Arrive Cairns, Australia
Upon arrival in Cairns, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Refresh from your travels and prepare for the exciting journey to come. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner served at the hotel.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea | Island Gateway
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Papua New Guinea, an island chain of undisturbed indigenous tribes and sweeping natural beauty. Arrive in Port Moresby, a capital of sprawling suburbs scattered throughout the hills. Begin your exploration of Papua New Guinea’s distinctive island cultures at the National Museum, home to a fine collection of local artifacts. Transfer to your accommodations nestled in a lush botanical garden.
Mount Hagen | Birder’s Paradise
This morning, fly to Mount Hagen Town. Upon arrival, travel overland through the upper Wahgi Valley, a rich, fertile farmland that witnessed some of the world’s earliest agriculture. Continue on to Rondon Ridge for spectacular panoramas of the verdant valley. After lunch at your lodge, set out on a guided nature walk and birding tour of the grounds. Over 180 species of birds have been recorded in the rainforests surrounding Rondon Ridge, including 10 species of birds of paradise. The pristine rainforest also boasts numerous vibrantly colored orchid species. Roam the vast trails, racking up exotic sightings with help from your expert guide.
Sepik River | Cast Off for Adventure
Take your charter flight to Karawari, where you board ‘Sepik Spirit,’ your floating home for the next three nights. After lunch on board, embark on your voyage of discovery along the Sepik River. Settle in to life aboard this three-level, 98-foot river cruiser featuring a lounge, dining room, bar, screened-in observation deck, air conditioning and nine comfortable cabins with en suite bathrooms. Your riverboat home is an oasis in this remote jungle.
Sepik River | Villages of Black Water Lake
After breakfast aboard, disembark for a full-day excursion to the remote villages of Black Water Lake. Bask in your warm island welcome as you observe a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Learn about the local rituals, warfare, ceremonies and ancestral beliefs, visiting the various houses of the village. Browse tribal handicrafts such as masks, flutes and spirit figures in the villages’ low-pressure markets. Relax with a picnic by the densely forested banks of the Karawari River, watching as local men gather on their clan’s bench, children paddle canoes to school and women fish with hand lines.
Sepik River | Tribes of the Mumeri & Mindimbit
Disembark onto the banks of Mumeri, a remote village whose people have preserved their ancestral traditions for centuries. Take in the same warm village welcome enjoyed here by pioneering anthropologist Margaret Meade over 80 years ago. Next, board a jet boat for a thrilling ride out to the Krosmeri Junction, where you rendezvous with ‘Sepik Spirit’ for lunch. Continue on to visit the villages of Mindimbit, taking in the spectacular carvings and elaborate coming-of-age rituals of the locals. Rejoin ‘Sepik Spirit’ for your final night on board, cruising back toward Karawari.
Tari | Lush Canopy of the Southern Highlands
Board your charter flight to Tari, soaring over the dramatic limestone escarpments of the Ambua and Sepik regions. Upon arrival, transfer to your secluded lodge perched at 7,000 feet in Papua New Guinea’s spectacular Southern Highlands. In the afternoon, set out on a guided nature walk through the alpine forest, keeping an eye out for the exotic birds of paradise. A favorite destination of birders, Ambua’s rainforests have starred in many wildlife documentaries. A staggering 217 species of exotic birds have been recorded here, including 13 different species of birds of paradise. Stroll among a plethora of orchids, rhododendrons, vine bridges, mountain streams and secluded waterfalls, logging your exotic sightings as your expert guide shares insights perfect for novices and seasoned birders alike.
Tari | Ancestral Legacy of the Huli Wigmen
Embark on two days of cultural touring among the tribes of the Tari. In contrast to the Sepik people whose art is manifested in ceremonial and decorative carvings, the Highland people of Tari employ body decoration and face painting, as well as the wearing of decorative wigs, flowers and moss. The Huli Wigmen are widely regarded as one of the most immediately recognizable of Papua New Guinea’s indigenous peoples. Experience the Huli Wigmen’s captivating dances, dazzling displays fashioned after the mating rituals of the birds of paradise. Take in the magic of the scene, absorbing an indelible impression of the vibrant tribal traditions so carefully preserved for generations.
Mount Hagen | Soaring Island Peaks
This morning, your private charter flight takes you back to Mount Hagen. On approach, watch the mountains rise and then fall away as you descend into the flatlands of the Sepik Basin. Upon arrival at the airport, you are transferred to your hotel. In anticipation of the Mount Hagen Cultural Show, enjoy a preview program in the afternoon.
Mount Hagen | Voices of the Sing Sing Festival
Gain insider access to a privileged experience few travellers can claim as you immerse yourself in the dazzlingly vibrant spectacle of the Mount Hagen Cultural Show, a festive gathering of more than 50 coastal, lowland and highland tribal groups. This is a festival of the locals, for the locals — a bold, joyful proclamation of tribal pride. Marvel as the participants engage in sing-sings, lively ancestral songs and dances displaying their diverse and distinctive cultural heritages. Witness an unmatched spectacle of color, music and motion as heirloom feathered headdresses, brilliantly painted faces and dyed grass-skirts weave to the driving beat of traditional drums and the rousing voices of the tribesmen. Lose yourself in the sights and sounds of the rollicking festival, gaining a deeper insight into the enduring traditions that help to define this unique corner of the world.
Cairns, Australia | A Parting Glimpse
Today, fly via Port Moresby to Cairns. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner and recap your amazing experience with your fellow travellers.
After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your departure.
Program Note: Travel in this remote region entails lodging in basic accommodations; limited access to Western cuisine; and active elements such as walking over steep, uneven jungle terrain.