Media Release: 2021 Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge

25 Jun 2021

The Kokoda Challenge is back for its biggest year yet

3,100 Southeast Queenslanders are setting off on Saturday the 17th of July to tackle Australia’s toughest team endurance event; The Kokoda Challenge. The 96km course traverses through the Gold Coast Hinterland with the registered teams raising much needed funds for Aussie kids and honouring the Spirit of our Kokoda veterans.

Starting from Mudgeeraba and finishing in Nerang via Hinze Dam, the 96km trail includes over 5,000kms in elevation, which competitors have 39 hours to complete. Hikers battle relentless hills and walk through the pitch-black night all to support the Kokoda Youth Foundation on their mission to change the lives of kids in our community.

“This event has proven a life-changing experience for many who have taken on the challenge of Kokoda,” said Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate. “Competitors must challenge themselves and their teammates over 96km of rugged terrain with many trekking throughout the night to reach the finish line. The event tests the human spirit and raises vital funds for the Kokoda charity. I applaud you all.”

Being a registered charity, the Kokoda Youth Foundation relies on the donations raised from these events to fund their self-discovery programs provided to local teens.  “We are delighted to report a record number of donations exceeding $1 million from this year’s Kokoda Challenge events” says Chief Executive Officer, Johllene Elson. “This is such an incredible show of support from the community and a welcomed relief for our charity, especially given all of our events were cancelled in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.”

Just one of the youth programs provided by the funds raised is the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program (KCYP) a 14-month personal development and life skills program that helps inspire kids to reach their full potential and discover who they really are. The Kokoda Youth Foundation also runs other programs that aim to help disengaged youth remain in the education system and improve their employment prospects for life after school.

For the first time in the events 17-year history, organisers have introduced a 17km course which has attracted competitors such as Bianca Dye from Hit 90.9, with fellow breakfast show host and former NRL player Ben Hannant taking on the full 96km Challenge.

“Major Events Gold Coast is thrilled to be supporting such a fantastic event and worthy cause. We’re very proud to be the only location to provide the full 96km challenge throughout Australia. I would like to wish everyone who’s gearing up to take on the challenge the very best of luck and hope that once you’ve accomplished your Kokoda Challenge you’re able to enjoy all that the Gold Coast has to offer.” Says CEO of Major Events Gold Coast, Jan McCormick

Throughout the course, Kokoda history signs are located at every checkpoint to educate participants about the history of the Kokoda Campaign in 1942. “This event not only tests our competitors and helps kids, but keeps the legacy of our diggers alive” says Founder of the Kokoda Youth Foundation and Vietnam Veteran, Doug Henderson. One of the last remaining Kokoda veterans, Alan “Kanga” Moore from the 39th Battalion passed away earlier this year at 100 years old. “There has never been a more important time to keep the story of these brave men alive” says Doug who is looking forward to the biggest and best Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge yet.

Event date: 17-18th July 2021

Distances: 17, 48 or 96km Kokoda Challenge

Details for photo/filming opportunities:

96km Kokoda Challenge starts at 7:00 am Saturday 17th July from Mudgeeraba Bowls Club, Somerset Drive, Mudgeeraba.  Approx. 1200 competitors will commence from here.

48km Kokoda Challenge starts at 11:00 am Saturday 17th July from Raw Challenge, 2201 Nerang Murwillumbah Rd, Numinbah. Approx. 1500 competitors will commence from here.

17km Kokoda Challenge starts at 1:00pm Saturday 17th July from Nerang Velodrome, 8 Hope Street, Nerang. Approx. 400 competitors will commence from here.

Award ceremony:

Fastest teams will be awarded their medals at 3:00pm at the Nerang Velodrome on Sunday 18th July

For more information, visit

To arrange onsite interviews and coverage please contact:

Jessica Wilson

Marketing Manager