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A 26-day journey from Perth to Sydney in your classic car

8 December, 2014

There’s those road trips that regularly feature on ‘things to do before you die’ lists, around Europe and across America for example. Closer to home, the obligatory trip around both the North and South Island is always worthwhile, but New Zealand’s always had a deficit of size. For that, our neighbours across the ditch have the answer — the Perth to Sydney Classic Car Tour.

The tour covers 26 days and participants stay in motels and hotels covering 3½ to 5-star ratings throughout the trip. Classic car owners are already preparing for the next tour, departing Perth in August 2015, with cars set to be shipped from Christchurch and Auckland.

From Perth, the convoy will visit most of the best sites Western Australia has to offer. These include Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s most south-westerly point, the famed wine and surf town of Margaret River, and Albany, the original home of ANZAC, with great celebrations in 2015 to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings.

Memorable road signs in traditional Aussie fashion

South Australia is the next destination, covering the Nullarbor Plain over the course of three days, and driving alongside southern right whales and their calves in the Great Australian Bight. Port Lincoln is the destination after the Nullarbor, and Wes Davies, the event organizer, hopes that the Lincoln Classic Car Club will turn out in force once more to greet the travellers, as they did on the last trip in 2013.

A great sign on the Nullarbor

In stark contrast to the barren beauty of the Nullarbor is the city of Adelaide, reached via fertile winery regions. From Adelaide, the convoy travel through Northern Victoria to the town of Wentworth where the Darling and Murray River systems meet at the NSW and Victoria border. Providing a variety of countryside, cities, and everything in-between is the next destination of Melbourne, before heading through the Snowy Mountains, and on to the capital city of Canberra.

Early morning line up at Renmark, near the SA/NSW/Victoria border

The epic cross-country wander covers over 7500km, and 2015’s iteration already has eight couples and cars booked. Wes says that although the route has not changed, he’s learned a lot from the first trip in 2013 — hence there’s been a few changes to the support processes. All cars are now provided with handheld radios and matching GPS units, and Wes will carry a satellite phone and towing dolly as further support. You can’t be too safe when it comes to old cars and big country! Of course, these kinds of trips are as much about the experience as the people you meet, and the Perth to Sydney Classic Car Tour offers the best of both. To book your Australian adventure, contact Wes Davies on 0800 533 868.

All done — the line up at North Sydney, under the Harbour Bridge

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.