The World’s Toughest Trucker

Warm beer won’t make you any friends up here, mate. Garry White’s torture trek fuels the fridge.

Garry White, "the world's toughest trucker," delivers diesel fuel to the cattle stations, aboriginal communities and remote settlements of the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland, Australia. Writer and photographer Tom Clynes rode along on his 2,400 km round trip through the continent's most inaccessible wilderness. (Tom Clynes)

Garry White, “the world’s toughest trucker,” delivers diesel to the cattle stations, aboriginal communities and remote settlements of the Cape York Peninsula in Australia far north. Writer and photographer Tom Clynes rode along on his 2,400 km round trip through the continent’s most inaccessible wilderness. Click photo above for slide show.

After a day in the sun deep-sea fishing with Pajinka’s then-manager, Alan Geary, a few guests cooled off at the lodge’s outdoor bar. Someone brought over a round of XXXX (Queensland’s home-brewed beer, pronounced “Four-X”) and asked Alan a question of essential interest:

In a place where the temperature rarely dips below 85 degrees, a place far too remote for electrical lines, how is it that the beer at Pajinka is always cold?

lan answered with a tropical syllogism. For good conversation, he said, you need cold beer. To get cold beer, you need electricity. To get electricity, you need fuel for the generator. To get fuel to The Top…you need Garry White.

Three times a year, Alan told us, “this bloke Garry” pulls his full-size tractor-trailer rig out of Cairns and heads up the peninsula to the fuel depot at Weipa. There, he fills the tanker with diesel for the cattle stations and aboriginal settlements in the distant north, and for Pajinka. The 2,400 km round trip—very little of it on paved roads—takes him through the continent’s most inaccessible wilderness. He has to plow through jungle rivers, chain-saw through downed trees and shovel his way out of truck-gobbling mud holes. Every time he stops to change a flat tire or replace an axle, he’s bait for leeches, wild boars, taipans and giant crocs.

“It’s a well-known fact,” said Alan, “that he is the world’s toughest trucker.”

Explore more of the story through the image slideshow