Thursday, May 18, 2006

png: land out of time

Pic from PNG Tourism Website

(a site intended to cater specifically to the Aussie tourist).


Today I am cutting and pasting from the Sydney Morning Herald blog "Lost In Transit" - because yesterday its author wrote about coming to MY country ... and ricebag has a few friends out there who want to come here too and I am just enocuraging ... thats all folks.

Also I am adding down the bottom my own comment on the blog.


Land out of time

It's right on our doorstep, offers unique travel experiences, yet not that many of us seem willing to drop out of the modern world and explore Papua New Guinea.

Bad press has dented the adventurous spirit. The number of Australians taking time out in PNG is a minuscule fraction of those who holiday overseas. Does this country even appear on your radar?

Making the giant leap from stone age to digital age, PNG yesterday launched a

tourism website

under the catchline: "Like every place you've never been".

Based on my own experiences there I'd also suggest "Like nowhere else you've ever been." Where else, for instance, would you share your bus seat with a resplendently-feathered warrior who has a quivering arrow stuck in his thigh? Or find yourself trotting behind bare-arsed tribesmen on your way to an archery contest?

PNG provides experiences every day that are totally out of the ordinary. It's a wild and wacky country. Travel there does demand you quit your comfort zone at times. But the rewards are always memorable. In Rabaul I sank cold beers at sundown while watching Tavurvur volcano spew red hot rocks and plumes of dense smoke. I still get mileage at dinner parties recounting the trip made down river in an odd-looking boat called the

Sepik Spirit


PNG certainly suffers a negative image problem, projected largely through media reports revolving around raskals, robberies and rape in the capital Port Moresby. Parts of the city are certainly best avoided, particularly at night, but that applies to any city. Anyone on an organised tour is unlikely to experience trouble, especially once away from urban areas. Keen surfers, scuba divers and fishermen will need no persuasion. They form a significant portion of those who do visit the country. PNG's bid to become the next big thing in tourism hinges on extending its appeal to a far wider Australian audience and, in this, it will be greatly assisted by soft adventure options such as

Adventures in Paradise, expedition-style cruises by the Orion and similar ventures by the Oceanic Princess


May 17, 2006 11:14 PM COMMENTS

  • Come come come to my country. Come because you want to. Come because you can. Come because if you don't, you'll never know that the worst in life is always smacked down by the brilliant best in life.

    Occassionally I will surf the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree ... see if (now that my travels have stalled) I can offer some advice etc for people about places I've been, things I've seen, stuff I've done. I love going to check questions on travelling in PNG - invariably about how 'dangerous' it is or isn't to come here.

    Wow. Its hard to comprehend the degree of misconceptions out there and in fact the almost paranoid and extremely skewed view people living out of png have about those of use who do live here.

    PNG is no cup of tea. She won't rub your feet and kiss your cares. She will shake you up and pare you down - it's just the incredible rawness and purity of her land that can grab you and never let go. And that's why you come.

    I am from PNG. A young woman. I have travelled solo through the middle east, central Asia (incl Afghanistan), Indian sub-continent, China, South-East Asia, Europe etc etc ... and travelled independent, mostly by foot or hitching etc with a tent, celestial map and waterfilter in tow ... I KNOW hard travel, especially with this hard passport from PNG amd all the glorious anomalies that brings to my travel experience.

    I have ALSO travelled independently in PNG - it IS possible. Everywhere, people will look out for you. The dangers are real, but there is a converse side to this - for all the raskols, there are many more normal people who are just getting on with living their lives.

    This country made up of a thousand language systems dictates that people create intricate communical and public social relationships in order to maintain their smaller familial ones and these relationships extend themselves in a thousand different ways at every level of society and to every visitor to our part of the planet.

    I think the dangers are real ... but as an intrepid traveller myself who has been to other no-go-zones in the world, I've found some universal truths ... one of which is that you must know yourself - if you're one of those people that has the ability to understand your instincts and to trust in people, then other people will trust in you and take care of you. Its not about being brave or stupid or foolhardy - its that taking a trip to PNG is taking as trip into yourself and into mankind. And those trips are not for the fainthearted and are not for the lazy. It takes hard work - hard work keeping an open mind and energy to keep going when in a challenging environment. But the rewards and the ride are experiences you can't replicate in more tourist-friendly destinations ... that's probably because hoofing it 'independently' in PNG requires travellers, not tourists.

    Come if you want to come.

    Posted by: Islandbaby at May 18, 2006 10:41 AM


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