|Direction:||Kokoda to Owers Corner (North to South)|
|Dawn Service||Brigade Hill|
|International Flight:||To PNG: 26th August
From PNG:07th September
|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, and transferred to our hotel for the night.
Later that afternoon, all of our trekkers and tour guide will meet, collect gear and be briefed about the tour. If you have any questions, your guide will be more than happy to answer them for you. As a group, you will enjoy a nice meal together (personal expense) and discuss the adventure ahead. Please ensure you are packed and ready for an early morning departure before going to bed
Day 2: POM to Buna via Gona beach and Sanananda village
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 via Japanese pill-boxes, artillery position & schools
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 photos 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 supports 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 downhill 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
After an early rise, we prepare for a long hard days hiking, which will see us rise to the highest point along the entire Kokoda Track.
First up this morning we spend 2 hours of solid climbing and descending passing many Australian weapon pits established during the Australian advance and an Australian mortar supply dump at Fabula (local name for the area).
Trekkers will stop for a rest at Templeton’s Crossing for morning tea before proceeding onto Dump 1 for lunch.
After lunch, we hike up Mt Bellamy stopping at the Kokoda Gap to take in the views.
Today is about taking our time and encouraging each other over this section of the track that can be quite difficult.
From the gap, we trek down to 1900 campsite for the night where there is a pleasant little stream to wash.
This campsite will be the coldest nights sleep you will have on the track so rug up and prepare for temperatures around 5-14 degrees Celsius.
Day 8: Camp 1900 to Brigade Hill via Myola wartime drop zone via Ovuru Ndiki’s Tomb
Setting off from 1900 we trek to Naduri Village. The Myola drop zones are visible in the distance. At the top of this mornings ascent, there is a magnificent viewing area where Naduri and Brigade Hill are visible. The track leading into Naduri can be extremely slippery if it has rained, so take your time and watch your step. Naduri is a charming village, and the group will pause for morning tea.
Naduri was the home of, one of the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, Ovuru Idiki, who sadly passed away on November 2013. We visit his memorial and tomb where the old man now lays in peace.
Often one of Ovuru’s family members will greet us and tell stories passed on by Ovuru. We regularly donate money to this village to help out the schools and church. You can assist the village by giving 10-20 kina as a way of showing our appreciation for the service of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles.
From Naduri we plunge down a steep descent (2 hours) and climb a steep ascent on the other side up to Launumu (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 you’re wearing sunscreen as we spend quite a long period out in the open climbing up to Brigade Hill. Brigade Hill is the eeriest 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 stand at the lookout high above Menari village, the location of Japanese positions in the area during their advance.
The group will complete the descent down to the creek, and after a short walk up, you reach a guesthouse beside an airstrip for morning tea.
While in Menari the school students may gather to present a show for you.
Menari, the group, will trek up towards the top of ‘the Menari gap’. Here the group will have a rest and take our time descending “The wall” amongst the tree roots and mud.
We stop for lunch and a swim at Agulogo, and it is not long before boots are back off, to cross the Brown River. The next 1 hour you will trek through the muddy swamp, then we will slowly climb our way up to New Nauro Village where a welcomed rest and our campsite is for the night. Nauro is halfway up the Maguli range and one of the most comfortable campsites 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 false peaks. However, as a team, we encourage each other, and before long, you reach the top and trek down to the Japanese ladder and onwards to 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. Near the descent, to Ofi Creek we pause at the Japanese ambush defensive position. From here, you can see how dangerous this position was.
At Ofi Creek you can enjoy another welcomed wash, at yet another beautiful location. After lunch, we trek up and over the Ioribaiwa Ridge to the post-war village. At the top of the ridge, we gather and discuss the history of the battles that took place here.
Ioribiwa ridge is quite an amazing place for trekkers to stand, as it marks the position that the main forces of Japanese advanced to, before being ordered to ‘advance to the rear’ under pressure from the Australian troops.
Descending from Ioribiwa ridge, we reach present-day Ioribaiwa village. The sunsets here are magical if the weather is kind to us.
Day 11: Ioribaiwa Village to Camp Goodwater Via final defensive position in the Australian withdrawal
The group sets off early and progresses down through Dump 44 and onto Ua-Ule Creek you will need to pause and put on your river crossing shoes. We will be crisscrossing the stream numerous times (18 times in total in this valley) over the next 2-3 hours before reaching morning tea at the base of the mighty Imita Ridge.
The Salvos had a ‘Hop In’ tent erected here during the war, serving refreshments to the soldiers. After morning tea we ascend Imita Ridge.
It is quite a challenging climb and trekkers should pace yourself. After a group picture at the top and a history briefing, the team will trek down to Imita base (Goodwater) camp for the night.
The campsite has a terrific swimming hole to enjoy your last night on the track.
In the evening the trekkers often pass the hat around to tip the group porters. The group Guide tip and the personal Guide tip are presented after dinner on the final night on the Kokoda track.
Day 12:Goodwater to Port Moresby via Ower Cr & Bomana Cemetery
With the group now exhausted but eager to get to Owers Corner, we walk for just over 1 hour to Goldie River. Trekkers welcome the great opportunity here to cool down in the water before the last climb.
After leaving Goldie, we trek up the final climb to Owers’ Corner where there will be many cheers, photos and celebrations as trekkers walk through those famous arches.
There will be an 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 and Bomana Cemetery. We spend Time at Bomana Cemetery to pay our respects to all of the fallen service personal it holds. We are scheduled to arrive at the hotel between 2-3 pm. After a cleanup, all trekkers usually meet to celebrate their achievement and to enjoy a final meal together.
Day 13:Tour Conclusion and airport transfer
After a cleanup, all trekkers usually meet to celebrate their achievement and to enjoy a final meal together (personal expense).
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. Customs in PNG are rostered on to open at 4:30 am.