The 5 most fascinating things about Papua New Guinea

five facts about papua new guinea

Papua New Guinea is a country that abounds with many unique and spectacular attractions: from cultural heritage to biodiversity to rich marine life.


Here are just five of the most fascinating facts about the country.


Image: David Kirkland.


  1. It has more than 850 languages

Papua New Guinea boasts more than 850 different languages and approximately 1,000 different cultures. It is definitely one of the most diverse countries in the world. To put this into perspective, the land mass of PNG is about 462,840 square kilometres with over 600 islands, and a population of just over seven million people. So, on average there are 8,200 people speaking the same language over an area of 540 square kilometres per language. In some places only 2,000 people can speak just one language and live in an area of less than five square kilometres.
Find out more about the culture here.


Image: David Kirkland.


  1. It hosts 5 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity

Papua New Guinea is home to 5 per cent of the world’s biodiversity, even though it only covers 1 per cent of Earth’s total land area. It has more than 20,000 plant species, 800 species of coral, 600 species of fish and 750 species of birds. Since the country is less explored and exploited than other regions, it still retains much of its diversity.
Find out more about dive experiences here.


Image: David Kirkland.


  1. It is home to one of the world’s few known poisonous birds

The hooded pitohui is a bird native to the New Guinea island. It is medium-sized with black and chestnut plumage. The pitohui produces batrachotoxin compounds in its feathers, skin, and other tissues. The poison helps protect the birds from predators and parasites. Local hunters always try to avoid killing these birds.
Find out more about bird watching packages here.


Image: David Kirkland.


  1. It snows on the mainland

Although Papua New Guinea sits 160km north of Australia – just below the equator – and enjoys a tropical climate, snow has been known to fall on the mountaintops of the mainland.

Find out more about Mt Wilhelm and other trekking sites here.


Image: David Kirkland.


  1. It is home to the third largest rainforest in the world 

The island of New Guinea is home to the third largest rainforest in the world, coming in after the Amazon and the Congo. This rainforest covers almost 288.000 square kilometres of the island’s land mass from Papua New Guinea to West Papua in Indonesia.

Find out more about the provinces here.


For even more fascinating travel inspiration for Papua New Guinea, including the best diving, cultural festivals and tours, click here. 

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