Set in the beautiful and mountainous Highland Chimbu District between Mt. Hagen and Goroka, Kundiawa is usually seen as an overnight stop. We actually enjoy Kundiawa more than Goroka, as it has a less modern feel.

An exciting side trip from Kundiawa is a trek to the top of Mt. Wilhelm, from which you can see both the north and south coasts of PNG. A moderately demanding four-hour climb, it was one of the highlights of our trip.

To get to the base camp, you can take a PMV from Kundiawa to Mt. Wilhelm High School—the trip along this road is one of the most fantastic drives in Papua New Guinea. The road clings to one side of a magnificent valley, where village gardens grow on seemingly impossible inclines. (Unfortunately, erosion sometimes upsets the precarious balance, and landslides can occur after heavy rains.)

From the high school, it is a one-hour walk to the base camp, where you'll find dormitory-style bunk beds and a kitchen. (Bring your own food and a sleeping bag.) The ascent along a clearly marked path is usually made in the predawn hours to view the splendid sunrise. (It doesn't require any special equipment, but bring a flashlight and a sweater or jacket for the chill.) 275 mi/445 km northwest of Port Moresby.

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