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Papua New Guinea Cultural Immersion
Iconic Mt Hagen Show in the Scenic Highlands 
 
Sepik River Mystic - Ramble around Rabaul- Bougainville

 A Feast of Four PNG Festivals  
Art, Music, Dance, Food, Customs and Culture
 

 The Iconic Mt Hagen Show - Beautiful Bougainville   Roaring Rabaul & the idyllic Duke of York Islands        Sepik River Sojourn & Crocodile Festival 

Journey down the Sepik River in dugout canoes observing the talent of local carvers and potters. Immerse yourself in the mystique of the renowned Crocodile Festival where the revered reptile's cultural importance is celebrated.  Experience traditional village life including the largest Spirit House on the river with initiated men’s “talk talk” conducted at night. Traverse the stunning PNG Highlands seeking out the beautiful “Birds of Paradise” and attend PNG’s premier cultural event, the Mt Hagen Show or “sing sing”. You will experience up close, the colour, the movement and music at the largest gathering of tribes in the South Pacific. Visit East New Britain and ramble around the lunar like landscape of Rabaul Township and its volcanoes. Soak up the local culture and customs, the history of 2 world wars and the region’s German colonial past. Soak up the natural beauty of Bougainville against a background of political intrigue. Enjoy the colour, sounds, rhythms and tasty foods at the Tamatama & Siwai Festivals. Your transits through Port Moresby will include visits to the Nature park, the National Museum of Art & Culture, the National Parliament Haus, Varirata National Park & the start to the Kokoda Track. Your camera clicking finger will record some of the most memorable days of your global travels.

     20 Days / 19 Nights                  Fully Escorted           
Small Group Tour  
AUD15,700  p.p 

TWIN SHARE

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 1st to Monday 19th August 2024
Book Now & Avoid Being Disappointed

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 post covid 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 !

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Day By Day Presentation for 2024

 Arrive by air at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby. 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  - Thursday 1st August 
Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 2: Wewak - Friday 2nd August
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This morning 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. Time permitting we will also visit Koki Fish Market, regarded as the best in the country and located just along from APEC Haus and Ela Beach where the annual Hiri Moale Cultural Festival is held. Following lunch we transit to Jacksons Airport for your afternoon flight to Wewak and the 1126 km long Sepik River, the largest unpolluted freshwater system in PNG and among the largest and most intact freshwater basins in the Asia Pacific. Upon arrival in Wewak we will transit to a comfortable hotel to ready ourselves for our Sepik River Adventure.

In Wewak Boutique Hotel - Wewak

This morning we travel overland across the Prince Alexander Mountains and the Sepik River Plains to reach Pagwi our access point to the mighty Sepik River in the Middle Sepik River region. Visit Korogo village whose internationally renowned artists produce carvings of exquisite beauty. Also Palembei where villagers produce a unique style of carving upon which they paint in fine detail their clan bird representations. The women of Palembei also sell their sought after bilums or string bags which are made of a heavier string and open weave which expands to contain the largest of personal items, including a pikinini (baby). Appreciate two of the most decorated Spirit Houses on the Sepik River. We stay in Kanganaman Village in the spiritual shadow of the largest and oldest Spirit House on the river.

Day 3: Middle Sepik River Region - Saturday 3rd August 
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Kanganaman Village Guesthouses - Middle Sepik River
Day 4: Chambri Lakes & Middle Sepik - Sunday 4th August

Early morning birdwatching on Chambri Lakes in motorised dugout canoe. We visit Aibom village which is well regarded for its clay pottery sago storage jars and large fireplace dishes known as gugumbe dishes used for cooking. Here you will observe the clay pot making process. The pots are dried in the sunshine and firing is achieved by heaping dried sago palm frongs over the pottery. After 30 to 60 minutes the pots turn orange and the process is complete, enabling the painted decorations to be added. The villagers exchange and trade this essential and functional pottery with other villages for food. Located inland from the middle Sepik River the villagers source clay from the foot of Ambom mountain behind the village. We will visit other villages including Kamanimbit and Tambanum where the American anthropologist Margaret Mead lived and worked here for a period of time. These centres of carving activity produce the most artistic masks and netted string animals denoting clan totems such as the pig. Large representations of clan birds such as the cassowary along with sizable lifelike carvings of crocodiles add to a varied and impressive array of artifacts. Crocodile spotting and “talk talk” accompanied by customary music in the Kanganaman Spirit Haus at night.

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Kanganaman Village Guesthouses - Middle Sepik River

The Sepik River Crocodile and Arts Festival is a cultural celebration staged in Ambunti, a village that draws tribes in from the Upper Sepik River region. In Sepik culture man and crocodile share a special bond and the villagers have cultural traditions, beliefs and legends based on this ancient animal.Skin-cutting initiations continue in Sepik River communities where men proudly wear scars cut into their skin during the rite of passage. The Sepik River Crocodile and Arts Festival presents this remote region’s unique culture with a holistic approach including sing-sings, dances, chanting, music, arts, crafts and storytelling. Tribes will journey along the mysterious Sepik River in their dugout canoes to attend and perform at the Festival. Local villagers have lived along the river for millennia producing magnificent wood carvings and artful clay pottery. Later in the afternoon we will make our way further up the river and through an enchanting system of channels into the Wagu Lagoon and the Wagu Village which is set against the impressive Hunstein Range that looms behind. Experience as remote an experience who you could imagine, so far from outside influences and amongst a people who are so much a part of their surrounding natural world. We will stay in village style housing this evening.

Day 5: Sepik River Crocodile Festival - Monday 5th August
Wagu Village Guesthouse  - Upper Sepik River
Day 6 – Wagu Swamp to Wewak - Tuesday 6th August

An early morning exploration of the Wagu Swamp has us keeping an eye out for Birds of Paradise. The many dozens of tribes that live along this milky chocolate riverine wilderness are experts in survival, coping with isolation in the wet season when the river runs big or conversely isolation when access to the swamps  and backwater lakes is cut off from the main river during extended dry seasons. They collect sago and fruit, hunt cassowary, feral pigs and crocodiles, and create magnificent wooden buildings and carvings. The practices of the tribes vary, such as those of the Ngala, known as the ‘Insect Tribe’ because they specialise in carvings of sago beetles, dragonflies and the praying mantis. Spirit drums are only to be beaten after nightfall, or the spirits will know who drummers are. The “spirits” are the ghosts of the ancestors going all the way back to creation. As well as sacred drumming and a host of secret ceremonies, the spirits insist on the carving of the tribe’s unique insect totems, effectively fortifying their own particular culture.  We depart from the Wagu Lagoon visiting the Sepik River Crocodile Festival again on our way down the River. We continue onto Pagwi before extracting ourselves from the majestic river and travelling overland, returning to Wewak .

In Wewak Boutique Hotel - Wewak
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Day 7 – Loloata Island Resort - Wednesday 7th August

An early morning transit to the Wewak airport will have us on the 7.40 am flight to Port Moresby arriving at 9.00 am. Upon our return from the remotely located Sepik River and we transit to Port Moresby’s Tahira Jetty for a short ride on the ferry to  Loloata Island. Loloata Island Resort is a uniquely designed luxury boutique resort which truly engages with its natural landscape. Welcomed as day visitors we can spend a fun day on the beach and in the pool. Enjoy a delicious meal or cocktail at the Bootless Bay Restaurant & Bar or a relaxing massage at the  Sea Salt Spa. Diving Loloata has a distinctly "local" flavour where you can enjoy the 29 known dive sites the destination offers. Some of the best dive sites are concentrated along the offshore and sunken barrier reefs, many can be absolutely stunning in the right conditions. Loloata boasts some great snorkeling right off the island and it only takes a leisurely stroll to discover some of them. After a full day enjoying one of the best luxury island resorts in the South Pacific we return to Port Moresby to our boutique hotel accommodation for a good night’s rest before the next morning’s flight to beautiful Bougainville.

Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 8 – Kieta, Central Bougainville - Thursday 8th August

We take an early morning flight from Port Moresby to Kieta in Central Bougainville. Flynn’s Tours first visited the enchanting island of Bougainville eight years ago and it has proven a favourite destination for visitors where the shoreline has changed very little since Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, the French admiral and explorer sailed to and landed as the first European in 1768 naming the Island after himself.  Upon arrival we traverse the hills above Arawa to experience the beauty of a hillside settlement full of exotic fruits and flowers including beautiful orchids and walk the unique live tree bridge crossing a boulder strewn stream that feeds a micro hydro system. Be welcomed with the sound of a pan pipe band in a surprisingly beautiful setting.  After lunch we head down to the beach for a short dinghy ride to the untouched pleasures of Pokpok Island and enjoy the hospitality of host Simon Pentanu, Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives in his laid back, perfectly positioned Urana Bay Retreat. Bougainville is a land of simple, untouched pleasures, from the turquoise seas to lush rain forests. Come and meet the Bouganvillians,a proud and friendly people.

Uruna Bay Retreat - Pokpok Island, Central Bougainville
 Tamatama Festival 

Relax this morning on Pok Pok Island or for the energetic, seaside water activities, jungle exploring, or a deserted island visit await you. Today we will attend the Tama tama Festival in Arawa that celebrates the traditional Bougainvillean food of the same name. Experience first hand the fine art of making Tama tama from start to finish.  In most cases it is prepared as an entreé or to adorn other main local dishes as part of a group meal, usually provided on order or request. The local Nasioi name is tama’ but has christened itself into a bit of a double whammy and mouthful to be known these days more popularly as tamatama. In Torau where they differ slightly in both shapes and sizes but holding its own in taste it is known as pisu.

Uruna Bay Retreat - Pokpok Island, Central Bougainville
Day 9 – Kieta , Central Bougainville - Friday 9th August

This morning, we return to Arawa township for a further visit to the Tamatama Festival. Participating cooks of the Tama tama are judged on their traditional bilas (traditional clothes), preparation and hygiene, presentation and taste, with no modern kitchen equipment permitted, teams used traditional tools – such as shell scrapers, and bamboo to scrape coconuts and act as water jugs. All around you are the backdrop of jungle drenched mountains with streams and rivers carving their way through the topography as if for your sole entertainment. The civil war of the 1990s had kept loggers away and habitats relatively intact. Professor Tim Flannery, one of the world’s leading experts on mammals of Melanesia, regards this region as “the Galápagos of the Western Pacific”.This afternoon we visit the remote village of Steamas to witness a Upe initiation ceremony. The initiation of Upe aims to teach and educate young males in preparation for their future lives as fathers, husbands, brothers, leaders and chiefs of their villages. Upe is a traditional hat worn by boys especially in Terra and Rau Constituencies in the Wakunai area, Central Bougainville. 

Uruna Bay Retreat - Pokpok Island, Central Bougainville
Day 11 – Siwai Festival, South Bougainville - Saturday 10th August

This morning we travel overland to the town of Buin in Southern Bougainville. Our vehicles travel through big jungle and coastal hillsides where at Duero  Pass you can look down on Kangu Beach and view the Solomon Islands.  This beach is where boats head across the sea border between Bougainville and the Solomons Shortland Island.A short distance from Buin you will arrive at Kokopo village, where the housing  and  surrounding native gardens offer a picturesque  and orderly example of  village life in southern Bougainville. In Buin itself we will join in the opening day celebrations of the Siwai Festival, which has now established itself as a highlight on the Papua New Guinean festival roster. The festival features a colourful display of different sing-sing groups from the Southern Bougainville region. Arts and craft are also front and centre, with vendors trading traditional Siwai baskets along with weave artisans and others who craft meri blouses, carvings, and clay pots.

Panakei Lodge - Siwai , South Bougainville or similiar
Day 12 – Siwai Festival, South Bougainville - Sunday 11th August 

This morning we return to the Siwai Festival which has the full support of the Autonomous Government of Bougainville and its President Toroama who says: “While we are aware of the investment opportunities that the tourism industry will provide for Bougainville we must also promote and protect our cultural heritage which is our identity. Our cultural heritage is our identity as a people who are unique and blessed with abundant resources”, President Toroama said. “As we prepare for independence and sovereignty we must recognise ourselves and the journey that we have travelled to arrive where we are today”, President Toroama added. After a day of engaging with the joyful locals who proudly share their culture with you, we visit the WW2 crash site of a largely intact, “Betty Bomber” military plane shot down by allied aircraft while it was transporting the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.We head back to Central Bougainville to enjoy our last night together with the inhabitants of this enchanting island.

Uruna Bay Retreat - Pokpok Island, Central Bougainville
Day 13 -  Kokopo, East New Britain Island -  Monday 12th August

We travel up into the mountains to see the infamous old Rio Tinto – Panguna Mine the cause of much environmental damage and landowner concerns that sparked a blood decade long conflict. Abandoned when hostilities broke out in 1989 the mine still contains about $50bn of copper, gold and other metals.  We transit to the Kieta Airport for a departing flight to Tokua Airport on East New Britain Island, check-in to our resort accommodation before embarking 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, the Kokopo Lookout and  Bita Paka War Cemetary , now the resting place of over one thousand Australian and Allied soldiers who met their fate during World War 2.

 

Rapopo Plantation Resort - Kokopo or similar
Day 14 -The Idyllic Duke of York Islands and  Volcano Climb in Roaring Rabaul - Tuesday 13th August

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. A welcoming host will ensure that your traditional village style accommodation is comfortable, secure and restful as where we are based is a largely uninhabited island. We will dine on plentiful amounts of delicious and freshly harvested fruit, vegetables and fish. We will visit Kabakon “the garden” Island , Pangpang “sand” Island and enjoy seafood BBQ Lunch at Corey’s Eco Sea Lodge on the largely uninhabited Ulu 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. 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.  We will travel by boat to Simpsons Harbour and Rabaul to transit by tour bus to the  laid back beach atmosphere at Kulau Lodge Beach Resort for a hearty meal.

Kulau Lodge Beach Resort - Rabaul

 Volcano Climb in Roaring Rabaul 

Following an early breakfast we return to Simpsons Harbour 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 relax in idyllic surroundings at Kulau Beach Lodge, Kabakada Village in Talia Bay on the North Coast Road.               

Kulau Lodge Beach Resort - Rabaul

Day 15 - Rabaul, East New Britain - Wednesday 14th August

Relax beachside in your plantation resort accommodation. 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 day 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, John Gannan, 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. 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 day ends at our Kokopo based beachside resort. The rooms are set among beautiful tropical gardens with idyllic viewing areas for quiet contemplation and a swimming pool in which can cool off.

Rapopo Plantation Resort - Kokopo or similar
Day 16 - Mt Hagen - Birds of Paradise - Thursday 15th August
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his morning we take an early 7.05 am flight from East New Britain’s Tokua Airport to Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby arriving at 8.25 am. We depart from Port Moresby on an 11.30 am flight to Mt Hagen arriving at 12.30 pm. From the airport we travel by private bus to Kumul Birdwatching Lodge in the highlands above Mt Hagen. Kumul Lodge is one of the best known landowner eco-tourism lodges in Papua New Guinea. Made out of local materials, entirely owned and managed by local people and employing local guides you can be sure that your money is helping to support the people of the immediate area. Kumul Lodge is an excellent destination for New Guinea birding and is the only bird lodge in New Guinea where Birds of Paradise are amongst the regulars at the lodge feeders, offering fantastic photo opportunities. 

Kumul Lodge - Mt Hagen
Day 17 -  Mt Hagen Village visits  - Friday 16th August

This morning we visit the traditional villages of Anji and Walya in the lower areas birdwatching around 11 kilometres from Kumul Lodge. Near the Torrent Waterfall we may be lucky and observe a Torrent Luck Bird that are only found in this area. We can view a limestone cave, a Cassowary sanctuary, a demonstration of traditional net bag (Bilum) hand weaving along with sustainable organic farming and Highlands animal husbandry. We enjoy lunch back at the Lodge and go on a fascinating tour of Max’s Orchid Garden which displays hundreds of miniature orchids. We will visit the Kuk Early Agricultural Site that is World Heritage Listed. 

You will view coffee and tea plantations in the scenic Waghi Valley. Coffee is Papua New Guinea's second largest agricultural export, employing tens of thousands of people.

Kumul Lodge - Mt Hagen
Day 18 -  Mt Hagen Show - Mt Hagen   - Saturday 17th August

Following breakfast  A BIG WEEKEND!  We visit the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show including close-up observation of pre-show costuming preparation. More than 80  tribes participate in the event performing extraordinary displays of 'sing-sings' - traditional songs, dances and ritual performances. The running of the festival began in the 1960’s and was first introduced and organised by Australian patrol officers known locally as 'kiaps' who 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.

McRoyal Hotel - Mt Hagen
Day 19 -  Mt Hagen Show - Mt Hagen   - Sunday 18th August

We visit the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show for another day of cultural immersion.We depart the Show in the early afternoon for a bite to eat at the hotel before departing with our luggage to the Mt Hagen Airport for late afternoon flight to Port Moresby. Upon arrival at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby we transit to our hotel accommodation.

Any question or want to make a booking, contact us Here:

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Did you know?

The promotion of community tourism on the Sepik River is an absolute imperative because if people can see the economic value in conserving the diverse culture and biodiversity of this region, it is less likely to be destroyed.

Canoe transport has served the Sepik population for thousands of years. The canoes have a very low centre of gravity, making them virtually impossible to capsize or sink. The canoes range in length from 6-10 metres and are powered by 30 hp and 40 hp outboard motors. Travelling on the Sepik River in a motorised canoe is very safe and provides an ideal vantage point from which to observe the river’s aquatic inhabitants, birdlife and Sepik River peoples whose daily life seems unchanged by modernity.

 

The Sepik River is the longest river on the island of New Guinea, and after the Fly and the Mamberamo the third largest by volume. The majority of the river flows through the Papua New Guinea (PNG) provinces of Sandaun (formerly West Sepik) and East Sepik, with a small section flowing through the Indonesian province of Papua.

The Sepik has a large catchment area, and landforms that include swamplands, tropical rainforests and mountains. Biologically, the river system is often said to be possibly the largest uncontaminated freshwater wetland system in the Asia-Pacific region. But, in fact, numerous fish and plant species have been introduced into the Sepik since the mid-20th century.

From the headwaters to the mouth, the river flows through at least 12 different Sepik languages, each corresponding to one or more culture regions of related villages that exhibit similar social characteristics. The largest language and culture group along the river is the Iatmul people.

 

The hunting of crocodiles is conducted sustainably employing a number of methods. Firstly: during the day the crocodiles are chilling in the sun, in the evening they go hunting as do the croc hunters. During the dry season they canoe along the river banks by the use of a torch until the light hits the eyes of a croc. The canoe is steered gently towards the prey, the hunter sticks to the crocodile armed with a hooked spear while the backman steers the canoe. This method has proven to be most efficient. Secondly: a group of hunters march through the swamp close to each other and working nearby to where the crocodile mother laid the eggs. Then they indiscriminately poke the swamp until they hit something and then capture it. Thirdly: set a bait overnight on a fishing hook from the shore until a croc gets caught on it.

 

In 1885, the North West coastal area of the mainland along with many New Guinea Islands including Bougainville came under German administration under the German New Guinea Company. With the outbreak of the First World War, Australia occupied all of German New Guinea in 1914. At the conclusion of the war German New Guinea was declared a League of Nations mandate, to be administered by Australia. Bougainville has remained part of Papua New Guinea up to and after the attainment of Papua New Guinea’s independence from Australia in 1975.

The Tamatama Festival of Central Bougainville celebrates the popular local food. “The tamatama has its own ancient folklore. In recent times it has earned its place amongst the traditional cuisine served both as entreé and also thrown into the smorgasbord mix and fray of local and modern delicious dishes” explains Simon Pentanu. “It owes its popularity to the delicate and caring hands of women in the close knit village family households.”Tamatama is a local rich vegetarian dish slowly prepared by stirring fresh coconut oil over hardwood fire stoked under undamaged selected banana leaves or in tradition claypot - kakasi’. It is entreé on its own but has gradually found its way for pickings as part of many smorgasbords amongst other garden food and seafood. Best eaten hot to warm for a unique taste that caresses the pellet when eaten on its own. Comes in straight up and down longish shapes, meatball sizes and, occasionally, in flat and roundish scone shaped finishes. Variaties come in banana, taro and cassava prepared on their own or mixed in a single dish finish. Rarely spared to last overnight as it slowly loses its freshness and taste. However, leftovers can be heated to get a roasted banana, taro or cassava taste but at this stage it is usually eaten for the feel of the remaining rich coconut oil and cream which still holds its taste at any temperature.

 

Upe is a traditional hat worn by boys especially in Terra and Rau Constituencies in the Wakunai area, Central Bougainville. 

The hat is not worn randomly, only in specific rituals. This may be when young men, especially first born males, are taken high up in the mountain forests of Wakunai to be initiated into manhood. This practice has significant ethical and moral value. In the forest, the young boys are taught many things about life. The educators teach the young boys such things as hunting, planting, catching, building, fatherhood, leadership, war, how to make weapons, responsibility, honesty, respect, bush medicine, different types of plants and animals and their purpose of existence and uses. This life in the forest is out of the normal but is very useful in the life of the community. After some years in the bush, when the Upe leader and his helpers see that the boys have become men, they will initiate them to return home and make a normal living.

 

On April 18, 1943, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto's plane was shot down after Allied forces intercepted a Japanese coded message that Admiral Yamamoto would be flying from Rabaul to Bougainville to inspect Japanese installations there. The admiral perished. Yamamoto was Japan's most prominent naval officer during World War II. who was the mastermind of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour. And yet, Pearl Harbor aside, Yamamoto was not a great admiral. His strategic blunders were numerous and egregious, and were criticised even by his own subordinate officers.

 

Bougainville boasted the best living conditions in PNG before a decade long civil war broke out in 1989, inflicting much destruction and the death of over 15,000 islanders. You will visit the now closed, Rio Tinto majority owned, Panguna mine, central to the grievances that initiated the formation of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The mine still contains about $50bn of copper, gold and other metals. In 2019 as part of the peace settlement, Bougainville’s population of 250,000 voted 98% in favour of independence from Papua New Guinea.  The prospect of Bougainville becoming the world’s newest country will unearth all the geopolitical intrigue that exists in the Asia Pacific region. Intrigue indeed!

 

Not far from Kokopo township in East New Britain is 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.

 

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.

 

Mt Hagen, capital of the densely populated Highlands region of mainland PNG 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 Kuk Early Agricultural Site was formally accepted onto the World Heritage List at the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Quèbec in July 2008.

 

Societies of Papua New Guinea and Indonesian West Papua often use bird-of-paradise plumes in their dress and rituals, and the plumes were popular in Europe in past centuries as adornment for ladies' millinery.

Hunting for plumes and habitat destruction have reduced some species to endangered status; habitat destruction due to deforestation is now the predominant threat.  The first Europeans to encounter their skins were the voyagers in Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the Earth.

Sanctuary Hotel Resort and Spa - Port Moresby or similar
Day 20 – Port Moresby to Home Country – Monday 19th August

Today you can fly home with direct Air Niugini flights to Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Singapore & Manila. Air Niugini currently flys to Hong Kong on a Saturday. Flights with other carriers are available.

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