Fire and rescue services
Call 111 or go direct to the hospital.
Call 112 or go to your local police station.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea overall.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea overall due to high levels of serious crime.
Reconsider your need to travel to Porgera township in Enga Province in the northern highlands; Tari in Hela Province.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Crime levels are high and police response can be slow.
Crime is common in PNG, but particularly in Port Moresby, Lae and other urban centres, including:
Squatter settlements in towns and cities are dangerous.
'Bush knives' (machetes) and guns are often used in assaults and robberies.
The crime rate increases leading into the Christmas holiday period.
Most crime is opportunistic but foreigners have been targeted at home, at work or while travelling.
Robbery is a higher risk at:
Most robberies involve guns.
Avoid walking in the streets, particularly after dark
Women in particular are at greater risk of sexual assault and theft.
Carjacking is common.
High-risk areas in Port Moresby, Lae, and along the highway between Lae and Nadzab Airport, especially at night.
Criminals may use roadblocks outside of towns to stop and loot vehicles and attack you.
To stay safe on the roads:
Civil disorder and criminal activity, including armed robbery, has happened at tourist resorts in Alotau and across Milne Bay.
In December 2018 and January 2019, police locked down Alotau several times because of civil disorder and criminal activity.
In 2018 and 2019, there were several armed robberies of foreign day trekkers near Sogeri and Varirata National Park. There was also an attempted armed carjacking.
In 2019, foreign day trekkers were robbed near the Goldie River Crossing.
Consider using a security escort.
Find out more about trekking the Kokoda Track under Travel.
Many organisations, including the Australian High Commission, use private security:
Australian officials always use heightened security measures.
Officials get security training and follow strict guidelines.Which may include limiting or avoiding travel in certain areas during periods of increased risk.
To improve your personal security:
Tension between tribal, communal or clan groups can increase without warning.
Fighting often involves guns. Rioting and looting can follow.
Outbreaks of violence have happened in squatter settlements and marketplaces of urban centres, including:
If a clash happens, it may cause:
In June 2018, civil unrest and violence happened in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province, after a court decision on a disputed election.
Rioters looted and burned an Air Niugini plane and several buildings.
Violent tribal clashes and random killings of locals have occurred in Tari and surrounding areas in Hela Province.
A State of Emergency has been invoked in Porgera Township, Enga Province. There's ongoing violence because of illegal mining at the Porgera gold mine. People have been killed and injured.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
In Bougainville, you're more at risk in Central Bougainville and Southern Bougainville because of:
Medical services in Bougainville are basic, make sure your insurance covers medical evacuations.
To reduce your risks while you're in Bougainville:
To protect yourself during a natural disaster:
If you're visiting after a natural disaster, contact your tour operator to check if services are affected.
Timing of the wet season varies across the country.
During the wet season, heavy rain can cause:
Tropical storms can also happen in other months.
If you're arriving during the wet season, contact your tour operator to check if services are affected.
Active volcanoes erupt regularly, particularly around:
The volcano at Mt Ulawan, West New Britain Province, erupted in June 2019 and further eruptions are likely. It displaced locals, disrupted services and resulted in the closure of Hoskins Airport for several days.
Manam Island volcano erupts frequently, including in 2018 and 2019. Local communities evacuated several times. Volcanoes that had been dormant also erupted, including the volcano on Kadovar Island.
Ash from volcanoes in the Rabaul region can disrupt airline schedules at Kokopo airport. Flights may be cancelled at short notice.
Get updates on ash clouds from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.
PNG can experience earthquakes and tsunamis. Tsunamis can happen after an earthquake in the region.
In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces. Over 100 people died. Flights and essential services were disrupted, including access to food and clean water.
Get updates on earthquakes via the US Geological Service.
To reduce your risk of harm during an earthquake:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in PNG. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Insect-borne diseases occur throughout PNG, including in Port Moresby.
Malaria is a risk in PNG and common throughout the year.
Cases of chikungunya have been reported since 2012.
Japanese encephalitis is a low-risk for short-term visitors in urban areas.
If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends you:
To protect yourself from disease:
Consider taking medication to prevent malaria and getting vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis.
Seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
A national vaccination campaign is ongoing. Make sure you're vaccinated against polio.
Tuberculosis is common.
Drug-resistant strains are present, including in Port Moresby. Cases of highly drug-resistant strains were reported in Port Moresby and Western Province.
People at greater risk include:
If you think you have tuberculosis, get urgent medical treatment.
The HIV/AIDS infection rate is high. Other sexually transmitted diseases are widespread.
Take precautions if you're doing anything that exposes you to risk of infection.
Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
Local water services can be polluted or turned off. Waterborne parasites occur in many rivers.
To protect yourself from illness:
Seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning or have a fever or diarrhoea.
The government may declare a national emergency if there's a health outbreak of diseases such as:
In an emergency, the government may make provisions, laws, orders or regulations to stop the spread of diseases. This can happen without notice.
In an emergency health response there could be:
Venomous snakes are common. Reports of snake bites increase during the wet season.
Jellyfish and other marine animal stings can be fatal.
Seek advice from local authorities, your tour operator or hotel about:
Health care facilities are poor, including in Port Moresby.
Large towns usually have enough facilities for routine problems and some emergencies.
Health facilities in rural areas, including along the Kokoda Track, are basic.
Ambulance services outside Port Moresby are limited.
If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll be evacuated to Australia. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
If you're diving, the only hyperbaric (decompression) chamber is in Port Moresby.
If you plan to dive in PNG:
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
The death penalty can apply for crimes including:
You may get a fine or jail sentence if you:
It's illegal to remove surplus war material from PNG. This includes:
Sexual acts between people of the same sex are illegal. Prison sentences apply.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
The traditional custom of 'payback' occurs.
You could face 'payback' if you:
'Payback' can include violence or demands for money.
Dress and behaviour standards are conservative. Take care not to offend.
Ask permission before taking photos of:
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can’t help you.
You need a visa to enter PNG. You should apply for a visa to visit PNG prior to travel. eVisas are available through the PNG eVisa portal.
There have been reports of fraudulent websites targeting foreign nationals applying for eVisas to PNG. If applying for an eVisa, use the official PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority website. It's illegal to work in PNG on a tourist visa.
If you breach PNG immigration laws, you can be:
Entry and exit conditions can change. Contact your airline or your nearest embassy or consulate of Papua New Guinea for details about the latest visa and entry requirements.
PNG has implemented enhanced screening procedures and entry restrictions in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In February 2020, the PNG Government announced that if you have travelled to mainland China within 14 days of your arrival in PNG you will be denied entry.
Contact your airline or tour operator to confirm you meet all entry requirements.
You can't bring fruit or vegetables into PNG due to quarantine restrictions.
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the PNG Kina (PGK).
Declare all amounts over PGK20,000 when you arrive or leave.
Exchange Australian dollars for PGK at local banks.
Most hotels accept international credit cards.
ATMs are in Port Moresby and major urban centres but aren't always working. Only use ATMs in hotels and other secure locations due to the high risk of crime.
Ask your bank if your Australian cards will work in PNG.
Walking the Kokoda Track is physically demanding. You must have a high level of fitness.
Weather conditions can be unpredictable.
Health risks include:
Every year several Australians are medically evacuated. It's expensive. You or your travel insurance provider must cover the costs. Some people have died.
Adequate travel insurance is essential.
Serious crime and civil disorder happens throughout PNG, including:
Consider using a security escort. See Safety
Unexploded weapons and remnants of war are found in PNG. Especially along the Kokoda Track, Milne Bay and Rabaul.
The condition and stability of these weapons is unknown. They can maim or kill you.
If you find a war remnant, don't disturb it.
The PNG Government regulates trekking along the Kokoda Track. You need a permit before you trek.
If your trekking company is organising your permit, make sure you have the permit before you start trekking.
Make sure your trekking company has contingency plans if the track is blocked.
If you plan to trek the Kokoda Track:
While on the Kokoda Track:
Mobile phone global roaming services can be patchy.
Landline phones can have outages.
To stay in communication:
You'll need both:
Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.
After 1 month, you'll need a local licence.
You're 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in PNG than in Australia.
Roads are poor, especially in rural areas.
Other hazards include:
Large crowds can form quickly after road accidents. These crowds can become violent with no warning.
Flash floods and landslides can cause roads to close during the wet season. This can result in travel delays. The timing of the wet season varies across the country.
Parts of the Highlands Highway between Lae and Mount Hagen are particularly affected.
Police use roadblocks to check licences and vehicle registrations in Port Moresby.
If you plan to drive in PNG:
Avoid travel by motorcycle.
Poor roads and high crime risks mean riding a motorbike in PNG is more dangerous than in Australia.
It's safer to travel in a locked vehicle.
Make sure your travel insurance covers riding a motorcycle.
Always wear a helmet.
Avoid taxis, especially if you're a woman.
Taxis are poorly maintained and often targeted by criminals.
Use vehicles hired from a reputable company, hotel or secure transport provider.
Avoid public transport.
Also avoid privately owned minibuses, known as public motor vehicles (PMVs). They are poorly maintained and often targeted by criminals.
Use vehicles hired from a reputable company, hotel or secure transport provider.
Travel by ferry or small local boats can be dangerous. Modern boats may be overcrowded and lack basic safety equipment (especially for small children), these include:
Several ferries have sunk in rough weather. Many people have died.
Boat services can be disrupted at short notice. Overcrowding of ferries and boats is common.
Consider flying to your destination instead.
There are limited marine search and rescue services in PNG.
To reduce your risk when travelling on the water:
Register EPIRBs and PLBs with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. In case of maritime accident, notify the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority on its 24-hour emergency number: +675 7351 7017.
International cruise lines stop over in PNG.
Flying in PNG can be dangerous because of:
Since 2000, there have been more than 20 aircraft accidents:
Flight delays and cancellations are frequent. Check your flight schedule with your airline.
DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check PNG's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 111 or go direct to the hospital.
Call 112 or go to your local police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby or the Australian the Consulate-General in Lae (if you are in Morobe province) to make an appointment. Note the Consulate-General in Lae can't issue emergency travel document.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Phone: (+675) 7090 0100
Fax: (+675) 325 9239
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.