Monday, 29 August 2016

A Quick Visit To Port Moresby Nature Park

I had been looking forward to visiting Port Moresby Nature Park for quite a long time and yesterday, I was finally able to do so. POM Nature Park was formerly called the National Capital Botanical Gardens. There is little literature on how it was changed, but perhaps the existence of wildlife such as birds, kangaroos and some other types, along with the different diversities of plants necessitates for a name change that is more befitting to the place. The new name, together with the upgrades in the park, had somehow, proved to be a success.

The park is just around 15 minutes of travel by way of car from our place. It could have been shorter if I did not account for the time spent on occasional traffic that happens in the intersections.

The road to Gerehu, to where we were heading, was quite wide; and I believe this is the Waigani Road. Generally, in Papua New Guinea, the sky is always clear albeit sometimes speckled with cumulus clouds that seem to behave like migratory birds that flock to only one direction. I also notice that the clouds that we see around here tend to appear closer than where they are. Perhaps this is the effect of being situated near the equator.

When I was a kid, I thought clouds were made up of cotton candies. I promised myself that one day, when I got to fly in an airplane, I would stretch my arms out the window and would eat as much of clouds that I could gather.

It has since remained a promise.

Here’s Tobi, our driver, spraying a bug-repellent lotion on his arms. This is the main entrance to the Nature Park. Out of courtesy, I was not able to take a photo of the reception where we paid for our admission fees. Taking a photo of someone or something private without asking for permission is generally frowned upon. However, the lady guard the receptionist are polite and friendly.  

After paying for our admission fees (which were very minimal and reasonable) I was asked if I wanted a map. “Why, yes please.” For precautionary measures against what I think of as an impending mosquito bite, a canister of Aeorgard is also available for sale at the counter for a competitive price.

This portion of the park is for kids as evidently written on the notice. On the right side is a bigger replica of the map that we were holding. There seems to be a slide and a clean tunnel under which the kids can crawl in and out on either sides.

Here is a post with sign boards that point to varying directions. We actually tried and ignored the map in my hand hoping that we’d get lost in the process. There’s nothing more exciting than finding ourselves lost in the heart of these uncharted jungles but these sign boards were too effective and they were everywhere.

Just kidding. We were actually thankful for these because they helped us a lot after getting confused and lost track twice.

I’m not sure what kind of plant this is but I like its flower. The juvenile flowers in the same branch don’t have the same protruding white petals like what this one has.

Hi there little fella!

We were surprised to see these giant bats hanging so close to where we were standing. They were wide awake during that time and were making a lot of squeaking noise.  If you try and zoom in, they all look like a mini version of Count Dracula hanging upside down while trying to cover their faces with grey capes.

I noticed that there was something especial with this sculpture. If you have noticed that too, I believe you have a sharp eye as well. On the right side of the bulletin board says “When the buying stops (of Cuscus), so does the catching and killing.”

That’s logically correct. I love that the phrase is simple yet emotionally effective. I wonder if I can construct one with the same degree of effectiveness. How about,  “What’s the use of a cage when there’s nothing left to catch?”

On the way to the middle of the park, we went past these upright poles with baskets perched on top. I’m guessing that these were probably an earlier version of today’s modern lamp posts.

This tree might look like an average tree in this picture, but it was quite big in the real thing and there were more of it around the area.

The trails that we found halfway into the park are made up of these blocks which are quite reassuring on rainy days. The pattern could also easily expose anything that would crawl on it.

Like a hopping kangaroo perhaps?

What I love about this place is that it seems to remind me of my favourite movie, the Jurassic Park. Similarly, the trails that converge around the park are clean and classy. The workers and staffs wear nice shirts that match the park’s theme and are well groomed.  The plants are of different diversities and are well taken care of. All of the animals being kept (that I saw) seem to be healthy and well fed.

By going here, I have pretty much experienced how it’s like in that Jurassic Park. Ha!

The trails that go around the park are endless. The colours are strongly dominated by green. Despite the sun was up and it was quite hot, my hat was a big help and the gentle breeze of fresh air was gently soothing. I figure that the trick to “enjoying the park” is not to rush through the tour but to take small steps and relish the experience.

Just when you think that you’ve reached the horizon, you’ll be greeted with another landscape that is equally mesmerizing. While I fiddle with my camera, I have kindly asked Tobi here to scout ahead and see if he could find out where they were keeping the legendary Paradise Bird that I had not yet seen personally.

But the scout has returned with reports of a negative sighting.  Yet we did not lose hope and marched through the horizon.

Our renewed campaign has led us to this place—a small shelter in the middle of nowhere. While I am not sure about the significance of this arch in the aesthetic aspect of the park, I believe that this area is a good venue for conducting bridal ceremony.

Oh, hey! That's me. 

After regaining our strength from a temporal rest that the arch has provided us, Tobi and I have ventured out further and ended up face to face with an array of fine-looking orchids.

Orchids that I have never seen before. I always wish that if I ever own a house, I will build a greenhouse next to it where I could plant all of the orchids that I could collect.

Here’s an orchid I found there that looks like a bird with its wings spread. Cool huh?

Beyond the orchid’s lair is where the wild life are kept in a confinement. This is where they keep some Wallabies. I have previously thought that like Pandas, there is only a single kind of Kangaroo.

I was less accurate on that part.

I’m not certain if Wallabies can grow really big but for the time being, I can safely assume that these Wallabies have already reached maturity.

Here’s the entrance to a Tree Kangaroo’s enclosure. There are two doors for every entrance; one of which should only be opened at a time while the other is closed. This is probably to ensure that none of its inhabitants can go out and mingle with another specie... or get eaten by a lion.

Just kidding. There are no lions in Nature Park.

Here’s what it looked like in the inside. It looks like a giant aviary with its own habitat. The confinements are in sequence with each other and the double doors lead to the next confinement.

I’m not sure what these Tree Kangaroos are looking at but they sure looked as though they were playing pranks on the land-dwelling kangaroos beneath them.

Hypothetical conversation between two Tree Kangaroos in a cartoon-like induced dialogue.

Kangaroo1: Hey mate, with your eyes closed, I bet you couldn’t hit that ol’ Kangaroo with this twig.

Kangaroo2: What? That big thug over there?

Kangaroo1: Yep.

Kangaroo2: That fella’s fillin’ up this place like an elephant. Gimme that stupid twig and I’ll pitch it down with my tail.

Kangaroo2 drops the twig and hits the ground.

Kangaroo1: Nope.

Kangaroo2: I hit him. Look!

Kangaroo1: Nope.

The land-dwelling kangaroo being mentioned is this big chap, who seem to be oblivious of what was going on around.

After moving to another area, we ended up looking at this aviary where these parrots are just resting on the ground which is interesting because most parrots that I have come across are a fan of wall climbing.

This is a Southern Crowned-Pigeon. Its name was probably derived from the way the feathers on its head are arranged like a crown. I guess this shot has failed to get the best angle to depict its crown.

This is PNG’s national bird, the Bird of Paradise. This is what I’ve been meaning to see in person. Too bad they were pretty far from where I was peeking at that’s why they were just about two tiny tad in this picture.

Here’s another interesting bird which they call Papuan Hornbill or Kokomo. It's beautiful but I can’t tell if it’s aggressive and will have attacked me if it were not from the glass that separated us. The moment I entered this viewing area, this cool bird just jumped down from where he was at and swiftly moved very close to me.

Here’s what they call Muruk. I’m not sure if it’s an ostrich or a cassowary but I am more inclined to believe that it is the latter. For the purpose of this discussion and to avoid further confusion, we shall just refer to it as Muruk.  These birds are really big but are unable to fly and if you look at those feet, they are solid and sturdy. I’ve read elsewhere that Muruks are great sprinters

This area is the rainforest part of the park where it is densely populated with trees and plants. The temperature around this place is humid. All of the Muruks are kept in this area. I have not found the areas where they keep the snakes and crocodiles but I was already a bit tired and hungry from walking around. Perhaps I will check them out on my next visit

The shadows from the congregating trees cast upon the entire carpet of verdant grassland. As such, the temperature around the park is relatively lower than the average warmth being felt throughout the city.

These particular trees seem to look like molten vanilla chocolates that have dripped from the skies and have instantly solidified into trees upon contact with the ground.

Next to the reception is the Nature Cafe which looks like a mini-bar. They have interesting sets of food that you can choose from but since it was already 12 noon, I ordered what was on the list under lunch menu.

 I ordered the Chicken-Salad with egg for the whole group. By the way, the group was comprised of only two person: that would be me and Tobi. Yey!

And that small car on the left is our transport. The car park is quite spacious and reasonably secured. Those tall trees also provide a sufficient shade to keep our vehicle from getting too hot.

Until next time.


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