The Only Way Home

(5 customer reviews)


One woman, two donkeys and an extraordinary outback journey of healing and renewal

On a warm day in May 2004 Liz Byron set off from Cooktown with her two companions, donkeys Grace and Charley, on a self-imposed challenge to walk 2500 kilometres of the Bicentennial National Trail over 9 months. This epic journey was a rite of passage to mark leaving 40 years of marriage and embarking on life as a single woman at the age of 61. She foresaw that self-reliance, physical stamina and route-finding would be challenges but couldn’t have known how the environment in Queensland was to test her to the limit. Years of drought had left much of her route a dusty wasteland, without food or water for her animals. Years of suffering from childhood abuse and a family tragedy had left her unwilling to ask for help. Walking became a meditation, an exercise in being in the moment even when that moment was 43 degrees or she hadn’t eaten for 7 hours.

In her moving memoir, Liz reveals how she healed herself step by step on the way to her new home in northern NSW – by learning to trust her intuition, the wisdom of her animals and the kindness of strangers.

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SKU: OWH9781925868203 Category:


In 2004, Liz finally quit a toxic marriage at age 61 and trekked 2,500 kilometres through Queensland with two donkeys.

The tale of her trek, and why she did it, is The Only Way Home. This is a story with many layers, some of which are inherently Australian, such as travelling through dry, flat, treeless country and the kindness of people who live in remote areas. Then there is the hilarious will of her two long-eared companions. But, like most significant journeys, the universal element of self-redemption is strong.

For Liz, surviving physical challenges was the easy part, when grief and trauma seemed determined to haunt her.

Additional information


ISBN: 9781925868203
ISBN-10: 1925868206
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Date Published: 24th February 2020
Publisher: Woodslane Pty Limited

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5 reviews for The Only Way Home

  1. Jo

    Thoroughly enjoyed it! A wonderful story with a lot of twists and turns.

  2. ROSILYN KINNERSLEY (verified owner)

    Not quite a page turning saga but certainly enough to keep one reading long after the light should have been turned off. At times, heart wrenching, reaching for the box of tissues, at others, laughing at the antics and intelligence of the donkeys. Liz’s writing is fluent and professional, easy to read and follow. Well done!

  3. Jack Harrison

    Liz completed an extraordinary trek of the Bicentennial National Trail, walking with two donkeys. The journey took nine months, and covered some 2,500km. Liz’s book is very well written. We learn of the hardships, the joys and the times of “living in the moment”. We come to know and love the spirit, determination and frailties of Liz and of her donkeys Grace and Charley.

    Liz learnt about “self” on the journey, and we the readers learn about Liz. To me, this is the most important aspect of the book. It is so much more than the journey itself, remarkable as the journey was. Towards the end of the book, I wanted it not to end. I was absorbed in getting to know Liz and her donkeys with each chapter.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. We all have our own “challenges” in life, as do our friends, family members, and indeed any person with whom we may be in contact with. Liz tells her own story. Through reading and learning about Liz, we readers can reflect on our own ideas about ourselves, and about our interactions with others.

    Congratulations Liz Byron, for your book, for your refusal to be “defined” by the sometimes abusive actions of others, and for your enduring love for your children.

  4. Charles Coutts.

    I have just completed reading your book . What Grit . As a youth I grew up in the area from Innot Springs up to Cooktown and Know the Area well .You were certainly brave to tackle the entire Qld piece of it and with two Donkeys,Amazing.

  5. Vivienne Pearson

    I hugely recommend this powerful and highly readable story.

    Congratulations, Liz, on conceiving the trek, then doing it, and then writing about it so successfully.

    I found getting to know about donkeys just delightful (I confess that donkeys are a creature I have barely given a moment’s though to until now!).

    Your childhood experiences were hard to read at times (for emotional reasons, not because of the quality of the writing, which was high).

    The strength you had during the trek and have shown throughout your life is to be celebrated and appreciated. Your observations and realisations about farming life and the impact on our environment were keen. Your discovery of the need to – and how to – accept help was profound.

    Five stars from me!

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