Tag Archives: papua new guinea

Up close and personal in PNG

‘The villagers want to know why you came here. They think you must be bigmen from your villages,’ our guide explained. ‘Are you bigmen?’

No, we most certainly weren’t. We felt far from big at that moment, mud stains up to our knees, sweaty, sunburnt and humbled by the hospitality we’d received at this village deep in the Nebilyer Valley.

The day before we’d arrived at Haus Poroman near Mount Hagen, capital of Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands province and stood on the edge of the lodge property, looking over the prehistoric valley, half expecting a pterodactyl to screech past. We’d be sleeping somewhere down there the next night.

I’ve been on cultural tours before. In places like Thailand and Morocco these ‘village experiences’ have a staged feel, with conveniently-placed snake charmers and kids that charge you five baht to take their picture. But this was the highlands of PNG, where there’s little tourism. The beaten track, if you could call it that, was a long way from here.

Meet the Neighbours, The Sun-Herald, March 4, 2007

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Opening the doors to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea and cruise ships may seem as likely a match as Indiana Jones and lawn bowls, but the pair has been getting very close. New to courting our nearest neighbour is Aurora Expeditions, making it five vessels to now cruise its pristine waters. Even the venerable QE2 called into New Britain for a bit of a singsing. No disrespect to cruise travellers, but let’s face it they’re not renowned for their adventurous streak. And surely that’s what PNG is all about – adventure, excitement – even danger.

Until recently I was only dimly aware of Papua New Guinea and like many Australians harboured a fairly negative impression of it, imagining a place terrorised by raskols and overrun by expatriates. But if there’s one thing travel teaches, it’s that expectations rarely align with reality.

Meet The Neighbours, The Sun-Herald, September 23, 2007

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