Bushwalking in PNG: Hombrum Bluff Lookout
One of the most challenging walks around Port Moresby. River crossing, steady ascent, tall grass, and wallabies. Scorching sun and heat. But those, who will manage to make it, will be recompensed by a great view from Hombrum Bluff lookout.
Bushwalking around Port Moresby
“The walk is very hard,” informed us one more time the group leader of the Port Moresby Bushwalking Gang. “This is your last chance to change your mind and go for a cold beer at the Yacht Clun instead”. “Sure everyone wants to go?”
Of course, I want to go! I didn’t wake up at 6am on Sunday morning to go for a beer. However, the inner voice was telling me to think about …. Sometimes you need to listen to your little voice.
I made it back home in one piece, albeit exhausted and sored. I don’t even remember how I was driving back to Port Moresby. It was one of the most challenging walks I have done around Port Moresby, and we didn’t even make it to Hombrum Bluff lookout. It wasn’t just the ascent that pushed my limits but the scorching sun and the exhausting heat.
It all started with an easy stroll through grassland along the beautiful Laloki river flowing between Hombrum Bluff and Varirata.
Soon, we arrived to the banks of the river. The water level wasn’t too high, slightly below the hip, but quite fast flowing. Anyway, the river crossing was rather easy, and we quickly made to the opposite side, with the local kids keeping a watchful eye on us.
Soon, the path started to climb. From now on it will be only one way – all up.
It was still morning but the sun was beating down hard. The walk through a small forest was refreshing but short. We found ourselves again exposed to the scorching sun.
The grass was tall. It became so tall that sometimes I could hardly see my fellow walkers.
We kept going on the ever-steepening path. It was all uphill. The climb had us gasping for breath. There was no more talking. It was all “Breath. Walk. Breath. Walk”.
Now the path became barely visible. Our guides told us this is the local hunting ground, and there are plenty wallabies in the area. But now I didn’t care about wallabies. All I wanted is to arrive to Hombrum Bluff lookout.
We took our time. We frequently rested to catch our breath. And we continued to walk. Breath. Walk. Breath. Walk.
Sometimes wet grass made it hard for our boots to hold their grip, and we found ourselves slipping here and there.
But with all our efforts it soon became obvious that we won’t make it to Hombrum Bluff lookout today. Although we were so close, maybe half an hour away, and it was a perfectly clear day to admire the view, the group leader made a decision to turn back. We had still all the way down to be safely back to Port Moresby before the sunset.
This time the river crossing was a bit challenging as the water level has significantly increased, and the current was strong. Men helped the light-weighted women to make it safely to the opposite side.
“The walk is very hard,” I remembered the word of caution of the group leader this morning. It was challenging indeed. We didn’t even make it to the lookout that day. But it was a good workout, and I made a few new friends today. Probably still a better option that a couple of beers at the Yacht Club.
How to organise the walk: Hombrum Bluff lookout is located near Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, en route to Sogeri and next to Varirata National Park.
Port Moresby Bushwalkers Group, run by volunteers, organises different walks around Port Moresby every second Sunday. The meeting is at 7.20am (sharp) at the Yacht Club visitors’ car park. There is no membership fee but the PGK20 fee per walk is required to cover the cost of security escort and compensation for landowners.
To find out the planned walking routes, check Port Moresby Bushwalkers Facebook page or become their member and receive their newsletters by writing them an email.
Timing: The walk is 9km, 3h walk all up.
Difficulty: The walk is hard and rated as “difficult” due to the steep climb all the way to the Hombrum Bluff lookout. Due to the climb and heat, it was the most difficult walk I have done around Port Moresby.
IMPORTANT: Even if you are an experienced hiker, given the scorching sun and extreme heat conditions in Port Moresby, some acclimatisation prior to undertaking the walk is definitely a good idea. Bring sunscreen, snacks and a minimum of 3L of water (heavy to carry but you will be glad you did).