Frequently Asked Questions

Can I purchase trekking/camping gear from Kokoda Spirit?

Yes, Kokoda Spirit can supply very competitive priced camping gear that is tried and tested on the Kokoda Track. Click on our link below for our trekking gear.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/booknow/trekking-gearlist-2/

Can we bring food into PNG?

Yes you can. This has not been an issue before. You must declare your food and advise customs that it is for trekking on the Kokoda Track.

Can we drink alcohol on the Kokoda Track?

Kokoda Spirit has a “no alcohol/no drugs” policy while trekking on the Kokoda Track. We do enforce this policy. It is our way of showing our respect for the Kokoda Trail and the Villages; we ask our trekkers to do the same. Prescribed medication from your GP is acceptable.

Do I need a Doctor’s Clearance to trek Kokoda?

Yes. Approximately 3 months prior to your trek Kokoda Spirit will email to you a letter for you to take to your Doctor.

We ask that the original Doctors letter be emailed to the Kokoda Spirit office no later than 4 weeks before departure.

It is Kokoda Spirit’s requirements that every trekker must obtain medical clearance from his or her Doctor. If we do not receive the original Kokoda Spirit Doctors letter, unfortunately your trek will be cancelled.

There is nowhere along the Kokoda Track to get access to any medications.

Do I need a medical kit?

Yes, absolutely. It is essential that you have an appropriate first aid kit for the conditions. Refer to our Trekking Gear List as a guide.

Do I need a Visa for PNG?

PNG VISA NOTICE

A Visa can be obtained on arrival into PNG.

You can however apply for a Visa prior to travelling to PNG.
Information for Australians obtaining a visa for PNG from the consulate:

- A visa application for PNG takes 5-7 days to be processed (process starts once documents are received) providing all paperwork is complete

- PNG Consulates are located in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. A new Consulate office will open in Cairns in the near future.

- The application form and requirements remain the same

Brisbane
Consulate-General of Papua New Guinea

Level 3, 344 Queens Street
GPO Box 220
Brisbane 4001
Tel: (07) 3221 7915
Fax: (07) 3229 6084
Email: pngcg@kundubne.org (Note: New Office Location – Level 3, 344 Queens Street)

Sydney
Consulate-General of Papua New Guinea

Level 2, Clarence Street
Sydeny NSW 2000
PO Box A2273
Sydney South, NSW 1235
Tel: (02) 9283 9020 Fax: (02) 9283 5424
Email:pngcg@kundusyd.org

Canberra
Consulate-General of Papua New Guinea

Ph: 612 62 733 322
Fax: 612 62 733 732
Email: kundu@pngcanberra.org

If you do not hold an Australian Passport, please contact the Papua New Guinea Consulate for their advice.

Do I need Gaiters?

Gaiters are a personal choice; you can use the light weight cotton “gardening/mowing” style gaiters to prevent sticks rocks etc from getting into your boots. Refer to our website for your Trekking Gear List requirements.

Do I need to wear boots on the Kokoda Track?

It is not essential to wear boots across Kokoda but it is highly recommended. Boots should be of good quality, 100% waterproof, of Gortex construction for quick drying, light weight and with a good flexible and aggressive grip. Importantly footwear must also be comfortable. Boots that are one size bigger than your normal size should be considered. This can help prevent sore toes on the declines and discomfort if feet swell. The Kokoda Track is harsh on boots so do not risk old or suspect boots.

Do I need travel/medical insurance for Kokoda?

Yes, you do need Travel Insurance, it is very important. You are responsible to organise your own Travel/Medical insurance, which can be organised at your Travel Agent.

You will need coverage for medical evacuation; medical, theft, loss etc… speak to your Travel Agent about the inclusions. Travel Insurance MUST include Medical Evacuation (anywhere along the Kokoda Track) and medical expenses including hospital coverage in PNG and Australia. It can be a very costly experience for you if you do not have your Travel Insurance!

We require a copy of your personal, Travel and Medical Insurance no later than 4 weeks before departure. Failure to have travel and medical insurance will prevent you from trekking.

Do we carry our own tents?

If you have a personal porter he would carry your tent. If you are carrying your own pack then you would carry your tent. Your personal porter will help you to erect, and pack up your tent each day.

Do we get a completion certificate and a Kokoda Spirit shirt?

A Kokoda Spirit shirt will be posted to each trekker prior to your trek departure. With large groups the shirts are posted to the person who has organised the trek. Completion certificate will be handed out to trekkers on the completion of their trek.

Do we have exclusive use of the campsites and guesthouses?

No one has exclusive use of the campsites or guesthouses along the Kokoda Track. It is quite possible that other campers will share some campsites.

Do we tip the porters?

PNG is a non-tipping society, so tipping your porter is not necessary. However you may want to reward a job well done, so K100 is a good tip. Any of your excess clothes or caps, t-shirts etc would be very much appreciated.

Do we trek at night?

Kokoda Spirit does not trek at night. Our itineraries are designed to ensure you are in camp well before nightfall.

Do we walk the real Kokoda War Time Track?

Yes we do walk the real Kokoda War time Track through Kagi and also through Naduri.
There are multiple tracks and trails that run across the Owen Stanley Ranges. You will walk in the footsteps of heroes, the same Track as our diggers.

Do you abide by the Kokoda Track Code of Conduct?

Kokoda Spirit was part of the committee that developed the draft policy. We will continue to support the Code of Conduct to ensure the long-term protection of the track.

Do you cover the Military History and Cultural aspects of the Track?

Kokoda Spirit is dedicated to showing and telling the story of the legends on the Kokoda Track to our trekkers. It is a story that every Australian should know about.

Our guides are passionate about the history and will share their detailed knowledge of the track and its history with you. We are also dedicated to looking after the villagers and village people along the Track. Our PNG Guides and Porters are from the track and will share their history and culture with you.

Do you have a training program?

Kokoda Spirit has a dedicated online training plan with our training and coaching partner 360Athlete.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/personalised-kokoda-training-program/

Do you have an office in PNG and Australia?

Kokoda Spirit has an office with administration staff, storage facilities and our own vehicles in Port Moresby, and our Head Office on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Do you recommend Electrolytes?

Yes we have our own specifically blended electrolytes for trekking Kokoda.
Clink on our link below.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/booknow/trek-fuel/

Does the Gateway Hotel have storage facilities and safety deposit boxes?

The Gateway has baggage storage facilities and safety deposit boxes.

This means you can leave your non-trekking gear in the storage facility while you trek. Make sure you leave passports/travel documents, valuables in the safety deposit boxes. To organise this please ask the staff at the Gateway Hotel reception.

Please leave all non essential valuables at home.

How do I book my trek?

Contact the Kokoda Spirit office by email enquiries@kokodaspirit.com or phone us on 1800565632 we will advise you regarding the different options available.

How do I minimise my risks on the Kokoda Track?

The best way to minimise risk on the Kokoda Track is to trek with a professional trekking company like Kokoda Spirit. Kokoda Spirit has a comprehensive risk management plan and safety procedures.
Our guides are first aid trained for wilderness situations; our Australian guides carry first aid kits and on all treks we carry satellite phones.
It is important that you get yourself a full medical check before training. Kokoda Spirit requires a full medical clearance from your Doctor before trekking with us. Proper preparation and training before your trek is absolutely essential.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/personalised-kokoda-training-program/
It is also essential to ensure you take precautions to prevent, dehydration, hyponatremia and overheating.

How do you help the villagers and locals along the Track?

Please refer to our Sustainable Ecotourism strategy policy on the web site. It will give you an insight into our philosophy and policy on the Kokoda Track.

How fit do you have to be to walk Kokoda?

While you do not need to be an Olympic athlete, you do need to be in great physical condition, with good endurance and stamina. You need to be able to walk up to 9 hours per day in hot and humid conditions. The terrain over the Kokoda Track is tough and very steep. You need a strong heart, lungs, quads, calves and a strong and positive attitude. A dedicated training program is required.

Contact your fitness professional or contact our office for the training program.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/personalised-kokoda-training-program/

We recommend you consult your medical practitioner before undertaking any new training program.

Please Note: All trekkers need to be aware that being well above your healthy weight range seriously impacts on your ability to complete the Track. Should you fall into this category we highly recommend that you concentrate your training on an intensive weight loss/fitness program. You may like to consider hiring a personal trainer to assist you with your fitness goals. If you require the services of a personal trainer please contact our office as we may be able to assist.

Once again we recommend you consult your medical practitioner before undertaking any new training program.

How knowledgeable are your Australian Guides?

Our Australian Guides are first class professionals with a passion and understanding of the history of the Track, the battles, the philosophy and tactics used during the Kokoda campaign. Being a guide on the Kokoda Track is what they do, this is no part time job for them, and they live and breathe Kokoda.

Our Head Guide and Managing Director Wayne Wetherall has spent years researching the history of the Track and exploring the many tracks across Kokoda. He has also spent considerable time interviewing Australian and Japanese veterans about the battles on the Owen Stanley Ranges.

Our guides may not be ex military, but are all keen students of military history and tactics. They are also expert track guides and familiar with the culture of the people along the track.

How knowledgeable are your PNG guides?

Our PNG Guides are among the best on the track, with years of on the track history training and our unique PNG guide-training program. Our guides will show you all the historic and cultural sites across Kokoda.

How many people sleep in each tent? What size are the tents?

Only one person per tent, unless you specifically want to share a tent i.e. partner/friend etc. The tents are 2 person tents. Couples may prefer to bring a 3-man tent.

How much does it cost to trek Kokoda?

The trek prices do vary according to the choice of trek. There is a choice of Australian led treks or local PNG led treks. If you were unsure which trek would suit your requirements please contact our office for advice.

All treks include pre and post accommodation in Port Moresby (unless individuals request otherwise).

How much money will I need on the Kokoda Track?

On the Track you need to take with you local currency (PNG Kina). You can organise to buy PNG currency through your local bank before you leave Australia or at the money exchanger at the International Airports. We would highly recommend that you have PNG currency before leaving Australia.

Most things on the Track will cost K5 – K10 (5 Kina approx $3.00 AUD) i.e. bunch of bananas, photo with Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, can of Coke. Around 400 Kina should be plenty.

Please Note: the local villages do not have change to give you, therefore lots of small change is best.

In Port Moresby Eftpos machines are few and far between. For your own safety we do not recommend you go into Port Moresby town to the local bank.

If I have a Personal Porter do I need to supply a backpack?

Yes. If you are having a personal porter you need to supply your porter with a 70/75 litre back pack which he will carry with your gear. You will be required to carry your own smaller daypack with your personal daily items.

Is a Personal Porter necessary?

The hiring of a personal porter is highly recommended, our porters take great pride in their job and will assist with all aspects of your adventure. The cost of hiring a personal porter for your trek is $720 ($750 ANZAC Treks). If you are considering carrying your own pack then you must train with the entire pack weight on your back.

The Kokoda Track is extremely difficult. You may believe you have trained adequately for the trail and feel comfortable with your pack, but I assure you the Track can drain the resolve of most pack carrying trekkers.

More than 50% of trekkers who commence the track carrying their own pack end up requiring the services of a personal porter.

Porters need to be booked and paid for no later than 6 weeks before departure. Payment can be made by cheque, money order or direct deposit into our account. In the event that a trekker requires a personal porter once he/she arrives in PNG, or at any stage throughout the trek, the trekker will be charged an extra 25% fee on top of the $720, totalling $900.00 (refer to our Booking Terms).

Trekkers booking for ANZAC treks should note that porter charges are $750 ($937.50 if booked after arrival).

A personal porter carries a maximum of 21kg including his own gear.
This will be strictly enforced. Space should be left for the porter’s own gear. If you are hiring a personal porter, you will need to carry your own daypack. In your daypack you will carry things you need for that day e.g. water bottles, camera, film, bushman plus, snacks, any medication required. If you are having doubts, we recommend you hire a porter. We ask you to treat our porters with respect at all times, they do a fantastic job and they do take good care of our trekkers!

Is a walking pole necessary?

Walking poles are a must! They are used as a support and braking system for the steep downhill sections. You can buy walking poles through our office or from camping stores. It is a good idea to train with the poles. Some people find one pole sufficient, but it is your choice.

Is there an easier direction to trek?

There is no easy way to trek Kokoda. Both directions have their challenges. Kokoda to Owers’ follows the direction of the Japanese and the Australians fighting withdrawal. Owers’ Corner to Kokoda follows the original direction that the Australians walked to engage the Japanese near Awala north of Kokoda and our advance back over the Track

Relax and enjoy?

Every effort is made to make your trip as memorable as possible. Please remember, you are going to a third world country and you may see things and experience things you may have never seen before.

Expect the unexpected in PNG. Keep an open mind; schedules/itinerary may and can change without notice, internal transfers may be late, planes may be late due to bad weather, please understand it is out of our control. Schedules work to PNG time, not Australian time. Patience and a relaxed attitude are essential for an enjoyable trek. All internal flights are booked and confirmed through our office. If there is a problem internally we have direct communications with the airline and our staff. This is no holiday, but a fantastic trekking adventure, it is a trekking experience, a lifetime experience! Enjoy!

Suggestions

If you are travelling interstate, it may be a good idea to arrive the day before your International flight (International flights to Port Moresby depart from Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney). Sometimes there is not enough time to catch both Domestic and an International flight on the same morning. Our treks need to run to our date and time schedule, if you miss your flight to Papua New Guinea you will miss your trek. Unfortunately we are unable to delay trek departure. Something to think about!

Wear your boots on the plane and bring essential items in your carry on luggage. Bags do go missing; bags can be left back in Australia. If you have got your boots, medical supplies and some personal items with you and your bag goes missing, then you still have your basic requirements to trek.

Villages

Whilst in the villages we recommend you do not give money to anyone, as this does create problems between the village people. They live as a community and money needs to be shared between all in the village.

If you would like to take something to the villages, a gift that they can share is more appropriate, clothes, ball games, colouring in items, books, reading and writing material.

First aid items are also very much needed (and appreciated) e.g. bandaids, antiseptic lotions, strapping etc. We do not recommend leaving your prescription or strong medication with the village people, as they are not used to such medications. If taken without supervision they could cause harm.

We also ask our trekkers not to wander around the villages in swimming costumes. Please cover up while walking around the villages; it’s a sign of respect.

Water/Electrolytes

You will need to carry a minimum of 3 litres of water on you. There are many places to fill water bottles along the track. Your porters will advise the best places to fill up your water bottles. The furthest you will walk between water is approximately 4 hours.

It is essential that you take TREK FUEL electrolytes with you.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/booknow/trek-fuel/

Put in your water, every 3rd litre, it prevents dehydration due to high perspiration losses due to exertion and high humidity. Dehydration, overheating and hyponatremia can become major issues on the track. It is very important to keep drinking fluids and utilising salt and electrolyte replacements on the Track. Because of the higher level of activity, temperature and humidity you will tend to sweat more. With the increased fluid intake and sweating you also tend to flush out of your system essential minerals, salts etc. This is why it is important to use TREK FUEL. We highly recommend TREK FUEL for all your hydration and energy needs.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/booknow/trek-fuel/

Electrolytes: If unsure please discuss with your doctor.

Water purifying tablets or some form of water purification must be taken as a precaution. The water is generally very good along the Track but always check with the Trek Master or Trek Leader about the quality of the water.

With the different environments, conditions, food and water, upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhoea can occur. Please ensure you bring adequate medication.

What are the walking times and distances each day?
  • Wake up time on the track is usually around 5.00 am
  • Breakfast on the track is usually served from 6.00 am
  • We usually start walking around 7.00 am
  • There is usually 5-10 minute breaks every 30 mins or so along the track and depending on the size of the hill more often and a stop for morning tea and lunch.
  • The walking pace is best described as the ‘Kokoda Shuffle’, which is a consistent but reasonably easy pace. This can vary depending on the terrain.
  • Each walking day will vary between 5 to 9 hours with 7 to 8 hours being the average. On average arrival times in the camps and villages are around 2.30pm to 3.30p.m.
What are the washing/cleaning/toilets/shower facilities on Kokoda like?

The facilities on Kokoda are very basic at best.

  • Toilets on the Track and villages are known as ‘long drops’ and ‘short drops’. These are simple, deep pits or short pits that have been dug in the ground for use as toilets. There are no toilet seats. These facilities have a roof and screen over them for privacy.
  • You do need to take your own toilet paper (2 rolls).
  • The river is used for the shower and washing facilities or in some villages a simple water pipe is used to flow the water onto the trekker for washing. Washing of clothes is done in the river. We suggest you bring environmentally friendly soap.
  • Antibacterial Hand Gel is essential.
  • There are no specific changing rooms on the Kokoda Track or villages.
What are your Booking Terms?

We ask all trekkers to read our Booking Terms. Some of abovementioned points are outlined in more detail in our Booking Terms. These can be found on the website or contact our office and we can send this to you. Every trekker who books a trek will also receive Kokoda Spirit Booking Terms upon their booking.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/aboutus/terms-conditions/

What camping gear do I need?

Our web site has a Trekking Gear List of requirements to trek Kokoda or contact us and we will send the list out to you. We can also supply a range of cost effective camping gear to suit your requirements.

What dates can I trek?

Please refer to our Trek Dates for the various options available.
http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/all-trek-dates/

What do I need to bring?

Kokoda Spirit has a comprehensive Trekking Gear List to help you with your essential items. Refer to our website for the Trekking Gear List requirements.

What food do we eat on the Kokoda Track?

You will be required to pay for lunches and dinners whilst you are in Port Moresby. Breakfast is included in your trek package.

Kokoda Spirit needs to be advised when booking if there are any particular dietary requirements. We do our best to manage your requirements, but accept no responsibility due to availability. Supplements may be implemented.

We are able to supply Gluten Free and Vegetarian menus on request; we do need to be advised at least 6 weeks prior to trek departure.

Below is a general outline of meals whilst on the trek.

  • The Trek Master and the team organise and cook all your meals. They also take care of the washing up. The porters are also well catered for with food on the Track.
  • Breakfasts we have cereals, usually Weet-Bix or porridge, rice cakes with spread and limited fruits depending on availability, tea, coffee, biscuits, sometimes pancakes and damper.
  • Lunches are often canned meats spam, beef and fish, fruit, cheeses, biscuits, spreads, rice crackers and snack bars (We do not cook lunches)
  • Dinners are fresh local vegies, potatoes, rice and pastas with the cooks special PNG mixes rotated on alternative nights. Pre Dinner snacks is varied may be soup, popcorn, biscuits. Tea and coffee is available.
  • The meals are large filling and very nourishing.
  • Food may vary due to season and/or availability.
  • We recommend you take your own energy treats/snacks e.g. lollies, muesli bars, energy bars, protein bars, trail mix etc for extra supplements (enough for the duration of your trek).

PEANUTS – when cooking our meals some of our sauces have peanut traces. Our porters and trekkers do eat peanuts, muesli bars, biscuits which may contain peanuts. Upon booking it is the trekkers responsibility to advise Kokoda Spirit if they have an allergy to peanuts.

What happens in case of an emergency?

Kokoda Spirit carries satellite phones on all treks; we have an emergency evacuation plan, which is implemented. On receiving call for assistance we activate our plan and organise medical, travel insurance and evacuation plans. Contact us if you require further details.

What happens to the rubbish on Kokoda?

It is very important that we all take good care of the Track. If you purchase soft drinks along the Track, then you need to crush the cans and carry them out with you. All rubbish is either burnt or carried out.

Whilst trekking, please put your own rubbish in your backpack until you arrive at the next campsite. If you see rubbish on the Track, pick it up and put it in our rubbish bags.

What happens when we arrive in PNG?

After you pass through PNG Immigration, collect your luggage and then you will go through Customs.

If you are arriving the day before your trek, you will be met at the airport by either a Kokoda Spirit employee or a Gateway Hotel employee. You will then be transported to the Gateway Hotel where you will be checked in.

If you are arriving earlier than the day before your trek, you will need to arrange with the Hotel for airport transfers. We suggest when booking your extra night accommodation that you request the Hotel for airport transfers.

What is the accommodation like on the Kokoda Track?

The accommodation on the Kokoda Track is very basic. Jungle camps and campsites along the Kokoda Track are basic at best.

The Guest House accommodations are open-air huts with no mosquito protection. Guest House accommodation is not always available, so we will camp at the best available campsites. We recommend tents for privacy and mosquito protection.

What is the difference between PNG Led and Australian Led Treks?

Both treks walk the same trek, stay in the same accommodation, eat the same food and have the same wonderful PNG porters. Our PNG led treks do not have the same degree of historical information or commemoration services that the Australian Guided treks do. Our Australian guides have a great deal of knowledge about the history of the Kokoda Track and a passion for the story. The Australian guide is also first aid trained to a higher degree and adds that extra touch of security for those not so comfortable in a wilderness situation.

What is the size of the groups?

Our PNG led treks have a maximum group size of 16, with an average size of 12.

Our Australian led treks have a maximum group size of 20, with an average size of 16.

Group sizes will vary for Anzac Groups and private groups and special occasions.

What size backpack do I need?

Each trekker will need a 70/75 litre backpack. You may also need to provide a 30/40 litre pack for your daypack. Note: Daypack is only needed if you have a personal porter.

When are the best conditions to trek Kokoda?

The conditions on the Track vary due to the changes in the season. The seasons are broken up into the dry season and the wet season. These seasons also have sub seasons which fringe the wet and dry season.

The dry season is normally from late May to late October. Good conditions can still be expected in April and November. It is possible to get rain and consequently mud on the Track during any season or month. Late November, December, January, February and March can be wet and muddy.

The temperature will range from 24-28 degrees under the canopy and up to 32 degrees out in the open areas. The night time temperature will range from 18 degrees in the lower sections down to 8 degrees in the higher areas like Mt Bellamy. Humidity will range 80% – 95%

When do I make payments for the trek?

Deposit – Your deposit payment is due when your booking is confirmed.
Kokoda Spirit will provide you with a Booking Confirmation letter.

Final Payment – Final payment is due 8 weeks prior to trek departure.

Where do we stay in Port Moresby?

Our preferred Hotel in Port Moresby is the Gateway Hotel. If not available we will source a similar quality Hotel. The Gateway is a three/four star Hotel, with pool, restaurant, bar and 24 hour security.

Gateway address is:

Gateway Hotel – Port Moresby
P.O. Box 1215, Boroko (Street address is Borea Road Six Mile)
Tel: 0011 675 327 8100        Fax: 0011 675 325 4585
Email: gateway@coralseahotels.com.pg
Web: www.coralseahotels.com.pg/gateway.html

freCheck-in time is 1.00pm – Check-out time is 10.00am.

Disclaimer: If a product listed is not available at the time of purchase, a similar product of equal value and quality will be supplied.