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Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. This fascinating land boasts more than 600 islands and more than 800 indigenous languages (tok ples), and is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon. Papua New Guinea consists of 4 regions made up of 19 provinces and the National Capital District, each with their own special character and cultures. Visitors will discover a wealth of tropical scenery, from the jungle-clad mountains of the highlands to the sandy white beaches and atolls of the coastal and island provinces.
Most of PNG is wild and undeveloped, with magnificent scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains, dense tropical rainforest and large rivers. The mainland is divided by the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering over 4000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways. Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave systems offer wonderful adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and climbers, and there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and delta system. Papua New Guinea also enjoys some of the world's best diving around its warm coastal waters, with striking coral reefs around the mainland coast and the islands of the Bismarck Sea and the Milne Bay area.