With a history of gold mines and coffee plantations, Eastern Highlands has had more exposure to European influence than any other Highlands provinces. It has a history full of colourful characters- miners, missionaries, patrol officers, plantation owners. Traditional dress is seldom worn this days, although the Highlanders still live in village of neat clusters of low walled round huts built amongst the rolling kunai-grass covered hills.
Goroka, a small outpost station in the 1950’s has developed into an attractive, well organised town with modern facilities and relaxed atmosphere. It is a major Highlands commercial centre of 25,000 people at an altitude of 1600 metres. It has a climate of perpetual spring.
Today Goroka has become known for its annual show, held every September. It is a marvellous opportunity to gain an overview of PNG cultural diversity. The shows were first held in the 50’s as a means of gathering together the different tribes and clans. At times there could be more than 40,000 painted warriors dancing to the beat of the Kundu drums. The scenario was an amazing success and grew from its original concept of a local get- together into a major tourist attraction.