Days
8
Price from
£2,115GBP

Discover the culture and rare birdlife of Papua New Guinea on this unique expedition

Birds of Paradise. The name conjures up images of resplendent winged creatures hidden in faraway jungles. And really, it's not far from the reality, as you'll discover on this special PNG adventure. Based out of an eco-lodge near Mt Hagen, head out on daily nature walks to the best bird-viewing sites in Papua New Guinea. Ornate Melidectes, Long-tailed Shrikes and Island Leaf-warblers, well as Lesser, Blue and Superb Birds of Paradise – enjoy optimal access to the whole exotic menagerie. But it's not just about birds. You'll also experience a local cultural festival, observing as costumed villagers perform tribal dances and songs, and getting involved with the preparation of a traditional mumu meal. Keen for a different sort of travel experience? This is it.


Start
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea
Finish
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea
Country
Papua New Guinea
Style
Peregrine
Code
PAPH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 6, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Papua New Guinea is a bird watcher's utopia, home to species you won't see anywhere else in the world, including the resplendent Birds of Paradise.

  • Head out on daily nature walks with local expert guides. From your eco-lodge base, enjoy access to the best viewing spots in the jungle, giving you optimal chance to see a diverse range of birdlife.

  • This trip coincides with a local cultural festival. Be treated to tribal dances and ceremonies and observe as local clans – dressed in colourful, traditional costumes – prepare for their performance. You may even be asked to join in!

  • Experience a warm village welcome in Mt Hagen, with opportunities to take part in traditional activities such as preparing a mumu meal in an earthen hot-stone pit.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This adventure takes you to a remote part of the world with few tourists. While this is very much part of the appeal, it does mean that certain facilities may be not quite to the standard Western tourists are used to.

  • Birds are often their most active at dawn. In order to take full advantage of this, there will be several early morning starts. Believe us – it's worth it!

  • The accommodation on this trip is atmospheric and eco-friendly, but fairly basic. At Kumul Lodge, travellers will stay in shared bungalows of 2-4 people.

  • The itinerary balances a range of nature-based activities and walks with plenty of free time at the lodge. Please make sure you bring sturdy walking shoes.

Itinerary

Welcome to Papua New Guinea! Upon arrival, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. As today is arrival day, there are no activities arranged. If you arrive early, head out to explore Mt Hagen. Situated in the Wahgi Valley, Mt Hagen is PNG's third most populous city.

This evening at approximately 6 pm, there will be an important group meeting at the hotel. Please check reception for details, and bring your passport and travel insurance documents to along to the meeting.
Accommodation
  • Pakuwat Wilderness Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Experience a special village welcome the Hagen way. Led by your local guide, walk around and watch villagers preparing for their performance in today's Paukwat mini cultural show. The performers will be dressed in traditional tribal costumes. Most are happy to have their picture taken, although it's always respectful to ask first. Be aware that you may be asked to join the clans as they prepare for the festivities, and perhaps even to join in their performance!

By midday you'll see an explosion of culture. Five tribes will perform traditional dances for you at the Pakuwat Cultural Show Ground. The group will also be treated to a Mumu – a traditional meal cooked in a big earthen coal-filled pit.
Accommodation
  • Pakuwat Wilderness Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, head out for a walk around a local coffee factory and organic plantation to see how the beans are grown and processed. You'll also visit the bustling Hagen Market, where friendly locals sell everything from fruit and vegetables to clothing, crafts and animals. Purchase some fresh produce and enjoy lunch with the group.

Afterwards, take a look around Pakuwat Lodge and experience what daily life is like for local villagers. You'll be asked to collect vegetables (as well as a pig!) before joining locals in preparing a mumu from start to finish. The fire will be started the traditional way, by rubbing sticks of wood together.
Accommodation
  • Pakuwat Wilderness Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today travel to Kumul Lodge, where you'll spend the next few nights. Constructed out of local materials, Kumul is one of the best-known eco-lodges in the country. The lodge is also locally managed and owned and employs local guides, so you can be sure your money is helping to support people in the immediate area.

The forest surrounding the lodge is home to some of the most beautiful and unusual birds in the world. After checking in, pack your camera and head out for the first bird watching walk of the tour. Keep an eye out for Yellow-billed Lorikeets, Long-tailed Shrikes, Red-collared Myzomelas, Island Leaf-warblers, Hooded Mannikins and New Guinea White-eyes. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a Torrent Flyrobin or Lark.

Afterwards, head back to the lodge to relax and spend some time in the bird-viewing area.
Accommodation
  • Kumul Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning head to the Kama Birding Site. The site is around 30 kilometres away from the lodge, so make sure you have your camera and supplies for a half-day tour. Today you'll have the chance to see one of the more spectacular Birds of Paradise – the Lesser Bird of Paradise, distinguished by its yellow crown and cascading plume of white and yellow feathers.

In addition, keep your eyes peeled for Mountain Myzomelas, Ornate Melidectes, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoos and Black-headed Whistles. In the afternoon, head back to the lodge and again spend some time in the bird-viewing area.
Accommodation
  • Kumul Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning's destination is the Tonga Birding Site, where we'll be looking for the Blue and Superb Bird of Paradise. The Superb Bird of Paradise is famous for its spectacularly elaborate, almost comical courtship dance. As the species has such a low population of females, competition among males is fierce. On average, a female rejects 15-20 suitors before settling on a mate. That's a lot of dance performances!

It's about a 45-minute trip from the lodge to the site, so make sure you have all your equipment for the day with you. After the day's walk, return to the lodge to potter around the bird-viewing area or relax in your bungalow. By now you should be able to identify many of the birds around you.
Accommodation
  • Kumul Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning set off to the Lai River (or the Mambis Birding) Site, around 45 minutes from the lodge. Like every other day, your local leader will be keeping a keen eye out for the magnificent birdlife around you. Of particular interest today are the Torrent Flyrobin and the Magnificent Bird of Paradise. The males of the latter species are distinguished by two long, curved tail feathers. There's also the possibility of seeing the Yellow-breasted Bowerbird.

In the mid-afternoon, head back to Pakuwat Lodge. On the last night of the tour, sit down with your group and leader for one last meal together, sharing photos and reminiscing about your adventure.
Accommodation
  • Pakuwat Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your bird-watching expedition winds up today after breakfast. As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart the lodge at any time. If you'd like to stay on for a few nights to further explore Mt Hagen, just let your agent know at the time of booking.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Lodge (8 nts)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An arrival & departure transfer is included on this trip. Please provide us with your flight arrival & departure time no later than 7 days before your trip commences. If we do not receive this information we will not be able to meet you at the airport. Late night arrivals in particular will be difficult and daunting to make your way to our starting point on your own.
2. A minimum of 6 travellers are required for this trip to run.
3. In case of an emergency, please contact our local partners on +675 7128 6616, +675 7388 5036, +675 7301 7782 or +675 7019 0972

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.