The PMV (Public Motor Vehicle) System is easy enough to use if not a little daunting at first. Stay aware of your personal security and enjoy getting up close and personal to the locals. Also much cheaper then a taxi.
About 1-year into my 3-year contract, we became friends with a great couple from Australia who had just arrived on the scene. Bruce was ex-Royal Australian Navy, so he knew what he was doing when it came to sailing and things mechanical.
Our two families lived only one house apart, our wives became best friends and we both had girls of the same age, so we ended up having many great times together. The best of those were aboard Bruce and Margaret's 26-foot schooner 'Iki Oma'. It was powered by a Volvo-Penta engine and had a great little cabin with a kitchen and sleeping berths. Some of our fondest memories are of nights spent on this boat while anchored at some small island off-shore from POM.
After we returned to Canada, their whole family made a major crossing of the Coral Sea and Solomon Sea in this vessel to reach Rabaul. We still maintain contact all these years later.
Here, the vessel (foreground) is at anchor in Bootless Bay, southeast of Port Moresby, with the typical low hills with scattered trees in the background.
My fleet of cars in Port Moresby was not the highlight of my life. I started out within a week of our arrival by buying a real piece of junk - the white 1971 Subaru FF1 seen here. Of course the fact that it only cost me 800 Kina (US$1200) should have been a bit of a tip-off. There were holes in the floor that could be seen through, the clutch did not work so you had to gun the engine to get it synchronized with the transmission for shifting and a few other little odds and ends. Since I was mostly out of town, my wife finally prevailed upon me to go 'upscale' a bit, leading to our purchase of a used blue 1974 Mazda station wagon. It was actually quite a good car, but the engine had a strange rattle to it. Sure enough, several months after we bought it, the engine suddenly seized up while Sue was driving it. Luckily, I happened to pass by in a company car just moments later, while she was sitting there on the side of the road. We pushed it into a nearby garage and I told them to put a new engine in it while I then proceeded to fly out of town for my next assignment. The car worked very well after that!
There was a road system around Port Moresby, so it was possible to drive up into the mountains or up and down the coast in both directions. Between this and just needing the car for driving around the quite spread-out POM area, a working car was essential.
I did a lot of flying in Papua New Guinea. Because Port Moresby was cut off from the rest of the country by the 14,000-ft high Owen Stanley range, I had to hop on a flight out to some remote power station about every 3 weeks for 2-years running when I was into that part of my job! Overall, I thought that Air Niugini did very well considering the terrain they were working with. A lot of people took a few small glitches to heart, leading to a common expression that someone had been 'tangfued' (a 'Typical Air Niugini F*** U*') when they were stranded somewhere!
We flew into and out of PNG on their Boeing 707s (12 hours in the air for the direct flight to Honolulu). For internal flights I would take the occassional twin-jet Dutch-built Fokker F-28 but more often the twin-turbo prop Fokker F-27. Later on, the F-27s were replaced by Canadian-built de Havilland Dash-7 four-engine turbo props. For those tough flights into really out of the way places, it would be via the world's trustiest bush plane, a de Havilland Twin Otter on one of the private airlines like Douglas Airways or Talair.
I count myself lucky that I never had any bad experiences whatsoever in my time flying all over the country. If anything ever went wrong, you had a landing choice of mountains, jungle or deep ocean!
This pic shows our 707 arriving in Sydney, Australia for our first flight into PNG as we travelled from Canada.
Port Moresby International Airport is around a 30 minute drive to the centre of town or less to other closer suburbs.
The national airline of PNG has flights to all major centres throughout the country and some close by international destinations.
I wouldn't advise hiring a car, but if you do use of of the few local petrol stations for your fuel and supplies.