Lae is a city in the Huon Gulf region of Papua New Guinea.


Lae is Papua New Guinea's second city, after the capital Port Moresby and its main economic hub as most of the production from the country's Highlands area is exported through the city, transported along the Highlands Highway. With no road connections between Port Moresby and much of the rest of the mainland, Lae's port is also the main way by which food from the Highlands (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, etc) reaches the capital. Coastal shipping from Lae also offers a cheaper transport option for those who cannot afford to fly to Port Moresby. Known as the "gateway to the Highlands", this does Lae a disservice as it has much to offer in its own right.

In the 1920s, Lae was the busiest airport in the world - it was there that aviators in the gold mining industry first proved that it was commercially feasible to ship cargo (and not just people) by air. Lae was the last known stop of aviator Amelia Earhart on her attempted around-the-world air journey in 1937. She did not reach Howland Island, her next planned refueling stop. During World War II, Lae was a major base for Japanese troops.

Get in

By plane

Lae's airport is at Nadzab, about 40km north of the city. This was a major US base towards the end of the war. It is served by:

By car

Lae can be reached by car from most cities in PNG's Highlands, via the Highlands Highway, and also from Madang on the north coast.

By boat

It is possible to get a berth on a coastal freighter from Port Moresby.

Get around

Take care when driving around Lae as, although the roads are improving, there are many pot holes.

It is advisible to leave a good space between yourself and the car in front of you so you can make a quick getaway if need be.





Stay safe

It is inadvisable for a tourist to wander the streets of Lae alone, even in crowded shopping areas (crime). But for little or no money, a hotel guard may accompany a lone traveler for a short walk to go shopping or to the bank.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, September 28, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.