NO CHILD should grow up disadvantaged – especially those who are sick – and Aussie car enthusiasts have been doing their bit to help out for more than 30 years.
Variety is an international charity formed in 1928 that provides help and support to sick children. First introduced to Australia in 1975, Variety has raised more than $220 million for kids in need and shows no sign of slowing down.
Annually, it helps 100,000 kids through grants for items like wheelchairs, mobility equipment, modified vehicles, education programs and expensive medical equipment.
In Oz, the charity’s major event is the Variety Bash, which was started by Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith in 1985. It involves a drive across outback Australia with like-minded travellers from all walks of life in distinctively prepared vehicles.
Since its inception more than 30 years ago, $22 million has been raised by the Victorian chapter alone, and countless “anything goes” journeys have been undertaken across our country.
Variety Bash, Australia’s largest and longest running charity motoring event, usually takes place over a period of 10 or more days depending on how long each route is. States have their own Bash courses, and this year’s Victorian path kicks off in Geelong before snaking its way up through 3,500km of rural country communities like Horsham, Broken Hill, Cunnamulla and Charter Towers before finally arriving in Townsville.
While the kids are the main focus, these communities are positively impacted as well, with Bash participants injecting more than three million tourism dollars into the rural economy each year.
The eclectic bunch of Bashers roll through towns wearing colourful costumes in equally colourful cars, and are able to meet with the kids they’re directly helping through their fundraising efforts.
It’s not a race or timed trial in any regard. Dick Smith intended for it to be “a drive in the outback with a few mates” and that’s the way it has stayed since 1985 – an epic journey for like-minded friends who want to give back.
If this sounds like your speed, you’ll need a 30-plus year old car in order to participate and at least one companion to journey with. Entry costs $660 for the event itself, and first timers are required to raise $5,000 in order to get to the start line, while veterans shouldn’t have trouble hitting their $7,000 goal.
Don’t worry if your car isn’t quite up to scratch for the event, you’ll be helped along the way to modify your vehicle for the adventure and you’ll have mechanical support all the way to Townsville.
We at Wheels love nothing more than an epic outback drive, so tag along to this epic Aussie journey and raise some money for charity along the way.
To enter, visit the Variety Bash website, at Variety.org.au