Amanda's Story

My Grandfather fought with the 2/27th Battalion along the Kokoda Track, he never spoke much of his time in the war yet for me, being an Aussie digger was a big part of his identity and a part that as an Australian makes my heart swell with pride. My Grandfather passed away 10 years ago, it was around this time that I started taking a real interest in this important part of Australian history, given that Grandpop was no longer around to help me with my research I had decided that I would Trek Kokoda in order to have the best understanding I could of what he would have faced all those years ago.
It took me ten years to follow up on that dream but it was the best decision I have made. Earlier this year I contacted Escape Trekking Adventures and received an immediate response from Shane the trek leader and owner of ETA, he was friendly informative and helpful and that continued throughout the entire trek.
Shane dedicated the Trek to my Grandfather and with that in mind, my father made arrangements so he could join the trek too. Shane’s inclusion of Grandpop’s story throughout the trek and the reflection for the Aussie diggers made this trip unforgettable. The group that we walked with were a great bunch of Australians who, each with their own motivations for walking the track, were most respectful in honouring Grandpop’s memory with many embracing the connection to that point of time in history. Shane’s knowledge and own passion for this important piece of Australian history further enhanced the experience and his relationship with the Papua New Guineans allowed for an insight into the culture and village life that lines the track.
The local guides and porters that ETA work with added a special dimension to the experience, they went above and beyond to make our journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible, with the cooking team even baking two birthday cakes on the last night for two members of the team. The music they contributed and the fun and laughter exhibited was always welcomed after a long days hike.
A stand out moment in the trek for me was the Dawn Service at Brigade Hill that Shane arranged, he involved many trekkers and I had a chance to share my thoughts and experience on retracing the footsteps of my Grandfather. The local head Guide Gidian shared his own moving reflection of the battle that took place at Brigade Hill.
The other stand out factor of the trip was the friendships and camaraderie that developed within the trekking group and also with the porters. The laughs and jokes shared and the support offered along the trek resembled the Aussie digger spirit that the men drew on all those years ago in order to face the reality of war. It was uplifting to see that spirit still alive in Australians today.
The trek re-instilled the pride I have as an Australian, it helped me to reconnect with the memory of my Grandfather and to have a better understanding of the campaign our Aussie Diggers fought. A truly memorable experience.

OCT 2014