Speakers and Other Attractions

Our line-up of speakers for 2018…

Paul Pritchard – introducing Lowest to Highest

Through the vast landscape of Australia five friends attempt to be the first to cycle from the continent’s lowest point, Kati Thanda, a vast salt lake at -15m, to the highest point at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. The 2150km journey would be hard enough for anyone but Duncan is blind, Walter can’t breathe, Daniel can’t walk, Conrad can’t bend, and half of Paul’s body doesn’t work.
“What could possibly go wrong?”

A drover’s tale – Francis Clarke

In 1980 the spring rains failed at Pinebank, with no prospect of grass until Autumn something had to be done.  Francis and seven other Braidwood graziers put 5,000 Hereford cattle on the road in the Riverina.  Mobs of this size had not been seen since the days of Paterson’s Saltbush Bill – who also makes an appearance as he ‘fights for a blade of grass.’

A stampede on the first night set the scene for a memorable adventure – cows stuck in the mud of the local water supply.  An incompetent drover who allowed cows and calves to go without water for three days and an old time drover who took over the mob and delivered them fat and sleek without loss.



Michael Dillon AM

For almost fifty years so far, whenever Australians or New Zealanders have undertaken an epic or crazy adventure, Michael has usually accompanied them.

He filmed Sir Edmund Hillary’s Ganges jetboat expedition. Filmed the First Australian Everest expedition, Tim Macartney-Snape’s Everest Sea to Summit Expedition, and with Lincoln Hall filmed a father and his 15 year old son attempting Everest. He’s filmed two Everest ballooning expeditions, a Base Jump altitude record attempt, a three month camel race, sections of Tim Cope’s epic horse journey from Mongolia to Hungary, the world’s highest formal dinner party on a peak in the Andes, and a London Taxi Journey from Buckingham Palace to the Sydney Opera House.

John Morgan was the originator of the idea for the Great London to Sydney Taxi Ride in 1988, and very much enjoyed working and travelling with Mike Dillon and Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly on that adventure. But the more mundane matters of life, family, mortgage and business intervened to curtail what would otherwise have been a constant life of adventure travel. However he has still managed to do a nine month trip in a Volkswagen from Wales to Cape Town, to follow in the footsteps of poet and drunk Dylan Thomas on too many occasions, and to walk the tracks of the Brecon Beacons, Fiordland and many places between the two. He now lives in retirement in the Adelaide Hills.

 But in 2019 it is planned that he, Ned Kelly and Mike Dillon will follow the path of the seventeenth century cartographer John Ogilby when ‘I know another way from London to Dublin’ happens. This one will be more old friends reminiscing and telling tall tales whilst enjoying good hostelries as they travel ‘along the road’. Before, they hope, any of them passes the great divide.



Sarah Taylor

Have you ever felt like there was a destination, a route, a challenge that was beyond you and your abilities? For Sarah that was a crossing of the Simpson desert by motorcycle. Inspired by explorers in history and the challenge and danger of an isolated, unforgiving desert, Sarah set about preparing for a solo motorcycle crossing. From getting a bike set up for the ride, selecting the right gear, and preparing physically and mentally for the challenge that most people thought she would fail at. Sarah will discuss this preparation, the highs and lows of crossing the Simpson desert, and the challenges of stepping outside your comfort zone.




Alienor  le Gouvello is of French nationality and has been an Australian resident for 11 years. Alienor has an educational background in the art and media industry. From a young age, she developed a passion for travelling and taking on adventures across the globe. Some of her previous expeditions include a horseback trek in Mongolia at the age of 22 and a motorbike expedition from Siberia to Paris. She has also lived in many different continents including South America, Asia and Europe. Here in Australia she has been working on and off for the past 10 years with Indigenous youth in remote communities of the central and western desert. This position saw her travelling extensively remote places and develop a love for the Australian outback and big open spaces. In 2015 she set out to embark on her longest solo expedition so far, 5330Km along the National Trail on horseback with the aim to dedicate her ride to the brumby plight. Alienor’s expedition on the National Trail won her the Sidetracked, UK Magazine adventure Fund grant 2015 as well as sponsorship from the Australian Geographic Project Sponsorship Grant 2015. A month after completing the national trail she participated in the very first Gobi Desert Cup, a horse endurance race of 480km in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and finished first. 


axel_smAxel Leonhardt
Being fascinated by reading about adventurous stuff from others I soon decided to make my own. Since I have had larger and smaller encounters with thrill, excitement and “boy i don’t wanna be here” moments. My most recent was a ride from Vladivostok to Spain, although ‘riding’ I did not all the time. Join me and I shall show & tell





Heather Ellis www.heather-ellis.com

From Africa to the Silk Road

Heather Ellis is the author of Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa, a memoir about a life-changing adventure into the soul of Africa that is filled with ‘survival-against-the-odds’ adventures. But it also unfolds as a deeply spiritual journey of personal growth that resonates with all who read Ubuntu. Following her travels across Africa, Heather continues her journey by motorcycle along the Silk Road and the sequel to Ubuntu based on this journey and will be available in mid-2018.

Heather has worked as a radiation safety technician, a motorcycle courier in London, a journalist for News Ltd and for the NGO, Plan International. She lives in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne with her three children, and still rides motorcycles.


Jeanette McLaren and Dermot Meaney

When it’s time to retire it’s time for adventure. Your age is not a limit to the extent of your adventure, just a gauge to let you know how many adventures you have left.

We still think the world is a beautiful place, and the bicycle is such a great way to explore some of its more remote places and beautiful

At 59 and 62 Jeanette and Dermot decided to get into it in the high Andes of Ecuador and Peru. Then across Europe, through 17 mostly ex-eastern bloc countries on a bike tour from Oslo to Athens. 




Iain and Trish Burgess

Born with the adventure gene, Iain is willing to go where no man has gone before, Trish is the one who makes sure he doesn’t get them into too much trouble. They have been adventuring since they got together 33 years ago, and whilst four kids put a limit on their adventures for a few years, as soon as the nest was empty, they took off on a series of trips around Australia. They started with an old Discovery, graduated to a Land Rover Defender and then Iain converted an old HiRail Unimog into an off road expedition truck, which they have used to go to the most remote places possible. Having racked up over 100,000km of driving around Australia, they still have a few more adventures in mind before they take their truck around the world in a couple of years time. Iain is an avid photographer, and Trish his willing muse, which means they spend a great deal of their time looking for spectacular locations to add to their vast collection. Drones and GoPros have added an extra dimension to their photographic adventures which they have used to great effect.



Christie Hamilton

Christie Hamilton is an otherwise normal IT professional prone to shenanigans who embarked on an extraordinary self-supported cycling race across our massive continent. In a field a 71, with no experience, no racing pedigree and what many people called no chance, Christie became one of just 16 people to finish.

There will be stories of road trains and road kill, broken wheels, mysterious rashes and a great deal of “type 2” fun. Christie will share her tales of elation and woe, her process for adventuring, and the grit it took to join the elites – and finish.



Ash Rutledge

Ash grew up in a small town in rural New South Wales and it was here that he developed an obsession for motorbikes. By the age of 10 Ash was riding regularly and had learnt to drive the farm ute which gave him a level of exploring independence. He went on to learn a trade as a mechanic but in 1989 switched to the IT industry.
Ash and his wife Debbie have toured South Eastern Australia extensively on motorcycle road trips camping or staying in pubs. Ash is very lucky that Debbie likes camping. The idea of no shower for a few days is no issue. In fact, Ash dislikes camping in campgrounds and caravan parks and has discovered over time that he and Debbie are both happiest when they have to use a shovel for a toilet.
Ash had a brush with cancer in 2012 that gave him a new appreciation for doing things now, not putting them off and for not waiting for someone else to organise things. This has led to several adventures and trips with more always planned. Ash continues to work in IT but he is never happier than heading West with red dust in his teeth. He’s happy to get dirty, just not at work.



Stay tuned for more amazing inspiration as we lock in more speakers.

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