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Back Papua New Guinea  
Papua New Guinea - the world's second largest island
Land of the bird of paradise
Papua New Guinea Culture & Nature Expedition
birds-of-paradise, amazing cultural experience, jungles and world-class snorkeling
Aug 31 - Sep 10
2012
As soon as we hear the word "Papua New Guinea", we think of a thick, impenetrable jungle filled with more than a dozen species of bird-of-paradise. This much is true, but Papua New Guinea offers so much more for the visitor. It is indeed almost entirely covered by rainforests and other types of lush tropical vegtation, but these forests contain so many other amazing creatures -hundreds of species of other birds, some tree-climbing "kangaroos", the world's larges butterfly, and the highest number of orchids among all countries.

Its land is so rugged that species of wildlife and humanity has lived in absolute separation from the entire world and each other for thousands of years - resulting in an extremely high diversity of organisms and languages. Nearly one quarter of the world's known languages are spoken in this island country, and Papua possesses an equally amazing diverse cultural heritage.
Still we haven't even mentioned the underwater world. Thousands of kilometers of untouched, pristine beaches, with extensive coral reefs and the world's highest density of WWII ship- and airplane wrecks.
A truly unexplored, truly adventurous travel destination, an amazing natural and cultural experience.
Detailed itinerary:
Aug 31 international arrival/Port Moresby/Mount Hagen
  We start our exciting journey in Papua New Guinea with a tour in the country’s capital: Port Moresby. In order for us to participate, we will have to arrive in the morning hours, either from Singapore or from Australia. Once we are all together, we get comfortable on our vehicle and drive to the most interesting city sights, like the Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery and the National Museum. At around one in the afternoon, we will drive back to the airport and have a great lunch at Airways Hotel. From here, it is only a few minutes to get to the check in counter and board our flight to the capital of the highlands, Mount Hagen. Mount Hagen City is the business heart of the Papua New Guinea highlands, supplying a number of important industries, such as tea, coffee and mining. It is a city where stone meets steel, where tradition and history is juxtaposed against modern ways. From the airport, we hop on our 4WD vehicles and drive to Rondon Ridge Lodge. This is going to be our most modern accommodation in the highlands. This location gives us eternal spring weather and magnificent views of the Hagen Range, Mount Giluwe, the Sepik Divide, the Baiyer Gap and the Wahgi Valley, while we will be accommodated in units featuring 180-degree views, modern bathroom, electric blankets and continental quilts for the cool highland evenings. After our arrival, we take off immediately on an afternoon nature excursion. Close by to the lodge are Macgregor's Bowerbird, the Brown Sicklebill, Stephanie's Astrapia and the Superb Bird of Paradise amongst many others. Further afield is the Black Sicklebill, the Bufftail Sicklebill, King of Saxony Bird of Paradise and the Short-tailed Paradigalla to name a few. Our exploration will last till dark, so all we can do today is to return to the lodge and have a great traditional dinner with views on the surrounding mountains. Early bed time to save energy for a whole day of cultural excursions the following day.
  Accommodation: Rondon Ridge Lodge
Sep 1 Mount Hagen
  As usual, our hardcore photographers and birders will rise with the sun and try to catch some unusual images or unusual species. Everyone will reunite at breakfast though, and right after our morning meal we take off to spend an entire day exploring the unique culture and tradition of the Melpa people who live near Mount Hagen City. We journey through their traditions and customs. First contact with the Melpa was made in the mid-1930s when the Leahy brothers were prospecting for gold. The Melpa are said by anthropologists, to be "predisposed to capitalism," because of their complex traditional society in which "big men" earn status by accruing wealth and then giving it all away in ceremonial exchanges. After visiting several villages and interesting sites, and before returning to the lodge, we will experience a special Hagen Women and Men singing. At the lodge, we will have our well-deserved dinner and will retire after a short picture and birding session on the patio.
  Accommodation: Rondon Ridge Lodge
Sep 2 Mount Hagen/Karawari River/Sepik Region
  This morning is dedicated to the natural attractions again. We take on the trails in the mountains very early in the morning, to reach some different areas, places and habitats we haven't been to on our first afternoon at Rondon Ridge. Visiting very different vegetation zones will allow us to see some of the world famous bird species that we have missed so far on our trip. From this excellent morning walk, we will return to the lodge, pack our belongings and drive to Mount Hagen City for our chartered flight to Karawari airstrip. Our destination is another famous wildlife/cultural corner of the country: Arambak country, where the Sepik people live. After arrival, we jump on a boat, then on our local vehicles and drive to the fascinating Karawari Lodge. The lodge stands majestically on a lone ridge amidst a vast expanse of dense tropical lowland rainforest extending beyond the horizon for what seems a thousand miles in every direction. This is one of the most remote and unspoiled areas of Papua New Guinea with the Karawari River, 300 feet below, as our only way in or out, should air transportation become unavailable. We will take our rooms, and then have an excellent lunch on the patio overlooking the vast jungles and take shortly there afterwards. Our plan is to have our first cultural exploration while the jungle is too hot and bright for wildlife experiences. We jump on our boat and get to Kundiman village, where people live a traditional life and make several artifacts and everyday items out of the famous sago palm. Sago is also the staple food for the river people. They will demonstrate to us the several uses of this important plant. From the village, we take the boat back towards the lodge. The sun is now much less intense, so birds start getting active, and we will be able to start looking for some wildlife. After checking out the river edges, on the way back to the lodge, we will enter some forested trails and familiarize ourselves with the many bird calls and other noises of the forest. Back to our accommodation just as the lights disappear, have an amazing dinner on the patio, discuss birds, people and photography over a local beer, and retire in order to have enough energy for yet another active day.
  Accommodation: Karawari Lodge
Sep 3 Karawari River/Sepik Region
  As always, we are dedicating the very early hours of the day to the exploration of nature and wildlife. Sleeping in is an option, as always, since first we will take a dawn boat trip on the river, trying to see as much of the morning bird species as possible, before we return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, we leave for a longer combined forest and river excursion, aiming at exploring farther corners of the surrounding jungle. Although the rainforests of Papua New Guinea lack large-bodied mammals (especially ones that would be easy to see), with some 225 species of birds, Karawari is an excellent location to seek lowland rainforest and freshwater birds - particularly parrots, including lorikeets, Eclectus, Palm Cockatoos, Edwards Fig-Parrot. There are also three birds of paradise, the King, Twelve-Wire and the Magnificent Riflebird. Cassowaries, frogmouths, owls, birds of prey, bowerbirds, honeyeaters, and a whole host of others await the intrepid nature lover. As the temperature rises and the jungle becomes quiet and less enjoyable, we return to the lodge for an easy hour or two before lunch. After lunch, we take off on a cultural experience again, visiting yet another traditional village. At this time we will stay there until the soft evening lights, which will give us the chance of taking some excellent portraits and lovely images of the peoples' lives and homes. As we return to the lodge, another great dinner will be served on the veranda, which will be followed by a discussion section and a good night sleep.
  Accommodation: Karawari Lodge
Sep 4 Karawari River/Sepik Region
  Today we continue with a full day exploration of the Sepik Region, reaching to farther out villages and visiting many additional areas. Great singsing and traditional dinner at the lodge in the evening.
  Accommodation: Karawari Lodge
Sep 5 Karawari River/Tari Valley
  This morning gives the last chance for images of orange steam rising over the vast rainforests of the area. This is, of course, only if you are willing to get up with the rising sun again. Should you want to sleep in until breakfast, it is also an option. After breakfast we pack our belongings at Karawari Lodge and drive to the airstrip for our charter flight to Tari. We take off at 10:15 in the morning and arrive at 11:45, just an hour and a half later. From the small domestic airstrip, we get onto some 4WD vehicles and transfer to nearby Ambua Lodge. Ambua is an inspired mixture of local architecture, spectacular views and modest luxury off the beaten track. Located at 7000 feet (2100 meters) in the PNG Southern Highlands, it provides unbelievable opportunities both for nature lovers and those interested in human culture. The lush vegetation around the lodge is home to 13 species of birds-of-paradise, while the hills on the horizon are the homeland of the Huli clan with their human hair wigs adorned with colorful flowers. Ambua Lodge is a superb example of culturally sensitive and ecological responsible tourism. After our arrival, taken that we haven't seen a bed for nearly two days, we take a short siesta, have a fulfilling lunch, and take off to explore the area. This afternoon we start with the natural beauties and an afternoon guided nature walk through the alpine forest looking for the exotic birds-of-paradise. Beside these sought-after birds, it is common to spot Buff-Banded Rail, Longtailed Shrike, Pied Chat, Orange-crowned Fairy-Wren, Mountain Peltops, Friendly Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Blue-grey Robin and the Hooded Mannikin on the trails around the lodge. The forest canopy, a dense mass of interlocking tree tops of all shades of green and the occasional bright splash of color, provides a natural setting and an exhilarating climate for venturing along the nature trails - cross traditional vine bridges, discover a secluded waterfall, and spot high altitude orchids and rhododendrons. Just as the sun sets, we return to the lodge for an early dinner and a well-deserved comfortable sleep.
  Accommodation: Ambua Lodge
Sep 6 Tari Valley
  Today the very keen wildlife photographers and birders can get up extremely early and spend some more time in the forest and gardens of the lodge and its surrounding area, pushing the list of observed and photographed species of birds and other creatures higher and higher. Others of us will sleep in until breakfast. After breakfast, when the natural creatures are not as active, we take off from the lodge and dedicate the entire day to learn about the life of the local Huli Wigmen. The flamboyant Huli Wigmen of he Tari Valley have formed a strong bond between themselves and the beautiful birds-of-paradise, men revere the birds by imitating them in both daily and ceremonial life, decorating their human hair wigs with the plumage of only the most beautiful birds. Tari is one of the few places left where men and women can be seen wearing traditional dress as part of daily living and a man's wealth is still counted by the number of pigs and wives they possess. In contrast to the Sepik people whose art is manifested in ceremonial and decorative carvings, these Highland people employ as their art, body decoration, face painting and human hair wigs decorated with feathers, flowers and moss. The Huli culture is the most vibrant intact and colorful to be experienced anywhere. We are planning to visit several villages, and in one of them, a special Huli singsing will be featured. We return to the lodge for a very late lunch, and just as the lights get good again for photography and the temperature for walking in the woods, we take off for a late afternoon birding and nature-admiring walk again. Back to the lodge just as the sun sets, for a dinner, a bottle of local beer, a quick session of photography lesson and for a relatively early bed.
  Accommodation: Ambua Lodge
Sep 7 Tari Valley/Port Moresby/Cape Nelson
  One more time, we will rise with the sun in the Tari Valley and hike to surrounding area to see as much wildlife and collect as many stunning images as we can. Back to the lodge for a wonderful breakfast, then we will pack our bags and drive to the nearby Tari airstrip for our scheduled flight back to Port Moresby. Upon arrival at 13:00, we transfer to a different check-in area to catch our 3 pm flight to an unforeseen and breathtaking paradise: Tufi. Tufi is a resort right on the tip of Cape Nelson, on the unspoiled eastern shores of Papua New Guinea, and offers not only one of the best diving possibilities in the world, but untouched forests, great walks, hikes, snorkeling, day cruises, sea kayaking beach trips and a lot else. Our scheduled Air Niugini flight takes off at 16:00 in the afternoon and lands just 55 minutes later right next to the Resort. It is a 3 minute walk to the Resort, where we will take our rooms as quick as possible and will head down to the water to have our first dip in the Solomon Sea a pristine, warm, inviting turquoise water. By then end of our first swim, the day will approach its end, as well, so we are going to have a great dinner and a long discussion about the endless possibilities of different activities for the next few days.
  Accommodation: Tufi Dive Resort
Sep 8 Cape Nelson
  Our day will start as if we were in a "usual" resort -the photographers will rise with the sun and capture unbelievable images of the lush tropical surroundings, while others get up later and we all meet around the breakfast table. However, after breakfast, it shall be very different from a usual travel day. Tufi is one of the best places on Earth to enjoy shallow tropical dives, hard- and soft corals, large groups of colorful tropical fish, invertebrates and many WWII wrecks. For this very reason, we shall encourage everyone today to participate in a couple of dives, or at least join us on the dives and snorkel above to get an idea of this fascinating underwater world. If you are not willing to come even near the water though, Tufi offers a large variety of other interesting and fulfilling activities and experiences. You can use the extensive system of trails to visit nearby waterfalls, to climb Mount Trafalgar or to hike to Baga Village. You can take short and full day leisure cruises, can go fishing or sea kayaking, or participate the many cultural activities in the nearby villages. This way or another, most of us will meet for lunch at the resort and after a short siesta we take off again for the preferred activities. After a long, exciting and tiring day, we all gather on the open verandah for a great dinner under the tropical sky.
  Accommodation: Tufi Dive Resort
Sep 9 Cape Nelson
  Our last full day of exploration in Papua New Guinea. The day is going to be very similar to that of yesterday's. According to our needs and interest, we all go different directions and explore different areas, where as we meet at mealtimes to exchanges ideas and discuss all the great experiences. And at the end of the day, what better place do we wish to have for our Farewell Dinner? Tonight we will realize that we have see a place, a country that very few travelers ever get to, yet which could be visited again and again, every year, without seeing anything we have seen before.
  Accommodation: Tufi Dive Resort
Sep 10 Cape Nelson/Port Moresby/departure
  Sadly, this is our last morning on this amazing voyage. We obliged to have a very early breakfast this morning -6am, in order to be able to be fully ready and packed by the time our small aircraft lands for us on the airstrip at 7:30 am. Upon arrival, we check out and transfer to the international airport. Within an hour or so, we will be able to check in for our long flight to Singapore. Once we have checked our luggages, we'll find a convenient restaurant at the airport and have one more nice meal together. Let's call it a Farewell Lunch, if you like. At around 2 pm, we get through customs and departure to Singapore at 15:40. End of program, have a nice trip home!
 
Papua New Guinea Trip mapCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: USD 7,890
  in single room: USD 8,975

Trip images:
Ambua LodgeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Ambua LodgeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Ambua LodgeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tari Valley forestCopyright © WantExpeditions
Huli peopleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Huli peopleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Huli peopleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Huli peopleCopyright © WantExpeditions
Karawari RiverCopyright © WantExpeditions
Sunset on the Karawari RiverCopyright © WantExpeditions
Karawari LodgeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Karawari womanCopyright © WantExpeditions
Karawari childrenCopyright © WantExpeditions
Sepik scarCopyright © WantExpeditions
Sepik 'house of spirit'Copyright © WantExpeditions
Those birds-of-paradise!Copyright © WantExpeditions
Those birds-of-paradise!Copyright © WantExpeditions
Those birds-of-paradise!Copyright © WantExpeditions
Those birds-of-paradise!Copyright © WantExpeditions
Port MoresbyCopyright © WantExpeditions
Rondon Ridge LodgeCopyright © WantExpeditions
Hagen mudmenCopyright © WantExpeditions
Hagen mudmenCopyright © WantExpeditions
Hagen mudmenCopyright © WantExpeditions
Tufi ResortCopyright © WantExpeditions
Aerial view at Tufi ResortCopyright © WantExpeditions
The underwater world at TufiCopyright © WantExpeditions
The underwater world at TufiCopyright © WantExpeditions
The underwater world at TufiCopyright © WantExpeditions
The underwater world at TufiCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: USD 7,890
  in single room: USD 8,975
Price includes:
· all accomodation
· all meals
· all land transportation
· all airport and local transfers
· all national park fees
· all entrance fees
· all local guiding fees
· international tour leader
· all tips
· all government taxes and levies

Price excludes:
· international flights
· travel insurance
· personal expenses at accommodation
· departure taxes at airports
· visa fees
· any other items not mentioned above
· all domestic flights