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The Kokoda Trail is our most famous trek here in Papua New Guinea. It is steeped in WWII history and is an emotional and physically challenging walk. We have spent many hours on the track opening up new areas for trekkers to visit pertaining to the Kokoda campaign. Our bond with the Koiari people along the track is strong. Our sustainable development projects in the villages are ongoing and are now bringing in an income for the villagers.
The long days include river crossings, steep and gradual ascends and descends. The 96 kilometre trek is predominately through rain forest. Usually conditions are wet and slippery as rain can be expected on most days. Temperatures range from 24-30 degrees celcius during the day and 16-24 degrees celsius at night.
This track was made famous during WWII and still bares the scars of a fierce campaign. For those of you who had loved ones fighting in PNG during WWll, this walk can be a very spiritual and emotional experience. Trekking in mud up to your knees and tricky river crossings indicates exactly the conditions under which our diggers fought.
Our guides are extremely knowledgeable about the WWII history across the track. They have all spent time exploring battlefields and found interesting side trips for our trekkers to see ammunition pits, war artifacts and areas where the Japanese and Australians dug in to fight.
Trekkers need not have an Australian connection with the track. It is the most beautiful walk, the scenery is stunning, we get to camp out and integrate with our PNG crew working for us. There is a lot of singing and telling of stories around camp fires in the evenings.
When we stay in villages your guide will take you for a walk around the village so you get to meet all our friends. They will talk to you about the PNG culture and maybe organize a village sing a long that evening. The local people who live along the track are Koiaris. They are warm, friendly and generous people who welcome trekkers onto their land. This is a complete learning experience.
You learn about the WWII History, the culture, the people, the flora and fauna and will walk away from our country a better person for having this experience. Although ideally suited to walkers who are of reasonable fitness, training for this trek is necessary. Please try and be as fit as you possibly can. It is one of the toughest treks in the world. Remember the fitter you are the more enjoyable the trek will be. The best time to do the track is between the end of April and the beginning of November.
On arrival at Port Moresby International Airport guests will be met by PNG Trekking Adventures representatives and transferred to their hotel. After checking in there will be a gear check followed by a briefing of what is going to happen over the next 8 days. Ask lots of questions. Trekkers please arrive in Port Moresby on one of the lunch time flights. Qantas, Virgen, Air Niugini all fly into Port Moresby around mid day. Accommodation – Hotel
We fly from Port Moresby on a Private Charter. On arrival at the charter terminal we will complete the loading manifests and check in our gear. We will try and be wheels up by 8am weather permitting. It is a 35 minute flight to Kokoda, upon arrival our PNG Crew will all be there to greet us. We walk from the airstrip up onto the Kokoda plateau visiting the War Museum and the other memorials up here. This is where Bravo Company from the 39th Battalion was attacked on the night of the 29th July 1942. Remembering the average age of one of the sections was only 18 years old.
We start our trek here, following the footsteps of the young soldiers fighting bravely well outnumbered by the Japanese.
We will walk approximately 2 hours arriving at Hoi Village. It is here that the reality hits you that the Kokoda Track will not be easy. It is a very steep ascent out of Hoi; however, do not throw in the towel yet. Take it easy, we are walking in the heat of the day today. It will take around 1 hour to walk up to the Deniki Camp Site where we will have lunch. Our crew will have gone ahead to boil the billy. Deniki was an Australian Camp Head Quarters during the battle of Kokoda. It was here that the Australians launched an attack to recapture Kokoda, holding this area for a short time before being over run by the Japanese and having to retreat back to Deneki. After lunch it will take another 3 hours walking up hill arriving at Isurava Village 4-5 pm. From the Village it is a reasonably easy undulating walking for another 1 1/2 hours to the Isurava Memorial. Depending on what time we are able to fly into Kokoda we will more than likely be arriving in the dark anywhere between 6-7:30pm. Our crew has gone ahead and have our tents up and hot water on ready for dinner. Accommodation – Campsite (BLD) Highlights: Kokoda & Museum, Rubber Plantations, Hoi, Deniki, Isurava Village
Day 3: Isurava Memorial to Templetons 2 Campsite
As to get into a pattern, we set off early this morning. We wake up at 5 and will be walking by 6:30am every morning. But this morning we will rise slightly earlier so we can go down to the Memorial and hold a small service to honour the diggers that lost their lives during this battle which raged between the 26-30 August 1942. The Isurava Memorial was opened by the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard and the late PNG Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare on the 69th Anniversary of the Kokoda campaign, 26 August 2002. This was the site of the most significant World War II battle on Kokoda and now one of the most sacred sites along the trail. After the service sit and take time to reflect of where you are, enjoy panoramic views of the Kokoda and Yodda valleys, and listen to the silence. It is now time to start our days trekking, on the way to Alola Village we will stop at Surgeons (Cons) Rock just 45 minutes out from the memorial. This is a very emotional spot. We will also divert off the track just prior to lunch and climb up onto Eora ridge to look at Japanese ammunition pits. This was where the Japanese dug in for their last battle along the track before retreating to Buna and Gona. We continue along the ridges into Eora Creek which is where we stop for a late lunch. After lunch we have one of the more difficult ascents along the track out of Eora Creek, its a good 2 1/2 hour climb before descending down to Templeton’s 2 our campsite for the night. Another long hard days hiking. Accommodation – Camp Site (BLD) Highlights: Isurava Memorial & Battlefield, Service held here, Surgeons Rock, Alola Village, Japanese weapons pits, Eora Creek
This morning wake up call at 5am, breakfast, detailed briefing of what is happening today and of course it is another big hill directly out of our camp site before descending down to Templeton's 1 stopping here for an early morning tea. The group is now going to climb up onto Mt Bellamy, the highest point on the Kokoda Trails at 2190m. We will diverting off the ridge and walk into Myola "look out". Stopping here for a late lunch. Cpt Bert Kienzle discovered this area and is where the biscuit bombers dropped supplies to the Australians. A most beautiful walk and well worth the diversion. We are walking on a carpet of moss, giant pandanus trees, all varieties of fungi and ferns. From Myola it’s another 45 minutes to our overnight camp site, along the way visiting where the American plane (B13) crashed. There are only spare parts scattered around and a couple of large bombs to be seen now, however it still well worth a visit. Accommodation – Campsite (BLD) Highlights: Templeton’s 1, Mt Bellamy, Moss Forrest, Myola Lookout, Crashed Bomber
It is a most beautiful walk this morning through the moss and pandanas forests. We normally arrive at Naduri Village around 10 am for morning tea. We do not go through Kagi. From Naduri Village it is a very steep descent to Efogi Creek followed by a very steep ascent up into Launumu Village. There is a Japanese monument here erected by Corporal Nishimura. He returned to PNG 45 years after the war to to locate his comrades bodies and release their spirits. He also wrote the book "The Bone Man" (We only stop here for a break before descending on down a gentle hill to Efogi Village. We are booked into what is one the nicest guest house's along the track. This is owned by our very good friend Lendy. We pick up our food for the second half of our trek here. Later this afternoon trekkers can take a leisurely walk around the village, maybe play games with some of the village children and chat to the Mums and Dads about their lives. Accommodation – Village (BLD) Highlights: Pandanas/Moss Forrests, Naduri Village, Efogi Village
It’s another climb this morning onto Mission Ridge before Brigade Hill, which together with Isurava is one of the most sacred sites along the Kokoda Trail. Mission Ridge was defended by the 2/27th Battalion on the 7th September 1942. Often referred to as Butchers Ridge due to the carnage inflicted on the Japanese attackers during the battle. We continue walking passing the positions occupied by the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions before climbing a small knoll onto Brigade Hill. We stop here to pay homage to the diggers that lost their lives. We then have a long descent down to Vabuyavi River followed by a steep short climb up to Menari Village, stopping here for lunch. This was where Lt Col Ralph Honner addressed his young soldiers after the battle of Isurava. After lunch it’s again straight up “the wall”, we are rewarded from the summit with fine views back across the Owen Stanley Ranges. We then descend down to 720 meters to our camp site tonight. This is another lovely camp spot with a river running through it for trekkers to swim in. Accommodation – Campsite (BLD) Highlights: Mission Ridge, Brigade Hill, Menari Village.
An early start again, days briefing before heading off, noting that we are now walking along the flat in what is called the swamp area. We do hope it is dry, if wet can be extremely tiring walking through sticky mud. Our first obstacle this morning is crossing the Brown River, boots off. We walk for another hour until we start climbing the 9 false peaks. At the 7th false peak we arrive at Naoro Village for an early lunch. From here another 2 false peaks to go before we start walking across the Maguli Range. This is a long hard walk with muddy false peaks all the way. As we start descending we stop at Engineers Ridge, named after the sappers who built in to the side of the hill 3,400 steps up onto a Japanese defensive position. The descent continues testing our stamina into Ofi Creek which is thank goodness our campsite for the night. A fabulous swimming hole here. Accommodation: Campsite (BLD) Highlights: Brown River and Swamp, Naoro Village,
Day 8: Ofi Creek to Goodwater Campsite
After our days briefing it’s then a cracker of a climb this morning up onto Ioribaiwa Ridge, this is where the Japanese received orders from Tokyo to withdraw, they could see the search lights at Port Moresby from here. From the ridge it’s a gentle 45 minute trek down to Ioribaiwa Village. Morning tea here, then its down, down to Mananama and Mokure Creeks. Cris crossing Manama Creek approximately 7 times arriving at Va Ule Creek for lunch. It takes 1 hour of to climb to the base of Imita Ridge. It is then another 1 hour hard climb to the top of Imita. The Australians had to hold this area at all costs and were told to fight to the death. If the Japanese took Imita there was nothing between them and their objective Port Moresby. We descend what was during the war the ‘Golden Stairs’ to Goodwater our camp site tonight. This is another lovely campsite, nice river to spend late afternoon relaxing and swimming. It is also time to reflect on what you have achieved over the last 7 days. Accommodation – Campsite (BLD) Highlights: Ioribaiwa Ridge/Village Ua-Ule Creek, Imita Ridge.
Even though a short day we are up at the same time 5am. We walk 1 hour to Goldie River. Please don’t think this we will have a dry crossing if our staff have anything to do with it. Trekkers then have 45 minutes up to Owers Corner, we will walk as a group. This is a very emotional moment. Lots of tears and lots of happiness to be finished. We are met by our transport with a much appreciated hamper of cold drinks and salad rolls. On our way back to Port Moresby we will visit Bomana War Cemetery and hold a small service here. Again take time to reflect, the stories we have been telling across the track now become a reality. Will be back at hotel around mid day. This evening we will all meet for dinner and presentations. Venue TBA. Accommodation – Hotel (B)
Highlights: Owers’ Corner, Bomana War Cemetery.
Today the group will be transferred to the International Airport to commence their journey home. (B)
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