Finding Love at the End of the Rainbow

Wednesday, November 29th 2023

Finding Love at the End of the Rainbow

Rainbow Beach boasts a beautiful coastline, pastel coloured sunsets and magical tides. Hidden amongst the coasts' southern crevasse, Russell and Mandie Walters hold this little beach town close to their hearts.

While the pair had known each other in their earlier years, it wasn't until 15 years ago that the tides brought their boards and bond together again.

In August 2015, a new journey began when the couple decided to buy a 1973 Lowlight Panel Van- a Kombi.

After spending 16 months restoring their pride and joy, their Kombi now has a Casablanca White exterior, a 1916cc engine, a 22″ screen with full stereo and DVD player and a “Rock 'n' Roll” bed. However, it doesn't have all the latest luxuries according to Russell.

“There's no air conditioning, power windows, power steering or remote locking. It's hot in summer and freezing cold in winter, but we love it!” Russell said.

With Russell already owning an abundance of plates including his nickname RUSSCO, when searching for a new plate for the Kombi, he wanted something that would keep with the theme.

Choosing RU55CO in a White Flexi Plate design, the plate seamlessly blends in with their white Kombi and is the perfect fit for their vehicle.

“The Kombi simply HAD to have its own special plate!”

As a tribute to their happy place, Russell and Mandie added custom signage to their Kombi sharing their adoration for Rainbow Beach everywhere they go.

“The numbers on the driver's door are GPS co-ordinates for Rainbow Beach and the large round circle on the passenger side shows mapping references,” Russell explained.

Stickers including the town's postcode 4581 and even the year 1969 which was the year the township of Rainbow Beach settled, are also displayed on the Kombi.

Whilst Russell has had many special memories at Rainbow Beach over the past 32 years, no matter how many times he visits, there is always something new to commemorate.

“On the first occasion I took Mandie to Rainbow Beach, two F1111's flew past us while we were standing on the beach. It was quite a thrill!”

When Russell and Mandie tied the knot on July 22nd 2017, the dashing groom drove his beautiful bride to the venue in their Kombi, the perfect homage to their new chapter together.

Now aged 59, Russell has loved starting new traditions at Rainbow Beach with Mandie who has also fallen in love with his special place.

“We now go to the annual Rockabilly Rumble Car Show on the Labour Day long weekend in May.”

Through their shared love of restoration and exploring the 'old school' way, Russell and Mandie Walters found each other as the treasure at the end of the rainbow.

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