The epic highs and challenging blows of the Papua New Guinea jungle proved no match for a group of Colac’s finest emerging leaders.
Twelve local high school students, two teachers and four AKD Softwoods employees have returned to Colac tired but elated after conquering the iconic Kokoda Track.
The group took eight days to complete the track, which follows a Second World War route, and arrived back in Colac in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
While student Meg Nelson’s completion of the track meant a lot to her family’s history, she said the deep camaraderie she felt with her fellow group members and the Papua New Guinean porters who accompanied them was the best experience of the trip.
“My grandpa, my dad’s father, was in Papua New Guinea and he crossed the track, he was in the third division as a truck driver,” she said.
“The day when we had the memorial service, that was really hard for me because he passed away so long ago, it was the first time that I’d felt close to him in a really long time.
“But I think as a group the best part was bonding, but also the relationships that we created with our porters; we joked around with them and we played UNO with them, it was really awesome,” Meg said.
“They’re also there to assist you along the way, my porter’s name was Nigel and he was amazing, going downhill he’d hold my pack so I wouldn’t fall, and he washed my boots for me every night so I didn’t have to walk with muddy boots, they were just so caring and kind.”
Fellow walker Hugh McCrae said the support of the entire group was important throughout different stages of the trip, especially days five and six when he and Jewel Sibley were stuck down with illness.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.