Students to walk Kokoda track

The National,Monday June 20th, 2016

THE recent unrest sparked by protests from university students has not fazed a group of Tasmanian teenagers who are building up strength and fitness so they can conquer the Kokoda Track.
Huonville police officer Craig Vermey secured the trip for the 12 students from Jordan River and Huonville High Schools through an application for a A$78,000 (about K171,500) Duke of Edinburgh International Award grant.
He will be one of six supervisors, so as his Bridgewater-based colleague Senior Constable Byron Howard.
Vermey said the group had talked about the recent violence in Port Moresby but were not concerned about their safety.
“We will spend only one night in Port Moresby in a gated compound before heading out to the track,” he said.
“There is one supervisor for every two kids and our trek guide and I have experience working in the Solomon Islands.
“Some of the students have been overseas before, but for a few it will be the first time they have left Australia.
“It is scary but exciting.”
The group will depart on July 7 and spend nine days in the mountains.
The trek is 96km and involves 7km of climbing and descending tracks.
They will camp in local villages and visit schools.
Vermey said he had been training and shed 17kg.
“That is about how much our backpack will weigh. We’re all currently increasing our strength and fitness by doing regular gym sessions, group fitness classes and bushwalking.”