Off The Beaten Track: Papua New Guinea

Now when you think of somewhere exotic to getaway, enjoy the beaches, marine life, culture and history, I bet you Papua New Guinea doesn’t come to mind – more like Thailand, Bali, Hawaii etc. Papua New Guinea has a pretty bad wrap from what you see or read in the media but I’m going to tell you why you should have it as a travel destination for 2016.

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Now I haven’t been to every country on the globe (although that is the plan) but PNG is unlike anywhere I have ever experienced before. I didn’t stick to the major cities like Port Moresby, I explored the islands and smaller towns where I was able to actually meet the people and immerse myself in the culture. If you live in Australia it is a pretty cheap destination to travel to – you can fly there or there are lots of cruising options too!

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The Shopping
On the mainland, I visited Alotau, Madang & Rabaul. I found shopping in the markets to be such a nice experience compared to other Asian countries – there is an array of beautiful hand crafted items, local foods, and touristy knick knacks, but no one hassles you to buy things or tries to drag you in to their shop! The locals sit around, smile at you, and are excited to share their crafts and talents.

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The Food
The food throughout the islands of PNG is so fresh and delicious you literally eat the fish the same day it’s caught! Kiriwina and Kitava Islands in particular focus on a diet high in fish, coconut, fruit & root vegetables, and it is said that the people who live on these islands have one of the healthiest eating habits in the world and are completely uninfluenced by the Western diet – not to mention they have limited access to electricity and modern medicine, and are the happiest people I have met in my life. I’m all about the food when I travel and having so much fresh, delicious, and healthy food at my fingertips, not to mention cooked by the locals, is always a highlight!

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The Culture & History
Hand carved boats that take years to make, diverse culture differing in each tribe, traditional crafts that are passed down generation to generation… what more do you want when you are traveling? Experiencing the culture and seeing the history in real life that you read about in a school textbook – now that is traveling! In each village or town that I visited, the locals put on a show was put on to welcome us filled with dance and stories, colour and life. I also had a chance to take part in grass skirt weaving and wood carving, although my skills were questionable. The local people are so passionate about what they do they want to share it with you – how often do you meet people like that on the road?

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The Island Life
If you want the ultimate beach holiday experience but away from all the tourists? Doini Island is your destination! A beautiful place located in the Trobriand Island chain, it offers beautiful pristine waters, white sandy beaches, and some of the most incredible snorkelling, reefs and marine life that I have ever seen. There is so much to see and do on the island too, like hiking, fishing, parasailing, explore the skull caves, or just sit on the beach with a coconut! The weather all year round, not to mention, is tropical so you are aren’t limited in travel dates!

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No matter what kind of holiday you’re after – whether it is full of adventure or relaxing by the beach & pool – Papua New Guinea has it all on offer – AND you won’t be swamped with tourists! It’s great to see prime tourist destinations, but it’s even better to head off the beaten track and explore where not many others have dared to go.

Have you ever traveled to Papua New Guinea? Where are some of your ‘off the beaten track’ travel destinations?

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