Introducing Port Moresby
First-time visitors to Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby can find it confronting and even intimidating, but since all visitors enter PNG through its gritty capital almost everyone ends up spending some time here. Port Moresby is the South Pacific’s largest city, and while the sprawling capital isn’t among the world’s great metropolises, it does have redeeming features.
A visit to Parliament Haus, PNG’s most impressive building, and the cultural displays at the National Museum are recommended – the mosaic façade of Parliament Haus will excite any photographer in the late afternoon. The National Botanical Gardens are a highlight; when the orchids are blooming, it’s perhaps the city’s most charming spot. Outside town, Varirata National Park is heaven for bird-watchers and the drive there is rewarding.
The city’s relatively sophisticated infrastructure is a bonus. If you’ve been wandering through villages for weeks, a meal at one of the good restaurants is perfect after the dozens of sweet potatoes you’ll have consumed. Or it’ll serve as a welcome treat before heading bush.
Experiencing Port Moresby is about people rather than sights. It’s a microcosm of PNG’s future and it’s fascinating to talk with expats and locals to sense what it’s like to live in a city rated one of the earth’s most dangerous and least liveable.
Be mindful in Port Moresby (don’t flash your jewels), but there’s no need to be paranoid. With so little work available, most people sit around smoking, chewing betel nut, reading the newspapers – they’ll regale you with good manners and thoughtful conversation.
Port Moresby destination guides
Follow in the footsteps of history on this classic traverse of Papua New Guinea
The Kokoda Track
Surrounded by dense greenery, glistening rivers and incredible views, it is hard to believe that just over 70 years ago the 96 km Kokoda Trail was the site of one of the bloodiest battles for Australian troops in World War II. Even nowadays, to conquer the trail requires dedication, courage and mateship, just like it did back in the 1940s.