The remote Western Province is a water world characterised by vast swamplands, PNG's largest lake and the watersheds of two major rivers: the Strickland River and the mighty Fly River – the country's second longest. Little-visited by outsiders, it offers remarkable scope for an epic river journey for intrepid travellers with lots of time on their hands.
From Port Moresby, there are Air Niugini flights to Daru in the Fly River Delta (K626, 1¼ hours, Monday and Friday) where it's possible to find someone with a boat and a guide to take you upriver. Alternatively, you can see if you can catch a ride on one of the North Fly Rubber Co-op boats that ply their leisurely way along the Fly and can get you as far as Kiunga, from where the boat journey along the Fly can be done in reverse. Kiunga is served by direct Air Niugini flights from Port Moresby (K816, two hours) on Saturdays and PNG Air flights (K621, four hours) on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. You can also fly to Kiunga via Tabubil (K981) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from Mt Hagen (K521, two hours) daily.
The best place to stay in town is the Kiunga Guesthouse, with basic budget rooms that share the common bathroom, and more expensive self-contained rooms; meals are included in the price. If you're a birder, Kiunga Guesthouse can put you in touch with Sam Kepuknai of Kiunga Nature Tours; birdwatchers swear that he's the most reliable bird man in PNG for guaranteeing to see the species he promises.
Kiunga is connected to Tabubil in the northernmost part of the Western Province by a 137km 'highway', maintained by the OK Tedi mine. Tabubil, linked to Port Moresby and Mt Hagen via frequent flights, hosts the occasional group of birdwatchers. Hotel Cloudlands is the most salubrious place to stay in town, with clean but overpriced business rooms and an erratic restaurant popular with Ok Tedi mining types.
If you're masochistically inclined, you can ask around for a local guide to take you on a brutally difficult trek over the Hindenburg Range as far as Hotmin Mission in the Sandaun Province, from where you can find a boat to take you down the May River to join the Sepik.