Just to the North of Australia lies the fascinating land of Papua New Guinea. The country is the eastern half of the island called New Guinea. It also consists of over 600 tiny islands. This beautiful country is an unexplored haven of wild and wonderful nature.
If you are an “off the beaten track” sort of a tourist, you will certainly love this place. There is a lot to see and explore and the number of rare species of birds, animals and insects you will get to see here are sure to leave any nature lover enthralled and keep them coming back for more and more. The country is home to the Queen Alexandria butterfly which is the largest butterfly in the world. Being almost as big as a small eagle, it is an absolutely astonishing sight to see.
The bio-diversity is simply breathtaking. Verdant mangroves and even greener rain forests have made this land the kind of paradise the earth was meant to be. Being so thoroughly untamed in every way, the area hasn’t become a huge tourist place which is perhaps its best facet. The rugged terrain is perfect for those of you who love adventure and the untouched place is sure to charm the explorer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
It is a well-known fact that the weather tends to be rather unpredictable in this region but the sights you get to see are worth the risk. Although there isn’t anything dangerous about the weather, pouring rain is likely to dampen your sightings and make it difficult to travel.
Each region tends to have its own unpredictable climate. But if you want a general guideline here is one:
- Wet season: The Months between December and March are (usually) the wet season. The climate being tropical, rain comes and goes so it is still possible to visit the country during this time. Of course, carrying rain-wear is a must under these circumstances. Moreover, if you are going to Port Moresby, the weather is exactly the opposite, so essentially it will be the dry season there.
- Dry Season: the Dry Season is not exactly fixed but can roughly be said to carry on from May to October. This is perhaps the best time to visit. April and November are very unpredictable and the weather is slowly changing so it is better to avoid those two months.
- Festival Season: The country is home to some lovely rustic festivals from the months of July to October. But these months are also the major tourist months so book in advance for the best deals during this time.
HOW TO REACH AND HOW TO GET AROUND:
- Reaching: The Port Moresby airport, which is known as the Jackson International airport, is the country’s only international airport. From here, you will be able to find domestic flights to almost all cities. You will also be able to easily get flights from Cairns and Sydney.
- Car: Travelling on your own by car is not the best idea due to rough terrain. Best leave the driving to the professionals by taking a PMV (Public Motor Vehicle). You will be sharing with others so It is easier and cheaper.
- Boat: Travelling to the islands is best done by boat as often flights won’t be possible.
- Domestic Flights: If you are travelling within the mainland flights will be very easy to get and are convenient as well.
WHAT TO SEE AND WHAT TO DO:
Needless to say, there is a lot to explore here. Several islands and a vast and varied mainland make it an adventure paradise. So it makes most sense to just go where your heart takes you as the land is full of surprises. However, here is a general guideline:
- Port Moresby: Port Moresby is probably the best known place in the country. It offers a wide array of water related activities like scuba diving, Sailing and many more. The capital is also home to museums and churches and will be a good base point for your Papua New Guinea adventure.
- Chambri Region: For the nature lovers there is the Chambri region which is home to beautiful and dense forests where you will be able to go on Jungle tours of all sorts.
- White Water Rafting: This is a must for all the adventurers out there. The Purari and Waghi rivers amongst many others feature some exciting rapids to sail though. The experience is sure to be thrilling.
- Simbu Province: This province in the highlands has a lot to offer. There are caves which are burial sites and definitely deserve an exploration. You can try trekking on the highlands but be sure to carry those windcheaters since the weather may get really chilly sometimes.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS:
Unique festivals are something of a USP for the country:
- Mount Hagen Cultural Show: This show takes place every year in the month of August. Perhaps the most popular of the cultural events in the country this lovely festival features several aspect of the tribal culture from dancing and singing to food. It represents the bringing together of tribes for the locals.
- Goroka Show: Similar to Mount Hagen, this fest takes place usually on the second weekend of September. The singsings communities present a cultural and musical extravaganza at this time.
Tumbuan Mask Festival: The mask cultures in the tribal communities of Papua New Guinea are varied and interesting. In the first week of July you will get to see and learn a lot about these. The festival is really unique and a very interesting sight to see.
The months from July to November have a much of other festivals too so do check out what is going on when you happen to be around.
SOME GUIDELINES FOR TRAVELING:
- Clothes: Be sure to wear loose cotton clothes and good walking shoes. The weather is always going to be warm but shifts between dry and humid. Lose clothes and comfortable shoes will ensure you are always in a state to be out and about.
- Mosquito protection: it is best to take anti-malaria tablets and also get mosquito repellant with you on your trip. Being a tropical country, this goes without saying.
- Rainwear: Carrying rainwear is a good idea in all seasons. It will keep you prepared for those unexpected showers and keep the cold at bay if need be.
- Tough Terrain: the trekking, climbing and expeditions are not for the faint-hearted. This wild and untamed country is full of really hard-core scenarios so do not take it lightly. You need to be in decent physical condition to travel in most of the less explored places.