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Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province Enjoy a cooler climate

 
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Old 21-11-2002, 12:39 AM
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Arona Valley of Eastern Highlands - Call of Arona !

The beautiful Arona Valley of Eastern Highlands was once mooted by the colonial administration as a potential capital for the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

That is no longer the case, Port Moresby having stolen the thunder, but the picturesque Arona plays a pivotal role in PNG’s economy.

It’s here that PNG’s largest manmade lake – with water from the Ramu River – supplies water to the five Highlands provinces, Morobe, and Madang.

It is, however, a paradox that electricity is “so near, yet so far away”, and many of the surrounding villages are yet to be connected to the power supply.

This, together with land compensation matters, remains a contentious issue.

Yonki Lake :
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Old 21-11-2002, 12:40 AM
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That aside, the man – made lake is dubbed by travelers as the “Highlands Sea”, and it’s a common sight to see outboard motor dinghies zooming and dugout canoes being paddled across the hunting grounds of a bygone generation.

You could be forgiven that you were actually out on the deep blue ocean!

But then again, perhaps, this can only happen in the “Land of the Unexpected”.

Yonki - An aerial view :
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Old 21-11-2002, 12:42 AM
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Fish, particularly tilapia, thrive in this inland sea – which was made in the late 1980s and early 1990s – providing a readily available source of protein and cash for hundreds of villagers on its shores.

In 1984 and 1985, whilst a student at the nearby national high school at Aiyura – another of the great Highlands Valleys – I was fortunate enough to have done some memorable bush walks through this area, so I can visualize Arona the way it was before flooding.

Typical Village Home in the Arona Valley :
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Old 21-11-2002, 12:46 AM
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Along the shores, there are cattle grazing and bees hard at work in the hives, in scenes of pastoral poetry.

It’s a joy for weary Highlands Highway travelers to stop at the Electricity Commission (now PNG Power) township of Yonki and gaze across this scenic lake, garnished by pine trees, to a magnificent backdrop of mountains.

The Arona Valley is also one of the more lush, fertile, and verdant areas of the Highlands.

Canoe paddles across Yonki Lake :
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Old 21-11-2002, 12:48 AM
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Vegetables and fruit grow in abundance, supplemented by readily – available protein from the lake.

Hence, in this land of milk and honey, you have a very healthy – looking population.

Arona, like the rest of the Highlands, has coffee trees aplenty, providing a steady source of much – need income for the people.

House in the Arona Valley :
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Old 21-11-2002, 01:04 AM
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Nearby is Kassam Pass, which provides panoramic awe – inspiring views of the Ramu Valley of the Madang Province and the Markham Valley of Morobe Province.

Markham Valley, Morobe Province :
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Old 21-11-2002, 01:06 AM
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Kainantu, the “Mile High Gateway To The Highlands”, is about 30 minutes drive away while the Eastern Highlands capital of Goroka is about an hour and 30 minutes drive.

Eastern Highlands Cultural Centre which is situated in Kainantu :
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Old 21-11-2002, 01:14 AM
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Lae is about two hours and 30 minutes drive, likewise, Madang.

During a recent visit to the area, we took the back road from Kainantu and Aiyura, passing through forests, coffee trees, and rolling hills.

For me, an old boy of Aiyura, it was a sense of déjŕ vu.

Mountains Tower over Yonki :
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Old 21-11-2002, 01:17 AM
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After all those years, it was a pleasant experience to once again wander through Arona, and relive those long treks we used to take in our student days.

The lake, together with the pine trees and rolling hills, was pretty as a picture in the afternoon sun and I made it a point to return another day for a picnic or Barbie.

Arona Valley once inspired the colonial administration to consider it as the potential of PNG.

You can see why with a visit to this part of “The Land of the Unexpected”.

Clouds, mountains, greenery & water at Yonki :
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