Welcome to the Kokoda Track experts; Getaway Trekking – Licensed Tour Operator Kokoda Track Authority.
The Kokoda Track (or Trail) is often regarded as one of the world’s greatest treks. It will not only test the mental aptitude of even the fittest of trekkers, the Kokoda Track also educates all guests along the journey on the history of World War II and the battle between Japanese and Australian forces in 1942.
The track was first used by European miners in the 1890s to access the Yodda Kokoda goldfields. Between July 1942 and January 1943, a series of battles, afterwards called the Kokoda Track Campaign, were fought between the Japanese and Australian forces. This action was memorialised in the newsreel documentary Kokoda Front Line!, filmed by cameraman Damien Parer, which won Australia’s first Academy Award for its director Ken G. Hall in 1942.
After the war the track fell into disuse and disappeared in many places. John Landy, the long-distance runner, set a record of four days for the crossing using carriers and guides during the 1950s, and in 1964 Angus Henry, the art teacher at Sogeri High School with two of his students, John Kadiba and Misty Baloiloi, set a new record which was to stand until after the millennium by completing the journey in three and a quarter days without guides, carriers or any signposts or bridges.
In recent years walking the track has become a pilgrimage for Australians of all ages. The Kokoda Track Foundation was established in 2003, to help villages along the Kokoda Track by assisting with their education and healthcare, by trying to protect their environment, by helping to foster the growth of an eco-friendly trekking and tourism industry from which they can benefit, by working to keep the story of Kokoda alive, and by seeking to identify and foster the next generation of PNG leaders.
There is a proposal to turn the track into an Australian heritage destination on a par with ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli. Creation of the heritage area, is in part response to the issue of an Australian gold mining company wanting to mine on or near the track. Currently the idea is backed by the Australian government and Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister.
In November 2007 Australian mining firm Frontier Resources announced plans to divert a section of the track to make way for a copper mine. The plan has the support of the local landowners and the Papua New Guinean government but has been criticized by trekking operators.Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said he will lobby the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to stop the proposed move.
The track has been closed numerous times by villagers along the route in response to various grievances. In May 2009 villagers at Kovelo – near Kokoda village – blocked the track after complaints that money collected from trekking fees was not being distributed fairly.
Getaway Trekking prefers to use the term ‘guests’ when referring to walking the Kokoda Track, simply because it is our strong belief that we are privileged to have been provided the opportunity by the local Papua New Guinea communities along the track to pass through their villages and lives in order to fulfil our goal of completing the 96km journey through the Owen Stanley Range.
In travelling to an undeveloped nation such as Papua New Guinea, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure we are socially, culturally and environmentally aware. We are proud of the relationships we have developed with our local trek & adventure operators and have found over the years that very special bonds form between people of all backgrounds when participating in our adventures.
Our most long term relationships are with the people of PNG and in particular the villages of Buna and Efogi 2 (Launumu). The Kokoda Trekking Team have been regular and welcome visitors to Buna for the 14 years we have been in operation. We love interacting with the kids at the Buna school, and have been able to provide some much needed materials for their use. For further information on Getaway Trekking’s community program, please click here.
Our small group tours will ensure an intimacy along the track, provides easy access to guides and porters whilst allowing all trekkers with an opportunity to truly appreciate the spectacular views and scenery, as well as taking in the local culture and history of the Kokoda Track.