|Papua New Guinea|
|Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea||Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea|
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.
Arrive whenever you like. Meet your trek leader and fellow trekkers.
Meals included: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
This is it. Good luck. See you in six days.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Board a single engine light plane and travel to Port Moresby
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Say goodbye to the people you've met along the way.
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.
• The services of Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.
• 7-day trek following the Kokoda Track, camping and staying in huts along the way.
• 2 trek food packs.
• Arrival transfer.
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.
During this adventure you will be passing through a number of different climatic zones, from hot and humid coastal areas, to quite high mountain areas where conditions may be considerably colder, especially at night. Although this walk is scheduled during the dry season, there is a strong possibility of some rain at times during this trek.
You should try to travel as lightly as possible, however backpack size should be 95+ litres. Your total belongings should weigh no more than 12 kilograms (backpack and day pack combined). We use charter flights back from Kokoda and weight is restricted due to the small aircraft used. When you start training you should commence with less weight than you plan to carry on the trek and slowly build up.
This is not Included in your tour cost. Group porters are employed to carry provisions for the tour, but not carry travellers' personal luggage. A personal porter can be hired at a cost to carry your main kit. Please speak to our retail store or your travel agent as it is recommended that you organise it prior to travel. Please note that there is a weight limit of 10 kilograms for personal belongings carried by the porters as they will also carry your snack packs. Any additional items will need to be carried by the trekkers themselves in day-packs - each day you will be asked to carry your own water and one day's snack pack as well as personal items such as your camera, guidebook etc.
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE KOKODA TRACK
DO YOU HAVE A MAP AVAILABLE?
Yes - please click on this link to download a .pdf file with detailed map.
WHAT IS THE KOKODA TRACK?
The Kokoda Track is one of the many walking tracks in Papua New Guinea that existed long before the Europeans came to this part of the world. It was used for trade and cultural interaction between tribes and is still used for these purposes today. During the course of World War Two the Japanese decided to use this trail as a means of ground attack against the Australians in Port Moresby. The idea was to take Port Moresby and use it as a base from which to stage a direct assault on Australia. One end of the track lies in the north of the country at a village called Kokoda. It winds up and down over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges and finishes in the south at Owers’ Corner not far from Port Moresby. Both the Kokoda Track and the northern coastal plains were the scene of violent close contact jungle warfare as the Australians retreated in the face of the Japanese onslaught. The Japanese were finally stopped at Imita Gap as they had extended their supply lines too far in the rugged terrain and began to die of starvation. The Australians then chased them all the way back to the northern coastline. Today the remains of the war lie rotting in the jungle and the track has reverted to quiet solitude, disturbed only by occasional back packers and local walkers. There are several villages along its length inhabited by peace-loving, hospitable locals. These are the people who became known during the war as the 'fuzzy wuzzy angels' because of their selflessness in helping wounded Australian soldiers.
WHAT DOES THE TREK SET OUT TO ACHIEVE?
We head out by road transport to Owers’ Corner and work our way north to the little village of Kokoda. There is, however, much more to this trek than just the historical war ruins. There is the fascinating cultural experience of interacting with the indigenous people. There is the challenge and adventure created by rugged mountain terrain and fast flowing streams. Papua New Guinea is famous for its spectacular scenery and unusual wildlife. In addition to all this there is the reward of interaction in a small group of people working together for a common purpose and the individual satisfaction of mastering the physical difficulties of the track.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE VERY FIT AND EXPERIENCED TO DO THE TRACK?
No. Most people can achieve the track with adequate training, guidance and willpower. It is important that a certain level of health and fitness be attained prior to the trip. Each person should undertake some form of regular physical exercise for a period of time prior to departure. Please see detailed notes in the Pre Departure Info provided by us.
WHAT IS THE BEST TRAINING TO DO?
General cardio-vascular fitness can be built up by any form of exercise that raises the heart rate for a period of time; some form of specific exercise should also be done to build up the leg muscles. The best exercise for this is walking up and down steep hills using the boots that you will be using to walk the track. After a while you should add your backpack with some weight in it. Slowly build the weight up to no more than 12 kilos. This is the maximum weight that can be carried with ease on the steep hills of the track.
SHOULD I HAVE A THOROUGH MEDICAL EXAMINATION?
Yes. You need to be in prime physical condition to have chance of completing this trek. In fact it is mandatory that you to fill in our 'Challenging Trip' questionnaire when you book this tour. If you have any doubt about your fitness, you should see your doctor and get a medical certificate.
WILL WE SEE WAR RUINS?
Yes. On previous crossings we have always found items that have been hidden in the jungle. The local people often find them while they are clearing new garden areas and bring them out for us to see. Around the fire at night some of the older people along the track quite often tell stories from the war.
IS THE KOKODA TRACK ISOLATED AND WHAT HAPPENS IF AN ACCIDENT OCCURS?
Yes, the track is isolated and backup medical and rescue services are not easily available. We have drawn up a contingency plan for evacuation from along the track in the unlikely event of a serious problem occurring. The focal point of any communication with the outside is our satellite telephone.
IS THE KOKODA TRACK A TROPICAL NIGHTMARE?
It can be. It often depends on unpredictable seasonal conditions. Most of our crossings have only had one or two days of rain in the total crossing time. Our trips are scheduled at the time of the year to catch the most stable weather conditions but it can still be very wet every now and then. This can make the trip very difficult. It is possible for the streams to flood and we carry suitable equipment for safe crossing once they drop to levels that are not dangerous. Malaria is present and all walkers will be required to take suitable medication by medical prescription to prevent contracting this illness.
HOW BAD IS THE SECURITY SITUATION IN P.N.G.?
The urban centres do have a bad security problem. For this reason we do not stay in them for long. Your guides are familiar with the main urban centres and are experienced at avoiding trouble for the short time that we are there. The Kokoda Track itself is the safest walking trail in P.N.G. Its inhabitants are devout Christians who are famous for their hospitality and kindness.
WHERE DO WE STAY?
In Port Moresby we stay in a quality hotel. It is well fenced, with security guards on patrol day and night. While trekking we stay in local village guesthouses where possible. They are simple buildings made from local materials. We use our sleeping mats to make the floor a comfortable spot to sleep. Showers are had in the mountain streams and the toilets are pit type with surrounding walls. Some of the guesthouses do provide warm water for washing in. Where it is not possible to stay in guesthouses we stay in quality tents transported by our carriers.
WHAT WILL WE EAT?
We provide food packs for each trekker which are distributed daily. All the food that is provided is obtained in Australia and transported to Papua New Guinea. Our meals are also occasionally supplemented using fruit and vegetables from the villages that we pass through. You will be asked to pay for your own hotel meals in Port Moresby. All other meals are included in the cost of the expedition. Local food consists of various combinations of the following: rice, pasta, sweet potato, potato, yams, corn, taro, oranges, mandarins, cabbage, bananas, pineapples, paw paws, sago and coconut. Clients who have special dietary requirements should discuss with us their specific needs well in advance of departure so that we can plan food that is suitable for you. Our experience has taught us that the best way to keep trekkers trekking happily is to provide a mixture of fresh local produce and carefully chosen pre-packaged goods. We provide both freshly prepared group meals and two snack packs during the trek to ensure that trekkers dietary needs are met in these testing conditions. You may wish to purchase additional snacks in Port Moresby to supplement the two snack packs that you are given for the trek. Each day after the main meal you can pack your snack pack for that day in your daypack, along with water and any other personal items. In this way, you can give yourself some extra energy or a 'treat' when you want. Your trip cost includes all meals and snack packs and wherever possible we supplementary our diet using fresh local produce. Trekkers are advised to carry some money (approximately PGK100-150) in small amounts, as limited additional supplies can be purchased along the track if you wish. This includes fruits such as bananas and mandarins, cooked root vegetables and occasionally goods carried up from the larger towns. Please remember that the prices of imported goods reflect the difficulty in getting the supplies to the villages, and that these sales are an important source of income for the villages - bowl of fruit: PGK5-10 per bowl; bowl of root vegetables: PGK5-10 per bowl; wild pig: inquire with your tour leader; can of coke: PGK5; can of SP beer: PGK10 per can (only available from certain villages).
IS THE TRIP ALL HARD WALKING?
No! We try and break the trip up so that you can take the time to enjoy the culture and the people. The first few days are hard going but we build in rest time at Menari and Myola where you can enjoy exploring, sleeping, reading, trout fishing, bird watching or viewing war ruins. The last days at Kokoda is spent relaxing and being entertained by the local people.
WHAT ARE THE NATURAL FEATURES THAT ARE FASCINATING?
Papua New Guinea is a fascinating country because of its cultural, geological and biological diversity. During our trip we will see tribal dancing, stunning volcanic features and a range of plant, animal and bird life that will inspire you to learn more about the natural history of Papua New Guinea.
TELL ME ABOUT MYOLA
Myola is an empty lakebed at around 2000 metres elevation in the Owen Stanley Range. It was once an active volcanic caldera and is now surrounded by ancient Antarctic Beech forest. It was used during the Second World War as an area to drop supplies to the Australian soldiers. Today it is a peaceful grassland valley, totally isolated from the rest of the world. It is a great place to explore and take a break from the rigours of the Track. It is a great place for ornithologists and nature lovers as it features unique vegetation and wildlife. There are magnificent cascading waterfalls and suspended mountain valleys filled with prehistoric cycads that make you feel like you are stepping back to the dawn of time.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS OF DOING THE KOKODA TRACK
- A sense of achievement at having completed one of the worlds most famous walks.
- First-hand observation of unique and spectacular natural features of the land.
- Some understanding of what the Australian soldiers must have gone through in their fight to protect our country.
- The experience of interacting with people from another culture.
- A sense of comradeship that can only be gained by a group of people who have worked under trying conditions to attain a common goal.
TRACK VS TRAIL
We use the name Kokoda Track instead of Trail in honour of the Australian Diggers that fought in Papua New Guinea from 1942 to 1945. While both names are correct and understood locally, the phrase ‘trail’ is an Americanism that caught on in the post-war media in the early 1940s.
Due to the style of accommodation on this trip, it is not possible to book a Single Supplement.
Local Emergency Contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our local partner for this trip, Al Manning from South Sea Horizons, can be contacted on Tel: +675 7128 6616
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
18 June 2014