For such a close neighbour I know so little about Papua New Guinea

By Flickr user Steve Jurvetson

I know so little about Papua New Guinea, and yet it’s basically our closest territorial neighbour. Mind you, it’s about a million miles from anywhere heavily inhabited on mainland Australia, so that makes a difference. New Zealand is a four hour flight from Sydney; Brisbane is one hour and it’s barely half-way up the continent. PNG must be several.

I came across the incredible image above while looking at the Wikipedia page for Mount Wilhelm, the highest mountain in PNG, and the oceania region. It’s from the Hiri Moale Festival, which (according to the flickr page) is about “Celebrating independence from Australia and an old tradition of celebrating a successful trading voyage (free of pirates) bringing vegetables back from a distant village.

I think I was vaguely aware that Australia once controlled PNG as a territory (and I know we exert an unconscionable amount of influence over the inhabitants through Australian mining companies) but for some reason I’m particularly delighted by the idea of a festival to celebrate independence form Australia. As a former colony, we haven’t even done that yet!

There’s apparently a coffee festival every year in May, which would definitely be something I could see myself enjoying.