Five extraordinary journeys around Australia

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Circumnavigating Australia by foot, bicycle or even a unicycle may seem like a far-fetched idea for most, but for some people, it represented an extraordinary challenge - and a chance to raise funds for charity organisations.

Not all Australian road trips can be as glamorous as the journey from Sydney to Alice Springs in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There have been many historic car trips across Australia, but the following five journeys used other impressive - and sometimes unconventional - forms of transport. One thing these extraordinary journeys have in common is that they exhibited strength and endurance, and more often than not were done for a good cause!

Harsh terrain and extreme temperatures were some of the obstacles that these travellers had to overcome.


Breaking the world record for the time it takes to cycle around Australia, Queensland police officer Dave Alley was able to complete the journey in a remarkable 37 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes in 2011. This stellar time meant that Alley beat the former record holder, Canadian Perry Stone, by four days. Alley cycled 14,251km in total, averaging more than 377km a day on bike, and managed to raise $15,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors Servicei.


Another world record breaker for the swiftest circumnavigation of Australia, New Zealander Bruce Arms managed to sail his catamaran around Australia in only 38 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes in 2011ii. Navigating 6,536 nautical milesiii on the Big Wave Rider - the yacht that Arms built himself - Arms was able to complete the challenge alone, non-stop and unassistediv.


Deborah De Williams has shown feats of amazing strength by being the only female to have run and walked around Australia! Her first journey on foot, Walk around Australia - A journey for kids took place between October 2003 and October 2004. The roundtrip from Melbourne - a total of 16,925km in 365 days - was done in order to raise funds for the Kids Helpline. De Williams managed to break the record of longest continuous walk which was held by Nobby Young and also became the first female to walk continuously around Australiav.

Can you imagine covering 15,955km on a unicycle?


Not content with her astounding achievements, De Williams decided to take on another challenge in 2011, where she became the first female to run continuously around Australia, running an amazing 18,026.4km in 408 days. Her efforts raised over $200,000 for breast cancer researchv.


Motivated by his sister's struggle with breast cancer, Aussie actor Sam Johnson decided to ride around the country for almost a year... on a unicycle! Covering 15,955km in 364 days, Johnson set a new world record for the most distance travelled on a unicyclevi. His efforts were part of the Love Your Sister campaign, which managed to raise $1.6 million for cancer research and awarenessvii. He overtook former world record holder Lars Clausen who had crossed the 48 states of mainland America - a total of 14,686.82kmvi.

iSimmons, A 2011, 'Dad cycles around Australia in record 37 days', ABC News, 4 November, viewed 30 May 2014,

iiBruce Arms News 2012, Guinness World Record Announced, viewed 30 May 2014,

iiiBruce Arms, The Challenge, viewed 30 May 2014,

ivShorthouse, J 2011, 'Sailor Bruce Arms sets new world-record', ABC Sunshine Coast, 18 August, viewed 30 May 2014,

vDeborah De Williams, My Latest Adventures: Deborah's Adventures, viewed 30 May 2014, 2014, 'Samuel Johnson sets unicycling world record for his sister, raises $1.4 million for cancer research', 13 February, viewed 30 May 2014,

viiLove Your Sister 2014, viewed 30 May 2014,