A huge area of untouched tropical paradise is waiting to be explored.
With 600 islands, Papua New Guinea spans across a huge area, it is also home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside the Amazon. Papua New Guinea lies entirely within the tropics, and is just south of the Equator. Many parts of the country are wild and undeveloped.
Papua New Guinea has a very diverse landscape with volcanic mountains, highlands, large rivers, dense tropical rainforests, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions, mangrove swamps, broad sandy beaches, sheltered and pristine coral atolls.
Papua New Guinea is also the home to an array of the most amazing and most beautiful birds in the world.
Tribal life is often the most fascinating of a visit. The culture is extremely diverse and, within each region, visitors will experience a rich variety of ancient traditions.
Adventurous types have many opportunities within Papua New Guinea, as it is the location of the famous Kokoda Trail, also on show is the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, which offers views of active volcanoes. For the less adventurous types, bird watching is popular, as is it for flower enthusiasts.
Attractions & Activities
Most activities and attractions revolve around the natural beauty and the uniquely diverse culture.
Papua New Guinea is a great trekking destination with an extensive network of trekking trails. The most popular is the famous Kokoda Trail. Experienced guides lead visitors through the mountainous regions and show them the most beautiful sights and cultural highlights of these unique areas.
Tours to the famous volcanoes of Papua New Guinea are also available. The country lies along the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and offers distinct views of active volcanoes.
Papua New Guinea is also a bird watching paradise and delight for flower enthusiasts. Over 700 bird species can be found on the mainland and the islands. including the famous birds of paradise. The country is home to myrad beautiful orchids. More than 3,000 different kinds of orchids, two thirds of the world's known species, can be found here.
Relics of World War II battles between the allied forces and the Japanese are found in many parts of Papua New Guinea. Relics are found on land, underwater, and in caves and tunnels. War museums exhibit memorabilia of World War II, where battling troops faced triumph and comradeship, victory and contentment.
White water rafting trips are another popular activity in Papua New Guinea. The island's rivers offer all skill levels, from gentle rippling streams to explosive rapids. A more relaxed way to explore the natural beauty and to discover the culture and history of this great last frontier is a river cruise on the Sepik River and other waterways of the country.
In addition, Papua New Guinea has an excellent reputation as a fishing and diving destination. The country is home to some of the worlds most spectacular diving. Known as an "underwater photographer's paradise," it has twice as many species as the waters of the Red Sea, and up to five times as many as the Caribbean. As a surfing destination, Papua New Guinea is relatively new to surf enthusiasts, but the breaks are quickly becoming known for providing a great challenge that will keep surfers entertained for days! PNG has unlimited surfing potential year-round. On the southern side, 10 minutes out of Port Moresby is Sero Board Riders Club (Taurama Point) where the main barrier reef stretches along the southern seaboard all the way to the Milne Bay Province.
Culture & Events
Most of the people of Papua New Guinea are Melanesians, closely related to the islanders of Fiji, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. Two thirds of the population of 5 million live in the rugged highlands.
Papua New Guinea's culture is extremely diverse with 800 different languages and 1,000 local cultures. Architecture, dialect, and dress vary from village to village. The different traditions are kept alive in elaborate rituals involving feasts, marriages, compensation ceremonies, and initiation rites. Cultural heritage is celebrated at the annual Sing Sing shows, where villagers from around the country demonstrate their singing, dancing, and elaborate bilas (traditional costumes). The most popular shows include the Hiri Moale, held in Port Moresby every September, the Mount Hagen show, held annually in August and the Goroka Show, every September, which attracts tourist from all over the world.
After centuries of colonization by the British and the Germans, today Papua New Guinea is an independent nation, a member of the British Commonwealth and has strong ties to Australia. The nation's economy is based largely on resources such as gold, copper, oil, gas, copra, timber, fisheries, tea, coffee and increasingly, tourism.
The impact of modernization brings daily change to Papua New Guinea, but the majority of people, whether they are from the Highlands to the Coastal regions, still dependent on subsistence farming and live in small villages. Traditionally, women are responsible for the household and daily work of the village, while men take care of hunting, trade, and warfare. Village stays are a wonderful way to spend time with people and learn more about the local culture and lifestyle.
More than 800 local languages (in addition to many minor dialects) exist in Papua New Guinea; about a third of the world's indigenous tongues. Pidgin (Tok Pisin) is common to most Papua New Guineans, and learning a few words can be handy, especially when traveling in more remote areas.
Weaponry like bows and arrows are an important part of the culture; shields have a decorative and spiritual role and are also critical for defensive purposes. Masks in Papua New Guinea are mainly used as decoration. They are found mostly along the Sepik River, but also in other parts of the country. The Chambri Lake masks feature elongated designs with incised brown and white patterns finished in glossy black. At Koroga the masks are made from wood and clay and decorated with shells, hair and pig's teeth. Murik Lake masks are almost African in appearance, and in Maprik they are woven from cane or rattan. Masks are also carved at Kiwai Island, near Dam on the southern coast.
Drums are the principal musical instruments. There are two main types - the large garamuts made from a hollowed tree trunk and the smaller kundus which are shaped like an hourglass with a snake or lizard skin stretched over one end. Other instruments include bamboo flutes and pottery whistles and jews harps from the highlands.
The currency is the PNG Kina, with daily exchange rates listed in banks, newspapers and at Papua New Guinea accommodation properties. Papua New Guinea's currency is the Kina which is divided into 100 toea. K100, K50, K20, K10, K5 and K2 notes and a K1 coin are in circulation. Money can be exchanged at Jackson's Airport. Travellers’ cheques and international credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants and some shops or can be cashed at banks throughout the country, which are open from 9.00am to 3.00pm Monday - Thursdays and 9.00 - 4.00pm on Fridays.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
All transactions within Papua New Guinea's hotels, restaurants and bars are subject to 10% tax which is included in published prices.
Port Moresby hotels, restaurants, shops, rental car companies, Papua New Guinea tours and cruise operators and travel agents accept most major credit cards including Amex, Diners, Master Cards and Visa Cards.
More than 800 distinct languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea. Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two most widely used, although English is the official language in education, businesses and government circles.
Looking at the Papua New Guinea map, we can see that it lies just south of the Equator and 160km to the north of Australia. With a total land mass of about 473.189sq.km, the country encompasses the eastern side of New Guinea Island - the second largest island in the world, plus some 600 other islands, atolls and coral reefs and more than 800 indigenous languages (tok ples), and is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the amazon.
Vast tracts of the country are wild and undeveloped, with magnificent scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains, dense tropical rainforest and large rivers. The mainland is divided by the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering over 4,000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways.
Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave systems offer wonderful adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and climbers. There is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and delta system. PNG also enjoys some of the world's best diving, around its warm coastal waters, with striking coral reefs around the mainland coast and the islands of the Bismarck Sea and the Milne Bay area.
Visit the official tourism website of Papua New Guinea.