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The Kainantu Lodge is a two-story hotel, located on a hill above Kainantu. It is close to both the local Golf Course and the Eastern Highlands Cultural Centre. The Lodge features 22 rooms, 3 conference rooms, a restaurant and a bar/lounge with a log fireplace. It also has a swimming pool, tennis courts and will supply a free shuttle service to and from the Goroka airport, 80 km (50 miles) distant.
With our New Zealand hosts arranging child-minding services for the older children, we enjoyed a very pleasant outing at the Kainantu Lodge with them and our youngest daughter. The meal was excellent, the beer cold and it was very enjoyable to have a fireplace in action with a slight tinge of smoke in the air!
Dress Code: Wear something long-sleeved for the cool nights of the Highlands, in case the fireplace is not on!
Updated Feb 16, 2009
Phone: +675 737-1020
We stopped to have a look at this local market that we encountered on our off-the-beaten-path drive near Aiyura. My oldest daughter is wandering among the many sellers checking out what is available for sale in this most scenic location, surrounded by the distant mountains.
What to buy: The typical Highlands foods are sweet potatoes, taro, yams and cassava, so there were small piles of these available for purchase. Also, woven bags, mats and various trinkets. I don't think they get too many 'tourists' at this market!
Updated Aug 26, 2005
The lifeblood of the towns and cities in the Highlands of PNG was dependent on the Ramu Hydro station, located only a few miles from Kainantu. Two of Papua New Guinea's rivers, the Sepik (to the west) and the Ramu, starting in the mountains not far from Lae and Madang, drain almost all the water on the north side of the main island part of PNG. As a result, it was a natural to tap the Ramu River for a hydro dam, built between 1972-76 by Hyundai from South Korea. Elcom had its own small village, Yonki, located there to house the staff running the complex. It was there, either with an expatriate family from New Zealand or in an Elcom guest house that I normally stayed when in the area on a work assignment.
The three 15,000 kW hydro generators there (with their grey transformers sitting above the building) were enough to supply this whole area of PNG, by means of a 66,000 volt transmission system. One line went west to supply Kundiawa, Goroka and Mt. Hagen, another went east to supply Kainantu and Lae while the final line went north to Madang. For cases of trouble, smaller diesel generating stations were also connected to the system at Lae, Madang and Mt. Hagen. After I left the country, another dam was built upstream, allowng addition of two more 15,000 kW generators to the combined Ramu complex.
I visited Ramu several times to sort out various problems, including solving one that had been periodically blacking out the whole power system in this part of the country ever since the dam went into service. There were also trips to the outlying towns to deal with transmission-related problems, so there was never any shortage of work!
Updated Feb 16, 2009
Favorite thing: Kainantu is the first major settlement you will encounter upon driving up into the Highlands. The quickest way to get there is to fly into Goroka and then make the approximately 1-hour drive to the east. However, my family and I took the 'scenic' route on our trip by flying into Nadzab airport outside of Lae, on the northeastern coast, and then enjoying the slightly longer 2-hour drive from there. As you can see, Aiyura is not too far south of Kainantu.
Updated Aug 27, 2005