2019 marks an extraordinary milestone for 1770 LARC! tours, as they celebrate 25 years of LARCing around.  Since they first began operating in May 1994 the iconic pink LARCS have been transporting guests from the Town of 1770 to explore the Lightstation of Bustard Head.   

Visionary Des Mergard, wife Betty and family, wanted to share the beauty and isolation of Bustard Head Light Station with visitors. However, with challenging terrain and ever-changing sea conditions, there was only one type of craft that was fit for the job, and Des knew where to find it. All the way from a car yard in Rockhampton already dressed in pink, Sir Joseph Banks joined the family.   

This ex-military Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (L.A.R.C) vessel named after botanist Sir Joseph Banks, proved to be well equipped for accessing the 27km of picturesque coastline boarding the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Climbing headlands, 4wding over sand dunes, traversing tidal creeks and riding the surf, even with heavy loads proved to be a piece of (birthday) cake. The capabilities of 1770’s first LARC impressed everyone so much that in 1997 Sir Joseph Banks was presented with a sidekick…. another LARC! Suitably named Dr DC Solander.   

Neil Mergard, the youngest son of Des and Betty, carries on the LARC! legacy as owner and operator. “I’m so proud to continue sharing and preserving history in this region,” Mr Merguard said. “My family and so many others, along with us, have a genuine commitment to showcasing our natural assets and protecting them for the future.”   

Also known as LARCman, Neil is still excited every day to showcase the stunning region to people from all around the globe. His enthusiasm for LARCing around is contagious and filters through to his guests and staff. Neil is committed to supporting the local community, protecting the environment and is proud to be EcoTourism Certified for over 16 years.   

What’s next at 1770 LARC! Tours…? The team have some fantastic ideas in the pipeline and an exciting new project underway. It’s safe to say that the pink LARCs will continue to greet visitors at the entrance to the Town of 1770 for another 25 years.