What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We lived in a gated and guarded compound, as most expats do. Very nice apartment with a pool. Commute was about 20 minutes. Some people complained about the traffic, but we found it very light compared to other places we have lived. - May 2019

A beautiful, new townhouse in the "Peninsula" compound. Ground Floor: two car garage, laundry room, half bath and small bedroom with tiny full bath. Second floor: open concept kitchen, dining and living room with half bath and under-stair storage plus large balcony. Upper floor: master bedroom (king bed) with walk-in closet, full bath (shower only) and small balcony, living room/office, two bedrooms, and full bath with tub. We have a small yard that is mostly tiled that we never use because it's hard to get to - you have to walk down stairs, go through the garage and then through a hallway past the laundry room. The two sets of stairs are very tall - about 18-20 stairs each. GSO provides baby gates if necessary. The Peninsula is waterfront property, and the Embassy rents about 10 townhouses here. There are another 10 townhouses rented by other diplomatic missions or expats. There is also one apartment building, and two more apartment buildings under construction. The new Embassy will be built in this complex as well, but that will be a few years away. It's nice to walk around along the water and watch the fish. Unfortunately, the sewage system empties into the lagoon in the back, so occasionally the smell is bad, and large amounts of trash often wash in. Right now, there is a small pool and a covered BBQ area by the pool. When construction is completed, there should be another pool, a playground, gym, tennis court, and other open space (in addition to the Embassy amenities). In the meantime, we are living in a construction zone, with the attendant dust and noise. You can also walk to two small restaurants within the compound, and you should go there in a group due to security reasons. There is a Yacht Club, which has a playground, two restaurants, a bar and a gym in addition to marina services. There is also an owned compound about a mile away with about 8 (?) townhouses (referred to as the "Staff Compound"). The staff compound has a pool and a small gym. The townhouses here are dated and are chopped up by small stairs. There is no place to walk around, so it is not ideal for people with kids or anyone who needs to walk outside. It is very quiet. Stay-at-home spouses will go stir-crazy here. - Jun 2016

Most expats live in apartments or townhouses. The quality is acceptable, but lower than other developing countries. The extreme housing shortage drives rents through the roof ($1,000 to $1,500 a week for a 2-3 bedroom unit). Many expats including diplomats live in 'Town' which is the hill just behind the port. Mostly apartments and townhouses in 1-4 story buildings with sea views and a pool, a few with tennis courts or internet. There are some single detached homes, often with a pool but no yard. The Australian High Commission has a own compound near Town (apartments/townhouses). It is rare to have green space in your compound in Town. Other expats live in Islander Village opposite the Holiday Inn, which is about 150 houses in a suburb-like compound. Houses are 2-family units with yard. A pool is rare. Many unaccompanied expats live long-term in the Holiday Inn (Waigani), Airways Hotel (airport), or the Crown Plaza (Town). Government offices are mainly in the Waigani area near the Holiday Inn. Business offices are in Town or Waigani. Some expats, particulary longterm ones, Asians, or those whose companies do not have security requirements, live in other areas (Gordons or Boroko). Some buy/bring a boat and live at the Yacht Club, which has power, gym, showers, etc., and then sell the boat when they leave, to avoid losing money on such high rent. Everything can be reached in 5-15 minutes, with little traffic. Ask your company to put you on waiting lists before you arrive; expect to be in a hotel 1-2 months. This is a landlord's market. - Jun 2008

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More