Papua New Guinea – Off the Track Adventure Travel

Still considered a rare spot on this earth untouched by outside forces, Papua New Guinea is the last off the beaten track destination. There is something wild, untamed and shrouded in voodoo magic about the shores of Papua New Guinea, where the painted faces of the Kunga Warriors leer through the thick mist shrouded trees, the plains are vast and wide and haven’t changed for millions of years, and the mountains soar to the sky and hold a dark heart. With so little infrastructure in place for mass tourism you will feel as though you have fell down the rabbit hole but moments where you drift down the Sepik River, swim with dolphins on the shores of the Pacific Madang and witness the blazing fire dances of the Baining people, these are moments to feel alive with adventure travel in Papua New Guinea.

Conquer the Kokoda Track

The most famous trail in the whole of PNP runs from the North to the South coast and boasts sixty miles of pristine unchartered landscapes where velvet green trees tower through the mist, gushing waterfalls spill into deep basins and local villages burst to life with locals hawking exotic fruits along the way. Embracing the true spirit of adventure you can hike part of the track or all of it for an extreme adventure. Following the war trail you can walk in the footsteps of Japanese soldiers in World War II whereas the eco trail is abundant in wildlife and the rich fabric of native flora.

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Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org/ArthurChapman

Deep Diving in the Oro’s Fjords

Thundering waterfalls drench the cliffs that hang over the seas, the waters teem with bright marine life and natives circle on handmade outriggers spearing fish and watching for enemies. The Oro Fjords are a vast wonder and beneath the blue you can see hammerheads, drifting turtles, schools of fat tuna and eagle rays. Yet it’s not only the pristine gifts of nature that tempt you in to the Oro Fjords, this is a place of cultural revelation where you can even be welcomed by a village chief and allowed rare access to watch the locals weave baskets, craft medicine from the bush, tattoo their faces and even perform ancient ritual songs and dances beside the burning embers of a bright fire.

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Wander the Highlands

Shark toothed mountain crags, rich fertile valleys, seas of cloud clinging to the peaks and the bright plumes of feathers both on the back of birds and the local tribes make the highlands a colorful place to visit. The Pindaunde Lakes glisten at the top of the world, white water rafting on the Wahgi River fuels the adrenaline glands and the Hagen Markets is one of the most sensory bazars in the whole of the country. You can swap your everyday wear for extraordinary rainbow feathers, highland hats and rare trinkets from the belly of the rainforests. In the western highlands you can find the Baiyer River wildlife sanctuary where birds of paradise flock to the humid branches dripping in brightly adorned feathers and singing piercing lullabies that transport you to another world. The remote edges of the highlands are ethereal, graced in beauty and blessed with few human footprints.

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Drift Down the Sepik River

The mystique of the Sepik River is often compared to the other great rivers of the world such as the Congo or the Amazon. Yet this is a river that holds its own as it tumbles down from the high mountains, winds in a loop through the verdant rainforests and flows through the country bringing life with it. The communities around the Sepik are water orientated and it is common to see dugout canoes bracing the waters, children collecting water and huts emerging through the trees nestling on the banks. This is the area where tribal art adorns every turn lacing it in beauty and mythology, yet it is also an area with a darker history, one where human flesh was consumed until only recently and grinning painted skulls are held as trophies in macabre fashion. Now the banks boast two luxury lodges where guests can sleep in dream addled bliss, explore the fascinating surroundings and listen to the splash of crocodiles and the beating of drums from the depths of the forest.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/DavidBacon

Top Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org/TaroTaylor

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes is a seasoned writer and an avid surfer with continuously itchy feet and a love of the finer things in life. After traveling through the continent with a touring band, living in Paris, Amsterdam and under the Auroras Borealis, she is now in Bulgaria where she attempts to piece together her first poetry collection.
Jodie Oakes