Melbourne Leisurefest

By: Peter Quilty, Photography by: Peter Quilty


Australia's largest outdoor leisure show was a 'Sandown Show-stealer'!

Melbourne Leisurefest
Roma Caravans unveiled a stylish Italian mini-caravan.

Thousands of caravanning and camping enthusiasts flocked to the 2016 Melbourne Leisurefest – Australia’s biggest RV, camping and 4x4 show – held at Sandown Racecourse from October 6-9.

More than 300 exhibitors showcased everything from caravans, motorhomes/campervans, camper trailers, roof toppers, slide-ons and tents, to boating and fishing, and touring vehicles.

There were also displays for annexes/awnings and canvas products; camping, outdoor and RV accessories; towing, braking and suspension; washing and cleaning systems; fridges; communication, navigation, satellite and antennas; rear vision systems; storage systems; safety and security; hire and rental services; RV insurance; financial RV services; RV repair services; RV industry related services and training; lighting, power and generators; magazines, maps and travel guides; tourism and holiday parks; health and well-being; food and wine.

And once again the caravan industry was well represented with a host of latest models and new releases. 

Retreat Caravans revealed a quintet of new ‘floorplans’ from its popular Daydream, Fraser, Hamilton, Whitehaven and Whitsunday models, while Van Cruiser Custom Built Caravans launched the Interceptor Fury RD 16ft 5in and Interceptor 17ft 10in plus the Outlaw SUV HTO 13ft 8in and Outlaw SUV HTO 15ft 5in.

Meanwhile, innovative Roma Caravans unveiled a stylish Italian mini-caravan – the Wingamm Rookie 3.5; and Supreme Caravans presented a special limited edition release of a unique 30th anniversary model along with some of its Leader Caravans stable.

Distributor Green RV also proudly paraded some of the latest in Regent Caravans’ fleet – Weekender, Cruiser and Monarch – while New Age Caravans sported an astonishing seven new releases.

Other manufacturers flaunting brand-new offerings included Coromal Caravans (Pioneer XC and Princeton), Coronet RV (XT3 X Trail Offroad Series), Goldstream RV (1800 Bunk ST), Jayco Caravans (Jayco Offroad), Kokoda Caravans (Battalion II), Lotus Caravans (Off Grid) and Safari Caravans (X-Trak 196).

And staff manning the Bailey Caravans, Elite Caravans, Nova Caravans, and Windsor Caravans stands were continually kept busy fielding enquiries on their respective models.

The Caravan Industry of Victoria placed a huge emphasis on pitching the Leisurefest to families, which was evident by a myriad of children’s activities – including a kids’ zone comprising the Caravanning Explorers’ Club, the towering coconut climb, Crazy Bubble Soccer, and the Adrenaline Rush inflatable.

A Service Safe program, developed and implemented by the CIA Vic, also debuted during the four-day extravaganza. Service Safe is an accreditation scheme for service and repair members where participants are committed to being better equipped, better trained and providing a better level of customer service promoted under a new brand.  

This year the CIA Vic also worked in conjunction with the Sandown Racecourse and Driver Dynamics for Leisurefest punters to ‘try before they buy’. Consumers were able to test, via a designated towing track, certain types of motorhomes, new cars and tow caravans that they considered purchasing.

And there was also a ‘Retrolicious’ vintage caravan display, with the vans spectacularly restored to new. Show attendees also got the opportunity to meet the Dometic Follow the Sun ambassadors, who are on a ‘road trip of a lifetime’ from Cairns to Melbourne to raise awareness for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Meanwhile, Dometic and Thetford showed off their new C220 cassette toilet and Harrier Inverter rooftop air-conditioner respectively.

Highly efficient and powerful, the Dometic Harrier Inverter features the first use of an inverter compressor in an RV application. It can help eliminate start-up current issues when running from generators or when current supply is restricted. The Harrier’s compressor slows down or speeds up in order to maintain the output as needed and in turn reduces energy consumption to the minimum required as well as noise and vibration.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Thetford’s next step in sanitation is the C220 cassette toilet. Based on the proven concept of the C200, the C220 is a compact cassette toilet with high quality primary functions and a completely new design.

Now in its ninth year, the 2016 Melbourne Leisurefest is Australia’s largest outdoor leisure show, and, with a new layout, had more space, more exhibitors and more accessories than ever before. Some of the new features to this year’s show were the caravan towing track, and two seminar stages with live performances, technical and travelling advice for visitors.