Explore Papua New Guinea's incredible Islands and Highlands
- Cost: US $3,950 per person (= approx. £3,150 British Pounds or 3,485 Euros) all inclusive from Port Moresby, back to Port Moresby).
- Start Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- End Point: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
- Dates: Monday October 7th to Thursday October 17th, 2019.
- 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.
Papua New Guinea is like no other place on Earth.
Indisputably the most culturally diverse country in the world, it is a land of stunning mountains, spectacular wildlife and one of the world’s last intact systems of tribes, clans and rituals.
In many remote villages across the country, first contact with the outside world is well within living memory and visiting today is like stepping back in time to witness cultures that defined native peoples for millennia.
This trip takes you to the very best cultural and wildlife highlands that mysterious Papua New Guinea has to offer! During this expedition, meet five amazing tribes, photograph up to six species of stunning birds of paradise, climb a breath-taking steaming volcano, trade for exquisite local carvings and stone tools, and explore lush cloudforest trails dripping with orchids!
This adventure is made possible by working only with local operators to bring you access to an area that is out of reach for most people. Our visits to five local tribes (the Baining fire dancers, the Huli wigmen, the mudmen, the skeleton men and the Hagen wigmen) involves intimate sing sings and dances, as our local friends are keen to share their ancient, traditional customs in an authentic way.
Day 1: We meet in Port Moresby, and fly to Rabaul on the island of New Britain. Rabaul is a modern-day Pompeii. We explore the ruins of the city, which was buried in ash in 1994 (but complete safe to visit today). Dinner and overnight at Rabaul Hotel.
Day 2: An early breakfast is followed by a 5 am transfer to the base of Mount Tavurvur - one of the volcanos that covered Rabaul in 1994. An easy, 30 minute climb takes us to the crater where we see steaming sulphur vents at sunrise (incredible views!). We descent the volcano, and visit hot springs, the wrecks of crashed World War 2 planes, a fascinating local museum (filled with WW2 relics and tribal artefacts), WW2 Japanese bunkers and barge tunnels, and another museum collection of the WW2 vehicles left behind by both sides. In the afternoon, we meet artefact traders to see their beautiful carvings and traditional shell money. Dinner and overnight at Rabaul Hotel.
Day 3: We begin an (easy) trek into the remote Baining Mountains to observe birdlife and native plants. We reach a remote village, where we sleep for the night.
Day 4: Today, we meet the Kaket people in their remote village. They invite us to take part in a traditional mumu feast (cooked on red-hot stones in an earth oven), and after dark, we witness their traditional fire dance (Baining men in large bark head-dresses jump through fire and sparks)! We dine and overnight in the remote village once more.
Day 5: We walk out from the rainforest, and enjoy a BBQ lunch and snorkel on coral reefs, close to a Japanese WW2 submarine base (with tunnels which we can explore). In the afternoon, we transfer to Matupit, and can venture in a motorised boat to follow megapode-egg hunters in their traditional canoes to search (and dig down up to 2 m) for eggs in the volcanic soil! Watching this ancient, traditional sight is fascinating. Dinner and overnight at Rabaul Hotel.
Day 6: We catch a flight to Mount Hagen (in the PNG highlands) and transfer to the Magic Mountain Lodge, set amongst beautiful cloudforest. Dinner and overnight at Magic Mountain Lodge.
Day 7: Today, we visit a village of the Huli Wigmen to witness their traditional drum dance. The Huli wigmen’s headdresses are made of bird of paradise feathers passed down through the generations. We then visit cloud forest trails dripping with orchids and spectacular ferns, before getting into position at a bird hide to see the breath-taking ribbon tailed astrapia, brown sickle bill bird of paradise, tiger parrot and the common smoky honeyeater. Dinner and overnight at Magic Mountain Lodge.
Day 8: We have an early start for a birding site to see the King of Saxony bird of paradise, Princess Stephanie’s astrapia and the black sicklebill bird of paradise. We have lunch at a nearby lodge, and explore a shop’s collection of artefacts and carvings, and we visit a mini-zoo to see tree kangaroos, cuscus and wallabies. In the afternoon, we visit the famous mudmen, and discover why they create spectacular mud masks with scary pigs teeth. Dinner and overnight at Magic Mountain Lodge.
Day 9: We visit a display tree of the Raggiana bird of paradise (several past Redfern groups have seen full mating displays here!) We then trek through the rainforest (an easy walk) for 2 hours to a cave, where we meet the skeleton men, who perform a spirit dance, and we discover why they adorn themselves with ash to resemble skeletons! Dinner and overnight at Magic Mountain Lodge.
Day 10: We spend today with the Hagen Wigmen (who have spectacular head dresses made from feathers - very different from the Huli wigmen). We visit their village museum (full of old artefacts), their spirit house, skull house, and we meet the Hagen wigman chief. We witness the Hagen wigman’s sing sing dance, then take part in a traditional highland mumu meal (cooked in an earth oven, but very different from the mumu we experienced on Day 4 in New Britain). After lunch, we visit an artefact market (often stone tools and carvings for sale), and there is an (optional) short trek to a local waterfall and small skull cave. Dinner and overnight at Magic Mountain Lodge.
Day 11: After breakfast, we transfer to Mount Hagen airport and catch a flight back to Port Moresby.
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.
Adventure Rating: Moderate
This trip is designed to complement our 2019 Mummies of Aseki Adventure, which takes place immediately after this trip (see our website). We welcome you to join part or all of that trip. A popular option is for participants to join the first part of the Mummies of Aseki Adventure, to visit the fascinating Trobriand Islands (Friday, October 18th to Monday October 21st, 2019). On the remote Trobriand Islands, we will experience ancient circle dances, meet ebony carvers, traditional shark callers and unique, intricately carved yam houses! Not to mention snorkelling in coral waters along white beaches! To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!