This full-day private tour of the Sogeri Plateau near Port Moresby is suitable for visitors who have already toured the main city and would like to see more of the surrounding countryside. While the coastline north and south of Port Moresby is dry bushy terrain interspersed with swamp, the inland road climbs to the Sogeri Plateau, a green oasis of fertile farmland and forested mountains. After an initial stop at the Bomana War Cemetery, you'll visit the Adventure Park Zoo, National Orchid Gardens and bird of paradise breeding facility before a steep climb through the Rouna Gorge to scenic Sogeri township and Plateau, with optional side trips to Owers Corner (the beginning of the Kokoda Trail), the Varirata National Park lookout with panoramic views of the Papuan Coastline, the Crystal Rapids scenic cascades and Lake Sirinumu which supplies water for Port Moresby's reticulated supply and hydro-electricity generation.
This tour heads straight out of town 30 minutes to the Bomana War Cemetery which has over 3500 graves of Australian and other Commonwealth soldiers killed mainly in the Pacific War. It's a serene setting with many bird species in the surrounding trees. Next stop, the nearby Adventure Park Zoo is a popular spot for local families and has a large collection of native PNG animals, plants and exotic birds including the magnificent National Orchid Gardens.
From here the road climbs steeply up the scenic Rouna Gorge to Sogeri, a tiny town surrounded by lush farmlands that supply much of Port Moresby's fresh produce. From here you may select from 4 different side trips to fill out the rest of the day
(1) Owers Corner (3 hours) - this side trip to the southern end of the Kokoda Trail is only possible in dry weather when the unsealed access road is safe for small vehicles to navigate. 45 minutes drive each way from Sogeri and an hour or so on site is enough to read the informative display boards, examine the Howitzer artillery gun and, if you are fit enough, take a walk down the first steep embankment to the Golide River and up again in order to say you have walked part of the Trail.
(2) Varirata National Park (2 hours) - the park is an area of rugged montane forest about 2000 metres above sea level about 30 minutes drive along sealed road from Sogeri. There is not much wildlife to be seen in the public areas of the park due to noisy cars, picnickers playing music etc so it's necessary to hike 20 minutes into bushland and sit quietly and wait for some time in order to have any chance of seeing any wildlife. The other attraction in the park is the scenic lookout which on a clear day offers panoramic views of the Papuan coastline and out to sea.
(3) Crystal Rapids (1-2 hours) - this is a popular picnic and recreation spot close to Sogeri with swimming waterholes and cascading waterfalls on a pretty creek. Bring your swimming gear.
(4) Lake Sirinumu (2 hours) - a side trip along a sealed access road comes to this artificial lake created by damming the Laloki River in the 1960's. Water from the lake is used twice - first it is directed at speed down high pressure pipes in the Rouna Gorge to spin turbines to create hydro-electricity and then the water continues through to a treatment plant and used for the city water supply. Anglers fish at the lake and there is good birding around the perimeter. Local people cross the lake in canoes and small boats to get to villages on the other side.
For lunch the guide will either provide a packed (boxed) lunch or pay for lunch at a convenient outlet en route.
If taking this tour on a Sunday during the academic year you have the option of a 6am start in order to commence the tour at the weekly farm market at the Pacific Adventist University where students and staff from all over the Pacific Islands sell their traditional foods and handicrafts (Sundays only).