FAQs

  1. Adventure Kokoda is the only specialist trekking company operating on the Kokoda Trail - we do not trek to any other location - Kokoda is all we do.
     
  2. We have 27 years experience leading groups across the Kokoda Trail - more than any other trek operator.
     
  3. We specialse in the military history of the Kokoda campaign - one of our trek operators, Lieutenant Colonel Rowan Tracey, is Australia's most knowledgeable historian on the Kokoda campaign.
     
  4. We pioneered the Kokoda trekking industry - we had been operating on the trail for more than a decade before it was 'discovered'' by eco-tour operators.
     
  5. We have the most professional and experienced trek leaders - our team has 130 years professional military experience and has led more than 520 expeditions safely across the trail.
     
  6. We are the only trek operator to have established a philanthropic Not-for-Profit company - Network Kokoda.
     
  7. We provide more philanthropic support to local villages along the trail than all other eco-trekking companies combined.
     
  8. We operate from a secure lodge at Sogeri which has 24/7 back-up communications and our own helipad for emergencies.

Adventure Kokoda was rated as the best trekking company on the Kokoda Trail in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017.

 

When planning to complete the journey along the Kokoda Trail the most common question we are asked is whether it is safe. 

The Kokoda Trail is a rugged and remote 130 kilometre jungle path across some of the most hazardous terrain most people will ever traverse. The trail itself can be quite dangerous with steep jungle clad mountains and swift-flowing rivers/creeks strewn with large rocky boulders.  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.

In order to minimise risk it is therefore essential to trek with a reputable trek operator.

If an emergency occurs it is vital that your trek leader be experienced and capable of handling the situation.  Ideally they should also be equipped with a satellite phone and VHF radio with a reliable back-to-base line of communication that maintains a 24/7 listening watch..

As a trekker you need to ensure you are protected with a personal Travel Insurance policy to cover your medical evacuation and treatment costs should you become sick or suffer a personal injury.  It is your responsibility to ensure the insurer you select will approve immediate air evacuation from the Kokoda Trail if the call is made by your trek leader.

You also need to ensure the operator you choose to trek with has suitable Public Liability Insurance protection.  If they don't have it don't even think about trekking with them.

You should not confuse Personal Travel Insurance (your responsibility) with Public Liability Insurance (trek operator's responsibility).

Adventure Kokoda only use trek guides and personal carriers from the Koiari and Orokaiva people who live along the trail. These are the sons of the famous 'fuzzy-wuzzy angels' who look after our trekkers just as their fathers looked after our diggers.

Our trek leaders are trained in emergency evacuation procedures and are qualified in emergency first aid.  They also carry satellite phones and VHF radios with direct links to our rear base at Sogeri for use in emergency situations.

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. 

Our good relationship formed over the past 27 years with our guides, carriers and the people living along the trail ensures our trekkers have a safe passage.

Anybody can – and many do – walk in off the street, fill out an application, pay a small fee and become an authorised Kokoda tour operator.  There are no due diligence checks.  They do not have to have a registered company.  They do not need a Public Liability insurance policy.  They do not need satellite phones, VHF radios or medical kits - and if something bad happens they have no assets to reclaim.

Trekkers should therefore take note of the old Latin proverb of Caveat emptor which means ‘let the buyer beware’ – as it is applicable to the current management system put in place by the Australian Government.

PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill recently initiated a review of the Kokoda Track Authority.  The current management system, put in place by the Australian Government during the period 2009-2012 has not worked.

Prior to the year 2000 the Kokoda Trail was only crossed by small numbers of hardy adventurers.

A rapid increase from 76 trekkers in 2001 to a peak of 5621 in 2008 transformed it into Papua New Guinea’s premier tourism attraction.

In 2003 the PNG Government established a ‘Kokoda Track (Special Purpose) Authority (the ‘KTA’) as a statutory government body of the Koiari and Kokoda Local-level Governments to manage the emerging Kokoda trekking industry and ensure local villages across the trail received shared benefits from it.  Unfortunately it has not worked out as it was envisaged.

In 2004 a PNG expatriate CEO was appointed to manage the KTA with a part-time secretarial assistant.  During the next four years trekker numbers increased 255% from 1584 in 2994 to 5621 in 2008.

In response to a public outcry over a threat to mine a large part of the Kokoda Trail in 2006 the Australian Government entered into a ‘joint’ agreement with the PNG Government to assist in developing a case for the Owen Stanley Ranges to be listed as a World Heritage site.  Responsibility was delegated to the Department of Environment in Canberra.

This led to a vertable army of taxpayer funded environmental officials, academics, contractors and consultants to 'assist' PNG manage the emerging Kokoda trekking industry.  For most it was their first trip to PNG.

In 2009 an Australian CEO was appointed to the KTA on an eye-watering salary package.  It was his first time in PNG and he did not trek across the Kokoda Trail until just prior to his departure in 2012.  He was supported by a 10-fold increase in staff and a multi-million dollar budget.

Despite this injection of resources annual trekker numbers declined by 44 per cent from 5621 in 2008 to 3156 in 2012!

A desktop study titled ‘Kokoda Track Authority Strategic Plan 2012 – 2015’ was developed over a long period of time.  It is instructive that not a single one of the five strategies or 33 key performance objectives contained in the plan were achieved.

The Australian CEO departed towards the end of 2012 without leaving a single management protocol in place for his PNG successor - no draft legislation; no management database; no campsite booking system; no integrity in the trek operator licensing system; no safeguards for the welfare of PNG guides and carriers; no audit system for campsite owners; no trail maintenance plan; no community development plan; etc. etc. etc.

The PNG management team were left with an unworkable model which has led to a call for a review by Prime Minister O'Neill.

They do not understand the Principles of Commemoration and know little about the wartime history of the Kokoda campaign.

Trekkers should be aware that they currently have no protection from the KTA.  There is no integrity in the licensing system.

 

No - we are not.

We declined the invitation to join the Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA) which was established to protect the interests of Australian companies operating in PNG and does not provide for the welfare of the PNG guides and carriers they engage.

We believe the reasons for establishing the KTOA were well-intentioned however whilst they tolerate practices that allow some of their members to exploit local PNG guides, carriers and subsistence villagers we will not join.

The failure of the KTA to provide proper welfare support to local villagers they engage is evident in their reluctance to require all KTOA members to provide such basics as a sleeping bag and mat for each guide and carrier they employ.  We do not believe that PNG guides and carriers should have to sleep on hard surfaces or wet ground because they are not provided with such essential items of comfort.

One KTOA tour operator has a record of failing to meet their legal and moral obligations in regard to the payment of trek fees which are meant to benefit local subsistence villages along the trail. 

Recently a local carrier employed by KTOA tour operator tragically died on the trail.  A local Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) Ranger has alleged that the load he was carrying was far in excess of the 20 kg recommended in the KTA Code of Conduct for tour operators.  According to other KTA Rangers the overloading of local carriers is a common practice by many Australian tour operators as a means of keeping their costs down.

Adventure Kokoda will not join to the KTOA until they weed out those who don't provide for the proper welfare of their local guides and who deprive subsistence villagers of their rightful share of benefits from the Kokoda trekking industry.

The difference between Adventure Kokoda and KTOA members is that we provide the following for each of our PNG guides and carriers:

  • Maximum allowable weight of 18 kg (which means we have to engage more carriers);
  • Full trek uniform - cap, shirt, shorts
  • Sleeping bag;
  • Sleeping mat;
  • Wholesome meals - equivalent to what we provide for our trekkers;
  • Gratuity equivalent to one day's pay at the end of each trek; and
  • A 'Walk-Home Allowance' of PNGK250 to allow our guides and carriers to walk back to their villages after each trek.

In addition to this we engage a PNG medic with a full medical kit to look after their specific medical needs across the trail.

If our guides or carriers suffer serious illness or injury during their trek we arrange for them to be evacuated by helicopter and treated at the Port Moresby Private Hospital - they receive the same care, attention and treatment as our trekkers.

 

Charlie Lynn served in the Australian Army for 21 years.  He is a Vietnam Veteran, a qualified military free-fall parachutist and a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College.

During his time as an exchange instructor with the United States Army he completed their Special Forces HALO parachute program which involved high altitude jumps from 20,000 feet at night with full combat equipment.  He was appointed Captain of the Parachute Display Team at Fort Lee in Virginia and completed 200 jumps during his tour of duty.

After leaving the army Charlie specialised in organising ultra-marathon events and ran outback survival programs for mining companies in remote areas.

In 1986 he held the NSW Ultra-marathon record by running a distance of 213 km in 24 hours.

Charlie was elected to the NSW Parliament in 1995 and served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans Affairs under Premiers’ Barry O’Farrell and Mike Baird. He retired in 2015 after almost 20 years’ service in the NSW Legislative Council.

Over the past 27 years he has led 90 treks across the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.

Prior to his first trek in 1991 only a small number of hardy adventurers trekked across the trail each year.

At this time the combined income of all the villagers along the trail was estimated to be approximately $30,000 per year.

In 1992 Charlie organised and led a group of 20 trekkers across the trail to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.  His trek featured as a cover story in the Bulletin magazine.

The publicity sparked enough interest in the trek for Charlie to organise another trek later in the year with a group of journalists.  This trek led to national stories in the Australian newspaper, the Canberra Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Age.

The interest generated by these treks led to more treks the following year and this led to more media stories in national newspapers and magazines.

Around this time Charlie began to lobby the Australian government to work with the PNG Government to have the Kokoda Trail proclaimed as a National Memorial Park.  Unfortunately it was not on their radar at the time and there was little interest on either side.

In 1996, Channel 9 asked Charlie to lead a group of celebrities including Angry Anderson, Colette Mann, Darryl Braithwaite, Dermot Brereton, Shelley Taylor-Smith and Dr Kerryn Phelps across the trail for an Anzac Special. The group was joined by a young PNG botanist, Justin Tkatchenko in Port Moresby (Justin is now the Minister for APEC in the PNG Government).  The documentary was titled ‘the Angry Anderson Kokoda Challenge’ and was viewed by more than 3 million people.

Over the following three years Charlie was asked to lead treks sponsored by all the major television networks.  This created an enormous amount of interest in trekking Kokoda.

As a direct result of the increasing public interest in the Kokoda campaign the Australian government built a significant memorial on the Isurava battlesite which Charlie had re-discovered 2000.  The memorial was officially opened by Prime Ministers’ Sir Michael Somare and John Howard on 26th August 2002.

Charlie then lobbied the PNG Government to establish a Kokoda Track Authority to manage the emerging trekking industry and ensure local villagers received shared benefits from it.  He worked closely with Sir Peter Barter, the Minister for Intergovernmental Relations and his company.  Adventure Kokoda provided an advance of K20,000 to enable it to operate for the first couple of months.

After the opening of the Isurava Memorial trekker numbers began to increase rapidly from 365 in 2002 to a peak of 5621 in 2008.  Over the past decade more than 40,000 trekkers have now crossed Kokoda.  This had generated approximately K335 million into the PNG economy.  Approximately K63 million of this has benefited local villages directly in wages, campsite fees, food and souvenirs.  But most importantly in generates positive stories on PNG and now acts as a gateway for the establishment of firm friendships between Australian trekkers and their PNG guides and carriers.

The Australian and PNG governments would have received approximately $16 million in GST as a result of the trekking industry. 

As a result, the Kokoda Trail is now the prime tourist destination in PNG.

Charlie Lynn’s commitment to PNG is broader than his involvement with the Kokoda Trail.

In 2003 Charlie developed and funded the establishment of The Kokoda Track Foundation which provides educational scholarships and health care support to villagers along the Kokoda Trail.

During the drought in PNG in 2004 he established a ‘PNG Drought Appeal’ in partnership with the National Australian Bank and the Returned Services League.  The appeal raised $500,000 which was used to purchase seeds for villagers in the highlands.  Charlie accompanied the consignment to PNG which was then delivered by Australian Army helicopters.

Later in 2004 he undertook a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Study Tour to PNG to investigate access for seasonal work opportunities for PNG workers.  This led to a submission to the Australian Senate on the issue.

In 2010 Charlie developed and funded the established Network Kokoda as a Not-For-Profit company that builds Community Development Centres in villagers along the Kokoda Trail and has introduced Agricultural Learning Centres at the Sogeri National High School and Iaowari High School.  These centres are now providing fresh produce for approximately 1200 boarding students and the programs have been replicated in seven villages on the Sogeri Plateau.

In 2012 Charlie was invited by Mr Glenn Armstrong of Air Niugini to develop a program to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.   The program included the painting of a map of the Kokoda Trail on a new B767; the participation of singer/songwriter, John Williamson, in the official 70th Anniversary Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery; a concert hosted by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at Parliament House; and the production of a documentary on Rabaul which is now screened on the Air Niugini inflight program.

For the past two years Charlie has hosted the PNG Independence Day Celebration in the NSW Parliament on behalf of Mr Sumasy Singin, Consul General in Sydney.

In 2014 he hosted a two day Centenary Forum for the PNG Australia Association at Parliament House.  Speakers included Senator The Hon Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Major-General Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC; H.E. Charles Lepani, PNG High Commissioner to Australia; and Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston  AC, AFC.

In 2015 Charlie was inducted as an Officer of the Logohu by the PNG Government in their New Years’ Honours List ‘for service to the bilateral relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia and especially in the development of the Kokoda Trail and its honoured place in the history of both nations’ over the past 25 years.

Record of Service:

Title

The Hon Charlie Lynn MLC

1965

Conscripted into the Australian Army

1967

Served in Vietnam with 17th Construction Squadron RAE

1968

Graduated from Officer Cadet School, Portsea as a 2nd Lieutenant

1971-73

Served with the ANZUK Force in Singapore

1974

Platoon Commander with 176th Air Dispatch Company

1976

Squadron Commander with 30th Terminal Squadron

1977-78

Exchange Instructor with the United States Army Airborne Logistics School

1979-80

Officer Commanding, Army Air Movement Training and Development Unit

1981

Graduated from Army Command and Staff College

1982-84

Senior Staff Officer for Personnel and Logistics at HQ 1st Brigade

1985

Staff Officer at Army HQ, Canberra

1985-86

Senior Staff Officer for Personnel and Logistics at HQ 1st Brigade

1886

Retires from army with rank of Major

1984-1991

Race Director of Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon

1991

Established ‘Adventure Kokoda’ – Trekked Kokoda

1992

Led a 50th Anniversary Trek across the Kokoda Trail

1992-2014

Led 75 expeditions across the Kokoda Trail with more than 4500 trekkers

1995

Elected to the NSW Parliament

2002

Established the Kokoda Track Foundation

2009

Established Network Kokoda Not-For-Profit Foundation

2011

Appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans Affairs

2011

Established NSW Parliamentary Friends of Papua New Guinea Committee

2012

Worked in partnership with Air Niugini to host 70th Anniversary Commemorative events

 

Following is a summary of positive publicity Charlie has generated for Papua New Guinea and the Kokoda Trail:

Newspaper/Magazine Articles  promoting Kokoda Treks

GWP Magazine
‘The Enshrinement of Kokoda’

The Enshrinement of Kokoda

The Bulletin with Newsweek
‘Kokoda: A walk on the wild side’

The Bulletin with Newsweek

The Canberra Times – November 1992
‘A Hard Slog to Kokoda’

The Canberra Times

Qantas Magazine - 1993
‘Kokoda Travels’

Kokoda Travels Qantas Magazine

News Limited Magazine - 1994
‘Trek into history’

News Limited on Kokoda

Australian Defence Information Bulletin - 1994
‘Adventure on the Kokoda Track’

Defence Force Academy on Kokoda

The Australian Magazine - 1995
‘Kokoda – the new campaign’

Kokoda The New Campaign The Australian

The Northern Herald – August 1995
‘On the beaten track’

On the Beaten Track

The Sydney Morning Herald – November 1995
‘Is this the world’s meanest tour guide?’

Kokoda Is this the Worlds Meanest Tour Guide

The Australian – 1996
‘Stars rise and fall on Kokoda’

Stars Rise and Fall on Kokoda

The Sunday Magazine - 1996
‘Lessons in Life’

Sunday Life Magazine

Women’s Day Magazine – 1996
‘Kokoda Startrek’

Womens Day on Kokoda

Impressions Magazine – 1996
‘Colette’s life-changing challenge’

Collette Mann on Kokoda

Australian Geo Magazine – May/June 1997
‘Trekking to hell and back’

Trekking to Hell and Back

The Australian Women’s Weekly – 1997
‘My Kokoda Trail Trek’

Womens Weekly on Kokoda

Runners World – January 2000
‘No Soldier of Fortune’

Charlie Lynn on Kokoda

Sydney Swans Football Magazine - 2002
‘Sydney Swans conquer Kokoda’

Sydney Swans Conquer Kokoda

South Pacific Magazine - 2002
‘Commemorating Kokoda’

South Pacific Magazine

Great Walks Magazine - 2008
‘Age before beauty’

Kokoda in Your 50s Great Walks Magazine


Following is a list of the national television stories Charlie has generated through his treks:

Television Shows promoting the Kokoda Trail

Channel 9
‘Angry Anderson Kokoda Challenge’

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCz7qUl9FFmplk_GItGEAJ33D0bNZunFh

Channel 9
‘Getaway on Kokoda’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLCz7qUl9FFmoxNQ0ZJCWX4Kla_pcxL235&v=2DPL3qaO5NQ&feature=player_embedded

Channel 7
‘Sydney Swans on Kokoda’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&list=PLCz7qUl9FFmrNAQ8E39IeWYEZyZDW5sKf&v=BAiajXkG_m0

Channel 7
‘Dareing Kokoda’

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCz7qUl9FFmrPkKNK9DLeZ4aqnUADCBIU

Channel 10
‘Father Chris Riley’s Kids on Track’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KVKcFFTHIY0&list=PLCz7qUl9FFmodfixqBw7VwVs5xzQu7juu

ABC Compass – Channel 2

‘Cronulla to Kokoda’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q48HEYWTZVU&list=PLCz7qUl9FFmqihaijuadJPoA8sJIU0D8q

 

Following is a list of submissions, papers and blogs Charlie has produced and submitted in support of initiatives to ensure the wartime integrity of the Kokoda Trail is protected and Australia’s relationship with PNG is improved:

1994

Proposal for the Kokoda Trail to be developed as a National Memorial Park

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/PROJECTKOKODAPROPOSALbyCharlieLynn.doc

1997

Proposal for Olympic Torch to be carried across the Kokoda Trail for Sydney 2000

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/ProposaltocarrytheOlympicTorchacrosstheKokodaTrailin2000.pdf

SOCOGs spurious rejection of Kokoda Torch Relay Proposal

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/SOCOGsSpuriousRejectionofKokodaTorchRelay.pdf

SOCOG must compensate PNG for stealing ‘Kokoda’ name

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/MediaReleasereSOCOGCompensationforKokoda.pdf

2004

Letter to Prime Minister John Howard supporting a medal for PNG Wartime Carriers
 

http://newsletter.kokodatreks.com/documents/PrimeMinisterJohnHowardreCarrierMedals15February2004.pdf
 

Produced Interim Report for the development of a Strategic Plan for the Kokoda Trail

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/KokodaTrackFoundationInterimReportof6July2004.pdf

2005

 

Produced the Inaugural Report for the Kokoda Track Foundation

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/2005KokodaTrackFoundationInaguralReport.pdf

2006

Presented A Strategic Plan for the Kokoda Trail to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare
 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/StrategicPlanfortheKokodaTrailNoPics.pdf

Submission to Australian Senate supporting access for seasonal labour from PNG

http://newsletter.kokodatreks.com/documents/SenateSubmissiononSeasonalLabourfromthePacificRegion1_000.pdf

Proposal for a Civilian Service Medal for the New Guinea Wartime Carriers

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/ProposalforMedalforPNGCarriers.pdf

Speech in NSW Parliament calling for official recognition of ‘Kokoda Day’

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/KokodaDay.pdf

Kokoda – a neglected jungle shrine

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2006/02/15/kokoda-a-neglected-jungle-shrine

The Australian Newspaper:
‘PNG so near,

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/charlie-lynn-png-so-near-yet-far-from-friendly/story-e6frg6zo-1111112404497

Submission to the Kokoda Track Authority

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/WarrenBartlett24Aug06reSuggestionsfortheKTA.pdf

Kokoda gazetted as a place of historic significance

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2007/08/10/kokoda-gazetted-as-a-place-of-historic-significance-to-australia/#more-466

The Kokoda Track Authority
 

http://newsletter.kokodatreks.com/001-February_2006.html
 

2007

Issued a Discussion Paper on the Kokoda Trekking Industry
 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/ADiscussionPaperontheKokodaEcoTrekkingIndustryNoPics.pdf
 

2008

Article on Kokoda’s ‘Forgotten People’

http://newsletter.kokodatreks.com/009-MiningKokoda_February_2008.html

Published Blog: Kokoda Villagers need charity too

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/08/07/kokoda-villagers-need-charity-too

Published Blog: Military Heritage at risk on Kokoda

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/06/28/military-heritage-at-risk-on-kokoda 

Published Blog: Let’s not forget the Villagers along the Kokoda Trail

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/09/16/lets-not-forget-the-villagers-along-kokoda

Published Blog: Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angels deserve a medal

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/06/27/png-carriers-deserve-a-medal

Education: A trekkers legacy

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/09/07/education-a-trekkers-legacy

Kokoda: More than a jungle track

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/09/07/pacific-png-guest-worker-scheme

Pacific (PNG) Guest Worker Scheme

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2008/09/07/pacific-png-guest-worker-scheme

PNG – A difficult place to help

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2007/01/10/png-%E2%80%93-a-difficult-place-to-help/#more-648

Proposal for ‘Kokoda Day’ to be Proclaimed

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/ProposalforKokodaDayProclamation1March2008.pdf

Kokoda gazetted as a place of historic significance

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2007/08/10/kokoda-gazetted-as-a-place-of-historic-significance-to-australia/#more-466

2010

Why Kokoda Day?

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/11/03/why-kokoda-day

Kokoda Day proclaimed in PNG

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/04/04/kokoda-day-proclaimed-in-png

Trekker downturn weighs heavily on Kokoda porters

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/06/20/trekker-downturn-weighing-heavily-on-local-kokoda-porters

PNG Payback

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/07/20/png-payback

Giving back to the track

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/11/07/giving-back-to-the-track-in-2010

2011

Wartime Tourism: Presentation to UPNG

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2011/09/19/wartime-tourism-university-of-papua-new-guinea-conference/#more-1532

Removal of war relics from the Kokoda Trail

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/01/21/removal-or-war-relics-from-the-kokoda-trail/#more-1675

Kokoda: Battlefields have never been ‘lost’

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2011/09/30/kokoda-battlefields-have-never-been-lost

The Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2011/01/18/the-kokoda-youth-leadership-challenge

2012

Presentation to the Australian War Memorial Conference: Kokoda – beyond the legend

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/09/16/kokoda-a-paper-on-the-kokoda-trekking-industry-by-charlie-lynn

Kokoda 70: Launch by Prime Minister Peter O’Neil at Parliament House

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2011/12/07/kokoda-70-launched-by-png-prime-miniser-the-hon-peter-oneill-mp-on-70th-anniversary-of-pearl-harbour

Our Kokoda Footprint

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/12/28/our-kokoda-footprint

The Spirit of Kokoda 70 years on

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/06/10/the-spirit-of-kokoda-70-years-on

War Cemeteries in Papua New Guinea

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/06/09/war-cemetries-in-papua-new-guinea

The Kokoda Trail: It’s about respect for the PNG Government and the men who fought across it

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/07/19/the-kokoda-trail-its-about-respect-for-the-png-government-and-the-men-who-fought-across-it

Bomana War Cemetery – the only place to be on Anzac Day in PNG

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/08/18/bomana-dawn-service-the-only-place-to-be-on-anzac-day-in-png

Military Tradition behind the awarding of the Battle Honour – Kokoda Trail

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/09/28/military-tradition-behind-the-awarding-of-the-battle-honour-kokoda-trail

Speech regarding NSW Schools commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Kokoda campaign

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2012/10/28/nsw-schools-to-commemorate-70th-anniversary-of-the-raising-of-the-flag-on-kokoda

Perpetuating the Spirit of Kokoda

http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2013/01/14/perpetuating-the-spirit-of-kokoda

2013

 

Kokoda: Time for a Rethink

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/KokodaTimeforaRethink.pdf

2014

 

Speech to the PNGAA Forum at the NSW Parliament by The Hon Charlie Lynn MLC on 18 September 2014: The Great Divide: White Australia – Black Melanesia

 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/SpeechbyTheHonCharlieLynnMLCtothePNGAAForuminSydney.pdf

 

Following is a list of philanthropic programs Charlie has initiated and funded to support the people of PNG:

Initiated a Joint PNG Drought Appeal with the RSL that raised K1 million in 1996

Travelled to PNG to assist in distributing food and seed to affected areas in army Blackhawk helicopters.

Established and funded Network Kokoda
 

http://www.networkkokoda.org

Initiated Integrated Agricultural Project at Sogeri National High School

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/SogeriAgriculturalLearningProjectMarketGarden.pdf

Support educational programs along the Kokoda Trail

http://newsletter.kokodatreks.com/003-January_2007.html

 

Seed Nursery at the Sogeri National High School
 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/SogeriAgriculturalLearningProjectSeedNurseryPics.pdf

Abuari Community Learning Centre
 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/AbuariCommunityDevelopmentCentre.pdf

Water projects in the Sogeri community
 

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/AbuariCommunityDevelopmentCentre.pdf

Established Kokoda Bursary Program at Port Moresby Grammar School

 

Sponsoring a Port Moresby Grammar School Student through a Commerce Degree

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/MargaretAitsiDivineWordUniversityResultsto2012.pdf

 

Following is a selection of testimonials acknowledging Charlie’s work in PNG and along the Kokoda Trail:


“Without Charlie Lynn's dedication to the people of the Kokoda Trail, and Papua New Guinea in general, and his assistance in early negotiations in the establishment of the Authority, the establishment of the Kokoda Track Authority and its future plans for assisting the sustainability of the Kokoda Track Tourism Strategy and its heritage, there would be no special purposes authority - it would still be sitting in limbo."

Sir Peter Barter, PNG Minister for Intergovernment Relations.

The Hon Arthur Somare MP, PNG Minister for National Planning:

'Dear Mr Lynn,

I write to personally thank you for arranging to meet the members of the PNG Parliamentary Select Committee on the Pacific Economic Community in Sydney last week. We are very grateful for you hosting lunch for us at your beautiful parliament setting.

Your tireless work over the years in promoting Papua New Guinea in Australia and the world is something we are very grateful for and will do everything possible to compliment your efforts in the future. I am pleased that the PNG Tourism Authority has been working closely with you on issues of interest concerning the Kokoda Trail and the promotion of tourism as a vibrant industry in PNG.

I will shortly be bringing to the attention of the Ministry for Works the urgency to upgrade the road leading to Owers Corner in Sogeri area.

It is my hope that our meeting in Sydney has set the foundation for further enhancement of relations at a personal level between our two countries. I very much look forward to meeting you and your co-workers again when you next visit Port Moresby.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur T. Somare MP

 

 Major-General Peter Phillips, National President of the RSL
'Dear Charlie,

I am pleased to advise that the National Executive of the RSL has endorsed the proposal to establish a master plan for development of a Kokoda Track Memorial Park.

Thank you for taking the time to address our National Executive and for the personal effort you have put into promoting this concept.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the epic battles of the Kokoda Track, it is appropriate that we honour those who lost their lives there or served their country so valiantly.

Yours sincerely.

Major-General Peter Phillips AO MC''

 

Senator Bob Carr Foreign Minister and former Premier of NSW
 

Dear Charlie,

I've always been impressed by your love of the Track and your determination to ensure its place in the Australian imagination is never lost.

You know better than most that the Kokoda Track isn't just a place where our salvation was won - though we should remember and document and treasure every inch of it. Kokoda's now part of the Australian Dreaming, a sacred site.

More than that the Men of Kokoda are among the greatest of heroes in a land that rightly canonizes few heroes. And as time slowly steals the survivors from our midst, its hard to resist thinking that Australians in the not too distant future will look back with almost disbelief at the giants who lived in those days.

The Hon Bob Carr MP

Premier of New South Wales

 

Don Daniels MBE: Founder and Chairman of Port Moresby Grammar School

Good morning Mr Lynn

Years ago, we first met in the dining room of the Parliament of New South Wales when you invited Dame Carol Kidu and myself to a dinner.  The occasion then was about assisting Papua New Guinea students, especially those from villages along the Kokoda track.

Little did I know then, how much Port Moresby Grammar School is now in your debt for the support you have given the school.

Among other things, this support consists of:

  • four Adventure Kokoda bursaries
  • your kindness in sponsoring Margaret Aitsi and Alfreda Nakue on the trip of a lifetime to Australia
  • over 2500 books received for the library and classrooms
  • a plethora of stationery supplies
  • medical equipment and supplies
  • a wide variety of sports gear
  • K3500 in cash for special needs aspects in the school
  • Exposure of our students to wonderful ordinary Australians who come to PNG....and reciprocally for Aussies to see and bond with Papua New Guineans within the school environment.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the School, please accept our sincere and grateful thanks for that you have done and we hope this special bond between POM Grammar and Kokoda will continue and strengthen.

 Sincerely 

DONALD DANIELS  MBE
 

Tessie Soi, PNG Friends Foundation Inc

‘Dear Charlie,

'Thanks a million for the 2 computers dropped off at the office. I was in Babaka village, 3 hours drive from Pom.

' Staff advised me of your kind donation.

' My Admin Manager, Mr pana Sitapai will email you through friendfoundinc@daltron.com.pg when the office downstairs is completed.

' Its great to hear that i can email you when i am in dire straits and i will also give you updates and how our programs are going.

' I can use someone else as a sounding board. which i hope you don't mind.

' But thanks a million for helping me do my programs for our people.

Tessie'

 

Mike Luff, Deputy Principal, Port Moresby Grammar School

‘Hello Charlie,

'Hope all is well down your way. Collected a good number of books the other evening with Chad & Ron Beattie’s Group! Our number of books and DVDs totals 1035. All brought forward in the past 12 months approx. A fabulous effort! This does not include pencils, pens and other drawing materials.

'On the turn around side Port Moresby Grammar school has done the following:

  • 6 cartons of reading books were delivered to Taurama Barracks Community School along with a heap of stationary;
  • 7 cartons of books were presented to Bavaroko Community School (our next door neighbour);
  • 1 carton was given to a small group called “We Care” in the Hohola settlement area. Mums teaching street kids to read; and
  • 2 cartons were sent to Gaire community school on request.

' All of these are a result of culling as new books come into our library. Where there is a doubling up we give these away in the cartons. Some of your books we use as incentives and prizes to kids at Pom Grammar for good work.  The culture of reading has been substantially enhanced since your program has started. Popular novels are being read throughout the school. The library staff are really doing a fine job.

' Friends Foundation gave us a wooden coin box and in the first fortnight we collected K250- for Tessie’s group.

' Our next quest is to build up the culling cartons again so that Sogeri Community school and Ioiari High school are provided with books.

' Nixon and the West Papuans are still at Gerehu. The six we have at Pom Grammar are still in school. Many of the other school kids have been “pushed out” or have simply given up – sorry to say. However, we will keep going with our little group. The West Papuan girls especially enjoy the hockey competition on a Sunday afternoon.

' Things are going very well at present and a big lot of thanks to you.

' We would like to see you at the school when you are next up this way – is that possible?

'Regards,

'Mike'

 

James Enage: Chairman, Kokoda Track Authority
 

Dear Charlie,

I wish to thank you, your lovely wife and the Adventure Kokoda Management for financially supporting the Kokoda Track Sports Development Program within this year, 2009.

I had acknowledged your contribution to this very special project in various appropriate forums and have informed the boys and people along the Kokoda Track about your support.

In relation to the outcome of the Program, preparations are now underway by four (4) Local Rugby League Clubs in Queensland who are keen to engage few boys from the Kokoda Track to play in the local Queensland Rugby League Competition next year, 2010. Hopefully, the various Rugby Club offers (Work, Match payments, Accommodation) for the boys should be made available towards the end of January and I will make the announcements in the middle or towards the end of February, 2010.

Also the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team Management are keen to recruit school boys from the Kokoda Track area next year to be part of the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team under Football Scholarships. We will announce this program shortly.

Since you have pioneered in supporting this program, I trust you will continue to support this program.

I look forward to continue working with you in this very special Project in the New Year.

James Enage

Chairman

 

 

Two recent articles summarise Charlie’s feelings towards Kokoda and PNG as a result of his association with the country, its people and our wartime heritage:

Wouldn’t it be great if . . .

http://www.kokodatreks.com/docs/2007NewsletterArticlereAustralianElectionCampaign.pdf

Straight shooter soldiers on . . .

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/straight-shooter-soldiers-on-20130208-2e3kd.html

The difference is the dialogue we have within the group during and after our presentations.

We have a combined total of 130 years professional military experience - our trek leaders have served in Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. They are able to relate discuss the ground and conditions to the strategic situation of the time and the various principles that apply to the different phases of war.

They have also experienced the emotional aspects of perhaps never seeing their families again - and they understand mateship because they have experienced it under combat condtions.

As a result they are able to provide informed debate surrounding some of the decisions made by commanders in the heat of the campaign and relate many of the personal stories of veterans they have previously served with.

This is not stuff you can learn from a book - it comes from personal experience in the army and makes for interesting and lively dialogue.

According to Major General Gordon Maitland, a distinguished military historian there are three types of military historians:

  • Journalist historians, who show little respect for the facts in order to tell a good story
  • Academic historians, who have the time and facilities to unearth new and valuable information, but mainly at the political and strategic levels
  • Soldier historians, who are the only ones one can trust at the tactical level, for they have been taught to understand the key factor – ground'.

Adventure Kokoda engages 'soldier historians'! who meet Major General Maitland's criteria of understanding key tactical factors and are able to incorporate them into interesting and entertaining battlefield presentations.

Some claim that 'there are many tracks to the Kokoda Trail' - this is code for them using eco-shortcuts that allows them to cut costs by getting groups across in shorter periods of time.

Much of the wartime trail is much as it was in 1942 because fewer trekkers use it today. 

Those interested in the authentic history of the Kokoda campaign trek via the original wartime trail over the Kagi Gap to Lake Myola.  Those who wish to explore the mystic charm of the Lake Myola area should allow for an additional day otherwise all they will get is a quick glance at it. 

The map below shows a popular eco-shortcut via Naduri village - neither the track itself nor the village existed during the Kokoda campaign.

 

 

 

NO! PNG trek guides are masters of their environment however their knowledge of the Kokoda campaign and their presentation skills do not rate at this stage of their development.

Adventure Kokoda organises PNG led Kokoda treks for groups who are looking for a physical challenge in preference to learning about the wartime history of the Kokoda campaign.

Whilst our PNG leaders have been well trained in expedition leadership and are the best in the business they do not have the knowledge of the military history of the Kokoda campaign or the presentation skills to conduct battlesite briefings. 

Trekkers meeting PNG support crew on arrival at Kokoda airfield

According to reports we receive we are the only operator to provide real fresh meals along the trail.

We have obviously trained our PNG guides to prepare, cook and serve meals and this has proved to be a most attractive option to trekkers.  Life is too short for ration packs!

Our menu includes breakfast cereals, tropical fruits, biscuits, jam-vegemite-nutella-peanut butter-cheese, pasta, noodles, rice, meat and vegetables with potato, tea/coffee/hot chocolate etc as standard fare.

We are able to provide for special diets as required.

 

 

 

Most of the emergency evacuations from the Kokoda Trail are caused by gastro problems which cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea leading to dehydration - the most likely source of this condition is contaminated food cooked and served by villagers.  This is why we carry ALL of our food with our trek groups.

Security and service are our main consideration in Port Moresby.  Our Adventure Kokdoa groups stay at a secure and comfortable lodge on the Sogeri plateau - about halfway between Port Moresby and the start of the Kokoda Trail at Owers Corner. 

The lodge is owned and operated by Warren Bartlett, a former Patrol Officer (known as 'kiaps') who has lived in Port Moresby for 50 years. The lodge is equipped with a satellite dish, satellite phones and a VHF radio base station.

We provide a personal tent for each trekker. 

Our tents are fully screened and provide protection from malarial mosquitos, leeches, cockroaches, mice and other creepy-crawlies.

For personal protection, privacy, comfort and convenience our guides will set up your tent each night - pack it up the next morning - carry if to the next campsite and have it ready for you again.

Guesthouses in villages along the trail are built from local bush materials - they offer basic shelter from the elements but don't have any privacy or screened protection from malarial mosquitos, leeches, cockroaches, rats and mice, etc!

The increase in trekker numbers over recent years has led to an increase in infestation in villages guesthouses.

If you have to sleep in these because your trek operator does not provide mosquito proof tents make sure you sleep with your mouth closed and that you don't mind the pitter-patter of little mice running across your forehead - if you are a bit sensitive in this area the only guarantee you have against the local infestation is to sleep in an insect proof tent.

There is also no protection from the inevitable snorer in guesthouses where everybody is required to bunk together.

The VHF radio net along the Kokoda Trail has improved however there is only one channel and it is sometimes difficult to break into the chatter.  The system does not have a base station with a 24/7 listening watch which could be critical in an emergency.

Adventure Kokoda are equipped with satellite phones for use in emergencies.

Operators who do not have a satellite phone with an active account fall into the 'dodgy' category - unfortunately they exist and the only protection trekkers have is the old caveat emptor of 'Let the buyer beware'.

Trekking without a satellite phone in your group is classified as 'unnecessary risk'.

 

Most evacuations from the trail are due to gastro-intestinal problems which cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea and chronic dehydration.

Unhygienic handling and preparation of food is the most common cause of the gastro problems which lead to medical evacuations.  Most evacuations result from trekkers who eat vegetables prepared by local villagers. 

To avoid this we carry all of our own food which we purchase from supermarkets in Port Moresby.

We actively discourage our trekkers from eating food prepared in villages as we cannot guarantee the standard of the local hygiene.

Some operators rely on village food to save costs - If the operator you choose includes ‘village food’ as part of their catering plan it might save them money but it could lead to your evacuation from the trail.

 

Yes he does. 

The VHF radio net along the Kokoda Trail has improved however there is only one channel and it is sometimes difficult to break into the chatter.  The system does not have a base station with a 24/7 listening watch which could be critical in an emergency.

Professional operators are equipped with satellite phones for use in emergencies.

Trek Operators who do not have a satellite phone with an active account fall into the 'dodgy' category - unfortunately they exist and the only protection trekkers have is the old caveat emptor of 'Let the buyer beware'.

 

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.

Our trek leaders meet you on arrival at the Port Moresby airport; accompany you to your accommodation; provide detailed pre-trek briefings and equipment checks; lead you safely across the trail; and escort you back to the Port Moresby airport at the end of your trek.  We are with you the entire time you are in PNG.

Our relationships with local villagers along the trail is based on mutual respect because of the employment we provide to their local Koiari and Orokaiva guides; the money we have invested into their local campsites; and the community benefits we provide through our not-for-profit company, Network Kokoda.

 

 

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.

Your training needs to include extensive walking, preferably in a hilly-area, carrying a weighted pack. In the last month of your training you need to be capable of walking at least 10 km daily, carrying 3 to 5 kg more than the weight you expect to carry on your trek.

Think of your training as a deposit in your fitness account – everything you do between now and the trek will pay a dividend on the trail.  If you haven’t made enough ‘deposits’ into your fitness account you will have to go into ‘debt’ on the trail – and debt of any kind is always painful!  

You can’t cheat yourself on Kokoda – if you have done the work you will complete it OK – if you haven’t you will be a candidate for an emergency evacuation!  

39th Battalion preparing for the Kokoda campaign on the Sogeri plateau in 1942

The trek across Kokoda is the toughest physical challenge most people will encounter. 

The decision as to whether to carry your own backpack is important because it can mean the difference between enjoying the experience or suffering and having to withdraw from the trek.

Some trekkers in the past have stubbornly refused to engage a personal carrier because they want to do it like ‘the diggers did it!’

If this is your rationale we suggest you purchase a pair of hobnail leather boots, carry a canvas backpack with webbing pouches; travel with a half-blanket which you will willingly share with up to six other trekkers; borrow a rifle and ammunition; sleep outside your tent and leave your underwear and toiletries at the hotel in Port Moresby!

For those who are young, confident and physically fit it will not be a problem.  But for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle; who might be carrying an extra kilo or two; who might be harbouring some self-doubt about their ability to burden themselves with extra weight; or who do not maintain a daily regime of physical training it will be a struggle – you will find the track does not make concessions to anybody!  It is therefore important that you do an honest assessment of your physical capabilities.

If you are physically fit, are an experienced extreme conditions trekker, and have prepared yourself with a strenuous training program then you should be able to carry your own pack.  On the other hand if you have any doubts about your ability then you should consider engaging a personal carrier for yourself or sharing one with a mate. 

If you engage your own Personal Carrier prior to your trek we provide them with a trek uniform and purchase additional food and camping gear for them before we leave Port Moresby – there is none available along the track.

The cost of a Personal Carrier is between $660 - $790 per person, depending on the trek type/duration.  The cost will be displayed when completing the online Booking Form.

If you decide to engage one after you arrive an additional $150 surcharge will apply to cover the additional costs we have to incur as short notice.

From time to time we have trekkers who realise they cannot carry their backpack after the second or third day - we then have to try and recruit additional carriers along the trail. This is a difficult exercise in the middle of the Owen Stanley Ranges as we are not able to arrange for additional food, uniforms or camping gear for the additional carriers.  It’s also unfair as our PNG trek guides and carriers, who already work hard under extreme conditions, don’t appreciate having the size of their meals reduced whenever we have to engage additional personal carriers during the trek.

A Personal Carrier will carry your backpack and act as your ‘trek caddy’ for the duration of your trek – he will often catch you before you fall; will assist you over the most difficult sections of the trail; assist you with packing up and setting up and proudly introduce you to his family in his village.  

Yes - Adventure Kokoda treks include International economy class return ticket to Port Moresby (for bookings ex-Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane or Sydney), all accommodation, meals, transport, trek fees etc.  The price also includes the provision of a roomy mosquito-proof tent. 

If you engage a Personal Carrier, a backpack (75 Litre) is included; otherwise you can hire our backpack for $35.

You will find that some trek operators offer much cheaper treks - you need to check the small print to find out if there are any 'hidden extras' - which is often the case.  If you have to pay for additional items or 'hidden extras' such as accommodation and meals in Port Moresby, airfares to/from Kokoda, personal camping equipment etc, then any saving on price can prove to be a false economy.  Make sure you check the fine print with the tour operator you choose. 

Why Trek with Adventure Kokoda

Our primary goal is to lead you safely across the Kokoda Trail and ensure you have an unforgettable wartime historical and cultural experience.

Charlie has led more than 90 expeditions across the Kokoda Trail over the past 26 years.

He previously served in the Australian Army for 21 years. During this time he saw active service in Vietnam; was assigned to the joint Australian, New Zealand and British (ANZUK) Force in Singapore/ Malaysia from 1970-72, and as an exchange instructor in Airborne Logistics with the United States Army from 1977-78. He is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College.

Why choose Adventure Kokoda?

Why is Kokoda so important?Dive into the History