Papua New Guinea is a country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, north of Australia. It is situated on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, as well as on many smaller islands in the region. It shares land borders with only one country, which is Indonesia. The border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia is also located on the island of New Guinea, which is the world’s second-largest island after Greenland. The border stretches for over 820 kilometers and is mostly located along rugged mountain ranges and dense rainforests. The border region is home to a diverse range of indigenous communities, each with their own unique languages, cultures, and traditions. Papua New Guinea is known for its diverse and unique culture, rich biodiversity, and stunning natural landscapes, including tropical rainforests, coral reefs, and active volcanoes.
The country’s capital is Port Moresby. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, along the Gulf of Papua. Port Moresby is the largest city in the country, and it serves as the economic, cultural, and political center of Papua New Guinea. The city is known for its beautiful harbor, colonial-era architecture, and as the gateway to the stunning natural wonders of the surrounding region.
The history of Papua New Guinea dates back over 60,000 years when the first human settlers arrived on the island. Over time, various indigenous groups developed distinct cultures and languages throughout the region. In the early 16th century, European explorers began to visit the area, with the Dutch claiming the western half of the island in the mid-19th century, while the British established control over the eastern half.
During World War II, Papua New Guinea was a crucial battleground between Allied and Japanese forces, with significant battles fought on land, sea, and air. After the war, Australia took control of the region and governed it as a UN trust territory until independence in 1975.
Since gaining independence, Papua New Guinea has faced various challenges, including political instability, economic inequality, and social issues. Nevertheless, the country has worked to preserve its unique cultural heritage and has emerged as an important player in the Pacific region, with a diverse economy and a rich natural environment.
The architecture of Papua New Guinea is diverse and reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage. Traditional architecture varies widely among the numerous indigenous groups in the country, with each having their distinct styles, building materials, and techniques.
One of the most notable traditional architectural styles in Papua New Guinea is the stilt house, which is a type of dwelling built on stilts or poles. These structures are designed to protect against flooding and provide ventilation and shade in the tropical climate. They are often decorated with intricate carvings and painted in bright colors.
In urban areas, modern architecture has become more prevalent, particularly in the capital city of Port Moresby. The city features a mix of contemporary high-rise buildings, colonial-era structures, and traditional buildings. The architecture in Papua New Guinea reflects the country’s ongoing efforts to balance its rich cultural heritage with modern development and urbanization.
Museums and Galleries
Papua New Guinea has a colorful cultural heritage, and its museums and galleries are an excellent way to explore the country’s diverse history and artistic traditions. Here are some of the most interesting museums and galleries in Papua New Guinea:
- PNG National Museum and Art Gallery – Located in Port Moresby, this museum features exhibits on the country’s history, culture, and natural environment. It also showcases a collection of traditional art and artifacts from various indigenous groups in Papua New Guinea.
- Sepik River Art Museum – This museum is located in the town of Wewak, near the Sepik River. It features a collection of traditional art and artifacts from the Sepik region, including wood carvings, masks, and sculptures.
- New Ireland Museum – Located on the island of New Ireland, this museum features exhibits on the region’s cultural heritage and traditional practices, including fishing, hunting, and agriculture. It also showcases a collection of traditional art and artifacts, including shell jewelry and woven baskets.
- Tawali Skull Cave Museum – This museum is located in Alotau, in the southeastern part of Papua New Guinea. It features a collection of ancient human skulls, many of which were used in traditional rituals and ceremonies.
- Papua New Guinea Contemporary Art Space – Located in Port Moresby, this gallery features contemporary art from Papua New Guinea and the broader Pacific region. It provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work and supports the development of the local arts scene.
- Bully Beef Club – This museum is located in Lae and showcases the history of the Bully Beef Club, a social club for Australian soldiers during World War II. The museum features exhibits on the club’s activities, as well as a collection of artifacts from the war.
- Madang Museum – Located in the town of Madang, this museum features exhibits on the history and culture of the Madang region, including traditional art and artifacts, as well as displays on the region’s colonial history and the impact of World War II.
Whether you’re interested in traditional art and artifacts or contemporary art, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Papua New Guinea’s museums and galleries.
Landmarks and Monuments
Papua New Guinea is home to a diverse range of landmarks and monuments that reflect the country’s cultural heritage and natural beauty. Here are some of the most interesting landmarks and monuments in Papua New Guinea:
- Kokoda Track – This historic trail traverses the Owen Stanley Range and was the site of intense fighting between Allied and Japanese forces during World War II. Today, the track is a popular hiking destination and a pilgrimage site for many Australians and Papua New Guineans.
- Mount Wilhelm – At 4,509 meters (14,793 feet), Mount Wilhelm is the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea. It is a popular hiking destination, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
- War Cemetery – Located in Port Moresby, this cemetery contains the graves of soldiers who died during World War II, including Australian, British, and New Zealand troops.
- Tavurvur – This active volcano is located near the town of Rabaul and is known for its frequent eruptions. Visitors can hike to the summit for a unique view of the surrounding landscape.
- National Parliament House – Located in Port Moresby, this modern building is the seat of Papua New Guinea’s government. It features unique architectural elements that reflect the country’s cultural heritage, including traditional motifs and designs.
- Sepik River – This iconic river runs through the heart of Papua New Guinea and is home to many indigenous communities. Visitors can take boat tours to explore the river and learn about local customs and traditions.
- Lake Kutubu – This scenic lake is located in the Southern Highlands region of Papua New Guinea and is known for its stunning beauty and unique biodiversity.
From historic battlefields to scenic mountains and rivers, there is no shortage of fascinating destinations to explore in this unique and beautiful country.
Parks and Green Spaces
Papua New Guinea is home to a diverse range of national parks, reserves, and green spaces that showcase the country’s stunning natural beauty and unique biodiversity. Here are some of the most worth visiting parks and green spaces in Papua New Guinea:
- Varirata National Park – Located near Port Moresby, this park offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline and is home to a variety of bird species, including the famous Raggiana Bird of Paradise.
- Mount Hagen Cultural Show – This annual event takes place in August and showcases the cultural traditions of the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea, including traditional dances and music.
- Sepik River – This iconic river runs through the heart of Papua New Guinea and is surrounded by lush rainforest and indigenous communities. Visitors can take boat tours to explore the river and learn about local customs and traditions.
- Karawari River – This remote river in the Sepik region is home to traditional villages and offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the country’s cultural heritage and natural beauty.
- Tari Gap – Located in the Southern Highlands region, this area is known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as its unique biodiversity, including a variety of bird species and rare orchids.
- Mount Wilhelm National Park – This park is home to the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea and offers visitors a chance to explore the country’s stunning alpine landscape.
- Kamiali Wildlife Management Area – Located near Lae, this protected area is home to a variety of wildlife, including tree kangaroos, birds, and reptiles.
Papua New Guinea’s parks and green spaces offer a variety of attractions, from breathtaking mountain ranges and winding rivers to lively cultural festivities and exotic wildlife. With so many diverse and captivating options available, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy in these natural areas.
Papua New Guinea is known for its amazing natural beauty, and its beaches are no exception. Here are some of the most worth visiting beaches in or nearby Papua New Guinea:
- Tufi Beach – Located on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, Tufi Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning coral reefs.
- Nusa Island Retreat Beach – This secluded beach is located on a private island near Kavieng and offers visitors a chance to relax in a tranquil, tropical paradise.
- Madang Beach – This popular beach is located in the town of Madang and is known for its beautiful white sand and calm waters.
- Kabaira Beach – Located near Kokopo, Kabaira Beach is a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing.
- Manta Ray Bay – This beach on the island of Yap in Micronesia is known for its incredible underwater scenery, including schools of manta rays.
- Sepik Coast Beaches – The beaches along the Sepik Coast are known for their rugged beauty and unique cultural heritage, with many traditional villages and customs still in practice.
- Wewak Beach – This popular beach is located in the town of Wewak and is known for its stunning sunsets and laid-back atmosphere.
- Port Moresby Nature Park – This park features a man-made beach with a freshwater lake and is a popular destination for families and picnics.
- West New Britain Beaches – The beaches along the coast of West New Britain are known for their pristine beauty and unique volcanic landscapes.
- Alotau Beach – This popular beach is located in the town of Alotau and is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Overall, Papua New Guinea is home to a diverse range of beaches, from secluded tropical paradises to popular destinations for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. Whether you’re looking to relax on a quiet beach or explore the unique cultural heritage of the Sepik Coast, Papua New Guinea has something for everyone to enjoy.
Papua New Guinea is home to a diverse range of shopping districts that offer a unique blend of traditional crafts and modern retail. Here are some of the best shopping districts in Papua New Guinea:
- Boroko – Located in Port Moresby, Boroko is a popular shopping destination for both locals and tourists. It features a range of shops and markets, including the Boroko Food and Craft Market, which sells a variety of local handicrafts and souvenirs.
- Vision City – This modern shopping mall is also located in Port Moresby and features a range of international and local retailers, including fashion boutiques, electronics stores, and restaurants.
- Koki Market – This bustling market in Port Moresby is known for its fresh produce, traditional crafts, and street food. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking to experience the local culture.
- Lae Top Town Market – Located in the city of Lae, this market features a range of local crafts, including wood carvings, woven baskets, and jewelry. It also has a selection of fresh produce and street food.
- Mt. Hagen Market – This market is located in the highlands region of Papua New Guinea and is known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique traditional crafts, including colorful bilums (woven bags), masks, and carvings.
Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fresh produce, or international brands, there is something for everyone in Papua New Guinea’s shopping districts.
Food and Drink
Papua New Guinea has a diverse culinary scene that reflects the country’s natural resources. Here are some of the most popular foods and drinks to try in Papua New Guinea:
- Mumu – This traditional feast is cooked in an underground pit and typically features a combination of meats, vegetables, and fruits, all cooked together with hot stones.
- Kokoda – This dish is a type of ceviche made with raw fish marinated in lime juice, coconut cream, and spices. It is a popular appetizer and snack in Papua New Guinea.
- Sago – This starchy substance is made from the pith of the sago palm and is a staple food in many parts of Papua New Guinea. It is often used to make porridge or bread.
- Roast pork – This dish is a popular main course in Papua New Guinea, often served with a side of vegetables or rice.
- Bilum bread – This bread is made with bilum fiber, which is traditionally used to make woven bags. It is a unique and tasty way to try a local ingredient.
- Coconut water – This refreshing drink is made from the clear liquid inside young green coconuts and is a popular beverage in Papua New Guinea.
- Coffee – Papua New Guinea is known for its high-quality coffee, which is grown in the fertile highlands region of the country. It is a must-try for any coffee lover visiting the country.
- SP Lager – This locally brewed beer is a popular choice among Papua New Guineans and is a refreshing way to cool off on a hot day.
Overall, Papua New Guinea’s cuisine offers a unique blend of traditional and modern flavors, using local ingredients and cooking methods. From traditional feasts to refreshing coconut water and high-quality coffee, there is no shortage of delicious foods and drinks to try in this wonderful country.
Papua New Guinea is a vast and diverse country with rugged terrain and limited infrastructure, which can make getting around a challenge. Here are still several options available for travelers. Some of the best ways to move around Papua New Guinea worth considering:
- Domestic Flights – Domestic flights are the most convenient and efficient way to travel between major cities and remote areas in Papua New Guinea. Airlines such as Air Niugini and PNG Air offer regular flights to many destinations throughout the country.
- Hire Cars – Car rentals are available in major cities such as Port Moresby and Lae, providing visitors with the freedom to explore the country at their own pace. However, it’s important to note that road conditions can be challenging in some areas.
- Public Buses and Taxis – Public buses and taxis are available in major cities, but they can be crowded and unreliable. Taxis are a more convenient option for travelers who are willing to pay a bit more for a comfortable and reliable ride.
- Boat and Ferry Services – Boat and ferry services are available to many islands and coastal regions in Papua New Guinea. These services can be a great way to explore remote areas and enjoy stunning coastal scenery.
- Walking and Hiking – Papua New Guinea is home to some of the most stunning hiking and trekking routes in the world, such as the Kokoda Track and Mount Wilhelm. Hiking and trekking can be a challenging but rewarding way to explore the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Choosing the best mode of transportation depends on your destination, budget, and personal preferences. Regardless of how you choose to travel, Papua New Guinea is a country with diverse landscapes and cultures, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.
Papua New Guinea has a reputation for being a country with high levels of crime and social unrest. However, it’s important to note that the security situation can vary greatly depending on where you are in the country and what activities you are undertaking. Here are some tips to ensure your safety while in Papua New Guinea:
- Research Your Destination – Before traveling to Papua New Guinea, it’s important to research your destination and understand the potential risks and safety concerns in the area. Avoid areas that are known to have high crime rates or civil unrest.
- Use Trusted Transport – When traveling within Papua New Guinea, use trusted transport such as taxis and reputable tour operators. Avoid using public transport, especially at night.
- Keep Valuables Secure – Keep your valuables such as passports, money, and credit cards in a secure location. Avoid displaying expensive items such as jewelry or cameras.
- Stay Alert – Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in areas that are poorly lit or deserted.
- Respect Local Customs – Papua New Guinea has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly and seek permission before taking photographs of people or cultural sites.
With proper precautions, travelers can enjoy the country’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and friendly hospitality.
Expensive or Cheap
Papua New Guinea can be an expensive country to visit, especially compared to other destinations in the region. It is generally considered to be an expensive place due to its remote location, limited infrastructure, and high cost of living. However, the cost of travel can vary greatly depending on your destination, activities, and level of comfort. Here are some factors to consider when budgeting for a trip to Papua New Guinea:
- Accommodation – Accommodation costs in Papua New Guinea can be quite high, particularly in major cities such as Port Moresby and Lae. Budget accommodation such as hostels and guesthouses may be available in some areas, but they can still be relatively expensive. Accommodation – Hotels and lodges in Papua New Guinea can be expensive, especially in remote areas or during peak travel seasons. However, there are also budget options such as guesthouses and backpacker hostels.
- Food and Drink – Food and drink costs in Papua New Guinea can also be high, particularly if you are dining in restaurants that cater to tourists. However, local markets and street food can be more affordable options. Food and Drink – While traditional Papua New Guinean food can be relatively inexpensive, imported and Western-style food can be expensive. Alcohol and soft drinks can also be pricey due to high taxes.
- Transport – Domestic flights in Papua New Guinea can be expensive due to limited competition and high operating costs. Public transport such as buses and taxis can be more affordable, but they may not be reliable or safe in some areas. Transportation – Domestic flights can be expensive in Papua New Guinea, especially to remote areas. Taxis and car rentals can also be costly, but public transportation such as buses and boats are more affordable.
- Activities – Activities such as hiking and cultural tours can be relatively expensive in Papua New Guinea due to the cost of permits and guides. However, there are also many free or low-cost activities such as visiting local markets and parks. Tours and Activities – Tours and activities such as hiking, diving, and cultural tours can be costly due to the limited infrastructure in many areas.
- Visa Fees – Visitors to Papua New Guinea may be required to pay visa fees, which can vary depending on the length of stay and type of visa.
Overall, Papua New Guinea can be an expensive destination for travelers, particularly if you are looking for comfortable accommodations and international cuisine. However, with careful planning and budgeting, it is still possible to enjoy the country’s stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to travel to Papua New Guinea depends on your travel interests and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
- Weather – Papua New Guinea has a tropical climate with wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from May to October, making it the most popular time for travel. The wet season, from November to April, can bring heavy rains and humidity.
- Festivals and Events – Papua New Guinea is known for its vibrant cultural festivals and events, such as the Mount Hagen Cultural Show and the Goroka Show. Many of these events take place between June and September, making it a great time to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage.
- Diving and Snorkeling – Papua New Guinea is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world, with clear waters and diverse marine life. The best time for diving and snorkeling is generally between September and November, when the water is at its clearest.
- Trekking and Hiking – Trekking and hiking are popular activities in Papua New Guinea, with many trails offering stunning views of the country’s rugged landscape. The best time for trekking and hiking is during the dry season, from May to October.
- Birdwatching – Papua New Guinea is home to over 700 species of birds, many of which are endemic. The best time for birdwatching is during the dry season, from June to September, when many species are breeding and nesting.
Whether you’re interested in cultural festivals, diving and snorkeling, trekking and hiking, or birdwatching, there is a time of year that will offer the best experience for your interests.
Date Ideas and Activities
Papua New Guinea offers a range of unforgettable experiences for couples looking for a romantic getaway, unique offerings or a memorable date. Here are some date ideas, activities, and experiences to consider:
- Sunset Cruise – Take a romantic sunset cruise along the coastline of Papua New Guinea and watch as the sun sets over the ocean.
- Cultural Tour – Explore the rich cultural heritage of Papua New Guinea with a guided cultural tour, including traditional dance performances, visits to local markets, and meeting local artisans.
- Snorkeling and Diving – Discover the stunning underwater world of Papua New Guinea with snorkeling and diving activities, offering views of colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life.
- Beach Picnic – Enjoy a romantic picnic on one of Papua New Guinea’s secluded beaches, with a stunning ocean backdrop and fresh seafood.
- Hiking and Trekking – Experience the rugged landscape and natural beauty of Papua New Guinea with hiking and trekking activities, offering stunning views of mountains, waterfalls, and valleys.
- Wildlife Watching – Papua New Guinea is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including unique bird species and rare mammals such as tree kangaroos. Take a guided tour to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
- Spa and Relaxation – Relax and rejuvenate with a spa day at one of Papua New Guinea’s luxury resorts, offering a range of treatments and amenities.
- Helicopter Tour – Take a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of Papua New Guinea’s stunning landscapes and natural beauty.
- Local Cuisine – Experience the unique flavors and ingredients of Papua New Guinea with a culinary tour or cooking class, featuring traditional dishes such as mumu and kokoda.
- Traditional Villages – Visit a traditional village in Papua New Guinea and learn about the unique customs and traditions of the local people.
Whether you prefer adventure activities such as hiking and diving or more laid-back experiences such as spa treatments and culinary tours, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Papua New Guinea.
Fun and Interesting Facts
Papua New Guinea is a country with a rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and a unique history. Here are some fun and interesting facts about Papua New Guinea:
- Papua New Guinea is home to over 800 languages, making it the most linguistically diverse country in the world.
- The country’s national emblem is the bird of paradise, which is native to Papua New Guinea.
- Papua New Guinea has the world’s third-largest rainforest, after the Amazon and Congo.
- The Huli Wigmen of the Southern Highlands are known for their elaborate wigs and body decorations, which are created using traditional methods.
- The island of Bougainville, part of Papua New Guinea, is home to the world’s largest open-pit copper mine.
- The Kokoda Trail, a 96-kilometer trek through the mountains of Papua New Guinea, is a popular destination for adventurous travelers.
- Rugby League is the most popular sport in Papua New Guinea, and the national team, the Kumuls, is known for its passionate and dedicated fans.
- Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing.
- The country’s currency is the kina, named after a traditional shell currency used in the region for centuries.
- The Sepik River, which runs through Papua New Guinea, is known for its stunning river valleys and traditional tribal art.
With its many languages, iconic wildlife, and adventurous trekking routes, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea is a country that offers a specific and unforgettable travel experience. With its valuable cultural heritage, marvelous natural beauty, and diverse landscapes, Papua New Guinea has something for everyone. From the rugged mountains and rainforests to the pristine beaches and coral reefs, the country offers a range of activities and experiences for travelers, including trekking, diving, cultural tours, and wildlife watching. Despite some safety concerns and the potential for high costs, Papua New Guinea’s friendly hospitality, unique traditions, and adventurous spirit make it a destination that is well worth the trip for those seeking an authentic and off-the-beaten-path travel experience.