British woman crosses Australia on horseback

Updated: 2006-08-05 14:36
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TOWNSVILLE, Australia - A British woman finished a 145-day trip across the Outback on Saturday, in what was believed to be the first Australian crossing by a female on horseback.

Anna Hingley, a 25-year-old veterinary nurse, and her Australian boyfriend, John "Croc" Ostwald, had to cope with searing temperatures, saddle sores, swarms of flies, poisonous snakes and floodwaters during their more than 3,000-kilometer (nearly 2,000-mile) trek from Broome to Cairns.

But they had smiles on their faces as they crossed the finish line, where they were greeted by her parents, Alan and Marlene Hingley, as well as sister Lucy who had flown in from Worcester, in the English midlands.

"As we got to the Esplanade the hairs on the back of my neck and arms shot up," Hingley said, fighting back tears. "It was a real adrenaline rush. I couldn't stop smiling."

She said all she wanted to do now is "chill out" for a while.

The couple, who met in 2004, left Broome on March 12. Their trip raised around A$10,000 (US$7,500) for Angel Flight, a charity that airlifts people from the Outback for medical treatment, Hingley said.

"We're going to take our time and relax," she said. "Even though we spent 24/7 together we were never really alone. There was support crew and visitors so we'll hang around for a while and chill out by ourselves."

British filmmaker Tom Guerrier is making a documentary about the journey.