TREK TESTIMONIALS


Hear the stories from the Kokoda trail...

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More Amazing Stories

Dear Mick,

On behalf of Saint Ignatius, I would like to thank you so much for your leadership and expertise in guiding our students & parents while on the trek. You quickly formed a relationship with all trekkers, which is impressive!

Our safety and wellbeing was paramount, you fed us extremely well and you continued to entertain us. We loved hearing about our Aussie soldiers and the hardships they faced.

Your guides genuinely cared and wanted to help us and they were also very friendly. Lifelong memories were certainly made and I’m sure we’re all proud to say we went on the first Saint Ignatius Kokoda trek.
— Stacey Leramonth, Saint Ignatius College trek, June 2019

Dear Mick,

Thank you so much for everything, I have had the best time and still want to go back to Kokoda! Thank you for caring and having all of us in mind!
— Ash Coghlan, Saint Ignatius College trek, June 2019

Hi Mick and Nicole,

I can’t tell you how much I miss that whole Kokoda thing. I loved doing the trek with you… thanks for everything.

Nobody left behind.
Everybody made to feel part of it.

Long after I forget how bloody hard it was (will I though?), I’ll remember how Kokoda made me feel.

Not only the raw emotion I felt listening to Mick tell stories of incredible men who faced unthinkable horrors and what that means for my life today.

Not only the mix of deep joy and pain I felt every single day (hour!) tackling the gigantic physical challenge.
Not only the fun and respect I felt walking side by side with our amazing porters for 10 hours every day.

Not only the privilege I felt being welcomed into the beautiful villages along the track.
Not only the sisterly pride I felt slogging up ridiculous climbs and down knee-shattering descents hour after hour with the toughest person I know.

But mostly, and overwhelmingly, I’ll remember my trekking buddies, a truly brilliant group of people, and how they made me feel. The fun and friendship we shared… as well as the delirious laughing, the non-stop swearing, the vindictive fines and the endless encouragement that stretched the whole 140 kms…. will stay with me forever. Thanks everyone.

Call me crazy, but I’d do it again. If Mick would have me back, heehee.

You’re a class act AKT, thank you.
— Liz Crothers, May 2019 trek

Hi Mick, Nicole, Carl and Nigel,

In June 1970, I flew to Port Moresby with TAA airlines (for those old enough to remember) to visit a Camperdown school mate, who was working there as a carpenter, and PNG was at that time a Territory of Australia. Little did I realise that in late 2018, I would be again visiting PNG in March 2019 to walk Kokoda Track with a trekking partner of mine from Ararat, Victoria.

I had been informed the trek would be “tough” and it certainly was, with plenty of rain, muddy tracks and a few slips onto my back side. the trek was completed successfully by the 10 trekkers. I was very moved at times, learning of the history and the memorials of the track, including now my 2nd visit to the Bomana War Cemetery.

I must thank Australian Kokoda Tours for the faultless experience of trekking Kokoda from start to finish, but on a personal note, Mick, training at O’Malley’s Fitness, local walks. Nicole for all the emails, paper work and answering my many questions, Carl our team leader and local walks, and Nigel for his undivided attention in training me at O’Malley’s Fitness.

Lastly but not least, the PNG Guides/Porters, you are the most unbelievable people the way you go about attending to matters, from carry back packs, cooking meals, building bridges in quick time. Your singing is just unbelievable. I would like to personally thank young porter Rengi, who was so unbelievable in his assistance to me along the track, who will never be forgotten by me. The PNG people are still the happy, smiling and friendly people that I remember meeting 49 years ago.

Australian Kokoda Tours will certainly get a big recommendation from me.

A little bit of “inspiration” for any trekkers thinking of trekking Kokoda Track, I trained, trekked and completed Kokoda in March 2019, and from time to time still get a little emotional about my “once in a lifetime experience/ achievement” at 71 years of age.

Thanks again, everyone.
— John Cook, June 2019

Thanks Mick,

I am glad I made the decision to go with Australian Kokoda Tours. The tour was extremely well organised and everything went to plan. Carl is certainly an asset to your company. His knowledge and leadership skills made life on the track very enjoyable.

I will certainly recommend your company to anyone I know who would be interested in trekking Kokoda.
— Nigel Lucas, June 2019

Dear Mick,

I want you to know what a fantastic time both Jye and I had with you, Karl and the boys on our trek, truly it was the experience of a lifetime. Your guidance, knowledge, respect, and devilish sense of humour were first class all the way.
Good luck, from Pop & Jye.
— Victor Edwards, May 2019

Hi Mick and Nicole,

I wanted to let you know that I had the most amazing time on the trek. For me (at 57) it was extremely tough and I sometimes wondered if I’d actually make it but thanks to the support of Mick, Carl, my brother, my marvellous porter/s and the entire group who were so encouraging, I reached the finish line.

It is definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding. I entered into this journey a year ago with not much fitness, except for being a lover of walking which was mostly flat or undulating. Over the course of the year my fitness levels improved out of sight and I was so proud of how far I’d come. Clearly hiking at Mt Macedon doesn’t prepare you for Kokoda and I’m just so grateful that I completed the trek and am proud to be a part of that very small percentage who tackles this enormous challenge.

Mick’s passion for PNG, the local people, and the history of the Kokoda campaign is inspirational. His insight into the war were informative and the personal stories he told of individuals were emotional and heart wrenching. On reflection I’ve cried more since I’ve arrived home than when I was in the track.

A big thank you to you both for running such a well organised tour company. I will certainly be recommending Australian Kokoda Tours to anyone who wants to undertake this challenge.
— Pure Dawson, April 2019

Hi All,

Thanks to Mick, Nicole and all the AKT team for putting together such a great structure to immerse ourselves in PNG and the Kokoda story. The whole trip was seamless (for us anyway) and well supported by your organisation on the ground in PNG. The porters were terrific and undertook their tasks efficiently and were always in good cheer.

Boss man Ian you were a brilliant tour leader. Nothing but the highest praise for your efforts to pass on the digger’s story with great respect and unbridled passion. Not to mention keeping us all safe, united, well informed and laughing (even when we felt like frowning).

Tribal Council was a highlight of every day even with occasional injustices to innocent trekkers like myself (and Charlie).

Chris asked me on the way home if anything could have gone any better – to which we both agreed, no, it was just bloody excellent.

Finally to you fellow trekkers: hats off to all of you– well done. I think we absorbed, to some minor degree, some of the 39th Battalion spirit and the Four Pillars creed. We will have our Kokoda bond for life. Thanks for sharing the adventure.

All the best.
— Bret Johnson, November 2018

Hi,

I wish to pass on my appreciation and thanks for the performance of your tour leader Ian Smith on a recent trek from 29th November.

I walked the track with my two sons as an 18th birthday present for my eldest boy with another trekking company.

We crossed over with Ian’s group on a number of occasions following virtually the same trip. Ian welcomed us in to a number of memorial and historical information sessions and constantly checked in on us to share his passion for the history and meaning of the trek.

We cannot thank him enough, it will have a great impact on my boys. Please pass on our thanks again to Ian and we will be sure to recommend your company to friends and family, who now have an increased interest in Kokoda as a result of our own walk.

Keep up the great work, cheers.
— David Bicknell, November 2018

Hi Mick,

Thank you so much for such an amazing experience, I loved every bit of it, even the rain and mud!!

The whole experience definitely exceeded my expectations, the porters were the most caring people, my porter in particular, Charlie was amazing, saving me from lots of falls and very attentive!

Norm was also amazing with his history knowledge, I learnt so much from him. The moet at the arches was the icing on the cake, everything was so well organised. It really was an amazing trip and I hope to come back with my kids when they are older and share the experience with them.

Thanks again!
— Amy

Hi Mick and Nicole,

I just wanted to thank you guys for providing such a great platform for people like me and the group I was in to experience the Kokoda Track. We have just finished the July 9 trek and all I can say is WOW!!! there are not enough words to describe the experience. The track itself, the history and the culture are things you cannot fathom until you have been there. It is absolutely incredible that our diggers battled and defeated a greater force in those trying conditions, it just sums up the Aussie attitude really. From day 1 our group bonded really well, and every single person supported and lifted each other when it was needed. Finally, I want to thank our guide Carl, his experience and knowledge of the track and its history were second to none, this not just a trek but an educational experience.”
— Michael S (Punchy), July 2018

I completed the Kokoda Track in March 2018 with Australian Kokoda Tours, run by Mick O’Malley. It was the first tour of 2018 following the wet season. Mick often takes a small group for the first tour in order to inspect the condition of the track. For me, this was great. We all got to know each other along the way, and everyone got on well. We supported each other during the trek, and whenever anyone was struggling or needing a little help or encouragement throughout the day.

We were met at Port Moresby Airport by Mick and his head porter MudMan. We were transported to the wonderful Airways Hotel (the best in Port Moresby) to settle in before the pre-departure dinner and pre-trek briefing meeting in the evening. The food and service at the hotel was excellent. The rooms were great and the pool was just what we needed upon our return from the trek.

The Kokoda Track itself was a fantastic experience... although not a once in a lifetime experience because I enjoyed the challenge so much I plan to go back with my wife one day. It truly was a life-changing experience! The track was both physically and mentally challenging and I was grateful for all the training and preparation I had done as I certainly got a lot more enjoyment out of it by being fit and prepared than some of the less prepared trekkers. Although, having said that, everyone on our trek thoroughly enjoyed the experience and helped each other along the way.

The trek was extremely well run by Mick who has completed over 50 Kokoda treks. Mick brings with him a huge amount of historical knowledge and passion for the Kokoda Campaign. At various important historical locations throughout the track, Mick would stop and give us a history lesson about the Campaign at that particular location. Mick would also play podcasts on his speakers containing speeches from some of the commanding officers or diggers who served in the campaign. Many of these were very emotional to listen to and when we were doing it tough along the track, listening to their stories put it all into perspective and made us realise that we really had nothing to complain about compared to what our diggers went through.

On the trek we had the choice of sleeping in our own tents or in the communal huts (which are exclusive to Australian Kokoda Tours as they have been funded by the company in each of the villages and stop-over points). Each night we all ate dinner together in the meal huts and listened to music, played cards and discussed the next days itinerary. The porters prepared the meals and provided great entertainment with their sing-along-songs. Our stop-over in the village of Kagi was a real highlight as the local kids and their families entertained us with lots of gospel style songs and friendly banter.

One of the highest commendations must go to Mick’s team of porters who were truly an amazing group of blokes. My porter Aaron was so amazing, he actually kept me upright for the entire trek... a rare occurrence, I am told! They were all first class, though, and always so positive and full of cheer and good advice. If anyone is thinking of not employing there own personal porter I would encourage them to think again as they are worth their weight in gold.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the Kokoda Trek and would have no hesitation in recommending Mick O’Malley & Australian Kokoda Tours. Their pre-trip advice regarding preparation and what to pack was first class. Their knowledge, passion and friendly manner throughout the trek itself were first class. The best advice I would give is to prepare well, get fit, don’t carry too much gear in your backpack, and look after your feet along the track (talcum powder every night before bed and cover them in vaseline every morning to stop blisters).

Thanks again to Mick & his team for a truly wonderful experience... and... I will be back.
— Fraser Dykes, Scone, NSW

Dear Mick,

I have just returned from PNG, having participated in the 2018 St Joseph’s College Kokoda Trek with my son, Jacob. I wanted to let you know how much Jacob and I enjoyed the trek and also wanted to express my sincere gratitude to you, Ian and your entire team for an unforgettable experience.

This was my second time in Kokoda, as I was very fortunate to walk the Kokoda Track back in 2007, as part of a charity fundraiser for United Way (now
Give Where You Live). The package which you put together is, in my opinion, far superior to any other tour operator in the region. We saw a number of other tour groups along the way and we were all thankful that we were with Australian Kokoda Tours and not with them.

I also wanted to express to you what a wonderful tour leader and person I consider Ian Smith to be. His passion and enthusiasm for the history of the track was infectious and the emotion he expressed when describing the events of the war in PNG left an indelible impression on each and every one of
us. I know that I am a far better person for the experience and I am so pleased that my son was able to learn about Kokoda from such a knowledgeable and influential man.

Jacob and I have formed a much stronger bond as a result of walking the track together and we are extremely grateful to you and Ian for this. You and our company do a fantastic job in promoting the historical significance of the Kokoda Track to young Australians and I am confident that it has left its mark on Jacob, as it has on me.

Thank you again for everything you have done for the boys (and the parents) of St Joseph’s College.
— Tony Palmer, July 2018

Thank you to Mick, Ian and the team at Australian Kokoda Tours. We completed the trek in June/ July with a group of students and accompanying parents from St Joseph’s College Geelong. From the initial training sessions up until we flew out of Moresby it was very well organised with support, practical advice and encouragement given to all participants. Not only did the students take on the physical challenge, but they also relished taking in the history of the 39th Battalion and the brave soldiers who fought so hard. Truly a life changing experience. I felt very humbled to be included, and I myself had quite the emotional journey as my grandfather fought in the New Guinea campaign. The porters and the track team were amazing, providing hot meals every night, setting and packing camp and then giving a helping hand on the track. They were an absolute credit. I will definitely be recommending AKT to anyone who would consider taking on the track.
— Isalc, June 2018

Australian Kokoda Tours was extremely well organised from the time I decided to do the trip, 8 weeks of training, to the very end of the 8 days trekking. I loved the porters; they were beautiful people. The tour guides were top blokes, with over the top knowledge and history. I have recommended these guys to heaps of my friends. And hope to go on another tip one day with these guys.
— Larnie Loader, June 2018

To Mick O’Malley and his team at Australian Kokoda Tours,

I would like to thank you very much for one of the most enjoyable and sensational experiences in my life.

The trip had all I ever expected. The professionalism from your team was outstanding and everything was taken care of.

It was very well organised from all the training you gave us, to set us up for the Kokoda trip. Our guide Grant James was exceptional in his knowledge, mateship and encouragement. The food was more than was expected given the primitive conditions out on the track and the porters (Fuzzy Wuzzy) were exceptional in the care and friendship they displayed toward us and we were well lead by Mud Man.

The Kokoda trek was amazing with all that could be thrown at us; steep inclines, mud, water crossings, homemade bridges, tree roots to step over, rocks, steep descents, rain and fantastic village people who made you most welcome.

The history of the Kokoda Campaign was all along the track and you had time to take it all in as well as take fantastic photos. It was particularly moving hearing the recordings of returned soldiers at various historic battle sites.

From the minute I got to Kokoda, my dreams were met; the experience and mateship with my fellow trekkers will be life long memories. It has made me realise not to take life for granted. If you do the training, it will be most enjoyable and achievable.

A life changing experience. I can still remember the final day going through the arches with my fellow trekkers, it was simply an amazing feeling of achievement. It reminded me of winning a grand final in football – A great team effort!

I would highly recommend Australian Kokoda Tours and I can’t wait to do it again with them. A first class organisation.

Courage, Mateship, Endurance, Sacrifice

Fuzzy Wuzzy you bloody beauty

Many Thanks for the experience
— Michael Meesen

Hi,

I had a really positive experience with Australian Kokoda Tours. The tour is organised extremely well and even though things didn’t always go to plan, I felt that it would all work out. I think it is great that we are met at PNG airport and given an opportunity to meet with other trekkers. The whole experience was very positive. Our guide, Mick O’Malley, was enthusiastic and energetic. His ability to interact with all of the trekkers made for a great trip. Being a vegetarian, I was also very grateful that the porters were able to make me dinners that I could eat.

Overall, a fantastic company that I have recommended to my family and friends who are interested in doing Kokoda.

Thanks again.

Paige Deery
— Paige Deery

Hi,

Thanks for your email for feedback to our Kokoda experience. I had most fantastic time and will be doing it again with your company one day in the future. We had the most fantastic Guide in Grant James who made the experience a dream.

All the training we did was great and prepared us well for it and Katie was a fantastic instructor who always keep it entertaining.

I’m still soaking up the whole experience of it and loved every minute of my time there.

Regards
— Michael Meesen

Hi,

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The way you Nigel respected the track and paid respect to the history of the place was a highlight.

A big thanks to the crew for the training and the support staff who made the journey a place that you wanted to be. Good people, good food and a very special place, can’t ask for much more.

Thanks again.
— Victor Smith

Mick and the team at Australian Kokoda Tours run an amazing trip.

The Kokoda campaign comes to life with Mick’s powerful and thought-provoking tales of what out troops endured.

If you have ever contemplated doing Kokoda, you won’t regret making the commitment. My family has no connection to the war but we left touched by the experience.

Completing this with my brother and father will be an experience we can cherish for the rest of our days.

Many Thanks,
— Matthew Torney

The trek was very well organized and the training before we went prepared us for what lay ahead and made it possible for us to enjoy the trek. Grant was a great leader and the track commentary added to the educational aspect of the trip. It was a very emotional time for all our group on the track and well done to Australian Kokoda Tours.

Kind regards,
— Keith Primus

Hi Mick,

Thank you for an amazing trek. I cannot believe how both physically and mentally exhausted I have been all week!!!! It took a few days to kick in, but once it did it hit with advengance....

The porters are amazing and mudman should be congratulated on picking great people. The boys loved it and if in the future any of our younger boys are interested in going, you will be the first one I contact.

Thank you once again, Tammy.
— Tammy Duff

Walking the Kokoda Track was really one of the best experiences of my life. Not only because of the personal challenge it presents, but also because of the appreciation trekkers gain of the hardship, suffering, courage and ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Australian Diggers.

Australian Kokoda Tours is more than just a tour company. They bring to life not only the stories of the Diggers, but also the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who were pivotal in the ultimate success achieved by the relentless Aussie soldiers. They honour them each morning with a war cry, remember them at multiple memorial sites and honour their mateship by rewarding the mateship shown amongst the trekkers whilst walking the Track.

I would recommend Australian Kokoda Tours to anyone seeking an authentic and insightful experience of the Kokoda Track.

I walked the Kokoda Track in 2016 and loved it so much I went back and did it all again with AKT in 2017!

If you’re going to walk the Track, then do it right with Australian Kokoda Tours.”
— Sonja Brennemo, September 2016 & 2017

Hey Mick and Team,

The experience that the Geelong Grammar School students had with Australian Kokoda Tours was life-changing. Not only was the training and planning straight forward but well organised too. His ability to get to know the individuals on a personal level helped ensure the group bonded for each session and most importantly the trek.

During the trek the level of information he provided the group help paint the powerful imagery of what the campaign was like in 1942. He was well structured along the trek, had the best sites to rest on and as the students always comment upon; the food was amazing.

During the trek, he had little surprises along and knew exactly what to do to lift the spirits of the group. He managed the group in a safe manner and importantly his staff, porters and cooks were welcoming, inspiring and a great support. For me, it was just the experience of the trek, or the information but the overall package that Mick provided that will ensure we continue with this tour for years to come.
— Craig Durran, Geelong Grammar School, Head of Highton House. July 2016.

Hi Mick and the AKT team,

Thanks for making our recent trip to the Kokoda Track in PNG so memorable.

It began as an item on my bucket list, but when a bunch of my school friends decided to take on the challenge I jumped at the opportunity to share the experience.

The professionalism from your team both the guides and the porters was outstanding. Everything was taken care of with a minimum of fuss. Arrival,Catering, Safety, Accommodation, transfers, logistics and departures all flowed seamlessly.

The daily encouragement and advice on the tough days, the entertainment and tips around the campsite forged a strong bond amongst the whole team that can only come from challenging circumstances.

The best bit for me was the cultural and historical insights into the Kokoda campaign provided while passing significant points along the way. The various strategic pieces of the puzzle that allowed the Diggers to endure. The stories of courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice that occurred truly gave me a greater appreciation of the significance of this campaign to the freedom we take for granted in Australia.

As a grandson of two Diggers that were stationed in PNG during the Second World War it brings home the enormous sacrifice that so many paid for the priveleges we Australians enjoy today.

The experience is one I will cherish for rest of my life. It has opened my eyes to what can be achieved and made me realise not to take life for granted as I have in the past.

Also I am now inspired to track down more details about both of my Grandfathers’ service in the Australian Army during WW II.

I would thoroughly recommend this trip with Australian Kokoda Tours to anyone thinking of experiencing Kokoda.

All the best Mick and the AKT team I will be back again.
— Lincoln Catton Grandson to, Private W.A Maher - VX89320 - 2/12 Australian Infantry Battalion & Lance Corporal L. W Catton - VX141857 - 151 Australian General Transport

Hi,

In the near future I will write a longer note on my experience on the trek mainly to thank the team on our trip who were faultless in everything they did with a wonderful human touch, but mainly to thank the great man, in my humble opinion I truly believe Mick to be one of the finest Australians I have ever met, his passion for teaching Australians about the history of what happened on Kokoda was an 8 day education I shall never forget.

I can’t honestly really see any areas to improve on Mick really nailed it in every department, I guess after 50 plus treks he really knows his stuff, even the weather was spot on.

I must say the information pre-trek was superb and easy to follow which was of most help out on the track. Say hello to Mick for me please,I have an enormous amount of respect for him and what he has done and continues to do.
— Brendan Cleary

Hi Mick,

Kokoda.. Mud, sweat, history, tears, laughter, beauty. In November I was lucky enough to join the team from Australian Kokoda Tours for an incredible experience, walking the Kokoda Trail.

In the months leading up to the trek, the AKT crew helped settle any nerves by providing a comprehensive training program to prepare us for what come ahead. Any question was quickly answered and all of the logistics were taken care of. When we finally started the trek the AKT ground crew in PNG turned up the hospitality even further and helped us get underway.

The questions I keep getting asked after my return are “Was it hard?”, “Was it muddy?”, “Was it safe”. The answers; yes, yes and yes. The trek is hard but not impossible, prepare, train and you will have an absolute blast of a time. The mud is real but just another challenge to conquer. And the wonderful AKT team ensure your safety with their 100% completion rate for the trail.

In summary trekking, the trail with AKT was such a positive experience I will be back again! See you on the trail.

Take care,
— Tim Mulholland

Dear Australian Kokoda Tours,

In 2013, St Joseph’s College undertook its inaugural trip to PNG to walk the Kokoda Track. Michael O’Malley and Australian Kokoda Tours worked closely with the school to ensure all aspects of the trip were fully prepared.

The 2013 trip was an enormous success and provided life-long memories for the students, parents and staff who attended. The College ran its second trip in 2015 which was equally successful.

I cannot recommend Australian Kokoda Tours highly enough. Their attention to detail was outstanding. The safety of those on the trip was paramount and all participants were provided with the necessary training and equipment to ensure they enjoyed their experience.

Michael O’Malley’s knowledge of the Kokoda Campaign also ensures participants to fully immerse themselves in the history of Australia’s involvement in WWII at Kokoda. The school has also been able to develop a relationship with the village of Kagi and have raised funds to support the people of this village which adds a social justice component to the trip.

I fully endorse Michael O’Malley and Australian Kokoda Tours as a professional organisation highly suitable for running school trips to Kokoda and am willing to be a contact for any school who is considering undertaking this worthwhile trip, a trip that is certain to positively impact on the lives of all those who attend.
— Paul Clohesy- Deputy Principal of St Joseph’s College Geelong

I trekked Kokoda with Australian Kokoda Tours not once but twice.

Kokoda was an amazing experience and undoubtedly helped me during pre-season training for the AFL season. I found Australian Kokoda Tours very passionate about not only Kokoda and the history but they had a great understanding of what my fitness needed and when to push and when to pull back.

I had obviously had a lot of foot injuries in the past and needed to gain fitness without having the stress through my body. Mick had a great understanding of this and the safety of not only us AFL guys but the rest of the group was outstanding.

Trekking was tough and the food to replace our energy stores was fantastic, fresh and plenty of it.

James Kelly and I both say it’s one of the absolute best things we’ve ever done. The story to it is clearly one facet of it and in addition if you wished to lose three or four kilos of fat and place on two or three kilos of muscle, it’s the thing to do.

I can highly recommend Australian Kokoda Tours as a friendly, professional and first class tour operator.
— Steve Johnson, October 2013

Dear Australian Kokoda Tours,

Mick and his team have been an outstanding organisation to work with. His team’s ability to be clear, organised and willing to make our School experience a rewarding one is exceptional. He has worked with our School throughout the entire planning stage and we look forward to being involved with Australian Kokoda Tours for many years to come.
— Craig Durran- Geelong Grammar

Hey Australian Kokoda Tours,

Mick and his team at Australian Kokoda Tours far exceeded my expectations when it came to our tour!

What began as a group of mates embarking on a “holiday with a difference” quickly turned into an informative tour about the battles for our countries freedom which was masterfully conducted.

The tour was run with the utmost professionalism.

From the in depth description and details relayed to us at certain battle points along the track, to the meals provided that ensured we had plenty of energy for the strains of the day’s trekking.

Whether your doing the Kokoda Track for the historical significance or for a fitness holiday, I am sure Mick, with his abundance of knowledge and extensive experience in the fitness scene, coupled with his expert knowledge of history of the track, can deliver a program to exceed expectations in both scenarios.

I could not recommend Australian Kokoda Tours highly enough.

It was a trip of a lifetime and one that will remain with me forever.
— Josh Hunt & his Team- Geelong Football Player

I trekked Kokoda with Mick O’Malley – Australian Kokoda tours in September 2014. This is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have always had an interest in the history of Australia at war and to be able to walk the same track in which our soldiers did to protect our country and give us the freedom and lives we have today is just absolutely incredible.

Days were tough but in my mind I tried to imagine myself in their footsteps. What they achieved was absolutely heroic. We had laughs, tears, falls, rolls, slips and slides.

The battle of Isurava and seeing those four pillars was one of my highlights of the trip. Courage endurance mateship sacrifice. We played the last post and had a minute silence in respect of those that had fallen. And I cannot forget the moment I met the fuzzy wuzzy’s. What they done for our soldiers was absolutely selfless and I was honoured to be able to meet them.

One of the toughest days on my trip was day 6. We walked for 12 hours. The last 6 hours we did not stop. Rain fell down, the track was slippery and we arrived in camp just before nightfall. This is was still nothing compared to what our soldiers experienced and that is what I reminded myself of.

The last uphill to owers corner and through those Kokoda arches with my friends and fellow Trekkers was truly truly amazing. It was a proud moment for us all and quite emotional. We had finally made it.

The history learnt along the track is like no other experience. To stand where they stood and hear their stories will stay with me forever.

I was lucky enough to be asked to read the ode at the Bomana War Cemetery. This was such an honour. I read as tears streamed down my face. I could not contain them. All the bodies buried were there to give us the lives we live today.

I also want to mention the porters that were with us every step of the way. They were a godsend. I would have fallen over many more times if it weren’t for them. And the food was fantastic.

The Kokoda trek was honestly life changing for me. I have so much more appreciation for those who fought for our country and those who still are. I also appreciate those little things in life a little more and am grateful for the life I have today. I will always have the memory of the Kokoda track and am so lucky to have experienced it with my friends. I will cherish it forever.

Lest we forget.
— Stacey

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for sharing the ‘mystique’ of the Kokoda story and making the experience what I believe to be one of my greatest achievements.Thank you so much for sharing the ‘mystique’ of the Kokoda story and making the experience what I believe to be one of my greatest achievements.

I sincerely hope we can maintain contact into the future and the fact I can now consider you a friend.

I am proud to advocate your business in anyway I can and would ask you to give some thought as to how this could be best provided.

Thanks and best wishes.
— Dean Talbot

Hi Mick and the team from Australian Kokoda Tours.

Thanks for your efforts in organising the trip. The logistical challenge of providing safety, nutrition, hydration, personel, transport, accomodation and significant psychological support, (not to mention a sensational pharmaceutical supply) for all of us was second to none. I hope you have had a couple of nights solid sleep and been to your favourite steak house, but most of all I hope you have put the lid on the jar of HTFU and left it in the fridge. Your girls will be needing a soft and malleable bloke in the house.

Coming home was much more emotional than I expected “crying tired” I guess. My thoughts are consumed by the people we met, the amazing environment we traveled through and the contrast between the track and Moresby. I think there are lots of things we could do to keep these people living happily and productively in their villages and will continue to ponder the merits and feasibility of these.

I have been using a compression cuff from the footy club, which has really helped reduce the swelling of my ankle and i think that and a few days of not trekking will sort it out - probably psycho.

Once again thank you Mick, the enormity of the experience is still sinking in.

Regards,
— Loretta FitzGerald

Hi Mick,

I had an amazing time. It was harder than I thought, at times lonelier than I thought, but definitely more amazing than I thought. I genuinely did not think that I would love it as much as I did, laugh as much as I did or feel so empowered at the end.

You and your support had an enormous impact on me. Without wanting to sound over the top, I truly find you inspirational. Someone asked me yesterday whether I would do it again, and I have to admit my answer was yes! Who would have thougth.

Just wanted to say, thank you so much. It was so well organised, the porters were amazing and the history along the way was fabulous.

Thank you so much Mick for the most amazing experience of my life.
— Kim

Hello Australian Kokoda Tours,

I want to express my enormous gratitude to each and every fantastic friend I have just had the privilege of sharing one of my life’s most amazing experiences with. To all 11 of you, you will have a special place in my thoughts and hopefully much more a part of my life from here on. The incredible tapestry of experiences is beyond words and the emotional roller coaster everything and more than I could ever have imagined or expected. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Packs On, let’s rock and roll up and down. Fuzzy Wuzzy, you bloody beauty. I love you all to Owers Corner and back. Talk soon my good friends. I want to express my enormous gratitude to each and every fantastic friend I have just had the privilege of sharing one of my life’s most amazing experiences with. To all 11 of you, you will have a special place in my thoughts and hopefully much more a part of my life from here on. The incredible tapestry of experiences is beyond words and the emotional roller coaster everything and more than I could ever have imagined or expected. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Packs On, let’s rock and roll up and down. Fuzzy Wuzzy, you bloody beauty. I love you all to Owers Corner and back. Talk soon my good friends.
— Peter

Dear Mick,

Thank you so much for the trek. I think everyone in the team did an amazing job, struggling with their own issues at times but overall making a seemingly impossible walk possible.

Kokoda occupies my mind most of the time since we have returned. I wish I could go back and do it all again tomorrow, I am really really sad that it is over and that I may never see Mudman and Anouk again! I just loved their kind, gentle and very funny natures. And this of course goes for all of the other porters too. Their natures are so gentle (without exception). They were always grateful when I would buy them bananas, coke or mandarines and it was always my absolute pleasure to do this for them as they deserved every kindness in my opinion. They were always there with an arm/hand/foot ready to catch us when we were sliding or struggling. They were always up for a laugh and friendly and smiling. They were so polite and shy at the same time. I will really never forget them and treasure my memories so much, I never want them to fade.

I am going to save up this year and next and come on another Kokoda trip with you next year. If I can rally up a few people I know to come along I will do this as i think half the trick is getting a good group of like minded people together.

I am still laughing at all the funny things that happened. The porters no doubt think I am one of the biggest half wits they have even encountered on the track but c’est la vie!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make possible an amazing dream, a fantastic self achievement, an incredible life experience and really for me, the absolute trip of a life time.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make possible an amazing dream, a fantastic self achievement, an incredible life experience and really for me, the absolute trip of a life time.

Thanks Mick. Great leader, great enthusiasm and encouragement at all times for those that needed it. Great laughs, great chats, hideous stretches. The fines were such a great idea. I think it made it so so fantastic to be able to regroup and laugh and laugh each night after long days, particularly for those who were struggling. Keeping spirits high is no doubt one of the most important components to a successful trip and this was ‘fines’ game very conducive to it.
— Ros

Hi Mick,

The trip was an amazing experience and honestly the best thing I have ever done. I got so much out of it and the hard moments are the ones I look back on now and find the most rewarding and worthwhile.

I want to say a big thank you to you again for running such a fantastic trip, your experience and professionalism made the trip such an enjoyable one and your choice of porters was awesome - they were all so friendly, experienced, knowledgeable and lovely. Freddy in particular was amazing and so attentive and helpful (I probably drove him nuts with my lack of coordination!) and I couldn’t have made it without him.

It is remarkable to look back like you said and think about the diggers who managed to do kokoda whilst been shot at and carrying huge amounts of supplies - it just beggars belief how they did that and how brave they must have been when we’re struggling with porters to help us up the hills! I found the historical part of the trek really interesting and informative actually and learned a lot during the 8 days - I definitely think having the historical context made the experience so much more valuable, so thank you for that too.

I will definitely pass on your details to any of my friends who are interested in doing kokoda in the future!

Take care and thanks again for everything,
— Cath

Hi Mick,

My experience with Australian Kokoda Tours is something - even after 2 years after completing it - that I hold very close to my heart, and something that I treasure daily.My experience with Mick & Australian Kokoda Tours is something - even after 2 years after completing it - that I hold very close to my heart, and something that I treasure daily.

I had come to the realisation a couple of years ago that time is not everyone’s friend, and on that a long held ‘I’ll do it one day’ list was Kokoda. My family has a lot of history a long that track, and I wanted to pay homage to that, and the other men who fought there. I signed on to do it with Australian Kokoda Tours knowing no one – not a single person – and I have never felt more part of a group. The words ‘ experience of a lifetime’ do not do it justice.I had come to the realisation a couple of years ago that time is not everyone’s friend, and on that a long held ‘I’ll do it one day’ list was Kokoda. My family has a lot of history a long that track, and I wanted to pay homage to that, and the other men who fought there. I signed on to do it with Australian Kokoda Tours knowing no one – not a single person – and I have never felt more part of a group. The words ‘ experience of a lifetime’ do not do it justice.

Mick, Ben & the team instilled a calm confidence in their ability from the start; there was always encouragement when it got hard, and a well deserved ‘harden up’ when it was well and truly needed. They were always there to answer questions, push us hard (sometimes to our very limits), but we knew without a shadow of a doubt that with their leadership our group would all be able to do this, and it would be the most amazing, worthwhile & hardest times of our life.Mick, Ben & the team instilled a calm confidence in their ability from the start; there was always encouragement when it got hard, and a well deserved ‘harden up’ when it was well and truly needed. They were always there to answer questions, push us hard (sometimes to our very limits), but we knew without a shadow of a doubt that with their leadership our group would all be able to do this, and it would be the most amazing, worthwhile & hardest times of our life.

The time spent on the track was the as hard as it was rewarding. Papua New Guinea is one of the most magnificent places on this earth, even considering what the country has been through and her people are just as beautiful. I still keep in touch with my amazing porter Peter. Whilst we walking, Peter & I would talk about our lives & our families, he would sing to me & he’d keep me vertical & laughing when times got tough. Not only was Peter my protector, carer & educator - I was lucky enough to be called his friend. He made the hours of walking just as beautiful as the scenery.The time spent on the track was the as hard as it was rewarding. Papua New Guinea is one of the most magnificent places on this earth, even considering what the country has been through and her people are just as beautiful. I still keep in touch with my amazing porter Peter. Whilst we walking, Peter & I would talk about our lives & our families, he would sing to me & he’d keep me vertical & laughing when times got tough. Not only was Peter my protector, carer & educator - I was lucky enough to be called his friend. He made the hours of walking just as beautiful as the scenery.

When things get hard over here, I find myself thinking back, reminiscing and my troubles lessen. Life lessons learnt over there as well as Mick’s influence I carry with me. Mick’s organisation skills, knowledge of Kokoda’s history, safety measures and his team of porters was beyond reproach. His innate ability to know when to lead & when to guide I have not seen before. The people that I walked with, be it friends I made here or on the trek are some of the greatest treasures in my life.When things get hard over here, I find myself thinking back, reminiscing and my troubles lessen. Life lessons learnt over there as well as Mick’s influence I carry with me. Mick’s organisation skills, knowledge of Kokoda’s history, safety measures and his team of porters was beyond reproach. His innate ability to know when to lead & when to guide I have not seen before. The people that I walked with, be it friends I made here or on the trek are some of the greatest treasures in my life.

I can’t recommend Mick & Australian Kokoda Tours highly enough, and I feel so lucky & blessed to have been lead on one of my life’s turning points by him. I will be forever grateful.I can’t recommend Mick & Australian Kokoda Tours highly enough, and I feel so lucky & blessed to have been lead on one of my life’s turning points by him. I will be forever grateful.
— Brooke Stafford

Dear Mick,

Thank you so much for organising Kokoda. All the training, all the emails, information, planning & attention to details was all fantastic and made our trip fit perfect in every way. I loved your honest comments about the group we went with - That it was different from other tours being mostly female and how you were presently surprised. As you know i adored (nearly) every step and I just loved every single experience. The track was so extremely breathtaking, I still can’t believe it. The porters were absolutely amazing, Mudman, Anouk, Scotty, Danny, Junior... all so beautiful. I will definitely be coming on another Kokoda trip with you, hopefully next year & hopefully with the same crew of porters. Thank you so much for organising Kokoda. All the training, all the emails, information, planning & attention to details was all fantastic and made our trip fit perfect in every way. I loved your honest comments about the group we went with - That it was different from other tours being mostly female and how you were presently surprised. As you know i adored (nearly) every step and I just loved every single experience. The track was so extremely breathtaking, I still can’t believe it. The porters were absolutely amazing, Mudman, Anouk, Scotty, Danny, Junior... all so beautiful. I will definitely be coming on another Kokoda trip with you, hopefully next year & hopefully with the same crew of porters.

Thank you for sharing all your knowledge about the brutal war, tips about staying well & healthy, encouraging those who needed a little help at times, laughing at my jokes, being great company and taking on all the responsibility. I’ll never forget my trip & I feel very, very lucky to have had such an opportunity. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge about the brutal war, tips about staying well & healthy, encouraging those who needed a little help at times, laughing at my jokes, being great company and taking on all the responsibility. I’ll never forget my trip & I feel very, very lucky to have had such an opportunity.
— Ros

Dear Mick,

I can’t thank you enough for the most amazing time of my life! I can’t thank you enough for the most amazing time of my life!

You have given us all a wonderful experience & I love every moment of it (in reflection anyway) You have given us all a wonderful experience & I love every moment of it (in reflection anyway)

My life has changed, I shall never be the same, I am sure and I am a much stronger person for it. My life has changed, I shall never be the same, I am sure and I am a much stronger person for it.

There is no hiding who you are when you take all the comforts away and I found that I can survive “just fine”.There is no hiding who you are when you take all the comforts away and I found that I can survive “just fine”.

Thank you for the friends I have made and the memories that I will never forget.Thank you for the friends I have made and the memories that I will never forget.
— Donna

I trekked Kokoda with Mick O’Malley – Australian Kokoda tours in September 2014. This is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have always had an interest in the history of Australia at war and to be able to walk the same track in which our soldiers did to protect our country and give us the freedom and lives we have today is just absolutely incredible.

Days were tough but in my mind I tried to imagine myself in their footsteps. What they achieved was absolutely heroic. We had laughs, tears, falls, rolls, slips and slides.

The battle of Isurava and seeing those four pillars was one of my highlights of the trip. Courage endurance mateship sacrifice. We played the last post and had a minute silence in respect of those that had fallen. And I cannot forget the moment I met the fuzzy wuzzy’s. What they done for our soldiers was absolutely selfless and I was honoured to be able to meet them.

One of the toughest days on my trip was day 6. We walked for 12 hours. The last 6 hours we did not stop. Rain fell down, the track was slippery and we arrived in camp just before nightfall. This is was still nothing compared to what our soldiers experienced and that is what I reminded myself of.

The last uphill to owers corner and through those Kokoda arches with my friends and fellow Trekkers was truly truly amazing. It was a proud moment for us all and quite emotional. We had finally made it.

The history learnt along the track is like no other experience. To stand where they stood and hear their stories will stay with me forever.

I was lucky enough to be asked to read the ode at the Bomana War Cemetery. This was such an honour. I read as tears streamed down my face. I could not contain them. All the bodies buried were there to give us the lives we live today.

I also want to mention the porters that were with us every step of the way. They were a godsend. I would have fallen over many more times if it weren’t for them. And the food was fantastic.

The Kokoda trek was honestly life changing for me. I have so much more appreciation for those who fought for our country and those who still are. I also appreciate those little things in life a little more and am grateful for the life I have today. I will always have the memory of the Kokoda track and am so lucky to have experienced it with my friends. I will cherish it forever.

Lest we forget.
— Stacey

Hi Mick,

Thank you for an amazing trek. I cannot believe how both physically and mentally exhausted I have been all week!!!! It took a few days to kick in, but once it did it hit with advengance....

The porters are amazing and mudman should be congratulated on picking great people. The boys loved it and if in the future any of our younger boys are interested in going, you will be the first one I contact.

Thank you once again, Tammy.
— Tammy Duff

Hey Mick and Team,

The experience that the Geelong Grammar School students had with Australian Kokoda Tours was life-changing. Not only was the training and planning straight forward but well organised too. His ability to get to know the individuals on a personal level helped ensure the group bonded for each session and most importantly the trek.

During the trek the level of information he provided the group help paint the powerful imagery of what the campaign was like in 1942. He was well structured along the trek, had the best sites to rest on and as the students always comment upon; the food was amazing.

During the trek, he had little surprises along and knew exactly what to do to lift the spirits of the group. He managed the group in a safe manner and importantly his staff, porters and cooks were welcoming, inspiring and a great support. For me, it was just the experience of the trek, or the information but the overall package that Mick provided that will ensure we continue with this tour for years to come.
— Craig Durran, Geelong Grammar School, Head of Highton House. July 2016.

 
Hi Mick,

A big thank you to you, Australian Kokoda Tours, and especially Ian for providing such an amazing experience.

I was expecting a very challenging trek but you can never anticipate something as rugged and spectacular as the Kokoda Track. It definitely lived up to it’s reputation.

I wasn’t expecting the days on the track to be so spiritual and emotional. A few tears and plenty of emotion as Ian delivered with so much passion the story of our soldiers especially the 39th Battalion.

The locals were amazing and seemed to anticipate all our needs and were always there to offer assistance.

To walk the track with my son and niece made our time in the highlands even more memorable and will always be cherished so thanks again.
— Jeff Mason

I went to Kokoda with the first group from St Joesphs College Geelong in 2013. I went, not only with my son, but also my father, so 3 generations. The trek was great to share with my family, but to share it with the other 30 boys, parents, teachers, Kokoda Tours staff and of course the amazing porters was unforgettable. The knowledge we gained during the training and by walking in the footsteps of our heroes was both emotional and exhilarating. This is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and to see where our heroes fought and fell, understand the battles and terrain is something I will never forget. If you are a proud Australian, or you are interested in our history, this tour is a must. Brilliantly organised for our large group, everybody made it to Owers Corner safe and significantly better for the experience. Nearly 6 years have passed since we completed the Kokoda Track, and I look back with fond memories.
— Paul W, June 2013

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