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Papua New Guinea's Birds of Paradise and Culture

Tour Code: PNG01

A 16-day birdwatching holiday to the magnificent forests of New Guinea in search of the remarkable birds-of-paradise and other exotic species, together with a glimpse of the unique culture of the indigenous Melpha peple and 'Huli wigmen'.

16 days from £9495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £8995 SRS: £1895


Papua New Guinea is one of the wildest and least explored regions on earth. Its astonishingly rich avifauna includes nearly 400 endemic species, amongst them the exquisite birds-of-paradise. This group of birds forms one of the principal objectives of this 16-day birdwatching tour. Starting in the capital Port Moresby, our tour visits Varirata National Park, Rondon Ridge, Lake Murray and finally the world-famous Ambua Lodge, encountering en route a wonderful variety of birds including many of the unique and fantastically plumaged birds-of-paradise. The lodge is situated at Tari Gap in the central highlands, home of the Huli tribe, or ‘wigmen’, known for their ornate ceremonial wigs, and dances and songs fashioned on the mating rituals of the birds-of-paradise.

  • Displaying birds-of-paradise
  • See over a dozen species of these exotic birds
  • Wild & rugged landscapes
  • Tropical butterflies & extraordinary flora
  • Glimpses of ancient, almost stone-age culture in rural areas
  • Meet the Huli ‘wigmen’
  • Enjoy the adventure of travelling in a country with many unexplored areas
  • Expertly escorted by an experienced Naturetrek ornithologist

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable lodges. All rooms have private facilities.

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (unknown)

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (unknown)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1/2 Depart London/in flight

Day 3 Arrive Port Moresby. Afternoon birdwatching

Day 4 Varirata National Park

Day 5/7 Rondon Ridge

Day 8/10 Karawari Lodge

Day 11/13 Ambua Lodge

Day 14 Port Moresby

Day 15 Depart Port Moresby

Day 16 Arrive London

New Guinea is the world’s second largest island and lies in the south-west Pacific to the north of Australia. The island is divided between two countries: Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the east and Indonesia in the west. It is one of the wildest and least explored regions on Earth, with some 90% of the country still covered in forest. It has the richest avifauna of any island, with more than 360 endemic species, including the majority of the birds-of-paradise, perhaps the most extraordinary of all the world’s bird families. Although their remarkable displays are often shown on television, to watch them in the field is a priceless experience of a lifetime. In addition, the island holds a wonderful and varied assembly of pigeons, parrots and kingfishers, not to mention gorgeous jewel-babblers and fairywrens, as well as stunning species such as Redbellied Pitta, Flame Bowerbird and Golden Monarch. New Guinea is also home to seven endemic bird families and we may see species from all seven during our time here. Raptors are not numerous, but we have a chance of observing one of the most magnificent, the New Guinea Harpy Eagle.

We begin our holiday in Port Moresby, where we will spend the afternoon exploring the grounds of the Pacific Adventist University. Comprising a mosaic of dry woodland, gallery forest and small water bodies, the grounds provide a perfect introduction to the Australo-Papuan bird families that we are likely to encounter; Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, White-shouldered Fairywren, Black-backed Butcherbird and a variety of honeyeaters are all possible here. The following day we will visit the eucalypt and evergreen forests of Varirata National Park in the nearby foothills, where we can hope to see such specialities as Brown-headed Paradise-kingfisher and Raggiana Bird-ofparadise, along with a plethora of fruitdoves, cuckooshrikes and flycatchers.

From Port Moresby we fly to the Western Highlands for a 3-night stay at Rondon Ridge Lodge, one of PNG’s premier lodges. Birding in the high-altitude forest near the lodge, we have an excellent chance of seeing some of PNG’s most iconic species, such as both Black and Brown Sicklebills, Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia and Blue, Superb and King of Saxony Birds-of-paradise, not to mention Loria’s Satinbird and Wattled Ploughbill. Our stay will include a visit to Kumul Lodge, famous for its bird feeding table where species such as Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Brehm’s Tigerparrot and Belford’s Melidectes are among the many species seen; there will also be an opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of the local Melpha people.

Next, we relocate to the vast lowland rainforests that surround the Karawari River for a 3-night stay in a wonderful lodge boasting spectacular views of seemingly endless forest. Exploring the area through a mix of walks and boat rides, we are likely to encounter a very different array of species, with Eclectus Parrot, Southern Cassowary and three birds-of-paradise amongst the highlights, including the fabulous 'pole-dancing' Twelve-wire Bird-of-paradise.

We then return to the highlands, flying to Tari for the grand finale of the tour — three nights at the incomparable Ambua Lodge. Here we can again feast our eyes on several species of birds-of-paradise, including Ribbon-tailed Astrapia and Lawe’s Parotia, as well as a host of other interesting species such as Brehm’s Tigerparrot, Eastern Crested Berrypecker, Bluecapped Ifrit, Mountain Firetail and Orangecrowned Fairywren. The lodge is positioned at Tari Gap in the central highlands and is home to people from one of the most immediately recognisable cultures in Papua New Guinea, the ‘Huli wigmen’. A proud, flamboyant tribe — known for their ornate ceremonial wigs, and dances and songs fashioned on the mating rituals of the birds-of-paradise — an encounter with the Huli tribespeople will be a truly fascinating experience.

All too soon we must return to Port Moresby where we will spend a final evening together before flying back to London, via Singapore, after what promises to be an exciting and memorable adventure.

Huli TribeShovel-billed KingfisherStar Mount ridgesPurple SwamphenTabubil ForestPapuan FrogmouthNaturetrek GroupButterflyTree FrogHuli TribsmanGreater Bird of ParadiseGreat Cuckoo-doveNew Guinea CrocodileBrown SicklebillBlack-throated RobinAtlas MothBedroom of Ambua LodgeAmbua Lodge
J.H.
London
The special thing about this holiday for me was the mix of lowland terrain and mountain environment to see a great range of birds as well as variety of people from the warlike Highlanders to the 'stone age' people of Sepik. Karawari Lodge was wonderfully remote, in a hugely atmospheric area a million miles from 'civilisation' as we know it. Ambua Lodge was a superb base for spotting birds of paradise and many other birds, and provided a good insight into the way of life of the Highland peoples of PNG. In many ways the holiday was 'made' by Terry Reis with his constant good humour and positive outlook, his immense skills at locating birds and his dedication to the happiness of the group.
J.H.
Herfordshire
Papua New Guinea is a lovely country, the people friendly and helpful and charming. The Birds of Paradise, our reason for the trip, magnificent.John Hornbuckle, an amazing amount of knowledge of the birds and a pleasing companion.
J.W.
Surrey
Definitely the guide Terry made all the difference. His knowledge, his care and timing was faultless. We were lucky to have such a good group (only four of us) I was the only female, and felt cared for without being patronised. I shall remember Papua New Guinea for as long as I live. Thank you.
P.B.
Devon
Thanks for a memorable holiday.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Tue 31st July 2018 - Wed 15th August 2018

YES

£10495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £9995 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tue 18th September 2018 - Wed 3rd October 2018

6

£10495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £9995 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Papua New Guinea

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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

The special thing about this holiday for me was the mix of lowland terrain and mountain environment to see a great range of birds as well as variety of people from the warlike Highlanders to the 'stone age' people of Sepik. Karawari Lodge was wonderfully remote, in a hugely atmospheric area a million miles from 'civilisation' as we know it. Ambua Lodge was a superb base for spotting birds of paradise and many other birds, and provided a good insight into the way of life of the Highland peoples of PNG. In many ways the holiday was 'made' by Terry Reis with his constant good humour and positive outlook, his immense skills at locating birds and his dedication to the happiness of the group.
J.H., London