1. Day 1 Overnight flight to Singapore

    • After a few hours rest in an airport transit hotel, we catch another overnight flight to Port Moresby..
    • On arrival at Port Moresby we take a morning domestic flight up to Mount Hagen, then transfer (50 kilometres/roughly 1 hour) to Kumul Lodge and relax until lunch.  In the afternoon we head out for our first taste of birding. This is a good place to spot some of the island’s endemics, so over the next day or so we look for Malaysian whistling thrush and Malaysian hill partridge among others.
    • Accommodation: Kumul Lodge, 2-nights on full board basis
    • This morning we head back to Mount Hagen to fly by light aircraft (45 minutes) to Karawari. Our lodge stands on a ridge above the Karawari River, overlooking the dense tropical lowland rainforest of East Sepik Province - one of PNG’s most remote and unspoilt areas. The only access is by chartered light aircraft to the private airstrip, then motorised boat along the Karawari River, where stilt-houses line the waterways and dug-out canoes are the principal mode of transport. 
    • This tropical lowland rainforest is a highly complex habitat with an immense variety of flora and fauna - 229 bird species have been recorded here! During our stay we learn about the life on the river, and boat trips offer opportunities to spot species such as the elusive 12-wire bird of paradise. A boat excursion to a nearby village allows us to visit the traditional homes of the indigenous Sepik people and get a glimpse of everyday life.
    • Accommodation: Karawari Lodge, 2-nights on full board basis
    • We fly back to Mount Hagen, then transfer to Rondon Ridge, another highland location. On arrival there should be plenty of time for birding before nightfall.
    • The surrounding area is home to ten species of birds of paradise and numerous orchids. A network of trails leading to a lovely orchid garden and a bird feeding station starts outside the lodge, so it's easy to see the unique flora and fauna. The high-altitude forest is home to Macgregor’s bowerbird, brown sicklebill, Stephanie’s astrapia and the superb bird of paradise - only some of the 180 or so species recorded here. 
    • During our stay here, there is also an opportunity for a cultural visit with a local guide to explain the traditions and customs of the Melpa people who inhabit the area.
    • Accommodation: Rondon Ridge, 2-nights on full board basis
    • This morning we fly by chartered light aircraft back to Mount Hagen and connect with a scheduled flight to Port Moresby.  On arrival we drive directly to Varirata National Park - the best place to see Count Raggiana’s bird-of-paradise.
    • Later today we return to Port Moresby to spend our final night.
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Port Moresby, 1 night on full board basis
    • This morning there is an option to re-visit Varirata National Park, before heading to the airport for a flight to Singapore, with an onward overnight connection to London. 
  2. Day 12 Arrive UK

Lake Murray extension

    • This morning we take a chartered light aircraft (around 1 hour) to remote Lake Murray in Western Province, which is home to more than 50 per cent of PNG’s entire bird population. 
    • Our lodge nestles in a stand of trees on an island overlooking the lake, and offers river boat trips to visit local villages, birding sites and fishing spots. It offers an exceptional opportunity to experience this remote destination with its rich bird and fish fauna and its unique culture in comfort.
    • Accommodation: Lake Murray Lodge, 4 nights on full board basis
    • Lake Murray is one of the best spots in Papua New Guinea for birdwatching, with a host of migratory birds, plus several species of birds of paradise, pelicans, hornbills, eagles, parrots and numerous other. The lake is also known for its populations of black bass, barramundi and saratoga - around 5,000 people live largely from fishing in small communities scattered around the lakeshore and tiny islands – with stilt houses, dugout canoes.
    • This morning we fly by chartered light aircraft back to Mount Hagen and connect with a scheduled flight to Port Moresby.  On arrival we drive directly to Varirata National Park - the best place to see Count Raggiana’s bird-of-paradise.
    • Later today we return to Port Moresby to spend our final night.
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Port Moresby, 1 night on full board basis
    • This morning there is an option to re-visit Varirata National Park, before heading to the airport for a flight to Singapore, with an onward overnight connection to London. 
  1. Day 16 Arrive UK

Please note: Due to unpredictable weather patterns, charter flight operations may be subject to delay.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

Mid-range city hotels & rustic rainforest lodges; all rooms have an en suite bathroom. 

Meals

All meals are included. Breakfasts and dinners are in the hotels or lodges; lunch may be a sit-down meal at the lodge or a picnic will be provided.

Birds

The island of New Guinea is particularly rich in birdlife – more than 80 families contain some 730 species in four main groups: those that breed on land and in freshwater, seabirds, migrant species that arrive from further north, and those species that migrate from the south (Australasia), along with vagrants from the same area. A total of eight discreet areas contain a large number of endemic bird species – some 320 in all. 38 out of the world's total of 43 birds of paradise species are native to Papua New Guinea. 

  • Southern cassowary
  • Rainbow lorikeet
  • Fan-tailed cuckoo
  • Blue-tailed bee-eater

Reptiles and amphibians

Amphibians are also well represented by 160 species of frog and 170 of lizard. The reptilian saltwater a.k.a. estuarine crocodile, which is widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, is found in the island’s coastal waters and estuaries.

  • New Guinea death adder 
  • Saltwater crocodile
  • Legless lizard

Mammals

Of the island’s 244 mammal species, seven are critically endangered, while 12 are classified as endangered, and another 40 have IUCN vulnerable status. Rodents make up the largest group of all, amounting to more than 40 percent of all the mammals. Some parallels with Australia are evident: there are a number of monotremes (mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young) such as platypus and echidna (spiny anteaters), as well as marsupials, which give birth to live young that subsequently develop while being carried and suckled in their mother’s pouch. Close relatives of Australian kangaroos are found on the island’s open grassland, although the tree-climbing kangaroos that are unique to New Guinea differ considerably in both their appearance and behaviour. New Guinea also has a number of native species of small possum, which include the sugar glider. The cetacean population that lives in the surrounding ocean includes various whales, dolphins and porpoises.

  • Long-beaked echidna 
  • Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo
  • Black-tailed dasyure 
  • Giant bandicoot

Insects

New Guinea is equally rich in insects, with more than 25,000 species of beetle and at least 6,000 species of moth and butterfly. Other insects include grasshoppers, earwigs, termites, bees and wasps, ants, dragonflies and damselflies, lacewings, cicadas, mayflies and aphids, while unfortunately mosquitoes are present in numbers almost everywhere.  

Boat trips

On the Karawari River an 18-seat jet boat, river trucks with outboard motors, and motorised dugout canoes are all used for excursions.  Riverbanks can be steep, muddy and slippery, so bring footwear with decent grip (although boat drivers and guides are always present to help).  At Lake Murray the lodge arranges excursions around the lake in 8-seat river boats to visit local villages, birding sites and fishing spots.

Photography

Photographic opportunities on this trip are excellent with many opportunities to take close-ups of birds and other wildlife.  Macro and wide-angle lenses are useful for taking pictures of birds, plants and insects. 

Walking

Each day much of the early morning and late afternoon is spent birding on foot, and although the walks are not particularly long, the combined effect of heat and humidity can be tiring. The terrain is mostly level, however there are inevitably some hills, and conditions underfoot are varied.  As a result lightweight waterproof walking boots or shoes with soles that provide good traction are essential.

Ground transport

Depending on the size of the group, we will use one or more minibuses accompanied by a local driver.  Driving from Mount Hagen to Kumul and Rondon Ridge, we take the main road through the Highlands that connects these remote communities; although it is paved, there are many potholes and landslides are not uncommon. 

From Karawari airstrip we use motorised canoe to access Karawari Lodge and the surrounding villages. You should be it and fully mobile to climb in and out of the canoes,

Flights

The price includes return scheduled international flights London – Singapore – Port Moresby and the domestic scheduled flights between Port Moresby – Mount Hagen –Port Moresby.

We use scheduled domestic flights between Port Moresby and Mount Hagen. From Mount Hagen to Karawari and on the extension to Lake Murray, a chartered light aircraft is used. 

Baggage restrictions

Charter flights are operated by small light aircraft, and there is a strict weight allowance of 10kg of checked luggage per person (in small soft-sided bags), plus 5kg of hand luggage.  Excess or oversized baggage can be stored in Port Moresby.  

Altitude

The highest point reached on this trip is around 3,000 metres a.s.l. at Kumul Lodge, dropping to just over sea level on the Karawari River.

Climate

Papua New Guinea has a tropical climate. It is hot and humid all year round with high relative humidity i.e. between 70 and 90 percent.  Bring a light waterproof or umbrella for bursts of heavy tropical rain. The average temperature on the coastal plains is 28⁰ Celsius, while in inland and mountain areas it is 23-26⁰ Celsius.

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