Visit a tribal village of the Asaro Mudmen. They earned the name “mudmen” centuries ago when, according to Asaro legend, their warriors went to battle covered with grayish-white chalk in order to look like ghosts and intimidate their enemies. Their dance technique of advancing slowly with graceful movements was also designed to scare off rival tribes.
After watching a demonstration of the Asaro war dance, go into a village family home and participate in a mumu, a traditional feast. The menu usually includes chicken or pork, yams, sweet potatoes, taro and bananas, which are mixed together and sealed tightly inside banana leaves, flavored with coconut, and then cooked on red-hot rocks for several hours.
Held in mid-September, during the national independence celebrations, the Goroka Show is the premier cultural event in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, with over 100 tribes as participants. It features energetic dancing, unique tribal rituals, and traditional music.
Named for an Australian soldier, the J.K. McCarthy Museum contains World War II relics, unique cultural artifacts native to Papua New Guinea, and a series of photographs dating from the 1930s, taken by the first foreigners to enter these highlands.
Climb Mount Wilhelm, the highest mountain in all of Papua New Guinea at just under 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). Because of the mountain’s height, climbers will find themselves faced with temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) – despite the fact that they are in such close proximity to the equator. At the summit, high above the clouds, take in the birds-eye view of the surrounding highlands.
Held in the first weekend in May, the Papua New Guinea Coffee Festival offers displays on gold and silver prospecting in the region, a sing sing, or traditional tribal gathering, and information on coffee cultivation, roasting, and preparation. Needless to say, samples of high-quality coffee are plentiful at this event.
A well-regarded group that debuted to national and international acclaim, the Raun Raun Theater is New Guinea’s premier performing group. Established amidst the turmoil of the 1970s, the Raun Raun Theater proved instrumental in creating a national identity and narrative, weaving together village plays, folk theater, and incorporating masks and critiques of the Australian colonial occupation.