Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the world’s second largest island, and shares a common land border with the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya to the west. Its nearest neighbor is Australia to the south and Solomon Islands to the east. In 1526, Portuguese sailor Jorge de Meneses, the first European to visit the island named it Papua, meaning the land of the fuzzy wuzzy. Then in 1546, Spanish explorer Ortiz de Retez named the island New Guinea. In 1884, Britain annexed the south and south-eastern part of New Guinea while Germany annexed the northern part of New Guinea. In 1906, control over British New Guinea was transferred to the newly established Commonwealth of Australia and renamed the Territory of Papua. Then on 16th September 1975, PNG gained independence from Australia and joined the Commonwealth.
The country has over 850 different languages which is believed to be more than any country in the world. About 80% of its population live in the rural areas, well away from modern facilities found in towns and cities. The country’s population is around 7.3 million with 5,150 km of coastline, about 600 islands, and an area of 462,840 km². Its main languages are English, Pidgin and Motu. Its time zone is the GMT and currency the Kina. PNG’s capital city is Port Moresby and its main towns are Alotau, Arawa, Daru, Goroka, Kavieng, Kerema, Kimbe, Kokopo, Kundiawa, Madang, Mendi, Mt Hagen, Popondetta, Rabaul, Vanimo, and Wewak. It has over 22 provinces including the National Capital District (wider Port Moresby) and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Air transport is the main mode of travel within the country as the construction of roads are hampered by rugged mountainous terrain that runs through the heart of PNG. Sea transport is also important for the movement of passengers and freight for towns and villages along its coastline and river systems. Its main international airport is Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby which has international flights connecting most countries in South East Asia and the Oceania region plus domestic flights to all its major towns.
PNG has a monsoonal tropical climate which is hot, humid, and wet on the coast, and cooler in the highlands. Its high mountains also receive frost and snow. Its vegetation is rich and consists of the lowlands, the highlands, mountain forest, swamp forest, and mangrove forest. It has the world’s greatest variety of orchids, and over 700 bird species which includes 38 species of the colourful Bird of Paradise. Unique species of insects can also be found on the island like the Queen Alexandria Butterfly, the largest butterfly in the world, found only in the Oro Province. Its home to a variety of exotic reptiles like the Papuan Taipan, New Guinea Death Adder, Papuan Black Snake, Carpet Python, Green Tree Python, and Papuan Python, and marsupials like the Tree Kangaroo, Bandicoots, Wallabies, Cuscus and Spiky Anteaters. PNG is an intriguing and adventurous destination, rich in cultural and military history.
Papua New Guinea is home to the world-famous Kokoda Trail, the site of the WW2 battles of the Kokoda Campaign, and other great destinations. Click here for a range of tours to these destinations namely Kokoda, Buna, Sanananda, Gona, Tufi, Milne Bay, and Rabaul. You can contact us if you have any questions regarding the country.