An Introduction to Papua New Guinea

 

Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. This fascinating land boasts more than 600 islands and more than 800 indigenous languages and is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon.

Papua New Guinea consists of 4 regions made up of 19 provinces and the National Capital District, each with their own special character and cultures. Vast tracts of the country are wild and undeveloped, with magnificent scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains, dense tropical rainforest and large rivers.

The mainland is divided by the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering over 4000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways.

Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave systems offer wonderful adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and climbers, and there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and delta system.

Papua New Guinea also enjoys some of the world's best diving around its warm coastal waters, with striking coral reefs around the mainland coast and the islands of the Bismarck Sea and the Milne Bay area.

The wonders of Papua New Guinea never cease to impress even the most seasoned traveler. Offering, a multitude of adventures, surprises, and fascinating people, there is no better place to explore and experience a culture where little has changed over the years.

 

What to Expect in Papua New Guinea:

BANKS:
Normal banking hours are 8:45 am to 3:00 pm Monday to Thursday and from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm Friday. Major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted in leading hotels, restaurants and shops. Visa or Mastercard can also be used to withdraw local currency from ATMs which are located at the airport, major hotels and shopping centers in Port Moresby and all major towns. Some of the larger supermarkets also accept credit cards for purchase of groceries.

CURRENCY:
The unit of currency is the PNG Kina. USD $1 is roughly equivalent to 3.22 Kina using the February 2018 average.

CLIMATE:
Warm to hot - humid throughout the year. There is a rainy season, which varies from province to province; however, in general, it's driest from May to December. The air is clean; so visitors should watch out for sunburn, particularly in the highlands, even on overcast days.

DEPARTURE TAX:
An international departure tax of approximately 144 Kina is applied and often included the ticket price. Please check with your airline or ticketing agent for details. If not included in the price of the ticket, it is normally payable upon check-in for your flight home.

DRINKING WATER:
The water quality in Port Moresby and other major towns is variable and although the residents drink the water all the time it would be advisable for visitors to drink bottled or boiled water in the towns. Water supplies in village areas are usually drawn from underground springs and are generally clean and safe as long as they are not polluted by storm-water.

DRIVER’S LICENSE:
If intending to drive a car while you are in PNG you should bring your driver's license from your home country. You do not need to have an international driving permit. You can drive with a foreign license in PNG for up to three months.

ELECTRICITY:
Power supply is usually 240 volts. The type of plug that electrical appliance use in PNG, is TYPE I (flat prongs, inverted "V" positioned, with earth connector). Some hotels provide 110-volt outlets in guest rooms for shavers and hair dryers. However, it is advisable to check electricity supplies before using any appliances.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:
A Tourist Visa is available on arrival in Port Moresby at no fee, but you can also apply for one before traveling. You will need a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining, sufficient funds for your stay in the country and airline ticket with confirmed outbound flights before expiry date of your Visa. As some restrictions apply to several Asian, Eastern European and African countries, please check with the nearest Papua New Guinea Mission or the nearest Australian mission, which is allocated in each country for visa requirements before traveling to the country.

TOURISM SEASON:
Diving is possible all year round, the optimal season generally being from mid-April to mid-June and mid-September to mid-December.

VACCINATIONS:
Recommended vaccines are largely dependent upon your destination within PNG and the length of stay. We therefore suggest that you speak to your family physician or specialized travel clinic for a personal recommendation. As most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they are given, allow sufficient time for consultation before departure. Malaria tablets are recommended – again consult your doctor or travel clinic.

WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS:
Water temperature ranges from 77°F along the edge of the Coral Sea and up to 86°F in the Bismarck Sea, with visibility from 50 to 150 feet. Most divers are comfortable in a skin – 3 mm suit.

 

 

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