Breaking the Stigma - Port Moresby
Prior to colonisation, Port Moresby was a trading port for the Motuan people who sustained their existence by sailing to villages in boats to trade ceramics for food and canoe logs.
Driving around Port Moresby, you would never guess that this region is so full of so many day time activities and how quickly the city has started to clean up its act. Understandably, for years, it has been a city that has not been high on the travellers radar.
Crime, drug cartels and more than a tangle of razor wire are only a handful of reasons that people have kept their distance. But the city has new life being breathed into it and its catching up to the rest of the modern world - FAST.
Port Moresby Nature Park is a destination that is well worth visiting. Boasting zoological and botanical parks and gardens, its a great place to relax and unwind. With a beautiful cafe and lush lawns to laze on, this park is also educating the locals on how to preserve their wonderful nature and wildlife. One of the largest issues here in PNG is the amount of unique feathers that are needed for cultural festivals for their elaborate headdresses. One of the many initiatives being undertaken by the park is how to preserve the feathers locals already have for generations to come, instead of needing to hunt regularly.
If you are interested in spending a day at a safe local beach (yes, they do exist), visit the Taurama Barracks, which offers access to the water. Taurama Barracks is about a 10min drive along Taurama Road and for those into wind-sailing, this is a beautiful open bay with shallow waters and a great breeze.
There are also some wonderful activities to be found in the Sogeri Hills, just a few kilometres from the airport lies Port Moresby Adventure Park - home to large waterslides, a lake, fishing and fauna. Take a moment to pause at the Bomana Cemetery, which is the final resting place for over 3000 soldiers from WWII.
An hour out of the city lies the Variata National Park which offers six walking tracks that range from 40mins to three hour treks. Here you can witness amazing bird life including the Bird of Paradise and kingfishers. Following the main road past the National Park, you will pass the Sogeri Monument which is well worth viewing. This monument tells the tales of the battles along the Kokoda Track and is a lovely peaceful spot to stop for a break.
Just beyond the Sogeri Monument, you will come across the Koitaki Club, a tranquil establishment where you can enjoy refreshments, a swim in the pool, a horse ride, camping and trekking.
Southeast of Port Moresby lies Loloata Island, a small island resort that offers world class diving and a chance to soak up the sunshine and rejuvenate. While here, also head down to March Girls Resort (a further 15min drive) and ask a local to take you out to the 1.5km reef that runs parallel to the beach for some of the worlds best snorkelling.
In town itself, Port Moresby is really coming into the modern world. New five star hotels are being built left, right and centre providing travellers a level of luxury and comfort that previously wasn't on offer and a brand new world class convention centre has recently opened.
The government introduced an initiative for all the razor wire to be removed, and fined those who did not pull theirs down. This alone has completely transformed the city and the mentality of those who arrive here.
The waterfront now offers a variety of alfresco dining options with the buildings cleaned up and a beautiful art deco vibe proudly beams down on you as you explore safely. There is still plenty of construction going on as Port Moresby continues to improve. Below is what the waterfront area is expected to look like on completion - bet you never saw that coming!
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