Why you should consider trekking Kokoda on ANZAC Day
A place of ANZAC reverence and personal challenge, the Kokoda Trail has been a place of pilgrimage for travellers for many decades. Australians are very proud of their military history, and the Kokoda Spirit touches many who have heard about the remarkable Australian forces and their achievements along the Kokoda Track.
For the communities along the Kokoda Track, the same sense of pride and history exists, with many living on the Kokoda Track having direct descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, are names given to their ancestors as a term of endearment given by the Australian soldiers to the locals who saved their lives by either carrying them to safety or bringing food and supplies back to the front line.
Monday, the 25th of April 2022, will mark the third ANZAC day since the world closed its borders, and Australians couldn’t make their annual Kokoda pilgrimage into the Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua New Guinea. It is also the third ANZAC day since South Sea Horizons porters guides and historians haven’t been able to host and share the Kokoda spirit.
South Sea Horizons has been leading groups along the Kokoda Track since 2008 with an exceptional trek completion rate of 99%. For ANZAC Day in 2023, you can experience a truly unique adventure guided by the best locally sourced guides; all you need is to choose a date and South Sea Horizons will deliver the rest.
The Kokoda track is one of the many walking tracks in Papua New Guinea that existed long before the Europeans discovered this part of the world. It was used for trade and cultural interaction between tribes and is still used for these purposes to this day.
During the course of World War II, the Japanese decided to use this trail as means of ground attack against the Australians in Port Moresby. The idea was to take Port Moresby and use it as a base from which to stage a direct assault on Australia.
One end of the track lies in the north of the country at a village called Kokoda. It winds up and down over the rugged Owen Stanley ranges and finishes in the south at Ower’s Corner nearby Port Moresby.
Both Kokoda and the Northern coastal plains were the scenes of violent close contact jungle warfare as the Australians retreated in the face of the Japanese onslaught. The Japanese were finally stopped at Imita Gap as they had extended their supply lines too far in the rugged terrain and began to die of starvation. The Australians then chased them all the way back to the northern coastline.
Today the remains of the war lie strewn in the jungle and the track have reverted to quiet solitude, disturbed only by occasional trekking groups. There are several villages along its length inhabited by peace-loving, hospitable locals. These are the descendants of the people who became known during the war as the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ because of their selflessness in helping wounded Australian soldiers.
Papua New Guinea owned and operated, South Sea Horizons practise responsible tourism that gives back to the communities they interact with. They only employ local Papua New Guineans as porters, historians and cooks. The local porters used while trekking includes direct descendants of the last remaining ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy-Angels’.
Founder of South Sea Horizons, Alan Manning, said “ANZAC day is such a special time of the year. A time where we see a perpetuation of the Kokoda Spirit. Maybe I am getting older and my friends are too, but it seems the interests in ANZAC day grows every year, it’s great to see.”
Saii Faole, son of the last fuzzy wuzzy to pass away and South Sea Horizons’ Kokoda partner, said “My father Faole Bokoi was a Fuzzy Angel. We are proud of who he was, but also we are all proud of all our uncles and bubu’s who helped the Australians in the war.”
Embark on a South Sea Horizons Kokoda Expedition in 2023 with Where Wild Things Roam Travel. Prices start from $3750 per person.