Kokoda School Trek – 14 Day Tour

Kokoda School Treks Overview:

Often considered one of the world’s greatest treks, the Kokoda Track is also one of the most spectacular. Winding our way through rugged mountainous terrain, we will re-trace the steps of the Australian soldiers who fought so magnificently to protect our country, during the Kokoda Campaign. We will pass through sites of importance, including Imita Ridge, the site of the Australians final stand, and Ioribaiwa, the most southerly point reached by the Japanese. We will trek to Brigade Hill, where heavy fighting brought about heavy losses, before continuing to Isurava, site of a battle so critical that many historians refer to it as the Battle for Australia.
Along the way we will learn about the battles on sites on which we stand, enjoy the beauty of the jungle, the magnificence of the culture, and become one with our loyal support, the modern day Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

After finishing our trek, we will spend a day at Kokoda, volunteering at Kokoda College, the teacher training facility being built by the Kokoda Track Foundation. Papua New Guinea is our closest neighbour, but their children do not always have access to education in the way we do, and this college is a fantastic initiative to address a shortage of teachers.

We will then travel to Buna and Sanananda on the north coast. These villages are home to most of our porters, and visiting here provides a unique opportunity to meet their families, learn about village life and cement relationships formed on the track. The boys will have an opportunity to work in the gardens with their new friends, and the girls will spend time with village women, learning the art of making tapa cloth and traditional string bags.

This trip will be an unforgettable experience, providing a rare insight into both Australian history and Papuan culture.

Kokoda School Trek Itinerary

Day 1

Students will be met by a Kokoda School Treks representative at Jackson’s International Airport who will escort the group to their hotel on Loloata Island. It will take 20 minutes by bus to reach Tahira Jetty, then 15 minutes via ferry to Loloata Island. This Island can only be reached by the resort ferry, which provides a level of security appropriate to the care of all trekkers, most particularly students.

Overnight: Loloata Island
Meals Included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 2

Today the group travels by road to Owers Corner, visiting Bomana Cemetery en route. The cemetery contains 3823 Commonwealth burials from WWII, 700 of them unidentified. Perched high up on the Sogeri Plateau is the point where the Kokoda Track commences. Here at Owers Corner students will pause for some photos, before commencing the trek with a downhill walk to the Goldie River. After crossing the river, the group will continue to Uberi, also known as Goodwater Camp, for their first night on the track. As the meals are prepared, the group will gather together for a briefing to discuss the upcoming activities and enjoy their first meal together on the track.

Overnight: Goodwater Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3

This morning students will set off early for their first full day walk. The group will travel past Dump 66 and on to the ‘Golden Staircase’, which leads us up to Imita Ridge. It is here that the Australian soldiers withdrew to make their last stand. Photographs of this section from the war show the staircase as a seemingly endless series of muddy clay steps cut into the mountain side. The north side of Imita Ridge takes students along a winding track through multiple creek crossings. A deep canyon with encroaching jungle foliage makes this a fascinating experience. The group will pause to enjoy the pretty village of Ua-Ule before a climb up Ioribaiwa Ridge. It was here, having run out of supplies and within sight of Port Moresby, that the Japanese soldiers were ordered by their command to ‘advance to the rear’.

Overnight: Ioribaiwa Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4

An early climb will get hearts pumping as students make their way to the top of Ioribaiwa Ridge; home to many Japanese trenches. En route the group will also pause at Ofi Creek, perched on terraces above the intersection of several cascading mountain streams. After crossing Ofi Creek, students will encounter the steep mountain climb and false peaks of the Maguli Range. As the group approach the summit, the ‘Japanese Ladder’ provides students with their last steep climb for the day. This is followed by a long downhill walk to the village of Nauro, where the group will camp for the night.

Overnight: Nauro
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5

One of the most beautiful vistas along the track is best viewed early morning. As students leave Nauro, they look out over mountain ranges that still hold mist and cloud not yet touched by the day’s heat. Today’s challenges include, what can be a slippery swampland track, as well as the fast flowing Brown River. After crossing the Brown, the group will hit ‘The Wall’, a steep ridge line which leads us up to the Menari Gap. One of the last remaining original Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels resides here and, health permitting, students can take the opportunity to meet this significant historical figure.

Overnight: Manari
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6

Today students commence a steep climb up to Brigade Hill, towards the village of Efogi. Brigade Hill was the focus of a major four day battle that saw the Japanese outflank and cut the Australian positions in two. Gaze in awe at the steep easterly slope where 300 Australians escaped the onslaught of a well planned Japanese attack. Following a visit to a small museum at Efogi 1, students have one final steep climb before reaching their campsite at Efogi 2.

Overnight: Efogi 2 (Lanamau)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7

After descending into the gorge and crossing the Efogi River, students climb up through the village of Naduri and over the main spine of the Owen Stanley Range. Health permitting, the group will visit another of the last remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. As students continue on, they reach their highest altitude, crossing Mt Bellamy at just on 2190 metres above sea level (Mount Kosciuszko is 2228m). Antarctic Beech forest, phosphorescent fungi and giant Pandanus line the track as students wind their way through to ‘Diggers Rest’ camp. The next section of the track was one many soldiers believed was the most difficult section of the track. They were exhausted from continual fighting, lack of sleep and often wounded. Students will rest at Kokoda Gap and gain an insight into the lack of understanding that Generals MacArthur and Blamey had of the conditions Australian soldiers were fighting in. A short downhill will take us into our camp for the night.

Overnight: Templetons 1
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8

Students trek to Templetons 2 on this day, before moving to Eora Creek, the site of a major battle where many lives from both side were lost. During the Australian advance, Eora Creek was the scene of bitter fighting when the Australians sought to overcome a strong Japanese defensive position. This battle saw 99 Australians killed and another 192 wounded. After visiting Eora Creek, the group will begin a steady climb through numerous valleys to Alola, where students are rewarded with magnificent views of the valley.

Overnight: Alola
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9

This morning the group will trek to Isurava and experience the emotion of a memorial service, before commencing a long downhill walk to the beautiful village of Hoi. Taking a relaxing swim in the cool waters of the Hoi Creek is the students’ reward after a long day (thus far) of walking and will provide relief for aching muscles. After the swim, students head for their final destination; the Kokoda Track Arch. This infamous section of the track takes the group through palm oil and rubber tree plantations. The rubber plantation was the scene of a remarkable retreat during the Kokoda Campaign. Here, friend and foe were indistinguishable due to heavy fog and, as such, resulted in several soldiers of the 39th Battalion being caught behind the advancing Japanese lines. Bravely and stealthily, they made their way through the Japanese lines to rejoin their mates and continue the fight. As the group reach the Kokoda Track Arch (which marks the end of the trek) students should take pride in their achievement over the last eight days. This is also a great opportunity to reflect on the accomplishment of Australia’s soldiers and the hardships they were forced to endure.

Overnight: Kokoda
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10:

Having completed the trek, the group will spend a volunteer day in Kokoda. Students will travel the short distance to Kou Kou village, just near the Kokoda station and help with the construction of Kokoda College, a Kokoda Track Foundation initiative. The College, once complete, will provide training for teachers and community health workers. The evening will be spent at Kokoda, and the group will enjoy a second night of hospitality and great food at this lovely campsite.

Overnight: Kokoda
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11:

After breakfast, students board a Public Motor Vehicle (PMV) for approximately 4 hours and, travelling through the Oro Province, head to the north coast to Buna; host village for the night. A traditional cultural welcome awaits and the group will be able to hand over the items raised during fundraising initiatives. Buna is also home to many of KST’s porters. Visiting here provides a wonderful opportunity to cement relationships formed on the track and experience, first hand, village life in Papua New Guinea.

Overnight: Buna
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12:

In the morning the group will take an hour and a half walk along the beach to Sanananda, where everyone will be treated to a beautiful lunch. Many of the porters live in this village also and they, along with their families, enjoy the opportunity to show off their home. Post lunch the group will visit a number of local museums containing artefacts from the campaigns. Whilst this village holds much history from WWII, there will also be some time to swim and relax with our new friends.

Overnight: Sanananda
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13:

After breakfast the group board a PMV for Popondetta for the return flight to Port Moresby. Once back in Port Moresby, students will catch the ferry over to the safe haven of Loloata Island where the afternoon and evening are to be spent at leisure. This is an opportunity to reflect on the life changing experience that everyone has just undertaken.

Overnight: Loloata Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14:

After breakfast a transfer from the hotel will take students to Jackson’s International Airport for the return trip to Australia.

Overnight: NA
Meals Included: Breakfast

Please Note:

This is a sample itinerary. Conditions may vary on the track and it is important that we are flexible in being able to make appropriate changes along the way if needed.

This trek runs from the south (Owers Corner) to the north (Kokoda) in the direction of the Australian advance and the Japanese retreat.

Inclusions

Twin share accommodation and all meals in Port Moresby (Loloata Island)
Australian Tour Leader
Local PNG Trek Master & Trek Leader
Domestic Flights (PNG)
Visit to Bomana Cemetery
Guest house accommodation on track
All village tariffs
Carriers for food and equipment
Detailed Risk Management Plan including river crossing protocols.
Proven group management with responsible ecological practices
Village cultural activities
Detailed historical narration
Emergency equipment – Satellite Phone
KTA Trekking Permit
Bus/PMV transport in PNG
All food, accommodation & home transport for carriers
Getaway Trekking walking Shirt
Camp polo shirt
$25 PNG Community Project Donation
Opportunity to join regular training sessions (Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns only)
$10M Public Liability Insurances

Exclusions

International and Australian domestic airfares
Passport & Visa costs
Travel insurance
Vaccinations and anti-malarial medicines
Personal expenditure

Conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 is required to secure a booking. The remaining monies are payable 60 days prior to departure.

A medical certificate is required from your doctor no more than 30 days from departure, stating that you have no medical condition that could endanger your life on the Kokoda Track.

Travel Insurance is mandatory.

Training is necessary. This trek is challenging and you will require a high level of fitness. We can offer you support in this area. Please contact us for details.

Minimum group size: 10.

Training sessions run only in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Cairns.

Price is subject to change until paid in full.

Trek Enquiry