Home Forums General Forums Introduction Looking At Aug/sep 2011

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    Hi everyone,

    My husband and I are looking at doing Kokoda in Aug or Sep 2011 – depending on babysitters LOL

    We are both reasonably fit, but I just have a few questions.

    With flights – we live in Darwin – so have noticed you have to go via Cairns or Brissie to get to PM. Is there any other way to get to PM from Darwin – i.e. via a different Asian city? I just feel like we are going backwards flying over to Cairns or Bris!!

    I am 32 and my hubby is 41 and just wondering do people our ages generally carry their own packs or get porters? We have done loads of hiking recreationally (carrying our packs with tents and camping etc – and in snow at times LOL), but I really don't want to regret carrying our own packs once we start.

    No doubt I will be back asking loads of other questions.



    Hi Rachel,

    Unfortunately I am not sure on the flights question but I am sure some googling or even a call to a travel agency would be able to give you more information.

    As for carrying your own pack or not, I guess it is ultimately your decision. I too have done loads of overnight and multi-day hiking but for kokoda I decided on hiring a porter for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted to enjoy every minute of my trek and not be hindered by having to think about the weight on my back. I wanted to be able to take in everything around me and I think if I had been carrying a full pack, I may have been so preoccupied with carrying the load, I may have 'missed' the excitement of being on the Kokoda track.
    Even with a porter you still need to carry a day pack which will contain at least 2 litres of water at any given time, your daily rations and any other personal items you need access to during the day. It doesn't weigh a lot but is still a few kgs.

    Secondly, by hiring a porter you are providing a much needed job for someone. Most villagers have very little income and to have a job for a week can be of huge benefit to a family. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you have provided an income for someone who would otherwise have not had it.

    And thirdly, the porters are great fun to be around! They create a wonderful atmosphere, particularly at camp each night. They play instruments and nearly all of them sing-it's a wonderful way to spend the evenings. They also have local knowledge and can often fill in the gaps with any questions you may have. Plus, they are inspiring! The porter I had when I trekked is Eddie-he walked the entire track in bare feet and occasionally donned rubber thongs. To see him running off down the track, barefooted and carrying my 18 odd kgs is enough to spur you onwards!

    All the best for a great Kokoda experience, Sally.


    Hi there,

    With regards to flights from WA. Some trekkers come via Melbourne to Brisbane and then to PNG. Others via Cairns. However depending on your budget Air Niugini have weekly flights from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. So its really up to you how you plan your flights but just mentioning various options. We had one trekker once who flew up to Cairns from Perth. He then took his malaria tablets and got sick and had to return to Perth. He later completed his trek. So anything like malaria tablets you should take leading up to your trek in case you have a reaction. In his case he changed brands and was ok.

    With regards to carrying your own packs. There are heaps of people who have done this. However, its been my experience that when they come back for the second time more often then not, they hire a porter. As mentioned previously they provide humour; companionship; they sing and play their uke'ule's and just somehow are there for you all the way edging you along, holding your hand; pulling/pushing/lifting, whatever, just so you realise your dream of walking the track.

    It really depends on the reason you come to walk. If for a holiday and an adventure as well as walking in our diggers footsteps, then definitely hire a porter. If its for personal achievement then carry your own pack but you will be buggered at the end of each day. My daughter walked with her karate coach who is a fitness fanatic on a 4 day trek. He carried all the way and lost 10kg later remarking it was the hardest thing he had ever done. With this guy I know if he ever walks again he will carry again as that was his aim to conquer the track. As for my daughter, she enjoyed the singalongs with her porters; enjoyed walking around in the villages and talking to people and just thoroughly enjoyed the trek experience as apposed to dying and resting when in camp. So in a nutshell this is what it amounts to, the reason as to why you are trekking.

    Mrs Moo

    Hi Rachel

    Sally and Gail have given you sensible advice. My daughter was 32 and fit when we walked the track, carried her own pack and she had no troubles whatever. However I did notice that when it came to creek crossings etc, she had no hand to hold except on the occasions when my own porter helped her across. Also, when coming down steep muddy slopes, she spent a bit of time on her bum because (a) she carried a heavy pack and (b) again she had no helping hand to hold.

    She wouldn't have done it any other way, because that is her nature. But my advice would be to give a porter a job – it helps the PNG economy and makes your own life easier.

    Enjoy your trek.


    With regards to porters, I also want to add that some trekkers even hire a porter JUST IN CASE as they want to try to carry to see what its like but have one on standby to help them across river crossings; steep slopes or whatever. These porters feel stupid carrying nothing so in most cases they help take the load off the food porters whilst staying with their trekker. However, the trekker has support if they need it; have given back to the community by hiring someone; still have company on the track and someone to hand their pack to if they find the going too tough. Several trekkers have done this and take it turn about as well. One day carrying one day not. One trekker who came up from Adelaide bought with him a uke'ule. He wanted to hire a porter to walk and play music while he trudged along with his own pack. Lots of different options as there are lots of people out there with their own ideas on how they want to walk on their trek.


    Hi Rachel.
    I was 53 when I did the track and carried my own pack just to see whether I still could. It was bloody hard work. I dont regret carrying it, but would not do so again. I'd give a porter a job next time.


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