Your adventure begins in the capital of Port Moresby. An airport arrival transfer is included. Attend a pre-trip briefing this evening at 6 pm to meet your fellow travellers, trek leader and local trekking crew. This may be followed by an optional dinner together (at your own expense).
This morning take a short, spectacularly scenic flight over the jungle canopies and craggy peaks of the Owen Stanley Range to Popondetta on a commercial flight operated by Air Niugini/Airlines PNG. The flight takes approximately 35 minutes. Upon arrival into Popondetta we take a private van to Kokoda, the starting point of our trek (approx. 5-6 hours). The distance is less than 100km, but due to the road conditions and terrain mean it is quite the journey. The ride starts with bitumen roads, but then encounters a number of creek crossings and corrugated dirt roads for the remainder of the trip. On arrival in Kokoda, be welcomed by our local trekking team and introduced to personal and food porters. You will have time to explore and visit the Kokoda Memorial and War Museum either today or tomorrow. Lunch and dinner will be provided by the trekking team and served at the guesthouse. Kokoda is a hot and humid place, but there’s a nearby river to cool off in. Weather, arrvival time and group dependent, we may trek as far as Hoi (2-3 hours) or Deniki (4-6 hours) today or tomorrow.
Commence the first full day of trekking by heading to Isurava village. Begin with a flat walk through rows of palm oil and rubber tree plantations, passing through Kovelo and Hoi villages before the first steep ascent up the Owen Stanley Range. Deniki village is 900 metres above sea level and on arrival you’re greeted with spectacular views across the Kokoda Valley. Continue on, passing through choko gardens planted by local villagers and by water holes where you can fill up your bottle. Your trek leader or porters will let you know the best fill-up points. Spend the night at Isurava, which is 1,100 metres above sea level. The village has been relocated several times since World War II, but now sits in a tranquil location with good access to water and sunshine.
The trek to Templeton’s Crossing II begins with a hike to the famous Isurava battlefield, where you’ll stop for a break. A powerful memorial built by the Australian Government commemorates the qualities of ‘Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance’. The trek continues for about two hours to the village of Alola, which sits on the mountainside overlooking Iora Valley and Auberi. The remainder of the trek to Templeton’s Crossing takes roughly five hours. This leg of the walk passes through lush rainforest and past creeks and rivers that feed directly out of mountain springs. Follow the hilly trail to Iora Creek, where you’ll enjoy a short break and can freshen up in the river. It takes a further three hours to reach Templeton’s Crossing. Upon arrival, settle into our cooperative guesthouse and perhaps swim in the fast-flowing creek. Around the guesthouse, iron rods symbolise the sites where fallen soldiers once lay.
A tough day of trekking is ahead of you today, as you climb to the highest point of the trek at Mount Bellamy. The summit is 2,200-metres above sea level and provides some spectacular views across the Owen Stanley Ranges. The track towards Digger’s Camp can be challenging, especially in wet conditions. It’s not too steep, but can be muddy and slippery. Be sure to stay close to your personal porter and follow his every step. At Digger’s Camp stay at the local village campsite, set among lush rainforest. It can get cold at night so be sure to bring base layers. After checking in, take a walk to Myola where Australian troops once dropped in supplies during the war. This is an expanse of grassland scored with winding creeks.
Today’s hike takes about six hours. Head towards the northern face of Mt Bellamy, which offers impressive views. The trek to Naduri is a long and steady descent through a lot of open Kunai grassland. After a short break at Naduri, walk the steep and slippery trail towards Efogi I. Enjoy a well-deserved break on arrival. The villagers sell a range of local fruits and foods, so be sure to carry small change with you to purchase organically grown produce. Continue on the one-hour descent to Efogi II, which is short but exhausting. It will be the middle of the day and there isn’t a lot of canopy protection, so make sure you keep hydrated and protected from the sun. Upon arrival into Efogi II, be greeted by local villagers and welcomed by the Siosi family, the owners of the cooperative guesthouse you’ll stay in. Efogi II is the largest of the Koiari villages along the trail with an estimated population of 400-500 people.
Start early this morning to make the climb up to Mission Ridge. From here there are views over Mt Bellamy, Efogi I and II and the Kagi villages. The walk to Brigade Hill from Efogi II takes 1-2 hours. Glorious views can be enjoyed from the top. On a clear day, you can see right across to Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in the region. After a long break head down the back of Mission Ridge, which is a steep and sometimes slippery path. From there it's a 40-minute climb to Menari village. In Menari, be welcomed by the local villagers, including descendents of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels - local villagers who assisted the allied soldiers as they defended the territory against the Japanese.
Kick start the day with a one-and-a-half-hour climb to the top of Menari Ridge to enjoy panoramic views towards Nauro and Brigade Hill. After a short break, tackle the steep and sometimes slippery trail down the back of the ridge for about an hour. From here enter Nauro Valley and cross the Brown River. Today is a relatively short walk. The trail can be swampy and unpleasant during the rains, but for most trekkers it should be a comfortable walk. In the evening, stay at a guesthouse in Old Nauro. Bathe in a stream before enjoying a campfire.
Tackle the Nine False Peaks to the top of Maguli Ridge this morning. This involves roughly three hours of serious uphill trekking, with a rest break in New Nauro village. From the top of the ridge, make the first of many descents today, with a rest stop at Jap’s Ladder. Continue on towards Ofi Creek. At Ofi Creek, take another break and continue on to historic Ioribaiwa. It was here that the Japanese troops fought their final victorious battle against the Australians before withdrawing. Your journey continues down the steep Ioribaiwa Ridge before picking your way across nine river and creek crossings to Uaule Creek. This is where the group will set up camp for the night.
In the morning, expect wet boots from the outset as you traverse Uaule Creek's 14 crossings. Continue with a trek up the back of Imita Ridge for about one-and-a-half hours. From here, trek down what was once known as the Golden Staircase. This was built by Australian troops during the war to transport artillery and supplies from Port Moresby. Today is a long day of trekking and a good example of why trekkers must be mentally and physically prepared for this arduous walk. From Goodwater, push on for close to three hours towards Goldie River before climbing the final hill of the trek to Owers' Corner. You have walked the Kokoda Track! Be met at Owers' Corner and transferred back to Port Moresby. Along the way visit Bomana War Cemetery, where 3,600 Australian soldiers were laid to rest at the end of World War II. In the evening, meet the trekking team for a drink at the hotel. This is a great way to wind down and reflect on your trekking adventure.
The trip ends in Port Moresby this morning after breakfast. There are no activities included on this day and you’re free to depart at any time. A departure transfer is included in the cost of your trip – please reconfirm your flight details and departure time with your leader.