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How hard is Kokoda?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The Kokoda Track is known as a challenging trek as it travels through the remote Owen Stanley Ranges in PNG. So if you are wondering is it hard? The simple answer is ‘yes’ it is a challenge BUT it is achievable by many different kinds of people.

Weather

The Kokoda track is a challenge because of the environment and terrain. PNG is in the tropics and you can expect it to be hot, humid and sometimes raining. Having said that, up in the highest camps on the track it will be cool at night. During a lot of the track you will be walking under the canopy of the rainforest which does help with the heat. There are creeks regularly along the way to have a dip in and cool down.

Terrain

The Kokoda track terrain is mountainous with only small sections of the track being flat. This means you are either walking slowly up a ridgeline or you are walking slowly down. This is where it can get mentally and physically hard. You will feel your hamstrings and calves working hard on the uphill and your quads working hard on the downhill. During the first few days of the track you will probably experience the pain of lactic acid build up in your muscles. After the first few days your body will get better at dealing with the lactic acid and you will begin to feel stronger and less fatigued.

Mental

What goes on between your ears will be your biggest challenge though! You have a lot of time on the track to think about what you are doing and how hard it is! If you remain strong mentally you are half way there! A good perspective to have in your mind is to remember you are not being shot at, and you know you will be going home after the trek! You just need to think of the track in small achievable sections and know that you will have a break soon and a good feed!

The Kokoda Track is hard but is achievable for most people. You just need to train by walking up and down hills for a few months prior, and tell yourself that you can do it!…. One step, one hill and one day at a time!!

How much does it cost to do the Kokoda Track?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

When looking into doing the Kokoda Track one of the factors in your decision making involves the cost of the trek. How much should it cost to complete the Kokoda Track? This is a valid question and deserves some research before signing up with a company to take you on this once in a lifetime experience! I am not a big fan of hidden costs when it comes to my purchases, and especially when I am on a holiday! I do not want to be left with a negative experience because I was unaware of the actual cost of my travel! Therefore, from the outset I want to know how much the experience will cost in total, so I can budget for that amount.

Why do prices vary so much?

The price from company to company will vary depending on what they are including in their trek price. Some will include only the basic costs, with extras like museum and battle site entry fees to be paid by individual trekkers once on the track. Some companies include all meals, while others will require you to bring your own lunch. So, the inclusions will have a direct affect on the ‘trek price’, so generally the cheaper the trek price the more basic the inclusions (so expect to fork out along the way), and the more expensive trek will be all inclusive with all the major expenses, besides souvenirs being taken care of.

So, when you are doing your research make sure you get a list of inclusions and exclusions of the trek price. And remember to factor in your international flight cost, if you must make your own way to PNG. Once you add international flights to the quoted trek price it then gives you a more accurate overall figure of what your adventure will cost. Some companies, like ours, include international flights in the overall cost of the trek so it is all included and taken care of with no hidden costs.

Happy researching…. and remember to compare inclusions, but also compare the intangible value that individual trek guides can add to your whole experience!

Kokoda Track in 2018

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Complete the Kokoda Track in 2018! Many people have the Kokoda trek on their bucket list but just never get around to doing it. All you need to do to get the ball rolling is to book Kokoda 2018 and start training and setting small goals to get you there.

Another helpful way to achieve your goal is to share the experience of the Kokoda Track in 2018 with a friend! Doing the track with a friend or group helps in training and keeping each other on ‘track’. You could train together, encourage each other, and let’s face it…compete with each other!!

If you are worried that you will not be fit enough, think again! The Kokoda track is possible for all different types of people to achieve. We have helped people in their 70’s achieve their goal of walking the track! Most good trekking companies will provide you with a training program to follow, and by the time it comes around to walk the Kokoda Track in 2018 you will be well prepared! During your training you can test out your equipment, find out where you are prone to get blisters and decide which snacks you prefer!

The pace that you walk the track is not a fast one, it is a steady consistent pace that will see you over the 96kms. So the best way to prepare, is to trek up and down hills at a comfortable pace over a long period of time. So starting in the later months of this year will be perfect to prepare you for the Kokoda track in 2018!

It’s always helpful to have goals to work towards, especially for after the Christmas silly season when we tend to indulge, so now is the perfect time to set a goal for 2018 and to work towards achieving it!

 

How do I train for Kokoda?

Monday, February 1st, 2016

So you’ve decided to do the Kokoda Trail and you want to use your Kokoda training time well. You are aware that you need to do a fair bit of walking to prepare for the 96km trek. But how do you maximise your training time to get the best results? Well the answer is simple…. Hills!! It’s all about the hills!

To get the most benefit out of your training for Kokoda, you need to walk up and down, just like the track itself! When planning your training, research your local area and find hill climbs that are available to you.

In most towns there is the local lookout or hill, these are perfect locations to regularly climb, up and down carrying your daypack. If you get used to hill climbs, you are more likely to find the Kokoda Track enjoyable and your body will thank you!

If you live in a built up city area you might have to be more creative during the week, like looking for every opportunity to take the stairs rather than the elevator, and then head out to the hills on the weekend! Although even in the city, for example Perth’s Kings Park has a great stair walkout called ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ right in the heart of town!

As your Kokoda trek gets closer it’s a good idea to go hiking for the weekend and do a 2 day walk and campout for the night. This will give you a great opportunity to test out your equipment and spend 2 full days trekking! So my red hot tip for training for the Kokoda Track is…. Get vertical….often!

 

Treks close to Australia

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Are you looking for your next trekking adventure? Do you want it to be not only a hike but an adventure? If you have exhausted the hiking tracks in your region and you are looking for something that not every man and his dog is doing, then Vanuatu is the place!

Just a short and cheap flight from the east coast of Australia is your next trekking adventure. Be the first of your friends to discover the outer island group of Vanuatu, the picturesque Maskelyne Islands!

This trek is a very affordable and unique trip. It involves a 4 day coastal hike through remote villages of Vanuatu where you will experience the food and culture of the tribes of the Maskelyne Islands. You will then spend the next 4 days paddling a dugout canoe around pristine reef in and out of islands, camping on your own island paradise. Snorkelling around these islands is first rate and a swim with a family of dugongs is part of this unique adventure trek experience.

To top off this affordable Vanuatu trekking adventure you will hike overnight to witness an active volcano! How many people can say they have done that!? This 10 day multi-facetted trek is only a 2hr flight from Australia. This is the ideal trek for people wanting to experience the natural beauty of an untouched remote location and the added bonus of a cultural experience!

 

The best time of year to trek Kokoda

Friday, September 4th, 2015

A common question asked when wanting to take on the challenge of the Kokoda Track, is when is the ideal time of year to trek? When you have committed to training and have spent the money to make your goal happen, you want to know that you will experience the best of Kokoda!

The Kokoda Track is in the highlands of PNG and is situated in the tropics close to the equator. PNG has a monsoonal climate with high temperatures. Daytime temps are between 24 to 32 and nights are anywhere between 18 to 2 degrees Celsius! As the Kokoda Track is in the tropics the humidity is typically high often between 75-95%. The seasons are described as ‘wet’ and ‘drier’.  The wet begins to build up in November and lasts through till early April.

Most trekking companies, if not all, will not trek in the wet season between November and March due to the heavy rain, swollen rivers and extremely difficult conditions which accompany the wet season! The ideal time of year to trek Kokoda is therefore sometime in the dry season from April to October, however, you should expect rain at any time over the Track, due to the tropical climate of the area. Having said that, if you do experience rain during the ‘drier’ season it will only add to the adventure and challenge that is the Kokoda Track!!

How safe is the Kokoda Track?

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

When deciding whether to complete the challenging and memorable journey along the Kokoda Track one of the questions that may arise is whether the Kokoda Trail is safe. This is a reasonable concern as the Kokoda Track is in an isolated rugged area of Papua New Guinea.

The Track itself winds along mountain ridges and river crossings passing through villages along the way. The village people welcome trekkers and are very accommodating. The villages of the Kokoda Track benefit directly from the tourism that the historic Kokoda Trail brings. They are also immensely proud of their forefathers, The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, and the vital role they had in assisting the allied troops along the Track during World War II.

To ensure safety throughout your trek it is important that you choose a trekking company that has developed risk assessments and have contingencies in place for all situations. Make sure the company has safety equipment such as a satellite phone and GPS tracking in case an evacuation is required. You should also cover yourself by purchasing travel insurance that includes evacuation costs. It’s important you choose a company with an Australian guide who works in conjunction with a local guide from a village along the Track.

Lastly look at the experience of your trek leader and their team. In an emergency situation would your Australian guide be equipped with the knowledge and experience to manage the situation? For example, Olly, from Adventure Bound Tours has 15 years’ experience in the army, 7 of which were in the SAS; he has spent time as a Police Officer, and a number of years as a fire fighter specialising in technical rescue which includes swift water rescue. Olly is the type of guide you would feel completely safe leading you over the rugged terrain of the Kokoda Track!

 

 

Volcanoes of Vanuatu

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

A visit to Vanuatu is not complete without a tour of an active volcano. Vanuatu lies directly on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire and has nine active volcanoes, seven on land and two beneath the sea. The most famous and most easily accessible, is Mt Yasur, on Tanna Island bringing thousands of tourists to Tanna Island each year. A Volcano less visited, and away from the crowds can be found on the island of Ambrym in central Vanuatu. The Marum volcano is one of the jewels of the pacific, and is not only one of the most active volcanoes of Vanuatu but also the world. Marum volcano provides a unique trekking opportunity, with a track up to the rim from Port Vatu, for perfect viewing of the bubbling crater.

Ambrym is a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera. Ambrym’s caldera is an impressive moon-like landscape containing an ash plain and containing several active craters and recent lava flows. The volcano is mesmerizing, and the heat can be felt even from the rim, 1200 feet above the fiery pit.

The lava lake of Marum is also a geological conundrum. Most volcanic eruptions are short-term events that quickly dissipate. Only about 1% of eruptions persist for more than a decade; Marum has been active for at least the last 15 years, according to close observers. Understanding where the lava is sourced from – a deep reservoir that may extend laterally across Ambrym – may help clarify how these features form and remain so incredibly active.

Visiting such a beautiful wonder of nature; an active volcano so accessible to Australia, and not experienced by many people, makes Marum volcano on Ambrym Island a must lifetime experience!

How fit do you need to be to trek Kokoda?

Friday, July 10th, 2015

The Kokoda Track is one of the most challenging treks due to the terrain and its unrelenting steepness. While walking you travel from 735m above sea level to 2190m’s. You therefore experience the stifling humidity of the tropics but also the coolness of the altitude at night.

So yes you need a certain amount of fitness to complete the Kokoda Track….you need to be trek fit! Trek fit means you need to be ready to walk long distances often up steep mountains for around 10 days! It is important that you prepare your body for what it will need to do over the duration of the trek. So how you train your body is going to determine your level of fitness and your comfort level over the track.

Intentional training should begin at least 3 months before you head to Kokoda or longer if you are starting with absolutely no physical fitness. Training for Kokoda will involve walking with a daypack on for extended distances, starting with 5km and working up to 15kms. If you intend to carry your own pack and not use a local porter you will need to train wearing your trek pack at full weight. It is also important that you train in the shoes you will trek in. Endurance training is vital to improve your trek fitness and as you begin to gain a base fitness you can up the intensity of your training by including hill climbs. Because training will take up a large chunk of time, try to incorporate it into your daily routine. So get up early and walk to work or the train station and take the stairs wherever possible! So, “How fit do you need to be to do Kokoda?” Well unless you have a heart condition or serious knee problems, if you put in a certain amount of training in preparation, it is possible for anyone to complete the Kokoda Track.

Vanuatu not just for Honeymooners!

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Vanuatu is the perfect Honeymoon destination…beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, pristine rainforests, untouched coral reef and seclusion. But there is another side of the Vanuatu islands, a side not many people yet know about….

Vanuatu is fast becoming an adventure playground. Being only a 2hr flight from the east coast of Australia it is positioned as an ideal location for an adventure holiday. The outer islands of Vanuatu provide an extreme environment to challenge you physically! If you are looking for an adventure close to Australia that very few people have yet to do than the Islands in the north of Vanuatu is the place for your next trek!

The northern island of Melakula has a 3 day, 60km hike through beautiful rainforests and untouched beaches. Stop in at villages along the track and experience some local Vanuatu culture. The Vanuatu people are the friendliest in the world and will make you feel like part of the family as you trek around their paradise home.

Just off the coast of Melakula is the Maskelyne Islands, which is the ideal setting for a multi-day canoe. You will be able to explore the reef and all its marine life, even have a swim with dugongs! You can canoe around the islands and choose your favourite island to set up camp on! You will feel like a real-life castaway as you paddle your dugout canoe, only stopping to snorkel the reef below.

From Melakula it is only a boat ride to the island of Ambrym where you can climb to the peak of an active volcano. Stay overnight near the peak and take in the extreme and unique environment! How many people can say they have climbed to the rim of an active volcano!

All of this adventure only a short plane ride from Australia! So start planning your next adventure holiday today and look no further than Vanuatu’s northern islands!