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New Marco Polo Journeys

Papua New Guinea & the Goroka Festival 2019


13 days from $10,995

Limited to 16 guests

Witness cultural traditions rarely seen by Western eyes as you cruise the Karawari River in search of remote tribal villages, spot a dazzling array of exotic birdlife and marvel at the brilliant spectacle of the Goroka Festival.

A&K Advantages

Immerse yourself in vibrant tribal cultures that have remained unchanged for centuries, while cruising rivers and exploring some of the most remote corners of the globe

Join a gathering of more than 100 local tribes for the Goroka Festival, a dazzling, two-day spectacle of song, dance, pageantry and tradition celebrating Papua New Guinea’s independence

Enjoy the convenience of flying in and out of the Goroka Festival via private charter on each of the two days of the festival

Take a three-night cruise on the Karawari River, winding past unspoiled villages and pristine rainforests of the Sepik Region

Relish intimate interactions with distinctive cultures spanning the remote river villages along the Sepik, the Huli Highlands and the Mount Hagen region

Itinerary at a Glance

DAY 1
Arrive Cairns, Australia
DAY 2
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea | Island Gateway
DAY 3
Tari | Birder's Paradise of the Southern Highlands
DAY 4-5
Tari | Ancestral Legacy of the Huli Wigmen
DAY 6
Sepik Region | Secluded Riverine Wilderness
DAY 7
Sepik Region | Villages of Black Water Lake
DAY 8
Sepik Region | Tribes of the Mumeri & Mindimbit
DAY 9
Mount Hagen | Birder's Paradise of Rondon Ridge
DAY 10-11
Mount Hagen | Goroka Festival
DAY 12
Cairns, Australia | A Parting Glimpse
DAY 13
Depart Cairns
DAY 1
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.

Shangri-La Cairns
Meals: Dinner
DAY 2
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.

Airways Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 3
Tari | Birder's Paradise of the Southern Highlands

Board your flight to Tari, soaring over the dramatic peaks of New Guinea’s Highlands. 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 lush forest, keeping an eye out for the exotic birds of paradise. A favorite destination of birders, the rainforests surrounding the lodge 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.

Ambua Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4-5
Tari | Ancestral Legacy of the Huli Wigmen

Embark on two days of cultural touring among the tribes of the Tari. 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.

Ambua Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6
Sepik Region | Secluded Riverine Wilderness

This morning, travel by 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 Karawari 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 Spirit'
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 7
Sepik Region | 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 Spirit'
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 8
Sepik Region | 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, cruise to the confluence of the Krosmeri and Karawari rivers, 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.

'Sepik Spirit'
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 9
Mount Hagen | Birder's Paradise of Rondon Ridge

This morning, fly by private charter to Mount Hagen. 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.

Rondon Ridge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 10-11
Mount Hagen | Goroka Festival

After breakfast at the lodge each day, transfer to the airport for your convenient, privately chartered flight to the Goroka Festival, a two-day celebration of Papua New Guinea’s independence. This vibrant kaleidoscope of song and dance draws over 100 local tribes every year, affording an authentic glimpse into a rarely witnessed tradition dating back to 1957. Following each day’s festivities, return by privately chartered air to Mount Hagen and your lodge in time for dinner.

Rondon Ridge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 12
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.

Shangri-La Cairns
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 13
Depart Cairns

After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your departure.

Meals: Breakfast
Program Note: Travel in this remote region entails lodging in basic accommodations and active elements such as walking over steep, uneven jungle terrain.


Prices are in USD, per person, based on double occupancy.

  • Sep 05 - Sep 17
    Limited Availability
    Price
    Single Supplement
    Internal Air From
    Availability
    Price
    $10,995
    Single Supplement
    $4,295
    Internal Air From
    $4,350
    Availability
    Limited Availability
    'Sepik Spirit' Deck Plan
    How many people are travelling in your group?
Journey Details

Internal Air: Economy class from $4,350
Cairns/Port Moresby/Tari/Karawari/Mount Hagen/Port Moresby/Cairns

Minimum age is 10 years.

First group event: welcome dinner at 6:00 p.m. on Day 1.

Last group event: farewell dinner at 6:00 p.m. on Day 12.

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 8 guests.

Program Note: Travel in this remote region entails lodging in basic accommodations and active elements such as walking over steep, uneven jungle terrain.


Destination Information

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Climate

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CDC Information

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