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Introducing Kundiawa

Kundiawa was the site of the Highlands’ first government station, but has been left behind by Goroka and Mt Hagen. Although it’s the provincial capital, Kundiawa is pretty small. There’s a bank, post office, small supermarket, bakery (with decent coffee) and that’s about it.

Caves around Kundiawa invite exploration, but as some were once used as burial places you shouldn’t visit them without consulting local advice as they may be tambu (forbidden). Assuming you get permission, some of the more promising spelunking spots include the Keu Caves, close to the main road near Chuave, and the Nambaiyufa Amphitheatre for its rock paintings, also near Chuave.

Mt Wilhelm Hotel doesn’t have much competition and is a bit run-down, but it’s the best place to stop if you don’t make it all the way to Kegsugl, the trailhead to climb Mt Wilhelm. Despite its ‘Mt Wilhelm’ name, the staff at the hotel are spectacularly uninformed about climbing the mountain itself. The hotel restaurant has a small selection of generously proportioned meals (K25 to K40) and some colourful murals to give it a splash of artistic flair.