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North of Australia and east of Indonesia, in the myriad of islands that makes up Oceania, lies Papua New Guinea, one of the last remaining unexplored lands on the planet. Are you in search of adventure? Here is a wild haven of traditional cultures, ideally suited to fascinating explorations by boat and on foot.
Exploring the waterways that branch out from two main rivers and the many islands off the mainland is a must. You will discover amazing wildlife, including many endemic species. Possums and tiny tree kangaroos, beautiful birds of paradise, and butterflies such as the giant Queen Alexander Birdwing. The landscape ranges from high mountains, fiery volcanoes, wetlands, rivers and lush rainforest, to well preserved coral reef, that will tempt the diving enthusiast.
For an eye-opening adventure at the end of the world, why not explore Papua New Guinea?
Some Quick Facts
Interesting events include:
An important game fishing competition in March, at Port Moresby
A newly popular surfing competition in November
A stunning orchid show in October: Papua New Guinea boasts over 3000 known species of this beautiful flower and countless more are yet to be discovered
Things to do
Dive sites range from reefs, drop offs, and coral gardens to seagrass beds and coral atolls, and you will see abundant marine life of many kinds. World War II relics can be explored both underwater and on land. Museums tell more of the fascinating history. Other excitement includes wonderful game fishing (and no need to dress up in woolly clothes for it), surfing and white water rafting.
For the culturally minded, Papua New Guinea's population of approaching 6 million offers a huge variety of cultures and languages to encounter. Indigenous cultures are alive and well, with many people continuing traditional ways of life, unchanged for centuries.
Today thousands of tourists arrive to enjoy diving around the wreckage left behind from the war. There are 160 named islands and 500 cays and atolls scattered over 250,000 square kilometres of ocean. In many parts of Milne Bay, the reefs are characterised by dramatic drop-offs, clefts and overhangs.
Alotau, spectacularly sited on the edge of Milne Bay is a good base for visiting the outlying islands. Fergusson Island has an active thermal region, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and volcanoes. Misima Island was the scene of a 1930's gold rush from which a major mine has now been developed. Woodlark Island is populated by people of Melanesian ancestry. The islanders are renowned for their expertly crafted wood carvings.
One of the best locations to enjoy the charms of the friendly and peace loving Milne Bay people is the Trobriand Islands. Traditions such as the Milamala yam harvest festival are still important here. Fresh water caves are found all over Kiriwina island. Near Matawa Village there are several deep limestone caves housing burial antiquities and skeletal remains. At Wawela there is a beautiful curving beach on a cool, deep lagoon. The village children fishing from their outrigger canoes are happy to give visitors a ride out to the reef to enjoy snorkelling. The Trobriand Islanders will offer for sale their beautifully carved items made from local timbers including the much sought after ebony.
Secretly Superb Diving
Papua New Guinea is becoming known as one of the world's best diving areas for good reason. Papua New Guinea is a remote and unspoiled land of great tropical rivers, crashing waterfalls, high mountains, spectacular volcanoes and thick, misty rainforest. Many of the Melanesian people still live a simple subsistence life with complex tribal traditions. The flora and fauna are amazing, exotic, and varied.
This is a place to dive with atmosphere, adventure, and crystal clear waters. Throughout the region you will find deep or shallow reefs, coral walls, sheer drops, barrier reefs, atolls, passages, lagoons, wrecks, and a unique variety of species.
One distinguishing feature of Papua New Guinea is the closeness of dive sites to the islands. Another appealing feature of diving here is the deep water with reef walls dropping up to 1000 feet or more, that can be found just a few feet from the shore in many areas, including most of the northern coastline, on the southern shores of New Ireland and New Hanover as well in some areas of the Milne Bay. In the more sheltered bays such as Kimbe Bay in West New Britain the coral is vast.
Scattered above and below the waterline around Papua New Guinea are hundreds of wrecks of boats, planes, barges and submarines. Many of them are from W.W.II. and some are still in excellent condition. Rabaul, Kavieng, Loloata (Port Moresby) and Madang are good places to go for wreck diving.
The Eastern Fields, found 170 km south west of Port Moresby, between Papua New Guinea and Australia, are a particularly amazing dive area and a truly unspoilt part of the Coral Sea.
The weather ranges from warm to hot and humid all year round. Different areas have different weather patterns, but May to December is usually the driest period.
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