By Greg Deighton (Member 868)
In last month’s article I introduced you to a wonderful fund raising event involving Personal Water Crafts (PWCs or jet skis) called Variety Jet Trek. My family has participated in these events since 2012 and this year we will be heading up to Mission Beach to ride down to Airlie beach.
The following outlines the itineraries of each of the past Variety Jet Trek’s we have participated in. As you will see the events have grown each year as word gets out about the adventure and the great charity that is Variety – The Children’s Charity.
2012 – “Clarence to the Coral” – Grafton to Tin Can Bay
13th – 18th February 2012
This was our first Jet Trek and from day one we were welcomed into the Variety family, and have made some wonderful friendships.
- Day One – Big River Holiday Park & Ski Lodge Grafton to Yamba for lunch and then onto Ballina for the night.
- Day Two – Ballina to Gold Coast via Kingscliffe for lunch, overnight at SeaWorld Resort
- Day Three – Lay day to rest the tired and sore bodies, and to spend time with the road crew.
- Day Four – Gold Coast to Cleveland and lunch at the William street boat ramp, and then onto Bribie Island
- Day Five – Bribie Island to Caloundra via Pumicestone Passage and Noosa for the evening
- Day Six – Last Day, run from Noosa to Tin Can Bay
Weather conditions were not ideal with +20 knot SE’s and up to 2 metre seas. The run to Bribie Island saw the bay at its best washing machine conditions with skis spending more time under the water than on top.
This event had 28 PWCs entered – 74 Participants, including riders and road crew, with a total of $62,000 raised for Variety
2013 – “Cooktown & Down” – Cooktown to Townsville
28th April – 3rd May 2013
- Day One – Was supposed to be Cooktown to Port Douglas, however, Cyclone Zane had other intentions passing to the north of Cooktown the day before. Wind conditions prevented the skis entering the water, so the skis on trailers were taken down the Bloomfield Track.
- Day Two – Port Douglas to Cairns, lunch stop was Yorkeys Knob.
- Day Three – Cairns lay day. Planned trip to Green Island cancelled due to weather, even the tourist ferry stayed in harbour.
- Day Four – Cairns to Mission Beach
- Day Five – Mission Beach to Lucinda with lunch at Cardwell. Overnight was at the Hinchinbrook Resort.
- Day Six – Lucinda to Townsville via Magnetic Island.
The effects of Cyclone Zane, as could be imagined, made riding conditions extremely challenging. The last day was some of the worst conditions any trekker had ridden in with the morning stage taking more than twice as long to complete.
On this event 58 PWCs entered – 148 participants, including riders and road crew, with a total of $154,000 raised for Variety. The event made it into the World Record Books, as being the longest distance by a group riding PWCs, a cumulative total of 17,788 kilometres.
2015 – ‘Keppel to the Capital” – Yeppoon to Sanctuary Cove
4th – 9th May 2015
- Day One – Leaving Keppel Bay Marina for Agnes Waters. Lunch was at Boyne Island
- Day Two – Agnes Waters to Bargara, with skis being pulled out of the water at Burnett Heads for the lunch stop
- Day Three – Bargara to Rainbow Beach with lunch at Hervey Bay Boat Club. Afternoon run was down the inside of Fraser Island
- Day Four – Lay day in Rainbow Beach
- Day Five – Rainbow Beach to Caloundra, with lunch in Noosa
- Day Six – Caloundra to Manly for lunch via Pumicestone Passage and then through the Southern bay to Paradise Point and Sanctuary Cove for the last night and Gala Ball.
Weather for this trek was ideal, apart from Day Five with Double Island point living up to its reputation as the windiest point on Eastern Australia.
This year saw 61 PWCs entered – 146 Participants, including riders and road crew, with a total of $164,000 raised for Variety.
2016 – “Great Ocean Road” – Portland to Phillip Island
29th Feb – 5th March 2016
This trek, like the Cooktown to Townsville event, was something many Variety Trekkers wanted to do. A particularly long haul for those coming from Northern Queensland, just to get to the launch ramp.
- Day One – Portland to Warrnambool, a relatively short run for the first day.
- Day Two – Warrnambool to Apollo Bay with overnight in Lorne. Lunch was in Port Campbell. This area had recently suffered significant bush fire damage, which was quite evident from our on-water perspective. It was nice that our small event was able to help these local communities. We visited a seal colony, and had the very memorable experience of having seals swim amongst us. The afternoon run was past the Twelve Apostles, and with the great weather, the film crew in the helicopter managed to get some spectacular footage of all the skis.
- Day Three – Apollo Bay to Barwon Heads for lunch and then onto Mornington. Road crew went via the Searoad Ferries from Queenscliff. Having PWC’s escort them across the bay was quite special.
- Day Four – Lay day and time to do some trailer repairs after the long haul down from Queensland.
- Day Five – Opportunity to take passengers on the skis up to St. Kilda Pier for lunch. With a return run back to Mornington.
- Day Six – Last day with the run from Mornington back out through the heads and on towards Phillip Island with lunch at Flinders. Large numbers of penguins were seen on our run across Bass Strait.
- Weather conditions were not what we expected. Those of us from the warm north brought wet suits and really only needed them on the first and last day. The locals could not believe the excellent conditions we experienced. Swell was in the 3 metre range, but winds were low and temperatures were up. We were truly blessed.
For the Jet Trek 52 PWCs entered – 121 Participants, including riders and road crew, with a total of $141,000 was raised for Variety. Total distance of the PWCs for this event was 689 kilometres.
Check out the Jet Trek promotional Video on YouTube featuring the 2016 event.
During the Treks, we get to meet a number of children and their families that Variety have assisted and hear their heart-warming stories. On the last night, in 2016, we got to meet a special girl and her assistance dog. It is truly amazing what a difference these dogs can make in the life of the child and the improvement in their quality of life. One assistance dog costs around $25,000 to train, so hopefully the proceeds from the Trek will assist Variety to be able to provide a few more to deserving families.
This year we are raising funds for a wonderful girl, Tori, who has been living with the debilitating Proteus Syndrome. You can read Tori’s story here Tori’s Story. If you wish to help support our efforts in raising much needed funds so Tori’s family can purchase a special wheel chair, as government funding will not cover the full cost, you can click on the link Donate Now.
Variety Jet Trek can be challenging, particularly when the weather is not kind to us, however, it pales by comparison with the trials these families, endure every day. If you feel you would like to assist us in raising funds for Tori and her family please click on the links.