PAPUA NEW GUINEA 2010

 

Hiritano Highway: Brown River


Map of Edubu Road, Brown River.
click to enlarge map

 

The Edubu road started out as a logging road for the teak plantation on the southern slopes of the Brown River and it still services the plantation working near to the Hiritano Highway, although the workshops and saw-mills at Edubu are silent and abandoned. The village of Edubu has found a new lease of life with the Kokoda Initiative, a program to bring scientists and tourists to the area and improve the facilities available for the local villagers.

The Owen Stanley Range from Edubu road.

The road from the Hiritano Highway is fairly easy to drive as far as Edubu. At Edubu there is a bridge and a police checkpoint with a barrier that is locked down at night. All traffic through and beyond the village is controlled by the village elders, and it is necessary to take local people along. The road beyond Edubu is remarkably good in places and very poor in others. We discovered that sudden rains and clowing mud can make the road virtually impassible even for 4x4 vehicles. From Edubu the road snakes over the ridges towards Mt Victoria and the Kokoda Trail, offering some fantastic views of the Owen Stanley Range and access to almost pristine habitats.

 

 

The Edubu road is passable, until it rains.

The food could become difficult following heavy rain, judging by the trees carried down stream.

Mt Victoria in the distance.

Driving the road on the first occasion we encountered a very attractive Southern giant blue-toingue skink (Tiliqua gigas evanescens) and a young Peach-throat monitor lizard (Varanus jobiensis).

The only creek on the entire drive can be forded but could become a problem after heavy rain. Along its banks we found Dusky skinks (Emoia obscura) and sighted several frogswhich were clearly river frogs (Rana sp.) but which evaded capture and closer examination.

Dusky skink,Emoia obscura
Southern giant blue-tongue,
Tiliqua gigas evanescens
Peach-throat monitor,
Varanus jobiensis (UK captive)

Back at Edubu on the second visit, when we were prevented from driving the road by heavy rain, we found a Wood scorpion (Liocheles sp.) under derbis along the river bank, a wolf spider (Lycosa sp.) with a cocoon, and on the drive back to the main highway in the dark we captured two Brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis).

Wood scorpion, Liocheles sp.
Brown treesnake, Boiga irregularis

 

Wolf spider, Lycosa sp. (female with cocoon)