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Driving the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake to the Hunter Valley with Drive Against Depression


Chasing Cars journalist Zak Adkins had the privilege in organising DAD’s first ever Sydney drive for mental health – here’s the story  

The day had finally come. After almost a year of planning, it was time to celebrate mental health and cars in the best way possible: driving to the stunning Hunter Valley north of Sydney to benefit the Drive Against Depression initiative. 

With no coffee in my belly (a big mistake), I hopped into ‘my’ car for the trip, the stylish Genesis G70 Shooting Brake – a big thanks goes to Genesis Australia – and headed north from my home in Sydney’s inner city up to Berowra, where I met up with my lovely co-organiser Helen from Driven Women Magazine and Drive Against Depression director David James. 

Drive Against Depression car lineup at morning tea
Our first Sydney event got a great mix of cars together

It was the first time that we had met face to face (after quite a few Zoom calls), and it was awesome to see so much enthusiasm from these lovely people. Soon enough, the Berowra carpark began to fill with an eclectic variety of cars, from Porsche 911s to a first-gen Lotus Elise. 

But within minutes of everyone arriving, the rain began to fall. We decided to get into our cars and commence our two-and-a-half-hour drive program, with our first stop being Jerry’s Cafe in Kulnura.

The noble chariot for our adventure: the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake 

Drive Against Depression Genesis G70 and Mazda MX-5 NA
Zak had a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake to pilot for the day

It was awesome of Genesis Australia to lend me a G70 Shooting Brake for the DAD drive event. Subjectively, I think it looks smart and stylish and is, in my opinion, one of the most stylish wagons on the market today. 

It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 179kW/353Nm – plenty for what I needed for the drive experience. 

Like most Genesis models, the G70 is nicely equipped inside, with soft leather seats and plentiful technologies. I love that when you put the car into Sport mode, the side bolsters of the seat tighten around you so that you’re not slipping around in the seat. 

Drive Against Depression Porsche and Genesis sitting together
All cars are welcome at Drive Against Depression events!

It’s small things like these that make the difference and show that Genesis has really put the effort in to create a more involving and rewarding vehicle. 

For the most part, the G70 was comfortable and enjoyable to drive, and felt surprisingly punchy through winding country roads north of Sydney, even though it lacked the V6 firepower found in the related G70 sedan. 

The seats were comfortable and supportive, the Genesis infotainment system seemed well tuned and there was no issue pairing my Google Maps navigation with the car using Android Auto. 

Drive Against Depression flag shot
It was a gloomy day for the first Sydney drive, but that didn’t stop us!

All in all, I continue to love wagons, even if they are sold in reduced numbers in Australia these days. Genesis has nailed the brief with the G70 Shooting Brake. It’s a good looking, practical and fun-to-drive wagon with more personality than most might think.  

Kulnura, speaking about my story so far and lunch at Roche Estate 

After about an hour or so of driving through the best parts of the Old Pacific Highway, the DAD group arrived at a popular motorcycle hang-out spot, Jerry’s Cafe, in Kulnura. 

Drive Against Depression standing around cars at meet
From Mini Coopers to Mazda MX-5s, there was such good variety on the day

It was great to get out of the cars and start talking with some of those who had joined us about their stories and interests. For some, this was their first drive event, while other had been to many similar events over the years. 

It was interesting to learn that we had a few mental health workers in our group, which was a bonus we weren’t expecting. 

Before we headed off in convoy to our lunch spot in the stunning Hunter Valley, Helen and I shared some words about what had led us to be involved in this great event and how mental health has touched us throughout our lives. 

Drive Against Depression standing having a chat with the group
Standing around having a chat is sometimes the best cure!

Just like Helen, I was pretty open and honest – I think there is so much value in doing so – and told the group during my presentation of my several severe hospitalisations, initially due to early psychosis caused by extensive stress and anxiety, which began back in March 2019. 

I also spoke openly about my bipolar diagnosis in December 2020, and a further diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder most recently in 2023. 

For those who don’t know, a schizoaffective disorder is pretty much a combination of both a mood-based disorder (such as bipolar disorder) and schizophrenia. Sounds like quite the concoction, don’t you think?

Drive Against Depression having a chat at morning tea
At Kulnura, we stepped away from the cars to have a good chat about mental health

But I wanted to make it clear to our dear friends of Drive Against Depression that those words don’t have to mean anything. For me, they helped me understand my condition, but I am no way defined by them. I’m really just a normal guy – with some definite quirks!

I received such great feedback from the team, and it made me emotional to share part of my story with them. It made me feel good that other people were there to support me. Totally ace!

We got back into our awesome bunch of cars and made our way north to Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, where we did a great setup shot of all of the cars together. 

A nice Porsche 911 Carrera that came along for the day

Afterwards, we shared lunch together and got to spend some more time getting to know one another. It was brilliant. By the time we had to head home, my heart was incredibly full.

Key takeaways from DAD’s first Sydney event, and why you should get involved 

There are so many benefits for getting involved in charity drive days just like Drive Against Depression. Some key takeaways from me were:

A big thanks goes to Genesis Australia for lending me such a beaut car!
  • It’s a great time to network and join forces with like-minded people who love and respect both cars and mental health
  • It’s a time to be open and honest with each other and ask for help if you need it 
  • There is no judgement so you can say what you like and be as honest as you like 
  • If you love cars, you will love what DAD does 
  • There is support if you need it, which you can find on the organisation’s website 
  • If you’re passionate about mental health, or have your own lived experiences, we would love to hear from you or see you at an event!

The story to here: my mental episode inspires action 

Almost a year ago to this day, I was cleared to go home from hospital after suffering a very close call with my mental health. I had almost relapsed into a severe mental health episode. 

Zak and Chris
Zak and his Dad, Chris, at home

Being from Brisbane, I had no immediate family close by in relocating to Sydney and not many friends at that time, either. In a state of disrepair, I forced myself to order a taxi and go straight to the nearest hospital. I thought my life was crashing down all over again.

Fortunately, I was quick to realise what was happening, and I only had to stay in hospital for a couple of days, however when I came out the other side, I felt the urge to give back and do something to help others. 

I had known about the great organisation Drive Against Depression for some time and had always wanted to be part of it somehow. 

Zak Adkins and Isuzu D-Max at double island point 2022
Zak has always loved cars, and now he can share his story with others!

I remember calling co-founder Sarah Davis within days of my hospital visit and asking how I could be part of such a great initiative. Sarah made me feel like family from day one, and even though it took almost a year to organise, the finished product was well and truly worth the effort. 

If you need help, there are several ways you can get the support you need with the numbers below:

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Emergency: 000