With its complex cultures and almost no tourism infrastructure, Papua New Guinea is a destination for real adventurers! Step off the beaten tourist paths and discover the striking natural beauty of this unknown country in Oceania.
Papua New Guinea occupies half of the island of New Guinea and assorted outlying islands in Melanesia. Bougainville Island, the largest of the Solomon Islands archipelago, has some of the greatest biodiversity in the region. It forms a single landmass with the adjacent island of Buka, separated by a narrow strait. There are several active, dormant or inactive volcanoes in Bougainville. Take a three day hike to Mount Balbi, a stratovolcano that rises to 2 715 m. Mount Billy Mitchell is a dormant volcano with beautiful 2 km wide caldera lake. Amazing coral reefs, that fringe the shore of this pristine island paradise, offer world-class diving.
You can take a journey through some very picturesque coastal village communities, which include Tinputz at the most north-easterly point of the island. Buin, situated on the southern coast, was a Japanese military base during World War II. There are several relics from that era, including the wrecked bomber of Admiral Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Photo: Burmesedays, Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia), Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)
Where to stay:
In Port Moresby, we encourage you to stay at Gateway Hotel with good reviews. Offering a swimming pool, 2 restaurants and 2 bars, Gateway Hotel is located across the road from Jacksons International Airport, 5 minutes’ drive from the government precinct of Waigani and 10 minutes’ drive from the CBD. All rooms offer a desk and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Guests enjoy a free 24/7 airport shuttle.
In Madang we recommend you to book Madang Lodge Hotel. This well-rated hotel offers 16 Budget Rooms, consisting of single beds and fans with a shared bathroom and access to the orchid garden courtyard. The lodge offers five Morota Rooms consisting two free standing Cottages and three Standard Family Size Rooms consisting of single and double beds to accommodate four guests per room. Each of these rooms are air conditioned, with televisions, en-suites, tea / coffee facilities, a refrigerator, guest phone (STD and IDD), sea views and garden views. In addition, the lodge has 14 Garden Terrace Rooms consisting of two single beds or one double bed. These rooms are air conditioned, with a television, en-suite, tea /coffeefacilities, a refrigerator, a guest phone STD-IDD and sea-view.
What to do:
With limited tourism infrastructure, Papua New Guinea is a bit challenging destination.
If you can afford it, go flightseeing around some of the remote airstrips of PNG.
Discover the surrounding picturesque white sandy islands. Take a day trip out to the Duke of York Islands and spot dolphins and flying fish.
Papua New Guinea has some of the very best tropical reef diving anywhere in the word. Its magnificent coastline is world famous for its superb visibility. Explore the colourful reefs and dramatic drop-offs beneath the ocean.
The lagoons around the islands provide all-weather canoeing, wind surfing and water skiing and are a haven for visiting yachts.
Madang was the centre of heavy fighting during World War II, and there are 34 sunken ship dive sites to explore at Hansa Bay, near Bogia. There are underwater wrecks of Japanese fighter planes, and mesmerising coral gardens are home to a variety of rare species of colourful fish. Madang is also known for its excellent fishing and surfing.
Around Alotau you can snorkel alongside massive manta rays, go dolphin spotting or learn both the Australian and Papua New Guinean history of the area.
Kavieng is also known for beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, world-class diving and surfing.
For a unique adventure, cycle down the Boluminski Highway visiting local villages and taking in the stunning scenery, or go fishing.
The volcanically created fjords that tower over the clear waters are perfect for kayaking.
Take long canoe ride up the Sepik River and its tributaries to visit the impressive Haus Tambaran’s.
The Wahgi River is considered one of the best white-water rafting destinations in the world.
Bougainville has many rushing rivers and adjacent cave systems. The area is ripe for exploratory kayaking.
Go trekking through the mountains. Hire a local guide and climb Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea’s highest mountain (4 509 m / 14,880 feet). It is relatively easy but 3-4 days are recommended to allow for sightseeing. From the peak you can enjoy the views of both the north and south coasts of New Guinea.
Have fun at Adventure Park PNG in Port Moresby.
PNG is a birdwatching mecca with over 700 species of birds including many birds of paradise.
Explore the Nissan Island (Green Island), the myriad tiny island about 100 km north of Buka Island. There is an American WWII airstrip and a swimming pool that was apparently built for President Richard Nixon.
In the Louisiade Archipelago you can expect world-class diving and yachting heaven.
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