High school students Lauren Baxter and Jake Hobbin are raising money as they plan to walk the Kokoda Trail next year.
High school students Lauren Baxter and Jake Hobbin are raising money as they plan to walk the Kokoda Trail next year. Ron Burgin

On track to walk Kokoda trail

SPENDING eight days in the dense and dangerous Papua New Guinea rainforest is on the top of the to-do list for 34 keen Bundaberg teenagers.

The record number of youngsters has applied to be a part of the annual Kokoda trek organised by the Bundaberg RSL sub-branch.

Of those who have thrown their walking shoes in the ring, 12 will be chosen to walk the 97km-trail winding across the island in June next year.

One of the keen teens, 15-year-old Jake Hobbin, was helping in a fundraising effort at Bundaberg Cold Stores in Petersen Street yesterday.

“It’s just a life experience — I’ve done nothing like it before,” he said.

Fellow fundraiser Lauren Baxter said she wanted to tackle the historic trek after her brother completed the trail two years ago.

Sub-branch president Phil McNamara said in its first year the trek attracted only eight participants, who were mostly cadets.

Now in its third year, the president said he thought the popularity of the program would flourish.

“The best comment we’ve had was from a mother who said she sent away a boy and got back a man — such is their growth in personal development,” Mr McNamara said.

The president also said teenage girls were taking a great interest in walking the trail, with more than half the applicants women.

The teenagers will go through physical and intellectual testing in March as part of the selection.

Fast facts

The teens will spend seven nights and eight days walking the trail

It traverses the Owen Stanley Range

The highest altitude the kids will walk is more than 2400m



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