Holiday inspiration from one of our nation's rugby league football heroes

Justin Olam shares his favorite top 5 places to visit in Papua New Guinea

In the land of ‘a million different journeys’, visitors can be spoilt for choice regarding the many different places to visit and things to do in Papua New Guinea.  With the festive season around the corner, PNG rugby league great – Justin Olam, has some great spots to share that he believes will be perfect for those seeking a great holiday destination filled with fun and adventure! 

1. Kokopo and Rabaul, East New Britain Province

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At the top of Justin Olam’s list of favorite places to visit in Papua New Guinea, is East New Britain Province.  On this volcanic isle – with its famous townships of Rabaul and Kokopo, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and savour the famous New Guinea Islands (NGI) lifestyle.  

Justin loves trekking up Mount Tavurvur to catch the first morning rays of the tropical island sunshine.  The volcanic landscape adds a unique challenge that appeals to his keen sense of adventure. 

Meeting the friendly and hardworking locals at the market places is always a treat.  As well as, sampling the delicious local cuisine, purchasing interesting and colourful souvenirs from the arts and crafts vendors, or simply promenading.  There are so many interesting people in East New Britain, who always make visitors feel welcome. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins and island hopping, there are some amazing land and sea tours on offer in East New Britain.  Get up close with the playful spinner dolphins that roam the waters of Blanche Bay wild and free.  Take a boat ride to the famous nearby islands named after British royalty – the Duke of York islands;  there is so much history to appreciate in East New Britain that will astound any visitor. 


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2. Lae, Morobe Province

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Lae city in the Morobe Province, is where it all started for Justin Olam in his illustrious rugby league career.  While studying Physics at the University of Technology in Lae, Justin played for the UNITECH Spartans and the famous Lae Snax Tigers, impressing fans and Kumul talent scouts with his brute strength and agility. 

Justin remembers fondly the great places he frequented in Lae, these include: the Rainforest Habitat located on the UNITECH grounds – home to some unique and interesting animal species, as well as, the canopied National Botanical Gardens, the Lae War Memorial – with its immaculately kept lawns, and the Lae main market – a rich source of local fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables.   

Each year, the city of Lae proudly hosts the Morobe Show, an event like no other in Papua New Guinea, that celebrates cultural unity in diversity, while merging into a spectacular showcase of Morobe Province’s booming agricultural and commercial industry.    

As a science graduate, Justin proudly recommends a visit to the Amelia Earhart memorial.  This world-famous aviation pioneer was also a celebrated woman of science – promoting STEM research (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  

Visit the Lae City Authority website  


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3. Simbu Province

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A place in Papua New Guinea that is very dear to Justin Olam is the spectacular Simbu Province.  This highlands province, with its striking mountain peaks, deep valleys, and vast ecosystems, is the birth place of our star Kumuls player, who hails from the Sinasina-Yongomugl District .  This spectacular province holds many natural and cultural wonders in Papua New Guinea.  The most famous of all is Mount Wilhelm – Papua New Guinea’s highest mountain peak, reaching a colossal height of 4,509 metres / 14,793 feet.  

Climbing Mount Wilhelm is a bucket-list activity for many travelers in Papua New Guinea.  One is literally at the top of the country when reaching the peak of Mount Wilhelm – a once-in-a-lifetime experience only a few adventurers have ever had.  Simbu and Mount Wilhelm tours are available from well-known tour operators throughout the country (see link below). 


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4. Port Moresby, National Capital District

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Representing Papua New Guinea at the international level in rugby league, has been one of Justin Olam’s greatest lifetime achievements. 

Playing at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby, and wearing his PNG team colours, while thousands of Papua New Guineans cheer the Kumul’s team on, will be one of Justin’s golden career moments.  

Port Moresby is the gateway to Papua New Guinea, and like other travelers, Justin Olam considers the nation’s capital a special place because of the melting pot of cultures, its sports tourism appeal, and people that make up his massive rugby league fan base.  

In Port Moresby, there is an amazing assortment of things to do and experience – hence the destination’s tagline, ‘Amazing Port Moresby‘.  Due to his great regard for our culture and history, high on Justin’s list of things to do in the nation’s capital is a visit to the: National Museum and Art Gallery, followed by the National Parliament Haus. 


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5. Kokoda, Central Province

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One of Papua New Guinea’s biggest tourist attractions is Kokoda, a 96 kilometer trail that traverses the provinces of Central and Oro.  

This is one of Justin Olam’s bucket-list places in Papua New Guinea that he would like to tick-off some day soon.  Kokoda, is a place Justin feels everyone should experience, to pay homage to our nation’s World War Two heroes the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels‘, and the officers of the Royal Papua Infantry Battalion.  

There are also short treks available along Kokoda, especially for those who are unable to do the full trekking route that usually takes five to six days.  The memorials at each start / end of the trekking route are also attractions, Ower’s Corner in particular in the Central Province, has beautiful views of the Koiari rainforests and mountain ranges.  Ower’s Corner is about a three-hours drive from Port Moresby, and there are some other wonderful attractions to see and experience along the way.  

The Kokoda Trail receives between 1,000 to 3,000 trekkers every year, many of whom are Australians and New Zealanders who trek to remember the ANZACS who served during the WWII Kokoda Campaign.   

The Kokoda trekking season is from April to October during Papua New Guinea’s ‘dry’ season.   

Visit: Kokoda Track Authority website for a list of licensed Kokoda tour operators