The Big 5 Kokoda trek was completed late last month! And the trek well and truly lived up to its’ reputation; the trekking was tough – emotionally and physically – I cried most days – but its inspired me to be a better man, a better dad and a better member of the community. This is not a simple bucket list tick – you’ll come back changed. Here’s some words from Big 5 Kokoda trekkers Bianca and Angie.

Bianca Smith: The Kokoda Trail was one of the most challenging and best things that I have ever done in my life. Before we left I was prepared for the physical and mental challenge that lay ahead for the trek, I did not prepare myself for the emotional challenges. I experienced many waves of emotions when out walking the track, mostly feelings of being proud to be Australian. Our dawn service at Isurava was a morning that I will never forget, I am pretty sure everyone on the trek shed a tear for the young Australians that fought at Kokoda and for the Papua New Guineans that helped our soldiers. Pete Morrison, from Adventure Kokoda, was amazing at stopping at significant spots along the trail and going through the history that our diggers endured to fight for the country we have today. Along with facts about the war, Pete would then recite a poem written from the perspective of a Mother, Wife, Partner or friend some also written by previous trekkers. These poems hit home hard and made you realise that these men that fought for our country were boys, with an average age of just 18 ½ years old. This just kept making me think what I was doing at 18 and how lucky I / we as a country are. I could keep typing for hours, this trek has changed the way that I look at many things, and within the short time of being back I have had a number of people tell me that I have changed. I highly recommend doing this trek and learning more about the history of Kokoda. It has been nearly two weeks since we completed this trek and there are still moments that I get really emotional and the fact that I was able to do trek has still not become a reality for me.
Angie Bradbury: Trekking the Kokoda Track is one of the best things I’ve ever done. For the physical challenge, the mental challenge, the amazing war history I knew so little about but mostly, for the experience shared with a group I am sure I will be friends with forever. This kind of hardship, with no way out but forward, forges friendships through reliance, resilience and humor. I did it with my husband Scott and it was a wonderful shared experience for us. About half our group were Big 5ers, across the 6 month journey of preparation and planning and through the trek itself, I was so very grateful for the training! I now know why goblet squats and box jumps are so important and the value of training on the days when you think you’re too tired or sore. It’s hard to share the emotional journey except to say that a couple of weeks back home we are all still trying to process what we achieved and reconcile this beautiful, remote and third world country with the privilege and comforts of being home. If you are thinking about doing it, do it.

The stats: 7 days, 140kms, 232,100 steps & 28,570 calories! We’d love to take another group with Adventure Kokoda next year – make sure you register your interest with me, This is a great example of how taking care of yourself physically can lead to opportunities to enrich you mentally and spiritually.

Coach Tom