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     Goroka Show & Lake Kutubu Festival     
12 days - PNG Highlands Festival & Culture Tour

Enjoy the best cultural "Sing Sings" in the Eastern & the Southern  Highlands

Iconic Goroka Show & Asaro Mudmen  - Lake Kutubu's Kundu Digaso Festival and Canoe Races -  Agri-tourism -  Skull Caves -  Birds of Paradise - Coffee Plantations - Learn of these Peoples' Ancient Customs

  12 Days / 11 Nights     Fully Escorted Tour  
AUD9,950  p.p. Twin Share 

Single Supplement AUD790 P.P.

Tour Package includes All Meals, Accommodation, Guides, Sightseeing, Entry Fees to all activities, Porterage, Transfers, Land & water Transport & Experienced Australian Tour Leader 

    *And All 4  Domestic Air Flights within Papua New Guinea

Book now to avoid disappointment

  Thursday 12th to Monday 23rd September 2024

Flynns Tours is the only Tour operator serving PNG that includes the cost of all domestic airfares in your Package. 

 * For this tour a price cap of AUD1,800 included in the total package price should cover the cost of the         4 Domestic Flights. Following consultation any excess to this price cap will be billed to the client.

Papua New Guinea is a developing country with a mountainous mainland surrounded by many remote islands. The regional centres are for the most part un-connected by road. Travellers normally book with only 2 nationally owned airlines that provide the only reliable air service. Airfares are expensive and without experience they are difficult for outsiders, even travel agents to book without the risking the smooth running of  this 12 day Small Group Tour of PNG. 

Flynn's Tours experienced staff remove the risk and with all tour participants booked in a group booking we can provide the lowest prices possible and manage your bookings for you and allow you to enjoy your holiday without frustration and disappointment !


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Day By Day Itinerary:

Depart from Brisbane Airport at 10.40 am arriving at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby at 1.50 pm. Upon arrival we will visit the Port Moresby Nature Park. Spread over 30 acres the park is home to over 250 native animals and birds along with hundreds of plant species, many of which are rarely seen outside of PNG. The Nature Park has won a number of international awards for its works. We will spend the evening in comfortable accommodation in Port Moresby where you will be briefed the tour that you will enjoy for the next 21 days with some of the rarest and authentic experiences a global traveller could wish for.

Day 1 – Port Moresby 
Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar

Day 2 – Goroka - Iconic Asaro Mudmen

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This morning we transit to Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby for an 9.15 am flight to Goroka arriving at 10.05 am to transit to our accommodation for check-in.

We visit the McCarthy Museum. The museum houses collections of artefacts and specimens from the Highlands region including wooden dishes, stone mortars, stone blades, magic stones and sandstones for making stone blades. There are also some WWII relics on display including a P-39 Airacobra.

We attend the agricultural show component of the Goroka Show that highlights the farming activities of the Highlanders. Displays include unique floral species produced by the vibrant local floriculture industry. The regions crops include broccoli, kau kau or sweet potato, carrots, ginger and peanuts are examples of produce that grow well here; nearby Bena Bena is known for its pineapples.

We visit the Komunive Village, a traditional highlands village of the iconic Asaro Mudmen. Legend has is that once, when the local tribe had been attacked, those not killed or captured fled into the Asaro River to hide from their attackers. Here they became covered in the white river mud. When dusk fell they decided to return to their village, still caked in mud – though not deliberately so. When the enemy tribe, still in village, saw the men now caked in mud they fled, believing them to be spirits or the avenging ghosts of the villagers they had earlier killed.

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Pacific Gardens Hotel - Goroka
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Day 3 – Goroka Show - Eastern Highlands

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Today we attend the iconic Goroka Cultural Show including the pre-show costuming preparations. Papua New Guinea’s premier cultural event, the Goroka Show, is the longest running annual cultural festival in Papua New Guinea and is held during the nation's Independence Day celebrations. More than 100 tribes participate in the event performing extraordinary displays of 'sing-sings' - traditional songs, dances and ritual performances. The staging of the Goroka Show began in 1957 and was first introduced and organised by Australian patrol officers known locally as 'kiaps'. Kiaps from each district built round houses typical of their districts where they displayed the various and unique cultures of the people living there. The kiaps brought in 'sing-sing' groups from surrounding areas. It created an entertaining weekend for everyone, and still does 60 years later. The “Sing Sing” enables a limited number of Western tourists to experience up close, the colour, movement and music performed by the largest gathering of diverse tribes in the South Pacific. Your camera clicking finger will earn a rest, having recorded some of the most memorable days of your global travels.

Pacific Gardens Hotel  - Goroka
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Day 4 – Goroka Show - Eastern Highlands

We attend day two of the iconic Goroka Show and your guide will explain the customs of the great variety of tribal groups and where they source the many materials that are woven into their colourful and visually striking costumes and also the substances that they decorate their bodies with. We will pop back into the agricultural displays to see anything we couldn’t see on Friday and check out who the prize winners are.

We visit a coffee plantation to view a coffee processing mill and  enjoy fruit wine tasting. You will be taken through the growing as well as the factory process from factory door to preparing the green bean ready for export. This enterprise is assisting in improving Papua New Guinea’s declining coffee production, including supplying seedlings by the thousands, as well as increasing the quality of its product. Coffee is Papua New Guinea's second largest agricultural export, employing tens of thousands of people. We will view a tea plantation and visit a local village where we observe horticultural activities and also eat sumptuously tasty foods prepared by traditional methods in a beautiful panoramic setting.

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Pacific Gardens Hotel  - Goroka
Day 5 – Kumul Lodge, Mt Hagen - Birdwatching

Today we travel overland by private bus to Mt Hagen on the picturesque Highlands Highway. Sometimes known as the Okuk Highway, it is the main land highway in Papua New Guinea. It connects several major cities and is vital for the movement of people and goods between the populous Highlands region and the coast. Small roadside markets dot the highway between Goroka and Mt Hagen in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The scenic views are spectacular and you get to observe kilometre after kilometre of aspects of everyday highland life through your bus window and of course many smiling faces and shouted greetings!

 We will visit the 9,500 year old Kuk Early Agricultural Site that was formally accepted onto the World Heritage List in 2008. We stay in the globally renowned Kumul Lodge high above Mt Hagen city and regarded as the best birdwatching lodge in Papua New Guinea. Here we observe Birds of Paradise in close proximity to the dining area and view over 100 varieties of exquisite miniature orchids in the surrounding gardens.

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Kumul Lodge – Mt Hagen or similar

Day 6 – Port Moresby 

We rise early for some more birdwatching in the surrounding jungle, returning for breakfast before departing to the Mt. Hagen Airport. We fly Air Niugini from Mt Hagen departs 1.10 pm arriving in Port Moresby at 2.10 pm. This afternoon we visit the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery which is the “spiritual house” for the rich natural, cultural and contemporary heritage of the country. The museum draws on well over 30,000 anthropological collections, more than 25,000 archaeological collections, more than 18,000 natural science collections, more than 20,000 war relics and more than 7000 contemporary art collections for its displays. We take a brief viewing of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, a building that blends old and new and which combines modern architecture with ancient design.

Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 7 – Lake Kutubu - "Island in the Clouds" - Southern Highlands 
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We transit from the hotel on a chartered flight from Port Moresby to Moro in the Southern Highlands. Transit from Moro to Lake Kutubu and then travel in motorised dugout canoe to the magnificently elevated lodge located like an “Island in the Clouds” in the middle of Lake Kutubu. Up here on the southeastern edge of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea in a province more often in the headlines for violent and destructive tribal conflicts, landowner disputes over mining and political shenanigans, something beautiful and completely in harmony with nature is going on. Flynn’s Tours visit to Lake Kutubu will enable you to experience a serene and tranquil world like none other. Perched like an eagle’s eyrie is the under utilised Tubo Lodge, a collection of well built and comfortable standalone one room lodges with their own viewing verandah and bathrooms. At their centre is a building housing the dining area from where, much like a diving platform, you can view the 20 kilometre length of the stunning Lake Kutubu, its surrounding jungle fringed shoreline and the daily comings and goings of its human inhabitants in their large canoes hewn out of the local timbers. Observe activities carried out each day or season that have not changed over millennia, usually accompanied by the sound of songs that drift into the heavens from where you are mesmerised. There is no better time to visit this “Island in the Clouds” as when the Kutubu Kundu and Digaso festival is in full swing.  

Tubo Lodge - Lake Kutubu - Southern Highlands
Day 8 – Lake Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival
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Following an early breakfast travel we travel in private troop carriers to Daga Village for Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival. For the next few days we will experience the remote region’s unique culture where over 40 villages participate in the “sing sing” group performances, sago making, digaso oil extraction, kundu drumming and rattle shaking demonstrations. Tapa cloth beatings, mat weaving, bilum, traditional comb, basket making and kutubu plate carving  are all displayed in and around the village.  The Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival celebrates a number of neighbouring indigenous cultures who come together to celebrate the importance of the Kundu drum and the trade of the Digaso oil in the traditional culture of the Kutubu people. The festival plays a vital role in safeguarding traditional practices and the diverse biodiversity of the Lake Kutubu region. The sing-sing is a spectacular show where glistening, warrior-like men dress up in their finest: pig-tail aprons; cummerbands woven from vines; cassowary quill, pig tusk and hornbill beak necklaces; and yellow and red face paint, all topped with wigs and headdresses decorated with splendid bird of paradise plumes and forest flowers. The men dance simply, in a rotating line-up, making an eerie, squeaking cry: a call on their ancestors to mediate and somehow help them experience salvation on earth which is understood as an abundant life endowed by resources from their natural environment. The ancient practice of ritual dance is an integral part of the religious and cultural customs associated with the natural resources of their environment.

We return to the eco- lodge accommodation in the middle of Lake Kutubu.

Tubo Lodge - Lake Kutubu - Southern Highlands
Day 9 – Lake Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival

This morning we will go for an early paddle in the lake at the base of the lodge and experience the tranquility that is derived from the lake and its surrounding jungle. Following breakfast we travel to Daga Village for the second day of the Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival. The people of Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea offer an unique opportunity to examine and appreciate the role of local people not only in biodiversity conservation but in the promotion of their cultural heritage as well. Swim in the surprisingly warm waters of the Lake and tour the vast shoreline in a motorised dugout canoe observing the traditional lifestyle of the lakes inhabitants. Food gardens are maintained on the steep slopes overlooking the lake. The gardeners tend to their crops of sweet potato, taro, small palms with edible shoots, sugar cane, bananas, cucumber, yams and cabbages. People around Lake Kutubu also grow pineapple, pumpkin, papaya, tomatoes, bamboo and more types of sweet potato.

Following some enormously interesting days at the festival we return to eco-lodge accommodation in the middle of Lake Kutubu for a well earned rest.

Tubo Lodge - Lake Kutubu - Southern Highlands
Day 10 – Lake Kutubu 

This morning the seven main lakeside villages participate in canoe races and other demonstrations of cultural life on the lake dwellers including the dragging to the lake’s foreshore of newly built canoes from the surrounding jungle where the tree from which the canoe is hewn has been originally felled. It is quite a task, performed with ceremonial vigour.

The Foi inhabit the Mubi River Valley and the shores of Lake Kutubu on the fringe of the southern highlands in Papua New Guinea. Lake Kutubu is home to 13 endemic fish species, making it the most unusual lake habitat in the Guinea - Australia region.This morning the seven main lakeside villages participate in canoe races and other demonstrations of cultural life on the lake dwellers including the dragging to the lake’s foreshore of newly built canoes from the surrounding jungle where the tree from which the canoe is hewn has been originally felled. It is quite a task, performed with ceremonial vigour.

The Foi inhabit the Mubi River Valley and the shores of Lake Kutubu on the fringe of the southern highlands in Papua New Guinea. Lake Kutubu is home to 13 endemic fish species, making it the most unusual lake habitat in the Guinea - Australia region.

During our stay at Lake Kutubu we will have visited the Skull Cave and take a canoe visit to Yobo Village and Long House with “talk talk” with village elders. The “hausman” or long houses are reserved only for the men and are thought to be one of the longest traditional thatched huts in the world. The women and children live in smaller houses. The long houses, typically built on the top of ridges for defensive purposes, are big constructions, around 50 meters long and 7 meters wide, erected 1.5 metres off the ground and have fireplaces on each side of a central corridor.

The Lake Kutubu area experienced a number of deaths, and houses and gardens were destroyed during the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Southern Highlands in February 2018. It was a disaster for the more than 40 villages that participate in the Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival and it has been inspirational to observe how these resilient people have bounced back to normality.

With our luggage already checked in earlier in the morning we will travel for the last time across the majestic lake and transit to the Moro Airport for our flight to Port Moresby departing at 12.45 pm and arriving in Port Moresby at 2.20 pm. We transit to the hotel where a well earned rest awaits where you can enjoy the hotels swimming pool and relax.

Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar

Day 11- The Hills Around Port Moresby 
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This morning we head head up to the Sogeri Plateau and Owen Stanley Ranges for an afternoon drive and walk. We briefly visit the Bomana War Cemetery where those who died in the fighting in Papua New Guinea are buried, their graves brought in by the Australian Army Graves Service from burial grounds in the areas where the fighting had taken place. We travel up into the foothills of the Owen Stanley Ranges to the start of the Kokoda Track at Ower’s Corner. On the return journey enjoy beautiful views of the Laloki River and a walk in the Varirata National Park’s forests on the lookout for Birds of Paradise. In Port Moresby our boutique hotel accommodation provides hearty meal and a good night’s rest before the next day's flight to your home country.

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Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 12 – Port Moresby 
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Today you will fly to your home country, 

Today you can fly home with direct Air Niugini flights to Sydney , Brisbane with other airlines offering various flights to a range of destinations. 

AND other participants will have  chosen to extend to the beautiful island of New Ireland, East New Britain and the Duke of York Islands on the complete Melanesian Wonderland Tour.

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Did you know?

The densely populated Highlands region of mainland Papua New Guinea was “discovered” as recently as the 1930’s by Australian gold prospectors, Mick Leahy and Michael Dwyer. Melanesians have occupied the highland interior of New Guinea Island probably for more than 30,000 years, developing advanced plant cultivation and irrigation technologies at 1,500 metres above sea level, possibly 10,000 years ago, establishing themselves amongst the world’s earliest agriculturists. The oldest evidence for this is in the Kuk Swamp area, where planting, digging and staking of plants, and possibly drainage have been used to cultivate taro, banana, sago and yam.


The cultural practices of the people of Lake Kutubu result in their wise use of natural resources. They illustrate on a daily basis the importance that traditional methods and cultural expressions play in conserving the lake and it’s surrounding forest. 

The Kutubu Kundu and Digaso Festival celebrates the Kutubu peoples continuing connection with their beautiful surrounds.

The people of Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea offers an unique opportunity to examine and appreciate the role of local people not only in biodiversity conservation but in the promotion of their cultural heritage as well. The Lake Kutubu people are indigenous and on account of the retention of much of their traditional culture, retain close ties to their ancestral land and the abundant biological diversity found therein.


Made throughout the Melanesian Islands tapa is a traditional cloth made from the inner bark of suitable trees like paper mulberry or breadfruit trees. In Papua New Guinea it is commonly associated with the Maisin people in the Oro Province. This bark cloth is also made by the Fasu and Foi people in the Lake Kutubu area. They utilize larger sheets as undecorated rain capes, predominately worn by women in times of bad weather, as well as for traditional dances, ceremonies and in times of mourning. The inner bark layer is peeled from the trunks of the harvested trees and alternately soaked in water and beaten to gradually produce a thin sheet. Strips of tapa are often overlaid crosswise and beaten again to produce larger and stronger pieces of blank cloth to suit particular end uses and designs. Tapa beating is carried out using a hardwood or stone tool to flatten the fibres against a smooth log or similar. The locals, more particularly the women wear costumes of tapa cloth throughout the “sing sing”. 


Sago is extracted from Metroxylon Palms by splitting the stem lengthwise and removing the pith which is then crushed and kneaded to release the starch before being washed and strained to extract the starch from the fibrous residue. The raw starch is suspended in water and then collected in a settling container.


Digaso oil is rubbed on the skin to give traditional dancers a shiny black look. It comes from the Digaso tree found growing among sago palms. The pinkish-white heartwood produces abundant clear exudes which react with oxygen to form black oil. The Kutubuans oil is stored in long bamboos, kept in the longhouses and traded for modern money, traditional shell money and pigs. Traditionally the oil was traded with the Huli people for pigs, Nipa people for stone axes and the Enga people for salt. In the past it was also used to protect against lice and heal sores.


The Lake Kutubu Wildlife Management Area supports a rich and varied bird community. Surveys conducted to date have recorded nearly one-third of all bird species resident or regularly occurring in  the New Guinea region. The high species richness is attributable to the presence of multiple habitats, including a variety of dryland forest, open-water wetland and swamp vegetation types, spanning an elevational range of nearly 600 m within a small geographic area.

The Foi and Fasu people eat bamboo shoots from the gardens and use the bamboo tubes for carrying water, cooking sago and as pots for boiling other foods such as vegetables.

They also tend small, often fenced, tobacco gardens. Clearing garden land is primarily men's work while planting and weeding are done by both men and women. Longhouses are surrounded by small gardens, while larger gardens are made in the bush and along the banks of rivers. Various plants are mixed together in food gardens.Tree crops in the Kutubu area include pandanus, breadfruit, tulip and coconuts. The trees are planted in gardens as well as near villages. The tulip trees, in particular, are planted in gardens but unlike other places in New Guinea where people eat its leaves, in the Kutubu area, it is grown primarily for its bark which is used to make capes and twine for string bags (bilum). Foi and Fasu people hunt wild pigs and cassowaries in heavily forested mountains. They also hunt small bats in limestone caves. The lake is the main focus for fishing activities and usually available along the edges of streams and along the rivers are crayfish, crabs and large fish such as barramundi.

Pigs are of extremely high value anywhere in Papua New Guinea including the Kutubu lake area where they are kept in villages. They sleep by the women's houses and are given special attention and food such as chewed, cooked sago mashed with greens. When grown, they figure prominently as bridewealth given by the groom's family and in other ceremonies.


 Consider extending your stay in Papua New Guinea to include the New Guinea Islands

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