Travelling down the Sepik River is a rather interesting way to see the country, enjoy the ambience of a leisurely sail downriver and arrive at one’s destination! The river flows down from the mountains in Irian Jaya, winds its through dense rainforest, past swamps and grassland till it reaches the sea in a rush of spray and surf. Along the way, the river crosses inland lagoons, lakes and tributaries, all of which makes the journey an extremely memorable one. The river route also lays open the diverse tribal culture of the country.
The river also goes by picturesque tribal villages with houses built on stilts like that of the Abalem people in the Maprik area. The region is replete with the distinctive haus tambarans housing cultural artefacts and decorative carvings of the region. As the river traverses its way from the upper reaches of the Sepik to the lower reaches, it goes past many such villages, each standing out for its unique art, craft and architectural styles.
The Chambri Lakes is an area that would bring a gleam to any naturalist’s eye. The region has a rich variety of avian species - egrets, pied herons, Brahminy kites, jacanas, darters and many more. The riverine islands are a tangled mass of dense vegetation; in the shadows of which live both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. Quite a few private tour companies run tours to this area – and to the nearby villages with their unique pottery made in the traditional fashion by the coil method and fired in the open air. Visitors can actually see the entire process and also buy the finished product.
The Highlands are some of the prettiest and most inaccessible parts of Papua New Guinea - so remote that its residents were blissfully unaware of the existence of the modern world till the 1930s. The place now is a blend of the modern and the ancient. It's the most productive and densely populated region of the PNG.
Stunning scenery and natural beauty of valleys, rivers and mountains complete the picture of primitive perfection. Now open to the rest of the world, it has become quite easy to travel here, as roads are well laid and connected. The must see list for the highlands would include the Mt. Gahavisuka Provincial Park, Mt. Wilhelm (tallest mountain in PNG) and the stunningly beautiful Lake Kutubu.
Madang Province consists of a fertile coastal strip with some of the most rugged mountain ranges as its backdrop. The town of Madang, often described as `the prettiest in the Pacific' is sprinkled with parks, ponds, waterways and has plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and diving. Located on a peninsula, it’s setting is one of the most magnificent in PNG. It also has excellent accommodation and food. Kranket Island has several villages and a beautiful lagoon, and Long Island, is famous for its exotic birdlife.
Active volcanic islands are found offshore where you can go and marvel at their wonder. You can climb all the volcanoes in the area except for the still active Tuvurvur volcano.
Extremely popular with divers, the city of Rabaul met its untimely end in September 1994 when the Mt. Tuvurvur erupted and destroyed almost the entire city, leaving it shrouded in grey ash. Once counted amongst the most cosmopolitan cities in the Pacific, Rabaul is now a desolate wasteland, but it continues to attract tourists who come to see a once thriving city devastated by nature’s wrath.
Walking through the streets you can see all the buried buildings and rubble of houses. Diving is an awesome experience within wrecks of sunken ships and amidst the war relics in the harbour. Long tunnels that the Japanese built during WWII are interesting to explore. The harbour is still operational so you can either take a boat there or fly into Tokua airport.