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Thursday 23rd November
Papua New Guinea Information - Page 1
Geography
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea is in the Pacific; Australia is to the south and the Solomon Islands are to the east.

Papua New Guinea shares the island of New Guinea with Indonesia. Islands belonging to Papua New Guinea include Bougainville, New Britain and New Ireland.

Port Moresby is the capital and Lae is Papua New Guinea's second largest city. Other cities are Madang, Rabaul and Wewak.

The terrain is mountainous with coastal lowlands. The principal rivers include the Fly, Sepik and Ramu.

The climate of Papua New Guinea is tropical with northwest monsoons from December to March and southeast monsoons from May to October. Rainfall varies throughout the islands and temperature varies according to altitude.

Environment
Papua New Guinea is a mountainous country with valleys, rivers, tropical forests, mangrove swamps, coastal plains and coral islands.

It is estimated that there are around nine thousand species of plants in Papua New Guinea; many, such as orchids, are found in the rainforest.

The rainforest is also home to many species of birds. The Bird of Paradise is the country's national emblem.

Other wildlife includes bats, tree kangaroos, spiny aneaters, crocodiles, snakes and turtles. The Queen Alexandra Birdwing, the world's largest butterfly also lives in Papua New Guinea.

National Parks are Varirata National Park near Port Moresby, McAdam National Park, the Mount Gahavisuka National Park and the Kokoda Trail. The Kikori Integrated Conservation and Development Project, a twelve year project, is the largest conservation area in Papua New Guinea.

Architecture
Colonial architecture can still be seen in Port Moresby, a port town that developed into Papua New Guinea's capital city.

High rise office blocks tower over the newer part of the city and Parliament House, designed around the theme of a traditional Spirit House, is a combination of the old and the new.

Not far from the modern centre, the village of Hanuabada, destroyed during the Second World War, has been rebuilt with traditional houses raised on stilts above the water. Stilt houses, constructed using posts able to withstand water, are a popular style of building in Papua New Guinea.

Population
The population of Papua New Guinea was estimated at 6,187,591 in 2011. The majority of the people are Melanesian.

Languages
Official languages in Papua New Guinea are English, Neo Melanesian (tok pisin) and Motu. Over seven hundred indigenous languages are spoken.

Religion
Many Papua New Guineans are Christians and some of the people have indigenous beliefs.

Food
Staple foods in Papua New Guinea are taro roots, bananas, sweet potatoes and sago (palm).

A variety of leafy vegetables are available. Coconut is used in cooking, for example, taro leaves cooked in coconut cream.

Leaves are also used as wrappings when baking or steaming food.

Fish and other seafood supplement the diet and chickens are kept. A whole pig is roasted for traditional feasts.

Coconuts, guavas, mangoes, papayas, passion fruits, pineapples and watermelons are grown.

Fruit juice, coconut juice and soft drinks are available.

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