Chimbu (Simbu) Province: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


Chimbu shares its borders with Gulf, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands, Jiwaka and Madang provinces. The bustling commercial and administrative centre of Kundiawa perches on a mountainside beside the Chimbu River.

Mount Wilhelm is Papua New Guinea’s highest mountain. Credit: David Kirkland

 Economic overview

Chimbu’s economy is principally based on agriculture and resources, including possible oil and gas. There are over 130 sweet potato cultivars, or varieties, are grown in different microenvironments and sweet potato gardens are usually made in grass or forest fallow areas. Other crops include: bulb onions, sugarcane, greens, beans, bananas, taro, and nut and fruit varieties of pandanus. Coffee is another important industry. The Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) has signed an agreement with 1700 farmers to improve coffee gardens, set up nurseries and improve post-harvest practices. The province’s high altitude climate, rugged geography and flamboyant cultures could also be used to establish operations in tourism and hospitality but this would require an injection of capital, improved infrastructure development and marketing investment. Chimbu is expected to benefit significantly from the 10-year Asian Development Bank project to rebuild the Highlands Highway, which passes through the province. The province has Papua New Guinea’s biggest prospective hydro-electric project: an 1800 megawatt (MW) dam project at Karimui, which is expected to cost $US2 billion and take six years to build. The province’s limestone mountains and fast rivers hold significant potential for electricity generation and industrial limestone manufacturing. In mid-2018, the PNG Government announced plans to relocate Chimbu’s under-utilised Kundiawa airport to Kerowagi, to serve both Chimbu and Jiwaka provinces.


The terrain of this province consists of mountains, isolated ravines and rock formations covered in rainforest vegetation. Mount Wilhelm is the highest peak in the land, at 4509 metres above sea level.

  • Take on the challenge of the trek up Mount. Wilhelm. It passes through traditional villages, lakes, dense forest and treacherous rocky slopes before reaching the summit. Physical fitness and cold weather gear required. Two operators to take you there are PNG Trekking Adventures ( and BunaTreks and Tours (
  • Bird watch at Betty’s Lodge (, at the foot of Mount Wilhelm.
  • Spot Chimbu locals in their traditional regalia featuring extravagant headdresses made from exotic highland bird feathers. This is a common sight.
  • Visit limestone caves near Kundiawa, former burial sites. Guides recommended and can be arranged in Kundiawa.

Where to stay

Near the town centre, Kundiawa Hotel has 16 rooms with ceiling fans. The Greenland Motel is another well-priced option. It’s about a two-hour drive

from Goroka or Mount Hagen to Kundiawa. Village Huts ( can arrange transport and accommodation. Kundiawa Sunrise Transit

Lodge ( is another town option to consider. Betty’s Lodge, at the foot of Mount Wilhelm, has 37 beds and is known for its

hospitality, trout farm and array of orchids (

Story continues after advertisment...

Name: Chimbu

Capital: Kundiawa

Population: 376,473

Area: 6112 square kilometres

Distance from Port Moresby: 432 kilometres. Air Niugini flies from Port Moresby to Mount Hagen up to four times daily. The flight time is 1 hour. (There are no longer flights to Chimbu’s Kundiawa Airport.)

Sectors: Coffee, agriculture, energy.

© Copyright 2019, Business Advantage International Pty Ltd

Leave a Reply