Tribesmen, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Holidays

A fascinating place in every respect; and one more akin to Africa than its Pacific surroundings. Come face to face with friendly tribes and bizarre customs while you traverse this stunning island.

Papua New Guinea is a wild, raw, captivating frontier of a country – more like Africa than any of its close neighbours. The Papuan people are proud and welcoming and their traditions and sometimes bizarre customs will enthral.

From the still prevalent Highland culture of ‘an eye for an eye’ to the fact that pigs remain the ‘glue’ which binds PNG society, as the number of pigs a man owns reflects his material wealth and social standing. It is not a cheap destination, however, if you have a penchant for adventure and the path less travelled, it really doesn’t get much better than PNG. Its tagline ‘land of the unexpected’ is very apt.

Child at school, Fergusson Island, Papua New Guinea
Child at school in Papua New Guinea

What to expect on your holiday to Papua New Guinea

This tropical land of extraordinary topographical variety encompasses the Highlands, with peaks over 14,000 feet, the lowlands of the Sepik River and an extensive coastline dotted with stunning outlying islands. The most linguistically diverse country on earth, Papua New Guinea has 850 languages and wonderfully rich flora and fauna. Home to numerous species of birds of paradise and marsupials including tree kangaroos and wallabies that took to the trees of PNG’s rainforests some five million years ago.

In such a topographically torturous country even now the road infrastructure remains modest and the best way to get around is by air. However, delays are inevitable and published departure times no more than a ballpark guide, so always travel in PNG with a good book and a sense of humour.

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Explore Papua New Guinea

  • The Sepik River
  • The Highlands
  • Port Moresby
  • Tufi Peninsula
  • Islands of PNG

Experiences

A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Papua New Guinea.

Huli Wigmen, Tari, Papua New Guinea

Wigmen and Mudmen

Meet Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the Highlands.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Greater Bird of Paradise, Papua New Guinea

Bird Watching

Track resplendent birds of paradise in the Highlands.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Baining Fire Tribesmen, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul National Mask Festival

Held every year in July, take part in this four day celebration of the rich island heritage when tribes from across the country gather to summon their ancestors through displays of dance and elaborate costumes.

Insect Tribe Sawgup, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Sepik River by Dugout Canoe

Explore the spirit houses and backwaters of the mythical Sepik River by dugout canoe – the traditional mode of transport for this part of the world.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Scarification, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Crocodile Initiation

Witness and learn about the famous crocodile initiation ceremony, an ancient coming of age ritual when young men are cut, leaving scars resembling the scales of a crocodile.

Suggested Holiday Idea

green turtle swimming in blue ocean,great barrier reef

Diving

Experience world-class diving in waters that are part of the Coral Triangle, an area named for its vast number of coral species.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Local Tribe, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Meet the Melpa People

Discover the traditions and customs of the Melpa people, a Highlands tribe who were among the first horticulturists in the world and for whom pigs are a sign of wealth.

Suggested Holiday Idea

True North, Sepik Soiree, Vitu Island, Papua New Guinea

Board a Luxury Cruise

Access secluded and remote parts of the country on the luxurious True North boat.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Snorkelling, Ninigo Islands, True North, Sepik Soiree, Admirality Islands, Papua New Guinea

Snorkelling Adventure

Snorkel or dive in some of the clearest and coral-rich waters in the world.

Baining Fire Dance, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Baining Fire Dance

Watch a Baining Fire Dance on East New Britain, a spectacular dance performed by the locals on special occasions including bereavements, birth and coming of age ceremonies.

Aerial View, Papua New Guinea

PNG by Air

Journey between remote lodges by air and understand what early explorers must have felt like to gaze down on uninterrupted jungle.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Tufi Dive Resort £££££

  • Papua New Guinea

Tufi Dive Resort is perched on the slopes of Mount Trafalgar, overlooking the stunning fjords and mountains of Tufi and Cape Nelson. Stay in one of the 28 traditionally decorated bungalows, most with a verandah overlooking the Coral Sea or Tufi fjord. Alternatively, stay with a local family, eating with the villagers, exploring with local fisherman, experiencing a traditional way of life. Additional facilities at the resort include a small swimming pool and restaurant.

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Karawari Lodge £££££

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Wilderness

Perched 300 metres above the Karawari River amidst dense lowland rainforest, this remote lodge occupies a privileged location in an isolated part of the world. Inaccessible by road, this rustic, thatched property was inspired by indigenous architecture. Ten simple but comfortable thatched cottages have ceiling fans and a shared veranda. Communal areas can be found in the spirit house inspired main lodge. All around, the treetops abound with birdlife, including colourful parrots and energetic sunbirds.

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Ambua Lodge £££££

  • Papua New Guinea

Situated 7,000 feet above sea level overlooking the Tari Valley below, Ambua Lodge is an award-winning eco-friendly lodge. Of the 46 rooms, 30 are thatched roundhouses, set amongst gardens with panoramic views. The remainder is located in the main building with a more modern feel.

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Rondon Ridge £££££

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Rondon Ridge is located at an altitude of 2,100 metres, overlooking vast areas of the Western Highlands. Set amidst native gardens and tropical montane rainforest the lodge offers 24 comfortable rooms with warmed king beds for the cooler highland temperatures and panoramic views of the surrounding scenery.

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