Soaring Into Australia's Most Inaccessible Point

Watch this first-ever paramotor expedition to Australia's Red Pole.
By Ellie Ross

Two British twins have landed a world first by traveling to Australia’s most inaccessible point, the Red Pole, by paramotor ... and almost getting stuck there.

Professional adventurers Hugo and Ross Turner, aka The Turner Twins, covered 1,000 miles to reach the Red Pole, a term they coined to describe the continent's most inland point.

The three-week trip saw them paramotor (essentially paragliding with a motor belted to your back) through some of the country’s most inhospitable terrain to reach their goal in the remote outback.

Watch their incredible adventure unfold in the clip above.

Ross and Hugo Turner posing for a portrait with their paramotor on their back in Australia
Ross, left and Hugo, right. Or is it…? © The Turner Twins

The 28-year-olds, originally from Devon, England, already have a number of adventures under their belts. They rowed the Atlantic in 2011, trekked across Greenland in 2014 and scaled Russia's Mount Elbrus in 2015.

The achievements are made even more incredible by the fact that Hugo broke his neck in a freak diving accident in Cornwall when he was 17.

Pinned to a spinal board for two weeks, he underwent surgery and miraculously made a full recovery. Hugo’s accident changed the twins’ lives dramatically — and was the start of their adventures.

Ross Turner taking a selfie during a paramotor flight to the center of Australia
Ross and Hugo covered 1,600km on their expedition © The Turner Twins

"So many people who have an accident like mine don’t walk away from it," Hugo says. "I was incredibly lucky. I want to live life to the maximum for the people that can’t."

"Hugo walked away from it and that was the start of our adventures," Ross adds. "It made us realize that life is precious and you have to make the most of it."

The Red Pole Expedition, which took place in August 2016, was the twins’ first crack at aviation.

"We aren’t pilots. We only learned how to paramotor a year before the expedition, so this was a great challenge for us," Ross says.

Silouhette of one of the Turner twins wearing his paramotor against the sunset in Australia
The twins had a narrow window for flying each day © The Turner Twins

"Our aim was to get a picture of the center of Australia. The country is so vast and its center is so remote that flying was the best way to reach it. A paramotor is ideal because it’s quick and easy to set up and it’s foot-launched, so you don’t need an airport or a fixed-wing license."

Traveling with photographer and guide Kestor Haynes, who taught the pair how to paramotor, the twins flew for between two and four hours per day. Their trip took in spots including Lake Eyre, the Simpson Desert and a fraction of Australia's vast outback.

Hugo Turner posing for a portrait in front of his paramotor in Australia
Taking good care of your equipment is crucial © The Turner Twins

Planning the trip took a year, including paramotor training, route-planning and contacting the Australian government to find the exact location of the center of Australia.

Located northwest of Alice Springs in a remote part of the country known as the Red Center, the twins termed the place the "Red Pole."

The expedition was far from a breeze. The pair's daily flying routine was consistently restricted to avoid windy conditions and extreme thermals.

Ross Turner taking a selfie during a paramotor flight to the center of Australia
The Turner Twins mid-air © The Turner Twins

The landing at the Red Pole took a dramatic wrong turn, when what had appeared from the sky to be a decent landing spot actually turned out to be trees and bushes, which are very dangerous if you intend to take off again.

At this point, the expedition became a full-on rescue mission.

As Kestor’s wing was smaller than those the twins were using, he was eventually able to get airborne and fetch the car, picking up the stranded twins several hours later in the pitch-dark wilderness.

Hugo Turner taking off for a flight in the Outback
Hugo takes off in the outback © The Turner Twins

"It would have taken too long for all of us to get airborne and fly back to the car," Hugo says. "Kestor’s wing was smaller and he could fly faster. We didn’t have much light left so it was the only option."

"When we got to the Red Pole, we had an amazing sense of achievement — but it was the start of another adventure as we had to make our way back to the car," Ross adds. "It was a beautiful thing being in the outback with no one else around for miles, but it was also a great relief when we saw Kestor’s car lights approaching."

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