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.