Day 1 Overnight flight to Singapore
Day 2 Overnight flight to Port Moresby
- On arrival into Port Moresby we take a morning domestic flight to Tari and transfer to Ambua Lodge for the start of our time in Papua New Guinea. Our first afternoon at Ambua Lodge will be spent on a guided nature walk through the alpine forest.
- We spend the next two full days birding around Ambua Lodge and the Tari Valley where thirteen species of birds of paradise can be found.
- Accommodation: Ambua Lodge, 3-nights on full board basis.
- This morning we fly by light aircraft 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 twelve-wired 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, 4-nights on full board basis
- Returning to the Highlands by light aircraft, our second stay in this region will be at Kumul Lodge in the Western Highlands.
- We spend two full days birding around the area to spot some of Papua New Guinea’s characteristic birds including King of Saxony and superb birds of paradise, Princess Stephanie’s astrapia and torrent-lark.
- Accommodation: Kumul Lodge, 3-nights on full board basis
- This morning we take a scheduled domestic flight to Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby. On arrival we transfer to the nearby Varirata National Park where we spend our final afternoon in this fascinating country looking for Raggiana bird of paradise. Later in the afternoon we transfer back to Port Moresby to spend our final night.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Port Moresby, 1 night on full board basis
- Before departing Port Moresby in the early afternoon we spend the morning visiting Port Moresby Nature Park which showcases flora and fauna from around the country and the conservation work taking place to protect this country’s fragile ecosystems.
- We depart Port Moresby this afternoon for Singapore where we will connect to an overnight flight to London.
Day 15 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
Mid-range city hotels & rustic rainforest lodges; all rooms have an en suite bathroom.
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.
The island of New Guinea has a fascinating avifauna, with elements from both the Asian and Australasian faunas. Of more than 730 species found here, some 320 are endemic. All but a handful of the more than 40 birds of paradise are native to Papua New Guinea.
- Dwarf cassowary
- Palm cockatoo
- King of Saxony bird of paradise
- Rufous-bellied kookaburra
The focus of our tour is principally birds but, while Papua New Guinea’s mammals are generally difficult to see, with luck we may encounter a few. As in both Indonesia and Australia, either side of the island, rodents and bats are very well represented, but are bewilderingly difficult to identify. Cetaceans are also well represented along the island’s coast. In common with Australia, most of Papua New Guinea’s larger mammals are marsupials (which give birth to precocious young and in many species carry them in pouches) and monotremes (which lay eggs). Representing the monotremes, all four living species of echidna (including three endemics) are found in Papua New Guinea. Marsupials are highly diverse. Best known among them are the tree kangaroos and cuscuses, both of which reach peak diversity on the island, though wallabies, pademelons, ringtail possums, sugar gliders and marsupial carnivores known as dasyures also occur.
- Eastern long-beaked echidna
- Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo
- Black-tailed dasyure
- Southern common cuscus
As are all areas of tropical rainforest, Papua New Guinea is very rich in invertebrates. Most obvious to visitors are the island’s 1,000 known species of butterfly, among which the enormous birdwings stand out. Of the many thousands of moths which have been discovered here, the spectacular Hercules moth and the gorgeous day-flying swallowtail moths are some of the most beautiful and frequently seen by visitors.
Reptiles and amphibians
New Guinea is a hub of frog diversity and endemism, with around 200 species recorded. Likewise, lizards and skinks are very well represented and visitors are likely to encounter a wonderful diversity, though identifying them is extremely hard. The island has thirteen species of turtle and tortoise, more than 80 species of terrestrial snake, and two species of crocodile, the widespread saltwater crocodile and the endemic New Guinea crocodile.
On the Karawari River we use an 18-seat jet boat and river trucks with outboard motors. From Karawari airstrip we use a motorised canoe to access Karawari Lodge and the surrounding villages. Motorised dugout canoes are all used for excursions. You need to be fit and fully mobile to climb in and out of the canoes. Riverbanks can be steep, muddy and slippery, so bring footwear with decent grip.
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.
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..
The price includes return scheduled international flights London – Singapore – Port Moresby and the domestic scheduled flights between Port Moresby – Tari and Mount Hagen –Port Moresby.
From Tari to Karawari and Karawari to Mount Hagen, a light aircraft is used.
Depending on the size of the group, we will use one or more minibuses accompanied by a local driver. Driving from Tari to Ambua Lodge and Mount Hagen to Kumul Lodge, 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.
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.
The highest point reached on this trip is around 3,000 metres above sea level at Kumul Lodge, dropping to just over sea level on the Karawari River.
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 in mountain areas it is 23-26⁰ Celsius.