AWOL British backpacker alive

British backpacker Joe Stuttle, who has been cycling and camping around Tasmania for part of his gap year, has been the subject of a huge manhunt after leaving his belongings overnight at an infamous suicide spot.

After setting up camp at Cataract Gorge and locking up his bike and bag, on the spur of the moment he decided to wander down to the nearby town of Launceston to see its Christmas lights. Once in town he promptly met two girls, who invited him to stay at their house. Understandably he complied.

Meanwhile, workers at the gorge, who had last seen Joe just before his trip into town, discovered all his things (including his passport), put two and two together and made five. An enormous search and rescue operation ensued, and Joe’s parents were informed of the disastrous turn of events.

Cataract Gorge

The next day Joe returned (possibly strutting) to the gorge to find a flurry of activity, a media frenzy and emergency services everywhere.

And no bike.

Let’s turn to Joe’s blog for the next part, as seen through his eyes.

“Someone’s stolen a bike I’ve borrowed off a man who’s quite strong that I don’t know very well. Then I see the thirty policemen in hiking gear. ‘I’m glad you’re here – someone’s gone and stolen my bike!’”

The realisation dawns; fast forward a couple of paragraphs.

“It shouldn’t be funny. They called my parents. I’m so sorry, Mum. But it is quite funny. The press loved it. I got in the paper and on TV. God my legs ache.

“Visit Tasmania.”