We Care Road Trip going to drought-stricken towns on September 8 and 9

DROUGHT: Farmer Craig Murphy feeds hay to his stock at his Blandford property in the Upper Hunter earlier this year. Picture: Nick Bielby
DROUGHT: Farmer Craig Murphy feeds hay to his stock at his Blandford property in the Upper Hunter earlier this year. Picture: Nick Bielby

It started with a desire to help and now a Hunter woman has almost collected a full house for a bus trip with a twist.

The We Care Road Trip will take travellers from Newcastle on September 8 to drought-stricken Merriwa and Gulargambone and then further west to Coonabarabran where they will spend the night.

Organiser Anne-Marie Best has set a challenge for her passengers in Coonabarabran – to refrain from using the shower as the town is already on level 6 water restrictions. 

If they must have a shower they’ll have to buy a shower voucher from her, and it’ll cost them $25 for 2 minutes. 

Shops in the town will open on September 9 for the travellers, who are ready to spend up big to help keep the economy pumping. 

Each passenger will book their own accommodation and Ms Best has a list of places they can drop into for a meal during the overnight adventure.

It costs $75 to get a seat on the bus and she has 11 left.

“I’m crossing my fingers that we can fill the whole bus … These people need help, I can’t imagine being out there when your animals are relying on you for feed and you need help,”

Organiser Anne-Marie Best

“The main idea behind this was to get some city people out there to actually see the drought. Unless you actually go there and look they don't get how bad it is. Hopefully it will enlighten these people and maybe they will do something of their own to help in the future.

“We’ve got about $1600 worth of raffle prizes donated and I’ve got an auction item to auction off … All of the money will be donated to charities that are on the ground helping our farmers.”

The return trip to Newcastle on Sunday will be via Willow Tree, which is another drought-stricken community. 

One Day Closer to Rain founder Cassandra McLaren will meet the group when they drop into Merriwa on September 8.

“This all came about after I stumbled onto the One Day Closer to Rain page that Cassandra McLaren started and I was scrolling through and reading some of the comments and I thought, we have to do something to help,” Ms Best said.

Take a look at the drought for yourself

“It started out that a few of us were going to go out in a car and then I thought no, I can organise a whole bus. I had three bus companies that offered to help.”

Ms Best’s venture has already raised $7000, and she’s hoping that figure will rise to $10,000. 

Want to go along?

Here’s what you need to do:

To secure a seat on the bus donate a minimum of $75 to either Buy A Bale, Drought Angels, Aussie Helpers or Need For Feed and email the receipt to theabells@optusnet.com.au. 

A full itinerary and booking confirmation will then be emailed.

This story Destination drought-stricken towns: this is a bus trip with a twist first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.