Papua New Guinea
The country with the complex name Papua New Guinea is an independent state located in Oceania (the territory of the southwestern shores of the Pacific Ocean). The shores of Papua New Guinea, in addition to the Pacific Ocean, are washed by four seas: the Arafras Sea, the Coral Sea, the Solomon Sea and the New Guinean Sea. The broad Torres Strait separates the country from the shores of Australia. By land, Papua New Guinea is bordered only by Indonesia.
Geographically the country is located on the island of New Guinea, on some Solomon Islands and also on the Bismarck Archipelago. The entire territory of Papua New Guinea is just under 500 thousand square kilometers, and the country’s population is not more than 6 million people.
The word “Papua” in Malay means “curly,” probably referring to the country’s name because of the hairstyles of the locals. “New Guinea” the island was named by analogy with African Guinea, with which it does bear some resemblance, especially at first glance.
The official languages of Papua New Guinea are English, as well as such “exotics” as Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu. Tok Pisin is considered the most widely spoken language, and English is fluent in no more than 1% of the country’s population. It is interesting that for the relatively small population of Papua New Guinea there are as many as 800 different local languages and dialects. In some cases even the inhabitants of the neighboring villages cannot understand each other, because they belong to different tribes and speak completely different languages.
Papua New Guinea’s national currency, the kina, consists of 100 toe. The bills themselves are colorful and decorated with interesting images in ethnic style, and therefore can successfully serve as original souvenirs.
Papua New Guinea has a tropical climate, which means it is hot and humid. The average temperature is about the same throughout the year and is about 25 ° C with small fluctuations. Lower temperatures – up to 10°C – can be seen in high altitude areas, over 3,000 meters above sea level. The seasons differ from one another primarily by the amount of precipitation – very scarce during the dry season and abundant during the rainy season. Depending on the climatic conditions of a particular area, the rainy season can fall in different months. When planning a trip to Papua New Guinea, you should separately specify the climatic features of the places you are planning to visit.
The national cuisine of Papua New Guinea is a rather mixed combination of culinary traditions of the various peoples of Oceania and Southeast Asia. As a rule, most dishes are based on various root crops and meats such as pork and various poultry (including game).
One of the most common dishes among the local population is mumu, which is an oven-cooked stew of pork, sweet potatoes, rice, and a few local herbs. The first course is usually “bougandi,” a simple soup topped with an egg. In coastal regions, meat dishes are usually replaced by various kinds of fish, which are caught in abundance in the seas surrounding the shores of Papua New Guinea. As a garnish to meat or fish in most cases is rice or sorghum, also popular are yams and peculiar-tasting cereal colocasia.
Various vegetable salads and root vegetables, which can be eaten raw, are popular as appetizers before the main course. Bread is often replaced by specially roasted breadfruit.
Fruit for dessert ranges from bananas and mangoes to passion fruit and pineapple. Also popular is the dessert “dia – sliced bananas, sago, and coconut cream. Sago is also used to make sweet cakes with various fillings. Dishes made from sweet sugar cane stalks are especially popular in coastal areas.
You can quench your thirst in Papua New Guinea with the local lemonade (mooli-wara), good local coffee, or an incredible variety of fresh fruit juices, including those made from a mixture of different fruits.
European cuisine is prevalent mainly in the capital, Port Moresby, and in the areas of the main tourist routes.
Papua New Guinea’s Volcanoes
Much of Papua New Guinea is represented by mountainous terrains and volcanic chains. There are a total of 18 active volcanoes and even more inactive or dormant. Volcanic activity often leads to devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. This volcanic activity in Papua New Guinea can be explained by the fact that the country lies at the junction of two lithospheric plates, which shift very slowly, causing shocks to the earth’s crust.
One of the most active volcanic mountain ranges is located on the island of New Britain, part of the Bismarck Archipelago. The island’s three active volcanoes, Langila, Bamus, and Ulawun, are considered the most famous. The volcanoes are of great interest to climbers and speleologists alike, as their slopes are rich in caves of all sizes, hidden grottoes and unique vegetation.
The deepest underground system of the world, Muruk Cave, has not yet been fully explored – its underground “corridors” are so ramified and extensive.
Another active volcano on the island, Tavurvur, in 1994, almost completely destroyed Rabaul City, the official capital of New Guinea. Since then, the city has never been rebuilt and is a dilapidated neighborhood filled with volcanic ash. Driving through the streets of the city is an unforgettable experience and reminds one of images from famous disaster movies.
Port Moresby is the name of the capital of Papua New Guinea. It is a city that sits in a natural harbor and has earned the right to be called the nation’s “gateway. In 1873, Port Moresby was founded as a small colonial settlement, but within a few years, with its many Christian missions and good location, it became an important commercial and administrative center.
Architecturally, Port Moresby is an eclectic mix of old colonial buildings, modern office and shopping centers, and a variety of poor-looking housing on the outskirts.
During World War II (again because of its location in the harbor) Port Moresby was one of the main transit bases of the Allied forces, and as a result of the fierce fighting there are not many really old buildings in the city. We recommend paying attention to the colorful Parliament building located in the northern part of Port Moresby. The town’s oldest building is the United Church of Ela, which was built back in 1890 and miraculously survived the war. Everyone interested in the history and culture of Papua – New Guinea, should visit the National Museum and art lovers – the Art Gallery with a rich exhibition of works by local artists.
Other places of interest are the Paga Hill (almost 100 meters high), which offers a wonderful view of Port Moresby and its surroundings.
The National Botanical Park, located in Port Moresby, is a haven for numerous flocks of birds and an island of unique tropical nature. The park’s incredible collection of orchids attracts not only many tourists but also locals. In order to avoid damaging the plants as they are being viewed, the park has special suspended “pathways” for visitors.
The capital of Western Highlands County, the town of Mount Hagen is an incredibly colorful, vibrant, and bustling city. Numerous businessmen are attracted to Mount Hagen by the coffee and tea plantation business, and tourists by festivals and other cultural events. At almost any time of the year, on any day, there is something interesting going on in Mount Hagen, from bride-purchase ceremonies to celebrations dedicated to the deities of the various local tribes.
The best time to visit Mount Hagen is in August, during the town’s annual colorful Festival. During the Festival you can see a unique spectacle – representatives of hundreds of different tribes in their national dress, amazing headdresses (often reaching half the height of an adult) and with unusual musical instruments.
If you can’t make it to Mount Hagen in August, you can see most of the surrounding tribes at Saturday’s market, the highlight of any week. The number of interesting goods and souvenirs that can be purchased at the market for a reasonable price strikes the imagination of the most inveterate “shopaholic”.
Not far from Mount Hagen is another interesting attraction – the Bayer Reserve, located on the banks of the rivers Vaga and Ter. Bright birds of paradise and important opossums, tree kangaroos and noisy parrots can all be seen on a walk through the reserve, as well as many other animals and birds.
National Parks and Wildlife Refuges
Papua New Guinea’s diverse flora (over 20,000 plant species) and fauna are considered one of the country’s important national treasures and are protected in the national parks (there are four in total) and reserves (over twenty).
A unique area of mangrove vegetation along the shores of New Guinea is an area of wetlands overgrown with a variety of rare species of herbaceous plants and shrubs. Sugarcane thickets and cedar palm groves are also common in these areas.
The gardens and plantations in Papua New Guinea are rare islands among the wild vegetation of the tropics. The country grows mostly root crops such as yams, yams and cassava, as well as some lesser-known varieties of tuber crops.
From an altitude of 1,500 meters onward, the forests of Papua New Guinea become dominated by conifers, including the araucaria, known for their valuable timber.
The most famous mammals to be found in the country’s national parks are marsupials such as bandicoots and wallabies. In the reserves located in the coastal areas, the main object of interest are turtles of various kinds and sizes, as well as crocodiles.
Not far from the capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, is one of the most visited national parks, Warirata Park. The park’s hiking trails are very colorful, safe, and quite suitable for exploring the extraordinary flora and fauna of the rainforest on your own.
Mount Hahavisuca National Park is famous for its mountain orchids and unique wild rhododendrons, as well as its hiking and climbing trails.
Thrill seekers may recommend a trip to the headwaters of the Fly River in the Western District of New Guinea Island. This is where the largest “gold” mine Ok-Tedi is located. The most interesting thing is that in the sand of the Fly River is also enough gold inclusions and amateur “gold” fishing can sometimes be not only exciting but even profitable.
One of the most interesting centers of recreation (primarily diving and snorkeling, as well as windsurfing, canoeing and yachting) is an island with a very “English” name Duke of York.
Papua New Guinea hosts the annual National Surfing Championships (mid-February) and the National Fishing Championships (April).
Papua New Guinea is a coastal state in Oceania
Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea in the western Pacific and a number of islands lying to the north and east of it. It is bordered by Indonesia (land border) and the Solomon Islands (through the Strait of Bougainville). The center of the area is a mountain range, which descends to the coastal lowlands with a number of swamps. The climate here is humid warm equatorial, most of the territory is occupied by tropical rainforests. The climate is typically monsoon, hot and humid all year round. There is a dry season (May-October) and the rainy season (December-March). Rainfall varies from place to place, with most rain falling in western New Britain.
Papua New Guinea is a coastal state in Oceania
Papua is home to about 9,000 plant species, about 250 species of mammals (many different species of bats and rats), including tree kangaroos and ants, and about 700 species of birds (many of which are endemic here). There are only four national parks in PNG, with others in the making. Diving in PNG has been compared to diving in the Caribbean Sea or the Red Sea. The most famous places are Kavieng, Kimbe, Lae, Lorengau, Milne Bay, Port Moresby and the tiny island of Vuvulu. When it comes to swimming, there are many very nice beaches.
Oddly, because of the beautiful and challenging terrain, forest hiking in Papua has not become as popular and widespread as mountain hiking in Nepal. The most famous forest trail, the famous Kokoda Trail. However, there are hundreds of other beautiful (and challenging) trails throughout the country. Among the most interesting, the trail from Lake Kopjago to Oxapmina, followed by the route to Mount William and the town of Alotau.
Papua New Guinea is a coastal state in Oceania
Papua New Guinea, an exotic country whose inhabitants outside the major cities continue to lead a ritualistic traditional way of life. With the use of traditional clothing, it evokes a very specific mysterious cult-like atmosphere for visitors from Europe. Although the residents are not aggressive, it is definitely recommended to travel outside the city with a local guide. The population speaks about 750 languages, a third of all the languages of the world. This linguistic chaos required a means of communication, the pidgin, a language based on English and German. The second most widely spoken language is Motu, which is spoken in the coastal areas and in the capital Port Moresby.
Papua New Guinea is a coastal state in Oceania
Bougainville Island and the Southerne Highlands province, two unstable areas in terms of security. The town of Rabaul is near active volcanoes. Crime, quite a serious problem. There are kidnappings, violent assaults and many other crimes in Port Moresby. Travel to remote areas is not recommended.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital and port, lies on the southeast coast near the Gulf of Papua. Tourist attractions include the parliament building, the National Museum and the Art Gallery. The gallery features interesting examples of national geography, history, culture, flora and fauna. Interesting for tourists and Gordons Market, which is one of the busiest areas of the city. For those who prefer rest and relaxation, east of the city there is a beach Idler’s. There are also some great beaches on Dango Island and the Sinassi Wild Rocks are nearby.
Also worth visiting are the Varirata National Park and the magnificent Fleece Falls, northeast of Port Moresby. Varirata, the first national park in the archipelago. It offers countless natural attractions and well-marked hiking trails. To the north of the capital is the Brown River, whose banks are ideal for swimming, recreation and whitewater rafting.
The 90-kilometer Kokoda Trail , Papua New Guinea’s most popular hiking trail. It is a rugged forest trail crossing the sharp and very steep ridges (and wet and muddy gorges) of the Owen-Stanley Mountains. There are real adventures to be had, stuffy and hot weather, the usual tropical snails, pesky insects, and very difficult terrain with a deep ford. The trail was originally (late 19th century) used by gold prospectors on their way from Port Moresby to the gold fields around Kokoda.
When visiting New Guinea it is worth stopping at Hanza Bay. It is a bay about 200 km north of Madang. During the war it was a Japanese military base . Forty ships and countless planes were left sunk in its shallow waters. So it is a very interesting place for military archaeologists and divers exploring shipwrecks.