Port Moresby, situated on a scenic harbour, is the gateway to your PNG adventure holiday. The city got its name from Captain John Moresby who was the first European visitor to arrive in 1873. As the largest city (pop. approx 320,000), capital and leading commercial centre of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby is also the central meeting place for people from the various provinces, who come to town to purchase their supplies and exchange news items.
Port Moresby is located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the southeastern coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea. Its location made it a prime objective for conquest by the Imperial Japanese forces during World War II, as a staging point and air base to cut off Australia from Southeast Asia and the Americas.
Port Moresby refers to both the urbanised area of the National Capital District and more specifically to the central business area, known locally as “Town”. The original colonial settlement was by the water and is still the port area, as well as the main business and banking district.
Temperature is hot all year, between 25-30°C, with it being hotter during the wet season.
Wet Season: November to April
Dry Season: May to October
The Papuan Barrier Reef is where all of the diving in the region takes place. There are over 30 dive sites to explore including walls, drop-offs, reef channels, drifts, coral bommies as well as three shipwrecks and wreck of a WWII Boston Bomber. The surrounding reefs and islands provide the perfect nature study environment for marine biologists and those with interest in rare marine creatures.
25-30°C, 3mm wetsuit or rashie
Year-round but late October until early December generally has the best conditions.
MV Pal II (Wreck)
Scuttled in 1982 for sport divers, this 25-metre steel prawn trawler lies with her masts in 15 metres and her keel in 27 metres. Her masts are thick with black corals, soft corals and tubastraea trees. Cardinalfish swirl among the corals in the open doorways at the base of the mast. There are high quantities of fish life on and around the wreck. Redlined anthias and Harlequin ghost pipefish are found here. This site is protected in most weather conditions.
MV Pacific Gas (Wreck)
Scuttled in 1986 for sport divers, this ship is 65 metres long, lying with her mast in 9 metres and her rudder in 45 metres. Tremendous quantities of fish surround the wreck, and there are magnificent corals, particularly on the mast. Lionfish, leaf scorpionfish and ghost pipefish reside here. This is one of two sites where red lined anthias can be found. The ever-curious batfish join divers on the safety stop before ascending back to the boat.
The End Bommie
Rhinopias (Merletts scorpionfish) and crocodile flathead are often found here. Walls covered with gorgonian fans, pink sea whips, tubastraea and soft coral trees. A falling tide brings vast quantities of fish life to feed in the current. Pygmy seahorses are not uncommon. A perfect safety stop at the anemone garden with the anemonefish before an ascent. Depth: 6 - 20 metres.
The Big Drop
Sheer wall with large gorgonian fans in deeper water. There is a chance of seeing sharks and rays due to this site being situated on the ocean side. Can be a great dive at the point of the wall with the current running. The shallow top of the reef ranging from 8 - 10m deep is covered by hard coral galore, and Napoleon wrasse is often sighted. Abundant fish life, including pygmy seahorses.
Pristine bommie situated on the white sand. A plethora of corals and fish life. Superlatives cannot describe this dive site. Good site for pygmy seahorses. Depth: 12 - 30 metres.
A visit to Parliament Haus, PNG's most impressive building with its detailed mosaic facade, and the cultural displays at the National Museum are recommended. Port Moresby Nature Park (formerly The National Botanical Gardens) is a highlight. The Park has some fantastic examples of PNG wildlife such as birds of paradise, cassowaries, tree kangaroos, multiple wallaby species, and many other native bird species. The gardens are well kept, lush and tropical, and the orchids are beautiful when in bloom. The Ela Beach Craft Market is held on the last Saturday of each month, bringing together local artefacts from all over Papua New Guinea. Shop for beautiful paintings, carvings, handwoven baskets, shell jewellery or any number of other objects to bring home as souvenirs.
Outside town, Varirata National Park is heaven for bird-watchers and the drive there is rewarding.
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