From trekkers . . .

“Adventure Kokoda treks are well resourced and well planned – daily briefings and briefings at battle sites were the norm. Adventure Kokoda has it just right . . .

“I would seriously say that I would not change one aspect of the entire experience. Would be great to do it again in a couple of years with my two sons . . .”

“A wonderful trip, a wonderful team – a very special experience. We chose the right group to go with. Well done Adventure Kokoda! . . .”

“Thank you for providing me with what will be one of my greatest life experiences . . .

Some who chose to trek with Adventure Kokoda:

“Would thoroughly recommend Adventure Kokoda and would love to do it again – thanks for the experience . . .”

  • Dr Charlie Teo – Neorosurgeon
  • Peter Fitzsimons – Author of ‘KOKODA’
  • David Reyne – Getaway Television Host
  • Corporal Les Cook – Kokoda veteran from the 2/14th Battalion Association
  • Dick Smith – on a helicopter safari with Charlie Lynn
  • Angry Anderson – Rose Tatoo/Channel 9
  • Thomas Claverotte – Acclaimed French Travel Photographer
  • Gary Jack – Balmain Tigers legend
  • Dermott Brereton – Hawthorn legend
  • Brett Kirk – Sydney Swans
  • Adam Goodes – Sydney Swans
  • Leo Barry – Sydney Swans
  • Ryan O’Keefe – Sydney Swans
  • Andrew Schauble – Sydney Swans
  • Darryl Braithwaite – Singer
  • Alex Wileman – Channel 7 star
  • Ayesha Rose – Actor – Underbelly TV Series
  • Gynton Grantley – Logie Award winning actor
  • Grant Kenny – Ironman Champion
  • Shelley Taylor-Smith – Marathon swimmer
  • Caroline Pemberton – former Miss World Australia
  • Colette Mann – Actress
  • Yahoo Serious – Film Producer/Actor
  • The Hon Jason Clare, Minister for Education
  • Ivan Cleary – Penrith Panthers Coach
  • Brad Waugh – Penrith Panters
  • Tim Grant – Penrith Panthers
  • Jamie Soward – Penrith Panthers
  • Scott Morrison, Former Prime Minister
  • Bronwyn Bishop MP
  • Kerry Chikarovski, Former Leader of NSW Opposition
  • Chris Hartcher, Former NSW Minister
  • Barry O’Farrell, Former Premier of NSW
  • Dom Perrottet, Former NSW Premier
  • Bronwyn Bishop, former Minister
  • Melinda Pavey, for NSW Minister
  • Anthony Roberts, former NSW Minister for Planning
  • Jihad Dib MP NSW Minister for Emergency Services
  • Jackie Kelly MP – former Federal Minister

and more than 7500 tradies, farmers, soldiers, students, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. etc. etc.

From the Premier of New South Wales:

‘Dear Charlie,
I’ve always been impressed by your love of the Track and your determination to ensure its place in the Australian imagination is never lost.
You know better than most that the Kokoda Track isn’t just a place where our salvation was won – though we should remember and document and treasure every inch of it. Kokoda’s now part of the Australian dreaming, a sacred site.
More than than. The men of Kokoda are among the greatest of heroes in a land that rightly canonises few heroes. And as time slowly steals the survivors from our midst, it’s hard to resist thinking that Australians in the not too distant future will look back with almost disbelief at the giants who lived in those days.
Thanks again.
Yours sincerely,
Bob Carr MP

Dr. Charlie Teo with daughters Sophie and Katie at Kokoda

Sir Peter Barter, PNG Minister for Intergovernment Relations:

“Without Charlie Lynn’s dedication to the people of the Kokoda Trail, and Papua New Guinea in general, and his assistance in early negotiations in the establishment of the Authority, the establishment of the Kokoda Track Authority and its future plans for assisting the sustainability of the Kokoda Track Tourism Strategy and its heritage, there would be no special purposes authority – it would still be sitting in limbo.”

Peter Fitzsimons, Author of ‘KOKODA’, at Naduri village

The Hon Arthur Somare MP, PNG Minister for National Planning:

‘Dear Mr Lynn,
I write to personally thank you for arranging to meet the members of the PNG Parliamentary Select Committee on the Pacific Economic Community in Sydney last week. We are very grateful for you hosting lunch for us at your beautiful parliament setting.Your tireless work over the years in promoting Papua New Guinea in Australia and the world is something we are very grateful for and will do everything possible to compliment your efforts in the future. I am pleased that the PNG Tourism Authority has been working closely with you on issues of interest concerning the Kokoda Trail and the promotion of tourism as a vibrant industry in PNG.
I will shortly be bringing to the attention of the Ministry for Works the urgency to upgrade the road leading to Owers Corner in Sogeri area.It is my hope that our meeting in Sydney has set the foundation for further enhancement of relations at a personal level between our two countries. I very much look forward to meeting you and your co-workers again when you next visit Port Moresby.
Yours sincerely,Arthur
T. Somare MP

Hawthorn AFL legend, Dermot Brereton, TV star, Collette Mann Gran, Australian Ironman Champion, Grant Kenney near Lake Myola

From Lieutenant-Colonel Phil Rhoden OBE (former Commanding Officer of 2/14th Battalion at Isurava):

‘Dear Charlie,
‘The veterans and I, in particular, are aware of your work over many years in you bringing the events in 1942 to the attention of all who would listen to you and some who would not and were it not for that persistence and endeavour of yours the words courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice would not be at Isurava for all to see.’

From Captain Stan Bissett MC – 2.14th Battalion Association, 30 September 2003:

‘Dear Charlie,
‘You have already been a tower of strength in achieving recognition for the performance of all Aussies and ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzys’ in the Kokoda campaign. We would be honoured to have you as a member of our association’

Note: Charlie accepted Stan’s invitation and joined immediately – he has been a member ever since.

Angry Anderson and Darryl Braithwaite at Naduri Village

Ray Baldwin, Kokoda Veteran, 2/27th Battalion Association:

‘Dear Charlie,
‘On the night of our welcome at the Sydney Stadium I had a brief chat with you. I was one of many who approached you. What a wonderful night. Val stated that I looked so sombre as against my fellow passengers in the cavalcade. In fact I was overawed with the reaction of that vast audience and I was thinking ‘I wonder if they really know the full story of the Kokoda Track and the final killing grounds of the Beach Heads’. Then I started to see the absolute happiness on the faces of the people, especially the children, and so then I too started to wave back. As long as I retain my faculties I shall remember that night.’

Major-General Peter Phillips AO MC, National President of the RSL

Dear Charlie,
I am pleased to advise that the National Executive of the RSL has endorsed the proposal to establish a master plan for development of a Kokoda Track Memorial Park.
Thank you for taking the time to address our National Executive and for the personal effort you have put into promoting this concept. ‘As we approach the 60th anniversary of the epic battles of the Kokoda Track, it is appropriate that we honour those who lost their lives there or served their country so valiantly’.

Angry Anderson and the Channel 9 crew enjoying the hospitality of Naduri village

Tessie Soi – PNG Friends Foundation Inc

Dear Charlie,
‘Thanks a million for the 2 computers dropped off at the office. I was in Babaka village, 3 hours drive from Pom.’
Staff advised me of your kind donation.
My Admin Manager, Mr pana Sitapai will email you through when the office downstairs is completed.’
Its great to hear that i can email you when i am in dire straits and i will also give you updates and how our programs are going.
I can use someone else as a sounding board. which i hope you don’t mind.’ But thanks a million for helping me do my programs for our people.

Alex Wileman, Ayesha Rose, Charlie Lynn, Georgina Wileman

Major Chad Sherrin MM:

Just a note to say a huge thanks for what has been one of the great experiences of my life and it was made the more so by your passion and commitment to ‘The Track’.
I’m still coming down from the high of everything we did and I certainly can’t stop talking about it to everyone I meet.
It was both physically and mentally challenging, it was inspirational, and it was personally and spiritually satisfying and fulfilling to have been a part of the whole experience.From what I had read in Patrick’s book I really wanted to do the trek with you and you didn’t let me down in any way.
Your input, and the passion you so obviously have for the Track, really made the experience and I can’t thank you enough. Anyone who doesn’t do your ‘Battlefield Trek’
I am sure is missing most of what doing the Track is all about.Since I’ve been back I’ve spoken with a number of people who’ve done one of the six days or less treks and they are just green with envy to hear what we experienced.
Thanks again, and you have me looking at the Track and its people (Diggers, Koiari and Japanese) with the same passion you have for it all.

Thomas Claverotte – Acclaimed French Travel Photographer at Nauro

Andrew Rosengren, Rhodes Scholar, Manager – CRA Gold Development:

‘How often in life do we really enjoy success of achieving a goal when we have done it entirely on our own?  Who do we share the success with?  Who appreciates the hardship that has gone into achieving the success?  Who understands the depth of the emotions that we feel?  To me, the Kokoda experience really highlighted the power of teams and the richness of the feeling of team success.
‘The Kokoda experience provided an ideal environment to understand team dynamics.  A group of people of diverse interests and backgrounds are thrown together to face adversity together.  The success of the individual is very closely linked to the success of the team.  The success of the team is dependent upon accepting individuality and difference.  It is also dependent on exploiting strengths and managing the weakest link.  Having clear objectives and working towards a common goal was a key element in our team’s success.’
‘I found the Kokoda experience very useful in helping me to understand my own personal strengths and weaknesses.  I am a highly competitive person who places very high expectations on myself and to a certain extent on other people.  Whilst I believe that I am understanding of peoples differences and their relative strengths and weaknesses, I have great difficulty coping with people who do not appear to want to realise their potential.  Motivating and exciting people to realise their fullest peotential is one of my greates’ challenges of leadership.’

Kristy Miller, News Ltd and NSW MP, Kerry Chikarovski

James Enage, CEO of the PNG Kokoda Track Authority

Dear Charlie,
I wish to thank you, your lovely wife and the Adventure Kokoda Management for financially supporting the Kokoda Track Sports Development Program within this year, 2009.
I had acknowledged your contribution to this very special project in various appropriate forums and have informed the boys and people along the Kokoda Track about your support.
In relation to the outcome of the Program, preparations are now underway by four (4) Local Rugby League Clubs in Queensland who are keen to engage few boys from the Kokoda Track to play in the local Queensland Rugby League Competition next year, 2010. Hopefully, the various Rugby Club offers (Work, Match payments, Accommodation) for the boys should be made available towards the end of January and I will make the announcements in the middle or towards the end of February, 2010.
Also the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team Management are keen to recruit school boys from the Kokoda Track area next year to be part of the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team under Football Scholarships. We will announce this program shortly.Since you have pioneered in supporting this program, I trust you will continue to support this program.I look forward to continue working with you in this very special Project in the New Year.
James Enage

Sydney Swans discussing the next day’s trek at 1900 Crossing

Inaugural Sydney Swans Kokoda Memorial Game:

We have you to thank for your incredible vision and persistence in making sure the concept got off the ground. We are all very proud and honoured to have played a part in such a special and unique project. We can only look forward to what the spirit of Kokoda may bring us in the future! Kelvin Templeton
CEO Sydney Swans

Sydney Swans dual Brownlow Medalist, Adam Goodes, at Kokoda

“Charlie, it ain’t broke, so for God’s sake don’t try to fix it. Though I found the trek very taxing (’cause nothing can prepare you for New Guinea but New Guinea) it was an awesome experience and is only becoming more so as I reflect more deeply on it. The history was all that I had hoped and much more, largely due to Chad’s expertise. The villagers and porters were great people to meet, friendly, helpful, polite and considerate, perfectly illustrating the contrast of their culture with our materialistic, individualistic and competitive lifestyle. I couldn’t help reflecting, during the superb ‘sing sing’ at Kagi, how unlikely it would be for my contemporaries in suburban Brisbane to copy such behaviour. But perhaps the best part of the trip was how 29 Aussies – young or old, male or female, canetoads or cockroaches, miners or surgeons – when yanked out of their comfort zone (big time!) bonded together to make a great team. There was not one harsh word – rather, nothing but support and encouragement when someone was doing it tough, which was everyone at some stage. I think it gave us a small glimpse of how those wonderful young blokes in 1942 managed to do what they did. I always admired them – now I think of them of superhuman. I will do all in my power as a teacher of young blokes to let them know the sort of men their grandfathers were, and what they did at a critical time in our history. Thank you for providing me with a chance to share in the Spirit of Kokoda . . .”

Caroline Pemberton – Miss World Australia at Isurava

Neil Williams – Journalist

Thank you for your encouragement and tolerance in helping me know the Australian soul.

Helen Dauncey:

Dear Charlie,
Once again I feel great after 10 days of privation and hardships under your inspiring command. I am quite serious – I do feel renewed and with a few more obstacles that existed in my mind only, conquered… I just wanted to say thanks.

Beverley Partridge:

Dear Charlie,
I’d like to congratulate you on the way you conducted the trek along the Kokoda Track in April this year. Fourteen trekkers from the broadest spectrum of life obviously have different attitudes, but you directed the focus to a concentrated point and this group united and performed as one – with determination and humour – to conquer the Kokoda Track.

Scott Morrison MP and Jason Clare MP on Imita Ridge

Barry O’Farrell MP at Eora Creek

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Rogers:

Charlie,‘How quickly one forgets the pain but remembers all the great memories. I certainly consider it one of those experiences of a lifetime. The company was excellent, and the mixture of physical and mental stress, with the historical importance of the track and unbelievable beauty of the area where we trekked made the whole experience a fantastic cocktail… Thanks for your personal input. I know it was your personal influence (shaping) of the group and your insights into the local village lifestyles and history of the track that made the whole experience an unforgettable one.’

Caroline Pemberton and Ovoru Indiki at Naduri Village

Gabrielle Savic:

Dear Charlie,
I really admire your passion and dedication to Australia, Kokoda and the people of New Guinea. I saw the way the people in each village we visited, have the greatest respect for you…. When you spoke about the Australian soldiers, I could see your sincerity and compassion. It made me realise how much these men gave to our country. Having walked where they fought was an honour in itself. I have a new found respect for our Diggers, one which sadly, many of my peers are unaware of.

Balmain NRL legend, Gary Jack, with son, Rhys at Nauro

Peter Huggett:

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed the chance to walk the Kokoda Track last week. It was a multi-layered experience which proved to be much deeper and significant than I had imagined.
Its not often one gets the opportunity to take part in a tough physical trek through beautiful unspoiled jungle with a great bunch of fellow travellers, led by an exceptional group of porters, through villages of people with wonderful generosity, all set in a background of significant Australian military history. Youve wrapped up a very impressive package!
Pauls leadership was outstanding. He let us run and only came in when necessary and then made all the right calls.
Your passion for Kokoda is infectious. Thanks again for letting us share it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DSC_0353-1-1024x683.jpg

NSW MP Melinda Pavey and son Jack at Menari Village

Mark Gray:

Firstly, congratulations on your planning and management. To go through the week with no hitches – or seemingly so, particularly with ease at the bureaucratic points – Moresby Airport – was a pleasure. It was a privilege to undertake the trek with such a group and whilst high objectives were set, Paul (Croll), the porters and yourself were able to elevate the energy and emotion to new levels… The war cemetery and the dinner in Moresby were special occasions and a fitting finale. Also breakfast the following day at the High Commissioners residence was superb… I believe I am a stronger and better person for having done the track.

Sally Bray:

‘On completion of the Kokoda Mateship Trek I believe that the essence of this quote resonated within each one of us. We have gone to the depths of our physical selves and have discovered a rich emotional and spiritual journey along the way. Surrounding the 4 pillars that stood as a tribute to the soldiers of the Kokoda campaign – COURAGE, ENDURANCE, MATESHIP & SACRIFICE – we too have received and delivered. What a rewarding journey it’s been.
‘Days later…
‘My mind is a kaleidoscope of thoughts. Upon return from Kokoda life is yet again full. A part of me is resentful towards this pace of city living in contrast to the peaceful and charming jungle. I feel a genuine burden for the people in poverty I witnessed in PNG.
‘I ask myself: ‘Why have I seen all this? What should I do with this frustration of injustice, poverty and corruption? Is it a mere lesson of culture and history, a renewed gratitude for the blessings in my life, or a call to action…?
‘ALL of the above I suspect….
‘With Sincerest Appreciation’

2/14th Battalion veteran, Corporal Les Cook with Oro Minister for Finance, Benjamin Ijumi at Kokoda at the completion of his trek on 3 November 1992, the 50th anniversary of the recapture of the village

Corporal Les Cook and Benjamin Ijumu at Kokoda on the 70th anniversary of the recapture of Kokoda on 3 November 2012

Corporal Les Cook lays a wreath at the Kokoda plateau with fellow veterans of the 70th anniversary of the recapture of Kokoda on 3 November 2012

From students

Sharni Chan

‘Kokoda, on the whole, is a very humbling experience. We are humbled because we have begun to come to an understanding of the sacrifices that were made by those diggers who fought against all odds in the most nightmarish conditions. We are humbled because we would return home as heroes yet these men, these boys, have died for a country that will not remember. And lastly each and every one of us is humbled by the people of the Kokoda Trail.

‘I can now say that I have walked the Kokoda Trail but it is not the track that I have conquered but the track that has conquered me. Kokoda does not provide some great revelation about who you are. There are no great self-discoveries along the way, for each of us has encountered personal hardship before and each of us has overcome great obstacles in our lives. Once you have experienced ‘The Spirit of Kokoda’ it is that you can no longer deny who it is you are. It strips away the layers of excuses, the fantasies we build around us to both protect and comfort us, these same layers that we subconsciously use to prevent ourselves from moving forward into the unknown. It is not what you learn about yourself on the trail, it is what you can no longer hide from yourself. ‘

Sarah Bassiuoni 

‘I thought the historical emotion was going to be the toughest emotional battle this curly haired second generation Aussie was going to have to face on the Kokoda Trail. The history was though on the heart and soul. The sight of those neat white grave stones is etched into my heart and head, my disbelief in war was reaffirmed and the haunting sadness of the senseless slaughter which occurred on the trek, all these memories and sensations caused the tears to flow and my heart the break many a time. However the historical emotion was a small personal battle I had to inhale in order to learn, conquer and grow.

‘How do you correlate an experience of a lifetime? How do you explain heaven and hell on earth? I can’t profess to being a writer and unlike Adam, Kokoda did not inspire me to write, it inspired me to live. Sounds a bit flaky I know, but whilst I was walking that bloody track I realised life is a gift, especially in the package that has been delivered to me. And while I’ve been ripping off the wrapping paper as fast a I possibly can, I haven’t stopped to enjoy the colours and pictures on that paper, and I definitely haven’t been paying enough attention to the details of it. Those daily experiences, the people who are always there, the ones you love and the ones you walk by in the street.  Kokoda has caused me to wake up, slow down and take notice not only because of the horrific sacrifices which were made by so many in-order to allow my life to be free but also because of the people of Pupa New Guinea’s love and warmth. The care, compassion and kindness, which were shown to us by the guides and the villagers, was remarkable and unforgettable. It flowed into your heart and filled you with joy.  Just watching these communities and people made you blissful and being included in them made me dizzy with emotion, because I didn’t know how to show my appreciation.  True angels on earth and for those ten nights us mortals were allowed to walk with them, speak to them, joke and sing with them (well they sang I blurted on tone deaf words painfully.)  Sharing the experience of Kokoda with the Fuzzy Wuzzies was my ultimate high and Kokoda provided me with many highs.’

Laura Dick:

‘I just want to thank Charlie Lynn for the effort that he has put into creating such a fantastic trekking company. The company is certainly a tribute to the dedication he has put into it and all of the projects he has started too.

‘As for my experience, I cannot speak highly enough of it! The people I have met have made such a positive impact in my life, they were all inspiring in their own individual way. The mateship made along the trek was not surprising because in such an intense experience you needed friends to rely on.

‘The boys were the nicest people I have met. I am a proud person and to ask for help is hard, but the boys were there even when I didn’t ask for it! I understand that it is their job, but it felt as though they did it out of the kindness of their heart.

‘There were so many memorable sites and moments along the trail that I will never forget. It has reinvigorated the respect I have for the diggers that have and are currently serving for Australia. The four words Mateship, Courage, Endurance and Sacrifice could not have been chosen better for their meaning, and you appreciate them more after completing the trek.

‘I still can’t believe I have completed the Kokoda Trail but I am so grateful I did. I certainly have got more out of it than I ever thought I would! Those close to me have noticed that I have changed slightly and I think they’re right. I am embracing life more than ever, I rise to a challenge to wake up every morning knowing that today is going to be a good day. We have so much in our lives that we forget we have so much to offer, so I hope that I can make that change in my community and show others to appreciate what you have. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and can’t thank enough to everyone involved.’

Taylor Wright:

‘The Kokoda Youth Leadership Experience has definitely helped me understand the importance, as well as what is needed in order to be a great leader. It showed me the importance of inner strength, determination and confidence when dealing with challenging situations, and that good leaders don’t just simply “give up”. Through all the information I learnt about the wartime history, it showed me the true definition of strength and courage, with learning all the incredible hardships our soldiers faced along the track. Through the trek and the countless experiences along the way, I have learnt so much about myself and what I need to do in order to become a better leader. It has made me realise some changes that I needed to make within my life in order to face future challenges more positively. I do not have a single complaint with the program. The entire program and trek was an incredible experience for me.’

Kayley James:

My Kokoda experience has significantly increased my understanding of the requirements needed for effective leadership, requirements including precise communication, planning, confidence and clear instructions. I feel as though I am even more ready to lead now.

The track allowed me to better understand myself as a person, I came to understand other cultures, understand the environment which surrounded me and I was able to understand / make a connection to our wartime history. This experience has increased my knowledge on how hard it must have been for the soldiers and gives me a better appreciation for their sacrifices and I would love to share this with other people.

I feel as though nothing in life can stop me now, no matter what challenge may lay ahead. I have experienced the Kokoda, and it was hard, extremely hard. But I did it! I survived and I have realized no matter how hard the task, it is possible it just requires effort, commitment and determination. No matter what challenges life throws at me in my future, I will make it to where I want to be and that is all thanks to the Kokoda Track.’

James Patterson:

This experience has definitely left me better equipped to face the challenges of the future.  Walking up the final hill to the finish of the track, under the beautiful arches, with the carriers forming a guard of honor, left me with an immense feeling of satisfaction.  I couldn’t wipe the grin of my face all day.  I will definitely carry that feeling of accomplishment, the camaraderie of the group and the beautiful kind nature of the locals with me into the future.  This experience, has once again confirmed for me, that if you can master and control your mind, then you can do wonderful things.  In the future, especially during moments of stress or high pressure, I will focus on the task at hand, and ignore all outside distractions.  I learnt this valuable lesson whilst completing a unique challenge set by John, in which we had to carry a pretend patient on a local stretcher.  John gave me the role of leader, and it taught me the importance of calmly focusing on the job at hand, rather than being effected by outside factors.  The whole challenge John was screaming at us to hurry up, and as a result I rushed the team and we made a number of mistakes.  If I was ever placed in a similar stressful situation I would ignore the source of distraction, and focus all of my energies on the issue.

The Kokoda experience made me realize a number of things about myself, which I would like to work on and change.  The thing I want to leave behind at Kokoda is the judgmental and cynical attitude, which I have developed over the last 2 years, as a result of a number of events in my life.  I am not going to make judgments about a person until I have actually had a proper conversation with them and know a bit about their story.  If you don’t know someone, it is wrong to judge who they are and what they stand for from afar.  A perfect example of this was the 39th militia battalion.  Prior to Kokoda, they were considered lousy troops, who weren’t fit for combat.  The people in power judged them as not being made of the right stuff for war.  They couldn’t have been more wrong in the end.  The 39th fought with courage and aplomb.  They managed the miraculous by holding off a significantly larger Japanese force until reinforcements arrived.  Instead of seeing the bad in people, I am going to look for the good.  A story which really resonated with me, and many others within the group, was that of Able.  He was a man that walked all the way from Isurava, to Kokoda, just to say a brief hello to John and tell him that he cared for him.  It was a heartwarming gesture, which taught me the importance of acting/doing and showing others that you care.

Overall this whole experience was magical.  I learnt many different lessons, met incredible people, experienced a new culture, felt a huge sense of accomplishment and above all left with a greater appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices Australian soldiers made so that we could enjoy our current freedom and lifestyles.  By sharing their story and living a happy and fulfilling life, dedicated towards helping and making other people happy, I will not let their sacrifice be in vane.

Jessica Thy:

‘I learnt a lot about myself which gave me more confidence as a person as well as a leader. Being in PNG gave me more flexibility as a leader as you are in a foreign country and shows that circumstances are always different and you will need to be able to adjust. I also felt like I had more responsibility to look after all the trekkers in my team and had a higher duty of care. This is especially the case as there were some minors with us on our trek and it was always the goal to get everyone to our destination safely. I also felt stronger as a leader and felt that I gained respect from all the trekkers in my team as some gave me feedback that I was supportive and not harsh and unapproachable.

Joshua Meyer:

‘I feel that completing the Kokoda Trail had opened many more possibilities to my future, after finishing the track, I honestly felt like there wasn’t nothing I couldn’t do, this attitude will become extremely beneficial in my HSC and my future careers as an SAS soldier or Smokejumper. Kokoda has taught me a lot about myself and my capabilities, yet at the same time giving me a history lesson on the battle that saved Australia, and giving me the opportunity to witness the same qualities that our soldiers have possessed ever since the Gallipoli Landing, the Qualities of Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice.

Lily Truszewski

‘Kokoda has helped me to develop my leadership skills.  I have always been a good leader having a lot leadership opportunities and experiences, except nothing outside of my everyday environment.  Kokoda has really helped me to understand that being a leader means that the weaker team members need a lot more motivation and you need to ask them what they want to achieve, and work towards their goals. 

‘Kokoda has helped me to understand myself.  Debbie was great helping us to really think about every aspect of our lives.  Doing our self reflection time, while walking through the moss forest was the most relaxing and thoughtful process I have ever experienced.  I really got to work out all the questions I have been asking myself, and identified any issues I had.  It really made me think about what I’m wasting my time doing and where I really want to be.  This time also made me think about the friendships I value and who I need to invest more time into.

‘Experiencing a new culture was an eye-opening experience.  I’ve never been to a poor country before, and I was shocked to see so many people on the streets, most looked like they were starving, and their clothes were all dirty and torn up.  However, even though they were living in such poor conditions they all looked happy.  Only after getting onto the track and visiting the villages I truly understood the culture of PNG.  The people are very kind and help you and do not expect anything in return.  They have nothing and are very generous, which we saw through the village food offerings and the villages singing. 

‘Kokoda has really allowed me to develop a deeper appreciation of the environment.  I’ve always tried to reduce my impact on the environment, however the track has helped me understand all the unnecessary things I have in life and the things I take advantage of.  I would love to live in a village and live off minimal things.  I also want to go hiking more and experience new places and new things.

‘I’ve always found it hard to connect to history.  I love learning about all the facts, however, I find it extremely hard to attach emotion to it.  Kokoda helped me to put it all together and allow me to gain a better understanding of the war and what soldiers and fuzzy wuzzys faced on a daily basis.  Our team felt like climbing mountains and creek crossings were challenging.  The soldiers were doing this with old or no boots, carry heavy artillery, wounded and whatever they needed through this terrain while being fired at showed what incredible mental strength they had.  I am very grateful for them giving up their today for our tomorrow.

‘I feel like Kokoda has helped me realise I already have everything I need to face any challenge.  I did not realise how mentally strong I am until I completed the track.  I never let anything affect me to the point that I can’t achieve my goal. ‘

Melissa Gleeson

‘I Feel much more equipped to handle the future. Words cannot explain how much I learnt on the trip and how much I have already started to implement into everyday life! I have learnt to be more patient with people and know that “Every mountain has a top” and no matter the challenges- the end result will always be the same. Keep persevering and you will achieve. I’ve given more time and thought to things I didn’t pay much attention to before – it’s the little things that count! Things I once took for granted I now realize what they mean to me and have learnt to appreciate them more. As a leader I feel I have grown and now understand how to manage, lead and be a team player. The characteristic’s I developed and things I have “left” and “Stuck to” will help me to develop into a better person at home, with friends, at work and in society. I will be ever grateful for the things the challenge presented to me.’

Stevie Norton

‘Walking the Kokoda trail was the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life.

‘From the moment we stepped off the plane in PNG to the moment I boarded my plane home I was inspired. Not only by the trail, but by the country itself.

‘I held a lot of respect for our diggers before I went to Kokoda, but since completing the challenge it has grown in my heart even more.

‘The PNG carriers are amazing people, and by the end you can call them your friends, it was really beautiful learning about them and their families, and even getting the chance to meet some of their families.

‘I now have a special bond between all the people I travelled with, whether they be from Australia or Papua New Guinea. Even though it was a hard challenge, I can say that I am so proud to have been given the opportunity. The trip was really well organized, and I would definitely recommend Adventure Kokoda to my friends that are interested in the doing Kokoda. I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in the trip, because it was honestly a trip of a lifetime.’

From corporates

Sergeant Mark Hudson, Army: Royal Australian Infantry

‘As a current serving Army Officer within the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and being privileged to command soldier on operations in Afghanistan, it is my belief that I have gained a better understanding of myself, my leadership style, the way in which I deal with different personalities and overcoming stressors in a small group environment. Prior to this experience, I was quick to judge people, impatient and lacked tolerance for those who were not at the standard I set or expected.

To that end, I spent a lot of time throughout the Trek in the company of much younger men and women from different backgrounds, some with vast life experience and in others little or no experience. It was at times confronting, where previously I would cast aside those that were not at the standard or struggled mentally and emotionally, instead I found myself learning to slow things down, be reasonable and supportive.

‘I can honestly say that as a result of this trek, I will be a better officer within Army, I will be a more understanding and compassionate person but most importantly I will never forget the sacrifice of so many who fought for our country and way of life.  The hardships I have faced in service to my country pale in comparison to the danger, fear and uncertainty they faced on am hourly/daily basis.

It is my contention that more Army officers and junior non commissioned officers should participate in programs such as this one. It would not only professionally develop those members, gaining a better understanding of military history and adding context to what most have only read but also on a personal and leadership level.

‘I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by the Singleton RSL, to represent them and the local community. It is something I will never forget both personally and professionally.’\

Karen Dunshea, BA (Psych),  CRA

‘If the aim of the Kokoda Track Leadership Program was to develop personally, to learn more about teams and how they work, to identify personal strengths and opportunities for growth, to learn about leadership, to identify how I might instil better leadership qualities in myself, to appreciate others, to learn and appreciate Australia’s history, to live and learn and appreciate another culture ….. then all of these aims, and more, have been achieved.

‘The trek provided an opportunity for me to look at myself and at how I operate as a person and as a team member.  All the expectations and demands that I place on myself!  It made me look at how hard I can be with myself.  I identified a need to learn to focus more on what I did that was good and contributing and positive?  What are some of my strengths?  Now a week later, things are starting to consolidate more I can talk objectively about how I feel and what I learnt, and feel OK about it.  I’m even laughing more about my own weaknesses and difficulties (not maliciously, but in a friendly, human, self-respecting manner).  I’m glad I had an opportunity to be humbled and then to re-learn to laugh at myself – another positive learning.

‘As a team member, an individual needs to feel that they can contribute and that their contribution is meaningful and acknowledged.  Although I would see this encouragement as primarily a task of a leader, the individual is also responsible to some degree for their own involvement in a process.  The Kokoda experience helped ot develop and reinforce the notion of individual in the team – even when I am tired and miserable (or there is some other constraint), I can still contribute and I can change the level of my involvement in what I am doing.  I thought that this trek, while developing teamwork and leadership skills, also helped to develop and reinforce the notion of individual responsibility for how you choose to act and what you choose to think.  Individual responsibility for one’s choices and actions is something often missing from today’s world.

‘I don’t think I’ve improved my fitness all that much, nor have I lost weight.  Despite my physical difficulties, I seemed to have changed least in this facet.  However, I am a different person from the experience, ever so slightly. In spite of all its difficulties, with the right attitude this trek can only inspire growth and learning.  A thoroughly rich learning opportunity which I would grasp with both hands if it were presented to me again.’

Michael Cox, Engineer, Minenco Pty Limited

‘To say I gained a sense of achievement from completing the Kokoda Trail would be an enormous understatement.  I have not only learnt important life skills, I have also had an opportunity to identify my weaknesses and establish in my own mind what qualities I value in a leader.  In the process I have made some life-long friends.  Regardless of what I write in this report, it will never truly capture this experience.

 ‘To say that this was the hardest, most prolonged physical and mental challenge I have ever undertaken is a bit of an understatement.

‘As for lessons in leadership …..I was dubious that evening, and through much of the program as to what exactly we CRA people were learning that might help us in our day to day work.  However, as the journey was completed, the many small pieces that had been put in front of us came together to complete a picture of team membership, team leadership and self leadership that is simple, infallible and universal.

‘Simply put, the Kokoda experience is one I will never forget and which has truly enlightened me in many ways.  I believe I am a strongter and more determined person as a result.’

Xiaoling Liu, Senior Research Scientist, Comalco:

“In my application for the CRA sponsorship for the Kokoda leadership program, I stated that perserverence, team behaviour/leadership and fitting into Australian culture were the three main areas that I would like myself to improve from the trek experience.

“The trek provided an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about australian culture.  I was not particularly interested in the military significance of the Kokoda Trail before the departure.  However, Charlie’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Kokoda campaign and actual experience of the hardships have changed me.  The heroic history should be more publicised and the Kokoda spirit widely promoted…..”

“I felt that the barriers between different cultures and races were insignificant in the bush and in the face of adversity……”

“I found the trek to be a valuable and powerful experience and my work performance will certainly benefit from the experience…..”

Christine McKenna, Marketing Assistant, Coal & Allied:

“Please excuse me if I sound corny or use too many superlatives, however the experience I have just returned from is hard to describe without sounding to be going over the top.

“This journey was a lifetime experience.  I feel that it has provided me with greater courage to face the difficuolt or seemingly impossible, a more explicit understanding of what it is I believe in and the conviction to know that I can stand by these beliefs despite challenge.

“It has taught me a lot about other people but much more about myself.  It will certainly provide stories that I will still be telling when I am old and grey and full of sleep.

“In terms of what I had hoped to gain from the experience prior to departure, it fulfilled and far exceeded what I had imagined.

“Kokoda highlights the strengths of all those who undertake its many challenges.  You develop a respect for differences – different races, different sexes, different ages and overall different ways of seeing and doing things.

“In conclusion, I am glad that I was included in this trek at age 25 as I now have the rest of my life to complete the trains of thought and achieve the goals that I have set myself as a result of this trip.  This ability of Kokoda and the team/leadership program to privide the conditions for people to question deeply and the examples to go some way towards answereing these questions is very powerful.  If harnessed effectively CRA could benefit enormously from the personal develpopment of its selected employees and from the growth of teams of people across the orgainsiation who would ford rivers and climb mountains for each other.”

Don Daniels MBE: Founder and Chairman of Port Moresby Grammar School

Good morning Mr Lynn

Years ago, we first met in the dining room of the Parliament of New South Wales when you invited Dame Carol Kidu and myself to a dinner.  The occasion then was about assisting Papua New Guinea students, especially those from villages along the Kokoda track.

Little did I know then, how much Port Moresby Grammar School is now in your debt for the support you have given the school.

Among other things, this support consists of:

  • four Adventure Kokoda bursaries
  • your kindness in sponsoring Margaret Aitsi and Alfreda Nakue on the trip of a lifetime to Australia
  • over 2500 books received for the library and classrooms
  • a plethora of stationery supplies
  • medical equipment and supplies
  • a wide variety of sports gear
  • K3500 in cash for special needs aspects in the school
  • Exposure of our students to wonderful ordinary Australians who come to PNG….and reciprocally for Aussies to see and bond with Papua New Guineans within the school environment.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the School, please accept our sincere and grateful thanks for that you have done and we hope this special bond between POM Grammar and Kokoda will continue and strengthen.



Mike Luff, Deputy Principal, Port Moresby Grammar School

‘Hello Charlie,

‘Hope all is well down your way. Collected a good number of books the other evening with Chad & Ron Beattie’s Group! Our number of books and DVDs totals 1035. All brought forward in the past 12 months approx. A fabulous effort! This does not include pencils, pens and other drawing materials.

‘On the turn around side Port Moresby Grammar school has done the following:

  • 6 cartons of reading books were delivered to Taurama Barracks Community School along with a heap of stationary;
  • 7 cartons of books were presented to Bavaroko Community School (our next door neighbour);
  • 1 carton was given to a small group called “We Care” in the Hohola settlement area. Mums teaching street kids to read; and
  • 2 cartons were sent to Gaire community school on request.

‘All of these are a result of culling as new books come into our library. Where there is a doubling up we give these away in the cartons. Some of your books we use as incentives and prizes to kids at Pom Grammar for good work.  The culture of reading has been substantially enhanced since your program has started. Popular novels are being read throughout the school. The library staff are really doing a fine job.

‘Friends Foundation gave us a wooden coin box and in the first fortnight we collected K250- for Tessie’s group.

‘Our next quest is to build up the culling cartons again so that Sogeri Community school and Ioiari High school are provided with books.

‘Nixon and the West Papuans are still at Gerehu. The six we have at Pom Grammar are still in school. Many of the other school kids have been “pushed out” or have simply given up – sorry to say. However, we will keep going with our little group. The West Papuan girls especially enjoy the hockey competition on a Sunday afternoon.

‘Things are going very well at present and a big lot of thanks to you.

‘ We would like to see you at the school when you are next up this way – is that possible?



Ron Barr OAM – Founder/Director:

Dear Charlie,

This letter also provides me with the opportunity to thank you once again for allowing Stephen to participate in the Kokoda trek. He is not only fortunate to have the chance to re-live some valuable history but also have a real life experience which he can pass onto others. To be honest I find it difficult to put into words my depth of gratitude to you.