The Kokoda Challenge Trekking Adventure

Local news

Team building whilst trekking through Australia’s ruggered Gold Coast Hinterland.

In late 2015, Pacifico, a Ferrovial Joint Venture with Acciona delivering the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads Pacific Highway Upgrade sought a team building challenge to participate in. The Project Director, was looking for a challenge that would test the project team to their limits, whilst promoting the Pacifico values and encouraging teamwork.

The 96km Kokoda Challenge, known as Australia’s toughest team endurance event was then identified and selected as the preferred proponent so a team of 36 Pacifico employees divided in 9 teams and including Ferrovial staff members signed their waiver forms and begun training for this challenge. 96km in 39 hours, covering an elevation profile of 5,000m. The distance replicates the Kokoda Track itself and the 39 hour limit honors the 39th Militia, who were the first Australian response unit at Kokoda.

On the 16 and 17 July, the 9 Pacifico Kokoda teams arrived in the Gold Coast to compete in this challenge. The teams of 4 each were supported by their support crew – now identified as the key to successfully completing this event. Support crews were equally as exhausted as the competitors, travelling around during the day and night to feed, water and attend to their team mates during the elements.

"The challenge was certainly harder than we all anticipated, endless hills and rain, crossing up to 12 creeks during the night, but everyone gave their absolute all and took something very valuable out of the experience. Some of our competitors fell over, rolled ankles, strained their knees to the point in which they were unable to walk, suffered tremendous blisters and even crawled up the muddy mountain with their bare hands”

The fundamental aim for this event was all about supporting each other through until the end, pushing beyond our known limits and achieving something many of us thought could never be possible – trekking 96km in under 39 hours.

As a result of all of the above, we witnessed some real leaders step up and tell their teams to keep going as they had only 16 km left and not to give up until the end. They all now reflect and say just how hard those last 16km actually were, with some people recalling it felt like another 100kms… but they continued and managed to proudly cross that finish line!

“We all recognise that the pain in our legs and feet will go, but the pride of such an amazing attempt will remain with us forever and the learnings we have taken from this past weekend will be used it in our future personal and professional endeavors.

Kokoda participants, now will ensure that the “Kokoda spirit” which drives the challenge, is from now on known as the “Pacifico spirit”, and the values of hard work, sacrifice, mateship and endurance will remain with us until the end of this project and beyond. By each of us embedding these values we will be successful and deliver a fantastic project here at Warrell Creek and also in the future.

The challenge itself and the team training leading up to this event emphasised the importance of clear objectives, individual and team goals, keeping the team focused on targets and measuring performance, discovering how to structure your planning time to produce maximum results, learning to ask for help when you need to, identifying any major problems within teams and working together to find solutions to such problems.

"Many of us will never encounter anything like this again, but we have all grown from the experience and challenges we faced”.


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