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Travel and Holiday information for Papua New Guinea and the Kokoda track

A holiday in Papua New Guinea and the travel arrangements needed to make it a success rely on a detailed knowledge of the destination. To help you decide where to go and what to do we have assembled a range of holiday products to provide all the information you will need to make your choices.

Madang Lagoon

The fledgling Pacific Islands nation of Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia on December 2nd 1973. The island group was first seen by Luis Vaez De Torres in the seventeenth century when he sailed through the straits north of Australia, now named after him. Later settlers and missionaries from Holland and Germany influenced the early European settlement of the country. Eventually it became a trust territory of Australia and the Australian government took the responsibility for control of education and civil works in the country’s development. This period of time saw the nation drawn into the modern world. Papua New Guinea, today, is still a place where you can visit and see everything from a modern commercial city through to visiting jungle people, who are still not far from living a stone age existence. Independence from Australia came on the 2nd of December 1973 when the country adopted a Westminster system of government. Because of the fragmented nature of the country culturally, this system has worked well for a country with more diverse cultures and languages than any other on the planet.

Tribal singing and dancing

During the second world war and the campaign against the Japanese forces in the Pacific islands, Australia fought an important rear guard action in the country. Papua New Guinea was an important target for the Japanese as it need to control these islands in order to continue its campaign south into Australia. The Australian armed forces threw everything into this battle and the jungle fighting along the Kokoda track have become legend and part of Australia’s military folklaw. It was here on the Kokoda track that the tide of the Japanese invasion was turned and the war started to turn in the favour of Australia and its allies. Today thousands of Australian ex servicemen and their descendants return to the track to be reminded of the enormous sacrifices that were made by their past family members, to keep Australia and Papua New Guinea free.

Kokoda Track

As a tourist destination today, Papua New Guinea has more to offer than any other nation on earth. Anthropologists flock here to find living links with the past of modern man. The wildlife is sensational. The Bird of Paradise is the national emblem and comes in many different types. Its stunning improbable colours see it added to the headdresses of native warriors in traditional attire at national gatherings, especially in the highlands region. The scenery is fantastic. Impenetrable jungles cover much of the islands. Mountain ranges climb to over 4000 meters. And rushing rivers fill the valleys. Many different tribes and clans of people live in the country. From the diminuative “Kuka kuka’s” of the Sepic, the Chimbu people of the highlands and the Tolai people of the northern islands, and many others, the visible difference in their appearance is striking. Large gatherings of native people in Papua New Guinea are a stunning sight, especially when their traditional clothing and apparel is worn. One of the best examples of this is the annual Mount Hagen Show in the highlands.

View from Mt Kiss

The international traveller looking to come to Papua New Guinea will want to visit many areas if they want to get a full understanding of what makes this country tick. Entry from Australia is through the capital of Port Moresby and because of the jungle terrain, the country is best seen by taking air travel from one region to the other. Accommodation in western style is limited so you need to book your entire holiday in advance. Some of the most important places to visit include the Sepic River district and the highlands including the towns of Goroka and Mt Hagen. The north coast and places like Lae, Madang, Tufi and the Trobriand islands, the highly active volcanic regions around Rabaul and the Milne Bay district in the south. For Australians, the Kokoda region and the Kokoda Track are at the top of the agenda.

Any holiday to Papua New Guinea requires detailed travel plans and organisation, so let our helpful consultants assist you with your itinerary.