My wife had been in the country for almost 7-months since we arrived from Canada and had seen nothing except the dry and limited area around the capital city of Port Moresby. As a result, she and the wife of one of the guys I worked with decided they needed a change of scenery one weekend while we men looked after the children. Off they jetted to beautiful Madang, settling in at the Madang Resort Hotel.
This 5-star 100-room hotel is located in 5 acres of landscaped gardens close to downtown on Madang's ocean front, within the Yomilon Lagoon. The lush grounds of the hotel contain a very nice mixture of tropical trees and ferns as well as a collection of local fauna such as hornbills, cockatoos and tree kangaroos. In addition to having a large salt-water swimming pool, the open-plan Haus Wing restaurant and well-appointed rooms make this a great spot to spend a few days. As an added feature, a luxury catamaran cruiser, the MV 'Melanesian Discoverer' provides cruises along the coast from here, lasting from 5-7 days.
One of the attractions at the hotel was this very friendly Papuan Hornbill, who decided to hop a free ride on the shoulder of my wife's friend. These birds (Aceros Plicatus) can grow to be 3-ft (1-m) in height and are common in the lowland forests of New Guinea. Normally they fly in groups, high over the rain forest as they seek out whatever type of fruit takes their fancy. However, both in Madang and further up the coast in Wewak, my wife and I had encounters with very friendly members of the species. Usually, this is the result of the birds being raised from a young age by staff at the resorts. They are not at all shy, and will perch on you, peck at you and follow you into your room if they feel like it! Quite amusing creatures!
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