Physical preparation is essential as you may be walking up to seven hours a day. You are likely to cover between eight and fifteen kilometers each day with plenty of ascents and descents, at times on very narrow trails. Maximum altitude reached is 2,190 metres and altitude should not be a factor in your physical comfort.
These are the things you should know before booking a tour:
Trekking can be challenging with extensive ascents and descents so a high level of fitness is required, although Olympian level training is certainly not mandatory! Most people have walked The Track after committing to regular consistent training and the support of your porters and guides and your own robust determination will ensure a successful trek. We do suggest spending some months training beforehand: hiking on hilly terrain (in the hiking footwear you plan on bringing with you), taking the stairs as much as possible, some strength work and we also suggest carrying your daypack with you on your hikes, slowly increasing the weight up to the amount of weight that you plan to carry on the trek.
We considered providing a training schedule however we know everyone is busy and has a different schedule. With this in mind, upon booking we provide guidelines in our ‘Welcome Package’ for what we consider to be necessary for your training program to ensure your fitness level is ready for your trek. As with all physical activity, we strongly recommend trekkers see their physicians prior to beginning any new training.
Upon arrival in Port Moresby, we will meet you at the airport and bring you to the hotel where you will be staying pre and post trek. Our preferred hotel is the Holiday Inn & Suites in Port Moresby. Venturing away from the city and into remote areas will take you off the beaten track. With this in mind, you will find that although the accommodations while visiting our villages are very basic and may be lacking in the usual facilities you are accustomed to at home, they are safe, clean and offer a close-up look into another culture. We do emphasize that with IKA tours, we do not ‘insulate’ you in large, international style hotels. What we do is provide safe, clean, local accommodation. Our goal is to offer you an opportunity to live the way the local people live. The way we live.
During the course of your adventure, you will be passing through different climate zones from hot and humid lowland areas to higher mountainous areas where conditions may be considerably cooler, especially at night. The air can be much cooler at higher altitudes and you will cool down very quickly as you stop to rest, so we do recommend layering. In addition, this adventure could be during the dry season or the wet season so be prepared for both wet and dry conditions.
You should try to travel as lightly as possible as someone will have to carry what you bring. In order to accomodate what you need, your backpack size should be 95 litres BUT your total belongings should weigh no more than 12 kilograms (backpack and daypack combined). We use charter flights back to Kokoda and weight is restricted due to the small aircraft that is used. (A forewarning – you and your packs will be weighed!) Furthermore, please note that there is a weight limit of 10 kilograms for personal belongings carried by the porters as they will also be carrying their own items required on the trek as well as food and equipment as necessary. Please note that the Kokoda Track Authority has set a maximum total weight of 15 kg that can be carried by the porters. Any additional items will be carried by the trekkers themselves in daypacks and each day you will be asked to carry your own water and your snacks for the day as well as personal items such as camera, notebook, guide book, maps, etc. We strongly suggest pack covers or waterproof liners to ensure your belongings stay dry in the event of rain. We also suggest a waterproof case for your camera/phone. Anything not required on the trek can be left at the hotel in Port Moresby until your return upon completion of the trek.
You are required to have comprehensive travel and travel medical insurance that covers you for any emergency medical costs associated with hospitalization, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. When travelling, please bring your insurance policy with you. We suggest leaving a copy with someone you can contact at home as well. Our IKA team will record your policy details during the pre-tour briefing therefore it is necessary to bring along a copy of your insurance to this meeting. If you are covered by a policy arranged though your credit card company, you will be asked to provide evidence of this coverage as well as a 24 hour emergency contact number. There are some credit card companies that do not provide an insurance policy number. In such cases, the tour leader will ask for and record your credit card number as this is required to activate any request for emergency assistance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the requirements set out by your credit card company in order to effectively cover you while you are away and that the coverage offered is of a suitable standard. Please bring the travel insurance information booklet provided by your credit card company.
All travellers must have a current passport that is valid for at least six months after your scheduled return home.
Also, please check your travel tickets/documents to ensure that they are accurate and in the same name as your passport prior to leaving. A PNG Visa is available once you arrive at the airport in Port Moresby – please look for signage indicating where to line up and obtain visas.
Please consult your doctor or nearest vaccination centre to ensure all of your vaccinations are up to date and that you are vaccinated for any diseases for this part of the world. We suggest scheduling your initial visit at least two months ahead as some rounds of vaccinations require a second dose prior to departure to ensure you are thoroughly protected.
Malaria is prevalent in many tropical areas of Asia and the South Pacific. Please advise your doctor which regions you will be visiting and discuss the necessary medications with them. All malaria tablets are begun before possible exposure and continued for a period after such exposure ceases and should be taken carefully and according to instructions. Please be aware that some malaria medication might increase skin sensitivity to the sun and we advise taking extra care to ensure you are protected from the sun with a good sunscreen. A good insect repellent is also advisable if visiting these regions, preferably one containing a high percentage of Deet. This can also be discussed with the travel medicine clinic doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Are IKAs guides and porters fully trained?
- How do I get there?
- What are the benefits of booking with us?
- Is it safe on the Track?
- Is it safe in Papua New Guinea?
- What about the food?
- Where will we sleep?
- What about sanitation and hygiene?
- How much training (and what kind) do I need?
- What should I bring?
- Do I need any special insurance?
Yes, our guides and porters are fully trained in first aid, emergency protocol and evacuation as well as
being fully experienced in general trekking. We ensure that all training is refreshed at the start of each
Most flights require a transfer in Australia where you will board another flight to Port Moresby, PNG. We arrange for transfers to and from the Port Moresby airport as well as transport from the end of the trek at Owers’ Corner back to the hotel in Port Moresby.
IKA was established to effect change along the Kokoda Track by providing a better employment experience for our guides and porters. We are the first and only wholly Indigenous, locally owned and led tour operator on the Kokoda Track. Our trekkers can be confident that tour dollars have a far greater impact on and benefit for the local villages and communities they visit while on their trek. We have eliminated the middleman, we bank locally and work with other local PNG businesses as much as we possibly can to minimize the leakage of tourism dollars.
We also provide our trekkers with the opportunity to learn about our culture and hear our stories as told by us, in our voice and know that what they are learning is being told by the person who has the lived experience.
Yes! Our guides and porters are fully trained in first aid and always travel with a 2-way radio and satellite phone. In the unforeseen event of a catastrophic emergency and necessary evacuations, our staff are all fully trained and experienced. Our number one commitment to our trekkers is ensuring safe arrival at the end of the trek in good shape and in one piece (as well as providing a challenging experience).
We recommend that people ensure they arrange for any taxi services through their hotel and avoid walking by themselves outside the hotel grounds. There have been instances of theft and while the portrayal of PNG by outside media as an unsafe country does it a great disservice, we advise that you practice prudence and care when you are out and about.
We serve food that is freshly made from mostly local ingredients where possible. We provide the opportunity to sample food that reflects local indigenous cuisine, and we also always ensure that tasty, nutritious food is available to keep our trekkers fueled for their trek. Our cooks are fully trained in food and food safety to ensure you are fed enjoyable nutritious meals that will fuel you for your trek and we also offer you with the opportunity to taste the local cuisine.
Coffee and tea are always available.
We do cater for most diets, please let us know in advance if you have food restrictions and we will do our best to accommodate.
While the accommodations along the Track might not be as comfortable or luxurious as most people are used to at home, the huts that trekkers sleep in are kept clean and dry and provide the experience to live as we live. There is one overnight stay that is in a tent. We provide all tents and the set up/take down.
As the Kokoda Track is in a remote part of PNG, facilities that trekkers might be used to at home are not readily available. While on the trail, there is the option to duck behind a ‘grassy knoll’ or tree. Once we have arrived at our stopping point, there are dedicated outhouses available. We recommend bringing toilet paper and a bar of soap. Hand sanitizer in a pocket of your day pack will likely come in handy as well.
We provide a training guide for our booked guests as part of their onboarding package once their deposit is received.
As with the training, we provide a suggested packing guide for our booked guests as part of their onboarding package once their deposit is received. Our #1 recommendation is to wear your hiking boots on the plane as they will be difficult to replace should your luggage be delayed (we do speak from personal experience). We also suggest packing your sense of humour, patience and flexibility.
Trekking along the Kokoda Track requires medical insurance as well as emergency evacuation insurance and we require proof of this prior to the start of the trek. We recommend Global Rescue as a reputable global insurance provider and a direct link is provided on our website. Full disclosure – any booking with Global Rescue through our site, results in 10% of the insurance cost being donated back to the IKA Foundation for scholarships for post Grade 8 education for the children along the Kokoda Track.