Key Facts & FAQs

Papua New Guinea is a country of true adventure and natural beauty where visitors enjoy experiences found no other place on earth. Located only three hours from Brisbane, Papua New Guinea is made up more than 600 islands, four regions with 20 provinces and over 800 indigenous languages. The country’s rich culture, unique species of flora and fauna, stunning vistas and friendly people, all contribute to making PNG the destination with a million different journeys.

How do I get to Papua New Guinea?
As Australia’s closest neighbour (1 hour, 20 minutes from Cairns, 3 hours from Brisbane and 4 hours from Sydney) Papua New Guinea is so close and yet feels a world away. Jacksons International Airport is located only 8km from the heart of Port Moresby with hotels all offering shuttle services from the airport. Air Niugini, Qantas and Virgin Australia offer regular direct services from Australia to Jacksons Airport.

There are currently direct flights to Port Moresby from Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney.

How do I get around Papua New Guinea?
Papua New Guinea does not have a road network which connects the major destinations across the country, due to the rugged and untouched landscapes. Fortunately, Jacksons Airport also serves as the central hub for Domestic air services across PNG.

Air Niugini and Airlines PNG offer regular domestic flights per week with services to destinations including: Alotau, Kokopo (Rabaul), Kavieng, Mt Hagen, Lae, Hoskins (Kimbe), Madang, Wewak, Goroka, Vanimo, Lorengau, Tufi and Popondetta (Kokoda). There are also direct flights per week between the major destinations above. 

There are some locations where you can travel overland between them, however you should only do this as part of an organised tour, and not attempt to drive or catch a lift instead.

What language is spoken in PNG?

There are more than 800 distinct languages. Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two most widely used, but English is the official language in education, businesses and government circles. At your hotels and on your tours you will be with Papua New Guineneas who speak English, however visiting tribes some people may not speak English, or potentially be too shy to speak English to you.

Some handy pidgin phrases for you include; Tenk Tru (thank you), Yu stap gut? (how are you?) and Toktok long tok ingli (do you speak English?).

Is Papua New Guinea safe for tourists?

Yes! Tourists are welcomed in Papua New Guinea with open arms and big smiles. Travellers should travel either on an organised tour or stay at hotels and resorts who will organise day trips for you, to have the best possible experience. Papua New Guinea is not the kind of destination that you can just “do yourself”.

Are there any luxury accommodation options?

Absolutely! Whether you prefer 5 star overwater villas, world-class hotels or even traditional authentic village homestays, there is something for everyone. On top of that, a lot of hotels in Papua New Guinea have less than 20 rooms, making for a wonderful experience.

How long of a trip do you recommend?

To truly experience the country we recommend creating an itinerary that is 7-14 days, and that takes in 2-3 different locations (mixing up the highlands, coastal and island areas). Single-location short-stay trips are possible, particularly for those visiting from Cairns or Brisbane, and there are also plenty of cruise itinerary options to choose from too. But hey, the longer the better right?

Can I get my dive qualification in PNG?

Yes, at certain resorts you can! However, we’d recommend getting your license before coming across to make the most of the country’s incredible reefs and wrecks.

Are the cultural experiences genuine?

Absolutely! The tribes and villagers are immensely proud of their culture and everyday way of life, and love nothing more than to showcase it to visitors. PNG is not overcrowded with visitors, so you’ll generally get a more intimate and interactive experience too.

Is there a nightlife in Papua New Guinea?

Nightlife for Papua New Guineans often consists of watching the sunset over the ocean with a refreshing bottle of SP Lager in hand, and performing ‘singsings’ and fire dances. In Port Moresby (the capital) you’ll find several restaurants, bars and even nightclubs, if that’s more your vibe.

Can I buy things from the local tribes and villages?

Yes, please do! You will find plenty of talented craftspeople selling their handmade wares, including bilums (bags), baskets, carvings and artworks. Be sure not to miss the local produce markets either. Supporting these sellers helps their communities to thrive and survive. Just don’t forget to declare anything brought back into Australia or New Zealand.