Mary and Bill star in Great Southern Rail’s new TV ad “Journey Beyond”, experiencing the journeys onboard The Ghan and Indian Pacific and at the many incredible Outback Australian destinations. The Adelaide Hills couple, who don’t have any acting or filming experience, were approached on the streets of Adelaide to be involved in this project.
With the new ad currently airing on television and in cinemas, we spoke to Mary about the experience and the reception she has received from friends who have seen it.
How did you become involved in the “Journey Beyond” project?
My husband Bill was approached on the street near the Central Markets [in Adelaide] and asked about appearing in an advert. They told us about the ad for The Ghan and Indian Pacific and we were very keen to get the gig because The Ghan was something we always wanted to do.
How long was the filming and where did you travel for the video?
It was seven or eight days of filming. We were flown to Darwin, visited Berry Springs, Katherine, Alice Springs, Simpsons Gap and went on the train from Alice to Adelaide – we loved sleeping on the train.
It was a great insight and the whole experience was like being transported to a different world.
Of all those amazing destinations, does one place or experience stand out as a favourite?
I loved going out on the camel rides [in Alice Springs]. It was lots of fun and Marcus [from Pyndan Camel Tracks Tours] is a very interesting character.
Also Simpsons Gap was one of my favourites, that was just beautiful country. I loved walking through Simpsons Gap - you can see that bit in the ad, where there are multiple Bills.
As your first time being involved in a project like this, did you enjoy the experience?
We felt so lucky to be involved in project like this. On the second to last night of filming, we had the whole crew at our house in the Adelaide Hills. We really enjoyed having everyone there for dinner and it was a great night with the crew that we had really enjoyed working with.
A few friends have already emailed and called us. Many who didn’t realise we had been doing this have just asked, “Did we just see you on TV?” and, “What the heck - what are you doing?”
They are all very envious and all agree it would have been a great thing to be a part of. We feel very lucky.
This was your first time on The Ghan. Have you taken any other trains in Australia or around the world?
Yes, it was our first time on The Ghan. We have travelled by train in other parts of the world. We travelled by train in India. We travelled there 20-30 years ago and that time we did not do it luxury class. It was a different experience to train travel in Australia. We love train travel and India was an amazing experience.
You and Bill have already done a bit of travel around the world and in Australia. Where is next on your travel wishlist?
Bill is currently organising a motorbike ride from the southern tip of South America to Alaska. He is going in December this year and the trip will take around five or six months. He is travelling with my brother-in-law. It’s quite a big adventure.