DRIVE 4 LIFE HEADS TO THE HIGH COUNTRY

WITH THIS YEAR’S TOUR OF THE VIC HIGH COUNTRY WRAPPED UP, DRIVE 4 LIFE HAS RAISED MORE THAN $800,000 SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 2006.

PHOTOS DAVID DENNIS WORDS CHRIS BATES

WITH the completion of the 2018 tour to the Victorian High Country, Drive 4 Life has raised more than $800,000 since its inception n in 2006. All funds have gone to Northcott, an organisation which provides a wide range of services to people with disabilities.

Twenty-four vehicles participated in the 2018 Tour which, in contrast to last year, experienced fine weather and mild temperatures all week. There was a minor hiccup when the groups visiting Mt Blue Rag and the Pinnacles Fire Tower early in the week had to reschedule because of low cloud, but all made it to one of the most spectacular spots in the mountains later in the week. well worth the wait!

Several new routes were added this year but only one was able to be used, owing to road closures as a result of bushfires in the Caledonia River and Butcher Country areas. The new route took the trailer group – which remained in the Harrietville area for an extra day before travelling to their base in Talbotville – to a helipad 12km east of Harrietville, which had 360-degree views to rival those from Mt Blue Rag. From there the group ran along the ridgetops towards Bright, dropping down to the hamlet of Wandiligong to have lunch at the Wandi Pub. All were unanimous in their enjoyment of the most “un-pub-like” menu.

Several of this year’s participants had limited or no four-wheel driving experience, but this didn’t prove a problem, as each group had two lead vehicles to take those less experienced under their wing. The learning experience was enhanced by King Billy and the Zeka Spur tracks being significantly rougher than usual, and Billy Goat Bluff being its usual self. By week’s end, all were a lot more confident in their driving and in the capabilities of their vehicle.

The groups visited the Pinnacles Fire Tower via Billy Goat Bluff, Wonnangatta Station, Howitt Hut, Lovicks Hut, Bluff Hut, Bindaree Hut and Craigs Hut, and the views from the Blue Rag trig point were brilliant later in the week.

The week ended with a dinner provided by Drive 4 Life at the Snowline Hotel in Harrietville, and a shout-out to publican Bennett Mountjoy and his staff for continuing to make the Snowline the best basecamp in the High Country.

Every cent donated by participants, group leaders and organisers – yes, everyone pays – goes to Northcott. This is because of the excellent and generous sponsors: principle sponsor is ARB 4X4 Accessories, and major sponsors are IGA Supermarkets and 4X4 Australia magazine.

For more info, go to www.drive4life.com.au