Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a former British, German and Australian colony that gained independence from Australia in 1975th. Today this country is independent state-member of the Commonwealth. Head of state is the Queen of UK. Papua New Guinea is poorly known in terms of its scenery and traditional culture, but it poses a great tourist potential. The local economy still relies heavily on what nature has created. It is assumed that in the future most residents will retain their previous lifestyle.
Geographic location, boundaries and size. Papua New Guinea occupies an area of 462,840 sq.km. It covers the bigger eastern part of the second largest island in the world – the island of New Guinea. It belongs to Oceania – geographical region to which belong countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Papua New Guinea is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and its adjacent Solomon Sea and Bismarck Sea. To the south is the wide Gulf of Papua. The island state has a land border with Indonesia to the west.
Until 60,000 years Papua New Guinea was connected with the Australian Carpenter Peninsula, but because of the rising of ocean level, tooday the link between them is completely broken.
The country has many islands. Some of the largest in area islands are New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville Island, the island of Manus, New Hanover and so on.
Relief. Papua New Guinea has an extremely diverse topography. On one side there are low and swampy coastal lowlands, which barely rise above ocean level and on the other side is the Central mountain range, which reaches an altitude of 4509 m (Mount Wilhelm).
This impressive mountain range divides the island into two mostly flat parts. The southern and eastern coastlines of the country are highly indented in contrast to the northern coast. Most of the smaller islands of Papua New Guinea are also mountainous.
Climate. Papua New Guinea has warm and hummid climate. The country falls into the borders of two climate zones. The territories south of the Central mountain range fall within the subequatorial climate zone.
There are two seasons – dry and rainy. Precipitation falls mainly during the summer months from December to March. The rest of the year is too wet. Temperatures are high throughout the year – between 28 and 32°C.
North of the Central mountain range there is equatorial climate, which can be characterized by year around high temperatures and abundant rainfall.
Nature. South of the Central mountain range there is typical savanna environment. It has formed under the influence of subequatorial climate and seasonal droughts.
North of the mountain range, where rainfall is abundant throughout the year, the country is covered by dense equatorial forests that are home to amazing biodiversity. One of the most wonderful and beautiful creatures that live in the local forests are undoubtedly the birds of paradise.
Because of their uniqueness, they are depicted on the national flag of Papua New Guinea. This is a group of over 40 bird species which strike with the beauty of their plumage. Indeed, in their wonderful and unique colors there is something unreal.
Populations of these amazing creatures there are only in Papua New Guinea and on the territory of the Australian state of Queensland. Except for birds of paradise, here occurs also one of the fiercest representatives of the bird kingdom – the cassowary.
This bird is too heavy to fly in the air and therefore it has lost that ability. At the expense of that, it is so fierce and aggressive, that few people or animals would dare to come closer. Its nails and beak are quite dangerous, so everyone keep away!
Population and settlements. The population of Papua New Guinea is estimated at about 6.5 million people. However, it is difficult to say with certainly, since the majority of the population lives in remote areas of the tropical jungle.
Many of these small villages are hidden and unknown to the outside world. Local people keep their lifestyle and habits unchanged for hundreds and even thousands of years. This lifestyle greatly contrasts with the modern capital Port Moresby, which has a population of about 300.000 inhabitants.
Although Papua New Guinea was initially a possession of Great Britain and Germany, and later of Australia, here is extremely small number of people of European origin – only about 2-3%.
Official language in the country is English, but most of the locals speak less known local languages. Christianity is considered to be an official religion, although the people who follow various local traditional beliefs are not very few.
Economy. Papua New Guinea is a developing country with low living standards. Although until 1975 the country was under the rule of Australia, Papua New Guinea is very different in terms of living standards in comparison with its rich southern neighbor.
The local economy still relies heavily on the export of minerals, as well as export of some agricultural goods such as coffee and tea. Like many other countries of Oceania, Papua New Guinea receives significant revenues from the export of coconuts, as well as some kinds of fish and other seafood.
However, other economic sectors are still lagging behind. Most important minerals to export are oil and natural gas, as well as some precious metals like gold and silver. Largest port in the country is in the capital Port Moresby. The city is a starting point for ships, loaded with goods for export.
Tourism in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is the perfect place to visit for lovers of unknown destinations. The reason? Well, very simple – this is one of the least known countries in this part of the world and its natural resources are huge!
It is assumed that local jungles are home to about 5% of the biodiversity that exists today on our planet. The birds of paradise, which we already mentioned earlier, are just a small part of everything that could make your vacation an unforgettable experience.
Most attractive tourist spots are the small islands with magnificent beaches, dense tropical jungles, picturesque villages and unique culture, which together make this country a real tourist paradise. This is the ideal place for you, if you want to get away from the bustle of modern civilization.
Throughout the country there are some wonderful resorts that offer excellent recreation opportunities among the beautiful tropical nature. One of these charming sites is located in close proximity to the northwest coast of the large island of New Ireland.
It’s very beautiful island called Lisenung, which is covered with lush tropical vegetation. This small piece of Heaven has a wonderful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. All this makes it a perfect place to relax.
Far from Lisenung Island, in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea is located Tufi Dive Resort. The place is known as an exciting tourist destination for diving enthusiasts. Diving conditions are excellent throughout the year.
Underwater visibility is significant and the coral reefs are just amazing! The resort itself is located in a picturesque area where numerous bays, deeply cut into the land, form together mysterious fjords.
When to visit Papua New Guinea? Although Papua New Guinea enjoys year round warm weather, the best period to visit this tropical country is the winter season, especially in the southern part of the country, where there is pronounced seasonality in rainfall.
Given that the country is located entirely in the southern hemisphere, the drier winter season lasts during the period from April to November.
What clothes should I wear? Temperatures in Papua New Guinea are always very high, so clothing should be bright, light and airy. Bring enough sunscreen as the sun’s rays around the equator are very strong.
It will be better for you to prepare also strong and comfortable shoes if you want to embark on exploring the dense and impenetrable rainforests. If you are planning to climb the high mountains is very important to wear warm clothing, as because of the high altitude, temperatures can be very low even around the equator!
Papua New Guinea and cannibalism. Cannibalism in Papua New Guinea was banned in the mid-20th century. However, it is assumed that in remote areas of the country this horrific practice, which is taboo in today’s society, still exists.
Before being introduced prohibiting, victims of cannibals were mostly people from other tribes, living somewhere deep in the jungle, but this fact does not negate the possibility cannibals to consume people from their own tribe after their deaths.
Another not less terrible practice is called “head hunting”. This is when the cannibals kill a man and then cut off his head! It is assumed that if today cannibalism still exists, it probably has a ritual character and is practised only according to already died people.