From islands to highlands, the four regions of this South Pacific nation offer exciting adventures and festivals celebrating diverse millennia-old cultures.
Papua New Guinea is the eastern portion of the island of New Guinea, along with 600 smaller islands. The isolation of these lands explains why the nation has diverse plants, animals and cultures and over 800 language and even more dialects. Plan to visit several of the country’s 22 provinces and see beaches, reefs, volcanoes, rainforests, tribal villages and World War II artifacts.
The southern Papua Region includes the nation’s capital Port Moresby and numerous cultural attractions. Tour the Port Moresby Nature Park, the National Museum and Art Gallery and Varirata National Park.
Follow the Kokoda Track, 96 kilometres (60 miles) of jungle trekking past deep gorges, marking the route of the Australian defence of Port Moresby during World War II, successfully achieved but costing over 600 lives. At the track’s southern end is the Bomana War Cemetery with nearly 4,000 graves of Allied forces.
The nation’s centre is the Highlands Region with coffee plantations, lush natural vegetation and mountains over 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) tall. Make the overnight climb up Mount Wilhelm.
For watersports and other activities, head to the Islands Region of the Bismarck Archipelago, which includes the islands of New Britain (divided into East New Britain and West New Britain) and New Ireland and North Solomon Islands. Fish, swim, snorkel and kayak over the natural coral reefs. Shop for arts and crafts from local artisans at the East New Britain Historical & Cultural Centre in Kokopo. Dive in Simpson Harbour to see World War II wrecks or off Kimbe Bay in West New Britain. Inspect the remains of the World War II naval base on the island of Manus.
Lively festivals abound year round. Attend the Morobe Show in Lae in the northern Momase Region. Observe a Singsing festival of traditional costumes, song and dance in numerous spots across the country.
As Papua New Guinea is rather undeveloped as a tourism location, conduct plenty of research to arrange your travels on your own or put yourself in the hands of experienced operators. Fly into Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby.