Edition #2

What’s New at Adventure Excellence?

The Wonders of Mt Kilimanjaro – 31 August to 9 September 2019

As a subscriber to AE Stories you get the first opportunity to register your interest for our upcoming adventures. So, if climbing to the Roof of Africa is on your bucket list, then take a moment to drop us an email and pencil your name in for this unforgettable experience.

The snow-capped Uhuru Peak on Mt Kilimanjaro is 5,895m above sea level and provides a 360-degree view over the surrounding African plains where, after our descent, you will have the option to include an African Safari. A mix of cultural experience and physical challenge, Mt Kilimanjaro is rated a 4/5 on our world adventure difficulty scale. So, as we always do, a comprehensive training program will be provided to ensure your safety and ultimate success in reaching the peak. Acclimatisation to the altitude is carefully managed and our success rate in getting people to the summit is second to none.

To register your interest in climbing the highest peak in Africa, email brad@adventureexcellence.com and we will put you on the shortlist. Final details will be available soon. Numbers are extremely limited!

Come Waltzing Matilda with AE – Gait to Gate for Drought Relief (4th – 8th May 2019)

The response we have received for Gait to Gate has been wonderful. The drought continues to worsen across just about every state of Australia, and the need for stockfeed, trucks loaded with drinking water for homes, groceries or even a tank of fuel continue to increase.

Participants (as either individuals or teams of four) are asked to raise funds for the drought relief charity of their choice by getting donations as they train and undertake the 100km trek adventure. Although this is held in Winton, QLD, where Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda and Wantas was founded, you are free to choose a charity that helps in the area of Australia that is closest to your heart.

We have several unique aspects planned for Gait to Gate but numbers are capped at 100 participants to ensure we make minimal impact on the land and community facilities. Places are available at this stage, but are filling quickly.

Come Waltzing Matilda with Adventure Excellence and do something truly impactful for others whilst having a once in a lifetime outback trekking experience.

The AE Adventurers

AE Operations and Logistics Boss – Mal Cockburn

Retired 36-years Australian Army veteran Mal Cockburn is one driven man. He has already swum the English Channel, and in August 2019 he will tackle four further iconic swims:

  • 20 Bridges around Manhattan Island (45.5km)
  • Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Los Angles (34 km)
  • Alcatraz (2.4 km)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (3 km)

Mal has been an adventure leader since retiring from the army in 2016, although he has been leading people to safely and successfully reach their goals for decades.

As a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in the Australian Defence Force with postings all around Australia in Regimental and Training positions, and several overseas tours of duty, he is used to being responsible for the planning, training and safe completion of programs. With formal qualifications and training in Frontline Management, Training and Assessment, First Aid in remote situations, CPR, Emergency Life Support, and Providing Pain Management, Mal is brilliant if issues arise during an adventure.

Life after army is often challenging as the structure that has become a way of life whilst serving your country is suddenly gone. Being aware of the mental health risks this lack of structure can create for ex-servicemen and women, Mal took on a stringent swimming training program that enabled him to successfully solo swim the English Channel in 2016 – a feat that few Australians have achieved – in a time of 15 hours and 36 minutes.

At AE, Mal is responsible for our event logistics on the ground including the selection, procurement and maintenance of our equipment such as adventure wear, packs, tents, sleeping mats and bags, sporks, cups and bottles. He has terrific attention to detail and liaises brilliantly with the in-country Porters and Sherpas we use overseas.

A few words from the man himself:

I come from a Defence family as my father was in the Army as a Surveyor, and my mother a Nurse. This sort of lifestyle grounds you well to adjusting to change as you are always on the move.  I joined the Australian Defence Force at the age of 19 – it allowed me a career filled with travel and the opportunity to explore and experience some incredible things – some good, and some not so good. It also supported my love of playing Rugby League, Rugby Union, Surfing, Swimming, and Kayaking.

Just before I retired from the Army, I was working at the Warrant Officer and Non-Commission Officer Academy as the Senior Instructor in charge of training in Leadership, Management, Health and Safety, and Training and Development for the future Non-commission Officers and Warrant Officers of the Australian Army and international forces. Developing future leaders was a highlight of my career.

My swimming journey, like the adventure journey, has taken me to some beautiful places and given me the opportunity to meet so many great people. Ocean swimming takes you to places of remoteness, loneliness, the unknown, and a battle against the elements. You need to trust people and even though it doesn’t look like it, it’s very much a team event. Swimming at midnight when there are no stars and big ocean swells with only the lights of other swimmers with their glow sticks, or the support boat with the cabin and spot light on so the captain knows where you are – these types of conditions put you in a different mental space.

The English Channel throw’s everything at you: cold, wind, swell, current, darkness and sunshine – you name it. I still struggle to really grasp that I managed to get it done and am so grateful to those that helped my training and supported my swim.

Working with Adventure Excellence gives me the opportunity to not only pass on my experiences but to also help others experience something that they may think they could never do whilst also helping them to raise awareness about their charity of choice, with the best equipment and under the safest conditions.

The reason we like to supply nearly everything you require for your adventure is that equipment failure half way through an adventure can significantly reduce a person’s enjoyment, and potentially their safety. I am always happy to answer questions from our adventure participants about what to buy but the reality is that we supply nearly everything you need except your shorts, socks and footwear. It saves you money and removes the risk of making expensive mistakes buying the wrong thing, and at the wrong price.

As for leading some of our adventures, being around people is what my 36 years of military service was all about. I love the energy of working with groups, and the sense of personal achievement I get in helping you to safely complete an expedition. Everyone has an interesting story to tell and hearing them as we trek reminds me that it’s the people in our life that matter far more than the things that we own or have.

See you on the trail.


Mal Cockburn

AE Operations and Logistics Boss

Some of Mal’s Other Experiences:

  • Mt Kilimanjaro summit trek 2015;
  • Coordinated and managed the “Tribute to the ANZACs” from the northernmost tip of Australia to the southernmost point in Tasmania, a journey on foot in 2015.
  • Everest Base Camp treks 2015, 2016 and 2018;
  • Kokoda Trail treks 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018;
  • Kuala Than/Kuala Juram summit (Malaysia) 1995.
  • Magnetic Island to The Strand Swim (solo) 2018;
  • Rottnest Island Channel Swim (solo) 2018;
  • Assisted adventurer Jelle Veyt by rowing 500km between islands in Indonesia 2017;
  • Open water Challenge (Philippines) 2017;
  • Word Series Swimming Event (Noosa) 2017;
  • National Cold-Water Swim Camp (Melbourne) 2016 and 2017;

Mal will be one of our leaders on SuperKOKODA in July.

Success & Safety Tip

Progressive Overload Training for Your Adventure by AE Fitness Expert, Ben Coley

So, you have signed up for an adventure or endurance event! It’s normal to feel a mixture of nerves and excitement run through your body. The excitement of the adventure ahead and the future stories to be told are contrasted against the nerves of “How hard will this be?” and “Will I be prepared for this massive and rewarding task?”

Knowing where you are at physically and mentally is the important starting block and from here, we can set a specific timeline for you as an individual. As the title suggests it is all about PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD which is the process of carefully managing the rate at which you increase your training, and that is not normally more than 15% per week.

Everything set out in your Adventure Excellence 8 or 12 week training program is tried and tested successfully. Adherence to it will see you comfortably transition from a novice to someone with a level of fitness to attack, enjoy and safely succeed in the adventure ahead!

In the first week or two it is normal for your body to feel uncomfortable as you transition into a heavier workload than you are used to. Muscle aches are viewed as progression and will subside in two to three weeks. The aches are a sign of your muscle fibres increasing in strength and endurance.

The training program we provide to you is carefully planned to provide a progressive overload of your muscles. It is designed to prevent injury whilst gaining the needed fitness. You will see great improvement as the more km’s you get into the legs the more confident and energetic you will feel. Progressive overload will allow you to achieve great results whilst also giving rest and recovery when needed.

Proper and sufficient regularity of your training is vital for both your short, and long term, health and quality of life. Remind yourself to listen to your body and trust the process. We are only a phone call away if you are concerned or struggling.