Having travelled quite intrepidly, we wanted a trip that wouldn't fall into the traditional category of 'honeymoon' -- so we decided on Papua New Guinea.
In 1933, Mount Hagen was the site of first contact between New Guinean tribes and the Australian Leahy expedition, spearheaded by brothers Michael and Dan, the first westerners to set foot in the valley. Today, Mount Hagen is the third largest city in Papua New Guinea and the capital of the Western Highlands Province. It sits at a comfortable 5,502 feet (1,677 meters) above sea level, and because of its elevation remains mild and comfortable year round. Due to its relative isolation, the tribes living in and around Mount Hagen have, for the most part, managed to preserve their customs and traditions.
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Like the celebrations held at Goroka, the Mount Hagen Festival is one of the most exciting, dynamic celebrations within New Guinea. Every year in August, thousands of tribesmen flock to Mount Hagen, identified by their unique clothing, face painting, piercings and other markers. Witness swaths of color, jubilant singing and dancing, and authentic tribal customs little-changed since the days of their ancestors.
Baiyer River Bird Sanctuary
Visit the Baiyer River Sanctuary, one of the largest collections of wildlife and birds in all of Papua New Guinea. Situated at elevations of between 2,642 and 3,937 feet (800-1,200 meters), the sanctuary is home to several species of marsupials, bandicoots and other mammals, as well as over 185 species of birds. Hike one of the many trails that run along the ridges of the sanctuary and gain a stunning, bird's-eye views of the surrounding area.
Mount Hagen Market
Filled with all the manner of goods and treats, the Mount Hagen Market hosts traders from all across the province. Browse stalls of fresh, organic produce, shop for brightly colored clothing, accessories, and other trinkets, and barter and banter with the friendly locals.
Visit the Wahgi Valley, a spectacular tract of roaring rivers and pristine rainforest. The Wahgi has been inhabited by humans for almost 10,000 years, and today, its indigenous tribes still tend the same gardens and farms and live in the same dwellings as generations of their ancestors. From here, visitors can also access Mount Wilhelm, New Guinea's highest peak.
Visit the peaceful coffee plantations of the region, set along high mountain ridges far from civilization. As you stroll through the plantations, enjoy the sunlight and sample some of the very best blends available, from rich, earthy Arabica to dark, bitter Robusta.
Venture into wild Papua New Guinea on this comprehensive 12-day luxury journey. This getaway balances ventures to remote natural locations with rustic adventures. Flit between trekking in the Sepik Region and catching breathtaking views from Mount Hagen for an unforgettable experience.
Gear up for the adventure of a lifetime on this 14-day exclusive itinerary through the stunning, natural country of Papua New Guinea. Begin with a thrilling canoe trip and finish with plenty of time for relaxing on the pristine white sands. Meet the folkloric Asaro Mudmen and learn about an incredibly remote culture.
Birdwatcher's paradise and a fisherman's haven are only a flight away with this 12-day itinerary taking you deep into exotic Papua New Guinea's wildlife culture. Stay in comfortable, eco-friendly lodges as you get up close and personal with the country's fascinating wildlife, including pelicans and fig parrots.
A cultural phenomenon and delight - the Goroka Festival - is unlike any other festival in the world. Papua New Guinea showcases its wide variety of traditions during this 14-day adventure. Meet local chieftains and observe traditions including wild authentic dances when attending the colorful cultural show.
An incredibly well-rounded adventure, this 13-day itinerary takes you through many of Papua New Guinea’s most remote, beautiful locations. Trek in the rainforest, canoe winding rivers, chat with local tribes and lounge on the soft, powder-white beaches in both the Southern Highlands and along the Sepik River.
Untouched rainforests, the winding Sepik River, the stunning Madang beaches and the friendly local tribes await you on this 13-day Papua New Guinea adventure. Trek through the lush forest, celebrate the traditional Sing-Sing and enjoy the end reward with time to relax on the stunning, powder-white beaches.
Cover extensive ground on this 10-day luxury adventure through Papua New Guinea by private aircraft. You’ll have the rare delights of learning to make your own traditional wig with the Huli Wigman Tribe, before moving onto see a Mudmen performance, as well as a thrilling canoe adventure on the Sepik River.
Trekking in the jungle, canoeing along seemingly endless rivers, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, and relaxing on stunning white sand are all in store on this 12-day Papua New Guinea luxury adventure. Gain unique cultural insight as you trek between remote villages and stay with welcoming locals.
Embark on this luxurious private aircraft tour through Papua New Guinea. Reach the country’s remotest locations and explore the landscape’s secrets. Visit eight different exotic areas on this 10-day trip where you will barter your way through local markets and find out if the people of Yam possess magical powers.
The Highlander Hotel in Mount Hagen, gateway to the Western Highlands and its vibrant culture of tribal sing-sing rituals, is one of the best hotels in PNG and offers many comforts one might not expect in the region, such as an outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis courts, and a choice of dining options. The hotel's buildings are inspired by traditional architecture, with thatched roofs, and are surrounded by landscaped grounds. Each of the 60 rooms has a color television, IDD telephone, air conditioning and of course a private bathroom. Some rooms are equipped with broadband Internet, and access is available to all guests in the business center. The Poolside Restaurant serves breakfast and lunch on an outdoor terrace and Palmuri serves an à la carte dinner menu by an open stone fireplace. The Highlander is 10 miles from the Mount Hagen Airport (HGU).
Rondon Ridge Lodge
A stylish contemporary lodge around 40 minutes from Mount Hagen, Rondon Ridge sits at over 7000ft above sea level with spectacular views over the Wahgi Valley. It is perfectly located for nature treks and for visiting the local tribal villages. The lodge has just 12 bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and powered by the lodge's own hydroelectric power plant. In a nice touch, the beds are warmed every evening to protect guests from the cold mountain air. There is also a main lodge with bar, restaurant and lounge area.