Trek cars

Graphic: Trek cars

30th Outback Car Trek raises over $1.5 million for the Flying Doctor

Date published

12 Aug 2019
Outback Car Trek

The Outback Car Trek (OCT) hit a spectacular milestone this year and is on track to raise $30 million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service since 1990.

The 30th Outback Car Trek began in Renmark, South Australia and travelled through to Darwin, offering a remote and remarkable route for the trekkers.

“We are doing it for the Flying Doctors, who provide vital healthcare services to regional, rural and remote communities across Australia,” said Bill Patrick, who experienced his 10th trek as organiser and his 15th overall.

The Trek kicked off at the famous Renmark Hotel on Sunday, 2June with “Cut-a-Rama”—something of an annual tradition. Hosted by Just Cuts, longtime supporters of the trek, eight hair stylists drawn from salons across Australia gave patrons wild and wacky custom haircuts in return for a donation.

What followed was a 12 day odyssey through some of the most challenging and remote landscapes this Great Southern Land has to offer.

The extended Trek route, which covered 5,500 km, included Renmark, the Barossa valley, Rawnsley Park, Birdsville, Mount Isa, Adels Grove, Lorella Springs, Mataranka and Jabiru. One of the highlights was a ceremony in Birdsville on Thursday 6 June, at which a Royal Flying Doctor Service Beechcraft King Air was re-named “The Outback Car Trek.”

“I know this is a rare honour only given to Royal Flying Doctor Service icons like John Flynn and long-serving patrons like His Royal Highness Prince Charles,” said Mr Patrick.

“We’re proud of our long association with the Flying Doctor and this is an important reminder of why we are on the road. Many years trekking through the more remote parts of Australia have taught us just how vital a lifeline they are for those on the land and how much it’s still needed.”

Apart from their contribution to the Royal Flying Doctor, the convoy, which included over 100 cars, also provided a welcome financial boost for the many small towns they passed through.

CEO Greg Sam paid tribute to the longevity of the Trek.

“I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to all the Trekkers who have supported us over the past 29 years. It’s an enormous achievement.”

“One third of our funding comes from donations, which help to cover the cost of maintaining and upgrading our aircraft, infrastructure, medical equipment and facilitating our clinics. In that context the contribution of the Outback Car Trek has been immense, and it’s fitting that we name one of our aircraft after the trekkers.”