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.

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  • 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: