What our trekkers think of their PNG guides and carriers

I cannot say enough kind words about them. Throughout the entire trek I felt supported and knew that I could turn to them for help at any time. They were always in the right spot at the right time. They were so encouraging and only wanted to see me succeed. They have so much patience, I never felt rushed or scared because I knew they’d be there to help. They would encourage me to walk at my own pace and take as many breaks as I needed to succeed. Without them I would not have gotten as far as I did. I enjoyed listening to their stories about their families and knowledge of the trek and country.’

All of the Adventure Kokoda team where extremely professional. The boys worked so hard to make sure we always felt safe in situations that could sometimes feel scary. Our shovel man Nelson was just incredible, always checking to make sure everyone was okay. It was amazing to witness a group of people work so hard and efficiently as a team to get all of us (the trekkers) across the finish line. 

Overall an amazing group of people and when they all sung their National anthem …chills and tears!! I miss them already.’

(more…)

Trip Advisor Ratings for Kokoda Trek Operators

RATING

TREK OPERATOR

EXCELLENT

VERY GOOD

AVERAGE

POOR

1

Adventure Kokoda

242

2

0

0

2

Escape Trekking

54

1

0

0

3

Kokoda Spirit

15

0

0

2

4

No Roads Expeditions

14

0

0

0

5

Kokoda Trekking

13

2

0

0

6

Backtrack Adventures

12

0

0

0

7

Getaway Trekking

12

0

0

1

8

Australian Kokoda Tours

9

0

0

0

9

Kokoda Historical

9

0

0

0

10

South Seas Horizons

7

0

0

0

11

Kokoda Trail Expeditions

4

0

0

0

12

100% Kokoda

2

0

0

0

13

Adventure Bound Tours

2

0

0

0

14

Adventure Professionals

2

0

0

0

15

Kokoda Campaign Tours

2

0

0

0

16

Our Spirit

2

0

0

0

17

Aurora Adventures

1

0

0

0

18

Epic Kokoda Adventures

1

0

0

0

19

Free Spirit Adventures

1

0

0

0

20

Heritage Treks

1

0

0

0

21

Investa Treks

1

0

0

0

22

Kokoda Brothers

1

0

0

0

23

Kokoda Courage

1

0

0

0

24

Kokoda Track Expeditions

1

0

0

0

25

Kokoda Trail Bushwalking

1

0

0

0

26

Peregrine Adventures

1

0

0

0

27

PNG Trekking Adventures

1

0

0

0

28

Unforgettable Adventures

1

0

0

0

Click here to review Trip Advisor Reports

Why does PNG tolerate ‘blackbirding’ on Kokoda?

Recent articles on the history of ‘blackbirding’ in the Pacific should serve to shine the spotlight on the Australian Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA) whose member lead treks across the Kokoda Trail.

The most abhorrent practice condoned by many KTOA members is the ‘student discount’ which allows them to claim a 50 per cent discount for their trek fees.  This effectively means that subsistence villagers along the trail have to subsidise wealthy Australian private school students who trek with them. One can only hope that these school are unaware that they are participating in a modern adaption of blackbirding.

Of more concern is the fact that PNG leaders responsible for the welfare of their people along the trail allow themselves to be bullied into accepting such a practice by the KTOA.

Following is a snapshot of villagers along the trail who are being forced to subsidise wealthy Australian private school students. Why? (more…)

Blackbirders on Kokoda – BeAware

School holidays offer great opportunities for Australian ‘blackbirders’ operating on the Kokoda Trail.

Blackbirding was a form of slavery which saw Papua New Guineans coerced into working as cheap labour on Queensland sugar plantations in the late 19th Century before it was outlawed.

However the practice has mutated into various forms since then and now involves shady operators who have cashed in on the Kokoda trekking industry over the past decade. Papua New Guinea is a governance free zone for blackbirders who are not subject to the same scrutiny they would receive in Australia.

The current dysfunction and debasement of the Kokoda Trail management authority provides them with free rein to promote themselves as legitimate. They are akin to a malarial parasite running through a quinine free bloodstream. There are no limits to the extent they can exploit local Papua New Guinean guides, carriers and villagers who live in a subsistence economy and are desperate for work.

They are slick and hard to detect. They have established their own ‘Kokoda Tour Operators Association’ to disguise their exploitation and provide a form of self-legitimacy. Their websites boast of emotive ‘passion for our diggers’ amid claims to be ‘historians – explorers – adventurers’ even through there is no prior record of their commitment to these ideals through previous active service or support to veterans’ organizations.

It seems more than coincidence that their faux passion happened to coincide with the opportunity to make a dollar out of it. (more…)