kokoda - anyone done it?

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kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby nickL » Wed 28 Apr, 2010 10:38 pm

i am walking the kokoda in july as part of a supported walk - theonly way it can be done i think

does anyone have a pack list for the trip?

anyone have insights into what things worked and those that didnt

thanks

nick
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby Lindsay » Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:13 am

My uncle did it - he wasn't impressed :wink:. Seriously though, it would be a fantastic walk and I have toyed with the idea for some time. I have no practical advice to offer but let us know how it turns out. Best of luck!
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby nickL » Fri 30 Apr, 2010 1:13 am

hi lindsay

thanks for that

i will post a pack list soon and get some feedback form those interested

cheers

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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby ozjolly » Fri 30 Apr, 2010 6:39 pm

Hi Nick,

I did it in September 2008. There are two ways to do it - from Kokoda to Owers Corner or from Owers Corner to Kokoda. My preference is from Owers to Kokoda because you get to Isurava after 5/6 days which makes it so much more rewarding.

What you pack depends on what the trekking company provides and whether you have a porter or not. Here are a few ideas:
- Forget long gaiters, you'll sweat so much that your socks will be drenched. You only want to keep mud out of your shoes.
- Water treatment is a must. I used iodine, others used steripens. If you take a steripen, take a backup option as one bloke we met had two steripens and both stopped working.
- It's pretty muggy at some camp sites. Your tent will turn into a sauna and will be soaking wet. "Most" camps have a guest house (i.e. hut with roof and a floor) where you can hang a mosquito net, or set up your tent inner only. This keeps you a bit cooler. Free standing tent makes this easier.
- Most people take two sets of clothes - walking and camp. Your walking clothes will be permanently wet and can be a bit cold to get into in the morning, but they'd be wet within 10 mins anyway so you'll live.
- It can get quite cool at one or two campsites. You're at nearly 2000m altitude. But take the bare minimum, because you have to carry any warm gear all the way.
- Cameras and electronic gear has a habit of failing. Try to keep it dry.
- Malaria tablets, disinfectants, etc etc.
- Forget about trying to keep dry.
- I took some snacks, but ended up giving them away to the villagers as our ration packs (provided) were so generous. And added to that local choko vine and sweet potato every night, you don't go hungry.
- You probably don't need to carry as much water as you might think. There are a lot of streams. Your porter/guide will let you know how far until the next water. They recommend carrying water for the first day though (from Owers) as the water can be a bit dodgy.

That's the main stuff. It's an unreal experience. Make sure you read at least one book on the Kokoda campaign before you go too. It'll make it much more worthwhile (don't rely on the Kokoda TV series... it's good but not very detailed).

Joel
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby nickL » Fri 30 Apr, 2010 9:47 pm

Hi Joel

thanks for the reply
just a few questions i still have

- should i take short gaiters or no gaiters
- shorts for the trip or any need for long pants
- have a steripen but always take the tablets as back up
- have a mosquito net but only the string up type - what do you think
- do you think a fleece is enf for the cold
- did you take a rain coat or a poncho - or you really mean dont worry about trying to stay dry
- apart from malaria tabs any other first aid specifics
- thinking of wearing a light icebreaker top - doesnt smell and quick dry - any thoughts
- any ideas about walking boots / shoes - what works well and not well
- camp shoes - crocs ok for that and creek crossings

i think thats about it

the trip actually flies into Popondetta on a larger plane and then we tour the northern beaches sites and villages for three days and then onto kokoda -then the walk sounds like its pretty cruisy over 9 days ( i know others do it in 6) -a mate who i walk with and who has done it a few times assures me we will walk it easy and have lots of time for swimming in creeks and lazing around - unusual for the walks we normally so here- am on my second book an am finding i am really enjoying the history - its an amazing story - i am sure it will be an amazing trip

thanks again

nick
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby tas-man » Wed 12 May, 2010 11:47 am

Hi Nick,

There has been a bit of discussion on the forum in the past about gear and preparation for walking Kokoda, so do a site search for "Kokoda" and skim through the topics of interest to you. An important issue is to treat any scratches on arms and legs immediately with antibiotic powder to prevent tropical ulcers forming. Be prepared and it will be the experience of a lifetime - It is a truly amazing country to experience in this way. Good Luck with your trip!
"The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot."
Werner Herzog
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby nickL » Wed 12 May, 2010 10:26 pm

thanks ian

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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby Peaksnik » Wed 12 May, 2010 11:27 pm

Nick

I did the walk as a 16-year-old highschool kid at the end of 1969. We walked north to Kokoda.

The memories are still with me. I'm sure that you too will find it unforgetable.

As far as clothing goes; think how comfortable you will be walking whilst bathed in sweat and water from the daily rain event. Go for as little as possible. I wore the one set of clothes for 5 days. I also had a light cotton blanket to curl up with at night, sleeping directly on the woven floor of a hut. I distinctly recall the joy of sleeping directly on the flat hardwood floor of an empty government building when we got to Kokoda!

I wore boots purchased from the local army disposal store in Parramatta but no gaiters - they weren't needed as it was track walking only. These days I would make sure that footwear was tried and comfortable but I would still take blister patches and a spare pair of socks.

We ate simply: rice cooked with powdered milk, eaten warm and cold the next day, and yams cooked by villagers. Food was fuel, and I looked forward to whatever there was.

I don't recall worrying about mossies etc. We did not use mosquito nets, but I think that I had a bottle of DEET to rub on. It's a wonder that I've haven't had offspring with two heads :)

All around me as I walked were signs that whatever discomfort I was feeling paled into absolute insignificance compared to the suffering that the soldiers went through only a quarter of century earlier. I was a fiery adolescent Vietnam War protestor at the time and subsequently maintained an anti-war stance. But my respect for Australian soldiers serving on our behalf was forged during that walk and firmly remains to this day. I wept during the recent ABC documentary on the Kokoda campaign . . . perhaps if you saw it you'll know why.

Best wishes for a memorable experience.
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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby ozjolly » Wed 12 May, 2010 11:38 pm

Nick,

Some answers (opinions). But don't get too hung up on the gear. Spend your time reading about the track and the stories and you'll have a very special trip.

- should i take short gaiters or no gaiters
I'd still go short. You still want to keep mud and dust out of your boots.
- shorts for the trip or any need for long pants
Just for keeping warm for one or two nights.
- have a mosquito net but only the string up type - what do you think
That's fine. The guest houses have structures that you can hang from. But make sure you take a tent too in case they are too busy. At one place it smelt a bit "dog" so I opted for the tent.
- do you think a fleece is enf for the cold
Probably. You'll have a fire before heading for bed, and then you'll have a sleeping bag and/or tent for additional warmth.
- did you take a rain coat or a poncho - or you really mean dont worry about trying to stay dry
Maybe a light poncho for trying to stay dry once you've stopped for the day. While walking forget about staying dry.
- apart from malaria tabs any other first aid specifics
See a travel doctor. I took some general antibiotics etc with me
- thinking of wearing a light icebreaker top - doesnt smell and quick dry - any thoughts
I you think it's a good backup. Once again, you'll only want it at one or two spots.
- any ideas about walking boots / shoes - what works well and not well
Personal choice I think. Just make sure you've done plenty of kms up and down hills in them first.
- camp shoes - crocs ok for that and creek crossings
I used crocs. Only had to take shoes off for two creek crossings, but walked both in bare feet.

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Re: kokoda - anyone done it?

Postby nickL » Fri 14 May, 2010 12:40 am

thanks everyone so far

great info and experiences

yes i am reading a lot and am on my third book

only 6 weeks left

nick
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