Barefoot Dutchman’s World Record Walk Arrives In Nambucca Valley

Masterchef Contestant Brent Draper with the Barefoot Dutchman and a supporter walking on his world record barefoot trek. Photo: Marian Sampson.


IT’s been a simple matter of putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s just that Dutchman Anton Nootenboom has been putting one bare foot in front of the next all the way from Cairns.

He left Cairns on foot in May, and in the next few days he will reach the Nambucca Valley, on his way to Sydney in a world record barefoot trek.

Anton has already beaten the world record for a barefoot walk when he passed through the Gold Coast but the full trip from Cairns to Sydney will set a record that will be very hard to beat for anyone brave enough to follow in his footsteps.

With feet worn down by concrete like sandpaper and bruised by stones, this epic journey is no race, rather a slow and steady effort that sees Anton walking with no set stops other than the final destination, his adopted hometown of Sydney, 2,600 km’s from his starting point.

This isn’t Anton’s first barefoot trek either.

In 2019 he was the first person to walk barefoot to the Mt Everest Base Camp.

On that journey he raised awareness of men’s mental health issues.

Anton served in the Dutch army for ten years, including three missions to Afghanistan and he has spent the last five years working in construction, both of which are seen as very ‘masculine’ environments.

Throughout his time in these industries, Anton saw and experienced men’s mental health issues firsthand.

Anton is strong in the belief that men need to talk about their issues.

He welcomes people to walk alongside him on his journey, and to talk about mental health, which he believes needs to be de-stigmatised.

On average 8 suicides happen each day in Australia.

Last year 3,328 people died by suicide, of which 75% were men.

Anton wants to help prevent this from happening.

He believes that there is a dangerously wrong perception of what ‘masculinity’ means, which causes men to struggle to be openly vulnerable and he wants to help by showing it’s okay to talk about these issues and to be vulnerable when you are feeling like you need support.

Anton Nootenboom told News Of The Area, “Now more than ever it’s important just to show that we’re not deaf, and to raise awareness around the big problem we have with mental health, and to show that having emotions and showing emotions has nothing to do with muscular energy, it is just human.

“If there’s one thing that I learnt in the army it is to lead by example.

“I am just trying to set the right example of just being very open about my struggles and all the stories I hear on the way.”

When News Of The Area caught up with Anton earlier on his journey, he was walking alongside Northern NSW Masterchef Contestant Brent Draper, who pulled the pin on his Masterchef journey when he realised that his mental health was suffering.

The hardworking Aussie tradie was initially hoping to explore life away from the tools in the MasterChef kitchen.

Brent was seen by some as a strong contender to win the series however after a challenging cook in the Masterchef kitchen he famously put up his hand and said “I can’t cook”.

In the months since Masterchef, Brent has spent time on himself and is now in a better place.

Anton is set to walk through Coffs Harbour and then follow the road south through Nambucca.

He invites anyone who would like to, to come “walk with me and talk with me”.

You can follow Anton’s footprints at

When Anton arrives in Coffs Harbour he will have walked barefoot for around 2065km’s and 2141km’s when he reaches Nambucca Heads.



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