Explore PNG's dazzling array of orchids!
- Cost: US$3,810 per person for 12D/11N (all inclusive from start point to end point)
(equivalent to approximately UK£2,900 or €3,305).
- Start Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- End Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- Dates: Monday 23 September 2019 to Friday 04 October 2019. For bespoke dates, please email us.
- Group Size: 6–10
- 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.
Explore rarely visited Papua New Guinea in search of New Guinea’s dazzling array of orchids. This island is home to thousands of orchid species, many of which have yet to be described, yet at any given time of year, one can be sure of seeing dozens and dozens of different species in bloom, including one of the most iconic of all, Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, which bears flowers many times larger than its leaves and stems! From the capital of Port Moresby, we travel to the Southern Highlands of the Western Highlands Province in search of numerous Bulbophyllum and Dendrobium species, along with other lesser known genera. In addition to visiting cloud forests rich with exquisite orchids and other beautiful flowers, we will encounter New Guinea’s most iconic animals, its Birds of Paradise (BoP), as well as a selection of its stunningly diverse tribes.
Day 1: Transfer from Port Moresby to your lodge at 2400 metres elevation in the Western Highlands Province. If daylight permits, go in search of orchids around the lodge. Overnight in lodge.
Day 2: After breakfast, we visit Kemul Lodge, where we spent the day exploring cloud forest trails and a dedicated orchid garden, home to dozens of Dendrobium species, as well as Bulbophyllum, Eria and Epiblastus. We visit a hide to watch morning and afternoon displays by the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia and Brown Sicklebill BoPs, and may see the beautiful tiger parrot. Overnight and dinner at our lodge.
Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to the Pint orchid farm that specialises in species from the region. We can see the carnivorous Nepenthes maxima nearby. Bulbophyllum, Cadetia, Ceratostylis, Coelogyne, Dendrobium, Diplocaulobium, Glomera, Mediocalcar, Taeniophyllum, During the afternoon, we visit a village of the Huli Wigmen and observe a traditional drum dance display. Overnight and dinner at the lodge.
Day 4: 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. We have a good chance to see the Brown Sicklebill BoP, Stephanie’s Astrapia BoP and King of Saxony BoP. After lunch, we visit the Rondon Ridge Lodge orchid garden, home to Bulbophyllum, Cadetia, Dendrobium, Diplocaulobium, Flickingeria, Geodorum, Epiblastus, Coelogyne, Corybas, Habenaria and Pholidota. Overnight and dinner at the lodge.
Day 5: A full day exploring the areas around the base of Mount Hagen, targeting stands of endemic Cyathea tree-ferns, for specialist epiphytes such as Pedilochilus, and forest margins for Bulbophyllum, Dendrobium, Calanthe, Corybas, Diplocaulobium, Coelogyne, Liparis and Pterostylis. Overnight and dinner at the lodge.
Day 6: This morning, we visit the Dumakona location to see the stunning Raggiana BoP. If we are lucky, we may see a full mating display (past Redfern groups have witnessed this several times). We may also see the Superb and Magnificent BoP, 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! We have lunch, then visit the village of the famed skeleton men who adorn their bodies with ash and clay. We watch their cultural display, and discover why they used their skeleton paint patterns to frighten their enemies. There is a small orchid garden at the skeleton men’s village. We return to the lodge in time for dinner.
Day 7: 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, we explore the local forest and roadsides for orchids with a Papuan orchid expert. After lunch, we visit the village of the mudmen to discover why they create elaborate mud masks and paint their bodies with mud. Overnight and dinner at the lodge.
Day 8: After breakfast, explore local mountain tracks in search of local orchids, including Dendrobium cuthbertsonii and other montane species. Over 100 species have been recorded in the local forest. After lunch, we visit the villages of the Hagen Wigmen. We may meet the chief and his wives and hear stories of past battles. He may show us his spears and antique axes (some of which have been used in past times of conflict). We then see a cultural display and hear songs from the Hagen Wigmen. We return to the lodge for a final dinner, and enjoy a traditional Papuan meal cooked in banana leaves by hot stones inside an earth oven. Overnight and dinner at the lodge.
Day 9: Transfer to Port Moresby and check-in to the Holiday Inn Express Port Moresby in the afternoon. We have time to relax, and can visit the museums in Port Moresby and artefact traders. Overnight and dinner at the Holiday Inn Express Port Moresby.
Day 10: We have an early start, are picked up by a charter bus and drive to Varirata National Park (about 30 minutes drive from Port Moresby). We arrive at sunrise and are taken to key birding sites with a birding ITINERARY expert to focus on seeing the Raggiana bird of paradise, the trumpet manucode, the crinkle-collared manucode, the growling riflebird, the spectacularly cryptic marbled frogmouth, the hooded pitohui, the brown oriole and many others. During a 2017 trip to Varirata National Park, the group witnessed the full amazing mating display by the Raggiana bird of paradise! We undertake walks along the park’s trails in search of wild orchids.
After lunch, we visit the Port Moresby Nature Park (formerly the botanic gardens) to see an extensive collection of orchids and ferns. The park is also home to an amazing range of captive animals in ethical, wild-style enclosures excellent for photography. We may see the birds of paradise, the eclectus parrot, cassowaries, tree kangaroos, wallabies (the grey dorcopsis and the Macley’s dorcopsis) and many other animals and birds. We have a chance to see birdwing butterflies if they have recently emerged! We dine and overnight at the Holiday Inn Express.
Day 11: We have a second opportunity to visit the Varirata National Park for further orchid spotting and bird of paradise sighting opportunities—since there are many sites in the park, we will try different locations to maximised the number of species seen.
After lunch, we visit the Port Moresby Adventure Park, home to an impressive collection of orchids. The Park also contains large walk-through aviaries with magnificent birds of paradise, Raggiana birds of paradise and eastern parotia. We can also see other captive native Papuan wildlife, including a large number of birds, mammals and orchids. The park is home to a 5.6 m long saltwater crocodile (one of the largest crocodiles alive anywhere).
We will try and organise feeding of the birds and crocodile to coincide with our arrival at the Adventure Park for unusual photo opportunities. Overnight and dinner at the Holiday Inn Express Port Moresby. If we arrive back early, we could visit artefact traders in Port Moresby.
Day 12: Transfers to airport for international departures.
Flight options to Port Moresby are numerous and best booked directly using flight search engines rather than agents, who may charge a premium for this destination. One of the cheapest routes to Port Moresby is via Brisbane, Australia. Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air Niugini offer return routes between the two cities daily. There are also direct flights from Cairns and Sydney with Air Niugini. Alternatively, there are direct Singapore-Port Moresby flights with Air Niugini, as well as flight options from Tokyo, Hong Kong and Manila. Email us for information, or for advice on how to find the cheapest flights.