"Former Capital of New Guinea" Lae by Bwana_Brown

Lae Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 3 photos

Although first developed in the late 1920s as a result of nearby gold strikes, Lae is today both the second largest city in Papua New Guinea and the capital of Morobe Province (see my 'General Tips' for a map of its location). It is a bustling commercial city, thanks to its safe harbour along the Huon Gulf as well as being the terminus for the major Highlands Highway, which provides an important road-link into the heart of the country. Lae was designated as the capital of the territory of New Guinea (north of the mountain ranges) in 1937 following major volcanic destruction at the previous capital of Rabaul on New Britain Island. When the territories of New Guinea and Papua were later combined, it lost out to Port Moresby as the National capital.

During my three years in PNG I visited Lae a number of times, either to deal with local electric power problems or to use it as a base to drive further into the country to fix similar problems in more remote locations! In fact, my first trip outside of Port Moresby was to Lae, only one month after I had arrived from Canada to take up my new job as Field Test Engineer for the PNG Electricity Commission. Back then, I was more concerned with just getting the job done and did not really take the time for a lot of exploration of the attractions which the city had to offer. As with many locations throughout PNG, both the economic and security situations have deteriorated in the last couple of decades, resulting in Lae now being known for its high robbery rates and very rough streets.

This view of the surrounding countryside was taken on an early morning flight out of Lae from Nadzab airport as we flew up the Markham River valley to gain altitude before trying to cross the ~14,000 foot mountain ranges barring our way to Port Moresby.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good air and road links to the north side of Papua New Guinea
  • Cons:High crime rate
  • Last visit to Lae: Jun 1982
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (2)

Comments (7)

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2008 at 8:06 PM

    Not very keen to visit this place. Bit frightening I think.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2008 at 6:22 AM

    Lae is often a crossword puzzle clue, so it was nice to read about the real place and enjoy the pictures you took there.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2007 at 10:00 PM

    I understand the locals have an efficient way to bring drivers to pay attention to pedestrians and others!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Pandunus "palm" trees look very strange and exotic to me. Hmm... better not to have any accident there, I see.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2007 at 5:21 AM

    I like these "palm" trees ! Interesting, never heard of them !

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2006 at 11:50 AM

    Very interesting stuff. Hope I never have an accident in the highlands.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2006 at 10:18 PM

    Great introduction-picture, Glenn, that scenery is really great !


“Don`t sweat the small stuff”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 1 3
Forum Rank:
0 3 5 5 5

Badges & Stats in Lae

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 1,207PageViews

Have you been to Lae?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Lae

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)