Australian Expedition 2023Published Wednesday, 31st January 2024
On the 22nd of October, 65 Degrees North embarked on its 11th expedition, a two-week journey, this time in Australia. The carefully selected team of 16 wounded, injured and sick military veterans have taken on the challenges of Australia’s toughest terrains, comprising a terrifying freefall and two gruelling cycle rides. Each participant has their own story from complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stroke, MS, to traumatic brain injury and cancer. One thing they all have in common: they have served their country on operations with distinction.
The Australian Trilogy Expedition commenced at Noosa Heads, Queensland, where participants’ nerves were tested with a 15,000-foot freefall. The team then collected bikes and vehicles to cycle 1100+ miles along the Eastern Coast heading South through the Outback to the foot of Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko at 2300m (7310 ft), which they summited on foot. The journey ended in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House.
The journey took the team through Byron Bay, Grafton, Nambucca Heads, Port Macquarie, Pipers Bay and Mount Kuring-Gai. The team also received support from a local primary school who wrote them cards of encouragement to help motivate them along the way.
The trip was designed to challenge the participants’ endurance, team spirit and mental strength in the calamitous conditions of heat, humidity and rainstorms followed by low temperatures of the mountains.
One of the veterans reflected on their time during the expedition:
“I am suffering with depression, so often find myself demotivated, quiet and low in mood. However, this trip seemed to have the opposite effect on me, it allowed me to be open and be honest with the other guys on the trip, to laugh and make memories. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was cold, wet and in pain - but this also allowed me to achieve things I didn’t think were possible.”
With another participant also saying:
“One day [on this trip] was better than six months’ therapy. The fact we were allowed to do this and that we were supported through it safely, even though it might've been a terrible decision made it so incredible!”
Overall, the expedition was a great success and really pushed the veterans to their limits.