One of the world’s most culturally fascinating and diverse countries is also one of its most impenetrable too. The bright, unique tribal cultures of Papua New Guinea shed light also on the natural diversity and extreme environments found all over the country. But the dense rainforest and numerous languages away from urban areas means getting around is not as simple as most other global destinations.
From the capital city Port Moresby run a good number of tours that seek to open-up the interior life of Papua New Guinea to discerning outsiders. Following a knowledgeable guide in a place like this can be the difference between a great experience and the acquisition of a cache of lifelong memories. Here are 5 great Papua New Guinea tours that you can do.
FROM: $2,963/per person
During the course of this 11-day trek, from one coast to the other and back, you will get the chance to see significant WWII battle sites and to trace the footsteps of the soldiers during the war. The Kokoda Track leads through dense forest at times, bound to a trail that is navigated by a guide. Porters join the tour to help carry luggage and pinpoint water sources so that you can restock. All meals and accommodation are included in the price, as is an internal flight that helps get tour members out to the main sights from Port Moresby quicker.
From $5,514/ per person
Specific only to September each year, this fascinating Papua New Guinea tour delves into the local culture through the most colourful and vivid of celebrations. It is perhaps unbeatable as a way to unlock the mysteries of local customs and beliefs. Centred on song and dance, with elaborate costumes made from natural materials like grasses, feathers and paints, the three-day Goroka show has been running for decades. Pass then to the Kalam Cultural Festival, which was once closed to outsiders. Here important community ceremonies, like dispute resolutions and the passing of boys into manhood, take place.
From $1,500/ per person
To witness an alternative side to Papua New Guinea’s remarkable nature, head to Milne Bay. The collection of islands gives way to an underwater haven of marine life such as coral formations. There is a cruise port here making the area a little more developed for tourist activities like diving. This four-day tour places you in a resort located between the forest and the water, with chances to explore both, as well as visits to local villages to witness traditional customs and to learn how to make local dishes at a cooking class. There is also a sing-sing (traditional dance) where you can participate in the pre-dance ritual of face-painting.
From $3,750/ per person
Making the more challenging journey into remoter stretches of the rainforest has its rewards, which are self-evident on this tour of Papua New Guinea. By visiting a number of remarkable tribes at various villages, the tour gives a great overview of the marvellous diversity and creativity of the different groups, including the Asaro Mudmen, known for their unusual masks made of mud. The tour involves plenty of driving along poor-quality roads to reach some of the villages, so a strong stomach is beneficial.
From $2,175/ per person
Trek through the wilds of Papua New Guinea to the wreckage of World War II outposts and battles, scaling mountains, and following rivers and historic trails in the process. This exciting hike is led by local guides who know the forests well. Porters help to carry the load, along with food supplies and tents. Overnight locations vary depending on the region but can sometimes be camping and others will involve stays in huts at a local village. All expenses during the trip, such as meals and transport, are covered in the price.