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Kiwi couple's ultimate road trip gets new purpose 'uncovering environmental issues'

A New Zealand couple circumnavigating the globe have found new purpose in what started out as an adventure - uncovering and revealing environmental issues.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reported Bridget Thackwray and Topher Richwhite set off in their trusty Jeep in April last year on a trip that'll take over two years and cover around 350,000 kilometres. 

They started in the Arctic Circle and have navigated their way down through the Americas to New Zealand, where Seven Sharp caught up with them during a pit stop while their Jeep is on a ship to Cape Town. 

"A huge part of it for us is sort of showcasing and uncovering environmental issues," Ms Thackwray said.

"So, in New Zealand you hear about plastic being a problem and climate change and everything, but you don't necessarily see it."

The couple have a passion for investigating what's really happening at wildlife sanctuaries around the world - like the whale shark sanctuary in Lax Paz, Mexico, where Ms Thackwray went swimming with the whale sharks.

"The locals have turned the fishing industry for whale sharks into tourism. So there's no longer any whale sharking there and now it's a full marine reserve," she said. 

"And now we work with Nat Geo. So every week they put out our discoveries and how the expedition is going."

Despite National Geographic's involvement, so far the couple have no paying sponsors and this ultimate road trip is self-funded.

The idea for the trip came before they had started dating, and now means a long honeymoon.

"Yeah, it's only been a year and a half," Mr Richwhite said.

Their advice for others contemplating doing something similar is hold off buying a house.

"We can always work for another 10 years and then buy a house in our 40s. I think experiences, you can't put a value on them. So that's what we're going with," Ms Thackwray said.

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    Bridget Thackwray and Topher Richwhite are nearly a year into their 350,000 kilometre trip. Source: Seven Sharp