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.
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!
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.
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.
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.