Madang, Papua New Guinea

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Madang, Papua New Guinea

Region: Madang

Geographic Coordinates: -5.216700, 145.800000
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Madang, Papua New Guinea vary throughout the year.
Population: 62023
Language: Tok Pisin

Madang, Located on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, Is a captivating and culturally diverse town that offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, Historical significance, And vibrant local traditions. Nestled between lush rainforests and the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, Madang boasts stunning landscapes that make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. One of Madang’s most striking features is its picturesque coastline. With palm-fringed beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, Visitors can indulge in sunbathing, Swimming in crystal-clear waters or exploring vibrant coral reefs while snorkeling or diving.

The nearby islands provide an opportunity to witness traditional village life firsthand and experience authentic Melanesian culture. In addition to its natural wonders, Madang is also known for its intriguing history. The town was once an important hub during World War II and remnants of this era can still be seen today. Visitors can explore fascinating war relics such as aircraft wrecks submerged in clear waters or visit Japanese bunkers hidden within dense jungles. For those interested in cultural immersion, Madang offers a rich tapestry of indigenous traditions.

The region is home to numerous tribes with distinct customs and beliefs that have been preserved over generations. Travelers have the chance to witness mesmerizing performances featuring traditional dance forms accompanied by rhythmic drumming while adorned in elaborate costumes made from feathers and shells. The town itself boasts a lively marketplace where locals sell fresh produce like tropical fruits, Vegetables, Seafood delicacies such as mud crabs or lobsters caught daily from nearby reefs.

This bustling center also provides an opportunity to purchase unique handmade crafts like woven baskets or intricately carved masks produced by skilled artisans using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Madang’s diverse ecosystem also makes it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. From birdwatching expeditions in dense rainforests teeming with colorful avian species to river cruises spotting crocodiles and other reptiles, The region offers a myriad of opportunities for nature lovers to observe Papua New Guinea’s rich biodiversity up close. Madang is a hidden gem in Papua New Guinea that combines breathtaking natural beauty, Historical significance, And vibrant cultural traditions.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on pristine beaches or looking to immerse yourself in indigenous customs and explore World War II relics, This enchanting town has something for everyone. With its warm hospitality and awe-inspiring landscapes, Madang promises an unforgettable experience that will leave visitors with lasting memories of this tropical paradise.

Important Landmarks

  1. Madang Lighthouse: Located on the coast, this iconic lighthouse offers panoramic views of the town and its surroundings.
  2. Balek Wildlife Sanctuary: A popular destination for nature lovers, this sanctuary is home to various species of birds, reptiles, and mammals.
  3. Yamilon Lagoon: Known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Yamilon Lagoon is a great spot for snorkeling and diving.
  4. Bilbil Village: This traditional village showcases the local culture and craftsmanship through its woodcarvings and pottery.
  5. Madang Museum: Visitors can explore the rich cultural heritage of Papua New Guinea through exhibits featuring artifacts, artwork, and historical displays.
  6. Kranket Island: Accessible by boat from Madang town, Kranket Island offers pristine beaches ideal for swimming or simply relaxing by the water.
  7. Coastwatchers Memorial Lighthouse: This memorial commemorates Australian soldiers who served as coastwatchers during World War II in Papua New Guinea.
  8. Tusbab Beach Resort: A popular resort located along Astrolabe Bay offering stunning ocean views, beach activities, and comfortable accommodation options.
  9. Karkar Island: Situated off the coast of Madang province, Karkar Island boasts beautiful landscapes with volcanic peaks surrounded by lush forests.
  10. Jais Aben Resort & Kalibobo Village: These resorts offer luxurious accommodations along with access to various water sports activities like fishing or kayaking in scenic settings.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Madang is renowned for its agriculture industry, particularly in the production of cocoa, coffee, copra (dried coconut kernels), and palm oil. The region’s fertile soil and favorable climate make it conducive for farming.
  2. Fisheries: Being located along the coast, Madang has a thriving fishing industry that contributes significantly to the local economy. Tuna fishing is especially prominent, with fish canneries being an important part of the business landscape.
  3. Mining: Madang has mineral-rich areas that are home to mining operations extracting gold, copper, silver, nickel, cobalt, and other minerals. The mining sector plays a vital role in generating revenue and employment opportunities.
  4. Tourism: With its stunning natural beauty including pristine beaches, coral reefs, rainforests, waterfalls, and historical sites like World War II relics or ancient caves; tourism is an emerging industry in Madang. Hotels/resorts catering to tourists have been established along with tour operators offering various adventure activities such as diving or hiking.
  5. Manufacturing: There are small-scale manufacturing businesses involved in food processing (e.g., cocoa processing), timber processing (sawmills), handicrafts production (such as carvings or woven crafts), and other light industries contributing to the local economy.
  6. Retail & Services: As a regional hub with a growing population base due to migration from surrounding rural areas; retail stores selling consumer goods have proliferated across Madang town center providing employment opportunities while meeting local demand for various products/services.
  7. Transportation & Logistics: Given its strategic coastal location with access to both land-based transportation routes connecting highlands provinces as well as maritime trade routes; transportation services such as shipping companies/ports play an important role in facilitating trade within Papua New Guinea and internationally.

It is worth noting that while these industries are prominent in Madang, the region also faces challenges related to infrastructure development, access to markets, and capacity building.

Noteable History

  1. German Colonial Era: During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Madang was under German colonial rule. The Germans established plantations, built infrastructure, and introduced Christianity to the region.
  2. World War II: Madang witnessed intense fighting during World War II when it was occupied by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1944. The town suffered significant damage during this period.
  3. Coastwatchers: Madang was a crucial base for Australian coastwatchers during World War II. These brave individuals gathered intelligence on Japanese movements in the Pacific and played a vital role in Allied operations.
  4. Divine Word University: Established in 1966, Divine Word University (DWU) is one of Papua New Guinea’s leading tertiary institutions located in Madang Province.
  5. Sir Peter Barter: A prominent figure from Madang is Sir Peter Barter, who served as Governor of East Sepik Province from 1997 to 2007. He played an essential role in promoting tourism and development in the region.
  6. Annual Arts Festival: The annual Madang Festival celebrates local culture through various art forms such as dance performances, traditional music shows, exhibitions, and displays of traditional crafts.
  7. Tusbab Secondary School: Located near Madang town, Tusbab Secondary School has produced numerous successful individuals who have made significant contributions to society across various fields like politics, education, business etc.
  8. Beautiful Scenery & Diving Spots: Apart from historical events or people associated with Madang; its stunning natural beauty attracts tourists worldwide due to its pristine beaches, coral reefs for diving enthusiasts along with lush rainforests surrounding the area.

These are just a few examples of notable historical events and people associated with Madang; there are undoubtedly many more that have shaped the region’s history and culture.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Madang Museum: This museum showcases the diverse cultural heritage of Papua New Guinea, with exhibits featuring traditional artifacts, artwork, and historical photographs.
  2. Balek Wildlife Sanctuary: Located just outside Madang, this sanctuary is home to a variety of native bird species, including the iconic Birds of Paradise. Visitors can enjoy guided tours and witness these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
  3. Coastwatchers’ Memorial Lighthouse: This monument pays tribute to the Australian coastwatchers who played a vital role during World War II in monitoring enemy movements along the Pacific coastline. The lighthouse offers panoramic views of Madang and its surrounding islands.
  4. Divine Word University Art Gallery: Showcasing contemporary art by local artists and students from Divine Word University, this gallery provides insight into modern artistic expressions in Papua New Guinea.
  5. Yamilon Lake: A picturesque lake located near Madang town, Yamilon offers a tranquil escape with its scenic beauty and opportunities for swimming or canoeing amidst lush greenery.
  6. Haus Tumbuna Cultural Village: Situated on Siar Island near Madang town, this cultural village provides visitors with an immersive experience of traditional Melanesian culture through dance performances, storytelling sessions, handicraft displays, and more.
  7. Bilbil Village Pottery Market: Known for its unique pottery-making traditions passed down through generations, Bilbil Village hosts a vibrant market where visitors can purchase intricately designed clay pots as souvenirs or witness artisans crafting them firsthand.
  8. Jais Aben Resort & Kalibobo Village: These resorts offer stunning views over Astrolabe Bay and provide access to activities like snorkeling/diving trips to nearby coral reefs or island-hopping adventures around the region’s picturesque islands.
  9. Kranket Island Beaches: Just off the coast of Madang lies Kranket Island with its pristine white sandy beaches fringed by crystal-clear waters – perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying a peaceful day by the sea.
  10. Madang Resort & Country Club: This resort offers a range of amenities including a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, and spa facilities. Visitors can relax and unwind while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Note: It is advisable to check the current status and accessibility of these places before planning a visit as circumstances may change over time.

Sports Teams

  1. Madang FC (Soccer): Madang FC is one of the most successful soccer clubs in Papua New Guinea. They have won several National Soccer League titles and have a strong fan base in the region.
  2. Lahanis Rugby League Club: The Lahanis are a prominent rugby league team based in Madang. They compete in the PNG National Rugby League Competition and have had success over the years, reaching multiple grand finals.
  3. Hekari United (Soccer): Although Hekari United is based in Port Moresby, they have a significant following in Madang as well. The club has dominated Papua New Guinea’s soccer scene, winning numerous national titles and representing the country internationally.
  4. Snax Tigers (Rugby League): The Snax Tigers are another rugby league team from Madang that competes at various levels within Papua New Guinea’s domestic competitions.
  5. Tusbab Stallions (Soccer): Tusbab Stallions is a relatively new soccer club from Madang that has quickly gained recognition on the national stage. They made their debut in 2016 and have since become one of the competitive teams within the National Soccer League.

These are just a few examples of sports teams with notable histories or achievements from Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Cultural Events

  1. Madang Festival: This annual festival celebrates the diverse cultures of the Madang province. It features traditional dances, music performances, art exhibitions, canoe races, and a beauty pageant.
  2. Yam Festival: Held in November each year, this festival is dedicated to celebrating the yam harvest. It includes traditional dances, singing competitions, storytelling sessions about local legends and myths related to yams.
  3. Mask Festival: This vibrant festival showcases the unique masks and traditional costumes of different tribes in Papua New Guinea. Visitors can witness mask-making demonstrations, participate in workshops to learn about traditional crafts and enjoy cultural performances.
  4. Crocodile Festival: Taking place in Ambunti town near Madang province annually since 2006, this festival celebrates the significance of crocodiles in local culture. It involves various activities such as canoe races on Sepik River, cultural displays by different tribes along the riverbanks, and crocodile wrestling demonstrations.
  5. Sing-Sing Festivals: Throughout the year, various Sing-Sing festivals are held across Madang province where different tribes gather to showcase their distinct dances and music styles adorned with elaborate traditional costumes.
  6. Independence Day Celebrations: On September 16th each year, Papua New Guinea celebrates its independence from Australia with parades featuring cultural performances by different provinces including Madang.
  7. Christmas Celebrations: Like many other places around the world, Christmas is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Madang through church services followed by feasts and community gatherings where people sing carols and exchange gifts. These events provide an opportunity for locals as well as visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of Madang province while enjoying vibrant celebrations filled with music, dance performances, and delicious food.


  1. Mumu: This is a traditional method of cooking where meat, usually pork or chicken, along with vegetables and sweet potatoes are cooked in an underground oven.
  2. Laplap: Laplap is a dish made from grated taro or banana, mixed with coconut milk and cooked in banana leaves.
  3. Kokoda: A traditional dish made from raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with coconut cream, onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers.
  4. Sago: Sago is a staple food made from the starch extracted from the pith of sago palm trees. It can be served as porridge or used to make pancakes.
  5. Betel nut: Although not a food item per se, betel nut chewing is very popular in this region and considered part of the local culture.

As for restaurants in Madang:

  1. Coastwatchers Hotel Restaurant: Located at Coastwatchers Avenue, this restaurant offers a variety of cuisines including local dishes as well as international options.
  2. Jais Aben Resort Restaurant: Situated at Kalibobo Drive near Madang Airport, this restaurant serves both Western and Asian cuisine with stunning views overlooking Astrolabe Bay.
  3. The Madang Lodge Restaurant: Located at Modilon Road near Divine Word University Campus, this restaurant offers a mix of Western dishes along with some local specialties like kokoda and mumu.
  4. Kalibobo Village Resort Restaurant: Situated on Binnen Island Road near the waterfront area of town, this resort’s restaurant serves up delicious seafood dishes as well as other international cuisines.
  5. The Smugglers Inn Restaurant & Bar: Found on Coronation Drive overlooking Dallman Passage Marina Park area; it offers an extensive menu featuring seafood specialties alongside other international options.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Jais Aben Resort: This resort offers various recreational activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing. It also has a beautiful beachfront area for relaxation.
  2. Balek Wildlife Sanctuary: Located just outside of Madang town, this sanctuary is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife. Visitors can enjoy bird watching and nature walks.
  3. Coastwatchers Memorial Lighthouse: Situated on a hill overlooking the ocean, this memorial lighthouse offers stunning views of the coastline and surrounding areas.
  4. Kalibobo Village: This cultural village provides an opportunity to experience traditional dances, crafts, and music of the local people in Madang.
  5. Tusbab Beach: A popular spot for picnics and swimming, Tusbab Beach is located about 15 minutes from Madang town center.
  6. Machinegun Beach: Known for its clear waters and sandy beaches, Machinegun Beach is a great place for swimming or simply relaxing by the sea.
  7. Siar Village Canoe Tour: Visitors can take a guided canoe tour through Siar Village to explore the mangroves along the coast while learning about local culture and traditions.
  8. Divine Word University Botanic Gardens: This botanical garden features various plant species native to Papua New Guinea and offers walking trails for visitors to enjoy nature walks.
  9. Madang Golf Club: Golf enthusiasts can play at this 18-hole golf course located near Dallman Passage with picturesque views of Astrolabe Bay.
  10. Madang Resort Hotel Pool Complex: The hotel’s pool complex is open to both guests staying at the resort as well as day visitors who wish to swim or relax by the poolside.


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