FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) - KOKODA / PNG

What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?
Why don't the tour prices include airfares?
Do I need a Visa to enter Papua New Guinea?
Do I need travel insurance?
What is my luggage allowance?
What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?
Health and Safety within Papua New Guinea
Are there good healthcare facilities in Papua New Guinea?
Local laws, customs and traditions
Where can I find current exchange rates for local currency?
What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?
How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?
In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?
Are there any child rates or restrictions for children?
What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?
How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?
Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?
What is the climate?
What facilities can I expect at the hotels?
Should I pay the extra money for a porter?
Should I leave a tip?
What will we eat while we are trekking the Kokoda trail?
Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?
What will happen when I arrive at Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby?
How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?
How to cancel the booking I have made?
Is there a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Papua New Guinea?
What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?

The difference with a Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour is the quality of the Historians who guide our tours. We don’t just settle for someone who has a passing knowledge of the battlefields. Our Historians don’t just know about the battlefields — it’s part of their lives. Our Historians are hand-picked by Mat McLachlan and are some of the world’s most respected battlefield authors and guides.

Why don't the tour prices include airfares?

Two good reasons: Firstly, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours attracts customers from all over the North America so for the sake of your flexibility we don’t insist on departure from any particular U.S. airport. Secondly, many of our customers join a battlefield tour as part of a longer vacation. By listing the tour price without airfares, you have the flexibility to simply add a battlefield tour to your itinerary.

Do I need a Visa to enter Papua New Guinea?

Yes. All U.S. citizens traveling to Papua New Guinea on vacation require a tourist visa, which is available on arrival at Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/PapuaNewGuinea.html

Do I need travel insurance?

It is a condition of travel with McLachlan Battlefield Tours that each passenger is adequately covered by an appropriate travel insurance policy. We strongly advise taking out travel insurance at the time of making your booking to provide full cover. It is useful to note that trip cancellation coverage is not automatic on all travel insurance policies and often carries an extra premium. Please carefully read over your policy to ensure you understand your coverage.

What is my luggage allowance?

Please check with your airline for applicable baggage allowances. On all tours passengers are limited to 1 trekking pack and 1 small suitcase which can be stored at the hotel in Port Moresby for the duration of the trek. All baggage and personal effects are at all times and in all circumstances at the risk of the tour participant. Baggage insurance is recommended.

What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?

It is important to visit your travel medical doctor or specialist travel clinic several months before you travel to allow time for the accurate recommended courses of vaccinations (if necessary). You should advise your doctor which countries you will be visiting and at what time of the year. This is particularly important if you suffer from any medical conditions. Travelers to Papua New Guinea may be at risk of mosquito borne illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika virus. You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

Health and Safety within Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea and in particular Port Moresby, has a reputation as being an unsafe destination. While we believe this is overstated, we take precautions to ensure your safety throughout the entire journey. You will be escorted at all times through the trip. If you wish to take a walk beyond the hotel, please let us know so we can arrange an escort. Travelers should also be aware of bag snatching and pickpockets and should leave valuables including large amounts of cash, credit cards and jewellery in the hotel safe.

Unexploded ordnance exists in PNG, particularly along the Kokoda Track and the exact condition and stability of these items is largely unknown. If you come across unexploded ordnance, do not touch it.

For further information about health and safety when visiting Papua New Guinea, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/PapuaNewGuinea.html

Are there good healthcare facilities in Papua New Guinea?

Medical facilities, including hospitals and pharmacies, within Papua New Guinea are very basic and limited. For any serious medical treatment, patients will need to be evacuated to Singapore or Australia, which can cost thousands of dollars. It is recommended to choose a travel insurance policy which includes medical evacuation.

Local laws, customs and traditions

The Papua New Guinean people follow conservative standards of dress and behaviour and it is important not to cause offense. Anyone traveling in Papua New Guinea is subject to local laws and penalties, including those which may seem harsh by American standards. For more information on local law, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/PapuaNewGuinea.html

What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?

Cash: We recommend exchanging a small amount of cash into local currency to pay for incidental expenses such as drinks. On arrival at your destination, you may be able to find current local exchange rates at airport exchange counters, hotel reception desks or at some local banks.

Credit Cards: Credit cards are only accepted in top-end hotels and a limited number of shops and restaurants in Port Moresby. Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted while Amex and Diners Club may not recognised. Credit card facilities may not be available outside of Port Moresby.

ATMs: ATMs are available in Port Moresby, but we recommend you avoid using ATMs on the street and only use ATMs within the airport, hotel or banks if possible. You can expect that there will be a local fee for the ATM service, plus your own bank’s charges for foreign withdrawals and currency exchange.

Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks are accepted on a limited basis, and at times, not at all. We do not recommend using Traveler’s checks.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 US Dollar (USD) = 3.27 PGK
  • 1 Papua New Guinean Kina (PGK) = 0.31 US Dollar

All rates were correct as of Thursday, 1 November 2018. These rates have been rounded and should not be used when calculating transactions of large value.

How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?

Telephone: Most hotels now have in-room IDD phones. If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own mobile phone and may be able to use it to make domestic and international calls, however service in Papua New Guinea may be very limited. Check with your cell phone provider for costs before using it abroad as it may be expensive.

Internet: The hotel in Port Moresby has wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas although charges will apply. There is no internet available during the Kokoda trek.

Satellite phones: Trek leaders will carry a satellite phone and a local mobile phone on every trek in case of an emergency. Your family and friends are able to send free text messages to our satellite phone.

In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?

When on tour, your guide is the first point of contact. We also have our own operations staff to support you for emergency assistance 24 hours a day. Please see the contact details listed on your travel documentation.

Are there any child rates or restrictions for children?

We believe that our holidays are not suitable for children under 8 years old. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.

What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?

Rooms at our accommodation in Port Moresby are for a maximum of two guests and can be configured as a double or twin share. During the trekking component of the tour, accommodation will be in individual tents (twin tents are available for couples on request), with the possibility of the occasional night in a guest house.

How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?

Trekking Kokoda is a physically and mentally challenging journey which requires a high level of physical fitness and mental preparation. Papua New Guinea is set in the tropics, so dress for hot, humid and wet conditions. Light and comfortable clothing is essential for long days spent outdoors, and hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a necessity. We will spend much of our time off the beaten track exploring the battlefields, so comfortable walking shoes or boots that can stand up to getting wet and dirty are also essential.

Mosquitoes can be widespread during the evening and carry the risk of transmitting tropical diseases. Insect repellent is strongly recommended.

There’s no need to bring formal clothes on the tour. Comfort in a hot tropical environment is the most important consideration, and Papua New Guinea is very relaxed when it comes to dress standards, however we do suggest not to wear revealing clothing as the Papua New Guinean people are quite modest.

You will also need to bring a sleeping bag on the tour. Depending on the season, some nights can get cool due to the altitude, so a sleeping bag with a rating of zero is recommended. You do not need to bring a tent as this will be provided for you.

Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?

This tour would not be suitable for someone in a wheelchair or who is mobility impaired

What is the climate?

Papua New Guinea is very close to the equator and is usually hot and humid all year round. Like many tropical destinations, Papua New Guinea has a distinct wet season (November-April) and dry season (May-October), and generally the drier months provide a more comfortable climate in which to visit.

What facilities can I expect at the hotels?

Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours uses a 4-star international standard hotel in Port Moresby, with service and facilities you would expect of a similar property in the U.S.A.

Electricity: Papua New Guinea uses Australian electrical sockets (type I) which is typically 240 volts and 50 hertz. For more information go to https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/us/australia/

Valuables: The hotel we use offers personal safes in the rooms. Although security is generally very good at the hotels, it is sensible to use personal safes for valuables. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport, and to only carry as much cash as you will need each day.

Drinking water: Tap water in Papua New Guinea is NOT safe to drink and it is recommended to drink bottled water only. Remember to brush your teeth with your bottled water also.

Swimming: Our hotel in Port Moresby has an excellent outdoor swimming pool.

Internet access: The hotel we use in Port Moresby offer wireless internet access, although usage rates are higher than we would expect in the U.S.

Should I pay the extra money for a porter?

Hiring a porter is a personal choice, and there are many advantages to having this service available to you. Having a porter to carry your pack (weight restrictions apply) will reduce the difficulty of your trekking experience. The porters are very familiar with the trail and are aware of particularly tough parts of the track, and may be able to assist you through these sections. They can also be helpful at the end of a long day to help you with your tent. The most convincing reason to hire a porter however, is that it is giving employment to someone in Papua New Guinea who might not have employment otherwise.

Should I leave a tip?

Tipping is not customary in Papua New Guinea and is not expected. If you wish to reward particularly good service with a tip, it will be appreciated and should be given directly to the staff member. International hotels may include a service charge on restaurant and bar bills.

Tipping your Driver and War Historian: All tips to Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours escorts and drivers are included in your tour price, and they will not expect a tip at the end of the tour.

What will we eat while we are trekking the Kokoda trail?

For the time you are on the trail, you will have tasty, filling and nutritious meals prepared and cooked for you by an experienced cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will also be given a pack full of snacks to take on the journey with you.

Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?

If you have any dietary requirements (allergies etc.) you must advise Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours prior to your departure, and ensure you advise your tour manager upon arrival in Port Moresby.

What will happen when I arrive at Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby?

After collecting your luggage and completing the immigration and customs procedures, you will walk through the exit gate. Your guide will be holding a welcome sign with the Mat McLachlan Battlefields logo. It may be possible that you are sharing the transfer from the airport to the hotel with some of the other passengers in the group.

How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?

We are able to hold an option for 7 days then we require a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the booking total to confirm the services for your tour. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer in USD.

How to cancel the booking I have made?

If for any reason you need to cancel and have booked directly with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, please contact us. Our booking terms and conditions, and additional terms and conditions, may apply. If you have booked through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent for any cancellations.

Is there a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Papua New Guinea?

Yes. Please see below details for the U.S. Consulates within Papa New Guinea.

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby
Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea,
P.O. Box 1492
Port Moresby, NCD 121
Papua New Guinea
Telephone: +(675) 321-1455
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(675) 7200-9439
ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov

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