The town of Finschhafen was the German New Guinea Company’s first attempt at colonising New Guinea. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well and nothing remains of the original settlement aside from a lone Lutheran Mission building. Today Finschhafen refers to the district and the collective series of peaceful coastal towns within it. The principal settlement is Gagidu Station, 3km from Buki Wharf and about 30km from Maneba.
Towards the end of WWII the area was used as a staging post for US troops and vast numbers of GIs passed through. The war’s abrupt end left millions of dollars worth of aircraft and equipment redundant, so the whole lot was bulldozed into a huge hole; ask at Dregerhafen High School, about 4km south of Gagidu Station, for directions.
Although there isn’t a lot to do in Finschhafen, its proximity to Lae and abundance of white sandy beaches make it a great weekend escape. Butaweng waterfalls and Langemack Bay are the pick of the mainland swimming spots.
There is little in the way of formal accommodation other than a couple of family-run guesthouses in Gagidu Station – ask the locals to point them out. The only way to get to Finschhafen (either Maneba or Buki Wharf) is by boat.
PMVs run between Gagidu and Maneba over a diabolical road (K10, 1½ hours) and from Buki Wharf to Gagidu Station (K4).