The Kokoda Track - Anzac Day
Everyone comes to Kokoda for a different reason – fitness, a personal challenge or to honour someone's memory. Whatever the reason, once you're on the track you'll all be united in blood, sweat and tears.
We're one of the only companies that works with a local co-operative to make sure the community benefits directly from trekkers. Your porters and guides are direct descendants of the 'fuzzy wuzzies', who played a huge role helping Aussie troops in WWII.
Day 1 - Port MoresbyAn airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Geckos. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.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).Get an early night tonight as we will need to rise before dawn for the Anzac Day commemorations tomorrow.Please note that a personal porter is not included in the price of this trip. Should you wish to have your own porter please contact your booking agent as this is available for an additional cost.Holiday Inn Port Moresby or similar
Day 2 - Anzac Day Dawn Service - Kokoda
Rise early and travel to the Bomana War Cemetery to attend the moving Anzac Day Dawn Service.
After breakfast we then head to the airport to board our charter flight to Kokoda (approx 25 min) on a single engine light plane.
Upon arrival into Kokoda we make our way on foot from the airstrip to nearby Kokoda Station, where the guest house for our travellers is located. Here we are welcomed by our local trekking team, and introduced to our personal porters and food porters.
Free time to explore the station and visit such monuments as the Kokoda Memorial and War Museum. Lunch and dinner will be provided by our trekking team and served up at the guest house.
Kokoda is a very hot and humid place, however we have an opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in a nearby river.Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 3-9 - Kokoda Track
Please note that the following information is a guide only. Depending on weather, fitness and other factors, your trek and experience may differ from the itinerary outlined below.
DAY 3 KOKODA TO ISURAVA
Today we commence our first day of trekking as we head to Isurava village. On the way we travel through Deniki village which was the first village the 39th Battalion were forced to retreat to 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. We pass through Kovelo and Hoi village along the way and, after the final crossing at Hoi we commence our first steep ascent up the Owen Stanley Range to 1000 metres above sea level. We follow the ridge around to Deniki which sits at about 900 metres above sea level. At Deniki we are greeted with spectacular views across Kokoda Valley. The trek to Alola commences with a 2-2½ hour walk to Isurava village. We pass through a number of choko gardens planted by Deniki and Isurava villagers, as well as a number of good water holes where we can fill up our water bottles or camel packs; always be sure to ask our trek leader or our personal porters about where are the best fill-up points. 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.
DAY 4 ISURAVA TO TEMPLETONS CROSSING II
The trek to Templetons Crossing II commences with a 45 minutes to an hour hike to the famous battle ground and now memorial ground – the Isurava Battlefield. Here we enjoy a good break and have the opprtunity 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 we are sure to take on board with us for the remainder of our 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 the opportunity for the 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 we will encounter throughout our journey along the Kokoda Track.
Following our break at Isurava we 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 their 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.
We continue the trek to Templeton's Crossing which takes roughly 5 hours. This leg of the walk passes through beautiful and lush rainforest and is complimented by a multitude of creeks and rivers that feed straight out of the mountain springs. We 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 we enjoy a short break and get to refresh ourselves in 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.
At our cooperative guest house the burial ground is marked by 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 in which we trek. Upon arrival into Templeton's Crossing II, we settle into our guest house which is owned by our cooperative partner and can treat ourselves to a refreshing swim in the fast-flowing Iora Creek.
DAY 5 TEMPLETONS CROSSING II TO DIGGERS CAMP
A tough day of trekking is ahead of us today as we climb 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 sometimes be one of the more difficult legs, especially in wet conditions. It is 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 we are 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 we 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.
DAYS 6-8 DIGGERS CAMP TO EFOGI
Today we head towards Efogi village - a hike that takes about 6 hours. We start off heading towards the northern face of Mount Bellamy, where spectacular views can be shared looking over to the villages of Naduri, Kagi, Brigade Hill, Nauro and, in the distance, Imita Ridge. The leg down to Naduri is a long and steady descent and we 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 and it is also recommend that you wear a long sleeve shirt.
We 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. Our personal porters will keep a very close eye on us.
We enjoy a well-deserved rest upon reaching Efogi I. The local village will have on display a range of their local fruits and other types of food. Be sure to carry some small change with you so that you can purchase some of their produce, all of which is organically grown.
After the break at Efogi I we continue our trek down to Efogi II which involves a one-hour descent. This leg is relatively short but will be exhausting and energy sapping as it will be the middle of the day and there isn't a lot of canopy protection. Make sure you're hydrated and have good sun cover protection.
Our arrival into Efogi II we are greeted by the local village and accommodated at our cooperative guest house 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.
DAY 7 EFOGI TO NAURO
This morning we have an early start as we 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 had occupied the Seventh Day Adventist mission during the war, using it as a shelter and storage facility.
After the first climb of the morning we 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 lanterns lighting the sky, 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 we first come across a huge tree trunk that looks big enough to shelter a person. This is what took place during the war and there is a story about a Japanese soldier who hid himself in the tree trunk after losing his band of comrades in battle. Before they were executed they promised each other that whoever survived the war would need to return to the Kokoda Track and locate the remains of their comrades. The remarkable story of this Japanese soldier, who is now known as the 'Bone Collector', tells of his amazing will to survive during the war and the fact that he marked this particular tree that saved his life and ultimately fulfilled the promise he had made to his fallen comrades.
At Brigade Hill our 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 this is commemorated by a plaque which sits at the top of the hill. Glorious views can be enjoyed from the top of Brigade Hill and, on a clear day, we can see across to Mount Victoria - the highest mountain in the region. To the southeast are views to Nauro village and Magulu Ridge. In two days time we will be climbing to the top of Maguli, along the infamous and heartbreaking Nine False Peaks.
After a long break at Brigade Hill we head down the back of Mission Ridge for about 2 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 we are 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.
We then 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 are some spectacular views towards Nauro and looking back towards Brigade Hill. Mentally this point is a great psychological boost as from here on we should feel as though we have 'broken the back' of the Kokoda Track.
After a short break at the top of Menari Ridge we then trek down the back, which is an extremely steep and sometimes slippery walk that should take us about an hour. At the base of Menari Ridge we enter Nauro Valley, where we pass through Agu Logo campsite and then cross the mighty Brown River.
Today is a relatively short walk as we spend the majority of the time 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 we are accommodated at our cooperative partner's guest house 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 camp fire. There are mosquitoes in this area, so be sure to wear insect repellent.
DAY 8 NAURO TO IORBAIWA
This morning we start our day by tackling the Nine False Peaks to the top of Maguli Ridge. This involves roughly 2½ to 3 hours of serious uphill trekking. We pass by New Nauro village and enjoy have a quick recovery break before pushing on to Maguli Ridge.
From here we commence our first of many descents, with our first break being at Jap's Ladder. We have a good rest at Jap's Ladder and then continue our march down towards Ofi Creek (approximately 2 hours).
At Ofi Creek we plan to have another break and then continue to Ioribaiwa. It was here at Ioribaiwa that the Japanese troops were turned back. From Ioribaiwa we will be able to see quite clearly Imita Ridge, which is less then 12 kilometres away, and in the background (if lucky and only on clear days) we may be able to see Port Moresby. We stay overnight here.
DAY 9 IORBAIWA TO OWERS CORNER
Our journey continues down a steep slope that leads to Uaule Creek. At the base of the Ioribaiwa Ridge we make our way across a myriad of river and creek crossings (nine in total) until we reach Uaule Creek.
Va'Ule Creek's 14 crossings, is the largest of the creeks so expect wet boots. At our final crossing we commence the trek up the back of Imita Ridge, which takes up to 1½ hours to climb.
At the summit of Imita Ridge we enjoy a stunning view looking back across to Ioribaiwa and Maguli Ridge. From the top and looking southwest towards Port Moresby, we 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 they have identified its original location.
After a good break and recovery at the summit of Imita Ridge we head downhill towards our 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. we make our final push to Owers corner. From Goodwater we travel onto Goldie River which takes close to 3 hours. From Goldie River we climb our final hill towards Owers' Corner. After a short 30-minute climb up to the top, we can finally say that we have completed the Kokoda Track!
We are met at Owers' Corner and transferred to Port Moresby. This evening our trekking team will meet us for a drink and farewell at our hotel; a great way to reflect on our recently-completed trekking adventure with our new mates from Papua New Guinea.
We overnight back in the comfort of our hotel for our final night.Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 10 - Port Moresby
- 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.
What to Know
Local tour guide, arrival transfer, transport, 2 trek food packs.
- Personal porter (available for hire at additional cost), departure taxes, visas, other meals, insurance, tips, any additional optional tours or activities during free time, and spending of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 24 Apr 2015 - 03 May 2015 Fully Booked US $4,445 Closed
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What to know
Physical 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 may be amendments to our itinerary. 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.