SEVEN EXPERIENCES YOU WOULDN’T EXPECT ON KOKODA

Today, the moving war history beckons over 3,000 Australian trekkers to the Kokoda Track each year, intent on learning about an important part of our recent past, but many come away with so much more than a history lesson.

Kokoda Trail     Trek     Above the clouds     @los_travel image 1

Photos by @los_travel               

  1. The kindness of Papua New Guineans

While we’ve all heard the stories of the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ who would selflessly assist our Aussie soldiers, carrying equipment and even the injured in bare feet, many people may not realise that the people of the Kokoda region are still just as angelic as their ancestors. From the porters who carry the heavy backpacks and gear to the women and children who rush out to greet trekkers in each village along the way. The kindness, friendliness and generosity of the people you meet is one of the highlights of any Kokoda trek.

  1. Breathtaking beauty – literally

Trudging up muddy jungle slopes doesn’t usually conjure up images of gorgeous scenery, but for those who do manage to stop every now and then on their 96km journey, will need to take a moment to catch their breath. Not just because of the physical challenge, but the vibrant green of the trees and grass, the impressive mountain range and babbling creeks. It’s tranquil and mesmerising.

  1. The release of being truly unplugged

While the first day may see you reaching for your phone to post those stunning shots on Instagram, once the reality sets in there is no internet, no phone reception and limited charging points, there is such a sense of relief and peace. You are in the middle of the PNG jungle – that’s a pretty good excuse to be out of touch. Here, there are no work deadlines, no family demands, just you, the track and the task ahead.

  1. Emotion of Kokoda story

Most Australians have a sense of the Kokoda story. The name is familiar; perhaps their grandfather fought there, yet it seems so far removed from reality. It’s just history.

To be there in the same locations as these young soldiers, whose average age was between 18 and 19, and to learn the battle stories place by place, war relic by relic, it’s impossible not to be moved by the history.

There is a moment when you move between the identical headstones at Bomana Cemetery, surrounded by hundreds of names and ages of young soldiers and the reality of what was lost and what could have been makes this history really hit home.

  1. Sleeping above the clouds

A simple pleasure, but how often do you have the privilege of sleeping above the clouds surrounded by nature? The serenity of the mist with the hillsides and treetops poking through is a special and surprising aspect of trekking Kokoda – and is just another unexpected delight of this adventure.

  1. Pride and empowerment

Kokoda is a challenge. It’s a hard, physical challenge for which you need to train and it will test every inch of your body as well as push your limits to places you didn’t know were possible. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, not just because of the history you will discover, but the mental strength it will take to keep going up and down the hills, when you feel you have nothing left.

When you reach the end of the trek, with your porters cheering you on and your trek leader triumphant on your behalf, the feeling of pride is overwhelming. You’ve tackled an experience many don’t have the resolve to and the enormity of what you’ve achieved, together with the history of the place will leave you feeling empowered, stronger and changed.

  1. Mateship – pure and simple

It’s one of the recurring themes of Kokoda, the ‘mateship’ our soldiers experienced with each other and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels all those years ago. Today, whether you’re trekking with your Dad, your sister, your Aunty, your best mate or your football team, there is something special that happens over those 96kms that, more often than not, cements your relationship.

You will share the highs and lows of the trip; the tears and possible injuries; the exhausted laughter; the singing and stories; and together, you will come out of the trip with a deeper understanding of the all-important word: mateship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

ESSENTIAL TRAVEL INFORMATION

The best way to Do Kokoda is one with one of our recommended Tour Operators.

Here is where you’ll find the travel information you need to know when you are planning your Kokoda trek.

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