PNG General Knowldge

 

Go to information on Provinces of PNG


The Independent State of Papua New Guinea 

 

SECTION 1

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20 Provinces of Papua New Guinea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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INTRODUCTION

 Port Moresby City, Capital of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea lies entirely within the tropics, just south of the equator, and 160km to the north of Australia. With a total land mass of about 473,189sq.km., the country encompasses the eastern part of the New Guinea island - the second largest island in the world, plus some 600 islands, atolls and coral reefs. A central core of mountains, the Owen Stanley Range, runs east and west rising steeply from the coastal plains. From its highest peak, 4,500 metre-high Mt Wilhelm, and from dozens of other peaks, great rivers like the Sepik and Fly begin their journey to the sea.

Below the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches, colorful sheltered bays and dense rainforest.

PEOPLE
Papua New Guinea has a total population of almost 4 million people, comprised mainly of Melanesian race with dark skin, fuzzy hair and friendly smiles. The 1990 Census put the official population count at 3.8 million. There are more than 800 distinct languages. Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two most widely used, but English is the official language in education, business and government circles.

POLITICS


National ParliamentThe country , fully independent since September 16, 1975, has freely elected democratic government. Papua New guinea became the 142nd member of the United Nations on October 10, 1975, and is also a member of the British Commonwealth.

ECONOMY
Papua New Guinea has a vibrant and multifaceted economy with two distinct systems operating side by side. The vast majority of our people live in a traditional, non-monetary barter economy that existed long before European colonisation began. Co-existing with this is a modern economic system based on mining, petroleum, fishing, forestry and agriculture. Our main exports are gold, copper, oil, coffee, tea, copra, palm oil, forest and marine products.

AIR TRAVEL
Jackson’s International Airport is the gateway to Papua New Guinea, situated 8km away from the main town centre of Port Moresby. Mt Hagen Provincial Airport has been declared an International Port of entry because of the mining activities in the Highlands provinces. International airlines - Air Niugini and Qantas.
Domestic airlines - Air Niugini, Airlink, Milne Bay Air, Islands Nationair, Trans Niugini Airways, MAF.

BANKING & CURRENCY
Banking hours: Monday to Thursday - 9.00am-3.00pm. Friday -9.00am-5.00pm.

Currency: Papua New Guinea’s currency unit is the Kina which is divided into 100 toea. There are K50, K20, K10, K5 and K2 notes and a K1 coin. In July 1998, one Kina was equal to approximately US$0.2440 as of July 2002. Travelers cheques and the international credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants.

BUSINESS HOURS
Commercial Firms: Monday to Friday: 8.00 - 4.30 or 5.00pm. Saturday: 8.00am - 12.00 noon.

Government Hours: Monday - Friday: 7.45am - 4.06pm.

CLIMATE
Warm to hot and humid throughout the year. There is a rainy season that varies from province to province, however, in general, its driest from May to December. The air is clean , watch out for sunburn, particularly in the Highlands, even on overcast days.

DUTY FREE
Standard customs concessions for travelers apply to the following goods.
- 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco
- One litre of spirits
- A reasonable amount of perfume

DRESS
Informal or casual with shorts and open neck shirts worn throughout the year along with traditional items of apparel: ramis, sulus, laplaps, and kolos. Thongs, sneakers and sandshoes are not allowed in some bars and restaurants. In the Highlands, sturdy walking shoes are recommended as is a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. Female dress should always be modest.

POWER SUPPLY
Electrical current on the national grid is 240 volts, AC 50hz. Some hotels provide 110 volt outlets in guest rooms for shavers and hair dryers.

NIGHTLIFE
Usually very quiet. Home entertainment is popular. Major hotels provide their own entertainment. The capital, Port Moresby, offers the same variety of entertainment and nightlife found in most Major cities.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
A 60-day tourist visa can be obtained from any Papua New Guinea Diplomatic Mission or nearest Australian Mission at a cost equivalent to K10.00. Visas can also be obtained on arrival for a fee of K25.00, and can be extended for another 30 days for a fee of K50.00.

Business Entry Visas are valid for a minimum of sixty (60) days per entry and are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. As such, business entry visas are multiple entry. Visas can be obtained from any PNG Diplomatic Mission or the nearest Australian Mission for a fee equivalent to K25.00. You will need valid travel documents, sufficient funds for your stay in our country and an airline ticket with a confirmation outbound flight before the expiry date of your visa.

A some restrictions apply to travelers from several Asian, Eastern Europe and African countries, we recommend that you check with the PNG Embassy or the nearest Australian Mission for visa requirements before traveling to PNG

HEALTH REGULATIONS
Certification or vaccination against yellow fever or cholera is required for travelers over one year of age coming from or through infected areas. Malaria is the only serious health risk. Visitors are strongly advised to consult your local doctor or tropical disease clinic to commence anti-malarial preparations before arrival.

WATER SUPPLY
All towns have reticulated water. Water quality is within World Health Organization standards in most towns. Bottled water is available. In rural areas it is advisable to boil water at all times.

FOOD/RESTAURANTS
You won’t go hungry in Papua New Guinea . Western cuisine is available in hotels, restaurants, guest houses, lodges and village resorts. Port Moresby has many Asian and European restaurants. For something different, try a traditional ‘mumu’ of roast pork, sweet potatoes, rice and greens.

HANDICRAFTS & SOUVENIRS
One of the many pleasant surprises of Papua New Guinea is the wide range of art forms in diverse styles. Among the many tempting souvenirs you will encounter are:
Bilums - string bags made from natural fibres.
Masks - woven from cane or rattan; make of wood and clay and decorated with shells, hair and pig’s teeth or incised with brown and white patterns in glossy black.
Wooden bowls - bowls fashioned from prized local timber, including ebony. Carved walking sticks, stools and tables are often inlaid with mother of pearl.
Basket/Trays - Many different patterns and styles can be found. Those from Bougainville are regarded as some of the finest in the Pacific.
Drums - the most common musical instrument in Papua New Guinea: those made from a hollow tree trunk are called Garamuts while the smaller Kundu is shaped like an hour glass and has snake or lizard skin stretched over one end
Story Board - made on the Karam River, they illustrate in raised relief incidents of village life.
Spirit Boards - act as guardians of the village with those from the Gulf Province believed to possess the spirits of powerful warriors.

We want to keep our cultural heritage intact, so items made before 1960 are restricted exports. They must be inspected by National Museum Staff before an export permit can be considered. Export Bird of Paradise plumes as well as stone artifacts - except stone axe - is prohibited.

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SHOPPING
From modern department complexes to quaint little stores there are plenty of places to spend your money. In artifact shops you may try your hand at bargaining but be gentle! Remember that Saturday is a half day for most shops and most shops except trade stores and supermarkets are closed on Sunday.

MEDICAL SERVICES
Dental, doctors and hospital services are available in all major centers.. Medical clinics and aid posts are found in remote areas and several hospitals are privately owned.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
New Year’s Day - 1 January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Queen’s Birthday - 13 June, Remembrance Day - 21 July, Independence Day -16 September, Christmas Day - 25 December, Boxing Day - 26 December.
Religion: Local traditional beliefs and ceremonies are maintained in remote areas; however, Christians influence is predominant.

SPORT & RECREATION
Play golf, tennis and squash or go fishing, diving, snorkeling, hunting and trekking. Check with Air Niugini, your travel agent or the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority for venues,. Touch football is also very popular around the country.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Papua New Guinea has modern satellite communications which have brought the world closer at the touch of a few buttons. International and Long Distance dialing are available in most parts of the country. telex and Facsimile services are also readily available, except in very remote areas where high frequency radios are in use. Internet services were introduced into Papua New Guinea in May 1997.

TIME ZONE
Papua New Guinea is 10 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - the same as Australian Eastern Standard Time. Papua New Guinea, being so close to the equator, does not have daylight saving.

TIPPING
Visitors to the country are guests and hospitality is an honour in our Melanesian culture. Tips are neither expected nor encouraged.

TRANSPORTATION
Transportation is mostly by air across PNG. A good network of roads connects the Northern zone and the highlands region. Rental cars, local boats and ferries, taxis in larger towns, plus local buses. There is no road link between the northern zone and the capital, Port Moresby, because of the rugged nature of the environment.

MANUS PROVINCE

Manus is Papua New Guinea's smallest province, both in terms of land mass and population, but has a vast sea area rich with marine life and beautiful coral reefs.
    The province consist of a group of islands, known as the Admiralty Islands and a scattering of low lying atolls, mostly uninhabited with the northern border reaching the equator.
    The reefs near the atolls are accessible by outboard motor or canoe and provide superb diving and fishing spots. The adventurous and athletic can enjoy sea kayaking, a sport fast becoming popular among the seafaring community of Manus. Sea kayaking tours can be arrange from day trips to a seven day tour, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy the marine life, the water ways and the scenery of Manus.

     Manus, the largest of the islands, is rugged and heavily timbered with central hills rising to over 700 metres and many sharp ridges and streams. The airport is at Momote on Los Negros Island. A good road connects Los Negros to the main town of Lorengau on Manus Island.
   The islands are connected by a bridge crossing the Loniu Passage. There is a pleasant waterfall and a fresh water pool on the Lorengau River a few kilometres upstream from Lorengau town.
   During World War ll, Manus was occupied by the Japanese and later by American and Australian armed forces, who spent millions of dollars constructing a huge base, airport and dock facilities at Seedler Harbour. During wartime activity up to 600 ships anchored in the Harbour. Today it is a peaceful place ringed by small islets and a magnificent reef. The rusting remains of the base can still be seen nearby.
   A variety of hotels, lodge style accommodation and village guest houses are available, including the Lorengau Kohai Lodge, the Andra Guest House and the Harbour Side Hotel, all of which provide comfortable facilities for visitors.

back   NEW IRELAND PROVINCE

Long, narrow and mountainous, New Ireland boasts undeniable beauty, peaceful people, never ending beaches, the popular Malagan show, the unique annual shark Calling festival, game fishing and a history visited by explorers, missionaries, traders and Japanese armed forces.
    Discovered by Dutch explorers in 1516, it was 1877 when the first missionaries arrived. With the development of copra plantations it soon became one of Germany's most profitable PNG colonies. During World War ii, New Ireland fell to the Japanese and many of the islands towns, infrastructure and industry was destroyed.
    New Ireland was also the setting for the saga of the Marquis de Ray who advertised Cape Breton as a thriving settlement, sold hundred of hectares of land to gullible settlers who were dumped with three weeks supplies, including a mill, note books and bricks, into a tangled jungle, with perpetual rainfall and unfriendly neighbors. Most died of starvation or malaria before being rescued and sent to Australia. Parts of the grinding stone for the never used grain mill can still be found in Kavieng. As for the Marquis de Ray, he ended his days in a lunatic asylum in France.
    The provincial centre of Kavieng is situated at the northern tip of the island. It has often been described as a "typical Somerset Maughan south sea island port". It has a large, beautiful Harbour and is a popular destination for game fishing enthusiasts. Along the edge of the Harbour is Kavieng's Harbour Drive, a gently curving road, shaded by huge trees, which passes many points of historical interest. A couple of kilometres out of Kavieng, along the Buluminski Highway, a little pathway leads off the road to a limestone cave filed with crystal clear water. At Utu village, the high school has a small museum with exhibitions of Malagan carvings - carved totem-like polls used in initiation ceremonies and rituals; ancient stone tools and vessels and a shark catching propeller.
    New Ireland is the centre for the art of shark calling. Certain men have the ability to "call up" sharks. The unfortunate shark swims up to the caller's boat where they can be speared and netted. Alternatively the shark propeller is used - a noose is hung with half coconut shells which make a rattling noise, attracting the shark up through the noose. A rope attached to the noose is connected to a wooden propeller which spun round to tighten the noose and simultaneously pull in the rope. The shark, unable to keep moving, effectively drowns.
    New Ireland Province includes a number of offshore islands. From the northeast coast are the islands of Tabar, Tanga, Feni and Lihir. Lihir Island is the site of the Lihir gold mine, reputed to have the second largest gold deposit in the world.
    Kavieng has three hotels, the Kavieng Hotel, the Kavieng Club and the Malagan Lodge. Freshly caught local seafood features on the menus of all hotels. Adjacent to the Kavieng Club is a nine-hole golf course.

back   NORTH SOLOMON PROVINCE

North Solomons Province has two main islands, Buka and Bougainville plus a scattering of smaller islands and atolls. It is located north east of mainland Papua New Guinea.
   A decade ago, North Solomon Province was the most frequently visited destination in Papua New Guinea. Its' natural beauty and friendly people presented the perfect ingredients for an idyllic tropical island holiday.
   However, internal conflicts have temporarily suspended services to the province and it is currently closed to tourism.
It is slowly getting back to normal with the headquarter located on Buka Island.

back SANDAUN PROVINCE

Vanimo, the capital of Sandaun Province, sits on a neat little peninsula with beautiful beaches on either side. A pleasant walk around the headland brings the snorkeling enthusiast to several good spots. To the west, wade past vine draped limestone headlands to reach the final resting place of a rusted Japanese landing barge.
    Vanimo, 30 kilometres from the Indonesian border is PNG's entry port from Jayapura in Irian Jaya (formerly West Papua). This area of the world has seen little development in international tourism, other than visitors en route from Irian Jaya to other parts of Papua New Guinea, or the intrepid traveler or surfer in search of the perfect wave.
   Superb beaches west of Vanimo, towards Wutung attract surf board riders from PNG and overseas during the months of September to January. The 260 kilometre shoreline is pounded by heavy seas caused by the blustery north west winds during December to March. However safe all-year round anchorage can be had in Vanimo. Several little islands lie offshore from the town of Aitape, the only other town in Sandaun Province.
    Aitape was established as a station by the Germans in 1905 and was occupied by the Japanese during World War ii. Bits of aircraft wreckage can be found near the wartime Tadji airstrip and a war memorial stands nearby.
    The headwaters of the Sepik River are in West Sepik Province. Here the river narrows into dense, mountainous country and only small boats can navigate upstream from the village of Ambunti. There are no roads in the Upper Sepik and much of the province is covered in rainforest.
   The villages here are known for their specialist religious cults. The people of Maio and Yessan have a yam cult and the isolated village of Swagup is the home of the insect people, whose art form incorporates the figures of the sago beetle, dragonfly, praying mantis and other insects.
   Among the distinctive artifacts from Sandaun are painted canoes of Sissano Lagoon and large shields from the Telefomin district. The shields have broad zigzag, spiral or V designs that represent their ancestors' bodies.
   Vanimo has three hotels, the largest of which is the Sandaun Motel. In other parts of the Provincial village accommodation is available and some mission stations also offer simple accommodation.

Air Niugini flies to Vanimo weekly en route to Jayapura, Irian Jaya.

back EAST SEPIK PROVINCE

One of the world's largest waterways, the Sepik, snakes it's way through East Sepik Province. Dense rainforest covers the north coast and the mountains north and south of the river basin. Birdlife and rainforest creatures splash colour across the blue and green hues. Sepik fishermen in their dugout canoes wave to visitors on the great white catamaran, the Melanesian Explorer, as it plies its way down the river taking passengers on a journey which will impress an unforgettable image of the magnificence of Papua New Guinea.
    The Sepik River, often compared to the Amazon and Congo Rivers, presents nature untamed, unspoilt. See it from the comfort of the Melanesian Explorer or the Sepik Spirit, a luxury twelve berth flat bottom river cruiser for the more adventurous, the Karawari Lodge on the Karawari River, south of the Sepik is a quality but very remote jungle tourism lodge or spend some time in a guest house in the villages along the river.
    Wewak, with its palm fringed beaches is the main town of East Sepik. Not far from Wewak is Cape Wom, the site of the Japanese surrender where Lieutenant General Adachi signed the surrender documents and handed his sword to Major General Robertson on 13th September 1945. A war memorial marks the site and the wartime airstrip is still in place. Another memorial in town has been erected at the site of the Japanese war graves and nearby is the Japanese/PNG Peace Park.
    Accommodation in Wewak, while not luxurious, provides adequate facilities as a base for day trips to one of the fifteen islands off the coast of Wewak. Ideal tropical islands become a reality when you travel by boat to Kairuru Island with its waterfalls and hot springs. Swimming and snorkeling are superb in these clear turquoise waters. Diving is simply spectacular. Virtually unknown and untouched, the waters and reefs display an abundance of sea life-turtles, sharks, manta rays, tuna, corals as well as sunken wrecks from WWII.
    Further a field is Wuvulu Island. Acclaimed as one of the greatest dive sites of the world, Wuvulu rises straight up from an undersea plateau 2000 metres deep. As there are no rivers or creeks the water is uncommonly clear. There is a guest house on the island and dive equipment is available. Wet season is April to November. From September to January the unprotected beaches along the coastline bring surf-board riders from around the country and overseas to surf one of PNG's few surf spots.
    East Sepik's fertile environment is reflected in its rich cultural traditions. Crocodiles, birds, turtles and other wild animals feature in East Sepik artwork. Sepik river people are world renown for their fine craftsmanship. The regions most famous artifacts are the woven fibre ceremonial masks used symbolically in the yam festivals Jewellery, pottery and cane work can be found in the village markets as well as hotel shops around town.

  
Wewak has a pier for overseas and coastal shipping. With 32 airstrips, much of East Sepik is accessible by air and Air Niugini has daily flights from Port Moresby to Wewak.

back MADANG PROVINCE

The most popular location in Papua New Guinea for divers is Madang Province consists of reef-fringed lowlands backed by some of the most rugged mountains in Papua New Guinea and offshore volcanic islands.
   Colorful Madang township has been called the 'prettiest town in the South Pacific". It's peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands.
   Although small, the town has modern urban facilities, including hotels, department stores, markets and artifact shops. There are five hotels in Madang - The Madang Resort Hotel, Smugglers Inn, Jais Aben Resort, Coast Watchers Motel, Malolo Plantation Resort and Madang Lodge Motel, all of which provide excellent facilities. There are a few budget guest houses and lodges around Madang and some small village guest houses on several of the islands in Madang lagoon.
    The area is world famous for its coral reefs and superb visibility making diving good all year round. There is a variety of easily accessible places to dive, an abundance of reef and pelagic fish, dramatic drop offs, shells and soft and hard corals.

     Those who like diving on wrecks will find the reefs literally dotted with sunken ships. Hansa Bay, the resting place for at least 34 Japanese ships, is within striking distance up the coast. Ships lie in shallow water and are now covered in corals and fish. Jais Aben Resort, just outside Madang caters for divers. Diving instructors in Madang are available at Jais Aben Resort, Madang Resort Hotel.
   Game fishing is a popular sport and the coastal currents around Madang Province carry sailfish, kingfish, tuna, mackerel, barracuda, marlin, yellow fin and wahoo within 100 metres of the shore providing anglers with plenty of good sport. Fishing is especially good off the waters around Karkar and Bagabag islands.
   The two volcanic islands of Manam and Karkar have volcanic cones rising 1800 metres above sea level and provide a spectacular sight for visitors.
    A variety of local markets sell artifacts, shell Jewellery, carvings and pottery. Tours can be arranged to visit the nearby villages of Bulbils and Yabob to see traditional clay pots being made or you can explore Madang Harbour with a morning Harbour cruise. The south Coast road leads to the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary, which has strange fish-filled sulphurous caves, jungle walks, and hot springs. The Sanctuary was also location for filming scenes into he Pierce Brosnan movie "Robinson Crusoe".
    Madang hosts the Mabarosa Festival each year, a colourful display of dancing, singsings and bamboo bands.

     Papua New Guinea's largest tour operator, Melanesian Tourist Services (MTS) is located in Madang. They operate the MV Melanesian Discoverer and the Madang Resort Hotel. The Melanesian Discoverer is a luxury 42 passenger catamaran operating scheduled cruises from Madang, offering five day Sepik River cruises and seven (7) days cruises to the Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay Province.

Madang is serviced by daily flights from Port Moresby via Lae and the Highlands and has a number of locally based third level airlines servicing small airstrips in the province. Helicopter charters can also be arranged. Madang is also linked by road to Lae and the Highland provinces.

back WEST NEW BRITAIN PROVINCE

In contrast to the popular tourist destination of East New Britain, West New Britain is virtually untouched, unexplored and unknown. The exception is Walindi Plantation Dive Resort, a favorite destination for divers from all parts of the world.
    The Resort is located on a private owned oil palm plantation on the shores of Kimbe Bay. The Bay is fringed by volcanic mountains, some still active. Divers can explore volcanic caves draped in staghorn coral and reef drop-offs. The clear blue waters are home to dogtooth tuna, trevally, barracuda, dolphins and dugong and for night diving, the luminescence lights the way. The most popular site for night diving is known as "The Cathedral", a horse shoe shaped reef with a large cave at one end. The floor is covered in white sand and the outside is draped in staghorn and gorgonia coral. Walindi has resident instructors to provide tuition for time divers. The fishing and snorkeling are excellent.
    Non-divers can enjoy the superb natural surroundings. The Muruk cave system in the Nakanai area of West New Britain is believed to be the deepest recorded in the southern hemisphere. A French cave expedition team recently explored the system and believe there is a canyon about 1,200 metres below the entrance of the cave.
    The little town of Talasea looks across the bay with its' many islands from Williamez Peninsula, an active volcanic region. Talasea is the centre for the manufacture of shell money. It was from this area that obsidian, volcanic glass used in the manufacture of knives, spears and arrows used for trade from about 3,000BC until recent times, was found. In the hills behind Talasea are the wrecks of two US bombers, one of them a B24 Liberator.
    On Pangula Island, across from Talasea is the Valley of Wabua, meaning "Valley of Hot Water", a mass of thermal geysers.
    Apart from Walindi Resort there are several other options for accommodation including the Palm Lodge and Liamo Reef Resort in the provincial headquarters of Kimbe; the Hoskins Hotel in the small town of Hoskins where the main airport for West New Britain is located; the Kautaga Guest House on a small island off the western side of the peninsula and the Bialla Guest House.


Air Niugini and a number of third level airlines fly via Hoskins airport from other parts of Papua New Guinea every day. There are also a number of coastal ships which call in at Kimbe on their way to and from Lae and Rabaul.

back EAST NEW BRITAIN PROVINCE

Beautiful Rabaul, half buried during the 1994 volcanic eruptions, is re-emerging as a tourist destination with a difference. There are few places where the dramatic consequences of the contrasting moods of nature can be experienced so intimately.
    The drive from the airport, now located at Tokua about an hour from Rabaul, is along a narrow road winding its way around the glittering waters of the Gazelle Peninsula. Through the coconut trees villages of thatched huts surrounded by colorful flowerbeds and tropical fruit trees look out over calm waters. The Tolai children with their bleached hair and wide smiles stop their play to wave at passing traffic.
    Across the Harbour is Tavurvur, bellowing great clouds of black ash filled smoke, some days grumbling, other days bellowing. From this warm tropical lushness enter the now lunar-like landscape at the base of the volcano, Vulcan. Further on pass through untouched suburban streets before turning into the main street of Mango Avenue. Amidst the tangled mess of rubble and ruins covered in layers of muddy volcanic ash three former resort hotels have been resurrected and stand like oases amidst the desolation to welcome the awe struck visitor.
     The history of Rabaul is one of wreckage and regrowth. Modern historians will find a treasure trove of World War 11 relics, tunnels and caverns to explore within driving distance of Rabaul. Close to the now thriving centre of Kokopo, are the remnants of Gunantabu mansion, build in the 1880's by the legendary "Queen Emma". War wrecks also litter the surrounding reefs. The excellent visibility makes this an exciting dive spot all year round. Dive trips, day tours as well as charter boats for fishing can be organised through any of the hotels.
    Out of Rabaul, along the north coast road to Kabakada is the Kulau Lodge. Located on the beach front, it is built in traditional style of woven kunai grass. It is surrounded by gardens and the large, airy restaurant provides a relaxing area to enjoy the magnificent views across the sea.

    Forty five minutes by boat from Kokopo are the Duke of York Islands offering sport diving, snorkelling and picnics under the coconut trees. The lagoons around this historical group of islands provide all weather canoeing, wind surfing and skiing and are a haven for visiting yachts.

There are daily Air Niugini flights to Rabaul from Port Moresby.

back ENGA PROVINCE

Enga Province, sharing the border with Western Highlands Province and features rugged mountains high valleys and fast flowing rivers. The Engan people are a hardy race living mostly by subsistence farming. Tribal warfare is still a common way to settle inter-tribal disputes and ceremonial life encompasses the giving, receiving and displaying of wealth.
    Ceremonies are presided over by tribal elders, distinguished by their two metre high head-dress displaying the brilliant colours of plumes from the bird of paradise. Proud warriors painted in bright ochre dance long into the night to the beat of the Kundu drums. The ceremonial singsing can last for days during which time many pigs, the greatest symbol of wealth, will be presented as gifts. Men will slaughter and prepare a feast of pork, green leaves and vegetables cooked in a deep earth pit over hot coals. After several hours it is shared amongst the guests with the choicest cut being offered to the guest of honour.
    Monetary wealth has come to the Engan landowners since the introduction of coffee plantations and more importantly the development of the Porgera gold and silver mine, estimated to be the largest gold mine outside South Africa. Despite the wealth development of infrastructure has been slow. The rugged terrain does not lend itself well to progress. Landslides and broken bridges are common along country roads and walking is often the only alternative, or travel by four wheel drive
.
    Trekking enthusiasts will find their efforts rewarded by the magnificently unspoilt surroundings. In the west of the province is Laiagam. The National Botanical Gardens here have a collection of over 100 species of native orchids and more than thirteen species of rhododendrons. Lake Rau, in the middle of Enga is a crater lake 300 metres above sea level. It is a days walk from the nearest village of Pumas. A guide is recommend.
    Wabag is the provincial headquarters. It is about four hours drive by bus or four wheel drive from Mt Hagen. The Wabag Cultural Centre includes a museum with a fine display of wigs, war shields and masks and an art gallery. The centre also houses a workshop where young artists are taught the skills of sand painting, an art form unique to Enga Province.
    Using ground stone in natural hues as a medium, the sand painters create landscapes and legendary figures on a base of wood or plasterboard. It is open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm week days.
    There are several comfortable lodges to stay in and around Wabag including the Kaiap Orchid Lodge, the Wabag Lodge and the Malay Hostel, a budget priced mountain hideaway. All lodges will arrange transfers and day tours.

back WESTERN HIGHLANDS PROVINCE

From the lowland rainforest, to alpine grasslands, to the shrouded misty peaks, Western Highlands Province is a land of colour and vibrancy. The capital city, Mt Hagen is a bustling commercial centre where wealth from coffee and tea plantations has brought rapid change to traditional life style. Old and new ways live curiously together, not always harmoniously. Mt Hagen has a reputation as the "Wild frontier" of the Highlands.
    The Saturday market in Mt Hagen is a focal point of local life and provides a meeting place for traders from all over the province. It's a kaleidoscope of fruit and vegetables, birds, animals, people in bright shirts and skirts, some wearing flowers or grass in their hair. The men traditionally wear a long bread and the women wear an array of brilliant scarves and carry their brightly coloured string bags. These bags, called bilums, are used to carry everything from babies to firewood and are made by threading an entire length of string through each loop. Traditionally the string is made from tree bark, although these days many women buy synthetic yarn from the local stores for their bilums. The Mt Hagen market is an opportune place to purchase traditionally made bilums.
   Handicrafts can also be found at the Western Highlands Cultural Centre in Mt Hagen. It features a reconstructed village hut and has a museum with exhibits of artifacts and curios.
    Sing-sings are held regularly throughout the province. These are gatherings of clans in traditional costume where ritualistic dancing and singsing is performed for ceremonial reasons. Sing-sings are not normally staged as a public performance. However there are many opportunities throughout the year to watch a ceremonial sing-sing. The most popular time to visit Mt Hagen is August when the annual cultural show is held. Hundreds of different Highland tribes are represented, each wearing their distinctive tribal head dresses of feathers and flowers and body paint. It is a wonderful opportunity to see a glimpse of the richness of traditional Highlands social structure.
    Away from Mt Hagen, Western part of the Province offers spectacular walking and trekking adventures. The Wahgi Valley is a magnificent natural tract of lush greens, roaring rivers, virgin rainforest and ordered gardens. There are several walks available depending on time and energy. For the serious trekker, the 4509 metre summit of Mt Wilhelm can also be reached from Mt Hagen.
    Accommodation in Mt Hagen ranges from bush material lodges to international standard hotels. Air Niugini has flights from Port Moresby to Mt Hagen daily and direct flights are available from Cairns, Australia to Mt Hagen. Third level airlines also provide services from other regional centres.

    From the lowland rainforest, to alpine grasslands, to the shrouded misty peaks, Western Highlands Province is a land of colour and vibrancy. The capital city, Mt Hagen is a bustling commercial centre where wealth from coffee and tea plantations has brought rapid change to traditional life style. Old and new ways live curiously together, not always harmoniously. Mt Hagen has a reputation as the "wild frontier" of the Highlands.
    The Saturday market in Mt Hagen is a focal point of local life and provides a meeting place for traders from all over the province. It's a kaleidoscope of fruit and vegetables, birds, animals, people in bright shirts and skirts, some wearing flowers or grass in their hair. The men traditionally wear a long beard and the women wear an array of brilliant scarves and carry their brightly coloured string bags. These bags, called bilums, are used to carry everything from babies to firewood and are made by threading an entire length of string through each loop. Traditionally the string is made from tree bark, although these days many women buy synthetic yarn from the local stores for their bilums. The Mt Hagen market is an opportune place to purchase traditionally made bilums.

back SIMBU PROVINCE

In the heart of the Highlands is Simbu Province, bordered by Madang to the north and the Gulf country to the south. It is the smallest but most densely populated of all the provinces. The terrain is extremely rugged, with many of the valleys inaccessible. Some of the highest mountains in Papua New Guinea are in Simbu Province including Mt Wilhelm, at 4,509 metres, the highest peak in Papua New Guinea.
    Known to avoid mountain climbers around the world, for the reasonably fit, it is not a difficult climb for those who like to be physically challenged. There is a clearly marked track which passes through traditional Simbu villages, through dense rainforest, into the valley before reaching Pindaunde Lakes where there are basic huts for overnight stays. The view from the summit is spectacular, on a clear day the stretching from the north to the south coast. Cold weather gear is recommended as it can get very cold on top, sometimes snowing. Guides and porters can be arranged as well as organised trekking expeditions. A trout and rabbit farm at the base of the mountain has a guest house with easy walking tracks nearby.
    Kundiawa, the provincial headquarters is set in picturesque surroundings beside a spectacular airstrip built on a sloping ridge beneath the towering mountains. Kundiawa is not a tourist attraction in itself but a stepping stone for mountain and river adventures in other parts of Simbu Province.
    Only a few kilometres from Kundiawa, close to the main road, are the Keu Caves, suitable for caving expeditions. There are a number of other caves around the district which are burial places for the remains of warriors killed in battle.
    The Wahgi River is considered by experts to be one of the best rafting experiences in the world as the river rushes through deep chasms, stretches of rapids, under small rope bridges and waterfalls. Serious bush walkers can follow a four-wheel drive track down to the coastal town of Madang. The three or four day walk offers the intrepid bush walker some of the best look-out views in the country.

back EASTERN HIGHLANDS PROVINCE

With a history of gold mines and coffee plantations, Eastern Highlands has had more exposure to European influence than any other Highlands provinces. It has a history full of colourful characters- miners, missionaries, patrol officers, plantation owners. Traditional dress is seldom worn this days, although the Highlanders still live in village of neat clusters of low walled round huts built amongst the rolling kunai-grass covered hills.
    Goroka, a small outpost station in the 19950's has developed into an attractive, well organised town with modern facilities and relaxed atmosphere. It is a major Highlands commercial centre of 25,000 people at an altitude of 1600 metres. It has a climate of perpetual spring.
    Today Goroka has become known for its annual show, held every September. It is a marvellous opportunity to gain an overview of PNG cultural diversity. The shows were first held in the 50's as a means of gathering together the different tribes and clans. At times there could be more than 40,000 painted warriors dancing to the beat of the Kundu drums. The scenario was an amazing success and grew from its original concept of a local get- together into a major tourist attraction.
    Amongst the performers are the legendary mud men of Asaro. Tribal folklore records that centuries ago the warriors of Asaro were defeated in a tribal fight "payback" raid, and, to make themselves look fierce in the process, covered their bodies with grey mud. According to legend, the ruse worked, made their enemies fled at the sight of these ghostly apparitions. The mud men recreated the drama at the Goroka show and for hotel tour groups.
    The Raun Raun Theatre Company, based in Goroka is a highly acclaimed performing group which tours both nationally and internationally.
    The J.K. McCarthy Museum in Goroka is named after one of Papua New Guinea's legendary patrol officers. It is second only to the National Museum in Port Moresby and exhibit a wide variety of artifacts, handicrafts, war relics and a collection of photographs which portray early contact with Europeans and Highlanders.

    From the Post Office the street leads to a track that climbs to Mt. Kiss lookout. A long steep walk ends with a magnificent vista across the valley. More serious trekking can be found south of Goroka at Lufa, the base of Mt. Michael. There is a cave nearby with some interesting prehistoric paintings.
    From Goroka on the road to Kainantu is the village of Bena Bena, a centre for weaving. The men operate the hand looms, weaving pleasantly coarse rugs, bedspread and place mats.
    Eleven km out of town by four wheel drive is the Mt. Gahavisuka Provincial Park. This is an area of around 80 hectares set in beautiful mountain scenery. The park includes a botanical sanctuary, where exotic plants and flaura from all over PNG have been added to the local, natural orchids and rhododendrons. There are clearly marked walk tracks and a lookout at 2450 metres with panoramic views.

Hotels can arrange day tours to any of the attractions near Goroka including visits to working coffee plantations, processing plants and the Kotuni trout farm.
    There are a number of options for accommodations in Goroka, ranging from the top of the range Bird of Paradise Hotel to the Goroka University Campus.


Air Niugini has daily direct flights to Goroka from Port Moresby. Third level airlines also provide connections to Goroka from various centres. Local PMV buses travel regularly between Lae and Goroka.

back MOROBE PROVINCE

Morobe Province curves around the tropical waters of the Huon Gulf. The Saruwaged Mountains, rising from the sea at the tip of the Huon Peninsula are blanketed by tangled and impenetrable rainforest. To the south-west, the fertile Markham Valley rests between equally awesome ranges while the waters between Huon Peninsula and New Britain are dotted with volcanic islands.
     The hinterland and coast of Morobe Province offers spectacular sightseeing, a wonderland of flora and fauna and numerous walking tracks, particularly near the Wau/Bulolo areas. A network of roads connects the capital city of Lae with Madang to the north west, through the Markham Valley to the Highlands in the west and south to the Highland areas around Wau and Bulolo.
    Lae, the second largest city in Papua New Guinea was a tiny mission station before the 1920's gold rush at Wau transformed into a major port and industrial centre. It was the last place to farewell famous pioneering American aviator Emelia Earhart, as she took off on one of the final legs of her round the world flight before disappearing without a trace. Lae was a strategic base for the Japanese during World War II. The graves of thousands of allied soldiers killed in battle can be visited at the Lae War Cemetery, situated within the grounds of Lae's Botanical Gardens.
    A tour through the Gardens provides the visitor with a glimpse of life in the rainforest. Huge trees smothered in vines and creepers are home to brightly coloured birds and lizards and a display of exotic orchids. More recently the Rainforest Habitat, occupying an area of over 3,000 square metres, has been purpose built to create a display of some 15,000 native and exotic plants, 21 species of birds including the magnificent Raggiana Bird of Paradise as well as crocodiles, lizards, butterflies, turtles, frogs and fish.
    Known as the "Garden City" modern day Lae is an attractive, tropical city well serviced by banks, international standard hotels, department stores, local markets and street stalls selling produce and artifacts. A good collection of artifacts including sand paintings can be seen at the Melanesian Arts Centre and the Morobe Arts and Handcraft shop. The Lae University of Technology also has an artifacts collection of rare and valuable pieces, Sepik carved pillars and a coffee shop built in traditional "haus tambaran" style.
    Further a field is the town of Finschafen, first settled in 1885 by the Germans and still a major Lutheran base. Salamaua Beach to the south has excellent swimming, diving, wind surfing, trekking and tours of battle sites, tunnels and war relics. The Labu Lakes across the Markham Valley are home to crocodiles while the beaches on the ocean side around Maus Buang and Labu Tali are breeding sites for the leatherback turtle, weighing up to 500kg and measuring up to two metres in length.

Daily Air Niugini flights connect Lae with most major centres, while second and third level airlines fly regularly from smaller towns. As the Port of Lae services both international and coastal shipping it is possible to reach most northern coastal centres by boat.

back ORO PROVINCE

Few people would expect to find fjords in Papua New Guinea. The Tufi area on the south east coast of Oro Province is one of PNG's best kept secrets. Situated on Cape Nelson, Tufi is a spectacular place to visit.

    Cape Nelson, jutting out into the Solomon Sea, was formed by the eruption of three volcanoes, whose fast flowing lava created the rias, or fjords. Unlike the fjords of Scandinavia, the water is always warm and the sheltered bays are home to stunning coral formations and tropical marine life.
    The fjords are over 90 metres deep and rise vertically out of the water to over 150 metres. Wide entrances are protected by reefs and they funnel into the mountainside where mangroves form a canopy over narrow waterways. The vertical faces of the gorge are covered with moss and orchids and waterfalls cascade directly into the sea.
     Although the main attraction is diving, there are plenty of options at Tufi - bushwalking, deep sea fishing, windsurfing, swimming, canoe trips or just lazing on the white sandy beaches. Wander among the villages or go the open market and see the handcrafted pottery, Jewellery and tapa cloth that are typical of the region. Tapa cloth is made from the beaten bark of the paper mulberry tree and decorated with exotic designs in natural earth colours. In October every year there is a Tapa Cloth Festival. Other festivals held locally are Martyrs Day and the Korata Church Day. The province is also the home of the largest butterfly in the world, the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, which has a wingspand of 30cm. With the diminishing rainforest, this species is unfortunately fast becoming extinct.
    There are a number of village guest houses which offer comfortable accommodation and will arrange fishing, diving and coral viewing excursions. The Tufi Dive Resort, perched on the side of a fjord has mountain views up and out to sea. It is constructed of bush materials and decorated with carvings and artifacts from around the country.
    Oro Province has a history of drama, from the early gold rush days to the devastating Pacific campaign of World War ii. The northern end of the Kokoda Trail terminates at the village of Kokoda and from here to the coast, and around the beaches of Buna and Gona, some of the most violent and bitter fighting of World War11 took place. It is estimated that over 15,000 Japanese soldiers died on the Kokoda Track. The area is still littered with war relics and at Jiropa Plantation, on the Buna road there is a Japanese plaque commemorating their dead.
    Not long after the war, Mt. Lamington erupted, wiping out the district headquarters at Higaturu killing nearly 3,000 people. Today the provincial capital is located a save distance from the volcano, at Popondetta. Mt. Lamington is a favourite climb for bushwalkers.

There are road links between Popondetta, Tufi, Ioma, Kira, Kokoda and Afore with PMV buses traveling regularly between the district. Oro Province is served by Air Niugini, MBA and other third level airlines, with flight to Popondetta and Tufi.

back MILNE BAY PROVINCE

Milne Bay Province takes in the land at the extreme eastern end of Papua New Guinea together with seven groups of islands, the Trobriand, Woodlark, Laughlan, Louisiade archipelago, the Conflict Group, the Samarai Group and the D'Entrecasteaux Group. The names come from a variety of explorers from as early as 1660 when D'Entrecasteaux sailed through and left his name behind.
    Over the years Milne Bay Province has been visited by missionaries, miners, traders in pearls and people, scientists, Japanese and American warships. During the war Milne Bay became a huge naval base that hundreds of thousands of servicemen passed through.
    Today thousands of tourists arrive to enjoy diving around the wreckage left behind from the war. There are 160 named islands and 500 cays and atolls scattered over 250,000 square kilometres of ocean. In many parts of Milne Bay, the reefs are characterized by dramatic drop-offs, clefts and overhangs.
    The most comfortable way to enjoy Milne Bay diving is aboard one of the live aboard dive boats based out of Alotau, the provincial headquarters. The 60 foot MV Chertan can comfortably accommodate up to 14 divers. Built in 1992, it is equipped with the latest electronic equipment, video and stereo systems. The MV Telita was Papua New Guinea's first live aboard dive boat and was designed specifically as a live aboard diving vessel. It has five twin berth cabins, sophisticated electronic equipment, a bar, video, stereo, a well equipped library and a charging console for photographers.
    Alotau, spectacularly sited on the edge of Milne Bay is a good base of visiting the outlying islands. Fergusson Island has an active thermal region, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and volcanoes. Misima Island was the scene of a 1930's gold rush from which a major mine has now been developed. Woodlark Island is populated by people of Melanesian ancestry. The islanders are renowned for their expertly crafted wood carvings.
    One of the best locations to enjoy the charms of the friendly and peace loving Milne Bay people is the Trobriand Islands. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chieftains who continue to wield tremendous power and influence, although inheritances and lines of power are passed through the female side of the family. From June - August the Milamala, yam harvest festival is held. The Milamala starts with a procession of men carrying the newly harvested yams from the garden storage hut to the village yam houses while the women ahead sing and dance. During the festival time, traditional rites are observed.
    It was from Malinowski anthropological studies of the customs and sexual practices during this time that the Trobriand's became known as "The Islands of Love".
    Fresh water caves are found all over Kiriwina island. Near Matawa Village there are several deep limestone caves housing burial antiquities and skeletal remains. At Wawela there is a beautiful curving beach on a cool, deep lagoon. The village children fishing from their outrigger canoes are happy to give visitors a ride out to the reef to enjoy snorkelling. Visitors should bring their own snorkel or dive gear to Kiriwina as availability at the lodges is not constant.
Kiriwina Lodge offers basic accommodation, excellent seafood and will organise day trips.

    The Trobriand Islanders will offer for sale their beautifully carved walking sticks, figurines, fish and turtle shaped bowls made from local timbers including the much sought after ebony.

Milne Bay Air operates flights into the towns of Tapini and Woitape. After a short flight climbing into the Owen Stanley Ranges, the light aircraft lands, with little descent onto an airstrip cut into the side of the mountain. These are popular destinations for bush walking, fishing and relaxing.

back WESTERN PROVINCE

Western Province, on the southern coast, bordering Irian Jaya, is a perfect destination for fishermen, photographers and lovers of flora and fauna. The countryside here is unlike anywhere else in Papua New Guinea. Wide open grasslands are home to rusa deer, wallabies and wild pigs. crocodile, and lizards linger near the river banks and team of wild fowl and ducks fly across rivers. Two of the greatest rivers in the country, the Fly and the Strickland, run for almost their entire length through Western Province.
    The mouth of the river forms the border between Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. The area is a vast open, seasonally flooded plain, lightly populated with people, but crowded with birds and animal life.
    The Bensbach Lodge, small comfortable and built of local materials, has established a reputation for spectacular barramundi fishing. Other species include ox eye herring and saratoga. Fresh locally caught fish and game are part of the regular menu.
    Lake Murray, in the centre of the province, is the biggest lake in Papua New Guinea. There is a crocodile research station at the lake. During the wet season the lake spreads to five times its 400 square kilometre area.
    Western Province is home to the giant OK Tedi gold and copper mine, one of the largest mines in the world. Established in 1980 in rugged mountainous terrain, the mining operation processes 80,000 tonnes of ore each day.
    Daru, the main town of the province is situated on a small island of the same name just off the coast. Once a busy pearl and beche-de-mer trading port, it is now the centre of growing fishing industry. Crocodile skins from the province are packed and exported from Daru.

Air Niugini offers direct flights from Port Moresby to Daru while third level airlines services most parts of Western Province.

back SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS PROVINCE

In the centre of Papua New Guinea is the Southern Highlands Province, called 'The Papuan Wonderland" by explorers who discovered these hidden mountain valleys in 1935.
    The Southern Highlands is a land of lush, high valleys wedged between impressive limestone peaks. The headwaters of the Kikori, Erave and Strickland rivers cross the province, beneath towering Mt Giluwe, the second highest mountain in Papua New Guinea. International caving expeditions have discovered caves of enormous depth and length and anticipate further significant finds in areas yet to be explored.
     This cool alpine setting is the home of the Huli and Duna Wigmen. Famous for their elaborate and colourful dress, these proud warriors have great reverence for birds, imitating them in ceremonial dances and decorating their wigs with feathers, flowers and cuscus fur. The wigs, are woven from human hair, donated by wives and children. Everlasting daisies are especially cultivated for use in the wigs, while their faces are painted with yellow and ochre. The women, by contrast wear black for their wedding and coat themselves with blue-grey clay when mourning.
    Clans in the Southern Highlands have a strong and intricate social system little affected by change. It is one of the few places where the traditional way of life can be seen in everyday living. Ceremonial rituals are strongly observed. Men and women can still be seen wearing traditional dress, tending their gardens and pigs and building their bush material huts. Visitors to the tribal wonderland of the Southern Highlands can stay in a variety of accommodation from basic guest houses to luxurious mountain lodges.
    Accommodation at the Ambua Lodge in the Tari Basin is in luxury bush material huts, set on a hillside of flowering gardens with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest. The crisp mountain air is perfect for taking advantage of the many guided tours organised by the lodge. Walk along rainforest tracks to go bird watching, take a trip in a dug-out canoe down the river to see the waterfalls or go by four wheel drive to visit a village and watch a traditional singsing.
    South of Mendi, the capital of the Province, is Lake Kutubu. The beauty of this tranquil setting can be enjoyed from the Lake Kutubu Lodge, situated on a ridge overlooking the lake. The Lodge built by the local people to allow visitors to observe traditional life in comfortable surroundings is constructed of bush materials. Butterflies and Bird of Paradise are common in this area. The Lodge will arrange tours to some of the beautiful rivers and waterfalls nearby.
    Warm cloths and wet weather gear are recommended for visitors to the Highlands and, particularly for women, conservative dress would be considered more appropriate, ie. long skirts rather than shorts and a sarong over swimsuit when swimming.

back GULF PROVINCE

Gulf Province, located on the southern coast of Papua New Guinea is dominated by highland mountains, lowland river deltas and wide expanses of seasonally flooded grass plains. The Turama, the Kikori, The Purari and the Vailala are just some of the great rivers that flow into swampy, delta-land of the Papuan Gulf.
    The people of the delta-land build their houses on piles high above the muddy river banks. as the rivers change course they frequently have to move their villages. Each village is centred around the men's longhouse, known as a dobu or ravi, in which weapons, important artifacts, ceremonial objects and, in the past, the skulls of enemies were stored. Men slept in the longhouse, women in smaller, individual huts outside.
     Cannibalism was a way of life for the fierce Gulf people until the arrival of Christianity. Although head-hunting has not survived the onslaught of European civilisation, seven distinct styles and artistic craftsmanship have been categorised. A thriving market for carved masks, bull roarers, headrests, skull racks and Gope boards keeps local craftsment busy.
    Gope boards are elliptical in shape and incised with brightly coloured abstract patterns. Warriors were entitled to have a gope board for each act of bravery and a board from the vanquished enemy's canoe held particular significance, transferring some of its previous owner's strength to the victor.
    Delta towns Kikori and Baimuru, although set well back from the coastline, are both serviced by coastal freighters. Canoes are still an important means of transport for villagers. The provincial centre of Kerema enjoys its government status solely because it is situated to the east of the lowland delta region and is drier. The town affords most of the basic amenities and services.
    Very few tourists visit the Gulf and tourism facilities are not readily available. Keen fishermen and canoeists visit the area and bushwalking expeditions have retraced the journeys of earlier explorers. Trekking to Wau through the Bulldog Road, created in the early 1900's during the gold exploration epic, is one such route. There are some guest houses available and village stays can be arranged.

    The Hiri Moale Festival commemorates the traditional Motuan trade voyage from Central Province to the Gulf, in search of sago in exchange for the Motuan clay pots. This event is held every August. In November the Provincial School of Arts and Crafts holds its annual festival.


Gulf Province has about 500 km of roads, mainly along the eastern coast and mountains. River and sea transportations the poplar mode of travel. Third level airlines also serve this part of the country.

PORT MORESBY, NATIONAL CAPITAL DISTRICT & CENTRAL PROVINCE

Port Moresby, the nation's capital and the main entry point for international visitors does not present an immediate picture of an ideal tropical paradise. During the winter months it is dry, dusty and brown. Summer is wet, humid and overgrown. It is a place of stark contrast. Ramshackle huts sit alongside glistening glass towers, dusty plains turn corners to expose a glittering harbour and fearsome frowns turn to welcome smiles. Port Moresby opens the door to the "land of the unexpected".
    The city is located in an area called the National Capital District or NCD. It is on the southern coast of the country and surrounds part of Fairfax Harbour. Port Moresby was named by Captain John Moresby in 1873. The following year a mission station was established at the village of Hanuabada, a traditional Papuan village and home to the Motuan people.
    During the Second World War, the small town Port Moresby was transformed into a large military camp, accommodating tens of thousands of troops during the Pacific campaigns. At the end of the war Port Moresby was the only town of any size left standing in Papua New Guinea and was chosen by the governing Australian administration to be the seat of government.
     This was the beginning of the urban drift that brought people from almost every tribal group of Papua New Guinea to the city as well as attracting a large population of foreigners. It is now a cosmopolitan city, embracing 20th century technology and development while trying to retain the traditional values of its varied population.
      It is blend of old and new. Remnants of the colonial days can still be found in downtown Port Moresby and elements of traditional life have been maintained in the nearby villages. After being destroyed during the war, Hanuabada was rebuilt in the traditional style with its houses perched on stilts over the water. Parliament House exemplifies the striking harmony of modern architecture and traditional design. The National Museum and Art Gallery exhibits cultural features of Papua New Guinea's complex tribal lifestyles.
    The annual Hiri Moale festival held every September celebrates one of the epic trading voyages between Central Province villagers and the people in the Gulf of Papua.

     It is a three day festival of traditional dance, singsing, drama. During the festivities, Port Moresby's Ela Beach is lined with stilt houses, canoes and swaying dancers decorated with leis of frangipani and hibiscus.
    In June people come from far and wide to take part in the Singsing at the Port Moresby Show. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience and capture on film the colour and vibrancy of Papua New Guinea.

    Equally colourful is the display of native orchids found at the Botanical Gardens. The collection of over three thousand orchid species, unique to Papua New Guinea is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. They flower all year round with peak flowering season for most orchids between December to March.

Surrounding the National Capital District is Central Province, a narrow coastal strip which rises to the 4000 metre high Owen Stanley Ranges which form its northern border and divides and isolates the Province from the north. All roads out of Port Moresby lead to delightful adventure.
    Only 46 kilometres from Port Moresby is the Sogeri Plateau. At 800 metres the air is cool and pleasant. Sogeri is the starting point for the famous Kokoda Trail. A little further on is Variarata National Park. Covering an area of 1,000 hectares, it was the original hunting grounds of its tree-house dwelling landowners. At certain times of the day, birds of paradise, wallabies and deer can be seen along the walking trails. At the end of the trail the lookout presents a panoramic view of Port Moresby and the coastline. The road to Sogeri passes the historic Bomana War Cemetery and Gardens and the Moitaka Wildlife Farm, a crocodile research farm which also has a collection of native animals and birds. On Fridays visitors are able to see the crocodiles at lunch.
    Yule Island, two hours drive west along the Hiritano Highway was one of the first areas to have European contact. Catholic missionaries settled here in 1885 and still maintain a presence in the area. It is a popular spot for peaceful getaways and seafood delights.
    To the east, only fifteen minutes drive from Port Moresby is Loloata Island Resort, a popular destination for Port Moresby residents and a relaxing alternative for transiting visitors. Surrounded by coral reefs it offers snorkelling, diving, fishing and other water sports. back

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