11 Days $3950 ex Dili
4 Nights Hotel
6 Nights Tent
All on foot
High Heart Rate Holiday
No Roads Expeditions has once again led the way into opening new and exciting areas to trekking.
Our Timor Traverse gives us an opportunity to explore Timor Leste’s rich and at times horrific history, from pre-colonial times, to Portuguese and Dutch periods, Indonesian and Japanese occupation and final independence.
We will traverse Timor Leste from the North coast to the South coast, covering a total of approximately 130km, through rugged terrain with spectacular landscapes and views. The expedition will cross the highest point of Timor Leste, Mt Ramelau (aka Mt Tatamailau) which peaks at 2963 m ASL. We will cross ridges, river beds, valleys and forests. The expedition ends at Betano Bay on the south coast. This expedition will give you a great insight into the difficult terrain Australian forces had to endure during WWII as well as life in remote villages of one of the newest nations on the planet. We will also be visiting the town of Balibo a site that was made famous by the murder of Australian Journalists in the 1970s.
“It’s now feared that five Australian television newsmen may have been killed in the fighting in East Timor. Although the reports are unconfirmed, the influential Indonesian newspaper Kompas quotes the UDT leader Senor Lopez da Cruz as saying that the bodies of four white men were found in the ruins of a house in Balibo late last week soon after the newsmen were reported missing. Also near the bodies was a hand-written note with the word ‘Australia’ on it.”
ABC Radio Broadcast 1975
One story explained while on the expedition is that of Australian commando forces, known as Sparrow Force, during WWII. On the 12th December 1941, the 2/2nd Independent Company (WWII Commandos) landed in Timor to form a barrier between the Japanese advance on Australia. During the next year, these 327 men of all ranks were to tie up over 21,000 crack Japanese troops and inflict 1,500 deaths with the loss of only 40 Australians killed in action.
On the 19th of February 1942, the 2/2nd took to the hills and carried out the most successful guerrilla warfare of any units in WWII against the Japanese. With the loss of communications with Australia, these troops were thought to have either surrendered or been captured. It was not until 20th April 1942 that contact was re-established with Australia. In that time the men of the 2/2nd Independent Company lived off the land with the help of the people of Portuguese Timor and their Portuguese administrators, and with the great help of the Creados, the men and boys of Timor who personally supported the Australian soldiers.
The story of the 2/2nd Independent Company is one of great leadership, steadfastness and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. Under-supplied in every sense these men showed what a determined unit can achieve in the most difficult circumstances. The exploits of the 2/2nd Independent Company are without doubt some of the most inspiring of any unit in the Australian Army during the 2nd World War.
Arrive in the capital of Timor Leste, Dili where you will meet your Australian Guide and our local team.
You will transfer to your hotel where you will have time to settle in. A tour of Dili by bus will follow during which you will have an opportunity to visit markets, historic locations, monuments and witness first hand the vibrant redevelopment of Dili from the destruction that preceded this country’s independence.
On return to the hotel you will receive a detailed briefing from your Australian Guide. During this briefing you will be provided with ample opportunity to ask questions about the trek or any other matters.
In the evening you will enjoy a sensational meal with the group at a local seafront restaurant.
That night you will pack and be ready to depart the following morning to commence your trekking adventure.
Today is a great introduction to the terrain and early in the morning we will trek past the Four Spurs location, where Australian troops in WWII maintained an observation post on Dili and Japanese movements in the harbour.
Trekking today can be described as easy to moderate over rocky terrain and through areas thickly covered in gum trees. There is then a steep climb to our camp site set in a beautiful bush location.
6 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
We leave the River and trek across open shale hills and onto a road which provides scenic views of rice paddies prior to passing through a small town. This will be your first full day of walking and you will start to feel what rural life is like in Timor Leste and experience the warm greeting of the local farmers.
We will trek along a ridge with views of Aemere and Villa Maria (2 spots important during WWII)
We will then proceed to a river camping spot along the road through the town of Suco-Liurai. A swing bridge across the river in front of the store can be used to cross the river should the river be too deep to wade across. Fresh bread rolls can be purchased here for $1 for 20 rolls!!
Camp beside the Nanolane river at Suco-Liurai.
7 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
Today is a magnificent feast for the eyes. The initial walk is along ridges of medium difficulty which provide spectacular views.
We will then move off the road into bush land which is not unlike Australia with heavily covered gum trees. Fascinating ancient rock walls built hundreds of years ago, are used as animal pens that are worth a short break to examine, then onto camp.
That night’s bush camp is made in a beautiful valley beside a swiftly flowing stream. Herds of Timor ponies are often seen grazing close to the camp.
Bush camp is beside a stream located at Mt.Tatamailau between the towns of Bertai and Mamude.
8.5 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
Today is a BIG DAY. We will be trekking to the highest point in Timor-Leste, the Sacred Mt Ramelau. Initially we will be trekking through treed hills very similar to Victoria’s High Country. Herds of Timorese Ponies, ancient stone walls and fabulous views are experienced this day. There is also trekking in open grasslands and over hills with traditional Timorese farms with their unique thatched conical roofs. If you are lucky, we will see one of the famous Timorese “cowboys” riding the iconic Timorese Pony. We will then trek down to a road where our support vehicle will wait with supplies.
Lunch will be at Mausoro Mata before a support vehicle will shuttle us to the base of Mt Ramelau which has a recently constructed huge gateway and stone steps.
The initial walk up the mountain will be via the stone steps and then a walking track along the side of the mountain. Camping that night in a sheltered location among stunted gum trees approximately 150m below the peak of Mt. Ramelau. There is a thatched cooking hut and chapel at this scenic location.
Trekkers can walk to the peak where there is a substantial religious statue of the Virgin Mary. In fine weather a spectacular view is available. This will be the coldest night of the trek due to the altitude getting down to 0 degrees Celsius.
Camp is located near an open air chapel in a sheltered location approximately 150m below the peak of Mt Ramelau.
9 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
This morning we descend Mt Ramelau along a slippery track through beautiful bush land. We then emerge into rolling fields which provide scenic views of traditional Timorese farms. We continue on a cobbled road and at around 12 noon we will be provided with a panoramic view of the Timor Sea.
The day will end at Soro where the group will spend the night camped near an interesting religious grotto.
Camp site is beside a grotto at the town of Soro.
9 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
Much of this days trek is along small roads where we will pass through numerous small villages and beautiful forests. On passing through the village of Lima we will see an interesting ruined Portuguese villa and also a small roadside shop where soft drinks and snacks can be purchased.
We will continue on for lunch at a large river crossing before being picked up for our transfer to Betano.
We then continue to the town of Betano, passing through a number of small villages.
The camp site is located in sand dunes close to the beach, a short walk from the town.
An engine block of the WW2 destroyer HMAS Voyager (1), which was involved in resupplying Sparrow Force can be seen at low tide close to our camp.
There is an interesting memorial at crossroads in village, a remnant of the Indonesian presence as well as an impressive ruined Portuguese Customs building.
The beach itself is beautiful with sweeping golden sands where you can have a well deserved swim. Afterwards we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Camp is in the sand dunes on Betano Beach in close proximity to the town of Betano.
8 hours of trekking. (B,L,D)
This is an interesting day traveling in our support vehicle, through towns on our journey back to Dili. We will visit the town of Same in the morning which was a central point of fighting in WWII. There will be ample time to walk around town and enjoy the locally grown coffee.
We will also visit the remains of a building blown up by Sparrow Force when munitions had to be left behind.
We will then drive to the town of Maubisse where you will stay at an old Portuguese guest house constructed within the walls of an old Portuguese fort which provides fantastic 360 degree views of rolling hills and distant mountains.
Accommodation is provided in twin share cottages.
We will have a chance to walk down into the town below the guest house. This location provides an excellent opportunity to rest and in the evening enjoy a great meal, cold beer and some more wonderful Timorese coffee!!
3.5 hours of road travel. (B,L,D)
Today we return to Dili in our support vehicle along winding roads through coffee plantations, primary forest and small villages. There will be several stops in towns to look at monuments and enjoy more coffee. This journey provides an opportunity to observe first hand daily life in numerous small towns that we pass through.
At Dare, located above Dili we will attend the Sparrow Force memorial. There is a very informative display at the memorial building detailing the WW2 history.
We will then return to Dili and our hotel.
That afternoon we are free to shop in Dili or relax by the hotel pool. That evening the group will enjoy a fantastic meal at one of the beach side restaurants.
5.5 hours via road transport back to Dili. (B,L)
This morning we will travel to the town of Balibo which has become infamous in Australian history. It was here where five Australian journalists were massacred by Indonesian Special Forces during the invasion in 1975.
At this location you will visit the iconic “Australia House” in which the journalists lived. The front of the building still displays the rough Australia flag that was painted there in the hope that its presence would protect the journalists.
Nearby is a fine example of an old Portuguese Fort which can be visited.
On the journey back to Dili we will stop in one of the small villages for lunch and more wonderful coffee!!!
This is a great excursion though be aware the roads are very rough. It provides an excellent opportunity to see a section of the scenic coastline west of Dili.
That night the group will have dinner, once again at a fantastic beachfront restaurant. (B,L)
We bid Timor Leste farewell and transfer to the airport for our flight. (B)
There is a real need for all trekkers visiting Timor Leste with No Roads Expeditions to have a genuine spirit of adventure and to be aware that they are part of the early development of tourism in this country. As such the daily itinerary may need to be altered to address unforeseen circumstances and challenges.
Walking times are estimates and include breaks and lunches. Weather, track conditions and trekker fitness will impact on these times.
Your Guides and Safety
Our expedition will be led by one of our Australian Guides. They are very experienced trek guides along the Kokoda Track in PNG. They will have a wealth of knowledge regarding Sparrow Force as well as WWII in general.
Our guides will be supported by our local crew who have intimate knowledge of the areas we are traveling through.
- Airport Transfers
- Australian Guide throughout
- Support vehicle in case of emergency
- Dili tour
- 3 nights accommodation in Dili (breakfast included)
- 1 night hotel in Maubissi
- 2 Local trek leaders
- 1 porter per trekker
- Tent, cooking equipment and eating utensils supplied
- 5 ltrs of water per day per person
- All camp meals while on expedition (10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches and 8 Dinners)
- Satellite phone
- Endura electrolyte supplement for trekking
- International Flights
A Rich History
Timor Leste, known previously as East Timor has a history of over 500 years of Portuguese colonisation which was followed by 25 years of Indonesian occupation.
The culture of the country continues to reflect this history through its food, language and architecture.
We are able to arrange a Personal Porter to carry your main pack. You will then only be required to carry a small day pack with water in it. This gives a local East Timorese work for approximately 6 days, much needed funds for his family and community. The cost for the expedition is $350.