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Toyota's epic off-road journey reaches its final destination

Toyota New Zealand’s FJ Cruiser Top to Bottom off-road adventure from Cape Reinga.

Toyota New Zealand’s FJ Cruiser Top to Bottom off-road adventure from Cape Reinga to Bluff came to an end yesterday as Marc Ellis and his crew reached the bottom of the South Island after two weeks trawling over 4,980 kilometres of rugged off road country.  

The FJ Cruiser survived pretty much unscathed, apart from a healthy caking of mud, a cracked windscreen, one blown tyre, and a bit of dog pee when the farm dogs from Molesworth Station got a bit over excited as they checked out the inside of the FJ Cruiser. Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt welcomed Marc to the deep south with four dozen Bluff oysters. The off-road challenge, with Marc Ellis at the helm of a specially fitted-out new FJ Cruiser, restarted on 15 May at Puhoi, north of Auckland, and journeyed through Waikato, King Country, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago. 

Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand Assistant General Manager of Marketing and Product, says: “When we first started talking about Top to Bottom we wanted our customers to share in a new car launch and I think we've certainly achieved that.  

“We've had close to 100,000 views on YouTube, nearly 9,000 Facebook and Twitter fans, and the website has exceeded nearly 600,000 page views. It has been great to see so many loyal Toyota customers and Kiwi legends following the journey and engaging with us the whole way. 

“The generosity of our country has been on display for the world to see, and Kiwis have been offering to lend a hand whenever and wherever they could. We've had customers open gates, deliver food, offer accommodation, and through the tar-seal challenges and social media our customers managed to put Macca through his paces. 

“It’s been about celebrating 60 years of Land Cruiser and meeting plenty of classic Kiwis along the way. These people provided great help to the crew and knew how to throw a great party at the checkpoint events.  

“We have had an overwhelming number of entries and suggestions for the ‘’Help Marc and Win’ competition for the stunning refurbished FJ 40. Dylan Anthony of Auckland was the lucky winner out of more than 4,000 entries.”  The celebration of Land Cruiser’s 60th anniversary doesn’t stop here; Toyota is going to take the FJ and Captain Trunky on a tour of New Zealand starting with Fieldays at Mystery Creek to continue celebrating with New Zealand. 

Marc Ellis completed the following tar-seal challenges:   
The tar-seal challenges gave Marc and the crew a bit of time ‘on-road’ to make sure they reached the checkpoint events.

  • 15 May - Serving others at Puhoi Pub 
  • 16 May - Nikau Caves challenge 
  • 17 May - Roller Derby challenge at Taranaki Roller Corps 
  • 18 May - Self servicing challenge by hand at Smash Palace 
  • 19 May - Dog collar challenge at Ngamatea Station 
  • 20 May - Sheep catching challenge 
  • 21 May - Southern Man challenge at Gladstone Inn 
  • 24 May - Car cooking challenge 
  • 26 May - Trough challenge in cows trough at Geraldine 
  • 28 May - Wakeboarding challenge in Southern Lake 
  • 31 May - Getting to Invercargill and final checkpoint challenge