7 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Papua New Guinea

Jul 22, 2021

Since ancient times, explorers have been drawn to the wild, undiscovered territories of Papua New Guinea. Today, only a few Europeans and Australians have ever laid eyes on the unusual, strange, and fascinating countryside that this underdeveloped country offers. There are almost no roads to speak of, so exploring the rest of the nation is impossible without a tour.

Most travelers explore Papua New Guinea by way of a multiday boat tour, ferry ride, or helicopter flight. When exploring the country, the best time to visit is between May and October.

Here are some of the most interesting and least-visited places in Papua New Guinea, many of which you will find only through a tour operator or guide.

From a bird's-eye view of this treetop paradise, to watching beautiful and huge kangaroos bound across the plains, there are many exciting things to do in Papua New Guinea. Discover some of the best places to visit in the country with our list of the top attractions in Papua New Guinea.

Mount Hagen

Photo of Mount Hagen
Mount Hagen: en.wikipedia.org

Often referred to as the "Pacific Versailles," Mount Hagen is the third highest volcano in the world, at 16,463 feet (5,070 meters). This majestic peak sits on a peninsula in the Madang District of Morobe Province, just east of Mount Mabu, Papua New Guinea's second highest peak. At the foot of Mount Hagen in the village of Lalabo are three spectacular waterfalls; Mount Hagen, Bandoeng, and Hagen. To get to Mount Hagen, travelers can travel by car or by an expedition into the jungle to cross the Imbabura River, follow a short trail to the base of the mountain, and climb it.

Manus Island

Photo of Manus Island
Manus Island: en.wikipedia.org

Manus Island is a sprawling mangrove swamp and tiny group of volcanic islands in eastern Papua New Guinea. The variety of wildlife is very diverse in these mangrove forest islands. Here you will find giant crocodiles, lizards, pigs, and buffalo as well as some of the rarest species of the ocean. Visitors are allowed to stay in the jungle for free but must be prepared for the opportunity of encountering some of the wildest animals that nature has to offer. The idea of visiting Manus Island is to explore the strange nature of these islands by experiencing the wildlife and nature's power. As you arrive at the airport you will be greeted by the friendly local Manus Islanders who want to show you all the sights on the island.

Madang

Photo of Madang
Madang: en.wikipedia.org

Located on the northwest coast of Papua New Guinea, Madang is the main city of the Madang Province and the capital of the region of Sepik. Madang itself is beautiful, with white, Mediterranean-style buildings constructed in 1930, after the devastation of World War I. There are several churches in the area, including the Madang St. Michael's Anglican Church, a beautiful white-and-red church with a heavily weathered wooden roof. During my time in Madang, I took the boat to the Crocodile Islands, an archipelago 40 minutes away. Although small, there were around 100 islands and they were crowded with surfers and swimmers. I took the traditional manner of exploring the islands, which involved paddling through a narrow inlet and letting the current take me where it would. Among other things to see in the region are the Tok Pisin, Polynesian language, statues and the Madang Museum, where there is an extensive collection of ethnic dresses, equipment, weapons and a map showing the mountains, volcanoes and inlets in the Sepik region.

Rabaul

Photo of Rabaul
Rabaul: en.wikipedia.org

The rugged country of Rabaul is located on the rugged and windswept tip of the island of New Britain. The region has long been a thorn in the side of the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea, as its secluded waters form the natural boundary between the two. The bad news for travelers: After being closed to tourists for two decades due to a severe outbreak of malaria, Rabaul is once again attracting an increasing number of visitors. Rabaul is best known as the location for one of the planet's strangest man-made structures: The Borroloola-Leaqiu Bridge, a 120-meter-long, 30-meter-high suspension bridge that replaced an 18-hour haul by two teams of mules in 1940.

Sepik River

Long famous for its rivers, the Sepik is best known for its swirling waters as they enter the beautiful coastal setting of Manokwari, in northern Papua New Guinea. This is a heady setting with its colonial Dutch influence and leafy streets lining the riverside promenade with lively marketplaces and beautiful Dutch Colonial buildings. The Sepik River is also where Papua New Guinea gets its name. Most people know this place as 'the heart of PNG.' Due to its setting, Manokwari is well-known as the'most civilized town in PNG.' It's a city built on the base of stilt villages, which are built up to the edge of the river's waters.

Mount Wilhelm

Photo of Mount Wilhelm
Mount Wilhelm: en.wikipedia.org

Named after the Austrian princess who sent a number of shipwrecks in the 19th century to maintain her pet mountain monkey's residence, Wilhelm is Papua New Guinea's second-tallest volcano and one of the most active. The mountain's outer slopes are covered in temperate rainforest, and give way to a wide grassy slope where on clear days you can see the island of Bougainville, the closest large landmass. The peak itself is covered with bare volcanic pumice and is dotted with flower-filled crater lakes. The first town on the mountain is New Britain, but the main village is Panguna, where you will find the most intact traditional architecture on the mountain. It also has an interesting snake museum and an offbeat boutique hotel.

Port Moresby

Photo of Port Moresby
Port Moresby: en.wikipedia.org

Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, has been growing rapidly in recent years, with traffic jams on its busy highways and new residential areas springing up on the outskirts. Many of the budget hotels here are clean and fairly modern, and a couple even have air conditioning and satellite TV. You can find plenty of inexpensive food at the new, locally-run Moresby Market. The weekend market is a very busy affair, but if you arrive early you can pick up some hot food from one of the stalls. Once you've found a place to stay, you may want to relax in one of the hammocks on one of the city's sandy beaches, or take a stroll down the bustling Moresby Boulevard and enjoy some local food and handicrafts at one of the nightspots that have sprung up.