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The Kokoda Track Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Challenge your mind, body and soul while hiking the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea.
Surrounded by dense greenery, glistening rivers and incredible views, it is hard to believe that just over 70 years ago the 96 km Kokoda Trail was the site of one of the bloodiest battles for Australian troops in World War II. Even nowadays, to conquer the trail requires dedication, courage and mateship, just like it did back in the 1940s. Begin the adventure in Port Moresby before visiting the Kokoda Memorial and undertaking seven days of steamy trekking through the dense Papua New Guinea heat. Meet friendly locals along the way, test your personal stamina and undertake a journey as challenging mentally as it is physically.
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Arrive in Papua New Guinea’s unique capital, a former colonial settlement that sits on the shores of the Gulf of Papua. Put your feet up, swill a South Pacific lager and take some time to rest because tomorrow is a big day!
Take a short, spectacularly scenic flight over the jungle canopies and craggy peaks of the Owen Stanley Range. Arrive in Kokoda for an introduction to the Kokoda Trail and to meet the guides and porters. Visit the Kokoda Memorial and war museum to gauge the challenges you will face in the upcoming days.
Strap on some sturdy boots and stride out on the first leg of the legendary Kokoda Track. Ease into the hike with a stroll through palm oil and rubber tree plantations, before enjoying fabulous views over the valley on a steep climb to the village of Isurava.
Begin the day with a stirring visit to the Isurava Battlefield, the site of a memorial engraved with the words ‘Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance.’ Contemplate these virtues while crossing pristine mountain streams and following a narrow ridge towards Templeton’s Crossing - a former Australian supply facility that became a burial ground during the battle of Iora Creek.
Reach the highest point of the trek, Mt Bellamy, and appreciate the difficult terrain that Australian, Japanese and American troops endured, often under fire. After enjoying jaw-dropping views over the entire mountain range, continue along the steep, muddy paths toward Diggers Camp, visiting a nearby airstrip in the afternoon.
Embark on yet another challenging day of trekking, heading downhill towards the friendly village of Efogi. On arrival, be sure to sample some fresh, organically grown fruit. Meet the Siosi family, whose celebrated guesthouse will be home for the evening and greet the energetic youngsters of the village before dinner.
Climb to Mission Ridge and follow the path taken by the retreating Australian soldiers, which ultimately lead to the ambush on top of Brigade Hill. Aussie troops occupied this Seventh Day Adventist mission during the war, using it as a refuge and storage facility. Upon reaching Brigade Hill, see a huge tree trunk that provided shelter to lost soldiers and hear the remarkable story the ‘bone collector’. Glorious views can be enjoyed from the top of Brigade Hill and, on a clear day, we can see across to Mt Victoria - the highest mountain in the region. At Menari, be welcomed by local villagers including one of the three last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
Set off from Menari Ridge for some spectacular views towards Nauro. Crossing this ridge is a great psychological boost, as this is the point when the team has ‘broken the back’ of the Kokoda Track. At Nauro, bathe in the stream and warm up next to a camp fire before retreating to bed.
Tackle the Nine False Peaks to the top of Maguli Ridge on a serious uphill trek. Pass New Nauro village then push on to Maguli Ridge. Head to Ioribaiwa, where the Japanese troops were turned back, before navigating a myriad of river and creek crossings (nine in total) until we reach Uaule Creek and set up camp for the night.
Wade through rivers on the way to Va'Ule Creek, then tackle the Golden Staircase, the site of a long-lost staircase used to transport artillery and other supplies from Port Moresby. Make the final push to Owers Corner and experience the sheer exhilarating rush of completing the Kokoda Trail.
Return to Port Moresby and take one final opportunity to contemplate the sacrifices made on this arduous route. Visit Bomana War Cemetery - the final resting place of 3,600 brave soldiers - and farewell one of the hardest and most humbling journeys in recent history.
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