by Jenny Miller
Papua New Guinea’s Lake Murray Lodge—the newest property from PNG’s best-established tour operator and hotel group, Trans Niugini Tours—opened earlier this year and is located along the banks of the country’s largest lake. Its opening marked the advent of tourism in a new part of the Western Province; one of the most biodiverse regions of an extraordinarily biodiverse country.
This makes the destination a prime spot for bird-watchers, who have a chance to spot at least half of the country’s avian population here, including five of PNG’s 38 species of Birds-of-Paradise. It’s also an ideal fly-fishing destination for black bass, with a program that’s been established by an Australian fishing expert.
Visitors who are less interested in wildlife and prefer people-watching will still have plenty to enjoy. From the moment the small plane lands on a field that serves as an airstrip (a 30-minute boat ride from the lodge), children rush to take a peep at the new visitors. Throughout a stay at Lake Murray, there’s plenty of opportunity to see traditional ways of life in this region, where the primary mode of transit is dugout canoe. Visits to nearby markets and villages can be arranged, with guests being warmly and excitedly welcomed. Visitors might even find themselves invited to join a dance line—complete with traditional attire, some made from stunning cassowary bird feathers.
Lake Murray Lodge itself is an eco-friendly project that’s completely solar-powered and has already won an award from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Architects. The lodge’s 12 one-room cabins (made from local sago palm materials) each have an en suite bathroom and a veranda with and incredible view of the lake.
There’s a central lodge for meeting other guests, relaxing, and enjoying meals made from local catch, and soon; produce from the garden that’s been planted on-site. Listening to wildlife heralding the sunset over the water each night is a magical moment for anybody visiting this beautiful corner of the world.
Stays at Lake Murray Lodge are arranged by Trans Niugini Tours as part of a full Papua New Guinea itinerary. Prices start at around $4,650 per person for a typical eight-day, nine-night package including double occupancy accommodation at three different lodges in three different regions, with all meals, tours, and airport transfers included.
Lead and final images courtesy of Trans Niugini Tours, others by Jenny Miller