Papua New Guinea Flag Papua New Guinea makes up the eastern half of the island of New Guinea--the second largest island in the world. It was divided between Germany (north) and the U.K. (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the north during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. Papua New Guinea has vast natural resources, but exploitation of them is difficult due to rugged terrain and the high cost of developing an infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for most of the population, while mineral deposits, such as oil, copper, and gold, account for a large part of export earnings.
Wildlife diversity, varied landscape, primeval indigenous communtities, and pimordial forests and mountains excite adventure travelers around the globe. However, years of bad press--some exaggerated, some not--relating to ethnic and racial conflict, as well as extreme poverty and violent crime, are cause for concern among tourists. Take the necessary precautions before going to Papua New Guinea, but enjoy it for all that it has to offer.
Traveling in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is a country so raw and untamed it attracts adventrous travelers the world over. But Papua New Guinea also suffers from major unemployment, terrible crime, and exploitation. Because of this the tourism industry is quite new and has limited infrustruture for dealing with visitors. This can make Papua New Guinea a dangerous place to travel, and for all of its beauty, there is also real danger in traveling there. If you are planning a trip to Papua New Guinea it's wise to follow a few guidelines. First, it's best not to travel at night; this goes especially for wandering around after dark. You should also dress conservatively so not to draw attention to yourself. It's smart to listen to local advice and make friends with the locals around the area you are visiting, but the best advice is to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
Flying to Papua New Guinea is the easiest way to get there. Most flights leave from Australia, but you can also catch flights from other places such as Singapore, Manila, and Guam. Most flights go to Port Moresby, but there is also an airport in Alotau.
The best way to travel around the country is by flying. The main carrier--Air Niugini--has flights to small airstrips scattered around the country. There are roads around the country, but because of the terrain they are limited. There are public transportation systems (PMVs) which travel around a pre-established route; they are cheap and will drop you off anywhere along the route. Renting a car is not a good option because local tribes can take serious, and sometimes deadly, actions against drivers who get into accidents. You can also travel by boat, but this can be uncomfortable and unreliable.
Weather in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has a hot, humid, and wet climate year round. The "defined" seasons are as follows, December to March is the wet season and May to October is the dry season. But annaul rainful in different areas ranges from 39 inches to an amazing 20 feet. The temperatures on the coast range between 77° and 86°, but in the highlands the temperatures can be very chilly.
Papua New Guinea Information
Population: 4.5 million
Square Miles: 180,508 sq mi (462,840 sq km)
Capitol: N'Djamena (pop 700,000)
Official Language: 750 indigenous languages plus Pidgin and Motu
People: 95% Melanesian, 5% Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese
Religion: 44% Protestant, 22% Catholic and 34% pantheistic beliefs
Major products/industries: Coffee, copper, gold, silver, copra crushing, palm oil processing, logging