Traditional Costume, Huli wigmen, Papua New Guinea holidays

Papua New Guinea Holidays

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. Watch David Attenborough's Paradise Birds featuring the romantic and glamorous birds of PNG. 


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, wallabies that took to the trees of PNG’s rainforests some 5 million years ago.

In such a topographically torturous country even now the road infrastructure remains modest and the best way to get around Papua New Guinea 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.

Almost everything in Papua New Guinea has to be imported and transportation costs are high, so it is not a cheap destination. This said, 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.


  • Meet Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the Highlands
  • Access secluded and remote parts of the country on a luxury cruise
  • Explore by dugout canoe the spirit houses and backwaters of the mythical Sepik River
  • Fly around the Highlands in a small plane, understanding what the early explorers must have felt like as you gaze down on the uninterrupted jungle
  • Track resplendent birds of paradise in the Highlands
  • Snorkel or dive in some of the clearest and coral-rich waters in the world


Both our travel specialists Amy and Deborah can only urge you to go and visit this amazing country first hand. Deborah is never happier than when off the beaten track and has just returned from the wilds of PNG so is the ideal person to help you get under the skin of this extraordinary country.

One of Deborah's clients recently returned and gave this feedback;

"From first contact onwards Deborah has been above and beyond anything one could reasonably expect. She was utterly phenomenal in helping sort out the constant changes of plan caused by the realities of PNG travel"

Papua New Guinea FAQs

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Is it safe to swim in Papua New Guinea?
You cannot swim in the Sepik (due to crocs), but do pack swimwear for snorkelling/ diving and use in pools when abluting in the Sepik, where a bucket of water is provided.
Will I have one guide in Papua New Guinea throughout my holiday?
As a result of the extreme topography of PNG, huge diversity of languages and cultural differences between areas you will have different local guides in each place, rather than a single guide accompanying you throughout. The benefit of this is that you get a local guide in each place who is fully versed with regards to the local area, language and cultural mores.
Is it safe to be out in the sun?
Papua New Guinea is known for its extremely hot summers and it can take only 15 minutes in the sun for skin to burn. Even on cloudy days the suns rays are still very strong and protection will be needed. Make sure you bring a high factor, water-resistent sun cream, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and some form of cover-up. We always advise avoiding the sun during the middle of the day when it is at its most intense, and making sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.
What should I see?
Dive in the fjords of Tufi, a virtually unexplored underwater world or explore the Sepik River by dug out canoe, spotting crocodiles and bird of paradise and tree kangaroos.
Meet the Huli Wigmen and Asaro Mudmen in the highlands, flying over the uninterrupted jungle below. The ‘cultural shows’ in both the Sepik and Highlands around Goroka are a particular highlight, though they may seem somewhat artificial, please be aware that they are helping to keep cultural traditions alive at a time of profound change in PNG.


Papua New Guinea - Sepik River Adventure Cruise

Papua New Guinea - Sepik River Adventure Cruise

This 11-day expedition cruise on board True North offers the chance to access secluded islan...

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Papua New Guinea Flying Safari

Papua New Guinea Flying Safari

A true adventure into the heart of Papua New Guinea.  This flying safari gives intrepid trav...

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Papua New Guinea - Uncovered

Papua New Guinea Uncovered

This holiday to PNG offers a wonderful overview of the country’s main highlights covering varied ...

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PNG and the South Pacific Islands

PNG and the South Pacific Islands

A 26 day ultimate get away including adventurous travel balanced with chill out time on pris...

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Scarification, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

BLOG: Skin Deep in Papua New Guinea

I stare at him. Is it my imagination or are his features crocodilian?
“What makes a good cutter?”
“He has twenty-five years’ experience. He can cut quickly.”
Looking at the number of vivid welts across the bodies of the young men in the tambaran it was obvious that speed was a key factor in being a good cutter. So too skill and dexterity. Emulating the ridges of the crocodile which they worship, the patterns were intricate. They had a tactile beauty that made me want to reach out and touch the weals tattooed into their skin.


Old Woman, Tufi, Papua New Guinea

BLOG: Faces of Papua New Guinea

Wherever we stopped people came forward to shake hands. They smiled. There was a warmth, openness and welcome. It is a friendliness that challenges the aggressive stereotypes that prejudice preconceptions of the peoples of Papua. Here are just some of the faces of Papua New Guinea, across ages, across tribes; the people that I had the pleasure of meeting on my last trip.


Client Reviews

Masked Men, Papua New Guinea
''We couldn't be happier with our service throughout.
The organisation of our very memorable trip was faultless.''

John Mayor

Papua New Guinea
Traditional Costume, Papua New Guinea
''PNG was a dream come true. 
It was very different to the places we have previously travelled to but I can't think of another company that could organise it better than Steppes.''

Sarah Teal

Papua New Guinea
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Holiday Ideas in Papua New Guinea

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