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Travel Tips
 
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!


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