The difficulty of this trail was about average. Its not very scenic so unless you're interested in the history its not worth it, you'd be better off doing the Black Cat track or Mt Wilhelm.
Hiked the trail as cheaply as possible but still with a guide in June 2013. I didn't contact any trekking agencies until I was in Port Moresby and went to the Kokoda Track Authority directly, they looked at me like I was crazy and gave me the number for an agency. Its clear that completely independant trekkers are unknown around there. I call a company called Kokoda Icon and talked with its owner, I man named Billy Ivan. We met the next day and spent a long time negotiating the cost of every nitty gritty detail (some were non-negotiable). I agreed to hire a guide from him (his brother). The cost worked out thus (all prices are in PNG Kina, 1 Kina=$.45):
1. guide K80 per day x 7 days k560
2. airfare K250 x 2 pax k500
3. food x 7 days for 2 pax K100
4. trail permit K350
5. village accomodation/6 days k175
6. trasfer to sogeri k100
7. transfer to Popondetta k60
Including tax the total came to K2121 or approximately $945. The trail begins at Owers Corner at ends 96 km later in Kokoda. I spent the night before I started at a lodge in Sogeri which cost k175 for a room but was situated about as close as anything to the starting point. I ended up hiking the entire thing in five days although I could've done it in four easily (I'm not typical). I had to pay the guide per day, the food he ate, his airfare from Popondetta to Port Moresby, and his village accomodation costs. I might've saved some money if I had booked the flight myself, although there is an airstrip in Kokoda its use is problematic due to weather and terrain. It took seven hours on a PMV to get from Kokoda to Popondetta.
My costs would've been cut in half if I didn't have a guide, however I can't recommend it. Its more dangerous on that trail than you might realize, I had a habit of leaving the guide behind and everytime I encountered a villager (always carrying a machette) the first thing they would ask me was, "are you walking alone?"
Much to my chagrin I have to admit the guide was useful, if for nothing else than arranging my lodging and cooking my meals; while hiking he was useless and I would routinely reach the days' stopping point hours before he did. Quite frankly its shocking that I never got lost seeing as the trail was never absolutely obvious at the junctions. The guide did all the cooking although I didn't really hire him for that reason, as far as I was concerned his job was to keep anyone from robbing or killing me (he did admirably).
Overall short of doing it solo (I'm not sure they would even issue a permit for that) I don't feel there's much chance of lower prices than those stated above. But considering that most operators charge about $3000 per person its a bargain.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.