Ambua Lodge is operated by Trans Nuigini Tours (TNT) just outside Tari in the Southern Highlands Province. I have reviewed TNT operations separately on TripAdvisor, so will only comment on the lodge here.
The rooms are nice, but basic. In PNG they are certainly luxury by any stretch of the imagination but by any other standards they are far from it. Everything works and is comfortable – that is about as much as you can really ask for. The central lodge is very homey and cozy and a great place to hang out in.
The views at Ambua used to be spectacular (as we understood), but now they are a bit less so as a result of the Highland Highway road expansion resulting from the PNG LNG project. The views further down into the valley are excellent and the grounds of the property itself are stunning, but that completely pristine look is now gone.
Birding, for which if the area is famous, is very good. We saw Kings of Saxony and other Birds of Paradise with relative ease, but we did feel that birding was considerably better, albeit a bit more physically taxing, at TNT’s other property, Rondon Ridge.
The unequivocal highlight, though, of the visit is the time you spend with the Huli people and learning about the Huli culture. You witness everything from sing-sings and other traditional dances to potentially having the opportunity to go to a woman’s village to learn about the role of Huli women (this was even more of a highlight in such a bifurcated culture). These cultural learnings are brought even more to the fore through the fact that all of your guides are Huli. They are very open and willing to chat about their traditions and culture, giving the guest the opportunity to learn on a very intimate basis.
With the massive PNG LNG project, Tari and Ambua Lodge are changing. As opposed to adventure and bird seeking tourists, most of the guests at Ambua now are oil field workers and businessmen, giving the place a very different vibe. The lodge still caters mostly for tourists (and does an excellent job of it), but you can definitely see the change in the air.
More information regarding our experiences there can be found at www.hobokencupcake.com.
- Also Known As:
- Ambua Hotel Tari