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New Guinea Caves

New Guinea, both Papua New Guinea and Indonesian New Guinea, contains the world's least-explored limestone regions. The potential for undiscovered caves here is arguably greater than anywhere else on the planet.

While PNG has had some expeditions dating back nearly 50 years, yielding some incredible finds, I'm betting that less than 1% of the island's karst has been even gently searched for caves.

While the political situation in Indonesian Papua is currently obstructive to most caving efforts, PNG is more open and I hope to visit soon. My strategy would be to ask local villagers of known caves, and also use drones to scout areas.

I do not plan to lead major expeditions, or descend the deepest, or enter extremely risky caves, of which there are many. Rather, I'd like to search for spectacular caves, be they 100 meters or 100 kilometers, to map, photograph, document and protect.

As of 2021, the logical place to start is likely New Ireland. There were a few expeditions here several decades ago, but only to look for the potentially deepest caves. I'm not even sure that any areas below 1400 meters elevation were even looked at! New Ireland also appears to be both one of the safer regions in the country, and has an excellent road system. There are a number of eco-lodges high in the Lelet Plateau that would likely be a good place to start.

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