Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kokoda - Day 1

Kokoda is nowhere near Rabaul but I wanted to post some photos this week taken by Guy, who with his family walked the trail last year. His stunning photos aren’t in chronological order but are posted to basically give you a sense of the place. I have taken information from a number of sources on the web but this one in particular is good for extra information about the history and how to do the trek. This site has a great map and is where the top map came from.

The narrow, jungle-enclosed 96 km Kokoda Track, that crosses the unforgiving Owen Stanley Range, is one of the world’s great trails and is extremely popular with Australian trekkers, many whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought along the rugged mountainous trail. The track starts at Owen's Corner in Central Province, 50 kilometres east of Port Moresby, and then crosses rugged and isolated terrain, which is only passable on foot, to the village of Kokoda in Oro Province. It reaches a height of 2,190 metres (7,185 ft) as it passes around the peak of Mount Bellamy. Despite the challenge posed it is a popular hike that takes between five and 12 days (depending on fitness). Locals have been known to hike the route in three days.

It was arguably Australia's most significant campaign of the Second World War. The Australian Diggers were under no illusion of the fate awaiting their families back home if they didn't stop the Japanese on the Kokoda Trail. Regular Australian forces were being rushed back from Europe and the Middle East where they had reinforced their legendary Anzac fighting reputation at Tobruk, El Alamein, Greece, Crete and in the Western Desert. In the meantime the defense of our homeland was left to young inexperienced militia men - some as young as 16 years of age had been hurriedly recruited, given the most basic of training then dispatched to New Guinea to hold the Japanese advance until our regulars from the AIF could reinforce them.

These were the darkest and most desperate days in Australian history.


Rest well - more trekking tomorrow!!!

15 comments:

quintarantino said...

Good info.
Loved the last two photos.

Rose said...

These phots rmind me of the time I lived in the Amazon Forest.
Trully amazing, so please continue taking lots of pictures and posting in here!

oldmanlincoln said...

This should bring back a lot of memories to a lot of people who will remember those days with some sadness.

Kerry-Anne said...

96km! I'm exhausted just thinking about that ("fit" is a word that does not describe me at all accurately... or AT ALL, really...). It looks absolutely gorgeous though, and I wasn't familiar with any of the history, so thanks for the fascinating info.

alicesg said...

Beautiful place. The trek must be a long and tiring one. But I guess it is worth it with such beautiful photos.

dive said...

Beautiful shots and a really moving commentary.
I love your wartime posts, Jules. I can't wait for the next installment.

Marcel said...

It looks like you have added one more thing to my must do list. It sure looks like a fun hike. Thanks for posting.

Jules said...

Thanks All
Glad you liked these

My main server is totally down so am using another one with only a small download limit so can't return the visit. Hopefully all will be restored SOON!!!!

Neva said...

What an amazing vista....good info!

Old Wom Tigley said...

I will enjoy this series Jules.. and the info, I find that I now enjoy learning new stuff just as much as the blogging it self. I was terrible at school and learned little. Now I can't get enough crammed in this walnut sized brain.. :O)

lynn said...

Fantastic photos. Reminds me of being in St. Lucia.

Squirrel said...

Ahhhh would love to go trekking! beautiful. I have been under the weather, health-wise and up to my neck in work--such a bad combination I will have to visit all my fave blogs when I can, here and there. I'll be back on Monday, Jules!

Rich said...

Wow...What a place... Worlds away from here in the UK. Yet it's on this one magical "little" planet!

Annie said...

It's so beautiful there. No wonder folks like to hike through all that beauty. And how fine that it still retains its natural glory, hasn't been built on with tons of houses and shopping malls.

Mme Benaut said...

"Kokoda Trail" strikes a note of awe in most Australian hearts for those who know even a little of its wartime horrors.
Congratulations Jules on this post. The photos are fantastic. It is good to keep these memories alive for the younger generations.