About Papua New Guinea

 

Many phrases have been used to describe Papua New Guinea: Land of the unexpected; Land of a Thousand Cultures; the Last Unknown, but none of these can quite prepare visitors for the stunning diversity of this breath-taking country. Papua New Guinea is a land of amazing variety; nowhere else will you find lush tropical rainforest, pure white sandy beaches, cool misty highlands, balmy desert islands, traditional culture unchanged for thousands of years and modern recreational facilities in such close proximity and all so easily accessible from Australia, the South Pacific, Asia and the rest of the world.

Located just south of the Equator, mainland Papua New Guinea is divided by the rugged Owen Stanley Mountain Range, with peaks over 4000 m high. These mountains provide the source for mighty rivers - among them the Fly and the Sepik which wind their way through spectacular fertile landscapes on their journey to the sea, where the coastline is scattered with islands, atolls and coral reefs. With every different landscape you will discover many different cultures, which in many cases have remained unchanged for thousands of years. It is quite surprising how the artefacts, traditional dress, styles of living, music and dance are so specific to particular areas, with very little overlap from one region to another. And for the budding linguist, Papua New Guinea has over 700 distinct languages to choose from.

No two provinces are alike, perhaps their only common bond being the unrivalled hospitality and friendly smiles of the local people. Papua New Guinea provides the ideal location for the active tourist. There is an extensive network of walking tracks covering most mountainous areas; some of the most spectacular and challenging are to be found only just outside the nation's capital, Port Moresby, such as the famous Kokoda Trail. There are, of course, other less strenuous walks to suit the less experienced bushwalker, but all offer the opportunity to get a closer look at some of the hidden beauty of the country. New Guinea’s diverse landscape plays host to an impressive array of flora and fauna; it has more species of orchid than any other country in the world; it is home to 38 of the 43 known species of birds of paradise, along with the largest pigeon, the smallest parrot, the largest butterfly, the largest tree kangaroo, not to mention the only documented poisonous birds in the world and 100 species of snake!

The underwater world of Papua New Guinea is certainly no less spectacular; the warm, clear waters all around the coast offering some of the best dive locations in the world. Stunning reefs, sunken wrecks, and brilliantly coloured coral and marine life leave even the most experienced diver in awe.




For those who prefer to stay in shallow water, there is no need to miss out either; snorkelling around the shoreline is equally amazing. And for the water-lovers who enjoy that rush of adrenaline, white-water rafting trips are conducted on several of the river systems.


But you don't necessarily have to like water or walking to make the most of a visit to Papua New Guinea: you will find it easy to relax and immerse in your surroundings, wherever and however you choose to explore the country. Transportation is mostly by air on account of the rugged nature of the terrain, but the comprehensive domestic air network, makes it easy to get around and there is no doubt that what you discover will be more than ample reward for any effort you make.

As Papua New Guinea is largely and certainly unspoiled, the potential for small-scale or specialised tourism - in particular ecotourism and adventure tourism - is immense. Government and the people of Papua New Guinea alike recognise the value of tourism, and are extremely keen to encourage its development; the necessary foundations are already in place, along with the enthusiasm, and any interest from experts or potential developers is encouraged. At the same time however, they are aware of the damage tourism can cause and has caused to similar nations, and for that reason their primary aim is to preserve what is so unique about Papua New Guinea, by encouraging the type of visitor who will appreciate the country as it is, rather than to develop the type of 'sun-sea-and-sand' resorts that can be found all over the world. The following articles will provide a small insight into the way tourism has developed so far, but of course in a country as diverse as Papua New Guinea, the possibilities are endless.

 





Visit The Southern Highlands

Papua New Guinea Map





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PAPUA NEW GUINEA EXPEDITIONS