Papua New Guinea

If you love scenery and outdoor adventures, Papua New Guinea is the place for you. From coral reefs to active volcanoes – this place has a good mix of land and sea activities to keep your adrenaline up! Anna Martin, studying a Bachelor of Business at UNSW Canberra, comes from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and takes us through this week’s adventurous blog post.

Disclaimer: These are personal opinions and perspectives of the interviewees and are not a perfect representation of the whole country/experience.

Edited by Megan Chen

Not only is the environment impressive but a lot of the wildlife you could encounter in Papua New Guinea is really special, such as the tree-kangaroo. Papua New Guinea and Australia used to share a land bridge millions of years ago, meaning many native animals are common to both countries.

File:PNG Regions map.png - Wikimedia Commons
Map of Papua New Guinea
Source: Burmesedays (2010) Wikimedia Commons.

How would you introduce Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is a land of a thousand tribes. There is so much diversity in cultures and traditions within the country. we have the highest number of languages within the Pacific and we are the second largest island in the world, after Greenland.

Curving, East Sepik Province
Source: Anna Martin

Describe the culture of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

PNG is a Christian country with a patriarchal culture in most parts of the country and we are very conservative in the way we dress, though that is starting to slowly change with Western influence.

We have huge respect for our elders. For instance you do not call your parents’ friends or their siblings by their name. We use the titles of uncle, aunty, cousin etc. We also tend to promote families gathering together under one roof and are closely knitted. For example, we look out for other members in our families or extended families. It’s normal for family members to come together and contribute to pay for a family member’s school fee or his/her other expenses.

You will hardly hear people swearing in their conversations back in PNG. Swearing is highly disregarded and is considered disrespectful even if said in a joking manner.

Being in Australia, it has been a struggle trying to keep sane whenever one of my friends swore but I have gotten over it now. The swearing and the lifestyle between both countries is quite different as PNG is still a 3rd world country and many of the luxuries enjoyed by many Australians, will not be found in PNG.

What are some famous places/experiences to visit?

Since PNG has a tropical climate, the seasons are not divided into traditional seasons, rather we have the rainy season (December to March) and the dry season (May to October).

If you’re planning a trip to PNG, we have a lot to show for. If you’re keen for some hiking adventures, I would highly recommend walking the Kokoda Track or climbing Mt Wilhelm which are tourist attraction sites.

File:Kokoda track Papua New Guinea.JPG
Part of the Kokoda Track
Source: Luke Brindley (2009) Wikimedia Commons.

If you’re planning a vacation trip, check out the Nusa Island Resort, the Madang Resort or the Tufi fjords and also explore the nearby islands.

File:Ela Beach May 2015.jpg
Ela Beach, Port Moresby
Source: Nick-D (2015) Wikimedia Commons.

But if you’re looking to educate yourself bout the country’s cultures there are a couple of festivals held annually for that purpose like the Duk-Duk festival, the MABORASA festival and the Canoe Festival to name a few that you can search dates and attend.

APEC House – Port Moresby
Source: Anna Martin

What are some must-try foods?

When in PNG, you must try the local mumu which is food steamed underground. You must also try the aigir which is another favourite local dish.

If anyone offers you betel nut while in PNG, don’t eat it. It’s a drug that has the same effect as alcohol (well… unless you want to get drunk).

Eating the local sago and fish cooked over the fire is also another must try for tourists visiting.

Banana and Fish cooked over the Fire
Source: Anna Martin

Any tips for travelling?

I would recommend not to go up to the Highlands of PNG, especially the Southern Highlands as there is still a lot of tribal fights taking place up there.

What’s the best way to get around the place?

Public Motor Vehicles (PMVs) and taxies. There are also hire cars you can hire to get around the cities.

For more tips on transport in PNG, click here.

What is the weather usually like?

Bring thin layers of clothing and a lot of sunscreen as the weather is very hot and humid on most days. A shirt and shorts with flats or shoes is suitable to wear around the city and do carry an umbrella to protect you from both the sun and the rain.

Kalibobo Lighthouse
Source: Anna Martin

What are the most well-known universities in your country and what are they usually known for?

The University of Papua New Guinea has a school of humanities, business, law, science, and a medical school.

The University of Technology has more to do with engineering whether it be civil, mechanical, mineral processing and electrical engineering.

The Divine Word University run by the Catholic church has schools of humanities, management, and theology.

The Pacific Adventist University is run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and offers the same programs as the University of Papua New Guinea except for Law.

What do you like most about Papua New Guinea?

I’d have to say being family-oriented and looking out for each other. Even being far from home, I still have PNG families in Canberra invite me over for dinner or just chat ups.

We love Papua New Guinea! If you’re looking for a similar yet unique experience, make sure to read about Fiji.

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