Back Track’s sensible itinerary allows enough time to explore all the battle and historical sites, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Kokoda Campaign and as well, meet the locals and obtain an insight into village culture on our Sabbath rest day in Naduri Village. Our sensible itinerary will not detract from the overwhelming sense of challenge and achievement. Our Australian Trek Leader and Local Guides will ensure the smooth and safe operation of the trek.

The majority of our teams trek in a North to South direction, Kokoda to Owers Corner.
Occasionally we trek in a South to North direction, Owers Corner to Kokoda.

There are itinerary variations for all our Anzac Day treks – click on your relevant tab below to see the itinerary overview and the detailed itinerary.

North to South

Campaign Itinerary OverviewNorth to South, Kokoda to Owers Corner.
(Teams 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20).

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and overnight at the very comfortable Lamana Hotel. Group briefing late afternoon.
Day 2 (Trek day 1) Scheduled Flight to Popondetta. Drive to Kokoda Village via war time road/track. Explore Kokoda. Short acclimatising walk to Hoi Village. (BLD)

Day 3

(Trek day 2) Trek to and camp at Alolo Village via Isurava Battlefield. (BLD)
Day 4

(Trek day 3) Trek to Templeton’s Crossing via the Japanese Forest Fort at Eora Creek. (BLD)

Day 5 (Trek day 4) Climb Mt Bellamy, then trek to our camp at Naduri Village via Myola Lakes. (BLD)
Day 6

(Trek day 5) Enjoy Sabbath in Naduri Village. (BLD)

Day 7 (Trek day 6.) Ascent of Brigade Hill and conduct commemorative ceremony on summit, view Mission Ridge, camp at Menari Village. (half day) (BLD)
Day 8

(Trek day 7) Cross the Brown River and ascend the Maguli Range to camp at Nauro Village. (BLD)

Day 9 (Trek day 8 ) Descend to Ofi Creek, then up and over Irobaiwa Ridge and camp at Ua Ule Creek. (BLD)
Day 10 (Trek day 9) Ascent and descent of Imita Ridge, site of the famed Golden Staircase, cross the Goldie River and end in Owers Corner, before heading back to Port Moresby via the Bomona War Cemetery. Celebrate tonight at awards ceremony (BL)
Day 11

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia.(B)

Campaign Itinerary in Detail

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our comfortable accommodation at the Lamana Hotel. The hotel complex features restaurants, comfortable bar areas and fully airconditioned rooms with all facilities. A team briefing is held this afternoon to discuss final preparations for our trek. Early evening Team dinner, and to bed for a good sleep to be prepared for an early morning departure on Day 2.
Day 2 Hoi Village. Up very early, in order to meet airline requirements for the scheduled flight to the tarmac strip at Popondetta airport. From Popondetta, we travel by private vehicle along the Japanese advance route from the coast via such historic sites as Wairopi, the Kumusi River, Awala, Oivi and Gorari. On arrival at Kokoda, your leader will explain the battle history as you explore the Kokoda battle site and museum. After lunch, we have a short acclimatising walk to our first nights beautiful campsite at the small village of Hoi. Our only objective today is to relax, acclimatise and reach our first nights campsite before dark. (BLD)
Day 3 Alolo Village. We start early so we can walk at a slow and relaxed pace. The morning walk is very steep. You’ll be glad you trained hard. The scenery is spectacular with sweeping views as we trek near to the original war time village of Deniki, the site of the 39th Militia Battalion’s first defensive position after withdrawing from Kokoda.We push on for lunch at the Isurava War Memorial located at a significant point on the Isurava battle site which the Kokoda Track bisects.We inspect Kingsbury’s Rock, the site of the action which earned Private Bruce Kingsbury his Victoria Cross on 29 August 1942. During the height of the Battle of Isurava, which featured full frontal Japanese mass assaults and brutal hand to hand combat. Kingsbury, who was one of the few survivors of a platoon which had been overrun by the Japanese, immediately volunteered to join a different platoon which had been ordered to counterattack. He rushed forward firing his bren gun from his hip, clearing a path through the enemy and inflicting a number of casualties. Kingsbury was then seen to fall, shot by a Japanese sniper (near Kingsbury’s Rock) and instantly killed. His actions, in delaying the Japanese to give sufficient time for the Australians to fortify their positions, have been identified as what undoubtedly saved the Battalion Headquarters, and He was awarded the Victoria Cross as a result. A full briefing is given on the now legendary 4 day battle of Isurava. It was here that the 2/14th Infantry Battalion arrived to support the 39th Militia Battalion and the legend of ‘The Ragged Bloody Heroes’ was born. Within clear sight, and only a short distance on the other side of the valley, a parallel trail marks the locations of the 53rd Militia Battalion’s defensive actions. This track was abandoned before the onslaught of an overwhelming Japanese push up that side of the valley while the Battle at Isurava, opposite, was raging.Your Trek Leader will detail the sequence of events of the 53rd Battalion’s withdrawal and by pointing out the geography and detailing the trail networks, explain the significance of this withdrawal to the ultimate outcome of the battle at Isurava. The 2/16 Infantry Battalion despatched to bolster the 53rd Battalions defences were unable to make a significant impact on slowing the Japanese advance from that flank. The 2/16th and 53rd Battalion now found themselves having to regroup with the withdrawing forces from Isurava to commence a series of rearguard, strategic defensive actions now part of Australian military folklore. >From Isurava it’s a short walk to our guest house/camp site in Alolo Village. This afternoon, while trekking to Alolo, we will visit some very special campaign sites. (BLD)
Day 4 Templeton’s Crossing and the Japanese Forest Fort. Our walk today begins with a short, taxing descent followed by a long gradual ascent to Eora Creek battle site. We leave our packs on the main trail and ascend a short side trail to the Japanese Forest Fort. Recently another extensive section of this Forest Fort, located only a short distance further up the ridge has been revealed by the local landowners. This new section is now referred to as ‘The Lost Battlefield’.The Japanese Forest Fort which incorporates The Lost Battlefield, covers part of a high ridge with a commanding position overlooking Eora Creek. For many years now all our trekking teams have been visiting this important site. Your trek leader will explain the forts defensive significance and how the battle to capture the fort unfurled. You will explore the Japanese mountain gun and heavy machine gun positions. Still clearly visible are large quantities of munitions and artifacts. Many Australian soldiers lost their lives fighting here, before the Japanese retreated further back towards Kokoda.Until the Lost Battlefield section of the Japanese Forest Fort has been properly surveyed, documented and any human remains identified and respectfully removed for proper burial, no trekking companies will visit the higher section.The trail is always challenging today and the beauty of the jungle provides a wonderful distraction. We camp beside the creek at the battle site at Templeton’s Crossing. (BLD)
Day 5 Naduri Village. A long climb on slippery trails to our highest trek point, the Kokoda Saddle, on Mt Bellamy (2190 metres). From the Kokoda Saddle, the beautiful forest trails eventually lead us to Naduri Village. The occasional sweeping panorama adds to the beauty of our surrounds. Once on the summit of the Kokoda Saddle, depending on weather and Track conditions and available time, we may select the option to take a rarely used jungle track that was cut during the campaign by the Australians which will take us down to the Myola lakes. These dry lake beds were, at various times during both phases of the Kokoda campaign, the site of one of the Australian Army’s major supply depots. It was initially hoped that wounded would be able to be airlifted from the lake sites especially during the Australian withdrawl and that supplies would be able to be flown here to avoid the long haul by native bearers. Myola is most remembered as the site for low level dropping of provisions by the Australian Air Force. Live munitions, never recovered after misplaced air drops, can still be discovered embedded in the exposed banks of the creeks flowing across the lakes.Late afternoon we arrive in our home Village of Naduri. The Sabbath commences at sunset and continues to sunset tomorrow. Tonight we will set up our camp, have a relaxed dinner, and prepare for our rest day in Naduri tomorrow. (BLD)
Day 6

Naduri Village. After breakfast, we will be guided around Naduri Village to inspect some of Back Track’s current Trekker Assistance Programmes. We hope to be able to provide our trekkers with an insight to village life during our stay. As well this is a great time to catch up on washing clothes and resting and preparing to commence the 2nd half of our trek. After sunset tonight, we will have a small concert before we bunk down for a good nights rest. (BLD)

Day 7 Menari Village. Up early and a sad farewell to our Naduri Family. First up, we face a steep descent, followed by a steep ascent to Efogi Village 2, where we rest in the shade near the village fruit stalls. A short descent to Efogi Village 1, before we begin the slogging ascent of Brigade Hill via Mission Ridge. Beautiful views back to Naduri and Kagi Villages help distract from the heat. Your trek leader will point out the paths taken by the Japanese forces on their famous’ ‘night time lantern procession’. This now legendary procession, lit by burning lengths of cable stripped from Australian field wireless lines, was undertaken on the eve of the battle of Brigade Hill in an attempt to put fear into the hearts of the 2/27 Battalion dug in on Mission Ridge. Time is taken to explain and show how and where the Japanese managed to cut the Australian defences which eventually led to the Australian defenders having to withdraw.On a very sacred battle site on the summit of Brigade Hill, a short, dignified ceremony is conducted in honour of the soldiers and in remembrance of their bravery.As always, we follow the steep ascent of Brigade Hill with a long descent. We stay tonight, in the guest house and camp site area of Menari Village. We visit the site where the brave 39th Battalion paraded before they were withdrawn from the fight on the eve of the battle at Brigade Hill. Exhausted and on the brink of total collapse the remaining ‘Ragged Bloody Heroes’ struggled back to Port Moresby. They would return to the fight at another time. As today is also a short walking day, you will have time to explore Menari village, swim in the nearby creek and possibly meet another of the remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who lives there. (BLD)
Day 8

Nauro Village. An interesting day in differing terrain as we cross swampy flatlands, ford the Brown River and push on in the increasing heat up seemingly never ending slopes to camp at new Nauro Village high on on the Maguli Range. As we walk the Track today,you can imagine how the exhausted and wounded members of the 39th Battalion must have felt as they took this exact same route on their trek back to Port Moresby from Menari Village. It is a very humbling experience. Sunrise and sunset are beautiful from our campsite on the edge of the village. (BLD)

Day 9 Ua Ule Creek. Today’s walk begins with an ascent to the top of the Maguli Range followed by a steep descent via ‘Jap Ladder’ a major Japanese camp site and down to Ofi Creek. Then it’s up and over Irobaiwa Ridge. As we explore the Japanese positions on the southern slopes, we recall that it was here that the Japanese soldiers were pounded for the first time by Australian artillery located at Owers Corner . The Australian forces till now had no counter to the Japanese mountain guns so skillfully used against them since Isurava. The Japanese offensive/defensive positions are located on a number of trails over Irobaiwa Ridge. Your Trek Leader will show you the rarely visited Kunai grass clearing which marks the furtherest point of contact made by Australian troops with General Hori’s South Sea Forces. In this clearing a large heavily armed Japanese advance patrol was wiped out in a hastily planned ambush by an opposing Australian patrol, who luckily heard the Japanese officer talking as he moved his men down the trail. It was also on Irobaiwa Ridge, with Port Moresby nearly in sight, that General Hori received orders directly from the Emperor, to withdraw. With major shortages of munitions, food and reinforcements and being pounded by Australian artillery and harassed by well equipped Australian patrols, the Japanese army retreated with the Australians in hot pursuit.This afternoon the Track continuously crosses Ua Ule creek leading to our final nights camp beside the creek with a welcoming swimming hole nearby. Our campsite clearing is completely surrounded by high rainforest trees which form a perfect frame for the star filled sky at night. (BLD)
Day 10 Port Moresby Our final half days walk starts with the steep ascent and then the descent of Imita Ridge.This is the site of what was known as the ‘Golden Staircase’. There are 3 paths from the Goldie River to the summit of Imita Ridge. Each were used by the Australian forces. The steeper sections were improved by cutting steps and reinforcing them with timbers cut from the forest. Today the timber reinforcing has long since rotted away.There are those who believe (and diary records to support the view) that there were several staircases constructed on steeper sections of these early ridges encountered on the trek towards Kokoda. We push on via major Australian army supply sites and after we cross the Goldie River, it’s a steep 40 minute hike till we triumphantly arrive at Owers Corner and our awaiting transport, a cold drink and lunch. On the way to Port Moresby, we stop at Bomana War Cemetery, where Australian soldiers who died in the Kokoda campaign and in other campaigns in the Pacific have been laid to their final rest. This visit is the final tribute we pay to these brave soldiers before our return home tomorrow. We’ve done it! Back to Port Moresby for a swim in the hotel pool, clean up and prepare for a final nights celebration at the hotel. A personalised Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing will be presented to all Team members at dinner tonight. (BL)
Day 11 Home Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. WELCOME HOME. (B)

 

South to North

Campaign Itinerary OverviewSouth to North, Owers Corner to Kokoda
(Teams 9, 12, 19)

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival. Overnight at the Lamana Hotel. Group briefing this afternoon.
Day 2 (Trek day 1) Depart by road for Owers Corner and commence trek to first camp at Goodwater. We visit Bomana War Cemetery enroute to Owers Corner. (BLD)

Day 3

(Trek day 2) Trek to Irobaiwa Village. (BLD)
Day 4

(Trek day 3) Trek to Nauro Village via  Ofi Creek and Maguli Range. (BLD)

Day 5 (Trek day 4) Trek to Menari Village via Brown River. (BLD)
Day 6

(Trek day 5) Trek to Naduri Village via Brigade Hill and Efogi. Commemorative Ceremony held on Brigade Hill. (BLD)

Day 7 (Trek day 6) Trek over the Kokoda Gap, the highest point of our trek and camp at Templetons Crossing  (BLD)
Day 8

(Trek day 7) Trek to Isurava battlefield via the Japanese Forest Fort at Eora Creek. (BLD)

Day 9 (Trek day 8) Trek to Kokoda Station. (BLD)
Day 10 (Trek day 9) Drive to Popondetta and fly to Port Moresby. Celebration and certificate presentation tonight. (B)
Day 11

(Trek day 10) Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia.(B)

Campaign Itinerary in Detail

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our very comfortable accommodation Lamana Hotel. The hotel complex features restaurants, comfortable bar areas and modern fully air-conditioned rooms with all facilities. A Team briefing is held this afternoon to discuss final preparations for our trek. Early evening Team dinner, then off for a good nights sleep to prepare for our early morning departure on Day 2.
Day 2 Goodwater Camp. Depart Port Moresby for Owers Corner . Stop at Bomana War Cemetery enroute. To assist with acclimatisation to trekking, today we  cross the Goldie River and only walk a short distance to our 1st night’s camp site at Goodwater. (BLD)
Day 3 Irobaiwa Village. We start early so we can walk at a slow and relaxed pace. First up,we face the steep ascent and descent of  Imita ridge.  It was on Imita Ridge that the Australians dug in for what they thought was to be their last stand against the advancing Japanese forces. The Australians had been blasted out of their hurriedly dug defences above Ofi Creek on Irobaiwa Ridge, by a well located Japanese mountain gun. The Australians then retreated to Imita Ridge and were now not prepared to give another inch. It was at this point that the Japanese forces were ordered to retreat and the second phase of the Kokoda campaign commenced which involved the Aussies pushing the Japanese back onto the northern beaches where they had landed 6 months earlier. After lunch at Ua-Ule Creek, we follow the creek during the afternoon and then commence the ascent of Irobaiwa Ridge to our campsite half way up at Irobaiwa Village. (BLD)
Day 4 Nauro Village. After breakfast, we finish the ascent of Irobaiwa Ridge and the steep descent to Ofi Creek.  After a refreshing swim in the creek, we  commence the long ascent of the southern slopes of the Maguli Range, followed by a short descent to Nauro Village which is half way down the northern slopes of the range As the Australians retreated, ascending and descending the long never ending slopes of the Maguli Range broke the heart of many an exhausted soldier.  (BLD)
Day 5 Menari Village.  We complete the descent of the southern slope of the Maguli Range and enter the swampy land of the Brown River flood plain. Depending on water levels our crossing of the Brown River is always exhilarating and fun.  From the flood plains it is a short steep ascent and descent to Menari Village. (BLD)
Day 6

Naduri Village. Today is a longish day. We commence early with the long gradual ascent of Brigade Hill. On the summit,which is a sacred war site,  we will conduct a brief Commemorative Ceremony.  From the summit it is a lovely walk down to Efogi Village where we will have lunch. After lunch a short sharp ascent to Efogi 2, then it is down again and up the next spur to our Home Village of Naduri.(BLD)

Day 7 Templetons Crossing 2. Today we cross the Kokoda saddle the highest point of our trek at 2190 metres. If time permits and the weather and conditions are right, we may be able to travel via the Myola lakes. Once we cross the Kokoda Gap, we descend into Eora Creek valley on the northern side of the Owen Stanley ranges. Our campsite is beautifully located on the side of this fast running creek. (BLD)
Day 8

Isurava Battlefield camp site. From our campsite deep in the bottom of this narrow steep sided valley, we trek on to inspect  a large Australian army munitions dump site and  the Japanese positions in the Eora Creek Forest Fort.  After we explore the lower areas of the fort, it is a long but relatively easy trek through thick forest and a short steep ascent to Alolo Village.  It is then a relatively easy walk to our beautiful camp site at the Isurava  Battlefield memorial. (BLD)

Day 9 Kokoda Station. Up early for our last full days trekking. It is a long continuous descent all day.  Once we arrive on the valley floor and enjoy a refreshing swim in the creek at Hoi Village,  a short walk brings us to the end of our trek at Kokoda. There is time to inspect the museum and the battle area. A farewell party with our crew is held tonight. (BLD)
Day 10 Port Moresby. We depart early by truck for Popondetta airfield , approximately 4 hours drive towards the coast. Here we board our scheduled Air Niugini flight and on arrival at Port Moresby we head to our hotel to clean up and prepare for our last night’s celebrations. Your certificate of completion will be awarded to you at dinner tonight. (B)
Day 11 Home Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. WELCOME HOME. (B)

ANZAC DAY: North to South 12 days

2018 ANZAC Day  Itinerary OverviewNorth to South, Kokoda to Owers Corner

12 Days from Australia – Celebrate Anzac Day on historic  Irobaiwa Ridge. Teams 1 and 2.

ANZAC DAY TEAMS 1 and 2: Monday 16 April – Friday 27 April 2018
Day 1 Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and overnight at the very comfortable Lamana Hotel. Group briefing late afternoon.
Day 2 (Trek day 1) Scheduled Flight to Popondetta. Drive to Kokoda Village via war time road/track. Lunch at Kokoda. Explore Kokoda. Short acclimatising walk to Hoi Village. (BLD)
Day 3 (Trek day 2) Trek to camp at Alolo Village via Isurava Battlefield. (BLD)
Day 4 (Trek day 3) Trek to Templeton’s Crossing , via the Japanese Forest Fort at Eora Creek. (BLD)
Day 5 (Trek day 4) Climb Mt Bellamy, then trek to Naduri Village, our home village, via Myola Lakes. (BLD)
Day 6 (Trek day 5) SABBATH. Rest day in Naduri Village. (BLD)
Day 7 (Trek day 6.) Ascent of Brigade Hill and conduct commemorative ceremony on summit, view Mission Ridge, camp at Menari Village. (BLD)
Day 8 (Trek day 7) Cross the Brown River and ascend the Maguli Range to camp at Nauro Village. (BLD)
Day 9 (Trek day 8 ) Anzac Day Eve – Descend to Ofi Creek, then up and over Irobaiwa Ridge and camp at Irobaiwa village. (BLD)
Day 10 (Trek day 9) Anzac Day Dawn ceremony. Ascent and descent of Imita Ridge, site of the famed Golden Staircase and camp at Goodwater. (BLD)
Day 11 (Trek day 10)Cross the Goldie River and end in Owers Corner, before heading back to the Lamana HotelPort Moresby via the Bomana War Cemetery. Celebrate tonight at awards ceremony. (BL)
Day 12 Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. (B)

2018 ANZAC Day  Itinerary in Detail

Day 1  Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our comfortable accommodation at the Lamana Hotel. The hotel complex features, restaurants, comfortable bar areas and fully air-conditioned rooms with all facilities. A Team briefing is held this afternoon to discuss final preparations for our trek. Early evening dinner, and to bed for a good sleep to be prepared for an early morning departure on Day 2.
Day 2   Hoi Village. Up very early to meet airline requirements for the scheduled flight to the tarmac strip at Popondetta airport. From Popondetta, we travel by private vehicle along the Japanese advance route from the coast via such historic sites as Wairopi, the Kumusi River, Awala, Oivi and Gorari. On arrival at Kokoda, your leader will explain the battle history as you explore the Kokoda battle site and museum. After lunch, we have a short acclimatising walk to our first nights beautiful campsite at the small village of Hoi. (BLD)
Day 3  Alolo Village. We start early so we can walk at a slow and relaxed pace. The morning walk is very steep. You’ll be glad you trained hard. The scenery is spectacular with sweeping views as we trek near to the original war time village of Deniki, the site of the 39th Militia Battalion’s first defensive position after withdrawing from Kokoda. We push on for lunch at the Isurava War Memorial located at a significant point on the Isurava battle field. We inspect Kingsbury’s Rock, the site of the action which earned Private Bruce Kingsbury his Victoria Cross on 29 August 1942. During the height of the Battle of Isurava, which featured full frontal Japanese mass assaults and brutal hand to hand combat, Kingsbury, who was one of the few survivors of a platoon which had been overrun by the Japanese, immediately volunteered to join a different platoon which had been ordered to counterattack. He rushed forward firing his bren gun from his hip, clearing a path through the enemy and inflicting several casualties. Kingsbury was then seen to fall, shot by a Japanese sniper (near Kingsbury’s Rock) and instantly killed. His actions, in delaying the Japanese to give sufficient time for the Australians to fortify their positions, have been identified as what undoubtedly saved the Battalion Headquarters.
A full briefing is given on the now legendary 4 day battle of Isurava. It was here that the 2/14th Infantry Battalion arrived to support the 39th Militia Battalion and the legend of ‘The Ragged Bloody Heroes’ was born. Within clear sight, and only a short distance on the other side of the valley, a parallel trail marks the locations of the 53rd Militia Battalion’s defensive actions. This track was abandoned before the onslaught of an overwhelming Japanese push up that side of the valley while the Battle at Isurava, opposite, was raging. Your Trek Leader will detail the sequence of events of the 53rd Battalion’s withdrawal and by pointing out the geography and detailing the trail networks, explain the significance of this withdrawal to the ultimate outcome of the battle at Isurava. The 2/16 Infantry Battalion despatched to bolster the 53rd Battalions defences were unable to make a significant impact on slowing the Japanese advance from that flank. The 2/16th and 53rd Battalion now found themselves having to regroup with the withdrawing forces from Isurava to commence a series of rearguard, strategic defensive actions now part of Australian military folklore. From Isurava it’s a short walk to our guest house/camp site in Alolo Village. (BLD)
Day 4 Templeton’s Crossing.  Our walk today begins with a short, taxing descent followed by a long gradual ascent to Eora Creek battle site. We leave our packs on the main trail and ascend a short side trail to the Japanese Forest Fort. Recently another extensive section of this Forest Fort, located only a short distance further up the ridge has been revealed by the local landowners. This new section is now referred to as ‘The Lost Battlefield’. The Japanese Forest Fort which incorporates The Lost Battlefield, covers part of a high ridge with a commanding position overlooking Eora Creek. For many years now all our trekking teams have been visiting this important site. Your trek leader will explain the forts defensive significance and how the battle to capture the fort unfurled. You will explore the Japanese mountain gun and heavy machine gun positions. Still clearly visible are large quantities of munitions and artifacts. Many Australian soldiers lost their lives fighting here, before the Japanese retreated further back towards Kokoda. Until the Lost Battlefield section of the Japanese Forest Fort has been properly surveyed, documented and any human remains identified and respectfully removed for proper burial, no trekking companies will visit the higher section. The trail is always challenging today and the beauty of the jungle provides a wonderful distraction. We camp beside the creek at the battle site at Templeton’s Crossing. (BLD)
Day 5 Naduri Village. A long climb on slippery trails to our highest trek point, the Kokoda Saddle, on Mt Bellamy (2190 metres). From the Kokoda Saddle, the beautiful forest trails eventually lead us to Naduri Village. The occasional sweeping panorama adds to the beauty of our surrounds. Once on the summit of the Kokoda Saddle, depending on weather and Track conditions and available time, we may select the option to take a rarely used jungle track that was cut during the campaign by the Australians which will take us down to the Myola lakes. These dry lake beds were, at various times during both phases of the Kokoda campaign, the site of one of the Australian Army’s major supply depots. It was initially hoped that wounded would be able to be airlifted from the lake sites especially during the Australian withdrawal and that supplies would be able to be flown here to avoid the long haul by native bearers. Myola is most remembered as the site for low level dropping of provisions by the Australian Air Force. Live munitions, never recovered after misplaced air drops, can still be discovered embedded in the exposed banks of the creeks flowing across the lakes. Late afternoon we arrive in our home Village of Naduri. The Sabbath commences at sunset and continues to sunset tomorrow. Tonight we will set up our camp, have a relaxed dinner, and prepare for our rest day in Naduri tomorrow. (BLD)
Day 6 Naduri Village. After breakfast, we will be guided around Naduri Village to inspect some of Back Track’s current Trekker Assistance Programmes. We hope to be able to provide our trekkers with an insight to village life during our stay. As well this is a great time to catch up on washing clothes and resting and preparing to commence the 2nd half of our trek. After sunset, tonight, we will have a small concert before we bunk down for a good night’s rest. (BLD)
Day 7 Menari Village. Up early and a sad farewell to our Naduri family. First up, we face a steep descent, followed by a steep ascent to Efogi Village 2, where we rest in the shade near the village fruit stalls. A short descent to Efogi Village 1, before we begin the slogging ascent of Brigade Hill via Mission Ridge. Beautiful views back to Naduri and Kagi Villages help distract from the heat. Your trek leader will point out the paths taken by the Japanese forces on their famous ‘night time lantern procession’. This now legendary procession, lit by burning lengths of cable stripped from Australian field wireless lines, was undertaken on the eve of the battle of Brigade Hill to put fear into the hearts of the 2/27 Battalion dug in on Mission Ridge. Time is taken to explain and show how and where the Japanese managed to cut the Australian defences which eventually led to the Australian defenders having to withdraw. On a very sacred battle site on the summit of Brigade Hill, a short, dignified ceremony is conducted in honour of the soldiers and in remembrance of their bravery. As always, we follow the steep ascent of Brigade Hill with a long descent. We stay tonight, in the guest house and camp site area of Menari Village. Nearby is the site where the brave 39th Battalion paraded before they were withdrawn from the fight on the eve of the battle at Brigade Hill. Exhausted and on the brink of total collapse the remaining ‘Ragged Bloody Heroes’ struggled back to Port Moresby. They would return to the fight at another time. You may possibly meet one of the few remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who lives there. (BLD)
Day 8 Nauro Village. An interesting day in differing terrain as we cross swampy flatlands, ford the Brown River and push on in the increasing heat up seemingly never ending slopes to camp at new Nauro Village high on the Maguli Range. As we walk the Track today, you can imagine how the exhausted and wounded members of the 39th Battalion must have felt as they took this exact same route on their trek back to Port Moresby from Menari Village. It is a very humbling experience. Sunrise and sunset are beautiful from our campsite on the edge of the village. (BLD)
Day 9 Irobaiwa Village. (Anzac Day Eve) Today’s walk begins with an ascent to the top of the Maguli Range followed by a steep descent via ‘Jap Ladder’ a major Japanese camp site and down to Ofi Creek. Then it’s up and over Irobaiwa Ridge. As we explore the Japanese positions on the southern slopes, we recall that it was here that the Japanese soldiers were pounded for the first time by Australian artillery located at Owers Corner. The Australian forces till now had no counter to the Japanese mountain guns so skilfully used against them since Isurava. The Japanese offensive/defensive positions are located on several trails over Irobaiwa Ridge. Your Trek Leader will show you the rarely visited Kunai grass clearing which marks the furthest point of contact made by Australian troops with General Hori’s South Sea Forces. In this clearing a large heavily armed Japanese advance patrol was wiped out in a hastily planned ambush by an opposing Australian patrol, who luckily heard the Japanese officer talking as he moved his men down the trail. It was also on Irobaiwa Ridge, with Port Moresby nearly in sight, that General Hori received orders directly from the Emperor, to withdraw. With major shortages of munitions, food and reinforcements and being pounded by Australian artillery and harassed by well-equipped Australian patrols, the Japanese army retreated with the Australians in hot pursuit. (BLD)
Day 10 ANZAC DAY. At dawn we gather to celebrate Anzac Day in a ceremony held in the clearing at the end of the village looking towards Imita ridge and the Japanese final advance site. The walk today takes us across Ua Ule Creek and then starts the steep ascent and then the descent of Imita Ridge. This is the site of what was known as the ‘Golden Staircase’. There are 3 paths from the Goldie River to the summit of Imita Ridge. Each were used by the Australian forces. The steeper sections were improved by cutting steps and reinforcing them with timbers cut from the forest. Today the timber reinforcing has long since rotted away. There are those who believe (and diary records to support the view) that there were several staircases constructed on steeper sections of these early ridges encountered on the trek towards Kokoda. We push on to camp at Goodwater campsite (BLD)
Day 11 PORT MORESBY. It’s a steep 40 minute hike till we triumphantly arrive at Owers Corner and our awaiting transport, a cold drink and lunch. On the way to Port Moresby, we stop at Bomana War Cemetery, where Australian soldiers who died in the Kokoda campaign and in other campaigns in the Pacific have been laid to their final rest. This visit is the final tribute we pay to these brave soldiers before our return home tomorrow. We’ve done it! Back to Port Moresby to clean up and prepare for a final nights celebration at the hotel. A personalised Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing will be presented to all Team members at dinner tonight. (BL)
Day 12 Home.  Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. (B)

ANZAC Day: South to North

2018  Anzac Day Itinerary Overview – South-North, Owers Corner to Kokoda

11 Days from Australia – Celebrate Anzac Day on  Brigade Hill, Teams 5 & 6

Friday 20 April – Monday 30 April 2018

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival. Overnight at the Lamana Hotel. Group briefing this afternoon.
Day 2 (Trek day 1) Depart by road for Owers Corner and commence trek to first camp at Ua Ule  Creek. We visit Bomana War Cemetery enroute to Owers Corner. (BLD)
Day 3 (Trek day 2) Trek to NauroVillage via Irobaiwa Ridge. Range. (BLD)
Day 4 (Trek day 3) Trek to Menari Village via Brown River. (BLD)
Day 5 (Trek day 4) ANZAC DAY EVE. Trek to camp on Brigade Hill. (BLD)
Day 6 (Trek day 5) ANZAC DAY. After Dawn Anzac Day ceremony, trek to Naduri Village, our home village. (BLD)
Day 7 (Trek day 6) Trek over the Kokoda Gap, the highest point of our trek and camp at Templetons Crossing . (BLD)
Day 8 (Trek day 7) Trek to Isurava Battlefield via the Japanese Forest Fort at Eora Creek. (BLD)
Day 9 (Trek day 8) Trek to Kokoda Station via Hoi Village. (BLD)
Day 10 (Trek day 9) Drive to Popondetta and fly to Port Moresby. Celebration and certificate presentation tonight. (BL)
Day 11 Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia.(B)

2018  Anzac Day Itinerary in Detail – South-North, Owers Corner to Kokoda

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our very comfortable accommodation at the Lamana hotel. The hotel complex features restaurants, comfortable bar areas and modern fully air-conditioned rooms with all facilities. A Team briefing is held this afternoon to discuss final preparations for our trek. Early evening dinner, then a good nights sleep to prepare for our early morning departure on Day 2.
Day 2 Ua Ule Creek. Depart Port Moresby for Owers Corner. Stop at Bomana War cemetery enroute. Trek over Imita ridge to our jungle camp at Ua Ule Creek. It was on Imita Ridge that the Australians dug in for what they thought was to be their last stand against the advancing Japanese forces. Having been blasted out of their hurriedly dug defences above Ofi Creek on Irobaiwa Ridge, by a well located Japanese mountain gun, the Australians retreated to Imita Ridge and were now not prepared to give another inch. It was at this point that the Japanese forces were ordered to retreat and the second phase of the Kokoda campaign commenced which involved the Aussies pushing the Japanese back onto the northern beaches where they had landed 6 months earlier. (BLD)
Day 3 Nauro Village. We start early so we can walk at a slow and relaxed pace. We ascend the north slope and then descend the south slope of Irobaiwa ridge where we have lunch and swim in Ofi Creek. After lunch, a steep ascent of the Maguli ranges to our campsite in Nauro Village, located on the slopes below the summit on the descending trail into the Brown River valley. (BLD)
Day 4 Menari Village. After breakfast, we commence a long descent of the Maguli Range. As the Australians retreated, ascending the long never ending slopes of the Maguli Range broke the heart of many an exhausted soldier. On the northern side of the range we now enter the sometimes swampy flood plains of the Brown River. We cross the Brown River and continue over a steep spur into our campsite in the beautiful village of Menari. (BLD)
Day 5 ANZAC DAY EVE BRIGADE HILL. This morning we climb Brigade Hill, a very sacred Australian Army battle site. Here we set up camp in preparation for Anzac Day tomorrow. We share the site with other Back Track Teams. (BLD)
Day 6 ANZAC DAY CEREMONY. After our Anzac Day ceremony, currently the most remote Anzac Day ceremony held anywhere in the world,  we break camp and head for Naduri our Home village. (BLD)
Day 7 Templetons Crossing 2. Today we cross the Kokoda saddle the highest point of our trek at 2190 metres. If time permits and the weather and conditions are right, we may be able to travel via the Myola lakes. Once we cross the Kokoda Gap, we descend into Eora Creek valley on the northern side of the Owen Stanley ranges. Our campsite is beautifully located on the side of this fast running creek. (BLD)
Day 8 Isurava Battlefield. From our campsite, deep in the bottom of this narrow steep sided valley, we trek on to inspect the Japanese positions in the Eora Creek Forest Fort. Recently a new battlefield has been discovered which has been called, The Lost Battlefield. This new area is part of the Fort, however, we will not visit this new site until it has been completely surveyed. There is the possibility of recovering the remains of Japanese soldiers to be considered and the documenting of the vast array of artefacts still to be carried out. After we explore the lower areas of the fort it is a long but relatively easy trek through thick forest and a short steep ascent to Alolo Village and a short 40 minute walk to our campsite at the Isurava Memorial.(BLD)
Day 9 Kokoda Station. Up early for our last full days trekking. It is a long continuous descent all day. Once we arrive on the valley floor, we stop for a refreshing swim in the creek at Hoi Village. Then a short walk brings us to the end of our trek at Kokoda. We have ample time to inspect the museum and surrounding areas.  A farewell party with our crew is held tonight. (BLD)
Day 10 Port Moresby. We depart early by truck for Popondetta airfield, approximately 4 hours drive towards the coast. Here we board our scheduled Air Niugini flight and on arrival at Port Moresby we head to our hotel to clean up and prepare for our last night’s celebrations. Your certificate of completion will be awarded to you at dinner tonight. (B)
Day 11 Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. (B)

 

ANZAC DAY: North to South 11 days

ANZAC Day 2018 Itinerary Overview (North to South)

11 Days from Australia – Anzac Day Itinerary, Brigade Hill Service, North-South, Teams 3 and 4.

Thursday 19 April – Sunday 29 April 2018
Trekking Kokoda to Owers Corner with the Dawn Service held at Brigade Hill

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and overnight at the very comfortable Lamana Hotel. Group briefing late afternoon.
Day 2 (Trek day 1) Scheduled Flight to Popondetta. Drive to Kokoda Village via war time road/track. Lunch at Kokoda. Explore Kokoda. Short acclimatising walk to Hoi Village. (BLD)

Day 3

(Trek day 2) Trek to and camp at Alolo Village via Isurava Battlefield. (BLD)
Day 4 (Trek day 3) Trek to our camp at Templeton’s Crossing via the Japanese Forest Fort at Eora Creek. (BLD)
Day 5 (Trek day 4) Climb Mt Bellamy, cross the Kokoda Gap, then trek to and camp at Naduri Village via Myola Lakes. (BLD)
Day 6 (Trek day 5) Trek to Brigade Hill summit. Anzac Day eve. Meet up with other Back Track Teams. (BLD)
Day 7 (Trek day 6) Anzac Day Ceremony on Brigade Hill. Trek to camp at Menari Village. (BLD
Day 8 (Trek day 7) Trek to Nauro Village (BLD)
Day 9 (Trek day 8) Descend to Ofi Creek, then up and over Irobaiwa Ridge and camp at Ua Ule Creek. (BLD)
Day 10 (Trek day 9) Ascent and descent of Imita Ridge, site of the famed Golden Staircase, cross the Goldie River and end in Owers Corner, before heading back to Port Moresby via the Bomona War Cemetery. Celebrate tonight at awards ceremony (BL)
Day 11

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia (B)

ANZAC Day 2018 Itinerary in Detail

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby

Met on arrival and private transfer to our comfortable 4 star accommodation at the Lamana Hotel. The hotel complex features restaurants, comfortable bar areas and fully air-conditioned rooms with all facilities. A Team briefing is held this afternoon to discuss final preparations for our trek. Early evening Team dinner, and to bed for a good sleep to be prepared for an early morning departure on Day 2.

Day 2 Hoi Village

We fly by scheduled flight to the tarmac strip at Popondetta airport. From there we travel by private vehicle along the Japanese advance route from the coast via such historic sites as Wairopi, the Kumusi River, Awala, Oivi and Gorari. On arrival at Kokoda, your leader will explain the battle history as you explore the Kokoda battle site and museum. After lunch, we have a short acclimatising walk to our first nights beautiful campsite at the small village of Hoi. Our only objective today is to relax, acclimatise and reach our first nights campsite before dark. (BLD)

Day 3 Alolo Village

We start early so we can walk at a slow and relaxed pace. The morning walk is very steep. You’ll be glad you trained hard. The scenery is spectacular with sweeping views as we trek close to original war time village , now abandoned, of Deniki, the site of the 39th Militia Battalion’s first defensive position after withdrawing from Kokoda.We push on for lunch at the Isurava War Memorial located at a significant point on the Isurava battle site which the Kokoda Track bisects. We inspect Kingsbury’s Rock, the site of the action which earned Private Bruce Kingsbury his Victoria Cross on 29 August 1942. During the height of the Battle of Isurava, which featured full frontal Japanese mass assaults and brutal hand to hand combat, Kingsbury, who was one of the few survivors of a platoon which had been overrun by the Japanese, immediately volunteered to join a different platoon which had been ordered to counterattack. He rushed forward firing his Bren gun from his hip, clearing a path through the enemy and inflicting a number of casualties. Kingsbury was then seen to fall, shot by a Japanese sniper (near Kingsbury’s rock) and instantly killed. His actions, in delaying the Japanese to give sufficient time for the Australians to fortify their positions, have been identified as what undoubtedly saved the Battalion Headquarters, and he was awarded the Victoria Cross as a result.A full briefing is given on the now legendary 4/5 day battle of Isurava. It was here that the 2/14th Infantry Battalion arrived to support the 39th Militia Battalion and the legend of ‘The Ragged Bloody Heroes’ was born. Within clear sight, and only a short distance on the other side of the valley, a parallel trail marks the locations of the 53rd Militia Battalion’s defensive actions. This section of trail was abandoned under the onslaught of an overwhelming Japanese push up that side of the valley while the Battle at Isurava, opposite, was raging.Your Trek Leader will detail the sequence of events of the 53rd Battalion’s withdrawal and by pointing out the geography and detailing the trail networks, explain the significance of this withdrawal to the ultimate outcome of the battle at Isurava. The 2/16 Infantry Battalion despatched to bolster the 53rd Battalions defences were unable to make a significant impact on slowing the Japanese advance from that flank. The 2/16th and 53rd Battalion now found themselves having to regroup with the withdrawing forces from Isurava to commence a series of rear-guard, strategic defensive actions now part of Australian military folklore. From Isurava it’s a short walk to our guest house/camp site in Alolo Village. This afternoon, while exploring the area, we will visit some very special campaign sites. (BLD)

Day 4 Templeton’s Crossing and the Japanese Forest fort

Our walk today begins with a short, taxing descent followed by a long gradual ascent to Eora Creek battle site. We leave our packs on the main trail and ascend a short side trail to the Japanese Forest Fort. Recently another extensive section of this Forest Fort, located only a short distance further up the ridge has been revealed by the local landowners. This new section is now referred to as “The Lost Battlefield”. The Japanese Forest Fort which incorporates The Lost Battlefield covers part of a high ridge with a commanding position overlooking Eora Creek. For many years now all our trekking teams have been visiting this important site. Your trek leader will explain the forts defensive significance and how the battle to capture the fort unfurled. You will explore the Japanese mountain gun and heavy machine gun positions. Still clearly visible are large quantities of munitions and artefacts. Many Australian soldiers lost their lives here, before the Japanese fled.Until the higher section of the Japanese Forest Fort has been properly surveyed, documented and any human remains identified and respectfully removed for proper burial, no trekking companies will visit the higher section.The trail is always challenging today and the beauty of the jungle provides a wonderful distraction. We camp beside the creek at the battle site at Templeton’s Crossing. (BLD)

Day 5 Naduri Village

A long climb on slippery trails to our highest point on Mt Bellamy (2190 metres). From the Kokoda Saddle, the beautiful forest trails eventually lead us to Naduri Village. The occasional sweeping panorama adds to the beauty of our surrounds. From the Kokoda saddle we have an option to trek to Naduri via the Myola lakes. This option is always subject to time and Track conditions. The dry lake beds at Myola were at various times during both phases of the Kokoda campaign the site of one of the Australian Army’s major supply depots. It was initially hoped that wounded would be able to be airlifted from the lake sites especially during the Australian withdrawal and that supplies would be able to be flown here to avoid the long haul by native bearers. Myola is most remembered as the site for low level dropping of provisions by the Australian Air Force. Live munitions, never recovered after misplaced air drops can still be discovered embedded in the exposed banks of the creeks flowing across the lakes. Naduri Village is the home village for the majority of our trek crew. (BLD)

Day 6  Brigade Hill -Anzac Day Eve.

An easy day as we descend to the creek below Naduri and commence a short steep ascent to Efogi 2  village. After a rest stop, we descend to Efogi 1 Village and then face the climb up to the summit of Brigade Hill where we will meet up with other Back Track Teams. (BLD)

Day 7 Menari Village

This morning at dawn, we celebrate Anzac Day, This remembrance ceremony is the most remote Anzac Day ceremony in the world. After a combined breakfast with the other Teams, we say our farewells and head off again. Beautiful views await us today as we begin the slogging descent of Brigade Hill. We trek through to Menari Village . Today is a short trekking day. (BLD)

Day 8 Nauro Village

Once again an interesting day as we cross the flood plains of the Brown River. This area of the Track  is noted for its muddy conditions, especially around the Anzac Day trek period. After crossing the Brown River , we face a long gradual ascent of the northern Slopes of the Maguli range and camp at Nauro Village. (BLD)

Day 9 Ua Ule Creek

Today’s walk begins with a short ascent to the top of the Maguli Range followed by a steep descent via ‘Jap Ladder’ a major Japanese camp site and down to Ofi Creek for a refreshing swim before we commence the steep ascent and descent of Irobaiwa Ridge. As we explore the Japanese positions on the southern slopes, we recall that it was here that the Japanese soldiers were pounded for the first time by Australian artillery located at Owers Corner . The Australian forces till now had no counter to the Japanese mountain guns so skilfully used against them since Isurava. The Japanese offensive/defensive positions are located on a number of trails over Irobaiwa Ridge. Your Trek Leader will show you the rarely visited Kunai grass clearing which marks the furtherest  point of contact made by Australian troops with General Hori’s South Sea Forces. In this clearing a large heavily armed Japanese advance patrol was wiped out in a hastily planned ambush by an opposing Australian patrol, who luckily heard the Japanese officer talking as he moved his men down the trail. It was also on Irobaiwa Ridge, with Port Moresby nearly insight, that General Hori received orders directly from the Emperor to withdraw. With major shortages of munitions, food and reinforcements and being pounded by Australian artillery and harassed by well-equipped Australian patrols, the Japanese army retreated with the the Australians in hot pursuit. This afternoon the Track continuously crosses Ua Ule creek leading to our final nights camp beside the creek with a welcoming swimming hole nearby. Our campsite clearing is completely surrounded by high rainforest trees which form a perfect frame for the star filled sky at night. (BLD)

Day 10 Port Moresby

Our final half days walk starts with the steep ascent and then the descent of Imita Ridge. This is the site of what was known as the ‘Golden Staircase’. There are 3 paths from the Goldie River to the summit of Imita Ridge. Each were used by the Australian forces. The steeper sections were improved by cutting steps and reinforcing them with timbers cut from the forest. Today the timber reinforcing has long since rotted away.There are those who believe (and diary records to support the view) that there were several staircases constructed on steeper sections of these early ridges encountered on the trek towards Kokoda. We push on via major Australian army supply sites and after we cross the Goldie River, it’s a steep 40 minute hike till we triumphantly arrive at Owers Corner and our awaiting transport, a cold drink and lunch. We’ve done it! Back to Port Moresby for a swim in the hotel pool, clean up and prepare for a final nights celebration at the hotel. On the way to Port Moresby, we stop at Bomana War Cemetery, where Australian soldiers who died in the Kokoda campaign and in other campaigns in the Pacific have been laid to their final rest. This visit is the final tribute we pay to these brave soldiers before our return home tomorrow. A personalised Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing will be presented to all Team members at dinner tonight. (BLD)

Day 11 Home

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. (B) WELCOME HOME.


Meal inclusions along the trek – B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = DinnerTrekking Guidelines

The Koiri people, living mainly in the largest villages along the central areas of the Kokoda Track, are followers of the Seventh Day Adventist faith. Their land, homes, gardens and village areas are continuously traversed by all trekkers on the Kokoda Track.

Village Chiefs, Clan Leaders, Landowners and over 3000 Seventh Day Adventist faithful from these areas, they have asked the trekking industry to respect their Seventh Day Adventist Faith by not walking on the Sabbath. The Sabbath commences at sunset Friday and concludes at sunset on Saturday.

We have modified our operations to respect and adhere to these new guidelines and as a result have also improved our trekking experience without increasing trekking times or costs. Back Track has always adhered to a sensible itinerary, which allowed for 2-half days in the middle section of the trek as a balance between strenuous activity and adequate recuperation. Where possible the majority of our treks in 2018 are designed to abide by these new guidelines. There are a number of treks , due to logistical problems, where we can not observe the Sabbath. These are on all treks travelling South to North ( Owers Corner to Kokoda) and on some Anzac day treks.

Back Track trekkers will in no way be disadvantaged by the ‘Sabbath decision’. By combining these two half-days, and modifying our itinerary to arrive at our home village of Naduri for the start of the Sabbath, our trekkers will be able to rest and recuperate, honour the Sabbath and have an opportunity to experience village life on their rest day. We envisage this Village Day will prove to be a highlight of the trekking experience, giving trekkers an opportunity to experience the local culture.

The area affected by the new guideline commences at the official starting point of the Kokoda Track at Kokoda Village on the northern side of the Owen Stanley Range and ceases at the official finish point of the walking Track, under the famous arch at Owers Corner, 40kms outside Port Moresby on the southern side of the Owen Stanley Ranges. Back Track will be honouring the Sabbath with a rest at Naduri Village on all non-Anzac Day treks which travel from North to South, (Kokoda to Owers) . Due to logistics, currently we can not honour the Sabbath on treks travelling South to North, (Owers to Kokoda). This has been explained to the village and clan leaders and they are grateful for our attempts and efforts we are making. Our 2018 Anzac Day treks, Teams 1 and 2, will now be one day longer to ensure we are on the summit of Brigade Hill to enjoy the most remote and best Anzac Day ceremony held anywhere in the world.