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This introduction to exotic Papua New Guinea explores the reefs of the Solomon Sea with their colourful marine life, the highlands of Mount Hagen, and the unique biodiversity of Varirata National Park.

With its pristine coral atolls, vast tracts of rainforest, highlands rising to 4,500 metres, and great rivers, Papua New Guinea is a land of extraordinary contrasts that nurtures a diverse range of habitats and an equally varied selection of birdlife. This trip rewards intrepid travellers with a chance to see its fantastic birds of paradise, the largest butterfly on earth, an array of splendid orchids, the colourful marine life of its crystalline waters, and the island’s vibrant indigenous culture. 

Among the endemic jewels to be seen are the curious Huon tree kangaroo, the King of Saxony, Raggiana and Loria’s birds of paradise, the superb Stephanie’s astrapia, the Queen Alexandra birdwing butterfly, the blue Ulysses butterfly, along with pipefish, frogfish, and brightly-coloured mandarin fish.

Suggested itinerary

  1. Days 1-2 : Fly to Manila, Philippines

  2. Day 3: Onward flight to Tufi Resort, via Port Moresby

    On arrival you will be met and transferred to your delightful lodge, on the south-eastern peninsula of Cape Nelson, in Oro Province. 

    Accommodation: Tufi Resort, 3-nights

  3. Days 4-5 : Tufi Resort, snorkelling & birdwatching

    Spend two full days in this idyllic location with opportunities to go snorkelling and marvel at the rich underwater world. Alternatively, take a guided nature tour to search for fantastically ornate birds of paradise and enjoy stunning views of the peninsula, with time to look for the area’s highly diverse population of butterflies and orchids. 

  4. Day 6: Fly to Port Moresby onto Rondon Ridge, Mount Hagen

    Take a scenic morning flight over the fjords of the east coast from the Solomon Sea back across to the western side of the island. In Port Moresby, connect with a domestic flight heading north-west up to Mount Hagen in the interior. 

    Accommodation: Rondon Ridge Lodge, 3-nights

  5. Days 7-8 : Rondon Ridge, birdwatching & cultural villages

    Over the next couple of days there is plenty of opportunity to explore the highlands around Mount Hagen with morning and afternoon guided excursions that combine nature tours, whose focus is the birds of paradise and other colourful species, with village visits to witness the strong cultural heritage that varies from one community to another.

  6. Day 9: Fly to Port Moresby & visit Varirata National Park

    Fly back to the capital, Port Moresby, transfer to your hotel and head out for a guided visit of Varirata National Park, one of the best places in PNG to see the Raggiana bird of paradise. 

    Accommodation: The Stanley, 1-night

  7. Day 10: Fly to Manila, Philippines & overnight

  8. Day 11: Fly back to the UK

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 days from £4,345 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 8 days from £3,445 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,195
  • When to go: Mar-Nov
  • Activities available:
    • Culture
    • Scuba diving
    • Walking
Featured locations:

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

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

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
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Gateway Hotel

This hotel is a short drive from Port Moresby airport and therefore makes a convenient, comfortable stop if you need to overnight in the city. It offers 95 modern rooms and 20 serviced apartments, all surrounding a central pool, plus a restaurant, quiet gardens and free airport shuttle.

Rondon Ridge Lodge

Located a short drive from Mount Hagen, this hotel offers magnificent mountain views, and all 12 rooms have 180 degree views. The surrounding area is home to ten species of birds of paradise and numerous orchids, and walking trails from the lodge make it easy to get out and see the area’s unique ecology.

Tufi Resort

Located a short flight east of Port Moresby, this boutique resort is a hidden oasis nestled atop a breathtaking fjord with panoramic views of the sea and mountains. Here you can forget about the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend time underwater, diving some of the best sites in the world.