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Port Moresby is the capital city and central hub of Papua New Guinea. The largest city in this very remote and fascinating country, its population is around 300,000 and growing rapidly.

The indigenous people of the area are the Motu-Koitabu. Moresby, as it is commonly known, took its name from Captain John Moresby who arrived in 1873 as the first European visitor. Standing on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, the city is quite spread out. The original colonial settlement was by the sea and this is still the port area.

Places worth a visit for birding and wildlife enthusiasts include Port Moresby Nature Park, which has some amazing examples of PNG wildlife such as birds of paradise, cassowaries, tree kangaroos, multiple wallaby species, and many other native bird species, in well-kept, lush, tropical gardens. 

Nearby Varirata National Park is also recommended: situated 24 kilometres from Port Moresby and covering an area of 1,000 hectares, it is home to birds of paradise, wallabies and deer. It is known as one of the best places to see the Raggiana bird of paradise. There are a variety of walking trails, along which you may see kingfishers, bower birds, and specialities such as dwarf cassowary, kingfisher, eastern riflebird and Wallace's fairy wren. The lookout at the end of one trail offers a panoramic view of Port Moresby and the coastline. 

If you visit in mid-September, you can see the Hiri Moale Festival, the city's main cultural show with traditional performances, which takes place on the weekend of PNG's Independence Day. The centrepiece is a spectacular race of up to 100 traditional Lakatoi canoes, recalling the sea voyages undertaken by the area’s Motuan people. 

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: brown-headed kingfisher, Raggiana bird of paradise, brown cuckoo dove, Papuan king parrot, black berrypecker
  • Where: Central Province, Papua New Guinea

Wildlife trips

This location is featured in the following itineraries:

Culture & Birds of Paradise Photography

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Bret Charman in Papua New Guinea, and visit three of the country’s finest bird and wildlife locations. Take in lowland and montane rainforests, with enchanting cultural exchanges and festivals that offer compelling, colourful insights and photographic potential.

  • When to go: Jun-Jul
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £11,695 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Birding in Paradise

An ideal location for birders, Papua New Guinea’s forests are home to a remarkable 700 species that includes 38 of the world’s 43 birds of paradise. Based in excellent remote wilderness lodges, knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the country's extraordinary wealth of culture and wildlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,945 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Discover Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea resonates as a land of amazing birdlife and unparalleled natural beauty. This introduction to its highlights combines the richness of the underwater world with the biodiversity of the highlands and rainforest, and the fantastic plumage of birds of paradise with colourful local tribes.

  • When to go: Mar-Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,345 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Life in the Forest

Visit Papua New Guinea’s huge expanse of rainforests, staying on the Karawari River in East Sepik Province and in the Western Highlands. Based in excellent wilderness lodges and flying between locations, explore the contrasting habitats and diverse indigenous populations of this fascinating country.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,895 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Airways Hotel

Airways Hotel is Papua New Guinea's leading accommodation and one of the most unique airport hotels in the world. Nestled into the mountainside, each room opens onto a balcony with mountain or garden view, and facilities include a stunning pool, restaurants (poolside and fine dining), spa and tennis court.

Gateway Hotel

This hotel is a short drive from Port Moresby airport and therefore makes a convenient, comfortable stop if you need to overnight in the city. It offers 95 modern rooms and 20 serviced apartments, all surrounding a central pool, plus a restaurant, quiet gardens and free airport shuttle.