“IT’S a bit of a feat,” was Armadale Rotarian Craig Alford’s understated reaction to completing a marathon 14,500km trek around Australia on a lawnmower.
Mr Alford (53) stepped off his trusty machine for the last time, for a while at least, at Minnawarra Park last Wednesday.
Mr Alford and his support crew had just completed a five-year quest to raise about $350,000 and awareness for health research and charities.
The last leg of the epic trek started from Katherine on June 19, finishing in Armadale on his trusty Hustler Turf Equipment Super Z mower, having travelled an average speed of about 30km/h.
“It’s great to be back home,” he said. “After five years of planning and to be back here now where it all started in 2012 is unbelievable,” he said.
Mr Alford visited Parliament House and was congratulated by Premier Colin Barnett on his achievement, then stopped at Elizabeth Quay before setting out on the final leg to Armadale.
The 4136km Katherine leg was the wettest and coldest part of the adventure.
“We’ve had great weather for most of the trip around Australia,” he said. “We only had 12 days of rain, but six of those were since we left Katherine and we had five in the last eight days.
“It’s the coldest and wettest I’ve ever felt, absolutely freezing.”
Mr Alford said the highlight of the trip was the people he had met along the way, their generosity and support.
“The public all over Australia has been outstanding,” he said.
Mr Alford said he would take a break from riding the mower before planning his next adventure.
“It’s mission accomplished for now,” he said.
“The boys are already itching to see what we do next but I’ll probably take a year off.”
The mower almost made it around Australia on its original set of tyres, before they were changed at Cervantes last week, one day from home.
The trek raised funds and awareness for organisations including the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Alzheimer’s Australia WA and Australian Rotary Health.