Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from Australia in 1975. Currently run by acting prime minister Sam Abal.
Head of state:
HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor General Michael Ogio since 2010.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare since 2002.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-style three-pin plugs are in use. Some hotels provide 110-volt outlets in guest-rooms.
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.