Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Papua New Guinea is a raw land, remarkably untamed and as variegated as swamp and jagged limestone; mud and moss forest; suffocating heat and Highland chill; plumed, pearl-shelled villagers and prosaic hill people; tiny tree kangaroos and enormous Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterflies.
When To Go
You'll probably want to avoid rainy seasons (although a good tropical downpour is a sight to be seen) but they vary across the country. In most places the wet season is December to March, the dry season from May to October. During April and November the weather can't make up its mind which way to go and tends to be unpleasantly still and sticky. The most notable variations on this pattern are Lae and Alotau where May to October is the wet (and we mean wet) season. The months from June to September are cooler, drier and better to visit PNG.
There are no real high and low seasons in PNG. At Christmas, Easter and other major holidays, hotels and transport can fill up, and booking ahead is advised if you're in a town during one of the cultural shows. It's worth scheduling your trip around a festival or event, such as one of the unforgettable cultural shows that are held between July and October. If you plan on trekking, diving or looking for that elusive bird, you'll need to research the best times to go.
General Safety - No-go Zone
Papua New Guinea is troubled by a high level of serious crime, particularly in the urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen. Travellers should use common sense to avoid any trouble - don't travel at night and respect any local advice regarding safety. All travel to the Highlands region, except on essential business, should be reconsidered because of high levels of crime and inter-tribal violence. This includes the Southern Highlands, Enga, Western Highlands, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands provinces. Travellers should stay away from the no-go zone around the former Panguna mine in Bougainville.
Check travel advisories and news services before travelling. See Safe Travel for updated government warnings