"Not suitable for caravans" and definition of caravan

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 05:28
ThreadID: 124911 Views:4829 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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On our last trip, I came across 3 roads that said "Not suitable for caravans". Worried about getting into trouble with the long arm of the law, I went up one (not much traffic) but didn't chance the other two.
However, on my return, I put an official enquiry into the Department of Transport in Queensland. My email and their reply are below.
It is interesting that there is a legal definition of a "caravan" but it includes camper trailers etc, not just "full size" caravans.

My email said:
In recent travels in Qld, I came across the
following sign on a few occassions at the start
of some roads "Not suitable for caravans". Is
this an advisory or mandatory sign? Is there a
legal definition of a caravan in Queensland?
Does it include camper trailers or pop-top
'caravans' etc?

This is the reply I got in writing off the Department:

The sign is an advisory sign only (it advises of potential hazards in proceeding along the road of certain class vehicles). The hazards are generally grade, width, alignment and speed related.

The Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Vehicle Registration) Regulation 1999 defines a caravan as follows:

"caravan means an enclosed trailer designed for people to live in."


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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 08:25

Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 08:25
Hi Rick & Julie

Something i had wondered when we got our BT.

In the Fitzgerald NP south coastal WA, they say no caravans - although we have been on narrower and worse roads. Just their park rules. Similarly, we are going to Purnululu in a week or so - they dont allow caravans, and will send you out again if one is brought in - but they do allow camper trailers - so people can get away with taking in the wind-up Jayco Doves and things.

Regulations may differ between the states - they usually do!



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Reply By: CD & JW - Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 10:10

Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 10:10
To me "No caravans" would mean just that (even if I didn't like it)
and can see that would be different to "Not suitable for caravans"

Will be interested to see if others have differing or extra information.
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 22:54

Saturday, Jul 26, 2008 at 22:54
As an ex cop I can say that the "Not Suitable for Caravans" is as stated just advisory but the Signs that say "No caravans or semi trailers beyond this point" or similar mean just that, and if you proceed you can be prosecuted. Often you will find that there are very sharp turns or there is no where for a large vehicle to turn around to get out so your chances of getting stuck in there asre often high, in which case the law may well be called to talk to you.

Some of these roads have the unsuitable for caravans sign simply because they have to cover all caravans like the Commodore towing a 20 foot van and it wouldn't have the traction to go up or down a steep slope, or the road would be too rough where an off road type van with a tow vehicle in low range 4WD would have no problems.

I have found that when we have gone past a sign saying "Not Suitable for Caravans" that you hear people talking on Channel 40 who think that it means caravans are banned which is not the case.

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Sunday, Jul 27, 2008 at 02:18

Sunday, Jul 27, 2008 at 02:18
G'day Rick and Julie,

Here's a few observations from a traffic engineer who has towed an 18ft BT with a Land Cruiser over most of the signposted "unsuitable for carvans" roads in NSW and Queensland.

There are inconsistencies between authorities (Main Roads Departments and Local Councils), in the application of these signs to sections of road. Some such signposted roads are fine for towing a caravan, some should be restricted to "High clearance 4 WD" vehicles, some should be restricted to "maximum vehicle combination length of 13m" ( or 17m or 20m - whichever is apprpriate) and some should have a vehicle-caravan symbol with a red slash (ie NO caravans.)

The "Unsuitable for Caravans" is an advisory sign even though the colours used (black legend on white background) are generally used on regulatory signs.

The only roads I have been on that should have No Caravans Permitted are the Bridle Track to Hill End ( Believe it does have these signs now), Mitchell Falls Road west of Surveyors Pool Junction, Bungle Bungles Road, and the road into Chambers Pillar. The Wombeyan Caves Road between Wollandilly River and Wombeyan Caves should be restricted to 4WD with maximum combination length of 13m.

Use your UHF as Brian suggested. Talk to the truckies. If no trucks about - look for dual wheel tracks in the gravel. Call "15m rig westbound" (length and direction of travel) on your UHF Channel 40 at regular intervals along the road.

Travel with your lights on and blow your horn when approaching a blind corner.

Travel within your confidence limits.

Safe travels...........................Rob

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Follow Up By: Bushtucker Man - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 07:37

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 07:37
Hi Rob,

Why the road into Chambers Pillar? We went in there without problems and enjoyed it, then followed the "Old Ghan Railway" to Finke, loved every minute of the journey.

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Reply By: Boystoy - Sunday, Jul 27, 2008 at 09:21

Sunday, Jul 27, 2008 at 09:21
We have travelled on a number of "unsuitable for caravans" roads.
However, in all cases I have sought advice on "do trucks or buses use these routes" If the answer is yes to eithjer Then we consider it OK for a BT.

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 01:56

Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 01:56
G'day Stan,

I recognise that on these roads it is POSSIBLE to tow a BT, provided there is no other vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. On Chambers Pillar Road it is made a little easier and safer through the use of UHF 10. But, there could easily be a vehicle that doesn't have UHF 10, or is even on another channel, that is gunning up one side of a dune "jump-up" while you and your BT are gunning it up the other side.

Apart from this aspect, it is also really a courtesy to other road users, not to endanger or inconvenience others when you don't really have to. If the road is too narrow, with blind hair pin bends, blind crests and jump-ups, embankments and only a 3m wide track, then unless you can arrange for an escort vehicle, you should not attempt to tow a 2.5m wide, 13m long rig on that road.

At Mitchell Falls in June, the ranger told us of the difficulties 7 BT's had getting in and parking, and in particular, inconveniencing other road users and campers. Their efforts will probably result in the total banning of all vans beyond King Edward River.......just like they are banned from the Bungle Bungles and Cape Leveque Resort.

I knew what the Bridle Track was like as I had driven it many times when I was an Engineer on Turon Shire Council, but I should not have towed the BT on it. Monaghan's Bluff was more than just a little scary, and we were extemely lucky not to encounter on-coming traffic between Bruinbun and Hill End.

To all BT owners......don't even think about it. Go to Hill End via Sofala, Turondale or Hargraves, camp at Hill End, detach van and take a day trip to Bruinbun and back. It really is a spectacular bit of Australia. Enjoy a beer at the pub when you get back!!

Happy Travels............Rob
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Follow Up By: Bato - Friday, Aug 01, 2008 at 07:08

Friday, Aug 01, 2008 at 07:08
As one of the 7 BTs that you have referred to in your post I would like to give you our version of the facts.

On information given to us by another BT owner before reaching the road to Mitchell falls we were told we would have no problems towing our BTs up to the Falls camping ground and we didn't have any problems apart from 3 damaged steps.

At no time to our knowledge did we inconvenience any other road users.The lead vehicle would inform the group of oncoming traffic and we would all pull over and let them past or the oncoming vehicle would pull over for us,common courtesy I would think.Tail end Charlie would inform the group of traffic that came from behind and we would all pull over and let them pass.

On arrival at the camp ground we parked in the generator area which is quite large and was empty.It took all of 15 minutes to place the 7 vans.

Late that afternoon the Ranger visited us and was quite chuffed to see 7 BTs in his camp ground.So much so that on the morning we were leaving he visited us to say goodby and took photos of our camp.He said he was going to use the photos in his next brochure to promote the area as being off road caravan friendly.

We are bemused by your comments of what the ranger said to you as our contact with him was the exact opposite.

On our trip in to the falls we encounted the fuel truck coming out.This truck is the same width as a BT and we all managed to pass safely,just lucky I guess.

Our group are all experienced drivers.My brothers Bert & Philip who were with us spent 25+ years in the quarrying and earthmoving business and spent many years driving 30 tonne tip trucks on roads as narrow and sometimes narrower than the falls road.We have clean driving records and had to always be aware of the less experienced drivers on the road.

And by the way there is no sign saying that the road is NOT SUITABLE FOR CARAVANS but there is a sign saying that the road is not maintained.

Rob you are entitled to your opinion however I beg to differ.

Regards Keith & Sue.

Bato Keith & Susan

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Follow Up By: Cruisin' Twosome - Thursday, Aug 07, 2008 at 02:08

Thursday, Aug 07, 2008 at 02:08
Hi Rob, I must say that as one of the 7 BT's that went into the Mitchell Plateau I am upset that you have related incorrect information. As Keith has explained above, we are all considerate drivers, we have UHF's and some vechiles have a second one so that they can hear and transmit to any other vechiles on other channels. This being the reason so that we can notify them if we are coming towards them or in front of them that we would pull over and let them go. Many truck drivers commended us in doing this and they would in return ask about our trip etc. So I fail to see how we inconvientent anyone going or coming out of Mitchell Plateau.

I must also add that we all love our B/T's and would in now way drive where we think we would damage our vechiles or vans. As quoted by Keith we had been told by another B/T owner that we had enough room for us all and so we proceeded. Upon arrival we had an aduiance and even comments on how quickly we parked and set up.

As for the ranger, we can only talk of the one that came to our camp that evening he was so excited to see us all there, he even came in our van and had a look at it. He apologised that he was not able to do his slide show as his projector was in for repair. The next morning he came to say good-by bringing a woman to photography us and she too came in our van and talked to most of us. So unless this was all a put on we can only presume that he was happy with us and wants to see more of us there.

Let me remind you that no matter where anyone travels the courtesy of pulling off the road does not only need to be practiced on the country narrow roads, but also on highways. We pride ourselves in doing this and everywhere we have been either in this group or on our own we have always been asked to return.

As Keith said that you have the right to your opinion but let that be yours alone and not infulence anyone else by repeating unfounded gossip.

Continue enjoing your B/T as we will and be assured that we do not endanger any place being banned to caravans by any misdoings on our behalf.

Stella & Jack
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Stella & Jack Voolstra

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Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:01

Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:01
The facilities at Mitchell plateau are more geared to tents rather than vans - and considering how busy it can get I believe they should think about opening up more areas than banning vans. There is an area a couple of kms short of the camp that is open - flat and has a small clean creek running throught it.

As an ex Kununurra local - the reason vans are banned from the Bungles is due to inexperienced people trying to tow totally unsuitale rigs in there and having to be 'rescued' by the Rangers. There are quite a few steep jump ups on the access tracks

Many of the DEC managed parks are also geared to campers rather than vans and all seem to favour small shaded sites and no generators - no good for responsible people with solar set-ups.

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