Discovering hidden gems along the Great Ocean Road

April 3, 2024 BY

The recent Hidden Gem Race took participants all along the Great Ocean Road, supporting local businesses and cleaning up rubbish. Photo: INSTAGRAM/WANDERDOWNUNDER_

THE Hidden Gem Race has taken on the Great Ocean Road for the first time.

The race brings people together as they discover the hidden gems of the region with the theme of “leave no trace’.

Participants travel around the area, taking photos at set locations listed by the organisers, and are also required to pick up rubbish where they are visiting, using an app to submit their images.

Prizes are also up for grabs and are all donated by local businesses.

The race ran from March 16 to March 24 and was organised by Beyonder co-founders Ciara Power and Callan Mantyvirta.

Callan Mantyvirta and Cirara Power created Beyonder when travelling Australia’s East Coast in 2023. Photo: SUPPLIED

The duo started the business when travelling Australia’s east coast last year.

They had the idea of creating an app that allows travellers to plan their journey and discover places off the beaten track.

They were shocked at the amount of rubbish they discovered on their travels, bringing out bags from national parks and beaches.

To fight the issue, the pair wanted to come up with a way to make tourism more sustainable and balance people coming into the regions without damaging the environment even more and introduced the rubbish collection initiative.

Participants are given hessian bags to collect rubbish as they explore the area. Photo: SUPPLIED

“It’s basically an event supporting local businesses, bringing tourism to regional areas and collaborating with communities to help clean up regions that might be struggling with rubbish pollution,” Ms Power said.

“We’ve got our own hessian bags that we’ve upcycled, and we hand out to people during the race so that they can kind of change their mindsets because it’s not only about picking up after yourself but picking up after others as well.”

Competitors had the option of entering as individuals or in teams, with about 50 people getting involved in the initiative.

To score points in the race, participants must complete the challenge and submit a photo. Photos: INSTAGRAM/WANDERDOWNUNDER_

In October last year the pair ran their first Hidden Gem race in Victoria’s High Country

“This year we decided to bring it down the Great Ocean Road because there’s so many amazing places down here and so many local businesses,” Ms Power said.

“The area also relies a lot on tourism so we just wanted to help out as many local businesses as possible and bring together as many people as we could to clean up and tackle the rubbish pollution area.”

The pair have plans to hold similar events again in the future.

For more information, head to beyonderaus.com

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