The now impressively pot-holed Hiritano Hwy once connected Port Moresby with Kerema, far to the west in Gulf Province. Locals now abandon the road at Malalaua for dinghies that ferry them the last 70km. If you do consider driving the whole highway, only do so in the dry season and bring an extra 4WD with a winch to pull free your first vehicle from the waist-high mud. There is talk of road repairs but in these parts talk is cheap, and road repairs are expensive.
This area is home to the Mekeo people, who are noted for their colourful, dancing costumes and face-painting. On ceremonial occasions the men paint their faces in striking geometric designs.
If you fancy munching on a marsupial, watch for the Vanuamai people selling roasted wallaby (K10 for a set of ribs) along the roadside. They taste pretty good – the wallabies that is, not the Vanuamai people; no one has been eaten around here for decades.