Two young Kiwi explorers have completed a gruelling 560km crossing of the Greenland ice cap.
Battling hurricane conditions, heavy snowfalls and illness, Brando "Wildboy" Yelavich, 24, and 33-year-old Hollie Woodhouse made the journey on skis while pulling 60kg supply sleds.
The pair, along with Australians Bridget Kruger, 30, and Keith Parsons, 28, were selected by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust for the expedition from a pool of nearly 200 applicants.
Joined by AHT executive director Nigel Watson and Ousland Polar Exploration master polar guide Bengt Rotmo, the six-person team left the west coast of Greenland on May 4.
They arrived in the small village of Tasiilaq on Greenland's east coast on Saturday.
The crossing is the trust's third Inspiring Explorers' Expedition and proved to be the most challenging one yet.
Watson said the team's final day saw them ski for 21 hours.
"We set off at 10am. A possible polar bear sighting had us on edge, but it turned out to be an illusion," he said.
"We continued to ski and eventually saw mountains – there was great excitement after seeing nothing but a flat, white horizon for weeks. We stopped for a hot meal at 1am before reaching the end of our journey at 7am – there were hugs and tears of relief."
A helicopter then picked up the team and took them to Tasiilaq.
Woodhouse said arriving into the village was unbelievable.
"The relief in finishing is immense and to finally walk on solid ground after four weeks of skiing was a strange feeling," she said.
"We stayed in a great hotel, dinner was nothing fancy but it was the best. Being warm, showered and seeing each other's faces properly for the first time in four weeks was an odd experience."
Yelavich, who completed the first solo circumnavigation of New Zealand's coastline, said the expedition was tough.
"Physically my biggest challenge was my joints and my feet adjusting to the repetition and the pulling of the sled for 29 consecutive days," he said.
"Mentally I was consumed by the repetition... the walking and the white were mind numbing at times. It was a great mental challenge."
The expedition honoured Fridtjof Nansen, the renowned polar explorer and humanitarian, who completed the first crossing of Greenland 130 years ago in 1888.
Once home, they will begin tailored outreach programmes supported by the Trust, with the aim of sharing their experiences, and encouraging others to get out and explore.
Watson says that will be the most important part of the expedition.
"The reason the trust undertakes these expeditions is to encourage people to get out and explore the amazing world we live in," he said.
"By sharing their story, the team has the opportunity to inspire someone else to do something they never have before – an experience that could be life changing."