Bag is a practical, simple solution to stowing hoses which seem to have a mind of their own. The Hose Bag comes in Small and Large sizes.There is also a Cable Bag. The Hose Bag is ideal for stowing up to 20 metres of the stiffer type of potable water hose. The Hose Bag can also be used to stow up to 10 metres of the ribbed black sullage hose. The Hose Bag can then be stowed away neatly in the same storage space every time. It will maintain the same size and shape as it was when last stowed. There is a DVD on which shows how to end wrestling matches with hoses by using the thumb and forefinger of your left hand and pushing the hose into the bag with your right.

Award range has broad reach

Award RV Superstore is the largest caravan accessory and aluminium annexe store in Australia with over 20,000 products available for caravans, motorhomes, campervans, marine, trailers 4 x 4 and outdoor leisure.

Award RV Superstore carries stoves, fridges, solar, generators, awnings, 12v lighting. LCD televisions, portable toilets, windows, doors, pumps, air conditioners, towing equipment, GPS, jockey wheels, hot water services, caravan covers, vents, hatches, brake controllers mirrors and water tanks.

Award RV Superstore builds annexes on site throughout Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

Award Annexes was started by Rod Francis in 1990. The company grew rapidly and in 1994 moved to its present showroom and factory complex in Ferntree Gully, Victoria. In July 2004, Award Annexes expanded to create Award RV Superstore. Staff members of the family owned and operated business have more than 30 years combined experience in the caravan industry

Concept Belmore 1000 interior
Concept Belmore 1000 interior

Editors note: Page Brothers started selling second-hand caravans in the 1960s and in 1976 became one of the first Jayco dealerships in Australia.

Located at the northern tip of the Mornington Peninsula on Wells Road at Seaford, 45 minutes south of Melbourne, Page Bros was the original caravan dealer in the district and has operated successfully from the same site for more than 40 years.

They are now the longest operating Jayco caravan dealership in Australia and have established a strong reputation for credibility among their customers.

Jayco is GoSeeAustralia's first sponsor and has helped keep GoSeeAustralia and its sister site GoSeeNewZealand free to users for 10 years. Never in that period has Jayco ever intruded into the editorial perogative. Concerns raised by GoSee after practical evaluation of Jayco products are often addressed.

This is also the case with our sponsors Jeep, Battery World, Hayman Reese,Thetford and Rola.

GoSee respects the reliability and warranty support of the Hayman Reese products it uses. This is why the major sponsorship provided by the Cequent group of companies, which includes Hayman Reese, is so successful.

GoSee's sponsors help keep and free to all site users.

Tunnel boot on Jayco Work N Play
Tunnel boot on Jayco Work N Play