How horror accident led to crazy travel adventure


JUST over two years ago Tyson Mayr was lying in a hospital while doctors determined if he would ever walk again.

The extreme adventurer had fractured three vertebrae after a cliff jump in South Australia went horribly wrong.

"I was meant to leave for Mexico the next day and was in hospital for a week," the Miami man told the Bulletin.

"I was in South Australia (and) jumped off an 18m cliff. I misread the jump and landed too close to shallow rocks.

"That was probably the scariest thing I have been through - the unknown of doctors playing with your feet, not knowing if you'll be able to walk or run the same again.


Nick and Tyson Mayr. Picture Glenn Hampson
Nick and Tyson Mayr. Picture Glenn Hampson

"I have been robbed at gunpoint in Africa, rolled dune buggies down cliffs in Ecuador and been surrounded by bears in my tent in Kazakhstan, but nothing has come close to the fear I experienced as I lay in my hospital bed."

Later this week the 34-year-old will feature in the first episode of survivalist Bear Grylls' new show in which contestants tackled 671km of oceans, jungles, rock climbing and mountain biking in Fiji.

Mr Mayr is in a team with his brother Nick Mayr and cousin Elijah Mayr for Eco-Challenge: The World's Toughest Race Fiji. They compete against 64 teams from across the world, five of which are from Australia.

Mr Mayr said he applied for Eco-Challenge "exactly 12 months" after his accident in South Australia.

"I was midway through my recovery when I got the call. It was a sign that I had a second chance to do this."

Tyson Mayr. Photo: @tysontravel - Instagram
Tyson Mayr. Photo: @tysontravel - Instagram


Tyson Mayr
Tyson Mayr

Mr Mayr, his brother Nick Mayr and cousin Elijah Mayr embarked on the journey to Fiji for the race in September 2019.

"I had been to Fiji months before and it was cocktails on the beach, sunsets and mild jungle treks but you have no idea how rugged and extreme it is.

"You would have a support crew which would meet you at four checkpoints and they would basically just give you a meal and swap your bag over.

"You're only given the map for each spot at each checkpoint. No sleeping equipment and you have to make it as far as you can, given the information you've been given.

"You might be out in the jungle for a few days on your own with just a backpack."

Mr Mayr says the course took 11 days, but wouldn't reveal if he finished.

"I spend a big portion of my life travelling to the other side of the world to find these off-the-beat experiences, but little did I know three hours away was the most extreme in the world."

Being unable to travel since March because of the coronavirus crisis, Mr Mayr says he's lost opportunities - including a gig with National Geographic in Peru - but has enjoyed downtime at home on the Gold Coast.

Next on the grid for Mr Mayr is "a lot of domestic travel".

"The bushfires hit our family farm very hard and I've seen the struggles from the bushfires and then to COVID.

"I really want to push domestic travel here in Australia and explore more of my own backyard."

Tyson Mayr rose to fame in 2009 when he visited 28 countries across six continents within a year spending no more than $10,000.

Eco-Challenge: The World's Toughest Race Fiji debuts on Amazon Prime Video on August 14. It is produced by Survivor guru Mark Burnett.

Originally published as How horror accident led to crazy travel adventure