New Guinea Photo by Asso Myron

New Guinea Driving Guide

New Guinea is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2023-08-31 · 9 mins read

New Guinea is the second-largest island worldwide and the largest island in the Southern Hemisphere, with a complicated history. This driving guide will discuss a few critical points of the island's history and why the island is now split into two. After the brief history, this guide will focus on the east half of the island, the side of Papua New Guinea, and the four provinces that make up Papua New Guinea.

Before jumping to the eastern half of the island, Papua New Guinea, you would first need to know the history of the whole island of New Guinea. For instance, before the island was named New Guinea, it was first known as Papua. Papua's name came from the two words in the Pulau Tidore (an island near New Guinea) language Papa and Ua - Papa meaning to unite, and Ua implying negation. When the two terms are combined, they form the meaning "Not United."

How Would This Guide Help You?

This guide will not only give you knowledge on how you can safely maneuver on Papua New Guinea, but it can also help you understand the origin of the whole island and how it was split into Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It may also help other people understand the difference between Papua New Guinea and the island of New Guinea. Even if Papua New Guinea is an independent country, it is still part of a larger island where many people get confused when they are asked.

General Information

New Guinea is the second-largest island worldwide and the largest island in the Southern Hemisphere. It is located in Melanesia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of the Australian continent. New Guinea is divided into two islands; the eastern half, where the independent state of Papua New Guinea is located, and the western half, called Western New Guinea or West Papua. The west part of New Guinea is included in the Indonesian propinsi or provinces.

The east side of New Guinea, where Papua New Guinea is found, is divided into four regions; the Highlands Region, Island Region, Momase Region, and the Southern Region. Each area has appointed ministers and department heads that help the Prime Minister maintain the balance between areas.

Geographic Location

New Guinea's location is in Melanesia, on the eastern side of the Malay Archipelago, north of Australia, in the Pacific Ocean. The island consists of a continuous chain of mountains the peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in elevation that stretched across the northwest to the southeast of New Guinea, where its highest peak is seen at Jaya Peak, rising to 16,024 feet (4,884 meters) in the western Papua province in the Indonesia province.

Languages Spoken

Since the island is split into two, and two different nations also ruled the eastern half in 1884, you can expect that this island had its fair share of many languages in its history. In the northeastern half, there are two official languages, English and Tok Pisin. The courts, government, the education system, and half of the population are literate in English.

On the other hand, Tok Pisin is mostly used in the northeastern part of the country, whereas some of this language's vocabularies came from the Germans since the upper part of the country was under German rule in 1883. While on the western part of the island, the official language is Indonesian, but Dani, Yali, Ekari, and Biak are the most widely spoken languages. Other languages on the entire island are:

  • Hiri Motu (about 4.7% of the population speak this language)
  • Papua New Guinean Sign Language (used by the deaf population)
  • Ok-Oksapmin (Indonesia region)
  • Anim (also in the Indonesia region)

Land Area

As stated above, New Guinea is the largest island in the Southern Hemisphere. Its land area is 785,753 square kilometers (303,381 square miles). The eastern half of the island has a 462,840 square kilometers (178,703 square miles) land area, while western New Guinea has a land area of 420,540 square kilometers (162,371 square miles).


The island was first explored in the 1500s by Ynigo De Retez and named it New Guinea after the Guinea region in Africa since he felt that the natives in New Guinea were similar to the natives of the Guinea region. In 1828, the Netherlands claimed the western half of the island, and in 1884, the superiors in Queensland conquered the southeastern part of the island and named it British New Guinea. Simultaneously, the Germans claimed the northeastern part of the island and called it German New Guinea.

In 1905, the British gave Australia some administrative responsibility of the British New Guinea, and in 1906, the British transferred all of the obligations to Australia and named it Territory of Papua. In World War I, the Australians seized the German New Guinea and became the Territory of New Guinea in 1920. And since the eastern half was now under Australia, it was then known as Territories of Papua and New Guinea.

Territories of Papua and New Guinea were renamed Papua New Guinea, became self-governed in 1973, and gained independence by 1975. On the other half of the island, the Indonesians tried to control the western half. They succeeded in 1963 after the Dutch willfully gave up the island through negotiations with the Indonesians. Today the west half is now a province of Indonesia consisting of West Papua and Papua. The eastern side is independent Papua New Guinea, composed of four regions, the Southern, Highlands, Momase, and Island regions.


The west half of the island is under the Indonesian government, and they use a Musyawarah or a traditional unison to decide the status of the region. The Musyawarah consists of 1,026 elders that the Indonesian government handpicked. The east half, Papua New Guinea's government, is represented by a governor-general as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the government's head.

Under the Prime Minister, there are appointed ministers and department heads in each region that help keep the balance between areas. The Prime Minister and the governor-general are handpicked by the National Parliament, while the Prime Minister appoints the ministers and department heads of the regions. The National Parliament consists of 111 members elected to serve for five years, and 89 of those members represent an open electorate. The other 22 speak for one of the provincial electorates.


As of now, tourism in Papua New Guinea is still mostly unknown globally, but the country has been slowly increasing every year. With business travelers and workers' help, Papua New Guinea's tourism growth has boosted and will carry in the coming years. On the other hand, West Papua's tourism industry is still expanding, and it brings the potential to employ West Papuans, culturally and economically.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

An International Driving Permit or IDP is a translation of your native driver's license. It is a travel document if you need a rental car, and it certifies that you are indeed the holder of the driving licence. An International Driving Permit is not a replacement for your driver's license, and it should not be used in other countries aside from what's stated in the document.

In Papua New Guinea, having an International Driver's Permit may not be a requirement for all travelers, but if your driver's license is not in the English language, getting an IDP would be a useful document. It can eliminate potential language barriers between you and the officer in charge. Below are some answered questions about having an IDP in Papua New Guinea.

Is My Local Driver’s License Valid in New Guinea?

Travelers with a European Union driver's license don't need to acquire an International Driver's Permit to rent a car and drive in Papua New Guinea. You can use your EU driver's license inside the country for a month. To other travelers that don't have an EU driver's license, you would need to have an IDP to drive in the country.

Authorities allow visitors to use an IDP for only a month. If you need to stay longer in the country, you can ask the authorities if you can extend your IDP use, or you can convert your driver's license to continue driving in New Guinea Island.

Do I need an International Driver’s Permit in Cities and Districts of New Guinea?

Driving in New Guinea requires an International Driver's Permit, whether you're in the city or the countryside. Regular police checkpoints ensure drivers have all necessary documents. Without your International Driver's Permit in New Guinea, or if any document like your driver's license, passport, or visa (if needed) is missing, you could get a ticket.

Even for short trips, like going to a nearby store, having your International Driver's Permit in New Guinea is essential, especially for non-locals. Following simple road rules can prevent unwanted troubles and ensure a pleasant stay.

Does an International Driver’s Permit Replace my Native License?

Having an International Driver's Permit does not mean that it will replace your native license. An International Driver's Permit is an additional document for visitors who don't have an EU driver's license and need to rent a car. It is a translation of your native license, and it is highly recommended to visitors that don't have an English driver's license.

Driving in New Guinea today requires travelers to have an IDP, and if you're caught driving without one, you will get a fine for not following their rules.

Renting a Car in New Guinea

Driving in New Guinea can be frustrating, especially if you don't know where to start and what documents you would need to rent a car. Before driving in New Guinea, knowing the cost of rental vehicles in each company can be helpful and need any third-party car insurance.

Finding the right car that would agree with your vacation might be overwhelming to some travelers since many rental cars are available in Papua New Guinea. But with the help of this guide, you might be able to know what kind of vehicle will suit your vacation need.

Car Rental Companies

When renting a car in advance, popular rental companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Keddy can provide you their services online. Online booking can be more comfortable and practical for foreign visitors, but if you prefer a walk-in booking, there are branches of their company near airports for your convenience.

In Papua New Guinea, the most popular car rented is SUV and Van in all of the country's rental companies since it is more comfortable for every traveler. It has a lot of space for every companion and commodity you would need on every road trip. If you prefer a Motorhome vehicle on your holiday, AutoEurope can provide you with the car that would fit your budget.

Documents Required

Renting a car in Papua New Guinea can be easy if you have a valid driver's license. Other travelers will also need to provide an International Driver's Permit along with their license if they don't have an EU license. Aside from these two documents, you would also need to provide one more government-issued identification like your passport or visa and a credit or master card for payment.

When looking for a rental company, it is also better to ask them if you would also need to provide third-party car insurance since not all rental companies in Papua New Guinea offer basic insurance to their customers.

Vehicle Types

Knowing what type of car perfectly fits your vacation can add to the experience during your trip. If you plan on road tripping during the entirety of your holiday, renting a motorhome might best fit your journey since you would want to visit all sides of the country during your stay, and it beats having to look for a hotel to rest. However, renting an SUV or a van might be suitable if you're traveling with a group. You can comfortably go to each destination without needing to rent two economy cars.

Other rental cars like the economy and standard vehicles are best fit for visitors who are more likely to have fewer companions and plan to stay in cities.

Car Rental Cost

The average cost of car rentals in Papua New Guinea is around $113 per day, making it $790 per week. The price will vary on the type of car you will choose and other necessities that will come along with it. Other rental companies might also have an additional charge for young drivers that might be up to $25 per day. Listed below are estimated prices for some of the vehicles. Do note that every price will differ from company to company:

  • Standard SUV - $197 per day
  • Midsize Van - $239 per day
  • Midsize Pickup - $211 per day
  • Premium SUV - $238 per day

You may ask the rental company if available rental cars would fit your preference for other types of vehicles and their prices. You may also ask the rental company if they offer any additional products to make it more comfortable when driving in New Guinea, such as maps, child seats, GPS Navigations, etc.

Age Requirements

To rent a vehicle in Papua New Guinea, you would need to be at least 21 years of age and have a year of driving experience. Other companies might allow other drivers under 21 years old. Many rental companies are reluctant in younger drivers because driving in the country might be challenging for inexperienced drivers since some roads can easily flood. If you go during the rainy season, landslides can happen on Highlands Highway in the middle of Lae and Mt. Hagen.

Car Insurance Cost

Most car rental companies will provide the basic car insurance you need to get by during your holiday. Still, if you would need premium car insurance, you can ask the rental company if they offer premium insurance or if you need to have any third-party insurance. Before driving in New Guinea, the cost of the car insurance should need to be appropriately discussed with the rental company for you to know if you're not paying for more than you would need.

Car Insurance Policy

Every car rental company should have basic car insurance for every customer that would rent their car. Basic car insurance should include Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) since it is mandatory in all of the vehicles in Papua New Guinea. The car can't be registered if it doesn't have a CTP. A CTP will be compensated if you had an accident or an event of death during a car accident. However, you cannot use the CTP if others can prove that you have caused the accident.

New Guinea Photo by Vika Chartier

Road Rules in New Guinea

Before driving to New Guinea today, you first need to know and understand some of the country's most important traffic rules. Understanding these rules and avoid any unwanted road accidents and situations with the authorities during your holiday. It can also give you a perception of who would be on the right-of-way when coming to an intersection.

Important Regulations

Before hopping on the road, it's imperative that knowing some of the rules can give you a more comfortable drive since you are driving in a foreign country. However, if you are unable to follow their traffic rules, the results may lead you to penalties, fines, deaths, injury, or getting blacklisted, meaning you will be unable to rent or drive any vehicle in the country.

The Law about Drunk Driving

While on vacation, some or many of the visitors would want to drink occasionally during their holiday. However, if you are the one driving the vehicle, you should know that you should not exceed 400 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath. If you're suspected of drunk driving, you must undergo a breath screening test, and if you do not comply with the test, authorities have the right to arrest you.

However, if you do comply and failed the breath screening test, you would need to take an Evidential Breath Test. An Evidential Breath Test is almost the same test as the breath screening test, but instead of the 400 micrograms, it should not exceed 600 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath. Also, during and after the Evidential Breath Test, you cannot leave the area where you had the test. The result of the Evidential Breath test will determine the proper punishment for each individual.

Proper Car Lights

Before you lock on to that rental car, it is safer to inspect all of the car lights to know that everything is appropriately lit and there are no damages on the lights. If you don't examine the vehicle correctly, you might find yourself getting stopped by an officer because of a faulty light. The penalty for a defective light ranges from K750 (Kina) to K4,000 ($211 to $1,130); penalties will depend on which car light is broken.

Left-Hand Driving

If you are a left-hand driver, you would need to give the authorities written permission to drive a left-hand vehicle. Suppose you didn't inform the police or your car doesn't have a "left-hand drive" attached in your car that is at least 75mm high on the rear side of your vehicle. In that case, you can be lucky and only be left with a warning, or you can be given a ticket for not following their driving rules.

Stopping and Parking

If you are in a public street, stopping and parking anywhere you desire can lead to severe accidents. If you're on a public road, a sudden stop without any knowledge of a traffic sign can be very dangerous, especially if you're in a busy street. Sudden stops can be validated if anything, people or animals, suddenly crossed the road. Do take note that you would need to be extra careful if there's ever a situation like this since it can lead to a major road accident, and you would injure yourself and other vehicles behind you.

On the other hand, parking can only be done on metered parking or in a sign where it is stated that it is acceptable to park in the area. Parking illegally can result in a parking ticket, wheel lock, or the vehicle being towed. When driving on the New Guinea islands, make sure to follow all the necessary rules so that you wouldn't encounter any problems during your vacation.

General Standards of Driving

Before driving in Papua New Guinea, it's also important to know some of the standards when driving in their country. Understanding these driving standards lets you be mentally prepared on the road if, in cases, there are some standards that you're not familiar with. It can also prevent any mishaps that might happen during your holiday in Papua New Guinea.

In Papua New Guinea, you can either choose to drive an automatic or manual car. If you're a left-hand driver, you can make a written request to the authorities, letting them know that you are a left-hand driver and would like to have their approval on driving a left-hand car in their country. When they have approved your request, you would need to put a "left-hand driver" sticker 75mm high on the rear side of your car to let other police officers that you are legally allowed to do so.

Speed Limits

Overspeeding in Papua New Guinea is one of the major reasons for motor vehicle accidents, and most of the overspeeding accidents are from young drivers and drunk drivers. Knowing the country's speed limits can lessen the chances of road accidents while having your vacation, and when you drive below the speed limit, you can have enough time to think and react.

In Papua New Guinea, there are only two kinds of speed limits; in towns and cities, the limit is 60 km/h (37 mph), and in the countryside, it is 75 km/h (47 mph). Driving above these speed limits is not worth the risk of penalties, especially if one of them is death.

Seatbelt Laws

Seatbelts in Papua New Guinea must always be worn at all times by the driver and passenger. Wearing seatbelts is an additional safety for all drivers and passengers inside the car. It prevents everyone from being ejected out of their seat if you happen to get involved in a collision. Avoiding wearing a seatbelt can be risky, especially if you go uphill with many sharp curves and bends.

Driving Directions

Even though you need a written request to drive a left-hand car, you would still need to follow how the traffic operates in Papua New Guinea. They drive on the left side of the road. Visitors need to send this request to let the authorities know that you are not used to operating on the vehicle's right side. When traffic is on the left side, all of the fast driving will need to maneuver on the left, and the slower drive needs to be on the right.

There are no countrywide road channels in Papua New Guinea, and there are only a few roundabouts in the country. That's why when driving in Papua New Guinea, you would generally hear "driving in the countryside" or "driving on the city" because you wouldn't see any freeway that connects one city to the next.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic Road Signs in Papua New Guinea are similar to other EU Countries. They also have the three basic road signs that every country has, the regulatory, guide signs, and warning signs. They retain these basic road signs because if you get into a situation where you have low visibility on the road, you can easily spot them and instantly understand what kind of sign it is and what it is meant. Papua New Guinea has little to no unique road signs that you need to be aware of.

Right of Way

In Papua New Guinea, the traffic moves on the left, which means that slow drives will need to be on the right lane, and fast drivers and overtakers should be on the left road. When it comes to an intersection, and there is no visible officer and traffic light to guide you, the rule is that whoever is first to stop entirely should be the one to proceed first unless there is a sign posted that says otherwise.

Other drivers in Papua New Guinea might give you hand signals or flash their headlights to warn you that they will proceed. When this happens, let them pass respectively and do not compete with the driver to cross the intersection.

Like many other worldwide countries, you would need to be at least 18 years old to learn to drive legally. Papua New Guinea's roads are somewhat tricky to drive because some streets are in bad road conditions and are under repair. Having poor roads is also one reason why even professional drivers get into major road accidents, but most Papua New Guinea accidents include young drivers. That's why many are still not convinced that learning to drive at such a young age is reasonable.

Law on Overtaking

When overtaking in Papua New Guinea, you need to be on the road's left side unless there is a separate marked lane that indicates otherwise. When driving in the countryside, you must also be aware that there are times that you might encounter animals on the road. If you need to overtake, you must make sure that the road is clear and there are no incoming vehicles ahead for you to surpass the animal.

Driving Side

Traffic operates on the left-hand side since it was once under the Australians. Papua New Guinea has adapted many traits and laws about Australia, and one of them is how they operate on the road and how they drive. Driving on the road's left side means that you would need to drive on the vehicle's right side unless you are not used to driving on the right side. In that case, you would need a request letter sent to the authorities to let them know that you wish to drive a car that operates on the left.

When writing the request letter that you wish to have a car that operates on the left side for you to start driving in New Guinea, it can be in English or Tok Pisin so the locals can understand your request better.

Driving Etiquette in New Guinea

Now that you have a bit of knowledge on how to maneuver on Papua New Guinea's roads, you would also need to know some of the locals' etiquettes when they drive. Learning their driving etiquette can avoid situations where you might get yourself in trouble, like locals throwing rocks at you or being frowned upon.

Car Breakdown

If your car broke down while on your way to your vacation spot, there are the basic steps that you would need to do to file a proper report. These steps are essential since you will know how much the insurance will cover the damage. To make a report, you would need to follow these steps:

  1. Report the incident immediately to the rental company and the authorities if there are any injured persons.
  2. Document each damage, take pictures of the incident, and write down what happened.
  3. Consult your insurance provider if you have third-party insurance.

Rental companies might have other steps to follow, depending on the company and how grave the incident is. Make sure that calling the rental company will be your priority if an incident ever occurs and also the police officers if their assistance is needed.

Police Stops

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary or RPNGC is the official police force in Papua New Guinea, and its role is to make the country safe for both locals and foreign driver.

When a police stop occurred, they would give you an option to pay them upfront. When that happens, politely decline and tell them that you would take care of the charges in the appropriate government location. If the police officer still insists, politely ask for their badge number and name to report them to the nearest police station.

Also, when driving in New Guinea, a video recorded through your dashcam is the best evidence you'll need if ever the authorities would falsely accuse you of any violation.

Asking Directions

While driving in New Guinea, asking for English directions is okay since the locals are familiar with the language. Also, most of the road names are in the English language. When asking for directions, don't be afraid to reach out to the locals because many locals are friendly and are willing to give you a helping hand.


Police checkpoints are regularly set in Papua New Guinea to make sure that all documentation is up to date and available for checking. But roadblocks in Papua New Guinea are sometimes used to solicit bribery, especially on holidays. If such a situation comes across, decline the offer and ask if there is anything you can do for them.

Other Tips

Aside from the mentioned situations above, you should also know specific information if you get involved in an accident. It's a little scary if you think about it, but preparing can reduce your vacation's stress and anxiety if you are prepared for the unexpected.

What if I Got Involved in an Accident?

If you got into an accident, whether major or minor, you would quickly need to call for emergency help. It ensures that everyone involved in the accident can be appropriately treated, and authorities would require you to give every detail to make a formal report. You would also need to contact the rental company and third-party insurance (if available) to make your insurance claim.

Driving Conditions in New Guinea

Now that you have a bit of information about the driving rules and etiquette in Papua New Guinea, you should also know about the driving conditions and situations. Understanding the driving situation in Papua New Guinea can keep you alert while driving in New Guinea since news about road accidents and repairs is pitiful right now.

Accident Statistics

Road accidents in Papua New Guinea from 2011 to 2015 have gone higher at an alarming rate because the Road Traffic Authority or RTA said they had reported almost 12,000 crashes and around 16,000 deaths and injuries. Although there have been no public statistics in the country since then, knowing this information can be crucial when driving in Papua New Guinea to understand what kind of drivers are there.

If you want to know the situation right now before you start driving in New Guinea, there are videos on the internet about their current events. Still, unfortunately, there is no information about the statistics of their road accidents available.

Common Vehicles

Common vehicles in Papua New Guinea are the ones you can see everywhere on the road or parked in stores like malls, restaurants, and fast foods. You'll often see these cars because they're some of the most affordable cars and useful (family and off-road use). These vehicles are Toyota Camry, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hiace, Mitsubishi Pajero, Ford Ranger, Subaru Forester, Land Rover Discovery, Toyota Hilux, and Nissan Sunny.

Toll Roads

In Papua New Guinea, there are not many toll roads, but it is safer to have some extra cash in your pocket if in case they don't accept credit cards. Tolls in Papua New Guinea were introduced by Barrick Ltd (Australia Pacific) to observe the level of compliance of every driver in Papua New Guinea. These toll roads are commonly used by trucks with a heavy load and would have to be inspected before entering the area.

Road Situation

Road situations in Papua New Guinea, especially in the countryside, can be dangerous if you're not careful. It's poorly maintained, and you will see many potholes along the road. Some streets are even closed because of the many potholes along the way. When driving in Papua New Guinea, day or night, focusing on the road should be high on your list to spot these potholes since most of them don't have any warning signs.

Before you start driving in New Guinea, checking the news is recommended since you might come across any rain or if the road is clear from the dust. The sandy wind is also another reason why road accidents happen in Papua New Guinea. It is also best to have a 4WD car if you plan to drive outside the city.

Driving Culture

Many drivers in the country are reckless and erratic, and there are a few drunk drivers that you might pass by when driving in Papua New Guinea. If you happen to cross upon some of these kinds of drivers, you would need to be alert because these are the kinds where they will suddenly change lanes without signaling other drivers, which could lead to major accidents.

When an accident occurs, you may stop and get help but be warned that crowds can get carried away quickly. They would attack the person that they seemed to be the suspect by throwing rocks.

Other Tips

Besides the stated above, these tips can help you in some situations, especially when driving at night. Also, knowing the speed measurement is a big help in speed limit posts since some don't indicate what type of unit it is in. To learn more about these tips for your trip to Papua New Guinea, you can read all about them below.

Are They Using KpH or MpH?

In Papua New Guinea, the measurement they use to determine their speed limit is kilometers per hour. Another thing is that Papua New Guinea doesn't use end speed-limit signs or speed de-restriction signs since there are mostly a few kinds of roads you'll be driving in city drive, intersections, and roads outside the city.

Is It Safe To Drive at Night?

Driving outside the city can be dangerous because of the poorly maintained roads. If you insist that you would need to drive at night outside the town, make sure you would take extra care since there are no roadblocks to determine a pothole. Also, when driving in New Guinea, checking the map can help you navigate because there are other tips if you would need to drive at night.

Things To Do in New Guinea

When in Papua New Guinea, there are many things you can do. Let's say you want to drive as a tourist while having your vacation, or maybe you fell in love with the place and want to start working in the country and apply for a residence. These options need to have requirements before you start packing, especially if you're going to migrate to Papua New Guinea.

Drive as a Tourist

Driving as a tourist in Papua New Guinea is both dangerous and adventurous because you'll experience an incredible feeling of excitement and fear when going into a new country. But even if you have these mixed feelings, none of that can be achieved if you don't have an International Driving Permit or an EU driving licence.

An International Driver's Permit or IDP needs to be purchased if you don't have an EU driver's license, and it is vital to visitors with a non-English license. An IDP is a translation of your driver's license, and it is part of the requirement if you want to rent a car and drive as a tourist in Papua New Guinea.

Work as a Driver

Working as a driver in Papua New Guinea is possible as long as you have enough experience on the road. Your experience will determine your salary and if the employer is satisfied with your driving skills. In Papua New Guinea, you can find job hirings as a truck driver, public transportation driver, and a chauffeur. These jobs would also require you to know some of their basic words to communicate with other people.

You would also need to have their professional or full driver's license to get a chance to land a job as a driver. To have a full driver's license, you would need to have the following qualifications:

  • passed eyesight test that the RTA requires; and
  • held a provisional driver's license for at least 12 months or one year or a foreign license equivalent to the class of license applied for.

Work Travel Guide

To work as a travel guide in Papua New Guinea might be a bit tricky since you would need to be a resident in the country for an amount of time. You would also need to be familiar with the country's history and culture since you will be explaining to the tourist the origin of every tourist destination and how each spot became famous.

Apply for Residency

Now that you have landed a job in Papua New Guinea, the next step is to apply for a residency in the country. Registering for a residence is essential since you would be working for a long time. If the authorities found out that you are working in the country without a residency, you would be deported because you will be considered an illegal worker.

Your record in Papua New Guinea should not have any offense and imprisonment no longer than six months to apply for a residency. Leaving the country for more than a year without any reason is also not allowed. If you leave Papua New Guinea for an extended period, there is a big chance that your permanent residency will be canceled. Also, when applying for a residence in Papua New Guinea, all requirements will be discussed with you by the employer.

Other Things To Do

It is good to know if it is possible to have your dream job in Papua New Guinea, but before you start looking for a job, you would need to consider some requirements that will be crucial if you want to have a career in Papua New Guinea. Some of these requirements are your working visa and driver's license for those who would like to have a job as a driver.

How Can I Apply for a Work Visa?

To apply for a work visa, you would first need to be employed in a company based in Papua New Guinea. Once you got hired, you would need to take care of your work visa. Some employees would issue your employment visa, but most likely, you would need to apply it on your own.

When applying for a working visa, you would need to have the following basic requirements:

  • Complete application form of Entry Permit;
  • Recommendation letter that the company gives;
  • Letter of approval and;
  • Payment of the Entry Permit.

These requirements will depend on the employer. Some employers might add more, and some would only request these documents.

How Can I Convert My Native License?

Converting your driver's license will depend on what class you need, and it needs to be equivalent to the type of your driver's license. You could apply for a driver's license if the authorities granted your request and if you have been in Papua New Guinea for at least six months continuously. Other qualifications may include:

  • The holder has not been issued a notice by the RTA canceling acceptance and;
  • The holder hasn't been disqualified from getting a driver's license.

Are There Other Work Opportunities in New Guinea?

If you prefer other jobs in Papua New Guinea, there is a lot available. You can pursue your career as an engineer, chef, or maybe you would like to have an office or hospital. There are plenty of job offers in Papua New Guinea; you just need to know where to look.

When looking for a job, ensure that it agrees with your line of profession. You can't apply for an engineering job if you don't have enough background in that job because you wouldn't even know how to start in that area if you were asked in the interview.

Top Destinations in New Guinea

Now that you have an idea to maneuver in Papua New Guinea, the only thing that you'll be worried about is where to go. When you get to Papua New Guinea, you might wonder how and where you would go to each destination. Do note that many destinations in Papua New Guinea would require you to take a boat, hike, or ride a plane just to get to the spot you want. Below are some destinations that you may want to add to your holiday in Papua New Guinea.

Port Moresby Photo by Jelilah Kum

Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea's capital city is Port Moresby, and it is where most tourists land when they visit the country. Locals usually call it the best of both worlds because the sandy islands and national parks meet the flourishing metropolis with its cafés, bars, art, and food diversity. Port Moresby is a place where urban and rural living exists.

Driving Directions

When going to Papua New Guinea, the first thing you'll see when you land is the city of Port Moresby. All International flights all arrive at the Port Moresby International Airport, especially if you're coming from the Asia-Pacific region. But, let's say you'll be coming from Roku, then you can follow these directions.

  1. From Roky, head northwest toward Napa Napa Road.
  2. Follow Napa Napa Road to Baruni Road in National Capital District.
  3. Drive along Poreporena Fwy/Spring Garden Road.
  4. Take Waigani Dr to your destination.

Things To Do in Port Moresby

While you're in Port Moresby, don't forget to visit some of the city's incredible tourist destinations. There are a lot of museums that represent the country's history and culture. Besides museums, there are also adventure parks and nature reserves if you like to meet some majestic animals in the country.

1.Relax at Port Moresby National Park

Port Moresby National Park is a nature reserve, and the University of Papua New Guinea maintains it in Port Moresby. When you visit the national park, it is not uncommon that you'll have some peace while inside the park. The nature preserve has a two-kilometer pathway that you can follow to go in and out of the rainforest canopies.

In the national park, you will be able to see many different kinds of animals and plants. It is the home to over 500+ animals like birds and kangaroos. There are also some animals where you can interact as long an employee is looking after the animal.

2.Visit the National Museum and Art Gallery

The National Museum and Art Gallery are where you can learn about the culture and history of Papua New Guinea. The museum exhibits are organized by themes where there are sections of musical instruments, masks and costumes, canoes, and navigational devices. There are also popular totems from Sepik and skull racks locally called "agiba."

3.Enjoy birdwatching at Varirata National Park

Varirata National Park is 1,000 hectares with over 800 meters high, and it is the highlight of the Sogeri Road. If you like birdwatching, this is the best area to spot feathered friends like kingfishers. Camping is also possible, and the best spot to camp is on the grass just outside the derelict huts. When camping, it is best to be in a large group when you go camping because it's a bit unsafe.

4.See the collections in National Parliament House

The National Parliament House combines the old and new architecture. Outside the building, you can see mosaics on walls, and inside, there are wood carvings that describe the country's four sides. There are also glass cases inside the building that hold a collection of insects that includes large species and native Queen Alexandra's Birdwing. If you're going to visit the National Parliament House, you need to be aware that taking pictures is not allowed in the area.

5.Take a fun adventure at Adventure Park PNG

The Adventure Park in Port Moresby is not the typical roller coaster theme park; instead, it is a fun park that includes a zoo. Here you can see a variety of animals living in the Adventure Park, such as saltwater crocodiles, the Ragianna bird of paradise, the flamboyant Victoria Crowned Pigeons, and so much more.

Besides the zoo, a pathway would lead you to a fun ride on a Ferris wheel and water slides. There are also picnic sites and artificial fishponds where you can enjoy a friendly, quiet activity with your family or friends.

Alotau Town

Alotau is a little town in Papua New Guinea's east that resists constructing a highway from its capital. It is at the edge of Milne Bay, and if you want to have a relaxed and easy-going holiday, this getaway is one of the fascinating islands in the country.

Driving Directions

If you're coming from Wamira Village, Papua New Guinea, it will only be a 30-minute ride to Alotau. Do remember that the road you'll be taking is an unnamed street.

  1. From Wamira Village, turn east.
  2. Then turn right at the first cross street.
  3. And then turn left. Continue on the current road for 22.4 km until you get to the city of Alotau.

Things To Do in Alotau

In Alotau, there are a lot of rich history that you can see in museums if you're a fan of the country's history, but if you like to have a laid-back vacation, there are also bars that you can try and camping site if you want to have that bonding time with your friends or family.

1.See the exhibitions at Massim Museum

The Massim Museum displays many history exhibitions about Milne Bay's place in World War II and the Rise and Fall of Samurai. Besides the two, there are also paintings and objects that Milne Bay artists and weavers created. Currently, there are 12 storyboards and 40 carvings from the Malinowski Legacy carving project. In the Massim Museum, you can learn about some activities during WWII in Milne Bay and the Rise and Fall of Samarai.

2.Enjoy watersports at Manta Watch Camp

Manta Watch Camp is on a stunning remote island in the South Pacific. When planning your trip to Manata Camp, make sure to visit the underwater life where you can see anything from the smallest critters to the large pelagic fishes like Hammerheads and Whale Sharks but do make sure that you have a guide with you.

When visiting Manta Watch Camp, you can go canoeing or snorkeling if you want to see underwater life. You can also stay on the beach with your friends or family and have a nice bonding time while having your vacation.

3.Tour around Reef Tours Milne Bay

If you don't like going to remote islands, there is a local reef tour that you can join in where you can interact with the locals and family in the area and learn some of their culture and history. There are various activities you can do with the family, and you can also give them gifts. If you plan to provide them with gifts, make sure that your immigration form and clearance are done to avoid complications.

4. Join Kwalia Adventure and Expeditions

If you're the type of person that loves excitement and adventure, this Kwalia Adventure and Expedition is best for you. You can visit the skull cave, go mountain hiking/trekking, snorkeling, and so much more. Everything you may want to do while you're in Alotau, you can do in Kwalia Adventure and Expedition, so make sure to visit the local tour guide for more information.

5.Visit Alotau's Bar and Grill

To those visitors that love experiencing new delicacies, visiting the local bar and grill might be the highlight of your day. There are a lot of restaurants in the area where you can try and enjoy local foods. There is also nightlife in the place where you can enjoy good karaoke and beer with your friends.

Madang Province

Madang province is located in the north of Papua New Guinea, and it has two of the most famous spots for swimming. Madang province is also a show-place for parks, waterways, and tropical islands. If you want to have a nice place to stay and experience the blue waters, visiting the Kranket or Siar Islands can make your time during your stay.

Driving Directions

If you're going to stay at the Madang Lodge Hotel, it will only be a nine-minute drive from the airport. The hotel also has a view of the sea, so if you're lucky, your room might get a beautiful view.

  1. From Madang Airport, head south and continue for 950 meters.
  2. Then turn right onto Baidal Road up until the roundabout.
  3. From the roundabout, take the first exit and continue for 1.1 kilometers.
  4. Lastly, turn right onto Modilon Road for 1.2 kilometers. The Madang Lodge Hotel will be on your right.

Things To Do in Madang Province

There are plenty of things to do when you're in Madang province. You can experience the cultural show on some days in the morning, visit museums, etc. Below are some more activities you can do while you're in Madang province.

1.Watch the performances at Divine Word University Cultural Show

The cultural show is typically held on the third or fourth Saturday in August. You can inquire about it in the Madang Visitors and Cultural Bureau to make sure that there is a show available during your stay. The show is a riot of feathers, color, and traditional attires, and at the end of the show, there's a dance called Waipa. The Waipa dance is celebrated with performers, and they won't stop until everyone watching is dancing.

2.Visit the Coastwatchers' Memorial Beacon

The Coastwatchers' Memorial Beacon is 30 meters high, and it's visible about 25 kilometers out of the sea. It is a reminder for all the people who stayed behind enemy lines during World War II to inform if there are any Japanese troop and ship movements. If you want to pay respects to the people that help the town be what they are now, you can visit the beacon in Kalibobo, Madang, or maybe you just want to have a nice picture at the edge of the cliff. Either way visiting the beacon can give you a nice view where you can relax.

3.See the relics at Madang Museum

Madang Museum is located in the same building as the Madang Visitors and Cultural Bureau. It is a small museum where you can learn about the eruption in 1660 on Long Island and the ceremonial headdress from the Bosmum Village. The headdress was used during the "cleansing of the blood," which was at the time another term for circumcision for the boys. It is where they draw blood from the boy's tongue and penis during the initiation of their manhood.


Goroka was once a small outpost from the mid-1950s but became a significant commercial center and the Eastern Highlands Province's main town. The town has mountains that surround it and enjoys a year-round of warm-days and cool nights. It is also one of the more charming towns in Papua New Guinea.

Driving Directions

When you're done visiting Madang Province, you can head straight to Goroka for at least six hours. But before you start driving to Goroka, you can check online if there are hotels that you can rest in if you don't want to risk driving at night.

  1. From Madang, head northeast toward Baidal Road.
  2. Then turn right onto Baidal Road until you get to the roundabout.
  3. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Ramu Highway for 1.76 kilometers.
  4. Then turn right onto Highlands highway and continue for 1.37 kilometers.
  5. Lastly, turn left to enter Goroka town.

Things To Do in Goroka

If you plan on going to Madang Province, there are some activities you can do when planning your trip. You can visit museums, visit natural habitats and provincial parks, or have a nice swim on its beach. Whichever you want to do, these activities are the best things to do when you're in Madang Province.

1.Visit the J.K. McCarthy Museum

J.K. McCarthy Museum is a National Museum and Art Gallery that branched out in West Goroka, located at the National Sports Institute's back corner. It is named after John Keith McCarthy, a renowned officer who gave his service to the Highlands region before he became a member of the Old House of Assembly. He was also a former affiliate of the National Museum and Art Gallery Board of Trustees.

The museum was built to accompany the annual Goroka Show. Its main goal is to document, preserve, and promote the Eastern Highlands Province's cultural heritage for future generations.

2.Mount Gahavisuka Provincial Park

The park is 8,000 acres when you can walk within its trails, and it is a botanical sanctuary that's stuffed with exotic plants, rhododendrons, and orchids. It also has a remote village where you can experience the villagers' lifestyle if you stay overnight or for a few days.

3.Goroka Natural Habitat

This natural habitat is filled with native trees and plants that slope down into a little creek and waterfall. There is an area where you can look out at the forest and a training area for farming activities. Locals are born and raised in the area and love to take care of the animals and plants. You can learn a lot about starting a farm or maybe a garden if you want.


Lae is the second-largest city in Papua New Guinea, and it is more engaging than Port Moresby. When shopping you can go to Toptown and Eriku since most shops can be found in the two commercial mini-centers. There is also a China Town down the hill because of the Chinese community that lived in the area.

Driving Directions

After having a great time in Goroka town and still have time for one more stop, you can drive back and visit Lae. The drive from Goroka to Lae will take you at least six hours.

  1. From Goroka town, turn right to enter Highlands highway.
  2. Continue to Highlands highway for 1.37 kilometers.
  3. Then slight right and stay on Highlands highway.
  4. Continue for 1.57 kilometers more.
  5. Then turn left onto Boundary Road.
  6. Lastly, turn right onto Huon Road to enter Lae city.

Things To Do in Lae

When going to the town of Lae, you can do some shopping at their local shops, visit their rainforest habitat or go to the crocodile farm. Below is more information to learn about these activities.

1.Visit the Crocodile Farm

One of the largest commercial breeders in the southern hemisphere is the Mainland Crocodile Farm, and it is also an essential part of the country's crocodile industry. It's important in the community since they're farms that breed saltwater crocodiles and harvest them for their skins and meat. Besides using them for produce, the farm also helps conserve the country's wild crocodile population, and they're in partnership with the wetlands local communities.

2.Take a stroll at Lae National Botanic Gardens

Lae National Botanic Gardens is also a natural preservation center, and they restore the areas' gardens for research and recreation purposes. It also serves as a space to educate international and local audiences about the country's most distinct and elastic natural habitat.

3.Visit Shops

If you want to buy some souvenirs during your trip to Lae, visiting the shops in Toptown and Eriku are the best places to go. All local merchandise types, such as bracelets, pendants, necklaces, etc., can be found in these two places. Supporting the local artists in the area can help their community, and having a souvenir made by the locals in Lae is a reminder of your trip to the town.

Although Papua New Guinea is a country that needs a lot of improvement, you can still have plenty of adventures in its towns. You can also learn a lot about their culture through their friendly locals, and staying for a few days in remote villages can be exciting and peaceful if you want a break from the city life.


Get your International Driving Permit in 8 minutes

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping

Back to Top