Where is Papua New Guinea?
Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. This fascinating land boasts more than 600 islands and more than 800 indigenous languages (tok ples), and is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon. Papua New Guinea consists of 4 regions made up of 22 provinces and the National Capital District, each with their own special character and cultures. Visitors will discover a wealth of tropical scenery, from the jungle-clad mountains of the highlands to the sandy white beaches and atolls of the coastal and island provinces.
Vast tracts of the country are wild and undeveloped, with magnificent scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains, dense tropical rainforest and large rivers. The mainland is divided by the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering over 4000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways.
Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave systems offer wonderful Papua New Guinea travel adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and climbers, and there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and delta system. Papua New Guinea also enjoys some of the world's best diving, around its warm coastal waters, with striking coral reefs around the mainland coast and the islands of the Bismarck Sea and the Milne Bay area.
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Papua New Guinea lies entirely within the tropics, just south of the Equator and 160km to the north of Australia. With a total land mass of about 473.189sq.km, the country encompasses the eastern side of New Guinea Island - the second largest island in the world, plus some 600 other islands, atolls and coral reefs. A central core of mountains, the Owen Stanley Range, runs east to west, rising steeply from the coastal plains. From its highest peaks such as 4500 metre high Mt Wilhelm and from downs of other peaks, great rivers like the Sepik and Fly River begin their journey to the sea. Below the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches, colourful sheltered bays and dense rainforest.
Papua New Guinea has a total population of almost 7 million, comprised mainly of people from the Melanesian race.
Papua New Guinea boasts a warm to hot and humid climate throughout the year. Each province experiences a rainy season, in the summer months, which varies from province to province. The country is at its driest from May to December. Watch out for sunburn during your Papua New Guinea holiday, even on overcast days, and particularly in the Highlands.
PNG is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).