11 days

The Kokoda Track 2015/2016

The Kokoda Track 2015/2016

Meet the locals and one of the three last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels in Menari Village

Papua New Guinea's 'backbone' - the Owen Stanley Range

Experience the 'Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance' of the Kokoda Track

Trip rating
  • 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 from the village of Kokoda to Owers’ Corner (not far from the point where Australian troops first turned back the Japanese advance), perched high on Sogeri Plateau. By the time we finish our trek 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.

    Why we love it

    • The Kokoda Track is one of the world’s classic overland walks. Crossing Papua New Guinea’s mighty Owen Stanley Range is an arduous trek 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 you will 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.
    • Your 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.
    • 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.
    • The wider community benefits from our approach as well - for example, the campsites we use are owned by the villages, meaning every time you stay there the locals benefit.
    • 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.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Port Moresby

    • Upon arrival in Port Moresby, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, which is located close to the airport.
    • Your transfer guide will be waiting outside of the terminal holding a Peregrine sign with your name on it.
    • There is a pre-trip briefing in the evening, where you will meet your fellow travellers, trek leader and local trekking crew. This may be followed by an optional dinner together (at your own expense).
    Holiday Inn Port Moresby or similar

    Day 2 - Port Moresby to Kokoda/Deniki/Hoi

    • This morning you will travel to Kokoda from Port Moresby on a single-engine light plane.
    • This flight takes approximately 25 minutes. Upon arrival in Kokoda you will make your way on foot from the airstrip to the nearby Kokoda Station.
    • Here you will be welcomed by the local trekking team, and introduced to your personal porters and food porters.
    • In Kokoda it is possible to roam freely around the station and visit such monuments as the Kokoda Memorial and war museum. Lunch and dinner will be provided by the trekking team and served up at the guest house.
    • Kokoda is a very hot and humid place, however you will have the opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in a nearby river.
    • Weather and group dependent, you may trek as far as Hoi (1½-3 hrs) or Deniki (4-6 hrs) today.
    • Remember to be flexible and have a sense of humour on this trip, you are working on PNG time for the next 9 days.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Kokoda to Isurava

    • Today you will commence your first day of trekking heading to Isurava village. On the way you will travel through Deniki village. The 39th Battalion was forced to retreat here after Japanese forces occupied Kokoda.
    • The journey to Deniki from Kokoda commences with a nice flat walk, passing through rows of palm oil and rubber tree plantations.
    • You will pass through Kovelo and Hoi villages along the way, and after the final crossing at Hoi you will commence your first steep ascent up the Owen Stanley Range to 1000 metres above sea level.
    • You will follow the ridge around to Deniki, which sits about 900 metres above sea level. At Deniki you will be greeted with spectacular views across Kokoda Valley.
    • The trek to Alola commences with a 2-2½ hour walk to Isurava village. You will pass through a number of choko gardens that were planted by Deniki and Isurava villagers, as well as a number of good water holes where you can fill up your water bottles or camel packs.
    • Be sure to ask your trek leader or your personal porters about where the best fill-up points are.
    • Isurava is located at 1100 metres above sea level. The village has been relocated several times since World War II, but now sits in a very tranquil location with good access to water and sunshine - very important for the local villagers and their gardens.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Isurava to Templeton's Crossing II

    • The trek to Templeton's Crossing II commences with a 45 minute to one-hour hike to the famous battleground, and now memorial ground, Isurava Battlefield.
    • Here you will enjoy a good break and have the opportunity to see the battlefield and its surroundings.
    • 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’.
    • These are four words that are sure to resonate with you as you hike the remainder of the journey to Owers' Corner.
    • 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 for reinforcement troops 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 you will encounter throughout our journey along the Kokoda Track.
    • Following your break at Isurava, you will continue for 1½-2 hours to the village of Alola. This is a beautifully located village that sits on the mountainside overlooking Iora Valley and Auberi.
    • At the time when the Australian troops commenced the retreat of Isurava, they decided to split up with one party trekking across Iora Creek to Auberi and the other following the ridge down to Alola.
    • This split was planned to act as a diversion for the Japanese and to place the Australian troops at the best vantage points across the valley.
    • You will continue the trek to Templeton’s Crossing which takes roughly five hours. This leg of the walk passes through beautiful, lush rainforest, complimented by a multitude of trickling creeks and rivers that feed straight out off the mountain springs.
    • You will commence with a 30-minute steep descent down to the first river crossing, followed by a number of ascents and descents which follow the ridge around to Iora Creek, where you will enjoy a short break and refresh yourself in the river.
    • During the war, Australian troops suffered a high number of fatalities at Iora Creek. The Australian supply and storage facility was located at Templeton’s Crossing. It was also a burial ground where Australian soldiers from the Battle of Iora Creek were laid to rest.
    • The burial ground at the guesthouse is marked with iron rods symbolising each individual soldier or body found at the site. These bodies were removed at the end of the war and relocated to Bomana War Cemetery.
    • The walk from Iora Creek to Templeton’s Crossing will take approximately 2½ to 3 hours depending on the speed with which you trek.
    • Upon arrival in Templeton’s Crossing II, you will settle into the guesthouse, which is owned by a cooperative partner. You can treat yourself to a refreshing swim in the fast-flowing Iora Creek.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Templeton's Crossing II to Digger's Camp

    • You have a tough day of trekking ahead today - you will be climbing to the highest point of the trek at Mount Bellamy. Mount Bellamy is 2200 metres above sea level and provides some spectacular views across the Owen Stanley Ranges.
    • The track towards Digger’s Camp can be one of the more difficult legs, especially in wet conditions. It’s not too steep, but can be muddy and slippery. Be sure to stay close to your personal porter and follow his every step.
    • At Digger’s Camp you will be accommodated at the local village guest house, which is set in amongst lush rainforest. The campsite is just over 2000 metres above sea level, so it can get very cold at nights. After checking in to the campsite you will take a walk to Myola, which is a beautiful flat plain of grassland with little creeks flowing through.
    • 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.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Digger’s Camp to Efogi

    • You will head towards Efogi village today - a hike that takes about six hours. You will start off heading towards the northern face of Mount Bellamy, where you will enjoy spectacular views across the villages of Naduri, Kagi, Brigade Hill, Nauro and, in the distance, Imita Ridge.
    • The leg down to Naduri is a long and steady, and you will be exposed to the harsh sun as the majority of this sector passes through open Kunai grassland. Be sure to have your hat and sunscreen on hand. It is also recommend that you wear a long sleeve shirt.
    • You will have a short break at Naduri and then commence the trek down the ridge towards Efogi I. The descent will take up to 1½ hours and is very steep and slippery. The climb up to Efogi I is also very steep and slippery. Your personal porters will keep a very close eye on you.
    • You will enjoy a well-deserved rest upon reaching Efogi I. The local village will have a range of their local fruits and other foods on display. Be sure to carry some small change so you can purchase some of their produce, all of which is organically grown.
    • After the break at Efogi I you will continue your trek down to Efogi II, which involves a one-hour descent. This leg is relatively short but will be exhausting and energy sapping - it will be the middle of the day by this point, and there isn’t much canopy protection. Make sure you’re hydrated and have good sun cover protection.
    • On arrival into Efogi II you will be greeted by the local village and accommodated at a cooperative guesthouse owned by the Siosi family. Efogi II is the largest of the Koiari villages along the trail, with an estimated population of 400-500 people.
    • The elementary school has more than 150 students. The kids of Efogi are a lively bunch with plenty of vibrant energy.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Efogi to Menari

    • You will have an early start today, as you head towards the village of Menari. The trek today involves a decent climb up to Mission Ridge following the path taken by the retreating Australian soldiers, which ultimately lead to the ambush that took place on top of Brigade Hill.
    • The Aussie troops occupied the Seventh Day Adventist mission during the war, using it as a shelter and storage facility.
    • After the first climb of the morning you can turn back and look over Mount Bellamy, Efogi I and II and Kagi villages in the distance. Just imagine the sight of 20,000 Japanese troops marching down Mount Bellamy towards Kagi village with illuminated lanterns, which seemed to the Australian troops like a sea of fireflies lighting the night sky.
    • Their advance was so swift and clinical that within a few days they had completely occupied the base of Brigade Hill. The walk to Brigade Hill from Efogi takes approximately 1½ hours. It is a decent walk following the ridge of Brigade Hill or Mission Ridge, as it was referred to during the war.
    • Upon reaching Brigade Hill you will come across a huge tree trunk that looks big enough to house a person. This is exactly what happened during the war. There is a story about a Japanese soldier who hid himself in the tree trunk after losing his band of comrades in battle. The Japanese soldiers had promised each other that whoever survived the war would need to return and locate the remains of their comrades.
    • This Japanese soldier, who is now known as the ‘Bone Collector’, marked this particular tree that saved his life, and ultimately fulfilled the promise he had made to his fallen comrades.
    • At Brigade Hill your trek leader and local historian will relate the story about Brigade Hill and how the Australian troops were engulfed or ambushed by fast-approaching Japanese troops. Over 75 Australian soldiers fell at Brigade Hill and there is a plaque at the top of the hill that commemorates this.
    • Glorious views can be enjoyed from the top of Brigade Hill and, on a clear day, you can see across to Mount Victoria - the highest mountain in the region. To the southeast you will see views to Nauro village and Maguli Ridge. In two days time you will be climbing to the top of Maguli, along the infamous and heartbreaking Nine False Peaks.
    • After a long break at Brigade Hill you will head down the back of Mission Ridge for about two hours - this is a steep and sometimes very slippery path to walk.
    • At the bottom of the valley is a beautiful waterway and from there it's a 40 minute climb to Menari village.
    • At Menari you will be welcomed by the local villagers including one of the three last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, Faole Bokoi, who is the father of our cooperative partner, Saii Faole.
    • Faole is a lovely old man and is more then willing to share a few yarns about his time during the war and his involvement with the Kokoda campaign.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Menari to Nauro

    • Today you will set off by initially climbing up to the top of Menari Ridge. This is a steep climb and a perfect way to kick-start the day. It should take approximately 1½ hours to get to the top, and once again there will be some spectacular views towards Nauro and looking back towards Brigade Hill from here.
    • Mentally this is an important point in the trek, you have essentially broken the back of the Kokoda Track, and this provides a great psychological boost.
    • After a short break at the top of Menari Ridge you will then trek down the back, which is an extremely steep and sometimes slippery walk that should take about an hour.
    • At the base of Menari Ridge you will enter Nauro Valley, where you will pass through Agu Logo campsite and then cross the mighty Brown River. Today is a relatively short walk as you will spend the majority of the day walking through Nauro Valley. This section can be swampy and unpleasant during the rains, but for most trekkers it should be a more comfortable walk.
    • At Nauro you will be accommodated at our cooperative partner's guesthouse, which is situated at Old Nauro near the original airstrip. There is a pleasant stream to wash and bath in and a nice sitting area to relax under and enjoy a warm campfire.
    • There are mosquitoes in this area, so be sure to wear insect repellent.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Nauro to Uaule

    • This morning you will start your day by tackling the Nine False Peaks to the top of Maguli Ridge. This involves roughly 2½ to 3 hours of serious uphill trekking. You will pass by New Nauro village and enjoy a quick recovery break before pushing on to Maguli Ridge.
    • From here you will commence your first of many descents, with your first break being at Jap's Ladder. You will have a good rest at Jap's Ladder and then continue your march down towards Ofi Creek (approximately two hours).
    • At Ofi Creek there will be another break before continuing to Ioribaiwa,. It was here at Ioribaiwa that the Japanese troops were turned back.
    • From Ioribaiwa you will be able to see quite clearly Imita Ridge, which is less then 12 kilometres away, and in the background (if you’re lucky and only on a clear day) you may be able to see Port Moresby.
    • From Iorbaiwa your journey continues down a steep slope that leads to Uaule Creek. At the base of the Ioribaiwa Ridge you will make your way across a myriad of river and creek crossings (nine in total) until you reach Uaule Creek and set up camp for the night.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - Uaule to Owers Corner (to Port Moresby)

    • You will begin the day by crossing Va’Ule Creek's 14 crossings, so expect wet boots from the start. At your final crossing you will commence the trek up the back of Imita Ridge, which takes up to 1½ hours.
    • At the summit of Imita Ridge you will enjoy a stunning view looking back across to Ioribaiwa and Maguli Ridge. From the top and looking southwest towards Port Moresby, you will trek down what was known as the Golden Staircase.
    • This flight of stairs was built by Australian troops during the war to help with transporting artillery and other supplies from Port Moresby. The ‘staircase’ no longer exists, but some historians and operators believe that it has been identified its original location.
    • After a good break and recovery at the summit of Imita Ridge, you will head downhill towards the campsite at Goodwater. Today is a long day of trekking and a good example of why trekkers must be sufficiently prepared mentally and physically to take on this arduous and testing walk.
    • You make your final push to Owers Corner from here. From Goodwater you will travel onto Goldie River, which takes close to three hours. From Goldie River you will climb the final hill towards Owers Corner.
    • At the completion of your trek, you return to the hotel in Port Moresby for your last night.
    Holiday Inn Port Moresby or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11 - Port Moresby

    • Your trip will end 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.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Eight day trek following the Kokoda Track, camping and staying in huts along the way.
    • The services of an English-speaking local trek leader throughout the tour and a local historian to brief the group on the war history of the trail
    • Personal porter (1:1 ratio) and additional group porters
    • Peregrine Kokoda T shirt
    • Commemorative certificate on completion of the trek
    • Arrival & Departure transfer
    • Accommodation: 2 nights comfortable hotel, 8 nights camping/village hut
    • Meals: 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners.

    Not Included

    • Departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Other meals and additional snacks for the trek
    • Insurance
    • Tips
    • Spending of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    The Kokoda Track 2015/2016

    Darren - Cranbourne, VIC, 24 Sep, 2009
    5
    Overall Rating

    The Papuan porters and guides were fantastic. Very helpful and always available to lend a hand.

     

  • From our Blog

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    Image of the week: The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PAKT
Start City: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
End City: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Style: Small Group

What to know

Physcial preparation is essential, you will trek on terrain with plenty of ascents and descents, often on steep and narrow trails.

 

Due to high volume of trekkers on the Kokoda Track during the Anzac Dap period, 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.

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