1 - What made you want to do the Kokoda trail?
It was always a bucket list item for me! I was a big history buff in school and felt that it was a tangible way of understanding the conditions of war. And of course, the physical challenge appealed to me too. One of my best friends mentioned it was on his bucket list too so I made us book it in as soon as possible haha.
2 - What were your highs and lows?
Hmmm tough question, there were many highs! A personal one for me was being the only woman on the trip to carry her own pack the whole way. But more specifically, on day 7, which was the day with the most steep and long incline, I walked up this one particular ridge without stopping. It was a really hot day, on the most gruelling hill of the trip and our bodies were so tired but I was able to focus and push through no stopping (yes I was thinking about Lara yelling at us up Bitch haha). Reaching the summit with all of that pack weight was incredibly satisfying! A low of the trip was on day 3 where I was just not feeling it. I was tired and I had gotten a few blisters on my feet so I’d dropped to the very back of the group for the rest of the day. But even then, I walked with one our tour operators and had really great conversation and it was a good moment to reflect on knowing when to listen to your body and take it easy.
3 - Was it physically challenging?
Very challenging haha. I had prepared for it to be hard but it was harder than I expected. The terrain is so muddy (and we were lucky with the rain) and steep and you do so many river crossings. You’ll be in thick jungle which is really humid and then come out on to hard red clay where you’re in full sun. I have never sweated more in my life!
4 - What 3 tips would you give to someone who wants to do it?
Take all of the electrolytes…and then take some more. The tour operators will provide you a supply of tablets but definitely bring more with you. You sweat so much, having them really helped with recovery.
Downhills are a physical game, uphills are a mental one. The downhills are so slippery and technical you really need to be careful where you step and take it slow. It’s a lot harder on your body because you’re bracing so much. With the uphills it’s mind over matter, I found the best way to get through them was to just put my head down and focus on taking it one step at a time.
Over pack on socks, you can’t have too many. With the humidity, rain and river crossings you’ll want to have dry socks for the next day. Your feet are your biggest asset on the trail so keep them dry and healthy (as possible)!
I would highly recommend doing the track! It was one of the best experiences of my life - the history, culture and beauty of the trail and the company I went with was so well prepared and created a really fun group atmosphere. Train as much as you can before you go. Bootcamp definitely prepared me well but I also did a few multi day hikes to prep for the trekking side of things. If you want to experience pure adventure then this trip is for you!