Kay Small – Caravan Club

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1,000 motorhomes are set to descend on Port macquarie this october to celebrate the 25th National Rally for the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia. We ask rally manager kay small to tell us more.

First off, tell us a little about the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia.

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) was founded in 1986 as a social and support network. The club has been built on the principals of Fun, Fellowship and Friendship.

The Club currently has 58,000 members and in recent times grows at a rate of 700 new memberships per month.

The Club conducts two major Rallies each year, the Anniversary Rally in autumn and in spring the National Rally to conduct the Annual General Meeting.

Both Rallies have special interest activities, including training seminars, craft lessons, major entertainment, disc bowls competitions and trade exhibits, including vehicles, motorhome accessories and services.

The Rallies are rotated between all states and territories and attract an average of 1,000 + vehicles. These Rallies generate significant economic benefit to the local community.

The 25th National Rally is being held here at Port Macquarie. How many motor homes do you expect to visit?

The event is being held at Stuart Park. We have been down and inspected the park and we are hoping to accommodate just over a thousand motor homes. As of today, we hold 800 registrations.

Out of the thousand motor homes, about how many people will attend?

We calculate statistically for that 1.85 persons per motor home. So, by the time we put the members on the paddock and the trade that we have come along as a commercial venture, we look at around 2,500 people.

What type of events do you have planned for the members?

The Rally starts and culminates with our AGM. It is a seven day event, with a trade section comprising motorhomes for sale from dealerships that come along and support the Rally.

We also have Centrelink services, financial planning, information from Carer groups, internet, photography, health and wellbeing and 12 volt suppliers.

Daily we offer seminars, all sorts of activities and sporting events through the town.

Lots of people in town have come on board and given us invitations to bowls, tennis and golf etc. and those trips are organised. We have organised individual tours that our CMCA members are handling, which we have programmed specifically for our members.

We have 4 coaches and 3 mini buses booked to transport our people all around town to cafés and restaurants, if that’s what they wish to do. Every single night we offer live entertainment from local artists and a couple of very well knowns.

Of course, there is also a happy hour every afternoon at 4 o’clock, where we all partake in refreshments.

What’s the appeal about travelling around in a motor home for most people?

The lifestyle and the belonging to a big extended social family.

I would love to quote what someone else once said, “The good thing about motor homing is that everybody is your friend, but if somebody isn’t, just introduce yourself and within 10 minutes you’re mates”.

How many people does it take to set up these Rallies?

This varies according to the Rally and the location. In Port Macquarie we will have around 260 volunteers. Country Energy have sponsored an upgrade of power to Stuart Park, and we may run 4-5 kilometres of water pipe.

What kind of kilometres have you travelled, and where have you been?

We have actually been to Tasmania twice. The first time in 2004 we had 10 weeks in the motor home, where we did 6,000 km.

A lot of people say you can see Tasmania in 2 days, but they’re wrong. So we went back earlier this year to the Rally and did a couple more thousand kilometres. We just did the West Coast, which we didn’t get time to do earlier. Prior to that we did a trip to Rockhampton for our 2009 National Rally.

What we plan to do is go to the next Rally, which is in Deniliquin, and we plan to travel around the Murray up through South Australia, up through the centre around the top, down the West Coast and back through Kalgoorlie, where we have our 2011 Rally.

What are the costs involved in owning motorhomes?

When we started looking at beautiful vehicles that were $200,000, we quickly decided that they weren’t really for us. So we went and bought ourselves a Toyota Coaster, and within 6 weeks we were looking for a better one.

But you can pick up an old camper for a few thousand dollars, as long as it’s got a bed and cooking facilities and as long as it complies with the Club’s regulations. Then you can cash in your superannuation and quite easily spend half a million dollars!

Any memorable highlights on your trips?

There is one nearly every trip, like spectacular sunsets and sunrises, to name a few. But there isn’t really any one thing. It’s just the ability to enjoy the lifestyle and meet new people every day.

What is the appeal to travelling in motorhomes as opposed to staying in hotels?

I don’t have to pack a bag and carry it, for that matter. I don’t have to worry about whether it’s going to be hot or cold, as I have the bikini and the cardi in the motor home.

I have my tooth brush, the sheets are always clean, I know who’s slept in the bed. We have our own shower and toilet, which is an essential. We have all the creature comforts – even a flat screen TV with our latest motor home.

Do people take their pets travelling?

The family dog or cat comes along for the ride – another good thing about having ‘your house’ with you.

How many would have their motorhome as their full time residence?

We have quite a portion of folk travelling full time and living on the road. Some start off for one year and are still at it 10 years on.

This is another of the special features of our Rallies, allowing us to reconnect and visit with our friends for a time, before setting off again on a new adventure and journey.

Thank you Kay.

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia will hold an Open Day for the public on Saturday, 16 October. Entry donation is $4 per person, with children free.

The Rotary Port Macquarie Sunrise will be the recipients of the gate takings, which will be directed to the Rural Fire Service to purchase defibrillators.

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