The affairs on the 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 of people who’ve walked it, or have had something to do with it over the years as far as its name is concerned.
So to be absolutely clear, 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.
But during the war, the native overland crossing that brings together the northern and southern half of PNG was alluded to as trail, track or road so there was no concrete name for it. Many Australian veterans referred to it as merely ‘The Track” based on the notion that trail was more of an American term.
Similarly, the track is cited by the locals as ‘uda dala’ or ‘bush rot’ meaning a road through the bush in Motu and Pidgin respectively.
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.