Discover a million different memories on a Remembrance Day Journey in Papua New Guinea! Here are six (6) amazing historic sites and attractions to visit… 

Papua New Guinea is steeped in history – a million different stories waiting to be discovered, for those who appreciate the past and the memories it holds. 

When the territory was under colonial administration, Papuans and New Guineans served as local militia, labourers, and service men and women during World War II.  There are limited records available as to the exact number of natives who were casualties of war.  Despite this, our nation pauses to remember many of our nameless war heroes on Remembrance Day every July 23rd’. 

Here are some recommended sites and attractions that you can journey to in Papua New Guinea to explore the timeless stories of our heroic men and women.  

National Museum Papua New Guinea Tourism 2023
  1. NATIONAL MUSEUM & ART GALLERY

Located in Port Moresby, near the Haus Parliament, along Independence Drive – this is the best place in Papua New Guinea to receive a well-rounded experience of our country’s history. Visit the recently opened ‘Gallery of Gallantry’ at the WWII showroom, this is a special exhibit dedicated to the native men and women who served in the great war during the 1940s.  

While you’re in Port Moresby, you can visit other places of historic significance after your museum tour. Take a drive into the Central Province along the road to the Sogeri hinterlands, visit the Bomana War Memorial, Sogeri Memorial and Ower’s Corner – the main entry point into the Kokoda Track

Nearby accommodation includes: the Laguna Hotel, The Stanley Hotel & Suites, Dream Inn and the Lamana Hotel.

📸: (above) Entrance of the National Museum & Art Gallery in Port Moresby. Credit Pauline Riman. Top banner image of Kalibobo Coastwatchers Lighthouse. Credit Liebert Kirakar.  

Massim Museum Alotau Milne Bay Papua New Guinea Tourism

2. MASSIM MUSEUM  

A journey to Alotau in the Milne Bay Province is incomplete without a visit to the Massim Museum.  This quaint place holds many interesting  stories about the history and people of Milne Bay.  Be sure to stop by the exhibit portraying the story of a local World War Two heroine, nursing sister Maiagaru Gimuleia Taulabona.  

While in Alotau, round-off your history tour with a visit to the Turnbull Memorial and the Battle of Milne Bay Memorial.  

For accommodation, stay in these nearby places: Alotau International Hotel, Masurina Lodge, Driftwood Resort  and Alotau Waterfront Lodge.  

📸: (above) Exhibit at the Massim Museum, Alotau, Milne Bay Province. Credit Terence Vincent 

Kalibobo Coastwatchers Lighthouse Madang Province Papua New Guinea Tourism

3. KALIBOBO COASTWATCHERS LIGHTHOUSE

One of the iconic landmarks of the main township of the Madang Province, is the Kalibobo Coastwatchers Lighthouse.  The attraction’s stunning ocean view provides the perfect opportunity for photos, after your brief tour and reflection of the monument and its nearby memorial plaques.   While in Madang, pay a visit to the Madang Tourism Bureau Museum under the care of the Madang Provincial Government.  

Stay at the: Nambis Inn, just across the road from the lighthouse.  Other nearby accommodation includes: Coastwatchers Comfort Inn Hotel, Madang Resort, Madang Lodge Hotel and Madang Star International Hotel

📸: (above) Kalibobo Coastwatchers Lighthouse, Madang Province.  Credit David Kirkland

Lae War Memorial Lae City Morobe Province

4. LAE WAR MEMORIAL 

The Lae War Memorial is a beautiful  location in the heart of Lae city, Morobe Province.  This silent and well-kept war cemetery offers a quiet and reflective promenade away from the bustle of PNG’s most busiest cities.  

Lae and the greater Morobe Province was the stage of two infamous World War Two battles:  Salamaua-Lae campaign and the Huon Peninsula campaign.  

The city of Lae is also the last known departure point of Amelia Earhart – world renown aviation pioneer, before disappearing enroute to Howland Island in 1937.  The Amelia Earhart Memorial is located at the junction of Markham Road and Coronation Drive in Lae.  

Nearby places to stay when visiting the Lae War Memorial include the: Lae International Hotel, Huon Gulf Hotel, Lae City Hotel and Hotel Morobe

📸: (above) Entrance to the Lae War Memorial with the Cross of Sacrifice in the distance. Credit Pauline Riman

Kokopo War Museum East New Britain Papua New Guinea Tourism

5. KOKOPO WAR MUSEUM 

East New Britain Province is one of the best places in PNG to experience a World War Two history tour, while also appreciating the thrilling natural beauty of this incredible place.  The Kokopo War Museum, is one of many interesting places you can visit on your East New Britain history tour spanning the Gazelle district.   Located in Kokopo, the main township of the province, the war museum hosts many fascinating war relics, and some interesting WWII paraphernalia.   

Be sure to visit these other historic sites and attractions while in East New Britain: Bitapaka War Memorial, New Guinea Club Rabaul Museum, the Montevideo Maru Memorial, the Rabaul Japanese War Memorial and the New Guinea Club Rabaul Museum.

The Gazelle International Hotel is just a short walk from the Kokopo War Museum, beside the Kokopo Golf Course.  Other nearby places to stay include the:  Taklam Lodge & Tours, the Kokopo Village Resort and the Kokopo Beach Bungalows Resort

📸: (above) Local children playing on one of the war relics at the Kokopo War Museum. Credit: David Kirkland

Mission Hill Japanese Peace Memorial East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea Tourism

5. JAPANESE WAR MEMORIAL, MISSION HILL 

The Japanese War Memorial on Mission Hill, Wewak town, East Sepik Province – is a memorial to the brave WWII soldiers who died during the battle that raged across Wewak and its surrounds.  The memorial in Japanese translates as: “In memory of the brave soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for their countries Japan, Australia American and New Guinea during World War 2 From 1941-1945. We sincerely hope that or men will never again engage in war but that a deep spirit of friendship may exist between all”.   

Just a 30-minute scenic drive from Wewak town is another incredible place of historic significance to the people of East Sepik: the Wom Memorial.  Don’t miss out on visiting Wom Memorial and the Mission Hill Memorial while visiting Wewak.  

Recommended accommodation to stay at while in Wewak include: the Paradise New Wewak Hotel, the In Wewak Boutique Hotel, Village Inn Hotel & Apartments and Talio Lodge.  

📸: (above) Japanese War Memorial on Mission Hill.  Credit: David Kirkland

Isurava Memorial Kokoda Trail Northern Province Papua New Guinea Jackson Groves

6. ISURAVA WAR MEMORIAL 

The Isurava War Memorial is one of the most captivating WWII monuments in Papua New Guinea located on the iconic Kokoda Trail, on the Northern Province side of the track.  For many Australians, some say no trekking experience on Kokoda is complete without a visit to the Isurava memorial.   This monument is dedicated to the ANZAC soldiers who fought during the WWII Battle of Kokoda.  Four granite pillars stand like sentinels overlooking the Kokoda valley, each pillar has a word carved onto it: Courage, Endurance, Mateship, and Sacrifice. 

Contact Buna Treks and Tours to organize your visit to the Isurava Memorial. 

📸: (above) Isurava War Memorial.  Credit: Jackson Groves.

 

Papua New Guinea is a treasure trove of memories waiting to be discovered.  Our country possesses a history so remarkable – once you start exploring it will be hard to stop.  We have a million different stories waiting.◼️  

For more information, email: info@papuanewguinea.travel 

Remembrance Day

Every July 23rd in Papua New Guinea we pause to remember our war service men and women.

Please help share our story: 

📸: Above image: NCDC and PNG Tourism Promotion Authority Promote 2024 Remembrance Day Kokoda Hike Special Event & Celebrations. (L-R) James Enage – director of Program Progress, NCDC Governor Hon. Powes Parkop, and Joel Keimelo – PNGTPA executive manager of marketing & promotions. 

Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority Supports Special Kokoda Remembrance Day Hike

Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) has donated merchandise to support a special Remembrance Day Trek on the Kokoda Trail during the official launching of the event on Friday 12th June, Port Moresby.   This special event, scheduled to take place from the 19th to 21st of July 2024, is a collaborative partnership with the National Capital District’s (NCDC) Governor’s Office and Program Progress, a locally owned business development company.  

Program Progress’ Director & Business Development Consultant, James Enage thanked TPA for its support emphasizing that the event will give participants a memorable experience. 

“The event aims to integrate a unique blend of history, culture, and adventure by offering participants three days of trekking along the historic Kokoda Track, concluding with mini cultural and music festivities in the morning and a Remembrance Day celebration in the afternoon,” said Enage.  He also highlighted the significance of this event and has encouraged people to participate in this year’s special hike.

“The cost for participating in this season’s trek is estimated at K1,562.00 per person, with the overall event costing around K66,400.00. The NCDC Governor’s office has committed to covering 75% of the total cost for 100 trekkers, allowing participants to pay just 25% of the cost, amounting to K390.50 per person,” said Enage. 

The National Capital District’s Governor, Hon. Powes Parkop reiterated the importance of the Kokoda hike as a crucial part to promoting tourism in Port Moresby

“This city is the gateway to Papua New Guinea, and its potential has often been overlooked. However, through our partnership with PNGTPA, formalized by our MOA last year, we are committed to showcasing the city’s unique attractions and cultural heritage.  This three-day trek serves multiple purposes: honoring those who fought in the Battle of Kokoda, promoting our city’s tourism potential, and encouraging health and wellness among our people. The Kokoda Trail is not just a historical landmark; it’s a symbol of unity and resilience. By developing it as a tourist attraction, we aim to draw visitors from around the world, contributing to our economy and cultural preservation,” said Parkop.  

TPA’s Executive Manager for Marketing & Promotions, Joel Keimelo commended the Honourable Governor and Mr Enage for creating the special hike to Kokoda and encouraged them to work with TPA to strengthen Kokoda as a premier tourist attraction.  

“Our efforts also include creating a sustainable tourist product and enhancing the experience for trekkers. This initiative will benefit the local communities along the trek and strengthen a greater appreciation of our nation’s history and natural beauty.
Let us work together to harness the full potential of our tourism industry, ensuring it brings prosperity to Port Moresby and all of Papua New Guinea,” said Keimelo.  

The support from TPA and the collaborative effort between the NCDC Governor’s office and Program Progress will make this year’s Remembrance Day Trekking & Celebrations a landmark event, celebrating Papua New Guinea’s rich heritage and natural beauty while strengthening tourism growth. ◼️  

Ncdc Remembrance Day Kokoda Hike 2024

For more information, and to participate in this unique experience, please contact Program Progress on email: Experience22@gmail.com, or call: +675 7233 1339. 

Please help share our news: 

Parts of the Tolai 'Alor' Headdress of East New Britain

By Miahbird@yahoo.com | @tolai_publicity_png (IG) 

At the annual National Mask & Warwagira Festival in East New Britain, visitors are treated to a unique showcase of cultural dances.  From the Tolai people who inhabit the Gazelle District, their Alor Mask Headdresses are some of the most iconic of East New Britain culture.  Read more about their design and significance.  

They are best known as the Alor Masks of the Tolai Tribe and they consist of a wooden helmet mask, covered by a cone-shaped hat with a rim, and a mounted structure that towers over a humanoid figure that is associated with other bodied entities like snakes that sit above the helmet. However, the exact meaning of the mask remains known only to initiated men, while the parts of the elaborate headdress can be described.

Although each Tolai clan’s Alor Mask differs from their designs around the Gazelle Peninsula, there is a basic pattern that is widely used.  Basically, the structure is about 1.2 meters high.  The part that is fixed to the wearer’s head is called the ‘Pinpidik‘ just above that piece are usually protruding sculptures or feathers of a type of flightless bird called the, ‘Akakmal‘.  The bird casts a certain behaviour on the dancer to mimic the movements of the bird itself.

At the top of the cone-shaped helmet is placed a carved flat piece of wood called, ‘pala-oanga‘. There, the humanoid sculpture is attached with outstretched arms to which the remaining sculptures are attached. It represents powerful spiritual figures called, ‘turangan‘. In the center of the platform a flat, carved and painted irregular shaped mast rises, the lower end of which is a diamond shape from which, often a sharp spine-like decoration protrude, called the ‘amimi‘.

Along the sides are two curved, painted and serrated struts which curve to the top of the mast from the head of the Turangan spirit, these struts represent the rainbow or, ‘agogol‘.

These headdresses are meticulously carved by skilled Tolai men with the knowledge of bestowing secret meanings to elevate its significance then displayed in public cultural ceremonies for dances like the Tambaran dance. ◼️ 

For further information, email: info@papuanewguinea.travel 

Images: (above) Tolai men from Tavuiliu, in the Gazelle District, East New Britain, ready to perform at the Rabaul Coastal Shipping wharf to welcome MV Chebu, November 2014- photo by Poreni Umau / Porexnation; (below 1)  Tolai Tambaran cultural performance at the 2015 National Mask Festival – photo by Pauline Riman;  (below 2) Tolai cultural dancers walking into a performance at the 2019 National Mask & Warwagira Festival – photo by Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort

2015-National-Mask-Festival_Kokopo-East-New-Britain
Kokopo Beach Bungalows Resort National Mask Warwagira Festival

Meet one of Papua New Guinea's well-known tourism pioneers - Bob Bates, founder of Trans Niugini Tours

By Jonah Kei  (This article first appeared in the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority’s ‘Journeys’ magazine, Issue No. 3, Apr-Jun 2023) 

Bob Bates hails from Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia.  Though originally from the United States of America, he was born and raised in Australia.   Mr. Bates, an engineer by profession, left his country and came to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1964 at the age of 24.  Upon completing college, Mr. Bates was given a contract, by the PNG government, where he had to construct roads and bridges, build infrastructures, repair planes, and even erect mini-hydro stations, However, after completing his contract, Mr. Bates did not return to Australia; instead, he chose to remain here in PNG, and has remained here for 60 years.  

In 1976, Bob Bates founded Trans Niugini Tours in the Western Highlands township of Mount Hagen. The company started from humble beginnings, operating simple four-wheel drive adventure trips, for visiting tourists, around the PNG Highlands. Slowly Trans Niugini Tours started experiencing an influx of visitors, the company moved into more ‘mainstream’ tourism with the addition of several wilderness lodges across PNG.  In 1978 Trans Niugini Tours acquired Karawari Lodge in the lowlands of the East Sepik Province. Seven years later in 1985, the company built Ambua Lodge in the Hela Province. In 1989 Trans Niugini Tours acquired their famous 9-berth ‘floating lodge’, the Sepik Spirit.  The ship was commissioned and built in Lae City then sailed via the coast of Madang to its current home on the mighty Sepik River.  In 1991, the Malolo Plantation Lodge on the Madang North Coast was acquired and completely renovated. Bensbach Wildlife Lodge in a far corner of the Western Province was officially added to Trans Niugini’s Portfolio in 2003.  Rondon Ridge, built high in the mountains above Mount Hagen was opened in 2006 providing a luxurious introduction to Trans Niugini Tours lodges and a welcome stepping stone to civilization before departure from Mount Hagen.  Lake Murray Lodge is the latest addition to Trans Niugini Tours and was built in 2013 in the remote Western Province, on a small island in Lake Murray.

When asked if he had any future plans to expand the business portfolio, he chuckled and said he is not intending to build any more lodges.   Instead, he wanted to build a museum at his Rondon Ridge lodge and turn it into a Cultural Centre.  “I do not have any plans to expand the business. We will focus on the current seven lodges that we have and develop them to meet the demand, expectations and satisfaction of the customers,” Bates said.

Running a tourism business, just like any other business, has its challenges. Mr. Bates stated that running a tourism business is not for the fainthearted and certainly not for those who do not dare to take risks.  “To venture into the tourism industry in PNG is a very challenging and daunting task, but if you have good management skills and business acumen strategy, you can be able to grow your business from scratch to a million-kina industry,” he added.  What started as a simple four wheels drive tour of the PNG highlands, has grown into one of PNG’s largest inbound tour operators.  Now with a fleet of land vehicles, sea vessels, and even aircrafts, Mr. Bates fearless risk-taking has bore fruit in abundance. While most of the fleet is used primarily for transporting tourists to the various lodges across PNG,

Mr. Bates ensured himself a personal plane for his own adventures.  Now 84-years-old, Mr. Bates lives peacefully at his Rondon Ridge home relaxing high in the tranquility of nature.  He plans to spend the remainder of his days here in his home in Mt. Hagen. In the years to come, Bob Bates legacy will be one not easily forgotten.  In a span of 60 years (and still counting),  Mr. Bates has done so much for Papua New Guinea without most people noticing. His Wilderness Lodges, situated across some of the most remote corners of PNG, contribute greatly to all the local communities that surround his lodges. Furthermore, Mr. Bates has promoted Papua New Guinea to the world as a prospective tourist destination, by providing safe, secure, and affordable tourism services of the utmost quality.

Each of his lodges provide visitors an exceptional world-class experience, that continues to draw favorable international tourism attention to PNG.  The staff of his company, Trans Niugini Tours, consists mainly of nationals, providing employment opportunities for thousands of Papua New Guineans since 1976.  With so many years of service to Papua New Guinea, and the tourism industry, Bob Bates will be a name not easily forgotten. He will go down in PNG history as one of the nations greatest tourism pioneers, and his beautiful lodges will continue to carry on his legacy for many years.  

For further information, email: info@papuanewgunea.travel  | Visit the Trans Niugini Tours website, click

 Please help share our Papua New Guinea tourism stories: 

Balancing work and pursuing academic excellence can be a daunting experience to many, yet Samantha Iyapeng has balanced her role with the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) and has accomplished her academic goals.

Samantha, a 35 year old woman from Galeoale Village in Hoskins, West New Britain Province and a proud graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea’s (UPNG) with a Bachelor of Business & Management Professional Studies in Tourism & Hospitality Management program (BBMPS – THM).

She began her journey with the PNGTPA in 2015 as a receptionist. Armed with a diploma in Information Technology (IT), she embraced the opportunity with dedication, “I really didn’t mind, as long as I had a job, sometimes stepping in to perform simple IT duties,” said Samantha.

In 2021, Samantha was sponsored by PNGTPA to pursue her studies at UPNG. However, her educational pursuits were halted by the passing of her mother. Despite this, Samantha remained focused on her goal.

Samantha Iyapeng

“It was a very difficult time for me, yet I remained committed to my professional development and completed the program,” she affirmed with a smile.

“Balancing my role as a student at UPNG with my responsibilities at PNGTPA presented both challenges and rewards, making it a journey filled with many fond experiences,” Samantha reflects.

Resuming her studies in 2022, Samantha encountered numerous challenges – from balancing work responsibilities at PNGTPA with academic coursework to managing household chores amidst late-night studies. Yet, fuelled by her passion for the tourism industry and a relentless desire to advance her career, Samantha pushed through.

“Effective time management and flexibility were key with the support from friends, colleagues and supervisors who helped me navigate the workload. Obviously, sacrifices were made, but the experience enriched my understanding of the tourism industry and enhanced my skills,” said Samantha.

Her passion for travel and cultural exploration, with a vision for positive change, were the key motivators as she proudly received her bachelor’s degree in the industry which she proudly claims as one of the best.

“As a recent graduate, several aspects of my education are highly applicable to my role at PNGTPA,” Samantha notes.

“From strategic planning to marketing and promotion, Samantha’s academic endeavours aligned with her responsibilities as a Business Development Officer.

Douglas Keari, Executive Manager for Research & Business Development at PNGTPA, speaks highly of Samantha’s dedication and potential.

“Samantha is a keen learner and always willing to take on challenges. Her commitment to professional development is commendable, and I am confident that the degree will enhance her understanding of her role, said Keari.

Samantha’s passion for her job has given her the responsibility to spearhead the “Tourism MSME Training” initiative, a project aimed at developing entrepreneurship and promoting sustainable tourism development across Papua New Guinea. By conducting training sessions in different regions, Samantha ensures broader participation and engagement from local communities, thereby spreading the benefits of tourism more evenly across the country.

“The project demonstrates PNGTPA’s commitment to maximizing the potential of PNG’s tourism sector. It’s an exciting endeavour that has the potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the tourism landscape of the country. This is why I love my job and the industry that I proudly serve,” said Samantha.

Samantha’s vision for her future is clear – to advance into leadership roles, drive innovation, and champion talent development within the organization. Her experience as a sponsored student has given her a deep appreciation for education and professional development, motivating her to support initiatives that empower others within the tourism sector to thrive and succeed.

“To the young graduates aspiring to work in the PNG tourism sector. Find your passion, embrace challenges, make an impact, and believe in yourself. Your passion and determination will carry you far in this dynamic and rewarding industry,” said Samantha with her heartfelt advice.

PNGTPA’s CEO, Eric Mossman Uvovo also commended Samantha and many other employees who have graduated with their Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Hospitality Management from the University of Papua New Guinea.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of our PNGTPA employees for their outstanding accomplishment in achieving their career development. Their commitment to furthering their education while balancing each of their responsibilities at PNGTPA is truly commendable,” said Uvovo.

PNGTPA staff graduating from UPNG

Left to Right: Joline Kavo, Verolyn Yeme, TPA’s Product Development Officer for Culture, Jessy Pundu, TPA’s Personal Assistant to the CEO, Lynette Buseh, Muriel Gerari, Talianne Oki and TPA’s Senior Policy and Planning Officer, Daphne Galore during their graduation last year at UPNG with their Bachelor’s Degree in BBMPS – THM, under TPA and UPNG’s collabotive program.

“We are proud to have sponsored six TPA employees through this program so far. It is a testament of our commitment to investing in the professional development of our team members and empowering them to reach their full potential.

We believe that investing in our employees’ education not only benefits them individually but also contributes to the overall success and sustainability of our organization,” Uvovo affirms.

The BBM PS – THM is UPNG and PNGTPA’s joint program, which is tailored to meet the needs of working professionals in the tourism sector. It provides a pathway for individuals like Samantha and many other employees, who have extensive experience in the industry but lack formal academic qualifications, to obtain recognized degrees.

The inclusive nature of the program, accommodates individuals with various educational backgrounds and levels of experience, ranging from graduates with secondary school certifications to those with existing diplomas or degrees in relevant fields.

 

 

 

Share this story:

Take a special ANZAC Journey in PNG to these WWII Memorial Sites

ANZAC Day is commemorated on the 25th of April every year to remember the services of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp during the great world wars.  This day honours the Australian and New Zealand soldiers “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” throughout the world.   

Although, ANZAC Day is no longer a National Day of Observance in Papua New Guinea, many citizens and residents still pause to remember the bravery of the ANZACs, especially during the New Guinea WWII Campaign in PNG’s history.  As a former territory of Australia – up until achieving Independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea was instrumental both geographically and politically in protecting the Australian mainland from the WWII Axis powers.   

Over 80 years have passed since the great WWII Battles raged across Papua New Guinea.  However, the memories of the ANZACs still remain in PNG through beautifully kept memorial sites, undisturbed war relics, and treasured museums – where the stories of the past are kept safe for future generations to remember.    

Your ANZAC journey in Papua New Guinea awaits, with a million different stories to discover, here are a list of timeless places we recommend you visit today to pay homage to the brave and fallen of a bygone era.  

Wounded Australian Soldier Led By A Papuan Orderly At Buna
Dec 25, 1942, at the Battle of Buna-Gona, Papuan Raphael Oimbari aids Australian soldier George "Dick" Whittington, who would later die of bush typhus in February 1943. (Photo by George Silk)
Lae War Cemetery Lae Morobe Commwargraves
The Lae War Cemetery in Lae, Morobe Province. (Photo Credit: Commonwealth War Graves)

During World War II in early 1942, Japan dominated air superiority in the Pacific, targeting Lae and nearby airfields in PNG.  Lae and Salamaua were bombed on January 21st, followed by a land invasion on March 7th, and further invasions in Buna and Gona in July, marking a critical phase in the New Guinea Campaign. In 1944, the Australian Army Graves Service established the Lae War Cemetery to honour those lost in the campaign, with up to 2,818 Commonwealth Burials, including 444 unidentified soldiers. The Cemetery was transferred to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1947, and unveiled in 1953 by the Governor-General of Australia, Field Marshal Slim.

The Lae War Memorial is situated in the heart of Lae City, Morobe Province, near the beautiful Lae Botanical Gardens.  

The Isurava Memorial situated along the Kokoda Trail

The Isurava Memorial is a site at which some of the most intense battles took place during the Kokoda Campaign between July to November of 1942. A notable site adjacent to the Isurava Memorial is where the famous tale of Private Bruce ‘Steel’ Kingsbury VC performed an act of valour for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross – the first VC awarded in PNG, after his passing in August 1942.
The Isurava Memorial features four Australian Black Granite pillars each inscribed with a single word: Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice.

A fitting representation of the values and qualities displayed by Private Bruce Kingsbury VC and the Australian soldiers who fought along the Kokoda Trail.  

The Kokoda Isurava Memorial looks over the Kokoda Valley in the Northern Province, a few hours trekking to the Kokoda Station.  

The Bomana War Cemetery during an ANZAC Day Ceremony in Port Moresby, NCD

Following the Japanese invasions of Lae and Salamaua in March 1942, Port Moresby became a target. However, after their sea attack fleet was defeated in the Coral Sea, they shifted to overland assaults, targeting Buna and Gona in September 1942. The Bomana War Cemetery, unveiled in 1953 by Australia’s Governor-General, Field Marshal Slim, serves as the final resting place for 3,824 Commonwealth soldiers from battles in PNG and Bougainville, including 699 unidentified soldiers. Adjacent to the cemetery, the Port Moresby War Memorial honours 750 Australian Army, Merchant Navy, and Air Force personnel who died in PNG with no known graves, while Bougainville’s unidentified casualties are remembered at Fiji’s Suva Memorial.

The Bomana War Cemetery lies north of Port Moresby on the road to Nine Mile and is approached from the main road by a short road called Pilgrims Way. 

See: ANZAC Day in Port Moresby 

The Ela Beach Remembrance Park in Port Moresby, NCD

The Ela Beach Remembrance Park was constructed in the mid 2000s and brings together plaques from memorials from around Port Moresby to one location. Of the plaques, the most notable is a copper-beating of the famous photo of a “Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angel” assisting a wounded Australian soldier during the Kokoda Campaign.

The Ela Beach Remembrance Park can be found along the stretch of road along the coastline from Koki to Ela Beach in Port Moresby.

The Kalibobo Lighthouse in the Madang Province

The Coastwatchers Memorial situated at the Kalibobo Lighthouse in Madang Province is a memorial in honour of the “Fallen Coastwatchers.” 38 Australians were members of the 5th Australian Division which was a platoon of the 30th and a patrol of the 57th of the 60th Battalion who defeated a Japanese rearguard that Madang in April of 1944. In 1959, Australian Minister for Navy, Senator John Gorton switch the light on of the memorial for the first time.

Perched in Madang, the Kalibobo Lighthouse overlooks the breathtaking Dallman Passage and accessible via the Coronation Drive.

Ariel view of the former Wom Point Airfield where the Cape Wom Memorial is located in Wewak, East Sepik Province

On September 13th, 1945, Japanese Lieutenant General Adachi of the 18th Imperial Japanese Army officially surrendered and handed his Samurai Sword to Australian Major General Robertson of the 6th Division at Cape Wom. The exact location of the surrender is now known as the Cape Wom Memorial Park to honour the memory of those that laid down their lives as well as signifying the historical significance of the end of the Second World War.

Cape Wom Memorial Park can be found in East Sepik Province, west of Wewak town,  on the same road heading towards Dagua.

Bita Paka War Cemetery (14 Of 23)
The Rabaul - Bita Paka War Cemetery in Rabaul, East New Britain Province

In January 1942, Rabaul endured a Japanese attack following extensive air bombardment, leading to a significant defeat for its defenders, resulting in numerous casualties, captures, and some escaping. Concurrently, New Ireland also faced an attack. The conflict reignited in November 1944 with Australian forces landing at Jacquinot Bay and Wide Bay, containing the Japanese in the Gazelle Peninsula until their surrender in August 1945. Rabaul was extensively bombed and was taken over by the Allies after the Japanese surrendered. The Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery, established in 1945, holds Commonwealth burials from the New Britain and New Ireland operations.

The Bita Paka Memorial commemorates the services of the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force members who perished in the region with no known graves. 

The Bitapaka War Cemetery can be found a half-an-hour drive from Kokopo town, East New Britain Province. The War Cemetery is around 50km south of Rabaul, and about 5km south-west of Kokopo. 

See: ANZAC Day in Rabaul

Other recommended places to visit on your ANZAC Journey in Papua New Guinea:

For more information, contact us via info@papuanewguinea.travel

Share To: 

Discover and escape from the busyness of Port Moresby city and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature at the Varirata National Park
By Maureen Wei

Varirata National Park sits calmly on the cool and picturesque Sogeri Plateau, on the back of the Owen Stanley Range. It is Port Moresby’s best-known sanctuary that provides an ecosystem for distinct flora and fauna. Complimented by an aerial view of Port Moresby’s main land and coastline, Varirata National Park is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life into the peaceful and tranquil serenity of nature. There are many activities that one can enjoy at the Varirata National Park. From birdwatching, hiking, picnicking, even school excursions or just simply sightseeing. The park has no shortage of activities one can indulge in.

Varirata National Park is known for its breathtaking lookouts, lakes, streams and hiking trails. The ‘Main Lookout’ is the Park’s most popular attraction. The majestic views stretch over the Sogeri escarpment, surrounding hills, coastline and the city of Port Moresby. There are also several lookouts in the park that offer interesting views of the lush vegetation found up at Varirata. A lake can be found in the middle of the park, and is home to some interesting flora and fauna – including frogs and egrets. The park has five tracks that are well signposted and often lead to other unique attractions like the Koiari Tree House and even the Raggiana birds-of-paradise. Discover stunning plant life during your hike and immerse yourself in a symphony of insect-sound and birdsong.

Varirata National Park’s location and vegetation provides an ideal habitat for a variety of birds, many of which are endemic to Papua New Guinea. As such the park is a top site for bird watching in the Central Province. Bird watching tours to Varirata can be booked through PNG Explorers International and New Guinea Natural Tours. Some of the extraordinary bird life that can be found at the park include the Raggiana Bird of Paradise, Hooded Pitohui, Southern Cassowary, Hornbill, Kingfisher, Megapodes – as well as other animals like wallabies, echidnas, bandicoots, green pythons, parrots, butterflies and more. Nature lovers will enjoy seeing and hearing the park’s unique wildlife.

The park has several spots suitable to layout a picnic while enjoying the lush green scenery. The picnic areas are built in places that have access to breathtaking views. In addition, they have functioning well-maintained toilets, running water taps, barbecue areas, haus-wins and picnic tables. The roads are accessible and sealed, with one entry point and exit point.

An Information Centre can be found at the main picnic site. This is a modern building with some interesting displays that provide invaluable information about Varirata’s history, the significance of the Koiari culture, and the amazing flora and fauna that can be found there.

Varirata is a popular spot for Port Moresby residents, especially school excursions, picnics and weekend outings.

Varirata National Park is Papua New Guinea’s first National Park. It was declared on December 10th, 1969 and was officially opened in October the 8th, 1973, just two years before PNG gained independence. The Park is located approximately 23 kilometres (14.30 miles) North-East from Port Moresby at the edge of the Sogeri Plateau. It occupies an area of 1,063 hectares at an elevation of 630 to 833 meters giving it the most impeccable location to have an aerial view of Port Moresby from the Lookout point. The vegetation around the park is made up of Eucalypt Savannah, Secondary Forest mainly consisting of native casuarina trees.

Blii Hrline@3x

Admission

  • Adults – K10 (Expatriates) K5 (Locals)
  • Child – K6 (Expatriates) K3 (Locals)
  • Vehicle – K50 To K100 (Depending on size)
  • For more information, visit the Varirata Facebook page: www.facebook.com/varirata

Celebrate Papua New Guinea's 50th Independence Day Anniversary in 2025

OUT OF A MILLION DIFFERENT JOURNEYS, HERE ARE 50 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BEGIN TRAVELLING PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea is a beautiful destination, full of adventure and intrigue.  Whether you are a resident Papua New Guinean or an expatriate living in our great nation, you’d be surprised to find that, like our rich and diverse country – there are a wealth of things to see and do in Papua New Guinea.  Like our ancestors who journeyed rugged mountains and vast seas, perhaps it’s time for you to answer that call for adventure when our nation reaches its golden milestone in the year 2025! Here are 50 Papua New Guinea journeys we recommend you should make in this lifetime.

  • 1. Trek the famous 96 km Kokoda Trail.  Short treks are also available from Ower’s Corner to Ioribaiwa village.  Visit the Kokoda Track Authority websitefor a list of licensed tour operators.
  • 2. Kimbe Baytours with Walindi Plantation Resort. Snorkel, kayak or go scuba diving.  Did you know Kimbe Bay is home to over 96% of the Indo-Pacific region’s coral species?
  • 3. Experience one of these spectacular Highlands festivals – held every year in August and September: Enga ShowGoroka Showand Hagen Show
  • 4. Take the twin-peaks challenge in Simbu and the Western Highlands. Climb the highest mountain in Oceania at 4,509 meters – our very own: Mount Wilhelm, then Mount Giluweat 4,367 meters.
  • 5. How about some off-the-grid surfing in Namatanai, New Ireland Province?  Stay at the peaceful Rubio Plantation Retreat where nothing else matters but you and the ocean.
  • 6. Heat things up at Mount Tavurvurfor a historical volcano tour in Rabaul, East New Britain.  Eat a delicious fresh wild fowl egg boiled at the Matupit Hot Springs.
  • 7. If you love the naturally wild and weirdly wonderful, then you need to see our national bird – the Raggiana bird-of-paradise, in full display at the Varirata National Park.
  • 8. Support local artisans, and buy PNG crafted products hand-made with love at the POM City Marketsheld every second Saturday and Sunday of each month at the grounds of the National Museum & Art Gallery.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea Visitors Browsing The Monthly Pom City Markets Pascoe Promotions

Visitors browsing the monthly POM City Markets | Pascoe Promotions 

  • 9. The Sirunki Agro Farms in Enga Provinceprovide the sweetest experience ever for strawberry and honey lovers.
  •  10. Follow in the proud footsteps of our nation’s founding fathers at the Haus Independensmuseum, DownTown, Port Moresby.
  • 11. Experience the best of Kawashospitality at the Uruna Bay Retreat, Pokpok Islandin the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.  Try the fun-filled island hopping and water-skiing activities available on site.
  • 12. The pristine waters and dazzling beaches of the Duke of York islandsin East New Britainawait! Book a homestay with the friendly DOY islanders today.
  • 13. For you thespians who love drama, see some of our best actors hit the stage at the Moresby Arts Theatrewho are celebrating 110 years of theatre arts. Follow the Moresby Arts Theatre Facebook page for updates and upcoming shows.
  • 14. If you are a didimanand didimeri at heart, you will love the Morobe Show coming in November.  See the amazing rodeo-style events and browse the variety of stalls showing off some of the best PNG crops in this part of the region.
  • 15. There is nothing like seeing Port Moresby’sFairfax harbour at night on board Sportfishing PNG’s K2O yacht, especially if you love the finer things in life.
  • 16. Pay homage to the greatest heroes of a bygone era when the world was at war – Bitapaka War Memorialin East New Britain holds timeless stories of heroism and sacrifice that should never be forgotten.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea A Sandbank Near Pokpok Island, Autonomous Region Of Bougainville Tourism Promotion Authority

A sandbank near Pokpok Island, Autonomous Region of Bougainville | Tourism Promotion Authority

  • 17. For the most scenic road trips in the country, the Boluminski highway in New Ireland Provinceoffers you an experience like no other – especially roadside attractions like the amazing Laraibina Eels and the Fissoa blue water hole.
  • 18. The legend of the Asaro people is well-known throughout the country.  Meet the descendants of these folklore legends at the Asaro Cultural Centre, Asaro village in the Eastern Highlands Province.
  • 19. Awawi Fallsis a must when you visit Sandaun (West Sepik) Province.  This popular well-kept swimming spot has a canopied waterfall that offers a cool escape from the jungle heat.
  • 20. Located in the heart of the nation’s capital is Port Moresby Nature Park, one of the country’s leading recreation parks connecting people and nature through education and conservation.
  • 21. Did you know that Papua New Guineans were some of the world’s first farmers? The Kuk Early Agricultural Sitein the Western Highlandsis an archeological UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Drainage systems and farming implements were found at this site dating back 9,000 years.  Visit the Information Booth on-site offering visitors a chance to discover more about this unique heritage site.
  • 22. If you’re the kind of person who loves cool mountain walks, warm and friendly conversations by the fire, plus home-cooked food – Betty’s Lodgeat Mount Wilhelm, Simbu Province offers great hospitality for climbers and casual visitors.
  • 23. Port Moresbycity slickers can find a welcome retreat from urban life when visiting the Koitaki Country Club. Tee off on the golf green, or go horseback riding, there are a lot of things to do at Koitaki to while away the hours.
  • 24. Beef connoisseurs visiting West New Britainshould stop by the Numundo Beef abattoir along the New Britain highway. The best local beef in the country is found here.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo Mother And Joey At The Port Moresby Nature Park

Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo mother and joey at the Port Moresby Nature Park. 

  • 25. It’s time to pamper yourself and take that boardwalk sunset selfie. Loloata Island Resortis a luxury island escape off Port Moresby – as a guest, you always come first here and the facilities are top-notch.
  • 26. Turtle conservation at Lissenung Island Resortis an important feature of this private island paradise in New Ireland province. Join the effort to protect the future of hawksbill turtles in Papua New Guinea.
  • 27. Ride an outrigger canoe across the geographical wonder of the Tufi fjords. What better place to experience this than at the Tufi Dive Resort, in the Oro (Northern) Province?
  • 28. Those who love ‘garden kaikai’ will love the fresh food at the Hagen Market.  With flights from Port Moresby to Mount Hagen twice daily, here’s an opportunity to reward your body with the best vegetables and fruits from Papua New Guinea’s ‘food basket’ – the Western Highlands.
  • 29. Game fishing enthusiasts will find some of the best fishing in the world right here in Papua New Guinea. The lure-shy Papuan Black Bassis a mighty fish that is likely to test any seasoned fisherman’s mettle. It roams the river systems of the Gulf and Western Province. For that once-in-a-lifetime fishing adventure, contact: Sportfishing PNG.
  • 30. Local tour operators – LaeAbout Toursoffer a unique mangrove adventure along the Labu Lake in Morobe Province.  This fun and educational tour allows visitors to navigate the mangroves, trek through the bushes, and meeting the locals, while learning the cultural values of the Labu people and their connection to their natural environment.
  • 31. Unwind with friends at the Japanese Spy Bar, Paradise New Wewak Hotelin the East Sepik Province.  Enjoy the locally themed cocktails – Wasara Mai Tai, Dagua Breeze, Wia Magarita, Maprik Martini and more!
  • 32. A guided tour of the ancient Tawali Skull Cavesis a must while at the Tawali Leisure & Dive Resorton the East Cape of Milne Bay Province.  Your friendly local guide will share stories of long ago – taking you on a fascinating discovery of bizarre burial rituals and a war-mongering way of life that no longer exists.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea Outrigger Canoes In Tufi, Oro (northern) Province Tufi Dive Resort

Outrigger canoes in Tufi, Oro (Northern) Province | Tufi Dive Resort

  • 33. Experience the magic of a night tour at the Walindi Plantation ResortWest New Britain. See the magnificent ‘firefly tree’ or catch a glimpse of the rare, nocturnal and endemic Golden Masked Owl.
  • 34. Bibliophiles can find the best collection of Papua New Guinea books at the University Book Shoplocated at the University of Papua New Guinea, Waigani Campus in Port Moresby.  Satiate your imagination and knowledge with remarkable works of  PNG literature. Find classics by authors Vincent Eri, Ignatius Kilage, Russell Soaba, John Kasaipwalova, Kumalau Tawali, Nora Vagi Brash and more.
  • 35. Offering panoramic views of Mount Hagen town, in the Western Highlands Province is the boutique lodge Rondon Ridgeowned by Trans Niugini Tours. This beautiful hideaway provides charming accommodations and appetizing meals.  The lodge’s tropical surrounds present the perfect spot for guests to experience nature hikes, bird watching and cultural tours.
  • 36. In the heart of the Sepik River, discover the Abelam People of Maprikand their fascinating masks celebrating yam harvests, especially giant long yams.  Visit the Apangai village which has a special ceremonial house called Kurambu, which stores important ritual arts and crafts.  Tours are available from local tour operators Sepik Adventure Tours which cover the length and breadth of the East Sepik Province.
  • 37. Nusa Island Retreatin New Ireland Province is the perfect spot for relaxing and unwinding. Just a short boat ride from Kavieng town, the Retreat has comfortable beachfront bungalows, the best-tasting food in the New Guinea Islands region, and takes advantage of the province’s aquatic wonders – offering surfingscuba divingsnorkellingkayaking and game fishing.
  • 38. As an architectural wonder blending the modern and traditional, the National Parliament Housedeserves a visit while you’re in the nation’s capital. Well manicured lawns, gardens traditional sculptures and ponds are spread out over the grounds providing a pleasing promenading experience.
  • 39. A haven for the humble cuscus and all manner of bird life in Manus Provinceis Mendrelin Island, a few miles North-west of Lorengau and part of the the Pityiliu Islands. The Malakai family who resides on the island have banned visitors from harming the animal life on the island, this has resulted in the animals thriving.  This is a wonderful spot for picnics and nature appreciation.
  • 40. Milne Bay‘s giant manta rays of GonubalabalaIsland are a magnificent site to behold. A seasonal cleaning station for large marine life, Gonubalabala provides a symbiotic environment for marine life, this includes the giant manta rays. Go diving to get up close – but not too personal, to these giant wonders of the deep while they rejuvenate in this natural underwater salon.

The Abelam people of Kanganamun village in traditional dress, Maprik, East Sepik Province | Mateos Alois, Sepik Adventure Tours 

50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea The Abelam People Of Kanganamun Village In Traditional Dress, Maprik, East Sepik Province Mateos Alois, Sepik Adventure Tours

Visitors browsing the monthly POM City Markets | Pascoe Promotions 

  • 41. If seduction was an animal, it would be the gorgeously iridescent male Flame Bowerbird.  Found in the interior Highlands of southern Papua New Guinea, this flirtatious bird has a fascinating way of attracting females.  They are pretty hard to locate in the wild, which is a good thing as they are ground dwellers and often defenceless against human impact. To see these stunning creatures, you can book a tour with one of the best bird-watching tour guides in the country – Samuel Kepuknai and his team Kiunga Nature Tours.
  • 42. National Remembrance Daycommemorations every July 23rd is a special day of observance in Papua New Guinea honouring our nation’s service men and women who served during the World Wars and general peacekeeping missions in the country and abroad. Join in the national commemorations, especially at the Ela Beach Memorial Park, and key war memorials in RabaulKaliboboLae and Alotau.  Lest we forget.
  • 43. You’ve probably heard how amazing and world-renowned scuba divingis in Papua New Guinea.  It’s a technical activity that requires training, however, in Port Moresby, you can make your scuba diving dreams come true by taking up diving courses that will bring you a step closer to discovering the magic of diving our awe-inspiring coral gardens and ocean depths. Contact PRO Dive PNG today for scuba diving lessons.
  • 44. Avid golfers will be impressed with the championship 18-hole golf course at the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club.  Also available is a practice driving range plus a short game practice area for chipping and putting.  Visit the Port Moresby Golf Club websitefor visitor entry fees.
  • 45. Imagine a beachfront all to yourself and glorious ocean sunsets every day.  Sepoe Village Guest House in the Gulf Province offers visitors a quaint escape from modern life. Enjoy endless swimming opportunities in the sea at your doorstep, short treks exploring nearby jungles, meeting the friendly local Sepoe villagers, and sampling traditional Gulf dishes.  Visit the Sepoe Village Facebook pagefor more information.
  • 46. Let loose at the Lamana Gold Club, one of Papua New Guinea’s popular nightclubs in Port Moresby. Dance the night away with your friends in the adjoining outdoor club or enjoy a cold one with the indoor live band. Lamana is the place to party and boogie the night away.
  • 47. Orchid lovers will find theNational Orchid Gardens at 14-Mile on the outskirts of Port Moresby a visual treat. There are over 3,000 known species of orchids in Papua New Guinea, not all are showcased at the Gardens, but you will be amazed at the variety, colour and uses of these phenomenal plants.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea Scuba Diver And Batfish, Bootless Bay, Central Province Pro Dive Png

Scuba diver and batfish, Bootless Bay, Central Province | PRO Dive PNG 

  • 48. The Cape Wom WWII Memorialin the East Sepik Province, is a must-visit when you are in the province’s main township of Wewak.  Just under an hour’s drive from town via 4-wheel-drive, the drive can be quite scenic passing through forests, mangroves, estuaries and seafronts.  This is a historical World War Two site, where the Japanese Forces occupying Wewak and its surrounding areas in 1942, officially surrendered to Australia – a momentous period in history that changed the fate of this part of the country.  A further 15-minute drive from the memorial site is another popular attraction often frequented by locals – Wom Beach.  Beach picnics and swimming are favorite activities at the picturesque Wom Beach.
  • 49. Food lovers in our nation’s capital Port Moresby, can find a great variety of places for eatingout – from fine dining to casual dining.  Our cuisine range is just as diverse as our country – from traditional local food, to Asian and Western food.  Check out our restaurant listing here.
  • 50. Visit the incredible Belifu Canyonin New Ireland Province, an exciting new natural attraction managed by Karanas Comfort Tours with support from the local Belifu community.  Swim between the rock canyons and marvel at the pristine clear sea water before you – this province in Tok-pisin is often referred to as ‘Bilas Peles’, which means ‘place of beauty’.
50 Reasons To Travel In Papua New Guinea Service With A Smile At The Grand Brasserie Restaurant, Grand Papua Hotel, Port Moresby Png Tourism Promotion Authority

Service with a smile at the Grand Brasserie restaurant, Grand Papua Hotel, Port Moresby | PNG Tourism Promotion Authority

Join us in 2025 for a memorable golden anniversary – as we unite as a nation to remember our 50-years journey as the Independent State of Papua Niugini! 

Papua New Guinea Logo