|Papua New Guinea|
|Port Moresby||Port Moresby|
Papua New Guinea is a young nation, but has endured a colourful and, at times, bloody history. The Kokoda Track is one of many walking tracks that existed long before Europeans came into this part of the world. During the course of World War II, the Japanese decided to use this trail as a means of launching a ground attack against the Australians in Port Moresby. On this trek, we set out to explore the complete route of the campaign starting from Owers’ Corner (not far from the point where Australian troops first turned back the Japanese advance), perched high on the Sogeri Plateau, and eventually working our way east to the village of Kokoda. By the time we arrive at Kokoda we will have completed a crossing of the central spine of Papua New Guinea, paid homage at all the main battle sites and also gained an appreciation of the rugged beauty of the region that includes the impressive Owen Stanley Range.
The Kokoda Track was the scene of some of the bloodiest conflicts in the Second World War. Today it is one of the world’s classic overland walks. Crossing Papua New Guinea’s mighty Owen Stanley Range, this is an arduous trek – only suitable for the fit, adventurous and prepared. The 90-kilometre trek follows the trail used during World War II, taking in mountain passes, snaking along ridges and descending into deep gullies. Along the way we visit small, isolated villages, war sites, ancient forests and extinct volcanic craters. Peregrine is the only company that works with a local co-operative to ensure villages and communities benefit directly from visitors walking the Kokoda Track. Our local operator is a co-operative involving 11 villages along the trail and our porters and guides come from these villages – they're the direct descendants of the fabled 'fuzzy-wuzzies' who played such a pivotal role in assisting Australian troops in World War II. Trekking with family members of those who helped the Australian diggers is the most atmospheric way to take in the stupendous landscapes and humbling war sites. To walk in the footsteps of the soldiers and learn what they endured from the people who helped them helps turn a mentally and physically challenging trek into an emotional journey as well – and makes the Kokoda all the more rewarding. By the time you finish trekking with the locals, the ties that bind Papua New Guineans and Australians are both better understood and renewed. Employing locals also means that in a place where jobs and opportunities are scarce, their work brings needed and valuable benefits to their communities, both economically and by acquiring new skills through our training programs. The wider community benefits from our approach as well - for example, the campsites we use are owned by the villages, meaning every time we stay there the locals benefit, and visitors benefit from increased interaction with these welcoming people. Go to page XX for full details on our approach to Responsible Travel on the Kokoda Track.
Upon arrival in Port Moresby you are met and transferred to our hotel which is located close to the airport. There is a pre-trip briefing this evening to meet your fellow travellers, trek leader and local trekking crew. This may be followed by an optional dinner together (at own expense).
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today we set forth towards Ower’s Corner, the base of the supply route for the Australian forces during the Kokoda Track campaign. Travelling time of 2-3 hours (depending on weather and road conditions). Along the way we visit Bomana War Cemetery, which is the final resting place for 3600 Australia soldiers and largest such gravesite in Papua New Guinea. Upon departing the cemetery we follow winding roads to Sogeri, passing Crystal Falls en route. This road was the built by engineers in the Australian armed forces during the Second World War to provide suitable supply routes up to the holding line at Owers’ Corner. Do look out for the majestic waterfalls on our drive. Upon reaching Sogeri, we go on to a dirt road for the final hour's drive to Owers’ Corner. After a quick briefing session where we are paired up with our personal porter, we continue trekking to our first campsite at Good Water. Immediately we notice the toughness of the Kokoda Track as we first descend down from Owers’ Corner to the mighty Goldie River (approx 45 minutes). The crossing at the river will involve stripping off to bare minimums and crossing in waist-high water. Our trek leader and personal porters will take good care of us during the crossing. From Goldie River we continue to our Campsite at head towards or final destination of Uaule Creek. The Golden Staircase was built by Australian troops during the Kokoda Track campaign to provide easier access to the track. The climb up Imita Ridge from the Good Water will take approximately 2½ to 3 hours. At the top of the ridge we are treated to stunning views across to Ioribaiwa and Maguli Ridge, which we'll be tackling tomorrow. After a short 10 minute break at the top of Imita Ridge, we continue our trek down the back end of Imita Ridge. This is a short but very steep descent, taking approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Our personal porters will again be right behind us all of the way to ensure safety. At the trough we then continue towards Va’Ule Creek. This section of the walk involves crossing a number of creeks. Expect to get your feet wet in this section and be mindful that the 14 creek crossings to Va’Ule Creek are very slippery and rocky. Uaule is where we set up for the night. This is day 1 of the arduous yet rewarding Kokoda track ahead!
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
We leave the campsite of Uaule creek and head towards Ioribawa with our final destination for the day being Nauro. This is approximately a 2½ to 3 hour climb up to Ioribaiwa Ridge. At Ioribaiwa we are treated to magnificent views of the Owen Stanley Range and back towards Imita Ridge. It's important to note that it was here at Ioribaiwa where the Japanese troops were turned back. With Port Moresby in our sights from the ridge, we can truly appreciate just how close the Japanese soldiers got to reaching their goal. We leave Ioribaiwa and make our way to Nauro . The first stage of the trek is making our way to Ofi Creek. This section takes about 2 hours and starts off with two tough climbs before a very steep descent to Ofi Creek, where we enjoy another short pit stop. This is a beautifully-set campsite nestled in the valley between Ioribaiwa and Maguli Ridge. We continue from Ofi Creek for another 3-hour trek to Jap’s Ladder, where we enjoy lunch. It was here that the Japanese troops built their own version of the Golden Staircase (hence the name Jap’s Ladder), which was used to move supplies and artillery during their advance towards Ioribaiwa. Following on from lunch we have our final walk which is a 2-hour trek to the top of Maguli Ridge and then down towards Nauro village. The descent down to Nauro can be very difficult and steep. When wet this can become particularly hazardous, so be sure to keep an eye out and listen attentively to our personal porter who will instruct each of us on where is best to place our next steps. Tonight’s campsite is at Nauro village (Old Nauro) in a beautiful setting inside Nauro Valley at the bottom of Maguli Ridge. The guest house here is owned by one of our cooperative partners and is set beside a fast-flowing freshwater creek. It’s a great place to relax after what is a long and hard trekking day.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today we trek towards Menari village which is only 5-6 hours away from Nauro. We recommence walking after our regular early morning breakfast and set forth through the swampy marshlands of Nauro Valley. This is a nice flat plain to trek and a perfect way to kick-start the morning. We pass through a campsite known as Agu-logo and then cross the mighty Brown River. Once again this can sometimes be a hazardous crossing, but our porters will again be around to help guide us across the river. Upon reaching the base of Menari Ridge we commence a very steep climb up towards Menari Ridge peak. This is a very tough and challenging climb and it takes approximately 2½ hours to reach the top. Along this steep climb our trek leader will set the pace for the trek and will continually monitor how all of us are progressing. We enjoy a short break at the top of the ridge where we are treated to spectacular views back across towards Nauro (Maguli Ridge) and in north-easterly direction we can see the famous ridge at Brigade Hill. We then commence the trek down to Menari village, taking roughly 40 minutes. It's a steep and sometimes slippery descent, so care needs to be taken. When arriving into Menari village we are warmly welcomed by friendly villagers. We arrive around midday and have the remainder of the afternoon to relax in this tranquil location. There is a fantastic river only a short stroll from the guest house, so the afternoon can be spent bathing and washing our clothes in this icy cold mountain spring river. Feel free to walk around the village; the people are very friendly and always interested in having a chat with visitors.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today we get back into trekking mode with a 6-7 hours trek ahead of us to the village of Efogi. The morning commences with a descent out of Menari village, passing the airstrip and following the steep descent to the valley that separates Menari from Brigade Hill and Mission Ridge. This descent is short but very steep and takes about 25 minutes to reach the bottom, where there's a beautiful icy cold river that is a great fill up point for our water bottles. After a quick refill we commence our climb up to Brigade Hill, which takes about 2½ hours. Upon reaching the top our trek leader and local historian will share with us the story about the battle of Brigade Hill and how the Australian troops had been engulfed or ambushed by the fast-approaching Japanese troops. Over 75 Australian soldiers fell at Brigade Hill and this is commemorated by a plaque which sits at the top of the hill. Glorious views from the top of Brigade Hill can be enjoyed and on a clear day we are able to see across to Mount Victoria, which is the highest mountain in the region. To the south-east we can see Nauro Village and Magulu Ridge at the top. After a long break at Brigade Hill, we then continue our walk along Mission Ridge (45 minutes) and before commencing our descent down to Efogi village, where we are treated to exceptional panoramic views up to Mount Bellamy. In the distance are the villages of Kagi, Naduri and, nearer by, Efogi. Mount Bellamy towers into the sky in the background. One can imagine the sight of 20,000 Japanese troops trudging down the mountain towards Kagi village - a scene was captured on film by an Australian soldier at the time. When the Australians were occupying Mission Ridge, they looked back towards Mount Bellamy and saw what seemed to be a sea of fireflies lighting the hillside from Kagi up to Mount Bellamy. It was later realised that this sea of light were not fireflies, but in fact lantern lights belonging to the fast-advancing Japanese troops. We have a quick break at Efogi II village before continuing the walk up towards Efogi I. This involves a one-hour climb up to the top which can be a very difficult climb due to the exposure of the track to the sun. It is truly energy-sapping and we need to be sure to have our sun protection kit on at all times. After this arduous climb we have made camp for the night.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today we set off to Digger’s camp. We first walk towards Naduri village for the first section of the day's trek. This section involves a 30-minute descent to the base of the ridge that leads up to Naduri. There is a beautiful river at the bottom of the descent. The climb up to Naduri is a steep and difficult, taking between 2-3 hours depending on the pace walked. We then set off for our initial climb up Mount Bellamy, which takes about 1½-2 hours. This climb provides some fantastic views across the Owen Stanley Ranges and on a clear day we're able to look back as far as Imita Ridge. From here it's a 1½ hour walk along a relatively flat path to Digger’s Camp. We get settled into the campsite by mid morning and then, after lunch, take a walk down to Myola Plains (a two-hour round trip). Myola is a beautiful flat plain of grassland with little creeks set inside the remains of what looks like an extinct volcanic caldera. During the war, Australian troops had utilised Myola’s airstrip to drop in supplies. When making their advance to Port Moresby the Japanese completely missed Myola, which probably played a significant role in the ultimate chain of events. There were once many aircraft remains scattered around Myola, but since the war local villagers have salvaged much of what was left for scrap metal. After a few hours spent walking around Myola we return back to Digger’s Camp. Located in the highlands of the Owen Stanley Ranges, Digger’s Camp can be bitingly cold at nights, so be sure to rug up well for tonight’s sleep.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
This morning we set off from Digger’s Camp to conquer Mount Bellamy. Our walk starts off following a relatively flat and swampy plain to 1900 Crossing and it takes about an hour to reach our first water break. From 1900 Crossing we continue with a steep climb which takes us up to the summit of Mount Bellamy. This can at times be a very difficult path to follow, especially after rain which turns the path into a deep quagmire (sometimes knee-high in mud!). The climb to the summit takes approximately 2–2½ hours. Upon reaching the top it is then another hour of walking before we reach Kokoda Gap. From here we continue down a steep and muddy slope to Templeton’s Crossing I, where we enjoy lunch. Following lunch we commence another climb along the ridge that hugs Iora Creek Valley and, after 1½-2 hours, we reach our campsite for the night at Templeton’s Crossing II. This campsite owner is another cooperative partner. During the war campaign, the Australian supply and storage facility was based at Templeton’s Crossing. It was also the burial ground for Australian soldiers killed in the Battle of Iora Creek. Located near our cooperative guest house this burial ground is marked by iron rods that symbolised each individual soldier or body found at the site. The bodies were removed at the end of the war and relocated to Bomana War Cemetery.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
We commence the day's trek at sunrise after spending a night soothed by the sounds of the mighty Iora Creek. Our goal today is to reach Isurava village which is around 9 hours away from Templeton’s Crossing II. The first leg of the trek takes us to Iora Creek where major battles took place between the advancing Japanese soldiers and the retreating Australian 39th Battalion and 2/14th Unit. The Aussies had split into two retreating parties after Isurava was claimed by the Japanese. Both parties later converged on Iora Creek, leading to a massive gun battle between the two forces. Over 200 Australian bodies were found at Iora Creek and later relocated to Templeton’s Crossing II. These were the bodies that were later relocated to Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby. At the campsite at Templeton’s Crossing II, we are able to see remnants of former graves. From Iora Creek we follow a long and windy path floating up and down various valleys and small hills. This section of the trek passes through some interesting rainforests and jungle with many little creeks and waterways – a result of water cascading from the top of the mountain and down the cliffs. There is one final water crossing about 1½ from Iora Creek before we start our ascent up to Alola village – a steep half-hour climb. As we head into Alola we are greeted by a magnificent view looking down the Kokoda Valley from this little mountain village, where the people are friendly and yet very timid. After Alola village we set off for Isurava battlefield which is about an hour and a half from Alola. The walk this morning is tough to start, with as we commence by climbing through choko fields before following the ridge of the mountain that later leads down to the Isurava Memorial. This memorial was built by the Australian Federal Government and is maintained by the Australian War Graves Department. The four pillars encapsulate the battle along the Kokoda Track with the four words - ‘Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance’. To the south-eastern end of the four pillars lies Kingsbury’s Rock. This battle is attributed to the heroics of Private Kingsbury, a real estate agent from Victoria who was enlisted to fight in New Guinea with the 2/14th Infantry Battalion. His heroics at Isurava earned him a Victoria Cross when he was said to have held off an onslaught of invading Japanese soldiers with his Bren gun. This event was enough to give the retreating Australian troops enough time to escape from total annihilation and the opportunity for the reinforcement troops in the shape of the fit and athletic 2/14th AIF unit to arrive. The unfortunate death of Private Kingsbury occurred on the rock when he was struck in the head by a Japanese sniper. His story is one of the many legends that we will embrace throughout our journey along the Kokoda Track. After this site we make our way to Isurava village. There is a comfortable guest house where we are accommodated for the night, with fresh flowing tap water available. We could say we have ‘broken the back’ of the Kokoda Track after today!
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
After our overnight stay in Isurava we begin our final day of trekking down to Kokoda Station. First we must make our way to Deniki village, a walk of 2½-3 hours. Deniki sits at 880 metres above sea level and overlooks the whole of Kokoda Valley, providing for a truly exceptional view. Upon spotting the Kokoda airstrip we know that we are nearly at the end of our trek. The final walk involves a 2½ hour trek down to Kokoda Station, where we are accommodated at our cooperative guest house. This final walk to Kokoda starts off with a short and relatively steep descent, lasting only 30-45 minutes, and then follows a flat road into the station for about 2 hours. Close to the guest house is a lovely river where we are able to relax and swim after settling in. A five-minute stroll from the guest house is the Kokoda Memorial and memorial plaque. There are local shops nearby that sell food and beverages, as this is generally a good ‘water hole’ for Kokoda locals and most trekkers who have just completed the trek. Today is a day of rest and a good time to celebrate amongst our fellow trekkers the achievement of successfully completing the Kokoda Track.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
This morning we make our way down to the airstrip which is a 20-30 minute walk away from the guest house. Here we bid farewell to our porters and local guides. The flight back to Port Moresby is on board a single engine aircraft and takes just 25 minutes to fly from over an area that we have just taken 10 days to walk through. Upon arrival in Port Moresby we are met by our local tour manager and transferred back to our hotel in town. It’s now time to enjoy the creature comforts of modern civilisation, hot water showers and bar service!
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Our trip ends in Port Moresby this morning after breakfast. Please note that this itinerary can vary considerably due to weather conditions, group needs and overnight locations. Flexibility, patience and good humor is required. For this reason these trip notes must be treated as a guide and are subject to changes.
Physcial preparation is essential. you will trek on terrain with plenty of ascents and descents, often on steep and narrow trails. Please note that on our special Anzac Day departure, there is no rest day on Day 8. The trek will finish on Day 11 at Owers’ Corner and we return to Port Moresby that night before visiting Bomana War Cemetery on the morning of Day 12 for the Anzac Day Dawn Service. Due to high volume of trekkers on the Kokoda Track at this time, exact overnight locations and itinerary cannot be guaranteed and flexibility is required. For this reason these Trip Notes must be treated as just a guide and are subject to changes.
• The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour.
• Personal porter (1:1 ratio) and additional group porters.
• 8 day trek following the Kokoda Track, camping and staying in huts along the way.
• Trek food packs.
• Arrival transfer.
Departure taxes, visas, other meals, insurance, tips, any additional optional tours or activities during free time, and spending of a personal nature.
Trekking the Kokoda Track is physically demanding. The 96km track is a narrow, uneven, muddy path with numerous steep inclines and declines. The climate is hot and himid. A high level of fitness is required and training is essential. Any training programme should consist of aerobic exercise, strength building and hiking up and down hills with a backpack. Although most people can complete the track with adequate training and willpower, we recommend that all trekkers consult their medical practitioner to undergo an exercise stress test prior to joining this trek. Those with risk factors such as obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or strong family history of cardiac disease should take extra precautions, or reconsider their decision to join this trek.Vaccinations
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Papua New Guinea
All visitors to PNG including tourists are required to have a visa to enter. Currently a 30-day tourist visa is available upon arrival for nationals of many countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, UK, USA and most western European countries at Port Moresby’s Jackson’s International Airport. This visa is non-extendable and the fee is currently K25. To acquire a visa upon arrival, you will need a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay, an onward airline ticket with confirmed bookings and Kina cash. Alternatively, you may acquire your visa prior to leaving your home country with either the nearest PNG Embassy or in some cases at the Australian Embassy in your country. Always check with these embassies for current visa requirements prior to leaving home. It’s now normal practice for airport departure taxes to be built into the price of your international air ticket. On top of this, and upon departure from PNG, you will be required to pay a further K30 as airport facilities tax. Remember, this is a separate tax.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
A Fact Book on Modern Papua New Guinea - Jackson Rannells Do-it-Yourself Trekking - Kokoda Trail-Clive Baker Rascal Rain - A Year in PNG-Inez Baranay Papua New Guinea-Lonely Planet Bloody Buna-Lida Mayo
During this adventure you will be passing through a number of different climatic zones, from hot and humid coastal areas, to quite high mountain areas where conditions may be considerably colder, especially at night. Although this walk is scheduled during the dry season, there is a strong possibility of some rain at times during this trek.
You should try to travel as lightly as possible, however backpack size should be 95+ litres. Your total belongings should weigh no more than 12 kilograms (backpack and day pack combined). We use charter flights back from Kokoda and weight is restricted due to the small aircraft used. When you start training you should commence with less weight than you plan to carry on the trek and slowly build up.
Included in your tour cost is the assistance of a personal porter to carry your main kit. Please note that there is a weight limit of 10 kilograms for personal belongings carried by the porters as they will also carry your food packs. Any additional items will need to be carried by the trekkers themselves in day-packs - each day you will be asked to carry your own water and one day's food pack as well as personal items such as your camera, guidebook etc. We include a 1:1 trekker to porter ratio to promote relationship building between porters and trekkers. Our aim is to provide greater employment opportunities for porters as well as ensuring that all our trekkers complete the trek from start to finish. Our intention is that the relationship between the trekkers and the porters becomes one of the most important experiences of the trip, reflecting the wartime bonds between Australian troops and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE KOKODA TRACK
DO YOU HAVE A MAP AVAILABLE?
Yes - please click on this link to download a .pdf file with detailed map.
WHAT IS THE KOKODA TRACK?
The Kokoda Track is one of the many walking tracks in Papua New Guinea that existed long before the Europeans came to this part of the world. It was used for trade and cultural interaction between tribes and is still used for these purposes today. During the course of World War Two the Japanese decided to use this trail as a means of ground attack against the Australians in Port Moresby. The idea was to take Port Moresby and use it as a base from which to stage a direct assault on Australia. One end of the track lies in the north of the country at a village called Kokoda. It winds up and down over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges and finishes in the south at Owers’ Corner not far from Port Moresby. Both the Kokoda Track and the northern coastal plains were the scene of violent close contact jungle warfare as the Australians retreated in the face of the Japanese onslaught. The Japanese were finally stopped at Imita Gap as they had extended their supply lines too far in the rugged terrain and began to die of starvation. The Australians then chased them all the way back to the northern coastline. Today the remains of the war lie rotting in the jungle and the track has reverted to quiet solitude, disturbed only by occasional back packers and local walkers. There are several villages along its length inhabited by peace-loving, hospitable locals. These are the people who became known during the war as the 'fuzzy wuzzy angels' because of their selflessness in helping wounded Australian soldiers.
WHAT DOES THE TREK SET OUT TO ACHIEVE?
We head out by road transport to Owers’ Corner and work our way north to the little village of Kokoda. There is, however, much more to this trek than just the historical war ruins. There is the fascinating cultural experience of interacting with the indigenous people. There is the challenge and adventure created by rugged mountain terrain and fast flowing streams. Papua New Guinea is famous for its spectacular scenery and unusual wildlife. In addition to all this there is the reward of interaction in a small group of people working together for a common purpose and the individual satisfaction of mastering the physical difficulties of the track.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE VERY FIT AND EXPERIENCED TO DO THE TRACK?
No. Most people can achieve the track with adequate training, guidance and willpower. It is important that a certain level of health and fitness be attained prior to the trip. Each person should undertake some form of regular physical exercise for a period of time prior to departure. Please see detailed notes in the Pre Departure Info provided by us.
WHAT IS THE BEST TRAINING TO DO?
General cardio-vascular fitness can be built up by any form of exercise that raises the heart rate for a period of time; some form of specific exercise should also be done to build up the leg muscles. The best exercise for this is walking up and down steep hills using the boots that you will be using to walk the track. After a while you should add your backpack with some weight in it. Slowly build the weight up to no more than 12 kilos. This is the maximum weight that can be carried with ease on the steep hills of the track.
SHOULD I HAVE A THOROUGH MEDICAL EXAMINATION?
Yes. You need to be in prime physical condition to have chance of completing this trek. In fact it is mandatory that you to fill in our 'Challenging Trip' questionnaire when you book this tour. If you have any doubt about your fitness, you should see your doctor and get a medical certificate.
WILL WE SEE WAR RUINS?
Yes. On previous crossings we have always found items that have been hidden in the jungle. The local people often find them while they are clearing new garden areas and bring them out for us to see. Around the fire at night some of the older people along the track quite often tell stories from the war.
IS THE KOKODA TRACK ISOLATED AND WHAT HAPPENS IF AN ACCIDENT OCCURS?
Yes, the track is isolated and backup medical and rescue services are not easily available. We have drawn up a contingency plan for evacuation from along the track in the unlikely event of a serious problem occurring. The focal point of any communication with the outside is our satellite telephone.
IS THE KOKODA TRACK A TROPICAL NIGHTMARE?
It can be. It often depends on unpredictable seasonal conditions. Most of our crossings have only had one or two days of rain in the total crossing time. Our trips are scheduled at the time of the year to catch the most stable weather conditions but it can still be very wet every now and then. This can make the trip very difficult. It is possible for the streams to flood and we carry suitable equipment for safe crossing once they drop to levels that are not dangerous. Malaria is present and all walkers will be required to take suitable medication by medical prescription to prevent contracting this illness.
HOW BAD IS THE SECURITY SITUATION IN P.N.G.?
The urban centres do have a bad security problem. For this reason we do not stay in them for long. Your guides are familiar with the main urban centres and are experienced at avoiding trouble for the short time that we are there. The Kokoda Track itself is the safest walking trail in P.N.G. Its inhabitants are devout Christians who are famous for their hospitality and kindness.
WHERE DO WE STAY?
In Port Moresby we stay in a quality hotel. It is well fenced, with security guards on patrol day and night. While trekking we stay in local village guesthouses where possible. They are simple buildings made from local materials. We use our sleeping mats to make the floor a comfortable spot to sleep. Showers are had in the mountain streams and the toilets are pit type with surrounding walls. Some of the guesthouses do provide warm water for washing in. Where it is not possible to stay in guesthouses we stay in quality tents transported by our carriers.
WHAT WILL WE EAT?
We provide food packs for each trekker which are distributed daily. All the food that is provided is obtained in Australia and transported to Papua New Guinea. Our meals are also occasionally supplemented using fruit and vegetables from the villages that we pass through. You will be asked to pay for your own hotel meals in Port Moresby. All other meals are included in the cost of the expedition. Local food consists of various combinations of the following: rice, pasta, sweet potato, potato, yams, corn, taro, oranges, mandarins, cabbage, bananas, pineapples, paw paws, sago and coconut. Clients who have special dietary requirements should discuss with us their specific needs well in advance of departure so that we can plan food that is suitable for you. Our experience has taught us that the best way to keep trekkers trekking happily is to provide a mixture of fresh local produce and carefully chosen pre-packaged goods. We provide both freshly prepared group meals and individual daily 'snack packs' to ensure that trekkers dietary needs are met in these testing conditions. These snacks are organised from the main meals. The snack packs are carried by your personal porter, in your personal backpack. Each day after the main meal you will take your snack pack for that day in your daypack, along with water and any other personal items. In this way, you can give yourself some extra energy or a 'treat' when you want. Your trip cost includes all meals and snack packs and wherever possible we supplementary our diet using fresh local produce. Trekkers are advised to carry some money (approximately PGK100-150) in small amounts, as limited additional supplies can be purchased along the track if you wish. This includes fruits such as bananas and mandarins, cooked root vegetables and occasionally goods carried up from the larger towns. Please remember that the prices of imported goods reflect the difficulty in getting the supplies to the villages, and that these sales are an important source of income for the villages. Bowl of Fruit: PGK5-10 per bowl Bowl of Root vegetables: PGK5-10 per bowl Wild Pig: Enquire with your Tour Leader Can of Coke: PGK5.00 Can of SP Beer: PGK10.00 per can (Only available from certain villages)
IS THE TRIP ALL HARD WALKING?
No! We try and break the trip up so that you can take the time to enjoy the culture and the people. The first few days are hard going but we build in rest time at Menari and Myola where you can enjoy exploring, sleeping, reading, trout fishing, bird watching or viewing war ruins. The last days at Kokoda is spent relaxing and being entertained by the local people.
WHAT ARE THE NATURAL FEATURES THAT ARE FASCINATING?
Papua New Guinea is a fascinating country because of its cultural, geological and biological diversity. During our trip we will see tribal dancing, stunning volcanic features and a range of plant, animal and bird life that will inspire you to learn more about the natural history of Papua New Guinea.
TELL ME ABOUT MYOLA
Myola is an empty lakebed at around 2000 metres elevation in the Owen Stanley Range. It was once an active volcanic caldera and is now surrounded by ancient Antarctic Beech forest. It was used during the Second World War as an area to drop supplies to the Australian soldiers. Today it is a peaceful grassland valley, totally isolated from the rest of the world. It is a great place to explore and take a break from the rigours of the Track. It is a great place for ornithologists and nature lovers as it features unique vegetation and wildlife. There are magnificent cascading waterfalls and suspended mountain valleys filled with prehistoric cycads that make you feel like you are stepping back to the dawn of time.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS OF DOING THE KOKODA TRACK
- A sense of achievement at having completed one of the worlds most famous walks.
- First-hand observation of unique and spectacular natural features of the land.
- Some understanding of what the Australian soldiers must have gone through in their fight to protect our country.
- The experience of interacting with people from another culture.
- A sense of comradeship that can only be gained by a group of people who have worked under trying conditions to attain a common goal.
TRACK VS TRAIL
We use the name Kokoda Track instead of Trail in honour of the Australian Diggers that fought in Papua New Guinea from 1942 to 1945. While both names are correct and understood locally, the phrase ‘trail’ is an Americanism that caught on in the post-war media in the early 1940s.
Due to the style of accommodation on our tours it might not always be possible to book you in a single room throughout the trip. If you book a single supplement it will not apply to nights on the overnight trains, homestays, Longhouses, village huts, mountain huts, rainforest lodges ,on hill tribe treks, on boats, Camp 5 in Sarawak, Iban Longhouse, ryokan’s and on the Kokoda Track. If you are unsure of where a single supplement will apply please check with your travel agent before booking.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
6 May 2013