Madang Province is the most popular location in Papua New Guinea for divers and consists of reef-fringed lowlands, backed by some of the most rugged mountains in Papua New Guinea and offshore volcanic islands. The colourful Madang Township has been called the "prettiest town in the South Pacific". Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant sade trees and sparkling tropical islands.
Perched on a fertile peninsula, with a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation, the town of Madang looks across a scattering of perfect islands, dotted through a tropical deep water harbour. Known as one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful, the harbour boasts Kranket and Siar Islands, two of the most popular spots for swimming and the still blue waters. There is good fishing and diving along the magnificent coast, which is world famous for its coral gardens and superb visibility. Madang was the centre of heavy fighting during World War II, and there are 34 sunken ship dive sites to explore at Hansa Bay, near Bogia.
The town has modern urban facilities, including hotels, department stores, bustling markets and historical artefact shops and displays in the Cultural Centre. Madang is a key destination for meetings and conferences.
With a population of 362, 850, the diverse geographical nature of the province is reflected in the make-up of its people who can, by virtue of lifestyle be broken into four distinct groups - islanders, coastal people, river people and mountain people. These groups are of similar appearance except for the small-stature Simbai tribe who live in the foothills of the mountains. The traditional dressing consists mainly of traditional dyed multi-coloured grass skirts made out of either pandanas leaves or sago palm. The women from the mountain areas wear skirts that are colourless, narrow and stringy. Unlike the women, men wear mushy net aprons in front and a clutter of target leaves astern.
Flora and Fauna
Madang is outstanding in its range of natural mountainous, coastal and island features. Some of the elegant flowers and plants, from ferns to tall lofty coconut trees combine to beautify the province. Birds like Hornbills, or Kokomo in the local dialect are found in the jungle at an altitude of 1200m and are used or worn as adornments. The fan shaped crest of the Victorian Guria, also known as Crown Pigeon, is used for decorative purposes, such as for the headdress for the singsings (traditional dances). Visitors can see the Elizabeth Sowerby Orchid Collection and cuscuses, hornbills, cockatoos and tree kangaroos at Madang Resort Hotel.
Things to See
Visitors and Cultural Bureau: Located in Haus Tumbuna on Modilon Road near the intersection with Coronation Drive, the bureau has information on things to see and do and a small museum with displays of weapons, jewellery, musical instruments and historic photographs.
Arts and crafts: The Madang Resort Hotel and Smugglers’ Inn have workshops and markets for carvings, shell jewellery and bilums, while traditional clay pots are made at Bilbil Villages just south of Madang. Tours can be arranged.
Orchids and animals: Visitors can see the Elizabeth Sowerby Orchid Collection, cuscuses, hornbills, cockatoos and tree kangaroos at Madang Resort Hotel.
Kranket, Siar and Samun Islands: These picturesque islands all have accommodation and are fantastic for day trips. Enjoy swimming, snorkelling and picnicking.
Kau Rainforest Museum: Owned by the Didipa Clan, this small remnant of rainforest was set aside to retain traditional bush knowledge and for environmental education. The rainforest is located about 20 kilometres from Madang, off the North Coast Road.
Volcanoes: The islands of Manam and Karkar have volcanic cones rising 1800m above sea level. The smoking cones provide a spectacular sight for visitors. The Manam Island volcano last erupted in November 2004.
Madang Festival: The Madang Festival is held annually in Madang Town. The festival is a colourful display of singsings performed by cultural groups across the Madang Province.
Things to Do
Diving and snorkelling: There is great snorkelling off all the islands around Madang Harbour and at Jais Aben Resort, 20 kilometres north of Madang. Fantastic dive sites near Madang include Magic Passage, war wrecks and Planet Rock; an underwater sea mountain with a population of curious hammerhead sharks, multitudes of small fish and beautiful corals. Further north there are war wrecks at Bogia Bay and Hansa Bay. Reefs around Bagabag Island are swept by strong currents and have pelagic fish.
Fishing: The coast of Madang is great for fishing, wherever you may be; especially off Bagabag Island. Hotels, dive operators and the visitor bureau have lists of charter boats.
Canoeing: Jais Aben Resort and the guest houses on Siar Island all offer canoes for hire. You may also be able to hire someone from one of the many small villages to paddle you around.
Click here to view accommodation listing in the Madang Province