Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Officially the largest city in the South Pacific, Port Moresby is a thriving business and commercial centre of more than 300,000 people. All visitors to Papua New Guinea arriving by air or boat are likely to spend time here, since without a national highway, air and sea travel are the only options to access some of the country’s unspoiled treasures.
While it’s a capital city that has experienced its fair share of growing pains, there’s plenty for visitors to see while in port, with colonial remnants, artisan handicrafts, stilt villages, bustling markets and cultural displays galore to be found. It might not be the most modern city, but Port Moresby is a world away from the primitive frontier villages found throughout the rest of Papua New Guinea.
Visitors arriving by cruise ship will have no difficultly seeking out a diverse range of restaurants, bars and shopping.
Port Moresby’s major port for cargo and passenger ships overlooks Fairfax Harbour on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, located on Papua New Guinea’s south-eastern coast. The port is within easy reach of the downtown area, the original colonial settlement, and the city’s business and financial district.
Port Moresby is Papua New Guinea’s largest port and is a hub of importing and exporting activity. Northstar, P&O and Silversea Cruises are among the international cruise liners that call at Port Moresby. There are no real passenger facilities at the actual port. However, within a short walking distance of the port, you will find a number of useful amenities.
Facilities nearby include:
- Waterfront Shopping Centre
- Taxi rank on Champion Parade
- International Embassies
- Banks and ATMs for currency withdrawal/exchange.
Minibus services are a close distance from the port with the closest bus stop located on the corner of Douglas and Musgrave Streets.
How to Get Around
Port Moresby is relatively spread out and can be dangerous for tourists to walk around on foot. Visitors are advised to travel in groups, avoid quiet urban areas, use taxis after dark and exercise caution.
PMVs (Public Motor Vehicles) can also be taken and have their destination displayed on the front windscreen, offering a cheap alternative to get around the city. Make sure to ask locals or the driver if in doubt. Car hire can also be arranged from Jacksons International Airport.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 12 minute journey to Ela Beach and markets
- It is an 8 minute journey to the Waterfront Mall.
- It is a 16 minute journey to the Boroko neighbourhood
- It is a 13 minute journey to Jacksons International Airport
- It is an 18 minute journey to the Port Moresby Nature Park and the University of Papua New Guinea
- It is a 15 minute journey to the suburb of Waigani where Parliament House, the National Museum and the Port Moresby Golf Club are located.
- Currency - Papua New Guinea uses the Papua New Guinean kina (PGK), which is available in 5, 10,20 50 toea and 1PGK coins, and 2PGK, 5PGK, 10PGK, 20PGK, 50PGK, and 100PGK banknotes.
- Time Zone - Port Moresby operates on Papua New Guinea (PNG) time, which is 10 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Port Moresby has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season and little variation in temperatures. Cyclone season is widely recognised as being between January to April. The average yearly high temperature is 30 degrees Celsius.
- Port Moresby Nature Park – Once known as the National Capital Botanical Gardens, this popular attraction offers a green refuge from the surrounding urban jungle and is home to rare birds, thousands of plant species, crocodiles, wallabies and even the elusive tree kangaroo. Walk across boardwalks over lily ponds, admire roaming cassowaries, and step into a massive bird aviary spread over 25 hectares. Admission is 8PGK and it is best to book your trip in advance. Adjoining the gardens is the University of Papua New Guinea.
- Parliament House and National Museum of PNG - Papua New Guinea’s government buildings and national museum are located in Waigani. Admire the unique architecture of parliament House, completed in 1984. If you’re lucky, on weekdays you may be able to watch parliament in session. Then wander through the National Museum, taking note of masks, totems and handmade outrigger canoes adorned in Cowrie shells.
- Shopping at Boroko Markets - Despite its uninspiring surroundings, the Boroko craft markets offer unique souvenirs including possum wool bags, wild boar tusk necklaces and shell jewellery. Shopping is also available close to the port at the Waterfront Mall and around Ela Beach.