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Papua New Guinea – Your Way

FOCUS

Tailor-made Birdwatching Holidays: birds and photography

WHERE?

Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) – choice of Highlands, Lowlands and offshore islands – Port Moresby

CLIMATE

Cool at night in the mountains to hot in the lowlands.

ACCOMODATION

Rooms with private facilities at our very comfortable lodges. Optional Birding excursions with excellent local guides and transport (road and river), inter-lodge transfers by road and/or charter flights. 

SAMPLE WILDLIFE

Displaying male Birds of Paradise, of many species, plus many other endemic birds & Australasian species.

There is simply nowhere like PNG, it’s fantastic birds, scenery and amazing people, it is utterly unique. Most parts of it where not even seen by white man until the 1930s and still even today, in this ever shrinking world, large tracts remain unexplored. It is not the easiest or cheapest place to visit, the birding can be difficult and frustrating at times but when you do score, the smiles remain with you forever.

It’s most famous avian stars, the Birds of Paradise however are fairly predictable in many cases and with the superb local guides we will use in each area we will visit, an amazing experience is assured. BoPs merely top the list of myriad avian wonders, which also include bowerbirds, cassowaries, crowned and other pigeons, cockatoos, parrots, megapodes, kingfishers and much more.

Travel within the country is almost entirely by air, due to the central mountain chain, in fact the capital Port Moresby, is not linked to the interior by road even today. The country lacks the infrastructure of most places around the world, hence the costs are relatively high. Birds still play a very large part of today’s culture of the country with the national airline and beer both sporting BoPs as their logo. The famous sing-sings of the local peoples include of course bird feathers in their costumes and the dances themselves are based on male BoP displays. Whilst bird hunting continues to this day, the export of bird products and feathers is thankfully strictly forbidden and enforced. Every square inch of this land is privately owned, it is impossible to go and just do your own thing on your own. If you want to see some of the most amazing birds on the planet, PNG should be on your list at some point.

 

We offer PNG your way, working in conjunction with the leading ground operator in the country, who operate their own superb world-class lodges with a fleet of vehicles including 4x4s. They also operate their own domestic airline, with their own landing strips for guests, staff and moving  supplies to their lodges and even own a fleet of river boats in the Sepik Basin. This means you can choose your own itinerary, dates and travelling companions! Ideal if you want to take it at your own pace, or concentrate on just the species you want to see, or of course indulge your passion for photography. Our local bird guides are simply the best, all of whom speak excellent English.  On arrival at each lodge you will meet the manager and your guide/s and they will sit down with you and plan your specific programme. We can also offer extensions to Walindi in New Britain, which will add more amazing species, with an excellent choice of locally guided birding trips including pelagics for both Heinroth’s Shearwater and Beck’s Petrel.

The long awaited second edition of the Birds of New Guinea is currently now available, and so now is the time to start planning your trip. PNG is accessible by air from various cities in SE Asia and Australia, and we can assist you with your international flights from your chosen gateway with special fares too. 

 

Lodges

Rondon Ridge

Located above the Mount Hagen valley, in the cool of the mountains, this very comfortable property is only a few hundred yards from primary forest. A well cut trail runs up from the lodge to the ridge-top. BoP’s include Black and Brown Sicklebill,   Stephanie’s Astrapia, King of Saxony and the seemingly quite common Superb Bird of Paradise. A large supporting cast of other birds are found around the lodge itself and a good selection down in the Mt Hagen valley including Raggiana  BoP (the national bird). Your stay not only includes your local bird guide but transportation around the local area.

 

Karawari Lodge

Set on a small ridge above the Karawari River in the vast, lowland Sepik Basin, this really is the land that time forgot. The local people still live along the rivers, living their traditional lifestyle as they have for centuries. Mobile phones may have just arrived, almost a shame as the apparently ‘simple’ style of life seemed to have much to commend it! Fantastic views over the endless miles of lowland rainforest are enjoyed from the main building. Each morning and afternoon you will head off on one of the lodge’s river boats with your guide to go exploring. The amazing Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise breeds along the river whilst the exquisite King Bird of Paradise also occurs. Early morning and late afternoon sees the twice daily flights of birds over the river and adjacent forests. The majestic Blyth’s Hornbill seem fairly common  and with luck you may also encounter the mind-blowing  Victoria Crowned Pigeon too.

 

Ambua Lodge

The Tari area is facing a changing future due to a new gas pipeline being built. It still has all it’s birds for the moment and what a list the area has! 13 species of BoP alone are possible including Blue and Crested, Black, Brown and Buff-tailed Sicklebills, Ribbon-tailed and Stephanie’s Astrapias and more. Again plenty of other goodies provide a huge supporting cast and your guide has vehicle transportation whenever you need it. You will stay at the comfortable and world-famous Ambua Lodge, on the edge of prime forest with views over the surrounding lowlands. The lodge grounds themselves are not quite as good for birds as they used to be, a helicopter pad is now onsite, but the surrounding forests and lowland habitats are of course still on the doorstep. (A local surcharge may apply for being out with guides and transport in excess of 10 hours per day at Ambua.) 

Port Moresby

We usually use the comfortable Gateway Hotel for overnight stays. Only an hour or so drive away however is the excellent Varirata National Park and even closer, the wetland habitats of PAU.

Walindi Resort (New Britain)

We can also arrange for you to fly from Port Moresby to New Britain and stay at the comfortable Walindi Resort. This beachside lodge is set in paradise! New Britain offers more endemics and a range of locally guided birding excursions are available to prebook including offshore trips for Nicobar Pigeons and more.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1:
Arrive Port Moresby, afternoon domestic flight to Mount Hagen.

3 nights at Rondon Ridge with guided birding throughout, explore the lodge grounds and forest plus other sites in the area.

Day 4:
Morning charter flight over the Central Mountains to Karawari Lodge in the Sepik River Basin.

2 nights at Karawari Lodge with guided birding throughout, explore the lodge grounds and surrounding area by river boat.

Day 6:
Morning charter flight back over the mountains to Tari.

4 nights at Ambua Lodge with guided birding throughout, explore the lodge grounds and Tari Gap plus other local sites.

Day 10:
Morning flight to Port Moresby, transfer to Gateway Hotel. Afternoon guided birding to PAU.

Day 11:
Morning guided birding excursion of Varirata National Park. Afternoon departure from Port Moresby.

Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.

Cost:
Per person twin share from £4899 based on two persons traveling together. Single supplement from £929.

 

Price includes: all ground transport, guiding services throughout, accommodation in rooms with private facilities, all meals except dinners in Port Moreby, all domestic flights as specified, river boat trips and WildWings bird checklist. All our lodges are very used to catering for birders so early starts for example are no problem. A typical day will involve morning and afternoon guided birding with a short break for lunch back at the lodge. It is also possible to go out for the day with packed breakfasts and lunches.

Price excludes: International flights to and from PNG, visas, drinks, travel insurance, laundry and other items of a personal nature. Based on £1 = US$1.55

This is just a suggested  itinerary, please contact us to discuss your plans. Avoid December to April, the ‘wet’ season. A trip report from our visit in 2010 is on our website.

NB Small cash payments will have to be made locally to landowners to see a few of the bird species, your guides will advise you.  In 2010 it was approx £2.50 per person per bird. If you don’t score, you don’t pay by the way!

Please also note weather and local conditions can be unpredictable at any time and a sense of adventure and on occasions patience is required. Our ground agents full range of services and experience will ensure that you will be looked after at all times however. You cannot ‘clean up’ on any trip to PNG but you should see many of your planned targets. Bird photography is not that easy in some locations, but ‘off the shoulder’ opportunities should present themselves at times. Birds in PNG have an amazing ability to land on the ‘wrong side’ of the leaves or tree on many occasions! Experienced and quick ‘digi-scopers’ could do well here however.  The mountains and forests enjoy a pleasant temperate climate but rain is possible at any time (Rondon Ridge and Ambua). The Sepik Basin can often be humid and hot (Karawari), with rain again possible at any time.

 

New Britain Extensions

We suggest a four night stay here, prices from £549 per person twin share, including return flights from Port Moresby, airport transfers, accommodation with private facilities including full board and laundry. Guided birding excursions start from £29 (half day) and from £145 per person for the full day trips. Ocean island trips run from £98 to £290 per person (depending on numbers on the boat). Extended sea trips are also available to include looking for Heinroth’s Shearwater and Beck’s Petrel from £198 to £385 per person (again, depending on numbers on the boat).

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