Walking on the wild side

ELLY STRANG
Last updated 05:00 13/06/2014
Brando Yelavich
WILDBOY: Brando Yelavich has been circumnavigating the New Zealand coastline since January 2013 and is nearing the end of his journey.

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Adventurer Brando Yelavich unzips his tent flap, breathes in crisp, salty air and looks out over the Pacific Ocean.

His tent is cosy from the early morning sun and anyone else might be tempted to stay in its confines for a few moments more.

But Yelavich is already up and on his feet cooking the paua he dived for last night.

He is on the last leg of his journey, about four weeks away from his hometown of Auckland, and has put out the call for others to join him before his travels comes to an end.

The 20-year-old man is known to many people as WildBoy and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.

He set out to circumnavigate the New Zealand coastline in January 2013 and has become a familiar, if not slightly dishevelled, sight for those who've followed his travels online and through the media.

He wanted to fulfill his dream of tackling the outdoors after never fitting into mainstream school and says anyone is welcome to share the final days of his adventure.

"They'll never forget a WildBoy experience. The people who have walked with me don't shut up about it. It's extremely hard, but it's extremely rewarding," he says.

Tarsh Turner, 25, got in touch with Yelavich after seeing him on the TV show Seven Sharp and says their time together was "pure adventure".

"I loved the challenge of knowing where we had to go, but not how we were going to get there," Turner says.

"It was a unique opportunity to see New Zealand from a perspective that most people never would."

Turner and Yelavich lived off an exotic diet while adventuring, eating wild goat meat, sea snails and even grasshoppers.

He showed her his hunter-gatherer skills when he found a crayfish while snorkelling.

"He called out 'I've found a crayfish.' 'So grab it!' I yelled back. Lunch was a freshly cooked crayfish right there on the beach."

The generosity shown to them along the way both shocked and humbled Turner.

"His adventure just seems to capture people's imagination, and the support he has been shown has been amazing."

Yelavich says he's eager to start planning his next trip once he gets home, which will most likely be in Australia.

He is in talks with Discovery Channel to make a TV show and has been raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Charity along the way.

Those who want to walk with Yelavich can get in touch with him through his Facebook page, Running for their lives around the coast of NZ.

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