In 2019, caravanning and camping became our favourite type of holiday. Half a million Australians say they plan to take a camping trip in the near future. It’s no longer just the grey nomads who are doing it. There are now more people with no kids or aged 20-29 than families and lots of keen first timers.
We love caravanning
State of Industry 2020 Report by Caravan Industry Association (CIAA) says caravan and camping holidays have become a popular way to travel. In 2019, there were over 60 million caravan and camping visitor nights and 14 million trips. Since 2010, we spent an extra 17.3 million nights enjoying these trips. That’s a lot of people caravanning and camping.
CIAA says Australians just love being outdoors and look for opportunities for healthy, active activities. Combined with low fuel prices, practically zero interest rates and little chance of flying overseas, caravanning in Australia certainly looks appealing.
Top towing tips
Not everyone knows how to tow. Between 2014 and 2018, there were 239 crashes where someone was towing a caravan on NSW roads. Sadly, 12 died and 120 were seriously hurt. TfNSW says towing a caravan affects your driving, your safety and the safety of others. It has a few top tips for safe towing:
- Make sure your vehicle’s towing capacity is adequate for towing a caravan
- Weigh your towing vehicle and caravan and know your Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM), Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) and Combined Vehicle Mass (GCM)
- Know how to find and use a weigh station in NSW
- Load your caravan correctly to meet safety requirements
- Check brakes and tyres, lights, towing components, load and storage before travel.
Register your caravan
The cost of registering a caravan used to be expensive in NSW and much higher than the rest of Australia. As Caravan World bleakly noted in 2015, “a blue-collar worker from western Sydney is paying far more to register his caravan than a van owner from well-to-do Toorak in Melbourne”.
Since 1 November 2018, the NSW government has reduced motor vehicle tax on caravans and camper trailers by 40%. These lower rates recognise that people use their caravans much less than they do their cars. Owners of small caravans (low weight) saved about $110 a year and owners of the heaviest caravans saved about $470 a year after the change.
The 40% reduction applies only to privately-registered towed caravans and purpose-built camper trailers up to 4.5 tonnes. Light vehicles more than five years old, including trailers and caravans with an aggregate trailer mass of 4.5 tonnes or less, need a safety check before renewing registration. However, caravans and camper trailers are exempt from stamp duty.
Remember you have to register caravans and trailers, but you don’t need a green slip.
Get cheaper tolls
Did you know Class B tolls are often triple the cost of a Class A toll? If you tow caravans, boats or horse floats and can’t avoid to drive in Sydney because of Class B toll fees, there is good news. The Large Towed Recreational Vehicle Toll Rebate Scheme just launched on 22 October 2020. Drivers who have fully paid Class B tolls can now claim a rebate for the difference between Class B and Class A toll fees for up to eight tolled trips per month. The scheme dates from 1 June 2020 and processing of claims will start 8 November 2020.
The idea is to encourage more regional NSW residents with caravans, boats or horse floats to visit Sydney. Note, the rebate doesn’t apply to our iconic Harbour Bridge or Harbour Tunnel, because there is no Class B fee.
When you need a greenslip
Motorhomes, RVs and campervans all have their own engines so they don’t need to be towed. This means they must have their own green slips. Owners of RVs need to contact the CTP insurers directly for green slip quotes.
While caravans and trailers must be registered, they don’t need their own CTP green slip. Caravans don’t need CTP because they are covered by the CTP of the towing vehicle. You just need to buy a green slip for the vehicle doing the towing.