Madang Things to Do

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    Giant Fruit Bats

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    One of the unique sights while in Madang is their 7000-strong resident population of Speckled Flying Foxes (Pteropus conspicullatus), a type of giant fruit bat. Known as 'kwandi' by the locals, they get their name from a band of straw-coloured hair around their eyes. Although they have an impressive 4-6 ft wingspan (1.5-m) these bats only top the scales at 1.3-lb (600 grams).

    Normally, the bats nest in large 'camps' in the treetops of the forests, but residents noticed them moving into town in the mid-70s. It is not exactly known what caused this, perhaps due to the extensive logging in the forests surrounding Madang. The result is that it is now easy to spot these bats nesting during the daytime high up in the tops of Casuarina trees that are scattered about town. They seem to have learned over the years to stay 20-25 m above ground so as to remain out of effective rock-throwing range!

    They do not actually sleep all day long and their high-pitched screeching can be heard as you walk near the trees. However, just before dusk, they get serious and begin their mass migration to the countryside in huge flocks as they seek out their typical food of fruit, flowers, nectar, buds and insects. So many of them take flight at this time of day that the airport has to temporarily suspend operations for safety reasons.

    The Spectacled Flying Fox was placed on the 'Threatened Species' list in May, 2002.

    'Flying Foxes' at Rest in Casuarina Trees
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    Stilt Houses

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    All along the north coast of Papua New Guinea, the locals live in many small villages with simply constructed housing typically looking like these dwellings. Over the centuries, they have learned how to make shelters using the raw building materials that are close at hand. This makes recovery a bit easier following typhoons, tsunamis or earthquakes given the lack of rapid assistance from the central government!

    This village on the outskirts of Madang had the typical houses perched on wooden 'stilts' a few feet above the ground. In addition to allowing for more cooling breezes to waft through, the floor is also is one further step removed from the various creepy/crawlies! Some houses also put wooden railings around these posts and used it as a fenced off area to store some of their small livestock.

    As for the houses themselves, construction consisted of various combinations of Pandanus Palm bark floors, thin bamboo rafters and walls made of lashed central spines of very large Palm leaves. Thatched Sago Palm leaves themselves are used as shingles for siding and roof.

    Sue beside a typical 'Stilt-house'
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    Coastal Views

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    If you don't feel like getting wet, a nice drive along the coastal roads is a good bet. Situated by a small spit of land sticking out into the Bismarck Sea, Madang is such a scenic spot with its palm-fringed beaches, close-in off-shore volcanic islands and the landward backdrop of the Finisterre Mountain range that it well deserves its reputation as the 'prettiest town in the South Pacific'!

    There are opportunities to stop and have a look at some of the local villages or you can take a tour inland to see what all the plantations are about.

    Horses grazing under the Palm Trees
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    Off-shore Islands and Coral Reefs

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    Because the Madang coastline lies along a geological fault line at the edge of the Pacific Ocean 'Ring of Fire', the area remains very volcanically active. Visible from the town is the large conical Karkar Island, located some miles off-shore. Further up the coast to the west, the smaller Manam Island erupted in Nov-Dec, 2004 forcing a total evacuation of the island.

    From a tourism point of view, one beneficial side-effect of this historical activity is that the seabed has been raised by the various eruptions and earthquakes, resulting in easier diving access to the local coral reefs. Advantage can be taken of this by signing up with the local hotels for reef or wreck dives in the clear waters around a number of smaller islands and reefs located very close to town. If you really want to 'chill out', some of these small islands have guesthouses with boat and canoe rentals!

    A Volcanic Island View
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    Divine Word University

    by jorgejuansanchez Written Feb 18, 2015

    This university has a public library, a travel agency and cafeteria. It is a very useful place for cultural information.

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Madang Things to Do

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