Join us on this emotional coast to coast journey, honouring the heroic feats of young US Army soldiers during the WW2 Papuan Campaign in 1942/43. Members of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 126th Regiment, 32nd Red Arrow Division were ordered to outflank the Japanese at Buna on the northern beaches of Papua New Guinea. As you trek along the 200+ kilometres of village tracks and mountain range that is the Kapa Kapa Track, you will go beyond the history books and experience the difficult terrain, through the tropical jungle in which they trudged to join the Aussies in the fight on the northern beaches.
We travel from the southern coastal village of Gaba Gaba, north along the track to finish at Buna on the north coast. En route we will pass through many villages that have not seen ‘taubadas’ or white men before. We will recall the bravery of US GI’s at Buna, where they suffered heavy casualties, alongside their Aussie mates.
Here you will have the opportunity to join with your fellow trekkers with our wonderful carriers in thanks and gratitude for the achievements of past GI’s, diggers and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
After reaching Buna, travel to Popondetta for your return flight to Port Moresby.
‘We are here today, because they were here before us.’
Key to notes: 3 / 6 = 3 hours over 6 kms (approx)
Day 1: Port Moresby
Arrive in Port Moresby. Airport pickup and transfer to your hotel accommodation. Join your fellow adventurers tonight for an evening meet & greet then a program brief. We know we have arrived in the ‘land where we learn to expect the unexpected’! Evening meal and check your last minute packing. Overnight: Port Moresby
Day 2: Moresby to Gaba Gaba – commence trek – Gonemu (B,L,D) drive time 2-3 hrs 4/9
Today will be your first taste of breaking new ground in PNG – a surreal feeling. After breakfast we board our PMV for the drive down the highway to Gabagaba. Optional Bomana Cemetery visit en route. It was at Gabagaba that the American Army Engineers started cutting a track through the dense jungle to forge access to the Owen Stanley Ranges to the north. After a 3 hour drive plus 4 hours trekking, we set up our bivvy camp on the banks of the Kemp Welch River, maybe enjoy a swim and then relax. Tonight is our first taste of village hospitality at the village of Gonemu. Overnight: Gonemu.
Day 3: Gonemu to Kemp Welch River (B,L,D) 11/21
An early morning start. Our walk continues alongside the Kemp Welch River in the foothills of the Owen Stanley’s. Harder walking today as we gain and then lose altitude for most of the day. We will set up another bivvy camp on the banks of the Kemp Welch River and maybe enjoy another swim, then relax. Overnight: Kemp Welch River.
Day 4: Kemp Welch River to New Barataka (B,L,D) 9/14
Our trek continues along the Kemp Welch River as we walk further inland. We encounter a taste of what is to come with an extremely steep 200 metre climb up a hill beside the river. Of course we then go down the other side which is just as steep! Let’s hope it is not wet at the time when we hit this vertical. Tonight is our second taste of village hospitality at New Barataka. Overnight: New Barataka
Day 5: New Barataka (B,L,D) 0/0
Today is a scheduled rest day. We may or may not use this, but we have contingency plans to cover the likelihood of adverse weather conditions. Rain or possibly torrential rain is very likely during our trek. We also need to ensure all trekkers and particularly our national carriers are in good shape to cross the main range ahead. Overnight: New Barataka
Day 6: New Barataka to Bush camp (B,L,D) 10/15
Today we leave the Kemp Welch River and walk up the beautiful Som Creek. This day in particular, we use our river walking shoes as we are in the creek for hours. We leave the easy creek walking and tackle the first of many long steep climbs; on this one we gain 700 metres vertical. Our trek is getting harder. Overnight: Bush camp bivvy.
Day 7: Bush camp to Tabu (B,L,D) 10/15
This morning we will set off for another tough days walking / climbing as we start to gain a foothold on the Owen Stanley Ranges. Tonight we enjoy the hospitality of the people from Tabu village in a guesthouse. The children from this village in particular, were enthralled by having us stay and would not leave us alone until well after we had played ball with them, enjoyed a shower and the delights of their local fruits. Overnight: Tabu village
Day 8: Tabu to Laronu (B,L,D) 10/19
Even though we walk a fair distance, we enjoy a relatively easy walk today through the villages of Igonomou, Dorobisoro and Memie, before we receive a traditional welcome in our Trek Masters Village of Laronu and stay in the recently built guest house for GT trekkers. Overnight: Laronu village
Day 9: Laronu Village (B,L,D) 0/0
Today is a scheduled rest day. We may or may not use this, but we have contingency plans to cover the likelihood of adverse weather conditions. Rain or possibly torrential rain is very likely during our trek. We also need to ensure all trekkers & our national carriers are in good shape to cross the main range. Overnight: Laronu village
Day 10: Laronu to Wairi’s Bush camp (B,L,D) 7/9
An early start to the day, as we have a tough 900 metre climb to Wairi’s bush camp in the middle of the rainforest on the south side foot of Mt Suwemalla. We set up camp early and rest for the afternoon prior to our assault on Ghost Mountain tomorrow. Overnight: Wairi’s bush camp bivvy.
Day 11: Wairi’s Bush camp to Ghost Mountain bush camp (B,L,D) 9/9
Today we climb Mt Suwemalla (Mt Obree) or Ghost Mountain, very steep, elevation ~ 2750 metres and can only imagine the hardships faced by American troops as they crossed the range in 1942. Enjoy great views of yet more mountain ranges to the north, of Mt Lamington and the Kumusi River valley. A tough but very rewarding day, with a bush camp bivvy at night. Overnight: Ghost Mountain bush camp
Day 12: Ghost Mountain bush camp to Jaure (B,L,D) 5/10
A relatively easy day’s walk as we make the village of Jaure and stay in a guesthouse. This was the village where the Americans were re supplied. 5 companies split into 3 directions as they head toward the enemy on the northern beaches. Overnight: Jaure village
Day 13: Jaure to bush camp (B,L,D) 8/12
Today is another relatively easy day’s walk as we make our bush camp bivvy early today. More downs than ups as we are now over the main range. Overnight: Bush camp bivvy.
Day 14: Bush camp to Umwate (B,L,D) 10/17
Lots of ups and down today as we drop a further 500 metres. Late afternoon we make the beautiful village of Umwate and enjoy their guest house. Overnight: Umwate village
Day 15: Umwate to Itokhama (B,L,D) 5/11
Today we start to walk the lowlands and fewer ups and downs. We will receive a traditional welcome at the wonderful village of Itokhama. Every day from now is less arduous as the big verticals are behind us, however, don’t think it will be easy as you are still in the tropics. Guest house, magnificent pineapples, great fruit and hospitality from this area. Overnight: Itokhama village
Day 16: Itokhama to Natunga (B,L,D) 8/15
More lowlands walking today and arrive mid afternoon at the village of Natunga and hopefully another guest house. We are getting closer to the final destination. Overnight: Natunga village
Day 17: Natunga to Sewa (B,L,D) 8/15
Fewer ups and downs today as we enjoy relatively easy walking on the flat. Arrive mid afternoon at the village of Sewa and another guest house. We are constantly reminded of the difficulty of walking in this environment in this country. Whilst the hills are not as high or long, we are all realising that walking at lower altitudes has its drawbacks; the heat & humidity. Overnight: Sewa village
Day 18: Sewa to Girua River – finish trek – Popondetta to Buna (B,L,D) 3/8 2-3 hrs PMV
An early start to the day, as we have a long day ahead. Our long walk finishes at the Girua River where the old bridge has been washed away. We then meet our PMV for a drive into Popondetta to re supply, then drive into the village of Buna on the north coast, the scene of horrific battle scenes in late ’42. Soon we will be able to smell the Solomon Sea and enjoy swimming in waters that are about 26 C degrees year round. Overnight: Buna village
Day 19: Port Moresby (B,L,D) 2-3 hrs PMV
PMV to Popondetta for our flight back across the mountains we have just trekked over. Fly to Port Moresby then our hotel for some more traditional sleeping quarters. A couple of drinks as we relax by the pool and think about the significance of what we have just achieved. Overnight: Port Moresby
Day 20: Tour ends (B)
After breakfast, a transfer from the hotel will take you to Jackson’s International Airport for your return trip to Australia.
- Twin share accommodation
- All meals
Kapa Kapa Trek Experience:
- Australian Tour Leader/s depending on group size
- National Trek Master & Trek Leader
- Personal carrier for your pack
- Domestic Flights (PNG)
- Guest house or bivvy accommodation on the track
- All village tariffs
- Carriers for food and equipment
- All meals on track including nutritionally balanced food
- Detailed Risk Management Plan
- Proven group management with responsible ecological practices
- Village cultural activities
- Visit US Army historical sites along the track
- US Army historical narration
- Emergency equipment including comprehensive first aid kit and Satellite Phone
- Bus/PMV transport in PNG
- All food, accommodation & home transport for carriers
- Visit to Australian Bomana War Cemetery optional
- Getaway Trekking walking Shirt
- Opportunity to join regular training sessions
- Public Liability Insurance
- International and Australian domestic airfares
- Passport & Visa costs
- Travel Insurance
- Vaccinations and anti-malarial medicines
- Track snacks
$TBC – 20 Day fully escorted tour. Please contact us for pricing.
$ 550 – Single Supplement
Departure: 5-25 October 2013
The Fine Print
A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is required to secure a booking. The remaining monies are payable 60 days prior to departure.
A medical certificate is required from your doctor no more than 30 days from departure, stating that you have no medical condition that could endanger your life on the Kapa Kapa Track.
Travel Insurance is mandatory.
Training is necessary. This trek is challenging and you will require a high level of fitness. We can offer you support in this area. Please contact us for details.
Your Safety Is Our Priority
To ensure your journey is memorable for all of the right reasons, our attention to safety is second to none. Getaway Trekking staff are experienced leaders and trekkers in PNG.
All are Wilderness First Aid qualified. Leaders will carry an extensive wilderness First Aid kit, but you are expected to bring your own for personal use. We have an excellent support network both in Papua New Guinea & Australia. We are in regular contact via satellite phone to our logistics base.
NB. As previously stated, this tour has been designed for and at the request of previous Getaway Trekking Kokoda trekkers who are fit and can handle a category 3 walk. Other trekkers are eligible to apply to join this trek, but will be required to meet stringent fitness criteria.
Please be aware and take note; this tour is for experienced trekkers only.
You will experience many river and log crossings which present points of risk. Trek leaders will assess risk at every point of the journey, but we cannot control the weather conditions or the environment in which we travel. We have allowed extra time for contingencies beyond our control such as torrential rain and flooded rivers.
Weather conditions in Papua New Guinea are often unreliable and it is advisable that plenty of time is allowed for travel transits. Getaway Trekking is not responsible for any costs incurred by connections that are not made.
Getaway Trekking needs to be satisfied that you are capable of completing this tour and your acceptance into any group will solely be at the discretion of Getaway Trekking principals.