Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from Australian-administered UN trusteeship in 1975.
Head of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Michael Ogio since 2010.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill since 2011.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-style plugs with three angled flat pins are used. Some hotels provide 110-volt outlets.
Papua New Guinea is a fascinating country where travellers can explore remote villages, spectacular diving, stunning wildlife, scenic surfing and myriad cultures.
The tribal diversity of a country with over 700 languages and 600 islands cannot easily be summarised, although in Papua New Guinea it is the tribal life that is most fascinating to the visitor. There are many unique attractions, excursions and activities on offer, from discovering wrecks of WWII aircraft that lie in the jungle to peeking inside the sacred wooden haus tambarans (spirit houses) of towns and villages in the country.
One of the largest draws for those visiting Papua New Guinea is the country's extensive wildlife and unique ecosystem. From the mountainous highlands to the Evian-blue waters, travellers can expect to discover weird and wonderful creatures, from tree-climbing kangaroos to spectacular birds of paradise. Most of the country remains undeveloped, with the largest island of Bouganville staying away from resort hotels and commercialisation - ideal for the independent traveller.
Widespread cholera outbreaks continue to be reported in Papua New Guinea, particularly in the regions of East Sepik, Madang, Morobe and Eastern Highlands.
Law and order remains poor or very poor in many parts of the country. Armed carjackings, assaults, robbery, shootings and serious sexual offences, including rape, are common. There have been outbreaks of violence and looting against local Asian-owned businesses in Port Moresby, Mount Hagen and several other centres across Papua New Guinea. The situation is unpredictable. Travellers are advised to be vigilant in all cities, particularly during the hours of darkness.
The tropical cyclone season in Papua New Guinea normally runs from November to May.
Papua New Guinea sits along a volatile seismic strip called the Ring of Fire in the Pacific. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis are possible.
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: