Many people don’t realize it, but Papua New Guinea is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts. The most popular diving locations are found in the Madang province. The landscape of this region consists of reef-fringed lowlands, rugged mountain terrain and some offshore volcanic islands.
The colorful town of Madang is deemed to be the prettiest town found in the South Pacific as the peninsula is set amidst parks, water-lily filled waterways, sprinkled trees and radiant tropical islands. The region’s warm and wet climate along with its fertile soil make great growth for huge casuarinas trees that tower over the streets here. Despite being small in size, the town has modern facilities that include hotels, department stores, markets and plenty of artifact shops.
With the radiant natural beauty of the region, it may be impossible to think that this town was once scathed at one point in time. The town was virtually destroyed during the Japanese occupation in Papua Guinea as a result of several battles and fighting. The town had to ultimately rebuild the entire area once more. Luckily, the community remained resilient and had their hometown back in no time.
The local people can be divided into four district groups: the islanders, the coastal people, the river people and the mountain people. All groups have similar appearances except for the Simbai mountain village people located on the foothills.
True enough, Madang is famous for its coral reefs and high visibility all throughout the year. A variety of diving spots are abundant, including some land-based dive sites, plenty of reef and pelagic fish, dramatic drop offs, majestic shells, and soft and hard corals. Wreck diving is also an adventure here, what with the many sunken ships and aircrafts dotted around the region. Diving instruction is available in most hotels of Madang.
Aside from diving, game fishing is a popular sport as the coastal areas of this region have plenty of kingfish, sailfish, tuna, mackerel, barracuda, yellow fin, marlin and wahoo found 100 meters offshore that provide anglers with plenty of good sport. Fishing is said to be perfect off the waters around the Bagabag and Karkar Islands.
There are two volcanic islands found offshore of Bogia that possess volcanic cones that rise to about 1,800 meters above sea level, making it a spectacular sight for visitors. On the South East Coast road leading to the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary, strange sulphurous caves filled with fish, jungle walks and hot springs are common destinations for visitors. The sanctuary was actually the location for some scenes of Pierce Brosnan’s “Robinson Crusoe” movie.
Markets are plenty in this area and they sell artifacts, shell jewelry, carving and pottery. Tours can be arranged to visit the nearby villages of Yabob and Bilbil to see how traditional clay pots are made. Visitors can also opt to explore the Madang Harbor with a morning harbor cruise.
If those are not enough reasons to visit the Madang village, then how about the Mabarosa Festival held each year with colorful displays of dancing, singsings and bamboo bands? Party as the villagers do and get to see how the local people enjoy Madang.