No Roads Blog
Phone : +61 3 9598 8581

Kokoda Trekking Tips

You are thinking about or perhaps you have booked your epic journey to take on the Kokoda Trek. It is an incredible trek with significant importance to all Australians and one that will test your physically and mentally! Before taking on Kokoda you need to prepare yourself in terms of training as well as what to expect and how to make the very most out of your trip. Here are some trekking tips that will help your trip one you will remember forever (for all the right reasons!).

1. Pack Light! You really really don’t need a change of clothes every day. In fact, let’s be honest, you don’t really need a change of hiking clothes at all! Your trusty leggings and No Roads trekking top will be your life uniform for this trip. Are you going to smell? Of course you are.  Will that change if you have some extra clothes with you? Absolutely not! Everything in that bag of yours is going to smell. Do yourself the biggest favour and ditch the extra clothes and enjoy your lighter pack (this tip you will really thank us for whenever you hear the infamous words ‘packs on’).

2. Wear your Hiking Boots in! You have heard this tip before but it is so important that we are saying it again! Wear your hiking boots in.. we mean wear your hiking boots so often that you feel naked without them, wear them so much that you have an intimate relationship with them. You get the picture, wear your hiking boots in.

Blisters are one of the most common injuries that occur on a trip and one that can really make the trek a lot harder than it needs to be. The best cure is prevention and the best way to do that is to wear those boots in. Also carry your boots in your carry on luggage on your flight to Port Moresby, if something happens to your luggage the last thing you want to be buying a new pair of is hiking boots.

3. Be present in the moment. One thing that we often hear on treks is people saying ‘this is sort of like being in the Solomons/Vanuatu’ or ‘when I trekked Everest…..’ and while it is nice to share travel stories try to avoid comparing this trek with other experiences. You are in Papua New Guinea with its own distinct culture and terrain and you are trekking Kokoda with its very rich history. Pause… reflect on where you are and how unique this experience is.

4. Get to know the local porters. By the end of the trip, the locals and the relationship you form with them is likely to be your favourite experience of your trek, if you open up to them. They know the country like the back of their hands, they will catch you as you are just about to fall countless times (they will miss a few times… hitting the floor is all part of the Kokoda experience) you will learn from them and they will learn from you. The locals are quite shy though so if you don’t initiate the conversation you might miss out on an incredible opportunity to learn about their culture and about the person who is helping you with your trek.

5. Mentally and practically prepare yourself for rain. While there is dry season for trekking Kokoda you might still come across some unexpected rain. The best way to prepare for this is to pack waterproof bags, you will need them for your passport/phone/camera. Use a bin bag to wrap up your sleeping bag (a wet sleeping bad means no sleep for you).

6. Things will not go to plan, they just won’t. In a Western world we are so used to our anger over things not going to plan being taken seriously.  When things go wrong, we demand to speak to managers and want to know this instant why our transfer bus hasn’t turned up at the exact time it’s booked for. Getting upset about a plane being delayed, or a museum not being opened (even though the sign says it’s opened at this time) or the hotel not being able to find your booking straight away is futile! Stop. Pause. Remember that you have made the choice to come to Papua New Guinea and you are here to embrace their culture and their way of doing things. You are officially on island time. Things will work out in the end, but it might take just a little bit longer. Also, as any seasoned traveller would know, the parts of the trip that don’t go to plan always make for the best stories later on.

We hope you enjoyed these Kokoda Trekking Tips! Let us know if we missed any.


Nepal's Top 10 Treks

Nepal is known for Mount Everest, yet excellent trekking routes can be found throughout the country. Pristine landscapes wait to be discovered, and mountain villagers reward trekkers with steaming mugs of tea and heaping plates of dal bhat.

Before setting out on the trail, assess your fitness level, expectations, and the amount of time you’d like to spend in the wild. While some treks cater to travelers –coffee shops, apple pie, double espressos, and billiards tables – other routes are less developed and provide sparse accommodations at best.

 

Choose your route before arriving in Nepal so you can make the most of your holiday. Here are our top 10 suggestions for treks, from less strenuous excursions to more demanding challenges:

Annapurna sanctuary trek

 

10. Annapurna Base Camp

Estimated time: 10 days

Pros: Annapurna Base Camp is one of Nepal’s more popular trekking routes. White peaks, blue skies, terraced fields, local villages, and a glacial viewpoint are the main highlights. This short trail packs a lot in!

Cons: Recommendations are recommended, as guesthouses fill quickly during busy seasons.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Annapurna Base camp trek.

 

9. Everest via Gokyo Lakes

Estimated time: 17 days

Pros: This is one of the ultimate treks of the Everest region taking you into the Gokyo Valley to the high altitude lakes. Not for the faint hearted or unfit, you will make several 5000m passes on Cho La and Gokyo Ri. This is a superb trek. Very few trekkers also make this wonderful.

Cons: Other than the high altitude this trek is excellent. 

Level of difficulty: Difficult

For more information about our Everest via Gokyo Lakes trek click here.

Gokyo village on the shores of Gokyo Lakes

 

8. Sikles

Estimated time: 3 to 5 days

Pros: With honey traders and a long history of Gurkha soldiers, the Sikles trail is a gem for those who want to skip some of the more popular routes in favor of an unique experience. Farmhouse-turned-guest houses welcome visitors with greens picked fresh from gardens, and the ACAP museum introduces visitors to pieces of Nepal’s history. Rishing Danda, an avalanche viewpoint, can be accessed, and a nearby hot springs rewards those who take extra time exploring this area. The return trek to Pokhara offers unparalleled views of the valley.

Cons: Buses and taxis are available to those with limited time – and for those who aren’t interested in trekking. The guesthouses in Sikles can fill quickly, especially on weekends and during festival seasons.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Manaslu trek nepal

7. Manaslu

Estimated time: 17 days

Pros: Larkya La Pass is the highlight of this trek, an inspiring and dramatic Himalayan point that will require strength and endurance to cross.

Cons: This trek is more remote than others and is often preferred by those who want to focus on scenery and solitude. The wilderness here will not disappoint.

Level of difficulty: Hard

Click here to learn more about our Manaslu trek

6. Gosaikunda

Estimated time: 14 days

Pros: Steeped with religious significance, the Gosaikunda trail carves around alpine lakes and can be modified to suit various itineraries. This area is part of Langtang National Park and is home to a variety of birds and animals.

Cons: Guesthouses are quaint, yet farming villages offer honey, cheese, juices, and jams for sale.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Gosaikunda trek

Gorak shep near everest base camp

5. Everest Base Camp

Estimated time: 14 days (don't rush this)

Pros: Walk into the shadows of Mount Everest and summit Kala Patthar (5,554m) for an unforgettable sunrise. Namche Bazaar’s famous tiered village makes an interesting stopping point for a rest day or two, and the steep airport runaway at Lukla will leave travelers spellbound.

Cons: This trail can get crowded during peak seasons; reservations must be made to secure room bookings at the various lodges.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Classic Everest Base Camp Trek

4. Luxury Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek

Estimated time: 11 days

Pros: This is a different take on our normal trek toward Everest however you get to stay in wonderful luxury lodges along the way; warm beds, warm showers and afternoon drinks. You also get to trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp one of Nepal's great mountains and visit the village of Thame, home to the Sherpa people. 

Finally you also stay in the world's highest resort with sweeping views of Everest and the Khumbu.

Cons: You don't get to go all the way to Everest Base Camp. But if this is not a problem then this is a great trip.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here for more information about our Luxury Everest Ama Dablam Base Camp trek.

Luxury lodges on everest trek

3. Mustang

Estimated time: 15 days

Pros: The Mustang District has been left relatively untouched by touristic development. Take a mountain flight to Jomsom and explore the orchards of Marpha before journeying into Mustang’s barren landscapes.

Cons: The relentless winds cutting through Jomsom and into Mustang have Nepali songs written for them; combined with dusty landscapes, you’ll want to bring a scarf or mask for your trek. This area requires both a guide and permit ($500USD) to enter.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Lo Manthang Trek in Upper Mustang

Monks in Mustang Nepal

2. Mardi Himal

Estimated time: 5-7 days

Pros: A short drive from Pokhara, this lesser-known trail is a jewel of a trek that winds into the lap of the Annapurnas. In a few days, trekkers will be rewarded with starry evenings and up-close views of famous Himalayan peaks.

Cons: Guesthouse accommodations are basic but comfortable, and the trail requires some skill to navigate. We recommend going with a local guide.

Level of difficulty: Easy

1. Annapurna Circuit

Estimated time: 13 days

Pros: This trek is famous, and for good reason. Rolling trails and suspension bridges connect unique villages as trekkers ascend Thorong La Pass, a testing 5,416m above sea level. For the weary, Jeeps and buses can be accessed for quick returns and emergency situations. Villages along the circuit contain homestays, guesthouses, monasteries, even movie halls for rainy days. Butter tea is served milky and smoky – straight from the fires on which it is made.

Cons: This trek required dedicated effort! Though the full circuit can be completed in two weeks at a fast pace, we suggest that travelers build in a few extra days to rest and explore some of the local villages.

Level of difficulty: Hard

Click here to learn more about our Annapurna Circuit trek


Secrets of Nepal's Most Explored Towns

Though Nepal is known for her mountains, urban areas provide visitors feasts of cultural and culinary delights. Since most travelers have limited time to spend in the main cities, we set out to uncover hidden treasures demanding to be explored. Whether you find yourself with an extra day in Nepal’s developing capital Kathmandu or arrive early in Pokhara, the lakeside hotspot of hippies and fashionistas, enjoy some of our favorite – and unique – travel experiences.

 

Kathmandu

 

1. Warm up on indoor rock

Before you set out on the trails, get some climbing practice in at one of Kathmandu’s many indoor rock faces. Adventure centers have popped up around the city, appealing to residents and visitors alike. The Kathmandu Sport Climbing Center attracts professionals and novices with routes and problems of all levels and ability, and Astrek Climbing boasts Nepal’s highest artificial wall. Check out the happenings at the newly opened Outdoor Adventure Center Nepal; in addition to an indoor playground, the center organizes events and festivals celebrating outdoor sports.

Street scene Kathmandu man on a bike

 

2. Try Laping

With roots in China, this warming bowl of flavorful noodles has become synonymous with Tibetan culture. Look for Tibetan khaja ghars surrounding the most-visited temples, Boudha and Swayambhunath. You’ll see photos of thick stews advertising the special. The dish is spicy and will warm you from the inside out. Laping is unique to Nepali communities with origins in Tibet and is a “must-try” while you are in Nepal!

 

3. Find the Garden of Dreams

Folded into the outskirts of bustling Thamel, Garden of Dreams is a hidden oasis carved into the city – and easy to miss. Thick brick walls block out noise from the streets, and manicured gardens offer a quiet reprieve from an often-oppressive cityscape. With an attractive outdoor café, visitors can enjoy rich slices of chocolate cake and creamy lattes among the garden’s greenery.

 

4. Catch world-class musicians

The entryway is small and is easily passed by, but those who sleuth their way to the top of Jazz Upstairs will be richly rewarded. Diplomats and locals sit side-by-side at wooden tables for live sets, and the house is packed by 10pm. Music enthusiasts will also appreciate Jazzmandu, a music festival held annually with artists from all over the world.

 

5. Visit a farmer’s market

Farmers and art markets have become regular events around the city. Local artisans sell baked goods, French cheeses, and organic jams; the sales have become a meeting point of Kathmandu’s elite, expats, and curious travelers. If you find yourself in Kathmandu on a Saturday morning or Wednesday night, stop by the farmer’s market at Le Sherpa.

Pokhara

Only a thirty-minute flight from Kathmandu (if there are no delays!), Pokhara is a traveler’s dream: Adventure, discovery, relaxation, and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Formerly a quiet trekking town, Pokhara is now a cauldron of luxury and trends with well-preserved viewpoints on the outskirts of the city.

1. Explore Matepani Monastery

Get out of the tourist center Lakeside and make your way through city center, past Mahendrapool, and into the Matepani neighborhood. Founded by the Manangi tribe, the Matepani monastery is perched on a hilltop, and the intricate details of the temple columns delight tourists and neighborhood residents. Time your visit to join the monks for one of their prayer ceremonies or enjoy resting in the temple’s courtyard while gazing at the fishtailed peak of Machhapuchhre.

2. Have a drink at Dunga

Skip Busy Bee, the restaurant listed in all travel guides, and make your way to Dunga, the latest nightspot in Lakeside. Locals and tourists file into the nautical-themed restaurant for live music and drink specials, and a team of talented photographers captures photos to post on Facebook. With warm lighting and earthy colors, even the most haggard trekker looks like a star. By the end of the night, you’ll have made friends with a local eager to give you their own tips of things to do while visiting Pokhara.

3. Venture to Begnas

Reachable by bus or by car, Lake Begnas is the alternative to Fewa Tal. Fisheries, organic coffee shops, and high-end resorts make for a quieter day excursion or overnight trip. Perched above the shores of the lake, Begnas Lake Resort is the perfect scenic viewpoint for Mo:Mo (Nepali dumplings) and espresso. Higher up a nearby mountain, Rupakot Resort offers views of the full Annapurna range.

4. Capture sunset at Pumdi Bhumdi

Across the well-known and often-crowded Sarangkot, the white temple of the World Peace Pagoda is nestled above Pokhara. The road to reach this area is off-road and unpaved, so you’ll need to rent a motorbike or hire a Jeep, but we promise, it’s worth it. This area is a surreal viewpoint for morning sunrises and dreamy sunsets. Homestays in Kalabang and the plush Raniban Retreat offer bird’s-eye views of Lakeside, Fewa Lake, and the Himalayas. Pack a bottle of wine, head to the Pumdi Bhumdi tower, and don’t forget your camera.

5. Go flying

Local operator High Ground Adventures manages transportation to their zipline and bungee-jump platform in Hemja, a predominately Tibetan community set apart from Lakeside’s tourism center. The zipline ride lasts around two minutes, cutting through dark forests and rolling foothills. After your thrill, enjoy refreshments at their café or visit a nearby Tibetan camp or Buddhist monastery.

Pokhara is one of those places you could spend a week or more, easily, and lose track of time. With Movie Gardens and coffee shops, we’re sure you will enjoy your time by the lake.

Paragliding in the Himalaya


Why You Shouldn't Do The Normal Machu Picchu

Why we don't do the typical Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu: If you want to do a Sacred Valley tour, how do you choose who to travel with?
There are hundreds of companies offering “the” Sacred Valley tour. But we prefer to do it a little differently.

We believe in quality over quantity. We believe that you get what you pay for. We do not try to offer the cheapest Sacred Valley tour. We do not even try to show you all the sites in the Sacred Valley. However we do try to give you the best taste of the area in the time you have available.

The photo that accompanies this post, was taken at Ollantaytambo ruins about 4pm. Most days you can go to Ollantaytambo at 4pm and it will be exactly the same. Because that is how a standard Sacred Valley tour is done.

What is a standard Sacred Valley tour like?
Leaving Cusco early, you jump on a bus with twenty or thirty other tourists and are driven round site after site, before finally returning to Cusco exhausted about 7pm. Often this is done on your first full day in Cusco. So not only are you suffering from tiredness and jet lag, but you are also only recently getting used to the altitude. And every place you go, you will see hundreds of other tourists, all doing the same thing in the same order. This is not our idea of fun.
 
What makes our Sacred Valley tour different?
Your tour is private. You have a guide and vehicle at your disposal. Your guide will tailor it to your wishes and pace.

By careful timing, we can avoid the crowds. Simply by not visiting things in the same order as everyone else.

Crowded Inca Ruin

By encouraging you to leave the bus behind and hop on a horse, or bike, or take a stroll, we can show you a side to the Sacred Valley that most people never see. It does not take long, or take much effort to get away from the tourist buses.

By taking it slower, you can concentrate on and fully enjoy a few select sites, rather than trying to cram in the whole of the valley in one day. Remember the Sacred Valley is a large area. The drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, its furthest point is about 60km. The valley itself extends about 60km. You should not try to see it all in one day.

For more info about our Classic Hiram Bingham Sacred Valley trip https://www.noroads.com.au/expeditions/detail/Classic-Hiram-Bingham-Inca-Trail-to-Machu-Picchu


Why Land Based Galapagos May Be A Better Option?

When you’re planning your trip to the Galapagos, there’s certainly a lot to think about, but it all starts with one simple question: Cruise or Land-based tour? Cruises are a very popular option for many travelers, but land-based tours are increasingly becoming an excellent alternative. At 

There are many reasons a land-based tour is preferable to a cruise. With No Roads, you will:

 

  • Rest and relax in our comfortable boutique hotels instead of on a cramped boat.

  • Spend much less time moving from place to place, and more time having fun.

  • Enjoy flexibility and freedom to do what you want, when you want.

  • Have more time for each activity, which is great for active travelers.

  • Don’t worry about seasickness or your wine glass sliding off the table at dinner.

  • Support the local economy and help provide gainful employment for Galapagueños.

  • Get in touch with the unique vibe of each island and visit town whenever you want.

  • Not have to deal with uncomfortable and time-consuming wet landings just to get off the boat.

  • Experience more variety in your surroundings, activities, cuisine and interactions.

  • Enjoy a smaller group size, meaning more personal attention and less environmental impact.

Galapagos accommodation

On top of these advantages, it’s a much more eco-friendly experience, as you are not burning through hundreds of gallons of fuel every day to navigate from one destination to another. Part of traveling to the Galapagos Islands is acknowledging that it is a truly amazing, yet fragile environment, and doing your part to protect it.

If you are traveling with a family, then this is definitely the option for you, with a great selection of kid-friendly activities and no stressful adaptations to living on a boat.

We provide trained adventure sport guides, high quality equipment, a friendly and a multilingual team.

We also offer several other options than the 1 on the website so please give us a call to discuss your needs at +61 3 9598 8581

For more information about our Multi Sport Galapagos trip click here.


One Week Adventures

It's the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. The days are short. The weather is foul. You're still at work. How bad could life get? There is hope! If you can manage 1 week away (that's right just 1 week) we can guarantee that we can recharge your batteries and offer you something that you won't be able to stop talking about.

The following are 5 adventures that are remote, beautiful and engaging. They range from fairly difficult mountain treks to laid back wildlife adventures and something in between. So take a few minutes to look what you can do next week or next month and then start to write that vacation notice to your boss.

6 Day Sea Kayaking around the Komodo Islands

The Komodo Islands is an area lost in time. Just paddling out into the area, one gets a sense of its' prehistoric nature. This thought is galvanised when you take a trek on Rinca Island to observe the Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat. These 150kg monitor lizards are enormous and also a little disgusting. We will see many of them lounging about but don't let them fool you, they are fast when they smell blood. 

While people come to the Komodo Islands for the Dragons, most people leave raving about the sea life. Below the surface is a whole new world full of coral and fish life. This is a special place, caught between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Komodo National Park has some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet. This 6 day adventure Bali to Bali is sure to recharge your batteries.

For more information about our 6 day Komodo Kayaking trip click here

Camping in the Komodo Islands

Swimming with Humpback Whales

Each year, Humpback Whales migrate north from the Southern Ocean towards warmer waters to breed and calve. One of their favourite places is Tonga. What a great choice! Palm-fringed beaches, warm clear water, remote and beautiful. We think Humpback Whales have excellent taste in destinations. As such you can come and see these amazing animals in the wild. You will even have the chance to swim with them, mothers with calf. This is a mind-blowing nature-based experience. And at the end of the day, we head back to our wonderful resort for a great meal and an even better sleep.

 

This is an 8 day adventure Sydney to Sydney

For more information about our 8 day Swim with Humpback Whales adventure click here.

Trek to PNG Highest Peak - Mt Wilhelm 4509m

There is so much more to PNG than the Kokoda Track. It has some of the most amazing mountain ranges and one such is the highest in the country - Mt Wilhelm at 4509m above sea level. This amazing trek will have you back home in 7 days. In that time you will fly to PNG, trek to the summit of Mt Wilhelm (where it has been known to snow), trek back down through remote villages and then back home. This is not an adventure for the faint-hearted. At that altitude the air temperature can be a freezing: -15C: but the views are spectacular.

If you are fit and ready to go we can run this trip with a minimum of 2 people any day of the week. Trekking season, of course, is April to October. 

Few have heard of Mt Wilhelm but when you go, it is a place you will never forget.

For more information about our Mt Wilhelm Expedition click here

Mt Wilhelm Trek