The Kokoda Track is a long, thin track cut through the dense vegetation of Papua New Guinean rugged mountain terrain.
Conditions on the Kokoda Track were appalling for both the Australian and Japanese soldiers in 1942. The narrow dirt track climbed steep on heavily timbered mountains, and then descended into deep valleys choked with dense rain forest. The steep gradients and the thick vegetation made movement difficult, exhausting, and at times dangerous. Razor-sharp kunai grass tore at soldiers clothing and slashed their skin. The average annual rainfall over most of the Kokoda Track is about 5 meters (16 feet), and daily rainfalls of 25 centimeters (10 inches) are not uncommon. When these rains fell, dirt tracks quickly dissolved into calf-deep mud which exhausted the soldiers after they had struggled several hundred meters through it. Small streams in mountain quickly became almost impassable torrents when the rains began to fall.
Supply was a nightmare, because every item of food, ammunition and equipment had to be man-handled along the track or dropped by air. Heat, oppressive humidity, mosquitoes and leeches added to the discomfort of the rain-drenched soldiers who were often without adequate food.
If you wish to find out more about this turning point campaign you can do it by following this link.
You could also use longer but very detailed and informative articles Kokoda Trail 1 and Kokoda Trail 2.
Track or Trail
Although the official name is “Kokoda Trail” we have chosen to use “Kokoda Track”. The company feels that the word “track” is more Australian than “trail”. If you look at the attached photographs you will note that on one side of the entry arch at Owers’ Corner says “Trail” while the other says “Track”.
Owers’ Corner to Kokoda or Kokoda to Owers’ Corner
This is a personal choice but for some reason people believe it is “easier” going from Kokoda to Owers’ Corner. No matter which way people travel it is still strenuous. The advantages of going from Owers’ Corner to Kokoda are as follows:
- The Australian Troops all left from the southern end and as such you will be following in their footstep’
- You actually finish at Kokoda Station and not Ower’s Corner where there is only a park
- You will spend a night and a day at Kokoda which will give you plenty of time to visit the Museum.
- It is safe walking around Kokoda Station where you will not see any razor wire
- The cost of staying at Kokoda compared to Port Moresby is considerably less
- It is most relaxing sitting on the lawn of the guesthouse with a cold beer or other beverage
- You will have time here to give your gear a thorough cleaning to comply with Customs. This is easier in Kokoda than in a motel room at Port Moresby
- You will be able to purchase artifacts from the people of Kokoda. Traditional items such as bilums handmade from natural fibres can be purchased with prior notice
- This is a great opportunity to mix with the local people which you will not be able to do in Port Moresby
Having said the above the company will organize a trek either way. The cost of staying in Port Moresby is extra to the company’s quoted price.