kokoda trail canberra

Training for the Kokoda Track in Canberra – Experience More than the Mount Ainslie Summit Lookout

Introduction Kokoda Trail Walking Tracks

Preparing for the challenging Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea requires physical fitness and mental resilience. Canberra, with its diverse terrain and scenic landscapes, offers excellent training grounds for prospective trekkers. In this guide, we will explore key training locations in and around the Australian capital to help you get ready for the Kokoda Trail adventure.

Namadgi National Park: Embracing Nature’s Challenges

Nestled to the southwest of Canberra, Namadgi National Park provides a pristine natural setting for your training. The park’s varied elevations, ranging from 600 to 1,800 meters, simulate the altitudes encountered on the Kokoda Trail. Engage in bushwalking along the numerous trails, appreciating the native flora and fauna, and gradually build your endurance for the demanding trek ahead.

Mount Ainslie: Conquering Canberra’s Summit

Location: Campbell, Australian Capital Territory

A prominent feature on Canberra’s skyline, Mount Ainslie offers a challenging ascent with its well-maintained walking tracks. Begin your training from the suburb of Campbell, where the Ainslie Kokoda Track starts. The summit, standing at 843 meters, provides breathtaking views of the city and the Australian War Memorial. Incorporate this climb into your routine to enhance your stamina and enjoy a sense of accomplishment at the top.

Mount Majura: Exploring Bushland and Heritage

Location: North Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Situated to the northeast of the city, Mount Majura presents an opportunity to train in diverse bushland. With an elevation of approximately 890 meters, this location offers a mix of fire trails and walking tracks, allowing you to simulate different terrains. Take the time to explore the cultural significance of the area, as it is known for its Aboriginal heritage sites.

Canberra’s Remembrance Nature Park: A Place of Reflection

Location: Behind the Australian War Memorial

Adjacent to the Australian War Memorial, Remembrance Nature Park is a serene space for reflection and training. The Ainslie Kokoda Track begins here, winding through the park and providing a unique training experience. Incorporate walks through this area to pay homage to Australian soldiers and immerse yourself in the historical context of the Kokoda Trail.

Ainslie Nature Reserve: Tranquil Bushwalking

Location: Behind the War Memorial, Campbell

For a more relaxed yet beneficial training session, explore Ainslie Nature Reserve. This area, forming part of the Centenary Trail, offers a variety of walking tracks surrounded by native flora. Commemorate the stories of the Kokoda Trail while enjoying the peaceful ambiance of this reserve.

Tips for Effective Training

  1. Time Your Walk: Schedule your training to simulate the conditions of the Kokoda Trail. Consider early morning or late afternoon sessions to experience varying temperatures.
  2. Useful Trails: Explore the Ainslie Link Trail and main trails in Namadgi National Park. These trails mimic the undulating terrain you will encounter on the Kokoda Trail.
  3. Strengthening Exercises: In addition to walking, incorporate exercises to strengthen your core and lower body. This will be essential for navigating challenging sections of the trail.
  4. Safety First: Respect any signage in the training locations, especially in areas like Mount Majura, where unexploded ordnance may be present. Your safety is paramount.
  5. Rest and Recovery: The Kokoda Trail demands physical resilience, so ensure you incorporate rest days into your training routine. This allows your body to recover and adapt.


Training for the Kokoda Trail in Canberra offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. The diverse terrains and altitudes in Namadgi National Park, Mount Ainslie, and Mount Majura provide an excellent foundation for your preparation. Remember to not only focus on physical fitness but also immerse yourself in the stories and history of the Kokoda Trail for a truly enriching experience.

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