Madang Province (MP) covers 29,000 square kilometers on the central north coast and adjacent islands. It includes high mountain ranges, many lakes, a narrow coastal plain, swamps and the Ramu River. Like other regions bordering the Bismarck Sea the area is subject to much tectonic activity. Three of the islands have active volcanoes. Madang province has the fourth largest provincial population according to the 2011 Census (493,906—7 percent of PNG’s population), after Morobe, Eastern Highlands and Southern Highlands.Some 180 languages are spoken. The Constitution, which was adopted in 1978, provides for an elected House of Assembly of 23 members and 3 members appointed by the national government. There are five districts and provincial headquarters are at the coastal town of Madang.
Cocoa and copra are the main crops and cattle are raised in the Ramu Valley. Almost all the sugar consumed in PNG is grown and processed by the Ramu Sugar Company which is owned jointly by the (British) Commonwealth Development Corporation, Booker Agriculture International (UK) and the PNG government. Jant Timber Company (Japan) fells and exports logs and runs a woodchip mill. James Barnes meat cannery (Australia) and W.D. & H.O. Wills cigarette factory (Australia) are major manufacturers. Roads have been built along most of the coastal plain and a road runs from Madang town to join the Highlands Highway. Madang town airport is the third busiest in PNG and the port the fifth busiest.
There is evidence of human settlement in MP from 15,000 BP. In 1871 the Russian biologist Nicolai Miklouho-Maclay explored part of the coast. Coffee, tobacco and cotton plantations were established by the Germans in the late 19th century. The first missionaries were Lutherans (1886) and Catholics (1901). Many people died and much property was destroyed during World War II. Madang town was occupied by the Japanese from May 1942 until April 1944.
Things to see
Madang: Pretty Madang, built on a peninsula that shelters a deep harbour, has many parks with pleasant shady walks, and views out to sea and the nearby islands from the 30m high Coastwatchers’ Memorial at Kalibobo Point. The market, located on Badaten Road, has vegetables, handcrafts and artefacts and is best on Saturdays.
Visitors and Cultural Bureau: Located in Haus Tumbuna on Modilon Road near the intersection with Coronation Drive, the bureau has information on things to see and do and a small museum with displays of weapons, jewellery, musical instruments and historic photographs.
Arts and crafts: The Madang Resort Hotel gift shop and markets for carvings, shell jewellery and bilums, or try the local market. Traditional clay pots are made at Bilbil Villages just south of Madang. Tours can be arranged.
Orchids and animals: Visitors can see the Elizabeth Sowerby Orchid Collection and cuscuses, hornbills, cockatoos and tree kangaroos at Madang Resort Hotel.
Kranket, Siar and Samun Islands: These picturesque islands are fantastic for day trips for swimming, snorkelling and picnics.
Kau Rainforest Museum: Owned by the Didipa Clan, this small remnant of rainforest was set aside to retain traditional bush knowledge and for environmental education. Located about 20km from Madang off the North Coast Road.
Volcanoes: The islands of Manam and Karkar have volcanic cones rising 1800m above sea level. The smoking cones provide a spectacular sight for visitors. Manam Island volcano erupted again in November 2004 and still smokes to date.
Things to do
Diving and snorkelling: There is great snorkelling off all the islands around Madang Harbour and at Jais Aben Resort, 20km north of Madang. Fantastic dive sites near Madang are Magic Passage, war wrecks and Planet Rock, an underwater sea mount with a population of curious hammerhead sharks, multitudes of small fish and beautiful corals. Further north there are War Wrecks at Bogia Bay and Hansa Bay. Reefs around Bagabag Island are swept by strong currents and have pelagic fish.
Golf: Cool sea breezes make playing pleasurable on the well-maintained course located beside the coast road on the east side of Madang, with the clubhouse overlooking the sea. Contact Madang Golf Club, Ph: +675 422 2181.
Trekking: Teptep at 2000m in the Finisterre Ranges has a guesthouse and is serviced by MAF from Madang. There are good walks nearby, and spectacular scenery. You can also trek with local guides to Wantoat near Kaiapit on the Madang-Lae Road in two days or down to the coast in three days to Saidor mission to take a plane or boat or trek down to Bonggu and take a boat to Madang. For bookings for Teptep make books through the MAF office in Madang Ph: +675 422 2229. From Brahmin Mission, 25km from the Lae-Madang Road, it’s a six-hour walk through forest on a rough road to Bundi where there is accommodation and an airstrip. You can continue uphill for two more days to Kegsugl at the base of Mt. Wilhelm. Ecotourism Melanesia runs five-day treks to Mt. Masur in the Adelbert Range, staying in villages. Ph: +675 323 4518, email [email protected], or check www.em.com.pg.
Fishing: Anywhere off the coast around Madang is good, especially Bagabag Island. Hotels, dive operators and the visitor bureau have lists of charter boats.
Canoeing: Jais Aben Resort, Krangket Island Lodge and Siar Island Guest House have canoes for hire. Otherwise hire someone from one of the many villages to paddle you around.
Kayaking: Jais Aben Resort and Madang Resort have kayaks for hire.
Surfing: Tupira Surf Club located at Ulingan Bay, email [email protected]
Gym: Jais Aben and Madang Lodge have gym facilities in house for their guests and interested individuals alike.
FYI: PNG’s 4 Regions & 22 Provinces
|Highlands||Eastern Highlands Province||Goroka|
|Western Highlands Province||Mt. Hagen|
|Southern Highlands Province||Mendi|
|Southern||National Capital District||Port Moresby|
|Central Province||Port Moresby|
|Oro (Northern) Province||Popondetta|
|Milne Bay Province||Alotau|
|East Sepik Province||Wewak|
|Sandaun (West Sepik) Province||Vanimo|
|New Guinea Islands||Manus Province||Lorengau|
|New Ireland Province||Kavieng|
|East New Britain Province||Kokopo|
|West New Britain Province||Kimbe|
|Autonomous Region of Bougainville||Buka|