Papua New Guinea Private Expedition
The most complete itinerary to explore The Land of Unexpected: Papua New Guinea. Designed to provide you with the maximum exposure not only to the natural wonders of the island but also to the culture of the indigenous peoples.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea you take a time machine back to experience the way our ancestors lived in the Stone Age. The ancient cultures of the highlands have remained nearly unchanged for thousands of years, as they had lived in complete isolation until 1935.
While the culture of the peoples of PNG is considered to be that of the Paleolithic Era, it is fascinatingly complex, with 800 of the world’s 6,000 languages being found in culturally diverse Papua New Guinea. It is also interesting to note that agriculture has been practiced here for the last 9,000 years, and these long years have created the unique stone age cultures and societies that populate the Island today.
- Port Moresby
- Mount Hagen
- Mount Hagen Sing Sing Festival
- Visit Tari ‘ The Home of the Huli
- Crocodile Men of the Sepik Headwaters
- Sepik Spirit Navigation
- Upper Karawari River & Lodge
Details in Brief:
Duration: 13 days in country
Is this the right expedition for you?
New Paths Expeditions has crafted a journey to Papua New Guinea like no other, designed to provide you with the maximum exposure not only to the natural wonders of the island but also to the culture of the indigenous peoples. We will visit the Huli tribe in Tari, arriving by small aircraft chartered flight. The Huli are known as the Huli Wigmen, for their elaborate decorative wigs made from the hair grown by selected tribe’s young men during their initiation period.
Wildlife and natural wonders make PNG – along with Madagascar, the Amazon, and the Congo – one of our planet’s ‘Mega-Diverse Hotspots.’ This Island not only has 10% of the world’s vertebrates but 7% of the world’s higher (vascular) plants, including some spectacular orchid species. For those who love to discover nature first hand, Papua New Guinea’s rainforest offers you the opportunity to enjoy this unique endemic wildlife. The flying jewels of the forest, the birds of paradise, will astound you with their colorful and flamboyant plumage; 38 of the known 43 species of this bird are found in PNG.
The use of small chartered aircraft will provide an aerial panorama view of the Papua New Guinea forests and mountains. We guarantee they will be a highlight of the expedition.
Our carefully crafted expedition also includes an exploration of the Sepik River Basin aboard the comfortable Sepik Spirit, designed to resemble a native spirit house. Our river journey will give us access to primitive Crocodile Men of the Chambri tribe, who receive scars on their bodies that resemble the scales of these dangerous reptiles.
New Paths Expeditions has been exploring Papua New Guinea for over 15 years, and our expedition will provide you with an experience unlike any other. Travel back in time and witness the origins of men and some of the most incredible natural wonders on earth. Because the group will be limited to only 16 explorers, I urge you to make your reservations early, and I look forward to meeting and joining you on our PNG adventure.
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Port Moresby
Arrive today in Port Moresby. After clearing immigration and customs and exiting the arrival lounge, you will meet our representatives and check-in at the Airways Hotel, the best hotel in Papua New Guinea, located just 5 minutes from the airport.
Use the rest of the day to rest and recover from your flight. Later, join your Senior Expedition Leader for a cocktail, a complete expedition briefing, and orientation followed by dinner at the hotel’s poolside restaurant.
Overnight at Airways Hotel Dakota Room (The best rooms of this, the best hotel in PNG).
Please note that your room will be ready at 2 PM. If you need an earlier check-in, please let us know. Extra fees may apply depending on availability. (D)
Overnight: AIRWAYS HOTEL DAKOTA WING (D)
Day 2: Charter Flight to Karawari – Embark Sepik Spirit
Transfer from your hotel to Jackson’s airport for your flight to Mt Hagen. At Mount Hagen, connect with your private chartered flight to Karawari, an amazing morning flight over the highlands that later descends to the tropical rain forest of the Karawari River. Upon landing, we embark on jet boats for travel to the junction of the Karawari and Krosmary Rivers, where we plan to arrive in time for lunch on board the Sepik Spirit. This river cruiser will be our home for the next 3 days and nights. Inspired by the spirit houses of the native tribes, this is a small, intimate, and unique-looking ship, and the only one that allows for exploration of these very remote waterways.
Overnight: SEPIK SPIRIT (B, L, D)
Days 3 & 4: Explore the Head Waters of the Sepik River
We will use these two days to explore, on our jet boats, the remote villages found on the headwaters of the Sepik River. Among the people we meet will be the Crocodile People, who were formerly cannibals. These people scar themselves in a ceremonial process to honor their totem, the crocodile, and also their ancestors. We will even be invited into the most sacred of their places – their spirit houses. If you are an art lover, you will also find traditional art to add to your collection.
Needless to say, birdwatching is fantastic both on the river and in the areas surrounding the clan villages, and we will hopefully see more birds of paradise.
Overnight: SEPIK SPIRIT (B, L, D)
Days 5 & 6: Explore the Nature and Cultures of Karawari
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Karawari Lodge. Karawari Lodge, poised on the ridge overlooking the river and jungle-clad Sepik Basin, is a world entirely unique. The real fascinations here are the people and how they live with the land and how it molds their lives. They still live as they have for generations – rituals, sing- sings, storytelling, food gathering and preparation. With Karawari’s carefully planned cultural program, daily visits in river boats are made to selected villages allowing one the opportunity to be able to observe village life and customs, participate in typical daily activities and see traditional ceremonies. We will visit remote jungle waterways where we will find huge lichen and vine – festooned trees, masses of brilliant flame flowers, and a profusion of orchids. The soft dawn glimmers on these waterways and the vast plain erupts with a myriad of birds – the raucous jungle music. Dug-out canoes glide close by the river banks – stilt villages suddenly spring in sight along the flowing waters. Here we will see man and the environment as it has been for thousands of years. We also have the possibility to birdwatch for the Twelve Wired Bird of Paradise!
Overnight: KARAWARI LODGE (B, L, D)
Day 7: Chartered flight to Madang (Coast)
Travel by boat to the Karawari Airstrip to meet your charter aircraft. Fly from the tropical rain forest up to the highlands and then descend towards the coast to reach Madang. Picked up at the airport and drive past Machine Gun Beach and Golf Coast enroute to the Madang Resort Hotel. After lunch enjoy a village visit and get to see a builum and a carving demonstration.
Overnight: MADANG RESORT HOTEL (B, L, D)
Day 8: Explore Madang
After breakfast, you proceed on your first full-day tour. First stop will be at the Madang Cultural Centre Located in the town center, the Haus Tumbuna (cultural center) on Modilon Road was officially opened in 1981 to celebrate the culture and history of Madang. Although small it contains significant culture items along with a pictorial history of early European settlement and WWII occupation by the Japanese. Leaving town you will travel to Balek Village to see the flora and fauna sanctuary operated by the villagers. A sulfur creek runs through a steep rock escarpment and empties into the ocean three kilometers away, the villagers feed freshwater eels and the occasional turtle by ‘calling’ them with food scraps. The flora consists of orchids, wild pepper, and many different tropical palms. In 1997 the area become a film set for a gravesite in the movie “Robinson Crusoe” starring Pierce Brosnan. The final stop before returning to Madang will be Bilbil Village which is renowned for traditional pottery; all made by hand, no pottery wheel. Prior to German settlement the pottery from Bilbil and Yabob villages was traded along the coast as far as the volcanic island of Manam Island past Bogia to the north, and eastward to the Siassi Islands off the north coast of the Huon Peninsular in the Vitiaz Straits. These trade trips were made onboard specially built canoes known as Balangut. In 2013 the villagers built a Balangut to celebrate PNG Independence Day, the first time a vessel had been built in 30 years. A (Cultural Performance) singing will also be witnessed in the village. Your excursion now returns to town and will stop at the Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse. This working lighthouse was unveiled inAugust1959 and was built in recognition of the Coastwatcher’s and their native helpers who provided valuable intelligence to allied forces during WWII, not only in PNG but throughout the Solomon Islands. Today the site also serves as a memorial for the remembrance of those who fought the Japanese in and around Madang as well as those who served in WW I and II. Tour should terminate back at the hotel by mid-day, in time for lunch. Proceed with lunch than followed by an afternoon tour to Alexishafen Catholic Mission Station and the Japanese Airstrip. Back at our hotel, enjoy free time and dinner.
Overnight: MADANG RESORT HOTEL (B, L, D)
Day 9: Cruise the Madang Harbor and Snorkeling
After breakfast you depart Madang Resort wharf by small cruise boat, cruise into the harbor passing the Bilia Island on the starboard side and the township of Madang on the port side. Proceed further into the harbor then
onto Bode Point where the main port facility is located. Pass the Bode point and cruise into the Industrial Harbor of Binen. Exiting the Binen Harbor and the Bode Point cruise further into narrow channel into the Meiro Riverdelta then into the Madang Lagoon passing many small islands including Siar. Krangket, Wangat and Tab Island where a stop will be made at Wangat or Tab to enable you to enjoy a snorkeling /swim. While enjoying the warm clear waters swimming and snorkeling, a BBQ lunch will be organized. Lunch will be served around 12:00noon. You after lunch can do some more snorkeling before returning to the Resort.
Overnight: MADANG RESORT HOTEL (B, L, D)
Day 10: To the Highlands on a Private Flight – Nature Walk
Early morning breakfast and check out for your room. Transfer to the airport in time for your charter flight to Mt. Hagen over vast tracts of highlands grasslands, beside some of the tallest mountains in the country. This is a spectacular flight. Mount Hagen town is in the upper Waghi Valley – some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. Once in Mount Hagen, enjoy a scenic drive up the mountains to the beautiful Rondon Ridge Lodge. The views and nature that surrounds it are simply amazing. An afternoon guided nature walk and birding tour will enable you to explore the area surrounding the Lodge grounds in search of Birds of Paradise.
Overnight: RONDON RIDGE (B, L, D)
Day 11: Pre-Show Sing Sing
In preparation for the Mount Haggen Sing Sing (Show), this gathering is attended by over 100 men and women from more than 10 tribes scattered across the highlands and mainland coastal areas. While this sing is relatively small in comparison to others, we will be more than compensated not only by the beautiful setting, including the stunning village location, but also by the absence of crowds of tourists; this is a meaningful, friendlier, and intimate experience for all of us.
We will be able to watch the participants prepare their bilas, or traditional dress, paint their faces and bodies and embellish themselves with bird of paradise feathers. The group will be able to mingle with the performers and take their pictures. Once the dancing begins, we will really be able to appreciate these preparations and take part in the festivities.
In true “Tumbuna style”, a big mumu (underground oven) is fired up for lunch, and while the food is cooking the sing sing’s guests are free to explore the village and socialize with the local residents.
At the conclusion of this amazing celebration, we will return to our hotel to enjoy dinner, share photographs, and receive a complete briefing about the next day event: The Mount Hagen Sing Sing.
Overnight: RONDON RIDGE (B, L, D)
Day 12: Mount Hagen Sing Sing – Back to Port Moresby
This is one of the greatest experiences of your life. After breakfast you will be transferred from the lodge to the show ground in Mount Hagen. Today you will spend the full day at the Mount Hagen Show – world famous for its colour, culture and vibrancy. It is a truly spectacular event where 60 to 100 tribes (Thousands of participants, all dressed in traditional customs and body paintings). The diversity of the coastal, lowland and highlands sing sing groups at the Hagen show reflects the incredible diversity of the Papua New Guinea’s landscape – an unforgettable experience to all the senses, and a photographers dream. After the show experience, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight from Mt. Hagen to Port Moresby. Upon arrival, transfer to your modern and very comfortable hotel, located just 5 minutes away from the airport.
Overnight: AIRWAYS HOTEL DAKOTA WING (B, L)
Day 13: Explore Port Moresby
After breakfast, enjoy a visit to the National Parliament Building, built in the style of a Spirit House. The National Museum will be our next stop where we will be able to see and appreciate the superb collection of artifacts collected from the country’s 800 different tribes.
Port Moresby’s beautiful Nature Park is a wonderful introduction to the flora and fauna of this island paradise. Not only will you meet some of the country’s wildlife such as cassowaries and tree kangaroos, but you will also be introduced to the park’s excellent and extensive orchid collection. Enjoy lunch at the gardens before visiting Hanuabada (“big village”) to see the collection of ramshackle houses built on stilts.
Once back at the hotel and after time to relax, enjoy a cocktail and farewell dinner.
Overnight: AIRWAYS HOTEL DAKOTA WING (B, L, D)
Day 14: Fly Back Home
Transfer from your hotel to Jackson’s airport for your international flight. (B)
AIRWAYS HOTEL (Port Moresby)
This is the best hotel in all of Papua New Guinea. Located just 5 minutes from the airport, it not only has modern facilities, but also lovely surrounding vistas. We have blocked rooms in the Bacchus Wing on the ground floor, and these are comfortable rooms with air conditioning, safety deposit box, and modern bathrooms with all the needed amenities. The restaurants and bars on the hotel’s upper floor provide great views and the best food in the country. The Airways includes a gym, and shops where fine and tribal art objects, as well as souvenirs, are available. WiFi is available in the guest rooms and lobby, but it can be slow or fail altogether temporarily.
MADANG RESORT HOTEL (Madang)
Today the old Hotel Madang is now the Madang Resort one of the most iconic resorts in the Pacific Region. Whilst the Resort has 120 guest rooms with a further 20 under construction, the adjacent Kalibobo Village, also owned by the Barter family has a further 80 rooms, cottages, apartments catering for longer term guests and tenants – together offering more than 200 rooms.
MOUNT HAGEN (Rondon Ridge)
Rondon Ridge is located 7,100ft above sea level on the fringes of the Kubor mountain range. With panoramic views of the Wahgi Valley down below, it is a great location for an exploration of the Highlands.
The lodge is a 40-minute drive from Mt Hagen town and features 24 rooms with modern en-suite bathrooms. Electricity is generated from the lodge’s own hydroelectric power plant which harnesses the power of a nearby mountain stream. There is also a bright and spacious restaurant and lounge area overlooking the forest.
SEPIK SPIRIT (Sepik River)
The Sepik Spirit is the best, and only, ship that navigates the headwaters of the Sepik River. This is a comfortable ship designed to look like a tribal spirit house, and features artistic, handcrafted woodwork make by the local tribes. Air conditioning is available in all the guest rooms and the common areas. Rooms have comfortable beds, large windows, and ensuite bathrooms with hot running water. The food aboard ship is good and the lounge cozy and relaxing. The Sepik Spirit is equipped with jet boats for exploration (please be aware that jet boat engines are loud and vibrate, so if you have sensitive ears, please include ear plugs in your luggage).
KARAWARI LODGE (Karawari)
Perched high on the banks of the remote Karawari River, and built to resemble a spirit house, the Karawari Lodge includes an impressive collection of tribal art as well as providing beautiful vistas, especially the unforgettable, color saturated sunsets. The lodge rooms are basic, with fans and mosquito nets. Electricity is spotty, and although it is a beautiful property, because of the rusticity of the rooms, we are staying here only one night. However, your stay will be unforgettable in a good way.
This expedition can depart at any time of your preference.
Please contact us or request your quote.
Included in the Land Cost:
- Services of an English-speaking Local Head Naturalist.
- Services of local guides.
- All ground transportation (including airport transfers) if arriving on day one, and leaving on the last day (If you arrive before day 1, or leave after the expedition ended, extra charges for airport transfers may apply).
- Accommodations as noted.
- All sightseeing, entrance fees, and visits as noted.
- Meals as noted.
- Bottled water at included meals, transfers and tours.
- Services of transfer assistants, drivers, and local staff.
- Gratuities for luggage porters, transfer assistants and restaurant staff.
- International flights.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Gratuity for Local Guides; Drivers and Expedition Leader.
- Personal expenses and incidentals, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, e-mail, and laundry.
- Trip cancellation, travel delay, and baggage loss insurance.
Deposits and final payments:
- A deposit of US $1,500.00 per participant is required at the time of booking.
- The remaining balance will be charged 120 days before the expedition begins.
Download the Complete Expedition Details
“After 20 years of traveling, we never learned so much and had as much fun as with you guys!”
Jack N. Douglas-CO
“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY
“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA
“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA