Friday, April 10, 2015

Australian beauty queens trade heels for hiking boots to tackle Kokoda


Laura Dundovic and Erin Holland prove PNG’s famous trek is one for the girls


Two high profile Australian women, Laura Dundovic, former winner of Miss Universe Australia and Erin Holland, past winner of Miss World Australia, swapped their heels for hiking boots to walk Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) renowned Kokoda Track.

The women took on the challenging eight day trek, as part of a Do Kokoda campaign developed by the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA), aimed at encouraging more women to trek Kokoda. Their adventure was filmed to create three short documentaries.

The videos can be viewed at along with other images and testimonials of their experience. is a hub of information and inspiration about trekking Kokoda including almost 300 stories shared by other Australians who have trekked the track, links to Kokoda trek operators, Frequently Asked Questions about trekking Kokoda and information on how to donate to support communities along the track.

Each year PNGTPA encourages advocates to trek the track and post content of their experiences on this site. Laura and Erin were selected as key Kokoda ambassadors for 2015 in an attempt to appeal to a female audience, following a hugely successful campaign featuring Sam Newman and Garry Lyon of the AFL Footy Show, who trekked Kokoda in 2014.

Peter Vincent, Chief Executive Officer of PNGTPA, says that the women were selected to demonstrate that the trek can be a hugely rewarding experience for all Australians and should not be dismissed as ‘one for the guys.’

“We felt Laura and Erin were the perfect fit for this project because they were prepared to get right out of their comfort zone to show other women that Kokoda is not only possible, but an incredibly rewarding experience. In addition to this Laura’s family connection gave even more depth to her experience,” Mr Vincent said.

Laura Dundovic said she was deeply impacted by the entire experience, which not only physically challenged her but allowed her to trace the history of her grandfather, Sir Thomas Blamey, a controversial figure of World War II.

“There were times when it seemed too hard but being able to walk in the footsteps of Australian soldiers and in particular my very own grandfather was so incredible. I just had no idea what they went through on Kokoda – and I don’t think you can grasp it until you’re on the track,” Laura said.

Laura and Erin are passionate about spreading the word of their inspiring journey and believe more women should consider trekking Kokoda.

“Kokoda got us away from our phones and pushed our physical limits, which was incredibly rewarding. Most of all it taught us about a poignant chapter in Australia’s history and we truly believe more Australian women should give it a go,” Erin said.

“I am definitely going to come back. I’ll drag a couple of girlfriends with me – and if not, I’ll come back by myself. It was amazing,” Laura said.

To view Laura and Erin’s videos from their time on the track and to learn more about Kokoda visit

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