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Papua New Guinea
 
Papua New Guinea is the eastern half of the second largest island in the world, New Guinea; the western half makes up the Indonesian State of Irian Jaya. As a consequence, Papua New Guinea is one of the world's largest countries, with a total area of 178,000 sq miles, approximately twice the size of the entire UK landmass. This huge territory sustains a population of only 3,500,000, making it one of the least densely populated countries in the world. The rugged and mountainous coastline deterred even the most adventurous of pioneers from entering the hinterland of New Guinea.

It has only been in the last 60 years that Papua New Guinea has begun to divulge her secrets. In fact, it was not until 1930 that the vast interior of Papua New Guinea, home to over a million people, was "discovered" by the outside world. Two Australian gold prospectors, Leahy and Dwyer, ventured far into the Highlands, and to their astonishment found people who never realised that another world existed beyond the boundaries of their immediate valleys and plains. Their unique experiences were caught on film and a famous documentary, First Contact, was made during the 1980's as testament to this unrivalled encouter.Even to this day there are still many people whose contact with the outside world has been minimal. Indeed, at the beginning of 1993 a tribe of 1,000 people was discovered in Madang Province who are thought never to have had contact with white people. This fact alone affirms that Papua New Guinea is, as Air Niugini's slogan says, "the land of the unexpected".

Some 45% of the world's languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea - 706 to date. Many tribes were totally unable to communicate with one another until the relatively recent introduction of Pidgin English. Even today some tribes have little interaction with each other, despite the fact that their villages may be only a few miles apart! This linguistic aggregation has allowed the development of incredibly diverse cultures throughout Papua New Guinea. Any anthropologist worth his salt will have studied the cultures of the Sepik Region! While the cultures of Papua New Guinea are essentially of a stone-age development, they are, in the own right, both rich and complex. Everyday objects that we take for granted as being of a utilitarian need may be, to them, of deep and cultural significance.

Papua New Guinea has seen a rapid advance since the 30's. People who did not know the wheel are now having to adjust to the technological age faster than any other nation in the world. But Papua New Guinea still offers a true spirit of adventure that few, if any, other countries can achieve. A feeling that you may be the first person to travel one of her majestic rivers, to enter a certain village, to set foot upon a certain island. This land of contrasts has much to offer the adventure traveller - trekking, mountain climbing, white-water rafting, canoe trips, a spectacular display of flora and fauna, a wealth of World War II relics, an unique cultural exchange and perhaps the world's finest scuba diving.

We have been specialising in tailor-made diving and adventure holidays to Papua New Guinea since 1992; there are no hard and fast rules for a holiday in Papua New Guinea, but considering its distance from Europe and the subsequent effects of jet lag, we would recommend 2 weeks within the country as being the bare minimum. Because of the diversity of culture and topography we recommend at least a two-centred tour. This will give you the opportunity to taste some of the richness of the country in a relatively short space of time. For longer trips of four to six weeks a three or four-centred tour is ideal. We urge the fanatical scuba divers amongst you to spare a few days at the beginning or end of your holiday to appreciate some of the non-aquatic sites available!

 

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