Our family cruise to Papua New Guinea

“The holiday is booked – we’re going to Papua New Guinea!”

It didn’t engender the enthusiastic response you might expect when telling family and friends you’re off to an exotic Pacific location like Fiji or the Cook Islands.

“But it’s not safe,” was the common response. I felt another question many left unsaid…….

Picture perfect tropical beach on Doini Island, Papua New Guinea.
Picture perfect tropical beach on Doini Island, Papua New Guinea.

Why Papua New Guinea?

Why? As I am overcome by emotion reading the gravestones of fallen Australian soldiers. Why? As I listen to the village elder proudly describe customs and how important it is for children to learn the traditions to keep them alive.

Why? As I gaze across a once grand colonial town destroyed by a volcanic explosion. Why? As I float in pristine tropical waters lapping at picture perfect coconut-tree lined beaches. Why? As I see beautiful faces all around me.

Like so many Pacific Islands, the children come out to play when visitors are in town.
Like so many Pacific Islands, in PNG the children come out to play when visitors are in town.

Papua New Guinea came onto my radar at a Pacific tourism forum in Melbourne a few years ago. I spoke to some tour operators and took home glossy brochures. My interest was piqued, but my over-cautious nature quickly put a stop to it.

The thing is I am not a particularly intrepid traveller. When it comes to travelling overseas, I am okay flying from A to B. But the thought of a domestic connection (ie, small plane over sea and/or mountainous terrain), followed by another domestic connection (even smaller plane over ocean and/or mountainous terrain) makes me break out in a cold sweat.

Bring in my parents. They asked if we would do a cruise with them. To be frank, I was not sold on the idea. Travelling with hundreds of people, piling in and out of a ship all at once for quick visits, is not my travelling scene.

But some research lead to an epiphany – I could….

Cruise to Papua New Guinea

…. in safety and style. My holiday plans were in motion. Three generations of us were heading to Papua New Guinea.

There were some added bonuses. My kids are at an age where technology is king and lifestyle is taken for granted.

In Papua New Guinea, they would see where young Australian men, little older than themselves, went to a strange land to fight a war and never returned home.

Picture views across Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
Picture views across Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

They would visit villages with no running water, let alone shops. And they would be on a ship, off the grid and forced to live in the moment for 10 days because Mum refuses to pay for on-board internet connection!

Papua New Guinea is close to Australia in distance, yet so far removed from our way of living. Yes, the country has problems and we came across people who openly tell you about them. But like everywhere, there are also inspiring people and stories to share.

So stay tuned for more detailed posts about our cruise and the extraordinary places we visited in PNG.

Note: We travelled to Papua New Guinea on the Sun Princess out of Brisbane. P&O also offers cruises to Papua New Guinea.

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