The Sepik is revered for its art.
Papua New Guinea is a wild, raw, captivating frontier of a country – more like Africa than any of its close neighbours. The Papuan people are proud and welcoming and their traditions and sometimes bizarre customs will enthral.
From the still prevalent Highland culture of ‘an eye for an eye’ to the fact that pigs remain the ‘glue’ which binds PNG society, as the number of pigs a man owns reflects his material wealth and social standing. It is not a cheap destination, however, if you have a penchant for adventure and the path less travelled, it really doesn’t get much better than PNG. Its tagline ‘land of the unexpected’ is very apt.
This tropical land of extraordinary topographical variety encompasses the Highlands, with peaks over 14,000 feet, the lowlands of the Sepik River and an extensive coastline dotted with stunning outlying islands. The most linguistically diverse country on earth, Papua New Guinea has 850 languages and wonderfully rich flora and fauna. Home to numerous species of birds of paradise and marsupials including tree kangaroos and wallabies that took to the trees of PNG’s rainforests some five million years ago.
In such a topographically torturous country even now the road infrastructure remains modest and the best way to get around is by air. However, delays are inevitable and published departure times no more than a ballpark guide, so always travel in PNG with a good book and a sense of humour.
Our Papua New Guinea experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.
A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Papua New Guinea.
Meet Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the Highlands.
Track resplendent birds of paradise in the Highlands.
Held every year in July, take part in this four day celebration of the rich island heritage when tribes from across the country gather to summon their ancestors through displays of dance and elaborate costumes.
Explore the spirit houses and backwaters of the mythical Sepik River by dugout canoe – the traditional mode of transport for this part of the world.
Witness and learn about the famous crocodile initiation ceremony, an ancient coming of age ritual when young men are cut, leaving scars resembling the scales of a crocodile.
Experience world-class diving in waters that are part of the Coral Triangle, an area named for its vast number of coral species.
Discover the traditions and customs of the Melpa people, a Highlands tribe who were among the first horticulturists in the world and for whom pigs are a sign of wealth.
Access secluded and remote parts of the country on the luxurious True North boat.
Snorkel or dive in some of the clearest and coral-rich waters in the world.
Watch a Baining Fire Dance on East New Britain, a spectacular dance performed by the locals on special occasions including bereavements, birth and coming of age ceremonies.
Journey between remote lodges by air and understand what early explorers must have felt like to gaze down on uninterrupted jungle.
Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.
Tufi Dive Resort is perched on the slopes of Mount Trafalgar, overlooking the stunning fjords and mountains of Tufi and Cape Nelson. Stay in one of the 28 traditionally decorated bungalows, most with a verandah overlooking the Coral Sea or Tufi fjord. Alternatively, stay with a local family, eating with the villagers, exploring with local fisherman, experiencing a traditional way of life. Additional facilities at the resort include a small swimming pool and restaurant.
Perched 300 metres above the Karawari River amidst dense lowland rainforest, this remote lodge occupies a privileged location in an isolated part of the world. Inaccessible by road, this rustic, thatched property was inspired by indigenous architecture. Ten simple but comfortable thatched cottages have ceiling fans and a shared veranda. Communal areas can be found in the spirit house inspired main lodge. All around, the treetops abound with birdlife, including colourful parrots and energetic sunbirds.
Situated 7,000 feet above sea level overlooking the Tari Valley below, Ambua Lodge is an award-winning eco-friendly lodge. Of the 46 rooms, 30 are thatched roundhouses, set amongst gardens with panoramic views. The remainder is located in the main building with a more modern feel.
Rondon Ridge is located at an altitude of 2,100 metres, overlooking vast areas of the Western Highlands. Set amidst native gardens and tropical montane rainforest the lodge offers 24 comfortable rooms with warmed king beds for the cooler highland temperatures and panoramic views of the surrounding scenery.
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