Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Papua New Guinea Road Rules

You should check latest travel advice from your Government if planning to drive in certain regions such as Hela and Southern Highlands and Enga and Western Highlands provinces as there may be travel advisories in place for certain areas.

Papua New Guinea drives on the left and you can use the photo licence of any country to drive for up to 30 days here, providing it’s written in Roman alphabet. Drivers from other countries need their own licence plus an international driving permit. Speed limits range from 75kmh on highway to 60kmh in towns. The Papua New Guinea police driving guide only mentions these speed limits but I would guess there are lower limits in heavily built up areas and near schools.

Papua New Guinea Roads

The country has around 20,000km of roads, the majority of which are unpaved and are generally in a poor condition.

Main routes in PNG are –

The Highlands Highway/Okuk Highway, the longest road in PNG, is a single carriageway road which starts at Lae and travels through Morobe provinc then climbs over the 1,500 metre high Kassam Pass into Eastern Highlands Province. After the town of Goroka it scales the 2,478m Daulo Pass before passing Kundiawa and Mount Hagen in Western Highlands Province.  The road then splits, with a southern branch continuing to the Southern Highlands province and its capital of Mendi before going on to Tari. The other branch goes to Enga province and its capital of Wabag before ending at Porgera. The road is in generally bad condition and is prone to landslides after bad weather and there have been reports of hold-ups by bandits in the Highland regions.

The Boluminski Highway/East Coast highway is the main land route on the island of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea. It runs from the provincial capital of Kavieng for 200 km down the east coast of the island to Namatanai and beyond.

With the exception of a brief span of road connecting it to the immediate hinterland, there are no major roads linking Port Moresby to any other city. There is currently a $4bn dollar road construction project underway to pave 1600km of roads in PNG. Routes being upgraded are –

The Ramu Highway between Watarais and Madang

The Gulf-to-Southern Highlands highway

The Sepik Coastal Highway between Wau to Bulolo

The Magi Highway between Hoskins and Kimbe

The Bougainville Road between Tari and Pori

The work is planned in two phases with phase 1 due to be completed in 2022 and the final phase in 2027.

Driving in Papua New Guinea

The tropical conditions, challenging geography,lack of resources and a poor road network make driving abroad in PNG a challenge. Road conditions are generally hazardous throughout Papua New Guinea, and driving is often erratic. Serious crime is particularly high in Port Moresby, and in the cities of Lae and Mt Hagen. Travel along the road between Nadzab airport and Lae, between the one and ten mile settlement areas, continues to be dangerous. Armed car-jackings are common in all three cities. Travel to Popondetta, and on the road between Popondetta and Kokoda, may be dangerous. You should be extremely vigilant when travelling in and around Popondetta. Locals in some parts of Port Moresby sometimes throw stones at cars, and you may find that locals repair holes in the road then request a ‘toll’ to let you get past.

If renting a car, its likely you will need to rent a 4×4 if travelling outside any main urban areas. Let the rental company know where you plan to travel so they can frecommend an appropriate vehicle.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Papua New Guinea Car Rental –
Hertz, Europcar, Avis,  Thrifty have outlets here.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Papua New Guinea. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

Papua New Guinea Self Drive Rules-
None of the companies specify whether cars can be taken into Western New Guinea. Hertz state that 2WD Cars can only be driven in towns and if you intend to drive in rural areas you need to hire a 4WD.

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