So long to the King of the Outback

Credited by many for opening up Australia's outback regions to tourists for the first time, the passing of travel icon Bill King this week at the age of 92 has plenty of people in the travel sector reflecting on his enormous legacy.

STARTING out in the industry with Bill King’s Northern Safaris in 1967, his humble beginnings saw plenty of challenges, including getting lost, bogged and stranded, but King’s sprit of adventure and passion for travel saw him steer the tour operation through the early hurdles into a major success story.

In the early phases, travellers would board King’s custom 4WD vehicles, and by 1979, his company grew to 10 vehicles and four Greyhound coaches on charter, ultimately going on to become the AAT Kings in 1980, the hugely successful Travel Corporation brand we know today.

Bill King’s original AAT Kings coach

Reflecting on his passing, a spokesperson for AAT Kings said “Bill developed outback tours that took urbanites off the beaten track in his trademark custom 4WD vehicles, and he had an understanding and respectful inclusion of First Nations tourism that was ahead of his time. The respect Bill had for the land, its people and his sense of adventure are a great legacy and one that AAT Kings continue to honour.”

To learn more about King’s amazing life in travel, a memoir of his experiences can purchased HERE.

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