Mount Hagen

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Papua New Guinea Mount Hagen

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Introduction

Mount Hagen is third largest city in Papua New Guinea, with a population of about 47,000. It is the capital of the Western Highlands Province and is located in the large fertile Wahgi Valley in central mainland Papua New Guinea, at an elevation of 1,677 metres. The city is named after the old eroded volcano Mount Hagen, located about 24 kilometres to the northwest. The volcano was named after the German colonial officer Curt von Hagen (1859-1897).

Mt. Hagen was unknown to the West until 1933 when the Leahy brothers, Mick and Dan, flew over the heavily populated and fertile area and then organized a foot patrol to explore further. Even thirty years ago Mt. Hagen was a fascinating and largely peaceful place to visit, with PNG Highlanders still walking around in traditional costumes. These days it remains just as fascinating but the traditional costumes are largely reserved for special occasions and Mt. Hagen is a very dangerous place as guns have often replaced the traditional bows and arrows. The town's main hotel, the Highlander, which formerly looked out over parkland and the town's coffee market, is now surrounded by a corrugated iron fence. A visit to Mt. Hagen is now only for the bravest.

Together with Goroka in the Eastern Highlands it makes up the commercial hub of the Highlands, which make their money from mining, coffee and other agricultural crops that grow at altitude, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes.

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Sights and Activities

  • Mount Hagen's market. On busy days this can be a fascinating experience, both to see the produce on display and to look at the people. However, traditional dress, common just 20 years ago, has all but disappeared. You will need to attend the Mt. Hagen show for that.
  • Mount Hagen show is held in August. Many different Highland tribes are represented, each wearing their distinctive headdresses of feathers and flowers and body paint.

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Getting There

By Plane

Mount Hagen Airport (HGU) offers flights to/from Goroka, Kiunga, Moro, Port Moresby, Tabubil, Wewak, Telefomin and Sumbai.

By Car

The Highlands Highway is the main arterial route to connect Mount Hagen with the coastal cities of Lae and Madang. The road is theoretically sealed, although frequent landslides and general deterioration can lead to parts of the road becoming unsealed or rough.

By Bus

You can travel from Mt Hagen along the Highlands Highway by using the popular PMV buses which operate as taxis or hire a car from the numerous hire car companies within Mt Hagen. Because of the difficult road conditions of the Highlands Highway, it is advisable to use four-wheel drive cars.

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Eat

Banz Kofi Kave, Airport Road (a few hundred metres south of the terminal). A genuine western cafe showcasing Banz Kofi and also serving breakfasts, sandwiches and scones (with jam and cream).

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Sleep

  • Fispool Guest House (Red Corner, Newtown -Opposite WR Carpenters Flats), ☎ +675 72721067. 10 minutes walk from town centre. Only recently established, this guesthouse has had few international visitors, but is popular with PNG nationals. Suitable for backpackers, not for the fussy. Very cheap at K30 for a double room.
  • Highlander Hotel. The city's major hotel, where visiting politicians, government officials, etc. stay. Nice gardens and adequate rooms. Food can be a bit dodgy.
  • Kagamuga Lodge (to the east of the town near the airport), ☎ +675 545-1653, fax: +675 545-1254, ✉ maxkum@online.net.pg.

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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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Mount Hagen Travel Helpers

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This is version 3. Last edited at 11:33 on May 29, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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