Seeing the world from an all-terrain wheelchair

7:00 pm on 22 January 2016

What would you do if one of your friends had an incurable degenerative disease?

For four friends of Danish 22-year-old Jacob Riis-Nielsen, the answer was simple: take him on a trip around the world.

Watch the full Checkpoint with John Campbell report here:

Mr Riis-Nielsen has Machado-Joseph disease, an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that leads to paralysis.

But that hasn't stopped him from climbing mountains or travelling, with a bit of help from his friends.

They call themselves "De 5 pa tur," or "The 5 travellers": Amalie Ronde Dicksen, Katrine Bechsgaard Nielsen, Jeppe Ravn Nielsen (no relation), and Arne Bargsgaard Mathiasen.

From the left Jeppe Raven Nielsen, Amalie Ronde Dicksen, Arne Bangsgaard Mathiasen, Katrine Bechsgaard and at the front Jacob Riis-Nielsen.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

They met at a school which anyone can attend, but with a special focus on people with physical disabilities.

Their four-and-a-half month journey has taken them from crowd-surfing at jungle parties in Thailand, to meeting Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and now their final stop in New Zealand.

Mr Riis-Nielsen has a special off-road wheelchair that means there are few things he cannot do - on a previous trip, his friends carried him up the highest mountain in Norway.

Jacob Riis-Neilsen (left) taking a dip with Jeppe Raven Nielsen in his water going wheelchair.

Jacob Riis-Neilsen, left, taking a dip with Jeppe Raven Nielsen in his water-going wheelchair. Photo: SUPPLIED

But that doesn't mean there aren't challenges. Mr Ravn Nielsen said bathing Mr Riis-Nielsen in backpacker hostel bathrooms has required some ingenuity, and getting around in countries like Indonesia has sometimes proved difficult.

Now in New Zealand, Mr Riis-Nielsen has already completed a sky dive, and is looking forward to doing a section of the Abel Tasman Track and whale watching in Kaikoura.

Jacob Riis-Neilsen in his all terrain wheel chair.

Jacob Riis-Neilsen shows off his all-terrain wheelchair. Photo: SUPPLIED

Jacob Riis-Neilsen climbing a mountain in Norway.

Jacob Riis-Neilsen and friends climbing a mountain in Norway. Photo: SUPPLIED