Papua New Guinea

The country of Papua New Guinea comprises of the eastern half the island of New Guinea and a number of smaller islands and archipelagoes in the seas around it. In the past New Guinea has been joined to Australia by a land bridge and indeed shares many plants and animals, including marsupials, with it’s southern neighbour. However the deep-sea trench between Bali and Lombok and Kalimantan and Sulawesi has meant that it has never been joined to Indonesia and the flora and fauna are completely different on each side of Wallace’s Line.

People are thought to have first reached Papua New Guinea some 50,000 years ago settling first on the coast and then moving slowly up into the highlands where individual clans got so isolated in tiny valleys divided by knife edge ridges that they each developed their own distinctive languages. Papua New Guinea has more languages (700+) than anywhere else in the world but today the language of education and government is English while Tok Pisin, a mixture of English, German and local languages is commonly spoken except in the most isolated areas.

In Papua New Guinea all land is owned by someone, however this did not stop the western powers annexing it. The Dutch claimed the western half as part of the Dutch East Indies, and an arbitrary line was drawn down the centre of the island splitting clans and language groupings and making no effort to conform to topography or social structure.  The Germans meanwhile annexed the top eastern quarter because it seemed like a good idea and the British the southern eastern quarter to act as a buffer for the newly emerging Australia. After the end of the First World War the entire eastern portion was put under an Australian mandate and this continued until Independence in 1975.

New Guinea’s avifauna is one of the most exciting in the world. The island of New Guinea has more endemics than any other country (400+) and is home to some of the world’s most exotic and sought-after birds, the family Paradisaeidae.. There are some 43 members of this family, 36 of which can be found in Papua New Guinea, the rest being in the Indonesian province of West Papua and on the island of Halmahera.

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Best time to visit:May - October
Popular Locations: Varirata National Park, Kiunga, Mt Hagen, Tari

Tours in Papua New Guinea (PNG)

PNG Birds & Culture, Papua New Guinea, Mt Hagen Show

    PNG Birds & Culture

    14 Days

    A unique 14 day chance to visit some of the worlds greatest birding locations in search of Papua New Guinea’s spectacular birds and experience some of New Guinea’s fascinating with attendance at the world famous Mt Hagen show where representatives…

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    Ribbon-tailed astrapia © Phil Gregory

      Gentle New Guinea

      14 Days

      A 14 day New Guinea introduction for those who, while still active birders, feel they would not enjoy the exacting pace of the usual New Guinea Tour. This tour is particularly suitable for those who want a more relaxed tour with…

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      Raggiana Bird of Paradise © Jun Matsui

        PNG Greatest Hits

        13 Days

        This 13 day tour visits a number of the top birding sites on mainland Papua New Guinea (PNG) including Varirata National Park on the Sogeri Plateau above Port Moresby, Kumul Lodge in the Highlands and the lowland and hill forest destinations…

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        Blue Bird of Paradise © Jun Matsui

          Taste of New Guinea 3: The Highlands

          8 Days

          A short 8 day birdwatching trip to the PNG highlands staying at two of the countries most prestigious lodges, Rondon Ridge near Mt Hagen and Ambua up in Hela Province both in the central mountain chain. With a number of Birds…

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            Taste of New Guinea 7: New Britain

            7 Days

            A short 7 day birdwatching  trip to the island of New Britain, part of the Bismarcks of the eastern end of the PNG mainland. Staying in Rabaul in East New Britain and at the famous Walindi Dive Resort in West…

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            Brehm's Tiger Parrot © Phil Gregory

              PNG – Highlights

              16 Days

              Visiting a number of PNG’s best birding spots  we expect to see a number of species of spectacular Birds of Paradise plus a great supporting cast of New Guinea specialities.

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              New Guinea Endemic Families 2018 Crested Berrypecker © Jun Matsui

                New Guinea Endemic Families

                6 Days

                This short tour 6 day is designed to target at least one member of all 7 endemic bird families of PNG – Crested & Tit Berrypecker, Blue-capped Ifrit, Mottled Berryhunter, Wattled Ploughbill, Lesser Melampitta, Crested & Loria’s Satinbird & Fan-tailed Berrypecker.…

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