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Best Places to Visit in Papua New Guinea, Top Attractions
Papua New Guinea is widely regarded as the ‘final frontier’ because much of the country remains untouched and full of natural beauty. The tribal culture and traditions of generations are still present throughout the island nation and are the reason many travelers are drawn to Papua New Guinea. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the best things to do in Papua New Guinea, which I personally experienced on my three-week trip throughout the country. Papua New Guinea has so much to offer that so few know about, which made it such a privilege to explore this island nation. At the bottom of this blog post, I will also cover everything you need to know before you visit Papua New Guinea such as safety, vaccines, the best time to visit, and if it’s possible to solo travel. With a magnificent mountainous landscape piercing the skyline, Papua New Guinea offers beautifully diverse and dramatic landscapes. It’s one of the world’s least discovered countries, allowing it to still maintain a rugged and raw beauty, protected from mass tourism and infrastructure. Here at Nitsa Holidays, we’ve scoured the islands to bring you incredible locations where you’ll be guaranteed a private moment away from the crowds. Papua New Guinea is an exotic island country off the North coast of Australia. Sharing the island of New Guinea with Indonesia and also consisting of a number of offshore islands in the region of Melanesia, the country is home to a rich tribal culture that subsumes more than 800 languages and several tribes. The fascinating culture of Papua New Guinea is best exhibited in the numerous places to visit in Papua New Guinea, and is popular with tourists around the globe. Other than these places, its beaches are also famous as they provide a paradise recluse from the troubles of the world.
#1- Lae War Cemetery
Papua New Guinea was an active theatre during the Second World War, and the Australian government maintains the war cemetery at Lae even today in memory of Australian soldiers who lost their lives here during the conflict. The sombre area is a quiet marker of recent history of the region. There are also markers of Indian and New Zealand soldiers here, and is one of the modern Papua New Guinea points of interest.
#2- Port Moresby Nature Park
Another nature reserve, this one is maintained by the University of Papua New Guinea around Port Moresby and is one of the quiet and calm places to see in Papua New Guinea and the city of Port Moresby. The nature preserve has around 2 km of pathways spread throughout the park that go in and out of the canopies of the rainforests that are maintained here. You can often spot the country’s famed wildlife here
#3- Muschu Island
The charming island of Muschu is just off the coast at Wewak and does not often figure on the list of Papua New Guinea tourist attractions. There is just one B&B here that is run by a local family, and the beachside bungalow provides scenic views of the sea and the black beach that is the signature of the Muschu. The swimming hole, forests, beach, and the sea paint a very relaxing picture and you should consider coming here for an entire weekend.
#4- Volcanology Observatory
Papua New Guinea, like other countries in the region, sees extensive seismic and volcanic activity. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory was established in 1937 after the eruption of the Rabaul volcano and is used to monitor activity of 14 active and 23 dormant volcanoes spread in three arcs across the country. It is also a popular stop on Papua New Guinea sightseeing tours. Views from the observatory are absolutely stunning, and you can watch the volcanoes and the bay while feeling subtle tremors yourself
#5- National Museum and Art Gallery
If you are wondering what to see in Papua New Guinea that captures its rainbow tribal and indigenous culture, the National Museum should be on top of your list as it’s one of the essential places to visit in Papua New Guinea. The exhibits are arranged by themes – there are sections on the musical instruments of the people, their masks and costumes, their canoes and other seafaring instruments. You can see the famous totem poles from Sepik and also the skull racks which are locally called ‘agiba’.
#6- Varirata National Park
Most tours of the country begin with the capital city of Port Moresby, and the Varirata National Park is great not just for nature and bird watching enthusiasts, but also as a vantage point for looking over the city and the sea. You can see birds of paradise here, but you must arrive early if you want to stand a chance of sighting them.
#7- The Rainforest Habitat
This is situated on the campus of the University of Technology and houses a variety of local flora and fauna under a reconstructed rainforest with an eleven metre high canopy. While most people come to Papua New Guinea to see the cassowaries, tree kangaroos or the birds of paradise, the saltwater crocodile Agro is the attraction at Rainforest Habitat. If you are a fan of crocodiles, this is one of the places to visit in Papua New Guinea.
#8- Parliament Haus
The Papua New Guinea parliament is an unmissable fusion of the building styles of the local people and a jewel of Papua New Guinea tourism. The main building has been built in the fashion of the Sepik or Maprik haus tambaran, while the attached cafe is a circular building that reflects more of the ethos of the highlands. There are other markers inside the building that reflect the extensive cultural heritage of the country – the lobby doors are basically miniaturised kundu which are traditional drums used in ceremonies.
#9- Tari Basin
David Attenborough’s ‘Attenborough in Paradise’ (1996) put the Tari Basin and Gap on the radar of bird watchers and enthusiasts. Spread between 1700 and 2800 metres, the bird reserve consists of a number of different habitats and therefore houses a dazzling array of birds. This is the only place in the world where you can see King of Saxony or the blue Bird of Paradise, between July and September. This natural reserve is one of the most astonishing places to visit in Papua New Guinea.
#10- JK McCarthy Museum
The museum is named after an Australian patrol officer who was posted in Papua New Guinea and is one of the most recognisable things to see in Papua New Guinea. The museum has an extensive collection consisting of pottery, jewellery, musical instruments of the various tribes here. The Anga mourning jewellery consisting of a necklace of fingers can be found here. There is also a rare collection of photos taken by Mick Leahy in 1933.
#11- Tawali Resort | Milne Bay
If you’re looking for an escapade untouched by urbanization, Tawali Resort is the perfect spot. It accentuates PNG’s scenic waters thru unique water activities like wreck diving and muck diving—the perfect activities for underwater photography enthusiasts. The secluded sanctuary can also serve as a hideaway if you’re longing for some peace and quiet atop nature’s beauty.
#12- Mount Wilhelm | Kundiawa-Gembogl
The country is a place that will make you go on intrepid ventures. PNG is also perfect for thrill-seekers, as it is home to a spine of mountains. Mount Wilhelm is the highest peak in the country which can be climbed by fit climbers. You will be accompanied with adept guides as you go along because you will be trudging thru rocky paths. The track is undertaken as a two-day trek. As you reach the summit, you will witness the most breathtaking sea of clouds making the climb well worth it.
#13- Parliament Haus
Looking from the outside, it already looks like an architectural masterpiece. The unconventional shape of the structure is only one of the many reasons why it stands out. This style is called haus tambaran, a classic type of architecture among Papua New Guineans. This building, however, has a modern flair to it. The walls are adorned with the photos of the speakers of the House of Parliament. Aside from being a historical site, it can also be a place of amusement. It also shelters various insects (the size of a fist) of Papua New Guinea. Admission is free but it is forbidden to take pictures inside.
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