|Tour duration:||13 days|
|Direction:||Kokoda to Owers Corner (North to South)|
|Dawn Service||Brigade Hill|
|International Flight:||To PNG: 28th June
From PNG: 10 July
|Hotel Stay||2 nights at the Ela Beach Hotel|
This is one of our amazing 9 day Kokoda Track tours that includes 2 days exploring the Northern beach villages of Gona, Sanananda and Buna. Our tour begins in Port Moresby at our luxury accommodation and travel to Popondetta and onward to Gona/Holy beach the following day. Over the duration of 11 days, we will complete this journey detailing all of the wartime sites and relics on the wartime trails.
Over the trek the group will cover the landing of the Japanese, the battles of the Northern Beaches Campaigns and the Kokoda Campaigns and have the opportunity to stand in the places where so many soldiers gave their lives.
The conclusion of the trek is at Ower’s Corner where celebration photos will be taken before making our to Bomona War Cemetery for a visit. After our commemorative stop at Bomana, we travel into Port Moresby to grab lunch and head to the hotel for a shower and our last meal as a group together.
All of our treks provide a cultural, historical experience where trekkers assist us to give back to the communities and villages in Papua New Guinea. Visiting the schools, churches and locals in the villages is a humbling experience.
All of our tours are guided by the best Australian outdoor recreation guides in the business. Our guides are extremely knowledgable in the Kokoda Trail campaign, outdoor adventure travel skills, remote area wilderness first aid and Papua New Guinean culture. All of our Aussie guides are highly trained and competent we will ensure you get the best experience the Kokoda Track has to offer.
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Day 1 Arrive Port Moresby
Trekkers please note that the itinerary is just a guide and can change for a number of reasons. Your guide will keep you informed of the daily itinerary should it need to change.
Your Kokoda Trek package starts when you arrive in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
You will be met at the airport by our Escape Trekking Adventures PNG Operations Manager Tracy, and be transferred to the Ela Beach Hotel for the night.
In the later afternoon, trekkers will meet, collect gear and be briefed on what will happen while on the track. If you have any questions, the guide will be more than happy to answer them for you. Your group will enjoy a nice meal (personal expense) and discuss the adventure ahead.
Then the night is yours to pack for the following day and rest up before the onward journey. Please avoid alcohol prior or during the trek.
(Any unwanted gear that you do not wish to carry on the track, can be left at the hotel in a suit case with a lock attached to pick up on your return – Please see reception that night or in the morning to secure your luggage).
Day 2: POM to Buna
This morning you will wake early and meet in the foyer of the hotel. Once the group is together, you will be transferred to the Domestic Airport to catch the flight to Popondetta. Transfers, checking in at the airport can take a little bit of time, so you need to be patient, slow down and relax our team will handle this for you. Take this time to grab some breakfast from the airport cafes. The flight over the Owen Stanley Range takes 30 minutes. On the ground, you will be met by our Escape Trekking Adventures team who will continue with you to Buna.
From the airport, we travel into Popondetta memorial park. The park has two type 88 Japanese artillery guns, interpretive signage set in pleasant gardens with a memorial to all those who served in the battles around the northern beaches area.
We board our public motor vehicle (PMV) and stop at Popondettas supermarket to stock up on some water for the next two days. We recommend two large bottles per day and one spare as a minimum. You may also wish to purchase some snacks.
After leaving the supermarket in Popondetta, the group travels by road to Buna village.
Arriving at Buna village, we receive a welcoming by the locals and can interact with some traditional cultural routines.
After lunch, there is an opportunity to settle into the guesthouse and relax.
In the afternoon trekkers can take a walk through the village, and a swim. Buna is a hidden oasis that is peaceful, so take time to relax and enjoy yourself.
We come together for our evening meal and have a briefing about the next day’s activities, before heading off to bed.
Day 3: Buna Village via Japanese pillboxes, artillery position, schools and Sanananda village
We suggest waking early before the heat sets in and to see the amazing sunrise. After breakfast, we travel by boat to Sanananda village, where the group will take a short break to see the Australian and Japanese museums.
Boarding the boats for we return to Buna village where your guide will lead you through a battlefield tour around Old Strip and Senimi creek area, seeing the local war remains and sites in the area. This tour enables you to see remains of Japanese zeros, Japanese pillboxes, field equipment, artillery gun and shells and much more. The tour takes a few hours, so be sure to take your hat sunscreen and water.
If it’s a school day, we may have the opportunity to visit Buna school and meet some of the teachers and children.
After the tour, the group returns to our guesthouse for lunch and a swim. The locals are very friendly and will sometimes come for a swim with the trekkers.
After lunch, you will receive a detailed briefing about the battles at Buna, Sanananda and Gona.
The afternoon is yours to enjoy. There is an opportunity to mix with the locals, be sure not to walk too far to avoid heat stress, remember to take some water, a camera and some Kina.
Inquisitive kids from the village will be eager to play some games and entertain you so be prepared for some fun.
Late in the afternoon (approx.. 1630 hours) the locals will set up a seaside craft and art market for you to explore and if you wish you may partake in some cultural activities such as weaving mats, manufacturing pandanus roof tiles and making fire by traditional means. Locals run these activities, and we recommend you tip the locals for their time and wisdom (K10-20).
The Escape Trekking Adventures Buna staff cook a farewell meal with our Buna family. After your meal, you may wish to take an evening walk along the beach. The night is very peaceful, and the guesthouse paints the perfect picture.
Day 4: POM to Kokoda to Hoi via Kokoda Battle Site
We generally meet our transport at the road end by Buna beach with the walk here taking around 15 minutes. If there has been heavy rain and the transportation is unable to reach the beach we may have to walk out from Buna for a period of 1½ hours to meet the transport and travel to Popondetta. The drive to Popondetta takes around 45mins-1hr.
From Popondetta, you will take the long drive towards Kokoda, on the way stopping at the Kumasi River & Oivi for pictures and to listen to the tour commentary. After arriving in Kokoda, we walk to the Kokoda Museum (if open) and memorial. It is here that you will get your first real look at the Owen Stanley Ranges and get an appreciation for what lies ahead.
A battlefield briefing will occur while in Kokoda as you uncover the happenings of the two Kokoda engagements.
Lunch will be served at a guesthouse in Kokoda before we walk towards the Owen Stanley ranges.
After lunch, we introduce you to our expedition team and match with you with your personal guides (if you have one).
Now together as a team, the group will commence the trek from Kokoda to Hoi. It takes around 2 hours (depending on the pace of the group). Hoi is a great little village and is a fitting first night to camp.
Tonight you can wash in a beautiful stream (no soap please) before sharing the first evening meal time on the track which includes a briefing on the relevant history of the area and the next day’s itinerary.
Day 5: Hoi to Cons/Surgeons Rock via Deniki & Isurava Battle sites
Rising early the group will enjoy breakfast and soon enough will hear the call to be ready to move out.
With Kokoda in the distance, the group will trek through the lush green choko vines that reach into the canopy of the trees. The trekkers will continue to move up the Owen Stanley Range to Isurava Village.
After a welcomed rest, the group will continue to Isurava Battle site.
A minute silence is held here to remember the Soldiers who fought, and to also pay tribute to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. The battle site was lost for many years to the jungle, although today the site is cleared and serves as a memorial to the fallen soldiers that died in the Kokoda campaign.
We relish in the history of the area visiting Bruce Kingsbury VC rock and take many photo’s of the area.
There is a small war museum here and if open trekkers can look inside and take photos (entry fee own expense).
After seeing the battle site we take a short 15 minute walk to our campsite Con’s rock, this campsite support the Alola school.
The group will then wash, share the evening meal along with the briefing, and welcome the opportunity to head off to Bed.
Day 6:Cons/Surgeons Rock – Eora Creek via the lower Japanese defensive position
We take off early after a special service held at Con’s rock and walk for nearly 2 hours were we reach Alola and take a short break. From Alola we encounter our first steep down hill section which can be slippery if it is wet, this takes around 1 hour from here we cross a creek and proceed to climb at a steady pace for 2 hours onto Eora Creek.
Along the way, a detour is taken to view the lower Japanese defensive position overlooking Eora Creek. This position was used by the Japanese primarily in their retreat and was the scene of bitter fighting as the diggers scaled in some parts almost vertical embankments.
From the junction we walk on to Eora Creek campsite.
Some trekkers say that this is their favourite spot, and you will understand why as you stop for a rest.
The creek is a beautiful swimming place although it can be a little chilly which is great for your aching mussels.
We meet again tonight as we do each night and reflect on the day, talk about the war history and cover what the next day entails.
Day 7: Eora Creek to Diggers/Camp 1900
We rise early and prepare for a long hard days hiking which will see us rise to the highest point on the track.
For now we spend 2 hours of solid climbing and will pass many Australian weapon pits that were used in the fighting withdrawal in 1942.
Trekkers will stop for a rest at Templeton’s Crossing for morning tea then onto Dump 1 for lunch.
We then proceed up to Mt Bellamy and stop to take in the view of the Kokoda Gap.
We take our time and encourage each other for this section of the track can be quite difficult.
From the gap we primarily trek to Camp 1900 and view the Myola Drop zone tomorrow morning on our way to Naduri village. There is an option to trek along Bamboo ridge to large Myola (2) and back to Diggers camp for the evening, this trek route will lengthen the day by up to 2 hours and only a complete and fit group can achieve this in day light hours. Occasionally this land along Bamboo Ridge may be closed by the land owners for cultural reason and this may result in us walking down the alternate track to 1900 our campsite for the night where there is a pleasant little stream to wash in.
This campsite will be the coldest nights sleep you will have on the track so rug up. We will have a bonfire here weather permitting.
Day 8: Camp 1900 to Brigade Hill via Myola wartime drop zone via Ovuru Ndiki’s Tomb
Setting off from Diggers/1900 we trek on to Naduri Village, the track leading into Naduri can be extremely slippery if it has rained, so take your time and watch your step.
Naduri is a very beautiful village and the group will stay just beside the airstrip at the guesthouse with a tree house.
Naduri, Was the location of Ovuru Ndiki one of the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels , who sadly passed away in November 2013. We visit his memorial and tomb we the old man lays in peace. One of Ovuru’s family members will greet us and tell stories passed on by Ovuru.
From Naduri we plunge down a steep descent (2 hours) and climb a steep ascent up to Efogi 2 then on to Efogi for lunch. We can also stop for a quick swim in the creek before lunch to cool down
After lunch ensure your wearing sun screen as we spend quite a long period out in the open climbing up to Brigade Hill.
Brigade Hill is the most eerie place to camp and often the clouds roll in over the summit.
Tonight we will prepare ourselves for a dawn service the following morning.
Day 9: Brigade Hill to Nauro via Japanese offensive positions
After an emotional early morning dawn service we descend down to Menari, on the trek down the ridge the group will be shown the lookout to Menari, and be briefed on Japanese positions in the area during their advance.
The group will then move down to the creek and up to the guesthouse for a rest.
While in Menari the school students may gather to present a show for you.
Trekkers can bring educational & stationary resources as gifts for the students (Escape Trekking Adventures has an ongoing relationship supporting the Menari school).
From Menari the group will trek up towards the top of ‘The Wall’ here the group will have a rest and take our time descending down the wall amongst all of the tree roots and mud.
We stop for lunch at Agulogo, and it is not long before boots are off, for the crossing of the Brown River.
The next 1 hour you will trek through the muddy Swamp below following the Naoro River, then slowly climb our way up to New Nauro Village where a welcomed rest and our campsite is for the night; this is halfway up the nine false peaks and is the most comfortable campsite on the track.
Day 10: Nauru to Ioribaiwa Village via the Japanese Ofi Creek and Ioribaiwa ridge defensive position
After Nauro we will trek up the ridge where it is easy to get discouraged with the remaining 9 false peaks. But the group encourages each other and before long you reach the top and trek down to the Japanese ladder for lunch. From there the group continues down the ridge to Ofi Creek. This trek will take around 2-3 hours, depending on the pace of the group.
Ne the descent to Ofi Creek we pause at the Japanese ambush defensive position. From here you can see how deadly this position was.
At Ofi Creek you can enjoy another welcomed wash, at yet another beautiful location.
The group will trek up and over the Ioribaiwa Ridge to the post war village.
We will gather and be briefed on the history that took place here.
This is quite an amazing place for trekkers to stand, as it marks the place that the main forces of Japanese got to, before being ordered to ‘advance to the rear’.
The sunsets here are magical if the weather is kind to us and the porters quite often will play footy on the large grassed area.
Day 11: Ioribaiwa Village to Camp Goodwater Via final defensive position in the Australian withdrawal
The group sets off early and progress down through Dump 44 and onto Ua-Ule creek where we will cross the creek numerous times (17 times in total in this valley) before stopping for morning tea.
From the northern foot of Imita Ridge, (where the Salvos had a ‘Hop In’ tent erected during the war, serving refreshments to the soldiers) here we make our climb up Imita Ridge. It is quite a challenging climb and trekkers should be aware to pace yourself.
At the top after a group picture and briefing, the team will take the trek down to Imita base (Goodwater) camp for the night.
This is a terrific swimming hole to enjoy your last night on the track.
This night the trekkers often pass the hat around to tip the porters.
Day 12:Goodwater to Port Moresby via Ower Cr & Bomana Cemetery
The with group now exhausted but eager to get to Owers Corner, we progress on for just a few short hours to Goldie Creek.
Trekkers welcome the great opportunity here to cool down in the water before morning tea.
After leaving Goldie we trek up the last climb to Owers Corner where there are many cheers, photos and celebrations as trekkers walk through the gates.
There will be opportunity here to view the memorials, before boarding transport, for the last trip back to Port Moresby and the last night at the Hotel.
On the way you will have a brief stop at Macdonald’s Corner, The Sogeri Junction, Rouna Falls and Bomana Cemetery.
At the hotel all trekkers usually meet to celebrate the trek, and to enjoy a celebration meal together.
Trekkers do need to make sure that all their trekking gear is cleaned properly before the international flight to avoid and quarantine delays back in Australia.
Day 13:Tour Conclusion and airport transfer
Trekkers are free to do as they choose before being transferred back to the Airport for the flight back to Australia. Most flights after midday allow for a lazy sleep in and a final breakfast with your fellow trekkers. Flights between 6-10 am require an early rise and transfer to get to the airport in time to clear customs.