Focus on Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Trail


Phillip Woodhouse travelled to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Trail and raise funds for a non-for-profit organisation.

The front line: the author trekked with this group to raise funds for charity. Credit: Phillip Woodhouse

I was fortunate enough to walk the Kokoda Trail late last year, following in the footsteps of many heroes and legends – not just from the war, but all those who have taken on the challenge of walking 96 kilometres over seven nights in Papua New Guinea’s Owen Stanley Ranges.

The trail is seen as a pilgrimage to honour soldiers and family members who fought during times of war. For me, however, as someone with no family ties to the military, my motivations and mindset were a little different.

I love the idea that through challenging ourselves we become better versions of ourselves – stronger, both physically and mentally. This challenge pulled me out of my comfortable home routine and placed me in a remote jungle, walking for eight hours a day and tolerating sore knee joints (from all the downhill descents).

‘I love the idea that through challenging ourselves we become better versions of ourselves.’

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Village children met the trekkers all along the trail. Credit: Phillip Woodhouse

Without a doubt, however, it was one of the best things I have pushed myself to do. The trip was organised to raise funds for Mates in Construction, a not-for-profit Australian construction-based suicide awareness charity. For myself, the trip was made extra special by completing it with my father.

The best time to do the Kokoda Trail is during the dry season, from April to October. For a list of accredited operators and guides, see the Kokoda Track Authority website at

The story ‘Focus on Kokoda’ was first published in the March-April issue of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.

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