Leicester

Leicester teenager cycles solo from UK to Australia

Ben Hollis in Australia Image copyright Nat Geo Leo
Image caption Ben Hollis has family in Australia and his father and sister are joining him there

A teenager is celebrating after completing a solo cycle ride from the UK to Australia.

Ben Hollis set off from his home in Leicester in August last year and reached his aunt and uncle's house in Caloundra, near Brisbane on Sunday.

The 19-year-old has covered more than 11,500 miles (18,000km) and visited 30 countries.

Arriving at his destination he said: "It's a bit surreal. After all those hours in the saddle, I've finished."

Image copyright Nat Geo Leo
Image caption Ben Hollis said he was always welcomed, including at the Royal Café in Lucknow, India

Mr Hollis said he worked "every single second" to raise money while studying for his A-levels.

During his journey, Mr Hollis had a budget of £7.50 a day and camped almost every night to keep costs down.

After climbing volcanoes, flying past Everest and getting lost in the rainforest, he said it was tough to choose a high point from the journey.

"I often say north-east India - these remote states up in the mountains, you climb down and see bridges made of tree roots," he said.

"Another one was in Bosnia, with the tragic history of Sarajevo, climbing the abandoned, Communist-era bobsleigh track."

Image copyright Nat Geo Leo
Image caption Ben Hollis said near Gunung Batok in Indonesia was his favourite camping spot

His enduring impression was not of a place, but an attitude.

"It was the welcome of people, again and again, no matter how much they have.

"When they see a dirty, absolutely exhausted young guy cycling up their hill, they never fail to welcome you in," he said.

Image copyright Nat Geo Leo
Image caption Mr Hollis camped in deserts and jungles using just what he could carry on his bike

He also raised more than £3,000 for charity.

"You spend a lot of time in your own head, pedalling for hours, so to get here is amazing," he said.

"And to be met by family who moved out here when I was young, to have them waving me across the finish line was great."

Mr Hollis is being joined by his father and sister for a month in Australia before they return to Leicester.

He starts a biology degree at the University College of London in September.

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