Humans arrived in Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the other half is part of Indonesia) as many as 45,000 years ago. Still, it’s one of the world’s least explored countries, thought to be home to numerous groups of uncontacted people living in the dense rainforests and rugged, mountainous terrain. It’s also one of the most culturally diverse countries, having been settled and then colonized by an array of African, European and Asian peoples.
Clearly, Papua New Guinea is a fascinating place to visit on a cruise. You can visit one or more of several ports of call:
Alotau is a gateway to some of the most remote communities and pristine offshore islands in Papua New Guinea. You can get acquainted with the area on a tour that also provides a history World War II’s Battle of Milne Bay, which changed the town. It’s fun to simply walk around and meet some of the friendly local residents (the local word for “foreigner” is dimdim, so please be aware that no one is calling you “stupid”). The local market features exquisite wood carvings and other locally-made crafts.
The port of Rabaul is a survivor – the town has been destroyed more than once, by bombs during World War II and by volcanic eruptions, most recently in 1994. Still, blessed with abundant natural beauty, Rabaul keeps rising from the ashes. You can take a tour of the area’s volcanos, including Mount Vulcan, which has twin cones, and Tavurvur, the most active volcano. A visit to the Volcanological Observatory provides awe-inspiring views of Simpson Harbor, too. For World War II historians, there are Japanese war planes, half-buried in volcanic ash, and hundreds of miles of tunnels built by Japanese soldiers to conceal ammunition, hospitals and barracks.
You might also visit one of Papua New Guinea’s offshore islands, where life remains much as it was hundreds or thousands of year ago. Enjoy a white sand beach fringed with shade trees while island residents perform traditional dances; or tour a village, where the residents will be as curious about you as you are about them.
Some cruise lines offer itineraries that focus on Papua New Guinea, departing from Australian ports; or, you can visit on a longer cruise of the South Pacific and Oceania. For the details, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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