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Trip Report Papua New Guinea trip report

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I’ve tried, off and on, writing a detailed trip report about Papua New Guinea, with our pre-trip stop in Sydney, ever we returned last September. I managed to make it sound boring—which it very much was not--so, I’ll just show the itinerary and add some comments.

My husband and I both carried a Rick Steves convertible backpack (they weigh less than 3lbs each), which we were very pleased with. When packed, mine weighed 11 lbs and my husband’s 13 lbs. Because we’d be returning to the Port Moresby hotel during and at the end of the trip, we also took an empty small hard sided suitcase to protect souvenirs on the journey back home, leaving it at the hotel for the duration. For the flights home, we checked our backpacks (which arrived two days after we did) and carried on the 19” suitcase with our treasures.

The flight over from Los Angeles to Sydney on Qantas was pleasant. Service was good and friendly. I’d dreaded the thought of over 14 hours on the plane but, after the meal and watching a movie, went to sleep and next thing I knew was being woken up by my husband for breakfast. We landed at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Pre-PNG: 4 days in Sydney.
I had set me a personal challenge--to spend no more than 500 USD, including accommodation, for the four days we were in Sydney (didn’t want to stay with our Newly Discovered Relatives just in case we didn’t get on, a needless worry, they were all wonderful). I’d managed to save $500 on each ticket by flying into Sydney and then on to PNG instead of Brisbane/PNG, so wanted to see if I could do our Australian part of the trip for “free” with a little jingle left over.

We booked into The Old Rectory (appears to cater to middle aged backpackers) at 80 AUD/night. It is close to the airport. The couple that run the B&B rent the house from the Catholic Church, who won’t put any money into upkeep, so the place very definitely needs maintenance—peeling plaster and so on, but it is kept spotlessly clean by the young couple. Breakfast is included in the price: cereal, breads, jams, tea, coffee—help yourself. The fridge shelves and larder storage are numbered so guests can keep their purchases separated.

As soon as we'd settled in we called our relatives, went to their house, sorted through some family memorabilia, were able to put a name to some relatives they hadn’t be able to identify, had a light lunch with them, then out on their sailboat for the rest of the day. What a great introduction to Sydney—sailing up and down the harbour and a little way into the ocean over sparkling waters. After they fed us dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, we were dropped off at our B&B, fell into bed and, cliché or not, were asleep before our heads hit the pillow. Woke up just a few minutes before six the next morning and watched as the first planes of the day flew over the house.

This was early August, and although the days were bright and sunny, in the mid 50s F, early mornings in the unheated house/bathroom were miserable—we'd come from over 100+ degree F temperatures in Colorado—so shivered through our morning showers. But what did we care--we're on vacation!

The next few days we wandered around Sydney—all the usual sites including the Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Taronga Zoo. On Circular Quay, heard a didgeridoo, followed the sound, and found a couple of most charming aborigines playing and entertaining. I couldn’t resist buying one of their CDs. They have some really good tunes and we enjoy listening to it now we are back home.

Our first lunchtime we discovered meat pies from a vendor at Circular Quay, fell in love with them, and took some back to the B&B to reheat for future suppers, along with a bottle of cheap plonk.

Took public transportation everywhere. It was inexpensive, easy to use, and efficient.

Our final evening we took our relatives out to a local Thai restaurant for dinner. This took us a little over my goal of $500—but I still felt pleased at getting so close to my challenge. My husband and I are thoroughly enamored of Sydney and can’t wait to go back there as well as traveling elsewhere in Australia. The people were wonderful and most helpful. We only had to look like we needed directions, or where to get off the bus, and so on, and someone was asking if they could help us.

Got to go and watch Amazing Race, now--will post more tomorrow.

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