So I'm currently traveling around Australia, on a Working Holiday Visa, and loving it! I thought I'd take advantage of the location by taking a side trip to some islands in the area and was wondering whether anyone had experiences in any of these places. There's limited information online about these places so I'm struggling to find where is best for me. I've generally found flights are around AU$300 for each trip which I'm ok with but if anyone knows of any deals then that would be great!
I'm a backpacker so like staying in hostels/camping/cheap accom, taking public transport (preferably no tours) and eating local foods. Any info on these would be very appreciated as well as any must see/do things. Was thinking of going around September sort of time.
Will most likely pick about 3 places but these are the ones I'm interested in, though I am open to suggestions:
Papua New Guinea
Anyone in the area that would like to join me is also very welcome!
Papua New Guinea is expensive, with or without a tour. There aren't many roads, so you'll either have to hike, fly or take a boat. Travel in the hinterlands by yourself isn't advisable. There are several "adventure" tour operators for the Kokoda Track. They might be your best bet. There are flights to Port Moresby from Brisbane and Cairns.
You also might consider Timor-Leste, or East Timor. There are flights from Darwin on Airnorth.
Generally, you'll find that island traveling will be more costly than you imagined.
If you're still thinking of visiting Papua New Guinea, and you have limited funds, think again. This place is incredibly expensive, particularly if you want to go into the interior. There are no roads from Port Moresby to the Highlands. You have to fly; and flights aren't cheap. There are roads within the Highlands that will take you to Madang and Lae along the coast. Local transportation on those roads isn't expensive by western standards, but crowded. Few tourists visit. Visitors are mostly older and on tours (just like in Bhutan), perhaps because they have more generous travel budgets (Bhutan requires a minimum $250 per day in expenditures). From Lae, you can either fly to Port Moresby or take a ferry. The people here are incredibly friendly. Everyone seems to want to shake your hand. The birds, including birds of paradise, are gorgeous. Safety might be an issue in Port Moresby. Security is prevalent. There are metal grills covering the windows of many vehicles to prevent damage from rocks thrown. Still, this is a country well worth visiting. I'm currently on the way to Wewak to travel by canoe on the Sepik River.