UOW students travel days without money

UOW students Lachlan Wood and Laura Tibbetts, who took part in the Red Bull challenge. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

UOW students Lachlan Wood and Laura Tibbetts, who took part in the Red Bull challenge. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Armed with just a crate of energy drink and a sales pitch, three University of Wollongong students travelled from Sydney to Cairns without paying a cent.

Lachlan Wood, Laura Tibbetts and Mia Parsons have just returned from a five-day cross-country adventure with the Can You Make It competition, sponsored by Red Bull.

The trio was stripped of wallets, cash and mobile phones, and given only a slab of soft drink with which to barter their way to Cairns. Racing against 19 other teams, they were the second team across the line.

"We got an extremely thick skin from being rejected so much, but so many people went above and beyond to help us out," Mr Wood said.

It was not a straight route up the coast, however, as the UOW team had to complete challenges and zig-zag to reach checkpoints right across the country.

They were able to secure a penthouse apartment in Melbourne, a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane, the hire of a campervan, and extras like an indoor skydive experience by trading energy drink - and using a well-refined sales pitch and a huge pile of charisma.

"We would just rock up and tell them the story. We had about 20 seconds to get it out before people lost interest, to see if they paid attention or didn't want a bar of it," Mr Wood said.

"A lot of people were taken aback or thought we were begging, but if they let us say our spiel, a lot of them helped us out."

Everything from food and accommodation to petrol had to be traded, with the use of money on the trip prohibited.

"We had to solicit strangers for help at each petrol station. They didn't know anything about us, but would buy us an $80 tank of petrol or snacks," Mr Wood said.

"In big cities people had a wall up, but in the country, people were willing to listen."

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