The Sepik has a large catchment area and includes swamplands, tropical rainforests and mountains. Biologically, it is possibly the largest uncontaminated freshwater wetland system in the Asia-Pacific region
The river originates in the Victor Emanuel Range in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. From its mountain headwaters it travels north-west and leaves the mountains and flows into Indonesian Papua, before turning back north-east for the majority of its journey following the Great Depression. Along its course it receives numerous tributaries from the Bewani and Torricelli Mountains to the north and the Central Range to the south.
For most of the Sepik’s length the river winds in serpentine fashion to the Bismarck Sea off northern Papua New Guinea. Unlike many other large rivers, the Sepik has no delta whatsoever, but flows straight into the sea, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the town of Wewak.
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