HAPPY HITCHHIKER: Darren Collins was determined to make it to Yamba, even if he had to hitchhike the entire way.Photo: SALLY G
HAPPY HITCHHIKER: Darren Collins was determined to make it to Yamba, even if he had to hitchhike the entire way.Photo: SALLY G

Hitchhiker?s guide to Yamba



WITH the help of seven friendly motorists, one train, a free luxury coach ride and a blown out pair of pluggers, Darren Collins eventually made it to Yamba.

He travelled for three days on a scant budget with no time to spare to make it to his nephew's wedding, which was held at Main Beach over the weekend.

The journey began in Warrnambool, western Victoria, and ended up at Castalia Restaurant on Sunday, where Brisbane couple Deon and Brightie Hales were having their reception.

Darren missed the wedding, but made it just in time to wish the newlyweds a hearty congratulations at their reception.

"I had to make this trip, it was a promise I had made to my wife Anne Collins who I lost three weeks ago to breast cancer," Darren said.

"I made the trip as a promise and because of the family's financial situation, it (hitchhiking) was the only way I could get here."

The intrepid traveller, who boasts years of experience in hitchhiking, befriended a few of his drivers, including a woman who had just been socked in the eye by another woman at a petrol station, and a motorist in a 4WD who was obsessed with the speed limit.

After making it safely to Yamba, however, Darren faced yet another challenge after sleep- ing on the beach and losing all his gear in a freak wave.

"I slept the night under the pandanus at Angourie's Green Point," he said.

"In the morning I went to do a surf check and when I came back I was left with a boot, an esky and a thong."

But, the destitute Victorian was not left out in the cold.

Jack MacIntosh from the Pacific Hotel gave him a bed for two nights, St Vincents de Paul clothed him and Castalia Restaurant gave him $30 to help him on his way.

"This little town is great, they took me in and I was blown away by their generosity," he said.

Both businesses have since been paid back and by now, Darren is probably hitchhiking his way back home.



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