The best of Papua New Guinea
The coast of Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world's most spectacular diving - dubbed as the 'underwater photographer's paradise', with many international award-winning photos being taken in PNG waters.
Experts say that the oceans surrounding Papua New Guinea have up to twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean.
Divers in PNG enjoy a huge diversity of dive sites, including barrier reefs, coral walls (drop off), and coral gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls, and wreck dive sites. The wreck diving sites of PNG provide a collection of ships, aircraft and submarine wrecks from World War 2.
The average water temperature varies from 25 degrees Celsius along the edge of the Coral Sea to 29 degrees Celsius in the Bismarck Sea. You can dive in Papua New Guinea all year round, with the high season generally from May to November.
As a surfing destination, Papua New Guinea is relatively new to surf enthusiasts, but the breaks are quickly becoming known for providing a great challenge that will keep surfers entertained for days!
Located just south of the equator and 100 miles to the north of Australia. PNG enjoys warm waters and consistent waves, complemented by the rich and diverse traditional culture time of its people in the premier surf destinations of Vanimo, Wewak, Madang and New Ireland provinces.
PNG has unlimited surfing potential from October to April during monsoon seasons and thousands of miles of coastline just waiting to be explored- not to mention breath taking scenery and pristine atolls.
There are currently 10 Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea affiliated Surf Clubs in Papua New Guinea – Kavieng, Vanimo, Sunset, Waromo, Yako, Tupira, Sero, Central New Ireland, Dolf and Taurama.
The water surrounding the coastline of mainland Papua New Guinea and the close to 600 different islands of PNG provide a unique and scenic kayaking experience. There is no better way to explore the different islands of Papua New Guinea than through the various kayaking journeys that take you to the more remote and uninhabited islands.
A number of Papua New Guinea tour operators provide kayaking along the coastlines of the New Ireland province, Madang Provinces, East New Britain Provinces and the fjords of Tufi. Along the secluded coastlines you often encounter sea turtles, schools of playful dolphins, mackerel jumping 20 to 30 feet in the air - all in their natural environment.
Kayaking in Tufi is tranquil through the fjords more than 100 meters deep. Some of the cliff faces are over several hundred feet high. Magnificent rainforest canopies cover the surrounding mountains and even along the shores are several local huts tucked away in an idyllic setting.
Papua New Guinea is a bird watchers paradise! There are many locations throughout PNG where you can see beautiful species of birds, including the different species of the famous Birds of Paradise -- found only in PNG.
The variety of locations available in Papua New Guinea provides endless opportunity for birdwatchers. Because of specific habitats and climates favoured by endemic species, and the lack of predatory animals that would otherwise threaten numbers, PNG is home to a thriving bird population
Bird watching is available throughout the country from coastal and island locations right up to the rugged peaks of the highlands.
A major PNG attraction, the country’s many cultural shows have announced dates for 2016. Book early not to be disappointed – accommodation is snapped up fast, and so are organised packages to attend these colourful events.
The Goroka Show is a probably the best known tribal gathering and cultural event in PNG – it has been described as 'most colourful show on Earth'. It is held in the town of Goroka (located in the Eastern Highlands Province), and more than a hundred tribes will turn up to share their music, ritual dances and culture. The Goroka Show this year runs from September 16 to 18. It offers a rare opportunity for travellers to experience the customs of the many tribes that populate the Papua New Guinea Highlands and neighbouring regions.
The annual Hagen Show is set for August 20 to 21. Held in the Western Highlands township of Mt. Hagen, the Show is always a rousing event. The Hagen Show was first staged in 1961, before PNG's independence, as an event to unify tribes – and it certainly succeeds. Local entertainers from the modern music scene also perform during the show, and a wide array of arts and crafts will be on display.
Another ‘must’ is the annual Crocodile Festival (August 5 to 7).This special festival celebrates the significance of the revered crocodile – to be found throughout Sepik River culture. The Sepik River Crocodile Festival is staged annually in Ambunti in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. The Sepik River is one of the largest rivers in the Asia-Pacific region and is home to some of the world’s largest freshwater and saltwater crocodile populations.
Another important annual show is the Madang Festival on June 11 and 12, an exciting celebration held in one of PNG’s most visited provinces, and showcasing its many unique resident cultural groups. Madang also offers diving, snorkeling, surfing, nature and war-history tours.
The Kenu & Kundu Festival is set to take place towards the end of the year, from 4 to 6 November, in Alotau, in Milne Bay Province, Alotau canoes and 'kundus' feature prominently in this exciting festival. The stunning traditional canoes and kundu drums are a significant part of the lives of the people of Milne Bay The 'war canoes' are especially crafted from special woods in the same way as those made by local ancestors . Traditional dancing groups will be represented from all over the Milne Bay province,- ensuring a rich variety of performances.