My next big adventure – Kokoda

In Travel
16 May 2014
3 min read

I wasn’t especially looking for a big adventure right now, but the gods above must be restless, and so I find myself staring down the barrel of an intense 3 month fitness training program to get fit enough to tackle the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.

It’s not something I ever imagined myself doing, but work has invited me to go and write about this adventure and I’m not one to say no to a new travel quest!

I hadn’t heard of the Kokoda Trail until I came to live in Australia. It is one of the most well-known Aussie pilgrimages, and one of the most physically challenging. The 96 km trail passes through humid jungle, up and down mountains, through swamps and across rivers. It was the scene of some intense fighting between Japanese and Australian soldiers during World War II and holds an honoured place in Australian history.

The reactions I’ve been getting from people when I tell them about my new project range from shock and terror, to mad laughter and utter disbelief. Or maybe that’s just me.

My fitness of late has consisted of the occasional yoga class, a Sunday walk and some meditation. So as you can imagine I’m am rather alarmed at the thought of what lies ahead. I did some mountain walks on a school camp when I was fifteen, but apart from that I’ve never really done the trekking thing. I don’t own walking boots or a camelback.

Our expedition leader is a wonderful lady called Mary, from Aurora Adventures. She has done the Kokoda Trail 40 times. Yes, four-oh times, as in oh-my-god-are-you-crazy. I take much comfort in having Mary as my Kokoda advisor. What she doesn’t know about Kokoda isn’t worth knowing.

Sharing some of my fitness concerns, Mary was able to reassure me. The training will get me to the required level of fitness, and, as she explained, will ensure that I get to enjoy the experience and the scenery and not spend 7 days starring at my boots. Mary, I have faith in you. But I cannot comprehend ever reaching that extreme level of fitness – from meditation fit to mountain goat – I have a long journey ahead!!

The nine day ‘Trek for Tradies’ (5-14 September) is a fundraising project for a great charity called Mates in Construction This video captures the spirit behind the trek beautifully – watch here

I have a $2000 fundraising target and I invite you to take out the honour of being my very first backer – Make a donation

I will be sharing my Kokoda adventures with you here on the blog, all my blisters and chaffing, my sweat, fears and frustrations will be posted here….

I will be looking for walking partners, so if you’re keen I’ll be starting with 5.30am hikes up Mount Cootha – see you there???

Massive thanks to Construction Skills Queensland for this amazing opportunity!



I’ll be there, when do we start!!


Good work Shan! I’ve always wanted to do this, but have been afraid my fitness wouldn’t be up to scratch. I’ll definitely keep up with the blog to see how you go!

Shane H

Truly awesome Shannon. I am sure you will love it and probably hate it all at the same time. From everything I have heard, it really is a true test of mental and physical endurance…. but wow, what a thing to have on your resume ! I always think about the story I saw on the news, where Kurt Fearnley (you may have heard of him, if not, definately worth finding out about him, amazing guy), did the entire Kokoda track on his hands. Really inspiring stuff! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *