From asking permission before taking photographs of people to using biodegradable products, to choosing a company that ensures the benefits of tourism are shared with the locals - an important part of preparing for your Kokoda Track experience is choosing your tour operator carefully.
PNG is a poor country, so if you're choosing to spend money there, choose wisely and maximise the benefit you can bring to locals. Here's how Peregrine works on the Kokoda: our local operator is a co-operative involving 11 villages along the trail. That means several things. Firstly, our porters and guides come from these villages - they're the direct descendants of the fabled 'fuzzie-wuzzies' - the training they receive adds to their already expert knowledge of their homeland, its history and how to tackle the trail. It also means that in a place where jobs and opportunities are scarce, the work they're doing is a real benefit, and brings direct benefits to the Kokoda communities. And the wider community benefits as well - for example, the campsites we use are owned by the villages.
Additionally, on the trail, we always ensure we minimise our environmental impact - the well-worn mantra of leaving only footprints and taking only photographs makes sense, and we always try to leave the campsites we use in a better state than we find them - the scenery is spectacular, the history powerful, but meeting the villagers often provide trekkers with their favourite moments along the Kokoda, and we make sure we always treat them with the respect they deserve.
The last tip, and the most important - enjoy it! Walking the Kokoda is a peerless experience, a 96-kilometre walk full of moments that will stay with you forever: the stunning mountain views from the summit of Imita Ridge; the camaraderie among trekkers; spotting birds of paradise; soaking up the poignant atmosphere of battlefield sites or the emotions upon reaching journey's end. Like we said at the start - there's simply nothing else like it.