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Day 1: Arrive in Port Moresby
We will meet on arrival at Port Moresby airport and transfer to our hotel. We gather this evening for our orientation meeting and dinner.
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 Paiakona village for some pre-show entertainment before the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show officially begins.
Days 3 - 4: 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 grounds 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 next two days at the Mt. Hagen Arena taking in the "singsing" performances.
Day 5: In Search of Birds of Paradise, Tambul Village
Today we travel along the shadow of Mt. Hagen, to an area well known for its bird watching. 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 bibbon 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.
Day 6: Mt. Hagen to Goroka
This morning we depart 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.
Day 7: Goroka Sites
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 Theater. 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 Mudmen 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.
Day 8: Goroka to 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 of 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.
Day 9: Madang
This morning we visit the Madang local market, Kalibobo light house, and 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 (Spirit House) for a traditional dance ceremony.
Day 10: Fly to Wewak
After some free time this morning, we transfer to the airport this afternoon for our flight to Wewak. On arrival in Wewak, we transfer to our hotel for check-in and dinner this evening.
Day 11: To Sepik River
This morning 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.
Day 12: Sepik River Excursion
Today, we will travel by dugout canoes along the Sepik River and its tributaries. Before heading out, we explore a Palimbe village and see their beautiful hand-carved totem pole.
Day 13: 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.
Day 14: Depart Wewak, Loloata Island
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our late morning flight to Port Moresby. Upon arrival we transfer to the Loloata Island Resort for lunch. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to snorkel or just relax at the resort.
Day 15: Fly to Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands
After an early breakfast, 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.
Day 16: Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands
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.
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.
Day 18: Return to Port Moresby
This morning you can relax before our flight to Port Moresby. On arrival in Port Moresby you have the rest of the afternoon at leisure before dinner this evening.
Day 19: Port Moresby City Tour
Today we embark on a city tour of Port Moresby that includes the National Museum, Botanical Gardens, an outside view of Parliament House and a visit to Hanuabada village, one of the only two remaining stilt villages in the area. The village is populated by the Motuan people, who are the original native people in the Port Moresby area.
Day 20: Virirata National Park
This morning we drive Varirata National Park. The park provides the opportunity to view the Raggiana birds of paradise and enjoy the wonderful views of Port Moresby and the surrounding area. We also spend time at Rouna Falls and the Romana WWII cemetery before enjoying our farewell dinner tonight.
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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