Culture, Sing-Sings, Festivals, Treks, and History
Papua New Guinea has so much to see and to do at different times of the year it would take years to see it all. Most people only have two or three weeks. So what to see and do?
If at all possible, visitors should try and combine their visit with one of the main sing-sings or festivals. The Goroka Sing-Sing / Highland Festival takes place in September on Independence Day weekend, as did the Hiri Moale Festival in Port Moresby, the Mount Hagen Festival is in August, New Britain and New Ireland have festivals in July (not always in the case of New Ireland's Malagan festival), Alotau in the south hosts the Kundu and Canoe Festival at the end of October - early November, and the Trobriand Islands' Yam Festival is at the end of July - early August. Ambunti in the Middle Sepik hosts the Ambunti Crocodile Festival in early August. Click on Sing-Sings and Festivals in the menu on the left to find out more. For 2017 we have another escorted HIghlands and Coastal Tribes trip that includes East New Britaon, Mt Hagen, the Asaro Mudmen, and the Goroka Festival / Sing-Sing. Click here for more information.
For those who like a challenge, there are many treks to be attempted, either day walks from Walindi Plantation resort or Tufi resort, or from Tufi guesthouses, or the three-day or four-day trek up Mount Wilhelm, Oceania's highest peak at 4509 metres, from Goroka. Goroka is an excellent base for other half, full, and multi-day treks. There is also the tough and sticky six to ten-day Kokoda trail through the mountainous jungles of the Owen-Stanley range where the Austrailian Diggers battled so bravely in World War II.
Port Moresby is often overlooked, but is home to the largest Allied war cemetary in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and also host to the Hiri Moale festival in mid-September. THe National Museum is excellent.
New Britain's jungles shelter several accessible aircraft wrecks on surprisingly good condition, and Kavieng was a major Japanese base during the Second World War.
Tufi's fjords are a great place to immerse yourself in traditional village life with village guesthouse stays. See the relevant pages for more information, and we also organise stays in villages in the Eastern Highlands and East Sepik provinces.
We work with a network of top-end wilderness lodges in the Western and Southern Highlands, in the East and Middle Sepik regions, on the wildlife-rich grasslands of the Tonda Wildlife Management Area, Western Province, on an island spit on the shores of Papua New Guinea's largest lake, Lake Murray, on major migrtorty routes, also in Western Province, and on the shores of the north coast near Madang, to give you even more choice in your quest for cultural encounters.
The management have been running cultural and birding tours here for over 35 years. and their experience in looking after clients in remote destinations is unparalleled. They work very closely with local communities, and the majority of lodge staff and management have come up through the company. The local guides at the lodges have been nurtured, trained, and encouraged over time, and have an unbelievable eye for wildlife and bird spotting. They know when to look for what, where, and how, to give guests the best chance of great sightings.
The lodges run set programs around the Mt Hagen and Goroka festivals, but can also be included in tailor-made itineraries most of the year. You can find out more information on each lodge in the menu on the left.
Papua New Guinea village stays
Village stays are a great way to see how people live in different regions around Papua New Guinea.
Day trips are to a village close to Goroka and one of the highlights is the preparation, and eating, of a "MuMu" - a local pig roast.
The village for overnight stays is 20 to 30 minutes from Goroka depending on road conditions, and a MuMu is also organised for visitors. Sing-sings can be arranged on request, but are not part of the visit per se. In the village you are free to observe or participate in village life; gardening, school, playing with children, chilling, chatting with the villagers, going to the river to bathe... Accommodation can bre provided in a basic but clean and comfortable lodge next to the village. Fullboard costs $75 per night. See www.asaromudmen.com for more information
Island homestay, East Sepik Region
Robert and Catherine Marek will welcome you to their village on the beautiful Yuo Isalnd, an hour by road to Boiken, and 20 minutes by boat from Wewak, East Sepik. Accommodation is provided in their five-bedroom guesthouse and there is a solar shower and flush toilet for guest use. One night full board costs $37 USD per person, excluding transport. Transport costs are arranged per trip, and are currently $65 each way. Trips to a thermal spring on a beach at Kairiru Island can be arranged, as can fishing, dolphin watching and surfing. There are surfboards available on site and Yuo has two different breaks, with barrels and tunnels when conditions are right. There is good snorkelling from the beach on the reef in front of the guesthouse. Contact us for more information and images.
Coastal villages in Oro Province
Flying in to Tufi, after a night at the resort, you can head out to one of many villages in the beautiful fjordlands of Cape Nelson. There are vilages on sublime beaches and others higher up on the ridges. The best is to go for three nights and sample three different ones. Transfers are by boat and dugout. A three-night trip to Jebo (beach), Orotoaba (inland and great for Birds of Paradise), and Garewa (beach) costs $420 pp full board including transport by boat and outrigger. The village chiefs will be your guides and take you to see stunning waterfalls, fishing in their outriggers, walking trails, and occassionally to spiritual places like skull caves. Or you can just observe village life, chat to the locals, amuse and be amused by the kids, or go snorkelling over some excellent coral gardens.