Less than an hour’s drive from Port Moresby, Varirata National Park covers 1063 hectares inhabited by all the main iconic species of Papua New Guinea. Accessible by road, this remarkable park is one of the best places in the country to discover its rich biodiversity. A unique rainforest at the city’s doorstep.
Raggiana bird of paradise, cassowaries, hornbills, kingfishers, cuscus, forest wallabies, echidna, bandicoots, possums, green pythons… all the most well-known animals of the Papua New Guinean pantheon are here. Just a stone’s throw from Port Moresby. Only forty eight kilometers east of the city center on the Sogeri plateau, Varirata National Park is PNG’s first national park. Officially opened in 1973, the protected area covers 1063 ha on State land and was traditionally a hunting ground called Wodobonomuby the Koiari people.
Would you guess that there are walking trails at the doorstep of the city ?
At an elevation between 600 and 900 meters, the park offers a rich variety of ecosystems and landscapes, from beautiful rainforests to savannah grasslands and secondary regrowth. Popular because of its spectacular views overlooking Port Moresby and the Central Coast, the Park offers four tracks to explore its untamed nature, discover its unique plants and observe its extraordinary wild life. Scientists consider that there are 99 families, 335 genera and 815 species of birds in the whole of Papua New Guinea. Internationally well-known among bird watchers, Varirata National park has the reputation of including a rich proportion of PNG’s birds with its 58 families, 150 genera and 231 species !
Five out of the thirty-five species of birds of paradise live in the park, and PNG’s National Emblem, the Raggiana, is without any doubt, its guest of honor. Between April and October, during peak breeding season, there is an excellent chance of seeing some males in full breeding plumage dancing to attract female attention. Some courtship trees are only 20-30 meters off the sealed road on the way to the main Lookout. Visitors just need a bit of patience and good binoculars to see one of the most beautiful creatures on earth giving one the most spectacular nature shows in the world.
- Foundation: October, 8 1973
- Location: Sogeri plateau.
- Open from 6am to 6pm.
- Bomana cemetery can be visited at the same time as it’s on the same road.