EIGHTEEN year old Chris Hayward has become the youngest person to kayak the length of the Murray River.
The amateur adventurer reached Goolwa in South Australia on Monday, the last stop in a carbon-neutral expedition which spanned more than 2,600 kilometres.
The journey's end didn't come easy — a bout of gastro landed Chris in hospital with only six kilometres to go, after capsizing his sea kayak on Lake Alexandrina about 500m from the SA coast.
He was discharged from hospital on Sunday and by Monday he was back in his kayak, battling strong winds to complete the last leg of his journey.
The Bacchus Marsh resident said meeting new people along the way was the best part of the expedition, and added the hospitality he received was overwhelming.
The 12 week journey along the Murray landed him in Swan Hill in September for an overnight stay, after beginning about 30km from the source of the Murray on July 30.
Chris's carbon-neutral journey was made in an effort to promote environmental awareness and raise funds for environmental charity Greenfleet.
For more on this story, see this Friday's edition of the Guardian (9/11/12).