Summary : Papua New Guinea adventure travel beckons the explorer in all of us with dramatic landscapes and a wealth of unique cultures. Meet the inhabitants of remote islands on this Melanesia tour and step back in time to view their energetic dances and well-preserved cultural traditions. Learn about the kula ring of trading, which unites far-flung island communities, and the fascinating rituals surrounding the annual yam harvest. Enjoy numerous opportunities to snorkel and dive over healthy reefs populated by a dazzling array of tropical fish, a must on any Papua New Guinea expedition. Search for a variety of colorful birds during nature hikes through lush forest and along pristine beaches.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
Combine this itinerary with Voyage II: Raja Ampat & Asmat Villages and save 5% off the regular cruise rate.
$999,999,999 to $0
Arrive in Brisbane and board your flight to Port Moresby. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Today join a tour of Port Moresby, visiting the National Museum and Art Center. You may also view, and purchase, high-quality carvings and handicrafts at a local shop. This afternoon, embark the Caledonian Sky.
Be on deck as the ship traces the coast of Papua New Guinea, to observe the peaks of the dramatic Stanley Owens Range that soar to 13,000 feet. This afternoon visit the island of Bonarua, where a local choir welcomes you ashore. Observe fishing and weaving demonstrations, and stroll through the enchanting village, sampling local delicacies made from sweet potatoes, taro, and yams. Birders venture into the thicket to search for island specialties, and the warm inviting waters of the Coral Sea offer a perfect introduction to the undersea wonders on your first snorkel or dive excursion of many to come.
Today visit Fergusson Island, the largest island of the group, notable for its hot springs, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers, and extinct volcanoes. Spend the afternoon snorkeling or diving, or step ashore on tiny Dobu for beachcombing and nature walks.
This morning visit with the traditional Trobriand islanders of Kitava and view energetic, time-honored dances that celebrate fishing and the seasonal yam harvest. Learn about the history of the Kula Ring, a circular pattern of ceremonial trade relationships that binds the islands of Milne Bay and eastern Papua New Guinea together in a long-established network of friendship. These islanders are also renowned for the exquisite quality of their ebony wood-carvings, often decorated with mother-of-pearl shell inlays. Enjoy a walk among the villages of Kitava before returning to the ship for lunch.
Spend the afternoon at the nearby idyllic island of Narutu, with superb opportunities for snorkeling, diving, swimming, and beachcombing from the palm-lined, white-sand beach. Join naturalists on a hike around the island and through the forest to search for flying foxes (fruit bats), helmeted friarbirds, and channel-billed cuckoos.
Gawa is a makatea island—a coral atoll uplifted by geologic activity. Its fertile high plateau, atop steep cliffs, is populated by several villages. A hike up the hillside brings you to Kweupa where the village chief and elders welcome you with ceremonial greeting dances in the town square. Take a look at the enclosed canoe houses which store the island’s great trading canoes, elaborately decorated with pearl shell work and carvings. Intriguing handicrafts and artifacts will be on display, including lime pots made from gourds and intricately carved coconut shells and drums.
Six cone-shaped volcanoes, some of which are still active, ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded-caldera harbor. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views from Observatory Ridge. And, learn about the island’s WWII history—Rabaul was a Japanese stronghold under Admiral Yamamoto. Tonight attend an astonishing performance of the Baining tribe’s fire dance. Tribe members in huge, magnificently crafted masks, leap and dance over crackling, red-hot coals in a centuries-old ritual to honor the local deity-spirits.
This afternoon, villagers warmly welcome you to the Tsoi Islands with a cultural performance and dances accompanied by a superb local choir. Sample traditional foods, then take a walk around the island’s perimeter to find orchids, butterflies, skinks, and birds along the way. On Tsoi Lik search for megapodes nesting along the sandy beach.
Completely encircled by an oblong reef, few passenger vessels are able to visit this small group of islands. Land on a sandy beach and meet the 350 inhabitants of charming Tingwon—a picture-perfect village—and enjoy their hospitality, local delicacies, and dances. After your visit, snorkel or dive along the islets’ surrounding reef.
One of PNG’s most remote islands, Nauna is famous for the unusual practice of fishing using spider web lures and a unique kite-flying technique. Enjoy a performance of traditional dances accompanied by the beat of garamut (slit-gong drums) and take note of the intricately woven baskets worn by the dancers.
This tiny southernmost Admiralty island, was formed by a now extinct volcano. Zodiacs take you ashore where you are greeted with a rhythmic drum and dance exhibition, then have the opportunity to walk up to the crater for stunning views. Or choose to visit the farming village of Lipan and the neighboring village of Mouk, home to fishermen and seafaring canoe builders. Snorkeling and diving along the fringing reef is excellent.
Enter the Sepik River region today, a 700-mile-long river whose tribes are famous for their traditional carvings linked to spiritual beliefs. In the Murik Lakes area explore a series of lagoons, mangrove-and-grass-covered islets, and sago wetlands forming the delta of the mighty river. The Sepik carries down great quantities of silt, creating a constantly changing landscape of river bars; the tides of the day determine our Zodiac access. You may have the opportunity to visit the village of Kopar, where a women’s chorus welcomes you ashore. The 300 residents of this typical Lower Sepik village subsist on sago, cultivated in nearby swamps, and fish, caught by the local women.
Disembark this morning for a brief city tour. Wewak is an attractive town, lying under a headland and surrounded by golden beaches and palm trees. The region is steeped in the history of WWII; at nearby Cape Wom, Japanese general Adachi surrendered to the Allies. Memorials to the Australians and Japanese who died in the conflict honor the valiant men of both sides. After lunch, return to the ship to continue on Voyage II or board your flight to Brisbane, via Port Moresby, and check in to your airport hotel for dinner and overnight.
Depart on your independent flight homeward. Arrive in the USA on the same day after crossing the International Date Line.
Accommodations in hotels and on board as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; all group meals on land; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; welcome dinner and orientation; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; all entrance fees; taxes; landing and port fees; all gratuities; comprehensive pre-departure packet; gift certificates for recommended expedition gear; photographic journal; $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance.*
All air transportation (except where listed above); excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; baggage/trip cancellation insurance; scuba diving fees and equipment where required; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $50,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $75,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.