Some might say driving a ride-on lawnmower around Australia is a pretty silly idea. You’d be right. But we love silly adventures here at We are Explorers, and we think Craig Alford is cut from the right cloth! We caught up with him with few questions about this epic mowing adventure Ride to the Other Side…
Wow. Adventuring on a grass cutter, this is an original one Craig! Please give us the d-low?
Well, it’s an adventure in which 12 people have set out to drive a ride-on lawnmower over 15,000 km around Australia over six years. We want to raise $1 million bucks in the process for Mental Health Research and Australian Rotary Health in the process. The drive will take approximately 1000 hours or 125 days in the saddle!
Each year we plan a route, finish location and time, and then work backwards to figure out the logistics. The course so far:
2012: 661 km over 6 days Armadale WA to Kalgoorlie WA.
2013: 2200 km over 11 Days Kalgoorlie to Adelaide and the Clipsal 500.
2014: 2300 km in 22 days (Adelaide to Sydney Olympic Park via Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra to finish at the Rotary World Convention)
2015 (planned): 5300 km through NSW to Darwin and the Beer Can Regatta via Brisbane and Townsville.
2016/17 (planned): Darwin to Perth via the coast, and a spot of fishing!
Did you ever race anyone at the traffic lights?
Not quite. In 2014 at the Don Bradman Oval in Bowral I had the opportunity to race a Groundsman in his Toro Zero Turn. I had thought a drag down the street would be good but we settled with a lap of the oval. After completing the one lap I managed to pip him in by half a lap (and not at full speed either). The look on his face when he got back was priceless.
You nutters! Toughest times on the road? Any heart-stoppers?
During the 2013 leg across the Nullabor we had temperatures as high as 49.5 and we drove 302 km in the day. In 2014 we had 15-20 millimetres of rain that seemed never-ending the entire day. We also endured a chill factor of -1 to – 5 on another day.
On the whole we’ve been very lucky. We had a very close shave back in 2013 when we accidentally parked on a septic tank in Ceduna – the mower started sinking into the grass! We got a snatch strap around it and tied her off to a tree just in time.
There has been a lot of magical moments on our trips but one of the greatest is when a complete stranger just wants to shake your hand for what you are doing.
What wouldn’t you travel without?
We camp out in sheds, community halls and sports grounds (basically anywhere we can!) so I wouldn’t go anywhere without my Swag and rain hail!
It’s not the destination but how you get there and with whom.
Top nugget for others?
Think big, plan well and enjoy the journey because for most of us it may be the only time you do it.
The next part of my adventure is 400 km trip on the mighty Hustler from Armadale WA to Albany WA. Then the big one – 5000 km plus through NSW starting in Wagga Wagga and heading to Tamworth, Texas, Brisbane, Charter Towers, Townsville, Mt Isa, Three Ways and Darwin all in 5 weeks.
Dream Weekend adventure in Oz?
A 4×4 trip down to the south of WA in the Denmark area. I’d like to sit back on a river and fish with my wife, without my mower. She thinks that I have a mistress that’s yellow and a Hustler.