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Isuzu customers clean up Australia

Isuzu Ute Australia customers hit the beach for Cleanup Australia Day

11 Mar 2024

SINCE launching its customer-focused iVenture Club in 2015, Isuzu Ute Australia has hosted dozens of events each year to educate owners on all things off-road - from single-day towing courses to multi-day epics through some of Australia’s most iconic regions.


So far Isuzu Ute Australia has hosted more than 300 i-Venture trips, with more than 5000 owners joining for the ride, led by charismatic driver trainers Dave Darmody and David Wilson, and made possible by Isuzu Ute events coordinator and avid off-roader, Corey Prior.


For the first time, though, the focus turned to environmental education after Isuzu Ute decided to offer owners the chance to do their part for Cleanup Australia Day held on the 3 March.


Unsure of whether interest would be strong, but hopeful its owners would jump at the chance to give back, the iVenture team crossed their fingers and began emailing customers. Before long, trips on all three consecutive clean up days had sold out.


The idea for a “cleanup” event was one dreamt up by Mr Prior, who is passionate about leaving Australia’s beaches and countryside better than he finds it.


“I’ve travelled around Australia and I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, so tidying up anything I see is just second nature at this point,” he said.


“A few years ago on an i-Venture Club trip we did Double Island Point just after the 2022 floods, and the beaches were littered with absolutely everything - even pontoons had washed up.


“But there was no one there doing anything about it and I just thought, what can I do with the program to bring the people together to come and help clean up?”


An official Cleanup Australia Day event remained high on Mr Prior’s list of i-Venture endeavours, as he continued to see an increase in rubbish in remote off-road areas, but it took two years of planning to bring it to life.


“Over many years of hosting 4WD events on beaches throughout Australia, we kept seeing a gradual increase with discarded rubbish and plastics in campsites and on 4WD tracks,” he said.


“It ended up taking the better part of two years to get all the permits together from Queensland Parks, and all of the commercial approvals to make this happen, but seeing the i-Venture Club community come out was amazing.


“I don’t think everyone out there would want to pay to come out and clean up, but they’re just as passionate about it as we are.”


Wheels in motion


The day kicked off with a hearty all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast at Noosa Northshore Retreat, where driver trainer David Darmody urged attendees to shovel in as much bacon as humanly possible.


“You don’t go hungry on an i-Venture trip, so fill up,” he joked, as the crowd of owners heeded his advice.


After dropping tyre pressures to a sand-suitable 20psi, the convoy entered the beach heading north through the Great Sandy National Park, towards picturesque Rainbow Beach.


While centred around cleaning up Australia’s beaches, the day also involved off-road training with many attendees new to sand driving. While fresh faced four-wheel drivers normally wouldn’t be thrown in the deep end on an i-Venture trip, high tide meant a slow run through soft sand.


Nobody got bogged, with careful instruction coming over the radios from Mr Darmody as the group navigated softer sections. “You want steady throttle through the soft sand, just maintain your speed,” he urged.


The group stopped for lunch at Double Island Point, a scenic headland offering mesmerising views of the coastline, the fleet of Isuzus parked on the edge of a sand lagoon as owners fuelled up for the hard work ahead.


Heading south, back to Noosa Northshore, the group was instructed to stop at designated points, fanning out to clean particularly littered sections of beach.


Isuzu Ute Australia provided each participant with a hessian bag, gloves, and a pick-up stick, urging them to focus on a small area at a time.


People of all ages could be seen scouring the beach for discarded rubbish and plastic washed ashore, moving at a mildly competitive pace to see who could fill their bag the quickest.


“When Isuzu advertised this event, it was in bold print that it was a 'cleanup' event, so no one was surprised when they were given a high-vis vest and pair of gloves - they’ve chosen to participate in this,” said Mr Darmody, as he loaded his bag back into the i-Venture D-Max.


Mr Darmody spent time explaining the importance of beach care to the group between stops, as well as showing those new to the game how to get un-bogged after he deliberately buried the rear tyres of a D-Max.


“My background is an outdoor and environmental education teacher, so I've literally spent my career talking about trying to do something good and instil that in the next generation,” he said.


After two more stops and bagsful of rubbish collected by the team, with the various Isuzu Ute vehicles loaded up with everything from rope to glass bottles, it was time to roll out.


Back at Noosa Northshore Resort the i-Venture team began sorting and roughly counting the items collected - the sheer quantity a sign of the momentous effort.


The tally revealed around 4500 individual pieces of rubbish had been collected, the majority being soft/micro plastics, which was enough to fill three ute trays to the brim - bound for the tip.


“Seeing all of this rubbish out of the waterways and off the beach is just incredible,” Mr Prior said.


“Now we are looking forward to hopefully growing it or changing location, and maybe getting a bit more support too.”

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