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.
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