Lorentz National Park : South East Asia’s largest and complete World Heritage Site.
Lorentz National Park represents the most complete ecosystem for biodiversity in either Southeast Asia or the Pacific. It is also one of only three tropical areas in the world that has a glacier. Stretching from snow-covered peaks (5,030 m asl) down to coastal waters and mangrove forest and bordering upon the Arafura Sea, this astonishing ecological spectrum ranges from alpine to lowland and wetland vegetation areas.
As well as very high biological diversity, the Park also has other unique features such as the glaciers on Puncak Jaya and a river that disappears under the ground for several kilometres in the Baliem valley.
There are 34 vegetation types that make up the forest area of the Park, including swamp forest, riparian forest, sago forest, peat forest, coastal forest, coral reef, slope/flat land rain forest, hillside rain forest, montane forest, grassy plains, and moss-covered areas.
Among the species of plant that grow in this Park are nipah (Nypa fruticans), bakau (Rhizophora apiculata), Pandanus julianettii, Colocasia esculenta, Podocarpus pilgeri, and Nauclea coadunata.
There are about 630 species of bird (some 70% of the total number of bird species in Papua), 123 species of mammal, and various other animal species. Some of the more interesting species of bird are two species of cassowary, 31 dove and pigeon species, 31 species of cockatoo, 13 species of kingfisher, 29 species of sunbird and 20 endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world, including the snow quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) and the long-tailed bird of paradise (Paradigalla caruneulata). The mammal species include the long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijnii bruijnii), short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), and four species of cuscus as well as wallabies, forest cats and tree kangaroos.
Lorentz National Park has also been declared by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site, and by ASEAN countries as an ASEAN Natural Heritage Site.
The Park’s high biological diversity is matched by its marvellous cultural diversity. It is estimated that the some of these cultures have existed in this area for more than 30,000 years. This is the home of tribes such as the Nduga, Dani Barat, Amungme, Sempan, and Asmat. It is quite possible that there are still other communities living in very isolated areas who have never had contact with the modern world at all.
Covering more than 9,652 square miles in one of the largest islands in the world, Lorentz National Park in Papua is considered to be the only representation of the most comprehensive transect of ecosystem in the world. The national park is one out of three national parks in the world with tropical glaciers. The spectrum of ecosystem is tremendous, layered with alpine vegetation, sub-alpine, Montana, sub-Montana, lowlands, wetlands, and mangroves, all integrated in one. The Lorentz National Park is the largest protected area in South East Asia and is recognized as having the highest level of biodiversitiy in the world.
The most captivating distinctiveness offered by the national park is the Carstenz Pyramid, one of the world’s seven ultimate summits, the Western Baliem Valley, home to the age-old tribes that are proud to show their staged war festival,- and the Agats, the capital of Asmat ethnic group who craft world class woodcarvings. Lorentz National Park stands among four UNESCO’s world heritage sites of nature in Indonesia that help guard the entire oxygen demand on the globe.
Indonesia has the largest tropical forest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the early year of the new millennium, the estimated total area of Indonesia’s tropical forest reached 370,658 square miles, three times larger than the whole area of New Zealand. There are 50 national parks in Indonesia, and Lorentz National Park is considered to be an outstanding evidence of major stages of earth’s history, geological landform processes and rich geomorphic features. It also acts as home to extraordinary endemism, such as birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, and pig nose turtles.
Starting in 1916, the Dutch Colonial established the Lorentz Nature Monument that became a natural reserve by the Indonesian government in 1978. The Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia established the reserve as one of Indonesia’s national parks in 1997, and two years later, the UNESCO approved the Indonesian government’s proposal to recognize the Lorentz National Park as World Heritage.
Tourism activities can only be admitted in certain zones. The most popular places of interest are the West Dani tribes of Baliem Valley, among other tribes such as the Nduga, Amungme (Damal), Nakai (Asmat Keenok), Sempan, and Komoro. Please refer to Baliem Valley or Wamena Highlands for further detail.
Lake Habbema at the plateau of Habema Valley is an outstanding site for bird-watching, highly recommended by many birding companies to watch Salvadori’s Teal, Papuan Grassbird, Snow-mountain Partridge, Snow-mountain Munia, and isolated population of Australian Kestrel.
Mountain climbing is a life-defining activity when ascending the Carstensz Pyramid or Puncak Jaya Wijaya. To find more information about climbing it, click Carstensz Pyramid.
Agats is the capital city of Asmat woodcarving specialty. Visiting the village sitting at the edge of the Lorentz National Park is an experience never to be forgotten. The woodcarving is exceptional and is categorized as world-class masterpiece. The Festival of wood carving is the time best spent to know the Asmat and their culture. The festival is held in October and it is wise to book the package earlier with your travel agency, or see the provided agencies in this page.
The Asmat are well-known for their skill at chiselling wood into fine statues. According to their belief, the tribe is identical to the forest or trees. The trunk of a tree symbolizes the body of human being; the branches are the arms, and the fruit symbolizes the human head. Their ancestors-spirits, they believe, dwell in the trees. As such, the Asmat accord great respect to trees. Rivers, mountains and other natural features are similarly honoured.
Lorentz was only designated as a National Park in 1997. It currently has very limited facilities for visitors, and not all potential attractions have yet been identified or developed.
There are numerous ways to get to Lorentz National Park. Flying to Papua is usually the most convenient way, although going by ship is also possible.
It is recommended that you stop by in Wamena to submit the surat keterangan jalan or permit to enter the Forestry Conservation Office. However, if you book a seat with your local travel agent, you can have the permit processed for you.
Flying routes to reach Lorentz National Park are:
Jakarta – Timika, Jakarta – Biak – Timika, Jakarta – Biak – Wamena, Jakarta – Biak / Jayapura – Timika, Jakarta – Makassar – Biak – Timika, Jakarta – Makassar – Timika, Denpasar – Biak – Tiimka, Denpasar – Ujung Pandang – Timika
Airlines serving you to visit the national park are: 1. Garuda Indonesia 2. Merpati Nusantara 3. Lion Air 4. Trigana Air
The airlines flying for above routes are:
1. Flights to Biak (Frans Kaisiepo Airport/ BIK) are possible with: a. Garuda Indonesia (from Jakarta to Biak), and b.Merpati Nusantara Airlines, (from Jakarta to Makassar, proceeding with Garuda Indonesia to Biak. Merpati Nusantara also flies from Makassar to Biak)c. Lion Air (from Jakarta to Makassar, proceeding with Garuda Indonesia to Biak. Alternatively Lion Air flies from Denpasar to Ujung Pandang and proceeding to Biak with Merpati Nusantara)
2. Flights to Jayapura (Sentani Airport/ DJJ) are a. Garuda Indonesia, (from Jakarta to Jayapura), b. Merpati Nusantara, (from Makassar to Jayapura) c. Lion Air, (from Denpasar to Makassar, proceeding to Jayapura with Merpati Nusantara. Lion Air also flies from Jakarta to Makassar, and to Jayapura)
3. Flights to Timika. Garuda Indonesia from Jakarta to Ujung Pandang, to Timika),b. Merpati Nusantara (from Jakarta to Ujung Pandang, and to Timika)
4. Flights to Wamena. Trigana Air (From Jayapura to Wamena)
Best time of year to visit: August to December
Temperature: 29° – 32° C (low-land)
Rainfall: 3,700 – 10,000 mm/year
Altitude: 0 – 5,000 m asl.
Geographical location: 136°56′ – 139°09′ E; 3°41′ – 5°30′ S
Source: The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, and The Ministry of Forestry, Republic Indonesia