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Q Lionel,
I was very impressed with your previous response to my query, thank you.
My next question, as this is a NSW State Election year is, soon my wife and I (we have just sold our house) will be living in a caravan, which will be the only place of abode.
Having rang the State and Federal authorities we are still a little confused as to where we should enrol on the Electoral Roll.   We will be quoting our daughter's address as our mailing address, but that will nowhere near where we might be at the time.
There won't be a problem this State Election as we won't be heading off until early April, but we would like to hear yours thoughts (or any of you correspondents) on it.
A Thanks for the email and query.

When we were on the road full time we registered as itinerent voters and could choose what area we wanted to vote in from any polling booth. I think mainly we did it for our own electorate where we lived before becoming gypsies.

It may be easier to use your daughters address and go the postal vote way.

I guess the postal way would be the only way to go for a State election - I don't even know if you have to vote in a State election if you are on the move all the time and don't live permanently in any State.


Q Hi Lionel,
My husband and I are about to update our caravan. We have a 1984 Millard pop-top and are thinking of buying an 11' 6" Windsor Rapid.
Hoping for more useable interior space but smaller vehicle to tow. My question is - have you heard any bad reports of the Rapid vans? Do
the beds remain dry and are they easy to pack up when wet?

Hoping you can help.

Regards Lois.

A Hi Lois,

Thanks for the email and question.

No - I haven't heard any bad reports about the little Rapid. I would think the beds would stay dry with everything else inside the van but I think there could be a problem if you had to pack up when wet. However if you opened the ends again as soon as practicable I'm sure everything would be OK and they would soon dry out.

Being a lazy coot I wouldn't want to be bothered with the extra work of setting up and dismantling but that's just a personal fad based on not even wanting to push up a pop top roof having done it daily for six months!



Dear Lionel

Thank you very much for your prompt response! We'll certainly take on board your comments and if we need any more help or advice, we know who to turn to!

Thanks again.


Q Hello

We were wondering if you could give us some advice.

We are new to caravanning, having bought a 15 foot A'van pop-top at the beginning of December. We're from the UK and will be going home at the beginning of April. We'll be coming back in October and have arranged to store the caravan inside for the 7 months we'll be gone.

We were wondering if you had any tips on preparing the van, ie, should we leave the pop-top up, take the weight of the tyres etc.

I've had a quick look at your site and I must admit it's very useful - once we get back to the UK I'll be looking at it in much more detail! It's a bit difficult to spend too much time browsing when you're in libraries and internet cafes.

Many thanks


A Thanks for the email and kind words about the web site.

As you are only going to be away for six months I don't think you need bother taking the weight off the tyres. The A-van is pretty light so there won't be a huge weight on the wheels anyway.

It's probably a good idea to leave the pop top up if there's room and have a bit of ventilation from a couple of whatever you call the things in the pop top sides.

Other than that I can't think of anything else that needs to be done. Maybe you should drain the water tank. If you have a 12 volt battery in the van it should be left fully charged and make sure everything is turned off - in fact disconnect it.

See you in the Spring when you return to Oz - don't be afraid to email again if you need more help.'



Q Hi Lionel,
I have a caravan awning that collects rain, you will have to believe me but it did rain one day last week, is there some sort of fix for this problem, and where in Perth can I get this fixed locally.
A Thanks for the email and question.

You didn't say if the awning was the roll out type or one put up with tent poles. If it's a roll out the answer is to have one end higher so that water runs off the other end but a fixed one is a bit harder.

When we managed the RACV Caravan Club's foreshore caravan park most of the vans were vacant during the week once the school hols were over and if there was a large storm I used to go round pushing up annexe roofs to get rid of huge collections of water.

I'm not too familiar with the awning people in WA - a yellow pages search might be the answer. Without seeing the problem when its got the water in, it's a bit hard to give a solution. Perhaps you need an extra support from the van to the edge of the roof.

The Perth Caravan Show is coming up next month - a visit might put you in touch with the right people to give advice or help.


Q Dear Lionel, I have just recently discoverd your website and I love it! Could you please tell me where I can find out how to use our new uhf cb radio?Is there a book on the subject or a website? We live in Frankston, so maybe you know someone we can go to who can show us how to use it? 

A Wasn't there a handbook with it? That should tell you how to set it up. After that it's a case of setting to the right channel and away you go. Lots of caravanners are using Ch.18 these days to establish contact with other vanners or Ch. 8 for general listening - particularly to trucks but the language is sometimes a bit lurid!

If it's got a squelch control you can use that to cut out interference but it does also reduce the signal coming in.

I don't know where you live so can't advise on who to see for advice. Probably the shop where you bought it would be a good starting place.



Q Thanks for your advice on maps to get for our trip to Brisbane I purchased the Globetrotter travel map and we are now busy planning our route from Brisbane up the coast to Cairns.

So far we are planning at staying at the following on our way up the coast;
Treasure Island holiday Park Gold Coast
Arlie Cove Resort Van Park Arlie Beach
Australian Village Top Tourist Park Hervey Bay
Fraser Lodge Holiday Park Hervey Bay
Island View Caravan Park Yeppon

How's my choice going so far?

We then plan to get to Whitsunday Islands to spend a few days, not sure on which park would be the best, do you have any recommendations, then its on to Cairns where we are stuck between
Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort & Crystal Cascades Holiday Park, I was hoping again to use your experience.

I have read Australian Caravan Park Reports which you recommended and it has been a great help, If it is ok I would like to contribute to it for other users and report back on our findings at the parks we stay at, would that be ok.

I have to say the information you have supplied so far has been fantastic and I think without it we would have been spending our first few days in OZ just planning our route and wasting valuable holiday time.

Thanks again for all your help.

A I told him his intinerary looked very good and advised about parks.

Q Hello Lionel
My husband, Denzil, and I are heading off shortly for a trip from Hervey Bay down to Port Augusta, up through the Centre to Darwin, by Broome, Perth and back to Port Agusta.  From there who knows where?
We purchased a caravan (Jayco Starcraft 16 ft) last year and went on a trial run to visit family in Innisfail and Alice Springs.  We enjoyed the experience immensely and now are committed caravanners.  We used a Nissen Navara Ute, which was my husband's work vehicle before retiring last year.  It struggled to do a good job.  We have since purchased a 6 cyl Falcon and had a trial run to Brooms Head NSW a couple of weeks ago.  This has prooven to be a good choice.
We read your Website and lots of others for info before heading off last year.  We would like to purchase one of your books but are uncertain which one would best suit our needs.  We feel that we have the van packing and towing of it OK now but really need info on the best routes and things to see. Also any helpful tips on what extra items we need to carry.  We hope to leave early May and intend being away for approx 5 months.  Would you please advise which book would be most beneficial to us.
Thanks and regards

A Hi ,

Thanks for your email and question about the books.

'Australia Calling' will give you the kind of advice and information you are after and although it's a bit dearer it is in full colour with lots of good pictures as well. Lots of people have bought both books and found them complementary. We reduced the price of 'The BIG ONE' when we brought out the new one.

It sounds like a great trip and the Falcon is a good choice - we are on our fourth one at the moment.



 Q Lionel,

I and three other friends have just all purchased new Jayco Heritages and would like to van over Mt Hothan at the end of April. I have come over with a small van and it was no trouble.We all have four wheel drives and are pulling 2 ton vans what's your opinion?


A Hi ,

That must be quite an impressive convoy when you all get on the road with your new vans and fourbies.

If I'm right in assuming that you have Cruisers, Patrols or Discoveries and not smaller 4x4s then you should have no trouble at all.

I towed from Bright to Omeo and beyond a year ago with the Falcon and a 1,900kg van and it did it fine. And I didn't have a low range of gears to fall back on if the going got tough.



Q G'Day Lionel

I am looking at buying a very good second-hand or new slide-on van. We used to own a Millard, but sold it several years ago.

Do you know what the best way of finding one is (as they are scarce, in Queensland at least), and what is the best brand to go for.

We have looked at the Jayco, but apparently they are stopping construction of their units for a redesign period.

We have also found a "Colt" brand which appealed to us, but we can't seem to find anything out on them, apart from the fact that they are made in Victoria.

Do you know anything about "Colt" caravans or how I might be able to contact them for info.


A Hi ,

I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help as I haven't heard of 'Colt' caravans or slide-ons and don't know how you would contact them. I did a web search and they didn't show up.

I'm surprised Jayco aren't making a slide-on at the moment as with their turn-over I would have thought they would always have the production lines running.

I'll make a few enquiries and if I find out anything worthwhile I'll let you know.




Dear Lionel,
I have a 02 Jayco Freedom Poptop and it has an all up weight of 1500kg stamped on the compliance plate.
I recently weighed my van at 1680 kg.  Then I weighed the ball load, this came in at 200kg.
I am using a Hayman Reece Distributing Hitch and have measured car and van before and after attachment.
Does the ball load come off the 1680kg, thus leaving me under the 1500kg by 20kg?
If the axle is rated at 1450kg, does this mean that even at 1500kg the van is too heavy for the axle group?
Hope all this makes sense.



Thanks for your email and questions.

Unfortunately you can't take the ball weight off the weight of the van when calculating the all up weight so you are over the weight stated on the compliance plate.

Your ball weight is between the 10 and 15% accepted as good for towing, but unfortunately the weight on the axle is still over that specified although only by 20 kg.

You were probably better off before you went to the weighbridge as you wouldn't have known the weights and would have continued towing in happy oblivion.

It sounds as if you will have to get rid of some weight if you want to bring things back into the specified limits - I don't know how much stuff you can move out of the van into the car or if you can perhaps use smaller gas bottles, empty the water tank, dispose of a heap of tinned food, etc.

If these are not acceptable or practicable options you may have to invest in an axle with a higher rating which would also raise the permitted all up weight.

I'm working at the Melbourne Caravan Show for the next few days so I'll run your questions past the Hayman Reece people to see if they can make any suggestion and if so I'll let you know.





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