Horseback travellers visit Killarney

Erwin Van Vliet and his horses.

By Emily-Rose Toohey

Killarney was visited by a Western Australian couple travelling across the country in a less than traditional mode of transport.

In fact, Erwin Van Vliet and his wife Monique sold their property and have undertaken the expedition on horseback.

Monique said they left Manjimup in November of 2019 and have another sixteen months of cross country travel before arriving back home.

“Basically we had a property in Western Australia, and my husband suffered from anxiety and depression, so we needed to do something different,” she said.

After following a route that led them to the National Trail, the couple reached Killarney last month and said they stayed for three days at the Showgrounds.

“We’re taking it one day at a time, but Erwin will ride for a couple of days and then take a few days rest,” Monique revealed.

She explained that Erwin is the one doing the horse riding and she is driving and calling ahead to secure a safe location to spend the night, like a camp base.

Nonetheless, Erwin said the adventure they’ve been undertaking over the past few years has been amazing.

“It’s been great travelling through the country with horses, meeting people, and getting a change of scenery,” he said.

“It’s been a beautiful journey and I’ve been taking time to look around and see beauty in everything, everywhere.”

He travels approximately 25km a day in the company of two horses, and fortunately managed to arrive in Killarney just after the damaging flooding event in May.

However, Erwin said the journey hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.

“We got stuck with no food at one point and a helicopter had to pick us up,” he recalled.

On the trip, they take a mix of fresh and dry frozen food, and have access to the internet with portable WiFi.

But Erwin said the trip has a greater purpose as they are raising money for Beyond Blue, a mental health and wellbeing support organisation.

“We’ve raised over $3000 so far, but we’ve been trying to stay invisible,” Erwin said about the fundraising.

“Although we’ve started off slow, we’re expecting more once we become more active – we’ve been trying to enjoy the solitude.”

To follow the couple’s journey, readers can follow their Facebook and website, Tales of the Trail.