Papua New Guinea Essential Odyssey – Classic and Complete, Highlands Highway: Tari to Madang
Day 1: Arrival
Pickup from Tari Airport, transfer 45 minutes up into the beautiful hills of the Tari Gap to your overlook hotel, Warili Lodge/Makara Bird View Lodge/Lakunda Lodge depending on preference and availability. 3-course dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Tari Cultural, Nature, and Wildlife Tours
Full day tour of Tari Valley, jungles and highland nature spots, and incredible (best in the world) birdwatching, villages and cultural spots. Tari is one of the most alive vestiges of PNG before foreigners ever set foot inside, and it isn't surprising to see plenty of tribesmen wearing native dress and natural ornaments of grass and leaves in their hair and bodies. Hairstyles and wigs are about the most outrageous on earth in the Tari Gap area, and many men proudly display these like peacocks. Moving on to the other colorful fauna, spot 13 species of the elusive Birds of Paradise, among 160 total endemic special species of blazingly colorful birds, as well as 26 different technicolor species of orchids growing wild in the forest. Cool off in a shower of fresh water mist under the rainbows of a jungle waterfall near the Makara bird view trail. After lunch, visit the Huli Wigmen and their dancing and traditions. Overnight at the Lodge and another 3-course dinner while you prepare for the odyssey ahead.
Day 3: Drive to Mount Hagen 6-7 hours by road by guided PMV
Today takes you along the amazing ups and downs of the Highlands Highway, to the remote Mt. Hagen, where the first foreigner from the outside world didn't turn up until 1933, and now has become a city of hustlers and vagabonds, with adventurers, canny businessmen and frontiersmen, many frictional and factious tribes roaming about. Lunch en route near Mendi, prepacked for the road. Wind past massive peaks and green cloud-drenched jungles, and scores of isolated highlands villages before arriving at Missionary Home in Mt. Hagen town for your lunch. Start your day tour of Mt. Hagen and the massive market as well as outlying villages where mountain men wander and occasionally battle, and where once a year the incredible festival, the Mount Hagen Tsing Tsing, takes place and everyone from around the highlands dresses their best in colorful and outrageous getup. Dinner and overnight at Missionary Home.
Day 4: Drive to Goroka 5-6 hours by road by guided PMV
After breakfast and a cruise down up high into the heavens of the final frontier, past tribes and rivers and jungles fringed with birds and waterfalls, arrive in Goroka, the shining star of PNG culture and the colorful tourist haven of the highlands, nestled in an attractive, breathtaking setting and commanding the imaginations of scientists, WWII historians, and anthropologists. It is here that first contact took place. Lunch (packed) en route in Shimbu province. arrival at Mumutoka Lodge. In the afternoon take nature walks into local villages and see village life around Goroka, the undisputed cultural capital of the highlands. Overnight at Travellers Lodge or Numutoka Lodge depending on preference and availability.
Day 5: Full Day Tour in Goroka
After Breakfast, depart to see the PNG mudmen, of video and brochure fame, and demonstrations by the widows of fallen warriors and tribesman. Also witness courtship ceremonies between men and women in the mudmen tribe. After lunch, meet the chief of the mudmen and visit his village. The afternoon is also punctuated by gumdrop green hills, rolling up and up higher into the clouds, where you can look back at glorious Goroka in the valley. Share the sunset with your guide and friends if you like. Return to Goroka for dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
Day 6: Drive to Madang 5-6 hours by road by guided PMV
After a great sendoff breakfast, depart along the road for the glittering Pacific coast where PNG tourism shines at its best and most beautiful. Enjoy a seafood lunch. Check into Dazib guesthouse and spend the afternoon walking around the scenic oceanside of your private island and admiring the corals and volcanoes, the walls and walls of millions of colorful fish, the WWII sunken jeeps and Japanese Battleships lying in the shallows right next to your lodge,awaiting climbing and exploration. War wrecks and waterworlds of amazing ocean life abound here like nowhere else in the Pacific. PNG and its neighbors the Solomon Islands are the Holy Grail for Marine adventures, with the feeling of the edge, the frontier, coupled with a lack of other tourists but the abundance of comfort and amenities for the tourist to make you want to stay longer. Dinner and overnight at Dazib guesthouse.
Day 7: Full Day Tour of Madang and Snorkeling Excursions
After breakfast, head for a boat-driven multi-island expedition into the blue sea to dive into one of the top snorkeling and sealife spots on the planet, and see thousands of species of fish, seahorses, seaturtles, starfish, lion fish, sea snakes, harmless but huge sharks, manta rays, and most famously the wrecks of WWII aircraft and ships from the battle between the allied forces and Japanese. (Some are too deep to snorkel or dive, some are poking above the surface!) Today is PNG Bliss at its best. Relax in the evening with drinks and dinner and then head to the local beachside bars or chill with the technicolor South Pacific sunset! Overnight at Dazib Guesthouse.
Day 8: Depart Madang
After Breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure from Madang and PNG.
*All tours include accommodation, all meals, all transport, guide, comprehensive travel insurance, and all daily tours, activities, and entrance fees. From airport pickup at the start of your trip, to airport drop-off at the end – We are at your service in adventure's final frontier!
**Lutheran Guest House will be substituted for Dazib in Madang in the event of bad weather or pirate activity/other unsafe conditions in the water routes to access the island (Bilia Island) across from Madang Resort.