Operator Research

 

Selecting the right Operator:

Deciding to take a school group out of their classroom and into the jungle to trek the Kokoda Track is the easy part, the next step for most teachers is to conduct some operator research in order to decide upon the best provider to meet their individual schools specific requirements. As is the case for most schools, it is important that they choose a provider who understands the terrain intimately, has a safe track record and the experience needed to get them across the track safely, all while having fun!

In making the decision to embark on a Kokoda School Trek in Papua New Guinea, KST understands teachers will likely have a whole myriad of questions, regarding the operator, the likes of:

What is their safety record like?
Are they currently registered with the KTA as a Licensed Operator?
Do the people that own the business lead treks?
Does the operator have Public Liability Insurance?
How are their emergencies managed?
Does the operator provide FREE Training Walks?
Is the operator easily contactable?

There are a number of companies schools could travel with and in recent years the number of providers has grown significantly. While there are many good operators, each has a different focus and it’s important to create a working relationship with someone who gets what a schools goals and requirements are. Kokoda School Treks is the only operator on the Kokoda Track purpose designed to suit the needs of students, teachers and schools. KST has also taken parent / son or daughter groups, and has found that sharing such a powerful experience can significantly enhance that relationship.

With the increasing popularity of this trek, sadly there has also been an increase in medical evacuations and injury with many other operator. The Kokoda Track is not an easy trek; preparation on all fronts is not only essential, but your responsibility. The best operators will provide resources to assist in training; Kokoda School Treks offers FREE monthly training walks in four locations – Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns and Brisbane. In other areas, detailed training and nutrition guides will be provided, and KST team members will remain in touch on an ongoing basis to provide support.

Choosing an adventure travel company for a school trek can certainly be daunting, but to help make the research a little easier, answers have been provided to the below questions regarding Kokoda School Treks:

What arrangements can be made for an information session for your school group?

In creating this website, we have endeavoured to be as thorough as possible. However, there are always questions and any student carer, whether that be parent or teacher needs to have a comprehensive grasp of our program before making a decision to proceed.
Students, teachers, parents and the school executive all need to be well informed and have an opportunity to ask questions. Our information session are the best way to do this, as it provides the opportunity for all interested parties to find out as much as they can, and seek clarification on anything of which they are unsure.

What happens at our information sessions?
One of our Principals or a Senior Leader will attend your school and provide information including:
An overview of the program
The history of the Kokoda Campaign
How the research project works
All costs involved
Fundraising and community contribution
Fitness and preparation
Equipment requirements
What happens on the track
Attention to safety and the ‘what if’s.

We then provide the opportunity for people to ask questions, to enable everyone to make an informed decision.

Who usually attends?
Teachers, Year Level Co-ordinators, Senior School Staff, School Council Members, parents, carers and students. Everyone who has an interest is welcome to come along.

What do we provide attendees with?
Everyone attending will be provided with a brochure to take home that addressed all major areas. The brochure will also have our contact details, so you can call or email us with questions at any time.

What is their safety record like?

Kokoda School Treks is committed to ensuring our clients safety both on the track and “in country”. All of our leaders are Wilderness and First Aid trained. If needed, all staff can make stretchers. We carry satellite phones with direct contact with the evacuation helicopter & medical assistance, and we are in regular contact with our office.

Our National Trek Master and Trek Manager ensure all trekkers safety in crossing rivers and difficult areas. General safety on the track is excellent and the risk of incidents is very minimal. For example in our years of operation, we have recorded only eight emergency evacuations, which were caused as a result of gastro, migraines, knee injuries and dehydration.

We have a comprehensive Risk Management manual that all leaders are familiar with. If an unfortunate event does occur, we have well-developed procedures and strategies to protect the well-being of the patient – and of the group.

Are they currently registered with the KTA as a Licensed Operator?

All Kokoda Trek Operators need to be registered with the licensing body, the Kokoda Track Authority. If the operator you are speaking with cannot provide verification of their registration, you should be asking why!

Do the people that own the business lead treks?

Trekking businesses will often employ experienced trek leaders, we do too, but we also get out on the track a few times a year at least. That way we are sure the information we are providing you with is current and relevant at all times.

It’s also a means of quality control. That doesn’t mean that our leaders aren’t great at what they do, but when you’re trekking in remote areas there’s no room for complacency and the buck stops with the principals!

We need to ensure that procedures are being followed, our culture is being protected and our food and equipment is up to scratch. As an example, our food menu was totally overhauled after one of our principals led a trek in August 2012. (She’s fussy, but her motto is, if she’s not happy, you may not be either!)

Does the Operator have Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance for trek providers is incredibly expensive, but absolutely necessary. Kokoda School Treks has a policy worth $10M, and covers a range of risks, with the major ones being property damage and personal injuries caused to our clients as a result of our business activities.

A copy of our current certificate can be provided on request.

How are their emergencies managed?

We have well established protocols for dealing with medical emergencies. Please refer to our Emergencies page for a detailed outline of how we manage emergence situations. You should ask the operator you are speaking to if they can provide their emergency situation protocols.

Does the Operator provide FREE Training Walks?

Over the years we have developed training programs in various locations. Our leaders are always out training – it’s part of our lifestyle! We offer monthly training walks in Melbourne, Cairns and Adelaide and you are most welcome to come along. We also have leaders in Brisbane who will be happy to walk with you. There is no cost – we simply want to help you have the best preparation possible.

Is the Operator easily contactable?

A good Operator will be as concerned about your preparation as you are and it’s important you can stay in regular contact. Kokoda School Treks can be easily contacted via our Toll Free number: 1300 979 088, email: sue@getawaytrekking.com, through the enquiry form on this website or via our Facebook page. We aim to reply to all enquiries within 24hrs or sooner if possible.