Adventure Kokoda

FAQ

Who are the Australian Trek Leaders from Adventure Kokoda?

  • Major Charlie Lynn. A Vietnam Veteran who has been leading treks across the track for the past 16 years - he has made 48 crossings of the track. Charlie established Adventure Kokoda in 1991 - a specialist Kokoda Trekking Company with professional trek leaders who are expert in expedition leadership and the history of the Kokoda campaign.
  • Major Chad Sherrin. A Vietnam war hero who was awarded a Military Medal for bravery during the war. After his service in Vietnam Chad was posted to the Army Jungle Training School at Canungra where he was an expert instructor. He is also an expert on weapons and ammunition used by both the Australian and Japanese forces. Chad has led more than 20 expeditons across the track.
  • Commodore Simon Hart. Simon had a distinguished Naval career which included command of HMAS Hobart and HMAS Brisbane. Simon is also an expert bushman and passionate advocate of the Kokoda campaign.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Rowan Tracey. Rowen was a career army officer who completed a long-term assignment with the PNG Defence Force and is fluent in Pidgin English. He is a respected military historian and has presented papers on the Kokoda campaign to the Royal United Services Institute.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ron Beattie. Ron is a Vietnam Veteran and former Battalion Commander. He has been a long term student of the Kokoda campaign and an expert on military strategy and tactics.
  • John Nalder. A great bushman who used to work for Aussie icon, Steve Irwin. John is an Emergency Services trainer with extensive experience in remote area 1st Aid. He is a passionate interst in the history of the campaign and a detailed knowledge of each battle site. John recently featured on a television documentary with the ABC Compass Program when he led a group of disadvantaged young people across the track as part of the Adventure Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge.
  • Peter Davis. A farmer from Cooma, Peter has been trekking Kokoda for the past six years. He has recently climbed Mt Victoria and explored the area to the west of the Kokoda track. Peter is a committed Rotarian and has worked throughout PNG on village aid projects.
  • Gabrielle Chan. Former political journalist with The Australian. Author of 'War Diaries' and currently writing a book on Australian war journalists who reported on the Kokoda campaign from along the track.

All Adventure Kokoda Trek Leaders are qualified in first aid, communications and expedition leadership.
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What benefits have local villagers received from Adventure Kokoda treks?

Adventure Kokoda have established a Kokoda Bursary Program with the Port Moresby Grammar School which has resulted in a number of students being able to complete their formal education. One young female who would have had to drop out because her father passed away, graduated in the top five percent of PNG and is now being sponsored at the Universityof PNG where she is about to begin her second year of Commerce.

Adventure Kokoda funded the establishment of Network Kokoda, a foundation to preserve and protect the military heritage of the Kokoda Trail and to work in partnership with the PNG Government in the establishment of Community Learning Development Centres to honour the legacy of the Niugini Wartime Carriers.

Adventure Kokoda, via Charlie Lynn, was also instrumental in having The Kokoda Track Authority in PNG established and proclaimed by the PNG Government. The company donated a VHF radio to the Kokoda Track Authority to allow for direct communications to all villages and trek groups along the Trail.

The company also donated VHF radios, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and first aid supplies to enable Kokoda Experience PNG as its contribution to assisting in the development of a self-sustaining trekking industry for the Koiari and Orokaiva people along the track.

Adventure Kokoda is conscious of its responsibility to develop a sustainable eco-trekking industry in PNG and sub-contracts all trekking activities to a wholly owned local PNG trekking company, Kokoda Experience PNG Pty Limited and all in-country logistics support to Sogeri Enterprises PNG.

Charlie Lynn has taken the following initiatives to ensure the historical, cultural and environmentat integrity of the Kokoda Trail is protected for future generations:

Kokoda Hospital Cheque Presentation by Charlie Lynn

Adventure Kokoda raised the following funds for distribution through the Kokoda Track Foundation to villages along the track during the period 2005-2006:

  • Kokoda Memorial Hospital: $15,000 for medical supplies
  • Ioribaiwa Village: $500 for medical supplies
  • Nauro Village: $1000 for medical supplies, $500 for school supplies and $500 for musical instruments.
  • Menari Village: $2500 for their medical clinic, $500 for school supplies and $1000 for musical instruments.
  • Efogi Village: $1000 for medical supplies, $500 for school supplies and $1000 for musical instruments.
  • Laununumu Village: $500 for school supplies and $500 for medical supplies.
  • Kagi Village: $1000 for medical supplies and $500 for school supplies.
  • Charlie Lynn in Abuari Village SchoolNaduri Village: $1000 for medical supplies and $500 for school supplies.
  • Alola Village: $1000 for medical supplies, $1000 for musical instruments and $500 for school supplies.
  • Abuari Village: $1,000 for musical instruments and $500 for school supplies.
  • Isurava Village: $1000 for medical supplies and $500 for school supplies and
  • Kovello Village:$500 for medical supplies, $1000 for musical instruments and $500 for school supplies.
  • Kokoda Village: $500 for school supplies and $500 for musical instruments at the Kokoda Kindergarten.
  • Kovovo Primary School: $2000 for musical instruments.Top ^

What other benefits have Adventure Kokoda provided?

Adventure Kokoda has donated treks for fundraising purposes to:

  • Legacy
  • The 39th Battalion Association
  • The 39th Support Battalion (Regular Army)
  • The Kokoda Track Foundation
  • Lions International
  • The Humpty Dumpty Foundation
  • The Diabetes Foundation
  • The Royal Blind Society
  • Camp Dare
  • The RSL 'Girl in a Million' Quest

In addition to this the company has sponsored disadvantaged young people from Youth Insearch and Father Chris Riley's Youth-Off-The Streets programs.Top ^

What is the best direction to trek?

If you trek from Owers Corner to Kokoda you follow the footsteps of our young Diggers as they advanced across the Owen Stanleys to meet the Japanese 144th South Sea Islands Regiment.

If you trek from Kokoda to Owers Corner you follow the route of the Australian withdrawal in the face of overwhelming Japanese odds back to the last line of defence on Imita Ridge.

There is no 'best' way to trek Kokoda. The experience is just as powerful in either direction (that is the opinion of Charlie Lynn who has trekked 22 times from Kokoda to Owers Corner and 26 times from Kokoda to Owers Corner).

The difference is the experience and knowledge of your trek leader. If they have a detailed understanding of the history of the Kokoda campaign you will get maximum value from your trek. If they only have a superficial understanding you will be disappointed. Top ^

What size groups do you take?

The average size of our trek groups in 2010 was 11. Our maximum group size for special groups is 25 which is close to an infantry platoon. This is the smallest army unit - because we focus on the military history of the Kokoda campaign it helps people relate to the scale of the battles fought along the track during our battlesite briefings.

Adventure Kokoda has established a close relationship with local landowners over the past 20 years and have their own dedicated campsites which cater for up to platoon size groups. Top ^

Is the Kokoda Trail safe?

The Kokoda Trail is located in a remote mountainous jungle environment. Much of the area is inaccessible by helicopter. Rivers and creeks can rise rapidly after heavy rain in the catchment area and can be dangerous to cross.

The current Travel Advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs states:

  • 'We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea because of the high levels of serious crime.
  • 'Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • 'Crime rates are high in the capital Port Moresby and in other areas of Papua New Guinea, especially in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces'.

You should trek with the latest travel advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs by clicking on the above link. Trekkers on the Kokoda Trail can be vulnerable if they trek in small groups without an experienced trek leader.

Adventure Kokoda and Kokoda Experience PNG use experienced trek leaders who are aware of the hazards. They are trained in emergency evacuation procedures and are qualified in emergency first aid. Trek leaders also carry satellite phones and VHF radios with direct links to Port Moresby.

Adventure Kokoda only use trek guides and personal carriers from the Koiari and Orokaiva people who live along the track.

Adventure Kokoda is one of the few trekking companies to complete a comprehensive risk assessment of the trek and has been able to secure public liability insurance protection for trekkers as a result. The policy has a limit of A$10 million per claim. Top ^

What happens in the event of an emergency?

The situation is assessed by the trek leader. If it is an emergency he will immediately contact the Kokoda Track Authority at Sogeri via satellite phone or VHF Radio. The person in charge of the office will initiate immediate evacuation procedures by telephone with the appropriate emergency authorities in PNG and will advise the Australian High Commission of the details. Immediate action will be taken to move the patient by stretcher to an area accessible by helicopter or to a nearby airfield. The patient will be met on arrival by our representative from Sogeri who will then liaise with the appropriate medical authorities and the Australian High Commission for the most appropriate treatment or further evacuation to Australia if necessary.Top ^

What about personal security in Papua New Guinea?

You should not have any worries if you are travelling with a reputable trek operator who utilizes a secure hotel and pre-arranged transport in Port Moresby.

The same applies for your trek. We use local Koiari and Orokaiva guides from villages along the Trail. They are in constant contact with each other via VHF radio and are fully aware of all other movements along the Trail.Top ^

How fit do I need to be?

It is estimated that there are more than 50 evacuations from along the Kokoda Trail each year - it is not for those who are not in a very good physical condition.

You will need to be physically fit and free of any medical ailments to attempt the trek. You will need a medical clearance from a Medical Doctor to certify that you have had a full medical check-up and that you are capable of undertaking an arduous trek in a remote mountainous tropical environment in a developing country.

Unfortunately some doctors don't understand how difficult the trek is and will give you the benefit of doubt. On a recent trek we had a participant who was cleared by his doctor but only lasted 40 minutes on the first day and had to be evacuated.

You should be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure you are fit enough for the challenge. Top ^

What sort of physical training and preparation do I need?

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle you will need a minimum of three months physical training and preparation.

You should start with a complete medical check-up then consult with your local gymnasium to prepare a personal training program aimed at increasing your aerobic fitness level. As a guide we recommend you start with minimum of 45 minutes of aerobic activity (walking, power-walking, jogging, cycling, tennis, etc) at least four times per week. You should aim to increase your work rate by ten percent each week after that.Top ^

Do I need to carry my own backpack?

You can choose to carry your own backpack if you have trained hard for the trek and are in great physical shape. Alternatively you can choose to engage a personal carrier to carry your camping gear whilst you carry your own clothing, food, water and medical supplies in a small backpack or you can arrange for a personal porter to carry your backpack with all of your gear.

If you are younger than 16 years or older than 54 years it is mandatory to engage a Personal Carrier for your trek. Top ^

What does the trek cost?

Click here to see the prices of our guided treks.

Click here to see the prices of our self-guided treks. Top ^

Are there any 'hidden extras' I should be aware of?

Some trek operators provide only the basic minimum in their price - a local guide to lead you across the track, a local flight between Port Moresby and Kokoda and village meals during the trek. The price of these treks therefore appears to be very low at first glance however when all other costs are added it can prove to be a false economy. These costs include international airfares, hotel and meal charges in Port Moresby, ground transport charges, personal porters, personal camping equipment, tour of Port Moresby, etc. If you have to go out and purchase your own backpack, tent, sleeping bag and mat and make your own arrangements in Port Moresby it could prove to be an expensive and unnecessary exercise. Top ^

How much should I budget for 'Hidden Extras'?

The following list is an indicative guide of the cost of 'hidden extras' to budget for:

  • International return airfare Sydney - Port Moresby - $1,100
  • Two night accommodation in Port Moresby$240
  • Meals in Port Moresby$85
  • Backpack$ 250 - $350
  • Tent$180 - $300
  • Sleeping Bag$80
  • Sleeping Mat$30
  • Camping cutlery$10
  • Half day tour of Port Moresby $50

If your trek operator does not have a public liability insurance policy then you will need to arrange for your own cover. This is an essential requirement but will be a difficult and expensive exercise to arrange it on an individual basis. Top ^

What is the advantage of having an Australian trek leader lead your group?

Australian trek leaders with Adventure Kokoda have a detailed knowledge of the history of the Kokoda campaign and the locations of battlefields along the Track. This includes acomprehensive presentation on the strategic situation in the South West Pacific Area in 1942 on arrival in Port Moresby to set the scene for the trek. Detailed briefings on each of the battles and inspection of the battle sites are given on location during the trek.Top ^

Do we stay in tents or guesthouses?

We provide a 2-person tent for each trekker as this provides room to 'spread-out'. This is an important comfort consideration - particularly if it is wet. Our tents are fully screened and provide protection from malarial mosquitos, leeches, cockroaches and other creepy-crawlies.

Most of the campsites along the Trail now have a guesthouse built from basic bush materials. These offer shelter from the elements but they don't have any privacy or protection from malarial mosquitos, leeches, cockroaches, etc! There is also no protection from the inevitable snorer that seems to exist in every group!

For personal protection, privacy, comfort and convenience our guides will erect your tent each night. The decision as to whether you use it or the guesthouse is yours to make at the time.Top ^

What sort of meals do we get during the trek?

We provide three fresh/canned meals a day on the trek - breakfast cereals, pasta, noodles, biscuits, canned meat and vegetables with potato and rice, tea/coffee/hot chocolate etc are standard fare. These are supplemented with delicious local fruits and fresh vegetables in villages along the Trail.

All meals are cooked and served by your Niugini trek guides carriers.Top ^

Do I need to bring any food with me?

Most trekkers bring some of their favourite snacks to nibble on during the day. These include biscuits, chocolate bars, jelly beans, etc. Try and avoid too many dried fruit and nut mixes as they are heavy and can be a bit hard on the digestive system.Top ^

Are there any protocols I should observe along the Trail?

The villages along the Trail are Seventh Day Adventists. They are vegetarian, don't drink alcohol and strictly observe their Sabbath between 4.00 PM on Friday and 4.00 PM on Saturday each week. They also have two church services in each village each day - one at 6.00 AM and one at 6.00 PM. Trekkers are asked to respect these religious protocols.Top ^

What about protocols in the villages?

Each village has a designated area for trekkers to camp. They also have dedicated toilets for trekkers. Your guides will identify these areas for you.

There are also separate bathing areas for males and females. To avoid embarrassment you should ask your guides to show you where they are. Ladies should wear a sarong to their bathing area.Top ^Top ^