Kokoda Trail Expeditions Tour Testimonials
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Read great stories from many wonderful people who trekked and toured with us in the past.
In September 2017 my brother and I visited PNG with the help of Kokoda Trail Expeditions. Our uncle John Campbell was killed in December 1942, near the village of Sanananda. For many years we had talked about visiting his grave in Bomana War Cemetery. After several months of research I was able to put together a picture of where our uncle had been during his time in PNG in 1942. I contacted John at Kokoda Trail Expeditions to ask if he could put together an itinerary for us, so that we could follow in our uncle’s footsteps. Thanks to John and his team, we were able to visit our uncle’s grave, and deliver a letter that our mother had written to him 75 years earlier. John and the team were supportive and respectful during this very emotional visit. We also drove to Ower’s Corner, through areas that our uncle had patrolled. The following day we flew over the Range to Poppondetta, seeing what had been Dobodura airfield where our uncle probably landed when his battalion was sent to fight, and the area where they would have marched. We visited 3 villages, and by talking to the locals and providing landmark descriptions found in the War Diaries, we were able to walk into the jungle to the approximate area where the fighting took place and where our uncle was killed. A highlight for us was visiting the village of Sanananda, and finding a plaque there which honoured the sacrifice made by the men of the 55/53rd. It was important to us to visit the places that had significance to us, and John understood this and planned our trip accordingly. His knowledge of the area and it’s history helped to make it a very special visit, and we felt well looked after with regard to transfers and meals. Our trip to Bomana and Sanananda is something my brother and I will always remember.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Dear Team at Kokoda Trail Expeditions,
In June 2017, I walked the Kokoda Trek with my son and his daughter in memory of my granddaughter’s great-grandfather who fought on the trek in WWII. We were part of a small group of 5 trekkers and their porters.
I would like to thank the organising team of Kokoda Trail Expeditions, and especially our guide John, for an awesome Kokoda experience! Walking the Kokoda Track was an incredible journey.
Our guide John was fantastic – he was so thoughtful, considerate, observant, and experienced. He was very supportive, particularly on the days when I struggled (as an almost 70-year-old lady). His daily briefings, as well as briefings at the battle sites, were well planned and very informative.
The local porters did an amazing job. They were very attentive to each trekker and did everything to ensure our safety and enjoyment. ‘Chef’ created interesting and tasty meals every day and I was particularly thankful for the never-ending patience and support of my porter Levi, who was with the ‘old lady’ every step of the way. I will never forget Pontic and the rest of the team trying to teach us the song ‘It’s not an easy Road’. So very appropriate for our journey and a very special memory!
My granddaughter had her 16th birthday at Eora Creek. John had organised a surprise birthday party for her, which was wonderful, especially after a gruelling day. Chef had prepared a birthday cake and the porters sang “Happy Birthday” and a number of other songs. Truly great!
How quickly one forgets the pain but remembers all the special moments. I certainly consider completing the trek as an experience of a lifetime. Our fellow trekkers were good company and easy to get along with, and the combination of physical and mental stress, coupled with the historical importance of the track and unbelievable beauty of the area where we trekked, made the whole experience a dream come true.
I would honestly say that I would not change one aspect of the entire experience. We definitely chose the right group to go with. Well done Kokoda Trail Expeditions!
I’m a woman of 57 years. On 19th August 2016, I have just completed the most moving and memorable experience of my lifetime, trekking the Kokoda Trail from Owers’ Corner to Kokoda with Kokoda Trail Expeditions. Our Guide leader Arthur Danny was absolutely exceptional with his organisation and care, from the moment we flew into PNG to the time we entered through Customs to return to Australia 12 days later- he was guiding our every step. His vast and informative knowledge of the battle sites and history of the trail was exceptional, which he gladly shared with us and answered any questions we had.
The team of porters were an absolute joy to be with – always smiling and happy to offer help at any moment of need, even when I thought I was okay, if it wasn’t my amazingly patient personal porter Marcus’ hand to hang on to, there was always another there to give me support, always giving encouragement and a boost. The creation of filling, tasty and absolutely mouthwatering meals has me salivating now remembering and the cleanliness was exceptional. Our safety and care was always a top priority. You really do need to train and get as physically fit before you go.
Both physically and mentally challenging, an emotional roller coaster, the awareness and understanding of the dire and tragic circumstances our soldiers had to endure to maintain our freedom is truly inspirational and a true eye-opener – it doesn’t matter how much you read, you really need to experience it to truly understand. The welcoming from the people in the villages, the laughter and smiles of the people and the children, the harmonious songs and hymns we were so blessed to hear, they enveloped our group into their harmony of care and friendship, and the memories will be held in my heart for life.
I have nothing but praise for Kokoda Trail Expeditions – everything was perfectly organised, we had no injuries – the days were enduring and challenging but filled with information, encouragement and mateship – the best time of my life. Thank you John, Raphaella, Arthur, Michael, Danny, Marcus, Danny G, Mossy, Ray, Kahles, Graham. I cannot put the depth of my feelings of gratitude and thanks into words…You’re all in my heart forever. Ros
NEW SOUTH WALES
As part of our training for Kokoda, myself and the others in our group joined a local bushwalking club as well as organising a two-day overnight hike from Jenolan Caves to Katoomba. This was a great asset so as to do a shakedown camp to test out our endurance and equipment.
I also joined a local gym and was able to modify my training. I was also walking my local course of 9.2 km which had a reasonable elevation on which I was able to increase my backpack load to build up my endurance. I must admit I did have a setback from my training as I managed to damage my Achilles due to the increased workload. After many consultations with my physio and dry needle therapy, I was able to work out the correct method of exercise and ankle bracing I was able to move onwards with the minimum amount of discomfort.
Finally arriving at Port Moresby and setting out from Owers’ Corner. We found the cemetery at Bomana very moving as one of us was able to place a tribute to the grave of her husband’s uncle. I and another each had a photo of a soldier (The lucky ones that returned) we were asked to carry for the duration of the trek. This made for interesting conversation with other trekkers we met along the way. We were most fortunate to have the co-operation of Kokoda Trail Expeditions (who sponsored us with an additional porter to carry the supplies we managed to seek from a local firm) for distribution to eight schools along our route.
I have the greatest admiration for the group of porters and were lucky enough to be able to work and play with them. To see a porter load up his pack with about 23kg, and with one hand assist his trekker, and whilst in the other hold a plastic shopping bag with 2 dozen eggs and not break one egg.
Sure the hike was tough in places, but the views and the entering of another village was both a delight and breathtaking. There is not one highlight but many that will remain with me for a long time. The night the boys sang an impromptu recital, their harmony and tone had us in tears. The night we were able to meet the leader’s family, who travelled to Kagi when I made our special presentation, then the village sang for us a most moving song “The Kokoda Track is a hard Track.” Not sure if this is the correct name.
There were some sombre moments like the Bomana War Cemetery and the crash site of a Boston aircraft or the markers of Australian soldiers at Brigade Hill.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Before undertaking this trek, I had read about the track and the anticipated difficulties of the steep inclines and declines, along with mud. Nonetheless, I was keen to take on the adventure for the challenge and to honour our Aussie Diggers and the fabulous Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
Apart from continuing my normal fitness regime, I joined a bushwalking club, which proved to be the best preparation for the trek.
The Kokoda track was fantastic. It had it all. Steep inclines to test you physically. Steep declines to test your concentration and in between beautiful rainforests and views over outstanding valleys and mountain ranges. Turn another corner and there are creeks, rivers and then a village.
The ultimate advice from my personal porter was to take small steps and step where he has stepped. With that approach every climb and descent was achievable and they (porters) were always there to help, if required.
We had the fantastic opportunity to get to know the porters and interact as a group, learning about their lives as porters and when they were living in their village near the track. We even met some of their family members at different times along the track, which was great.
It is one thing to read and hear about what transpired between the Australian and Japanese forces. But to be there, see the actual locations, and view the terrain they had to contend with, just puts it all into perspective.
An additional benefit organised by our guide was to have the time and the chance to interact with locals at two of the larger villages, being Menari and Kagi. The interaction with the children, the schools and some of the parents were just fabulous.
A big thank you to Arthur and his team of porters. The entire team was fantastic and they even agreed to sing us some of their favourite songs. What a treat!
Thanks Kokoda Trail Expeditions
NEW SOUTH WALES
I have always had a keen interest in Australia’s involvement in WWII. With the events in Papua New Guinea and particularly the Kokoda Track, the opportunity to walk the trail and try to obtain an understanding of the environment and situation that the soldiers of the 2nd AIF were placed in, was the chance of a lifetime.
There is a need to build up your fitness to be able to walk the 96km from Kokoda Village to Owers’ Corner. To walk the track with the guides and meet some local people from the villages was an experience I will never forget. The ability to wage war in this terrain, in places where the track may have been only 2 to 3 meters wide before dropping off steeply on both sides, would have been a harrowing experience. To actually be there on the track and see the remnants of the fighting pits, the relics in some of the villages, including helmets, rifle barrels, and used ammunition casings places a perspective of what occurred along this.
I recommend that any Australian who has the opportunity to complete this trek with Kokoda Trail Expeditions, grasp the chance eagerly and you will fully understand and acknowledge what the men of both Australia and Papua New Guinea sacrificed.
The Kokoda Trail is a living monument to the courage displayed by Australian troops and the people of Papua New Guinea in World War II. To stand where Kingsbury died resisting a fierce Japanese attack and earning himself a VC; or to stop at a rock so flat that the surgeon conducted emergency battlefield operations on it, is a truly sobering experience. The memorial at Isurava is a beautiful and fitting reminder of this history. The people of Papua New Guinea that you meet along the Track are amazingly hospitable.
Kokoda Trail Expeditions guides and porters are invaluable with their strength and local knowledge. They are especially good for a laugh and a song around the campfire at night. The people in the villages welcome you into their homes as if you were a long-lost relative. The children flock to greet you and there is nothing like the joys of children laughing and playing to ease the burden of a tough day on the Track.
We thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the companion of all. We were well led, well carried, well guided, well fed and well cared for. Kokoda Trail Expeditions were very professional and provided good “toktok” (briefs in Tok Pidgin). The locals were very welcoming along the way and sold us good fruit and vegetables. The trek staff were especially good and are to be commended.
I would very much recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions. It provided a balanced approach to the trail, its origins, its history and the Kokoda Campaign of 1942/43. It gave an insight to the Papuan, Koiari, Motu Koitabu and Oro Kaiva way of life along the trail before and since the Campaign. Walking the trail emphasised to me the special relationship between PNG and Australia.
Dr R. Crittenden
Bovey Tracey / Newtown Abbot
I really enjoyed myself while spending time on the track. The guide and porters were welcoming, helpful and great company. Having a group of our own meant we could connect quickly. I loved getting to know the guys and their Papuan ways (including the food!) – fantastic walking holiday!
I would definitely recommend this trek to people. It has been such a very good experience with the perfect balance of exercise and knowledge. The guide and porters gave us an insight into both the traditional ways of village life and the soldiers and natives experiences of 1942/43. Any questions we had were always answered with interesting detail.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
I visited Buna, Sanananda and Gona, and was able to see many wartime sites, equipment and artefacts. The local people were amazingly friendly, offering food, drink and information. Some small museums provided insights into wartime activities and procedures. The trip by boat from Oro Bay was excellent. I also visited Kokoda, proceeding by road from Popondetta. This allowed me to see all aspects of the country life of the local citizens as well as a wide variety of scenery. The visit to Kokoda was special and as I am an ex-serviceman, I found the various memorials to have quite an emotional effect on me. A really fantastic experience!
I was considering doing another tour and would certainly recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to other people. Every booking including six aircraft flights, accommodation and meals worked without a problem. The guide and tour representatives in Popondetta were the most caring and concerned people and made my visit an experience to remember. Wonderful people!
I should also mention how impressed I was with my short association with Arthur in Port Moresby. A great gentleman!
A tough but totally enjoyable wilderness experience. Much of the enjoyment came from the knowledge we were in safe hands with a friendly and capable trekking team. This became apparent when dealing with unexpected changes and conditions and was much appreciated. I felt the trekking guides Arthur, Danny and Kennett, in particular, went the extra mile ensuring we were kept safe and injury free in very difficult conditions. In hindsight, I would have prepared more thoroughly and allowed an extra day or two (ours was a 5-day trek).
I would trek again and recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to other Australians. Although challenging, this trek was well organised, safe and enjoyable. The scenery was spectacular, accommodation excellent, trekking campsites well maintained and friendly people. A unique trekking experience.
The trek is suitable for people with or without good prior knowledge of the history, but equally rewarding as a pure trekking experience.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Physically and psychologically demanding. Overall, enjoyed the experience made possible with the fantastic team. I would trek again and recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to other Australians, as it was suggested to me by a friend and I would do the same.
NEW SOUTH WALES
The trek was fantastic – beautiful views, flora, fauna, rivers and streams. The trek was tough but certainly manageable. The team was really friendly and supportive, and the food was great. Kenny was a standout, always professional, great chef and very considerate when I became ill on day 8. The accommodation was great, tents were okay in the rain but the huts were a much better answer. Arthur allowed me to call home once which was much appreciated. Please allow this to happen in the future – it was inspiring!
I would definitely recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to other Australians. Kokoda was a sensational achievement for me personally and I’m sure other Australians would find Kokoda Trail Expeditions tour just as fulfilling. We didn’t bring our cups, cutlery and plates and they let us use theirs which was greatly appreciated.
I always felt the team had a firm grip on the day’s schedule and always felt like I was safe and in good hands. A big thanks to Arthur, Ray, Tom and the team.
The trek was a hard walk but very rewarding in many ways. I learnt about the efforts made by both natives and Australian troops in the war and how close the Japanese actually got.
I learnt how native village life is and we sampled the local food. The guide and porters were extremely helpful and were very knowledgeable about the Kokoda Trail. I would recommend this company to everyone I know as I really enjoyed myself.
NEW SOUTH WALES
The trek was an adventure of a lifetime, well organised by Kokoda Trail Expeditions made me feel very safe as a female trekker. I learnt so much about the history of the area, as well as about myself. I’ve walked out the other side with nothing but a stronger body and mind and some great memories.
I would trek again – maybe! I would only trek again if I were able to test myself and see how fast I could complete the trek in. Cost is a factor to me also. I would recommend Arthur (my local guide) and the boys – they are so fantastic at what they do, cook good food and kept me from falling on my butt. Well organised and very helpful boys.
It’s hard to pick the best moment on the trail but I guess there were two: Meeting the old Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, and the feeling of finishing the trek. We felt a bit sore by the end but it was worth the pain though. If there’s one thing I’ll have to tell other Australians then it is the Kokoda Trail is one of the biggest challenges you’ll have to face but to visit a very important place in our history makes it all worth it. Go and do it!
Kokoda Trail Expeditions guide and porters all stood out, helped more than they needed and were always great entertainment. I recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to others. We were well guided and looked after. Top tour group!
The trek was an amazing experience.
A challenge both mentally and physically from start to finish. It was tough but manageable. Ray, my personal porter was a huge help – I would recommend a personal porter. At times, I didn’t think I could have completed the trek without Ray’s help.
All the guides and porters help were fantastic. They made me feel safe and entertained us the whole time. Kenny was a star – great chef! The food was very good – different meals everyday. The only disappointing part was we left our own cups and plates behind but the porters let us use theirs which was greatly appreciated. Overall, it was a fantastic trek – the experience made better by the great group of porters we had. A huge thanks to Arthur, Kenny, Ray, Tom and the boys.
I would have no problems recommending Kokoda Trail Expeditions to any friends or family in Australia. I felt safe and enjoyed the trek – it was a great experience for myself and one I’ll remember for a lifetime.
You cannot go wrong with using Arthur, Kenny, Ray and the boys as porters – they were brilliant!
The entire trip was an amazing challenge but meeting the old man, reaching Isurava and crossing under the three arches at the end was the best moment for me on the trail. I tried not to but fell on my hip, was unpleasant, but I put all that behind me and continued to enjoy the experience. If there’s one thing I’d tell other Australians planning on doing the Kokoda Track, it is ‘just do it!’ Everyone knows it is tough but all the pain is well worth it, plus it’s an amazing country to see and lovely people.
The Kokoda Trail Expeditions team were great, were all fantastic but one person who kept us entertained was Max or ‘Mad Max’. He’s an awesome character and very funny. His barking like a dog was a standout.
I would absolutely recommend Kokoda Trail Expeditions to other Australians, as long as they train thoroughly for it.
C. Moore (Col)