While we are here to help you make your holiday in Papau New Guinea
perfect, you may like a few tips on putting together your own itinerary,
if you so desire to do. Firstly, as you will have seen from this web
site, Papua New Guinea is a vast and incredibly varied country, and
unless you plan staying for many months, it is impossible for you
to experience everything there is to see. We therefore urge you not
to try and visit one place for a couple of days and then move on to
the next, and so on. This will become a tiresome exercise - and an
expensive one. If you are a scuba diver you will know the inherent
risks involved with flying and diving. The most important tip we can
offer is "take your time"! It is better to experience one
or two locations properly than four or five improperly.
If your time is limited to say two weeks, then we would suggest
a two-centre tour as being ideal for a diver, and a three-centred
tour for a non-diver. Divers should try a combination of local destinations,
such as follows: Walindi & Kavieng, Walindi & Loloata or
Loloata & Madang. Alternatively, try a live-aboard trip on Golden
Dawn and spend a few days at Loloata. Perhaps a live-aboard trip
on Tiata and a few days in Kavieng. The permutations are enormous,
and to do these locations justice you really do need at least a
week in each place. Non-divers should think of the possibility of
relaxing on the beach at Madang or Loloata Island before heading
into the Highlands or to the Sepik. A useful route to take is Madang-Sepik-Karawari-Mt
Hagen/Tari. Alternatively, you could try Loloata-Tari-Mt Hagen.
These are good circular routes that allow you to experience particular
locations without the need for excessive air travel.
If you are planning a prolonged tour, then obviously you can take
in more areas. A 5 week tour can very easily take in 5 or 6 locations,
and divers on an extended live-aboard cruise of 10 or 11 nights
can also get in at least 3 other areas. For example, divers can
consider this as a useful itinerary: 6 or 7 days relaxation and
diving in Madang followed by a Sepik trip or Mt Wilhelm climb; a
week diving at Kavieng followed by a cruise on Tiata; a week at
Walindi and home. Alternatively, cycle from Kavieng down to Namatanai
and fly across to Rabaul. Spend a week in Rabaul and a week at Walindi
and then a trip on FeBrina; relax at Loloata Island and depart.
Another interesting tour would be to do the Kokoda Trail, a live-aboard
cruise on Star Dancer and a week at Rabaul and Kavieng. Non-divers
can consider the attributes of bird-watching and trekking in Tari,
a Sepik river cruise on Sepik Spirit or by canoe, a cycle ride down
New Ireland and a few days in Rabaul, followed by a few relaxing
days at Walindi. Of course, non-divers can always consider the idea
of doing a dive course!!
Even while on a short stay, divers should always consider the land
activities available in the area they are staying. Walindi has volcanoes,
mud pools and a hot river, as does Rabaul, which also has interesting
WWII relics. Kavieng has caves and springs to visit, while Madang
has war relics and the town itself. Everywhere there are interesting
people to see. Spend the last couple of days before flying home
looking at these sights. If you have 3 weeks to travel, then obviously
the range of locations and permutations thereof can be increased
dramatically, and while we suggest you add another location to your
itinerary, we would recommend that you limit yourself to only one.
This gives you the opportunity to see your preferred locations in
greater depth. For scuba divers, we suggest you again limit yourself
to two dive destinations, but maybe add a land tour to your itinerary.
Perhaps diving at Walindi and Kavieng, followed by a Sepik canoe
trip. From there you can fly to Wewak and home. Non-divers should
always consider that after a trek or canoe trip they will feel dirty
and tired! Spend a few days after each trek in a decent hotel -
they can do your laundry, you can have a hot shower and a relaxing
couple of days in congenial surroundings. Trekking in Tari is complemented
perfectly by a couple of days at Ambua Lodge, while Sepik canoe
trips logically lead you to Karawari or back to Wewak or Madang.
After climbing Mt Wilhelm, relax at Haus Poroman Lodge.
There are certain things we don't recommend you do! Remember, Papua
New Guinea is a developing country, and things run at their own
pace. While Air Niugini's schedule is comprehensive and ususally
runs on time, don't always rely on things to happen as smoothly
as back home. If you are in Kavieng and have a live-aboard dive
cruise to catch in Milne Bay the following day, don't risk trying
to get there in one day! Overnight in Port Moresby, and then fly
to Milne Bay. You only need to be delayed by an hour, and you could
miss your connection. The chances are, the boat won't wait for you!
You're on holiday, so take your time!
A word of advice that never goes amiss is on the so-called "rascal"
problem in Papua New Guinea. More often than not, potential travellers
to Papua New Guinea mention the crime problem in the country. We
always say New Guinea is safer than New York, and it's true! After
all, you don't have 706 languages in one country because people
get along with each other!! Papuans are deeply tribal, and it is
only in places like Port Moresby, where so many people from so many
areas are living together, that problems exist. The solution is
simple - don't walk around after dark, and don't visit markets and
shops without a local guide. This particularly applies in Port Moresby
and to a certain extent in Mt Hagen, but is not really necessary
in Rabaul, Kavieng or Madang. Up in the Highlands tribal wars a
common occurrence, but tourists are not seen as potential hostages!
You won't feel threatened if you act sensibly; the people are genuinely
interested in you, and while they may look fierce, they are not
going to club you over the head and take you home for dinner! If
you need any advice when it comes to designing your own tour, please
feel free to contact us. Alternatively, we can make a tour for you
that will suit your requirements. If you follows some of the guidelines
we have laid out above, you will have the most unforgettable holiday
in your life!