Blogs from Papua New Guinea, Oceania


New Guinea is a country which has gone from the Stone Age to the Computer Age in the space of 50 years. It is a most unusual place. New Guinea is one of the world’s last frontiers. On this small island, there are over 800 known languages and the population doubles every 20 years. As a primarily agrarian society, most people survive on a subsistence level. We stopped at two ports in this exotic country. The first up was Alotau and this was as primitive a spot as you can find and light years away from our previous ports in Australia and New Zealand. One of the first significant Allied victories in WWII occurred here at Milne Bay. Other than the monuments memorializing these events, there is not much to the town of Alotau. We took ... read more

Oceania » Papua New Guinea March 11th 2014

9th March Rabaul, Papua New Guinea This is a maiden port of call for the Queen Elizabeth and was meant to be a tender, however for some reason a berth became available in Simpson Harbour and we docked at about 8 am on this glorious Sunday morning. This was from the sublime (Airlie Beach) with all its fancy yachts and infrastructure to the ridiculous (Rabaul) a township struggling to survive. Rabaul sits in part of the volatile ‘Ring of Fire’ and suffered its last eruption in 1994. Over 80% of buildings were destroyed during this time and after the eruption the capital was moved to Kokopo about 12 miles away. The violent eruptions of Mt Tavurvur followed by Mt Vulcan on the other side of Simpson Harbour quickly buried the eastern side of Rabaul ... read more

Oceania » Papua New Guinea » Milne Bay » Alotau March 9th 2014

To even think about taking a holiday to Papua New Guinea you’d have to be out of your tiny mind. At least that was the word on the street before we left. In terms of potential for violence, the place is hardcore. Just last year, a group of tourists were horrified when their party was ambushed and their guides hacked to death in front of their very eyes. And it’s not as if this is a new problem. Even the earliest explorers returned with tales of an exotic land stocked with Birds of Paradise, but one inhabited by a bunch of warring cannibals and head-hunters who seldom gave a warm welcome. Back in the day round these parts, a man’s status was determined not by his bank balance or his choice of car, but by how ... read more
Mantis Shrimp
Plucky Little Crab
Sunset from the Restaurant

Oceania » Papua New Guinea » Milne Bay January 23rd 2014

We knew when arriving in PNG that it had a number of cultural groups and over 800 languages. It really took us our whole visit to understand what that means. Each of the places we visited has an entirely different way of living meaning that anything we learned in one area is not necessarily true in the other areas, it was really like visiting 3 different countries. It also means that there is virtually no national identity (except when it comes to the national Rugby League team of course) and loyalties and allegiances are to the tribe and not the country as a whole. This makes the national political situation particularly challenging because for the most part no ones primary concern is the country as a whole. The Trobriand Islands (or “Trobs” as the locals and ... read more
Yam House
Yam plants
Carvings in the hotel

Oceania » Papua New Guinea » Milne Bay » Logia Island December 30th 2013

Well readers when we left off Shelagh and Heather were “stranded” at their resort in Tufi after their plane to Port Moresby didn’t arrive. Let’s tune back in too see what happened… The plane to Port Moresby was scheduled to arrive in Tufi at 7:45am and depart again at 8:15am. When we asked the Air PNG rep at the hotel what time we needed to have our bags ready in the morning he did some careful calculations and informed us that we should have our bags ready at 5:45 am. Let me remind you that the airstrip is a 2 minute drive from the hotel and there is literally no building, luggage cart, airport infrastructure of any sort (oh, that’s a lie, there’s a wind sock) at the airport. Really, we need to check in and ... read more
Bathroom in Alatou airport
Our view view of Nuli Sapi and our bungalow
Nuli Sapi resort


Oceania » Papua New Guinea » Oro » Tufi December 20th 2013

We have to admit that we did minimal research before embarking on this trip. We did know that it would be bloody hot and humid and that we would probably get dirty and smelly. To deal with this we headed to Kmart and bought cheap tshirts and shorts. You can actually buy cute tshirts in Kmart for as low as $3 (although we largely splashed out on the $6 and $8 ones). I suspect these are not made in Australian factories paying Australian minimum wage. Reluctantly I also decided not to bring my down jacket (how can I possibly travel without my down jacket???). We also knew that there was Malaria risk in PNG and did procure malaria tablets. A few days before departing we thought “hmmm, I wonder if we need visas?” and learned that ... read more
Water hazard
Flying into the fiords of Tufi
Tufi gravel runway

Oceania » Papua New Guinea November 24th 2013

One month on a pole and line fishing vessel for a tuna tagging trip around Salomon Sea... Incredible PNG, in love...... read more
PNG selec (4)
PNG selec (6)

Oceania » Papua New Guinea September 8th 2013

Lucky enough to spend a day in Port Moresby, PNG. Was there for work and got to meet some great people. A beautiful country that one day I hope to explore!... read more
View of airport

Oceania » Papua New Guinea July 3rd 2013

The journey began long before the actual trip as a lot of training and preparation was required. Ray and I spent Christmas hiking the Overland Track and I used the trip as my official start to four months of Kokoda training. Each Saturday or Sunday we would drive to the Bunyip State Park to tackle the 2.5 hour return hike straight up a steep 4wd track, pack loaded with weights and water. A friend who completed the track a year earlier recommended the route and it certainly was gruelling. We regularly ran into others who were training but who had already been to Kokoda. The cheery comments such as 'this is nothing compared to the real thing!" did little for my confidence. Training through summer and autumn meant we only encountered one wet day, a torrential ... read more

Scrubbing In Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week I have been with Dr. Jim Radcliffe is surgery. On Tuesday, I got to scrub in for the first time. The procedure was a biliary bypass. The patient had an inoperable tumor obstructing the bile duct from the gallbladder, so Dr. Jim incised and drained the gallbladder, incised the stomach, and then sutured the gallbladder to the stomach so that the bile will now drain into the stomach. During this operation, I got to hold retractors, clamps, and sutures, suction blood and bile, and once Dr. Jim was finished suturing the fascia, he left to fill in the patient's charts and I stapled the epidermis back together. Other operations I saw on Tuesday included two tubal ligations, a finger amputation, and a colostomy. Wednesday was a day ... read more

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