A Visual Tour of Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

Article | After 18 months living, working and exploring the tropical island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.This is a visual tour of Arawa in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

I headed into the hills surrounding Arawa, Bougainville with DJ Garden Lodge to the village of Sivuna. After a short 4×4 ride, we hopped out the truck and eagerly followed a well-trodden track which passed through the forest and up into the hills. En-route we passed numerous people on their way into town to sell produce at the market, these two ladies included. I loved the colours, the bags and the contrast to their surroundings.

Rigu Lagoon, Kieta, Bougainville

Rigu Lagoon is hidden from sight in Kieta (near Arawa) – a magical place full of stories about collecting shells as currency, crocodiles and Japanese WW2 relics – plus a waterfall which is not to be missed. Watch the video here and let me know if you’ve ever visited or lived in Rigu yourself: https://youtu.be/FeeqAgVF8k4

ArawaFromPavaere1 copy

You’ll probably recognise this infamous peninsula if you’ve spent some time in Arawa – it’s Loloho Beach as seen from Pavaere Village. Loloho Beach is one of my favourite spots to spend a couple of hours on the weekend, catching up with friends, swimming and snorkeling. Do you have fond memories of Loloho Beach? Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/xB_TEWK2D28

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

For those of you that have followed me for a while you’ll know that I can’t get enough photographs of these trees and the ficus or picus market in Arawa, Bougainville. They are amazing to photograph but even more incredible in person, yet it’s very difficult to show the scale and intricacies of them. Don’t worry I’m not done photographing them quite yet…

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

In June 2018 a crowd wearing the official bright yellow Trukai t-shirt turned up at 06:00AM to participate in a fun run around Arawa – a great atmosphere! I even did a quick 3 minute stretching session for the crowd before the run / walk!

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Have you tried the local Bougainville delicacy of tamatama? It’s a sweet treat often made from taro, cassavas and bananas, which is mashed up and cooked with coconut in a clay pot or on an open fire. We were shown how to make it at Pidia Village near Arawa which was incredibly fun and surprisingly hard work!

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

I was returning from Panguna back to Arawa and following this PMV for 30 minutes or so and couldn’t resist a photograph. Don’t worry I was the passenger, not the driver! However, this is something that encapsulates Bougainville for me, the ups and downs of PMV travel. It’s one of the most social ways to travel I’ve ever experienced but definitely not the most comfortable…

Arawa, Bougainville

The town of Arawa in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea with Pidia Village and Pokpok Island in the background as seen from the hills at Pavaere Village. Watch the video from Pidia Village here: https://youtu.be/rntys6EmMKA

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

After 30 minutes or so of gradual up-hill walking, we turned off left and clambered down a steep and slippery bank towards the sound of trickling water. Just 5 minutes from the village of Sivuna was this delightful natural bridge spanning the river. I couldn’t resist a few shots as people crossed on their way to the village with their shopping.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

This is how I think of Bougainville… quite possible the greenest place I’ve ever experienced, where even the trees have plants growing up and on them.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

When you come across a view like this, it’s hard to just post one photograph, so here’s another one of Arawa in Bougainville and you can just see the peninsula with Loloho Beach on the left too. Watch the video from Loloho Beach: https://youtu.be/gyWkn9lgudY

I had just wondered past the ficus / picus market in Arawa, Bougainville, returning from the Bougainville Day celebrations for a respite from the sun when this fella on a smartly decorated bike passed me. The flag caught my eye but I assumed I would miss the shot until a truck slowed his progress.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

In June 2018 Bougainville celebrated Bougainville Day all across the island. In Arawa, youths from local schools and adults alike put on performances of sing sings, dances, music in a friendly, good vibe couple of days. 

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Are you ready for an adventure? The Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea offers an adventure like no other. If you’ve got any questions about traveling to Bougainville or what to do in Bougainville – feel free to ask me: travelinspired1@gmail.com

Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

This represents Arawa  – the surrounding hills, masses of greenery and vegetation which appears to grow at a rapid pace, an abandoned structure, and blue skies with lingering clouds. Did you spot the huge black butterfly which flew into shot as I took the photo??

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

The old squash courts have been converted into small stores selling a wide range of items including clothes, hardware, household and electrical goods, and bicycles. It’s the place to explore if you’re looking for something specific or something unknown, as you never know what you’ll find in there…

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

One of several markets in the town of Arawa, Bougainville – the picus or ficus market – it appears to have several names… Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/KA9_8DBeHYw

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Arawa town centre: a grassy park with large shade-providing trees, a football pitch and bandstand. Watch the video here as I head out around Arawa to do some shopping for Pokpok Island: https://youtu.be/cnrw47F69LE

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Popular modes of transport in Arawa, the bicycle and the 4×4… however, by foot is the number one method.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New GuineaThe Bougainville Crisis peace memorial in Arawa near the Haus Stori (library).

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

You’ll often hear the high-pitch squeal of the weed whacker around Arawa, especially on the weekend… the preferred method of maintaining the grass.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New GuineaArawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea Typical housing in the town of Arawa – originally built by BCL for Panguna mining staff and now housing everyone in town.

Arawa town centre shops with the Telikom communications tower looming in the background and the surrounding hills.

Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

The white haus, once a government building is now home to a variety of all-purpose shops selling clothes, household goods and fishing tackle.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New GuineaThe Telikom communications tower providing vital mobile and internet access to the residents of Arawa.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

The clouds threaten to leave the hills surrounding Arawa and shed rain over town – this is pretty typical in mid-afternoon.

Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

A local kai bar in Arawa, serving a selection of hot and cold foods, drinks, and a huge bonus – it has air-conditioning.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

The metal swing bridge that crosses the Bovo River from section 10 to section 6.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Taxis going about their business in Arawa…

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

People cooling off in the shade of the squash courts corridor as the sun blazes outside.

Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Full of character – there are plenty of small stores around Arawa in Bougainville and you never know what you might find.

Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

One of several schools in the town of Arawa.

Arawa, Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

Old fuel drums waiting to be filled…

Swim in Bougainville

The Bovo River flows through the town centre from the hills surrounding Arawa. 

Do you recognise any of these places? Let me know your fond memories in the comments. New photographs will be frequently added over the next 3-months, so watch this space!

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great videos.

Hi, I’m Adam Constanza, freelance travel content creator living, working and supporting tourism in Timor Leste, South East Asia.

Adam Constanza

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  1. I lived in Bougainville from age 3 till the evacuation of the island. It was the best 10 years of my life. Thank you for all the photos that have bought back a lot of great memories. Still miss it.

    • Hi to all.

      I agree with Sara Bojar,this article & the accompanying photo’s,certainly do bring back past memories!.

      First off,well done to Adam on a fantastic & very well presented & thought out article on Bougainville.

      I too lived on Bougainville Island) (1968-1975) & my father was acting superintendent for Bougainville Copper Ltd at the Panguna Mine & we lived in the capital of Arawa.

      I attended Bovo Primary School & absolutely loved it!.. I especially miss the weekend’s down at Loloho beach & we often went over to Arovo Island) on a Saturday,I still remember the hotel just as you come in off the beach on Arovo.

      I can honestly say,these were the absolute best year’s i’ve ever experienced in my life(Just turned 51 by the way) πŸ™‚ & hope to go back to Bougainville in the next 3 year’s for a visit. The people were lovely & it absolutely was the “Jewel in the Pacific” .

  2. great to see photos of bouganville and how they are progressing it looks relly good for the future and many positves for the town of arawa,would you have any more photos of arawa and the town sopping area .we live on bouganville from 1970 till 1990 in a house in happy valley for the last few years,i was told by a friend called philip who lived in pidia village in kobuan bay that our property in happy valley had become a pigery (had a stone wall around the property) just wondered if you had any photos of happy valley area.thanks for the photos you have allowed us to see.regards terry quinlan

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