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Michele Moir

As a second time trekker with Kokoda Spirit, I feel like I could end my review there. If it wasn’t a 5-star experience, I certainly wouldn’t have gone back. Quite honestly I look forward to a third and perhaps subsequent treks if life allows.
My first trek, I had the good fortune of being guided by Wayne Wetherall.
As the granddaughter of a Kokoda veteran, I went up to try and develop my understanding of what my grandfather experienced back in 1942.
What I didn’t bank on was that when Wayne Wetherall made the connection between my grandfather and I- something I hadn’t made known prior to the trip- that he would not only know my grandfather, but would know so much detail about his story.
Through Wayne’s knowledge of the history and the track itself, the first trek went from a bit of an educational adventure to a subtly personalised experience, as he made sure to draw my attention to points of relevance along the track, or give me a bit of extra time to take in particular locations relevant to my family story.
The first trip opened conversation between my grandfather and I that never existed before, and my grandfather expressed a deep gratitude for people like Wayne for encouraging young Australians across the track, and helping with passing this important Australian history through future generations.
I went back a second time now armed with more knowledge and reference points to trace my history and as luck would have it, Wayne was scheduled for my second trip too.
As a review I can tell you that the food was plentiful; the porters are absolutely wonderful- don’t go without one- they will add so much more to your experience; I never once felt unsafe, in fact I felt very well cared for with the daily check ins to make sure we were all faring well; the days were well planned- even in the face of inclement weather; the respect shown with the small memorials held at several sites were a reminder that this isn’t just an adventure company, but one who cares about the acknowledgement of history.
The granite pillars at the Isurava Memorial are etched with four very poignant words in relation to the Kokoda Campaign. Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice.
Kokoda Spirit as a tour company do many things very well, but one thing I cannot ignore is the encouragement they give to us as trekkers to acknowledge these words. No, we aren’t soldiers, nor are many, if any, of us veterans- but the four words are still so relevant to us as individuals and as Australians. Through the mateship encouraged amongst a group of almost entirely strangers, I watched the other words come to life through Wayne’s quiet, almost stealthy arrangement.
The evening sharing of the day’s experiences effortlessly turned into the sharing of life experiences, quickly shaping a group of strangers into a tightly knit pack of deeply caring friends. What a privilege it is to watch the courage and endurance unfold as the days pass. What a greater privilege it is to be brought in to share in the personal sacrifices you discover the ordinary Australian makes, to make the country and the world a better place to live in.
The soldiers of the Kokoda Campaign gave their tomorrow so that we could enjoy the freedom of our today, and I truly believe that this is something they would be proud to know is still happening.
Walking in their footsteps and acknowledging their history- then laying with newly made friends, under the shade of the most exquisite trees you’ll ever see, catching your breath after a hard climb uphill- and still finding the energy to laugh and appreciate the perfection of that fleeting moment in time.
Kokoda Spirit don’t rush that part of the experience- I don’t doubt you can get across the track faster than we went, but they know that building time into the itinerary to really take it all in, is more important than winning that race.
Book it. Go. And don’t feel like you need to wait for a friend to be ready to go with you. If you’re ready to go- book yourself in and trust the experience will unfold for you.
Michelle Moir

Peter L. O’Brien

“I cannot express enough how grateful I am to Wayne, Lyn and Kokoda Spirit Team as the Kokoda Trek was something very special and has had a big impact on each and every one of my 4 sons and I. The quite moving stories of the Diggers and to hear and see what they faced, through to the generous and welcoming mindset of every person we interacted with – the Porters, the local villages and of course all who were participating with us. I am delighted to act as referral and have already started to provide friends and colleagues with details.

Thank you once again Lyn as all your guidance and advice leading up to the Trek itself made such a big difference – THANK YOU.”

Best regards


Peter L. O’Brien

Charlotte Bull

It’s safe to say the Coast to Coast Challenge is probably the greatest adventure I’ll ever go on. The 284 kilometre bike and hike from Buna on the North Coast to Port Moresby on the South Coast exceeded all my expectations.

From bucketing rain to intense humidity / heat, steep climbs to never ending descents, 04.00am rooster wake ups, 12 hour hiking days (which on one occasion turned into 14 hours), tasty ‘home’ cooked meals, the most beautiful PNG locals and Fuzzy wuzzy angels, highs / lows, services to pay the diggers our respect, push ups, singing, chafe, blisters and double cheekers. Its impossible to put into words how truly enriching and humbling this experience was…in so many ways!

Big thanks to Greg Chamberlain for sharing with us the important history of Kokoda. Your knowledge, passion and empathy for what occurred in 1942 is second to none.

And to Mae, Chase, Doug, Tim and Viv for your ‘express friendships’ and entertainment along the way. It was a pleasure to share this experience with you.

I’ll most definitely be back. Country roads, take me home…..

David Denton

To all involved, your group of people have made my trek with you something that I will hold onto and cherish for ever! Right from the first day of registration and payment of the deposit things could not have gone more smoothly. Our guide [Craig] was very informed on the military tactics side of things, just what I was hoping for. VERY educational. We were blessed with a very small group and perfect weather. Trekking pace was varied to suit the condition of the slowest trekker, but we always got into camp at a very respectable time to set up and rest for the next day. Food was ideal for the job at hand, we were even treated to special offerings along the way, donuts ,banana cake, and spaghetti bog. The whole thing was very professional, educational, and enjoyable I cant recommend “Kokoda Spirit” more highly.

David Denton [trek dates oct 2 to oct 11 2018]

Ashley Thomas

Dear Kokoda Spirit,

Thank you and all your staff and especially Darren (Sav) our trusty guide for an awesome trip on Sept 21 – 29 2018.

I was fortunate enough to group with a great bunch of other trekkers and would not have swapped any part of it at all.

The logistics, the guides, the whole trip was fantastic and very memorable in so many ways.

I certainly have been telling everyone about it and have highly recommended you guys as well.

So once again thank you for making the impossible, possible and an absolute memorable and pleasurable trip.

Best regards

Ashley Thomas

Morgan Critchley

Hi there,

I am currently on the flight back home to Australia from PNG after hiking the Kokoda trail with Kokoda Spirit. I was a teacher with the Anglican school group.

I wanted to send an email highlighting how impressed I was with how smoothly the trek ran. I truely believe that comes down to the trek master, Eddie Jnr and the Buna boys.
Eddie was absolutely amazing. Each day was well organised and the trip as a whole completely exceeded my expectations. I don’t believe I would have had the same wonderful experience had we’d been given a different Trek Master and porters.

Eddie and the Buna boys were so efficient, hard working, professional and most importantly friendly. They spent time getting to know us and as a result many wonderful friendships were formed and many jokes were shared, which made the experience truely unforgettable. We walked past many other companies while trekking and it didn’t appear like other trekkers had the same relationships with their porters. I feel so very grateful. Each day they woke up with a heap of energy and enthusiasm and sang their way through the trek.

My personal porter, Nigel, really went above and beyond. He never left my side the entire trip and really was a Guardian angel. I don’t think I could have finished it without him.

I wanted to send this email as I believe it’s important that Eddie and the boys get the recognition they deserve. It is because of them that I can’t wait to do it all again with Kokoda Spirit, and I will definitely be requesting them!!!! You’ve got a great bunch there.

Kind Regards,

Morgan Critchley

Al Crossman


I’m a member of a group that recently completed one of your treks and wanted to provide some feedback.
Trepidation is probably how best to describe my lead up. I’m now 18 months post surgery from a double hip replacement. I had trained hard but you never are too sure how these things will go.
My 14 year old son was part of the group too.
To say that our experience was awesome does not adequately describe how good the trek was and how glad I am that I tackled this and was able to share it with Griffin.
Darren Savickas was the perfect person to lead the tour. He is knowledgeable and passionate about the track and the history but he also reads people and has an instinct for how best to guide each individual when times are tough. I am the OIC of the Fire Stations in the Perth CBD and know a bit about leadership. Darren is a great leader.
Five of us from Perth joined the group that ended up with fifteen hikers. I believe the group dynamic was strengthened by meeting new people. There is a bond between us that I will cherish forever.

The porters? Graydon led his crew wonderfully and I am constantly amazed at what they did for us. They were sensational.
I would happily recommend the trek and Kokoda Spirit to anyone considering taking it on.
Approaching 50 and with artificial hips I guess I had enough doubts. I’ve never been so glad that I took on a challenge and am so proud to have met it. I remain in awe of what the soldiers did in 1942.

AL Crossman
Perth WA

Jack Clarkson

Hey Wayne,

Since we didn’t really get to say it at Brisbane, thank you so much for the trip!! I had the best time learning about not only the track, but the history of it. It has been the best experience I have had so far and it’s all a credit to you!

Kind regards,

Jack Clarkson (Brighton Grammar student)

Cameron Taylor

Hi Wayne

Thanks so much for an awesome adventure out on the Kokoda Track. The boys and staff all loved the experience, and we have had some incredible feedback!

Enclosed are many of the photos we took, including photo of the year!

I also put a short video together, which is on the USB, but I am working on an extended version. I’ll send this up as well when it is finished.

Hope your recent trip went well.

Regards Cam

Cameron Taylor

Director of Operations and Activities (7-12)

Teacher in Charge of Basketball – First Team Coach

Brighton Grammar School

Julie Renehan

Dear Wayne,

Thank you for the email

I had just sat myself down at the computer to send you an email as your email arrived!

What a fabulous experience I had on the walk.
The Trail was a huge challenge for me and I really questioned my ability to complete the walk from Day 1.

I wanted to write to your company to acknowledge the wonderful staff of our PNG led crew who were wholly responsible for getting me to Kokoda and day 8!

Ruben, John, Max and Mr Bug…. what amazing people you have working for you.
The professionalism, care and compassion of these men, and the entire crew of porters, was exceptional.

I was ready to be Helicoptered out by the end of day 2! however John, the calm presence, kept me going and got my mind into the right state where I started to believe I could make it to the end.
It was slow going for me because I found the “Downs” very hard. Confidence was in hindsight probably my biggest barrier ( what I thought I couldn’t do and what I actually could do) John and Ruben never rushed me or made
me feel I was slow, even though I was a good hour to hour and a half behind my little group coming into camp. The concept of “Julie time” became ours, and when the terrain got particularly bad the other guys would appear from
nowhere and get me through. As John predicted by day 4 I found my Trekkers feet and settled into a wonderful experience of the Trail, the villages and the beautiful people, the awesome vistas as we topped an ascent.
I thoroughly enjoyed the PNG peoples view of history of the trail, as I have read extensively about the Kokoda campaign before taking the trek and continue to read more now I am home ( currently reading The Bone Man of Kokoda about
Kokichi Nishimura ) and feel It offered a balanced experience from all sides of the conflict. The respect of the trail is evident in all the porters and villagers and the privilege of walking the trail was deeply moving.
The sense of achievement on day 8 coming into Kokoda was an awesome feeling.

So I guess I wanted to write to you, so you could pass on my thanks to the crew:
for getting me there! for looking after us so beautifully! and for taking such pride in their work!

My Husband and I will be recommending Kokoda Spirit to everyone and anyone, and who knows we may get back and do it again…..mmm maybe not this year tho ha ha.


Julie Renehan

Andrew Hutchinson

Thank you to you all. It was a great experience.

Greg was an excellent leader, and his passion for and knowledge of the campaign really brought it to life and made it a memorable and emotional part of the trek.

Your guide team couldn’t have done a better job. Their silent dignity and selfless support were essential and greatly appreciated.

And thank you for your partnership in the arrangements in advance. I really appreciated the responsiveness of the office team.

You have a great organisation, Wayne.

Thank you.

Andrew Hutchinson

Founder, Executive Chair
Alchimie Pty Limited

Jim Mantle

Wayne and team – great job, thank you.

Immaculate organisation throughout, well done.

Special shout-out to Greg Chamberlin and his commitment to the walkers’ experience – he had a couple of big tumbles, is there a plan B if the guide goes down?

The porters were amazing. My porter, Neville, was great, it was his first Kokoda run. If you could get him my email address that would be great – I realise it might not be easy.

Lastly, Bart Emmerton has put a good film together of our journey – thought you might be interested – the drone footage of the campsites is amazing.

Thanks again, see you in a couple of years if the knees are still working.


Jim Mantle

Managing Director
Alchimie Pty Limited
Ph. +61 3 9728 6688
Mob. 0412 196 983

Emma Galligan

Good afternoon,

Greg was a wonderful guide. His friendly demeanour, genuine empathy for the fallen soldiers and local PNG people, knowledge of military strategy, respect for the individuals in the team, jovial spirit, compassion and respect for the local people, love of the outdoors and natural environment was uncompromising. He was a joy to be around and made the experience even more memorable.

Kind Regards,

Executive Assistant | CRO
HSBC Bank Australia Limited


Kokoda… what can I say…..a place and an experience of extremes and Jarassic proportions … extreme hill ups & downs extreme heat, rain, humidity & mud. Extreme jungle pathways with Jarassic plants, rivers, swamps and cliffs. This place is truly hard to explain to the non trekker as we have nothing in our land to compare to give a relatable understanding… The military history of our Australian boys back in 1942 and how they battled for our independence and freedom along this track is mind blowing, truly courageous and unfathomable…The poverty throughout the villages is so far from materialistic that it’s an education and a self evaluating moment in itself.. The huge smiles, the human warmth and willingness to give and share from its people is nothing I’ve ever seen here in Australia or in my world travels. Kokoda is a track that absorbs you from the moment of your first step, it’s immerses you completely with no outside world influences and it engraves itself into your mind, heart and skin that will remain forever…the photos attached are a token only of our trip and the track and unfortunately will not show its true beauty, it’s physical and emotional struggles or it’s true sacrifice… if you have the capability, the fortitude and the drive to experience one of the most challenging, satisfying yet most humbling experiences of your life, I would suggest you get yourself to Kokoda and walk the track…. I am forever changed…..For the better!!!!

Kindest Regards

Kieran Ryan

Mr Ryan described his experience as life-changing.

‘‘I’ve come home with so much gratitude and a real appreciation of how lucky we are to live in Australia and how often I take it for granted,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t think a lot of people my age realise how close the war came to Australia.

‘‘I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know that much about it before I went over there. I knew it was important, but I wasn’t aware of the actual battles.

‘‘I now have a much better understanding of what the Aussie soldiers did.’’

Mr Ryan said learning about the Battle for Brigade Hill hit home the hardest.

The battle was fought during three days in 1942 and was an unmitigated disaster for Australia’s Maroubra Force.

‘‘The Japanese advanced on the Australians and they had to retreat to get back to a better position,’’ Mr Ryan said.

‘‘The problem was, they ran out of ammunition. So some of the guys took off their dog tags, gave them to their friends, and volunteered to charge the enemy with bayonets.

‘‘These were men my age and younger. They hadn’t even lived yet.

‘‘They knew they were going to die. But they did it anyway so their mates could get away.’’

Mr Ryan said the concept of mateship was constantly reinforced on the track.

‘‘I had never met the people in my group, but it didn’t take long for us to grow close,’’ he said.

‘‘The trail brings mateship out in people, because it is so hard.

‘‘You want to help out the people in front of you and the people behind you, because although you’re doing it tough, you’re in it together.’’

‘‘The Australian soldiers could not have done what they did without the people of Papua New Guinea and neither could we”
Kieran Ryan

Dave Owen (Davey, Davo)

Having recently completed my trek and I just like to officially thank everyone involved during my 11 days in PNG, and Lyn and Julie for their help and encouragement in the months prior to heading out.

It was life changing to say the least for me.

I have made new friends for life, we have a bond no one can ever understand until they trek Kokoda themselves.

Our Guide John Titmus is an absolute gem of a human being. As an ex-serviceman myself, I commended him personally for his historical military knowledge. For someone who hasn’t worn the uniform, he may as well have.

He included us all in the memorial services we held along the track, but he also included me on many occasions to explain things from my military service, certain aspects of army life, expectations, my experiences in jungle training.

I was asked to read The Ode 3 times, at Kokoda, at Isurava & at Bomana. I could hardly recite it as I was so emotional on each occasion, so honoured to honour the fallen in that way. To Johnny, I will be ever grateful for that honour as an ex NZDF serviceman, the descendant of real ANZACs who served in France and Gallipolli and WW2.

I have been lucky to have 4 days off work upon my return, it will be hard getting back to work after this amazing period in my life.

Thanks again to you all, especially Wayne Wetherall for making ANZAC day 2018 at Isurava so special for our entire team, including our porters. God bless you all for the great jobs you all do.

P.S I will be back to trek PNG again with Kokoda Spirit, the Black Cat track seems like another fascinating piece of our history that also needs to be experienced.

Kindest Regards

Dave Owen (Davey, Davo).


Dear Team at Kokoda Spirit,

We have recently returned from another Kokoda Spirit led trek, and I just wanted to touch base to express our appreciation for a brilliant trip.

Once again, the experience was first-class and the 8 boys that we took away have been raving about it. Our tour leader Sarge was phenomenal, and had a great manner with the boys. He was a wealth of knowledge, and his passion for the Kokoda story was really evident, having a profound effect on our boys. The rest of the team including the porters were absolutely outstanding, and I couldn’t have been happier with the way the trip panned out.

Thank you also for your patience during the organisational stages, as we pushed your deadlines to the absolute limit. I hope you will consider taking us through again next year should we generate enough interest around the school.

Thanks again,


Sarah Pettenon

Good morning Julie and Wayne,

I would like to pass on my huge thanks to the organising team of Kokoda Spirit but especially to our guide Steve Mackie for an awesome Kokoda experience! Walking the Kokoda Track was an incredible journey and I felt honoured to be there. We had a wonderful group – we connected very quickly, maybe because we all had a common thread – raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Australia.

Our guide Steve was fantastic – he was so thoughtful, considerate, observant, experienced, knowledgeable, intelligent, respectful and fun. Steve has a wonderful gift of being able to connect with total strangers and bring them together to work (and walk) harmoniously. He is a great story teller and historian – he shared his deep knowledge of the Kokoda, which added to the experience. I enjoyed our daily high and low discussions. Steve was very attentive when fellow trekker Marie was unwell on the second day. He was also aware when the porters had sores on their feet and attended to their cuts/abrasions – I was able to assist him being a registered nurse and felt privileged to do so.

The local porters did an amazing job – never once did I feel hungry – the food was plentiful including donuts, pikelets and pizza! They were incredibly attentive to each trekker and did everything to ensure our safety and enjoyment.

I am still absorbing the whole experience and feel very proud of my achievements.

If I ever have another opportunity to do Kokoda again, I will definitely grab it. It was AWESOME! (I am thinking of exploring voluntary avenues utilising my nursing skills in some capacity).

Thank you for this amazing experience/journey.


Sarah Pettenon

Humpty Team Kokoda

Rhonda Donaldson

Good Morning All, Firstly may I say a huge thank you to one and all for such an amazing business and the opportunity to walk the Kokoda Track with a man who is as passionate about it now as he was when he first started many years ago. Wayne, you are an inspiration and I thank you for what you do. Melissa, well what can I say…. she was outstanding, what an incredibly strong woman, physically, mentally and emotionally, we all had the best time ever. Lots of photos and even more memories to be cherished forever. To the porters a massive thanks particularly Eddie and Russell who had to follow me up and down the mountains and across the waterways, sorry it wasn’t someone younger fellas, but I will be forever grateful for the music you provided along the way it certainly helped me to keep going.

It was the most gratifying experience ever and I am proud to say I have followed in the footsteps of our courageous soldiers albeit in considerably more comfort. Oops forgot to mention the meals/snacks we consumed along the way, how incredible were they. To create cakes, donuts, pizzas in the middle of nowhere with just a few pots and an open log fire, oh my god. The evening meals were always delicious and plenty to go around. The entertainment by the porters was also very enjoyable.

A million thanks to all

Best wishes

Rhonda Donaldson

Janie Hartman

Special thanks to Bill Kelly, he made the trip one of the best I’ve been in after travelling the world doing treks at Everest, Kilimanjaro, Galapagos, Camino – this one was the most moving.

Anyone who has trekked the Kokoda in recent years will recognise these four words as part of the Isurava Memorial. “Courage, Endurance, Mate-ship, Sacrifice “. Each of these words carved into 2 tonne granite blocks is testimony to the diggers that fought in WWII so we can enjoy the freedom we have today.

I had wanted to do the Kokoda for many years, The highlights of the trek for me were the battle briefings at Brigade Hill, Eora Creek, the lost battlefield and Isurava. Our expedition leader Bill Kelly was nothing short of wonderful, his story time provided insights into the tactics, challenges and sacrifices at each of these major battle sites. Each battle briefing followed moments of being so moved at the heroic Aussie digger to never giving up in what seemed to be a no win situation.

After days on the trail, finishing in Kokoda brought a flood of emotions; exhilaration to have made it, joy of having shared a special trek with very special people and humbled by the knowledge of what our diggers had endured

Janie Hartman
19 – 27 August

Jacqueline Pidd

Well what can I say, but THANK YOU!

I am now finally coming back down to earth and to be honest, a little sad that the adventure is all over after the months of prep I had.

I could not have asked for a truly greater experience. The entire tour, from beginning to end was an unforgettable, emotional experience.

Bill Kelly. What an absolute asset to Kokoda Spirit. Bill quite simply, made the trip. His knowledge was faultless, care for all was impeccable and ‘groove’ for life, inspiring.

With Bill’s help, the group connected on many levels and this of course made it all the more easy for those travelling alone and to of course help with team moral along the way.

The laughs and tears, that were had along the way, were one for a lifetime memory.

I would, without a question of doubt, recommend Kokoda Spirit to anyone who will listen. And I am telling my story to many!


Jacqueline Pidd
19-27 August

Kevin McElduff

As part of a group of 10, working hard to raise much needed funds for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, I’ve just completed the Kokoda trek with Kokoda Spirit.

I absolutely loved ever minute of the experience. Fortunately I was part of the most selfless, caring, respectful and fun loving group of people that one could only dream of.

My good fortune however didn’t start there. My brother completed the trek 2 years ago and raved about the knowledge, passion and experience of chief guide, Wayne Wetherall of Kokoda Spirit. I couldn’t believe my luck when I learned that the Humpty Foundation had chosen Kokoda Spirit to host the trek and Wayne to lead our group.

Wayne is a WW2 historian with an amazing knowledge of the Kokoda trail and the entire wartime campaign fought by our brave diggers. He brings battlefields to life with his emotional portrayal of campaign events and short services to remember those who fought under the most horrific circumstances to allow us to enjoy the lives we lead today. Emotions ran high in our group with lots of tears flowing during those wonderful services. Those memories will be with me and I’m sure other group members forever.

On the trail, it was very evident as we moved from village to village that Wayne was highly respected by those village communities.
Our porters and support staff were outstanding. Throughout the trek they were on hand to look after our every need and of paramount importance for the porters was our safety. Their attention to detail on slippery descents was incredible…….at the slightest hint of a slip you would feel a hand on your backpack securing your footing – guardian angels indeed. The food was varied, plentiful and of a high standard – it’s hard to believe one can enjoy pizza, donuts and hot chips on this type of expedition. Max our paramedic looked after any medical requirements with aplomb and shared many of his passionate stories of the campaign.

We had a fairly diverse group of individuals that gave Wayne the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to relate really well to people of all ages, backgrounds etc. and he he certainly did that. He displayed a close interest in every member of the group’s journey, looking to ensure they completed the trek safely and in good spirits.

I agree wholeheartedly with my brother’s assertion that you couldn’t wish for a better guide on the Kokoda Trek than Wayne Wetherall and his outstanding team

Kevin McElduff

Sarah Lenane

Dear Wayne and the Kokoda Spirit Team,

Walking the track in June with Peter Sergent was an amazing experience. I was walking with two friends to raise money and awareness for an extremely rare and debilitating disease called PSP that my father developed. Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is similar to Motor Neurons and Parkinson’s Disease. It is robbing my father of the ability to walk, talk and function normally and eventually it will kill him. We managed to raise a massive $17560 for PSP Australia (Parkinson’s Victoria) and I am so proud to have walked the track for this cause.

Our trek was lead by a group of local boys, Sai, Frank and their team, who though they didn’t say much, were so very caring and helpful. My personal porter Lei Lei really had his work cut out as I am very clumsy to begin with, so when meandering over tree roots and up rock faces he proved his weight in gold. The boys singing, lead by Jimmy, was so beautiful and often was just enough encouragement to make that last climb before we stopped for a break.

Acclimatising to the PNG way of life took some adjustment, and the toilets made us laugh as we quickly learnt to stuff our nostrils with toilet paper before entering. Even with mud soaked legs and aching muscles I loved every minute of it. I will never forget the experience and will cherish it forever.

Thank you,

Sarah Lenane

Terry Howe

Hello Team Kokoda Spirit,

I’ve been meaning to send you an email of appreciation for a few weeks since completing my trek on July 7/15th, but have been waiting to let my trip fully sink in.
And to be honest, I don’t know that it ever will.
After returning home from PNG I shared my experience with family and friends.
I found it hard to explain the emotions and intense feelings I was experiencing along the way.
And then a few weeks later I returned to work, and tried to share my trip with colleagues.I am not the most eloquent with words, but I can tell a good yarn.
Kokoda has me stumped though.
I try and tell the kokoda story and my journey with photos but its hard to fully appreciate the gravity of it all through a picture.
In the end I just simply tell people they must go. MUST!
There is no doubt in my mind that my experience was made so very much better because I chose to go with Kokoda Spirit (a family member went with you guys a few years back and she said look no further than Kokoda spirit, so I didn’t).
Our guide was Greg Chamberlain.
I can admit I was apprehensive after my initial introduction with Greg, for no other reason than he was in the army for the majority of his adult life.
I figured this will be very a regimented hike.I couldn’t of been more wrong and simply cannot thank Greg enough for leading us. His military insight and passion for kokoda was an experience within an experience.
His snippets from military diary’s, conversations with diggers, just everything about the way it was presented, still brings a tear to my eye.
Even thinking of it all now, its almost like a dream!
I’ve been there.
I’ve walked in the footsteps of heroes.
And it was Greg who brought it all to life for me, and I will be forever grateful.
Overall I really can’t find many ways that my trip and experience could of been scripted any better.
We had good weather.
The porters blew me away each and every day.
Greg as I have tried to explain.
Even the re-enacters dressed like the 39th battalion that we met along the way… WOW!!
I’m so very very glad my dads cousin told me to choose you guys for the trek, and anyone that will listen is getting the same message from me, so a huge thank you to all your team.
I feel grateful, honored, humbled and very proud of myself for doing the trek and for the men that fought there so that we can continue to lead the lives we have.

We will remember them.

Kind regards

Terry Howe.

Emotional trekker doing it for dad

EXCITEMENT is building in Kaitlyn Pobar’s Mudjimba home for what is expected to be an emotional trek honouring her late father.


Mrs Pobar and her husband David are three weeks away from landing in a former war zone famed for a muddy, dangerous track which weaves across it.
Her decision to walk the Kokoda Track came a few weeks after her father, former Sunshine Coast police officer Detective Senior Constable Russell Sheehan, took his own life.
She is now a board member for police mental health support charity Blue Hope.

“I am doing it (the trek) for Blue Hope but I’m doing it in memory of my dad,” Mrs Pobar, 30, said. “He was really interested in war history.”

The Pobars will take six current serving police officers from around Australia as well as a friend and administration officer with them on the eight-night adventure.
Mrs Pobar said the serving officers were all motivated by colleagues who had suffered from the mental health consequences of the job.
They leave for Papua New Guinea on August 18. “It’s supposed to be one of the driest, coolest times.” More than $10,000 has already been raised as a result of the trek to go to Blue Hope. “Dad was well-known in our circles and the policing community. “It’s actually one of many fundraisers that have been done in his name, which is nice.” Between now and then she just plans to keep training hard. She has been traversing hinterland trails for practice. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I’ll obviously be appreciating what the diggers did over there but also missing dad.” For more information or to support the fundraising cause visit or

For support call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Adrian Bassett

A few words and a big thank you regarding Kokoda.
In fact, words won’t capture my level of gratitude and appreciation for all each of you have done.

Jenny, thank you so much for being the inspiration for the participation of students from Surfcoast Secondary. Your organisation, motivation, communication and drive to make the Kokoda experience happen has been just brilliant for the group as a whole. The personal support you have provided Laila is amazing and I feel so lucky that my children attend a school where staff care so greatly. From picking up Laila for those early morning drives and walks, to having to trek back to meet her and miss time with the group, to just being an adult female role model she can talk to and connect with, you have impacted on Laila in just so many positive ways.

Peter, we sat and watched the video you created this morning and it was an emotional experience for all of us. Thank you so much for also giving up your time to support Jenny and the students and for taking the time to capture the experience so that family and friends can share just that little bit more closely. I honestly felt just that bit more secure about my daughter heading off to Papua New Guinea knowing you were there as well.

Scott, thank you for being a principal prepared to take a risk with the kinds of educational experiences offered to your students. As well as supporting the program at a leadership level, it was lovely to see the principal driving the bus load of excited (and apprehensive!) trekkers to Melbourne. Then, when Laila and I needed your support to obtain documents to assist her passage to Port Moresby, your instant offer of support and springing into action helped greatly when our stress levels were still huge.

Wayne, you have provided Laila with a gift that I have no doubt will play a role in shaping the rest of her life. Again, I can’t express my appreciation highly enough. For you to arrange the reversal of the walk was beyond anything I expected. The arrangements you then put in place for Laila to be collected individually, two days after the rest of the group, and to then escort her personally, whilst catching another group and eventually the Surfcoast group, demonstrated a level of flexibility and commitment to the care of your client that is of the highest order. I won’t go into the details, but I think if Laila had missed out on the trek, as looked likely to happen, then I think the short and long term damage to her self-esteem would have been immense. Laila mentioned how comfortable she felt in your company – whether you were both talking or whether you were just slogging it out in silence. She said there was a point when she felt absolutely out of her depth, exhausted, overwhelmed and full of self-doubt. The comfort you gave her, with your kind words, encouragement and compassion, was exactly what she needed at that moment. Thank you.

Thank you also to Lyn (our Kokoda Spirit contact person), who was so efficient in supporting me whilst we were madly trying to get arrangements in place and had so many questions for her. Her level of communication was excellent – right to the day of departure when I called her in desperation at about 6am. (An officious Qantas representative had met with us and declared, ‘there’s no way Laila is flying. She can’t get on the plane. They won’t even look at her in Port Moresby, as she doesn’t have a visa’. Thankfully, he was wrong.)

15 months or so ago, Laila snapped her cruciate ligament and her medial ligament. At that point in time, there is no way I thought she would be walking Kokoda just over a year down the track. Laila was inspired by you, Jenny, to undertake the journey. When she first came home to ask if she could go I was both proud of her for being so pro-active, but also nervous (would she recover from her knee injuries in time? was it safe in P.N.G.? did the transport plane have twin engines?!) There are so many aspects to the experience that challenged Laila. The early morning training sessions when she wanted to lay in bed, like teenagers do. The evening training sessions at Bird Rock stairs, when it was cold, wet and dark. Then, to have to deal with losing her passport and thinking she wasn’t going and to see the rest of the group depart without her. Then, to have to deal with the possibility that we should try to make arrangements for her to fly – but know that there were a huge number of ducks to line up and it may not happen. Then, to have to fly to Port Moresby alone (very much the unknown – which is so often what frightens us). Then, to have to make up time to catch the rest of the group.
Thank you, all, from the bottom of my heart.

Adrian Bassett

Sarah Fitzgerald

On top of this spirit, I had to abide by a GF diet on the trip. The amount of effort the boys went to ensuring I had a GF diet every single meal blew me away. Each and every meal was absolutely amazing, tasteful and GF. I could not be more thankful!

Since returning home, I have missed the Treck more and more every single day, and especially missed the whole entire team. I cannot express my thanks more to the kokoda spirit team, especially to Frank and his team of mighty porters. I have recommended the company to all friends and family and will be sure to stick to the spirit for future trecks.

To the whole team at kokoda spirit
I wanted to take the time to truly express my thanks and gratitude for preparing and leading us on an unforgettable journey through the kokoda trail.

I was part of the Paul McNamara group that trecked from the 1.7.17-9.7.17. I must admit, each and every one of us may have had all the gear but truly had no idea what we were in for. Right from the very beginning, from dealing with the team to ensure we were ready and organized; through to take off to the kokoda trail, I felt very well supported. Our Treck lead, sai, Treck master, Frank, and personal porters were absolutely amazing. Our porters ,by far, made the trip the most memorable experience. Aside from never leaving our side and constantly ensuring we were strong, fit and healthy, the way they interacted with the group, joined in on jokes and games and sang as a group along the way, i honestly believe is what kept our spirits so high and got us through.


Hi Wayne,

We heard lots about you from Peter! The trek Peter led was incredible, he is a fantastic leader. His knowledge, enthusiasm and sense of humour was so great and really made the trek. I didn’t have a personal porter, but the boys who were with us all looked after us so well, to the point of picking fresh flowers and tying them to our tents of an evening. Their sense of humour, care and compassion was next level. I was incredibly nervous that I would not be strong enough, but without even knowing my story, the care, compassion and kindness that Peter, the boys and the entire group offered me meant that I not only got through the trek, but absolutely loved it and have come out the other side so much stronger and happier. I have already recommended your company to everyone I have spoken to, it truly is amazing! THANK YOU for this experience, and helping change my life for the better!


Dr David Stevens

Northern Navy Trek 2011 HMAS Coonawarra

Dear Wayne,

Thank you for a great trek. It was well organised and exceeded all of my expectations.

Your leadership and knowledge of the Kokoda Track and its history was first class.

Congratulations on a job well done.

Dr David Stevens
Director of Strategic and Historical Studies
Sea Power Centre-Australia. Royal Australian Navy