There’s been some tension down at We Are Explorers HQ in recent weeks. We’ve been trying to make one of the biggest decisions of our year. There’s been bickering, cajoling, compromising and even a little bit of begging.

That’s right, we’ve been trying to decide which lucky-duck Explorers win this year’s Osprey Adventure Grant. $1000 cash and up to $1000 worth of Osprey gear to make an adventure happen? You best believe a lot of people want to get their hands on this prize. 

And let me tell you, reading through scores of applications full of banger adventure ideas, while cooped up in an office and resisting the urge to run out the door, is no easy task. 

Photo by Jake Doherty

It’s clear that the amazing We Are Explorers community is not just ready and raring to take on adventure, but that they want their explorations to have purpose too. We had dozens of applications from people wanting to explore and give back to areas around Australia that have suffered from the ongoing bushfires. Honestly, this sentiment was woven through the majority of submissions. We hope that everyone who applied manages to get out there and help these communities recover in one way or another. 

However, there can only be three winners. And we’ve finally come to a decision. 

They’re a rag-tag bunch, with totally different modes of transport, purposes and areas of Australia to explore. These are the winners of the Osprey Adventure Grant 2020!

Winner 1 – Dylan Barber and Duncan Handel

Adventure: The Empty Esky Tour 

Location: South Coast NSW – Lake Conjola to Bermagui 

With literal eskies strapped to the back of their bikes, Dylan and Duncan plan to visit fire-affected towns on the South Coast of NSW on a multi-day bikepacking trip. They’ll stop in at local businesses to fill their eskies and bike packs with food and local products. 

At our next destination, we’ll set up camp for the night and share the food and drinks with locals we visit or other tourists we meet. We’ll seek guidance from animal welfare charities about anything we can do to help their efforts along the way, and will also aim to visit RFS stations and drop off a few well-earned beers.’

Winner 2 – Lisa Martin

Adventure: A Borderline Secret

Location: SA, Vic and NSW border

Lisa’s on a solo surveying mission to try and correct a borderline mapping error around the SA/NSW/Vic border junction. She’ll be travelling from Renmark in SA to McCabe Corner in Victoria, to correctly map out the borderline. And she’s going to do it in her inflatable kayak. 

‘We’ve been fed a lie in the form of tidy Australian maps, states neatly and completely divided. But the SA, VIC and NSW border isn’t what it seems, it’s not the delightful continuous straight line the maps would have us believe but rather a squiggly mess, due to a surveying error back in the day.’

Winner 3 – John, Dan and Pat Schnelle

Adventure: The Cricketer’s Coffee Club

Location: Kosciuszko National Park NSW 

In an attempt to combine their favourite childhood and adulthood past times, the Schnelle brothers have devised an alpine adventure. 

Three brothers. 46km. 11 peaks. 3 games of cricket. 33 cups of coffee. 

On a three-day 46km loop, we will hike to, brew, and review coffee on top of each of eleven of Australia’s highest mountains. Each day will finish with a healthy dose of cricket in the arena of Kosciuszko National Park. We aim to recapture the essence of exploring one’s own backyard.’

Travels By Tide // A Modern Day Huck Finn Adventure Joel Johnsson, raft, paddle, sunburst, rive

Photo by Joel Johnsson

We’re absolutely champing at the bit to get these Explorers out there and adventuring. We’ll be bringing you the details of exactly how it all unfolds over the next few months. Keep your eyes peeled and your laptop charged, there are some seriously stirring stories coming.

Feature photo by Polly Barr