The gateway to the Highlands, Morobe boasts majestic mountains and lush rainforest filled with butterflies, orchids and tropical birds. The Huon Gulf provides excellent fishing and diving and there are good reefs around the coastal town of Finschhafen, Salamaua and the Siassi Islands. Salamaua District also has war relics, swimming and snorkelling, and walking to Mount Tambu for spectacular views.
Morobe Province curves around the tropical waters of the Huon Gulf. The Saruwaged Mountains, rising from the sea at the tip of the Huon Peninsula are blanketed by tangled and impenetrable rainforest. To the south-west, the fertile Markham Valley rests between equally awesome ranges while the waters between Huon Peninsula and New Britain are dotted with volcanic islands.
Lae is the capital of Morobe and Papua New Guinea's second-largest city. It was once a tiny mission station before the 1920s goldrush at Wau, and later developed into a major seaport. The town is well serviced by banks, hotels, department stores, markets and artefact shops. Goldmining, birdwatching and butterflies can be seen around Wau and Bulolo in the hills south of Lae. Lae is linked to the Highlands by the Okuk Highway.
This haven of greenery has huge trees, bright, noisy birds, lizards and an extensive orchid collection, including the world's largest orchid.
Most of the 2363 graves in this peaceful, well-kept cemetery are of young Australians. Located within the Botanical Gardens, it's a short walk from town along Coronation Drive to Memorial Avenue. A map of the cemetery is available for those interested in locating particular headstones. Contact Morobe Tourism Bureau for more information on 472 7823.
The Matheson Library of technology is the largest in the South Pacific and there is also a collection of artefacts with rare pieces. Buildings worth seeing are the haus tambaran-style (spirit house) coffeehouse and the 36 Sepik-style carved pillars in Duncanson Hall. Parks and gardens surround the buildings. Located 8km out of town on Bumbu Road.
Located next to the University of Technology is 3000sq m of rainforest under a canopy, with a lake, raised walkways, semi-tame birds and beautiful flowers. You’ll find the largest variety of birds of paradise species kept anywhere in the world, together with other native wildlife such as tree kangaroos, parrots, cassowaries and the unique New Guinean long-nosed echidna. Open daily 10am to 4 pm. Contact Ph: 475 7839 for more information.
Lae's main market is located on Air Corps Road west of the old airstrip. Food, produce and local curios are available here. Smaller markets are out of town on Butibum Road and just past the Bumbu Bridge on the way to Unitech.
Street sellers often position themselves outside department stores. Look for bilums and other crafts at the main market. The biggest selection is at Melanesian Arts Centre Ph: 472 1604, located at the old airport below the town.
Goldmining, birdwatching and butterflies are the attractions in this area in the hills south of Lae. Wau Ecology Institute, which does research on the countries ecology, has a small museum with photos of Wau in its heyday, hostel accommodation and a Butterfly Ranch with an amazing variety of insects. The Insect Farming and Trading Agency on Godwin Street in Bulolo, run in conjunction with Lae Unitech, is similar. The small McAdam National Park preserves the last virgin stands of Klinkii and hoop pine and has many birds and tree kangaroos. There is one trail and you will need a guide.
First colonised by Germans in 1885, this small coastal town is peaceful and idyllic. There is guesthouse accommodation, good snorkelling and walking and a lot of history in the area. Beautifully carved Tami Island bowls can be bought at nearby Malasiga Village. Sialum, a two-hour drive north, also has good walking, swimming and snorkelling.
Important during the war, this pretty area has war relics, fishing, swimming, snorkelling, and walking to Coastwatchers Ridge and Mount Tambu for spectacular views. There is guesthouse accommodation. Boats leave from Voco Point in Lae.
Near Mumeng on the scenic drive to Bulolo are the Avilu Caves and the Avadedu burial ledges, above the Gangwe River.
In this coffee-growing region in the heart of Anga country people still wear traditional dress. Anga people used to smoke their dead and mummified bodies can be seen at Angipena, between Wau and Aseki. Market days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in Aseki, and Monday, Thursday and Saturday in Menyamya.
Giant leatherback turtles come here between late November and early February to lay eggs. Guesthouses are at Maus Buang and at Busama and villagers will act as guides. Fishing, bushwalking and swimming are other options. Boats going to Salamaua stop here. Contact Morobe Tourism Bureau, phone (675) 472 7823, or Joe Kewere, phone 473 1688.
Local people run eco tours to see turtles nesting or you can swim, fish, snorkel, walk or paddle canoes. For guesthouse bookings, phone (675) 472 1666. Located in Salamaua District and reached by boat from Lae Lutheran Shipping ph (675) 472 2066.
Niugini Diving, phone 472 5692, runs dive trips aboard the Babarian II. The coasts around Finschhafen, Salamaua and the Siassi Islands are particularly good. The wrecks of the B-17 bomber Black Jack and the Dutch cargo ship St Jacob are interesting dives.
Contact Hedura Cruises and Charters, phone (675) 472 1370, or Morobe Tours phone (675) 472 3647, for trips out into Huon Gulf. Huon Gulf Charters on MV Sunami, ph: (675) 472 2745
There are several long hikes but you will need a guide. Finschhafen to Lae around the coast takes three to four days, or fly to Teptep, a village high in the Finisterre Mountains, for the two-day walk to Wantoat. A section of the old Bulldog Track between Tekaku and Kakoro can also be done in two days. Menyamya to Kamina or Kerema takes six to eight days.
From Wau to Salamaua should take five days. The trek was used during the gold rush era in Wau in the early 1920s and during the 2nd World War.
The Wau area has some good spots. Contact Wau Ecology Institute for details.
ph (675) 472 1353.
Morobe Tours offers day and overnight charters out to have trips out onto Huon Gulf, Salamaua, Busamang and Jawani Island onboard aboard the luxury MV Endeavour. Day trips to Salamaua, Busamang and Jawani Island with sing sings and mumu lunches can be arranged. Ph (675) 472 3647 for more informationFor more information on Morobe Province and contact details please visit the Morobe Tourism Bureau website www.tourismmorobe.org.pg or contact the bureau on Ph: (675) 472 7823 Email firstname.lastname@example.org