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Sweet reason Aussie grandpa is walking 4000 kms across the country

After eight months on the road and battling wind, rain, heat and fatigue, a Sydney grandfather will this week reach his Perth destination, having crossed the continent on foot.

Richard van Pijlen has been pushing a trolley of supplies for more than 4,000 kilometres to raise money for the community bush regeneration group Landcare to plant one million trees.

"I didn't really think things through too much, and just focusing on you know, 30 kilometres and then another 30 kilometres," he told AAP this week as he began the last 150km of his cross-continent journey.

When AAP first caught up with Mr van Pijlen in May a few weeks after he'd set out, he was expecting to walk around 25km a day. But on one occasion he reached 85km.

Sydney grandfather Richard Van Pijlen stopping along his mammoth journey.
Sydney grandfather Richard Van Pijlen stopping along his mammoth journey. Source: AAP (PR IMAGE)

In November, after spending six weeks crossing the vast arid Nullarbor Plain, the former painter walked 27 hours almost non-stop, resting only to eat.

"I've never been as exhausted in my whole life, like that moment," he said.

"You think you have nothing left, but there's still a little bit left."

It was soon after that mammoth effort, when he arrived in Norseman in Western Australia, that Mr van Pijlen met local cook Steve Pates.

"I was dumbfounded," Mr Pates said.

"I went in and cooked him the biggest breakfast I could fit on the plate, and he ate every bit of it."

Since the pair met, Mr Pates has driven several food packages out to Mr van Pijlen on the road and on one occasion made a 500km round trip to deliver the meals.

"Every time someone stops by and is going to Perth I send him a care package," Mr Pates said. "He wants to leave the world a better place ... you've got to admire the man."

Mr van Piljen says the people he's met on his journey have been the highlight of his journey.

The ambitious journey is raising money for Landcare with the hope of planting a million trees. Here in Stanwell Park, NSW.
The ambitious journey is raising money for Landcare with the hope of planting a million trees. Here in Stanwell Park, NSW. Source: AAP (AAPIMAGE)

During his trek, the Dutch-born Sydneysider celebrated his birthday and became a grandfather for the ninth time.

He told AAP he's exceptionally proud of raising money and attention for Landcare, a charity he's passionate about.

But for now, the 68-year-old is focused on reaching Fremantle, south of Perth, and could be there as early as Sunday.

"It has been really challenging because of the heat ... around 40 degrees," he tells AAP.

Mr van Piljen set off from Sydney's northern beaches on May 2 and when he finally reaches his destination he will rest up and reunite with his partner who's flying over from NSW.

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