Planning an adventurous getaway with the guys? Looking for a destination to challenge and amaze you? Why not get off the beaten path and check out one of the most untouched and exciting places in the world: Papua New Guinea. Discover the rural highlands, tribal communities and rare wildlife of this culturally diverse and unexplored territory and learn a little of its past as you traverse mountainous hiking trails and winding rivers through thick jungle packed with exotic flora and fauna and dive into its watery depths. What’s more, with fascinating history and ethnic cultures and customs to discover, this country provides the ultimate terrain for a boys’ trip. Let us inspire you with a few ideas for your wild ride.
Trekking and canoeing
Travel deep into the jungles and rivers of Papua New Guinea for adventurous hiking and sinuous sailing. Venture to remote Goroka, touring through coffee plantations on the trail of the legendary mudmen and discover the epic tale of the fearless defence of their village as they used the mud from the nearby riverbed to disguise themselves. See the rituals and dances they perform to celebrate their victory even today. Trek to Tari where the Huli tribe and their mysterious wigmen await with fascinating traditions and customs, performed in full tribal costume, augmented – of course – by their elaborate wigs. Join the wild rumpus and share local fare roasted in an underground oven as the tribal elders spin their yarns. As you continue your hike into deepest, darkest rainforest, you will discover Skull Cave under cover of dense foliage. Embark on challenging treks onwards to tribal villages and make your way up soaring peaks for sweeping panoramic views.
If it’s rivers that float your boat, plunge into the secluded region of Upper Sepik on a canoeing adventure along the country’s longest river that will take you deep into jungle territory. Paddle past indigenous villages to uncover yet more lore and culture and to experience a way of life utterly removed from your own, snapping pictures of the rich and diverse wildlife that surrounds you.
Bird-watching and fishing
Speaking of wildlife, Papua New Guinea is so packed with indigenous flora and fauna you are certain to catch glimpses of creatures you are unlikely to see anywhere else. In fact, it is thought that countless as-yet-undiscovered plants and animals thrive here. Head out on intrepid expeditions to uncover some of the exotic species that call this country home. Venture up to picturesque Mandang, where you can base yourself at Kiki eco-lodge to go in search of the huge nests and the rare fire-mane bowerbirds who build them. Get a glimpse of the natural wonders of the Tari Valley’s lush verdant forests, where a hike through the rainforest reveals any number of species of rare birds. At Kiunga, a port town in the country’s western province, the surrounding swamps are rich in yet more bird life, including the famed southern crowned pigeon and the large fig-parrot, so ensure you are armed with binoculars or a camera when you head out. To the southwest, the flatlands of Bensbach are home to massive flocks of pelicans, pygmy geese and sea eagles as well as herds of deer, wallabies, snakes and monitor lizards. Spend an afternoon or two fishing; the waters here are renowned for their dense population of barramundi. Alternatively, head for Baia Sports Fishing Lodge on the northern coast of New Britain, where you can plunder the rivers and offshore waters for three types of bass. Indeed, for anglers in search of a challenge or a little glory, Papua New Guinea is home to a number of species of fish that are totally unique to its waters including the river tigers patrolling jungle rivers and the Papuan black and spot tail bass, luring you to the waterways of Kandrian.
For a slightly different kind of safari, venture into the aforementioned Sepik region in pursuit of the “crocodile men” who receive bodily scars as a coming-of-age ritual, often taking the pattern of reptilian scales.
Diving for lost relics
Discovered and named by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, colonized by Germany and a key location of the Pacific conflict of World War II, Papua New Guinea is a history buff’s dream destination, especially for those who enjoy combining their passions for the past with plunging the depths. Besides warm, crystal clear waters and nearly twice as many marine species as the Red Sea, huge sunken war relics make for exciting diving expeditions. New Britain was the scene of brutal fighting between the Japanese and Allied forces during the New Guinea Campaign from 1942 to 1945, and today divers in Kimbe Bay can head downward to uncover the perfectly preserved wreck of a Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane. In the waters of Simpson Harbor – a Japanese wartime stronghold – up to 10 more wrecks can be explored. If the vestiges of WW2 fascinate you on land as well as beneath the waterline, stick around in New Britain to explore more than 400 miles of tunnels dug by the Japanese in Rabaul, complete with sleeping quarters and barracks.
The best way to immerse yourselves in the unique culture of PNG is to dive into its myriad of colorful festivals. You can spend a full two days experiencing the Goroka Cultural Show, including a performance of the Sing-Sing, a captivating ritual dance in full tribal attire. If you plan your adventure for August, make a stop in Ambunti for the Crocodile Festival, a two-day event organized by WWF to promote the conservation of endangered crocodiles and in which the locals perform daring dances with the beasts.
Whether you and your team head for the hills, the rivers or the culture, why not add a stop in travel hub, Singapore? Kick things off amid the bright lights of the big city or round off your incredible adventure basking in some well-deserved luxury at the iconic and stylish Raffles Hotel, where the health club facilities and dining options are second to none.