Biggest Cities In Papua New Guinea

Overlooking Port Moresby "Town" from Touaguba Hill.
Overlooking Port Moresby "Town" from Touaguba Hill.

Where Is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is an Oceania country comprised of islands. The eastern part of New Guinea Island lies between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean to the east of Indonesia. The West part of the New Guinea is part of the provinces of Indonesia of Papua and West Papua. Papua New Guinea is among one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries as it has 852 different languages in the country out of which twelve have no known living speakers. About 18% of the country’s population lives in urban areas making the country one of the most rural in the world. The country is also one of the least explored culturally and geographically in the world and is thought to have much-undiscovered flora and fauna in the world, as well as groups of uncontacted people.

The Four Biggest Cities Of Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby

John Moresby, an English Captain, visited the Island of Papua New Guinea in 1837 and claimed it for Britain and named it after his father. In 1905 the newly federated government of Australia passed the Papua Act that transferred Papua with Port Moresby as the capital which served to direct the Australian rule in the Island. The city grew gradually, and electricity was first introduced in 1925 and piped water in 1941. In 1975, when Papua New Guinea became independent Port Moresby became the capital city. The population of the city has grown from 120,000 people in the 1980’s to 195,000 people in the 1990s.


Lae is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea, and it is the capital of the province of Morobe. The city is in between the delta of Markhan River and the highlands highway, which is the primary land transport corridor between the coastal part and the highlands region. The city is the biggest cargo port and serves as the industrial hub of the country. The city is also known as the Garden City and is an education center as well where the Papua New Guinea University of Technology is located. The University is the second largest after its sister University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. It is the only Technology University in South Pacific out of Australia and New Zealand. The estimated population of the city is more than 100,677 people.


Arawa is the third largest city in Papua New Guinea, and it is the largest and capital of town of the Bougainville the autonomous region. The city of Arawa was extensively destroyed during the civil war of Bougainville that resulted in the relocation of the capital to Buka and plans are underway to rebuild Arawa and make it the capital again. The whole region where the Arawa town sits was once a large expatriate plantation in the country. The estimated population of Arawa is almost 36,443 inhabitants.

Mt Hagen

Mount Hagen is the third largest city in the country and also the largest and capital of the province of Western Highlands. Its location is in the central mainland of Papua New Guinea in the vast fertile Wahgi Valley with an average elevation of 5,502 feet (1,777m) above sea level. Mt Hagen is connected to other coastal cities like Lae and Madang through the Highlands Highway which is the main route. The town was named after the old volcanic Mount Hagen that lies about 24 kilometers to the northeast. The Volcanic Mountain was in turn named after a German colonial officer Curt Von Hagen. Mt Hagen has a population of about 27,782 people.

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Papua New Guinea?

RankSettlement NameProvincePopulation
1Port MoresbyNational Capital District254,158
4Mount HagenWestern Highlands27,782
6WewakEast Sepik25,143
7GorokaEastern Highlands25,000 ~
8KokopoEast New Britain20,262

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