Adventurer and wildlife conservationist Andrew Ucles has become the first documented man to cross the expanse of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
The 31-year-old, from Wollongong, south of Sydney, spent 42 days crossing the remote Outback landscape.
He travelled 586km on foot and on the back of his horse – suitably called Arnhem – even though locals refereed to the animal as ‘green’ and not suitable for the terrain.
Mr Ucles packed only what he could carry and lived on water buffalo, cane toads, feral pigs, and fish – losing 7kg by the time his odyssey was complete.
‘I love the Northern territory. I have been to Arnhem Land before and that area is just such a vast, almost mythical landscape. The danger of the place seemed very real and I wanted to overcome that fear,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Ucles lost 7kg by the time his odyssey across one of the most remote landscapes in the world was complete
Adventurer and wildlife conservationist Andrew Ucles has become the first documented man to cross the expanse of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
He described his experiences hunting for survival in the remote untouched landscape.
‘The easiest way to get food was to spearfish bream, barramundi or cherabin (a type of giant freshwater prawn),’ Mr Ucles said.
‘There were lots of cane toads, they actually tasted like a cross between quail and fish. You have to prepare and cook them very carefully though to avoid the toxins.
‘Water buffalo were probably the most dangerous animals I had contact with. To go to a watering hole with my horse and kind of face off with them.
‘They can charge and their horns are sharp enough to pierce through rubber car tyres.’
He packed only what he could carry and lived on water buffalo, cane toads, feral pigs, and fish
The 31-year-old from Wollongong in New South Wales spent 42 days crossing the remote outback landscape
Hunting water buffalo was not an easy feat, but he found the best way was to pick the weakest link of the herd and try to chase that animal down.
‘There’s a big difference between chasing down a pig or a buffalo than say trying to chase an emu or kangaroo at 30 kilometres per hour,’ Mr Ucles said.
‘I took salt to preserve the meat so one animal would last me 4 or 5 days.’
He described the most dangerous part of his trek as not being able to find water.
‘I had mapped out my route before I left using GPS locations where there were water as rest stops every day. Two times I got to the location and there was no water,’ he said.
‘So Arnhem and I pushed on through the night to the second location – 35km by the time we got there. Towards the end I was hallucinating – the termite mounds were moving.’
Ucles has been a passionate nature conservationist since he was seven-years-old
Mr Ucles travelled 586km on foot and on the back of his horse – suitably called Arnhem and still what locals refer to as ‘green’ or not properly broken in.
Mr Ucles has been a wildlife enthusiast and conservationist since he was seven years old.
Having wound up in the ICU aged 13 from a particularly nasty snake bite, his father warned him his passion could kill him – but he responded that this was who he is.
His love of nature has taken him around the world to Africa, Asia, North America, and the Amazon – documenting his interactions with wild animals on his YouTube channel.
His channel has over half-a-million subscribers and 150 million views – with his unique approach and skill set offering a fresh take on interacting with nature.
The first episode of his new two part documentary series aired on the History Channel in the United States on Thursday.
The adventurer packed salt so he could preserve meat from water buffalo to last him up to five days
He describes the scariest parts of the trek were not being able to find water
The documentary – which took him to the depths of the Myanmar jungle among other locations – explores the facts and fiction behind the greatest predator attacks in history.
‘I would like to turn the Arnhem Land trek into a documentary with a focus on promoting Indigenous culture in the region. The people there have a really important story to tell,’ he said.
He believes a lot of issues affecting youth in the Northern Territory could be helped by programs connecting young people back to landscape – with the modern world and it’s distractions often breaking our connection to nature.
‘I have a tremendous respect for the Indigenous custodians of the land. I did this for 42 days. How Indigenous Australians did that for tens of thousands of years is amazing,’ he said.
‘I would like to turn the Arnhem Land trek into a documentary with a focus on promoting Indegenous culture in the region. The people there have a really important story to tell’ he said
‘I have a tremendous respect for the Indigenous custodians of the land. I did this for 42 days. How Indigenous Australians did that for tens of thousands of years is amazing’