Papua New Guinea occupies an eastern section of the island of New Guinea - the west belonging to Indonesia - as well as numerous small offshore territories.
The lush tropical forests that blanket about 85% of Papua New Guinea serve as prime locations for bushwalking or exploring, as the country is home to a huge variety of exotic bird, including the majority of birds of paradise, and the 5,000km of coastline provides a glorious palm-tree studded locale on which to soak up the rays.
The country is world-famous for its incredible diving areas, and travellers often return to Papua New Guinea to swim around the superlative corral reefs. Though if a tour to somewhere loftier is sought after, the majestic mountains that perforate the country boast the rare phenomena of equatorial glaciers and are perfect for hiking or mountain climbing.
In a world that is globalizing at an incredibly fast pace, Papua New Guinea has decidedly remained off the radar. With such limited outside influences on the country, Papua New Guinea tours are for the intrepid traveller keen on interactions with a myriad of cultures in vast landscapes.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean just north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is considered one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The earliest inhabitants arrived approximately 45,000 years ago in one of the first great migration waves from Africa.
As time went on, inhabitants of the land formed clans and tribes that would adopt incredibly diverse languages and customs. There are currently more than 850 known languages of Papua New Guinea with many uncontacted tribes still existing within the country. Many of the tribes still delineated their lands with simple measures such as creating a network of trenches dug by hand with wooden spades.
With visits to some local villages possible, Papua New Guinea tours are best enjoyed during the festival of Sing Sing in Goroka. Meant as a time to showcase agricultural triumphs and a way to preserve traditional dances, the song and dance competitions have been performed for centuries passed along with each generation.
It is a place to witness hundreds of tribespeople as they proudly display their unique dances, chanting and drumming on the Kundu drums. Bodies are decorated with cassowary plumes, kina shells, aromatic leaves, brightly painted faces and elaborate head dresses.
As well as being one of the most culturally diverse countries, Papua New Guinea is also considered a megadiverse country ecologically. Large mountains isolate many areas creating unique flora and fauna across the small region. Jungle lowlands give way to elfin woodland which rises into being grassland alpine as the mountains climb to over 3000m.
The Tari Gap region, located around 2100m, is overflowing with secluded waterfalls, high altitude orchids, gingers, rhododendrons and 13 species of birds of paradise. Other areas of similar altitude, such as the Rondon Ridge in the Mt Hagen region, bird lovers rejoice with the opportunity to spy nearly 180 species of birds.
In the lowlands of the Sepik River region, one of the world's largest rivers in terms of flow, the peaceful river explorations include tributary rivers like the Karawari, as well as several swamps and lake systems. Lush tropical trees and the remote areas have left this area dripping in mystery, drawing attention from famed anthropologists like Margaret Mead.
The dense forests are home to more than just tribes people. Mammals such as the tree kangaroo, the cassowary, and marsupials make some of the fauna similar to what you would expect in Australia, but the country comprises a large number of species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, invertebrates and amphibians similar to what you would expect in Asia.
One thing is for sure, Papua New Guinea tours offer rewarding experiences to even the most well travelled and a chance to see one of the most culturally and biologically diverse countries in the world.