Papua New Guinea
- Port Moresby
- 7.3 million
- There are four official ones – Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinean Sign Language and English – but there are 848 languages listed as spoken throughout the country
- Papua New Guinean kina
Exploring one of Australia’s closest neighbours isn’t quite as simple as you might think. Careful planning is essential for visitors to PNG, but even then the lack of infrastructure can throw up obstacles. The committed will be richly rewarded though. This a place where authentic experiences still abound, and indigenous tribes – from the Huli and its wigmen to the mudmen of Asaro – still live in much the same way as they have for thousands of years.
Most people will enter the country through Port Moresby, an intimidating place for many, but also the last place in the country you’ll find anything that could possibly be described as a luxury item or experience. Check out the new Parliament Haus and the Botanical Gardens if you find yourself with a few hours free.
More than likely, you’ve come to PNG to either walk in the footsteps of soldiers on the famous Kokoda Track or head to the island provinces for unbeatable scuba diving, surfing or to climb the volcano near Rabaul. But there are other areas to be explored. Not much has changed in the Highlands, with its rugged mountain ranges, fertile valley, rare and beautiful birds of paradise and more than 700 different cultural groups who live here, but mining may prove a threat to both the landscape and traditional ways.
Many of the provinces also hold festivals throughout the year, and ones like the Kenu and Kundu Festival in Alotau and the Hagen Show in Western Highlands are excellent opportunities for travellers to meet PNG’s people and celebrate their unique cultures.