Papua New Guinea has long been a popular destination for trekking, mountain climbing and bushwalking. With largely unspoilt mountains, rivers and forest, as well as having been the focus for attention in World War 2 and the vast cultural and social resources, Papua New Guinea is an ideal place for both the fit trekking enthusiast or weekend bushwalker to visit.
Both full scale, professional standard treks and scenic bush walks of a few hours duration are available. Being largely unserviced by the tourism industry, the trekking, bushwalking and adventure market in Papua New Guinea has great potential. Most centres in PNG can produce treks and bushwalks of undeniable world class quality and beauty.
The Highlands region is famous for its tall mountains with scores of readily accessible peaks. Mt Wilhelm at 4509 metres, is the most popular target for mountain climbers with good road access to Kegsugl village from Kundiawa and National Parks huts for climbers to stay in. Recently the focus of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority sponsored guide training activities, the Mt. Wilhelm region is becoming the focus for individual and guided trekkers. Whilst being accessible, Mt Wilhelm is not easy and guides should be taken to assist climbers.
From the central Highlands city of Mt. Hagen, the towering peaks of Mt. Giluwe and Mt. Ialibu (both volcanic plugs), Mt. Hagen, Mt Ongo, Mt Kubor and Mt Kine Kaino Ku are all accessible. The Bismarck and Kubor Range both offer great trekking. Fifteen days hard trekking would see an expedition walk from the highlands town of Kompiam in Enga province to the Yuat River in East Sepik province where canoes would take the expedition on to Angoram. Several tour companies exist in Mt. Hagen which can assist the trekker. Goroka is the centre for several good climbs with Mt. Michael and Mt. Gahavisuka being accessible.
Caving is now receiving international attention with Papua New Guinea possessing several of the deepest cave systems in the world. The Southern Highlands has several high systems and the islands of New Ireland and New Britain also have explored and unexplored cave systems.
Many of the nations towns and government stations could be starting points for mountains climbing expeditions. A glance at the map reveals simply dozens and dozens of mountains in excess of 3,000 metres, many of which could be conquered by fir trekkers in a day or two at most. New Britain has many extinct and active volcanoes worth a climb and the Oro Province is similarly rich in good climbing.
The islands have good potential for long distance coastal treks, with villages being the ideal campsites. The interior of the islands and coastal regions offer largely undisturbed rain forests and cross island treks are possible with small towns being the start and finish points.
The old Bulldog trek and the famous Camel rally has trekked its way through some of the mountain roads. Kokoda and Port Moresby itself can be the jumping off points for the world famous Kokoda Trail trek. In World War 2, the Kokoda Trail was the scene of bitter fighting and the trail is now a national park in itself. The record is less than 24 hours however treks of 5 to 15 days are the most common trek length. The usual trek along the Kokoda Trail is about 10 days with Kokoda being the usual start point. Many trekkers carry their own packs however carrier/guides can be hired in villages along the route. There are number of points along the trail where light aircraft airstrips and regular or chartered flights are available so trekking the Kokoda Trail can be undertaken in sections. Several tour companies offer organised tours along the trail and for safety reasons this is advisable.
Mountain areas near village resorts hold environmental, floral and fauna delights unmatched by other destinations.
Moresby Motu people, in their Hula voyages and the Trobriand Islanders and their Kula voyages have both been emulated by tourist adventurers. The Arowe and Kombe Islanders of New Britain both completed major trans island trading voyages in large sail powered dugout canoes and these would be ideal tourist adventures. The Sepik river with its 1200 kilometres village-studded length has been the scene for many an adventurer purchasing a dugout or two, lashing them together and embarking of lifetime down the broad waters of the swirling Sepik. Of course a motorised canoe trek of the river is also an option with overnight stays in village houses, being a feature. Manus is now a growing centre for the adventure sport of sea Kayaking and trek around the islands is a new adventure for the enthusiast. The world sea Kayaking championships are now being mooted for Manus.
Trekking, with it adherent adventure sports of sailing, biking, caving, motor biking, rallying, bushwalking has an ideal base in Papua New Guinea. With its great forested mountains, remote islands and beaches, long winding river systems and unique cultural activities, the trekker and adventurer can find what they want in Papua New Guinea. The potential is great and the increased in village based tourism will mean the previously inaccessible areas will now be available for the trekker, adventurer or enthusiast to explore at will. Cooperation and collusion with the local landowners and farmers is always recommended. Contact the provincial tourism authority for more information on negotiating with local landowners and guides.