Discover the Best of Papua New Guinea – from Diving Coral Reefs of Kimbe Bay to Exploring Traditional Cultures of the Huli Wigmen – Plan Your Perfect Trip Today
by Stefanie Michaels
I was once told in Papua, that people travel to Africa to view the animals, adventure seekers come to Papua New Guinea to see the people. And, I would say this to be true based off of my experiences in this amazing country.
At every turn, this place will leave you gobsmacked. There is simply nothing I could compare it to, and that’s what makes this place so special to me.
Papua New Guinea has a unique culture, stunning natural landscapes, and unique experiences, making it a must-visit destination for adventurous travelers–from diving into the world-class coral reefs to hiking through the rugged mountains, exploring the traditional cultures, and learning about the country’s WWII history.
Papua New Guinea offers a range of activities and experiences that will leave a lasting impression, whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion,
Here are some of the top things to do and see in Papua New Guinea:
- Explore Port Moresby: The capital city of Papua New Guinea is a bustling hub of culture and history. Check out the National Museum and Art Gallery, Parliament House, and Port Moresby Nature Park.
- Visit the Kokoda Track: This 96-kilometer trail through the Owen Stanley Range is a popular trek for adventure seekers. It follows the route of the famous World War II battle between Australian and Japanese troops.
- Dive the Coral Reefs: Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s most pristine and biodiverse coral reefs. Head to Kimbe Bay or Milne Bay for some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.
- Visit the Highlands: The mountainous region of Papua New Guinea is home to some of the country’s most unique cultures and stunning landscapes. Check out the Huli Wigmen of Tari, the Asaro Mudmen of Goroka, and the spectacular views from the Mount Hagen area.
- Experience Traditional Culture: Papua New Guinea has over 800 distinct cultures and languages. Check out traditional dance performances, visit remote villages, and learn about the country’s fascinating customs and traditions.
- Climb Mount Wilhelm: The highest peak in Papua New Guinea is famous for experienced hikers. It offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Bismarck Range and the Sepik River.
- Explore the Sepik River: This 1,126 km-long river is one of the largest in Papua New Guinea and is home to a diverse array of wildlife and traditional cultures. Take a boat tour or visit a local village to experience life along the river.
- Learn about WWII History: Papua New Guinea was the site of significant battles during World War II. Visit places like Buna, Gona, and Rabaul to learn about the history of the war in the Pacific.
- Attend a Festival: Papua New Guinea is known for its colorful and lively festivals, such as the Goroka Show and the Hagen Show. These events showcase traditional dance, music, and art and are a great way to experience the country’s cultural heritage.
- Relax on the Beaches: Papua New Guinea has some of the world’s most beautiful and unspoiled beaches. Check out places like Madang, Alotau, and Kavieng for sun, sand, and relaxation.
- Visit the Tavurvur Volcano: Located in Rabaul, the Tavurvur Volcano is an active volcano that has erupted several times in recent history. You can take a guided tour to see the volcano up close and witness its powerful activity or admire it from a safe distance. The surrounding area also offers stunning views of the nearby bay and landscape.
TIP: Please check with the US State Department to check with the safety status of the country. We highly suggest booking with a travel company for guided tours versus traveling to this destination alone.
Did you know?
Papua New Guinea is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world? With over 800 languages spoken, it is estimated that more than 1/3 of the world’s languages are found in this small country.
This linguistic diversity reflects the country’s cultural richness and history, as many communities have developed their unique languages and customs over thousands of years.
The country’s constitution recognizes English and Hiri Motu as official languages, along with Tok Pisin, a Creole language that has evolved from English, German, and local languages.
A little history:
Papua New Guinea is an island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Archaeological evidence suggests that the first humans arrived in Papua New Guinea around 50,000 years ago, making it one of the earliest places to be settled by humans outside of Africa.
Over thousands of years, different communities developed their unique languages, customs, and cultures across the country’s diverse landscapes.
In the 16th century, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the region, followed by the Spanish, Dutch, and British. In the late 1800s, Germany established control over the northern part of the country, while Britain established control over the southern part.
During World War I, Australia took control of German New Guinea and continued to administer the region until Papua New Guinea gained independence in 1975.
The country’s history has been shaped by its colonial past, as well as by its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes and it faced challenges in its early years of independence, including political instability, economic struggles, and social conflicts.
The government has made significant progress with education, healthcare, and infrastructure improvements in recent years. As a multicultural and diverse country with a solid national identity, the country’s history, culture, and natural beauty make it a unique and fascinating destination for travelers worldwide.
This story is dedicated to my soul sister, who lost her life diving in another place in the world. Who positivly impacted the lives of so many around the globe. We traveled together in Papua; because of Alison Wright, who showed me another way to breathe on that desolate grass laden airstrip in the middle of the Sepik River region. I know you are adventuring in the heavens. This one is for you.