I am currently based in Goroka, PNG and am beginning to start to get ready to learn at least the rafting side of pack rafting on some of the rivers around here - the tame ones that is within the wide valley area. So if anyone is interested in visiting I am very happy to offer free accommodation in return for the chance to pick-up some rafting skills and techniques. As I’m still in the raft purchase stage timing wise maybe mid Feb onwards. For anyone based in Cairns and Brisbane (and quite possibly Sydney) flights here on Air Nuigini can be quite affordable with a return all the way through to Goroka probably ivo A$700.
Are you still in PNG? I am an Alaskan currently in Brisbane, and thinking to go to PNG for a short trip in May. I have done a fair bit of packrafting, but don’t have my packraft with me. Curious to know about safety issues there. People say it is dangerous off the beaten path. Good hiking? Have you found some rivers to packraft?
In answer to your questions. First, yes I am still based in Goroka. Second, if you are in Brisbane (especially since you are from the other side of the world) I would say if you get the chance then YES make a trip to PNG. Safety, or lack of it, here in PNG is somewhat of an Australian obsession - well I guess everyone wants to be a hero in danger land - but at the same time it can actually be very dangerous (but then so can many parts of Australia). I walk around everywhere with no problems during the day but at night it is different while in the cities like Port Moresby and Lae there are the car jackings and hold-ups but not at the level to stop a visit - its hard to know the exact extent as their is a huge security industry here which circulates and recirculates old stories which are lapped up by NGOs and the Development Sector in particular . Since the PMVs (public transport) do get held up (especially out of town) and as women do get abducted and raped as a woman I would not recommend them as a means of travel.
The main thing with PNG is the expense - it is an incredibly expensive country and hotels all cost a lot. Not so bad until you then look at hire car costs which when you add to the hotel really makes most things prohibitive for the non-millionaire. This also impacts upon any outdoor activities - I made an overnight visit and hike to a colleagues village (so I was giving a few bucks here and there towards food / appreciation/ carrying my bag etc etc) and despite going by PMV there and getting a free lift back the total cost would have been about A$400. Money worth spending for the chance to experience life in a small remote village but not something you can afford daily. With pack rafting (which I am still learning but I often go tubing ) Goroka has a some good fast flowing rivers - smallish rapids but quite dangerous rivers overall. Of course as you leave the wide valley area you enter some of the most dangerous rivers in PNG.
So, as I offered before, I am happy to host any pack rafters / others wishing to visit PNG - there is certainly enough to do (rain & river conditions permitting) for 3 or 4 days and while I don’t have a vehicle the is not a problem for the various locations. With a bit of flexibility over dates the return flight on Air Niugini is quite affordable.