Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific.
This stunning tropical wonderland is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon. From the jungle-clad volcanic mountains of the highlands; to the flooded delta regions; to the sandy white beaches and pristine coral atolls of the coastal and island provinces; the landscape of Papua New Guinea is as diverse as the people which inhabit it. With vast tracts of wild and undeveloped country, in Papua New Guinea, you’ll find it’s easy to imagine that you're the only person on earth!
Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways. This spectacular river and Papua New Guinea’s delta system is ideal for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Papua New Guinea 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.
New Guinea is a bird-watcher's paradise with over 700 species, including 38 of the 43 known varieties of Birds Of Paradise. Strange forms of animal life have evolved, such as the Long Beaked Echidna and gigantic lizards. In the forests there are more types of bat than anywhere else, as well as around 5,000 species of moth and butterfly, some the size of plates.
The best times to visit Papua New Guinea are the months of April and November, when the weather is characterized by less rain and it is the time when the trade winds blow. Only these two months of the year do not come under the influence of the monsoons. From April to November, the temperature varies from 27°C/81°F to 37°C/91°F. At night the mercury dips to 21°C/70°F to 26°C/79°F. The weather is always warm and humid and there are possibilities of rainfall. The nights are cooler a in the interior part of the country and at the highlands. It is advised to take raincoats regardless of the time of spur visit. If you want to go trekking, choose the months of July, August and September when the weather in Papua New Guinea is ideal.
There are four Regions of Papua New Guinea:
To the north lie the Highlands Region, an east-west zone of mountains with elevations in excess of 13,000 feet (4,000 metres). This region has five provinces – Southern Highlands, Enga Province, Western Highlands, Simbu and Eastern Highlands.
With its fertile valleys and rugged mountains, the Highlands Region is Papua New Guinea’s most densely populated region. The Mt Wilhelm region is a popular Papua New Guinea trekking area endorsed by the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority. It is known for its coffee plantations, cultural diversity and beautiful orchids, as well as being home to many rare animals, insects and birds, including the birds of paradise.
Early visitors to the Southern Highlands, the last of the Papua New Guinea regions to be explored, described this region as the Papuan Wonderland. More than 700 Papua New Guinea cultures have been identified in this region, each with their own unique traditions.
Located in the north east, the Islands Region comprises Bismarck Archipelago and North Solomon Islands and is the least densely inhabited region with a population of 750,000 (14% of PNG). It is distinct through its history portrayed by its Austronesian languages and archaeological findings of Lapita pottery culture.
Administratively, the region is divided into five provinces – East New Britain, Manus, New Ireland, Bougainville and West New Britain.
This region offers a raft of sea and land experiences – snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, walking, climbing, fishing, shopping, arts and crafts.
For travel to this fascinating region, a selection of hotel accommodation is offered. With white sandy beaches this untouched land of beautiful tropical islands and rich culture offers an amazing experience.
The Benua Cave in Bouganville has a giant sinkhole which is the largest cavern in the world (length = 470m, width = 150m and height = 170m). It is in the Torokina Area along the Keriaka Plateau. Impressively it contains an 18m tall stalagmite. There are many other caves on the main Bougainville Island and some easily assecible on Buka Island.
Made up of four provinces – East Sepik, Madang, Morobe and West Sepik, this regions takes in the second city of the nation, Lae, which is the capital of Morobe Province. Lae is situated at the beginning of the Highlands Highway, the main transport corridor to the coast.. On the outskirts of Lae are wonderful rainforests, and in the city itself, a raft of shops, restaurants, cultural galleries, and Papua New Guinea tour agencies as well as hotel accommodation options.
The East Sepik province produces cocoa, coffee, copra and sugar, while Madang is the country’s second largest producer of cattle. With its tropical humid climate, normally between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius, it is envied by many around the country.
Human habitation is estimated to have begun around 45,000 years ago in this region. Today this region has a population of 3 million comprising Papuans, Melanesians and Austronesians with the official language being Indonesian.
This region is made up of Central Province, Gulf Province, Milne Bay Province, National Capital District, Northern Province and Western Province. A hot humid climate exists for most of the year, except in the mountains, and with some variation in the northeast monsoon season.
In the National Capital District, Port Moresby is Papua New Guinea’s capital and the main entry point for international travel visitors.
The famous 96km Kokoda Track, taking from 5 to 10 days to walk (depending on fitness and conditions), crosses the backbone of Papua New Guinea, taking trekkers from the Central Province side of the trail into the behind Moresby to Kokoda in Oro Province. The Kokoda Track passes through remote, rugged country and it is highly advisable to use a guide. A short day walk can be done on the first part of the trail from Owers Corner to Imita Ridge.