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Date: 16 Aug 2010 13:46:00
Title: The road to Koitaki Plantation

 

09:71.82S  147:08.57E

A Day out to the Highlands in the picture below, just West of Port Moresby

16th August, 2010

Port Moresby

View from the top.jpg

We had no idea about the earthquake in nearby Western New Britain!  I think it happens so frequently in this part of the world (like New Zealand) that it's not mentioned.  Yesterday we were up in the mountains just behind Port Moresby with Brian, an Australian business man who has lived here 55 years, and living on his boat in the marina.  He actually runs the Century 21 estate agency here, so owns plenty of houses which he rents out.  He prefers to live in the marina however, as the Royal Port Moresby Yacht Club seems to be the social club of the city, where of course he can meet up with all his friends and contacts with hardly having to displace himself!   His 4 wheel Nissan Ute is the perfect vehicle here, just as it is in Phuket.    He took the three of us, his PNG handyman with his wife and child, plus his adopted PNG grandson with his wife and two children - so 12 of us.  It rained the night before, so driving through the valley up to the mountain, we saw the very fast running river which feeds two  hydro electric power stations, supplying 80% of the power to Port Moresby.  Scenery was fantastic on the way up there.  The road is the one used by the Autralians and Americans to fight off the Japanese, and leads to the 'Kokoba' trail, made so famous by the thousands of Australians, Americans and Papuans troops who died trying to fight their way through the jungle high up in the Stanley ranges to get at the Japanese from behind.  Sadly, the Japanese won by bombing them at their final exit on the East Coast.  Ollie, our 18 year old crew, was sitting in the tray at the back, and was told that so many PNG people driving along this twisty steep road along the side of the gorge fall over the edge, due to their imbibing too much alcohol or other narcotics!  He said you can hear them screeming for help at the bottom of the gorge!

 

Suddenly after we reached the top of the mountain, it is all plateau, cleared now and used as grassland for cattle farmers.  They have the Brahman breed here of course, as they do suffer with drought some of the time.  Brian took us to visit the Baron of Kilcullen, and his lady, owners of the largest cattle farm in the region.  It has been in his family for 2 generations already, his ancestor originally being the Lord of Kilcullen in Scotland.  They have a grand colonial house set high on the hill overlooking the estate, which at the time was swarming with cattle.  They had just gathered all the cows together for sorting in the field nearby, the cattle ranchers were on horseback dividing them up.  Inside, Lord Peter Murray and Lady Beverley gave us a warm welcome, and sat us down in their lounge to meet the local vicar and two of their farm managers.  Another friend introduced himself as Ken, and is in charge of the large hypermarket in its final stages of completion.  Would you believe this man has owned a house in Rawai, Phuket for the last 10 years!  We shall of course be meeting up with him again.

 

A large BBQ lunch was offered to us all (about 18 of us by now) around their huge table on the covered verandah overlooking the pool - the temperature so much cooler up here in the mountains, it was absolutely delightful to enjoy the cool mountain air and pure water they get from the mountains.  It was also very sad to learn that Peter and Beverley had lost their eldest daughter to cervical cancer last year, and their 31 year old son died just a week before that from 'cot death' he stopped breathing whilst asleep - totally devastating for anybody to lose one child, but to loose two of their 3 children in quick succession is a tragedy in itself.  They are very stoic about it, and were able to relate the sad story to us without breaking down, which shows how much strength they have managed to get from each other and their friends in only a short time.

 

We stopped at a nearby picnic park to enjoy a swim in the river before it becomes the rapids.  The river was so full of silt from the recent rains it did not look very inviting, and we were sure it would have been very cold, compared to the luke warm waters we have been used to swimming in at the local swimming pool and when we go snorkelling!

 

 

Brian's House on a hill.jpg

Brians’s house above Port Moresby suburbs, rented out to his grandson’s family

Ready for day out.jpg

Ready for a day out in the country, twelve of us in the 4 wheel drive ute,  all together

 

 

Ollie in the Ute tray.jpg

Ollie’s elected to go in the back too

 

View from the tray.jpg

 

Hillside agriculture.jpg

Fields with newly planted vegetable crops, ready for the rainy season

Orchid and Bird Sanctuary.jpg

Orchid and Birdlife Sanctuary on the road to Sogeri

Lesser Bird of paradise.jpg

Lesser Bird of Paradise

Birds of paradise.jpg

Shady Birds of Paradise

 

View from the top.jpg

View from the top of the mountain range, which leads to the Kokoda trail

Waterfall at the top.jpg

These waters power two hydro electric power stations which give Port Moresby 80% of its power

Boarding school dormitory.jpg

Sogeri School dormitories, where some of the Prime Ministers were educated

Bananas to go.jpg

Market produce at Sogeri

 

Greens to go.jpg

Local greens

Flowers on bush.jpg

And flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market produce.jpg

Sweet potatoes and yams

 

Pumpkin to go.jpg

No carrying bag for this lady

Thatch and flowers.jpg

Maybe she just lives here, across the road

 

Arrival at the ranch.jpg

Arrival at Koitaki plantation cattle ranch which belongs to the Baron of Kilcullan, Sir Peter Murray and his wife Lady Beverley

Cattle herding.jpg

Cowby herding the cows

Koitaki Cows being herded.jpg

View from the front garden across the ranch

Baron Peter Murray of Kilcullen and Lady Beverley.jpg

Sir Peter and Lady Beverley having a chat with David in their reception room

VeReception Hall.jpg

Very grand reception hall

Lunch at Koitaki Plantation.jpg

There are 18 of us  around Sir Peter’s table for a BBQ lunch at the Koitaki ranch

Koitaki Plantation Totems.jpg

The Totems carved specially for the Murray family

Banyan tree at Crystal falls.jpg

We have a picnic on the way back at Crystal Lake, which is discoloured due to the heavy rain

O & V at Crystal falls.jpg

The falls are pretty rapid, and we’re not included to take a swim!

Picnic at Crystal Falls.jpg

Never mind, we still had room for a few picnic snacks, despite a huge breakfast buffet at the Yacht Club and a plentiful  BBQ lunch at the ranch!  We’re sitting here with John, Brian’s adopted grandson.

 


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