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Mud Men, Goroka, Papua New Guinea

The Highlands

Arguably the true heart of PNG, the Highlands offer a huge variety of different and most renowned tribes. Huli wigmen and the Asaro Mudmen are to be found dwelling here.

PNG’s largest populations of tribespeople are found among the mountain valleys and rushing rivers of the Highlands. Surrounded by peaks, the pleasant town of Goroka has a “perpetual” spring-like climate, with warm days and cool nights year-round.

It’s also a great place for planning treks into the nearby jungles and caves or arranging village stays. For an adventurous hike, take the four-day climb up Mt Wilhelm, the highest peak in PNG at just over 4,500m. On clear days, you can see both the north and south coasts from the summit.

Huli Wigmen, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea

Huli Wigmen

The town of Tari in the Southern Highlands provides access to the spectacular Tari Valley, a renowned bird watching site. Tari is also one of the few towns where some people still wear traditional dress (though lots of people in rural areas still wear the garb of their ancestors).

A visit to the Huli Wigmen, who spend 18 months growing their hair to make bushy wigs to sell, provides an entertaining introduction to a local talent for self-decoration that reaches its apogee in the “sing-sings” (festivals) in which clans gather for sell-out shows in towns such as Goroka and Mt Hagen.

Mud Man, Goroka, Papua New Guinea
Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Goroka Show

The Goroka Show is the country’s most colourful festival features an unforgettable line-up of full tribal regalia, live bands and much merriment. Over 1,000 performers from 70 different tribes participate. Book travel plans well in advance. Slightly smaller than the sing-sing held in Goroka, the Mt Hagen Show is nevertheless one of PNG’s most famous fests. Around 50 different tribes compete for top honours and prize money in magnificent costumes.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Traditional PNG Festivals

Witness a “sing-sing” and colourful traditional festivals.

Suggested Holiday Idea

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

Wigmen and Mudmen

Meet Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the Highlands.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Bird Watching

Track resplendent birds of paradise in the Highlands.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

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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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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Traditional Costume, Huli wigmen, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea

Highlights of Papua New Guinea

This holiday to Papua New Guinea offers a wonderful overview of this wild country’s main highlights, covering varied and fascinating landscapes and cultures.

12 days

from £6,500 pp

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Deborah was simply fantastic in terms of helping out, putting together a first rate itinerary, finding solutions and giving advice. Thank you.

Papua New Guinea

What a brilliant boat and crew. The accommodation was excellent and the ship's crew handled all trips superbly.  An excellent holiday only made better by the knowledge of the experts and the overall organisation of the trip.

Papua New Guinea - True North

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