When we wanted to see a display of traditional native dancing, we would head for the hills surrounding Port Moresby. Part-way up the highway to the Sogeri Plateau, was the very nice Kokoda Trail Motel, complete with a restaurant/bar and swimming pool.
The children had a good time there and Sue and I enjoyed the cooler airs of the high ground. It was also here that local dancers would put on a traditional Asaro Mud Men show. This custom arose from the Eastern Highlands area near Goroka, where it is said that the men of the Asaro tribe were defeated in a battle with a neighbouring village. In order to redeem their honour, in the customary New Guinea way of 'payback', the warriors covered themselves in mud and wore ominous face masks as they launched a counter-attack. Thinking that they were being attacked by the ghosts of their enemies, the warriors of the other village fled the scene!
Driving past the harbour toward the northwest, one could access a group of low hills overlooking Port Moresby. We had some great sunset views of the harbour from that vantage point. While there, we were intrigued by these strange-looking plants which dotted the sides of these hills. I thought they were Palm trees of some sort but they are actually Cycads, not closely related to Palm trees at all.
Apparently, this ancient species of seed tree is a left-over from the Jurassic Period of 206-144 million years ago when they grew everywhere. For whatever reason, this species is now close to extinction in the wild.
Naturally, being located by the Coral Sea, there were quite a few things you could do on the water to amuse yourself. One of the first things we did was to take the 'Reef Explorer I' cruise out to some of the islands not far from Port Moresby.
It is always nice to catch some ocean breezes during the voyage and then have some fun in the water when the craft anchored at one of the islands. On this cruise, there was a good crowd of Aboriginals visiting from Australia, with a few of them sitting on the deck in this photo. Here, our oldest daughter is taking a leap off the back of the boat - I hope she is not tying to land in the dinghy!
Port Moresby National Museum, right next to the Parliament is a must see if you want to get some knowledge of the country’s cultural diversity (even though the museum is very… dusty and old setting) it even has an inner court with some parrots and other birds flying around you.
Once month, the Ela Beach Markt is THE place to go to buy local craft, and see a demonstration of Sing-sing! A MUST SEE!
An other nice market to buy hand-made craft is held in Boroko, the Boroko market, everyday except on WE, if my memory is exact!
The crocodile farm near Airways is an interesting place to see huge crocodile. They have seven of them. This place has no sign post, you’ll need someone who knows it to get there. Once there, there are nothing but huge ponds surrounded by fences, you’ll need to find one of the two keepers, one of them being dumb. They will show you the crocodiles, attract them. If you bring some frozen chicken, they’ll be delighted! They’ll feed the crocodile with it (they don’t have enough money to feed the crocodile as they should) and you’ll have a great show!!!
Next is the botanical garden, a little paradise place, very well tended and kept, with a wonderful orchid garden and bird cages. In one of them, if you find a guide in the park, you can enter the “cage” and see the birds without having to peak through fences! Great parrots, birds of paradise, cassowary! However, if you don’t have mosquito repellent lotion, the place can turn into a living hell!!!!
Out side port Moresby, going towards Sogeri (where the Kokoda trail starts) there is a beautiful national park (go with a 4 wheels car though, the road is really bumpy!). You’ll have a wonderful view over the Port Moresby area.
Not far, there is the Sogeri town, with small market, and the school museum worth seeing (open on Sundays, yes!) and further away there is a dump in which there are wall paintings dating from the prehistoric time. Get directions from the local people. On your return you can stop close from a nice waterfall (you can miss the place easily, be for the look out for a small parking place next to a power line pylon giving on the edge of the road, then walk into the bushes around a big roc, find some stairs and follow the “path” until you reach a small platform from which you have a view over the waterfall!).
When visiting villages, I always have sonme candies for kids! You can make friends for life with a little menthos!!!
I was told that the Sepik area is wonderful, highlands as well, basically all of PNG is worth visiting if you have time and money (airfares are outrageous!). For more infos, go on the Lonely planet web site (lonelyplanet.com), even though it has not been updated for a while, there are good infos, and also on the “thorn tree” sectio.
Visit Bomana Cemetery if you get a chance. Suprisingly its the cemetery with the most Australians killed in Wars in the World.
Port Moresby is a young city. There's hardly any old colonial buildings to admire. One of the few that's still standing is the Post Office. It's been there since the early 1900's.
Go up to Paga Hill which has many nice houses overlooking the Coral Sea. It also has a fantastic view of Ela Beach. The road is quite steep and narrow. Be careful when driving up there.
A pleasant beach along the tip of Port Moresby. Nice houses atop the surrounding hills overlook the beach.
Walking around Port Moresby CBD gives you an idea about how the country is progressing. There are a few highrise glass towers which houses the country's main financial institutions.