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Papua New Guinea
Wonderland Tour

A Melanesian Wonderland 
Adventure of an Exotic PNG

The Highlands and New Guinea Islands

  19 Days / 18 Nights Micro  Group Tour
Guaranteed Departure 
AUD15,700  p.p 


Single Supplement AUD990 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 7 Domestic Air Flights within Papua New Guinea

 Thursday 12th to Monday 30th September 2024
     Thursday 11th to Monday 29th September 2025   

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 AUD2,700 included in the total package price should cover the cost of the 7 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  the most extensive and interesting 20 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 !

EXCLUSIONS : The price does not include international airfares, visa costs, alcoholic and soft  drinks or any meals not included in the itinerary. NOTE : Flynn's Tours will advise on the most suitable air route for your International travel and how to process your visitor visa in an efficient manner. 

Iconic Goroka Show & Asaro Mudmen  - Lake Kutubu's Kundu Digaso Festival and Canoe Races -  Agri-tourism -  Skull Caves  Birds of Paradise - Coffee Plantations - New Ireland's Colonial Era Intrigue -  - Malagan Mask Carving - Deliciously Exotic Foods & Fruits - Exotic Eels - Lelet Plateau Trek -  New Britain's Military Relics &  Colonial History Tambu Shell Money - Bainings Fire Dance & Tolai Tubuan Customs - Rabaul's Volcano Climb  - Loloata Island Resort  - Snorkel Exotic Duke of York Isles with Wild Dolphins, Turtles & Dugongs - Seafood Beach BBQs with the Friendliest of People !

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Day By Day Itinerary:

Arrive this morning from your international departure point. Australians can depart from Sydney, Cairns or from Brisbane Airport departing 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 19 days with some of the rarest and authentic experiences a global traveller could wish for. Early arrivals can enjoy early check-in at the Hotel.

Day 1 – Port Moresby – Thursday 12th September 2024
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Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar

Day 2 – Goroka – Friday 13th September 2024

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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Red River Lodge - Goroka

Day 3 – Goroka – Saturday 14th September 2024

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.

Red River Lodge - Goroka

Day 4 – Goroka – Sunday 15th September 2024

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.

Red River Lodge - Goroka
Day 5 – Kumul Lodge, Mt Hagen – Monday 16th September 2024
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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.

Kumul Lodge – Mt Hagen or similar

Day 6 – Port Moresby – Tuesday 17th September 2024

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 – Wednesday 18th September 2024

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 – Thursday 19th September 2024
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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 – Friday 20th September 2024

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. 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 – Saturday 21st September 2024

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.

Day 11 – Port Moresby & Kokopo – Sunday 22nd September 2024
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After an early breakfast we drive up to the Varirata National Park’s forests on the lookout for Birds of Paradise. We enjoy beautiful views of the Laloki River as we drive further  up to the Sogeri Plateau and the foothills of the Owen Stanley Ranges  to the start of the Kokoda Track at Ower's Corner. On the return journey 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. Those tour participants continuing to the New Guinea Islands transit to Jacksons Airport in the early afternoon to checkin for 3.15 pm flight to Tokua Airport - Kokopo/Rabaul in East New Britain.

Upon arrival at in East New Britain we checkin to our accommodation and enjoy coastal views and a delicious evening meal.

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Kabakaul Bay Resort  in Kokopo
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Day 12 – Lukim Kokopo & The Gazelle Tour– Monday 23rd September

This morning we embark on our Flynn’s Tours “Lukim Kokopo Tour” that includes a scenic tour of the Gazelle Peninsula. You will observe cocoa, copra and palm oil cultivation undertaken in the rich volcanic soil, noting the area’s significant contribution to the national economy. Kokopo, named Herbertshohe in the earliest colonial period, was from 1884 to 1910 the capital of the German New Guinea colonial empire. You will visit the historic German cemetery, the cathedral at Vunapope Catholic mission and the Kokopo Lookout. View the beachside landing site at Kabakaul from where Australian military forces advanced in 1914 to capture the German wireless station at Bita Paka. This battle was Australia’s first major military engagement of the First World War. Bita Paka War Cemetary is now the resting place of over one thousand Australian and Allied soldiers who met their fate during World War 2, when “Fortress Rabaul” became the South Pacific headquarters and staging post for the Japanese Imperial Forces. It was occupied by 100,000 Japanese soldiers. Closer to Kokopo we visit the Agmark cocoa fermentary where the method of processing cocoa for export to the world’s chocolate makers is explained by the fermentary management. We enjoy a hearty Asian style lunch at the Ralum Country Club. Enjoy stunning views and stand on “Emma’s Steps” and hear stories about the achievements and exploits of Queen Emma Coe. We visit the Kokopo Museum which houses an impressive range of war relics along with an informative display of colonial, military and natural history. The afternoon ends at the  laid back beach atmosphere at Kulau Lodge Beach Resort for a hearty meal a good nights rest.

Kulau Lodge Beach Resort - Rabaul
Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 13 – Volcano Climb & History Galore  – Tuesday 24th September
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Climbing Mt Tavurur volcano  in Rabaul.j

Be ready to enjoy spectacular views on an early morning climb of the active volcano, Mt Tavurvur. While the climb is challenging, it’s not beyond most people’s capability to reach the top. Flynn’s Tours has had an octogenarian comfortably complete the ascent. You can take in further views of Rabaul’s picturesque harbour and its six volcanoes from the Vulcanological Observatory on Tunnel Hill. An informative talk delivered by an onsite vulcanologist will enlighten you of the workings of volcanoes, lava, magma and related geological, geophysical and geochemical phenomena.  You will tour the area of current volcano activity and clamber around Mount Tavurvur. See the hot springs, sulphurous steam points and the megapode egg hunters who burrow metres into the black sand emerging with the prized eggs. Megapodes do not incubate their eggs with their body heat as other birds do, but bury them. Their eggs are unique in having a large yolk, making up 50-70% of the egg weight. The birds here are burrow-nesters which use geothermal heat. Some species vary their incubation strategy, such as building mounds to bury them in, depending on the local environment. We travel around the remains of old Rabaul town (including its airport) which resembles a lunar landscape, following its burial in volcanic ash during the dramatic eruptions of 1994. Prior to the burial of Rabaul town it was revered as “the Pearl of the South Pacific”. East New Britain’s commercial hub has been re-established in a modernised Kokopo over the past 30 years. Rabaul was also badly damaged during an earlier eruption on 6 June 1937, five years before the occupation by Japanese military. We visit Matupit Island whose people and settlement survived the worst of the 1994 volcanic eruption despite their location immediately beneath it. Visit old Rabaul Township and see the resulting destruction caused by the 1994 volcanic explosions. Discover the pre-European settlement history and recent colonial occupations by German, Japanese and Australian administrations at the New Guinea Club and Rabaul Historical Display. Explore the Japanese military command bunker of Admiral Yamamoto where maps of the surrounding area are etched into the bunkers ceiling at head height. Tonight we again relax in idyllic surroundings at Kulau Beach Lodge, Kabakada Village in Talia Bay on the North Coast Road.               

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Kulau Lodge Beach Resort - Rabaul
Day 14 – Ramble Around Rabaul  & Duke of York Islands Sea Adventure
Wednesday  25th September 2024

Learn about the key roles this island played during the 2 world wars. Spend the early morning relaxing along the palm tree fringed beachfront. Enjoying a tropical breakfast will hold you in good stead for another interesting morning exploring and learning about the many people and cultures that have shaped this part of New Britain Island. We travel back through Rabaul where we will visit the tranquil memorial gardens of the Chinese cemetery where your guide will explain aspects of the historically long association the Chinese have had with East New Britain. We climb around the large barges of the Japanese Imperial forces that are still housed in even larger tunnels hewn into the soft volcanic cliff faces on the shores of Blanche Bay. Take in the panoramic views around the bay that is home to the WW2 Japanese hospital tunnels.

Later this morning we travel by boat across the St. Georges Channel to the Duke of York Islands and their picturesque lagoons. This idyllic paradise is made up of a dozen or so islands set among a mesmerizingly, forever changing backdrop of colourful tropical landscapes. The natural beauty is interspersed with scenes of village life as the happy villagers go about living beside the tranquil waters they share with an abundance of marine life. The welcoming host of Corey’s Eco Sea Lodge will ensure that your traditional village style accommodation is comfortable, secure and restful as where we are based is a largely uninhabited island called Ulu. We will dine on plentiful amounts of delicious and freshly harvested fruit, vegetables and fish. Relax whilst birdwatching on the many enchanting jungle trails or beachcomb at your leisure. Learn from hands-on agricultural demonstrations of cocoa, coconut and native garden cultivation and harvesting.  

Corey's Coral Retreat - Duke of York Islands 

Day 15 – Kabakon  to Kavieng, New Ireland  – Thurs 26th September
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We will visit Kabakon “the garden” Island and the aclaimed Pangpang “sand” Island. The natural beauty is interspersed with the scenes of happy villagers on Karrawara Island who go about living beside the tranquil waters they share with an abundance of marine life. Be enthralled with the playful dolphins and mysterious dugongs. In 1902, the 25-year-old German health reformer, August Engelhardt, who practiced sun worship and a strict coconut diet, retreated from Bavarian university life to Kabakon Island in the Duke of York Islands, which he purchased from his mother country with an inheritance. The first few years were idyllic. Engelhardt established a coconut plantation and called his followers to join him in this brave new world. They called themselves Sonnenorden and practised sun worship and nudity and lived off coconuts. But it didn’t last. Learn out why! We make our way from the islands by boat to the mainland at Kokopo enjoying lunch and a freshen up at the Kabakaul Bay Resort before transiting to Tokua Airport on East New Britain island for the late afternoon flight to Kavieng airport on New Ireland Island. 

Kalaro Guesthouse - Kavieng, New Ireland Province
Day 16– The Coast Is Calling - Friday 27th September 2024

This morning we transit to Tokua Airport on East New Britain island for the morning flight to Kavieng airport on the island province of New Ireland . Departing  from  Kavieng we take a drive around this laid back town that is the regional headquarters for New Ireland Province. Heading down the Boluminski Highway we visit the village of Laraibina, famous for it's Eels, a unique species of freshwater eels found in the rivers and streams of the New Ireland province in Papua New Guinea. These eels possess a distinct pattern of vibrant colors, including shades of blue, green, and yellow, which make them visually striking. They are known for their elusive nature and are considered an important cultural symbol in the region, representing strength and resilience in local folklore and traditions.

We will visit the Malagan Mask Gallery in the village of Langenia where master carver, Fabian Paino works with his team of carvers. We may be lucky enough to view a performance by the Tatanua Dance Group.  Malagan is an art where the dead are remembered through the various depictions that are carved on Malagan masks. The Malagan masks have a symbolic meaning as the dead must be remembered through the masks and ceremonies. 

We travel further along the scenic coastline until we arrive at Dalum Village Guesthouse we we will rest for the night. We chill out with the locals, floating on rubber tubes down the river that runs through Dalum Village.

Dalum Guesthouse - Central New Ireland 

Day 17 - Central New Ireland– Saturday 28th September 2024

This morning a trek up from the coast along jungle paths to the Lelet Plateau enjoying panoramic views out to Tabar Island. The Lelet Plateau in Central New Ireland, embodies the harmonious coexistence of agriculture, communal activities, and cultural traditions. The fertile land, coupled with the strong community bonds, forms the essence of life in these villages, creating a vibrant and self-sustaining ecosystem.  The fertile land supports a variety of crops, including sweet potatoes, taro, yams, bananas, and a range of other vegetables. Farmers employ traditional techniques passed down through generations, cultivating small plots using manual tools. They rely on the abundant rainfall and favorable climate to nurture their crops. Farming activities are often communal, with villagers working together during planting and harvesting seasons, fostering a sense of community and cooperation. In addition to horticulture, the Lelet Plateau villagers engage in various activities to support their livelihoods. Livestock rearing, such as raising pigs and poultry, is common, providing a source of food, trade, and ceremonial significance. 

On our return to Kavieng we will visit a Palm Oil plantation and processing mill to learn more about this controversial plant and it's place in New Ireland's economy and daily life of the New Irelanders.

We will enjoy a last refreshing dip in the river at Fissoa before we arrive in Kavieng to enjoy a sumptuous meal with a local family before resting for the night at a comfortable guesthouse.

Kalaro Guesthouse - Kavieng, New Ireland Province
Day 18 – New Ireland to Port Moresby  – Sunday 29th September 2024

The most famous cultural system of New Ireland is "Malagan", a Nalik word for an ancient and revered set of practices and ceremonies practised throughout much of the main island. During the colonial era, significant quantities of Malagan masks were collected by European administrators and can be seen in museums all over Europe.

This morning we catch the early flight to Port Moresby 

Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 19 – Port Moresby & Home – Monday 30th September 2024

.Today you can fly home with direct Air Niugini flights to Cairns, Sydney, Singapore & Manila. Travellers flying to Brisbane can depart from Jackson's Airport in Port Moresby on a Qantas flight at 1.35 pm.

A range of carriers provide flights to other destinations.

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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.


In 1902, the 25-year-old German health reformer, August Engelhardt, who practiced sun worship and a strict coconut diet, retreated from Bavarian university life to Kabakon Island in the Duke of York Islands, which he purchased from his mother country with an inheritance. The first few years were idyllic. Engelhardt established a coconut plantation and called his followers to join him in this brave new world. They called themselves Sonnenorden and practised sun worship and nudity and lived off coconuts. But it didn’t last. The alien living conditions took their toll and several died. Others turned their back on him. Engelhardt, known by the local islanders as Mr Coconut, was eventually left alone, gripped by malaria and went insane. He died on the island aged 46 in 1919.


The Tubuan Society of the local Tolai people who have strict laws and taboos.













Learn of the Ingiet stone carvings associated with the powerful Ingiet sorcerers and the secret men’s society, outlawed by the German administration in 1905. Early missionaries and travellers to New Britain found it to be the only area in the Pacific region they had come across where the locals had a true money currency of a standard value. The Europeans were intrigued by the local monetary system and the way in which Tambu was intricately woven into the very texture of social life. It still plays its role in Tolai society today, maintaining its cultural significance, particularly as part of the bride price or gift giving to the father of the would be bride.


The Rabaul Caldera was created about 1400 years ago with an explosion which erupted 11 cubic kilometres of rock. This massive outpouring of gas, lava, rocks and ash produced the largest volcanic dry fog in recorded history. A mysterious cloud that blocked sunlight for 12 to 18 months over Europe, China and the Middle East in 536 AD is linked to this mighty eruption.





















Queen Emma Coe was a Polynesian Princess and daughter of an American sailor and Samoan mother who in the late 19th century brought commerce to East New Britain, through her savvy business sense and huge land holdings, upon which she grew an abundance of copra and cocoa. The steps are 140 years old, built in 1882 to grace Queen Emma’s famous bungalow Gunantambu. They were climbed by Governors, Ambassadors and Officers representing German Kaiser, American President and kings of England, France and other European nations along with assorted bishops and world-renowned scientists, explorers, anthropologists and adventurers. Gunantambu gatherings were famous throughout the South Seas.














The Marquis de Ray, whose real name was Charles Guillain, was a French adventurer who attempted to establish a colony in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea in the late 19th century.

Born in France in 1825, de Ray harbored ambitions of founding a utopian settlement in the Pacific.In 1878, de Ray acquired a large tract of land in New Ireland, which he named "Franceville." He proclaimed himself the Marquis de Ray and began recruiting French settlers to join his colony. Promising fertile land and a prosperous future, de Ray managed to attract around 200 individuals to embark on this venture.

However, the expedition turned into a disaster. The settlers faced numerous hardships, including disease, scarcity of resources, and conflicts with local indigenous populations. The dream of a flourishing French colony quickly crumbled, and de Ray's leadership was called into question.

As conditions worsened, some settlers managed to escape the island, and others perished. Eventually, de Ray was arrested and brought back to France to face charges of fraud and deception. He was sentenced to imprisonment and died in 1895.The ill-fated endeavor of the Marquis de Ray in New Ireland Province serves as a cautionary tale of colonial ambitions gone awry. It highlights the challenges and complexities involved in establishing new settlements in unfamiliar territories, particularly when undertaken without adequate planning, resources, and respect for the local population

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