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The Kokoda Trail or Track (Kokoda Trek) is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometres (60 mi) overland – 60 kilometres (37 mi) in a straight line – through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea. The track was the location of the 1942 World War II battle between Japanese and Allied – primarily Australian – forces in what was then the Australian territory of Papua.
After a pre trek gathering and our first night’s accommodation in Port Moresby, we commence our Kokoda Trail Trek journey travelling via road, in the Adventure School Treks Private Motor Vehicle (PMV), bound for Owers’ Corner; the point where the Kokoda Trail Trek commences. En route we visit the humbling Bomana War Cemetery, where we will pause to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as part of the 1942 Kokoda Campaign.
Our trek across the Owen Stanley Range, from south to north, commences with a steep descent down to the Goldie River, which we wade across with the help of our loyal Carriers. Over the next 8 days we will trek through and explore several historical sites including Imita Ridge; site of Australia’s last stand, Ioribaiwa Ridge; the furthest point reached by the Japanese, Brigade Hill; site of one of the most horrific battles our soldiers fought during their withdrawal, Eora Creek Village; the site where 99 Australian soldiers were killed during fierce gun battles and Isurava Battlefield; where Private Bruce Kingsbury was killed during battle and ultimately awarded (posthumously) the Victoria Cross.
As a group, we will hold a small memorial service at Brigade Hill and a much larger service at the Isurava Battlefield Memorial to reflect upon the gallantry, courage and sacrifice made by all Australian soldiers. During the service at Isurava you will be invited to participate, perhaps with a reading or poem (should you wish to do so), the Last Post will be played and National Anthems sung.
Our Kokoda Trail Trek concludes once we step through the Kokoda Arch at Kokoda Village. Armed with a new found appreciation of the accomplishments and hardships endured by our Australian soldiers during the Kokoda Campaign, we will pause to reflect upon the past 8 days.
We will spend our final night on our Kokoda Trail Trek at Kokoda Village before catching a PMV to Popondetta and boarding a commercial flight back to Port Moresby the following morning. Upon our arrival back in Port Moresby we will transfer back to our hotel for a hot shower and our final dinner as a group. This evening is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon, what for many, will have been the experience of a lifetime.
‘We are here today, because they were here before us.’
Jackson Airport, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s most naturally beautiful countries. Soaring mountain peaks, unspoiled beaches, lush rainforests, unique flora and fauna and the cultural richness of the people combine to make Papua New Guinea an increasingly popular destination for tourists, not to mention the renowned and fabled ‘Kokoda Track’, home to many life-changing Kokoda Tours.
Arrive in Port Moresby and transfer by shuttle to gated hotel. Rest of day at leisure. Pre trek gathering in the evening where the group will have dinner together before being briefed on the extraordinary challenge we are about to embark on.
Transfer by private vehicle by road to Owers’ Corner. En route visit the humbling Bomana War Cemetery, containing over 3,700 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. Continue to Sogeri Monument & McDonald’s Corner then Owers’ Corner. Commence trek with steep descent to Goldie River, cross and continue through abandoned village of Uberi. Gentle incline past Dump 66, to Goodwater campsite.
Commence trek with steep ascent, what was known as the ‘Golden Staircase’. Trek to Imita Ridge, site of the final defensive stand by the Australians, who were ordered to stop the Japanese, then positioned less than 6km away at Ioribaiwa Ridge. Descend to Ua Ule Creek, many crossings under canopy. Final challenging ascent to Ioribaiwa Village, gorgeous views back to Port Moresby and a stunning sunset.
Early climb to top of Ioribaiwa Ridge, furthest point reached by the Japanese before they were ordered to “advance to the rear”. En route visit many Japanese and Australian weapon pits along the ridge line. Sharp descent into Ofi Creek campsite, before tackling the 9 false peaks of the Maguli Range. Final challenging but spectacular descent to the beautiful and picturesque village of Nauro.
Stunning vistas start our day, before commencing our trek through Nauro Swamp, often muddy and slippery. Cross Brown River and enjoy some reasonably flat ground before commencing steep ascent up The Wall. Stunning views at Menari Gap summit before commencing descent to Menari Village, home to the last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel along the Kokoda Track, now deceased. Should we be lucky enough, the children of the village may perform a sing-sing, something we will never forget.
Steep climb up to the now infamous Brigade Hill; also referred to as ‘Butcher’s Hill’, site of one of the most horrific battles our soldiers fought during their withdrawal over the Owen Stanley Range. After our memorial service, we continue on with our trek, learning more about the combat between the two forces, arriving at Efogi Village, the largest settlement with museum, airstrip and first aid post. Final ascent to Efogi Village 2 (Lanamau).
Our biggest day, an early descent to Efogi River before commencing long climb to summit of Mt Bellamy, the highest point on the Kokoda Track at just on 2,190 meters above sea level. Enroute visit Naduri, home to another now passed Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel and the ‘moss forest’, where Antarctic Beech forest, phosphorescent fungi and giant Pandanus line the track. Continue from summit to Kokoda Gap, with stunning views and a great story of ‘armchair command’. Continue descending to Dump 1.
Short but steep descent to Eora Creek, before crossing border of Oro and Central Provinces, with history of a previous and interesting postal system! Continue along narrow track down into Templetons Crossing, passing numerous weapon pits, into Eora Creek Village; site of the ‘Battle of Eora Creek’, the single most costly clash of the Kokoda Campaign. Track here is narrow with many ascents and descents, but beautiful, windy but canopy protected. Stop for break at Alola with friendly locals and stunning valley views. Final leg into Isurava Battlefield.
Our final day, so embrace the opportunity and savour every step. Rise early for our Memorial Service at Isurava Battlefield Memorial, commemorating the ‘Battle of Isurava’. It was here that Private Bruce Kingsbury was killed during battle and ultimately awarded (posthumously) the Victoria Cross; the highest award for bravery in the Commonwealth. Upon completion of the service and personal reflection time, continue through fields of choko vine to Deniki and onto beautiful village of Hoi. Lunch and swim before final flat walk through palm oil and rubber tree plantations to Kokoda Track Arch – congratulations, we have finished our trek!
After breakfast, we board Getaway Trekking Private Motor Vehicle (PMV) to Popondetta before catching return flight to Port Moresby. It will take 25 minutes to fly over what took us 8 days to walk. Final group dinner and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what will have been the experience of a lifetime.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for onward journey.