via Papua New Guinea
The Planning Stage
I have lived in Papua New Guinea for many years and I have seen quite a few of the main towns but really only from the inside of hotel rooms. Because of this fact three people, Kevin Dalgairns, Joe Chan and myself, decided it was time to see some of the bush of PNG. All the common walks such as the infamous Kokoda trail and the climbing of the daunting Mt Wilhelm were discussed, but they were all ruled out. Eventually it was decided to walk along a walking track in Milne Bay that manages to rate a mention in the Lonely Planet travel survival kit on Papua New Guinea. Lonely Planet discusses the walk as a possibility of walking from Alotau to RabaRaba or Wedau. RabaRaba was considered too far so Wamira village which is next to Wedau was the target.
A reason for selecting Wamira is that my wife, Geraldine, comes from there and also there are many things to see and do around the Wamira area. Location. Wamira lies in Milne Bay Province, the most southeastern province of Papua New Guinea, at 10°1′ S and 150°2′ E. The village is located directly on the southern shore of Goodenough Bay, midway between the rounded mouth of the bay at Sirisiri and the long spindly tip of East Cape.
Planning for the trip began many months before hand with the first item on the agenda being fitness. I was confident that the two people accompany me would be fit because both of them were running with the Boroko Hash House Harriers every Monday night. However if we were to walk we needed to be fitter than just be able to run for an hour or two each week. To get fit, we decided walking up and down our local hills would be good training, especially when we would be travelling along relatively flat coastal tracks.
Because of my wife we didn't need to do too much research ourselves on conditions etc. She had already purchased Army Survey maps of the relevant areas so we were able to examine these closely. After all, if Geraldine was able to do similar treks in the same area of Milne Bay doing research for her Master's degree, I was sure that we would be able to cope. However, to be on the safe side, we decided it would be wise to have some form of back up even if the backup was only to help carry extra water for us thirsty walkers. Also, maybe I was worried that the Hash runners might only be able to run to the beer keg at the end of a two-hour Hash trail run. :-)
Looking at the map of the eastern most tip of the mainland of Papua New Guinea we decided we could cut out a great deal of walking by starting away from the main town of Alotau. Ah! We hadn't even started and we were cutting out sections. A trip by truck to Taupota was considered and then rejected. Eventually we agreed on a boat trip around East Cape (Kehelala - the most easteren tip of mainland PNG) with a drop off at Garuahi. This would give us a head start and the boat used for the drop-off would become our backup carrying any extra supplies and also providing assistance due to the fact that we had heard one section around Cape Girumia was very dangerous. This particular section required us to walk along the edge of a steep cliff that terminated in the ocean. Reports indicated that some of the rough trail had been washed away and that it wasn't safe to traverse.
Note this page is not about the AAC Wamira which was a turboprop military trainer aircraft, designed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) by the Australian Aircraft Consortium (AAC). If you are interested in the AAC Wamira please visit -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AAC_Wamira