The 24th Annual Outback Car Trek left Bathurst on Sunday, 2 June. For 7 days, over 300 participants will travel 3,300 kms in pre-1978 cars through Outback NSW and Queensland en route to Coolum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) who are celebrating their 85th anniversary this year.
The Outback Trek has raised around $20 million for the RFDS since its inception in 1990 and last year raised in excess of $1.4 million – an amount it hopes to match or even better this year.
The following is an account by Nick Bleszynski from the RFDS of life on the road with the Outback Trek (OBT).
Day 2 really came to life when we stopped for lunch at St Joseph’s primary school in Nyngan. After a sausage sizzle and a chance for kids to get pictured with the ever popular Shrek and Cockroach cars – these novelty entries really work with communities – the ‘Trekkies’ were treated to a real country style demonstration of whip cracking courtesy of a brother and sister team aged only 6 and 8. The boy is currently in the top 3 whip crackers in his age group in Australia! They performed a whole range of tricks – formal showpieces and then some freestyle routines they developed themselves climaxing in the “firecracker” a virtuoso two-handed display of wild whip-cracking that impressed even the hardest-bitten trekkie.
The day ended with a 120 km run along drying dirt roads to the town of Carinda, which has a claim to fame even bigger than Bogan Gate! David Bowie… yes David “Ziggy Stardust” Bowie shot the video for his No. 1 worldwide hit “Let’s Dance” in the Carinda pub – a factoid that would be lost even on the most dedicated trivia buff. It’s a rough and tumble old weatherboard place that was last decorated in the 80’s (the 1880’s) and why Bowie chose it, I don’t know. The locals were still trying to figure it out, but they put on a great welcome for the OBT, including a fantastic roast dinner at the local hall, which Bowie apparently didn’t film.
The evening concluded with some very un-Bowie like caterwauling as the Trekkies worked their way through a selection of 70’s/ 80’s old faves – Bowie, surprisingly, not amongst them. The karaoke went on until after midnight and a very good time was had by all.
Day 2 was thankfully uneventful on the roads with drivers using the radio to good effect and calling out hazards and trek references “roo on the road at 103.5” which is very handy as all cars are using on board navigation systems that are re-set at the start of each leg – so everyone can place themselves instantly in relation to the hazard.
Technology is making the Trek safer.
For further updates on the OBT, follow the trekkers on their Facebook page.