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Cycling around PNG.
Cycling around PNG.
The Tree House.
The beautiful faces.

New Ireland Cycling

Thursday, May 2, 2002
Sorrel is on the road in Papua New Guinea … it's idyllic, unspoilt and absolutely unforgettable.

New Ireland is 350kms long and 10kms wide. It has one of Papua New Guinea's longest records of contact with European civilisation. The port of Kavieng is its capital, and Namatanai is the only other town on the island. New Ireland is a leading exporter of timber and copra. Tuna and gold are other important resources.

New Ireland is a great place for cycling — it is flat and the Buluminski Highway is long, straight and sealed for a good portion of the way.

Cycling on New Ireland became popular in 1991 when the chaplain of Melbourne Grammar School took a group of students there. They still go during July and October holidays, and enjoy the challenging rides which range between 45 and 65 kilometres each day. There is interaction with local people, visits to interesting sites and a chance to join the village boys on their nightly fishing trips. Cultural entertainment is always provided in the villages where you stay overnight.

Tabo Meli conducts Rainbow Tours and she will tailor a trip suitable to the rider. If the long trips don't suit, there are shorter rides of 15 to 30kms each leg. Tabo or a member of her family drives behind each tour.

Tours include five days and four nights from Kavieng to Namatani. Three, two and one-and-a-half day rides are also available. Some visitors prefer to just hire a bike and make their own arrangements. You need to take along bottled water, and because of the humidity, stops along the way incorporating a swim are very welcome and pleasurable.

A most unusual place to stay is in the treehouse Alun Beck built. A resident of Papua New Guinea for 26 years, Alun wanted a weekender in a spot good for swimming and picnicking. The idea of a treehouse was born when he saw a huge tree from the water one day. Now there is a three-storey building in its branches. The 25m tree is a tropical hardwood species similar to mahogany, and is around 200 years old. Alun is now in the throes of building nine twin-share tree cottages on mangrove posts.

Most of the original tree house was built from dead windfall trees, and each level is bolted to the next. The base is set into the lower sturdy trunk, and lighting is provided by a solar unit.

The first level of the treehouse is five metres from the ground and has three metre ceilings. This is where the Rainforest Restaurant and Ballus Bar are located. It has full length screen windows, split bamboo wall cladding and blinds of woven cane.

Guests relax with aromatherapy massages on the third level, and the middle level is where Alun lives.

Dinner in the villages is usually sweet potatoes, banana, fish, crab and taro cooked in a stone oven. There is plenty of fresh fruit. There is also some great diving to be done, and a visit to village craft sellers is well worthwhile. Visitors to New Ireland are always made to feel welcome.

Location

New Ireland, PNG (just below the equator in the Bismark Sea).

Cost

Tabo Meli's Cycling Tours cost around $110 per person for a two day tour. Bike hire, guide, accommodation and meals are included.
Niugini Holidays Australia has seven day packages starting at $1460 per person from Sydney and $1400 from Brisbane. Prices include return flights with Air Niugini, connections to Kavieng, accommodation, including one night at the Tree House, guide and bike hire.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Tabo Meli's Cycling Tours
Box 189 PO Kavieng New Ireland 613
Papua New Guinea
Ph: 0011 675 984 2441
Fax: 0011 675 984 2254
nitb@global.net.pg
Tree House
Box 623 PO Kavieng New Ireland 613
Ph: 0011 675 984 2666
Fax: 0011 675 984 2693
albeck@global.net.pg
Niugini Holidays Australia
Ph: 1300 850 020
www.ngholidays.com
info@ngholidays.com

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