Aviator Michael Smith on 50-day effort to circumnavigate Australia

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An Aussie pilot is recreating a century-old journey around Australia in a seaplane, with a map detailing his wild itinerary as he soars from town to town in the historic footsteps of air force pilots.

Michael Smith departed Melbourne last Saturday, on the first leg of a 50-day journey to circumnavigate the country.

The historic journey was first undertaken by pilots in 1924 by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Following a two day rest stop in Townsville, Mr Smith departed for Cooktown on Saturday marking the end of the first week of his roughly 15,000 km trip.

He plans to reach the Northern Territory by April 23, before making 10 stops down along the Western Australian coastline, three in South Australia, and ending up back in Melbourne on May 19.

Mr Smith joked he was looking forward to seeing the country’s iconic beaches at 500ft.

“It’s so important to recognise the mechanised apparatus that made Australian life possible,” he said.

“Still today there are towns where their mail and milk are delivered by plane.”

Mr Smith is due to touch down on Thursday Island, in Far North Queensland, in the coming week.

He will make similar scheduled stops across the coast, including in Darwin on April 24, Broome in WA on April 28, then hug the coastline through to South Australia in early May.

The aerial adventurer is due to finish his journey in Melbourne – the very place he took off from – on May 19.

The journey got off to a rocky start, with Mr Smith sharing an update on Tuesday from Myall Lake in NSW to say he hit some poor weather near Yarram.

“After a couple of hours it looked like it was going to be pretty clear down the coast so I thought ‘OK we’ll give this a go’,” He said.

“But after half an hour I could see it wasn’t looking good … So I could see that Bairnsdale was going to be the best place to go.

“Thank goodness I did because as I was taxiing towards the hanger and it just opened up and then it bucketed down all night.”

The trip marks a 100 year reflection of the RAAF’s first circumnavigation of the country in 1924, which delivered the first aerial survey of Australia’s coastline.

The adventurer was named Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2016 after solo circumnavigating the globe in a single-engine seaplane.

His trip is being monitored with live-streaming from the air online at the Southern Sun website.