On the short flight from Karawari Lodge in the lowlands to Ambua in the highlands you can see the change in the landscape, the different types and colour of the trees. Having worked in commodities it was a treat for me to see from the plane the vastness of the one of the biggest gold mines in the world. Landing at the lodge was probably one of the most interesting landings Ive done in a plane, it was up a hill and sitting in the front with the pilot was quite an experience.
Ambua Lodge is just a short drive away from the landing strip. The main reception, dining and lounge area wasnt quite what I had expected. Unlike Karawari lodge it was soulless and un-althentic. It reminded me of a portable cabin, very boxy and uninteresting The staff were very welcoming and friendly. The hot drinks with home made cookies or muffins were very well received from everyone. The main area was unheated and with the door always open the change in temperature was very apparent and a light fleece is necessary to keep the chill off. The lodge is set into a hill overlooking the valley and Tari town in the distance. Beautiful landscaped and well tended gardens surround the lodge and rooms. Meals were the same as Karawari lodge and very good. The only slight criticism was the food was repetitive.
As we were the only group at the lodge for the next couple of nights we were given the choice of rooms. Either in the original round huts or in a newly built block right next to the main area. The older huts are pretty to look at and have wonderful views but they smelt musky and were in need of redoing. They also had no outdoor space. The new block is very modern and yes you could be in any hotel in the world but they were beautifully finished and had floor to ceiling windows with a balcony overlooking the valley. The only downside is the walls were paper thin and you could hear your neighbours talking also the lodge is close to the main road and with the building of a new natural gas facility the constant hum of engine noise coming from the stream of large trucks going up and down the hill may be a problem for some light sleepers.
Seeing the Huli tribe was a highlight for us on the trip but we were a little disappointed with the rest of the organised tours. They seemed very drawn out and we found we went to the same place twice over different days to see something slightly different which we felt was a real waste of time within a country so vast and with so many things to see. We had been told by Audley travel who we booked it through we'd be trekking and seeing the wildlife in the Tari Gap area. Over the 3 days we were here the result of this was 1 hour walk to a waterfall and a 1.5 hour walk to see the lodges hydro power. Birding was being driven up the road before sunrise and stoping at a few places. The birds were a long way away and we didn't venture into the forest. I am unsure if this was for security reason or just wasn't on the agenda. As a result not one photo of a bird of paradise. The guides were very knowledgable on the people of the area and some of the birds. Although some stories didn't add up. However, they didn't seem to know anything about the plants and trees or geology of the area. Depending on when you got to Ambua you really only need to stay one or two nights.
- Also Known As:
- Ambua Hotel Tari
- Ambua Lodge Papua New Guinea/Tari