{{ message }}

Admin Page Edit

Papua New Guinea

{{ message }}

Airways Hotel Port Moresby
Airways Hotel Port Moresby - dream vacation

Jacksons Parade Jacksons International AirportPort Moresby

Crowne Plaza Port Moresby
Crowne Plaza Port Moresby - dream vacation

Hunter & Douglas StreetsPort Moresby

Holiday Inn Port Moresby
Holiday Inn Port Moresby - dream vacation

Waigani Dr & Wards Rd, BorokoPort Moresby

Lamana
Lamana - dream vacation

Lamana Road, WaiganiPort Moresby

Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Papua Niugini; Hiri Motu: Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini) comprises the eastern part of the world's largest and highest tropical island, New Guinea, together with many smaller offshore islands. It has a long and un-policed land border with the Papua region of Indonesia to the west.

Regions

The country can be divided into 9 regions:

Cities

  • Port Moresby — the capital city with its interesting Zoological gardens, the Parliament building, the museum, and general Melanesian atmosphere
  • Alotau — laid-back capital of Milne Bay province and gateway to some fascinating but remote islands
  • Goroka — an attractive highland town with pleasant climate and the annual Goroka Show, centre of the country's coffee industry
  • Lae — the country's second city, main commercial centre and gateway to the highlands
  • Madang — a beautiful city with breathtaking flights of bats in the evening (it is illegal to hurt them), and even more breathtaking diving
  • Mount Hagen — the 'wild-west' frontier town in the Highlands, which will introduce you to the cool, crisp Highlands weather and Highlands culture
  • Rabaul — the city at the foot of an active volcano which was evacuated and severely damaged by a major eruption in 1994
  • Vanimo — the border town if you want to make you way to or from the province of Papua in neighbouring Indonesia; popular surfing destination
  • Wewak — the gateway to the Sepik river, where you can experience Sepik culture, the river itself, and the elaborate carvings typical of the region

Other destinations

  • Kokoda Track — an ancient trail across the Owen Stanley Range which became especially famous for its part in World War II
  • Louisiade Archipelago — beautiful island group well off-the-beaten-path; world-class diving and yachting heaven
  • Trobriand Islands — referred to by the anthropologist, Malinowski, as the "Islands of Love"
  • Tufi — the Fjordland of Papua New Guinea with fascinating scenery, great diving, and tapa cloth made from mulberry bark

Understand

History

There is evidence of human settlement as long ago as 35,000 years in what is now Papua New Guinea. This comes from an archaeological site at Matenkupkum, just south of Namatanai in New Ireland province. Other archaeological digs at several locations in New Ireland have discovered tools and food residue dating back 20,000 years.

In more modern times, Papua New Guinea (known popularly as 'PNG'), the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (which is the second largest island in the world), was divided between Germany ('German New Guinea') and Great Britain ('British Papua') in 1884. The Dutch had West Papua, now the Indonesian territory of Papua. The southeast part of the island, also known as Papua, was owned by the UK but administered by Australia, and thus a colony of a colony, until Australian independence in 1901, when it became an Australian colony. In 1914, the Australians did their part in the Allied war effort and took control of German New Guinea, and continued to administer it as a Trust Territory under the League of Nations and (later) the United Nations. However, it was not just disinterested colonialism. Gold had been discovered in several places and was rapidly exploited. Remnants of vast gold dredges can still be seen in the Bulolo and Wau area.

During the Pacific War, New Guinea was the site of fierce fighting on land (at Buin and on the Kokoda Track) and sea (at the Battle of the Coral Sea). It was the first place in the war where the Japanese advance was checked and then reversed. After the war, both New Guinea and Papua were administered from the government center of Port Moresby on the south coast, in Papua. In 1975, the country, now united as 'Papua New Guinea', achieved independence from Australia. Today Papua New Guinea continues to be the foremost country in Melanesia. The country struggles to fulfil the dreams of independence as economic stagnation, corruption, law and order problems, and a nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville all conspire to make the country somewhat less than a tropical paradise.

The attempts by Bougainville to break away at the time of Independence led to a decision to offer the regions of the country a certain amount of political autonomy. Decentralization led to the establishment of nineteen provincial governments and the process of dividing up the country into unviable administrative units seems to be continuing, with a decision in 2009 to split both Southern Highlands and Western Highlands provinces into three new provinces.

In 2009, Papua New Guinea received 125,000 visitors, but only around 20% of these declared themselves as tourists. The country offers the traveller a true paradox. With little tourist infrastructure outside the main tourist areas, getting around can be tough. But Papua New Guineans themselves are wonderfully welcoming people who will go to great lengths to accommodate strangers. Tourism is well developed and growing in a handful of locations. Beyond these, the country is 120% adventure travel and not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

For people who can make it out here, the experience is unforgettable. The incredible natural beauty is simply indescribable. Its unique flora and fauna includes enormous radiations of marsupials and birds, including the Raggiana bird-of-paradise (the national symbol) and several species of tree kangaroos. Untouched coral reefs compete with spectacular World War II wrecks for the attention of divers, and the hiking is out of this world.

With rugged terrain, inter-tribal mistrust, and diverse languages, intermarriage between the peoples has, until recently, been very limited. Physical and facial appearance varies significantly throughout the country; from those who look almost Polynesian in some coastal areas, through the short, stocky Highlanders, to the tall and statuesque people of the area around Rabaul in New Britain and the dark-skinned inhabitants of Bougainville, who could almost come from Africa.

The central highlands of Papua New Guinea were not mapped until the 1930s and not effectively brought under government control until the late 1960s. As a result, the people are as interesting as the geography, flora, and fauna. Papua New Guinea is a place that often markets itself as 'the Last Unknown' or a place where you can still find 'Stone Age People'. Of course, telling a Papua New Guinean that you consider them a stone age savage is incredibly rude. While you can, if you try hard enough, find old men who remember the first time they or anyone in their society saw metal, you'll also have trouble finding anyone who has not seen Titanic. Indeed, what makes Papua New Guinea so interesting today is not the fact that it is some sort of living museum, but its incredible dynamism. In the hundred-year shift from stone to steel to silicon, Papua New Guineans have turned the shortest learning curve in human history into one of the most colourful, and often idiosyncratic, experiments in modernity ever produced by human beings. Featuring ritual garb made of human hair and rolled up Instant Noodle wrappers, rap in Pidgin English, or tribal warriors named 'Rambo' for their valour in combat, Papua New Guinea's collision with global culture has been intense and fascinating. So don't worry about the fate of 'traditional culture': in the bar room brawl between Papua New Guinea and the global culture industry the biggest worry is keeping Papua New Guinea from pummelling global culture to a pulp.

Climate

Papua New Guinea is just to the south of the equator and has a tropical climate. In the highlands, though, temperatures are distinctly cool. The (very) wet season runs from about December to March. The best months for trekking are June to September.

Terrain

The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of several tectonic plates. There are a number of active volcanoes, and eruptions are frequent. Earthquakes are relatively common, sometimes accompanied by tsunamis.

The country's geography is diverse and, in places, extremely rugged. A spine of mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region mostly covered with tropical rainforest. Dense rainforests can be found in the lowland and coastal areas as well as very large wetland areas surrounding the Sepik and Fly rivers. This terrain has made it difficult for the country to develop transportation infrastructure. In some areas, aircraft are the only mode of transport. The highest peak is Mount Wilhelm at 4,509  m (14,793 ft). Papua New Guinea is surrounded by coral reefs which are under close watch to preserve them.

Read

There are many great books about Papua New Guinea, including great fiction as well as non-fiction. An excellent book for the general reader about Papua New Guinea is Sean Dorney's Papua New Guinea: People, Politics, and History Since 1975. The third edition is the best, but it is pretty hard to find outside of Australia (and is not that easy to find there).

John Laurel Ryan, a former employee of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), also wrote an excellent book, "The Hot Land" which was published about 1970. Among other fascinating historical information it contains accounts of various manifestations of cargo cult, John Teosin's "baby garden" on Buka Island, and eye-witness reports that have been rigidly suppressed in other media about the Indonesian takeover of what was formerly Dutch West Papua. This excellent and at times disturbing book will also be hard to find, and sadly its author even harder!

There is also a lot of anthropological work that has been done in Papua New Guinea (leading some to term the area an "anthropologist's laboratory"), which can contribute greatly to an understanding of the different groups in the region. Some of the more accessible volumes include Malinowski's "Argonauts of the Western Pacific", centred on the Trobriand Islanders, living just north of Papua New Guinea itself; Reading the skin - Michael O'Hanlon; Coaxing the spirits to dance - Welsch, Webb et al.; The Art of Kula - SF Campbell; Inalienable Possessions - AB Weiner.

People

Papua New Guinea has hundreds of ethnic groups and is arguably one of the most heterogeneous countries in the world. Each group has expressive forms in art, weaponry, dancing, music and costumes.

Holidays

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • Easter (according to the Gregorian calendar)
  • June 8: Queen's Birthday
  • July 23: Remembrance Day
  • August 26: National Day of Repentance
  • September 16: Independence Day
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 26: Boxing Day

Get in

Entry requirements

Everyone needs a visa to enter Papua New Guinea, but a 60-day visa on arrival is available to all EU/EFTA citizens and to citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Vatican City. Citizens of other countries need to obtain advance visas from the nearest PNG diplomatic mission.

By plane

Jacksons International Airport (POM IATA) in Port Moresby is the nation's international airport.

  • Air Niugini flies to and from Cairns, Sydney, and Brisbane, Australia; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Manila, Philippines; Tokyo (Narita), Japan; Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
  • Pacific Blue connects Port Moresby to Brisbane four times a week.
  • QANTASLINK flies to and from Cairns daily

By boat

The ports include MadangLae, and Port Moresby on the mainland, Kieta on Bougainville, and Rabaul and Kimbe on New Britain. However, they are only internal ferries. International ferries are unavailable.

There are also cruises from various operators.

By land

The only land border is with Papua (Irian Jaya), Indonesia, and crossing it involves some preparations but is not that difficult as it might have been. In Jayapura, Indonesia, there is a consulate to apply for a tourist visa. The consulate is located in Mendi, a 10 min green PMV (public motor vehicle) ride away from Jayapura's capital. The price is 2,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR).

Depending on your Indonesian visa there are different options to cross the border. If you have a visa on arrival, issued to you for example at the Jakarta Airport, you can only cross the border using a boat or by stamping out at customs in Jayapura and then immediately travelling to the border 30 km away. Western travellers attempting the latter should expect to pay some miscellaneous fees and jump moderate bureaucratic hoops before leaving.

Boats can be rented from Hamedi. Any other type of visa you can rent a car, or an ojek and cross the land border. If renting a vehicle for the crossing one should expect to pay approximately IDR300,000 from Jayapura town and travellers should expect to pay upwards of IDR500,000 to return from the border to Jayapura.

Get around

By car

Papua New Guinea is a strange place when it comes to travel. The tropical conditions, fierce geography, and lack of government capacity means there are very few paved roads in the country.

With the exception of a brief span of road connecting it to the immediate hinterland and a road that will enable you to follow the coast southeast for a few hours, there are no major roads linking Port Moresby to anywhere else.

On the north coast, a tenuous highway runs from Madang to Wewak only in theory.

The big exception to this is the Highlands Highway, which begins in Lae (the country's main port) and runs up into the highlands through Goroka to Mt. Hagen with a fork going back to the coast and Madang. Shortly outside Mt. Hagen the road branches, with the southern line going through the Southern Highlands to Tari while the northern line runs through Enga province and ends in Porgera.

By public motor vehicles (PMV)

The most common way to travel is by PMV/bus with the locals.

Lae, MadangGoroka, Tari, and Mount Hagen are all connected by a good highway. As a newcomer it is probably advisable to get help from locals (e.g., hotel-staff). Most towns have several starting points. A trip from Lae to Madang costs around PGK20, to Mt. Hagen PGK30.

By plane

Papua New Guinea has historically been one of the world centres for aviation and still features some of the most spectacular flying in the world. In the 1920s, Lae was the busiest airport in the world - it was there that aviators in the gold mining industry first proved that it was commercially feasible to ship cargo (and not just people) by air. In fact, Lae was where Amelia Earhart set off on her last journey.

Air transport is still the most common way to get around between major urban centres - indeed, pretty much every major settlement is built around an airstrip. In fact, the main drag of Mt. Hagen is the old airstrip! Travel from the coast into the Highlands is particularly spectacular (don't take your eyes off the window for a second!) and pilots from Australia, New Zealand, America and other countries work here just for the great flying experience. If you don't like small planes (or even smaller helicopters) however, flying to more remote locations here may not be the best option for you.

The two major domestic airlines are Air Niugini and Airlines PNG:

  • Air Niugini connects Port Moresby and, to a lesser extent, Lae with most of the provincial capitals, but does not offer much of a service between the smaller towns. A domestic route map is available. The airline flies Fokker F100s as well as smaller propeller planes.
  • Airlines PNG connects a large number of smaller centres. Planes with a seating capacity from 20 to 36. It operates on the mainland and does not serve the main outer islands. A route map is available from their website.

By boat

People living in the archipelagos get around locally with the ubiquitous banana boat, a 30-40 ft fibreglass hull with an outboard motor.

Also, two or three shipping lines also sell tickets for passengers who want to leapfrog from one city to another. These ferries run only two or three times per week and offer upper and lower class. Upper gets you a bunk to sleep on while lower gets you a hard seat.

There is a ferry twice a week between Madang and Wewak.

One small ship leaves the city of Lae once a week, stopping at Finschhafen and Umboi Island. Sleeping on the open deck of a ship as it crawls slowly through the South Pacific night is about as romantic as it sounds, but beware - it gets cold on the open ocean no matter where you are, so take some warm clothes or buy a cabin inside.

Talk

With over 800 languages, it was pretty difficult to get everyone talking to each other. Two pidgins grew up in this area; Tok Pisin (based on English) and Hiri Motu (based on the local Motu language), and when the Anglophones married the Hulis and the babies learned the only language they had in common, Tok Pisin became a creole. Tok Pisin sometimes looks like it is English written phonetically ("Yu dring; yu draiv; yu dai" means "You drink; you drive; you die"), but it is not; it has more personal pronouns than English and its own quite different syntax.

Tok Pisin is spoken in most of the country and short, inexpensive guidebooks on learning Tok Pisin can be acquired in the many book stores.

Hiri Motu is spoken in Port Moresby and other parts of Papua, though since Port Moresby is the capital, you're likely to find Tok Pisin speakers in the airport, banks, or government. When approaching locals, try to speak English first; using Tok Pisin or another language can make it look like you are assuming they don't know English.

You might sometimes have trouble hearing what the locals are saying because they speak very quietly. It is considered rude by some of the local groups to look people in the eyes and to speak loudly.

See

South New Guinea

The Kokoda Trail is a 60-mile (97-kilometre) trail, beginning in the Port Moresby area and leading up into the Owen Stanley Range. This trail was first used by gold miners in the 1890s and is most known as a historical World War II site as the Japanese tried to reach Port Moresby along it. It takes about five days to hike this track, which includes plenty of ups and downs between mountain ridges and streams.

The Highlands

The Highland region is made of long string of fertile valleys, each separated by mountains, that mean the Highlands are composed of many distinct tribal regions.

In the Eastern Highlands is Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea's highest mountain (14,880 feet). Climbing Wilhelm is relatively easy; but three or four days are recommended to allow for sightseeing. There are views of both the north and south coasts of New Guinea from the peak. The Wahgi River in this area is considered one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world.

The Northern Coast

  • Madang is good for scuba diving of all levels,and the coral reefs are home to a variety of rare species of colourful fish. There are also underwater wrecks of Japanese fighter planes, with weapons and cargo intact. There are still-active volcanoes for trekkers to hike up not far from Madang.
  • Further west you come to Wewak. It is the gateway to the Sepik River region with a fascinating culture distinct from that of the Highlands. Take long canoe rides up the river and it's tributaries to visit the impressive Haus Tambaran.

The Islands

  • New Britain. This island offers excellent swimming and snorkelling. Trails in the area are perfect for day hikes and treks through the rainforest. There are also hot thermal springs and bubbling mud holes in this region of the island. The Baining people who inhabit the northeastern area of New Britain are famous for creating ephemeral art-forms, perhaps no better demonstrated than by their fire dance. A dramatic and beautifully made mask is constructed from bark for this ceremony and thrown away as worthless immediately afterwards.
  • Bougainville. Well off-the-beaten-path in the far east of the country, with great untapped tourism potential. World-class diving, dramatic treks and World War II Japanese relics are the key attractions.
  • Trobriand Islands. The so-called Islands of Love are well known for their unique culture.

Do

Scuba Diving

Go scuba diving, using one of more than a dozen local scuba diving operators. The national Scuba Diving industry body [1] is a good starting point. Papua New Guinea has some of the very best tropical reef diving anywhere in the word.

Birdwatching

This a birdwatching Mecca with over 700 species of birds including many birds of paradise. Definitely bring a pair of decent binoculars and ask in the villages for a volunteer to help you find the birds. An amazing experience! See also Australasian wildlife.

Surfing

Information through the Surfing Association.

Trekking

Another popular attraction here is trekking through the mountains, coastal lowlands and rolling foothills of the Kokoda and other trails. The Kokoda Track attracts many hundreds of walkers a year.

Festivals

The most popular activities for tourists here are festivals such as the Sing-Sing performances at the annual Goroka and Mt. Hagen shows. During these shows, there are usually more than fifty ensembles that turn up. The festivals are competitive and the winning ensemble is rewarded by being invited to give concerts at many restaurants and hotels during the following year. This beauty and colourfulness of New Guinea’s festivals is both pleasing to watch for tourists and helps the locals financially.

Fishing

Fishing is becoming increasingly popular. Species include Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Yellow Fin, Skipjack and Dogtooth Tuna and the Giant Trevally. Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish), Mackerel and Wahoo. A particularly challenging fish is the black bass, which, pound for pound, is considered to be the toughest fighting fish in the world.

Flightseeing

Flightseeing is a word that should have been coined here. If you can afford it, just flying around some of the remote airstrips is an adventure in itself. There are strips that seem impossibly short, strips that seem to end with a mountain, strips where if you don't take off in time you will plunge into a ravine, and airstrips surrounded on three sides by water. From Port Moresby you don't have to fly far to get the experience. There are flights to villages on the Kokoda trail and others in the Owen Stanley mountain range in Central Province and you can fly a scheduled circuit or "milk run" in one morning, although you will have to be at the airport by 05:00. Check with Airlines PNG for schedules. Fane, Ononge and Tapini strips are particularly scary. Remember your life assurance.

Spectator sports

Rugby Football is popular in Papua New Guinea.

Buy

Money

The kina, denoted by the symbol "K" (ISO code: PGK) is the currency of Papua New Guinea. It is divided into 100 toea.

Polymer banknotes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 kina circulate.

ATMs are common in the main towns (mainly Bank of the South Pacific, ANZ and Westpac - all should accept foreign cards). Some will charge high fees, some might charge fees if you're in a different bank, and some in hotels might charge no fees (but are intended for guests only). Money changers give poor rates (similar rates to money changers in Australia) due to high business costs. Credit cards are commonly accepted in larger shops, hotels and restaurants, although there are occasional reports of fraud. Market sellers will prefer small change.

Shopping

There is not so much shopping in the regular sense. In the major cities there are a few malls and supermarkets. Otherwise, most of the shopping is done in small markets that are held irregularly. A great place to visit is the craft market which is held once per month in Port Moresby opposite Ela beach in the car park of the IEA TAFE College. There it is possible to buy handicrafts from every part of the country. Although it is slightly more expensive than out in the villages, the prices are very reasonable. Haggling is not really an accepted custom, one can haggle a bit but to do it excessively could annoy the locals.

Don't buy bird feathers.

Eat

The food is largely devoid of spices. A typical way of cooking is a Mumu, an underground oven in which meat and vegetables, such as Kaukau (sweet potatoes), are cooked. In just about every meal, there is rice and another form of starch.

In the lodges that tourists stay, in there is usually a blend between this type of food and a more Westernised menu.

Drink

There are brands of local beer. The local brew, SP (short for South Pacific) Lager, is owned by Heineken. Excessive alcohol consumption, primarily of beer, is a major social problem. Beers and wines are often served fairly warm due to a lack of refrigeration in certain areas. Also, while the water quality varies from place to place (and in some cases from day to day), it is generally best to stick to bottled water, even in the upper-market hotels.

Sleep

Papua New Guinea offers a wide choice of accommodation for tourists with very little of it budget.

Hotels are very expensive (at least USD100/night, and often much more). Guesthouses are the best budget option in the towns but even then still expensive (about USD40/night.) The least expensive option is to stay in village guesthouses (about USD15/night), and that is where the fun is anyhow.

Port Moresby has international hotels including the Crown Plaza and Airways International, mid range hotels such as Lamana and guesthouses. The regional areas offer International and budget hotels depending on the size of the town and some provinces have guest houses.

Learn

Work

There is a workforce of close to two million people in a few different industries. There is high demand for skilled people but it is still difficult for women and men that are considered to be "unskilled" to find work. Many people have informal small businesses to make money.

Stay safe

The country has a reputation as a risky destination in some circles (primarily Australian ones), predominantly because of the activities of criminal gangs (known in Tok Pisin as raskols) in major cities, especially in Port Moresby and Lae.

That is generally a result of unemployment stemming from increased domestic migration from subsistence farming in the hills to the nearest urban area.

There is no history of heavy settlement in the Port Moresby and Lae areas. Hence, they are colonial cities comprised of a mix of tribal people which fosters instability. Madang, Wewak, Goroka, Mt. Hagen, and Tari are much safer with longer periods of settlement and a more stable tribal homogeneity.

The villages are quite safe as the locals will "adopt" you as one of their own.

If you must, the most important thing is to stay up to date on the law and order situation in the locations you are planning to visit.

Most hotels in Port Moresby are secure and situated inside compounds, generally with guards patrolling the perimeter. However, actual gunfire in the capital is mercifully rare. If you plan on taking a tour of any city, make inquiries with your hotel or accommodation provider, as many will be able to either walk with you or drive you to wherever you are planning to go, or just around the local area if that is what you want to do.

Avoid going out after dark, but if you must, stay very alert.

Flying in small planes can be very risky. Hardly a year goes by without at least one fatal accident. While the planes are usually well-maintained and the pilots technically proficient the problem is the mountainous terrain. Many smaller airfields are situated in steep valleys. When there is cloud cover planes have difficulty in finding them and sometimes crash into a mountain. The national airline, Air Niugini, which flies internationally and to the major cities of the country has, however, an unblemished safety record in 32 years of operation.

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are common in Papua New Guinea and are capable of growing to immense lengths of 7 m or more (although individuals over 6 m are rare). They occasionally devour humans. They are equally at home in coastal waters as they are in freshwater lakes and rivers. Avoid swimming except at higher elevations and in hotel swimming pools. Papua New Guinea, along with Australia, has the highest and healthiest population of large saltwater crocodiles in the world.

Papua New Guinea is home to many active volcanoes and several of the most popular treks involve getting close or actually climbing one or more of these. Always heed local advice and a regular check of The Smithsonian Institute's Volcanic Activity Report would be wise.

Stay healthy

Tap water in some regions can be unsafe to drink.

Malaria can be a hazard as well, although many villages, particularly those connected to industry, are regularly treated for mosquitoes. Take the appropriate precautions against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria medication can be purchased at the pharmacies and, in addition to warding off malaria, will keep your stomach happy as well.

Respect

As in many Melanesian cultures, greeting people with a friendly handshake is very important. Be aware, however, that it is a sign of respect not to make eye contact. The sight of hotel staff calling you by name, shaking your hand and looking at the floor may seem unusual at first.

Cope

Newspapers

Papua New Guinea has two daily newspapers that include up-to-date exchange rates and other important information:

  • The Post Courier ('the Post')
  • The National

Connect

Papua New Guinea has 2 mobile GSM operators right now:

  • Digicel PNG
  • bmobile-Vodafone

There is 4G LTE coverage in the capital, Port Moresby and Lae and 3G/2G coverage in most populated places.

Go next

  • Indonesia
  • Australia
  • Solomon Islands


Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Bougainville Island

Be extremely cautious if you travel to the central mountainous area around the old Panguna mine on Bougainville Island. The general security situation in Bougainville has improved, however, the old Panguna mine remains a “no go zone.” You may be detained by local officials if you attempt to enter this zone. Your passports may be confiscated by the Papua New Guinea government if you are found without proper authorization. There are no tourist facilities in the area, and transportation facilities are limited. Seek advice from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby prior to travel.

Crime

Law and order remain very poor in the Highlands provinces and in the cities of Lae and Port Moresby. Violent crime is a serious problem, and occurs often in urban areas such as Port MoresbyLae and Mount Hagen. Exercise a high degree of caution, particularly in commercial and public establishments (hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events) and tourist areas.

Carjacking and armed robbery occur in Port Moresby and along the highway between Lae and the Nadzab Airport, especially in the Two-Mile and Nine-Mile settlement areas. There has been a recent increase in violent attacks on vehicles travelling on the Highlands Highway, particularly between Goroka and Kainantu. Remain vigilant while travelling these roads. Robberies are often accompanied by assault. Violence, including the use of firearms or machetes, is a serious risk. Avoid travel after dark if possible.

Travelling alone increases the possibility of being a victim of a crime such as robbery or sexual assault. Tolls may be demanded at illegal roadblocks and assaults can occur if payment is not made. Arrange to be met at the airport, particularly when arriving in the evening.

Women’s safety

Sexual assault, including gang rape, occurs and foreigners have been targeted. Victims of any assault are encouraged to seek immediate medical treatment. Women should not travel alone and should dress conservatively in public. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.

Inter-ethnic violence

Inter-ethnic tensions often lead to communal violence, particularly in the Enga and Highlands provinces and in Lae and Port Moresby. Criminals and tribal fighters are increasingly using lethal weapons.

Trekking

Be vigilant if hiking the Black Cat Track, in the province of Morobe, as an attack on a group of trekkers in September 2013 left two dead and several injured.

If you are intending to walk the Kokoda track, travel with a guide from a reputable tour company and pay the required fee before setting out. Security incidents involving tourists have occurred. Facilities along the track are limited. Register with the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby prior to travel.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Transportation

Traffic drives on the left. Road conditions are poor and driving can be hazardous, especially outside major towns. Avoid leaving personal belongings unattended in vehicles, and drive with windows up and doors locked at all times.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than remaining at the scene. Crowds tend to form quickly after an incident, and accident victims or on-lookers may attack those they perceive to be responsible.

Travel on public buses, known as PMVs (public motor vehicles), is not recommended. The vehicles are poorly maintained and are a common target for criminals. Travel by taxi is preferable; however, determine your fare prior to departure. Hotel transport is a safer alternative.

Flight delays or cancellations occur on a regular basis. Verify your flight schedule before departure. Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Tourist facilities are available in Port MoresbyLae and Madang. Exercise caution when visiting isolated public areas such as parks, hiking trails, golf courses and beaches.

You are encouraged to register with the High Commission of Australia in Port Moresby in order to receive the latest information on situations and events that could affect your safety.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera and hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Cholera

There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.

Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is limited, especially outside Port Moresby. Shortages of basic medical supplies are common. Specialist services are extremely limited, and there are long delays for emergency treatment. In the event of a major accident or illness, medical evacuation to Australia is often necessary. Medical transport is very expensive and payment up front is often required.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and detention page for more information.

Laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.

The possession and sale of pornographic material is strictly prohibited.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Money

The currency is the kina (PGK). Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and restaurants. American Express is most commonly used. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in many areas. Traveller's cheques are accepted by most shops and hotels. U.S. dollar traveller's cheques are recommended.

Climate

Papua New Guinea is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There are several active volcanoes throughout the territory, and eruptions occur regularly. Pay careful attention to all warnings issued, avoid restricted areas and follow the advice of local authorities in the event of an eruption.

Heavy smoke and ash from volcanoes periodically lead to flight disruptions, particularly in the Rabaul region. Verify your travel schedules with local authorities or travel service providers.

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from December to March in the northwest and May to October in the southeast. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, especially on the Highlands Highway between Lae and Mount Hagen, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. Water-borne diseases could also become a threat. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

Site issues? Contact Us