Dr Bernie's Story

I was privileged to be invited to join a group, mainly comprised of the family of my daughter’s partner, to “do” the Kokoda Track. Ollie and Billy, of Adventure Bound Tours, had the arrangements under control from start to finish. Our group consisted of eleven trekkers.
On the track, Ollie was confident and capable without being “gung-ho” ; his military background brought an extra dimension to explanations about the military history of Kokoda. It seemed that he had a great rapport with his team of porters, and with the local people. He gave us regular and clear briefings about what to expect each day. He also had an understanding of and respect for the social and cultural issues of significance to the porters and the other local villagers.
Our porters were a great bunch : attentively helping with set up of tents ; helping on the track with those like me who needed a bit of a hand with some of the more difficult terrain and river crossings; carrying all the food and cooking great meals on open fires ( including scones and cakes !! ) ; entertaining us with beautiful singing most nights in four-part harmonies ; the list of their achievements could go on….
With respect to the food, I was particularly surprised and impressed at the culinary accomplishments of the chefs, having previously spoken to ex-trekkers who had given me very negative feedback about what I might have expected.
A particular highlight of the overall trip was the cultural experience on our last night in PNG at Soputa village, where we were entertained like royalty by the villagers.
I will remember it as one of the toughest mental and physical challenges of my 60-odd years , particularly when one of my knees ( not unexpectedly ) decided to become a bit dodgy after the first couple of days. But to help me along I received excellent support and encouragement from Ollie, from my personal porter and the other porters in general, and from my fellow-trekkers.
I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Kokoda to those with any interest in Australia’s military history, and particularly those whose relatives may have served in New Guinea, but also to anyone who might be seeking a personal or group challenge.
Having done the trek with Adventure Bound, I would find it hard to see how it could be done better. Our tents and other equipment were good quality and I believe we received great value for money

JUL 2017