Kokoda Trekkers return from Papua New Guinea
2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Track Campaign during World War II in 1942.
While the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I was Australia’s first military test as a new nation, the Kokoda Campaign represented the first time in the nation’s history that its security was directly threatened.
The Kokoda campaign is recognised as a turning point in the war, and has not only rightfully cemented itself in Anzac Legend, but has also created an incredible bond between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
While the military history of the Kokoda track is the prime motivator for many, it is interaction with the local culture and stunning tropical wilderness that makes this trek so special.
In celebration of the 75th Anniversary, and also the 10th anniversary of our 2007 Kokoda adventure, Little Heroes Foundation decided to put together a team of trekkers to conquer the Kokoda track in 2017. We received an incredible response, and very quickly had a team of 20 people from all walks of life band together to support our cause.
Preparation was key, however despite all the hikes completed, nothing could quite prepared our team for the slippery, jungle conditions of the trek.
The team endured grueling mountain climbs, rickety bridges and rushing creeks throughout the trek, yet each day persevered through the pain and discomfort, following in the footsteps of our soldiers and interacting with the local villagers at each campsite.
However, by all accounts, the slip ups, sore bodies and stinky clothes were all worth it, with everyone on the team crossing the finish line at Port Moresby.
This special trek would not have been possible without the support of many, but Little Heroes Foundation would like to especially thank the team of porters, without whom, the trek many not have been as successful as it was! They were there to greet each new day with a smile, catch anyone who tumbled, carry necessary supplies, tell some wonderful stories and do everything they could to ensure each trekkers enjoyed their adventure.
Little Heroes Foundation is so proud of the team, for not only conquering this incredible challenge, but also for their ongoing and generous support, raising over $75,000 for our Little Heroes Care program. To our team, thank you so much for your incredible efforts over the last 12 months. You should be so proud of all you have achieved, and we hope that the connections you have made with each other and the beautiful people of PNG will stay with you for the rest of your lives.
This adventure tour would not have been possible without the support of so many local businesses. In no particular order, please join Little Heroes Foundation in thanking:
- Peregrine Travel Centre SA
- Next Gen Health & Lifestyle Clubs
- Ettie Ink
- Bent Creek – McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills Australia
- Eagles Woodville West Torrens Football Club SanFl
- Skill Hire
Some messages and feedback from our trekkers
“Our Kokoda adventure has come to an end but what an amazing, unforgettable and emotional experience we all had. Easily the most challenging thing I’ve ever done both physically and mentally. I was lucky enough to do it with a great bunch of people who encouraged each other the whole way through.”
– Melissa McKenzie
“Not only was it physically and mentally demanding, it was also extremely rewarding. Every hill, either going up or down was really hard, but you get to the top or bottom and look at it and think, wow, I just did that!
I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way, who I laughed and cried with, and our team were absolutely amazing and supportive the whole trip. A huge thanks to Gareth our trek leader and to poor Terry, my porter who had to carry all my stuff, and I had a lot of stuff!”
– Ronnette Davies
“I cannot even comprehend what we just encountered and completed. The trek was the most rewarding, exhausting, emotional experience of my life.
Our PNG porters/crew were unbelievable. Their smiling faces every morning, singing all day and hilarious persona got us over the finish line. They saved us on every slip whether it was up or down and we felt so safe having them with us. The villages and local PNG people were beautiful. They made us feel so welcome and taught us so much about their culture and our war history.
The relationship between PNG and Australia is incredible and I encourage anyone who has ever thought about doing Kokoda, to definitely do it! We laughed, cried, sweat and endured pain but it was so so worth it! Lest we forget.”
– Samantha Tedmanson
“It was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever had, both physically and mentally … but we did it!
Steep inclines and declines down and up mountains that seem to last forever. 10 hour days at times trekking through the slippery jungle. The emotional history and stories of our Australian soldiers, the friendships made that will last a lifetime, the PNG people and culture, the stinky smells of wearing the same clothes over the last 10 days, the joy of knowing together we raised over $75,000 for the Little Heroes Foundation, and the gratitude and appreciation I have all the small things in life!
To my heroes, dad and brother Scott who joined me on this epic adventure and got me through it I’m so proud of you. And a massive thank you to our supportive families over the past few months in our training and time away. An experience I’ll cherish forever.”
– Chelsea Randall
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my beautiful and dearest friend Melissa McKenzie for inviting me to share this lifetime experience with her and meet the most amazing people. Thank you everyone for all your support, encouragement and silliest humour which got me through the most challenging moments.
I would also like to thank my porter Lukeson who managed to save my butt many times, keep me hydrated and humour me with his infectious laugh – what a legend!! Now as I sit back and settle back into reality, I look through the photos and feel so blessed and privileged to share this amazing experience with you all – lifetime memories and wonderful friendships gained.”
– Anna Rubacha