Papua New Guinea

The most popular location in Papua New Guinea for divers, Madang Province consists of reef-fringed lowlands backed by some of the most rugged mountains in Papua New Guinea and offshore volcanic islands.

Colourful Madang township has been called the "prettiest town in the South Pacific". Its peninsula setting is a show-place of parks, waterways, luxuriant shade trees and sparkling tropical islands. Although small, the town has modern urban facilities, including hotels, department stores, markets and artefacts shops.

The people of Madang can be broken into four distinct groups - islanders, coastal people, river people and mountain people. These groups are similar in appearance except for the smaller Simbai mountain tribesmen from the foothills.

The area is world famous for its coral reefs and good visibility making diving good all the year round. There is a variety of easily accessible places to dive, including land based dive sites, an abundance of reef and pelagic fish, dramatic drop offs, shells and soft and hard corals.

Those who like diving on wrecks will find the area dotted with sunken ships and aircraft. Diving instruction is available from most of the hotels in Madang.

Game fishing is a popular sport and the coastal currents around Madang carry sailfish, kingfish, tuna, mackerel, barracuda, marlin, yellow fin and wahoo within 100 metres of the shore providing anglers with plenty of good sport. Fishing is especially good off the waters around Karkar and Bagabag Islands.

Two volcanic islands offshore from Bogia have volcanic cones rising 1,800 metres above sea level which provide a spectacular sight for visitors, and the South East Coast road which leads to Balek Wildlife Sanctuary has strange fish-filled sulphurous caves, jungle walks and hot springs.

A variety of local markets sell artefacts, shell jewellery, cavings and pottery. Tours can be arranged to visit the nearby villages of Bilbil and Yabob to see traditional clay pots being made or you can explore Madang Harbour with a morning harbour cruise. The south Coast road leads to the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary, which has strange fish-filled sulphurous caves, jungle walks, and hot springs. The Sanctuary was also location for filming scenes into he Pierce Brosnan movie "Robinson Crusoe".

Madang hosts the Mabarosa Festival each year, a colourful display of dancing, singsings and bamboo bands.

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From Madang the MV Melanesian Discoverer explores the lower Sepik and Trobriand Islands. The Melanesian Discoverer is a luxury 42 passenger catamaran operating scheduled cruises from Madang, offering five day Sepik River cruises and one week cruises to the Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay Province.

Madang is serviced by daily flights from Port Moresby via Lae and the Highlands and has a number of locally based third level airlines servicing small airstrips in the province. Helicopter charters can also be arranged. Madang is also linked by road to Lae and the Highland provinces.

Population: 252 411 citizens and 784 expatriates.
Land area: 29 000 square km.
Members in Parliament: 7.
Headquarters: Madang.

Districts; citizens; and major languages:

  • Bogia; 51 468; Manam, Mikarew, Katiati, Tangu, Tani.
  • Karkar; 29 296; Takia, Waskia.
  • Madang; 87 700; Amele, Gedaged, Mugil, Garuh, Garus.
  • Middle Ramu, hq Aiome; 33 097; Kalam, Rao, Kobon, Maring.
  • Rai Coast, hq Saidor; 23 237; Nahu, Rawa, Mebu, Nankina.
  • Upper Ramu, hq Walium; 27 613; Gende, Girawa, Rawa, Sumau.

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