New Guinea is divided into the eastern part which forms the core of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the western part which is the Indonesian province of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya).
The Papuan Melanesian people are an intriguing and diverse ethnic group and comprise of nearly a thousand distinct tribal cultures and different languages. One of these tribes, the Dani was only discovered less than 50 years ago in 1938 when the US explorer Richard Archibold flew over the remote Baliem Valley in West Papua and saw their compounds and sweet potato fields. The Dani had lived in complete isolation from all outsiders for over 10,000 years and today are West Papua’s most famous ethnic group – their numbers have grown to around 70,000 and Wamenda, the main town in the Baliem Valley, receives several hundred visitors a month who come to see these unique people.
Scuba Diving in Papua New Guinea
Scuba diving is well established in many locations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and becoming so in the Raja Ampat area of West Papua. The Milne Bay area at the southeastern tip of the main island and Kimbe Bay in the centre of the island of New Britain are probably the two most popular diving locations in PNG.