Port Moresby Travel Guide
Introduction to Port Moresby
Written up in many publications for all the wrong reasons, Port Moresby has a reputation of being a dangerous city. However, with a murder rate less than that of Saint Louis, Missouri, a bit of common sense will keep you safe, allowing you to discover attractions overlooked by those in a rush to get out of PNG’s capital city.
From cultural museums to nature parks, there is enough to keep you busy during your first and last days of a trip to Papua New Guinea.
Cultural Attractions in Port Moresby
Begin your time in Port Moresby by paying a visit to the National Museum & Art Gallery. Contained within are a number of exhibits that will introduce to the various indigenous cultures that make up the nation of Papua New Guinea.
Within its walls, you will find a variety of musical instruments which include garamut and kundu drums, masks, totem poles, massive outrigger canoes, and so much more.
In addition to these standouts, you will also find information on the human history, geography, and fauna of Papua New Guinea, so take your time during your visit here.
Next, pay tribute to the sacrifices the Allies made to keep Port Moresby free from Imperial Japanese rule by checking out the Bomana War Cemetery. Containing graves of fallen soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, India, the Netherlands, and other nations fighting under the banner of the Allies, it is a sombre yet beautifully kept place.
Being located in a nation not often visited by foreigners, it is a great way to pay respects to the fallen in a place off-the-beaten-track.
While Papua New Guinea is an overwhelmingly Christian nation, the immigration of foreign nationals to the country over the years have increased the ranks of those who identify as Muslims. While they account for 1% or less of the population, the Port Moresby Mosque was constructed in 1981 to attend to the religious needs of Islamic worshipers in PNG.
While it is small in stature, its minimalist architecture draws attention to a rather attractive cupola, making it a great photographic subject to capture while you are in town.
Other Attractions in Port Moresby
Interested in government buildings? You may want to drop by the National Parliament House before departing Port Moresby for destinations around the country. A building with a unique postmodernist design, the building is worth visiting for photos alone.
However, venturing within will put you in touch with building officials, many of whom are often all too happy to give you an impromptu tour of the facility. A giant wood sculpture representing the four parts of Papua New Guinea, and displays showing off some of the most intriguing insects found in the nation’s interior are among the highlights.
Be sure to sit in on a session of Parliament if you have the chance!
Get a better idea of the flora and fauna you will encounter during a trip into the hinterland of Papua New Guinea by spending an hour or two wandering around Port Moresby Nature Park. There are thousands of plant species planted in one of the only remaining tracts of virgin rainforest left within city limits, but keep your eyes open for the dozen species of orchid that grow freely in this place.
With animals such as wallabies, tree kangaroos, and birds like parrots and hornbills also found in this park, you’ll get an up-close look at species native to the island nation, making for good insurance against not seeing them out in the wild during your adventures outside Port Moresby.
On a brief visit to Papua New Guinea, but still want to get out into nature during your time in Port Moresby? Varirata National Park is located just 24 kilometres east of the city, and while you’ll have to hire your own transport to get there, the wildness and unspoiled nature of this place make it the perfect counterbalance to the often chaotic reality of life in Port Moresby.
Located an elevation of 2,500 feet above sea level, it offers a measure of relief from the heat in the city centre – don’t be misled, though – it is still very humid up here, so being plenty of water. There are six trails which offer day hikers a chance to get in touch with the jungle interior of PNG, and with viewpoints that grant views of the coast and the city below, it is a day trip outdoor lovers should make during their stay in Port Moresby.