231-Crossing the Tanami

Show notes

I was contacted by adventurer James MacAlloon as he was just about to set off on the final leg of a unique adventure across Australia. This last section of his journey would take him 1745km from Alice Springs through to Broome crossing the Tanami Desert in the process. In today’s episode we talk with James about the larger trip and in particular this last segment that, for many people, will be hard to grasp let alone contemplate.

Podcast Overview

  • Podcast introduction
  • Episode introduction (time index 0:01:32)
  • Brief introduction to James (time index 0:02:09)
    • General background
    • Involvement in the hiking and outdoor industry
  • How did this trip  come about? (time index 0:03:55)
  • Logistics (time index 0:05:59)
    • What was involved?
      • Resupply
      • Trolley
      • Time expectations
        • 40km/hour average day
    • Gear requirements
      • Layering
    • Access to indigenous land/private property?
    • Weather conditions – extremes
    • Planning success, how did it go?
      • Food
        • Weight loss
        • Shoe selection
  • First part of your trip – Sunshine Coast to Uluru –  highs and lows (time index 0:20:16)
  • How did COVID impact your journey. What changes did you have to make to your trip? (time index 0:23:41)
    • Uluru
    • 3,500km
    • 85 days walking
    • 44km/day


  • Part 2 of the trip Alice Springs to Broome (crossing the Tanami Desert) (time index 0:27:43)
    • Route change due to COVID
    • This final section covered 1745km and took you around six weeks which was an average of around 40km per day.
      • “Twice as hard and three times as remote” than the first section
    • Karts version 2
      • Purpose built to carry more weight/water
    • Were you carrying all your requirements or were you resupplying?
    • Dealing with the solitude vs hiking as a couple (time index 0:37:54)
    • What’s so special about this last section? (time index 0:40:53)
      • The Tanami Desert
      • Wildlife
    • What were the highlights and lowlights of this section? (time index 0:45:22)
    • Now that the trip is over, how have you gone about reintegrating back into ‘normal life’? (time index 0:47:46)
    • What would you say to those keen long-distance hikers considering doing such a big trip? (time index 0:49:38)
    • Communities and people
  • What’s your next great adventure? (time index 0:53:57)
  • Tim and Gill brief wrap up (time index 0:55:04)
  • Close (time index 1:03:54)


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Australian Hiker is a labour of love for Gill and Tim Savage and any money earned goes straight back into helping to make this blog better. Any support that you provide is greatly appreciated! If you wish to support us, even in some small way, it would be greatly appreciated. So why not buy us a coffee? Support Us

Facebook group from the walk: https://www.facebook.com/groups/footstepsforgood

Instagram for upcoming adventure: https://www.instagram.com/sea2summit_antarctica/

Website for upcoming adventure  www.sea2summitantarctica.com

James and his partner Emma (in the background) (image by James McAlloon)

James and his partner Emma (image by James McAlloon)

‘The Long Dusty Road’ (image by James McAlloon)

Camp site set up – resting up (image by James McAlloon)

James and his partner Emma talking to one of the ‘locals’ (image by James McAlloon)

More Friendly Faces (image by James McAlloon)

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