Best time to go to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is very close to the equator, so expect high heat and humidity whenever you travel.
The best time to go to Papua New Guinea is from Apr-Oct, when the rains ease off somewhat. It’s never dry here though, so be prepared with lightweight waterproofs, and keep an open mind should rain stop play. Most festivals take place during the dry season, so check dates if there are any you are particularly interested in. This is also the best time to take on the Kokoda Track. Small ship cruises tend to take place at the end of the dry season, while scuba divers will enjoy good visibility and warm water all year round.

Papua New Guinea Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
10
29
267
FEB
10
28
282
MAR
10
28
319
APR
10
28
272
MAY
10
28
250
JUN
9
27
196
JUL
9
27
190
AUG
9
27
210
SEP
9
28
222
OCT
10
29
280
NOV
9
29
243
DEC
10
29
279

When to go to Papua New Guinea

December, January, February and March are the rainiest months. Small group tours and trekking expeditions tend to avoid this period. Late May or early June through to October are the best months to visit Papua New Guinea as there is less chance of rain. Average temperatures may be slightly cooler – think mid to high 20°Cs rather than low 30°Cs. July tends to be the coolest month, followed by August. It is hot here all year round, but if you are heading up into the mountains it can get surprisingly cold, particularly at night. Bring a warm layer as well as a light rain jacket. The shoulder seasons of April and November can be a good time to get slightly cheaper deals on flights and accommodation. Visit in mid July to join the Warwagira and Mask Festival on East New Britain’s Kokopo Beach. The four-day festival celebrates the region’s many mask cultures, with energetic dances, rituals, storytelling and art and craft displays. Don’t miss the opening Kinavai Ceremony at dawn on the first day, or the dramatic fire dances performed by initiated young Baining men, which involve running and jumping barefoot through huge flames.

Our top Papua New Guinea Holiday

Papua New Guinea holiday, Tribes & Traditions

Papua New Guinea holiday, Tribes & Traditions

Unique small-group cultural tour to Papua New Guinea

From £5565 12 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2018: 24 Oct
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Hello. If you'd like to chat about Papua New Guinea or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Things to do in Papua New Guinea

What to do in Papua New Guinea...

Due to Papua New Guinea’s isolation, both its culture and nature have been allowed to flourish, undisturbed, for millennia, and as a result both are utterly remarkable. When it comes to biodiversity, even non twitchers will quiver at the sight of a bird of paradise; 40 species are unique to PNG and their incredible plumage turns them into rainbow coloured shape shifters during mating displays. No wonder they are one of Sir David Attenborough’s most enduring passions. Some 850 languages are spoken in PNG, making it the world’s most linguistically diverse country. There are believed to be around 44 uncontacted tribes, but happily for visitors there are plenty of communities that do welcome guests. Each village has its own cultural highlights: Asaro’s ‘Mudmen’, hypnotic masked dances, ‘mumu’ dishes cooked in the ground, fire lighting ceremonies, ghost dances, ceremonial headdresses... Crafts include elaborate woodcarvings, traditional weapons and musical instruments, and bilum string bags. Sign up for a night’s homestay to go that bit further into PNG village life. PNG’s forests, shores and islands are scattered with reminders of the WW2 battles that were fought here between Japanese and Allied – mostly Australian – troops. The Kokoda Track follows the sites of some of the most significant clashes, but if you don’t fancy the epic trek, you can visit the U-boat tunnels and see evidence of historic battles and the Japanese occupation on Nissan Island and New Ireland.

What not to do in Papua New Guinea...

Assume the Kokoda Track is a walk in the park. This 100km historical trail takes eight or nine days to complete, which may not sound like too much of a challenge. However, the terrain and climate tell a different story. You’ll need to be pretty fit to take this on; some trekking companies can arrange pre-departure workouts to get your fitness levels up. Protective clothing, bug repellent, sunscreen, blister treatment and a lot of water are essential, as is a positive mental attitude; the extraordinary views, super remote jungle and refreshing dips in natural pools should help keep spirits boosted – as will the sense of incredible achievement. Stay on dry land. Sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and small ship cruises are magical ways to explore the coral rich seas around Papua New Guinea, which are some of the clearest, warmest and most biodiverse on earth. Inland, take a Zodiac ride up Sepik River to encounter jungle wildlife and tiny villages scattered along its shores. Head off alone. In 2017, explorer Benedict Allen made headlines for trekking into the Papua New Guinea wilderness in search of a tribe he’d met decades before. He got lost, and he got sick. To be fair, he’d decided to travel without the aid of modern technology, but even if he hadn’t, this is tough terrain with a brutal tropical climate and the odd tribal skirmish; a SatNav can only get you so far...

Papua New Guinea travel tips

Culture & festivals

Culture & festivals

Alan Manning, a Papua New Guinea expert from our supplier Intrepid, shares his advice on visiting the country and on walking the Kokoda Track:

“PNG is an intrepid traveller’s paradise, and the abundance of cultures is one of its unique selling points. Many of our travellers, after being on trips to other festivals in the world, have mentioned that the Goroka Show and the Rabaul Mask Festival are up there with the top three cultural events they have seen. The main reasons for this are the raw nature of the performances and the diversity.”
What is special about PNG?

What is special about PNG?

“PNG is the destination for those travellers who have been to Africa, done India tours and so on. It is for people who want to travel to unique destinations that are not off the stock standard template I believe. This is a pioneer destination for people to visit; it isn’t mainstream and you won’t be dealing with mass travel and the crowds associated with mass travel destinations.”
Porters on the Kokoda Track

Porters on the Kokoda Track

“Each trekker has a personal porter who carries the trekkers pack. We have a 1:1 trekker to porter ratio to. Our aim is to provide greater employment opportunities for porters. Our intention is also that relationship building between the trekkers and the porters becomes one of the most important experiences of the trip, reflecting the wartime bonds between Australian troops and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.”
Why hike the Kokoda Trail?

Why hike the Kokoda Trail?

“Travellers undertaking the Kokoda Track can expect a sense of achievement at having completed one of the world’s most famous walks. They will have firsthand observation of unique and spectacular natural features of the land, as well as some understanding of what the Australian soldiers must have gone through in their fight to protect our country. Similarly, they can also achieve a sense of comradeship that can only be gained by a group of people who have worked under trying conditions to attain a common goal.”
Safety on the Kokoda Track

Safety on the Kokoda Track

“The track is isolated and backup medical and rescue services are not easily available, but we have drawn up a contingency plan for evacuation from along the track in the unlikely event of a serious problem occurring. The focal point of any communication with the outside is our satellite telephone and two way radio. We track all our groups with a GPS tracker which give us a 10 min ping location of the group. And of course, we have a medical first aid kit on track at all times.”
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: Ethan Daniels] [Temp intro: eGuide Travel] [What to do: Anselmo Lastra] [Culture and festivals: Anselmo Lastra] [Culture and festivals: Anselmo Lastra] [What is special about png: eGuide Travel] [Porters on the Kokoda Track: Peter Miller] [Why hike the Kokoda Trail?: Luke Brindley] [Safety on the Kokoda Track: Peter Miller]
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