The West

Its a long long way for the choc
Special delivery: Adam Tippins and Shane Hills. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

With more than $100,000 of Easter treats aboard and no time to spare, chocolatier Shane Hills set out across the Nullarbor on a pilgrimage to Perth.

The 41-year-old owner of Koko Black left Melbourne on Tuesday, the day after a train derailment stopped his WA delivery in its tracks.

Air freight was too expensive, so Mr Hills bit the bullet and decided to drive the precious cargo from Coburg to his Claremont outlet.

Joined by head pastry chef Adam Tippins, he loaded five pallets of chocolate into a truck and aimed to arrive before his store opened on Thursday.

"We learnt about the train derailment around midday on Monday," he said.

"It was supposed to get to Perth that morning.

"This is our busiest time of year so it really was a question of who can we afford to spare.

"Because it was such an above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty request, Adam and I decided we would do the 40-hour drive ourselves."

Dwarfed by road trains and struggling with his colleague's taste in music, Mr Hills said the trip had its testing moments.

But 36 hours and several chocolates later, they arrived at the store to a hero's welcome.

"Neither of us had been across the Nullarbor so we embraced it, but that final afternoon was tough," he said.

"We had a high-five coming into Perth and seeing the reaction from our staff was reward enough.

"Imagine being in the chocolate business and not having any products on the shelves for Easter. It was something that had to be done."

The West Australian

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