The Kokoda Trail or Track is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometres (60 mi) overland-60 kilometres (37 mi) in a straight line-through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea.The track is the most famous in Papua New Guinea and is known for being the location of the World War II battle between Japanese and Australian forces in 1942.
The track starts, or ends, at Owers Corner in Central Province, 50 kilometres (31 mi) 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.
Hot, humid days with intensely cold nights, torrential rainfall and the risk of endemic tropical diseases such as malaria make it a challenge to walk. Despite the challenge posed it is a popular hike that takes between four and twelve days (depending on fitness). Locals have been known to hike the route in one to three days.
The track can be walked from either direction. Some say that from Kokoda to Owers Corner is easier, even though in that direction you actually have to climb an extra 550 metres in height.
The track can take anything from 4 days to 12 days to complete, depending on fitness and rest time involved. Locals are renowned for being able to regularly complete it in 3 days. The best time to trek Kokoda is from April to September, during the 'dry' season.
There are a number of guesthouses located along the way, some at villages and others at traditional rest spots. The main villages passed through (from Owers Corner) are Naoro, Menari, Efogi Creek 1 & 2, Kagi or Naduli (if shortcut is taken), Alolo, Isurava, Hoi, Kovolo. Villagers are increasingly taking part in the commercial opportunities created by the growing number of tourists; in October 2006, some were known to be selling cans of soft drink and beer at double the price payable in Port Moresby.
Kokoda Challenge Race:
The Kokoda Challenge Race is an endurance running race that was revived on 27 August 2005. The race originally ran in 1975 but stopped before becoming an annual event.Renewed interest in running the track was created when Australian Brian Freeman, the CEO of a Brisbane based Kokoda trekking company, broke the track record in August 2004 with a time just under 25 hours.
The race runners are required to complete the full 96 km and pass through seven check-points at Isurava, Templeton Crossing One, Myola, Efogi One, Old Nauro, Va’ule Creek and Goldie River.
In 2011, the Kokoda Challenge Race was run on 27 August. The race commenced from Ower's Corner and finished at the new Kokoda Archway. The race was organised and sponsored by Kokoda Trekking. Brendan Buka once again won the race in a time of 17:50:33 but did not break his previous record set in 2008.