Mount Hagen is a city in the Western Highlands province of Papua New Guinea.
Mt. Hagen was unknown to the West until 1933 when the Leahy brothers, Mick and Dan, flew over the heavily populated and fertile area and then organized a foot patrol to explore further. Even thirty years ago Mt. Hagen was a fascinating and largely peaceful place to visit, with PNG Highlanders still walking around in traditional costumes. These days it remains just as fascinating but the traditional costumes are largely reserved for special occasions and Mt. Hagen is a very dangerous place as guns have often replaced the traditional bows and arrows. The town's main hotel, the Highlander, which formerly looked out over parkland and the town's coffee market, is now surrounded by a corrugated iron fence. A visit to Mt. Hagen is now only for the bravest.
Mt. Hagen is third largest city in Papua New Guinea. It is the capital of the Western Highlands Province and is at an elevation of 5,500 ft. Together with Goroka in the Eastern Highlands it makes up the commercial hub of the Highlands, which make their money from mining, coffee and other agricultural crops that grow at altitude, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes.
Airlines PNG flies internationally to Mt. Hagen from Cairns in Queensland, Australia, mainly to service the mining industry. It also connects Mt. Hagen with Lae, Madang, Wewak, Port Moresby and several smaller towns.
Mt Hagen is connected by road with the coast at Lae and Madang. The Highlands Highway from Lae can be dangerous at times and thefts from slow vehicles on the steep climbs are not unknown. If you hit someone, or a pig, do not stop if you can avoid it. Drive away from the scene and then enquire about the nearest police station.
The hotels and the Hagen Club offer quite good meals. There is a very pleasant coffee shop (Banz Kofi) close to the airport. Some PNG style takeaways are available in the town.