Darwin to Ballina via Papua? It's a Cracker of an adventure

BACK HOME: Adventurer Craig
BACK HOME: Adventurer Craig "Crackers" Hand, above, in his 4.5m (15 foot) half-cabin cruiser in Rosslyn Bay while on his 10,000km journey from Darwin to Ballina via Papua New Guinea. Chris Ison Rokcjourney

AFTER a 14-month expedition from Darwin to Ballina via Papua New Guinea in a 4.5m boat, Aussie Adventurer Craig "Crackers" Hand returned to land on Saturday, welcomed home by family and friends.

Crackers set off on his epic 10,000km journey in May last year, travelling across the remote top of Australia, teaching people about his adventure and his love for Australia on his way.

He also stayed for two months with the isolated tribe of Sibidiri in the remote heart of PNG's western province, to which he delivered thousands of dollars worth of donated medicine, hand tools, mosquito nets, clothes and communications equipment on his trek.

He was the tribe's first tourist and only the sixth white person that they had seen since the patrol officer in the 1960s. Crackers first stumbled across the tribe after breaking down on his first voyage in 2008.

He has been helping the tribe through the Friends of Papua New Guinea organisation, and has been using his travel to encourage more Australians to get involved.

While accustoming his sea legs to land after docking in Ballina on Saturday afternoon, he said while the journey had "good days, bad days, and really terrible days," he would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Relating one of his stories from his trip, he said, he was stuck on a mud flat in the Gulf of Carpentaria for eight days, waiting for the tide to come back in.

It felt "pretty damn good" to have finished the expedition, he said, and while he'd love to do it again in the future (albeit over a longer period of time) he said, "I think I'll take the plane."


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