The Dandenongs? No, Mount Hagen!

Mount Hagen is the ‘capital’ of the Highlands of PNG. Because of its 1700m elevation it has a mild climate with temperatures from about 12º-29º year round. It is surrounded by much larger mountains; the actual Mount Hagen, some distance to the North West, rises to 3900m, while Mount Giluwe to the South West is upwards of 4400m.

Mount Hagen is in the Wahgi Valley, which was only ‘discovered’ by westerners in the 1930s when an expedition in search of gold (of course) discovered upwards of a million people living here.

The people of the Wahgi Valley have practiced agriculture for at least 9,000 years, making them among the world’s first, and love their gardening. The highlands is still the food bowl of PNG. The hotel gardeners took us for a wander around the grounds. They grinned from ear to ear as they showed us cannas, tibouchinas, agapanthus, orchids, mosses, tree kangaroos, mountain ash, araucarias and other oddities – I never met such rapt horticulturists before!

Below a pic of the poolside bar at the hotel with Mountain Ash and Hoop Pines in the background.

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Some orchids in the garden

 

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