Testimonial by Richard Page, Grafton, NSW

The physical challenge gave me some perspective of how difficult it must have been for the Diggers, carrying a much heavier kit and fighting the Japanese at the same time.

Kokoda Track - July 2008

"Overall highlights...

Our trek leaders incredible extent of knowledge which brought the whole history of the campaign into perspective.  Getting to know, walking and camping with a group of interesting guys and a gal was a terrific bonding experience culminating at the point where we walked through the Arches congratulating each other.  Every member of the group were so supportive.  I can't remember ever receiving so much moral support.  Maybe this had something to do with me being the "mature age" student of the class.  It was a good feeling and meant a lot to me.

The physical challenge gave me some perspective of how difficult it must have been for the Diggers, carrying a much heavier kit and fighting the Japanese at the same time.

It was rewarding to be one of four father and son teams in the group and a wonderful experience to achieve this goal together with my son Ashley"

Richard Page, Grafton, NSW

Testimonial by Keith McConnell

The history and the way in which it was presented was fantastic - it gave me the feeling of what it may have been like for the young diggers.

Kokoda Track - July 2008

"The history and the way in which it was presented was fantastic - it gave me the feeling of what it may have been like for the young diggers, but as you said Rob, "how they survived is beyond our understanding"!!!

The legends and support crew were fantastic, it takes a few days to get to know them but the feeling of kindness and warmth shows through from these remarkable people.

The village people and their way of life to me was also a highlight of the trip to see people able to live a simple life and show enjoyment was brilliant, compared to our modern society.  I hope it comtinues that way for some time yet.

The work Rob and Aidan do for the orphanage really struck a soft spot with me and I hope to contact you in the near future about some fundraising that I hope to do, hoping that you may be able to make sure it gets through to them."

Keith McConnell,

Testimonial by Gina Mitchell

Our Spirit did an amazing job of putting all those snippets together to paint a true picture of what our diggers all went though on the track. Here's a little song I wrote, "Don't worry - Walk Kokoda"

Kokoda Track - ANZAC 2008

"I've been captivated by the story of the Kokoda Track.  What a remarkable tale of human spirit.  I am honoured to have walked in the footsteps of our diggers from 66 years ago.  I knew the facts of the Kokoda Track history before I arrived in Kokoda, and I felt a deep sense of pride for the sacrifices they made all those years ago.  
 
It is one thing to know the story, but another to feel it.  Our Spirit did an amazing job of putting all those snippets together to paint a true picture of what our diggers all went though on the track.  The trenches, battles, the sickness, the hunger, the cold, the mud, the pain of losing your mates and the courage shown by them all. 

Here's a little song I wrote, Don't Worry - Walk Kokoda

There's a little track I know,
We're going to walk the highs and lows,
Kokoda...... We're walking
 
And up the 'bloody track' we climb,
With our leader, Aidan Grimes,
Kokoda.......We're walking
 
Through the creeks we cross the land,
With a legend's helping hand,
Kokoda....... We're walking
 
And in the mud we slip and slide,
But all we feel right now is pride,
Kokoda........We're walking
 
Along this track the diggers fought,
That kind of freedom can't be bought,
Kokoda....... We're walking"

Sgt. Gina Mitchell - NSW Police

Kokoda Trek - October 2007

The way that you safely led the trek, managed the logistics, and gave us detailed military history with personal anecdotes was a real benefit

"Thanks for taking us on a great trek. It's good to meet someone who really believes in what they are doing, and along the way contributes to the community in Papua New Guinea. The way that you safely led the trek, managed the logistics, and gave us detailed military history with personal anecdotes was a real benefit. I'd have no hesitation in recommending your program to others."

Bernard O'Brien, CMO, GHD

Testimonial by Bernard O'Brien, CMO, GHD

The way that Our Spirit safely led the trek, managed the logistics, and gave us detailed military history with personal anecdotes was a real benefit.

Kokoda Track - October 2007

"Thanks for taking us on a great trek. It's good to meet someone who really believes in what they are doing, and along the way contributes to the community in Papua New Guinea. The way that you safely led the trek, managed the logistics, and gave us detailed military history with personal anecdotes was a real benefit. I'd have no hesitation in recommending your program to others."

Bernard O'Brien, CMO, GHD

Testimonial by Graham Willis, Director Human Capital, Russell Reynolds Associates

Aidan's passion, historical knowledge, involvement in and explanation of the Kokoda campaign left one with a sense of awe and humility about the contribution that our Diggers made to the defeat of the Japanese forces in New Guinea.

Kokoda Track - October 2007

"A loose assortment of 13 bright and shiny blokes bounced around in the Twin Otter from Port Moresby to Kokoda strip. 7 days later, at Owers Corner, a great team of sweaty and tired people emerged all the richer for their experience. We had lived a small portion of the history of the Kokoda campaign. Aidan's passion, historical knowledge, involvement in and explanation of the Kokoda campaign left one with a sense of awe and humility about the contribution that our Diggers made to the defeat of the Japanese forces in New Guinea. The ability to experience, first hand, some of the physical and mental challenges that faced our troops is something I will not forget and feel fortunate to have experienced. Thank you to Aidan, The Legends and the team at Our Spirit for a truly memorable experience."

Graham Willis, Director Human Capital, Russell Reynolds Associates

Testimonial by Lieutenant RAN (rtd) Adam Bate, Partner, Titan Executive Services

The trek was not only filled and delivered with well researched first hand historical information, it was also conducted very professionally and with the safety and enjoyment of the trekkers in mind.

Kokoda Track - October 2007

Walking the Kokoda Track with Aidan and the Our Spirit team was one of the most moving and enjoyably challenging experiences that I have ever had. The adventure was set within a mosaic of truly important and heat felt history blended with the striking natural beauty of the Owen Stanley mountain ranges. This journey through pristine jungle filled river valleys and higher altitude rainforests takes a person out of the every day and makes your senses and soul feel alive again.

Aidan and the Our Spirit team provided a very well organized adventure that had obviously been planned well. The trek was not only filled and delivered with well researched first hand historical information, it was also conducted very professionally and with the safety and enjoyment of the trekkers in mind.

Lieutenant RAN (rtd) Adam Bate, Partner, Titan Executive Services

Testimonial by Lieutenant CNL Bruce Armstrong, CEO, Allomak Limited

Our Spirit exceeded all my expectations in providing the entire Group with a rich “life time experience” conducted in an unobtrusive safe environment with the support of the local “Legends”.

Kokoda Track - October 2007

“In selecting a company to take our Group over the Kokoda Trek I researched a number of providers. In making my decision I considered: Safety (security, insurance, communication and evacuation plan), Trek Leadership (an experienced, knowledgeable leader who could provide a detailed description of the people and events), and prior success (record in getting all participants safely over the Track). Our Spirit exceeded all my expectations in providing the entire Group with a rich “life time experience” conducted in an unobtrusive safe environment with the support of the local “Legends”. The Trek Leader’s knowledge and passion for the history, the Track, the Veterans and the local people ensured that we all not only understood the events but importantly received, through him, a very personal insight into the extraordinary individual achievements that occurred.”

Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Armstrong, Chief Operating Officer, Allomak Limited

Testimonial by Reece Browne, New Zealand

Books are fine but your accounts and knowledge have a far greater and richer impact.

Kokoda Track - September 2007

"Thank you so much for a very enjoyable trek, your commitment to the PNG people and your passion for the stories of Kokoda struck a cord with me, I hope you are able to continue the awesome work you do there.
I certainly learned an amazing insight into history that shaped two countries, and probably NZ as well as we are only a step away from both Australia and PNG. Books are fine but your accounts and knowledge have a far greater and richer impact.
Hope we can catch up sometime in the future, who knows what adventure 'Our Spirit' will entice with.
All the best and keep well. "  Cheers Reece Browne.

Testimonial by Lyn and son Brett Parnell, Torrens Park, SA

Many thanks Aidan and a great team and a great inspiration – your passion and knowledge, experience and team work made it a special “journey I will never forget! Best wishes and thanks also to all the team behind you”

Kokoda Track - August 2007

Brett Parnell, Aidan Grimes, Rob Brown, Lynn Parnell“An incredible experience and educational and physically and mentally challenging, but the most fulfilling thing I have done in my life. To anyone thinking about it “just do it”. Many thanks Aidan and a great team and a great inspiration – your passion and knowledge, experience and team work made it a special “journey I will never forget! Best wishes and thanks also to all the team behind you”
"Seems like a dream now. Can't believe we did so much and now I am sitting back at work doing my normal work things. Was a fantastic experience and one I am so glad I did. The best part for me was the education and gaining a better understanding of just what our great diggers did and how hard it was for them. The walk was challenging and tough in patches and living in third world conditions was also a challenge and an eyeopener. But Brett and I both agreed on the plane trip home we learnt so much and would recommend it to those who have the fitness and guts and determination required and want to be educated about what went on there. Many thanks for a great trip Aidan. You and your team were superb. "

Lyn Parnell, Torrens Park, SA

“Aidan and the team, you are very special people. I have so much respect for you both and had an amazing experience. Although I was quiet, I took so much away with me and will remember this forever. What you both do and teach is fantastic. The Kokoda Track is more than just a walk!”

Brett Parnell, Canada

Testimonial by Various from August 2007 Group

This has been a life changing experience and one that I won’t forget or waste. Thank you

Kokoda Track - August 2007

“This trip has shown me more about myself and those around me than I ever imagined. This has been a life changing experience and one that I won’t forget or waste. Thank you Aidan and Rob, I’ll be back”

Jon Keeling, Gosford, NSW

“with my sons it made such a complete experience. Would it be the same (as good as) last year??? Exhilarating, exhausting and very emotional experience. A walking history lesson and a lesson in human relations.”

Mick Brosnan, Pambula, NSW

“I always though of myself as a proud Aussie… I am now in awe and prouder than ever to be Australian. I now have an experience that no one can ever take from me and for this I thank you. You encouraged and inspired me to better myself. I can’t thank you enough.”

Sandra Mussali, Point Frederick, NSW

“Thank you for opening our eyes to what has happened to form the backbone of our amazing country. It has been an amazing adventure and you have instilled in me a will to help those less fortunate and especially those that aren’t as noticed as they should be. I am prouder than ever to be an Australian. Thank you.”

Matt Brosnan, New Farm, QLD

“I thought about the Kokoda trek for many years, but until my son and daughter-in-law asked me along, it was only a pre-dream but now it is a dream come true. From the time I landed in Kokoda and was adopted by Wagi and his family who nicknamed me as one of their own for the time we spent together. I have had a wonderful time. Loved every mountain and river crossing, every campsite and especially every swimming hole. The history I learnt from the Our Spirit Team has enlightened and at times saddened me and is something that will stay with me forever. Thank you.”

Rob Tomlinson, Beaudesert, QLD

“I came on this trip to learn more about our history. I did and I also learnt more about myself. Please don’t underestimate the level of my appreciation when I simply say “thank you, sincerely”

Tim Keeling, Gosford, NSW

“I am finding it hard to find the words to thank you properly. This experience has blown away my expectations (and I had such high expectations from how my dad talked about his experience). I feel I have gained so much as a person for doing the track. From a now seemingly insignificant physical aspect through to learning so much about our history, the Papuan history and culture an appreciation of how fortunate I am and how proud we should be to call ourselves Australian, respect and an even closer bond with my brother and father. Thanks to you guys for your inspiration, I hope I can pass this “spirit” on to others"

Nick Brosnan, Kangaroo Point, QLD

“This trek has awakened the need in me to recognise my own father’s war service in PNG. Hopefully I will return with my own sons to honour him and the others who served here.”

Murray Wilson, Lilydale, VIC

Testimonial by Phil Mount, Finance & Admin Manager, Complete Fire

I think it will change me for the rest of my life, I’m not sure how, as yet, but I know I will be a better person for it.

Kokoda Track - July 2007

"I want to thank you once more for helping me experience the Kokoda history. It was an adventure I will not forget, and an emotional experience that will stay with me forever.

I think it will change me for the rest of my life, I’m not sure how, as yet, but I know I will be a better person for it.

Thank you also for the great detail you were able to share with us. It has made me want to read more & understand what happened.

My mates in Vietnam were so much like the “diggers” in the 39th & 2/14, 2/16 – a lot of us didn’t suffer the same adversities, though some did & paid the ultimate price – but we were there for our mates – no matter what.

I think our “team” on Kokoda showed the same spirit.

Thanks again … if I decide to do it again, I’ll look you up." 

Phil Mount, Finance & Admin Manager, Complete Fire Systems, Adelaide

Testimonial by Harold (81 years) Young, Melbourne

The whole trip from beginning to end was not only emotionally & physically challenging but a very moving and memorable one.

Kokoda Track - July 2007

"Hello everyone at Our Spirit, ...without our great Leader Rob who was most helpful & very considerate & compassionate towards myself and also the assistance of my Porter Rommy Babu, I don't think I could have got through, so to both of these great men I thank them immensely for making a hard slog into wonderful memories. ...The whole trip from beginning to end was not only emotionally & physically challenging but a very moving and memorable one. I cant express my thanks enough for allowing me to take part in being part of the Trek experience.
Once again thankyou and best wishes & good luck to all"

Harold (81 years) Young, Melbourne

Testimonial by Jayde Trevaskis, Queensland

As a single mother I have faced many challenges along the way, but I realisedon the Kokoda Track that my only limitations are the ones I put on myself. My fears and self doubts are all that hold me back from achieving my dreams.

Jayde Trevaskis - June 2006 & July 2007

My trip was an amazing experience that has taught me so much about myself, my family and about the young men that fought and died along the Kokoda Track in 1942 an 1943.  Their story is both remarkable and heart wrenching.  Walking the Kokoda Track is a physical, emotional and spiritual journey that can not be captured in words.

It was far more than a physical challege.  When I was climbing up a never ending hill, or sliding through a muddy swamp it seemed like the rest of the world had ceased to exist and it was a great opportunity to do a bit of soul searching.  I laughed and cried and cursed, I felt gratitude, sadness, anger and pride.  I felt the spirit of the diggers giving me inner strength.

As a single mother I have faced many challenges along the way, but I realisedon the Kokoda Track that my only limitations are the ones I put on myself.  My fears and self doubts are all that hold me back from achieving my dreams.  The Kokoda Track forced me to confront and overcome these things.  The achievement will stay with me forever, it can never be taken away and I only need to think of the Kokoda Track to tap into my newfound confidence and self belief.

Jayde Trevaskis, Queensland

Testimonial by Jacklyn Knight, Associate Director, National Training and Development Manager, PRDnat

Your attention to detail also ensured that no historical reference was missed, whether it be the site of a major battle, a long forgotten foxhole or a bullet hidden amongst the leaf litter on the jungle floor...

Kokoda Track - June 2007

When I was asked to drive the Kokoda trek initiative and find a suitable provider, my first considerations were safety and integrity.  Integrity being such an interesting concept so often used fragrantly.  Having enlisted your services for our trek, I had no hesitation in encouraging our members to take part nor in taking part myself.  At no point during our trek did I ever feel that either our safety nor your integrity were compromised.  In fact your dedication towards the safety and wellbeing of your trekkers was highlighted as each injury, ache or concern was so meticuously attended to.
Your attention to detail also ensured that no historical reference was missed, whether it be the site of a major battle, a long forgotten foxhole or a bullet hidden amongst the leaf litter on the jungle floor.  A floor which you have traversed on so many occasions and which you know and love so well. 
I don't believe we could have asked for a more passionate and inspirational leader than you.  Not only did you ensure that everyone completed the track in good health but also thanks to your incredible tenacity, they were also given the chance to experience the true spirit of Kokoda and all the elements that make it a truly special place. 
So if I were to be asked the question as to why anyone would want to take on the Kokoda Challenge, I'm still not sure how I could have wished for a more insightful, inspirational and awesome journey, a life changing experience for which I feel incredibly privileged and fortunate to have been able to share with you"

Jacklyn Knight, Associate Director, National Training and Development Manager, PRDnationwide

Testimonial by John Igoe, Partner, Wentworth Hill, Sydney

I'm still coming down from the high of everything we did and I certainly can't stop thinking about it. I wanted to do the Track with you

Kokoda Track - June 2007

"Just a note to say huge thanks for what has been one of my truly great experiences – humbling, exhausting, educational, inspiring and incredibly rewarding. It was made the more so by your passion, humour and tribute to the diggers and fuzzies who took on incredible odds. I'm still coming down from the high of everything we did and I certainly can't stop thinking about it. I wanted to do the Track with you – I appreciated your leadership, lack of formality and your focus on the important things - the history, the diggers, the villagers the legends and the stories."

John Igoe, Partner, Wentworth Hill, Sydney

Testimonial by David Jefferies, SAP, South Australia

To have accomplished it with such a good bunch of blokes was very rewarding and one that I will look back on with pride and great fondness.

Kokoda Track - June 2007

"I just wanted to send you a short note to thank you and the Legend team very much for the wonderful experience you gave me in successfully walking the Kokoda Track. I am in the process of writing up my diary and cataloguing the photographs and in doing so, has once again re-enforced what the soldiers endured and accomplished under such atrocious conditions. To have accomplished it with such a good bunch of blokes was very rewarding and one that I will look back on with pride and great fondness. Thank you for making it very special."

David Jefferies, SAP, South Australia

Testimonial by Various from NSW Police 2007

I will not use any other trekking company other than Our Spirit as I firmly believe they are the pre-eminent organisation to further enhance the correct principles of the Kokoda Track.

Kokoda Track - April 2007

"I will not use any other trekking company other than Our Spirit as I firmly believe they are the pre-eminent organisation to further enhance the correct principles of the Kokoda Track."

Mark Carrick, Inspector Airport Operations (Protection Operations Unit Anti-Terrorism and Security Unit) NSW Police

“Thanks again for an awesome trip. I haven’t stopped talking about it and it is certainly is a buzz the amount of people wanting to hear about it.

PS. It was a pleasure to see someone living their passion."

Carolyne Patterson, NSW Police Anzac Trek 2006

Testimonial by Kokoda Challenge Kids 2006

Kokoda Challenge Kids have their say...

Kokoda Challenge Kids - September 2006

"Aidan, In the short time I've known you, you've done more for me thatn anyone has"... Brad

"Words cannot express how thankful I really am for your support and for helping me get to the top, one step at a time". Skye

"Thanks for nearly killing me - kidding :-)  I had an awesome time, I've learned lots and will remember this trip for a lifetime.  Keep up the good work". Emmi-Lee

"Thanks for all the things you've done - great man!" James

"Uda Beroma, thank you bud haria lao lakatani mu nega dow do oi la ura henia - you are an inspiration! Torana namonah - Kokoda lives on." Mile

"Thanks heaps for the best time of my life.  What an experience.  I've learned a lot."  Ross

"You made me understand I can hit the stars, so I'm gonna start reaching out for them" Beau

"Thank you for leading us on the Kokoda Trail experience" Deja

"Aidan, you helped me so muh over the last couple of days.  Thank you so much - greatest time ever"  Josh

"Aidan, you already know how much you've done for me so I'm not gonna even attempt to explain now.  What I am gonna say though is that you have made me believe that I can reach my dreams and because of that I am certainly gonna go for it!  This certainly won't be the last you hear from me."  Tiff

 

 

Testimonial by Jean Devitt, Leitchville, VIC

I would suggest to anyone wanting to go that they travel with a friend for moral support when the going gets tough.

Kokoda Track - August 2006

"The trek was “a great experience and a wonderful challenge. We had great support in our group from family members and also from the others travelling with us. I would suggest to anyone wanting to go that they travel with a friend for moral support when the going gets tough. The country is magical and the Legends irreplaceable - unobtrusive but right beside you when things get sticky. …It's well worth it.”

Jean Devitt, Leitchville, VIC

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