Papua New Guinea - A Tribal Odyssey

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Day 1: Arrival

We will meet on arrival at Port Moresby airport and transfer to our hotel. We gather this evening for our orientation meeting and dinner. Overnight in Port Moresby.

 

Day 2: Port Moresby to Mt. Hagen

This morning we depart for the airport for our domestic flight to Mt. Hagen. Upon arrival, we will check into our hotel and enjoy a tour of Mt. Hagen. We will have the opportunity to visit Paiagona Village for some pre-show entertainment before the Mt. Hagen Cultural show officially begins. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.

 

Day 3: Mt. Hagen Cultural Show

A yearly event in Papua New Guinea, the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show is one of the best shows in Papua New Guinea to witness some of the amazing traditional dances and tribal attire from over 40 different tribal groups. An early morning wake-up call gets us to the show ground to see the preparations before the formal show begins. We see the performers preparing their traditional clothing and body decorations and practicing for their "dances". We spend the day at the Mt. Hagen Arena taking in the "singsing" performances. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.

 

Day 4: Mt. Hagen to Kumul Lodge

An early departure allows us to spend another half day at the Mt. Hagen singsing festival. After lunch we will travel to Kumul Lodge, in the shadow of Mt. Hagen, a well known bird watching spot. In addition to the Birds of Paradise (75% of the Birds of Paradise species can be seen here), you may also spot the Crested Berrypecker, White Winged Robin, Tit Berrypecker, Brown Sicklebill and Ribbon Tailed Astrapia. We will take a walk through the forest, bird spotting and looking for the beautiful mountain orchids that can be found here. We take a scenic drive to Wapenamanda in Enga province, the highest and most rugged province in Papua New Guinea. Overnight at Kumul Lodge.

 

Day 5: Mt. Hagen Surrounding Sights

We have an early morning bird watching opportunity around the lodge, before meeting for breakfast. A short drive out of Mt. Hagen, we will visit the small village of Tambul and the local market. We continue on to Opiapulg village to see a traditional singsing and enjoy a traditionally prepared (MUMU) lunch. Should the local school be open we will spend some time visiting with the local school children. Overnight at Kumul Lodge.

 

Day 6: Mt. Hagen to Goroka

This morning we depart Kumul Lodge for a full day tour to Goroka via the huge Waghi valley. Enroute we stop at Avi for a brief visit to their orchid gardens. Further along at the village of Mindima, we witness the Courtship and Bride Price ceremony. After lunch we continue to Goroka stopping for a view of the breathtaking scenery at Daulo Pass. Overnight at Goroka.

 

Day 7: Goroka

Goroka is the capital of Eastern Highlands province and we will spend the day exploring some of the interesting sites including the JK McCarthy Museum and the Raun Raun Theatre. We will walk to the lookout at Mt. Kiss for some amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We then visit Asaro village to meet the famous Asaro Mud-men who traditionally covered themselves in mud before raiding nearby villages. The legend of the Mudmen says that the tribe was attacked and forced to flee their village. To hide, they jumped into the Asaro River. When they emerged at twilight from the river, covered in mud, the attacking tribe saw them and thought they were spirits and fled the area. While in the village we may be able to watch an eerie performance of the Mudmen, which is a production of mime. We also may see a local artist making an actual mudmask. Overnight in Goroka.

 

Day 8: Madang

Madang Province has many of the country's highest peaks and a broad ethnic diversity.

Madang has been labeled "the prettiest town in the South Pacific" due to its palm-rimmed beaches, offshore islands, and lovely parks; all set against a rugged mountain backdrop. We have a full day driving today with several interesting stops along the way including an arts and crafts center and Yonki Hydro Dam. We will enjoy lunch enroute at a sugar plantation. Overnight in Madang.

 

Day 9: Madang to Wewak

This morning we visit the Madang local market, Kalibobo light house, Madang Museum and arts gallery. This afternoon we visit the Balek Wildlife Sanctuary, home of an interesting sulphur creek pouring out of a limestone formation. The creek is filled with turtles, eels and fish. The creek is said to cure illnesses by the local people. The park also has a variety of tropical trees and plants, hot springs and sulphur caves.

Following our visit to the Sanctuary, we visit the local Haus Tamburan for a traditional dance ceremony. We proceed to the airport for our flight to Wewak. Overnight in Wewak.

 

Day 10: To Sepik River

After an early breakfast we drive to Pagwi on the Sepik River. The drive can take between 5 and 6 hours as we visit markets and viewpoints along the way. Arriving in Pagwi we board motorized dugout canoes and travel down river to Palimbe village - home of the crocodile cult - and set up for our next two nights in the village.

On the Sepik River we will be spending 2 nights in basic dormitory accommodation (bush longhouses) with limited bathing and toilet facilities. Each person will have a foam mattress with sheets and a pillow with pillowcase as well as a mosquito net. Overnight at Palimbe or similar local village.

 

Day 11: Sepik River Excursion

Today we will travel by dugout canoes along the Sepik River and its tributaries. Before heading out, explore Palimbe village and see their beautiful hand-carved totem pole.

We will stop at stilted villages to learn about the local way of life, see their Spirit Houses (Haus Tamburan) where rituals and initiations take place and as much as possible, try to meet with the villagers. We visit Aibom Village - known for its clay pot makers, and Kanganum village to meet the people and see how they fish, make sago and build their canoes. Overnight at Palimbe village.

 

Day 12: Sepik River, Return to Wewak

This morning we visit another village and Haus Tamburan before arriving in Pagwi, a small scattering of houses, where we disembark from our canoes and continue by road to Wewak. This afternoon we have a walk through the town to see the memorial at the site of the Japanese/Papua New Guinea Peace Park. For those that wish, you may also stretch your legs with a walk along the beach or visit the local market. Overnight in Wewak.

 

Day 13: To Port Moresby

Early morning departure for our flight to Port Moresby. We have a full day city tour of Port Moresby city and surrounding areas, including the National Parliament and the Botanical Gardens. We have time to enjoy the fabulous views down to the coast and of Port Moresby, and the beautiful Rouna Falls before visiting the Bomana WW II cemetery. Overnight in Port Moresby.

 

Day 14: Fly to Louisa, Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands

Today we fly to the island of Kiriwina, in the Trobriand Islands. The Trobriand Islanders have a fascinating and rich culture and a unique feature of these islands is the importance of yams. The crop is an indicator of how well the producer is at gardening and there is a yearly festival held to show off the best of the yams grown that season. Overnight in Kiriwina.

 

Day 15: Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands

The Trobriand Islanders have a fascinating and rich culture. The label of a "free love society" has been placed on the islands, but the sexual practices of these people have been misunderstood. The society does encourage free choice and "casual encounters" as the norm for teenagers, however, people are encouraged to settle down to married life. The belief in this society is that all children are in spirit form until they enter a woman through her head and then are born. In addition to spending time with the villagers, we also explore the island including its beautiful beaches, WWII relics and nearby caves. Our time on Kiriwina Island is flexible so that we can explore according to the group's interests and local events. Overnight in Kiriwina.

 

Day 16: Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands

Today we will visit various local villages and learn more about yams and the significant role they play in the local culture. Overnight in Kiriwina.

 

Day 17: Kaibola Village, Trobriand Islands

This morning we leave the lodge and drive to Kaibola village where we will enjoy a swim, walk on the beach or snorkel. We will have time to relax at our hotel in Kiriwina in the afternoon. Overnight in Kiriwina.

 

Day 18: Port Moresby to Loloata Island

This morning we leave Kiriwina and return to Port Moresby to embark on our boat ride over to breathtaking Loloata Island for a sunset over the ocean you will never forget. Watch the sunlight fade over the Gulf of Papua and enjoy the ocean air. Overnight on Loloata Island.

 

Day 19: Loloata Island

Welcome in the day with a stroll on the island as you unwind from your great adventure. Today is a day to relax in the sun, explore the island or immerse yourself with the dazzling array of great fish and corals. Why not sit back and have a drink with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Overnight in Loloata.

 

Day 20: Loloata to Port Moresby

We have a morning at leisure on Loloata Island before we board the ferry back to Port Moresby. The afternoon is free for last minute shopping or relaxation in Port Moresby. Overnight in Port Moresby.

 

Day 21: Depart Port Moresby

We say a fond farewell to this fascinating and beautiful country as we transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

 
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