the kokoda challenge



Start Time

7:30 AM

9 hours to complete

18km through olney state forest

Minimum age to register 18km kokoda challenge

9yrs old (or turning 9 the year of the event)

2 checkpoints

no support crew

The 18km event is the perfect entry into The Kokoda Challenge community. You may be an adventure seeker who spends your weekends exploring different trails and now you’re ready for something that’s going to test your limits, or maybe you are new to hiking and want to push yourself to try something new!

Not only will you explore the simply stunning Olney State Forest and Watagans National Park through this event, you’ll also gain a deeper bond with your teammates, help kids in your local community through your fundraising and gain a deeper understanding and respect of the sacrifices made by our Aussie Diggers who fought to protect our country during WWII.

So what’s involved? First step is getting a team that can consist of 2, 3 or 4 people (or 5 if you’re a school team including 4 students and 1 teacher). If you’re struggling to find teammates, join our Kokoda Challenge Community Group on Facebook to connect with like-minded hikers who are also looking for a team!

Then you’re going to need to register! From here, you will kickstart your fundraising by sharing your page through social media and getting creative with how you can raise funds to help kids in our community. Next, you’re going to want to train! Grab the crew and scope out some great trails nearby that offer a high elevation, as our Kokoda Challenge events have a reputation of being far from flat!

Once you’ve got all your equipment, you’ve trained and fundraised, it’s game time! Your team will set off from the quaint town of Cooranbong into the stunning hills of the Hunter Valley. You’ll march up hills, and persevere through whatever weather is thrown your way. It’s undoubtedly going to be tough, but it will all be worth it when you are flooded with an incredible sense of achievement when you make it to the finish line beside your team.

Competitors must be a minimum of 9-years-old to participate and generally our oldest competitor is around 80, plus we have all ages in between! Whether you’re a young family of trail runners or an older group of avid hikers, our events attract a huge audience, all with one thing in common; determination and grit to make it to The Kokoda Challenge finish line.

Explore Lake Macquarie 18km map

Army reservists at The Kokoda Challenge start line in Lake Macquarie

Tackle the Kokoda Challenge! Register now

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Want to find out more?

Please fill out the form to register your interest in this event. Someone will be in touch soon to answer any questions you may have.


The Kokoda Challenge is operated by the Kokoda Youth Foundation, we are a local charity that exists to mentor local youth in the community through our experiential youth programs. Through our events, your team will fundraise for our 'Kokoda Kids' and honour Australia's Veterans.

George Palmer shaking the hands of a Kokoda Kid in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program