Hello Everyone! I’d like to share with you some of the places we got to enjoy in our recent vacation to Wewak, a coastal town in Papua New Guinea. For most of the family, this was the first chance for any of us to experience a different part of PNG outside of the Eastern Highlands. Wewak was not a place to disappoint!
On the last Monday of June, we boarded a Kodiak plane for Wewak. An hour later, our aircraft began to descend. Tropical heat and humidity began to penetrate the atmosphere inside, so I removed the jacket I had needed earlier for the cool highland’s morning. As the pilot swung the plane out over the ocean in preparation to turn, I caught a wonderful view of the beach. Clear turquoise waters crashed endlessly against a long stretch of white sand, while across from the ocean, lush forest pushed it’s border up against the beach.
Before long, our luggage was unloaded from the plane and reloaded into a van, and the whole lot of us were on our way to the MAF guest house which would serve as vacation central for the next ten days. We were welcomed by a very loquacious lorikeet, who kept us alternately entertained and annoyed for our entire stay. His best impression was of a honking car, which had us all soundly confused and checking the driveway for a while.
Our first excursion was to Wewak’s favorite restaurant and beach spot: Talio Lodge. Located directly on the beach, this small, quirky hotel is made entirely of recycled shipping containers! Each remodeled container serves as a guest room set amidst Talio’s lovely landscaping.
Arriving early on purpose, we swam in the salt water waves for an hour or so before dinner. I happily ate my hot fish n’ chips while watching the glorious sunset (in PNG they’re pretty early, 5:30-6:00).
We returned many nights during those next weeks to enjoy Talio’s fabulous cooking. Seafood in the Highlands is not trustworthy, so I made a point to stuff myself while it was available!
Five minutes away from our guest house was the town beach. Stores and the other various buildings of downtown pushed right up to it, separated from the white sand only by a road. One end the crescent beach served as the water taxi stop. Small boats equipped with outboard motors gradually filled up with people on their way home from town to their various villages on the neighboring islands and coast.
We hit the town beach often for a stroll along the seashore, collecting seashells and wading among the waves. Groups of children swam and played on the sand, often as not in the the nude. Outrigger canoes were pulled up under the shelter of the single row of coconut palms that lined the beach road. Out in the water, a portion of the reef peeked out of the ocean, and a weathered boat lay where it had struck coral several years ago.
The favorite snorkeling spot around Wewak is Wom Beach. Half an hour drive away, this secluded cove is the former location of a Japanese air base, and a memorial now stands there in memory of the cooperative victory of the Australians, New Guineans, and Americans who captured it. Moreover, it is also the location of a very colorful coral reef right off of the beach.
We visited Wom a total of six times during our vacation, often packing a lunch so as to stay the entire day. Noticeable creatures spotted while snorkeling were puffer fish, scorpion fish, rainbow fish, a large eel (moray?), clown fish (one of which was so aggressive as to ram itself against my snorkeling mask), and countless other animals I couldn’t name if I wanted to.
Till next time, oh sunsets and sand of Wewak!