In the Highlands Region of Papua New Guinea, sitting at an elevation of approximately 5,500 feet above sea level, lies the capital of the Western Highlands Province – Mount Hagen.

The cool weather and welcoming natural environment, offers a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere for all visitors to this small township.

Known as the food basket of Papua New Guinea, Mount Hagen is known for its superior fresh food produce – from pineapples, watermelon, strawberries, peanuts, sweet potatoes and more.  These fruit and vegetable delights can be found at the busy Hagen Market in the heart of town.

In fact, gardening is a trait inherent to many Western Highlanders – a United Nation’s Heritage Site is found in the province, known as the Kuk Early Agricultural Site.  Gardening tools were found at Kuk dating back more than 10,000 years, positioning Papua New Guinea as home to some of the world’s first gardeners.

Visitors will find locals very curious but altogether friendly and welcoming.  The lifestyle in Mount Hagen is uncomplicated and laid-back.

There are several eateries that offer a fusion of modern and traditional cuisine. Plus, no meal can be experienced in Mount Hagen without sampling the delicious Hagen ‘kaukau’ or sweet potato.

Beyond the limits of Mount Hagen town, and onwards into the greater Western Highlands territory is where the real unfettered adventure begins.  Bird watching, hiking, and cultural experiences are many.  For instance, nature hikes at the beautiful Rondon Ridge boutique lodge, cultural experiences at Paiya village, and bird watching at the Kumul Lodge.

Visitors come from all over the world to experience the annual Hagen Show every mid-August.  The range of cultural performances at this exciting festival are always a wonderful spectacle to watch, discover local arts and crafts, as well as participate in the ‘singsings’ (cultural dances).

Tourism in the Western Highlands is small but well established.  There are daily commercial flights into Mount Hagen from Port Moresby via the national airlines Air Niugini and PNG Air.  There are also several well-known accommodation providers and tour operators operating in Mount Hagen, including Trans Niuigni Tours, Paiya Tours, Rondon Ridge Lodge, Highlander Hotel, McRoyal Hotel, Kiminiga Hotel and more. 

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A Quick Guide to Mount Hagen


Take a guided trek up to the ancient volcanic summit of Mt. Giluwe. Experience the extraordinary scenery of one of the world’s famous ‘volcanic seven summits’ found right here in the Papua New Guinea Highlands.

Sample some fresh garden produce from Mount Hagen’s famous market. From fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and organic spices. Fresh local produce is sold daily.

Join the many tribes showcasing different colorful traditional dressings on display at the annual Hagen Show.  Become a part of the celebration – don the tribal face paints and dance along with the performers.  A great chance to see all cultures from Papua New Guinea in one location.

Explore the history of this archaeological site and its contribution to agriculture in the Western Highlands and the rest of Papua New Guinea.

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Here are some recommended places to stay in Mount Hagen:

  • Rondon Ridge – high-end eco-friendly boutique lodge with well-designed cozy rooms overlooking the town. Owned by Trans Niugini Tours.  Visit:
  • The Highlander Hotel – comfortable and well-provisioned rooms with affordable daily buffets at the on-site restaurant. Visit:
  • McRoyal Hotel – a stone’s-throw from the airport, this is a popular hotel for many visitors. Known for its spacious rooms and well-stocked bar and restaurant.  Visit:
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Mount Hagen is a haven for food lovers, and there are many great places to sample the local cuisine – from informal roadside food markets to hotel restaurants.  Highly recommended is the popular café: Kofi Kai – a great place to sample some of the best tasting coffee and fruit juices in PNG.    

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Unwind with a cold beer while gazing at the spectacular emerald mountains of the Highlands.  Mount Hagen’s hotel bars offer both a quiet respite or opportunity for interesting conversations.  The best place for a drink – whether you prefer a beer or a cocktail is at the Highlander Hotel.  You can mingle at the Sports Bar, enjoy your beer with a hearty meal at the restaurant, or relax by the pool side.