Birds & culture 01

PNG Birds & Culture [6th – 19th August 2019]

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 of cultural groups from all over New Guinea come together in a spectacle of costume, music and dancing as a highlight.

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  • Tour Duration
    • Difficulty Level Fairly Easy
    • Group Size Small Group
    All about the PNG Birds & Culture [6th – 19th August 2019].

    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 of cultural groups from all over New Guinea come together in a spectacle of costume, music and dancing as a highlight.

    Visiting several New Guinea habitats we expect to see a number of species of spectacular Birds of Paradise plus a great supporting cast of New Guinea specialities,  many of which form the basis for the fantastic headdresses you will see at the show.

    Tour Accommodation

    Accommodation in Port Moresby is in comfortable western hotels. Kwatu Landowner Lodge is a very basic lodge made of local materials with pit toilets and bush showers. However its position in almost virgin rainforest make up for any discomfort. Kumul Lodge is a more upmarket than usual landowner lodge made of local materials. The rooms have private bathrooms.

    Tour Difficulty

    A country where much of the land consists of steep mountain sides covered wherever possible by thick rainforest and with no contiguous road system Papua New Guinea relies primarily on air transport. There will be several flights made during this tour often in small planes.

    In the lowlands the weather is likely to be hot and humid but at altitude it can be surprisingly cold. Rain is likely everywhere at any time of the year.

    Trails are often steep and muddy. Participants need to be in good health and have a reasonable standard of fitness.

    2019 Tour Cost:


    2019 Single Supplement:


    Flights ex Brisbane, Australia (Approximately):


    This tour offers lots of good photographic opportunities and we are happy to run it for specialist photographers.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • Meals as per itinerary
    • Accommodation as per itinerary
    • Checklist
    • Guide services of tour leader
    • Group tips & gratuities
    • Transfers once tour has started
    Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • Travel insurance and other emergencies
    • Visa fees and entry clearing fees
    • Flights (Domestic & International)
    • Drinks
    • Items of a personal nature
    • Laundry
    1. Day 1 Arrival Port Moresby

      Arrive Port Moresby. You will be met at the airport and transfer to your hotel in time for lunch. You will meet with your guide at the hotel . After lunch you will be collected and go on a Port Moresby town tour visiting amongst other places the beautifully decorated Houses of Parliament and the National Museum which has strange opening hours but hopefully we will be able to visit it again this year.

    2. Day 2 Varirata National Park

      A full day exploring the Port Moresby area starting with a trip up to Varirata National Park where there are some interesting walks and some great birds including the Raggiana Bird of Paradise and a whole slew of war memorial sites around Port Moresby.

    3. Day 3 Variarata & PAU

      We start the day with a second visit to Varirata.  Later in the day we will visit come back via the PAU ponds where birds such as Spotted Whistling Duck, Fawn- breasted Bowerbird plus a variety of manikins and other birds also found up Cape York in North Queensland can be seen.

    4. Day 4 Fly Kiunga

      We will make an early start and take the morning plane over to Kiunga where you will be met and transferred to Kiunga Guest House. Here you will settle in and take lunch. The rest of the day will be spent look- ing around the Kiunga area. Kiunga is a river port with most of its commerce being associated with the big OK Tedi mine up in the Star Mountains. However it also has rubber plantations and is the administrative centre for Western Province. Kiunga is situated in he middle of a very extensive rainforest much of which is relatively unexplored.

    5. Day 5 Kiunga area birding

      Full day exploring the Kiunga area starting with a trip out to the Flame Bowerbird site. Palm Cockatoos. Trumpet Manucode, and Greater Bird of Paradise are all to be seen close to the town. Lunch will be back at the guest house and a siesta or swim in the lodge pool is possible during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon you will go out again with your guide to look around the local area.

    6. Day 6 Transfer Kwatu

      An early start up the Fly river by boat to Kwatu Lodge. Dawn is a great time to travel upriver and with luck 12 wired Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Great-billed Heron, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Collared Imperial Pigeon and some rather beautiful parrots can all be seen at times from the boat. It is still relatively cool and you can sit back and watch the trees. Every now and then there will be a house on the bank or actually built over the river and canoes and outboards pass by with people going about their daily lives. During the journey there will be a chance to get off and walk in the forest looking for the elusive Southern Crowned Pigeon and other birds. On arrival at Kwatu Lodge you will settle in and then explore the immediate area. Kwatu is a very basic landowner lodge built in the style of the local houses, entirely from local materials. At night the forest is dark and, except for the sounds of native birds and animals, very quiet.

    7. Day 7 Kwatu & Kiunga

      After breakfast you will spend some time on the trails around Kwatu and visit the hide for the New Guinea Flightless Rail before heading back down the river to Kiunga where you can relax in the guest house for the balance of the day or take a short stroll around the township.

    8. Day 8 Fly Mt Hagen

      Today you will fly over to Mt Hagen. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Kumul Lodge where you will stay for the next 3 nights. You will arrive in time for lunch and will spend the after- noon relaxing on the verandahs. These overlook the feeders and Ribbon-tailed Astrapia and Brown Sickle- bill are amongst the birds that come down to eat along with Smoky Honeyeater, Brehm’s Tiger Parrot and more. The feeders offer great photographic opportunities.

    9. Day 9 Local area birding

      After breakfast you will head out into the local area by bus looking for local specialities and  members of the New Guinea endemics  families in particular. You will return to the lodge for lunch and the afternoon will be spent exploring the area around the lodge

    10. Day 10 Kumul area birding

      Today you will again take a bus trip out around the Kumul area. We will be looking for Blue Bird, and Lesser Bird of Paradise, Torrent Fly-robin, Marbled Honeyeater. The road wends through beautiful (mainly sweet potato but also taro and pitpit0 gardens. This fertile area is important for agriculture but although coffee has become important around Goroka at slightly lower altitudes, it is not an important crop locally. A picnic lunch can be enjoyed along the way. We may request a traditional mumu (earth oven dinner) be prepared by the Lodge if people would like it but this does not always prove possible and care should always be taken eating what is often undercooked pork. The act of preparation may be of interest to the more culinarily inclined guests.

    11. Day 11 Paiya Village Pre-show

      This and the following day are largely show days and after some early morning birding around Kumul we will head to Paiya village is famous for its pre-show day. Here you will have a chance to mingle with the performers and take photos up close. You can watch them getting dressed up in their ‘bilas’ (finery) for the show, talk to people about what is happening and generally mingle with the local people and performers. You can even try out some of the costumes for yourself.

    12. Day 12 Mt Hagen Show

      Today you will be escorted into Mt Hagen and spend the day at the Mt Hagen Show. Clans from all over New Guinea come and perform songs, dances and plays dressed in traditional and not so traditional costumes! Some modern day fashion statements have been incorporated into traditional bilas and it is not un- usual to see an elaborate feathered headdress and body paint teamed with sunglasses. For a birdwatcher, the sight of a headdress containing the plumes of 20 + birds of paradise and the feathers of dozens of lorikeets, many of which they may not have seen, can be rather frustrating!

    13. Day 13 Fly Port Moresby

      After breakfast you will head back to the airport and fly to Port Moresby where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. You will arrive in time for lunch and a siesta. A short afternoon excursion will be arranged to other interesting Port Moresby sites.

    14. Day 14 Onward flights

      After a leisurely breakfast we transfer to the airport for our onward flights. Please make sure that any artefacts you have purchased on your travels are clean of any spider webs or insect larvae to prevent problems when entering Australia. Your walking boots should also be free of mud and plant matter.

    15. Itinerary & Checklist Download the Itinerary & Checklist

      Click link to download Birds & Culture Itinerary 2019

      Click link to download Itinerary Checklist PNG Birds and Culture