Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour – though in reality it’s a world away. Tourist infrastructure is very limited so a cruise is the ideal way to explore this fascinating destination. The capital, Port Moresby, is vibrant, colourful and often challenging, while the outer islands like Rabaul, Madang, Kiriwana and the Conflict Islands offer plenty of opportunity of sampling tribal culture first-hand. Here you can visit tiny villages, with no electricity or running water, that have remained unchanged for centuries. The scuba diving is arguably the best in the world with untouched reefs, World War II wrecks and underwater visibility of up to 30-metres. Papua New Guinea is also celebrated for its surfing, hiking and regional festivals.
Who goes there: Coral Expeditions, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, North Star Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O World Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea.
Cruisers like: Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s last truly wild destinations. It’s amazing to think that a place like this is so close to Australia, when it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Take every opportunity to interact with the people, whether it’s watching a traditional dance ceremony in a village or just wandering through the local market. Visitors to the capital Port Moresby will find some interesting public buildings, such as the National Library, Parliament Haus and the National Museum & Art Gallery, an eclectic range of cafes, bars and restaurants and several beauty spots, including the Port Moresby Nature Park.
Best for: Adventure-seekers, scuba diving, surfing, long-distance hikers and culture buffs.
Getting around: Transport options are pretty limited in PNG, so you’re generally best to book an organised tour. You can find taxis in major centres like Port Moresby or Alotau. In more remote locations you can jump into a PMV (public motor vehicle) with the locals.