Over in the southwestern Pacific in the Oceania region, Papua New Guinea is one of those underrated destinations off a family’s radar for a vacation destination. However, families seeking cultural experiences and incredible beaches should be more acquainted with this island country.
With all the exotic dazzle of a far-off destination and allure of a well-known luxury beach getaway, this is a diverse region filled with volcanoes to explore, scenic hikes, dense rainforests, beaches and coral-reef snorkeling.
While you can relax on any beach, dip in the hotel pool and enjoy a slew of amenities and services offered by your family stay, there’s no better way to explore Papua New Guinea than on foot, enjoying all the incredible active, outdoorsy and impossibly beautiful scenic activities.
The famous Kokoda Track is not for everyone, but definitely worth the work. If your family is on the adventurous side or your older kids are looking for a challenge and way to get out and explore, The Kokoda Track is a true undertaking. Extending nearly 60 miles, the trail welcomes athletic travelers to hike, single file, from the Solomon Sea to Mount Victoria.
For other serious climbers, check out Mount Wilhelm in the Bismarck Range. This trek is the highest mountain in the country and boasts a wide variety of trails for intermediate- to expert-level climbers.
Not the highest peak in Papua New Guinea, but definitely one of the most beautiful, Mount Giluwe offers forest hikes, lush grasslands and incredible peaks in the near distance. Most levels can find a trail that suits them through this ruggedly stunning terrain.
Head to Varirata National Park for trails ranging by all ages and levels of activity, but with diverting views and lovely natural landscape. Pack a bag with snacks, water and your camera and head out on a family walk through the park.
For even easier walking with scenic sights, Port Moresby Nature Park is a great locale to explore with the smaller kids or less athletically inclined. You’ll have all the same beauty of vibrant flora and fauna without all the trekking.
On the more leisurely side of the dial, but equally as beautiful, snorkeling is a popular pastime in Papua New Guinea. As long as you can swim, you can snorkel, so it’s great for all ages, specifically at Kimbe Bay, a famous locale for snorkelers, scuba divers and private boats bringing travelers to the scenic shores to dive in and swim.
You can essentially snorkel, swim and splash around on any beachside locale in the country, but check in with your hotel on the best spots to see coral reefs and marine life.
Island hopping is a great way to see the sights and explore the unique landscape of the country. Hire a private boat and spend the day exploring Dioni Island and the East Channel, or the long stretch of beautiful beaches on Loloata Island. Another stop, Panasesa Island offers the history of Milne Bay, Port Moresby and even an eco-friendly resort. Grab a surfboard and head to Nusa, or go sailing through Ninigo Islands.
Bagana is an active volcano on the island of Bougainville, surrounded by beautiful hiking trails and untouched natural beauty — a few things Papua New Guinea is definitely not lacking. Volcanoes are basically a dime a dozen in the country, along with an interesting war-torn history, so feel free to explore and check a few off your list of adventurous locales to visit in the country.