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PNG for Adventurers

October 6, 2020 Destination Feature, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Papua New Guinea, despite being Australia’s closest neighbour, is probably the country most Aussies know least about. It’s a mysterious, untouched and mostly unexplored country; it really is an adventure-lovers dream! The level of authentic cultural experiences you can have in Papua New Guinea is probably unmatched anywhere else in the world. And because the country isn’t on the beaten path of mass tourism, the natural environment remains pristine and absolutely stunning. The country has so much untapped potential to become more of an adventure and culture bucket-list destination for true-travellers.

Papua New Guinea means different things to different people. For some, it’s the Earth’s final frontier, where visitors can have authentic interactions with tribespeople who’s cultural traditions remain intact. For others, it’s the ultimate adventure destination, home to the highest mountain in Oceania (Mount Wilhelm, which is also one of the world’s Seven Summits) and an array of world-renowned treks. The country is also known as one of the world’s top diving, surfing and fishing destinations, mostly due to its pristine waters. And then of course there is the role the country played in helping to defend Australia during WWII, and the ritual of Aussies retracing the steps of the wartime diggers by trekking Kokoda and paying their respects at other sites of historical significance.

  1. EXPLORE THE MIGHTY SEPIK

The Sepik is one of the most intriguing adventure destinations on Earth, and the longest river in Papua New Guinea, at 1,126km in length. The Sepik is extremely remote and can only be accessed by boat; be it traditional canoe or luxury vessel. The banks of the Sepik are also home to one of the world’s most infamous cultural ceremonies, the crocodile initiation ceremony and the Ambunti Crocodile Festival.

Sepik Adventures specialises in the Sepik, with owner Alois Mateos hailing from the region. Also check out Crooked Compass, PNG Holidays and True North that all offer guided tours to the Sepik.

  1. CLIMB ONE OF THE SEVEN SUMMITS

At 4,509m, Mount Wilhelm is not only the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea, but is also the highest point in all of Oceania. Despite its height, Mount Wilhelm is actually the country’s most accessible mountain to climb. Usually a 3-4 day hike (accessible from Mount Hagen) including overnight stays at camps / villages along the way, the expedition will find you crossing rivers, climbing through moss forests, alpine grasslands and glacial valleys. Generally trekkers summit before sunrise to truly enjoy the view out to the north coast and surrounding valleys, and if you’re lucky enough you might even get to spot a beautiful bird of paradise too.

Buna Treks & Tours, Escape Trekking Adventures, No Roads Expeditions, PNG Highland Adventures and PNG Trekking Adventures all offer guided treks, incorporating stays at Betty’s Lodge.

  1. GO ON A SURFING PILGRIMAGE

Forget Bali with its overcrowded beaches; thanks to Papua New Guinea’s world-renowned Surf Management Plan, the number of surfers on any one break is capped, so you’ll never be stuck waiting to catch the perfect wave – plus locals are still able to surf their own breaks. Surfing is idolised in Papua New Guinea, as are visiting pro surfers. You’ll be just as likely to see locals surfing on hand-carved planks of timber, as you will Taylor Jensen (who won the 2017 Men’s Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships). Or even no one at all! And when you’re done surfing, there’s plenty of islands, waterfalls, caves and volcanoes to explore. The north coast of Papua New Guinea is our pick for keen surfers (it’s also a fishing and diving / snorkelling paradise too). Stretching for over 500km, the northern coastline of Papua New Guinea’s mainland is as chilled-out as it comes. Here you’ll find sleepy port towns and seaside villages (like Vanimo, Wewak and Madang) that offer the perfect respite for those who’ve just adventured to the nearby highlands or Sepik River. Spend the day paddling across aqua-clear waters to nearby deserted islands, explore local caves and waterfalls, or tuck into some fresh locally-caught seafood.

Check out Tupira Surf Club and Vanimo Surf Lodge, or go on a scheduled guided tour with World Surfaris or No Limit Adventures. Other notable mentions for keen surfers include Nusa Island Retreat and Rubio Retreat, both in New Ireland province.

  1. DISCOVER PNG’S COLOURFUL COASTAL CULTURE

Divers and snorkellers have been coming to Milne Bay and the Tufi Fjords (yes Papua New Guinea has its own fjords!) for decades, but culture-seekers have only recently cottoned on to this unique part of the world. Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay region, and plays host to the annual Kenu and Kundu Festival each November – a lively and colourful cultural display of war canoe racing and ‘singsings’ (traditional dances). Year-round you can discover harrowing skull caves, and can also learn to cook (and enjoy) a Mumu feast (a traditional meal of local produce cooked in the earth). Up the coast in Oro Province are the Tufi Fjords, home to the world’s largest butterfly (the Queen Alexandra Bird Wing; with wingspans of up to 28cm). Visitor participation in traditional daily life is welcomed by the local villagers, who will happily show travellers how to build traditional homes and canoes from sago palms, and how to hunt and gather for food.

Check out Alotau International Resort, Driftwood Resort, Tawali Leisure & Dive Resort and Tufi Resort for accommodation and tours.

  1. ESCAPE FROM IT ALL ON A REMOTE PRIVATE ISLAND

The Conflict Islands are made up of 21 privately owned, pristine and completely uninhabited islands covering a total landmass of 375 hectares (or 3.75km square). At the Conflict Islands Resort you’ll find just six private beachfront ensuite bungalows, situated on the main island of Panasesa. There’s also a main house where guests can enjoy peace and tranquility whilst enjoying delicious fresh-caught local food, refreshing drinks, free wi-fi (if you want it), a stunning beachfront deck and a balcony overlooking the stunning archipelago and lagoon waters, with colours like no other place on earth. There aren’t many places in the world where you can truly escape in paradise quite like this. Plus, the team are doing wonderful things in the conservation area as well.

Check out Conflict Islands Resort

Find your own adventure at www.papuanewguinea.travel

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