Experience PNG's extraordinary birds of paradise!
- Cost: US$3620 per person for 10D/9N (all inclusive from start point to end point)
(equivalent to approximately UK£2,680 or €3,190 at time of publication)
- Start Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- End Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- Dates: For upcoming dates, click Join this Adventure on the right or email us. July to September are best for bird mating displays.
- Group Size: 6–8 recommended, smaller groups are possible but at slightly greater cost
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
Journey with us to mysterious Papua New Guinea in search of its incredible bird life! It is challenging to find a 10 day itinerary in the region for less than £3500. This adventure is made possible by working only with local operators and no middle-men to bring you access to an area that is otherwise out of reach for most people.
From the capital of Port Moresby, we travel to the Southern Highlands of the Western Highlands Province in search of New Guinea’s most iconic animals, its Birds of Paradise. Based out of our comfortable, locally-run lodge, we make daily journeys to different highland destinations to target specific birds always in the company of guides hired from the local tribes and traditional landowners. The most reliably viewed birds include the Brown Sicklebill, Stephanie's Astrapia, the King of Saxony BoP, Ribbon tailed Astrapia, Raggiana BoP, Lesser BoP, Magnificent BoP, Superb BoP, Eastern Parotia and Blue BoP.
This itinerary is completely customisable and can be varied to take into account particular birds and interests. We recommend at least 7 days in the Highlands to guarantee good coverage of the birds, as well as 2–3 days in the Port Moresby area to visit lowland sites and local nature parks. Other optional extras are available (see Extensions) for those interested in hiking, orchids, tribes and culture.
Day 1: Fly from Port Moresby to Mount Hagen and transfer to your lodge at 2400 metres elevation in the Western Highlands Province. Relax and settle in, but if daylight permits, you are free to go in search of orchids around the lodge. Overnight in lodge.
Day 2: An early breakfast is followed by a 5am transfer to a birding site near Rondon. Over 150 species of birds are known from the region, including 11 Bird of Paradise (BoP) species, over a dozen honeyeaters, as well as white-eye, whistlers, flycatchers, fantails, warblers, wrens, cuckoo-shrike and over 15 types of parrot. Return to the lodge for a late lunch before descending to a lower altitude to glimpse the Superb BoP during its evening display.
Day 3: Dedicated to the stunning Raggiana BoP, today begins with an hour’s morning drive to the birding site, which sometimes hosts Superb and Magnificent BoP also, along with trumpet manucode, Jobi manucode and helmeted friarbird. Other birds of interest include yellow breasted bower bird, rainbow lorikeet, doubled eyed pygmy parrot, clamorous reed warbler, white shoulder fairy wren, great wood swallow, little grass bird, dollar bird, purple swamp hen and hooded pitohui. The pitohui is one of the few known poisonous birds, with batrachotoxin present in its skin and feathers! After lunch, we visit Kumul Lodge, whose garden visitors include BoP like the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, but also the beautiful if ballsy tiger parrot.
Day 4: An early start to the stomping grounds of the stunning Blue BoP. Other species seen here include the King of Saxony BoP and nine other more irregular BoP visitors. Once satisfied, explore the local forest and roadsides for orchids on your leisurely return to base.
Day 5: A visit to the Baiyer River with the intention of seeing the Lesser Bird of Paradise come tea-time. In the intervening period, explore the local reserve for orchids and other birds species, which may include hooded pitohui, Zoë’s imperial pigeon, trumpet manucode, Jobi manucode, southern baza, helmeted friarbird, great egret, white shouldered fairy wren, yellow breasted bower bird, sulphur-crested cockatoo, the imposing Blyth’s hornbill, black winged kite and black kite.
Days 6 & 7: On Day 6 and 7 we visit additional sites recommended by our local guides, but we also have the chance to revisit specific sites should any of our previous target birds prove hard to find the first time around.
Day 8: Transfer to Port Moresby and check-in to hotel by early afternoon. Thereafter, transfer to the Botanical Garden to enjoy the collection of local and imported plants species as well as their aviary of endemic birds. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9: A whole day visit to Varirata National Park in search of local birds and lowland orchids. A number of BoP have been recorded here, including the growling riflebird, Raggiana BoP, as well as frogmouths, kingfishers and bower birds. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10: Transfers to airport for international departures.
There are many options to fly to Port Moresby, most of which can be found using flight search engines at better rates than those offered by travel agents.
From the USA & Canada, you can fly to Australia, then on to Port Moresby; or fly to Narita (Tokyo), Hong Kong, Manila or Singapore, then on to Port Moresby.
From destinations in Asia, Air Niugini flies Between Bali (Denpasar) and Port Moresby one day each week. Air Niugini also has weekly flights between Port Moresby and Manila (four days each week), Singapore (five days), Hong Kong (three days) and Tokyo (Saturday only).
From Australia & New Zealand, it is best to fly to either Cairns, Brisbane or Sydney, all of which have regular flight connections to Port Moresby, both with Qantas and Air Niugini.
From the Pacific, Air Niugini flies to Nadi (Fiji) via Honiara (Solomon Islands). The only other way of flying to PNG from the Pacific is via Australia.
From Europe, either fly to Asia or Australia, then catch onward connections to Port Moresby (see above).
Many people find flying to Singapore is the easiest option. From Singapore, there are direct flights to/from Port Moresby with Air Niugini. If you time your flights right, you can fly to Singapore and then continue on to Port Moresby the same day, or of course, break up your journey and have a night or two in Singapore exploring this wonderful city. For those with an overnight connection in Singapore, there is an excellent airport hotel within the terminal building of Singapore Changi Airport.
Adventure Rating: Moderate
Visit the Huli, a tribe whose Wigmen are famous for their elaborate costumes and ritual dances, not to mention the Chimbu skull men and Asaro mudmen (+1 Day). A visit to the Mount Hagen Cultural Show is certainly possible if it coincides with the August date (+1 Day). Additional days of birding, orchid hunting or a trek up Giluwe volcano (highly strenuous but non-technical) can also be added before the start of the main expedition. Please contact us with particular requests. To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!