Lae, PNG’s second largest city, is the headquarters of Morobe Province and a commercial and manufacturing center. In 1993 the second stage of a major concrete factory was being built. Commercial and manufacturing development has been hampered by escalating law and order problems. Lae is the port for shipment of produce from the highlands to which it is connected by the Highlands Highway. The population is 100,677 (2012).
Things to see
Rainforest Habitat: Houses a total of 42 species of birds including 9 species of the Birds of Paradise plus other flora and fauna. It also serves as a research site and assists environment and conservation projects with links to worldwide zoological societies.
Lae Botanical Gardens: A tropical oasis in the heart of the city was developed in 1945 on 57 hectares of land, cleared from a pre-war coconut plantation. The gardens contain displays of orchids, bromeliads, flowering and foliage shrubs, hibiscus, heliconias, gingers, bamboo and tropical rainforest displays to name a few. Guided tours of the gardens can be arranged with prior notice.
Lae War Cemetery: Adjacent to the Botanical Gardens the Australian Army Graves Services commenced the Lae War Cemetery in 1944; it was taken over by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in September 1947. The Cemetery has a background of thick jungles giving the general impression of spaciousness, beauty and peace, it is characterised by the dignified stonework, beautiful gardens. The graves of 2804 men who lost their lives during World War II are contained within this beautiful serene cemetery.
Amelia Earhardt Memorial: Dedicated to the memory of the pioneer American aviator, Amelia Earhardt who departed Lae on 2nd June 1937. Her plane disappeared after leaving Lae and has never been recovered.
Melanesian Arts Centre & Gallery: The Melanesian Arts Centre & Gallery is the oldest established centre dealing in contemporary and traditional artefacts in Lae. The centre houses an extensive collection of carved and woven masks, figures, shields, storyboards, clay pots, and bilums, intricately carved kwila, rosewood and ebony bowls and figurines.
Lae Markets: One of the best vegetable markets in PNG. It is a rural farmers market, selling a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, organically grown.
Lae Golf Club: Boasts a well- maintained international manicured scenic 18-hole golf course and clubhouse – visitors welcome.
Lae Yacht Club: Ideally situated at voco point with a good view of the Huon Gulf and its mountain backdrop, the Lae Yacht Club has a bar, restaurant, and marina facilities. The Lae Game Fishing Club operates from the Lae Yacht Club.
Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium: Gymnasium and recreational facility.
Japanese Wartime Tunnels: The Japanese built in and around Mt. Lunaman an extensive system of tunnels during the Second World War. The tunnels system is now unsafe to access: however the entrance to the hospital tunnel, which is adjacent to the Lae Pistol Club at Chinatown, can be viewed, along with a number of other tunnel entrances through the city.
Ampo Lutheran Church: The Lutheran Missionaries and the Ahi Community built the Church in 1933. It is the oldest surviving pre-war building. During World War II it was used firstly by the Japanese as an Army Field Hospital from 1942 to 1943 and then by Allied Forces in 1944. It is the last surviving pre-war church in Lae. Japanese graves located in the grounds of the church are used as a place of remembrance for the many Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in World War II.
Japanese Guns: Located at Wagan village along the Wagang road before going onto Sipaia Beach.
2nd Street in Lae: 2nd Street Memorial commemorating the recapture of Lae in 1943 by Allied Forces.
Things to do
Fishing & Diving: Wrecks, reefs, islands, pelagic and tropical marine life; the wrecks of the B-17 bomber, Black Jack and the Dutch cargo ship St Jacob are interesting dives. Bring own diving gears. The coasts around Finschhafen, Salamaua, Fly Islands and the Siassi Islands are particularly good game fishing spot. Contact MV Drug Runner-Fishing Charters; Angus AK. King.44 O’Brien Sport fisher. PO Box 349 Lae, Morobe Province, PNG, Ph: +675 472 4133 Fax: +675 472 4230 or email [email protected],
Trekking: Black Cat, Skin Diwai and Bulldog World War II treks. These treks have been used during the gold rush era in Wau in the early 1920s and during the Second World War. There are also other several long hikes and interesting light nature walks, and you will need a guide. Contact Wau Adventures [email protected] or PNG Trekking Adventures [email protected]
Golf: Papua New Guinea’s best golf course has its clubhouse on Bumbu Road, near the intersection with Markham Road. The 18 hole Lae course or scenic 9 hole Bulolo course. Contact Lae Golf Club for more information, Ph: +675 472 1353.
Village & Cultural Tours: Visit Local Traditional Villages and experience their lifestyles. Age-old cultural beliefs and practices, mummified bodies/burial ledges; Mapos Caves; Bobongara Archaeological site and the Zumim Pottery. Contact Exotic Tour, Ph: +675 475 1355 / 1366, email: [email protected]