Wow what can one say! My mums wish since I can remember was to do the Kokoda trek – guess you could call it her bucket list. And after a serious fire that almost claimed her life the year before, I said to my brother it is now or never.. So after a lot of research and phones calls, I received a lovely phone call from a lady called Deb (from Getaway trekking) she was so lovely and accommodating and even though I little more expensive then the other companies I thought straight away yep this is the company I want to go with and have the experience of a life time. After I booked it was about 8 months of hard training with the guidance of the company, any questions I had big. little stupid, deb was more then happy to answer. They gave a great kit list and pretty much everything you needed to know or take on the trek was provided. So the day arrived and mum and I were already in PNG we had breakfast with Deb and Wayne (the owner) and had a great chat (was like we had known them for years) then the group arrived and we were greeted with 13 wonderful smiles we thought wow we are going to have a trip of a life time – and then there is Mark “Yooie” the trek leader – who welcomes you and pretty much has your back from word go. So we hop on the bus (big hard truck) and make our way to meet our Porters (Buna Boys) – I can not say enough about our Porters, if it wasn’t for them and their constant support and encouragement there was no way I would have been able to get through the trek. We made our way to owners corner and the next 9 days was a trip of a life time.. we had constant rain, mud, falls – but so much laughter, tears and emotion.. every day was a different experience with amazing inspiration stories of our amazing Diggers.. The food and entertainment was great and just very well organised by Mark and Getaway, you never felt unsafe, The rest of our group ranged from 21 – 74 and it just felt like a family all helping, supporting each other out. We stopped along the trek for readings and really had time to take photos and ask as many questions as we wanted. Oh and even though hot – the river crossing were like going through ICE.. but a nice way to clean off and get a little refreshment. Mum had a chest infection the whole time but still managed to walk the amazing 9 days – Our biggest highlight and something I will remember forever and had the profound privilege of meeting is the last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy angle – who is so proud and full of such dignity with his Australian flag and war jackets hanging from his small but humble home.. He gave up his time to share his experiences with us and answered any questions we asked – one being Why did you side with the Australians and not the Jap’s – simple answer was “because we were friendly” I don’t think any one left with out tears in their eyes.. I learnt so much about Kokoda and our Diggers that I hope to share with my family and friends and share with them our Diggers stories. Everyday was a fulfilling day – when you thought know I cant go on I cant climb that mountain, you just said to yourself well if our Diggers did it with such bad conditions, then I can do it too. We had an amazing Dawn service, which was the next biggest highlight and brought all the trekkers from different groups together – seeing the rising of the OZ flag and PNG flag go up was amazing… I would recommend an Anzac trek… It was this day that I fell and badly damaged my knee… with only hours left to walk to Kokoda I was determined that nothing was going to stop me.. with Yooie so concerned I kept saying I am going to do this, I can do this.. so I continued walking.. as the hours passed and the safety of our group he asked if I would allow the porters to carry me to Kokoda.. exhausted and worried night fall was approaching fast – I simple said yes.. My Buna Boys carried me the remaining of the way, and believe me this was not a simple task.. it brought our group even Closer with every one pitching in to help carry bags I even had 2 of our trekkers – Andrew and Karl helping the porters carry me.. you guys are my Fuzzy Wuzzys and I am so grateful for being allowed to have the opportunity of finishing what I say the trip of a life time… seeing the end and Kokoda was heart stopping. THANK YOU GETAWAY AND BUNA BOYS – this was the most amazing experience for myself and mum and I am so ever grateful.. I saw many different trek companies along the way, but know one comes near the high standards of Getaway the friendliness of the Trek leader and his professionalism and willingness to share all his knowledge and experience with us and of course the Buna boys – You guys are AMAZING – thank you – Matthew, David and Peter for all your help and support. And to the rest of the group.. you are all amazing people so pleased I had such a wonderful bunch of people so share the experience with. So people if you are thinking about Kokoda – DO IT, you will not regret it, but TRAIN.Pip Duggan,
Completing the Kokoda Track with my oldest daughter Erica (15) this September with Getaway Trekking was a fantastic experience. Organising the trek was effortless, with Getaway kept us informed every step of the way. It was the small details that made me comfortable with our choice of company for our great adventure. Getaway checking to see if Erica was confident enough to complete the 96 km walk, and arranging training walks in the Adelaide Hills.
Once in Papua New Guinea our confidence with Getaway increased. Our Australian guide (Julie) set the stage for a great walk with briefings each evening to let us know what to expect during the following days walk. She also provided a historical perspective, which allowed us to understand what happened at various points of interest along the track in 1942.
The boys were wonderful . . . they made every effort to make the Kokoda experience memorable. The boys looked out for us, assisting us both up and down the mountainous track. In camp, our tents were set up, meals cooked and served . . . nothing was too much to ask for. Erica and I can’t be more grateful.
I would thoroughly recommend Getaway Trekking to anyone who wants to experience the Kokoda Track.Dr Christopher Greet, Manager Metallurgy – Mineral Processing Research, Magotteaux Australia (Pty) Ltd
Having been back for a few days, and having the opportunity to reflect on our achievements of the past 10 or so days I can genuinely say I could never imagined actually doing the the trail let alone completing it. I still cannot believe what I have just done and am so grateful for the experience and am also equally grateful for being able to share it with my new 12 lifelong friends.
From the very outset of getting the show on the road with respect to gear purchasing, flight details and training and assessing the physical strengths of the group – you cared from the outset to ensure the whole experience was a enjoyable one for not only me but for the group.
You made what was at times a physically trying and emotional experience into an uplifting and enjoyable experience. Your intimate knowledge of Papuan customs and procedures only enhanced both mine and the groups experience. You kept repeating ” expect the unexpected” and I can now understand why. Nothing is what it seems in Papua New Guinea and our environment changed rapidly, whether it was the unpredictable weather patterns or falling a day or so behind due to the weather, you took it all in your stride and moved onto the plan b,c, and d.
Unlike alot of comparative trekking companies who take away groups of up to a 120, by you capping group sizes to 20 ( and in our case 13 ) really made our team a team. We were all in it together and having a group so personal in size made us all work and live together as one tuned unit.
Wayne, you made the group “click” with your easy going attitude and put everyone in the group at ease with the conditions, there at times physical state and were often the counselor for the emotional roller coaster we were all on. Your local knowledge on Wartime history relating to battles, artifacts was also great in enhancing the overall feel of the trip and just added to the already high level of respect for the fallen and the sacrifices made on the track.
Our trip was highlighted by the moving Dawn Service at Isurava on Anzac Day and was a great time to reflect on the sacrifices our forefathers made for our freedoms of today. Then of course we commenced our final 7 hours of walking to Kokoda to finish.
Having the opportunity to visit the village of Buna was also a highlight.
Being able to float in the warm waters of the Coral Sea and reflect on our achievements as a group was fantastic. This trip to Buna also gave us the opportunity to meet our Carriers families and friends. It was particularly evident as to the level of respect you have ( and now we have ) for the national carriers. What magnificent human beings they are, so caring and prepared to put their own safety second to that of ours. Always encouraging and caring to the very end. Absolutely fantastic !
Once again Wayne, thank you for making my Kokoda experience one that will be with me the rest of my life. i would have no hesitation in recommending Getaway Trekking for anyone or group considering embarking on the spiritual journey of the Kokoda Trail.
Kindest regards,Scotty Wendt,
Words can not really describe the time I had in PNG walking the Kokoda trail with you and all the team. I can not thank you enough for what was one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I am so proud to call myself an Australian and this experience is life changing for me. Thank you for the assistance in training and preparation so that I could actually enjoy the time walking.
Again thanks for everything and I will be recommending all that if you want to walk Kokoda see Getaway!
Warmest regards,Craig Schwerdt, General Manager / Sales & Marketing Stafford Group Pty Ltd