Day 5: Templeton’s Crossing to Kagi Village via the Kokoda Gap, Tovovo Ridge and Kagi Gap
After Reveille, breakfast and pack-up your trek leader will check your welfare then give you a detailed briefing of the day ahead where you will cross the highest point of the Kokoda Trail on the Owen Stanley Range.
You will then trek up towards the Boili Mail Exchange Point at 2005m AMSL (this is where mail carriers from Port Moresby and Popondetta exchanged their mail bags) then down to down to Crossing 1 at the junction of Eora and Wase Creeks at 1940m AMSL for morning tea.
This was the start of the Templeton’s Crossing campaign – an area that will take you around four hours to trek took our troops 13 days to fight their way through – and a further four days to capture Eora Creek.
You then trek up towards the Kokoda Gap at 2109m AMSL. Here you enter the moss forest area – this is nature’s wonderland – birds of paradise, giant pandanus trees, numerous varieties of palms, fern colonies, fungi – it is difficult to imagine that this was the scene of such a desperate battle in 1942.
You will continue trekking up towards the highest point of the trail to the east of Mt Bellamy at 2320m AMSL. Approximately 35 minutes from the Kokoda Gap is a junction with the Bert Kienzle track at 2245m AMSL which leads to the edge of Lake Myola at 2145m AMSL for lunch. This is a prairie like landscape which is an extinct volcanic crater discovered by Captain Bert Kienzle who was in search of a resupply base. He named it after his commander’s wife, ‘Myola’ – an aboriginal name meaning ‘break of day’.
From here you will trek upwards through the Moss Forest to Tovovo Ridge at 2025m AMSL then down to the Kagi Gap lookout at 1835m AMSL. The Japanese soldiers were able to see the searchlights around their objective Port Moresby from this point.
You then continue down the ridge to your campsite in Kagi Village at 1405m AMSL. Kagi has a population of approximately 120 people with an airfield, a VHF Base Radio, elementary school and health centre.