Travel Bloggers On Great Australian Road Trip To Reunite With Long-Lost Gopro After Amazing Recovery Story
INCREDIBLE luck has struck twice for a couple of Dutch travel bloggers who now get the chance to experience the great Australian road trip to retrieve their long-lost GoPro that was found by a stranger on a Gold Coast beach.
The finder was Sharp Motor Group Tweed Heads marketing manager Tamara Johansen who galvanised her boss Stephen Howlett, Holden Australia and travel app Leezair to reunite the bloggers, Alex Malone and Thijs Van Gerwen, with the GoPro and its precious travel footage.
Rather than just popping the GoPro in the post, the parties have made it possible for the traveller couple to take the wheel of an uber-cool Holden Cascada convertible and embark on an all-expenses paid epic 13-day exploration of Australia’s east coast, culminating in a reunion at the Sharp Motor Group dealership in Tweed Heads this week.
The road trip stretches almost 2000km from Victoria’s breath-taking Great Ocean Road to the lush and sub-tropical NSW-Queensland border, allowing the couple to experience some of Australia’s most spectacular sights and adventures before retrieving their long-lost camera.
Ms Johansen said she was excited to finally meet the couple in person and hand over the GoPro which she found wedged in wet sand at Broadbeach after Ms Malone dropped it in the surf at Surfers Paradise almost two months prior.
“A lot of things had to go right for this reunion to happen; the camera washed up on the beach rather than drifted out to sea, I picked it up and managed to track them down, and I work for a company that could reunite them with it in a meaningful way,” she said.
Sharp Motor Group dealer principal Stephen Howlett said the idea for the tour had grown out of the unique set of circumstances that the GoPro’s discovery had uncovered.
“Once we knew the background of the owners and the calibre of the footage on the camera, we realised that Tamara had found the missing link of their travels so far,” Mr Howlett said.
“Rather than just posting it to them, we were able to get Holden and Leezair on board so that we could make a fantastic trip out of it for them and help out Australian tourism at the same time.
“We’re so pleased we’ve been able to assist and that Holden were also keen to be involved in this way.”
Ms Malone said they loved swapping their usual four-wheel drive vehicle for the sleek and luxurious Holden convertible for the road trip north.
“This is something else – we opened the roof, had the wind blowing through our hair and the seat heating on full power,” she said.
“Because of Tamara, and thanks to Holden and Leezair, we are not just doing a trip from A to B but having the best experience in every place we stop.
“We will be skydiving, kayaking under Sydney Harbour Bridge, riding quad bikes in the dunes close to Newcastle and swimming with turtles in Tweed Heads.
“Something that I am very excited about is that we will also be going to a retreat in Nimbin where we will visit secret areas around the valley with the local Aboriginal community to learn more about their culture and stories.”
The bloggers’ ‘GoPro Reunion Tour’ features stopovers in The Great Ocean Road in Victoria through to Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Northern NSW, with their other planned experiences including surfing, gourmet cuisine, whale watching and a pampering spa day.
The story so far:
After finding the GoPro on a Gold Coast beach and realising the quality of its footage, local marketing manager Tamara Johansen used her digital marketing and media skills to track down its owners via social media channels and then attracted the interest of local and national media outlets.
A friend of the bloggers, who was living in Vietnam at the time, eventually identified the couple from the footage and contacted Ms Johansen, putting her in touch with Alex Malone and Thijs Van Gerwen, who blog for online travel magazine storyofmyworld.com.