Alotau was our least favorite port, but it was still really interesting and a good introduction to PNG. Alotau is the regional centre of Milne Bay province. The villagers in the surrounding area come to Alotau for supplies and so it ... Read More
Alotau was our least favorite port, but it was still really interesting and a good introduction to PNG. Alotau is the regional centre of Milne Bay province. The villagers in the surrounding area come to Alotau for supplies and so it feels busier than a city of its size. Alotau was the only port where we were docked, making disembarking simple. Due to high winds on our way from Australia to PNG, we arrived a couple of hours later than planned. The boat docks about 1.5-2 km from the town centre and you can walk into town on your own alongside the road or take a taxi for $5 AUD.
There are many World War II sites that can be visited and P&O offers tours to highlight these sites. We opted to just walk off the ship with the aim of finding a local tour to join. As we walked off the ship there were children and adults in traditional dress dancing, which was a great welcome to the country.
There are lots of locals holding up signs for tours as you exit the dock area. It is a bit overwhelming to try to decide which person to go with. They all advertised similar itineraries: World War II memorials, the local market, the craft market, a look out, a local village and school. Most charged $25-30pp AUD or 50-60K for a 2.5 hour tour in 15-seater older vans.
I think choosing a tour and guide is a bit like the lottery and we ended up picking a dud. The first place she took us was the airport, which we all didn’t really understand why she took us there. We did get to see villages and homes outside the town on the drive, which was interesting. She then took us to the local market where we were supposed to have 5 minutes, but I could have had much longer. There were lots of local fruits, peanuts, coconuts, fish and of course betal nut for sale. We bought some peanuts, coconuts to drink and tried the rose apple red fruit which we saw throughout PNG.
Our next stop was the craft market where there were T-shirts, hats, sarongs, carvings, baskets on offer. I would recommend buying any manufactured souvenirs here, but buying carvings and handmade souvenirs on the islands. Our tour had only been going for 1.5 hours and she indicated that she was taking us all back now. In hind sight we should have spoken up because we had not visited most of the places promised. We asked her to let us out at the market where we could continue to explore on our own.
We spent a couple of hours walking around the harbor and the six shops on the main street. I love the opportunity to see local shops and we picked up a few t-shirts for the kids in the stores. While Alotau is not the most exciting port, we still thought it gave us an interesting introduction to PNG. Read Less