IN YEARS gone by the Australian Government started Outback Safari Tours to encourage grey nomads to get on the roads less travelled.
The Outback Safari started with 44 caravans, and in 30 days the group meandered their way across the Hunter Valley, to Lightning Ridge, Narrabri, Mt Isa, up the Gulf and across to Cairns.
Parked in Tamworth's Paradise Caravan Park is the only group left.
"Every year we find a new little town in the outback and meet up there to raise a bit of money for a charity in the town," nomad Gloria Garbutt said.
"We like to donate a few bob along the way, it's just fun. 13 years down the track and we're still going, which is pretty good."
The group likes to visit country towns, spend money in them and help support the local economy, all while catching up with old friends.
Mrs Garbutt has travelled from Bundaberg, Queensland with her husband John.
In Tamworth, the couple and their caravan gang plan to raise funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with a dress-up night and auction.
"Most caravaners will need the helicopter or flying doctor at some time," Mrs Garbutt said.
"We had a fellow who went to Darwin, he had meningitis and had to be flown to the NT.
"You can't travel the outback without supporting it, you only have to be bitten by a snake or fall over and you have to take into consideration you may get sick, it's a worry off your mind knowing you're there."
The group average between $1000 and $1500 to donate to charity on each trip.
We had a fellow who went to Darwin, he had meningitis and had to be flown to the NT.Gloria Garbutt
The money is raised through "fines" that are doled out to the group members for forgetting to wear their name tags or silly mistakes.
It's all a bit of a laugh Mrs Garbutt said.
"Most people just donate from free will," she said.
"We have a gotcha award, you have to be pretty silly to get one of those."
Members of the group have come from Lakes Entrance in Victoria, Sydney, Shoalhaven, Melbourne and a few places in between.
The fundraiser auction is at 6pm on Sunday at the Paradise Caravan Park kitchen, with all funds raised by the caravan group to go to the Tamworth Westpac Rescue Helicopter.