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Introducing Tabubil

Tabubil dances to the tune of Ok Tedi, and the town exists purely to support the vast gold and copper mine 30km to the northwest. You may have to pinch your travelling companion to remind yourself that you are still in PNG. The orderly rows of Australian-style housing, footpaths, street signs and roads free from potholes makes it seem like the last bastion of Western civilisation in an apocalyptic film.

Tabubil has dreadful weather. It was raining when we arrived and it was raining when we left. When asked how long it had been raining, a local replied ‘seven months’. When we later asked him how long had he lived in Tabubil he replied, ‘seven months’.

Tabubil has a post office, well-equipped hospital, pharmacy and supermarkets in a complex near the centre of town. Westpac (548 9169) has a branch where you can withdraw money against your credit card. ATMs are coming soon.

Like Kiunga, the bird life in the valleys around Tabubil is quite amazing – there are more than 10 species of birds of paradise. Most birders engage Samuel Kepuknai from Kiunga as a guide.