Introduction

At the eastern end of mainland PNG, the Owen Stanley Range plunges into the sea, and islands are scattered across the ocean for hundreds of kilometres further out. This is the start of the Pacific proper – tiny atolls, coral reefs, volcanic islands, swaying palms, white beaches and friendly locals.

More than 435 islands give the province 2120km of coastline, connected by a myriad banana boats for want of better infrastructure. To many Australians, Milne Bay is synonymous with the 1942 WWII battles fought here between Japanese and Australian forces and a few war relics are still scattered about.

The far-flung Trobriand Islands are proving to be culturally resilient and as exotic a destination as the father of modern anthropology, Bronsilaw Malinowski, first described them to be.