Papua New Guinea - People & Geography

Geography

Ambua LodgeThe country's geography is diverse and, in places, extremely rugged. A spine of mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region mostly covered with tropical rainforest. Dense rainforests can be found in the lowland and coastal areas as well as very large wetland areas surrounding the Sepik River. This terrain has made it difficult for the country to develop transportation infrastructure. In some areas, airplanes are the only mode of transport. The highest peak is Mount Wilhelm at 14,793 ft. Papua New Guinea is surrounded by coral reefs which are under close watch to preserve them.

The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of several tectonic plates. There are a number of active volcanoes, and eruptions are frequent.

People

Sepik villagerPapua New Guinea is one of the most diverse populations on earth with over 700 different languages spoken in a country with a population of around 5 million people.

There are many different and exotic cultures within Papua New Guinea and it is a land of traditional people living a subsistence lifestyle. People live in small villages and are dependent on subsistence farming. Women are responsible for the day to day work such as gardening and caring for young children.

There is much diversity between the cultures in Papua New Guinea, for example there is the colorful Huli tribe who inhabit the southern highlands of Papua New Guinea. Colorful clay is used for traditional body decoration by the Huli's. In contrast the young men of the Sepik region undergo painful skin cutting on their backs. This is a symbol of strength and power to resemble the much worshiped water spirit (crocodiles) of the Sepik.

The cultural shows and festivals of Papua New Guinea are a way for the proud local people to showcase their traditional customs and beliefs through dance and "sing sings". This also provides a wonderful opportunity for tourists to see the many different cultures of Papua New Guinea all come together in an array of color and passion.