Papua New Guinea is a land of hundreds of languages and cultures.

Children are fascinated by their images on

the viewing screen of a video camcorder

Facts about Papua New Guinea

Why do people visit Papua New Guinea? Take your pick: breathtaking diving experiences, fascinating native cultures, active volcanoes, Flying Fox fruit bats, and even reports of giant Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs (long-tailed pterodactyls). Not many countries offer such an incredible diversity of tourist attractions.

Before deciding to travel to Papua New Guinea, however, it’s best to learn a bit about this tropical land. The eastern half of the mainland is part of Papua New Guinea; the western half is a province of Indonesia (formerly called Irian Java but now called the Papua Province). This island is the second largest in the world. The total land area of Papua New Guinea is slightly more than that of California, but with a population of less than 6 million (California has 36 million).

The three national languages are Tok Pisin (“Pidgin”), English, and Hiri Motu (“Motu”). Many, if not most, of the nationals (they may object to being called “natives”) learn the local village language as children, then learn one (or more) national language in school or through those outside the village. Some adults know three languages.

It contains some of the most remote unexplored jungles in the world.

A volcanic mountain in Morobe

Province, Papua New Guinea

Islands of Mystery:

Papua New Guinea


Government page of

Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea:

location, geography


Papua New Guinea

information from



U.S. Department of

State: travel information

on Papua New Guinea


Embassy of Papua

New Guinea to the

Americans, Wash. DC


Reports of live pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea


Press release on

pterosaur-like creatures

in Papua New Guinea

The country is now a constitutional monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II), gaining independence from Australia in 1975. There are still ties between Papua New Guinea and Australia and Australians are the primary tourists in P.N.G.

The total area is about 463,000 square kilometers, most of that being tropical rain forests. Many areas are practically inaccessible, with plane flights the main  way of getting into some areas of the mainland (including small planes).

Most of the six million inhabitants live in small traditional societies. The largest city is Port Moresby, the capital. Other major cities are Lae and Madang. The country is divided into twenty provinces.