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Kokoda Trail

The Kokoda Trail saw some of the bloodiest fighting to take place during the Pacific Campaign of WWII. On 23 July 1942 the Japanese landed at Buna on the north-east coast of Papua New Guinea and after establishing a bridgehead pushed south across the Owen Stanley Ranges towards Port Moresby. Some 15,000 Japanese troops overwhelmed the inferior Australian forces, which retreated to Kokoda. In August 1942 the Japanese reached Kokoda, but an aerial bombardment by US and Australian forces was inconclusive. The Australians were forced to withdraw further, and on 10 September the Japanese took the Iorabaiwa Ridge, only 40 miles from Port Moresby. The southern defences remained intact and a Japanese assault was repulsed due to fierce resistance from Australian troops and incessant fragmentary bombing by the US Airforce.

On 29 September US and Australian reinforcements arrived and launched a massive counter-offensive. By the middle of October the Japanese were cleared from Iorabaiwa Ridge by troops of Australia's 25th Brigade and two weeks later they were pushed back beyond Kokoda Airfield. Japanese troops resisted bravely; even in retreat, tactical stands made to cover withdrawals were tenaciously maintained by soldiers near starvation point.Several thousand Australian troops were staged in Port Moresby, and an extra wharf was constructed on Tatana Island to allow for the flow of logistics from ship to shore. The causeway linking Tatana to the mainland can still be seen, and a number of wrecks lie in the shallows around Hanuabada. Roads were driven inland to five airfields and military camps set in a defensive line around Port Moresby.Australian casualties on the Kokoda Trail phase of the Papuan campaign up to 16 November 1942 were approximately 100 officers and 1600 men; 35 officers and 580 men were killed. For every man killed in battle another two or three succumbed to sickness requiring hospital treatment. Malaria, scrub typhus, skin diseases and sheer exhaustion took the main toll.

The Kokoda Trail is now a peaceful place to visit, tranquil villages set along the route belie the savagery of the fighting 50 years ago. At the same time, it is recognised as one of the hardest bush walks anywhere in the world.

Moresby is also our base for trips along the Kokoda Trail. We offer two options for this incredible trek. Firstly, for people with limited time on their hands, a 4 day/3 night tour starts with an exciting charter flight from Moresby to Miaola, where you will stay for 1 night. You will then trek along the Kokoda Trail, staying in Kagi and Efogi Villages. From here you will fly back to Port Moresby. Guides will explain some of the sites visited, and porters carry all the group equipment. We recommend overnighting in village huts, rather than in tents, as this eases the load required.

For the ultimate, try the entire trail! The trip is operated on a ten night basis, with a two night rest stop at Maiola, about half way along the track This high altitude valley is a peaceful retreat from the hard walking you will have.

The guides and carriers we use on the trek are drawn from villages along the trail. Their experience makes the trek more pleasant, as you will have the opportunity to meet up with their families and gain first-hand experience of life on the Kokoda Trail during WWII. Our trip includes all your food, tents and equipment. Carriers are provided to carry all the group equipment. If you do not wish to carry your own back pack then a personal porter can be provided at an additional cost. Please note that Kokoda Trail walks take some time to organise. We ask that you give us at least 1 month's notice of your desire to hike WWII's Ho Chi Minh Trail!


1 person: 1 guide, 1 porter; 2 people: 1 guide, 1 porter; 3 people: 1 guide, 2 porters; 4 people: 1 guide, 2 porters; 5 people: 1 guide, 2 porters; 6 people: 1 guide, 3 porters; 7 people: 1 guide, 3 porters; 8 people: 1 guide, 4 porters; 9 people: 1 guide, 4 porters; 10 people: 1 guide, 5 porters.

Please ask for more comprehensive details on these treks.



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