Home Forums Trek Survivors Kokoda Trekker Family Referrals From Our Family Of Trekkers – 2003!

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    Dear Gail

    Well back into the frantic working day! I wanted to thank you for all the
    extra little things you did for us and I am sorry I did not express this
    when we said goodbye at the airport, I think I was still in a bit of a spin
    (and had a heavy head!) I hope that Malum and Russell felt alright the next
    day! You ran us around town and booked the dinner and so many things more
    than required that you made POM just that much better and trouble-free
    expecially for an inexperienced PNG visitor like me.

    The trip was just wonderful and I am still feeling a sense of loss from
    being parted from the team. The PNG guys were so helpful and supportive and
    so much fun and we all seemed to get on so well together. I was impressed by
    their sense of community and sharing. Although the walk was a challenge it
    was also very enjoyable and I don't think Rich and I hit any walls although
    we were tired at the end of every day. In some ways it would be nice to do
    it again but then it may be a disappointment.

    Could you also send me the email list of the others on our trip, we
    exchanged emails but I cannot find the bit of paper, also Malum's email
    address, can you tell me Eric's last name as I am hoping to catch him when
    he performs in Canberra next month.

    Thanks again

    Kind regards

    Sue Hancock
    Sue Hancock and her son Richard Hancock on the verandah of the Royal Papua Yacht Club. Both Sue and her son trekked together and are now planning to climb Mt Wilhelm in December 2003:



    Hello Gail,

    I am back in Australia after some very interesting weeks in PNG. The yam fest in the Trobes was a good finish…….

    I just want to thank you both for making my stay easier and more enjoyable. Hope to see you again in the future or through the homepage.

    By the way, is it possible to get that Kokoda map sent for?

    Many thanks,

    Ola Nillson

    Photograph – Russell Eroro our chief guide with Ola on the verandah of the Royal Papua Yacht Club celebrating their successful trek:




    just a message of thanks for all that you have done in making the trek a
    memorable one; I have no hesitation in recommending it to others and will
    do so. My apologises for not having said my good-byes yesterday but time caught-up with me!

    I am hoping to visit PNG next year and if time permits would be interested
    in doing the other trek that you mentioned Thursday night. I will certainly
    be in touch about it.

    Please thank Jimmy and Jacob once again as they were most helpful yesterday.

    Your help has been much appreciated.

    Best Wishes,

    Grant Turner

    Editors Note: If anyone wants to check with Grant first hand, why not send him a private message as he has registered on our website under the name of Grantt. Yes thats him carrying the heavy load. Our guides and porters said he was one of the fittest they have ever had the pleasure of trekking with. Rumour has it, that Grant trekked the whole way without a walking stick and with his arms crossed AND CARRIED HIS PACK!!! quite a feat!

    Photograph – Grant on one of the river crossings closely followed by Philip Bourke:



    Hi Gail,

    Sorry I haven't gotten back to you earlier. I've been meaning to mail you
    and thank you for all your help when I was up in PNG – it certainly helped
    make it such a memorable holiday. Unfortunately, I've been flat out since
    I've got back here (one of my editors put forwards a deadline by a month!)
    so I haven't had a chance to finish my Kokoda article yet. But I still will
    forward you a copy when it gets done and published – if not here, I'll try
    the guys at Paradise Marketing.

    But thank you very much for your help and all the guys in PNG trekking – do
    say hello and thank you to Jakob for shuttling me around plus any of the
    Kokoda boys if they're around – by the way, what is the official name of
    your company? I want to get it right when I do submit my article.

    Thanks for everything,

    Jason Kovacs

    Photograph – Sailas one of our kokoda guides with Jason Kovacs enjoying a meal at the Royal Papua Yacht Club after their successful trek:



    Hi Gail,

    Thank you for referring to us two of your Kokoda Trekkers. They dived with
    us last Tuesday (?) and we did 3 dives, the 1st dive was a new dive site
    exploration dive, 2nd dive to an old dive site we hadn't visited for quite a
    while and the 3rd dive (free dive) was a clean-up dive at the Lion Island.
    We picked up empty bottles and other rubbish and found also one oil drum.
    All the divers were treated to a free lunch of baked macaroni and fried
    chicken wings as our way of thanking everyone for helping us in cleaning
    part of our underwater from rubbish. Everyone was awarded Certificates of
    Recognition for the effort. The certificates were forwarded to us by PADI
    for distribution to participants.

    As we were blessed with an incoming tide the whole day, practically, the
    water was very calm — mirror-like and visibility was very good. Our
    regular divers enjoyed the experience and hope your trekkers enjoyed it too.

    Thanks and regards,



    Hi…my name is Geoff Trott in Melbourne. I did the Kokoda with my son a month back so Gail sent the email on to me. The track varies from flat and metres wide to the far more common steep. They dont do switchbacks there. So when you see a hill, the trail effectively goes straight up if it can.and straight down the other side.

    Most of it though is narrow and meandering, in and out of rivers (they
    call creeks) and across some pretty reasonable faces. Not cliffs though.
    This is jungle and even when it is steep there are always tree roots etc
    to hold with the up hill hand. If you have done cradle you should have no problems. Just remember that PNG is wet. It cops tropical rain and the climate is "humudity"- my word.

    I am 55 so if I can do it -you can. It is a sensational to experience.

    All the bad press you hear from there is Moresby. It is good to have a
    look at but how people live there in compounds I don't know.
    Outside the people are better than great. They are really friendly, no
    bullshit about them. Any more questions just shoot a linme this way or to Gail and I will see
    what I can do.

    …………..Regards Geoff

    Tips from Geoff who works with ABC in Melbourne: Didn't use the repellant because we were sweating too much and it was impractical.. A bit of drying agent of some sort would have been handy, talcum type stuff. The betadene? type is chemically fine but it is moist. The big twoI took were anti-inflammatories for knees (in my case) and non prescrip/sedatives. Other than that I can't thinkof a thing. We didn't tend to use much but we probably should have. Not even burn cream more than twice?



    Hi Gail,

    I just wanted to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share in the experience of walking the Kokoda Trail. I don't think I will ever forget it. Your hospitality during our few days in Port Moresby was greatly appreciated. You made our stay so much more worthwhile. Your organizational skills are to be admired. No wander all those other trekkers out there were jealous of us. I hope that Steve Ovett's trek is going along smoothly. I look forward to viewing the photos on their return. Getting to meet all the PNG boys who helped us on our trek was fantastic. I really enjoyed hearing about their families and their work. I think they liked our company. I am collecting a few things to send up to Andrew at Kokoda. He is going to make sure that they get to the boys. Is it better that I send it to you first and then you can get it on plane to Kokoda. It wont be for a week or two. You can let me know what the best procedure is. Say hello to all the crew and I look forward to hearing about Alison's experience when she returns.

    Janet & Geoff

    Photograph – Geoff & Janet Cowan on board a dive boat before they went out on the Kokoda Trail:



    Hi Gail,

    Thanks again for referring Jeff, Janet and Joey. The three and Alison ended
    up doing 2 dives each. I hope they enjoyed the experience. Alison
    mentioned that she is interested in doing a full course although she also
    said she felt a bit cold underwater.

    We have charged all three certifed divers rates bec I thought Jeff and Janet
    were certified divers. We actually have different rates for resort divers
    (non certification level) which include the instruction and "experience"
    certification which can be credited towards a full PADI course later upon
    presentation to the PADI Dive Shop where the student does the course,
    provided it is conducted by an Instructor. (Asst. Instructors can now
    conduct the course but it will not be credited towards the full course

    Thanks again,


    Photograph – Group Pic of our journalist, Alison Anis, Joey Fitzpatrich from Sydney and Geoff and Janet Cowan who spent one day diving before their kokoda trek:



    ive pulled really well, bring on everest. did everyone have a great time and
    arrive back safely? thank you for all your help. how did steve go?
    many thanks

    joey fitzpatrick

    Joseph (Joey) Fitzpatrick helping our staff put the finishing touches to a mural on Kokoda one of which went to America and the other one was used to welcome Steve Ovett OBE and the Bloomhill Cancer Care team to Port Moresby.



    Hi Gail, How are you going? Just thought I?d drop you a line to say hi and let you know that we are all well and fully recovered from our grueling trip- except for my knees!!. Lenny and I are definitely talking about coming back one day and doing the walk again, but in the opposite direction. However, this might take some time to eventuate as we have lots of other travel plans and only so many holidays from work. Also my knees suffered quite badly ( Mallum will be pleased to know!) and are still giving me trouble now so I?ll have to see how they go ? not getting any younger, you know.

    You are doing lots of work on the pngbd website, and I?ve been keeping up to date with all the news there. How?s your new venture going?? A few people have asked us about our experiences and we?ll definitely point them in your direction if they need advice

    Keep in touch.

    Linda Hammond

    Photograph – Group Pic at Ower's Corner:



    Dear Gail,

    Thank you so much for the certificates which arrived today. It was a wonderful surprise and totally unexpected. They will be framed and proudly displayed somewhere. Neville is compiling a large photo collage which contains the map in the middle so it might be possible for him to add the certificate in also. Great timing!

    I gather all is going well and you aren?t slowing down at all. Love the new brochure ? very professional.

    Keep well and thanks once again.


    Linda Hammond

    Photograph – Lenny Hammond, his sister Linda and his wife Linda Hammond awaiting the departure of their flight to Kokoda:



    Hi Gail,

    I think I'll be able to check every day so keep the info coming. It's a lot easier if I feel like I know what they are doing. I envy them walking around the war graves. I suggest this will be a very emotional trip for all of them. I'd love to know how Steve pulled up yesterday. I've been trying to ring them on the sat phone but as yet no luck. Glad you tracked down the banner. It would have a huge shame if that had been lost. The feedback I have from the wives is that you have already made them feel incredibly welcome and special. Thanks again Gail. I'll check out the website.


    Richard unfortunately could not come to PNG to trek but was with his mates all the way keeping in touch by satellite telephone. Photograph: Geoff Campbell, Ross Eason and Steve Ovett

    Editors Note: Richard Thompson lost his fight against cancer and passed away peacefully – 3rd November, 2003 at his Coolum, Sunshine Coast home. I will truly miss his emails as he was a wonderful man who gave his time freely to raise money for cancer care which in itself must say something about the guy.

    Thank you Richard for placing your bother and other mates in our care, you are a very special person and will remain in our hearts always.

    Gail and the team at : http://www.kokodatrail.com.au



    Hi Gail

    Have just had a good look at the web site with all the pictures and Alison's narrative. What a great job.

    Sorry I haven't written earlier but I went from one jungle straight into another when I got back to work on Tuesday- I think Russell has the best job of the lot of us, out there in the wilderness.

    We all went to Geoff's place today for a look at photos and the video- what a riot. Rich thought it all hysterical. He's back in hospital tonite undergoing further investigations into the abdo pain he has been getting for a couple of weeks now.

    He actually was not well when we were away but chose not to tell us. That's why I was surprised when I spoke to you when we got back to the compound on Monday.

    I'm going to give the brochures you gave us to a fellow I know who has a Flight Center agency here and I hope you'll get some business from him. So many people I've spoken with are interested in doing it.

    Thanks again for everything Gail. Your hospitality was wonderful and the trek was one of THE adventures of my life. We were delighted with Russell and Justus and the boys and I really don't know why anyone would choose an Australian-based tour group. You need local people to get the best out of the locals and experience the culture.

    Please pass on my regards and thanks to Alison for her company on the way. She's a real delight and has a fabulous sense of humour.

    And I guess Russell's out in the bush again as I write this. Next time you see him tell him form me that he's one lucky bastard !

    Thanks again Gail
    Best regards

    Ross Eason, John Thompson & Steve Ovett pictured here at the Bomana War Cemetery just before their kokoda trekking adventure:



    Hi Gail,

    Thanks again for a fantastic time on the trail, was a great experience. The trip was well run and the guys on the trek were great! My computer has been down by will endeavor to put a couple of comments on the web site discussion board in the next couple of days.

    I was wondering if you had Grant from Innisfail e-mail address, could you send it to me if you have it.

    Also I would like to send my porter Paul a couple of photos as he would like a copy. He said to send it to Russell at Kokoda, I was wondering how I would address that so it would reach him? Thanks it would be great if you could help me with this.

    Am now finishing organizing for my next trip in 7 weeks to the USA,Argentina, Chile, London, Hong Kong. I have an around the world fare, spending most of my time in South America, should be fun.

    Anyway have to go,
    Thanks heaps,
    Shane O'Connor

    Shane with his porter Paul seen here at the Royal Papua Yacht Club, Port Moresby ater their successul trek. I you take a look at Shane's head it will be a reminder for all tall people to keep an eye out or the corrugated iron on top of guest houses coz Shane ran into one – hence the gash on his forehead:



    Hi Gail ; arrived home and had the film developed, most of the photos came out, so I was vary happy about this. Will have copies made in the next week and send to you. The snow had melted buy the time I arrived home and we are having an indian summer. Had some strong winds that did some damage to my rentals so between reglar work and working on the rentals its been a hectick few days. The cost of my trip was alittle more than I would normaly pay, due to airfair, the treck it's self was a vary good value .

    Cost for airfair was $2118 US, and your Trek worked out at $580 us. Denver is expencive to fly out of , we are looking at some other ways of getting to PNG (Frontear to LA then United to Singapore or the Philipnes and Air Neui Gunnie to Png) . Also my sister has been on a site some of her airlines frends have been using it's in Aust. but they sell tickets in US$ and at about 1/2 the price.

    It sounds to good to be true but will check it out. Will keep in touch as I would like to come back and bring at least one group a year, and explore some other sites and options, on my own. Well I am about to fall asleep.

    Ted Warren

    Ted at Jackson's Airport as he was about to board the flight back home to the states:

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