Once we had settled into our accommodations just outside Kainantu, I switched to an Elcom Landcruiser for some backcountry explorations. Here, my youngest daughter (delivered in Port Moresby about 8 months earlier by me and a nurse!) and I take a break in one of the typical alpine meadows that makes this part of PNG so lush and habitable for the local tribes. The elevation here is about 5600-ft (1700-m) so the air was fresh and the sun was warm!
A good 4WD vehicle is required for the side-roads off the sealed Highlands Highway. As you can see from the location of the steering wheel and also where I parked, driving in PNG is done British-style, on the left side of the road.
My family and I flew into Lae from Port Moresby, where I picked up an Elcom car for the 3-hour drive to Kainantu, in the Eastern Highlands. As we left Lae, the Highlands Highway first travels along the flat terrain of the Markham River Valley.
This is a scenic drive, with the deep banks of the River showing here and the velvety green slopes of the the Owen Stanley Range in the background (long since logged clear of the origninal forest cover). The photo also happens to show the 66,000 volt transmission line that runs down into Lae from the Ramu hydro complex in the mountains. After an hour or so, this nice sealed highway turns for the climb into the Highlands and an offshoot continues northwest toward the other coastal resort city of Madang. I did the drive to Madang once by myself in a Landcruiser, because of the numerous river fords required on that section of the highway.
It was hot and humid at this lower elevation, so it was nice to have air-conditioning in the car!