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Wau is a city in the Morobe province of Papua New Guinea.


Wau is at an altitude of around 1,100m. Together with nearby Bulolo, it was the site of a Gold Rush during the 1920s and 1930s. During the Pacific War, the Battle of Wau, in January 1943, was where the Australian Army stopped an advance by the Japanese. While most of the gold has been extracted, industrial gold mining continues at two locations and locals continue to pan for gold.

Get in[edit]

Wau is connected by road to Papua New Guinea's second largest city, Lae. As of 2017 PMVs will load in downtown Lae and run to Wau and Bulolo. Very cheap and safe. About five hours counting multiple stops along the way to Wau. PMVs load in Wau for return trips early morning and pick up passengers in Lae in afternoon for return.

As of 2017 the is one flight a week to Wau from Lae with North Coast Aviation flying an Islander aircraft. No connecting flights to Moresby


Get around[edit]


  • Wau Ecology Institute. Not really geared up for tourists, but if you have travelled all the way there they will probably let you look around. Impressive museum with, among other things, an amazing collection of stick insects.
  • As of July 2017 Wau Ecology Institute is no longer. The institute was burned down a couple of years ago.


Both trails as of 2017 are no longer used for trekking. However a single group or solo can still inquire and hire local guides but use extreme caution,

  • The Black Cat trail. goes from Wau to Salamaua on the north coast. Some of the bloodiest battles of WW2 in Papua New Guinea were fought along the trail between the Japanese and Allied Forces. Trekking this trail takes four to five days, involving 8-9 hours walking each day, so you have to be fit. Accommodation is in local villages. There are many remnants of the war along the track. Live munitions, plane wrecks, and huge bomb craters can be seen. There is also an abundance of magnificent flora and fauna. The trip ends with a rafting trip down the Francisco River to Salamaua.
  • The Bulldog Trail. This trail is only now being commercially developed and the villagers along the trail have had little exposure to trekkers to date. There was fierce fighting between Lae and Wau between the Japanese and the Allies and Australian troops were supplied by porters carrying food and munitions to Wau from Port Moresby along the Bulldog Trail. This trek is for experts only.


There is a large open air market where locals come to buy and sell local produce and products. Also two more modern general stores with goods and supplies.


There are no established eating facilities


The general store have drinks and a couple of small open air shacks supply a source


There is a building called the Wau Motel but from the outside looks very old and dilapidated.


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Wau is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.