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Day 1: Port Moresby 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.
Day 2: Port Moresby, Fly to Madang
This morning we depart for the airport for our flight to Madang. Upon arrival we will be transferred to Jais Aben Resort. After lunch we begin a tour of Madang and the surrounding area including Madang local market, Kalibobo light house, and the 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 of the local people. The park also has a variety of tropical trees and plants.
Day 3: Picnic Island, Local Village
After breakfast, we will go on a harbor cruise before heading to Picnic Island for snorkelling. We will then return to the resort for lunch. After lunch we visit a local village for a traditional dance.
Day 4: To the Eastern Highlands
After breakfast, we begin our road transfer to the Eastern Highlands province via Ramu Sugar. We stop at Ramu Sugar for lunch. After lunch, we continue to the Eastern Highlands province.
Days 5 - 6: Goroka Singsing Festival
A yearly event in Papua New Guinea, the Goroka 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 day at the Goroka Arena taking in the "singsing" performances.
Day 7: Goroka Sites
After breakfast, we begin our tour of Goroka, including the JK McCarthy Museum and the University of Goroka. After lunch, we visit an 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 in 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: To Mt. Hagen
After breakfast, we depart Goroka for the Western Highlands via Simbu and the Jiwaka provinces. Upon arrival at Molka Lodge, we stop for lunc We will then stop at the village of Mindima where we will witness the Courtship and Bride Price ceremony.
Day 9: Mt. Hagen Sites
After an early breakfast we depart for a tour in the Tambul District, one of the highest areas in the Highlands. We visit Alkena village, which is the origin of the most spectacular and colorful dance in the province called the Ware Dance. We spend the rest of the day at the village witnessing other performances such as the Welcome Dance and other traditional activities.
Day 10: Birding in the Highlands, 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 11: Fly to Wewak
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Wewak. Upon arrival at Wewak airport, we will be transferred to our hotel.
Day 12: Sepik River Excursion
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 our motorized dugout canoes and travel down river to Kanganamun 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 (tribal 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.
Day 13: Sepik River
Today we travel by dugout canoes along the Sepik River and its tributaries. Before heading out, we explore Palimbe village and see their beautiful hand carved totem pole. We stop at stilted villages to learn about the local way of life, see their Haus Tamburan (Spirit House) 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 Kanganamun village to meet the people and see how they fish, make sago and build their canoes.
Day 14: 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 will walk through the town to see the memorial of the Japanese/Papua New Guinea Peace Park.
Day 15: To Port Moresby
After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Port Moresby. The afternoon is at leisure to relax.
Day 16: Port Moresby, City Tour
We have a full day city tour of Port Moresby and surrounding areas, including the National Parliament and the Botanical Gardens. We also visit Hanuabada village, one of only two remaining stilt villages in the area. Later we visit the Adventure Park which has a fantastic display of orchids and birds.
Day 17: Fly to the Trobriand Islands
Today after breakfast we transfer from our hotel to the airport for our flight 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 18: 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 19: Kaibola Village, Trobriand Islands
This morning we leave the lodge and drive to Kaibola village where we can enjoy a swim, walk on the beach or snorkel. We will have time to relax at our hotel in Kiriwina in the afternoon.
Day 20: Fly to Port Moresby
This morning we leave Kiriwina for our return flight to Port Moresby. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening we enjoy our farewell dinner.
Day 21: Departure
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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