Back Track treks the Kokoda Track over 9 walking days (on an 11 day itinerary), with a sensible and professional approach. Back Track has the best itinerary to fully appreciate the Kokoda Experience.

Back Track’s sensible itinerary allows enough time to explore the battle sites, meet the locals, obtain an insight into village culture and enjoy the trekking experience. Our slower paced itinerary will not detract from the overwhelming sense of challenge and achievement. Our Australian Trek Leader and Local Guides will ensure the smooth operation of the trek.

The majority of our teams trek in a north to south direction, Kokoda to Owers Corner. Some teams trek in a south to north direction, Owers Corner to Kokoda. Read about our trekking direction here.

There are several itinerary variations to commemorate special events along the Track. When viewing 2015 dates you will see an itinerary link beside each team date. For full itinerary details, please click through to the itinerary page relevant for each team.

Back Track’s sensible trekking itinerary addresses all the main reasons for doing the Track – to respect and remember the men who fought and died there, to visit sacred battle sites, to have a physical and mental challenge, to experience the local culture and to have a safe, fun experience.

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[tab_item title=”CAMPAIGN ITINERARY – North to South”]
Meal inclusions along the trek – B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Click here to learn about fresh food along the Kokoda Track.

Itinerary Overview (North to South)

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and overnight at the very comfortable Holiday Inn. 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. (LD)

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) Trek to Efogi 1 Village. (half Day) 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.

 

Itinerary in Detail (North to South)

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our comfortable accommodation. The hotel features a swimming pool, restaurant, 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.
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 Pte. 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 withdrawl 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.

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.

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.

Tonight in Naduri is special as this is the home village for the majority of our trek crew. The village families welcome us as guests of honour in their village. We plan to have a small village ‘Sing Sing’ (celebration) tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Efogi 1 Village. After breakfast, we will be guided around Naduri Village to inspect some of Back Track’s current Trekker Assistance Programmes. After a farewell from our village friends, we have a half day walk to Efogi 1, nestled in the shadow of Brigade Hill and nearby Mission Ridge, two of the more significant battle sites along the Track. A chance to rest, wash clothes, explore the village and prepare to conquer the last half of the Track.

Day 7

Menari Village. Beautiful views again await us today as we begin the slogging ascent of Brigade Hill via Mission Ridge. 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.

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.

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.
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.

Day 11 Home Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. WELCOME HOME.

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[tab_item title=”CAMPAIGN ITINERARY – South to North”]
Meal inclusions along the trek – B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Click here to learn about Fresh food along the Kokoda Track.

Itinerary Overview (South to North)

Day 1 Fly to Port Moresby. Met on arrival and overnight at the very comfortable Holiday Inn. Group briefing late 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. (LD)

Day 3

(Trek day 2) Trek to Irobaiwa Village. (BLD)
Day 4 (Trek day 3) Trek to Nauro Village. (BLD)
Day 5 (Trek day 4) Trek to Menari Village. (BLD)
Day 6 (Trek day 5) Trek to Naduri Village via Brigade Hill ( short commemorative ceremony held on Brigade Hill) and then on to Efogi Village.for lunch. Short descent and ascent to Naduri Village and a Celebration tonight. (BLD)
Day 7 (Trek day 6) Trek to Templeton’s Crossing via Mt Bellamy and the Kokoda Gap. if weather and time permits, we will undertake a short side trek to Myola lakes. (BLD)
Day 8 (Trek day 7) Trek to Alolo Village via Eora Creek and The Lost battlefield.(BLD)
Day 9 (Trek day 8) Trek to Kokoda Village via Isurava battlefield. (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.

 

Itinerary in Detail (South to North)

Day 1 Port Moresby. Met on arrival and private transfer to our very comfortable accommodation at the 4 star Holiday Inn. The hotel features a swimming pool, restaurant, 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 Campsite. Depart Port Moresby early. Stop at Bomana War Cemetery, before driving on to trek start at Owers Corner. First days walk to our campsite at Goodwater is only short to assist our accilmatisation.
Day 3 Irobaiwa 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. We climb Imata Ridge in the vicinity of the famous golden staircase. It was on the summit of this ridge that our soldiers dug in for what they believed at the time would be their last stand. Descending Imata Ridge we trek along Ua Ule Creek and eventually reach our camp site in the beautiful village of Irobaiwa.
Day 4 Nauro Village. Our walk today begins with a short climb followed by a steep descent to Ofi Creek for a refreshing swim. Next comes a long, sometimes steep ascent of the Maguli Range and a short descent to the village of Nauro just below the summit and our camp site for the night.
Day 5 Menari Vilage. After breakfast, we complete the descent of the Maguli ranges and then cross the swampy flood plains of the Brown River. We cross the Brown River and find a suitable lunch spot. The walk from lunch takes us further across the flood plains and then a long steep ascent of the Ladavi Saddle and a short descent to Menari village. It was here that Col Ralph Honner addressed the remaining men of the 39th Brigade and praised their actions. The history of this famous parade ground ceremony has been immortalised in footage taken by famous war time journalist and photographer Damian Parer. A memorial to Damian is located on a rock on the banks of the Vabuyavi River below the village.
Day 6 Naduri Village. Crossing the Vabuyavi River we begin the long ascent on good trails to the summit of Brigade Hill. We will pause here for a short commemorative ceremony and briefing on the bloody battle that raged here during the Kokoda campaign. The walk down to Efogi Village for lunch is very beautiful with interesting trails and good views out over the valleys. Our lunch stop will only be short as we still have a short steep ascent to Naduri Village and our camp for the night. Naduri is Back Track’s home village. Most of our trek crew live or have families in this village. Needless to say our stopover here is always a happy event.
Day 7 Templetone’s Crossing. A challenging day in differing terrain. We start a slow, gradual ascent from Naduri Village up and over the Kokoda Gap which is the highest point of our trek at 2190 metres. If weather and trail conditions are suitable and time permits, we will do a short side trek to view the Myola Lakes area where supplies were dropped for the Australian soldiers during the 1st phase of the campaign. It was later used as a hospital and evacuation point for our wounded. From the Kokoda Gap we trek down into the Eora Creek Valley. We are now on the north side of the Owen Stanley ranges. After we cross Eora Creek, it is a steep ascent and descent to our campsite at Templeton’s Crossing. (BLD)
Day 8 Alolo Village. From our campsite deep in the bottom of this narrow steep sided valley, we commence our ascent up and over a spur to once again cross Eora Creek. We have time to do a side trek to view the Japanese positions in the Japanese Forest Fort. These extensive fortifications with well placed mountain gun and machine gun positions delayed the Australian advance considerably and caused great loss of life to capture. Recently a new area, now known as The Lost Battlefield, has been revealed by the local landowners. Until this area is properly surveyed for human remains and all artefacts documented, no trekking companies will be entering this part of the Fortress area.  From here, it is a long trek through thick forest to a final ascent to Alolo Vaillage and our campsite.
Day 9 Kokoda. Last full trekking day. A long but wonderful day as we trek via the famous Isurava battlefield and descend 1000 metres to Kokoda Village. We will inspect the memorials and the museum and have our farewell party tonight at our camp site with our trek crew.
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 will transfer straight 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.
Day 11 Home Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home to Australia. WELCOME HOME.

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