Why You Walk the Kokoda Trail on Anzac Day

Australians in their hordes flock to walk the Kokoda Trail around Anzac Day than at any other time of the year while many more attend dawn services around the country and in far-afield places like Anzac Cove in Gallipoli and  Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front. This is because Anzac Day is such an important day on our yearly calendar where we pause to think of and thank all those who served and are serving in the defence of our country – especially those who fought along the Kokoda Trail and in New Guinea.

The infamous wartime track has captured the hearts of so many people despite not having the fame and attention of its paternal predecessors. It’s an important destination that hold’s a special place in the military history archives of our society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs Anzac portal, it’s an icon of Australian participation in the Second World War.

A Ross Bastiaan plaque on the battle of Templeton’s Crossing

Remember our servicemen and commemorate their service

Over 2000 Australians were killed during the battle of Kokoda. They are buried in beautifully manicured graves at the Bomana War Cemetery on the outskirts of Port Moresby and in war cemeteries around Papua New Guinea.

Papuan and British servicemen who lost their lives fighting the Japanese in New Guinea are also buried at Bomana alongside their Australian counterparts.

They were simple people like the rest of us – people in our neighbourhoods and households – fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, nephews and cousins who put up their hand to serve their country. And so their legacy of selfless courage and active service must always be commemorated and remembered.

Bomana War Cemetery on the outskirts of Port Moresby

Be part of the growing number of trekkers on the Kokoda Trail

The number of trekkers doing Kokoda on Anzac Day is growing. From what we can see, it’ll only get bigger and better from here as more Australians begin to appreciate its significance (Anzac Day) and see the need to embark on a Kokoda trek around this time of the year.

There’s also a burgeoning interest among Australians with relatives who’ve served  in WW1 and WW2 like those in New Guinea, Turkey and northern France.

Patrick Mugliston from Sydney said, “My great uncle Private Thomas Daly Mugliston (known as Daly) was an Anzac who died in WWI. I want to honour his memory and that of his mates who gave up so much (everything) for our safety. The tour pretty much is a ‘must do’ for me. Daly was not in Papua New Guinea but was wounded three times in Europe and in fact died of illness on 01 December 1916 Pozieres, Somme Sector, France. I know it is what he would want me to do.”

Private T.D. Mugliston (Image courtesy of Patrick Mugliston & Australian War Memorial)

Go back to WW2 and experience the real Kokoda

Doing Kokoda on Anzac Day will take you back in time to WW2. You’ll be led by our very own Australian Army trek leaders who’ll  take you on guided tours of battle sites and give you a run-down on how the fighting occurred. You’ll get to walk actual positions that were defended and assaulted by adversaries from both sides, and picture the pandemonium, carnage and bloodshed that claimed the lives of so many.

Kokoda Trail Expeditions tour group set up camp for the night

On the trek, you’ll attend a dawn service at Isurava battlefield to remember all Australians who fought and fell fighting the Japanese, like Private Bruce Kingsbury VC of the 2/14th Battalion. You’ll stand tall – arm in arm with fellow Aussies during the service as you commemorate, remember and pay your respects in a very sombre and profound atmosphere.

A Kokoda Anzac Day trek isn’t just about military history and commemorations because you’ll spend 10-12 fabulously challenging days in the jungles of PNG – all the while scaling steep mountains, negotiating precipitous slopes, meandering precarious razorback ridges, treading across angry waterways,  and camping in beautiful villages and jungle campsites – surrounded by the noise of signalling wildlife, rustling foliage, crackling leaves and snapping tree branches.

Kokoda Anzac Day treks and tours

Kokoda Trail Expeditions has three Kokoda Anzac Day treks and tours scheduled for 2019:

  1. 10-Day Kokoda Anzac Day Trek, Owers’ Corner – Kokoda (south-north), 17 April – 26 April 2019;
  2. 10-Day Kokoda Anzac Day Trek, Kokoda – Owers’ Corner (north-south), 23 April – 02 May 2019; and
  3. 12-Day Kokoda Anzac Day Beachheads Trek & Tour, Owers’ Corner – Sanananda (south-north), 17 April – 28 April 2019.

Serial 3 includes a tour of the battle sites of Buna, Sanananda and Gona on the northern beachheads and a village stay at Sanananda.

For more information and booking enquiries, click here to contact us or you can call us directly on 045 079 1314 or (02) 8958 8813

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