Scott Donaldson addresses New Zealand media.
Scott Donaldson addresses New Zealand media. Contributed

Donaldson makes landfall in New Zealand

PHYSICALLY exhausted and sporting a two-month growth, Scott Donaldson tonight made landfall in New Zealand becoming the first man to kayak unaided across the Tasman Sea.

Embracing his wife Sarah on the sands of Ngamotu Beach, New Plymouth, under the glow of fireworks and to sound of loud applause, Donaldson cut a weary figure.

"We've invested everything into this - financial, emotional, just everything," Sarah Donaldson told New Zealand media.

"I think the emotion has been under the surface over last few months, it may all come out tonight," the local physiotherapist told New Zealand Media.

It has been eight weeks since the local Kiwi football coach paddled from Jetty Beach in Coffs Harbour.

After reaching Lord Howe he spent a week riding out a storm and testing his equipment, and in total spent 62 days at sea.

Even New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has praised his epic effort taking to Twitter: "There are some accomplishments that are difficult to fathom - like crossing the Tasman solo in a kayak. I'm pretty sure Scott Donaldson has stunned us all. Truly amazing.

Scott Donaldson's voyage to New Zealand.
Scott Donaldson's voyage to New Zealand. Contributed

Donaldson's first words when asked about the trip were that it was an 'epic' voyage and he was 'absolutely knackered', before he checked into Customs.

'I'm done sitting', he said, when offered a seat at the press conference.

The achievement has taken weeks to complete, but has been years in the making.

On his last attempt, Scott Donaldson was famously rescued by helicopter in 2014 after he was injured when his kayak rolled in big seas, just 80km off the New Zealand coastline, within view of Mount Taranaki.

He joins exclusive company to complete a trans-tasman voyage.

He is the first kayaker to achieve the feat, while countryman Colin Quincey rowed the 2,500km voyage in 1977, with his son Shaun repeating the crossing by row boat in 2010.


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