Welcome to Autumn, though the long hot summer days are continuing. March is a big month for events and on the RV calendar is the biggest show for the year, the Covi Motorhome & Outdoor SuperShow, being over the weekend of March 15–16–17 at the ASB Events Centre. We look forward to seeing many of you there. We will be in the Travel and Destination hall this year so come and visit us over the weekend. Look out for an extra RV Express digital newsletter in the week before the show – it will profile multiple new 2019 model vehicles that will be on show at this event, and also a have list of exhibitors and a map of the event to help your planning.
Robyn Dallimore and Bruce Mountain.
Publisher – Editor
On sale now and packed full of travel stories to titivate and motivate; cycle the Queen Charlotte track or visit Martinborough and explore 14 vineyards within just a few kilometres of each other. Allan Dick heads to Staveley while Sheryl heads to the Waimate Ag show in Northland. Whakatāne has a new kiwi venture; Trevor takes to the Forgotten Highway and John takes the back road from Waipukurau to Martinborough. Click here to buy NZTODAY Issue 84, or click here to subscribe to the magazine.
Great show specials on the Oztent range of tents and outdoor camping gear plus Weber barbecues. Come and see us at the Covi Show (stand 294). W: www.heatrite.co.nz
0800 10 99 33 to see the full range of Oztent products available.
A solution for receiving your mail and maintaining a fixed address while you’re on the road.
After nearly 15 years in business you’ve probably seen or heard of Private Box as a service provider to the RV lifestyle, and if you don’t use them you’ve probably wondered what all the fuss is about.
Private Box provide a service that allows their customers to travel far and wide while still maintaining a fixed address for postal mail and courier packages. In a nutshell, Private Box provide an online mailbox that receipts and receives all the mail that would otherwise turn up in your letter box while you’re on the road or travelling abroad. It’s an ideal service for travellers who might be a travelling for a few months and need access to their mail, RVers who are travelling long-term and have rented out their house, or permanent nomads who are living on the road in far flung corners of the country.
The service is very simple to use:
1. On the Private Box website you set yourself up with a new address.
2. You can start using the address right away or set up a NZ Post ‘redirect my mail’ to redirect your mail to your new Private Box address.
3. Private Box will receive your mail and you will get an email notification.
The documents and packages will be available via an online portal where you can view the item and either destroy it, have it scanned to you, held, or have it forwarded to the nearest drop off point on your travels, e.g. Post Office or Z station, etc.
Additionally, for an RV lifestyler who is conducting business while on the road, Private Box also have a range of Business Services that enable you to maintain a professional front to your business while you travel
Private Box have served over 14,000 customers in the 15 years they have been trading so clearly they’re doing something right and providing a good service to those of us whose address is on wheels.
New Uniden High Definition widescreen LED TVs with built-in DVD, that run on 12V to 24V DC input, made for mobile situations and designed to handle harsh marine conditions, so boats and RVs are ideal candidates for these new models. Three sizes available 19”, 24” and 28”.
The Uniden TV has satellite and terrestrial tuners to receive digital broadcasts with an 8-day Freeview-compatible electronic programme guide, allowing you to record and playback programmes using the USB flash-drive socket. It has a DVD player and a headphone jack to watch TV or listen to music while the others sleep. It comes with a TV stand as well as a wall-mount bracket that offers movement of the TV to suit viewing, plus a remote, and it only weighs 3.3kg – and for the 19″, under $500.
A NEW BENCHMARK IN RV REFRIGERATION
2019 latest release Dometic RUA 6408X fridge-freezer, an upright absorption fridge that has been designed to take up less kitchen space without compromising storage volume, perfect for the RV market.
Dometic RUA refrigerators provide the reliable refrigeration performance that the RV market has come to expect from Dometic. The T-rated cooling systems ensure excellent performance in both high and low ambient temperatures, making RUA refrigerators an excellent choice for all conditions. The built-in control panel is intuitive and easy to use, allowing users to select a temperature range and a variety of preset modes. The control panel also features a built-in service mode that creates simple diagnostics if required. If an error occurs, coloured error messages are displayed together with an audible alarm.
* Reliable refrigeration performance
* Built-in circulation fans ensure that food and beverages are cooled quickly
* Full-width crisper with humidity control for fruit and vegetables
* Generous gross capacity of 180L – fridge 134L, freezer 46L
* Freezer and refrigerator doors include shelving
* Dimensions: 550 x 1447 x 677mm, weight 60kg
* Narrow cabinet design with slim footprint
* T-rated cooling systems ensure excellent cooling performance in all conditions
* Can switch between manual (MES) and automatic (AES) energy select
* Easy-to-use control panel with colour TFT display
* Adjustable shelves and wire doors
Find a Dometic dealer near you at W: dometic.com and check out the latest products available to the RV market.
ROLL OUT THE COOL Dometic drawer fridge
Short on space? The Dometic CoolMatic CD 30 compact drawer fridge ensures you don’t need to go without the comforts of an effective cooling device. This 30L fridge is ideal for confined spaces, offering flexibility with a cooling unit that can be fitted to the left or right side of the cooler and up to 1.5m away. Efficient usage is promoted with a variable thermostat temperature control and convenient access with easy-pull drawers running on roller bearing slides. Plus the safe locking mechanism helpfully allows you to unlock and open the fridge in a single movement. Unit size 730mm depth, 250mm height, 440mm wide, 18kg weight.
It’s all go at Country RV.
After 10 months in their new premises at 36G MacDonald Street, Mount Maunganui, the team at Country RV are well settled in. The indoor showroom houses eight RVs comfortably with another 30 or so outside. The 13-bay workshop is full and the new Service Centre reception is well underway. But it’s not all about staying in the beautiful Bay of Plenty! Country RV are hitting the road in late February–early March and will be attending the Northland Field Days in Dargaville (stand 185) from February 28 to March 2 and then on to the Covi SuperShow (stand AO6) from March 15 to 17. The Northland Field Days is all about Leisureline and Southern Star caravans, whereas the Covi SuperShow will feature products from Mobilvetta, Caravelair, AutoHaus, Leisureline and Southern Star.
Owner Rob Axton commented, “Wendy and I attended the Northland Field Days for the first time last year. The response to the NZ-made product we took was fabulous and we now have an ever-growing group of Leisureline and Southern Star owners in the area. Covi this year will see us moving outside for the first time with a display of all the new models we are able to supply. We will also be launching an all-new VW Crafter-based AutoHaus at the show.”
Located in West Auckland, Busy Body Auto Refinishers was started in 1986 by Stephen Porter. The company is now one of the longest-serving coach and bus repair companies in New Zealand that offers a complete service from start to finish. Busy Body’s facilities include a 17-metre spray-painting booth and full workshop.
Services include general and accident repairs, spray-painting, vehicle logo design and branding and restoration of any large vehicle.
The mainstay of our work is still commercial buses, but the motorhome, caravan and camper market is growing rapidly and owners of these vehicles want them to be looked after properly.
Busy Body has a team of staff and contract workers that include qualified coachbuilders, panel beaters, spray painters, fibreglass repairers, auto electricians and signwriters with years of combined experience and knowledge.
The company is an approved repairer for all the major insurance companies. This means that in the case of an accident, clients can simply bring their vehicle to Busy Body. “We have been doing insurance repairs for over 30 years. After dropping off their vehicle, all people have to do is to ring their insurance company and lodge their claim and we will handle the rest for them, getting the job done quickly,” explains Porter.
Branding for your motorhome is another aspect of the business and this is popular with motorhome owners wanting to customise their vehicle. “Whether a vehicle is old or new, we can make sure your vehicle will be noticed on the road for all the right reasons.”
The growing motorhome market has provided Busy Body with an exciting new customer base. Busy Body is now the main distributor of Odour Gobbler, a cleaning product that reduces smells and odours throughout your motorhome, caravan, boat or home. We also stock Auto Gloss Concentrated Cleaner and Liquid Hand Wax to keep the outside of your vehicle looking its best. This product is easy to use making your motorhome look amazing all the time.
March is a busy event month; here we highlight four events to look out for in Auckland, Te Kuiti and Arrowtown.
HOWICK VILLAGE HOP and SUMMER PARTY.
WHEN: MARCH 9 WHERE: HOWICK VILLAGE
Picton Street in Howick will be closed for this event from 8.30am to 2.00pm.
Howick’s iconic farmers’ market will be buzzing with artisan stalls, and the village shops, cafés and bars all open. With rock and roll music, entertainment, spot prizes there will be plenty of entertainment for all.
The display is open to all hot rods, classic cars, motorcycles and retro caravans. All drivers who pre-register will receive a $15 voucher for brunch at either The Good Home, Basalt or The Apothecary and the chance to win one of several spot prizes. Registration is free – for more information please contact email@example.com or phone 09 5344 505. Follow us on Facebook – Howick Village HOP.
[Late entries will be taken on the day between 7.00am and 8.00am but there will be no guarantee of a display space on the main street and no brunch voucher or entry into our spot prize draws. Space is limited so arrange a registration now for this exciting event.]
Te Kuiti’s main street is transformed with displays and specials to capture your attention. Sheep-themed signs decorate shop fronts, footpaths are lined with fantastic products, food stalls, arts and crafts displays, and rural exhibits add to the atmosphere; everywhere you look, there’s something happening.
The Akarua Arrowtown Autumn festival is entering its 35th year and consists of six days of fun, activities and events to suit people of all ages and nationalities. The festival is a celebration of community among the backdrop of some of the most beautiful autumn colours you will ever see
Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor SuperShow, March 15–16–17.
New Zealand’s premier motorhome and caravan show, the Covi Motorhome Caravan & Outdoor SuperShow, is nearly upon us. It’s going to be the biggest and most exciting New Zealand motorhoming and caravanning show the public has had the opportunity to attend. This year the Covi SuperShow will be packed full of giveaways, prize draws and no-reserve auctions.
One of the phenomenal prizes will be the RV Super Centre gate prize. If you are the lucky winner, you and a friend will have the choice of either a four-week motorhome holiday through the UK and Europe OR a four-week motorhome holiday through the USA. The prize also includes economy class airfares to and from UK or the USA depending upon where you choose to travel. *
Covi $10k Cashback
If you buy a vehicle at the Covi SuperShow you will go into the draw to win $10,000 cash courtesy of Covi NZMCA Insurance and the Covi SuperShow. This is a unique offer in the motorhome and caravan industry in Australasia. Make sure you talk to the exhibitors about the promotion; they will have all the details on how to enter and be in to win.
Covi SuperShow Rally
If you are considering coming from out of town, why not come and stay at the Covi SuperShow Rally. Please check our website www.supershow.co.nz for further details.
Check us out on Facebook for the opportunity to win tickets to the show
Dates: March 15–17
Time: 9am to 5pm
Tickets: $17 for a day pass, a three-day pass $25, available from the gate
Venue: ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland
Action Manufacturing in Albany have produced their second prototype motorhome for the market. In the last issue of RV Travel Lifestyle (74) we reviewed the changes at the factory and their future objectives. Check out what this well-established manufacturer has come up with in the new Action Everland range, the technology and systems employed in the Everland are well proven in the THL rental fleet with Maui and Britz vehicles.
Everland R705 Motorhome.
In the last issue (74) of this magazine we looked at the new motorhome being developed by Action Manufacturing in Albany. This issue we look at the slightly shorter four-berth Everland R705 whose two beds are both electric ceiling beds. The back bed is a good size at 1400mm x 2000mm; the front seating area has a slightly smaller 1200mm x 2000mm bed over the front-facing, seat-belted seats and table.
Based on the Renault Master Platform cab, offering a 2.3L four-cylinder common rail diesel with 110kW engine output and torque of 360Nm.
The newly designed roofline is surprisingly low at 2980mm high, and this aerodynamic roofline is showing signs of aiding a 15 per cent savings in fuel costs.
The Ci-Bus touch-panel system controls lights, heating, monitors, hot water, battery levels and solar system – and more. The solar power aids the supply of power to the batteries, and there’s an option for the fridge to be a 12V compressor fridge. Action will supply two solar panels if you choose that fridge to work with the two 100Ah deep-cycle batteries installed.
The new Omni panel wall, floor and roof construction is a stronger form of Styrofoam sandwiched between the Omni fibreglass panels to create a lighter and thinner panel than previously – the panel also has water resistance and thermal properties that Action are raving about. Another new design feature is the fully sealed floors, aiming to prevent moisture or dust getting into the vehicle.
The interior cabinetry is made in-house using cam-and-dowel construction combined with ABS plastic sealed interior panelling on exposed surfaces to resist moisture penetration.
Everland R705 Prototype model
Chassis specification: Renault Master Platform Cab, 2.3L four-cylinder common rail diesel
110kW, 360Nm torque
Length: 7.05m, Width: 2.22m, Height: 2.98m, Interior height: 2.1m
GVM: 3500kg, tare 3065kg, payload 435kg
House batteries: 2 x 100Ah deep-cycle batteries with 140W solar panel
Beds: Main bed 1400mm x 2000mm, Front bed 1200mm x 2000mm
Heating: Truma Combi unit – LPG hot water volume: 12L – fresh and grey 110L
Oven: Duplex MK3 oven and grill combination
Fridge/freezer: 141L auto 3-way fridge-freezer with separate bottom chiller drawer
TV/DVD: 22″ Majestic TV/DVD combo Aerial/Satellite dish: Majestic UFO Aerial
Reversing camera and bike rack included.
Keith McIver from Fifth Wheel Tourers Ltd took delivery of the latest 2019 Celtic Rambler 8500mm luxury fifth-wheeler unit in February. The manufacturer, Fifth Wheel Company, is based in Wales and boasts winning design awards for its models over multiple years. Read the full review in RV Travel Lifestyle Issue 75 on sale now.
In this vehicle the owners elected to have a kitchen running down one side and a second couch at the end. They choose an island bed setup, and the dining/lounge is in the slide-out. They selected the interior colour scheme and furnishing fabrics that suited their tastes as well.
Entry is via the Hartel door with integrated window and privacy blind, a fitted rubbish bin, and two-point central locking system. Upon entry, on the right wall we have the kitchen; at rear of the vehicle is a couch, and opposite entry a large slide-out offers 5.3m3 additional living space. A 43″ smart TV fitted into the wall with storage below. On the left of entry, step up from the living area to the bedroom; there are drawers and wardrobe storage on the left and en suite bathroom with separate shower on the right, and with a door closing the room off for privacy.
GVM is 3500kg
– 500kg payload
– total overall length this unit 8500mm
– length behind tow vehicle 6500mm
– height 3300mm, width 2300mm.
– Total width with slide-out extended 3300mm
Construction: four-element vacuum-bonded body panels; wood-free body preventing damp; GRP construction; dent resistance; 35mm panel thickness all round with superior Styrofoam core throughout; curved continuous one-piece roof; unique aerodynamic GRP nose cone.
Electrical system: 230V power supply point; residual circuit device; miniature circuit breakers; multiple 230V 3-pin sockets; on-board 12V 90Ah battery – battery charged via tow vehicle; digital display; 22A battery charger; 12V lighting circuit; temperature sensors; gas detector; Teleco Teleplus X2/39VU directional aerial.
195L AES Dometic fridge, full-sized oven with four-burner gas hob, oven and separate grill, and HPL kitchen worktops.
Fresh water 231 litres, 150 litres grey, 150-litre black-water tank, two-bottle gas locker, 150W solar panel, 90Ah leisure battery, 195L fridge-freezer, four-burner hob with separate grill and oven
Heating: Alde compact combi HE3020 boiler; butane power output 6.4kW, propane power output 5.5kW; gas and/or 230V power source; programmable thermostat; under-floor heating system; 3kW output via radiators.
A must-see for those visiting the Covi Motorhome SuperShow in March, or contact Keith – who is based in Wellington but travels throughout New Zealand extensively – and see where and when you can view one of these exciting fifth-wheelers.
French Le Voyageur has landed at DeLuxe Group in time for the show, a luxurious motor-liner with a high level of craftsmanship. Here we look at the new 7.8CL model that landed in the country in late February. See more information in RV Travel Lifestyle Issue 75.
Polyester side walls, moisture-resistant wall battens and 35mm insulation; to conserve heat, walls and roof are composed of Styrofoam-lined aluminium; 7mm plywood floor with 25mm insulation and fibreglass protection panel; a one-piece fibreglass dome roof with no water retention; hail-protection covering on the roof; a 26cm double floor that is Class 3 insulated and heated so well it retains and moves heat around aluminium side skirts; double-glazed windows with aluminium frames, front and rear pieces are a polyester monobloc construction; large boot storage at the rear has swinging garage doors with access from both sides.
Stepping up via the electric entry step into the central living area, to the right there is a 810mm lounge-style seat, and opposite is the L-shaped lounge with a 1320mm-length seat behind the passenger side. Above this area, in the ceiling is the pull-down second berth bed, 1450mm x 1950mm.
To the left of entry is a handle to aid entry, and a storage unit with a shelf. The TV is inset in this position with a glass storage cabinet above. The 160L three-way auto fridge-freezer tower is around the corner facing the kitchen bench, with storage above it and a full-height pull-out pantry unit next to it.
Walking thru we have the full-sized shower on the right that offers 1900mm height, to the left a separate en suite toilet room with a pedestal electric flush toilet with 23L portable wheeled cassette.
In the bedroom, the electric 1450mm x 1950mm retractable bed has a slatted base with adjustable headboard.
Tech spec’s: 2019 Fiat Ducato Le Voyageur 7.8CL four berth
Based on a 2019 Fiat Ducato chassis with 180hp, 2.3L turbo diesel engine, six-speed manual gearbox. This is a front-wheel-drive base, on two axles for the 7850mm-long vehicle. Width is 2240mm, height 2950mm. GVM 5000kg with a payload of 975kg. Maximum towing limit is 2000kg.
Water: main freshwater tank 200L, grey tank 120L
Power: 200Ah battery, 20A battery charger, 2 x 150W solar panels
Heating: 6000W Combi 6 TRUMA heating and hot water
Entertainment: 24″ LCD flat-screen TV with Freeview and DVD, automatic aerial, radio/CD player with Bluetooth
See this model Le Voyageur at the Covi Motorhome SuperShow in March, or check our their website for the full range of motorhomes and caravans available, including Pilote, Winnebago and Bailey brands.
Late February saw the latest 2019 UK Bailey caravans arrive in Auckland, the first of the twin-axle and extra-wide 2450mm bodies. This model – the four-berth Grande Bologna – has a fixed island bed, rear bathroom, spacious lounge with the new G-shaped seating area and a sliding table along the nearside that can be complemented by a free-standing table as required.
There are six floor plans offering a variety of bed setups from two singles, midship island bed with rear bathrooms, island bed with central bathroom and a French bed option. Overall lengths range from 7381mm to 7863mm.
Chassis and Construction
Alu-Tech bodyshell construction with GRP outer skin, one-piece front and rear panels with integral grab handles. Built on an AL-KO galvanised chassis, fitted with AL-KO AKS 3004 stabiliser, AL-KO ATC trailer control system, AL-KO secure receiver and is pre-wired for a caravan mover unit to be installed. AL-KO ATC and TRACKER Retrieve Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, are standard on all models with AL-KO chassis.
Dimensions: total length 7864mm – internal length 6334mm, width 2450mm, height 2583mm – internal 1960mm
Weight: twin-axle GVM 1640kg, tare 1481kg, total payload 159kg
Bed sizes: front dining conversion 2225mm x 1310mm, rear fixed island bed 1920mm x 1432mm
Truma combi 6 heating system with combined water and room heating with dual-fuel 6kW gas or 1.8kW electric power sources
Dometic 145L tower refrigerator. Thetford Caprice combined oven, grill and hob, inset into bench, Thetford dual-fuel hob with electric hotplate and three gas burners.
100W Truma solar panel, NZ-supplied radio/CD/MP3 player with USB port – 19″ LCD TV
Water supply: roll-away tanks 50L fresh and 50L grey (not fitted tanks)
Read the full review in RV75, or contact one of the dealers around the country:
TrailLite (Pukekohe and Christchurch)
RV Mega (Mt Maunganui)
DeLuxe Group (Blenheim)
Pykes Auto in Timaru.
These models will be at the Covi Motorhome & Outdoor SuperShow March 15–16–17.
Latest model German manufactured Niesmann+Bischoff is on show at Zion Motorhomes in Pokeno, and this model on display at the upcoming Covi SuperShow March 15–16–17. Read the full review in RV Travel Lifestyle Issue 75, on sale now.
The Arto is based on the Fiat Ducato 50H powered by a four-cylinder TD common rail direct Euro 6 engine offering 134kW (180bhp) and 400Nm. The chassis is an AL-KO low frame on three axles with a wheelbase of 4500mm x 800mm. It’s a big unit at 8763mm long, width is 2330mm and surprisingly the height is under 3m at 2950mm. Tare weight of this model is 4300kg, GVM is 5500kg so a nice 1200kg payload available, plus it will tow a small vehicle up to 1300kg.
AL-KO lightweight low-frame chassis, maximum frame lowering (220mm). Hot-dip galv. frame elements and wide chassis (1980mm). Bracing of the chassis lengthwise and crosswise with highly resistant hollow steel sections screwed to the Al-KO low frame.
To the rear there’s a really large boot storage area measuring 2175x1400mm and the height is 1255mm, maximum load weight in this area is 250kg.
Windows are double-glazed plastic in outer aluminium frames. Front mask, fenders, wheel cases and rear panel made of highly stable and corrosion-free glass-fibre composite material. Side skirts are smooth aluminium profiles. Exterior walls and roof made of torsion-resistant double-sided aluminium sandwich construction with 30mm Styrofoam insulation. Aluminium roof profiles with rainwater channels, styled to prevent accumulation of roof water, and the roof can be walked on.
Step into the cab from the left passenger side, or access on the right via the habitation door behind driver’s area. SKA comfort seats are seat belt-integrated and are rotatable by 180 degrees with armrests. The cab blinds are a mixture of concertina pull blinds and an electric aluminium insulated blind from the top of the internal windscreen.
Front lounge and ceiling bed
Stepping into the vehicle through the habitation door with living and dining area to the right. The second bed is in the cab roof and is generously sized at 1910mm x 1320mm. The L-shaped sofa is generous in size at 1625mm long and 1065mm on the return. The second bench seat is also generous at 1190mm long x 640mm deep.
The L-shaped kitchen unit offers a moulded drainage tray to a small preparation sink, a seamless embedded round stainless sink and three-ring gas hob with a two-piece split-glass cover. Kitchen storage is plentiful and has a full-length pull-out pantry. The fridge is unique – it opens from the right or left on both the fridge and freezer doors.
Midship bathroom area, shower on left, en suite toilet to the right, privacy door to main cabin area. The pedestal electric flush toilet has a cassette with trolley system. Full-sized shower tub made of wear-resistant GRP and comes with a shower grille made of real wood, acrylic glass door, overhead roof-light and vent.
Step into the bedroom area, TV on the right, individual LED lighting, air heating vents on side walls, part of the air ventilation heating system.
This vehicle has two freshwater tanks, one 20L drinking water tank and a larger 200L main water tank; the grey tank is 150L.
This model and others in the Zion Motorhomes range will be on display at the Covi Show, so if you are thinking of a getting a motorhome you can live in, one that you can up-spec with all sorts of smart technology, such as automatic levelling, I suggest you get along and check this brand out, or one of the other stunning German-built RVs that Jonas Ng at Zion in Pokeno offers to the New Zealand market.
We have one copy of this beautiful gardening book from Paul Bangay – Small Garden Design – click here to enter.
RRP $65.00 Penguin
In this beautiful new book from Australia’s leading landscape designer, Paul Bangay provides his expert advice on how to transform any area, no matter what the size, into a garden paradise. Turning his attention from the spectacular large-scale gardens he is best known for, in Small Garden Design Paul instead applies 25 years of experience to reveal how best to structure, design and choose plants to cater for a small place.
Often as our garden space declines we demand more fun from it, and the challenge becomes how to cater for all things. Whether it is outdoor dining and entertaining, children’s play areas or just a decorative space to relax in, Paul Bangay offers tips on how to prioritise and meet all of your garden needs.
Is Australia on your bucket list?
Dreaming of doing that iconic Aussie road trip and haven’t quite got there yet? We’d love to help you make it a reality in 2019.
A motorhome really is the best way to see Australia! With motorhome travel there is complete freedom and the options are endless. Experience life at an outback cattle station, cook damper under a million desert stars, or explore the unspoilt wonders of Tasmania with its world-renowned national parks.
Maybe you’d prefer to step off the beach at Ningaloo in Western Australia and snorkel the extraordinary coral gardens teeming with fish or visit an Aboriginal community in the remote Kimberley.
Not sure where to start? That’s where we come in! The difference lies in our unique combination of ‘small company’ service and ‘big company’ capability. We pride ourselves on a little bit of old-fashioned service!
We’ll happily answer all your questions and share our experience in helping you plan the perfect holiday, ensuring that your route, vehicle and everything else perfectly matches your needs.
At Gallivanting Oz, you have access to an excellent range of motorhomes all in one spot – so much easier than through a single supplier. And the best news – you don’t pay a cent more for dealing with us!
Love the idea of independent travel but find organising it daunting? Our escorted motorhome tours are the perfect solution. Relax, knowing that you will be travelling the best routes and staying at the best campsites complete with a premium motorhome carrying full insurance.
We include all ‘must-see’ highlights, hidden gems and heaps of activities, and the tour leaders provide invaluable insight into the areas being travelled and remain close at hand. In 2019, our tours explore Tasmania, Adelaide to Darwin, Darwin to Brisbane, or our ultimate adventure – the iconic Darwin to Perth. Our tours sell out quickly so if you’re keen to tick this off your bucket list, don’t dilly dally!
For a recent solar and battery upgrade to Rosie – our 1998 Ford Transit motorhome – we sat down with the team at AA Solar in Silverdale north of Auckland to work out what our personal maximum power requirements in the vehicle could be.
We went through the electrical components in the vehicle, and a chart was developed to work out what each appliance might use per day, how long our computers may take to charge up if working on a deadline and how many hours of TV we’d watch on average. The fridge in Rosie is a 12V compressor fridge that runs on electricity alone. We thought we would put in a heater at some stage – we are in New Zealand after all and freedom camping is our thing, so better to future-proof for this possible installation at this stage. Our computers, camera and phones don’t draw significant power daily so came under miscellaneous.
The final specifications were based around having the capacity to provide a reliable off-grid daily electrical output in the North Island (yes it makes a difference) of 140Ah (plus) in summer and 90Ah (plus) over winter – the difference due to less sunshine hours.
We required a reliable stable power supply for:
• 12V TV usage for up to five hours per day (300 watts)
• 12V fridge (beer, wine, and some food) (600 watts)
• Gas heater (intermittent duty cycle to five hours per day) (180 watts)
• Miscellaneous load (100 watts)
An inspection of our current setup resulted in a complete replacement of the basics and building the system to meet our needs. This meant solar panels to collect energy, a controller to manage power input from the solar panels and engine via the battery charging – with the requirement for a battery switch unit and battery monitor system as well. Two new AGM 260Ah batteries were also needed to store the amount of power we wanted to access, while a sine wave inverter was installed so we could access the stored power for our computers and cameras, and access up to 400 watts continuously for other low-wattage appliances.
When adding anything to an RV of any sort you need to be aware of the weight; the kilograms can add up quite fast and suck up your payload for the vehicle if you’re not careful.
PV Solar panel
The two Simax PV solar panels supplied are manufactured using Mono Crystalline Silicon Photo Voltaic Cells that carry a manufacturer’s life expectancy of 25 years, each one with a rated output of 280 watts. Maintenance is limited to occasional inspection for accidental damage, integrity of mounting hardware, and cleaning. Simax Solar Module Size 1640 x 992 x 40mm, weight 17.5kg
The eTracer is a high-quality intelligent MPPT (Maximum-Power-Point) solar-charge controller that continuously monitors and harvests the maximum power yield of the solar module. It provides ultra-fast accurate tracking and guaranteed efficiency of no less than 99.5%. Spec’s: eTracer 45A BND 4415 MPPT 12VDC/24VDC, 9–32V batt. 45A max.
The AGM batteries are sealed lead-acid batteries that don’t require maintenance, do not off-gas, will not leak and will outlive conventional lead-acid batteries by a significant amount. They have a very low self-discharge rate (LSDR), deep-discharge recovery rate, and no memory effect after repeated high usage or discharge. AGM C126V260 SW 260Ah, 522 x 240 x 218mm, 61kg (ea.)
The programmable Votronic Battery Monitor/Computer allows you to manage your power usage and achieve maximum system performance. It is your ‘fuel gauge’ for the battery. It continuously displays the battery residual capacity either as a percentage or in ampere hours (Ah). It can display all charging and discharge currents and operate the main battery switch as required. Votronic 12/24V LCD 100S Programmable up to 100A (100A shunt)
The TBB Battery Charger will continuously manage the battery condition and deliver the correct charging current. A temperature sensor continuously monitors the battery temperature and automatically applies temperature compensation. It provides protection against over-temperature, battery over-temperature, short-circuit, overload, reverse-polarity and shore-power surge protection. TBB 1240 A-33 Port 230V Charger c/w temp sensor. 40A.
Battery Switch Unit
The Votronic Switch Unit is a module able to switch high DC load currents. It is wired to the LCD100 Battery Monitor to cut off loads to save the battery from damage. It won’t disconnect the chargers. The unit will allow a continuous battery load current of up to 100 amps, or 150 amps for up to 10 seconds. Votronic 100A 12V 2072 and 24V 12/24V isolating relay.
Sine Wave Inverter
Power for the 230V AC loads such as TVs, laptops, etc. is produced from the 12V DC (from the solar panel and the batteries) by the Studer AJ Series inverter. This high-performance inverter can deliver 400 watts continuously, or 500 watts for up to 30 minutes. The output voltage is a pure sine wave at 230V ± 10%. Safety features include overheat and overload protection, short-circuit and reverse-polarity protection. Studer AJ Series 500–12 12V – 230 VAC ± 10% 400W continuous.
We asked AA Solar to install this system for us. All in all we are over the moon with what AA Solar have done for Rosie. The process of discussing our requirements and breaking down our actual usage was great, and they gave us three price options with different batteries like lithium (reading the $3200 quote had us choking on our coffees) and components to match it, down to lower usage figures, small wattage solar panels and batteries that wouldn’t really do the job we truly asked for.
If you are thinking of upgrading anything in your RV or Caravan or want some advice on your solar or battery setup, give AA Solar a call or visit them at the Covi Motorhome SuperShow, March 15-16-17.