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Wildlife Locations

11 recommended locations:

East New Britain

One of the few places in the world where you can get up close and personal with an active volcano; Rabaul is built on the crest of dormant Mount Tavurvur, and has one of the world’s deepest harbours. Rabaul is also known for its scuba diving and snorkelling sites and its diverse flora and fauna.

  • Where: East New Britain Province
  • Ideal for viewing: spinner dolphin, orange-footed scrubfowl, blue-eyed cockatoo, southern cassowary, Papuan frogmouth

Highlands & Sepik River

At 1,126 kilometres, the Sepik River is Papua New Guinea's equivalent to the Amazon and it is the people of the Sepik that makes this region an exciting and fascinating place to visit. Life revolves around the river, and locals are unique in their belief in the spirit world with its mythical stories and rituals.

  • Where: Central Highlands
  • Ideal for viewing: dwarf cassowary, Gurney’s eagle, twelve-wired bird of paradise, king bird of paradise, white-eared catbird
  • Excellent for: River safaris

Mount Hagen

The Mount Hagen area is the home of the Melpa people, a people with a strong culture, who still live largely traditional subsistence lifestyles. From the lowland rainforest to alpine grasslands, it is a land of colour and vibrancy and one of the best places to see Papua New Guinea’s birds of paradise.

  • Where: Western Highlands
  • Ideal for viewing: King of Saxony bird of paradise, Macgregor’s bowerbird, Stephanie’s astrapia, Loria’s bird of paradise, Huon tree kangaroo
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Southern Highlands

This spectacular region is characterised by lush, high valleys sandwiched between towering limestone peaks and several roaring rivers. Due to its isolation, the province is home to New Guinea’s most fascinating tribal culture, and you can also find a fascinating range of birds, including several species of birds-of-paradise.

  • Where: Southern Highlands
  • Ideal for viewing: great woodswallow, short-tailed paradigalia, blue bird of paradise, black sicklebill, Papuan king parrot
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Tari Valley

Also home to the flamboyant Huli people, the Tari Valley is a utopia of pristine, mid-montane jungle, a birdwatcher's paradise! An eiderdown of interlocking tree tops, with splashes of colour from high altitude orchids. Nature trails take you across traditional vine bridges, tracing clear mountain streams to secluded waterfalls.

  • Where: Central Highlands
  • Ideal for viewing: crested bird of paradise, short-tailed paradigalia, ribbon-tailed astrapia, Lawe’s parotia, King of Saxony bird of paradise
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Tonda Wildlife Management Area

Located in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, the Tonda Wildlife Management Area is a wetland of international importance and the largest protected area in the country. It has a diversity of birdlife, with 250 species of resident and migratory birds, including most of the world’s population of little curlew.

  • Where: Western Province
  • Ideal for viewing: little curlew, bronze quoll, chestnut dunnart, false water rat, spectacled hare-wallaby
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Tufi & Milne Bay

Just an hour’s flight from Port Moresby, Tufi and Milne Bay are blessed with stunning terrestrial and marine biodiversity, a pristine underwater environment and a wide range of diverse habitats. Each has its own unique flora and fauna, with birds, butterflies and orchids of particular importance.

  • Where: Oro Province
  • Ideal for viewing: eclectus parrot, New Guinea harpy eagle, channel-billed cuckoo, Papuan harrier, variable goshawk

West New Britain - Kimbe Bay

Kimbe, the capital of the West New Britain province, is situated on the north side of the island on the spectacular Kimbe Bay, which boasts over 60 percent of the coral species of the entire Indo-Pacific. Inland, plentiful endemic birds such as blue-eyed cockatoo, can be found.

  • Where: West New Britain Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Melanesian scrubfowl, Bismarck kingfisher, red-knobbed imperial pigeon, Blyth’s hornbill, eclectus parrot
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Western Highlands

This province covers a surface area of 4,300 square kilometres. Home to the world’s largest population of birds-of-paradise, the rainforest habitat houses an abundance of wildlife of all sorts. It is traversed by a number of well-maintained trails, making it one of the most pleasant locations for hiking in the highlands.

  • Where: Western Highlands
  • Ideal for viewing: ribbon-tailed astrapia, brown sicklebill, crested satinbird, crested berrypecker, blue bird of paradise
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

New Ireland – Kavieng

Kavieng, the capital of Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province, is known for its ancient Malagan culture, breathtaking scenery, beautiful beaches and prolific dive sites, which include both natural sites and also a number of wrecks dating back from the Second World War.

  • Where: North-eastern Province
  • Excellent for: Beach stay, History & culture

Port Moresby

Port Moresby, the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea, stands on the shores of the Gulf of Papua. The city offers a choice of centrally located hotels for an overnight stay, or you may choose to head out to nearby Varirata National Park, one of the best places to see the Raggiana bird of paradise.

  • Where: Central Province
  • Excellent for: City stopover

View trips to these locations

Wildlife trips

Papua New Guinea is the world’s second largest island and a land of contrasts. From dense rainforests and mountain peaks, to huge river systems and pristine coral atolls. Home to an array of wildlife such as; tree kangaroos, bandicoots and spiny anteaters, and an unparalleled variety of bird species, including 38 of the world’s 43 birds of paradise.

5 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Reefs & Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea resonates as a land of amazing birdlife and unparalleled natural beauty. This introduction to its highlights combines the richness of the underwater world with the biodiversity of the highlands and rainforest, and the fantastic plumage of birds of paradise with colourful local tribes.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Birds of Paradise Photography

Join acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt in Papua New Guinea, and visit three of the country’s finest bird and wildlife locations. Take in lowland and montane rainforests, with enchanting cultural exchanges and festivals that offer compelling, colourful insights and photographic potential.

  • When to go: Jun-Jul
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £10,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Life in the Forest

Visit Papua New Guinea’s huge expanse of rainforests, staying on the Karawari River in East Sepik Province and in the Western Highlands. Based in excellent wilderness lodges and flying between locations, explore the contrasting habitats and diverse indigenous populations of this fascinating country.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,095 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

South Pacific Explorer

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity visits the remote and culturally-rich islands of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in search of unique birdlife aboard the Spirit of Enderby. Snorkel the crystal clear waters, or kayak the coastlines while enjoying the spectacular scenery and marine life.

  • When to go: Oct
  • Duration exc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Birding in Paradise

An ideal location for birders, Papua New Guinea’s forests are home to a remarkable 700 species that includes 38 of the world’s 43 birds of paradise. Based in excellent remote wilderness lodges, knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the country's extraordinary wealth of culture and wildlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,845 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

When to go

The dry season (May to October) is not well demarcated. Rainfall is generally heavy but varies widely – wet means that it’s simply more likely to rain, dry that it’s less likely.

Seasons

  • Wet season

    Nov to Apr: Normally from from November to March, but can extend into November and April. Typhoons are a regular feature on the coast.
  • Dry season

    May to Oct: Although rarely too hot, humidity is high all year round. Cooler in the mountains, especially at night.

Wildlife events

  • Apr to Dec: Breeding season for Raggiana bird of paradise – Papua New Guinea’s national bird

Where to stay

Wildlife cruise vessels