Which Tour Operator?
Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:12 PM
Two items come to mind, firstly from rooster, commenting on trek numbers and I have to agree wholeheartedly as when I trekked in '05, we shared ANZAC Day at the Isurava Memorial Site with what seemed like a 100 trekkers from another company and they seemed to take ownership of the site despite the fact that there were a number of other trekking groups there trying to enjoy the experience as well, it was a real downer and a number of trekkers discussed this aspect as we enjoyed the rest of our Kokoda Trek.
The Isurava Battle Site is in such a beautiful setting and allows one to reflect on the sacrifices made 70 years ago and should be a place, provided by both the PNG and Australian Governments, for all to enjoy.
The second point is from the comments from Andrew, about the historical aspect provided by Trekking Companies. Over the years, Gail has provided, both here on this website and another, the PNG Business website, a litany of Military History of the Second World War in the South West Pacific Area and the pivitol role played on the Kokoda Track and also at Milne Bay, by Australian and Papuan forces.
Additionally there are many, many historical books on the subject, with perhaps two of the most impressive being, Retreat from Kokoda by Raymond Paull and Green Armour by Osmar White, backed up of course by the book by Dudley McCarthy, South West Pacific Area - First Year - Kokoda to Wau, which is recognised as the 'Bible' of Military History in this area.
So Andrew, you will gain a lot from trekking with Gail and KTL, both from a Military aspect and also from a cost efficient, well-run organisation, with superb Guides and Porters.
Warren (Waza - Trek 83 & 872)
Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:02 PM
I am also wanting to decide which tour guide to use for our trip. Wazas last post explains the queery that I had re: the host company's commitment to share and educate trekkers of the military history along the trail.
Does anyone have an opinion or view about the accommodation in Pt Moresby and the return transfer to the Kokada trail? As it is an unstable community we are hopeful that the tour companies give due consideration to this part of the trip.
JennyM has commented about the concern of the stress on the knees. Although our group should be fit enough and complete a solid preparation, some of our crew (self included) are nearing 50 and are carrying the effects of sporting injuries - particularly knees. Has anyone completed the trek with similar issues and have any advice - are poles a necessity?
Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:49 PM
I can only recommend KTL as trekked with Gail and her team in 2006. All transfers are covered in the trek package. You'll be picked up from the airport, taken out to Sogeri lodge for the night and depending on which direction you are walking, either down to Ower's corner or back to the airport for the flight to Popendetta. Truck from Popendetta to Kokoda.
Rooms are expensive in Port Moresby but i would recomend a night after trekking at Gateway or if cash is not an issue go to Airways. 3 to a room and it's a bit cheaper. You will be dropped at the hotel and then the airport when flying out. In a group you should be fine around Moresby, get a cab (picked by hotel staff) and they will take you on a tour etc. I've heard of trekkers finishing their trek then being dropped at the airport and home a few hours later and it really starts to sink in then. Around a pool having pizza for lunch is a much better option in Port Moresby for a day or so.
As for knees well I am lucky in that regard so far, but i couldn't have finished the Trek without a pole. Previous trekkers had left their's after trekking standing up at Ower's corner and i grabbed one of those. You'll need it on the first decent down to Goldie River. Feel free to buy your own in Australia to take but a wooden pole is your friend. KTL used to make their own for you to use and bring home but not sure if they still do?? Going up you can really pull yourself up, going down you can use it like a ski pole as vertical decents do exist in places. The track is muddy and slippery and your legs will be pointed in all directions, you will fall down every day. If your knees are a problem now they are going to be tested to the limit on the track.
Maybe others with bad knees have trekked and will answer at a later date.
I would recommend travel insurance that includes evacuation with existing conditions, if there is such a thing.
Cheers and I hope this helps a bit.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:54 PM
Thanks for the detailed response, much appreciated.
My username indicates that my liver is shot, but yours tells me that you are in much worse condition.
Good point re knees, if there is anyone else that has done the trail with 'iffy" knees would love to hear an opinion. Although we are 12 months away I recently had an arthroscope, am seeing a sports physio and listening to anyone who has an opinion.
Any advice in this area would be great help
Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:04 PM
Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:55 PM
Just a follow up to the previous posters and specifically Choppereid, who plans to trek in 2013, just on my experience, i would like to offer a few comments/suggestions:
Firstly about your knees, I can understand your plight, as I'm 67 at the moment and was when I trekked last and I've had 'Squash' knees for the past 35 years and other sport and climbing ladders and squatting down behind old TV sets to repair them never did my knees any favours. However I can only support Fordy's comments on both strengthening your Quads, Hamstrings and Calf muscles, as the latter really works overtime when you climb. I reckon I could have fried eggs on my calves in '05 when climbing from Kokoda to Isurava on the 'Test Hill' (as Gail calls it). Quads & knees suffer going downhill. I also took Glucosine tablets every day and for a week in the lead up to the trek.
Which brings me to the next point and this is again only from peronal experience - Walking Poles! When I trained pre-2005 trek, I picked up various branches and cut to size for a walking pole to train with, I eventually ended up with a beauty and took it with me and next to water was my most valuable asset, more so for going down as it acted as a third leg with the bigger downhill steps. It was also an asset in climbing, as it sometimes gave you that extra push to get over a particular 'mound'. I know some people swear by the smaller hiking ones, but I did try them and found them uncomfortable and they take 2 hands. With bigger poles, it does leave one hand/arm free, which you do need from time to time. I also cut 2 more pols for my Daughter & her Fiancee for my last trek and returned to PNG with my original one. I cut theirs to 82% of their individual height and they loved them. In fact my Daughter used a second one after day 3 when she became particularly sick and was quite weak for a day or so.
Finally, transfers & accommodation, Nathan & Gail handle all your transfers and it is included in the original cost, so no worries there. With regard to accommodation, Gail can organise that as well for you and yes Moresby can be expensive. We styed at 1 Motel and lasted only 1 night! I won't go into the problems, but suffice to say, I said to my family, tomorrow we stay at the Gateway, no matter what the cost! I contacted the CEO Brett St Hill & the Operations Manager Paul Davis and they gave us a wonderful deal and I'm sorry I didn't stay there the whole time. The room was superb, as good as anything I have stayed in between Brisbane & Melbourne, just 5*. The meals and staff were sensational, we couldn't rate them highly enough. We just enjoyed the steak and Red wine on our last night there so much.
Hope this helps a bit and please ask more questions if you wish. Also Choppereid, I have a spreadsheet on everything I took and the individual weights, if you would like a copy, but I will have to email it to you.
Posted 07 September 2012 - 08:35 AM
Also, do plenty of squats and lunges to help.
As for a walking stick-it will become your best friend. You need to view it as an extension of your arm. This year I actually bent my pole by using it to take my entire weight as I slid forwards going down to a river crossing at Templetons. I stayed on my feet but the pole was ruined. :-)
Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:11 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)
Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:28 PM
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