Travel, tourism & transport Feed

Trail of Woe: Dispossession – no joy for women in Kokoda tourism

Kokoda - Lunch of baked goods and fruit prepared by women of Abuari village
A treat of baked goods and fruit prepared by women of Abuari village - part of a project supported by Adventure Kokoda


Fifth in a series of articles about the need to improve trek tourism along the Kokoda Trail. The articles are drawn from Rashmii’s observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6 -17 August 2018

ON THE TRAIL - Atop a moss-covered fallen tree trunk bananas speckled with brown spots lie next to bundles of light globe-sized passionfruit.

A baby blue shawl thrown across an elderly woman’s bony frame complements the deep orange sweet jelly produce positioned beside her. She lowers her eyes as the trek group edges past her towards the forest border.

Standing a few metres away, trek leader Charlie Lynn rehashes his presentation as I tap my fingers across the keypad of my phone. I note details of mortar relics resting in an open, rusting cage in the forest bordering Myola 1 village.

An absence of information boards on the Trail means Charlie’s thorough knowledge of World War II’s Kokoda campaign is crucial. Today is the sixth day I’ve been learning about the military history behind our long 10-day pilgrimage.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Dispossession – no joy for women in Kokoda tourism" »

Trail of Woe: Wartime gratitude morphs into a troubled present

Kokoda - hauskuk insait
The cook winds down from preparing the evening meal after a long day's trek (and cooking)


The fourth in a series of articles about issues of the trek tourism industry on the Kokoda Trail. The articles are drawn from Rashmii’s observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6-17 August 2018

ON THE TRAIL - BOSKUK and Junior emerge from the haus kuk section of the trekkers’ dining hut with two stainless steel bowls of warm rinsing water and another filled with warm soapy water.

Taking turns, my fellow trekkers and I line up against the hand-built dining table chattering about the afternoon’s descent into this campsite at Ofi Creek as we wash our individual dishes and cutlery.

A pile of striped purple cleaning cloths are laid out for us to dry our implements before heading to our tents for the night.

I sit easily on the table’s bench seat, comfortably content after my meal of French onion soup, instant potato mash and tinned bully beef and hear DE’s gentle call from outside the hut’s thatched frame.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Wartime gratitude morphs into a troubled present" »

Trail of Woe: Carrier welfare & poor practice on the Kokoda trek

Carriers' quarters
Carriers' quarter on the Kokoda Trail


The third in a series of articles about the need to improve conditions and sustainable development of the trek tourism industry along the Kokoda Trail. The articles are drawn from Rashmii’s observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6 -17 August, 2018

ON THE TRAIL - Empty cans of chicken soup sit beside a small open fire, their metal charring slowly as flames flicker around them.

Boskuk moves about busily clearing the other end of a timber platform on which his assistant, Junior, and I recline.

He throws scraps of onion peel and ripped pasta packets into a garbage disposal bag as he makes his way towards us to inspect the evening’s dish washing efforts.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Carrier welfare & poor practice on the Kokoda trek" »

Distribute the tax burden fairly among formal & informal sectors

Road tax centre in Kuala Lumpur
Vehicles approach a road tax centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government has spent billions of kina on road infrastructure in recent years.

Most of the funds came from loans which will be repaid by taxpayers. Herein lies a big problem.

PNG has a small income tax base. Only 5% of the population is engaged in formal employment and they bear the tax burden.

The other 95% are in the informal sector and don’t pay any direct tax other than GST which is passed on to customers.

On average, a bus or taxi owner makes about K400 per day. In a fortnight, that’s more than K5,000. Bus and taxi owners receive benefit from public hospitals and schools – are they paying their fair share?

There are property owners who provide single rooms for rent at inflated prices and others in the informal sector who make a lot of tax-free income every day.

Continue reading "Distribute the tax burden fairly among formal & informal sectors" »

Trail of Woe: Disregard & mismanagement blight an iconic trek

Kokoda Trail carrier helps a trekker
Carrier assists a trekker down a steep incline


Second in a series of articles about the need to improve the conditions and sustainable development of the trek tourism industry on the Kokoda Trail. The articles document Rashmii’s observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as she trekked the Trail from 6-17 August

ON THE TRAIL - IT is just on dusk at Agulogo campsite when an impromptu meeting takes place inside the trekkers’ dining hut.

A hand-built and much weathered column table flanked by snake-length benches sit on the earthen floor. Seated across from me in the candle light are three Papua New Guineans: one from Kokoda Initiative (KI) funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs; the other two from PNG’s Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA).

To my left is Adventure Kokoda trek leader Charlie Lynn and, at his suggestion, our trek guide and my carrier, DE. The sound of Brown River, in which I had bathed earlier, echoes around us.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Disregard & mismanagement blight an iconic trek" »

In PNG, it’s first world price for third world service

Holiday Inn  Bangkok
Holiday Inn in Bangkok: If you're from PNG, everything in the city feels like a bargain


PORT MORESBY - I was recently in Bangkok, Thailand, for a meeting. On the first day, a friend from the US, who works in the Thai capital, asked, “How is Bangkok?”

“Oh, it’s a beautiful city. Things are so cheap here,” I replied.

“Yeah, you enjoy first world luxury for a third world price in Bangkok,” my friend said.

I couldn’t agree more. Bangkok, with an endless variety at bargain prices, is one of the best cities to shop till you drop.

The Holiday Inn Express at Siam, where I slept, is a fancy hotel.

It’s taller than any hotel or building in Port Moresby but the suites cost only the equivalent of K240 a night, which includes breakfast.

For that, you could afford only a low standard guest house or lodge room in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "In PNG, it’s first world price for third world service" »

Researching the morality of PNG’s ‘dark tourism’ initiatives

Mt Lamington explodes  5 February 1951
When Mt Lamington erupted in January 1951, it killed 3,700 people in Higaturu town, in 29 villages and at missions and schools more than 10 km away 

STAFF WRITER | Deakin Research

This piece is based on an article written by Dr Victoria Stead published in a special issue of ‘Anthropological Forum’ co-edited by Dr Stead with Professor Michèle Dominy (Bard College New York) on the theme ‘Moral Horizons of Land and Place’

MELBOURNE - Located on the slopes of volcanic Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, the old Higaturu Station is a place marked by violence and memories.

It is less than an hour’s drive from the Provincial capital, Popondetta, on the way to Kokoda, which, depending on which way you are walking is either the beginning or the end of the Kokoda track.

That 96-kilometre track over the Owen Stanley Ranges is the focal point of a burgeoning but unevenly spread war tourism industry in the Province.

Between July-September 1943, at the height of World War II, 21 local men were executed in Higaturu for charges stemming from the ‘betrayal’ of eight to ten missionaries in August 1942 who were brutally murdered by occupying Japanese forces.

Continue reading "Researching the morality of PNG’s ‘dark tourism’ initiatives" »

Blockchain offers a secure, modern solution for PNG tourism

Blockchain Expo
Blockchain Expo promotion in Port Moresby


PORT MORESBY - Blockchain technology – a modern development understood by few –is worth learning about, no matter what industry you’re in.

Blockchain is currently popular in financial services but I’ll use the example of the hotel and tourism industry, potentially very significant for Papua New Guinea, where it can process and secure data in better ways.

For example, here’s a hypothetical scenario. Giluwe Hotel enters an agreement with an online travel agent, Wanol Travels, with a clause saying that, for the next six months, room nights booked more than five days in advance will offer a higher commission than those booked later.

With a non-blockchain model, both parties would sign a contract. When the deal ends, both provide reports to identify the total number of online bookings from Wanol Travels or use some commission consolidation service to document it for them.

Continue reading "Blockchain offers a secure, modern solution for PNG tourism" »

In the shadow of the volcano

SES logoBEN JACKSON | Sun Earth Sea Blog

Our world is filled with a diversity of cultures, geographies and ideas. Sun Earth Sea is a new blog that celebrates exploration; the elements that make places and people unique; and values and characteristics that are ubiquitous. It is about creative expression, balanced living and respect for the earth. Sun Earth Sea shares the stories of locales that amaze, individuals that inspire and food that nourishes. Here is its introductory offering. Archive this link to stay in touch - BRFJ

RABAUL - The town where my sister was born is long gone.

It disappeared in a shroud of burning ash more than 20 years ago.

At that time, the inhabitants of Rabaul picked up what remained of their lives – in many cases, not much – and moved some 30 kilometres down the coast to start again.

Today, the new hub Kokopo seems like it has always been at the centre of activity.

The streets are lined with department stores, hardware houses, banks and supermarkets. Youngsters spill out on the streets each weekday after school to buy drinks and food. They walk along laughing and talking together.

This is the only life they’ve ever experienced, and it’s a good one, but many of the older generation long for the days in the shadow of the volcano.

Continue reading "In the shadow of the volcano" »

Trail of Woe: Bucks versus benefits; the ugly side of Kokoda

Bell 1 - Kokoda Trail entry
Kokoda trail or trial? Rashmii Bell's 10-day trek investigated who benefits from Kokoda tourism and why there's a need for urgent corrective action


The first of a series of articles about the need to improve the conditions and sustainable development of the tourism industry on the Kokoda Trail. The articles document my observations and conversations with Papua New Guinean guides, carriers, campsite owners and communities as I trekked the Trail from 6–17 August.

ON THE TRAIL - In 2017, I was invited by the Australian-based social enterprise, Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), to facilitate two rural school book-making workshops in Oro Province.

While designated to act only in as a volunteer, all research, design, delivery and facilitation was assigned to me by the Foundation. On both occasions I achieved the assigned outcomes.

And so, having donated my time and talent to this organisation, it was with disappointment and regret to have it deny my sole and rightful authorship of ‘Butterflies along the Track’, the KTF’s Kokoda75 commemorative children’s book, funded by Australia’s foreign affairs department.

Continue reading "Trail of Woe: Bucks versus benefits; the ugly side of Kokoda" »

Travels with my back: Private notes for understanding friends


At Park Hyatt Dubai  April 13
Relaxing in Dubai - I could goldmedal in this for Australia, and will when they add the event to the Olympics

“We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is” – Kurt Vonnegut

DUBAI - By the time you read this indulgence, Ingrid and I are on our way to Europe for a few weeks. Here, in August 2018, I suspect my travelling days are numbered as age is not so much creeping up on me as shoving its unwelcome presence in my face. Or, more accurately, into my spine.

For 10 years my love of travel has struggled against my ailing frame. Movement is now a daily challenge. After six bouts of surgery to keep me mobile, I have been told by the neurosurgeon, ‘no more, it’ll just make things worse’. I can walk perhaps 200 metres at a time, sometimes three times a day. So I'm not expecting too much excitement on this journey.

But let me go back a few years. For today’s PNG Attitude, I take advantage of the enforced captivity of air travel to let you peek into a private travel log from seven years ago which recorded another trip where my back, for a while anyway, made a bastard of itself. The log should really be called a long, it is voluminous, so I don’t expect you to read it all. Or at all. But, if you enjoy travel, or even the human condition, you may find it diverting. I hope you do.

Continue reading "Travels with my back: Private notes for understanding friends" »

The mysterious Citizenship PNG Unit is on the prowl

Geoff Luck
Geoffrey Luck


SYDNEY - Our daughter was born in Port Moresby in 1958 during my first term of service in Papua New Guinea.

Recently, she applied to renew her Australian passport, six months ahead of its expiry date. To her surprise, the current perfectly valid passport was immediately defaced by clipping the pages.

She was told before a new passport could be issued she had to prove her Australian citizenship. The documentation required for this included her birth certificate, both her mother's and her father's birth certificates, their marriage certificate and details of their (that is, mine and my wife's) parents' place of birth.

Expostulation that this was merely the renewal of an Australian passport, which had previously been issued at least three times previously without question, was brushed aside without explanation.

Continue reading "The mysterious Citizenship PNG Unit is on the prowl" »

I feel for the crew of the ill-fated Dash 8 flight to Mendi

Mendi ablaze
The governor's residence well ablaze - targeted by protesters who have reached the end of their tether


WABAG - Air Niugini’s beautiful bird of paradise which for decades have showcased our cultural diversity were shredded when the Dash 8 aircraft was burned to the ground in Mendi last week.

I cannot describe the emotions I feel when I see our nation al icons destroyed.

It is the same emotion that wells up in me when I encounter our carvings, paintings, music or meet Papua New Guineans in far off lands.

In 1989, I had such an experience as I flew on an Air Niugini airbus painted with a giant bird of paradise with its yellow plumage covering the entire fuselage of the aircaft like a satin dress as we headed north to Hong Kong.

I was already seated when I saw two young men enter the cabin and watched the air hostess direct them to their seats.

Continue reading "I feel for the crew of the ill-fated Dash 8 flight to Mendi" »

Fraud scandal triggers suspension of PNG visa services

PNG business visaSTAFF REPORTER | PNG Today

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has indefinitely suspended services provided by passport and visa agents amid a visa fraud scandal.

The suspension, effective from today, was announced by immigration and border security minister Petrus Thomas.

The action followed police investigations into a passport and visa service agent and a Chinese national recently charged with bribery.

“All clients will have to lodge their applications directly with the Immigration and Citizenship Authority,” Thomas said.

“There will be no more new applications accepted from visa agents. This indefinite suspension will be in place until a policy regulating registration and monitoring of all agents is developed and put in place.

Continue reading "Fraud scandal triggers suspension of PNG visa services" »

The battle of Kokoda: Fairness or exploitation on the Trail?

Charlie Lynn
Charlie Lynn
Sue Fitcher
Sue Fitcher


Spectator Editor’s note: After publishing the Charlie Lynn article ‘Losing Kokoda, we received a letter in response from Sue Fitcher, president of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association. Ms Fitcher did not respond to an offer to author an item in reply, so we are publishing her correspondence in the interest of fairness, along with a follow-up comment from Charlie.

Ms Fitcher (Kokoda Tour Operators Association) to The Spectator:

THE BASIN, VIC - I write after reading an article published by and in my role as president of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA), an organisation representing just under 70% of the Kokoda trekking industry.

My first question is, do you have any sort of fact checker on articles put to you before you publish? This is an article big on allegation and extremely short on substance. Where are the examples, where is the verification?

Continue reading "The battle of Kokoda: Fairness or exploitation on the Trail?" »

Losing Kokoda: $50 million & dishonouring our military heritage

Trekking Kokoda (Charlie Lynn)
Crossing a stream on the Kokoda Trail - too little to show for $50 million of Australian taxpayers' money

CHARLIE LYNN | Spectator Australia

SYDNEY - The ‘blackbirding curse’ is as damaging to Papua New Guinea’s adventure tourism industry as the ‘resource curse’ is to mining and exploration.

‘Blackbirding’ was a term given to the coercion of native people from PNG to work as cheap labour in Queensland’s sugar plantations in the latter part of the nineteenth century. When the extent of the exploitation became known it was outlawed as a form of slavery.

The ‘resource curse’ refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth, less democracy and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

Over the past decade 45,000 Australians from all walks of life have trekked across the Kokoda Trail. Their reasons are many and varied but the wartime significance combined with a sense of adventure in the land of the unexpected is the most compelling motivation.

Continue reading "Losing Kokoda: $50 million & dishonouring our military heritage" »

P&O Cruises announces its new PNG itineraries for 2019

Pacific AriaELIZABETH ROBINSON | Cruise & Ferry

SYDNEY - P&O Cruises Australia is to sail six itineraries to Papua New Guinea in 2019, taking guests to destinations such as Alotau, Kitava Island, Rabaul, Kiriwina Island and the Conflict Islands.

The line will offer five 10-night ‘New Guinea Island Encounter’ cruises from Brisbane. The sixth cruise will be an 11-night round trip from Sydney onboard Pacific Aria in mind-November, which will include a call at the Conflict Islands, one of the most remote locations in the Coral Sea.

P&O Cruises became the first cruise line to ever visit the islands in 2016, allowing guests to explore the group of 21 islands that surround a lagoon and are home to one of the world’s most bio-diverse reef systems.

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Manus – a tourist destination or a crime against humanity?

Mungo MacCallum
Mungo MacCallum

MUNGO MacCALLUM | John Menadue’s ‘Pearls & Irritations’

OCEAN SHORES - My first reaction to the report that the Australian government was planning to boost tourism in Manus Island was one of disbelief and revulsion. This was the place – well, one of the places—that successive coalition ministers gloated was hell on earth.

The cynical myth of the so-called Pacific Solution as a tropical paradise of palm trees and beaches had been well and truly dispelled: Manus was a gulag, a prison camp where asylum seekers, whether genuine refugees or not, could be left to suffer and if necessary die in the national interest.

It was and is a monument to political brutality, opportunism and a jingoism that frequently crosses the border into racism. To turn it into some kind of pleasure resort would be an obscenity.

And yet perhaps there is a kind of sense to the idea. Perhaps the tourists would not come for the surfing and scuba diving, but for those all too recent memories.

Continue reading "Manus – a tourist destination or a crime against humanity?" »

A Kiwi police sergeant’s letter home from Bougainville

CRAIG THORNE | Bay of Plenty Times 

Sgt Craig Thorne and Bougainville kids
Sergeant Craig Thorne takes a selfie with boys from Buin

BUIN - For those of you who don't know, I am currently on a deployment from Waihi in New Zealand to Bougainville in a town called Buin which is as far south as you can go and is the most remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Without going into too much detail, New Zealand Police are here to assist the Bougainville Police Service and advise them on policing matters. This will eventually have them being self-sufficient and enabling them to police without our influence. Three NZ Police are based in Buin.

The country is still rebuilding from the civil war of 1988-1998 which ended with between 15,000 and 20,000 Bougainvilleans dead. This all started over the Panguna mine which in its day was the largest open cut mine in the world, rich in copper and gold.

I am now a month into my 12-month deployment - so what do I miss? It is not the material things or peanut M&Ms (well, I do, but can live without). It is my partner, close family and friends. I have learnt very quickly here that, at the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

I don't want for anything here. It has been a month since I've had a trim latte and I haven't gone crazy yet although I will be looking forward to one when I return.

Continue reading "A Kiwi police sergeant’s letter home from Bougainville" »

Highly recommended: A family cruise to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea landfall - Pacific Eden docks at Alotau

DAWN NICHOLSON | P&O Cruise Review

SYDNEY - Our kids have been bugging us for a couple of years now to do a cruise, but it wasn’t until we found P&O’s Papua New Guinea cruise itineraries that we finally booked one.

The kids had seen cruise ships throughout our travels and were absolutely taken with the on-board activities and luxurious ships.

When I discovered that we could cruise to Papua New Guinea, a country I never thought we would ever visit, I was hooked.

I grew up with an intense interest in other cultures.  I devoured National Geographic magazines, took anthropology classes in university and sought out remote areas on our travels. 

The idea of visiting untouched islands with rich, tribal cultures straight out of those anthropology textbooks was incredibly alluring for me.  Especially since we could do that and experience our first cruise together as a family, making the kids happy too.

Continue reading "Highly recommended: A family cruise to Papua New Guinea" »

Security continues to impair Japanese tourism in PNG

Satoshi Nakajima
HE Satoshi Nakajima


PORT MORESBY - Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Nakajima says safety continues to be a major issue affecting the number of Japanese tourists arriving in Papua New Guinea.

Despite this, Mr Nakajima described the country’s tourism potential as huge and said Japan had 16.4 million outbound tourists in 2017.

In his first year in PNG, Mr Nakajima visited the four regions of the country and expressed how impressed he was with what the country has to offer Japanese tourists.

“Regrettably the number of Japanese tourists coming here is not so much,” he said.

“I travelled to Wewak, Kokopo, Kimbe, Mt Hagen, Lae and Pomio. When I travelled to Kokopo and the others I saw the huge potential in promoting tourism.

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Travelling home: A thicket of thugs, thieves & dopeheads


PMV pick up
The PMV pick up

PORT MORESBY – The Kundiawa airstrip has been out of action and Chimbus working elsewhere in Papua New Guinea and abroad travelling back to their tribal lands must first fly to Mt Hagen or Goroka.

Public motor vehicles, known as PMVs, then ferry these diaspora members to Kundiawa and beyond to even more remote locations.

Travelling home for the festive season, my wife, children and I departed from Port Moresby for Goroka, where we were greeted by the itch of the fresh, cool air of Apo land.

We picked up our luggage only to be mobbed by kids asking to carry it to the bus stop. In case one of them decided to wander off with it, we politely gave a no for an answer.

Continue reading "Travelling home: A thicket of thugs, thieves & dopeheads" »

3 ships will accommodate 10,000 at Moresby’s APEC summit

Pacific Explorer

STAFF REPORTER | Cruise Industry News

SYDNEY - Carnival Australia has announced the charter of three of the cruise company’s ships to support Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Port Moresby in November next year.

P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer and Pacific Jewel as well as Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess will be supporting the accommodation of up to 10,000 delegates and officials, the company said.

The three ships will be moored alongside within the APEC security zones to provide hotel accommodation for those attending the summit.

Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said the company was pleased to be playing a part in the successful delivery of Papua New Guinea’s first hosting of an APEC Summit, which will attract member nation’s Presidents and Prime Ministers along with thousands of delegates and observers.

Continue reading "3 ships will accommodate 10,000 at Moresby’s APEC summit" »

Crackdown: PNG to review work permits of expatriates

Immigration at Jacksons Airport
Immigration at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand International

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's Labour minister Mehrra Kipefa says the work permits of all expatriates in the country will be reviewed, and the rules for new permits will be tightened.

Mr Kipefa also said the rules for the issuing of new permits would be tightened.

He said the review would ensure expatriate workers are only working the one job for which their permit was issued.

He told the newspaper, The National, that some expats have been granted a permit to do a certain job, but then go on to do other things.

Mr Kipefa said those found to be in breach would have their permits cancelled and be deported.

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Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back

TIANA TEMPLEMAN | New Zealand Herald

P&O liner anchored in PNG
'Pacific Eden' is greeted by islanders in Milne Bay - "fierce yet friendy"

You can read the full article here

AUCKLAND - Ever run into someone you haven't seen in years and been amazed by how fabulous they look?

That is exactly how my husband and I feel when we board P&O Cruises' Pacific Eden. We have not sailed with P&O since the 1990s, when our South Pacific cruise was memorable for all the wrong reasons, and cannot believe how much the line has changed.

The hard-partying, low-budget vibe of old has been replaced by glamorous bars, upmarket specialty dining, attractive public spaces and family fun.

It had been a long time coming but we decided to give P&O Cruises another try because it was one of the few lines cruising regularly to Papua New Guinea, one of the South Pacific's most stunning emerging cruising destinations.

Continue reading "Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back" »

Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific

John Greenshields
John Greenshields


ADELAIDE - On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea.

Seven of us were there in August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response from the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect.

We weren’t there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.

Continue reading "Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific" »

Envoy to China blames high PNG prices on colonial Australians

PNG’s ambassador to China Christopher Siaoa Mero (Yin Yeping)KEITH JACKSON

IN AN interview with China-based Global Times, Papua New Guinea’s ambassador to China, Christopher Siaoa Mero, has said retail prices are high in PNG because the structure of the economy was built by colonial Australians.

Journalist Yin Yeping asked Mero (pictured) for his views on whether Chinese businessmen were the trigger of high costs.

“I don't think that is the case,” Mero said. “The structure of our economy was built by the Australians when they colonised our country.”

Continue reading "Envoy to China blames high PNG prices on colonial Australians" »

Traumatised PMV traveller takes revenge (or thinks about it)

PMV (Scott Waide)SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

AS much as is humanly possible, I avoid the highway bus stop in Lae. It is a chaotic mess of large and small buses that exist in a world of their own.

Their drivers, oblivious to the rules that govern the rest of us normal human beings, pay no attention to the needs of hapless passengers desperate to get their K60 kina worth of travel.

The bus stop is always jam-packed with a crowd fit for the riots that never quite happen. The ‘K5 bosskru,’ as they are called, take up the seating and outnumber the passengers in the mornings.

Continue reading "Traumatised PMV traveller takes revenge (or thinks about it)" »

Rediscovering Papua New Guinea aboard 'Pacific Aria'

Trobriands - two ex PIR soldiers meetTERRY EDWINSMITH

WHILE with the Pacific Islands Regiment in Papua New Guinea, I’d been denied a long-held desire to visit Wewak because of the tragic crash of an RAAF Caribou on 28 August 1972.

The transport aircraft crashed into a hillside, killing its Australian crew and most of its passengers, high school students coming home from a cadet camp. It was the RAAF's worst peacetime air crash, claiming the lives of 25 of the 29 people on board.

I did not have another opportunity to get to the Sepik until last year, when I learned of a P&O cruise to PNG which included Wewak as a port of call - a rare occurrence. 

Continue reading "Rediscovering Papua New Guinea aboard 'Pacific Aria'" »

Reg's adventure guide to PNG a wonderful gift to trekkers

Captain Reg YatesKEITH JACKSON

The PNG Adventurous Training Guide 2017 by Reg Yates RFD, self published, Melbourne, February 2017. You can contact Reg Yates here

Download PNG Adventurous Training Guide by Reg Yates

RETIRED Australian Army Captain Reg Yates RFD, one of the most experienced trek leaders operating in Papua New Guinea, has produced a first-rate guide for people planning to walk through some of the most difficult and interesting country in PNG.

The 48-page guide is for experienced trekkers, familiar with walking in Papua New Guinea or who work with knowledgeable with PNG villagers, and for Australian Defence Force personnel.

Continue reading "Reg's adventure guide to PNG a wonderful gift to trekkers" »

Past meets present in joyful & productive return to Simbu

Keith addresses Barengigl students and teachersKEITH JACKSON

REVISITING Simbu after 50 years last week, I was feted with a degree of celebrity I really didn’t merit.

That said, most proceedings were laced with profuse and jocular references to the time I was lost for 24 hours in the Yongomugl caves when my lamp failed and I couldn’t navigate the many branches and faults to find my out.

Yup - had to be rescued.

A few months prior to this drama, I had arrived in Kundiawa (population 200; 80 expatriates) in January 1964 having just turned 19.

Continue reading "Past meets present in joyful & productive return to Simbu" »

After an absence of half a century, it’s back to K-Town

Some of our hosts - Jack, Jimmy Drekore, Jimmy Awagl & Philip with the familyKEITH JACKSON

TOGETHER with Ingrid, Ben, Becky and Leilani – wonderful to do this together – I spent most of last week in the Papua New Guinea highlands which I had not seen for 50 years.

To try to condense this experience is ambitious, but it will give you a taste.

Flying into and out of the mountains is easy. Back then it was time-consuming and sometimes disquieting.

However, getting around by road, especially in Simbu Province, is punishing. The Highlands Highway – that critical arterial road serving something more than four million people as well as PNG’s rich agricultural heartland – is in appalling condition.

Continue reading "After an absence of half a century, it’s back to K-Town" »

Return to Mosbi – a place once known so well, now hardly at all

Mosbi sunset from Royal Papua Yacht ClubKEITH JACKSON

BACK in the 1960s – I know I’m showing my age – you could not live in Port Moresby and live your life in a bubble.

The town, as it was then, was utilitarian, confronting, pragmatic and, culturally, barely part of Papua New Guinea at all.

It was a transit stop between somewhere else and adventure. More Cairns than Kandep. And many of us colonials had little taste for it. We preferred the outstations and the bush.

All that’s changed. Now expats can live a life transiting between secure apartment compound, secure office block and secure yacht club all in a secure alarm-buttoned, back-to-base connected SUV.

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Sister town is doable, so why can’t Simbu government embrace it?


Keith Jackson AM and Cr Ingrid Jackson are ready to advance discussions on a Kundiawa-Noosa sister town relationship, but do Simbu Administrator Joe Kunda Naur MBE and Governor Hon Noah Kool have the wisdom to embrace the concept for the benefit of the Simbu people?

This is particularly relevant as the whole concept falls within the provincial government’s own Tourism, Arts and Culture Policy launched in Kundiawa just a few months ago.

Last Tuesday, while Simbu Writers Association delegates were waiting in the corridor of Kondom Agaundo House in Kundiawa to have an audience with the Simbu Provincial Administrator, a follow up to the letter that we had delivered the week before, the email signal on my mobile phone triggered.

The email was from Keith and I was surprised and at the same time excited when I read it.

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Simbu to receive KJ and Cr Ingrid - & what about a sister town?


THE publisher of PNG Attitude and friend of Simbu and Papua New Guinea, Keith Jackson AM, and his family, are making a special trip to Kundiawa in early March.

Keith will be accompanied by his wife, Councillor Ingrid Jackson, son Ben Jackson, his partner Becky Finzel and their three-year old daughter Leilani.

Members of the Simbu Writers Association are well prepared for this visit and are urging the Simbu Provincial Government to officially receive them.

Keith and Ingrid will be travelling from Brisbane to Port Moresby where they will meet members of the PNG Attitude family.

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Government green lights construction of Paga Hill City

Paga Hill 'Tourism City' - the visionFREDDY MOU | Loop PNG | Edited

The PNG government has given the green light to investors in Paga Hill Tourism City to start implementing the project.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tobias Kulang said the PNG cabinet has approved an incentive framework for the Paga Hill Estate.

“This bold move is demonstrative of the government’s strategy to pursue foreign investment, create jobs and stimulate economy,” Mr Kulang said.

He said that the Paga Hill Estate is attracting foreign investment with a memorandum of understanding already agreed with the Shenzhen Construction and Development Group partnering with the China Harbour Engineering Company and Covec to fund and construct a five-star hotel.

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Get in early before the tourism dollar turns PNG into a theme park

Sepik SpiritJON HOLMES | The Australian

“DO you think it will rain tonight?” I ask Joseph, the man with the gun. He looks up, beyond the mist clinging to the valley, doing its damnedest to conceal the river-ridden jungle that is to be our home for the next few days.

He sniffs the air in the same casual manner with which he hangs the rifle on his shoulder. “Will it rain?” he replies. “It depends on the weather.”

To be honest, the weather is the least of our worries. “Expect the unexpected” is the given (and best) travel advice for anyone visiting Papua New Guinea. It’s a country that’s casual about a few things, from plane timetables to customs regulations to automatic weapons.

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Things to know before moving to PNG from the USA


THE prospect of moving to a new country can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. That’s why it is important to be sure that you are properly prepared.

Papua New Guinea is an excellent destination for a United States resident, but there are some things you should know before you decide to make the move.

You can learn these important details and prepare for your exciting new move by visiting Papua New Guinea as a tourist while taking time to learn about the beautiful area, the people, local housing and the many things to do for fun once you arrive as a resident.

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Making Port Moresby public transport safe for women & girls

Women ride a Meri Seif Bus in Port Moresby (UN Women-Marc Dozier)UN Women

FOR women, getting on a bus in Port Moresby meant an almost guaranteed experience of violence or harassment.

A scoping study conducted by UN Women in 2014 found that more than 90% of women and girls experienced some form of violence when accessing public transport - on buses, at bus stops, walking to and from stops, or in taxis.

This included verbal sexual remarks, inappropriate touching, and indecent exposure in terms of sexual violence, and also extortion, robbery, threats or intimidation.

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Airways Hotel included in best hotels of the world list

Airways & its DC3MEDIA RELEASE

AIRWAYS Hotel in Port Moresby has been named fifth in the Huffington Post review of top hotels.

Huffington Post contributor, travel pioneer and ‘father’ of modern adventure travel, Richard Bangs, has published a list of the top 10 hotels he’s experienced, selected for “being special, extreme in cosiness, service and that ineffable quality of heart.”

According to Bangs, Papua New Guinea is a special destination. He calls it “a country as diverse and bewitching as any on earth.”

“Things have improved [including] the signature hotel in the capital, The Airways, an oasis just a stone’s throw from the airport.

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Julie says 'thanks Australia for treating me as one of the writers'

Julie, never before seen the ocean, & DanielDANIEL & JULIE KUMBON

I HAVE been listening to my wife, Julie’s, daily prayers to God in the Enga language in the privacy of our hotel rooms in Noosa, Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns over the action-packed two weeks we were in Australia.

All this was made possible by the inaugural McKinnon-Paga Hill Development Company fellowship scheme, PNG Attitude and many other friends of Papua New Guinea.

One morning in Brisbane, I heard Julie plead with God to make Keith Jackson’s spinal operation successful and when we heard in Sydney that it had indeed gone well and that Keith was ready to go back to Noosa, Julie was elated and thanked God again that night.

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Cairns business anger after Qantas dumps Moresby flights

Cairns airportCairns Post

CAIRNS businesses have lashed out at Qantas for abandoning direct Cairns-Papua New Guinea flights.

Qantas announced last month that, due to high demand for flights to Bali, it would be reducing its domestic flights in regional areas.

This includes shifting its Cairns-Port Moresby flights to Brisbane-Port Moresby from the end of October in order to better serve the business market.

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Roads, bridges & sea links the key to effective aid delivery

Building the road to KarimuiFRANCIS NII

LAST week we read Lindsay Bond’s story of the opening of three bridges worth K139 million at Eroro, Girua and Ambogo in Oro Province, built with the support of Australian aid, and yesterday we read of the death of a mother of eight children in Dr Kevin Pondikou’s searingly personal piece.

These articles brought a million thoughts to my mind of what wonders Australian aid could have brought to Papua New Guinea had more attention been focused on building roads and bridges to link rural areas and urban centres.

Australia spent millions of dollars on her colony prior to independence and continues to spend $500 million annually even today, but why has this aid money not transformed the lives of the rural masses scattered across remote and mountainous terrain and on islands separated by often treacherous seas?

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PNG introduces new free 30-day tourist visa for Australians

Jerry AgusETB Travel News

PAPUA New Guinea has introduced a new tourist visa for Australians. Australian passport holders can now secure a 30-day free tourist visa on arrival.

The change in visa requirements was announced this week by the PNG cabinet and is the first time this option has been available to Australian visitors.

Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority CEO, Jerry Agus (pictured), said he is delighted at the news and sees the decision as an important step forward for the tourism industry.

“We wholeheartedly welcome this news,” Mr Agus said.

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Cook Islands look like a good model for Australia–PNG relations


IT PROBABLY hasn’t crossed your mind, but the Cook Islands is a place definitely worth a visit.

I travelled there from Auckland but there’s also a direct flight from Sydney these days.

The Cooks is an interesting place. Not just because of the laid back island feel and warmth of the people, but for a better model of how Australia might treat Papua New Guinea.

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P&O vessel visits Conflict Islands for the first time

Conflict IslandsBRAD CROUCH

SOME people dream of buying an island. Australian Ian Gowrie-Smith bought an entire archipelago — sight unseen.

P&O Cruises Pacific Jewel has made history by becoming the first cruise ship to visit the remote Conflict Islands, putting the idyllic atoll — and their fascinating owner — briefly in the spotlight.

The 21 islands ranging from 1ha to 97 ha gathered in a pear shape around a sheltered lagoon are about 150km from Alotau at the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea.

With pristine reefs and abundant marine life, these serene remnants of an extinct volcano were named after British ship HMS Conflict which charted them in 1886.

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PNG government backflips on visa on arrival decision


THE Papua New Guinean government is to reverse its decision not to grant visas on arrival to Australian tourists.

“It is an impediment to attracting tourists in the country,” said Tourism Minister Tobias Kulang

“We will withdraw our position and reinstate visa on arrival for our Australian friends when they arrive at Jackson’s international terminal.”

Mr Kulang said Peter O’Neill had taken the original decision but “this twist of decision was made in the best interest for the tourism industry in the country”.

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Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica

The eternal flameKEITH JACKSON

WE arise before dawn and we see the dark shape of land - the Aegean Sea is funnelling into the Dardanelles, just a narrow strait but with a name that triggers an emotional response in Australians.

In the half-light we see silhouetted on the rocky clifftop that marks the strait’s entrance four soaring columns of a massive monument and an oversized Turkish flag.

At about this time on 25 April 1915, 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders traversed these waters to be landed on Gallipoli’s precipitous and lethal shore.

Over the next eight months until the Allies retreated, 33,000 Allied (Diggers, Kiwis, Tommies, French) troops were killed – as were 86,000 Turks.

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Tourism and tradition – can they co-exist in a modern PNG?

Enga dancersNATHAN LATI | Edited extracts

THE Engan dance, the Mali, is one of the traditional rituals that is gradually dying away due to non-recognition of its significance in the modern and traditional contexts.

Previously, the Mali was hosted for reasons that cannot match today’s purposes. Furthermore, the importance of the Mali from both modern and traditional perspective is not understood by majority of the Engans due to the current trend towards modernity and the weakening of culture, tradition and custom.

Currently, the Mali is one of the major tourist attractions in Enga and has gained popularity at the annual Enga Cultural Show with its Sili Muli, an all women Mali dance group.

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Road management is suffering in Papua New Guinea

Seismic issues are problematicMATTHEW DORNAN | PNG National Research Institute | Extract (Conclusion)

THE challenges faced by Papua New Guinea in managing its road network are shared with many other developing countries.

Road management, especially maintenance, has suffered from capacity constraints and underfunding.

Political incentives are important in explaining why successive governments have failed to allocate sufficient funding to road maintenance despite its positive economic return.

Development partners in response have advocated the commercialisation of road management through the establishment of an autonomous road agency whose road maintenance activities are funded by fees collected from the road sector.

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