Our Luxury Custom Travel consultants are masters of custom travel planning, and they stay one step ahead by going on scouting trips around the world. When they return, they’re always full of ideas to create one-of-a-kind itineraries, so you can experience the best that a destination has to offer.
We asked Luxury Custom Travel Coordinator Anna Kronzer to report back on her recent trip to Papua New Guinea. She filled us in on why you should add this island gem of the South Pacific to your list.
Where did you go?
I started in Madang and then went to Mount Hagen and the Sepik region. After visiting Port Moresby, I spent time in Rabaul on Papua New Guinea’s neighboring island of New Britain.
Where should our guests start for unique experiences in Papua New Guinea?
For a chance to see some of the country’s lush scenery and untouched villages, you should venture inland for a cruise through the Sepik River region. It’s quite a remote area, but we can arrange the charter plane required for you to get there. Local villagers are friendly and welcoming, allowing visitors to step into their homes and learn about their unique, self-sustaining ways of life. You’ll find amazing handmade goods here, too.
In the region surrounding Mount Hagen, the vast mountain landscapes, abundant palm trees and picturesque farms are a feast for the eyes. Take a day trip into the highlands to meet the famous Asaro Mudmen, known for their ghoulish traditional clay masks. We can also arrange for you to visit the Chimbu skeleton dancers, who celebrate their cultural heritage by adorning themselves in skeletal body paint.
What are some can’t-miss experiences and destinations?
On the northern side of the island, the white-sand beaches and contrasting turquoise waters of Madang offer a slice of South Pacific splendor. We can arrange for you to enjoy a secluded morning snorkel—you might be the only people on the water—to spot coral and colorful fish. In the afternoon, head back to land to witness a Sing Sing, a gathering of regional tribes decked out in traditional dress to share their respective songs, dances and stories. If you’re eager to immerse yourself in more culture and history, Madang has a wealth of other activities that we can help you plan—visits to breathtaking seaside villages and the film site of Robinson Crusoe, local pottery making, and a chance to get up close to a downed Japanese fighter jet.
Rabaul is a World War II buff’s dream. You can visit Admiral Yamamoto’s bunker, venture into Japanese military tunnels, and if you’re the adventurous type, embark on a diving expedition to discover wartime wreckage. The area is also known for its mythical calderas, where two adjoined volcanoes have created hot springs and Mars-like landscapes. For wildlife lovers, we can arrange a snorkeling excursion with a pod of wild dolphins. The dolphins come to the same spot each morning to feed and play. Watching their carefree and joyful interactions was a truly delightful experience for me.
You stayed in some remarkable properties. What made them special?
Rondon Ridge is a magnificent lodge nestled in the mountains outside Mount Hagen. The property’s design is sleek and minimal, and the magnificent views of the mountain summits peeking above the clouds steal the show. The surrounding foothills are perfect for hiking and bird watching, with numerous birds-of-paradise species found in the area.
What surprised you about Papua New Guinea?
Papua New Guinea is one of the most linguistically diverse places on earth. Most tribes have their own unique language that differs wildly from that of their neighbors. At the same time, English is also common, so you’re very able to connect with people and find common ground. I was struck by the self-sufficiency of the villages that I visited. The people live simply, hunting and fishing for food and are largely unimpacted by the reaches of capitalism. One of my favorite parts of my trip was meeting the curious and captivating children who would gather around us during our village visits. They’d look stoic until I smiled and waved, and then they’d burst into huge grins as they vigorously waved back.
I was also surprised at the wide variety of experiences that you can find in Papua New Guinea. Between the eye-opening cultural visits, you can also fill your time with snorkeling, birding, historical sites and unspoiled tropical beaches. It’s truly a rich, multifaceted destination.
This is just a small sampling of some of the things we can arrange for you in this fascinating country. We can design the perfect Papua New Guinea trip for you, based on your interests and time constraints. Just give us a call or click on the “contact a consultant” button below to get started.