Papua New Guinea - Facts

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  • Important pre-arrival information: Advance Notice of Arrival is required with all authorities. Find out more at Clearance.
  • One of the most fascinating countries in the world, Papua New Guinea is definitely best visited by cruising boat. This not only gives one the opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in a society still following ancient ways, but also avoids the lawlessness that has affected the large towns (on the mainland) of this rich, but poorly managed, country. Outside of the main centres life is little changed and by using common sense one should be able to avoid the few hot spots of trouble (see security section below).
  • A cruise in Papua New Guinean waters has been for many people the highlight of their world cruise, and if one chooses one’s itinerary carefully it is a country well worth visiting.
  • Over the years 1989-1997, the Bougainville region – in particular Bougainville Island – suffered great destruction of life and property during a civil war. The region is now self-governing and is attempting to break away from the rest of PNG. Consequently, it has been abandoned by the main government and there is now no formal law and order in that part of the country.
  • Nissan Island (part of Bougainville to the north) is spectacular and welcomes cruisers visiting.
  • The Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby has its own secure marina and welcomes visiting yachts. There are a large number of locally owned yachts in Port Moresby, where facilities are generally good.
  • Lae is a mining and transport hub and as such has an abundance of industries that can assist in yachting repairs and maintenance.
  • Rabaul, on New Britain Island, was always a popular spot among cruising yachts, many of whom used to spend the cyclone season in its landlocked harbour, which is the crater of a volcano. In recent years the town has suffered two destructive volcanic eruptions and sadly is now considered a dangerous port to visit.
  • Madang on the northern coast of New Guinea also has a well-protected harbour in an area scattered with islands, reefs and lagoons. Once a popular stop for Indonesia-bound yachts, it too is now considered a dangerous port to visit.
  • The best cruising in Papua New Guinea is found among the many islands to the east of the main island, where islanders still live a peaceful life and sail large traditional canoes for fishing and trading voyages.
  • Facilities in the smaller towns and outer islands are often basic. There are small boatyards with their own slipways dotted about the country, so one is never too far away should the need arise for some emergency repair. However, all essential spares should be carried on board and one should also provision the boat in one of the major centres before sailing to the islands. See Yachting Essential for more details.
  • Situated in the centre of the Asia-Pacific region, surrounded by the Coral, Bismarck and Solomon Seas, whose constant movements feed and enrich the marine environment, PNG has twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and an estimated 10 times as many as the Caribbean. Its diving has been rated the Top Dive Destination in the World in Rodale’s Scuba Diving Readers Choice Awards.
  • In November 2023 the country announced more than 16,000 km2 of new Marine Protected Areas in the New Ireland Province – the Mural MPA and the Lovongai MPA – to safeguard the habitats of marine turtles, dugongs, whales, dolphins, sharks and ray species.
  • PNG is famous for its cultural and colourful festivals.  It is possible to find a safe, protected anchorage to leave your vessel and attending these festivals in the highlands, the most famous of which is the Mt Hagen Festival which takes place in August.

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Papua New Guinea was last updated 2 months ago.

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  1. April 4, 2024 at 10:46 PM
    Catherine Hayward says:

    We checked out of PNG in Vanimo in July 2023 Greg Piawe at customs was extremely helpful …
    [email protected]
    but it is not an easy port as there is nowhere safe to leave the dinghy. We arranged for someone to watch ours on the beach … we hired a taxi to do a provisions shop as well as the immigration, customs and biosecurity stops which are not far away but a bit of a walk. Customs and immigration came to the boat initially ( pre arranged by email) then we had to go to the offices to sign paperwork. We had not had customs clearance from each internal port (not a good experience at Rabaul) but they overcame that for us. We arrived early and left before sunset. The habour master will guide you in to anchor … if you can get him on the radio .. ask Greg what channel they monitor as it was not 16!

  2. October 12, 2023 at 7:58 PM
    Alfred Wallace says:

    Hi Guys – does anyone have an email address for immigration/customs in Alotau – We are hoping to clear customs there in about 3 weeks time Ive sent my documents to [email protected] but after several requests for receipt of documents Ive heard nothing , therefore i would like to send them directly to Alotau office

  3. September 25, 2023 at 1:08 AM

    Is there a resource to find the various ports of entry / where you can clear out? Curious about some of the smaller islands, as the recommendations seem to be to stay away from the larger centres.

    1. September 25, 2023 at 9:52 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Ports of Entry are all listed in the main ports list. Just click on the anchor icon on the PNG page – – and this will give you a pop up with the different regions in PNG. When you click on the region it shows you which ports are ports of entry.

  4. July 4, 2023 at 7:29 AM
    Catherine Hayward says:

    Rabaul port of entry PNG

    For those wanting to check in to PNG at Rabaul … email suggested docs on noonsite to [email protected] (who will send it on) or directly to:

    Health Quarantine
    Peter J Tomadao
    [email protected]

    Jeffrey Owen: [email protected]

    ICA Immigrations
    Robin NAIKEN
    [email protected]

    John Nungu
    [email protected]

    Anchor at the Rabaul yacht club, Rod (live aboard there) will likely meet you, all the officials (health first) come to the yacht club pontoon and you can pick them up via dinghy. We obtained visas (no charge, great service) at the PNG High Commission in Honiara, SI. We cleared in very quickly, all in one afternoon. Apparently you can also obtain visas on line, but there is a charge.
    There are security concerns, be vigilant… I lived in ENBP nearly 40 years ago and love the place … sadly Rabaul is a shadow of its former self due to the past volcanic eruptions and evacuations/relocations to Kokopo and a whole host of demographic changes. People at the yacht club can advise you on safer activities. They ask for temporary membership fee KS 100.
    If you do not need to go to Rabaul I would advise heading straight to Kavieng and checking in there after anchoring at Nusa Island Resort. Beautiful and safe.

    1. July 12, 2023 at 5:47 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Thank you Catherine for this very useful feedback – it’s rare we get info. from cruisers in PNG so for sure we’ll be in touch to see what other information you can share with us. Do keep on posting – many thanks.

  5. November 7, 2022 at 6:58 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    These comments posted in response to this recent security report:

    Richard Chesher
    August 27, 2022 at 1:26 AM

    Kandrian was a bad area when we cruised there in 1976 and again in 1979. Other dangerous areas include Lae, Port Moresby, and Kieta on Bouganville. Trobriand Island locals like to steal whatever they can from yachts, preferably when the crew is ashore or out swimming.

    Hans Clemmensen
    November 1, 2022 at 11:49 PM

    It’s not getting any better PNG. Alotu and the bay into Alotau, reports from locals is more attacked while heading into town AM and going home PM.
    I’ve been in Cavedos islands last 5 month without any problem. My advice only visit small islands. Stay away from towns with bee sale, and lots of shops. Even at Misima 8sland port, young guys are making trouble for locals coming in to sell fish. All the shops have fence all around the shops

  6. July 25, 2020 at 9:26 AM
    neddy says:

    Hi Noon site

    Been a while, nice to see new Web site.

    I red you still have Radio Australia as a working Short Wave Radio, Not so was closed about 3 years ago. RADIO NZ is now alone.
    After dark you can pick up weather and news on AM 630, out of Townsville. It’s a ABC radio North Qld station.
    In Milne Bay, you can pick up 7n for on HF 5885, 7am local. Here you can speak to island station and cargo ship sailing between Alotau and outer islands.
    The last year or so, lots of pirat attacks close to Milne Bay entrance and on the the north of Alotau. Even Conflicgt Island resort was not spared for and attack earlier this year.
    Still after been cruising Louiseade since 1993, the islands in Calvedos out to Russel are stil safe to visit. I have never locked my hatch while on anchor at the islands.
    Now have a god mooring at Nimoa as I spend 1 more th or 2 in this part of the islands, that’s when the worst of the winter storms and strong wind warnings rage the western part of the lagoon. Nimoa island is nicely potted by Sudest Island.

  7. February 13, 2020 at 1:35 AM
    muoza says:

    Hi everybody, we work as consultants for a development co-operation in Madang (just sold our yacht, but already looking for the next one, to treat the homesickness…).

    We live in Madang since Sept. 2019 (planned until Aug. 2021) – and we have mixed impressions. People here are possibly the friendliest we have ever met on all our trips! The nature and the culture is rich and amazing. But Madang it is also one of the most dangerous places we have ever been to. We would love to come again by boat, visit our local friends, but we would not dare to return under sails. We consider the chance to get attacked by pirates (using open dinghies with outboard engines), day and night, extremely high. The trend is negative, things get worse, not better.

    Even using a local boat transport is risky: 5 locals died in a pirate attack in Dec.2019, crossing from Karkar island to the main island in a dinghy. One week before, on the same route, my partner missed an attack just by a few minutes. These are some incidents of many others. Police arrested 4 people by end of Dec. 2019 – but we doubt that this solved the problem.

    In the Madang Marina, there are two sailing boats moored at the moment (Feb. 20), rather old, about 30 to 32ft, no liveaboards. Even in the Marina we would not feel save, as local dinghies go in and out. I did not spot any cruisers in the last 5 months, so far. Mainly cargo vessels, using the service faclilities, come in.

    At Basamuk Bay, about 20 miles southeast of Madang, a nickel/cobalt mine (Ramu Nickel) pumps loads of concentrated sulfuric acid into the sea, contaminated with mercury, arsene and other chemicals. Due to several spilling accidents in 2019, the government banned fishing and swimming. Meanwhile government says all is safe, again. But we doubt it – personally, we would avoid fishing (50 miles) and bathing (20 miles) around that area.

    Personal opinion: We would definitely go to PNG by boat, but would avoid the main island wherever possible. Rather look for the smallest islands far out. Small populations have a high level of social control, which gives criminals a difficult life. Talk to the local chiefs and show respect to the eldest, make friends, contribute to the village (school) – so the villagers will feel responsible and take care of you in return. They have a strong relational system (Wontok-Stystem – derives from one talk, one language). If you approach them on a very respectful eye-level, heart to heart, you will find friends for lifetime. They will keep you save, defend you – and potential attackers know that!

    Do what they do: Be humble, speak with a silent voice, not too much eye-contact, smile, giggle and laugh a lot, support the local school, go to church with them on Sundays, buy their fish, fruits and veggies (they are great gardeners), share some food (no alcohol), listen to them, try to pick up their language (Tok Pisin, a regional pidgin language). Don’t teach them if they don’ t ask for it. Many are illiterates, but they are amazing speakers and philosophers by nature.

    Hint: The locals have a sixth sense for western arrogance! If you think you are superior – maybe you don’t even realize it yourself – they will feel it instantly and let you pay for your behavior in a sensible way, without letting you know. You will end up in the conclusion: “These people are not very helpful and not reliable, either…”. You will confirm your own prejudice, move on and never come back – exactly what they would hope for… 😉

    If you intend to come to Madang or if you have any other PNG related questions, let us know in advance and we will see what we can do for you. Conversely, we would also be happy to receive current information about your experiences: [email protected]

    Safe trip and enjoy your life!

  8. October 5, 2019 at 9:21 PM
    snaeco says:

    Be Aware – from Australian Citizen
    PNG can be dangerous – with Australian Military in operations around Port Moresby.
    Multiple NGO’s operate on the island to keep the country stable
    Many Australians have gone mission while bush-walking on trials.
    Approach with caution

    1. March 13, 2020 at 4:44 AM
      laeyot says:

      This is completely false. “Many Australians have gone missing………”

      Utter nonsense.

  9. May 31, 2019 at 9:33 AM
    g-maschwitz says:

    Hi to the crew of noosite, I am Guenther from SY BORA, german flag. For planning my routes from Greece to now Vanuatu I often use the noonsite articles.
    Cocerning the ” new noonsite” I have the following comments:
    – It would be great to mark the ports of entry again;
    – as you tranferred the articles of other sailers into the new form you use the date when you tranferred them. So it is not obvious in which year they were issued or wether they sill applicable.

    1. June 5, 2019 at 12:50 PM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Hi Guenther,
      Thanks so much for your feedback, both of these issues we are attending to. We appreciate how very useful Port of Entries are, and we are working to get these clearly identified shortly. Dates now appear on all reports and news accessed via the hamburger menu, and for those related to ports and countries dates will be coming very soon. Thank you for your patience.

  10. August 27, 2018 at 5:00 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Cleared in and out of Port Moresby with no issues. Only charge was 55 kina($20) to quarantine. They even cleared in on a Sunday and out on a holiday Monday. RPYC no longer has moorings.

    They have added more slips, total of 256, many are empty and available. Area surrounding is safe in daytime. Grocery stores on each side, one on left is a little cheaper but one on right is in a mall with an alcohol store.

    RPYC offers free Wi-Fi in the club just ask for passwords at the front desk. We toured many areas within a couple hours of Port Moresby and were never frightened. People were very kind and friendly.

    Vodaphone and digital are both available at the mall to the right, 3-minute walk, they seem to be expensive and often the systems are down. (160 kina $70 for 5 GB) Man name Brian is the club welcome person and very knowledgeable. Has lived here for 60 yrs. he can help with almost any query.

  11. June 10, 2018 at 11:48 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    May 2018: Checking out at Vanimo Papua New Guinea – a warning!

    For cruising yachts intending to exit PNG at Vanimo, we would like to share with you our recent checkout experience there.

    We entered PNG at Rabaul in May 2018 and issued a 30 day Visa on Arrival by the Immigration Officer at Kokopo International Airport. Customs informed us of the need for point to point check in at each port visited and we were issued with the appropriate documentation.

    On our arrival in Vanimo, we completed the customs check in as required. In light of the information sourced on Noonsite about security issues, we introduced ourselves to the police who were very helpful and keen to make our stay a safe one.

    After 6 days of a pleasant, uneventful stay we contacted Mr. Stanly Gardiwilo, Immigration officer, to arrange a time to complete the formalities and what followed was a sad end to our visit.

    We were subjected to verbal abuse of the worst kind, an extraordinary irrational tirade that included threats of extortion and seizure of our passports. Mr. Gardiwilo refused to discuss the matter with Immigration in Rabaul or Customs in Vanimo.

    He refused to stamp our passports out because we had not come to see him on our arrival in Vanimo. (Immigration at Rabaul confirmed we were NOT required to visit immigration until exiting PNG).

    We were told to ‘come back next week’ (after our visas had expired) and would then be fined in a court of law and could expect to be jailed! We would have been in a very precarious situation had it not been for the excellent work provided by the Australian.

    High Commission in Port Morseby in liaising with relevant authorities on our behalf. We were also confined to our yacht while Mr. Gardiwilo gave consideration to our situation overnight.

    Our passports were duly stamped the following morning and we left Vanimo. While not required, it would be prudent to visit Immigration if planning to stay in Vanimo to avoid the very unexpected situation we found ourselves in.

    A formal complaint has been made to the relevant authorities in the hope that it will benefit cruising yacht community. Andrew Irwin Meredith Louey Mary Lafferty
    Yacht Calamia

  12. February 13, 2018 at 11:35 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Clearing in Milne Bay, only Alotau for full clearing. Samurai has only Custom Clearing. Misima have a health officer that will give you Quarantine clearance, but its no good if you go to Rabul, Samarie take it in as good.

    More info [email protected]

  13. July 16, 2017 at 5:51 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    For up to date information or connecting with sailors in Papua New Guinea great information is available from RPYC Sailing Division – make contact via their Facebook page:

  14. March 12, 2016 at 1:02 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Hello. I’ve been part of Katharsis II crew in July 2015 for PNG leg between Alotau and Madang. Our route was Alotau-Discovery Bay-Esa’ala-Dobu-Tewara-Kiriwina

    (Kaibola-Omarakana-Losuia)-Kokopo-Rabaul-Duke of York-Byrona Strait-Au-Bagabag-Madang. Most of this trail I have marked by Holux GPS. If anyone needs info pls contact me.

  15. December 8, 2015 at 5:47 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Read about SY INTI’s project to distribute donated school supplies to remote areas in PNG and the Solomons adjacent, under “related news”. If you are planning on cruising this part of the South Pacific, you can help.

  16. September 17, 2015 at 7:52 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Hi Sue, thanks for your response. After being told that I could, then I couldn’t by the same person in PNG consulate in Brisbane I found out that you can’t get one on arrival if you’re arriving by yacht.

    Or you might but they would have to send it to Port Morseby and back. I have just got a visa in Brisbane, took a couple of weeks and a dozen emails to sort it out.

  17. September 1, 2015 at 7:39 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Hi Simon, as far as noonsite is aware, visitors arriving by yacht in PNG can only obtain visas on arrival at designated international port of entry, i.e. Port Moresby, Rabaul or Daru.

  18. August 28, 2015 at 2:52 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Does anybody know whether you can obtain a visa on arrival if you arrive by boat into Bougainville? I am a UK national.

  19. February 8, 2015 at 12:52 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    We sailed briefly through the P.N.G with our three kids aged 9,7 and 6 in Oct and Nov 2014. We had no difficulties. Please note we stopped at very few places due to time pressures.

    We used SV Totem’s map to plan our route and followed the same precautions as in the Solomons. We stayed away from the mainland and bigger towns. We cleared in at Kavieng which was a very very simple straight forward process.

    We listened to advice from locals about where to anchor, where to leave our dinghy, that kind of thing and once again, as in the Solomons, either we were in the right places or we were lucky but we never had any cause for concern leaving our boat or at night.

    A major highlight was the Hermit Islands. If you go there stock up on bath towels as that was an item high on the ladies trading list when we visited! Clearance from Vanimo was relatively smooth.

    A note on malaria precautions. If you wish to take meds doxycycline for adults is available in many places but not Larium (or anything else) for kids. We got a prescription from a hospital doctor in Suva, Fiji.

    I thought we could get a repeat in Indonesia but it has proved impossible. We were kindly given some malaria tester kits that you can buy online by another ‘kid boat’.
    We also brought treatment meds in Kavieng that were recommended by the guys at Nusa Resort.

    The pharmacist was great as she made up little kits for each member of the family with the correct doses for each person. So, we try to avoid being bitten by using deet lotion (called “Autan” in Papua and Maluku).

    Long sleeves and trousers in the evening, trying to be back on board before dusk and mossie nets.
    We enjoyed our short time P.N.G and are keen to return and spend much longer there.

  20. November 29, 2014 at 5:29 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Correct Procedure for Entrance Clearance in Rabaul/Kokopo.

    It is very important that yachts follow the proper procedure for clearing into PNG through Kokopo/Rabaul. You must anchor by Rabaul so that Quarantine inspection can be carried out before you are cleared in with Immigration and Customs in Kokopo.

    The authorities are extremely concerned that yachts are not adhering to the correct procedures. The Quarantine man, Peter Johnson, said the best thing to do is to go to the Yacht Club and they will help yachts do things the right way.

    There was the talk of fining us and another yacht who had not done things the wrong way round too. Rabaul is the official Port of Entry, not Kokopo.