Rudi Schacher

Rudi Schacher, entrepreneur, adventurer, environmentalist and professional driver




Cooking with gas on long road to Oz, by Jeremy Drake - 29th January 2008
(Credit: The Wentworth Courier)

A Swiss-born adventurer last week realised his dream when he finished an eight-month charity drive across 23 countries at his favourite beach in the world, Bondi.

Rudi Schacher set off from North Cape in Norway last May in his $3000, 28-year-old, vegetable oil-powered Mercedes-Benz. The car was converted to run on cooking oil in 2006 by Swiss company BioDrive.

Mr Schacher, who has a brother living in Sydney, said he thought Bondi beach would be the perfect conclusion to a lifelong goal, after he spent four years living and working in the Eastern Suburbs in the 1980s.

But his journey here was not without its hiccups. Mr Schacher said that after many breakdowns, he arrived in Syria last September, only to discover that it was difficult to find clean oil for the car. He said the journey through Jordan and Saudi Arabia was even tougher and that he was forced to have a police escort.

En route to India he was turned back from the Pakistan border because of the civil unrest there. The car was shipped a few weeks later from Dubai to Fremantle in Western Australia.

"Then it only took me three and a half weeks to get across Australia... not a long run compared to Europe," he said. "No traffic, border lines or fake police. You can travel in a free land, which is just so beautiful."

Mr Schacher, who is often referred to as "Rudi Dundee", said he had been travelling for nearly 18 years and that this was to be his last big trip.

His goal had been to raise money for a Swiss charity that provides assistance to poverty-stricken children in Russia. However, he said that when he left Norway, nobody had agreed to sponsor him because "they thought the car wouldn't make it".

Mr Schacher is now looking for local sponsors and cooking-oil donations to start a Sydney tour. And the car? Well, he is hoping someone in Australia might want to buy it because, with only 450,000km on the odometer, it still runs like new. Anyone interested can phone him on 0408 947 541.



Cooking oil fuels charity trip, by Elaine Mitropoulos - 17th January 2008
(Credit: The Kalgoorlie Miner)

Former Goldfields resident Rudi Schacher is used to long road trips. The globetrotting activist has made numerous treks from his hometown in Luzern, Switzerland to Russia, carrying carloads of gifts for less fortunate children just in time for Christmas.

His latest expedition to raise awareness about child poverty, however, is the longest haul of them all.

The Swiss-Australian, dubbed “Rudi Dundee” by friends and family, is making the trek from North Cape, Norway all the way to Sydney.

The twist? Mr Schacher is making the epic journey using cooking oil to fuel his classic Mercedes Benz.

Now in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, the former resident is calling on Goldfields businesses and families to donate fuel before he embarks on the next leg of his trek.

“I have no sponsors because people don't think the car will make it,” he said.

Mr Schacher's journey started in Norway in May last year. Since then he has met with terrorist threats, violence in Pakistan and fuel shortages in Iran.

“I was very close to a head-on collision in the Saudi Arabian desert when a car lost control and just missed me,” he said.

“Australia is the best place to travel. It has big, wide roads and freedom.”

“Kalgoorlie is a wonderful city in outback Australia. People are so lucky to live here. I'm proud to be here and see all my friends.”


Green Fuels

Mercedes Benz


Media Man Australia was delighted to do an off the record interview with Rudi Schacher at Bondi Beach on the 25th January 2008