AS THE COUNTRY’S tourist infrastructure continues to improve, the routes and methods to enter the nation do too. Most foreign nationals who now wish to enter Papua New Guinea are required to obtain a visa, but many can do so, for free, for a six month period.
Most EU countries, South America and Oceania are included within this ruling, while there are of course opportunities to obtain visas at a PNG embassy for many other countries.
Once the logistics have been arranged and the necessary jabs have been completed, transport becomes all the more complex however. That’s not to say complex in a bad way, mind you.
Anyone who truly wants to explore PNG to the full are presumably looking for a little adventure in any case, and with the country’s tricky, undulating, mountainous terrain, adventure is just what you’ll get. Bypassing mountains entirely, air travel is the most popular - and important - mode of transport for both personnel and freight and even the two major cities - Port Moresby and Lae - can only be bridged via the skies.
Located near the former, Jacksons International Airport provides the primary hub for travelling into the country, which you can do so via Air Niugini, Philippine Airlines, Qantas or Virgin Australia.
Once in and settled though, there are choices to be made as to the best way to explore the islands.
Land, air and sea are all viable options, although the former of the three is quite specific to the Highlands Highway which begins in Lae and connects to Mt Hagen, the coast and Madang. From there, the roads do fork and continue, but for all the effort that goes into plotting your route, it may be simpler to either take to the skies, or at least look to public transport to carry the burden for you.
PMVs (public motor vehicles) and busses are the most common way to travel for locals, but to make sure, it is strongly advisable to gain advice from your hotel or lodge staff as to the best strategy.
On the water, numerous ferries are available to interconnect the various port towns and this is still a credible choice, but as has always been the way in PNG, it’s usually advisable to travel as the crow flies. Nearly all major settlements are built around an airstrip and - to be honest - missing out on the views that can be encapsulated from soaring above the country’s terrain would be to not get the full PNG experience.
PNG is the perfect place to explore for those seeking adventure