Hi,most people do the Kakoda Track/trail as a tour trek but you need to be very fit to do it as quite a few people have had heart attacks.
A lot of PNG is quite remote so don't expect any up market accomodation.
My PNG friends tell me it is safe enough at the moment.
I honestly do not know of any USA or UK tour company's but MTS is the oldest and most experienced inbound tour operator in PNG--it is 40 years old anand is called Great Adventure Tours as an inbound tour operator in PNG.
Here is a link .
Hope it helps.
Consider Kokda Trekking if your interested in doing the kokoda trail. perhaps not as detailed on the historical aspects of the track but its made up for with the friendliness of the staff and prters and when you arrive in Kokoda you appreciate the effort they do in giving back to the community. It didnt go unnoticed that they where the only company who appeared to spend any money in kokda building the airport buildings, providing bins to the communities etc.
Fondest memory: www.kokodatrail.com.pg
+675 325 4423
Fondest memory: A view of the town of Vanimo, on the north coast very close to the Indonesian border. I had a number of flights into this small village, at the very northwest corner of Papua New Guinea. It was the usual stuff, in for a couple of days to fix up some of their small diesel-electric generator sets to keep the lights on! A very laid back place with a slow pace of life on the shore of the Bismarck Sea, with the tropical rain forest all around it. This photo was taken from the top of the spit of land which juts out into the Sea and on which Vanimo is located. The long white strip running along the foot of the forested hills is part of the runway sandwiched on the narrow strip of flat land.
I loved the Highlands people....they were ferocious and tender, strange and warm, and mostly they were really friendly and unaffected.
As two women traveling, we were never once harassed or approached by any of the men - in fact I found it odd that we never even earned a second glance. I think it was because we were oddities in their world, not the other way around.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is when these two men agreed to pose with me and they were very sober about it....as though it were somehow very important. They were so dignified.
I can't recall why they were so small, even for the Tari people (who are somewhat shorter than the average European)...I can only remember that they belonged to some special tribe...probably a kind of pygmy tribe of some sort.
They were very sweet and showed me inside their huts...all kinds of cassuary bones (a large bird indigenous to PNG) and feathers and spears and so forth...
Note: Click on photo and observe the toes
Wewak, located on the north coast of the main island of New Guinea, was one of my favourite spots. I made a number of trips here during my 3-year stay, either commissioning new generators of fixing up problem ones. This was an exotic destination, that could only be flown into and the people seemed very friendly.
This scene of a mother and her child headed out into the Bismarck Sea from Wewak was not unusual. Living was pretty basic in a lot of these places, but Wewak also had two or three excellent hotels and restaurants. I always liked it's palm-fringed shoreline where you could watch the big waves roll in and just think about life!
Fondest memory: A typical Highlands market near Goroka in the middle of the country, with my eldest daughter checking things out (I brought my whole family along on one of my working visits - had to fly into Lae to start the road trip)! The climate in the mountainous centre of PNG was very refreshing after the heat and sticky humidity in the coastal areas. The whole area from Mendi, Mount Hagen, Goroka on down to Lae is a very well populated and prosperous part of the country. When I was in PNG, the quite good Highlands Highway linked all these towns together, making it the biggest road system in the country. Because of mountains, jungles and islands all over PNG, most communities were almost isolated stand-alone places.
I enjoyed driving by Land Cruiser from the coastal city of Lae up into the Highlands and cross-country to Madang. There is a fantasic variety of scenery throughout the country from volcanoes, to mountains, jungles and beaches.
Fondest memory: Because of its regularity, I came to really enjoy Friday nights at the Returned Services League Club on Ela Beach in Port Moresby. One could sit outside at tables under the casuarina trees as the warm wind blew in off the Coral Sea and the waves roared on-shore. The barramundi fish dish washed down by a cold beer was just the ticket. There was also great entertainment for the children, whether running around with friends or watching video TV (no general broadcast TV in the crountry at the time). Photo of Ela Beach by day and also see my other tips in this section.
goroka fair - mid-october each year
this is one of the highlights of the year in the highlands of PNG as tribespeople arrive from all over for a few days of dancing and hanging out. it's a pretty mad spectacle, especially when you become a big part of the spectacle yourself. we were two of about 10 white people at the fair which in PNG tends you get you noticed. people regularly call out 'hey white man' to you as you walk down the street, not in a nasty way, more of an exclaimation - just like i'd probably shout out 'big grey elephat' if i saw one walking down the street in dublin. anyway this fair in goroka takes place in the town's showgrounds, it costs about four kina (two dollars) to get in and you wander around eating fried potatoe thingies whilst the tribesman face off each other in big pagents before everyone dances to PNG's bizarre version of reggae. despite goroka's reputation as a town with the odd bit of violence the fair has a really relaxed atmosphere. we left it so late to find a place to stay that we had to check into the most expensive place in town - the bird of paradise hotel - four star luxury in the middle of it all - great pizza and cold beers which kinda tends to attract homesick westerners and expense account aid workers. it did kind of have that casablanca feel about it - loads of ex-patriates drinking and chatting with being foreign and in PNG probably the main thing we had in common. met some great canadians in goroka who we ended up spending almost a fortnight hanging out with in total! so yeah, goroka is kinda cool! but don't forget madang either for even more relaxation and you can walk on the streets there at night - kind of!
The picture round here was taken in the back or a truck driving from goroka to madang - 11 hours of backbreakingly potholed roads. We were slightly nervous 'cos there were reports of bandits in the area. We were traveling with a group of tribespeople who were returning home after being at the fair. The other half of the group were in a truck behind us which broke down and had to stay parked for the night by the side of the road in bandit country - they kept smiling though!
Fondest memory: the beautiful sea views in places like madang that you get to take for granted after a while. PNG has loads of real picture postcard style vistas and very few tourists - less than 20,000 visited the country last year. meeting tourists is such a big deal that you stop and talk to anyone you meet. if you don't stop the first time you see them you are guaranteed to meet them again soon anyway. what probably makes PNG such an unspoilt tourist destination is that it's considered quite dangerous. although nothing happened to me whilst there i met loads of people who had been robbed at gun-point at least once. the safest place to go with crime in mind is new ireland, which is cut off from the 'mainland' and thus a lot of the crime - you'll soon be able to fly there direct from australia.
placess to be - the island in the north- new ireland and new britain are must see. the city of madang and her islands siar and kranket (where you can spend the night) are good placess to dive. the sepik river is very interesting- the beautifull city of wewak,angoram
vanimo close to the indonesian border se supposed to be very beautiful (but i diden't get there)
in the morobe province there are tow cute placess named wau& bulolo. wau have a butterfly ranch . a great place to see the process of preserving butterflies and other insects. there's a great place to stay there.
the city of lae has a beautifull 3000 sq of a rainforest habitat full with birds, tree wallabies, and more.
Fondest memory: in the city of wewak there are a church named the 'church of israel' with a very interesting angle of the christianity.
she is not the only alternetive church in papua new guinae.
Not stay in Port Moresby! Get out to the other areas of PNG which are more safe and have more to see.
Fondest memory: Living up in the highlands on a Habitat for Humanity building mission. We stayed in Morobe Province (Lae is the big city). We travled 3 hours by Public Motor Vehicle and then hiked up 25km into the mountains. It rained (poured!) as we crossed a stringy, bridge over a fast river. The people were so giving and kind. And their smiles are forever etched in my heart! Gorgeous people all around.
meet the people. Papua New guinea has recieved alot of bad press and it is misleading as the majority of the population are particularly friendly, interesting and helpful.
Fondest memory: Watching the warm tropical sunrise over the desolate beach with sun wildly sparkling on the crest of each perfect wave. For me Papua New Guinea is a home and where I feel most chilled out. Check the swells on the north coast and new Britain...
Try to see some of the indiginous people of the area like the the Asaro Mudmen.
Fondest memory: Visiting the small villages in the East Sepik region we came upon the wonderful people, who were visiting from another region. The people from Papua New Giunea will always greet you with smiles, and will always try to be so helpful.
Gotta love these people.
Favorite thing: BACKPACKERS and other BUDGET TRAVELLERS in Port Moresby: for good cup of COFFEE and a break from the insecurity of Port Moresby and the basic conditions of Papua New Guinea in general (especially PNG on a budget), go to the Airways Hotel on a Sunday morning. For a couple of dollars you get yourself a good cup of coffee (hard to find in PNG despite the fabulous coffee that grows plentifully in the highlands) and a muffin that will remind you of mum's. You also get access to the swimming pool in an environment where even women can strip right down to their swim suits (which is rare in PNG -- most places women are advised to wear a t-shirt and baggy shorts over their swim suits) and the bar where you can watch CNN, read international newspapers and have an ubmrella drink. It's near the airport -- take a cab to get there, or catch a bus to the airport and look for the Airways bus.
The predominant thing I was doing while in PNG was going to High School (see picture above), so that's a huge part of my memories. When I go back, I hope to go with someone important in my life - I will show them Madang, Ukarumpa, Lae and Goroka... and absolutely positively Rempi. The closest thing to Paradise on earth.
Fondest memory: I miss everything. It's one of those places where all your memories are tied up in not just the places you've been but the people who did the journey with you. Without them, it'll never be the same place.
You should go to Rabaul. It's a beatiful city on the island of New Britain. The place is fantastic! Check out the war time tunnels!
Fondest memory: The fruits, bilums, bush, mountains, friendly people, and friendly missionaries... and heaps other things...