Trekking through the Kokoda Trail

March 30, 2024 BY

Peter Condon has been taking groups through the Kokoda Track since 2007, sharing the past of the historic trail. Photo: ABBY PARDEW

Peter Condon is the founder of Kokoda Courage, a company he started in 2007 that takes groups of people through Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Trail.

The Torquay local has completed the trek himself more than 50 times, taking hundreds of people over the years and shows no signs of stopping, with plans to do at least another six trips this year.

Condon said it was one of the hardest treks you can do in the world and physically doesn’t get any easier the more he does it, but said he had built a strong mental edge.

“It’s incredibly tough, it’s a massive mountain range, you’re either walking up or down for eight days, in the heat, humidity, rain, the wet, it’s really tough, to get through that is just an incredible feeling of achievement.”

Kokoda Courage takes a range of people on the trips, with ages varying from 13 to people in their 70s.


He worked in the police force for 30 years and now works full time in the travel industry, also taking groups through Nepal and Mount Kilimanjaro.

On average Kokoda Courage takes eight groups per year through the trail, with Condon doing the majority of the treks.

Over the eight days, participants hear stories from World War II about the bravery and courage shown by Australian soldiers in 1942, something Condon describes as the most important part of the experience.

“It’s just full of incredible inspirational stories of these young men sacrificing their own lives to save their mates and ultimately, they’re fighting for Australia, but number one they were fighting for their mates,” he said.

Condon was a tour leader before starting Kokoda Courage, finding great satisfaction in helping people over the track safely and hearing the 1942 story.

The Kokoda Courage treks share the history of 1942 and the significance of the area. Photo: SUUPLIED


He describes the entire experience as a mental and physical detox.

“You pretty much have a 10-day break from all your devices.

“You haven’t got your phone, or access to your phone, so you can actually do some deep thinking and be really social, without any distractions.”

Condon said the biggest challenge for anyone is making sure they are physically prepared and ready for the worst-case conditions.

“I’d say six months of solid prep is a good way to describe it, the health benefits are awesome, you’ll be the fittest and strongest you’ve ever been.

“It’s the tropics, it’s humid, it’s hot – we come from the southern part of Australia, so we’re not used to the climate.

“I remember my first trip… it was tough because you don’t know when the hills end, it’s a tough walk and there’s hardly any flat whatsoever.”

The 96km track takes eight days to complete requires solid training before undertaking it. Photo: SUPPLIED

Kokoda Courage does lots of training around the local area, with a strong focus on strengthening legs and endurance.

Condon said logistically he needed to be “on the ball” before each trek, ensuring that everything is signed off from supplies to staff and medical, taking a medic on every trip with him.

“I think it’s really important you take a fully qualified professional medic because it is such a rigorous trip and you’re so isolated.”

Condon has completed the trek over 50 times, taking hundreds of groups through. Photo: SUPPLIED

For Condon, one of the greatest parts about Kokoda Courage is watching everybody get through the trail and make it to Owers Corner.

“It’s just a great sense of satisfaction when you see the expression and the emotion on people’s faces when they walk under the arches at the end.

“When you get to the end, you’re exhausted, and for me as the tour guide to see everyone get through safely and to know what they have achieved is huge and it’s a big achievement for people.”

For the past 15 years, Condon has used the same staff for his treks and said they have become part of his family.

“They all live on the Kokoda track, so they know it back to front, they grew up on it, they’re as tough as nails and they’re just so passionate about getting everyone through.

“Every morning and every night they sing to us on the track, which is fantastic and a few of the boys are really good musicians, they play the guitar, and they love when we sing back to them.

“We really encourage everyone to become friends and we have lasting friendships between the trekkers and the local guides as well.”

Trekkers are supported by local guides from around the area, helping them across the trail. Photo: SUPPLIED


The company takes a wide range of people along the trail, with ages spanning from 13 years olds to people in their 70s, school groups and those with disabilities.

Kokoda Courage has partnered with several charities over the years, raising money for them by completing the trail.

One of Condon’s most memorable treks was for “Max on a Mission”, in support of one of his friends whose son has Cerebral Palsy.

Taking place in 2017, Condon and his friend both carried their six-year-old sons on their back for the 96km journey, raising $400,000 for the charity.

Condon’s 15-year-old son completed the trek last year, which was also really special for him, and Condon plans to do the trail with all four of his children.

He said Kokoda is a special trip and thinks every able Australian should do it.

“If you’re thinking about doing it, just do it because we will get you fit enough and it’s a trip of a lifetime. Your Kokoda trip will always stay with you; my first trip will always stay with me and the people who were on it.”

For more information, head to kokodacourage.com.au