Some experiences from travelling in Papua New Guinea
PNG is a particularly fascinating and quite unexplored tourist destination, a place many have on their wish list but might be uncertain about: Is it difficult to get around; does it need to be expensive; do people understand English; should I leave to others to make all the practical arrangements?
The decisive factor is time. If you have a week or ten days an organized stay at a resort, or with a touring or trekking company might be the best choice. There are several resorts both along the coasts, in the Highlands and along the big rivers, some specializing in diving, bird watching, fishing or cultural experiences, and some offering a bit of everything. There are price differences of course, which is also the case with the touring companies from abroad that have PNG on their schedule, so you want to
check out what suits your budget.
If your plans are a bit more flexible, as mine have been, you can aim for a spot, book a few days at a hotel or resort, and then make arrangements with local people to visit special sights and places: villages, islands, waterfalls, bird watching sites, etc. Tufi is an ideal spot for this kind of travelling, and for me this has been a successful approach around Lae and Alotau as well: Kamiali and Salamaua south of Lae and the hot springs and villages on Fergusson Island are among the treasures in my travel scrap book.
The Moresby syndrome
A convenient feature for most of us is that English is spoken and understood pretty much everywhere. On the negative side are the fired-up hotel prices in Port Moresby. It’s not a bad idea to move on straight away on your arrival in the capital, but when returning you should book a night to be on the safe side – weather or other circumstances sometimes causes delays on domestic flights.
Rather than overspending in Moresby I prefer to spend an extra night at a pretty and relaxing resort or spend some extra in the villages. When in Port Moresby I usually stay at the reasonable and well-run Comfort Inn. Another good (but more expensive) alternative is to book at Loloata Island Resort just south of town.
Try out the village guest houses! There are many all over the country, and I believe Tufi has the most. These are basic, bush material houses, but full catered and including transportation and guiding services; most of them need a day or two’s notice for preparations. At Orotoaba (Tufi) I’ve had a morning Bird-of-Paradise walk followed by a lobster brunch; at Kamiali (Morobe) I’ve spent the sun rise hours paddling up a tranquil river; at Waluma (Fergusson Island) I’ve snorkeled by underwater volcanic vents; and at Angorogho (Tufi) I have climbed up to a hidden skull cave. My list is endless and spectacular.
Give it a try!!
For village guest house information visit Village Huts
PS: Check blog posts below for stories about cultural festivals, waterfall walks, etc…