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Port Moresby

Photo © JLT89

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Papua New Guinea Port Moresby

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Introduction

Port Moresby is the capital and largest city in Papua New Guinea and has a total population of 6,3 million inhabitants. The city is located in the southeast of the country along the shores of the Gulf of Papua and is the commercial, political and cultural heart of the country as well as the main transportation hub to the rest of the country. Port Moresby has a reputation of being one of the most unsafe cities in the world with high crime and murder rates. Apart from moving onwards to more peaceful parts of the country, the city hasn't got much to offer for travellers.

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Sights and Activities

  • Port Moresby Nature Park (formerly National Capital Botanical Gardens) - A must for the visitor. Has some amazing examples of PNG wildlife such as birds of paradise, a couple of casowaris, and several other native birds. If you are lucky you might catch a wedding while you are there as some locals like to conduct the ceremony in the gardens. On the same road is the National Orchid Garden which is also well worth a look - it is planned to encompass a zoological garden in the future.
  • Touaguba Hill - Perhaps not so much to see, but this is where the ambassadorial residences are located and is also where many of the well-to-do expats and locals live. There is a nice view from the top of the hill overlooking the centre of the city and the ocean.
  • Moitaka Wildlife Sanctuary, Sir Hubert Murray Highway. Numerous crocodiles, some very large, as well as birds and other animals. edit
  • Port Moresby Golf Club. A nice golf course located right across from the government buildings. The prices are quite acceptable for visitors. Be careful, crocodiles inhabit the water holes of the golf course. The main building has a nice restaurant where one can have lunch and have a few SP beers (South Pacific beers) after a round of golf.
  • Ela Beach Craft Market. Run by the Ela Murray International School and held on the last Saturday of each month, this market brings together local artifacts from all over Papua New Guinea. An easy way to get some beautiful carvings, handwoven baskets, or any of a number of other things to bring home as souvenirs.
  • Papua New Guinea National Museum & Art Gallery, Independence Drive, Waigani (Next to the National Parliament House), ☎ +675 325 2458, e-mail: nationalmuseum@museumpng.gov.pg. M-F 9:00am-3:00pm, Sun 1:00-3:00pm. PNG's national museum has a relatively small, but very interesting, collection which includes traditional boats and cultural objects. Photography is not permitted inside the museum.
  • Bomana War Cemetery, 9 Mile. 9:00am-4:00pm. The resting place of many Australian soldiers from the Kokoda Trail, plus some of the Papuan Battalion in the last two rows. A nurse in the third last row is the only woman in the cemetery.

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Events and Festivals

  • Hiri Moale Festival - This takes place on the weekend of PNG's Independence Day in mid-September. The centrepiece is a race of up to 100 traditional Lakatoi canoes, recalling the sea voyages undertaken by the Motuan people from the Port Moresby area who exchanged sago and clay pots with the people of neighbouring Gulf Province. The departure of the canoes from Port Moresby's Ela Beach is really spectacular. The Festival is the city's main cultural show with traditional performances, as well as the canoes.

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Weather

Port Moresby has a typical tropical climate with hot and humid weather year round. Temperatures during the day average around 30 °C, while at night the temperature usually doesn't drop below 20 °C. The wet season falls in the months of December to April, but during the dry period rain is still possible.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max32.1 °C31.6 °C31.4 °C31.3 °C31 °C30.3 °C29.9 °C30.3 °C31 °C32 °C32.5 °C32.4 °C
Avg Min23.7 °C23.5 °C23.4 °C23.5 °C23.5 °C23.1 °C22.4 °C22.6 °C23.2 °C23.5 °C23.6 °C23.7 °C
Rainfall192.2 mm140.6 mm189.8 mm105.2 mm56.2 mm21.6 mm13.8 mm12 mm14.4 mm15.2 mm40 mm97.8 mm
Rain Days18161811964455612

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Getting There

By Plane

Jacksons International Airport (POM), 8 kilometres from Port Moresby, handles all incoming and outgoing flights. Taxis to the city centre are generally easy to find. Several bus routes run into the city.

The national airline, Air Niugini, has its hub here and has connections to many international destinations including Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo and Singapore in Asia, Sydney, Cairns and Brisbane in Australia and Nadi and Honiara in the Pacific. From the same Australian cities there are flights to Port Moresby by Qantas as well.

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Getting Around

For a tourist, the attractions in Moresby can be spread out. There is little 'attraction' in the CBD and walking around will not get you very far. It is nice to walk along Ela Beach and around market areas but otherwise you will be reliant on motorised transport. There is the odd push-bike around the place - though finding one for hire may be a challenge.

By Car

Car rental agencies are available close to Jacksons International airport but driving in Port Moresby might not be what most people are used to. In some areas of POM the locals throw stones at the car, usually just for amusement but in some cases they manage to crack your windshield. There are cases of people standing in the middle of a stretch of road they have mended and demanding compensation from people driving by, and as soon as you get outside of the city the roads deteriorate to muddy trails that only a 4x4 with an experienced driver should attempt. If you want to see the sights near Moresby such as Crystal Rapids near Sogeri or the start of the Kokoda, a 4x4 is highly recommended.

There are numerous taxis (some 'teksis' too) around Moresby and calling one from your hotel will bring one promptly. You can try your luck hailing one but if you want to feel safe arrange a friend or your hotel to call a reliable driver - there is a genuine risk of robbery that can be avoided if the hotel knows exactly who you went with. When you get a good driver, take their phone number down for future trips. Taxis often have meters but they are rarely used, so agree on a price as you get in. Short trips might cost K10-20, trips from Waigani to Ela Beach might be K40-50 and to the airport anything from K50-100. Taxis might be willing to wait for you at shops and can agree on an hourly rate.

By Public Transport

The locals rely on mini-buses (known as Public Motor Vehicles) that service all parts of the city. Whilst cheap, some drivers do not mind over-loading their vans. All PMVs have their route number and destination printed on - it is easy to ask locals where the buses go, they'll be happy to help and warn you.

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Eat

There are basically four stores to buy groceries if you are a foreigner in Port Moresby: Andersons Foodland, now called SVS Harbour City, Stop and Shop in Hohola, and Boroko Foodworld in Boroko and Gordons. Andersons is located right next to the Royal Papua Yacht club and usually suffices. Otherwise there is Foodworld which is larger and located over the hill in Boroko. An even larger and newer Boroko Foodworld is further east in Gordons. Just recently Port Moresby has opened its first shopping mall called Vision City in Waigani. There is a large hypermarket called RH selling anything from household furniture to baked beans. Their supply is abundant and the quality is good and prices are competitive. What one should bear in mind though is that everything imported might not always be there. Often if you see something you like you have to buy a lot of it because there is no telling when the next shipment is coming. This doesn't apply to basic foodstuffs but rather to things that might not be in high demand such as herring. RH has basically closed this gap.

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Drink

The drink of choice in Port Moresby as in the rest of Papua New Guinea is South Pacific lager: "SP beer". However, once that cultural experience is done, you will probably prefer to move on to the more refined 'SP Export' lager, or 'Niugini Ice' beer. To buy alcohol you have to go to one of the characteristic yellow and green coloured shops that are usually integrated into the supermarkets. You don't want to go to the ones that aren't. They have a relatively limited selection of wines, mostly Australian or New Zealand brands. The prices are higher than you would expect because of the taxation of alcohol. The locals tend to get quite rowdy when they drink (as everywhere else) so it's best to avoid anyone that seems to be under the influence. Typically most expats drink at hotel bars or sports club bars, which have a more relaxed atmosphere.

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Sleep

One should be aware that hotels are generally quite expensive in Papua New Guinea.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hideaway HotelP O Box 6361 Boroko PNGHotel-
Wellness Eco Lodgep.o. box 4651, boroko sec 21 lot 28,borokoHotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage among the people is relatively low. You can find internet cafes in major cities, towns and other tourist centers. Wifi coverage is still very low, but is growing.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Papua New Guinea's international country code is 675.

Digicel is by far the better telecom provider. A new prepaid sim card is easy to purchase and can be used in any unlocked phone. Calls cost from 0.60-1.00 kina and SMS from 0.25 kina. Topup is available anywhere where there is network and also online (credit card or PayPal). Mobile Internet costs 0.35 kina per MB but it's possible to buy hourly (30 MB for 1 kina), daily (60 MB for 2.5 kina), weekly (150 MB for 10 kina) or monthly (900 MB for 65 kina) packages. There are also promotions and packages for calls and sms.

Post

Post PNG offers postal service in the country. It is only recommended to use for sending postcards, as it is not very reliable nor fast. To send packages overseas, use international courier companies like FedEx, DHL or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -9.46559
  • Longitude: 147.1969

Accommodation in Port Moresby

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This is version 11. Last edited at 8:23 on May 10, 17 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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