Sure, Freya Hoffmeister might have circum-navigated Australia. We’d like to see her keep up with the exploits of Australian Tanya Faux. This spring, Faux, a longtime creek and rodeo competitor and Australia’s2008 Adventurer of the Year, is leading a group of eight women into one of Australia’s most rugged and remote areas: a 30-day uncharted, unsupported, river exploration of the Kimberley region that aims to promote the Save the Kimberley campaign. Oh, and did we mention the Class V and crocs?
As well as negotiating never-before-run Class V whitewater, the group will have to endure extreme tropical temperatures whilst entering the territory of the saltwater crocodiles during the mating season. All eight women are current or past employees of the Outdoor Education Group in Eildon, Victoria, and as outdoor educators all support and advocate for the protection of wilderness regions.
The inspiration responsible for such a trip stems both from Faux’s previous kayak expeditions into the Kimberley’s, and the political unrest over a proposed gas hub in the area. A controversial industrialization in the Kimberley region exists that has been narrowly resisted so far by the local community, as well as individuals reaching across Australia. The Save the Kimberley campaign aims to protect the cultural, historical, and environmental significance of the region by gaining World Heritage Status over 20 hectares of what has been deemed “one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth.”
To date, the team has raised over $2,000 for both Save the Kimberley and the Wananami Remote Community School at Mount Barnett Station. Donations can still be made online as the team attempts the 30-day expedition.
Over the course of the expedition, the team will be encounter Class V rapids while rafting both the Isdell and Charnley rivers and completing a 150-km off-track hike in between. The self-titled Kimberley Whitewater Women will fly to Broome January 14 from Melbourne. From there they will proceed into the Kimberley via helicopter and begin the first rafting leg of the journey down the Isdell River. Using the “spot device” the world will be able to follow the team’s daily progress on www.kimberleywhitewaterwomen.com.
“We’re both excited and nervous for the adventures ahead,” says Faux, a three-time winner of the Paddling Life Invitational event. “The support of our community, the Kimberley community, and from family and friends has been incredible. We hope that this trip encourages more women to seek adventure and believe in their abilities.”
She adds that the team also wants to recognize the traditional land owners for welcoming them onto their land and enabling the expedition to proceed, including Ernest Nulgit, Philip Duckhole, Chloe Nulgit, Paddy Neowarra, Digby Bidd, and Rowan Nulgit.
Follow the team’s progress HERE