Formal discussions on whether the iconic wartime trek should be called the Kokoda Trail or Kokoda Track has been ongoing since the Second World War.
The trek that makes an incision from the coast, up through the rugged mountain peaks of the Owen Stanley Range, and across the heart of the Papua New Guinean highlands, has divided the opinions of the tens of thousands who’ve walked it, or have had something to do with it during the war years.
Kokoda Trail is the official and gazetted name used by the PNG government, the Australian Army and Australian War Memorial. According to the AWM, Kokoda Trail is also the battle honour of the campaign as determined by the Battlefield Nomenclature Committee.
During the war, the native overland crossing that brings together the northern and southern half of PNG was popularly refered to as the trail or track.
Many Australian veterans argued that it’s the Kokoda Track, and not the Kokoda Trail, as trail is more of an American term.
Among the locals, the walking track is cited as ‘uda dala’ or ‘bush rot’ meaning bush track or trail in the local Tok Pisin and Motu vernaculars.
At present, Kokoda Trail and Kokoda Track are used interchangeably, and there’s no need for reasons to support the use of either term as both are suitable.