Graphic: rally car
Graphic: car in water
The OZ Outback Odyssey is going from strength to strength raising a magnificent $123,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) from this year's rally from Alice Springs to Darwin via Queensland. A convoy 27 of pre-1985 vehicles including Holden Kingswoods, Commodores and the odd VW Beetle, hit the road in late July for the gruelling eight-day trek averaging around 400 kilometres a day.
This is the second year the RFDS has featured as the major charity partner for the OZ Outback Odyssey, and with the 2015 result of $123,000 they've well and truly blitzed
last year's effort of $67,327.
Event organiser Robert Goode says there were a couple of particularly gruelling stretches where available accommodation was light on for 84 people, forcing them to drive 600km in one day from Burketown in far north-west Queensland to Cape Crawford in the NT.
"All of the cars made it in the end to Darwin, but it was pretty gruelling on a couple of days because it was hard to find overnight accommodation for our group," Robert says.
"We had great camaraderie on the trip, everyone got along really well because we made a point of introducing everyone to each other, especially the newcomers."
Among 68 entrants was the first women's team plus a solid group of regulars supported by 16 staff in eight support vehicles including medical and mechanical support with 'The Beast' – a US-built 10 tonne flat-bed truck.
Graphic: OzOutback Odyssey
Now in its 23rd year, the 2015 OZ Outback Odyssey wound its way from Alice Springs via Gemtree, Tobermorey Station then into Queensland turning north towards Adels Grove and Burketown, then back into the NT to Cape Crawford, Lorella Springs, Mataranka and finally Darwin.
Robert says the trek ended with a 'Gone Troppo' celebration dinner at Pee Wee's Point in Darwin where an auction of items donated along the trek by locals – including Aboriginal paintings and didgeridoos – raised $6,000.
"There was a great deal of support for us and our fundraising for the RFDS along with say with communities and local businesses donating items including paintings for us to auction on the final night in Darwin," Robert says.
The women's team of Sarah and Renee Taylor, Julie Connors and Dayle Blackwell were awarded the inaugural Des Shanahan Memorial Trophy for new entrants.
The trophy isnamed in honour of one of the founding members of the original OZ Outback Odyssey who passed away in February 2015.Next year's OZ
Outback Odyssey will travel from Adelaide to Hamilton Island via outback SA, New South Wales and Queensland in July.
For more information www.ozoutbackodyssey.com.au or contact Robert Goode on 0487 352 920