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#1 Boss Meri

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:34 AM

If you have trekked with Kokoda Trekking and you fit into this age category, please post here as it would be very much appreciated so that other potential trekkers can read your honest comments.

To post, you first have to register.  Once you have completed your registration you can log in and post your comments by clicking on the 'Add Reply' button; type your testimonial and then click the 'Add Reply' button.

At this point, your message will be uploaded onto our website.

Wherever, possible please state your trek number and date that you walked with Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL).

rolleyes.gif Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback.

Kind Regards
Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL)

Gail Thomas (Boss Meri)

#2 Boss Meri

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 05:04 PM

Greetings Gail,  Many thanks to yourself and KTL staff for giving me the opportunity to experience the Kokoda Track. I was one of the Colac College group of Trek 417 (June 30-July 7) with John Derek Eroro as leader.

John, Wallace Lemiki and the KTL team helped me to complete the Trek, always ready with a helping hand and words of encouragement. I would like to make special mention of Barnabas Marove, my strength and companion on the Track, we became good mates. Any future trekker who walks with Barnabas can rest assured that they are in safe hands.

On our last night in Port Moresby at the Gateway Hotel  I spoke to you regarding forwarding mail to Barnabas via Wallace Lemiki at Kokoda, I would appreciate it if you would email me your postal address in Port Moresby.

Thank you again for an unforgettable experience and my best wishes to all our KTL friends who made it possible.

Doug Kirkman.
Trek 417

Editors Note: the email below was received after I contacted Doug to ask if I could post his email onto this area of our website - refer below:

Greetings Gail,  I am quite happy for you to use my email on the testimonial area of your web site.

My age is 73(and a half!) years, and even though I am reasonably fit, I must have put an added burden on your carriers, but from Group Leaders John Eroro and Wallace Lemiki, my companion Barnabas Marove and all the KTL boys I was always given help and encouragement and made to feel special. I will never forget my experience on 'The Track'. Thank you for passing on your postal address, I will now contact Barnabas.

Best regards, Doug Kirkman.

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#3 Brian


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Posted 14 October 2008 - 09:17 PM

Testimonial from a young 70 year old

This testimonial maybe a little longer and perhaps different to the norm please though do take a few minutes to read it.

Only a few days ago I returned home having spent my 70th birthday whilst on the Kokoda trek proving to those many supporters that their faith in me was certainly not unfounded and to those few “knockers” that I and others of my age certainly can.

Questions that have been regularly asked me since my return are:-

Did you find it hard?
Hard is an understatement I personally found it extremely hard and very difficult at times I rate Kokoda as the hardest walk that I have undertaken in my life.

Would you do it again?
God willing I most certainly will be doing so in 2010 but this time trying to pick a dryer time we had rain sometimes very heavy on 7 of the 9 days on our trek. I most certainly all well be going again with KTL hopefully with Wallace and Brendan again.

Would you recommend that others undertake such an adventure?
Yes I would if health is on your side and with a positive attitude I certainly would age is not and should not be a barrier, trekkers from as young as 5 years to 81 years old have completed the trek.

Would you use the same operator?
I most certainly would use KTL would not even consider any one esle as far as I am concerned Gail and Russell and thier KTL team are the best.

Yes I certainly as my friends and family can confirm trained consistently and very hard indeed for this trek. Losing some 22kgs whilst doing so even then I still found it extremely hard. With exception of one brief 15 minute period never did I ever think of giving up I did though wonder how I was going to manage it but determination and positive never say die attitude won me through.

I am though thoroughly convinced that without the tireless help and dedication of the KTL “Porter Team” I may not have made it, the third day into the 9 day trek I experienced a nasty fall injuring my left leg. This was not so bad but when I fell again on the 4th and 5th days the left leg copping it each time I was in increasing pain with it. Whilst having few problems walking up hill coming down was another question, quite difficult, but with my porter Brendan Buka in front with my feet following exactly in his footsteps and with our guide Wallace Lemeki behind grabbing at my daypack at any sign of my leg collapsing or slipping I made it down by now with the rain a very slippery and root bound muddy mountain track.

The 7th day was my day of reckoning and when for that very brief period I considered throwing the towel in but I just could not let my family, friends, supporters and even more so the boys helping me down. I just cannot find words enough to show my gratitude and heartfelt mateship for those my “Guardian Angels” who tirelessly nursed me through this day. I am honoured to call them mates, let me explain.

The day started out a normal day up early a quick breakfast, packed and off walking before 7am went quite normal with me tailing along behind with my now very “dicky” leg. I always was up to an hour or so at the end of the day behind the others but this day with the leg giving me hell I was to be way behind. By 5.30-6pm the others had reached the camp a long day but I still had the last very steep slippery mountain to get down by now it was dark and raining quite heavy at times, my leg was really giving me a hard time. I was very tired and getting colder by the minute Brendan and Wallace guided, nursed and encouraged me down all the way it was a extremely slow painful final three and half hours. Another porter Arron Horope went to the camp dropped his pack off came back got Brendan's took it to the camp coming back again for Wallace's pack after dropping it off returned again to assist the others in getting me safely to camp no one asked Arron to do so he just did it. I get emotional when I think about the effort and dedication that they put into getting me safely into camp. When we eventually arrived into camp at 9.30pm over a 16 hour day the other porters who would normally be asleep by this time had a large fire going insisting that I sit beside it, gave me a warm drink and hot food and water to wash the mud off my legs all whilst they put up my tent. None would go to bed themselves until I was settled down into bed myself.

Early the next morning we were up and off again I did have problems with the leg the rest of the trek but I did with the ceaseless help of Brendan, Wallace and at times Arron to successfully on day 9 make it into Kokoda. I certainly without the help and dedication of the KTL “Porter Team” especially those mentioned would have had difficulties successfully completing the trek, I owe and thank them so much.

Couple of notes that may help future mature trekkers:-

If I can in anyway assist anyone contemplating trekking particularly with KTL please do not hesitate to ask.

Perhaps my downfall quite possibly the reason that I fell in the first place I wear transcending/bifocal glasses anyone wearing them would appreciate this walking up a flight of stairs is no problem but walking down a flight of stairs certainly can be the same applies to walking down the often very steep muddy slippery root bound track. Also to make glasses worse was that they were continually fogging up.
If I was to walk again I would be obtaining a pair none transcending/bifocal glasses for use on the trek.

Read Dan Towers “Preparation for Kokoda, The Average Joe” to be found in the Trek Preparation area of the Forum a must for anyone considering the trek.

No real need to take extra items with KTL we had far more than we needed and gave much away to the porters I took a couple of additional items I still had these when I reached the end of the trek. If I were to go again I would just take a packet of barley sugars.

Do not make the error of taking extra clothing, extra weight, I did not and did not require it.
I did leave items in the hotel for when I arrived back at the end.

Look after those feet the most important thing that you will take with you I used tinea powder every night and Vaseline every morning had no problems at all.
I wore Aussie made Rossi leather boots well warn in and treated several times with “Dubbin” waterproofing prior to trekking these I found waterproof up to 100mm and proved ideal in the slushy muddy areas had it not been for the rain running down my legs I am sure that I would have remained dry inside all the way.

For a few months prior to leaving I daily took 1500mg Glucosamin I am sure that this helped my knees as I had no problem what so ever with them.

Trek 435

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#4 peterh13


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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:09 PM

Your a wild man Brian..
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#5 petedowling


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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:05 PM

Good on you Brian, I followed your blogs with interest coming up your walk and it was clear you were commited and determined to to give it your absolute best shot. Attitude and sheer guts will always get you through when you face adversity and combined with the "never say die attitude" it is a recipe for success. Kokoda is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. Good on you for giving it your all. I hope to walk kokoda again in 2010 and it would be great to see somewhere along the track.
Best wishes
Pete Dowling

#6 Brian


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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:40 PM

Thanks Pete & Peter for your comments much appreciated whilst my health for my age is great I am still doing some less strenuous training with the hope that I can make it back to Kokoda in 2010. The old bank balance is not in the same healthy state and being on the age pension, not that I am complaining, leaves very little to save. Maybe Kevin Rudd will give me a hand out, dream on, but one never knows what is around the corner and yes Pete it would sure be great to meet up with you along the track.

I encourage anyone in good health no matter what age, a 81 year young made it, it will be an adventure of your life that will live with you as long as you can remember.

One little bit of advice do go with a small group 10 or less do not go with a larger group you could be disappointed if you should do so.

I read comments about Aussie Guides verses Local PNG Guides I can only comment on the local chaps the one we had Wallace Lemeki was great and knew the history very well I certainly will be looking for a local guide hopefully Wallace if I should go again in 2010.

See you along a track some where

#7 Brian


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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:06 PM

Hi Folks

A Foot Note:-

Just an update, do not put off what you can do today you never know what is around the corner, there is no way today that my health would allow me to even consider trekking Kokoda again.

Last year at 72 we went for a 6 month around Australia camping trip I arrived home to be admitted within 24 hours into the emergency ward of the hospital where I spent the next month. Today I am walking again but 10kms easy walk tires me out.

If you are considering trekking Kokoda do it now do not put it off as I said above you do not know what lies around the corner.

Trekking Kokoda was one of the highlights of my life I will always be greatful to KTL, their guide my good mate Wallace Lemeki and porter Brenden Buka who both went well beyond the call of duty and care to make it all possible for me.

Incidently in the near future I will be on Dialysis we do not intend for this to stop us caravaning, camping and doing shorter easier walks. We were put here to enjoy life and I for one intend to do so just as long as I can.

Trek Kokoda now do not put it off you most certainly will not regret doing so and like me you will never forget it.

Enjoy Life.

#8 Mrs Moo

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 05:13 PM

Good on you Brian, you are an inspiration.  Sorry to learn that you will require dialysis - that's bad luck.  You have such a good positive attitude to life, I'm sure it won't slow you down too much.

Best of luck for the future.
Mary (Trek 429)

#9 Gail Thomas

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:25 PM

Brian, Brendan Buka was in town yesterday and saw your post.  He said to pass on his regards and best wishes to you.  He commenced a 4 night 5 day trek today so think of him out there trying to play catch up to the other three treks that headed out on the 16th.

#10 Brian


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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

Hi Folks now 2012 health wise I have been through a lot since my last post a couple of longer hospital stays and now on dialysis but pleased to say I am out, whilst short and slow, walking again and soon will be leading once again some of the shorter and easy Queensland  National Parks Association walks.

As much as I would dearly love to go Kokoda again even flying in and out is not possible I feel blessed that I trekked kokoda when I did, ever grateful to both Wallace and Brendan for their effort and encouragement. Whilst I have also driven and camped around this wonderful country disappointingly my health has beat me and I never did get to do the New Zealand treks that were on my bucket list.

What I am trying to say is do not put off doing things today as you never know what is heading your tomorrow.

#11 Boss Meri

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:11 PM

Having trekked twice now with Kokoda Trekking Limited and observed other groups on the Track on both ocassions, I have no doubt whatsoever that I would not have enjoyed it any better, or experienced anything better if I had trekked with another Company. I too also tried to contact another group in 2004 and received no answer at all, but Gail responded to me with in 24 hours. Gail is a busy Lady, I know, as I helped her last time getting supplies out to Jacksons for a group who just basically arrived in Moresby, wanting to walk the Kokoda Track, without any preparation at all, but Gail helped them out with everything that they needed! Gail's local knowledge, along with Sons Nathan & Shane and Manager Russell is second to none in the Territory and the standard of Guides, Porters, both Personal and Food is excellent. I can't recommend them and the whole group enough.

You won't be disappointed if you walk with the Boys from KTL. They may even sing their KTL song for you!

Best regards and I can be contacted through Gail's website, as I have a spreadsheet of all (or most) items that you will need to take with you.

Waza (Treks 83 & 872)

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#12 Nathan Thomas

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:01 PM

Share Your Kokoda Trekking Experience For A Chance To Win!

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Congratulations on completing the Kokoda track.

Everyone who has trekked Kokoda has a story worth telling. Why not share it on DoKokoda.com

and inspire future trekkers?

It could win you a trip back to PNG, this time on a more relaxing note - an extraordinary holiday for

two at the TUFI Resort valued at $7,150!

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You have joined a special group of Australians who have put themselves in the shoes of
the legendary diggers and PNG nationals who successfully intercepted the Japanese
before they took Port Moresby from the north in WWII.

We want you to share your story so that you can help us encourage other Australians to

take on the life changing challenge, learn about Australia's war history and give back to
the communities along the track that played such a crucial role in Australia's victory during
the Kokoda Campaign.

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