General Information on Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea, or PNG in short, is the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The western half is the West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) Province of Indonesia. PNG lies south of the equator, about 150 kilometers north of Australia. The country is made up of the mainland which is part of New Guinea Island (the second largest island in the world after Greenland) and nearly 700 islands which are scattered off the mainland.
Until 1975, PNG was an Australian colony while its previous years saw occupation and settlement by the Dutch, British, German and Japanese. Today, PNG is a thriving democracy as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and follows the Westminster system of government with a Prime Minister and Governor General as Head of State and representing the Queen of England.
PNG is one of the world’s most interesting tourist destinations owing to its history, diverse cultures and languages, pristine underwater world, dense tropical rainforests, unique and exotic plants, flowers, trees, birds and wildlife. PNG is truly “last frontier” territory and nowhere is this description more fitting than in its rugged interior with its dense tropical jungles, high intervening mountains, deep valleys and gorges and fast flowing rivers and a people whose lives have not been heavily impacted by civilization.
Much of PNG’s land mass of approximately 470,000 square kilometers is pristine, untouched territory, isolated by history and geography and providing the perfect playground for culture, adventure and nature enthusiasts. From the PNG Highlands, to the Islands, to the Sepik and the Coast, there is a unique adventure, an attraction of event waiting to be experienced, whatever your travel needs may be.
In Papua New Guinea, you can walk down memory lane and honor the courage and bravery of world war heroes when you visit cemeteries and war relics in the form of wreck planes, ships, ammunitions, intricate tunnel systems, bunkers and monuments. For the cultural enthusiasts, some of PNG’s major and unique cultural extravaganzas include the Goroka, Mt Hagen, Wabag, Hiri Moale Shows and Mask Festivals which provide a sample of PNG’s 800 unique cultures and 700 languages which are showcased in songs, dances and rituals.
To be in touch with nature, you can take a cruise up and down the 1000-kilometre long Sepik River which is home to some of the best and most intricate primitive arts and crafts in PNG represented by face masks, wood carvings, baskets, traditional “haus tambarans” (spirit houses) and skin cutting ceremonies. Bird watchers will not be left disappointed as PNG is home to 38 of the 43 known species of the bird of paradise, hundreds of endemic orchid species and tropical fishes and corals, found in its popular and natural dive sites.
For the avid trekker, PNG does not disappoint as there is a choice of unique treks and climbs including Mt Wilhelm, which at 4506 meters is PNG’s highest peak and the historically significant 96-Kilometer Kokoda Trail, which runs along the Owen Stanley range between Port Moresby’s Sogeri Plateau to Kokoda in Oro (formerly Northern) Province.
If you are interested in taking up any of these activities, please contact us for more information.