Papua New Guinea Itinerary

Days 1-3 – August 4-6

En Route / Arrive Port Moresby

Fly independently to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, where we are met and transferred to Airways Hotel. A day of our Papua New Guinea expedition itinerary is "lost" crossing the International Date Line. (Meals Aloft, D)

Day 4 – August 7

Port Moresby / Tari Gap Region

Take a morning flight to Tari, over some of the most rugged and impressive landscapes in the world, and transfer to Ambua Lodge, our home for three nights. At 7,000 feet above sea level, Ambua offers accommodation in nicely furnished rondavels. Thirteen species of elusive birds of paradise have been recorded here, many with long plumes and brilliant colors. On our previous expeditions, International Expeditions’ guests have spotted 11 birds of paradise species on the lodge grounds and at the Tari Gap, just minutes away. This area is also home to one of the world’s largest in-habitat orchid gardens. This afternoon on our Papua New Guinea tour itinerary is spent exploring the surrounding mountain forests and roaring waterfalls. (B,L,D)

Days 5 & 6 – August 8 & 9 

Tari Gap Region

Tari is the land of the Huli “wig” men. The Huli’s live their lives inspired by the birds of paradise and practicing ancient sorcery. Some of them choose to avoid contact with females for up to three years to grow their own hair to make ceremonial wigs, under the tutoring of a master sorcerer. These wigs are later decorated with flowers and birds of paradise feathers. During these days we will enjoy morning birding and excursions that will truly allow us to connect with the Huli people as we learn about their customs and beliefs. Included in these excursions is a visit to the “wig school” and enlightening discussion with natives, where you have the opportunity to ask questions. With luck, we may even watch a spirit dance! (B,L,D Daily)

Days 7 & 8 – August 10 & 11 

Tari / Karawari

Take a chartered flight to Karawari over some of the most rugged and impressive landscapes in the world. Board a riverboat to Karawari Lodge, our home for two nights. Tour this area of lowland tropical forest, gaining insight into the amazing ecology and culture. In this remote region, stilted villages line the edges of flooded waterways and dug-out canoes are the primary mode of transportation. The people of the Sepik region express their beliefs through art, carving incredible masks, drums, baskets and sculptures that integrate themes of both daily like and animist beliefs. On a guided village tour, observe master carvers at work and also learn about preparing the primary food staple — sago palm. The birding here is good, and we look for northern cassowaries, cormorants, rainbow and red-flanked lorikeets, and sulphur-crested and palm cockatoos. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 9 & 10 – August 12 & 13

Karawari / Timbunke / Sepik Spirit

Board our charter flight to Timbunke and transfer to the Sepik Spirit. Once a small river-cruiser, the nine-cabin ship has been converted into a floating hotel. Explore villages along the Sepik and cruise along the backwaters and lakes formed by the river. Our itinerary is flexible to take advantage of any special events. Steeped in mystery, the people of the Sepik area have fascinated anthropologists like Margaret Mead since the area was first visited. Part of the mystery and attraction of the Sepik peoples is their amazing carvings, now famous the world over. The people of the Sepik have highly developed traditional beliefs and rituals, and villages are very different from one another. Our Papua New Guinea adventure includes visits to the “spirit houses” that are the focal points of several villages, many filled with carvings that tell the legends of the area. At some villages you may witness a traditional “sing-sing,” the crocodile men and woman, and in each place there is the chance to buy exquisite local art. (B,L,D Daily)

Day 11 – August 14

Timbunke / Mount Hagen

Our morning charter flight whisks us to Mount Hagen, perched high on Mount Kuta. Spend our afternoon watching tribes finish their preparations for the Mount Hagen Show before spending the night at the Highlander Hotel. (B,L,D)

Days 12 & 13 – August 15 & 16

Mount Hagen Sing-Sing

Our Papua New Guinea tour spends two full days at the Mount Hagen Sing-Sing — also referred to as the Mount Hagen Show — to fully enjoy this renowned spectacle. The “Show” was established in the 1950’s and is a gathering of 60-120 clans from across Papua New Guinea. Thousands of colorfully decorated locals gather, using birds of paradise, various paints and fabrics in their ornate costumes. They dance and sing in an almost cathartic state while being evaluated by judges. Once the judges finish their evaluation, visitors are allowed to enter the field and mingle with the clans. You will get face to face with the clans and have the most impressive cultural experience of your life, not to mention the superb photography opportunities! Each year, only a few explorers are lucky enough to visit the show. International Expeditions is one of only a few tour companies with guaranteed seating arrangements. On both show days, we arrive early for a privileges look at the scene as the dancers prepare themselves for the show. Our knowledgeable, local guide will be on hand to explain each clan and their traditions. We stay at the Highlander Hotel. (B,L,D Daily)

Day 14 – August 17

Mount Hagen / Port Moresby

This morning we board connecting flights to Port Moresby. Tour the city, including the National Museum, Botanical Gardens and a photo stop outside of Parliament. The small National Museum houses displays on the country’s geography, fauna, culture, ethnography and history. There are examples of masks, tapa cloths, shields and totems, a magnificent Milne Bay outrigger canoe decorated in cowrie shells, and a display showing how bilums — traditional string bags — are made. Spend tonight at Airways Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 15 – August 18

Port Moresby / Arrive Home

Early this morning, we depart Port Moresby on independent connecting flights home. After re-crossing the International Date Line, you arrive home the same day. (B, Meals Aloft)