Back Track Team 17 has just returned from completing the Kokoda Track. This trek was specially designed to finish in Kokoda on the eve of the first ever Fuzzy Wuzzy Day celebration on November 3 2010.
The inaugural Fuzzy Wuzzy Day was planned by the PNG Government in consultation with the Kokoda Track Authority, The Australian Government and the local Kokoda people. After the tremendous success of the first Fuzzy Wuzzy Day, it is now destined to be a regular feature on the PNG Calendar of Annual National Events.
The reasons for having this special annual celebration are many. Most importantly is that the Day celebrates and recognizes the special contribution the PNG people made during the war, especially in performing roles as carriers for the Australian troops fighting along the Kokoda Track. Not only did the local people, carry supplies for the Australian troops the Fuzzy Wuzzy angels carried the sick and wounded on make shift stretchers under unimaginable conditions back to safety in Port Moresby. The carriers were affectionately called Fuzzy Wuzzy’s because of the “Fuzzy” hairstyle many of them sported at that time.
Many, many wounded and sick Australian soldiers owe their lives to the Fuzzy Wuzzy’s heroic and loyal efforts.
When Team 17 walked into Kokoda Station we could not believe the welcome we received. This normally sleepy little settlement was jam packed with 1000’s of people. As we trekked into the centre of the village where our campsite is located , people lined the Track cheering , ORO, ORO ORO, which means welcome and threw flowers. Ten minutes before arriving at Kokoda ,our Team stopped in the jungle and all our trek crew dressed up in their traditional clothing and the trekkers adorned themselves with flowers and headdresses made from Jungle materials. We wanted to arrive demonstrating that we had come to be part of the fun, but the reception we received was completely unexpected and overwhelming. Our lead guides were beating drums as we marched in and the amazed look on all the faces of our humble trekking Team, trekkers and crew, because of the reception we received was something I will never forget.
Back Track was the only trekking company that participated in Fuzzy Wuzzy day 2010.
A somber moment appreciated by us all was when the Australian Flag was raised, reenacting that special moment in Kokoda Track Campaign history when General Vasey raised the flag on recapturing Kokoda on November 3, 1942. Soc Kienzle (son of Bert Kienzle, famous for his leading role organizing the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels) , attended Fuzzy Wuzzy day as a special guest. Soc is the custodian of the original flag General Vasey raised.
We finished off our Kokoda Trekking holiday back in Port Moresby 2 days later with a crew end of season party which all the trekkers attended as well.
In 2011 we have planned for 2 trek Teams to be at Kokoda for the Fuzzy Wuzzy day celebrations. Team 14 will depart Australia on the 25th October lead by Gareth Ward and will finish in Kokoda on November 3 as it did this year. In addition, a second Team (Team 14A) lead by Jim Drapes will depart Australia on 01 November and commence their Kokoda Track trek in Kokoda on November 3. Both Teams will meet in Kokoda and join in the celebrations together.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy day celebrations for 2011 are going to be bigger and better, with plans to ensure that our trekkers will actively participate in the sports and singing events. We are hopeful of having the best tug-a-war team and sing sing team at Kokoda.
We would love you to join us and our tug-of-war team,or choir. Check our dates and trek itinerary now on our website and get in quick. One Team is already nearly fully booked.