Kokoda Track and Northern Beachheads Trek
The Australian victories at Milne Bay and on the Kokoda Track destroyed the Japanese plans for capturing Port Moresby. However 9,000 Japanese remained entrenched in the eminently defensible northern beachheads of Buna, Gona and Sanananda.
The weary Australian units, who had pushed the Japanese across the Owen Stanley Range, were called upon to attack and capture Sanananda and Gona, even though many units were down to one-third normal strength. Two regiments of the American 32nd Division were given the task of capturing Buna.
The untried American 128th Regiment launched their attack on Buna and nearby Cape Endaiadere on 19 November 1942 but failed against experienced Japanese troops. A day later the Australian 25 Brigade attacked Gona, while the 16 Brigade advanced up the central Sanananda Track. These attacks also faltered.
Japanese aircraft had inflicted a serious blow three days earlier, on 16 November 1942, when they destroyed an American convoy carrying heavy weapons and supplies. The sinking of these vessels increased the importance of air transport and engineers established two airfields behind the Allied front before 21 November 1942.
An ‘air bridge’ flew men and bulk equipment from Port Moresby while a fighter ‘umbrella’ protected the transports from Japanese fighters. Allied air superiority over the beachheads was soon established when Japanese Mitsubishi Zero and Nakajima Oscar fighters, based at Lae and Salamaua, encountered superior American Lockheed Lightnings.
Lacking air-cover, resupply became a serious problem for Japanese troops. Food and medical supplies began to run low and a malaria epidemic took hold. The spirit of the Japanese, however, remained defiant and further Allied offensives stalled as the Australians and Americans also succumbed to exhaustion and malaria.
The heroes of the early phase of the Kokoda Campaign, the understrength but rested 21st Brigade and the 39th Battalion, were now flown into the beachheads sector with a reformed 30th Brigade, comprising 36th, 49th and 55th/53rd Militia Battalions. These men relieved the exhausted 16th and 25th Brigades but took terrible losses in the fighting that followed. The men cleared the area nonetheless. On 9 December 1942, the 39th Battalion commander Ralph Honner sent 21 Brigade HQ the famous signal: ‘Gona’s gone.’
The Australian 18th Brigade, meanwhile, was brought up from Milne Bay to assist the Americans attacking Buna. Australian soldiers and tanks crossed the Simemi Creek and delivered the coup de grace to the Japanese at Giropa Point on 1 January 1943. The Allies now turned their attention to the last bastion, Sanananda. It fell on 22 January 1943.
The Battle of the Beachheads had been the bloodiest of all the Papuan campaigns.
The Australians had lost 1,261 killed and 2,210 wounded, the Americans 734 Killed and 2,037 wounded. Total Japanese casualties in Papua for the period between July 1942 and January 1943 were 19,250.
- Accurate and balanced history delivered by your Australian Guide
- Understand what Australian and Japanese soldiers endured during WWII
- Amazing terrain and river crossings (great swimming)
- Walk through the most pristine rain forests in the world
- Wonderful people with beautiful singing voices
- Undertake something that will push your body and spirit to new levels
- Visit the northern beaches of Buna, Gona and Sanananda
Join us as we explore the Northern Beachheads and walk the hallowed ground where so many lost their lives in the defence of Australia.
This expedition runs south to north (Owers Corner to Kokoda) following the Australian Advance along the trail.
Day 1: Arrive Port Moresby.
Day 2: Drive to Owers Corner via Bomana War Cemetery. Trek to Ua Ule Creek
Day 3: Ua Ule Creek trek New Nauro
Day 4: New Nauro to Menari
Day 5: Menari to Naduri or Kagi
Day 6: Rest in the village on the Sabbath.
Day 7: Kagi to Dump 1
Day 8: Dump 1 to Eora Creek
Day 9: Eora Creek to Deniki
Day 10: Deniki to Kokoda. From Kokoda we head to the northern beaches and Sanananda
Day 11: Tour of the northern beaches
Day 12: Gona and Buna and then flight to Port Moresby
Day 13: Fly home
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.
The Porters we use are the life blood of our business in PNG. Not only do they carry your food and equipment, but many have intimate knowledge of the areas we are traveling through. They are very interesting people who, at night, cook our meals and entertain us. If you or a group of you would like to hire a personal Porter for your expedition, this can be arranged. For the 8 days, a personal Porter costs an extra AUD$720. Employing an extra Porter does not mean that your struggle along the Kokoda track is any less meaningful. You are helping a local with a job and you will probably enjoy the Track that much more.
PEOPLE OF THE KOKODA TRACK
The Koiari people generally inhabit the area between the foothills of the Owen Stanley Ranges east of Port Moresby and Kokoda. They once built homes in tree-tops and when Europeans first encountered them in the 1880's, they were renowned for their fierceness.
Today, the Koiari are Seventh Day Adventists so they do not raise or eat pigs, chew betel nut or smoke tobacco. They grow taros, bananas, yams, vegetables and recently coffee. They are very friendly people, however, young female Koiari are particularly shy and reserved and you should respect their wishes if they do not want to talk. Male bush walkers should give women the right of way on the trail - step off the trail, the further the better.
Also, be aware that men and women bathe in different places; usually the women down stream from the men. The same can apply to toilets, so ask first. Be sensitive, as this is of great importance to the people.
No Roads deals directly with the Koiari land owners. We have a great relationship with them and assured any Track closures will not apply to us.
MEALS ON THE KOKODA TRACK
Our food is one of the biggest differences between us and other operators. We do not get you to carry the food and we do not supply baked beans and 2 minute noodles for every meal. We cook up curries, vegetarian pastas, damper, prawn crackers, fried rice and the list goes on. Our Master Chefs are specifically trained in food handling to ensure you have not only a delicious meal full of nutrition, but one that is safe to eat. You may even have the opportunity to help the Chef prepare the meal, giving you a chance to engage our local team in conversation and build a bond otherwise not obtained.
Another feature of this expedition is that we try to maximise the economic benefits from your presence to the village people living in villages along the Track. This provides incentives for villagers to offer a good standard of service to trekking parties as well as a vital source of income to pay for medicine, education and transportation.
As an ecotourism company, we are always looking for ways to maximise the benefits of tourism to the people living in the local area. Our tour uses experienced guides and porters recruited from all along the Track. And much of the food you will eat along the way is supplied by village people en route. This not only gives the villagers a market for their vegetable crops but gives you a wonderful opportunity to try out local foods. Food purchased locally includes pineapple, bananas, potatoes and pumpkins as well as eggs.
Camp breakfast is billy tea/milo/coffee with damper and porridge or Weetbix and Corn Flakes with powdered milk. Camp lunch is noodles, cuppa soups, biscuits and cheese.
We also provide you with 9 days of electrolyte replacement such as Hydralyte, to replace fluids and essential electrolytes. This process helps prevent muscle seizures and cramps.
Finally, we provide you with 9 days of snacks that will help you from meal to meal. These consist of muesli bars, lollies, nuts and cup a soups.
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
Day 01: Arrive Port Moresby and transfer to hotel. Pre-expedition briefing by your guide.
Day 02: (6-7 Hours) Tour of Bomana War Cemetery, drive to Owers’ Corner. We will be introduced to our expert guide and porter team, who we will spend the next 8 days with us. They will set up camp, carry our food, tents and safety equipment and ensure we have a safe and enjoyable trek.
We will then start trekking, crossing the Goldie River and head towards Imita Ridge the site of the original ‘Golden Stairs’. After we climb up and over Imita we will drop down to our campsite at Ua-Ule Creek. (B,L,D).
Day 03: (7-8 Hours) Multiple crossings of Ua-Ule Creek before we start to climb up Ioribaiwa Ridge -furthest most point of Japanese advance. Then it is down the other side to Ofi Creek before climbing the many false peaks of the Maguli Range. After a quick lunch along the way, we will drop down to our campsite at the village of New Nauro. (B,L,D).
Day 04: (9 hours) Leaving New Nauro we will drop down into the swamp and cross the Brown River before taking on fresh water and climbing up the ‘Wall’ on the other side we will drop down to the major village of Menari. Here we take on fresh fruit and vegetables which will be used in the delicious meals cooked by our team. Sleep Menari (B,L,D).
Day 05: (6-7 hours) Leaving Menari we will climb up Brigade Hill. On the saddle we will conduct a short service to recognise the sacrifices of all those who died fighting on this battlefield. After the service we will drop down to Efogi, believe it or not we have crossed the half way mark. Then it is up to the satellite village of Efogi 2 then up to the village of Naduri where we will make camp. (B,L,D).
Day 06: Today is the Sabbath for the Seventh Day Adventists. Thus, we will join them (if you wish) in a church service to hear their beautiful singing and witness how they pray. Afterwards we will take a leisurely stroll to a local natural wonder, relaxing and letting our muscles rest before the next day’s trek. Overnight in the village of Naduri (B,L,D).
Day 07: (8 Hours) Today you will hike from Naduri to Dump 1 After climbing through the Moss Forest we will take a look out at Lake Myola the site of the wartime supply drops. Then it is up and over Mt Bellamy the highest point on the Track before we drop down to our campsite at Dump 1. We are almost on the home straight. (B,L,D).
Day 08: (6 Hours) Hike from Dump 1 to Eora Creek. With the sounds of the creek below we will follow the range along stopping at Templeton’s Crossing for lunch. After lunch we will then make our way into Eora Creek where we will make camp. (B,L,D).
Day 09: Today we trek from Eora Creek to Deniki. Along the way we will see many weapon pits and ammunition dumps including the Japanese strong hold above Eora Creek. Passing through Alola the landscape will change as we visit Con’s Rock before ending up at the Isurava Battlefield where we will conduct a commemorative service which will involve both the trekkers and the porters. Coming together we will pay our respects to both the Australians and Papuans that served in the Kokoda Campaign. We will also visit the site where Bruce Kingsbury’s actions won him the Victoria Cross. After our service we will continue to drop down to Deniki where we will make camp and see the sun set over the beautiful Yodda Valley. Tonight we sleep at Deniki. (B,L,D).
Day 10: This morning we will continue dropping down off the Owen Stanley Range before we reach the tractor trail. With heads held high we will march into Kokoda Station. As we pass through the archway a sense of achievement will come over the group along with a sense of pride as we reflect on the epic journey of following in the footsteps of our forebears seventy five years after the battle. Our vehicle will be waiting and after a visit to the Kokoda plateau memorials and the Bert Keinzle memorial museum, we will drive to Popondetta then on to Gona where we will be picked up by boat before transferring to the village of Sanananda. (B,L,D).
Day 11: From our base at Sanananda we will use our boat to visit the battlefield of Buna. In the afternoon we will walk up to Huggins Road Block and tour Sanananda before having a swim in the beautiful water of the Solomon Sea. (B,L,D).
Day 12: Waking up early we will board the boat back to Gona where we will visit Haddy’s Village and the key sites pertaining to the Gona battlefield. We will then transfer to Popondetta and back to Port Moresby. Arriving back at the hotel we will have time to clean our gear and prepare for our trip back to Australia. In the evening we will have dinner and our presentation. (B,L).
Day 13: Transfer from hotel to your flight home or next destination.
- Hand selected and trained Australian and Local Guide for the entire expedition
- Electrolyte supplement such as Hydralyte, essential for such a trip
- All domestic schedule flights
- Satellite phone for emergency purposes
- AED Defibrillator on all Australian Led trip
- River rescue team and procedures, essential for large rivers
- Government Taxes (except visa charge and civil aviation terminal facilities charge)
- Shower tent to wash with soap and protect the environment. Hot showers are available.
- 10 delicious breakfasts, 9 nutritious lunches, 8 fresh dinners. Meals on expedition include Curries and Pasta. All prepared by a trained Master
- Chef. (Dietary requirements can be incorporated)
- 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 either insect proof tents or guest houses
- Kokoda Track Permit
- Hand selected Guide and porter team (who carry all group equipment, food, set up tents etc)
- 1 to 1 Porter-Client ratio
- A rubbish Porter that takes all our rubbish and other operators rubbish from the Track
- Tent hire and floor mats.
- 2 nights accommodation in Port Moresby twin share (4 star Holiday Inn : the best in Port Moresby)
- Snack Pack for each expedition day to get you between meals
- 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
- International Flights
- Travel Insurance
- Tips to Porters
- Personal Spending Money
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