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Coastal Tufi, the Western Highlands and the volcanic landscape of East New Britain

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What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Domestic flights
  • All tours and excursions mentioned in the itinerary
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Papua New Guinea is a one-of-a-kind destination – it is physically beautiful, culturally fascinating, historically rich and always full of surprises. This ten-day exploration takes you from the coast, to the highlands and out to the islands.

Your journey begins in Tufi which is located in the Oro Province along Papua New Guinea’s northern coastline. The clear, calm waters that surround Tufi are teeming with life, making this one of the world’s best diving destinations. During your stay here, you’ll explore the rainforest and its waterfalls, go snorkelling and visit the local village to get a glimpse into life on the coast.

You’ll then fly to Mount Hagen in the heart of the highlands. Discover customs of the past and present as you meet the mudmen of Pogla village and share in a communal feast at the village of Komon. Papua New Guinea is home to the beautiful bird of paradise and you’ll get a chance to see them in all their glory with an early morning feeding session.

The last leg of your incredible journey is in Kokopo on the island of East New Britain. Snorkel the crystal clear waters around Kabakon Island, swim with a pod of dolphins and discover Rabaul’s WWII history as you walk through tunnels that served as hospitals and visit the peace memorials.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-4

Tufi

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Port Moresby tour Port Moresby tour

You will meet your expedition leader and enjoy a half-day tour of Papua New Guinea's capital and get aquainted with the country before venturing onwards.

Flights & Transfers

Flight

Flight from Port Moresby to Tufi

Accommodation in Tufi

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Three nights at Tufi Three nights at Tufi

Often described as the 'Scandinavia of the Tropics', Tufi is a beautiful destination for those wanting to experience the wonders of the Coral Triangle. The clear, calm waters that surround Tufi make this one of the world's best diving destinations. The house reef is just five minutes from the resort while the nearest open water reef is just a 15-minute boat ride away. The waters are filled with tuna, barracuda, white and black tip reef sharks and hammerheads, and there are occasional sightings of turtles, manta and eagle rays. And, of course, it's a wonderful place to kick back and relax for a few days and properly disconnect.

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Boulders Waterfall and snorkelling Boulders Waterfall and snorkelling

Tufi is nestled on the slopes of an extinct volcano, Mt Trafalgar, and it has produced andesitic volcanic eruptions which have led to the fjord channels which make this area so distinctive. Today you'll explore Boulders Waterfall and its surrounding rainforest. A short boat ride down the coast is this beautiful waterfall, secreted up a short fjord. When you arrive at the landing area you will follow a small goat track through untouched rainforest. Once you've reached the waterfall you can cool off with a swim in a rock pool as the cool waters cascade down around you. Once you've cooled down enough, you’ll return to the boat and visit a fabulous snorkelling area in a neighbouring fjord, known as Don's Reef.

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Local village visit Local village visit

Take a wander into the nearby local village on foot with your guide to see how life continues on in these remote villages, little-changed through the millennia. You’ll see how locals live, have a chance to chat to people and learn about local customs such as the ubiquitous chewing of betel-nut. Take a look at the local school and medical clinic.

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McLaren Harbour cultural tour McLaren Harbour cultural tour

Head out to meet local villagers on a McLaren Harbour cultural tour. Your boat will head into one of the fjords to be met by locals in their outrigger canoes and traditional dress. A quick vessel-swap and you'll share the journey in their outrigger as they take you deep into the inner reaches of the fjord where spirits and sorcery run wild. From the end of the fjord they will walk you through the rainforest to a sacred area. Here you'll be shown how to make sago, local bush medicines, and try your hand at fire making, mat making and traditional tattooing. You will also get to see how they use various bush materials to maintain their traditional lifestyle. When finished, they will paddle you back to the boat, from there it will be a short cruise back to the resort.

Flights & Transfers

Flight

Flight from Tufi to Mount Hagen via Port Moresby

Days 4-7

The Highlands

Accommodation in The Highlands

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Three nights in the Highlands Three nights in the Highlands

Papua New Guinea’s interior is one of rugged mountain peaks and deep valleys, where coffee plantations blanket the hillsides and waterfalls crash into rapidly running rivers below. Its lush forests are home to a startling array of birdlife from the famous bird of paradise to the lesser known but equally beautiful crested berrypecker and black breasted boatbill. The Highlands are a hiker’s paradise with trails that wind their way through the verdant landscape with plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting along the way. The Highlands are also a great place to get taste of local life. This is one of Papua New Guinea’s most densely populated areas and in lots of places, little has changed in centuries. Highlanders are fiercely proud people and each clan has its own culture to protect, and many ancient traditions are beliefs are still practiced.

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Life in the Western Highlands Life in the Western Highlands

Today you'll explore village life in the Western Highlands. This is a great chance to see customs of the past and present, experience some of the amazing dress and dances, and understand local traditions. At Pogla village they revive the Mudmen tradition, with dramatic scenes showing a wronged villager's revenge on their antagonists. A short drive down the road is Tokua Village where you'll be met with a traditional greeting and learn the role sorcery plays in everyday life. See how quickly a fire can be made, how houses were constructed and enjoy lunch in beautiful tropical surrounds. Further up the Wahgi Valley, at Komon village, you'll be introduced to the communal feast known as a moo-moo, where sweet potatoes and yams are prepared in ground ovens and shared. Komon villagers show you the very distinctive New Guinea axe, and you'll learn how the fierce tribal warriors of the Highlands fought pitched battles to determine land domination and resources.

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Feed the birds of paradise Feed the birds of paradise

Head out for an early start up into the mountains to visit Kumul Lodge, located at 3000 metres above sea level. It is here that you'll see the greatest diversity in the famed birds of paradise. The simple and locally run lodge has a bird feeder that constantly attracts the ribbon tailed astrapia bird of paradise, brown sicklebill bird of paradise, colourful parrots, bowerbirds and honeyeaters. Listen as your guides take you through why birds of paradise have become the world's best dancers and some of the world's most colourfully plumed birds.

Kuk Swamp World Heritage Site Kuk Swamp World Heritage Site

This World Heritage Site consists of 116ha of swamp in the Western Highlands. Archaeological excavation has revealed the landscape to be one of wetland reclamation which has been worked almost continuously for between 7,000 - 10,000 years. It contains well-preserved archaeological remains demonstrating the technological leap which transformed plant exploitation to agriculture around 6,500 years ago. It is an excellent example of transformation of agricultural practices over time, from cultivation mounds to draining the wetlands through the digging of ditches with wooden tools. Kuk is one of the few places in the world where archaeological evidence suggests independent agricultural development and changes in agricultural practice over such a long period of time.

Today it is still a centre for the cultivation of bananas, sugar cane, taro, yam, breadfruit and much more.

Flights & Transfers

Flight

Flight from Mount Hagen to Rabaul via Port Moresby

Days 7-10

Kokopo

Accommodation in Kokopo

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Three nights in Kokopo Three nights in Kokopo

Untouched wilderness, rich cultural traditions and incredible history – the islands of Papua New Guinea are truly remarkable. Incorporating the Bismark Archipelago and the North Solomon islands, this is one of the country’s most sparsely populated areas and one of the most rewarding to visit.

Lush rainforest, craggy mountains and volcanoes combine to create some of Papua New Guinea’s most striking landscapes. Those who love to get out and explore are in for a treat with excellent trekking options that take you through the Bainings Mountains.

The island of New Britain is covered in both active and dormant volcanoes. While the dormant ones can be climbed, those that expel clouds of smoke and ash provide a dramatic backdrop to the island and are a stark reminder of the power of mother nature.

Kabakon Island Kabakon Island

Cruise by the two Pigeon Islands before making your way to the Duke of York Islands. Lunch on uninhabited tropical island, Kabakon, with the afternoon free for you to explore how you wish. Kabakon Island is a garden Island for the neighbouring Karawara people and you may see them climb a coconut tree, gardening or simply relaxing. Feel free to explore the island with your guide or snorkel - it's up to you!

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Swimming with dolphins Swimming with dolphins

Take a a short journey out to the water to swim with dolphins as they surf the bow waves. Blanche Bay is sanctuary to the local bottlenose dolphin population, when they return from feeding offshore. About two thirds the size of the average dolphin, this pod of around 200 regularly play with the bow waves of boats coming and going, and this morning, you'll get to join them.

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Explore Rabaul’s WWII history Explore Rabaul’s WWII history

Your guide will take you on a journey from pre-historical wars and invasions by different islanders to German colonial times, the Australian intervention, Japanese invasion and Australian colonialism and modern New Guinea. Explore Admiral Yamamoto's bunker and learn of the time Japan based their war efforts in the region. The Allies never managed to dislodge the Japanese after they invaded and they stayed in Rabaul in underground tunnels to protect them from the constant bombardment. See WWII tunnels which were home to barges, aircraft and equipment for over 100,000 Japanese troops. Walk through tunnels that served as hospitals and see the peace memorials attached to them.

Flights & Transfers

Flight

Flight from Rabaul to Port Moresby

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Papua New Guinea's Jungle and Fjords

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