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Southern Papuan Region Attraction

 

Southern or also known as the Papuan Regions is a region of pure contrasts and home to the national capital. The region incorporates the Central, Oro Western, Gulf, & Milne Bay Provinces and National Capital District.

 

Central Province
Divided from its northern neighbours by towering Owen Stanley Range (4000m), Central Province is home to the nation’s capital of Port Moresby. The province encompasses the Sogeri Plateau, the rugged Varirata National Park, a haven for bird watchers with fine views and jungle walks, and the reefs of Bootless Bay, which offer superb diving. The famous Kokoda Trail links the southern coast to the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. One end of Kokoda Trail is located in the Central Province, while the other ends in the Oro Province.

Things to see

  • Sogeri Plateau: Lying at 600m and 46km inland, Sogeri is much cooler and greener than Moresby. Sogeri Road leaves Sir Hubert Murray Highway near the airport and follows the Laloki River, climbing above the gorge with a view of spectacular Rouna Falls. Soon after the falls a road to the right leads to Varirata National Park. The next road left, marked by Kokoda monument, goes to Owers Corner and the start of the Kokoda Trail. Crystal Rapids, where you can picnic and swim for a small fee, and Sirinumu Dam are along the next road right, or continue straight ahead to Sogeri.
  • Varirata National Park: There is some pleasant walking here, with a network of trails, grassy picnic areas and shelters with barbecues, and lookouts giving fine views to Port Moresby and out to sea. Wallabies are common and birdlife is plentiful. Early morning is the best time to see birds of Paradise. You can camp in the park or stay in the small park lodge.
  • Loloata Island: This pleasant retreat from Moresby lies off Bootless Bay and offers diving, snorkelling, fishing, sail boarding or just relaxing.
  • Yule Island: The large Catholic mission here was founded in 1885 and for a while the island was a government a headquarters. Fishing, swimming, history and good scenery are the attractions. The drive from Moresby is 160km (3 hours) via Hiritano Highway, turning off to Poukama where a canoe will take you to the island.
  • Trekking: The famous 96km Kokoda Trail, taking from 5 to 10 days to walk (depending on fitness and conditions), crosses the spine of the country from the Central Province side of trail into the Oro Province. It passes through remote, rugged country and it’s advisable to use guides.
  • Flight-seeing: The ‘milk run’ to Woitape, Ononge, Fane and Tapini villages by air is a great way to visit some remote country if you are short of time. Some of these village airstrips are very exciting.
  • Surfing: The best beaches are at Hula, 100km east of Port Moresby, from June to September.
  • Fishing: Galley Reach, a few hours from Port Moresby, offers a variety of fishing.

Gulf Province
Located on the southern coast of Papua New Guinea, this region is dominated by highland mountains, lowland river deltas and wide grass plains. The Turuma, Kikori, Purari and the Vailala are just some of the great rivers that flow into the swampy, delta land-land of Papuan Gulf. The huge, forested Lakekamu basin is rich in birds and wildlife, and there is good walking in the Kaintiba area. Kerema is the provincial centre, with a bank and trade outlets.

Things to see and do:

  • Kerema: Most travel around the town is by canoe along the many waterways. The town has a bank and trade stores. Prawn fishing is an important industry here.
  • Arts and Crafts: Art is still strong in the Gulf region with several distinct styles. The items are masks, bullroarers, headrests, skull racks and gope boards. The latter were made for each act of bravery or successful conquest of an enemy and elliptical and carved with abstract patterns or stylized figures.
  • Kaintiba: This area in the mountains behind the coast is good for walking. There are many villages and most have missions where it is possible to stay.
  • Lakekamu Basin: This huge forested basin is rich in birds and wildlife. During World War II, the Bulldog Track was pushed from Malalaua to Edie Creek near Wau in Morobe Province to carry provisions. Guesthouses located in the area are located in Makara, Kakoro, and Tekaku villages.

Milne Bay Province
On the eastern tip of mainland Papua New Guinea, this beautiful province encompasses more than 160 named islands, including the Trobriand and De’Entrecasteaux groups. The provincial capital Alotau and its busy habour are spectacularly sited on the edge of Milne Bay. The province’s islands are fringed with beaches, reefs and crystal clear lagoons, and there are many good diving sites, as well as birdwatching and caving.

Things to see

  • Around Alotau: The town and its busy harbour are spectacularly sited on the edge of Milne Bay. For good views climb the hill behind the town. Handcrafts, mostly from the Trobriand Islands, are available at the Masurina Business Centre and Lodge.
  • Samarai & the China Strait: The 24ha Samarai Island was the provincial’s headquarters until 1968. There are guesthouses here or you can stay on other nearby islands. All have good beaches and reefs and some have walking trails.
  • De’Entrecasteaux Islands: The largest in the group is Fergusson Island which has thermal areas with hot springs and bubbling mud pools. Salamo has gueshouses and there are plenty of good walks. The district headquarters is at Esa’ala on Normanby Island, at the entrance to the spectacular Dobu Passage. Reefs close to town are good for snorkelling.
  • Trobriands: The low-lying ‘Trobes’ are famous for their huge yam gardens and tribal rituals. Beautifully carved bowls, walking sticks and fish are another hallmark of these islands. Losuia, on the biggest island Kiriwina, has village stays and visits to freshwater holes and burial caves.
  • East Cape: Snorkelling and diving are fantastic here and beaches and scenery en route to the cape are beautiful.
    Things to do
    • Diving: Places to dive are innumerable in Milne Bay and around the islands and are best from a live-aboard dive boat. The local experts Milne Bay Marine Charters also do day trips.
    • Cruising: The comfortable way to see the islands is aboard the luxury Melanesian Discoverer which cruises between Alotau and Madang via the Trobriands.
    • Island Hopping: Airlines PNG does a regular ‘milk run’ around the islands and is a good way to see some remote places in a short time.
    • Walking/trekking: The Wedau area on the north coast offers walks and the Cape Vogel area has bush trails and waterfalls to explore from Bogaboga Guesthouse.

  • Birdwatching: The Alotau area is good for birds.At the Masurina Business Centre in town we can organise a guide through your hotel for birding experience

National Capital District/Port moresby
Port Moresby is the country’s capital and principle port of PNG, which overlooks a fine natural harbour on the southern coast of the mountainous Central Province. The city is home to people from more than 800 cultures and tribes, and the country’s largest foreign community. The National Parliament Building, with its striking blend of modern architecture and traditional design, can be found here. From Ela Beach in the city, and Koki, the venue of colourful market, the road leads inland to Boroko and Waigani suburbs. Jackson International Airport is the gateway for international travellers to Papua New Guinea and the hub of the country’s domestic air services.

 

Things to see and do

  • Parliament House: Originally designed and built emulating the Maprik Haus Tambaran (house of spirits), this impressive building was opened in 1984. It’s an interesting place whether Parliament is sitting or not. A small shop has books and displays of Papua New Guinea’s fantastic butterflies.
  • Markets: Gordons Market is one of the largest and busiest markets in the country and always bustling. The fresh fruits and vegetables are superb, and the also sell fish and exotic meats. Koki market, on the waterfront near the Koki shops, is the main seafood market and best on Saturdays.
  • National Museum & Art Gallery: Located on independence Hill close to Parliament House, the museum has excellent displays on exotic flora and fauna, culture, geography, ethnography and history of PNG which includes examples of masks and shields, shells, and local foods. A small shady courtyard in front is a pleasant place to sit and has a few live specimens of local wildlife to view. The small bookshop has a limited range of books and displays on prehistory and culture.
  • Moitaka Wildlife Sanctuary: Crocodile feeding is on Friday afternoons from 2pm-4pm when the place is open to the public. There are some huge crocs and it’s an act worth seeing.  Other animals and birds include a town on the Sir Hubert Murray Highway.
  • Libraries: The Michael Somare Library located at the University of Papua New Guinea, Waigani Campus and the National Library located at Waigan, Independence Drive, have huge PNG collections. Both are open to the public.
  • City and Harbour Views: These are great from Paga Hill behind Crown Plaza or from Touaguba Hill above the harbour. A tour of the city may include these lookout points as well as the stilt villages of Hanuabada.
  • National Botanical Gardens: This is a haven of greenery with 2km of boardwalk threading beneath a jungle canopy, green lawns, excellent wild life displays, and a huge collection of orchids. A shade house in the shape of the country has plants from all regions. Located just beyond the University of Papua New Guinea on Waigani Drive.
  • Bomana War Cemetery: Thousands of young Australian and Papua New Guinean soldiers are buried in this carefully tended WWII cemetery, a heart-wrenching reminder of the horrific campaigns in the region. Located on the Sogeri Road not far from the Sir Hubert Murray Highway.
  • Hiri Moale Festival: Celebrating the traditional trading that took place along the coast, this is celebrated mid September, around Independence Day. Replicas of the lakatois – the giant canoes that were used – pull up on Ela Beach to dancing and singing.

Oro (Northern) Province.
Sandwiched between the Solomon Sea and the Owen Stanley Range, the mountainous Oro Province contains coastal flatlands and several active volcanoes. The climb to the summit of Mount Lamington (1585m) offers fine views over the area and, for many visitors, is a highlight of their stay. Another highlight for the walkers is the Kokoda Trail – an historic track once used by the early gold miners. Oro is known for the bitter fighting between the Japanese and the Allied troops during World War II. The capital of Popondetta services the large palm oil industry. Toward the east, Tufi Station has excellent diving in magnificent natural fjords. Clay pots and tapa coths are the area’s crafts.

Things to see

  • Popondetta: The town services the large oil palm industry and there are banks and airline offices, supermarkets and a bakery. There is memorial to the victims of the Mount Lamington eruption in 1951, as well as a war memorial with a map of key battle sites.
  • Butterflies: The province’s symbol is the Queen Alexandra birdwing butterfly – the largest in the world with a wing span of 30cm. You can see the birdwing, and three similar species at Ondahari Village, about 40 minutes north of Popondetta.
  • Arts & Crafts: Tapa cloth, beaten from the bark of the paper mulberry, is made at Yiaku at Collingwood Bay. You can buy it at Popondetta, St Christopher’s Diocesan Office, just before the Catholic Cathedral, the Oro guest house, and the Vocational Centre.
  • War relics and sites: Most sites are scattered around Popondetta, and Buna and Gona on the coast, so take a guide.

Things to do

  • Diving & Snorkelling: Tufi at Cape Nelson has exceptionally clear waters, abundant fish and beautiful corals in its fiord-like rias. There are easily accessible wrecks and reefs with drop offs, hammer head sharks and moray eels. Wanigela, on Collingwood Bay, has great places for snorkelling and can be reached by boat from Tufi. Airlines PNG flies direct from Port Moresby on a weekly basis.
  • Canoeing: Outrigger canoes are available from many of the guesthouses around Tufi and are ideal way to explore. For a close-up of the river life you can canoe down the Embogo River.
  • Trekking & walking: Kokoda and its guesthouses are about a two-hour drive from Popondetta. Guides and information on the Kokoda Trail are available there. Mount Lamington volcanoe (1585m) can be climbed from Sasembatta Mission, and the views are superb. Get permission and guides from one of the local villages. The Tufi area also has many walks around the rias.
  • Fishing: Bendoroda Fishing Lodge offers fishing adventures from scenic location.

Western Province
Daru, the provincial centre of the Western Province, shares a main border with Irian Jaya in Indonesia. Birdwatching sites can be found around the town of Kiunga, which sits on the banks of the Fly River. Bensbach is known for its birdlife, wildlife, black bass and barramundi fishing and is a popular stopover for photographers, anglers and birdwatchers.

Things to see and do

  • Balimo: Inland from capital Daru, this missionary town on the Aramia River has a cultural centre and nearby villages specialises in carvings typical of the region.
  • Bensbach: While there are few people, these area of vast floodplain close to the Indonesian border teems with wildlife and birds. The Bensbach River is renowned for big barramundi and is a haven for keen fishers, birdwatchers and of course for photographers.
  • Tabubil: Built to service the OK Tedi mine, Tabubil sits in a wide forested valley and has all services to cater for the large expat population. Birdlife in the region includes 16 different birds of paradise. Other things to do are playing golf (nine holes), running with the Hash House Harriers, or you can rent a vehicle and explore the Lukwi caves 18km along the Okma Road.
  • Kiunga: Ore slurry is piped from Tabubil to Kiunga then taken downstream on barges to waiting vessels. The rough road linking the two towns offers great birdwatching opportunities.

 

 

2012 Traditional Sing-sings and Festivities:

 2012 Mt Hagen Show Pkgs

 2012 Goroka Show Pkgs

 2012 Morobe Show Pkgs

 2012 PNG Mask Festival

 2012 Waghi Show Pkgs

 

Be ware! Good accommodations for the Mt Hagen Show and Goroka Shows are usually sold out months and years in advance before the actual dates of the shows. Its advisable to book early and secure your rooms. To secure your space for any of the packages on offer send us an email or call us on +675 5423552.

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Trobriand Island women and young girls parading with their harvested yams in the Mila-Mala yam Festival.

Curious Islanders looking out in the ocean for an oncoming cruise ship.

 

 

 
 
   
   
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