Papua New Guinea General Information
Region: South East Asia
Christianity is enshrined in the country’s constitution as the official religion and all the denominations are well represented. About 28% of people are Catholics, 23% are Evangelical Lutherans, and the rest are spread out over various different groups. However, many people retain their traditional animist beliefs that revolve around such things as spirit-worship.
Although English is very widely spoken and is indeed the most common language in the country, there are over 770 languages in the country - which is about one-third of the world’s indigenous languages! Pidgin, which is primarily derived from English, is the major second language.
Area (sq. km):
462,840 square meters
When To Travel
The climate is generally hot and humid all year round with a high rate of rainfall. The capital, Port Moresby, is one of the driest areas in the country. In most places, the very wet season is between December and March. During this time, it is virtually impossible to go trekking due to hazardous conditions. May to October is considered the dry season although it is not unusual to encounter rain during this period. The months of April and October see unpredictable weather, but the humidity remains extremely high. The temperature is significantly cooler in the highlands, especially in the night.
In general, the wet season is between December and March whist the dry season is between May and October. The in-between months see variable weather, but the climate is generally humid all year round. Due to the rough nature of The Kokoda Track, it is only possible to run this tour during the dry season.
Useful Travel Facts
The international dialling code for Papua New Guinea is +61. Telephone calls, especially international calls, made from hotels, often attract significant service charges, even when the number dialled is not available. Where possible, endeavour to make calls from local telephone offices, which are usually situated in or near the post offices. It is always advisable to confirm the rates you will be paying before you make your call. Should any extra assistance be required when you are on tour, please contact our local offices first. If you have a mobile phone it should be a relatively simple procedure to arrange ‘global roaming’ with your service provider; however, charges are generally very high so be sure to check this option thoroughly. You should also check with your service provider to see if your mobile phone is compatible with the networks used in Papua New Guinea.
Sago, which is similar to taro or yam, is the staple diet of much of the country. There is good seafood along the coasts and the food is generally tastier there than in the highlands. The most famous local cooking style is the use of a traditional underground oven, known as a ‘mumu’.
Artefacts, such as woodcarvings, weaved baskets and pottery, are popular souvenirs for tourists. Generally, the prices are relatively high due to high cost of transportation and storage in the country. Remember that bargaining is not a custom in Papua New Guinea.
All visitors to Papua New Guinea including tourists are required to have a visa to enter. If you are an Australian national you are required to obtain your visa prior to departure. Currently a 30-day tourist visa is available for nationals of many other countries including, Japan, New Zealand, UK, USA and most western European countries. This tourist visa is non-extendable and is issued free of charge on arrival.
Australian nationals - To acquire a visa you will need to complete a visa application form with a passport photo attached, and submit this with a trip itinerary, proof of sufficient funds for your stay and a copy of an onward airline ticket showing confirmed flight bookings. You can obtain your visa application form through your travel agent or by downloading a form online from the Papua New Guinean High Commission website. Your completed visa application needs to be sent your nearest Papua New Guinean High Commission, embassy or consulate along with your valid passport (which must have at least 6 months validity on it from the date of intended travel) as well as a pre-paid, self-addressed and registered post envelope which will be used to return your passport to you.
Please note that visa processing times can be subject to delays, particularly during peak periods, so we commend you allow sufficient time when applying for your visa.
Useful Words & Phrases
A Fact Book on Modern Papua New Guinea - Jackson Rannells Do-it-Yourself Trekking - Kokoda Trail-Clive Baker Rascal Rain - A Year in PNG-Inez Baranay Papua New Guinea-Lonely Planet Bloody Buna-Lida Mayo