Southern Highlands Accommodation and Travel Information

Named ‘The Papuan Wonderland’ by explorers who discovered these hidden mountain valleys in 1935, the Southern Highlands contains lush, high valleys sandwiched between towering limestone peaks. The region’s most remote area, traditional cultures thrive here, particularly in the Tari Basin, where the Huli and Duna Wigmen are famous for their elaborately decorated wigs and body art. The province contains the country’s second-highest mountain, Mount Giluwe (4368m). Mendi is the provincial capital.

Attractions:

  • Mendi
    Built around the airport in a lush high valley between tall peaks, this small town provides essential services. Huli, Duna and other tribespeople from this area are famous for their red and yellow face decorations and decorated wigs.
  • Mendi Market
    Fridays and Saturdays locals come to town. The market is located by the main highway north of town across the bridge.
  • Artefacts
    A shop near Mendi Bakery sells weapons, baskets and hand-loomed products.
  • Lake Kutubu
    Butterflies and birds of paradise are plentiful around this beautiful, peaceful place and the friendly people live traditional lives. You can swim, visit villages or just enjoy the scenery. The closest airstrip at Moro is serviced by Airlines PNG from Port Moresby and Mount Hagen.
  • Tari
    Saturday is when most Huli people come to market. The people are interesting and there are many good places to stay, ranging from upmarket lodges to village guesthouses.
  • Wasi Falls Wildlife Management Area
    Virgin rainforest here is rich in birds and wildlife. There are several waterfalls including the 100m Wasi Falls, and many caves. Tubo Lodge can organise birdwatching and wildlife tours.
  • Walking/trekking
    Many people go walking from nearby Lake Kutubu and fly out from Pimaga. Alternatively you can walk about 20km from Pimaga to Gesege Village and go by canoe to the lodge at Tage Point. Ambua Lodge and Lakwanda Lodge near Tari can organise hikes and tours. Walkers can also tackle Mount Giluwe (4368m), an old shield volcano and the country’s second-highest mountain. Kiburu Lodge at Mendi can organise walks and treks. Mount Ialibu (3465m) and other hikes can be made from Ialibu, midway between Mendi and Mount Hagen. Ialibu has a cultural centre and museum, and accommodation built by the local people, the Imbonggu. Basket-making is a village industry here.
  • Birdwatching
    There is birdwatching at Lake Kutubu and Wasi Falls. Ambua Lodge, surrounded by dense tropical rainforest, and Lakwanda Lodge, near Tari, also have good birdwatching.
  • Sightseeing tours
    Ambua Lodge organises a range of guided tours. Walk along rainforest tracks to go birdwatching, take a trip down the river to see the waterfalls or go by 4WD to visit a village and watch a traditional ‘sing sing’. Kiburu Lodge, on the banks of the Mendi River, has a wide range of activities including cultural tours, mountain climbing and flora and fauna expeditions. Lakwanda Lodge offers orchid tours, skeleton cave tours, trekking, bushwalking and other cultural activities.

For accommodation in the Southern Highlands, just visit our Southern Highlands accommodation page to search Southern Highlands accommodation listings, and make enquiries or bookings online. Our listings include motels and motor lodges, hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping grounds and holiday parks, resorts and lodges, backpackers and hostel accommodation.