If you should ever travel to Papua New Guinea you will have an opportunity to use their national currency. It is known as the kina and the same word is used for both the singular and the plural.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
Most currencies in the world today are decimal in nature, and this one is no exception. The subunit in use here is the toea, so there are 100 toea to every kina. There is a one kina coin in use, and all the rest of the coins are denominated in toea. These are the 5, 10, 20 and 50 toea coins.
You will also find the country has half a dozen banknotes in use. These are all in kina and are the 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 kina banknotes. The notes are usually quite colourful and bear the images of important people.
From past to present – the history of the Papua New Guinean kina
While some currencies have a history stretching back hundreds of years, the kina is definitely a more modern one. It first came into being back in 1975 and has been used in the country ever since. Prior to the kina being used the country had opted to use the Australian dollar. This is not surprising given the country’s proximity to Australia. There was a changeover period between the two currencies that took place between 19th April 1975 and 1st January the following year. This was when the kina officially took over and the Australian dollar could no longer be used in the country.
How to get hold of the Papua New Guinean kina
While most bureaux de change have lots of currencies available for you to exchange your own for, the Papua New Guinean kina is not likely to be one of them. This means you cannot usually take money into the country with you. Instead you have to get hold of some while you are there.
This is one of those countries where you should always have some cash on your person. You may well be able to use your credit card to pay for things on your travels, but it is unwise to assume you can pay for everything in this way. Some outlets may accept cards but others may not. This means the best way to approach a trip to Papua New Guinea is to make sure you have several options at your disposal. Traveller’s cheques are good to take in because you can exchange them as and when required for the local currency. It is also a good idea to keep as many small banknotes on you as you can. This is particularly true if you go off the beaten track to explore. Smaller notes are likely to bring you change for a purchase – larger notes may not be easily accepted at all.
You can also use cash machines in order to get the cash you need. If you are using a Visa or Mastercard make sure you look out for ANZ or Westpac banks as these are likely to be your best bet. However don’t focus on cash machines as your main way of getting the cash you need. Traveller’s cheques are always essential when visiting this country.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Papua New Guinean kina
Since this currency is probably not one that you are very familiar with, you can use a currency converter to work out the latest conversion. Using the ISO code for this currency (PGK) is the best way to locate it. Some of the more basic converters may not have this currency on them, so make sure you use a more comprehensive one that does include this particular one in its collection. You should enter your own home currency first and then find the Papua New Guinean kina so you can get the correct conversion between them.
You may not be all that familiar with Papua New Guinea. This means if you have a trip planned there you could find out a lot about it prior to travel. The country has a High Commission in London that is represented by a website, and this is the easiest way to find out more. The website has a section devoted to tourism, making it a good way to learn more about the country as a whole. You can look at the site by going to http://www.pnghighcomm.org.uk/.
Travelling safely with the Papua New Guinean kina
Papua New Guinea is not one of the main countries people tend to visit on holiday. However every year some people do go to the country, so it is wise to keep up to date with what is happening there.
The main thing you need to be aware of is crime. This can be a dangerous place to visit if you are not careful and you are unaware of the risks. This is one part of the world where law and order are nowhere near as good as you would expect them to be or are used to at home. For this reason you should always be alert and careful of where you go. While petty crime does occur, such as the usual bag snatching and pickpocketing, far more serious crimes also take place with disturbing regularity. Try and minimise the risks to you personally by carrying with you only what you need to in terms of valuables and cash. You should be particularly careful when in the capital of the country, Port Moresby. Try to avoid going out anywhere after dark. Lawlessness is a big problem in this country so make sure you are aware of this and of the risks.
Where to spend your kina in Papua New Guinea – and what to spend them on
You will find Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, not far off the northern coastline of Australia. It takes up the right-hand side of a land mass known as New Guinea. In addition to this half of the land mass Papua New Guinea also includes a number of islands of varying sizes off to the east of the main part of the country.
We mentioned above that the capital, Port Moresby, can be a dangerous place to visit for the uninitiated and those who are not careful about where they go. There are some nice sights here though, such as Walter Bay and Ela Beach. While some areas of the city have all but been abandoned others have shopping centres and many other sights as well. Just be careful and remember your safety is of the utmost importance in every part of the capital.
Elsewhere in the country there are other sights, including Mount Wilhelm. This is the highest mountain the country has to offer, standing with an elevation of 14,793 feet. You may not want to actually climb this mountain but its height means it is viewable from many locations in the country.
If the idea of getting out into the open appeals to you, why not look into finding out more about the Kokoda Trail? This is 60 miles long and it runs from Port Moresby out to a village named Kokoda, hence the name of the trail. This is by no means an easy stroll however – the length makes it a challenge but the terrain can also be tough to cross in places. If you are fit and prepared for the idea of trying it you may wish to learn more.
Papua New Guinea is also home to an active volcano called Tavurvur. Its proper name is a stratovolcano and it forms part of the Rabaul caldera. This is a big volcano in itself and Tavurvur is actually just one part of it. It is often referred to as being a sub-vent of the main volcano. Needless to say its activity means you wouldn’t want – or be able – to get too close to it! However it is interesting to find out more about it and perhaps to view it from a safer distance. It is not the only volcano in Papua New Guinea since there are many others dotted around the islands. While some have not erupted in thousands of years, others are rather more active.
Papua New Guinea certainly makes for a different destination if you would like to see a different part of the world. The main thing to be aware of here is the level of crime that permeates across the country. Some areas are more dangerous to visit than others, so do be very careful when you are planning a trip there. Furthermore don’t explore new places without first determining how safe they are to visit. Things can change very quickly and with violent crimes taking place often (even locals have security in place to protect their properties in places such as the capital) there are dangers around you need to stay alert for. There are many places to enjoy in the country if you are prepared and you know where to go and which areas to avoid.