Where is Papua New Guinea located?

What countries border Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea Weather

What is the current weather in Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea Facts and Culture

What is Papua New Guinea famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: The people are proud of their diversity and land. Most individuals have a strong sense of belonging to a tribe... More
  • Family: The extended family is the basis of support for most people. While a household is usually occupied by the nuclear... More
  • Personal Apperance: Western-style clothing is most common, with traditional attire limited to extremely remote areas. Men wear shorts or pants, but a... More
  • Recreation: Soccer, rugby, and cricket are popular sports. Traditional recreation involves storytelling, dance and song. Electricity is not available everywhere so... More
  • Diet: The staple food in the Highlands is kaukau (sweet potato), while on the coast and in the lowlands saksak (a... More
  • Food and Recipes: In general, two large meals are eaten, with snacking throughout the day. The most common utensil is the spoon. Hands... More
  • Visiting: Papua New Guineans may spend a large portion of each day visiting, often stopping in at the home of a... More
  • Dating: A woman is officially purchased and her family compensated for its loss through a negotiated bride price, which is exchanged... More

Papua New Guinea Facts

What is the capital of Papua New Guinea?

Capital Port Moresby
Government Type parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Currency Papua New Guinean Kina (PGK)
Total Area 178,703 Square Miles
462,840 Square Kilometers
Location Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Language Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region
GDP - real growth rate 16%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $2,800.00 (USD)

Papua New Guinea Demographics

What is the population of Papua New Guinea?

Ethnic Groups Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Languages In Papua New Guinea, languages fall within two basic language stocks: Melanesian and Papuan. English is the official language and is taught in public schools. The language used at home, however, is almost always that of one’s language group. Melanesian Pidgin (Tok Pisin) is the most widely used language. Motu is the most common indigenous language, used primarily in the Papuan region.
Nationality Noun Papua New Guinean(s)
Population 7,259,456
Population Growth Rate 1.89%
Population in Major Urban Areas PORT MORESBY (capital) 343,000
Urban Population 12.500000

Papua New Guinea Government

What type of government does Papua New Guinea have?

Executive Branch chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob DADAE (since 28 February 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister James MARAPE (since 30 May 2019)

cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general nominated by the National Parliament and appointed by the chief of state; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general pending the outcome of a National Parliament vote

election results: James MARAPE reelected prime minister; National Parliament vote - 105 out of 118
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Papua New Guinea

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years
National Holiday Independence Day, 16 September (1975)
Constitution history: adopted 15 August 1975, effective at independence 16 September 1975

amendments: proposed by the National Parliament; passage has prescribed majority vote requirements depending on the constitutional sections being amended – absolute majority, two-thirds majority, or three-fourths majority; amended many times, last in 2016
Independence 16 September 1975 (from the Australia-administered UN trusteeship)

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Papua New Guinea Geography

What environmental issues does Papua New Guinea have?

Overview Papua New Guinea lies in the southwest Pacific, just south of the equator and about 100 miles northeast of Australia. The largest of the Pacific Island nations, it includes the eastern half of the island of New Guinea which it shares with Indonesia and numerous offshore islands, the largest of which are New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville, and Manus. Their combined surface area is 286,248 square miles.

The main island comprises 85% of Papua New Guinea’s total land area. A complex system of mountains extends from the eastern end of the islands to the western boundary with the Indonesian province of Papua. Precipitous slopes, knife‑sharp ridges, great outcroppings of mountains rising to heights of almost 15,000 feet, and broad upland valleys at altitudes of 5,000–10,000 feet characterize this area. Most of the terrain is covered by dense jungles of tropical rain forest. Large rivers forming the world’s twelfth largest riverine network flow to the south, north and east; few are navigable except by small boats in the lower reaches. The largest river, the Fly, which begins in the mountains of western Papua, flows over 700 miles, and can be navigated for 500 miles.

Between the northern and the central range of mountains lies the Central Depression, which contains the Sepik, Ramu, and Markham River valleys. Lowlands and rolling foothills of varying widths stretch along most of the coasts. Huge tracts of wetlands are common in the poorly‑drained coastal areas. On the southwest littoral, the great delta plain of the Daru coast forms one of the world’s most extensive swamps, exceeding 100,000 square miles.

The archipelagic areas of Papua New Guinea include three major islands—New Britain, New Ireland, and Bougainville—as well as a great variety of smaller, often very isolated island groups. The islands contain many volcanoes, both active and dormant; rich agricultural zones; and considerable mineral wealth. Thousands of coral reefs make the surrounding waters a mecca for marine biologists and scuba divers, while several of the smaller island groups, including the Trobriands and Manus Island, were the sites of classic anthropological studies.

Climate Papua New Guinea lies wholly within the Tropics, and its climate is monsoonal. The "wet" northwest monsoon season extends from December to March and the "dry" southeast monsoon from May to October. Average annual rainfall is high, ranging from 80 to 100 inches. Although many areas have a wet and dry season, these terms are relative. Even in the so‑called dry season, 2–4 inches of rain per month fall in most areas. Many areas receive more than 200 inches, but a few, like Port Moresby, lie in a rain shadow and receive 40 inches or less annually.

Although tropical, temperatures are not extreme. Most lowland, coastal, and island areas have a daily average temperature of 81°F, and seasonal variations are slight. In the highlands, temperature varies with altitude. At 6,000 feet, the average temperature is 61°F; daytime temperatures rise to 90°F and nighttime temperatures fall between 40°F and 50°F. Lowland humidity is uniformly about 80% with very little seasonal variation. Humidity fluctuates more in the highlands where temperatures are lower.

Border Countries Indonesia 820 km
Environment - Current Issues rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Environment - International Agreements party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Terrain mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills

Papua New Guinea Economy

How big is the Papua New Guinea economy?

Economic Overview Papua New Guinea (PNG) is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain, land tenure issues, and the high cost of developing infrastructure. The economy has a small formal sector, focused mainly on the export of those natural resources, and an informal sector, employing the majority of the population. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the people. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued foreign demand for PNG's commodities.

Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Natural gas reserves amount to an estimated 155 billion cubic meters. Following construction of a $19 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, PNG LNG, a consortium led by ExxonMobil, began exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets in May 2014. The project was delivered on time and only slightly above budget. The success of the project has encouraged other companies to look at similar LNG projects. French supermajor Total is hopes to begin construction on the Papua LNG project by 2020. Due to lower global commodity prices, resource revenues of all types have fallen dramatically. PNG’s government has recently been forced to adjust spending levels downward.

Numerous challenges still face the government of Peter O'NEILL, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and maintaining good relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including chronic law and order and land tenure issues. In August, 2017, PNG launched its first-ever national trade policy, PNG Trade Policy 2017-2032. The policy goal is to maximize trade and investment by increasing exports, to reduce imports, and to increase foreign direct investment (FDI).
Industries copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production; construction, tourism
Currency Name and Code Papua New Guinean Kina (PGK)
Export Partners Australia 24.2%, Japan 9.4%, China 5.4%
Import Partners Australia 49.2%, Singapore 18.8%, New Zealand 4.4%, Japan 4.3%

Papua New Guinea News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Papua New Guinea?
Source: Google News

Papua New Guinea Travel Information

What makes Papua New Guinea a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Papua New Guinea is a developing country in the Southwest Pacific. The capital is Port Moresby. Tourist facilities outside major towns are limited, and crime is a serious concern throughout Papua New Guinea.


Papua New Guinea has a high crime rate. U.S. citizens have occasionally been victims of violent crime, including rape, carjacking, and armed robberies. You are at a greater risk of violent crimes such as robbery or rape if you travel alone, especially if you plan to hike in isolated rural areas. You may want to consider travelling as part of an organized tour or escort. Crime rates are highest in and around major cities such as Port Moresby, Lae, Mount Hagen, and Goroka, but can occur anywhere. Pickpockets and opportunistic bag-snatchers frequent crowded public areas including parks, golf courses, beaches, and cemeteries. Bag-snatchers may try to open doors of automobiles that are stopped or moving slowly in traffic. Please consult the State Department’s Primer on Personal Security for Visitors to Papua New Guinea.

Organized tours booked through travel agencies remain the safest means to visit Papua New Guinea although on rare occasions, even persons participating in organized tours may be subject to violent robbery, assault, serious injury, or death. In Papua New Guinea, avoid using local taxis or buses, known as Public Motor Vehicles (PMV's). Rely on your sponsor or hotel to arrange for hotel transportation or a rental car. Road travel outside of major towns can be hazardous due to criminal roadblocks near bridges, curves in the road, or other features that restrict vehicle speed and mobility. Lock your doors and keep your window rolled up. Please consult with the U.S. Embassy or with local law enforcement officials concerning security conditions before driving between towns. (See the Traffic Safety and Road Conditions section below.) Travel to isolated places in Papua New Guinea is possible primarily by small passenger aircraft to the many small airstrips throughout the country. Security measures at these airports are often inadequate.

Hiking Trails: Exercise caution if you plan to hike the Kokoda Track, the Black Cat Track, or other trails in Papua New GuineaTravel with guides from a reputable tour company. This is particularly important given the occasional threats by villagers to close parts of the track due to local land and compensation disputes. Check with your travel agent and/or tour operator for contingency plans in the event that the track is blocked. Hikers have been attacked even though they are part of an organized tour, sustaining serious injuries and death. You should purchase appropriate travelers/medical insurance before arriving in Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) has stationed rangers along the track and at airports to collect fees from trekkers who have not obtained a valid trekking permit. The KTA can be contacted by telephone at 675-325-5540 or 675-325-1887 regarding payment of applicable fees.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Papua New Guinea, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. If you break the law in Papua New Guinea, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Papua New Guinea, you may request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby of your arrest. You may request to have communications from you forwarded to the U.S. Embassy.


In Papua New Guinea, languages fall within two basic language stocks: Melanesian and Papuan. English is the official language and is taught in public schools. The language used at home, however, is almost always that of one’s language group. Melanesian Pidgin (Tok Pisin) is the most widely used language. Motu is the most common indigenous language, used primarily in the Papuan region.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities in Papua New Guinea vary greatly between larger towns and remote areas. Medical facilities in larger towns are usually adequate for routine problems and some emergencies. However, equipment failures and shortages of common medications can mean that even routine treatments and procedures (such as X-rays) may be unavailable. Medical facilities may be inaccessible in some rural areas. A hyperbaric recompression chamber for diving emergencies is available in Port Moresby. Pharmacies in Papua New Guinea are found only in urban centers. Pharmacies are generally small and may be inadequately stocked. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical services. Please see the U.S. Embassy website for a list of medical facilities in Papua New Guinea.

Diving injuries will almost always require medical evacuation to Australia, where more sophisticated facilities are available. Medical evacuation companies could charge thousands of dollars for transport to Australia or the U.S. If you anticipate the possible need for medical treatment in Australia, obtain a visa or entry permission for Australia in advance.

Safety and Security

Tensions between communal or clan groups may lead to localized conflicts involving bush knives, machetes, or firearms. Always consult with your tour operator, the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, or with Papua New Guinean authorities for current information on areas where you intend to travel.

If you plan to travel to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby for updated security information. South Bougainville continues to suffer from intermittent factional violence. Law enforcement in this area is weak, and tourist and transportation facilities are limited. If you travel to Bougainville, exercise a high degree of caution. Areas near the Panguna mine, located on the southern part of the Island of Bougainville, have been officially designated “no go zones” by the Autonomous Government of Bougainville; we strongly recommend that you avoid those areas.

Unexploded ordinance and mines may be found in Bougainville, East New Britain, and throughout the Papua New Guinea islands. Exercise caution when walking or hiking off marked roads and trails.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Papua New Guinea is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic in Papua New Guinea moves on the left. Travel on highways outside of major towns can be hazardous. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of serious injury in Papua New Guinea, especially to passengers sitting in the open bed of a pickup truck. Whether the driver or a passenger, you should wear a seatbelt at all times. There is no countrywide road network. Roads, especially in rural areas, are in a poor state of repair. Other common safety risks on PNG roads include erratic and drunk drivers, poorly maintained vehicles, and over-crowded vehicles. During the rainy season, landslides occur on some stretches of the Highlands Highway between Lae and Mount Hagen. Criminal roadblocks on the Highlands Highway are often encountered during the day and widely after dark.

Police roadblocks to check vehicle registrations are a regular occurrence at night in Port Moresby. As a driver, you should ensure that your vehicle registration and safety stickers are up-to-date in order to minimize difficulties at roadblocks.

Crowds can react emotionally and violently after road accidents. Crowds form quickly after an accident and may attack those whom they hold responsible by stoning and/or burning vehicles. Friends and relatives of an injured party may demand immediate compensation from the party they hold responsible for injuries, regardless of legal responsibility. People involved in accidents should go directly to the nearest police station instead of stopping at the scene of the accident.

For specific information concerning Papua New Guinea driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, road safety and mandatory insurance, please call the Papua New Guinea’s Motor Vehicle Institute Limited at 675-325-9666 or 675-302-4600.

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