Jeep helps us hit the road with purpose and an Empty Esky

Jeep helps us hit the road with purpose and an Empty Esky


COVID-19-induced travel restrictions look like they’ll remain part of life for some time to come, especially by air. That’s bad news for those of us in Melbourne, particularly, still enduring months of enforced local isolation.

We at Madam Wheels are not sure about other Melburnians, but the first thing we’re going to do once our 5km lockdown radius is removed is get into a car and go for a very long drive! Anywhere will do.

Of course, in Australia, the possibilities are endless, we’re spoilt for choice. But a fantastic new initiative might take some of the guesswork out of choosing where to go while helping struggling Australian communities at the same time.

'We really want to encourage all Australians to enjoy the beautiful land in which we live and ensure small businesses can revive and prosper.'

Empty Esky was set up to support communities hit hard by last summer’s Australian bushfires. The not-for-profit tourism movement encouraged Australians to hit the road with empty eskys then fill them up with goods and local produce purchased from small business in those fire-effected communities.

Now, with the backing of Jeep Australia, Empty Esky founders Eleanor Baillieu and Erin Boutros have launched an interactive new website to make it easer for users to consider pre-prepared itineraries to places around Australia. Options range from Lakes Entrance, in eastern Victoria, a foodie’s guide to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and the Scenic Rim region in south-east Queensland.

A clever feature on the Empty Esky site is an interactive map which enables Empty Esky road trippers to design their own itineraries and have it delivered to their inboxes.

Baillieu says Jeep Australia’s support helped improve the website in a way which will benefit both travellers to and businesses in the fire-affected areas.

“It is now more important than ever to think about towns and businesses impacted by the bushfires,” she says. “They lost the summer season and now many, in particular the Victorian businesses, have been shut down due to COVID-19.”

Jeep Australia Managing Director Kevin Flynn says it’s great the new Empty Esky site is up and running as COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease so Australians can head out on “home-grown adventures” and support local businesses.

“If it is safe to do so, we really want to encourage all Australians to enjoy the beautiful land in which we live and ensure small businesses can revive and prosper,” Flynn says.

We couldn’t agree more.

Now, if only we could convince everyone in the car to down devices and just talk while they were on the road. Jeep Australia, can you help with a solution for that new-world issue, please?