Climbing up steep hills with a heavy backpack is not every student's idea of fun after school.
But 17-year-old Goulburn Mulwaree Youth Council member Blake Roberston is doing exactly that as he prepares himself for a major challenge.
The Taralga teenager and Goulburn High School student is one of four locals who will tackle a section of the gruelling Kokoda Track come September.
The Goulburn Soldiers Club is sponsoring them to participate in the 97km Papua New Guinea trek in conjunction with Charlie Lynn's Adventure Kokoda. It's aimed at creating awareness among the younger generation of the sacrifice soldiers made in the World War Two campaign. Each student is sponsored to the tune of $6500, plus accommodation and expenses.
Blake jumped at the chance to participate. He had family members who served in World War Two and has taken a strong interest in military history.
"It's something I had thought about doing but never had the chance," he said.
"I know the significance of the Track (in our war history) and feel I should honour the memory of our soldiers and ensure their sacrifice is respected.
"We were defending Australian soil in New Guinea and if the campaign had failed, Australia would have been under threat."
He will join Trinity Catholic College students Alex Parlett and Jack Burke and Australian Catholic College University student Elise Thornthwaite for the trip. All were selected following an interview at the Soldiers Club, presided over by a panel.
The students attended a compulsory workshop with Mr Lynn and organisers at Hurlestone Park in May to gain an insight into what to expect.
They've also embarked on a fitness regime.
"I've been told to expect mud, hills and heat," Blake said.
In preparation, he's been running up steep inclines in heavy boots carrying a backpack, hitting the gym three times a week and going on long walks.
In contrast to war conditions, porters will carry participants' belongings, save for a backpack, and tents will be set up by the time they reach each camp.
Before they leave Australia, the students will receive vaccinations and a kit, complete with malaria tablets, foot care products and of course, mosquito protection.
Temperatures are expected to hit between 30 and 40 degrees.
It's not deterring Blake who laps up military history. In May he completed a week's work experience with the Australian War Memorial. There he worked in the research centre, building and services division and visited the Mitchell Archives. He also met director Brendan Nelson.
The teenager is aspiring to one day work in the field.
In his spare time, Blake also makes military models of tanks and other equipment, a hooby that requires meticulous attention to detail.
But for now he's focusing on the Kokoda trip.
"I'm excited about it," he said.
"I hope to learn more about what the soldiers went through. Having this experience is just an incredible opportunity."
Soldiers Club administration manager Karinne Stephenson said the club had sponsored 25 students' participation since 2008.
The group will leave on September 30 for the 12-day trip.
While you're with us...
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.