Papua New Guinea Fact Sheet

Access and Entry Fees: Most land, beaches, lagoons, bays and islands in Papua New Guinea are owned by a village, family or individual. You must ask permission for access and a small entry fee may be payable.

Airlines: Air Niugini and Qantas.

Airports: Central Province: Jackson's International Airport, 10km from Port Moresby.
Highlands Province: Mt Hagen International Airport.
Gulf & Western Province: Daru Airport.

Banking: Banking hours are Monday to Thursday, 9am-3pm and Friday, 9am-5pm. Money can be changed at Jackson's Airport. Most hotels and restaurants accept travellers cheques and credit cards.

Climate: The country is hot and humid all year round. Temperatures average 30º-34ºC, with temperatures in the Highlands cooler in the evenings (average 25ºC). The dry season varies from province to province, but the driest months are generally May to October, with the wetter months from December to March.

Communications: ISD and STD dialling are available throughout most of the country, and the phone system is very good. The international country code is 675, and the operator code is 019. Telex and facsimile service are widely available, except in very remote areas. Email and internet services are available in most hotels and resorts. Postal services are available through Post PNG Limited. There are about 90 post offices throughout PNG, and most offer a poste restante service.

Currency: The unit of currency is the kina, which is divided into 100 Toea. Notes: K50, K20, K10, K5, and K2. Coins: K1, 50t, 20t, 10t, 5t, 2t, and 1t.

Culture: Largely Melanesian. The traditional cultures of PNG (more than 200 have been identified) are kept alive in elaborate rituals involving deaths, feasts, marriages, compensation ceremonies and initiation rites. In country provinces, there are often variations in village construction, dialect and dress. Traditional Bilas (costumes) utilise natural dyes, wigs, shells, headdresses and body painting. Cultural heritage is celebrated in annual Sing Sing shows, at which village groups display their traditional singing, dancing and costumes. The shows at Goroka and Mount Hagen attract thousands of spectators each year.

Customs: Visitors can import 200 cigarettes, a litre of spirits and a small amount of perfume.

Departure Tax: A fee of K60 is payable by all departing international passengers at the Air Niugini Information Counter located on Level 1 of the International Terminal. In addition, all transactions within hotels, restaurants, bars and shops are subject to 10% goods & services tax (gst), which is included in prices quoted.

Dress: Informal and casual - thongs and sneakers are not permitted in some bars and restaurants. Skimpy clothing such as bikinis and shorts is not appropriate outside resorts. Good walking shoes are required and, in the Highlands, a sweater or jacket for the cooler evenings.

Driving/Roads: Driving is on the right-hand side. There are good roads around the main centres but roads are rough outside of these areas due to the rugged nature of the terrain. There is a good network of roads connecting the Northern zone and the Highlands. Most domestic travel between provinces is by air.

Electricity: 240 volts/AC50Hz. Some hotels have 110 volts for grooming appliances.

Entry Requirements: To obtain a visa before entering the country costs K75. You will need valid travel documents, sufficient funds for your stay in the country and an airline ticket with a confirmed outbound flight before the expiry date of your visa.

Embassies: All embassies are located in Port Moresby and some close between noon and 2pm.
  • Australia: Independence Drive, PO Box 9129, Hohola.
  • New Zealand: Waigani Crescent, Waigani, PO Box 1051, Boroko.
  • UK: Kiroki Street, Waigani, PO Box 4778, Boroko.
  • USA: Douglas Street, PO Box 1492, Port Moresby.

Emergencies: For emergency numbers for the main centres, see the Papua New Guinea Telephone Directory.

Food: Western-style food is available at restaurants, hotels, resorts and guesthouses, and there are European and Asian restaurants at Port Moresby. The traditional 'mumu' offers a feast of roast pork, sweet potatoes, rice and tropical fruit.

Guides & Safety: It is advisable to use a local guide when exploring in and around towns and villages. Guides know the tok ples (local language), and will know the places you can safely and easily visit. Common sense should always prevail – try to avoid secluded areas, always stay with your possessions and don't walk alone at night.

Health: Certification against yellow fever or cholera is required for travellers over one year of age coming from or through infected areas. Malaria is the main health risk and you should consult your doctor about anti-malarial preparation before arrival. Use insect repellent and cover your body in the evenings. Most towns have drinkable water but, in rural areas, it is best to boil water.

History: PNG was settled more than 30,000 years ago, although the first European sighting was made in 1512 by Portuguese explorers. It was named New Guinea by the Dutch explorers who followed. Missionaries and traders exerted a great influence, and today cultural heritage is largely preserved by small, independent villages.

Language: English is the official language in business and government circles, although more than 800 local languages and dialects exist. Melanesian Pidgin (Tok Pisin) is spoken by most people and Hiri Motu is common in Papua.

Medical Services: Doctors are available in all main centres and trained health workers staff medical clinics in the more remote areas. There are public hospitals in the provincial capitals and some privately owned hospitals. Dentists are available at Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul.

Politics: The country was initially divided between the Dutch, Germans and British. Australia took control of the British sector in 1905, and later captured the German sector during World War I. PNG became fully independent in 1975 and is a member of the British Commonwealth. Strong ties to Australia remain.

Religion: Christian influence predominates, but traditional beliefs and ceremonies are still practised in the more remote areas.

Shopping: There are modern department stores and smaller stores and craft outlets selling toiletries, clothing and souvenirs. PNG is known for its traditional handcrafts, which include bilums (string bags), masks, wooden bowls, baskets, drums, pottery and spirit boards. Saturday is a half-day for most shops and nearly all stores are closed on Sundays, so buy what you need the day before.

Sport and Recreation: Activities include golf, tennis, squash, bowling, birdwatching, hunting, caving and trekking. Water-based activities include fishing, diving, snorkelling, surfing, waterskiing. Team sports such as football, netball, cricket and softball are popular.

Tipping: Tips are not expected or encouraged. A gift can be given if you stay with a village or family.

Transport (Domestic): Most provincial travel is by air, with services departing from Jackson International Airport near Port Moresby. Taxis, hire cars and PMVs (Public Motor Vehicles) are available in the larger provincial centres. There are also ferry and boat services to offshore islands.

Useful Websites

PNG Tourism Promotion Authority
Air Niugini  
PNG Business Directory  
Government of Papua New Guinea
Media (Newspapers) or Media (Newspapers)

Visitor Information
PO Box 1291
Pacific MMI House
Port Morseby, NCD
You can also email PNG Tourism