The Kokoda track ( trail is an american term ) was made famous in world war II after a relative small number of allied soldiers held back, stalled and eventually drove back the japanese army in bitter fighting, mostly in the latter part of 1942. The allied soldiers were given assistance by the local people , often referred to as "fuzzy wuzzy angels" by the men that they helped, often at great personal risk. Only two times in WW2 did the japanese army retreat in ww II and the allied soldiers that engaged the japanese were at no time out numbered less than four to one.
If you decide to walk this track you need to be prepared, do not make the mistake and think it is a walk in the park, it is hard work and a lot of climbing and decending in hot wet slippery conditions, leaches,snakes,spiders and mosquitos are the order of the day, you will need anti malaria medication so see your doctor before you go well in advance. comprehensive first aid kit is a must along with one set of daytime walking clothes and night time sleeping clothes. You will need a decent set of well worn in boots that are waterproof with good grip as there are a lot of slippery river crossings. Make sure you choose a reputable touring company that has local guides. If you want to get more of a history lesson about the battles and sacrifices that that took place it might pay to get an Australian guide, They cost a lot more but can answer a lot of the questions that the locals are not really passionate about or are slightly vague about ( english is sometimes poorly spoken by the locals). make sure the company you choose has permits for the landowners. all the villages have radio contact with each other along the way and know who has and does not have these. if you do not have a permit you will often not be alllowed to use the land to camp on.
Respect the local people, If you choose to get a porter (highly recomended) and tip them well they will look after you like you are one of there children, this helps a lot when you have been hiking in the mud for 8 hours strait .
Research the track before you leave, if you study some of the history before you go you will find the trip more rewarding and the experience mind blowing. ( Bill James field guide is what I used and it explains a lot ).
In summary, It is not easy, do not attempt this if you are unfit, you will not make it and will have to be hellicoptered out at your own expence. the facilities are basic at best, there is no electricity, hot water or modern sanitation but if you have locals in your group they will show you where to get fresh water from, they will boil it up for you and also get you fresh fruit and other food as required, it is not much by western standards but gold when you are walking along the track and need a small luxury. Take you time to soak up the history of the place, think of the sacrifice of the soldiers and remember the war dead ( there are graves scattered all over the track from wwII and even memorials for treckers who have died in recent times ), If you prepare will it will be the experience of a life time, you will bond with the local people, sing their songs and be welcomed into their villages, immerse yourself in their culture and be better for the experience.
I had the time of my life and would recomend it to anyone. definitely something to do before you die.
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