Trekking in Papua New Guniea
Papua New Guinea is one of the most challenging destinations in the South Pacific for trekking, with its steep mountains, vast river deltas and dense rainforests.
Serious walkers can tackle the world-famous Kokoda Trail, an old track used by the early goldminers, and Papua New Guinea’s most popular walk. This 96km trail crosses the spine of the country from behind Port Moresby in Central Province to Kokoda in Oro province, passing over steep mountains, and through remote valleys and villages. It’s a demanding trek, but the beautiful views and scenery make it very worthwhile. You'll need proper wet weather gear, sturdy hiking boots and an experienced guide, or there are organised tours available at Port Moresby and Kokoda.
Tackling the Highland mountains is another of the country’s biggest challenges. Mount Giluwe, Mount Lalibv, and Mount Hagen are all worthwhile for experienced hikers, but the Mount Wilhelm (4509m) climb is considered a highlight. On a clear day, both the north and south coasts can be seen from the summit, with the beautiful Highlands spread out below.
For more leisurely walking, Mount Gahavisuka Park is set high on a mountainside 11km from the Highlands town of Goroka. This 80ha provincial park has great views, picnic shelters and clearly marked walking tracks.
- Mount Lamington (1585m)
The volcano can be climbed from Sasembatta Mission, a short way off the Kokoda Road. It’s a hot two-day walk but the views are superb. Get permission and guides from one of the local villages.
This area has many walks around the rias and you can arrange to be picked up or dropped off by boat. Mount Trafalgar (1644m) is a good overnight hike – take guides. The high plateau around the tiny town of Afore has good walks including one to a very deep, steep cave with bats.
This area on the north coast has some good walks, and for great views you can hike to the top of Mount Pasipasi (600m), behind Dogura, in a day.
- Cape Vogel
There are some bush trails and waterfalls to explore from the Bogaboga Guesthouse.
- Finschhafen to Lae
There is guesthouse accommodation, good walking and an interesting history at the small coastal town of Finschhafen. The walk around the coast to Lae takes three to four days – take a guide.
- Bulldog Track
A section of the old Bulldog Track between Tekaku and Kakoro can be done in two days. Menyamya to Kamina or Kerema takes six to eight days.
Set high in the Finisterre Ranges, this village has a guesthouse and there are good walks nearby, and spectacular scenery. You can trek with local guides to Wantoat near Kaiapit on the Madang-Lae Road in two days.
- Mount Masur
Ecotourism Melanesia runs five-day treks to Mount Masur in the Adelbert Range, staying in villages.
West New Britain
- Cape Gloucester
Good trekking can be enjoyed in the Cape Gloucester area where Mount Langila is still rumbling gently.
- Kandrian/Cape Hollman
The Kandrian area is very beautiful and it’s possible to walk from Kandrian along the coast to Eseli, staying in guesthouses. From Talasea, you can walk out to Cape Hollman on the Willaumez Peninsula. Lake Dakataua, at the end of the peninsula, was formed after a giant eruption in 1884, and it’s a picturesque spot to explore. Contact Ecotourism Melanesia.
- Mt Gahavisuka
Set high on a mountainside 11km from Goroka, this 80ha provincial park has great views, picnic shelters and clearly marked walking tracks. Free admission.
- Lake Kutubu
This lovely area has some of the Highlands’ most beautiful scenery. Most people walk to Lake Kutubu and fly out from Pimaga. The longest route, from Nipa, takes three days and is fairly rigorous. Take a guide.
- Tari Basin
Ambua Lodge and Lakwanda Lodge can organise hikes and tours through this area, known for its thriving traditional cultures, including the Asaro Mudmen.
- Mount Giluwe (4368m)
The country’s second-highest mountain is an old shield volcano with vast alpine grasslands. Ancient lava plugs form the two summits, which offer superb views over the Highlands. It can be climbed from Palnol or Kopkop villages (4 days), or from near Tambul in Western Highlands Province. Kiburu Lodge at Mendi can organise walks and treks.
- Mount Ialibu (3465m)
The climb up Mount Ialibu and other hikes can be made from Ialibu, midway between Mendi and Mount Hagen.
- Mount Wilhelm (4509m)
This is a fantastic climb in a sub-alpine environment, made harder by the altitude. In clear weather the Madang coast can be seen from the summit. It can be climbed from Kegsugl or from remote Ambulla Village. Take some guides and warm clothes.
The road to Kegsugl at the base of Mount Wilhelm snakes through rugged country patchworked with gardens on impossibly steep slopes. Several pleasant guesthouses cater for trekkers and make a good base for exploring other villages. One of them, Betty’s Lodge, has its own trout and rabbit farm.
- Mount Hagen
Longer hikes can be taken from Mount Hagen to the towering peaks of Mount Hagen (3791m), Mount Ongo, Mount Kubor, Mount Kini Kaino Ku, and Mount Giluwe (4368m). Trans Niugini Tours, on Kongin Street behind the hospital, can organise tours and treks.
- Lake Rau
This scenic Crater Lake sits at an altitude of nearly 3000m, and can be reached from Pumas village above Laiagam. Allow two days and take a guide.