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March to Kokoda Reenactment

Background

On the 7th of July 1942, B Company of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion started their arduous trek across the Kokoda Track. The Japanese had not landed yet and as such this fresh young group of men would be the first to encounter this formidable enemy. Join us on a true reenactment of this march as we dress, eat and live exactly how B Company did on their journey over the Owen Stanley Ranges. We will kit you out in replica uniforms (including boots) and give you the same rations they had as we immerse you in the real history of this trek, a trek that was last undertaken 75 years ago. 

Highlights

  • Undertake a journey not done since 1942
  • Be part of a real recreation of this journey over the Owen Stanley Ranges
  • Wear the same clothing, eat the same food and camp at the same sites as B Company
  • Escorted by expert historian David Howell who will bring the history alive
  • Supported by our PNG National team who will also dress and act as they did in 1942
  • This is a true immersive experience of the Kokoda Track

Overview

7 July 1942, was an historic day for the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion. B Company under the command of Captain Sam Templeton set off from Ilola. The above image was captured by the Box Brownie camera of P.J. McDonald. The site now named McDonald’s Corner.

B Company had been ordered to traverse the Owen Stanley Range-destination Kokoda Station. The compliment was made up of 5 officers and125 other ranks. Their mission was to be the vanguard of the Battalion as intelligence suggested that a Japanese landing was imminent.

Accompanying Sam Templeton and his men was Bert Kienzle, a long time resident of Papua and an ‘old ‘hand’ of the Territory. Kienzle was a member of the Australian New Guinea Administration Unit (ANGAU) and responsible for organising the native carriers, affectionately known as the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”.
Attached to B Company was a medical orderly, Corporal Jack Wilkinson.

Wilkinson kept a diary detailing the arduous march across the Kokoda Track that he and the B Company men made. It is through this detailed account that we are able to know where the men camped each night and the route that they took.

Join us on this truly once in a lifetime opportunity as we literally walk in the footsteps of the first Australian soldiers to contact the Japanese at Kokoda. We plan on wearing replica uniforms right down to the boots, carry reproduction pay books and dogs tags along with camping at the same locations and even eating similar rations (not all Bulli Beef and Biscuits!).

As we follow in the footsteps 75 years later, the story of the Kokoda Campaign will brought together by historian and trek leader David Howell. David’s master story telling combined with you the participant wearing the same clothing and equipment as the 39th did will certainly add a new dimension to trekking Kokoda.

As you make your way over the Track you will open reproduction letters (taken from the originals) sent from the troops and received by the troops. You will wear ‘dog tags’ and carry with you a replica pay book in the name of one of the soldiers who made the journey 75 years ago. Both items will are yours to keep and will enable you to have a greater understanding of what our troops went through.  

The reproduction uniforms and equipment have been sourced from specialist manufactures and are exact reproductions of the originals. They will come in your size and be sent to you prior to the trip. This will include your pack, water bottle, sleeping equipment, boots etc. All you need to bring with you is a bucket load of Aussie spirit as we undertake the ultimate pilgrimage to remember those who fought and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation in 1942.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Port Moresby.
Day 2: Drive to Bomana War Cemetry and then to McDonald's Corner where we start trek to Uberi via Owers Corner
Day 3: Uberi to Ioribaiwa
Day 4: Ioribaiwa to war time Nauro
Day 5: Stay at war time Nauro
Day 6: War time Nauro to Efogi
Day 7: Efogi to Kagi
Day 8: Kagi to Eora Creek 2
Day 9: Eora Creek 2 to Isurava via Deniki
Day 10: Deniki to Kokoda Village
Day 11: Kokoda Village back to Port Moresby
Day 12: Homeward bound

Note: This Itinerary is indicative and may change due to local conditions.

For those that do not wish to share accommodation in Port Moresby, a Single Supplement of $380 will apply. 

No Roads Expeditions also has a dedicated Kokoda website. With over 100 pages of information, this is an invaluable source of information for those trekking the Kokoda Track. Click on the kokodaexpeditions.com

INSURANCE: It is mandatory for you to have appropriate insurance for this expedition. Click here to obtain an online quote. 

YOUR KIT

You will be provided with a combination of replica and real items from 1942 including the slouch hat, cotton shirt, pattern 37 pouches and webbing, shorts, woolen sock, gaiters and leather boots. We will send you the leather boots months ahead so you can wear them in. You will also be given wet weather gear and you will be required to carry your own food and accommodation. A detailed document will be supplied on your booking.

MEALS ON THE KOKODA TRACK

Our meals on the Track will consist of exactly what B Company ate including Bully Beef and Biscuits. In late 1942, new ration types replaced the "bully beef and biscuits" standard ration, and included tinned fruit, dried potatoes, sausages, vegetables, jam, butter and beans. Dehydrated mutton was also a standard ration and was considered one of the finest foods of the campaign. Not so bad really. You will carry your own rations for this expedition. 

KOKODA TRACK FACTS 

    * From Owers' Corner to Kokoda as the crow flies is about 60km
    * The Kokoda track between these two points is 94-km
    * One trekker recorded over 25,000 steps on his pedometer in one day
    * If you total all the uphill climbing along the track, it comes to more than 5500m of elevation gain
    * The best section is between Menari and Kagi, although the nicest forests are found at the higher elevations between Kagi Gap and Templeton's Crossing
    * The highest point on the track is 2190m

Routes

Note: This trek runs from south to north, Port Moresby to Kokoda. This will give us a feeling of what it was like to be one of the members of B Company , 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, on their first crossing of the Kokoda Track. 

Day 01, 6 July- Arrive Port Moresby and transfer to hotel. Pre-expedition and history presentation by David Howell and briefing by your trek manager.

Day 02, 7 July- Tour of Bomana War Cemetery, drive to McDonald’s Corner. We will be introduced to our expert guides and porter team, who we will be our carriers for the duration of the journey. They will set up camp, carry our food, tents and safety equipment and ensure we have a safe and enjoyable crossing of the Kokoda Track.

We will then start trekking in the footsteps of B Company the 39th Battalion, from McDonald’s Corner to Owers’ Corner and across the Goldie River. We will then make our way to Uberi. The diary entry of Jack Wilkinson reads: ‘Uncle Sam and Bert Keinzle in the lead. I brought up the rear and made the trip in better condition than a lot of others. Left 0800 hours arrived Uberi 1730 hours.’ (B,L,D).

Day 03, 8 July- Up and over the first major climb-Imitia Ridge. Multiple crossings of Ua-Ule Creek and another climb up to Ioribaiwa Ridge, furthest most point of Japanese advance. It will be a real test in the leather boots and a stomach full of 1942 rations. Jack Wilkinson recorded:
‘Made Ioribaiwa. Had carriers for our packs and just as well. Felt the trip more than the first day. To long hills to Climb. Missed out on tea as I was with the last of the troops. Had a job to get some of them to make it. Uncle Sam came back and helped me about half way up the last hill. Was carrying four rifles and three packs had doubts about making it myself’. (B,L,D).

Day 04, 9 July- Leaving Ioribaiwa we will drop down to Ofi Creek and then up and over the Maguli Range to where the original village of Nauro was located in 1942. Jack Wilkinson wrote: ‘Made Nauro. A long day but not too bad. …Good camp and nice place. Bothered by native bees en route crawling all over us after the salt in sweat. No stings. ...General condition of troops good. Conference with Uncle Sam and decided to stay here for one day to give troops a spell’.  (B,L,D).

Day 05, 10 July- Today we will stay at the original wartime campsite of Nauro. We will enjoy a swim, read reproduced original letters sent to the troops and take on fresh fruit and vegetables. Jack Wilkinson’s diary entry reads: ‘Nauro…Age 48. Has son in company and trying to keep up. Oldest man in Company-First World War also…Swimming and patching up blistered feet…Fresh fruit pawpaw... .’ (B,L,D).

Day 06, 11 July- Today we will leave wartime Nauro and make our way to Efogi. After a day of rest we will have the energy to climb up and over the ‘Wall” through the village of Menari and up Brigade Hill. Following the detailed entry of Jack’s diary: ‘Made Efogi…A long day but not too bad. Menari is a nice spot in between and we had lunch there. Troops in good shape. Day’s spell worked wonders’.  (B,L,D).

Day 07, 12 July- Today you will hike Efogi to Kagi. Many of the carriers in our party are from Kagi Village. We will follow the old wartime mail route and walk along areas that many others treks simply bypass, on our quest to walk in the wartime footsteps of the 39th. Fortunate for us Jack Wilkinson kept his detailed diary. The entry for this time 75 years ago reads: ‘Made Kagi. Only a short walk but steep. Fairly high and cold. Peter Brewer here with carriers from Kokoda. Long talk about track ahead. Eric Turner arrived in later, en route Moresby. Told of his capture of Jap airman. Natives told him it was a Dim Dim so he went out with a billycan of tea and Kai. Got a hell of a shock when Jap pointed pistol at him…”(B,L,D).

Day 08, 13 July- Today we walk from Kagi to what was then known as Eora Crossing No. 2. Let’s hope that period looking set of boots stand up to the test of the Kokoda Track, as they did back in 1942! Jack Wilkinson’s diary reads: ‘To Eora Creek No 2. Long days over range. Rain forest and lawyer vines. Deep moss and slippery track. Rain and mist. Cold and dreary. Camp not too good. Building material short. Very little flat ground. Creek roaring loudly…’. (B,L,D).

Day 09, 14 July- Today we will continue on through Eora Creek and Isurava where the main memorial now stands. Back in 1942 these areas had not yet become hallowed ground however your Kokoda historian will bring to life all of the battles that were fought on the Kokoda Track as you make  your journey across the Owen Stanley Range. Pick up the entry in Jack’s diary: ‘To flat below Deniki. Lond Day but reasonable walking. Could see Kokoda from hilltop. Kienzle, Uncle Sam, Brewer to Kokoda first and sent back tents for troops. Much warmer in the hills. Troops in good form. Some bananas and kai…’. (B,L,D).

Day 10, 15 July- Today we finally reach our destination of Kokoda, after walking all the way from McDonald’s Corner in period uniforms and using period equipment. The last entry of the trek in Jack Wilkinson’s diary reads: ‘To Kokoda. Nice place. Glad to be here. Took over native hospital. Got some Pot Permang and made troops soak feet for an hour..’

Day 11, 16 July- Today we tour Kokoda Plateau and then move north along the same route that many of the B Company men first encountered the advancing Japanese. We will board our aircraft. Smelly and dishevelled in our khaki uniforms, a cold beer awaits back at the Holiday Inn. We have completed our walk over the Kokoda Track 75 years after the first troops of the 39th did. Tonight we will have a presentation dinner and hand out a special commemorative medallion in recognition of the recreation of this historic journey. (B,L,D).

Day 12, 17 July- Today we check out of our hotel and return to Australia. (B)

The above tour is a special one off commemorative trek walking in the footsteps of B Company the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Inclusions

  • Australian Historian David Howell, Australian Trek Manager and Local Guide for the entire expedition
  • Use of period uniform, boots, back pack, equipment. Sent to you prior to the trek. Boots are yours to keep.
  • All meals on expedition which will  include tinned fruit, dried potatoes, sausages, vegetables, jam, butter and beans. Dehydrated mutton was also a standard ration and was considered one of the finest foods of the campaign.
  • All domestic schedule flights
  • Satellite phone for emergency purposes
  • AED Defibrillator on all Australian Led trip
  • Government Taxes (except visa charge and civil aviation terminal facilities charge) 
  • All transfers including those from the airport and from Owers Corner
  • Visit Bomana War Cemetery
  • Nutritious and delicious food for Porter team who deserve the best.
  • All accommodation outside of Port Moresby in true WWII style
  • Kokoda Track Permit
  • Hand selected porter team 
  • 1 to 1 Porter-Client ratio
  • rubbish Porter that takes all our rubbish and other operators rubbish from the Track
  • 2 nights accommodation in Port Moresby twin share (4 star Holiday Inn : the best in Port Moresby)
  • VHF Radio contact with Port Moresby, Kokoda and 10 other Track villages for emergency purposes. 
  • No Roads Expedition T-shirt
  • Urine and health chart
  • Access to your Australian Guide for advise prior to the expedition
  • Access to FREE weekend walks before and after the expedition

Maps

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