Mutiny looms on jinxed bus to Sydney

Maybe it was the threat of another sober night sipping bottles of Bavaria, Iran's famously alcohol-free lager. Or perhaps it was the mechanical breakdowns and hours of mind and bottom-numbing coach travel that threatened to bring the dream crashing down.

Whatever the final straw, on Sunday night it was reported that the 38 passengers aboard the OzBus, a 1960s-style charabanc trip from London to Australia, were threatening to mutiny.

Just three weeks into the three-month odyssey in which they were due to travel from London to Sydney via Turkey, India and Indonesia, a desperate email from one passenger announced that, following yet another technical hitch with their Latvian-registered jalopy, consigning them to an extra unscheduled night in Tehran, the mood on board had blackened.

"We are currently stuck waiting for a replacement bus ... mutiny is in the air and everyone is so angry it is unbelievable," she complained. "The only food supplies we've been able to buy since Istanbul is from petrol stations," she added.

According to the tour organiser, Mark Creasey, things were not so bad. It was true the bus had suffered its share of travails on the way – a broken exhaust, a damaged wing mirror and a reversal into an unyielding tree – but morale was still high and they were now en route to Esfahan, a World Heritage Site and, more prosaically, the location for Iran's controversial uranium conversion facility.

Some of the travel blogs published by those on board would seem to back him up – containing the sort of gleeful tales of bar and tent hopping that might be expected from young people on the road trip of a lifetime.

"We spoke to the tour leader last night. The vehicle we left with has had three dings on the way and is being fixed and we have put them on a hire bus and they are currently on their way to Esfahan," he said.

"For some reason some are questioning the itinerary saying 'will we go here?' and 'will we go there?' But they have visited everything promised in the itinerary and are doing fine," he said.

Mr Creasey blames the bad publicity on the presence of a female journalist on board, and says that all 38 passengers who set out from London in September are still there. A second coach, also full, is just a few days behind OzBus One. The biggest drama there appears to be a love-struck Australian boyfriend who is flying out to intercept the bus after learning of some of the goings-on via the internet.

One blogger from the bus wrote last week: "17 days, 10 countries, 41 almost-strangers, countless litres of beer, hundreds of packs of cigarettes, much heavy petting, a few 'walks of shame'. A million rumours and a few true stories."

"The bus seat-rotation system now seems to apply to tents which is something I'm privy to most mornings as I am normally the first awake. Those who try to sneak back to their own tents/rooms when the sun rises are foolish to believe no one will see."

Last month The Independent reported from the bus as it began the epic journey. Danny Lawrence, 19, who has saved for two years to pay for the trip, said the atmosphere was jubilant after day one, which began at 7.24am on the Thames Embankment. "It's been a tiring day, but I still know it's the best decision I've ever made."

The OzBus website says of its service: "We are an adventure travel company like no other! We operate a regular overland service for backpackers travelling between London and Sydney.

"Whether you're heading off backpacking, or returning home from overseas, OzBus offers you the radical alternative to flying. This is a truly awesome experience and the ultimate overland adventure; become one of the few people ever to undertake this epic journey."

The company says that customers should be "like-minded" in spirit. "All that we require from you is that you have an adventurous spirit, a strong sense of fun and a longing to see the world as it really is," the website says.

The travellers – who are on the whole British, Australian and Irish – vary in age from around 19 to 69. Mr Creasey described them as: "natural travellers and probably more open to wacky ideas."

Four more buses are due to leave London next year with three scheduled to make the return journey from Down Under.

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before