Starts Fridays or Sundays. January to December8 days from $5495.00
Arrive Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
You are met on arrival in Port Moresby, and taken to your deluxe hotel in this capital city.
Papua New Guinea is a country of over four million people speaking 700 different languages. The capital city of Port Moresby is a cosmopolitan city, embracing technology and development while trying to retain the traditional values of its varied population.
This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the National Museum & Art Gallery, which exhibit Papua New Guinea's complex tribal lifestyles and one of the finest assemblage of primitive art in the world. The collection of shields and totems, Sepik River carvings, malagan masks, and Trobriand Island fishing vessels are just some of the unique examples of the country’s culture on display.
En route back to the hotel, see the Parliament House, which exemplifies the striking harmony of modern architecture and traditional design. It is constructed in the style of a traditional Sepik River Haus Tambaran (spirit house). Artists and craftsmen from villages throughout the country came together to create its impressive carvings, mosaics and murals. The result is a magnificent testimony to a culturally diverse and fascinating nation.
Port Moresby to Tari
In the morning, you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Ambua, in the Tari Valley - home of the colorful and proud Huli tribe. Upon arrival you are met and escorted to the spectacular Ambua Lodge, your mountaintop lodge for the next two nights. Located at 7000 feet, your accommodation is in eco-friendly bush-material huts, set on a hillside of flowering gardens, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest.
This afternoon, enjoy the crisp mountain air while exploring the area on a guided nature walk through the alpine forest. Bird life proliferates in the forests of Papua New Guinea, including many species of Birds of Paradise – of the 43 known species, 38 are found in Papua New Guinea. These birds can be seen performing bizarre ritualistic and mating dances. Hunted by early traders for their brilliantly colored feathers, the flamboyant Huli Wigmen of the Tari Valley formed a strong bond between themselves and these beautiful birds. Huli tribesmen revere the birds, decorating their human hair wigs with the plumage of only the most beautiful birds. Follow the rainforest tracks to observe these exotic “Birds of Paradise.” (B,L,D)
Enjoy a full day of touring while learning about the Highland culture and traditions of the famed Huli Wigmen. These proud warriors, famous for their elaborate and colorful dress, display their great reverence for birds – imitating them in ceremonial dances and decorating their wigs with feathers, flowers and cuscus fur. They paint patterns with yellow and ochre on their faces and adorn themselves with rolls of necklaces and beautiful headdresses made from bird feathers, including those from the Emperor and Raggiana Birds of Paradise. Their wigs are woven from human hair, donated by teenage and young adult males. The women by contrast, wear black for their wedding, and coat themselves with blue-grey clay when in mourning. The Huli culture is the most vibrant intact and colorful to be seen anywhere. (B,L,D)
Tari to Karawari
This morning, fly by charter aircraft to Karawari airstrip over some of the most rugged and impressive landscapes in the world. The countryside between Ambua and the Sepik region is an amazing array of jagged limestone that seem to rise and drop at impossible angles.
Upon arrival, you are transferred by riverboat, then 4-wheel-drive vehicle, up to the Karawari Lodge. Sitting on a ridge above the Karawari River, the lodge, inspired by local architecture and built with traditional materials, offers a spectacular view over hundreds of miles of dense tropical jungle. Sit on the lodge verandah and view the setting sun coloring the clouds and the snaking river below - imagine this is how earth looked in the beginning. You are in the middle of "Arambak" country - one of the most remote and unspoiled areas of Papua New Guinea. Hear drums throb, wild birds call, and witness traditional village lifestyles that have remained largely unchanged.
After lunch at the lodge, visit the local Kundiman village. Discover how the local tribe people make use of the land - weaving baskets from a mixture of plants along the river used for catching fish or gathering, preparing and cooking their staple food from the sago palm. Try your hand at weaving, and taste this fruit for yourself. (B,L,D)
This tropical lowland rainforest is one of the earth’s most complex of habitats, housing an immense variety of flora and fauna along with a unique culture. And the Karawari River, just 300 feet below, is the only way in or out, and to explore its wonders.
This morning, you board a small riverboat for a journey along the jungle-fringed waterways. Watch as boatmen, standing upright, paddle their slender dugout canoes, and spy the sculpted silhouettes of crocodile masks. Spend the day exploring the surrounding environment, and visiting some of the local Sepik villages. Watch as the villagers create elaborate carved totems, drums, and other expressions of art are an embedded part of their traditional tribal culture.
Your cottage at the Karawari Lodge, with its ceiling fan and a breezy veranda, is a welcome sanctuary after your jungle exploration. Enjoy the spacious gardens, swimming pool, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the view from your cottage at dusk. (B,L,D)
Karawari to Mount Hagen
This morning, fly to Mount Hagen. Enjoy another spectacular and scenic flight - can see the mountains rise up to startling heights, emerging out of the flat lands of the Sepik Basin. Named after the second highest volcano (12,395 ft.) on the Australian continent, Mount Hagen is the capital of the Western Highlands region.
Mount Hagen Town is in the upper Wahgi Valley - a valley with some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. Perched high on Mount Kuta is Rondon Ridge, with unbelievable views of the Wahgi Valley. Upon arrival at the Mount Hagen airport, you are met and escorted to your accommodations at Rondon Ridge – staying in one of 12 units, each featuring a 180-degree view and comfortable modern facilities.
After lunch at the lodge, take an afternoon guided nature walk around the variety of trails at Rondon Ridge, watching for the ten species of Birds of Paradise, along with numerous orchid species. (B,L,D)
Today is a full day of exploration of Mount Hagen, and an immersion into the traditions of the Melpa people.
Mount Hagen is a vibrant bustling city, the third largest in Papua New Guinea, which expanded with the growth of exports from the local coffee and tea plantations. Though a commercial center, many still follow the traditional life style, sometimes resulting in curious conflicts of purpose. Explore the local markets, offering colorful displays of handicrafts from all over the province, as well as an array of exotic fruit and vegetables, birds, and animals.
This Western Highlands Province is an area alive with color, from its lowland rainforest and alpine grasslands to the mist-shrouded mountain peaks. This afternoon, travel out of the city to discover the complex traditional society and customs of the Melpa People. Western contact was not made with the Melpa until the mid-1930s. The Melpa are a unique society where “big men” earn status by accruing wealth, and then giving it all away in ceremonial exchanges. (B,L,D)
Mount Hagen to Port Moresby & Depart
Depart Mount Hagen on a morning flight to Port Moresby. You are met upon arrival at the airport, and escorted onto your flight home, or to your next destination. (B)
Airways Hotel, Port Moresby
The Airways Hotel is ideally located with immediate access to both the business area and shopping. The hotel offers spectacular views of the airport, Owen Stanley Range and the Coral Sea. This modern hotel has a light decorating touch with natural wood and pastel colors, glass and art objects. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool, licensed bars and restaurants, coffee shop, casino bar and night club. There is also an outdoor pool, sauna, tennis court, tour desk, gift shop, and secretarial and business center. Your accommodation features air conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, ISD/STD phones, Cable TV, internet access, in-room safe, and 24 hour room service.
Ambua Lodge, Tari
Ambua Lodge is an inspired mixture of local architecture, spectacular views and modest luxury off the beaten track. Located at 7,000 feet, in the Southern Highlands, homeland of the Huli clan, the lodge features Highlands architecture with a main building housing the lounge, bar, dining room, and a cozy center fireplace. Separate areas include the video room, heated spa and sauna. Guests are accommodated in 40 individual units set in a sea of flowers, each unit featuring 180° picture windows, modern bathroom, and electric blankets and continental quilts for the cool highland evenings. Ambua Lodge was the recipient of a Pacific Heritage Award that sighted it as a superb example of culturally sensitive and ecological responsible tourism.
Karawari Lodge, Karawari
This unique lodge stands high atop a hilltop overlooking the expanse of the Karawari River area. The main building of the lodge is built in the form of a `haus tambaran' or spirit house, which contains the dining area, bar, lounge, and an incredible collection of Sepik artifacts. Amidst spacious, manicured gardens, there are 20 river or jungle view cottage/rooms with private bathroom, comfortable mosquito-netted beds, ceiling fans, and a breezy verandah.
Rondon Ridge Lodge, Mt. Hagen
At 7,100 feet above sea level, with panoramic views, the Rondon Ridge enjoys the year round temperate climate in the Highlands. This location promises the visitor eternal spring weather and magnificent views of the Hagen Range, Mount Giluwe, the Sepik Divide, the Baiyer Gap and the Wahgi Valley. Surrounded by landscaped gardens, the peaceful Rondo Ridge is just minutes from the famous Mount Hagen market. The lodge is intimate, with only twelve rooms. Each comfortable guestroom features modern facilities, satellite cable TV, and room service.