List of people who have walked across Australia
People who choose to walk across Australia can choose to walk from either of the geographical extremes of the continent, or from directly opposed cities on opposite shores. The western-most geographical extreme of Australia is Steep Point, whereas the eastern-most extreme is Cape Byron. Similarly, the northern-most geographical extreme is Cape York Peninsula, and the southern-most is the South East Cape. The distance between the east and west as the crow flies is 4,030 km (2,500 mi), or 3,685 km (2,290 mi) from north to south*. The western-most capital city in Australia is Perth, and the eastern-most capital city is Brisbane. The northern-most city is Darwin, and the southern to the southern-most city is Hobart.
Walkers who choose to circumambulate Australia can follow the National Highway for large sections of their journey. Of the people who have successfully circumambulated the continent, it took a range of 365–401 days to complete. Distances involved are in the vicinity of 14,300 km (8,900 mi) depending on the route taken.
*Distance calculated by author utilising the resources of Geoscience Australia.
- 1 Completed journeys
- 1.1 Robert Burke
- 1.2 William Wills
- 1.3 John King
- 1.4 Bob and Bill Mossel, Sue Thompson, Annabel Douglas-Hill and Sharka Dolak
- 1.5 Dave Kunst
- 1.6 Dennis Bartell
- 1.7 Steven Newman
- 1.8 Roger Scott
- 1.9 Ffyona Campbell
- 1.10 Nobby Young
- 1.11 David Mason
- 1.12 Andrew Harper
- 1.13 Polly Letofsky
- 1.14 Jon Muir
- 1.15 Deborah De Williams
- 1.16 John Olsen
- 1.17 Colin Ricketts
- 1.18 Jeff Johnson
- 1.19 Deanna Sorensen
- 1.20 Michael Mitchell
- 1.21 Gary Hause
- 1.22 Mike Pauly
- 1.23 Dave Phoenix
- 1.24 Mark Gibbens
- 1.25 Leigh Thomson-Matthews
- 1.26 Sam Thomson-Matthews
- 1.27 Mike Pauly
- 1.28 Jeff Johnson
- 1.29 Jacob French
- 1.30 Andrew Cadigan
- 1.31 Matt Napier
- 1.32 Steve Quirk
- 1.33 Brendon E. D. Alsop
- 2 Journeys under-way
- 3 Bibliography
- 4 Further reading
- 5 See also
- 6 References
The names of the individuals who have walked across Australia have been listed below in chronological order. Sources for data contained within this table have been listed within the body of the article, or where not readily available, directly from the individual concerned.
|Name||Nationality||Start date||Finish date||Duration||Starting location||Finishing location|
|Robert Burke||Ireland||20 August 1860||9 February 1861||174 days||Melbourne||Kurumba ‡|
|William Wills||England||20 August 1860||9 February 1861||174 days||Melbourne||Kurumba ‡|
|John King||Ireland||20 August 1860||9 February 1861||174 days||Melbourne||Kurumba ‡|
|Bob Mossel||Australia||20 May 1973||20 September 1973||124 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Bill Mossel||Australia||20 May 1973||20 September 1973||124 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Sue Thompson||Australia||20 May 1973||20 September 1973||124 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Annabel Douglas-Hill||Australia||20 May 1973||20 September 1973||124 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Sharka Dolak||Australia||20 May 1973||20 September 1973||124 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Dave Kunst||United States||3 November 1973||20 July 1974||260 days||Fremantle||Sydney|
|Dennis Bartell||Australia||1984||1984||unknown||Gulf of Carpentaria||Gulf St Vincent|
|Steven Newman||United States||1 July 1985||20 June 1986||293 days||Darwin||Melbourne|
|Roger Scott||Australia||6 August 1988||22 November 1988||109 days||Darwin||Dover|
|Ffyona Campbell||Scotland||11 September 1988||14 December 1988||95 days||Sydney||Fremantle|
|Nobby Young||Australia||1 March 1993||1 March 1994||365 days||Sydney||Sydney|
|David Mason||Australia||23 March 1998||13 November 1998||236 days||Byron Bay||Steep Point|
|Andrew Harper||Australia||25 April 1999||10 December 1999||229 days||Tropic of Capricorn|
|Polly Letofsky||United States||29 October 2000||22 July 2001||267 days||Melbourne||Port Douglas|
|Jon Muir||Australia||18 May 2001||22 September 2001||128 days||Port Augusta||Burketown|
|Dave Mckern||Australia||15 June 2003||8 November 2003||146 days||Sydney||Perth|
|Deborah De Williams||Australia||17 October 2003||15 October 2004||365 days||Melbourne||Melbourne|
|John Olsen||Australia||2004||unknown||167 days||Cape York Peninsula||South East Cape|
|Colin Ricketts||Australia||4 January 2005||17 January 2006||379 days||Adelaide||Adelaide|
|Jeff Johnson||Australia||5 April 2007||2 September 2007||151 days||Port Augusta||Kurumba|
|Deanna Sorensen||Canada||2 May 1998||28 October 1998||180 days||Perth||Sydney|
|Michael Mitchell||Australia||5 May 2008||3 May 2009||363days||Cape York Peninsula||Wilsons Promontory|
|Gary Hause||United States||19 May 2008||2 November 2008||168 days||Cairns||Torquay|
|John Olsen||Australia||18 June 2008||3 January 2009||200 days||Steep Point||Cape Byron|
|Dave Phoenix||Australia||1 August 2008||8 January 2009||161 days||Melbourne||Kurumba|
|Mike Pauly||Australia||16 May 2009||19 October 2009||156 days||Fremantle||Melbourne|
|Mark Gibben||Australia||22 February 2009||18 May 2009||86 days||Perth||Sydney|
|Leigh Thomson-Matthews||Australia||8 March 2010||3 July 2010||118 days||Perth||Melbourne|
|Sam Thomson-Matthews||Australia||8 March 2010||3 July 2010||118 days||Perth||Melbourne|
|Mike Pauly||Australia||1 March 2011||26 June 2011||118 days||Melbourne||Fremantle|
|Jeff Johnson||Australia||24 April 2011||2 October 2011||162 days||Cape Byron||Steep Point|
|Jacob French||Australia||20 July 2011||12 April 2012||268 days||Perth||Sydney|
|Florian Stiegler Weltmichl||Germany||10 October 2011||10 October 2012||365 days||Darwin, Northern Territory||Perth, Western Australia|
|Andrew Cadigan||Australia||27 December 2010||14 June 2012||536 days||Sydney||Sydney|
|Matt Napier||Australia||2 February 2013||28 June 2013||147 days||Perth||Sydney|
|Steve Quirk||Australia||10 January 2014||17 March 2014||67 days||Wollongong, New South Wales||Fremantle, Western Australia|
|Brendon E.D.Alsop (and Jojo)||Australia||21 February 2013||03 January 2014||317 Days||Geelong||Cairns|
‡ Kurumba did not exist upon Burke, Wills and King arriving. The site of the town however is widely accepted as the northern-most destination of the Victorian Exploring Expedition.
Robert O'Hara Burke was an Irish soldier and police officer, who achieved fame as an Australian explorer. He was the leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, which was the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north. The expedition left Melbourne on 20 August 1860 with a total of 19 men, 27 camels and 23 horses. Burke, along with William Wills, John King and Charley Gray, reached the mangroves on the estuary of the Flinders River near where the town of Normanton now stands, on 9 February 1861. Flooding rains and swamps meant they never saw open ocean. Upon returning, the expedition was weakened by starvation and exposure, and was hampered by the tropical monsoon downpours of the wet season. Burke died at a place now called Burke's Waterhole on Cooper Creek in South Australia. The exact date of Burke's death is uncertain, but has generally been accepted to be 28 June 1861.
William Wills was a member of the famous Victorian Exploring Expedition. He was originally appointed as third-in-command, surveyor, astronomical and meteorological observer of the expedition in July 1860 on a salary of £300 a year. The expedition left Melbourne on 20 August 1860 with a total of 19 men, 27 camels and 23 horses. They reached Menindee on 16 October 1860 where Landells resigned following an argument with Burke, where Wills was promoted to second-in-command. Burke, along with William Wills, John King and Charley Gray, reached the mangroves on the estuary of the Flinders River near where the town of Normanton now stands, on 9 February 1861. Flooding rains and swamps meant they never saw open ocean. Upon returning, the expedition was weakened by starvation and exposure, and was hampered by the tropical monsoon downpours of the wet season. Wills died alone at a place called Breerily Waterhole on Cooper Creek in South Australia while waiting for rescue. Burke died soon after. The exact date of their deaths is unknown, but has generally been accepted to be 28 June 1861.
John King was an Irish soldier who achieved fame as an Australian explorer. He was responsible for the welfare of the camels used during the Burke and Wills expedition who reached the Gulf of Carpentaria. King was the sole survivor of the four men of the expedition, and survived with the help of Aborigines until he was found on 15 September by Edwin Welch - the surveyor in Alfred William Howitt's Victorian Contingent Party. King returned to Melbourne and was hailed as a hero. King never fully recovered from the expedition, and died prematurely of pulmonary tuberculosis on 15 January 1872 aged 33.
Bob and Bill Mossel, Sue Thompson, Annabel Douglas-Hill and Sharka Dolak
This walk was undertaken to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and partly followed in the steps of the Burke & Wills 'Victorian Exploring Expedition', camping at some of the Burke & Wills expedition's dig trees. It is the first documented crossing of the Australian continent entirely by foot and first by a woman. A feature length movie 'Feet Across Australia' was shown on national television and attracted paying audiences at many venues in Australia. 1973 was a very wet season and mud was a major problem on the Birdsville track. Food was buried along the route in advance, otherwise all equipment was carried by the 5 team members with a small handcart. A camel from Arkaroola Sanctuary was briefly part of the expedition. There was no support team as such accompanying the walkers.
Dave Kunst is the first person verified to have walked around the Earth. Kunst's trek began 20 June 1970 and ended 5 October 1974 (the dates in the table reflect his arrival and departure from Australia). During their travels, the brothers collected donations to UNICEF. Unfortunately, John (Dave's brother who was also walking with him) was killed when bandits shot him in the mountains of Afghanistan in October 1972. Dave was also shot in the chest during the same attack, but survived by playing dead. After spending 4 months recovering from his injuries, Dave resumed his journey along with his brother Pete, from the spot where John was killed. As they continued their travels, Dave and Pete were denied access to the USSR, so they flew from India to Australia. Pete returned home during the Australia-leg of the trek, where Dave continued on alone, by this time on his 3rd mule. Unfortunately, the mule died and Dave was left hauling his wagon of supplies himself. He was on the verge of abandoning his supplies, when he fortuitously met Jenni Samuel, a schoolteacher from Perth. She helped pull his wagon with her car, while he walked alongside. Dave returned to Australia for a year after completing his journey. Jenni and Dave later married and are still together as of 2008.
Denis Bartell became the first person to walk across the Simpson Desert unassisted in 1984, whilst walking across Australia from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Gulf St Vincent. He followed the 'French Line' - a route taken by the CGG surveyor Roy Elkins 21 years prior who also completed the walk but with the assistance of a support crew. In recognition of his achievement, he was named the Australian Geographic's Adventurer of the Year in 1995.
Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to walk around the world solo, Steve Newman crossed 20 countries and walked some 15,000 miles during his four-year journey. For the Australian leg, Steven flew from Bali and commenced his walk in Darwin on 1 July 1985. He travelled south along "The Track" through Alice Springs, Coober Pedy, Adelaide, and on to Melbourne. He concluded in Melbourne on 20 June 1986, before proceeding onto Vancouver for his American leg of the journey.
Steven later published a book documenting his journey in 1989 called 'Worldwalk'. The handmade cart he used to cross the deserts was named 'Roo' and is currently on display at a museum in the USA. His backpack 'Clinger' and the tattered boots he wore across Australia were temporarily displayed in the Smithsonian after his record-setting solo walk around the world was completed. The 1989 Guinness Book of World Records has a large photo of Steve wearing his 'Clinger' and pulling the 'Roo' and in the Australian outback.
Roger Scott departed from Darwin for Dover on 6 August 1988, raising funds for the Top End Life Education Centre and the NT Spastics Association. He walked via Kununurra and Halls Creek, arriving at the Eyre Bird Observatory on the southern coast of South Australia on 22 September 1988 where he encountered Ffyona Campbell on her walk across Australia. He then proceeded on to Adelaide, before catching a flight to Devonport and walking to Dover. He completed the walk in 109 days, and traversed the Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert, Great Victoria Desert, and Nullarbor Plain on his journey.
Starting from John O'Groats on the northernmost coast of Scotland in 1983, then 16-year-old Ffyona Campbell set out to walk around the world. She departed from Sydney on 11 September 1988, and arrived in Fremantle on 14 December 1988 - a journey lasting 95 days. She completed the journey with David Richard, who acted as her support crew and who waited for her every 10 miles.
Her entire journey around the world took a little over eleven years to complete. She completed 31,529 km and raised £120,000 for charity.
Through 1993-94, Nobby Young became the only person to walk around mainland Australia. The 16,000-kilometre journey, which took exactly a year to complete, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. He covered a distance of 14,900 km, whilst raising funds for the 'Life Education Centre'.
In 1998, David Mason walked from Byron Bay to Dalby, where he picked up three camels that would carry his supplies. From there, he walked through the Simpson Desert to Uluru, then across the Gibson Desert to Steep Point. He completed the walk in 236 days, whilst raisng money for the Fred Hollows Foundation. In recognition of his achievement, he was named the Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 1999.
In 1999, Andrew Harper followed the Tropic of Capricorn from west to east accompanied by three camels to carry his supplies. The desert sections of his journey represented pure desert travel as he did not follow any roads or tracks enabling him to keep as true to the TOC as possible. This included traverses of the Little Sandy, Gibson and Simpson Deserts. The expedition was a fundraising walk for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and as recognition for his achievement, he was admitted as a Fellow to the Royal Geographical Society.
On 1 August 1999, Polly Letofsky left her home in Colorado on a 5-year journey spanning 4 continents and 22 countries. She started her leg across Australia on 29 October 2000 from St. Kilda Pier on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, and concluded on 22 July 2001 after arriving in Port Douglas. On 30 July 2004 she concluded her journey having walked over 22,730 km (14,120 mi), having raised over $250,000 for breast cancer research, and having officially became the first woman to have walked around the world.
On 18 May 2001 Jon Muir walked across Australia with his dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named Seraphine, from Port Augusta to Burketown. It took him 128 days, spanning a distance of approximately 2,500 km. Jon's walk is unique in that he remained self-sufficient for food and water, hauling, gathering or hunting all of his food for the walk. He filmed his journey and produced a documentary entitled Alone Across Australia. Jon has also successfully climbed Mount Everest, and walked to both the north and south poles.
Deborah De Williams
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Deborah De Williams walked around Australia in 2003/2004. She aimed to break the record set by Nobby Young (who was also on her support team), the first person to walk around Australia back in 1993/1994. She broke the record on 23 September 2004, and raised a total of <TBA> for the Kids Help Line in the process. She is the first woman to walk completely around Australia.
John Olsen has walked across Australia twice, between the northern and southern-most points, and the western and eastern-most points.
His first journey commenced in 2004. John walked 5,622 km unsupported from Cape York to Tasmania in 167 days, and raised a little over $10,000 for a charity working with children with cerebral palsy. On 18 June 2008, John Olsen undertook his second walk, walking from Steep Point, to Cape Byron. He travelled a distance 4752 km, raising $130,000 for the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation (ALCMF) and the Australian Leukodystrophy Support Group Inc (ALDS). The disparity in distance is due to John walking back to his home in Geelong after reaching Cape Byron. Both the ALCMF and ALDS help children with progressive degenerative brain disease, which gives rise to mobility problems. The progress of John’s second journey was broadcast by Ian McNamara’s ABC radio’s ‘Australia All Over’ program on Sundays. John completed the walk in 200 days, finishing on 3 January 2009.
John’s accomplishment was recognised by Sensis when they depicted him on the cover of the local (Geelong and Colac) Yellow and White Pages directories for 2010/2011
Colin Ricketts walked solo walk around Australia raising money for kids with cancer. He departed Adelaide on 4 January 2005, returning 15,430 km and 379 days later on 17 January 2006. He pushed a three wheel baby jogger named 'Wilson' and followed National Highway 1 in an anti-clockwise direction.
On 5 April 2007, Jeff Johnson walked from Port Augusta to Kurumba (Qld) to raise money for the DeafBlind Association of NSW. Motivated by the then recent death of his deaf-blind niece, he raised approximately $5,700 for the charity towards the purchase of a bus for transport of wheelchair bound deaf and blind children. He completed the walk in 151 days, finishing on 2 September 2007.
Deanna Sorensen is a Canadian veterinary nurse and motivational speaker. After leaving Perth and crossing the Nullarbor, she travelled south from Port Augusta to Adelaide, along the coast through Mount Gambier to Melbourne, then up the Princes Highway through Eden to Sydney. The total distance of this route, taken from road maps and routemarkers, is 4895 km; with an additional 170 km of additional distance on side-roads and excursions making her total journey a little over 5000 km. She completed her journey in 180 days.
Michael Mitchell left Cape York on 5 May 2008 on his 'Great Australian Cancer Bush Walk'. He aimed to raise $1 million for cancer research, and was motivated to act because some friends and their siblings (Mick and Maree Egan and Michael's mother, Monica) were living with cancer. He followed the National Bicentennial Trail and The Australian Alps Walking Track for a large portion of his journey.
Michael was able to raise $50,000 for the Cancer Council. The walk was completed in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires. He finished on 3 May 2009 upon arriving at Wilsons Promontory, and was greeted by staff and student body representatives from the school where he works, CRC North Keilor.
Gary Hause departed from Cairns on 19 May 2008, and arrived in Torquay on 2 November 2008. The leg across Australia was completed as part of his journey around the world on foot. A detailed account of his journey is available on his website.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2012)|
Mike decided he would walk from his home in Fremantle to Federation Square in Melbourne via Coolgardie after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees as a result of being overweight, and reading of Deanna Sorenson’s account of walking unsupported across the Nullarbor. He vowed to complete the walk before his 70th birthday, in a bid to raise funds and awareness for Arthritis WA.
In 2008, Dave Phoenix walked from Melbourne to Kurumba following the route taken by Burke and Wills in 1860-1. Dave is a postgraduate research student at James Cook University studying for a PhD in Australian exploration history, and is the President of The Burke & Wills Historical Society.
Mark Gibbens left Perth on 22 February 2009 and arrived at Civic Park in Sydney on Monday 18 May 2009.He walked solo for 5200 km in 86 days using his mate Colin Rickett's buggy named "Wilson". Mark undertook the walk to raise money for research into cancer, and as a tribute to a close friend and mentor who died of cancer in 2007. Proceeds from Mark's walk were distributed through cancer research organisations in each state he has walked through, namely the Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation in Western Australia, the McGuinness/McDermott Foundation in South Australia, the Victorian Prostate Research Consortium, and the Australian Cancer Research Foundation in New South Wales.
Leigh set off from Perth on 8 March 2010 with his brother Sam. Sydney was their original destination, but the two decided to complete their journey in Melbourne, arriving on 3 July 2010.
Sam set off from Perth on 8 March 2010 with his brother Leigh. Sydney was their original destination, but the two decided to complete their journey in Melbourne, arriving on 3 July 2010.
In 2011, then 71-year-old Mike Pauly walked from Melbourne to Perth to raise funds for Arthritis WA. This was Mike's second walk across Australia, having previously walked from Fremantle to Melbourne in 2009. Mike completed both journeys despite suffering from Osteoarthritis in both of his knee joints.
Jeff Johnson walked 4791 km in 2011, and raised $68,000 for the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) in the process. This was his second walk across Australia, having recently walked from north to south in 2007.
Jacob French walked across Australia in 2011-12. He completed the walk wearing the white 'Storm Trooper' armour from George Lucas' Star Wars films, and raised $88,523 for the Starlight Children's Foundation in the process.
Andrew "Cad" Cadigan finished a solo walk from Sydney back to Sydney in June 2012. He walked unassisted via Tasmania, Melbourne, Adelaide, Albany, Perth, Broome, Darwin, Townsville, and Brisbane. Cadigan undertook the walk in honour of Chris Simpson, a friend who had died from complications related to myelodysplasia, and raised over $65,000 - $25,000 for The Cancer Council and $40,000 for the Leukemia Foundation. Tragically, shortly after completing the walk, whilst holidaying and recuperating in Thailand, Cadigan suffered head injuries in a motorcycle accident, and later died in hospital in Sydney, on October 5, 2012. A book, written by his author father Neil, about his walk and tragic death was released in 2014. The Leukemia Foundation has struck a research PHD into myelodysplasia, named in honour of Cadigan and Simpson, with a trust called Cad's Cause continuing to raise funds. The book is available through ozonfoot.com.au
On February 2, 2013 Matt Napier set off from Perth to walk to Sydney via Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra to raise awareness of Global Poverty. Matt's walk was unique in that he bounced an AFL football the whole way to symbolise the important role sport plays in alleviating extreme poverty around the world. Matt went through 6 footballs on his trip and was assisted by his wife Wendy who was his support crew. They finished their 4,501 km journey in Sydney live on Channel Seven's Sunrise Program  on the 28th of June. The trip came on the back of Matt Cycling from Perth to Canberra (3908 km) the year before to also raise awareness about world poverty. More information about the walk can be found at theglobalpovertywalk.com
Steve Quirk departed Wollongong NSW on 10 January 2014, walking via Wagga Wagga NSW, Mildura VIC and Coolgardie WA, arriving at Fremantle WA on 17 March 2014. Steve walked for 67 days covering 3,925 klms with Gary Jones as his support vehicle driver. Steve took on this walk to raise awareness and funds for the Cancer Council NSW  after losing his stepfather Max Dinte to cancer in 2013. More information about the walk can be found on Facebook [one step at a time for a cure].
Brendon E. D. Alsop
On February 21, 2013 Brendon E. D. Alsop set off, with his dog Jojo, from Geelong to walk around Australia on the Fatmans Great Aussie Trek. A personal odyssey to lose weight Brendon and Jojo walked unaided, pushing a pram, up the East Coast of Australia. With resources running out Brendon amended his destination to Cairns and completed his 4000km trek when he dived into the Lagoon in Cairns on the morning of January 3, 2014. Losing 35kg and raising $12000 for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the Andrew Love Cancer Centre in Geelong Brendon dedicated his trek to his father, John Alsop, Nanna, Mary Howard, Aunty Val Howard, Uncle Jack Calderazzo, and friends Richard Beechey, Tim Mahieu, Leny Klupacs and Dr Richard Williams all who lost their lives to cancer. The trek was followed proudly by his mother, Beth Alsop, who lost her fight with cancer only 34 days after Brendon completed his trek. Funds were raised through  Partial blog at 
The following list provides links to people currently walking or planning to walk across Australia. Only reputable sources have been referenced, in so much as there is proof the individual has commenced the journey, or a reputable charity or organisation has sanctioned a fund-raising event.
|Name||Nationality||Start date||Starting location||Finishing location||Benefactor (if raising for charity)||Cited references|
|Scott Loxley||Australian||02 Nov 2013||Melbourne||Melbourne (15000 km)||Monash Children's Hospital (Melbourne) Storming Australia|
|Jay Hawkins||Australian||01 Jan 2014||Rye||Gold Coast||Walk for life 2014/R U OK? Foundation|
|Luke Hawkins||Australian||01 Jan 2014||Rye||Gold Coast||Walk for life 2014/R U OK? Foundation|
|Richmond Graham||Australian||01 Sep 2014||Perth||Sydney||Take a walk/Headspace||Facebook/various news articles
* Steve Newman, Polly Letofsky and David Mason personally contributed information about their respective journeys in the creation of this article. Their contribution is received with thanks from the author of this article.