Are you heading to Goroka in Papua New Guinea but not so sure what to expect? Here we look at things to do and sights you shouldn’t miss. We also look at the well-known Goroka Show.
Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. It has a history of gold mines and coffee plantations and used to be a small and outlying city in the 1950s. But it has developed into a magnetic, well organised town with a relaxed atmosphere, modern facilities and a range of events.
Things do to
PNG Coffee Festival
The PNG Coffee Festival takes place on the first weekend in May each year, at the Raun Raun Theatre in Goroka. Here you will not only see a trade fair and formal coffee ball but also contemporary music, art exhibitions and singsong groups.
The J.K. McCarthy Museum
The J.K. McCarthy Museum exhibits handicrafts, WWII relics, artefacts and a fascinating collection of photos which portray early contact with Europeans and Highlanders in 1933. Among these exhibitions you can view clothes, weapons, pottery, jewellery, musical instruments…
PNG High Country Tours
You can participate in PNG High Country Tours – the treks lead around the jungles and caves of the Eastern Highlands and out towards Simbu.
This open-air market in Goroka sells a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, Bilums and Highland hats and much more. It is colourful any day but very busy on Saturdays.
Bird of Paradise Hotel
The restaurant and terrace bar of the Bird of Paradise Hotel is the place for a romantic date and is central to the social life of Goroka’s wealthy inhabitants. Souvenir sellers camp outside the hotel and exhibit among other things bilums (string bags), Buka-ware, hats, bows, masks, spears and jewellery.
Mt. Kiss Kiss Lookout
At Wisdom St, beside the post office, a long, steep track leads to an excellent lookout – the Mt. Kiss Kiss Lookout – so-called because it’s the lovers’ leap of Goroka. Halfway there are two large water tanks and even a ladder you can climb to catch spectacular views of the distant valleys through pine trees and the Highlands mist.
The Goroka Show
Goroka is famous for its “Eastern Highlands Cultural Show” which is better known as the “Goroka Show”; it is held every year around Independence Day (16th September).
This significant event was started in 1957 by Australian patrol officers, known as “Kiaps”. They had the idea to bring together all the different tribes and clans of the Province. In this entertaining event Kiaps from each district showed off their district’s cultures and brought in their singsong groups. This was largely a competition between the Kiaps to see who had the best administered and organised district.
The Goroka Show was so successful that it became a national event in PNG’s calendar and is a major tourist attraction today. It remains the most popular cultural and tribal gathering event in Papua New Guinea to this very day.
The show provides entertainment from music and dancing to showing-off and extraordinary displays of tribal rituals. Moreover, you are able to see firsthand the distinct differences and similarities between the more than a hundred tribes which populate the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
The Goroka Show is the perfect opportunity for tourists to gain an overview of Papua New Guinea’s cultural diversity!