Travel around Papua New Guinea (PNG) is limited mostly to air transport. Port Moresby is not connected to the rest of the country by road and highways in other parts of the country are in very poor condition. The Highlands Highway links the coastal city-port of Lae with Goroka, Mt Hagen, Mendi and Porgera and provides a vital goods artery. Although well used most of the time, it is advisable to fly to the Highlands due to the significant travel time needed to travel by road.
Qantas, Air Niugini and Virgin have regular flights to Port Moresby from Brisbane. Air Niugin and Qantas currently operate regular flights from Cairns although Qantas is set to withdraw from the Cairns run and increase its services from Brisbane. As a result, Air Niugini plans to increase its services from Cairns. Qantas and Air Niugini also offer more limited flights (mostly on a code share arrangement) from Sydney. Departure tax is included in the cost of airline tickets.
Although the stipulated check-in time for domestic flights in PNG is one hour prior to departure, due to chronic overbooking and long queues, it is advisable to check-in luggage in and obtain boarding passes as early as possible. A confirmed booking is no guarantee of a seat. As an alternative option, Air Niugini now offers online check in (from 24 to 3 hours before departure) for its domestic services.
Jacksons International Airport is located about 11 kilometres from the centre of the city, in the northern part of Port Moresby. From the city area, it usually takes around 20 minutes to reach the airport (more during peak times) and much less than 10 minutes from Waigani, where the Australian High Commission and Austrade are located.
The major hotels supply free courtesy bus transfers to and from Port Moresby airport. Local hotels can also make arrangements for transfers at other regional airports in Papua New Guinea.
While taxis are available, their use is not recommended because they can be unreliable, expensive and unsafe. If you have to use a taxi, arrange this only through your hotel and make sure the fare is negotiated before entering the vehicle. Avoid using public buses, commonly referred to as PMVs (public motor vehicles). Recommended methods of transport are a car with driver or, if you are confident enough to do so, a self-drive rental car. These can be arranged with rental companies or through your hotel. Standard GPS systems are not available for use in vehicles in PNG.
Hotel standards vary greatly in PNG. Business travellers should bear this in mind and qualify the standard before travelling.
Occupancy rates, particularly in Port Moresby, tend to be quite high and, as a result, tariff rates have risen dramatically. Travellers should book well in advance and reconfirm their booking and rate in writing.
In Port Moresby, business travellers generally use the Grand Papua Hotel, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ela Beach Hotel, Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express Hotels, Airways Hotel, Gateway Hotel or the new Stanley Hotel.
In Lae, the Lae International Hotel is the popular choice for business travellers, as the Melanesian Hotel is currently closed for major reconstruction.
Tips are neither expected nor encouraged. Visitors to the country are guests and hospitality is regarded as an honour in the Melanesian culture.