Half Kokoda Track Cultural Trek
From $1,950 pp
Papua New Guinea
Trek half of the historic Kokoda Track while delving into local village life and immersing yourself in cultural tales and demonstrations.
Come retrace the steps of soldiers who defended the rugged terrain of this island nation just north of Australia. In between your 4 days of hiking, you'll indulge in local cuisine, hear captivating tales from those who've lived them, and forge genuine connections with the locals. These are just a few of the treasures awaiting you on this incredible journey.
This shortened version of trekking only half of the Kokoda Track is a completely different experience than our sister trip which covers the entire trail. You'll take a quick, chartered hopper flight to land at our remote starting point in the wilderness (Efogi Village), which is generally considered the midpoint of the trail, and then walk back to Owen's Corner, a common starting point for those hiking the trail's entirety.
On this 6-day journey, you'll spend less time walking and more time learning about village life. We ensure ample time for everyone to enjoy getting to know the people who live in these villages as well as time to have one-on-one time with families. We provide opportunities for our guests to watch and participate in a number of demonstrations of local traditions and customs.
This tour is only available for small groups with limited departures.
- Enjoy a 15-minute scenic flight over a brilliant green canopy to the start of your trek
- Begin in Efogi Village, pass through Menari, Agulolo, & Ioribaiwai Villages, & end in Owers' Corner
- Immerse yourself in Kokoda Track life by staying overnight in village huts & savoring local cuisine
- Hear authentic stories and cultural tales over campfires
- Discover 'bilum' making, the art of handwoven bags, as well as trap-making
- Join basket, blind, bamboo, and grass-weaving sessions with villagers
- Watch and participate in traditional cooking methods using bamboo and earth ovens
- Connect with your porters who will watch over your safety along the trail
- Marvel at indigenous flora and fauna, including stunning Birds of Paradise and magnificent butterflies
- Make a positive impact on the people & communities along the Kokoda Track
About the Kokoda Track:
The trail runs through dense jungle and rugged terrain, spanning approximately 60 miles (96 km) across the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea. In 1942, this vital supply route was the site of battles between the Japanese and Australian forces. Australian forces protecting the trail, with the help of local Papua New Guineans, essentially staved off threats towards Australia. This challenging trek today uniquely draws history buffs and walking enthusiasts who appreciate knowing, on a deeper level, the culture and stories of the land they are walking on.
As leaders of this Kokoda Track tour, we consider ourselves first and foremost a community-focused organization. Our mission is threefold.
- To provide trekkers with a challenging, life-changing experience on the Kokoda Track, a popular yet demanding trail.
- Take hikers beyond the trail, by offering opportunities to hear the voices and stories of the local people, as told by the people of the Kokoda Track. Trekkers will see firsthand what life is like in our villages.
- Break the decades-long cycle of poverty that has existed in Papua New Guinea by providing a more equitable employment experience for our Kokoda Track porters and guides. We believe that providing more personal, immersive time in our home provides a truly unique experience that is also more sustainable.
We know that not everyone who enjoys walking trips necessarily wants to spend all day walking. For this reason, we have arranged this tour along the Kokoda Track to include plenty of time in the villages along the trail. You'll get to know the residents, see firsthand what village life is like, and participate in local customs and traditional ways of the village.
As the only indigenous company offering Kokoda Track tours, our close relationships with the local people living near the trail have been built over many years of guiding trekkers to these communities. Our authentic connections are also what enable us to provide a special, non-cookie-cutter experience for all our guests.
Papua New Guinea is a tropical rainforest with warm, and sometimes very rainy, weather conditions and two distinct seasons: wet and dry. If you don't mind a few other people on the trail, our immersive tours during the dry season (June to September) are ideal. Throughout the dry season, days will be generally clear with pleasant temperatures, and evenings will be cooler yet mild - noting that at higher altitudes temperatures drop. Temperatures may range from 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C).
- June to August: These tend to be the driest months, and July and August in particular are the busiest times to be on the trail.
- September: At the end of the dry season, the weather is still favorable for hiking. The possibility of encountering fewer trekkers on the trail is balanced with the possibility of more precipitation than in July and August.
The best time to go depends on what you are looking for and your comfort level regarding the weather and sharing the trail.
Day 1 Port Moresby [Papua New Guinea] (arrival day)
Upon your arrival at Jacksons International Airport, you will be met by one of our representatives who will ensure your transfer to the hotel where you and your fellow trekkers will spend the night (in a little bit of luxury) before heading out in the early morning.
There will be a pre-trek gathering in the evening where you will have the opportunity to meet your fellow trekkers, the group leaders, and some of the porters and have a group dinner together.
After the meal, you will be briefed about the challenge you are about to embark on. This is where we will gather and record your insurance information and other paperwork necessary for the trip that we have not yet received.
After the briefing, you (should) head to bed early and enjoy your hotel room and bed as it is fair to say the next few days may be a little less comfortable.
- Accommodation: Local hotel in Port Moresby
Day 2 Efogi Village Experience; ~3hr Walk to Menari Village
Flight duration: 15 minutes
Walk duration: ~3 hours
We take an early morning charter flight to Efogi Village, commonly viewed as the central, midpoint of the overall Kokoda Track (it's also the largest village along the trail). There, we will have the opportunity to watch and participate in several traditional activities. These experiences encompass witnessing and taking part in the age-old art of earth oven cooking, locally known as 'mumu', as well as engaging in the intricate process of bamboo cooking.
We depart from Efogi after lunch and make our way to Menari Village, arriving in the afternoon (~3 hours). We will get set up for our stay here and we can wander through the village meeting some of the residents. Menari Village is located in a picturesque area near the Menari River and waterfalls. A significant stop on this track due to its history as a base for Australian soldiers, Menari Village is also known as an important supply point in World War II.
- Accommodation: Menari Village Hut
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 3 Menari Village Cultural Activities; ~3hr Walk to Agulolo Village
Walk duration: ~3 hours
After breakfast, we'll immerse ourselves in the local culture by actively engaging in various traditional village activities and witnessing captivating demonstrations! Get ready to experience:
- Basket Weaving: Participate in and observe a basket weaving session, gaining insight into this intricate craft.
- Blind Weaving for House Walls: Join in as you watch a demonstration of blind weaving used in constructing house walls, showcasing traditional construction techniques.
- Bamboo and Grass Weaving: Witness and partake in a session where special bamboo leaves and Kunai grass, a local grass used for thatching roofs, are woven. The experience will provide insight into a vital skill employed in crafting traditional roofing.
- Bilum Making: Experience and take part in the art of 'bilum' making, a form of handwoven bags. These bags are typically crafted by women and have deep cultural and practical significance in the indigenous Papua New Guinea culture.
- Trap-Making: Engage in crafting traditional traps utilized by local communities for hunting wild pigs and cassowaries, large, flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea.
We depart from Menari after lunch and make our way to Agulolo Village, arriving in the afternoon (~3 hours). Overnight in the remote and relatively isolated Agulolo Village, where you'll have a more off-the-beaten-path (pun intended) and authentic experience that not all trekkers have.
There will be an afternoon/evening campfire! Lots of opportunities for sharing cultural stories, jokes, and of course, spooky stories. One of our stories, told by our parents and passed down to us, involves a village elder, a grass skirt, and overflowing water that became a river. We will share the details of this story and other folklore that is a part of our upbringing and culture.
- Accommodation: Agulolo Village Hut
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 4 Agulolo Village – Ioribaiwai Village (~6hrs)
Walk duration: 6 hours
We depart Agulolo after breakfast and make our way to Ioribaiwai Village, significant for being located near key battle sites. We'll immerse ourselves in local culture, engaging in various village activities and witnessing captivating demonstrations:
- Grass Shirt Weaving: Participate in and observe a session showcasing the intricate art of crafting grass shirts, an integral part of the cultural identity of local indigenous groups. These shirts, often worn during ceremonies and rituals, symbolize a connection to nature and tradition.
- Basket Weaving: Observe the art of basket weaving, where intricate patterns and designs convey cultural meaning, stories, symbols, and emotions, offering a window into this ancient craft.
All guests pair with some families from the village to have a one-on-one tour of their home, meet their children, and engage in some very immersive culture sharing.
Another campfire! This is our last opportunity for a shared conversation around the campfire about your experience along the Kokoda Track and about what we have learned from travel about ourselves and the world around us.
- Accommodation: Ioribaiwai Village Hut
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 5 Ioribaiwai Village - Owers’ Corner (~6hrs)
Walk duration: 5 hours and 45 minutes.
We make our way to Owers’ Corner for a final farewell trek along the Kokoda Track. Owers' Corner today will be our endpoint, but for other travelers, it is used as a starting point to begin their Kokoda Track adventure. In Owers' Corner, our transport vehicle will be waiting for us to take us back to Port Moresby.
Before arriving back at our hotel, we make a quick stop at a local market so our guests can wander amongst the vendors and tables that are full of local foods and other items. This concludes our tour, and we now make our way to our hotel where everyone can have a much-needed shower and rest. As this is the last night of the tour, this is the final opportunity for guests to share a celebratory meal. We are happy to assist in making reservations for dinner.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Port Moresby
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 6 Port Moresby Airport (departure day)
Our adventure has come to an end, so you are free to depart anytime.
Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.
Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.
Deposit per person
20% of the trip price
Group of 2-3 travelers - price per person
Group of 4-5 travelers - price per person
Group of 6-8 travelers - price per person
Our organization was built on the premise that keeping as much of the tourism dollar in Papua New Guinea and in particular, on the Kokoda Track, would offer the best way for the communities along the track to finally benefit from tourism. We believe that supporting our porters and guides by providing a more equitable employment experience offers the best way for economic growth to occur on the Kokoda Track. More money put directly into our guides and porters means they are better able to take care of their families and educate their children.
We prioritize collaboration with local enterprises at every opportunity. Our website developer operates from Papua New Guinea, our banking services are local, and our coffee production, from growth to processing and packaging, is a national initiative. Our selection of accommodations is also deeply rooted in the local community, with a focus on local employees and a commitment to sourcing locally produced food whenever feasible.
While we are aware that Papa New Guinea requires a flight, and usually a long one, to arrive in our country, our tours and treks are, for the most part, all human-powered. One quick 15-minute flight from Port Moresby to the beginning of the track starts both our treks. After that point, all travel is by foot and there is very little access to electricity until we arrive back at the hotel at the end of the trek.
By focusing on breaking the cycle of poverty that has existed on the track for decades while at the same time, keeping our culture and traditions strong and ensuring they are passed down to the next generation, we provide the local people, our people, a realistic way to move forward and bring growth and hope to the next generation of the Kokoda Track.
Our trek, with the exception of the first and last day and one short flight to Efogi Village, is all foot-powered. This is the ultimate low-carbon impact activity that not only leaves very little in the way of carbon footprints but also provides an up-close look at the vegetation and plant life that grows along the track. Sustainable local food sources grow in community gardens and our guests are provided with many opportunities to taste some of the local cuisine. Our wildlife, specifically our birds, are also on display high amongst the treetops and we take special care to maintain an appropriate distance from all wildlife.
We are committed to providing our guests with an experience that is not only challenging but also culturally immersive. We provide many opportunities for our guests to participate in local traditions such as basket weaving, bilim making, and local cooking customs. We ensure that there is plenty of one-on-one time for our guests and their porters to learn about each other and their respective cultures as well as experience life along the track the way it is for those who call it home.
Our guests sleep in village huts without the usual amenities that higher-income countries come to expect (like electricity and indoor/attached plumbing). Local food, local stories (told by the people who have lived them), and direct connection to the local people are a few of the jewels to be experienced along the track. The opportunity to unplug and be absolutely present in your own life is not always available, but it is here on the Kokoda Track.
One of the pillars on which we are built is equitable employment for our guides and porters. We believe that the best way to chip away at the cycle of poverty is to educate the next generation. Paying our employees a fair wage and providing employment benefits that much of the world takes for granted, provide a means for them to take better care of their families and educate their children, both girls and boys. Eliminating the middleman in this tourism tier, allows us to better compensate our guides and porters as more of the tour dollars paid by our guests go to them (usually by way of bank accounts which we help open for them with the support and assistance of our local bank).
We are also working with local coffee farmers in the Kokoda region and our own branded coffee with net proceeds going to our Foundation. These dollars assist with scholarships for the children along the Kokoda Track for their post-Grade-8 education which is only available in the cities. This, together with the better compensation we provide, opens the door to a better-educated next generation which benefits the people and communities along the Kokoda Track as well as Papua New Guinea.
Health & Safety
Be sure you have traveler's insurance.
The safety of everyone on our trips is our number one priority and this includes our trekkers, guides, and porters. We travel with a fully equipped medical kit on every trek and we also have an arrangement with a local helicopter company that is fully prepared to assist in the unlikely necessity of an evacuation. We are trained and certified in First Aid and always travel with a satellite telephone and two-way radio in case of emergency.
Our fully trained guides and porters have a minimum of a decade of training. We have seen all types of injuries during our many years on the track and have experienced breaks, strains, and sprains and are experienced and trained in emergency evacuation from our villages. This being said, we do require medical insurance for each guest including evacuation insurance. We also recommend consulting with your physician to determine if you require any particular vaccinations for traveling to this part of the world. We do specifically recommend malaria tablets for everyone planning a trip to Papua New Guinea but again, please consult with your physician prior to traveling.
What does the Physical rating of "Mildly Strenuous" mean?
While the track itself does not require herculean strength, the conditions make the trek extremely challenging. For those not used to the kind of heat and humidity that exist in tropical rainforests also known as jungles, it can be a shock to the system when efforting to climb the uphills and safely navigate the downhills (and there are many of these).
This being said, however, the length of time spent actually trekking is not as long as our flagship trek and there is more time to rest in the villages.
In order to ensure you are well trained, we provide a training guide for our booked guests as part of their onboarding package once their deposit is received and we always recommend getting your doctor's approval prior to booking.
What are the accommodations like?
The accommodations along the Kokoda Track are shared village huts. Thatched roofs, wooden slat floors, and elevated to keep dry in the wetter weather, no electricity or attached indoor plumbing describe the accommodations. Our guests become very adept at getting things ready for bed and morning while there is still the light of the day.
How is this trip safe for female, solo, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC travelers?
We take pride in welcoming all communities, and we do our absolute best to create a safe space for everyone.
Are the guides and porters fully trained?
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 trekking season.
How do I get there?
Most flights require a transfer to Australia where you will board another flight to Port Moresby, Papa New Guinea. 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.
Is it safe on the track? And in Papua New Guinea?
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 a safe arrival at the end of the trek in good shape and in one piece (as well as providing a challenging experience).
As regards safety within the country, 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 Papua New Guinea 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.
What are the benefits of booking this tour?
Our local partner in Papua New Guinea was established to effect change along the Kokoda Track by providing a better employment experience for their guides and porters. They 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 the local villages and communities they visit while on their trek. The only portion of your trip fee that will not remain in Papua New Guinea is Yugen Earthside's moderate commission, which covers our efforts to expose this wonderful experience to a wider audience, automatically includes carbon removal contributions for each guest, and includes a way to easily add-on carbon offsets to your trip at checkout if desired.